Adventure-fueled trips can be found around the world. Some destinations, however, do adventure different. That’s something that the tens of thousands of writers, photographers, and travelers in Matador Network’s Creators Community know very well. So perhaps it should comes as no surprise that, when polled, people in the Creators Community choose one of the most adventure-filled countries to receive the Matador Network Creators’ Choice Award for Top Adventure Destination in 2021: New Zealand.
The proof is in the myriad opportunities to get outside. There are ziplines that track through lush forests and over rushing rivers, remote mountain canyoning, and heli-skiing. An abundance of waterfalls can be found on both the north and south islands that are open for scrambling, sliding, and climbing — or just relaxing and taking in the view. Not to mention challenging caves for ardent spelunkers, intense river rafting, and sky diving. For hikers, New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks take hikers through gorgeous and diverse terrain over multi-day trips.
Queenstown alone is a destination for the adventurous set: it’s an incredible river surfing location and the home of the first commercial bungee site in the world.
Yet for all of the inland activities available across New Zealand, it is also an island nation with some of the most awe-inspiring beaches to explore. Cape Reinga (or Te Rerenga Wairua in the indigenous Māori language) is known as where spirits enter the underworld and, in a more terrestrial sense, where the Tasman Sea dramatically meets the Pacific Ocean. If you’d rather dig into relaxation than hike to one of the most northern points of New Zealand, Hot Water Beach is a natural hot spring that only takes a shovel and some light digging to experience.
You don’t need to look far to find natural and man-made adventure in New Zealand (as well as hobbits and plenty of Lord of the Rings filming locations, of course). And while the country has been shut down for the past couple of years due to COVID-19 restrictions, the majority of vaccinated travelers will once again be allowed in on April 30, 2022, to experience all of the adventure New Zealand has to offer.