When the weather warms up in New Zealand, it's time to enjoy the great outdoors – and with New Zealand's incredible variety of landscapes, the country turns into one big adventure playground.
There are outdoor adventures to have had in the mountains, the sea and the air, ranging from extreme sports for adrenalin junkies to laid-back activities for those who prefer to take it easy. And at the end of a hard day's fun, you can light up the barbecue for an fresco meal and enjoy a chilled glass of local wine.
Blending hang-gliding and parachuting, this is an exciting sport that gives you the feeling of flying and floating, yet without the scary jump involved in parachuting. If you do not want to take a full course in learning how to paraglide solo, you can simply sign-up for a one-off tandem paraglide, where you go up with a professional paragliding pilot. Paragliding experiences are available in many locations across New Zealand, including Queenstown, Nelson, Christchurch, Auckland and Hawke's Bay.
In Rotorua, New Zealand's geothermal wonderland, you can chuck yourself down a hill encased in a giant plastic ball. No longer a new concept, Zorbing remains as amusing and popular as ever – with one person after another tumbling haphazardly down the grassy slopes. And for a cooling splash around during the hot summer months, you can choose to roll down with water part-filling the globe.
While in some destinations white water rafting is very seasonal, in New Zealand's mountainous interior many rivers are fairly fast-flowing through the year, so even summer offers rafting experiences. Rafters get to travel along pristine water through landscapes that have barely changed for centuries, spotting wild life and bird life along the way before facing the exciting rapids. Many rafting companies offer gentler options for those who feel less confident about rafting, while some combine a number of activities into one trip – such as waterfall jumps, river walking and barbecues.
Whale watching is most popular around Kaikoura on the east coast of the South Island. The resident population of sperm whales can be spotted all year round, but other species are only seen at certain times of the year. If you take a whale-watching trip during New Zealand's warmer summer months, you have the best chance of catching sight of the awesome Orca, or killer whale.
For the real adrenalin junkie, skydiving is a popular activity in New Zealand – certainly not one for the faint-hearted. You're given a safety briefing, then once you're kitted out in all the necessary clothing and gear you're taken into the air in a small aircraft. For one-off jumps, you have to take a tandem skydive with a professional skydiver – shuffling over to the aircraft's open door before taking the leap. The thrill of falling through the sky, then gliding gently across the landscape with an amazing bird's eye view of everything around, makes skydiving an unforgettable experience.