Adventure Sports in New Zealand: Create Your Own Olympics Experience!

This is the year! 2024 has come, and it’s finally time for the Olympic Games, which will commence in Paris from the 26th of July - 11th of August 2024. If you're a sports enthusiast looking to create your own Olympic adventure sports experience in New Zealand, this guide is made for you. Discover the perfect destinations to unleash your adrenaline and passion for sports.

North Island adventure activities 

The vast North Island is home to dozens of exciting adrenaline activities and destinations. Whether you want to go biking through woodland paths or unleash your inner Legolas with engaging archery, discover some of the most enjoyable places for adventure sports in New Zealand below.

Whakarewarewa Forest (The Redwoods) - Mountain biking trails

Mountain biking through the redwoods forrest.

Photo Credit: The Redwoods 

If you're up for a challenge and love mountain biking, come and ride your bike in the Redwoods! Rotorua is rated one of the world's best mountain biking meccas. This premier riding destination is full of well-maintained tracks and unrivalled riding surfaces. Featuring approximately 150km of continually improving trails, there's something for every rider to enjoy!

One of the fantastic aspects of mountain biking is that it caters to all skill levels, whether you're a beginner or an advanced rider honing your skills for the next Olympic opportunity. The Redwoods features routes designed for six different skill grades, so anyone can enjoy this adventure activity. The location of these mountain biking trails is just perfect – they're only a 5-minute drive from Rotorua, and shuttle transport is available for going uphill. 

After biking, thrill seekers can take on the forest's various tree-top walks and zip-lining activities. On the opposite side of Rotorua lies Fairy Springs, where you can experience another unique forest-exploration adventure from Rotorua Canopy Tours.

Head to the west to discover the Waitomo Caves, where you can find spectacular glow worms and experience the thrill of black water rafting in the dark. Or go north to Kaituna Waterfall, the highest commercially-rafted waterfall in the world. Down south, you can find more exciting adventures along the Waikato River in the form of Taupo bungy jumping and jet boating.

Wild on Waiheke - Archery

Archer with bow and arrow taking aim at bullseye.

Photo Credit: Wild Estate 

Training for the Olympics Archery or even practising your Hunger Games skills? Wild on Waiheke provides an archery experience amidst the vines. If you're a beginner and want someone to help you, don't worry an instructor will guide you to master the bullseye! 

The wild estate features laser clay-bird shooting, wild woozy team building, and WILDCHAMPS team building. You could even do all of these activities in a single day. Wild on Waiheke offers on-the-day deals and combos for larger groups. 

Archery sessions last 1-2 hours. They are extremely popular in the summer but happen all year round, so during the winter, you might get some peace to help you aim! This activity is suitable for those aged 10 and above. Whether you're aiming for precision like the pros or just looking to have some fun and a laugh, archery at Wild on Waiheke is a great place for both. 

Once your training session is over, treat yourself to sightseeing. Take a scenic flight across the island and experience the beauty Waiheke has to offer. Or, catch a whale-watching tour from central Auckland to see the diverse marine life in the Hauraki Gulf.

South Island adventure activities 

The South Island is the place to be if you want to combine thrilling adventure sports with beautiful mountainous landscapes. So, adrenaline seekers – put on some warm clothes and head down south where adventure awaits.

Cardrona Alpine Resort - Snow Sports

Couple of skiiers looking at the horizon at a beauiful sunset at the top of the mountain.

Photo Credit: Cardrona 

The prime time for skiing and snowboarding aligns perfectly with the 2024 Olympics. This winter in New Zealand, the snow will be at its best, and the Queenstown ski fields are bound to be in top condition. Why not come to Cadrona Alpine Resort to practise your snowsports moves and perhaps catch the Olympics on TV at one of the restaurants? 

Cardrona Alpine Resort is one of the highest-rated ski fields in New Zealand and is suitable for all skill levels. Gentle slopes are available for beginners or those who want to take it easy. For adrenaline junkies who love extreme sports and feel like an Olympian, take on the high-intensity runs! Cardona's runs feature jumps, rails, and boxes. You can also enjoy spectacular views from the top of the mountain, but be sure to stop and admire them safely (you wouldn't want to get distracted and trip over your skis!)

