Top 10 ad­ven­ture ac­tiv­i­ties in Auck­land

Let's Travel - - NEW ZEALAND - By Shane Boocock

As Ed­i­tor at Large of Let’s Travel Mag­a­zine my en­thu­si­asm and in­spi­ra­tion comes from dis­cov­er­ing new and ex­cit­ing out­door ex­pe­ri­ences but it be­came ob­vi­ous that there was no ded­i­cated New Zealand guide at the time (2010) that cov­ered the ad­ven­ture in­dus­try com­pre­hen­sively in the air, on land, out at sea or on rivers and lakes.

In New Zealand it’s the thrill of ski­ing on a vol­cano, the ex­hil­a­ra­tion of jet­boat­ing on the Waikato or raft­ing the Sho­tover in Queen­stown, the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence wilder­ness horse rid­ing or hik­ing spec­tac­u­lar trails around the coun­try. In Auck­land it’s all about ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the surf beaches of Great Bar­rier Is­land to 4-wheel driv­ing and moun­tain bik­ing in Wood­hill For­est, as well as sail­ing on the Hau­raki Gulf or hang-glid­ing on West Coast beaches.

For me it’s all about ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the great out­doors, en­joy­ing a healthier life­style and hav­ing fun – for peo­ple full of life it’s about seek­ing out new ac­tiv­i­ties and about over­com­ing your fears, step­ping out be­yond your com­fort zone and be­ing ad­ven­tur­ous in one of the most spec­tac­u­lar coun­tries in the world.

To start the heart beat­ing a lit­tle faster I’ve picked out 10 of the best places and adventures to push the adrenalin en­ve­lope in the Auck­land re­gion. The rest is up to you.

AJ Hack­ett Bungy – Auck­land Har­bour Bridge

It’s true that AJ Hack­ett rules the “air­waves” when it comes to bungy jumps in New Zealand with four lo­ca­tions in New Zealand alone. This is a 40 m high jump from the Auck­land Har­bour Bridge that in­cludes a walk be­neath the traf­fic to reach the bungy pod. If you are lim­ited for time, then this is the fastest and most ex­cit­ing way to see the Waitem­ata Har­bour. Last­ing for 1.5 hours.

Cany­on­ing – Piha

Just 40 min­utes from down­town Auck­land you’ll find your­self at the foot of the largest com­mer­cial wa­ter­fall ab­seil in the Waitakere Ranges. The Piha Canyon in which the wa­ter­falls are lo­cated is a ma­jes­tic sub-trop­i­cal rain­for­est. Dur­ing this ad­ven­ture you’ll spend an ex­hil­a­rat­ing day or half-day ab­seil­ing or jump­ing over a va­ri­ety of wa­ter­falls that cas­cade into pools be­low. www.awolad­ven­

Quad Bik­ing – Kumeu

This is a quick and easy way to get into the bush on a quad bike. Af­ter just 15 min­utes train­ing you’ll be zip­ping along on a one, two or three hour quad bike sa­fari through the 36,000 acre Wood­hill For­est and the wild, black sand beaches of the West Coast just out­side Auck­land. All you need to do is sit com­fort­ably and fol­low your leader, as all tours are guided. www.4track­ad­ven­

Tan­dem Hang Glid­ing – West Coast

This is a spec­tac­u­lar way to be­come air­borne as you are cat­a­pulted into the sky, high above some breath­tak­ing West Coast scenery. You’ll then fly in a nice re­lax­ing float or adrenalin surg­ing aer­o­batic swoops. Aqua Air Ad­ven­ture is based in Auck­land but fly where the con­di­tions are best, of­ten on the West Coast from Muri­wai to Kar­i­o­tahi.

Horse Rid­ing – South Kaipara

This is a fam­ily-run half-day, full day or the overnight horse trek that be­gins with an easy Wood­hill For­est ride to the lakes. In the af­ter­noon the for­est tracks open on to an his­toric farm of 1,012ha. The night is spent in shear­ers’ quar­ters that sleep up to 12 peo­ple in six rooms. The re­turn jour­ney takes you to the tip of the South Head penin­sula. Cross­ing the wilder­ness flats you can then ride on sand dunes up to 20m high. The last leg is 16km of Muri­wai Beach be­fore re-en­ter­ing Wood­hill For­est.

Sea Kayak­ing – Auck­land and Gulf Is­lands

Just an hour north of Auck­land is Mahu­rangi Re­gional Park, a re­gion per­fect for the pad­dler with abun­dant rivers, shel­tered bays, sea caves, es­tu­ar­ies and even a ship­wreck. Other pop­u­lar coastal kayak­ing venues in­clude, Ran­gi­toto, Mo­tu­tapu, Mo­tu­ihe and Rakino. For peo­ple want­ing some soli­tude, point your bow out to the east­ern end of Wai­heke where the is­lands of Ro­toroa and Ponui of­fer great kayak­ing adventures. www.kayak­wai­ or www.seakayakauck­

Sail­ing – Amer­ica’s Cup Yachts

Very few of us will ever race in an Amer­ica’s Cup yacht race, but the next best thing is NZL 40 and NZL 41. Th­ese for­mer Amer­ica’s Cup yachts of­fer the op­por­tu­nity for ev­ery­one to par­tic­i­pate in sail­ing one of th­ese grand prix rac­ing ma­chines. You’ll be part of the crew and en­cour­aged to take the helm and work the grinders as both yachts tack against each other down the har­bour. www.ex­

Sky Walk – Auck­land Sky Tower

Look mum no hands. Yes this lit­tle escapade might put the wind up you… there are no guardrails, just the air that you breath 192 m up on the 1.2 m wide Sky Walk outer ledge. If you want to ex­pe­ri­ence life on the edge then give this a try. It’s a 360-de­gree walk around the tallest tower in the South­ern Hemi­sphere. If you have the nerve, you can hang your rear-end off the edge with just the harness hold­ing you aloft.­

Surf­ing – Great Bar­rier Is­land

Trav­el­ling out to the rugged iso­la­tion of Great Bar­rier Is­land is an ad­ven­ture in it­self, and the bonus is the beau­ti­ful de­serted beaches on the east­ern side of the is­land. The four best-known spots are: Med­land’s Beach with its fa­mous Shark Al­ley. Kaitoke boasts a num­ber of good surf breaks. Awana Beach is noted for its year-round surf­ing con­di­tions. Lastly Whangapoua has great surf across the mouth of the Whangapoua Es­tu­ary. www.auck­

Whale & Dol­phin Watch­ing – Hau­raki Gulf

Es­tab­lished in 2000, their record says it all. Dol­phins are viewed on over 90% of trips and whales viewed on 75% of trips so they claim. Once on board the crew will search the Hau­raki Gulf un­til they lo­cate whale and dol­phin ac­tiv­ity. This op­er­a­tor spe­cialises in mak­ing the most of a day out on the wa­ter. This is not a swim­ming ex­pe­ri­ence, just a chance to view the hugely di­verse range of mam­mals. www.ex­

Auck­land Har­bour Bridge Bungy

Com­mon Dol­phins in front of the boat with peo­ple

NZL 40 & 41 In­front of Ran­gi­toto Is­land

AWOL Cany­on­ing Adventures

Sky City, Sky­Walk

Kayak­ing on Wai­heke Is­land

Tay Pat­ti­son at Kaitoki beach, Great Bar­rier Is­land

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