ADRENALINE COUNTRY

New Zealand is known for its variety of exciting activities aimed at tourists. In recent years it has been labelled the country for danger tourism. Unfortunately as people put their bodies on the line to experience these white knuckle attractions, they can also put their lives at risk. There have been some deaths caused by partaking of these activities but this only enhances the appeal they hold for those wanting to have an adrenaline filled holiday!!

 I have previously written about the Kiwi urge to jump off cliffs and plummet down raging rivers on small rafts. There is something in the Kiwi character that excites it when faced with controllable danger. To this end, it is no surprise that the bungy jump, the jet boat and the Zorb were all created by New Zealanders. Kiwis have also fine-tuned zip lining. In fact, Cable Bay Adventure Park near Nelson has recently opened the next generation of zip lining. Called the ‘Skywire’ this thrilling attraction is the longest flying fox in the world. It is also New Zealand’s latest thrill seeker ride. It consists of a four seat open carriage suspended from a wire which travels at 100kph above the native forest. The 10 minute ride is 3km long and is just the start for owner of the park, Richard Ussher who plans to make Cable Bay Adventure Park the best of its type in the world.

Skywire (New Zealand.com)

Apart from the ‘Skywire’ the park also offers mountain bike trails, and the Argo, an amphibious all-terrain eight wheeled super vehicle that carries thrill seekers through mud fields, into rivers and along 14km of beautiful forest trails that can be found in this part of the South Island. Cable Bay is historically significant because it is here, in 1876, where the first telegraph cable from Australia came ashore. It connected New Zealand to the international telegraph network which in turn, gave a boost to the development of the young colony. It is fitting that this location continues to make history with its exciting ‘Skywire’.

MOUNTAIN CARTING

Apart from a mountain cart operation in Wales, the one at Cardrona in Central Otago, is the only other one in the world. I’d like to suggest it is also more exciting as I know Cardrona and how mountainous the terrain there is. In other words, New Zealand’s mountains are a lot more precipitous than Welsh ones.

The New Zealand Mountain Carting operation takes place over the summer months on what are three Cardrona ski runs. The downhill adventure is gravity driven so the carts have no motors. The three wheeled aluminium vehicles are German built and the low centre of gravity helps keep them upright as they race around the tight ‘s’ bends on the winding down hill tracks. The most popular of the three tracks is known as the ‘Captain’s Run’. Speeds of over 50km an hour are reached on this 3km ride. This is 9 minutes of pure adrenaline rush and attracts mainly young tourists who flock to New Zealand to experience the huge range of dare devil attractions the country is noted for. Of course, with such nail biting action, accidents do happen and mountain carting has produced a few broken bones since it started three seasons ago but this injury record only adds to the thrill of trying it and heightens the sense of adventure inherent in this type of activity.

Mountain Carting (Cardrona Alpine Resort)

RIVER SLEDGING

River Sledging, also called river boarding, is another adrenaline extreme sport perfected in New Zealand. In Europe it is known as ‘hydrospeed’ but the New Zealand version is more extreme and danger filled.

 If you like the idea of shooting down a river clinging to a board, coming face-to-face with grade three rapids, this will appeal to you.  It’s where white-water rafting meets the luge. It combines boogie boarding, kayaking, and white-water rafting into a special type of dare devil aquatic thrill that has you swim right through the middle of raging rapids. A limited number of rivers in both the North and South Islands have been chosen for the 1 to 2 metre high waves, broken water, strong eddies, exposed rocks and small falls that make the ride so exciting. In other words, the rivers have been chosen to maximise the dangerous fun.

River Sledging (NZ Explorer)

Specially made boards have been created for river sledging to let thrill seekers experience the river’s every move as it undulates, splashes, sucks, and spits its way through gorges and canyons.  The boards also surf standing river waves as they flow upward over the rocks. Part of the fun is to also get dunked down into the icy cold waters at the mercy of eddies and currents. It is just another ‘day at the office’ for adrenaline junkies who love New Zealand because it offers these types of experiences.

HYDRO ATTACK

I will let the Hydro Attack website explain what this is. It says it all.

“Take a bite out of Queenstown with a high speed shark ride with Hydro Attack, the ultimate blend of shark and machine. Reaching speeds of 80 kph on the water and 40 kph diving under the water, experience a one-on-one ride in our semi-submersible shark. You’re inside what feels like a cross between a fighter jet and a torpedo as it speeds across the top of the lake then it dives deep into the lake’s clear water. Next, you are pointed at the sky as the shark blasts back out of the water again into the air. Whatever else you have done in the name of extreme excitement, nothing has prepared you for a ride in this shark. Hydro Attack is the world’s first commercial operator of these unique submersible machines so while in New Zealand, don’t miss your chance to give it a go”.

Hydro Attack (hydroattack.co.nz)

One thrill seeker posted this on social media: “I felt like I was in a stunt plane on the water as we zoomed and flew around. As I sat back in the cockpit I felt the g-force during the 12-minute ride. Looking through the F-16 fighter grade glass of the shark, I watched the sky disappear as my pilot descended into a long dive under the water! Then, I got an adrenaline rush when he aimed for the surface and launched the entire 6 metres of the shark in the air. We then flew 5 metres into the air – awesome! I loved the 90-degree rolls and tight doughnut turns! It’s a fast-paced adrenaline filled adventure I’ll never forget.” 

Welcome to New Zealand – Adrenaline Country!