One of Cardrona's greatest features is that it has a childcare centre, a workshop for repairs, and cafes/restaurants to keep you fueled. There are nine different food options, which just puts the cherry on top! 

If you're still on the lookout for adrenaline activities and extreme adventure the day after, get down to Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world. Challenge yourself to the Kawarau Bridge and Nevis River bungy jumping combo – the latter of which is New Zealand's highest. Nearby, Shotover River features a free-fall canyon swing, not one for the faint-hearted! Canyoning and skydiving are also available in the surrounding area. Both are must-do activities for anyone who loves thrills.

Lighthorse Adventures - Horse Trekking

Horse trackking around majestic New Zealand landscape.

Photo Credit: Lighthorse Adventures 

If you aren't in the Olympics for equestrian this year, don't worry you aren't missing out on anything when you can take part in an incredible horse riding journey down in Glenorchy. It's a truly unforgettable adventure surrounded by scenery of remote mountain locations and braided rivers. 

Lighthorse Adventures offers an experience like no other. You'll be horse trekking through the wilderness, learning the art of horsemanship, gaining insights into how horses naturally communicate, and observing breathtaking views all the way. Lighthouse Adventures features treks of all lengths and difficulties, so there's something for everyone, no matter your experience with horse riding.

For young members of the family 

Get young ones started with adventure sports through the Pony Express trek. This route is a fun yet gentle 20-minute pony ride with beautiful scenery all around. It's the perfect option for kids aged 3 - 7. How adorable!

For beginners

The Easy Rider Experience is a 1.5-hour journey and a great option if you're in the mood for a relaxing but adventurous scenic ride. For those travelling with family, this is the ideal choice, offering a chance to explore the rural beauty of Glenorchy's river systems against a backdrop of majestic mountains.

The River Wild Experience is perfect for those seeking a more extended adventure, with a trek through the stunning lake scenery. This ride takes place at the head of New Zealand's longest lake, Lake Wakatipu. The journey can take up to 2.5 hours and includes scenic river crossings, offering views of The Misty Mountains, The Wizard's Vale, and The Mighty Methedras. Doesn't that sound magical? 

For experienced riders

If you're experienced and looking for a more thrilling adventure, the Revamped Graze and Glory trek is made for you. This is a full-day journey which includes a 5-hour ride through river crossings, beautiful lupin fields, and stunning landscapes. We might have to leave this one for the professionals and more experienced horse riders, as the rules are you must have ridden at least 31 times before! 

Further beyond the river lies the spectacular Milford Sound, one of the most beautiful places in the world. Hiking, swimming, kayaking, cruises, and scenic flights – you can experience it all there.

Hooker Valley Track - Hiking

Hikers will appreciate the Hooker Valley Track, a beautiful 10km walk that takes about 3 hours to complete. As you embark, you'll observe magnificent views of the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana and Aoraki/Mount Cook. You'll also see glaciers, icebergs, and lakes that will make you reach for your camera at every twist and turn. The Hooker Valley Track peaks with beauty in the middle of winter, so this is the recommended time to do it! 

This track is the most popular hike in the Mount Cook National Park, only a 6-minute drive from Mount Cook Village! It's a must-do activity, whether you want to walk or run it. ​​This fantastic workout treats your eyes to stunning West Coast landscapes and backdrops.

If you enjoy extreme sports, you'll also love Mt. Hutt to the east. This magnificent mountain is a prime place for skiing and other alpine activities in New Zealand. It also has hiking tracks and biking paths, so you can keep your heart racing in any weather.   

Check off New Zealand's adventure tourism highlights this Olympics season with Omega Rental Cars 

No matter what adventure sport you love, experience it right here with the adrenaline activities in New Zealand as the greats go off against each other overseas. 

Don't just stop at sport stops – with an Omega Rental car, you can travel the country at your own pace, enjoying all the thrills and adventure NZ has to offer. Book with us today and start your Olympic training journey in Queenstown, Auckland, or any of our other rental car branch locations. Go for gold!