There is something about water that has intrigued me since I was a small boy. And that interest has pushed me into trying watersports as often as I can; near my home (as I live by the sea and lakes) and also while on vacation.
What I will do here is list the popular watersports in New Zealand and I’ll recommend a location for each one.
White Water Rafting
This water activity is right at the top when it comes to heart pumping fun. The idea is simple where you and a small group of people (usually with a guide) traverse through various rapids.
These rapids vary greatly regarding the difficulty and danger, so always ask the rafting company which option is best for you. If you’re very new to it then I recommend starting on a lower grade rapid first and work your way up another time.
Now regarding what I think is the best location for this, it’s difficult to answer because there are many! But the rapids east of Rotorua do offer a good range for all skill levels; RangitaikiRiver for people new to rafting and Kaituna River for experienced rafters.
Black Water Rafting
This fun activity is not for claustrophobic people or those of you who don’t like the dark!
You essentially float in a rubber tube along underground rivers, with other adventurers and one or more guides. Please, do not try this by yourself as it needs to be part of a guided tour.
There are usually walking and some abseiling involved as well but it can be an amazing experience as you see the unusual views of the underground caves and rivers.
I think the best place for this is the Waitomo Caves.
These boats are absolutely amazing fun. They were invented in New Zealand (we like to invent fun things here!) and work in an ingenious way of sucking in water from the front of the boat then spraying it out via a jet engine from the back.
So what makes these jet boats so special? Basically the jet nozzle which sprays the water can change direction very quickly, allowing the boat to maneuver with a very high degree of accuracy.
You’ll be able to experience these boats via tours in various locations of New Zealand but I think the Shotover Canyon is the best location.
Surfing is also popular and there are lots of places to enjoy it here.
It really is a personal preference regarding where you surf but if you’re new and want to learn there are various places in Coromandel.
Kayaking is extremely popular in NZ. If you go on a drive on a sunny day, don’t be surprised to see a number of kayaks on cars eagerly driving to their destination.
Lake and river kayaking is probably the most popular but you can do sea kayaking but a guide is usually recommended for this.
There are many great places to enjoy this water sport here but my personal favorite is in the Catlins; either along the Catlins River or off the coast with a guide.
Swimming with Wild Dolphins
We are also very lucky here in New Zealand to have a number of locations with wild dolphins. In these places, you should be able to find local companies which offer a day out on the sea where you can swim with these dolphins.
It is truly a beautiful experience but you need to be a proficient swimmer as the sea can get quite rough sometimes.
I think the best place to try this is in Kaikoura.
The article you just read came from Jack Hopkins who works with the company RiverRidge Retreat which is located in the Catlins; a great place for a vacation, wedding, festival and many other events.