Fitness guide for New Zealand travel

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Many of the most popular activities and experiences in New Zealand can be enjoyed regardless of your fitness levels.

Walking and Hiking

New Zealand has hundreds of well-formed tracks to take you to our vast wilderness areas, ranging from relaxing day walks to more strenuous multi-day hikes. You can choose the trails you'd like to explore dependant on your fitness levels. Even sections of popular multi-day hikes including our Great Walks, can be experienced as a day walk. Details of walking tracks and trails, including current conditions, walk time, topography and grading are provided by Department of Conservation at the start of every trail or on their website.

Cycling

Cycling is another fantastic way to explore New Zealand’s outdoors. Take your pick from a network of cycling trails around the country that form part of The New Zealand Cycle Trail, as well as a number of other rides in the towns and cities, and beyond. Trails on The New Zealand Cycle Trail are graded from easy to difficult, stating the level of fitness required. For other trails, local visitor centres (i-Sites) or bike hire operators will be more than happy to help with trail information.

Adventure activities

New Zealand boasts almost every kind of adventure activity and extreme sport you can think of. Barring a few age and weight restrictions, these are open for all visitors to enjoy. Although, you are expected to be in good health owing to the extreme nature of some of these activities.

Most bungy operators take visitors over 10 years and 35kg with the upper weight limit varying between 100-127kg, depending on the jump. Weight range for zip lining typically varies between 30-125kg, with no age restrictions.  Sky divers must be more than 16 years and less than 100kg.

There are no age or weight restrictions for jet boating and rafting, available at some of our most iconic destinations. However you are expected to fit into equipment such as life jackets and wetsuits. For rafting higher grade rivers (more than 2-3), you should be able to swim. Abseiling, rafting/cave tubing and caving at places such as Waitomo require you to be more than 12-16 years and 45kg+, depending on the activity. However there are no restrictions to hop on a boat cruise to enjoy the unique beauty of Waitomo’s glowworm caves.

Quad biking and 4WD tours are a great way to get off the road and amidst our scenic landscapes. While quad biking has age restrictions, 4WD is open to everyone.

Operators of these adventure activities, as well as our local information centres will be able to guide you on specific fitness requirements.

Water activities

With glorious coastlines, pristine lakes and rivers, getting out onto the water in New Zealand is a must do! Kayaking, surfing and windsurfing require a minimum level of fitness. However there are plenty of other water activities suitable for all ages and levels of fitness, including sailing, boat cruises and fishing.

Activities for everyone

Are you travelling with young children? Or looking for things to do that do not require high fitness levels, but don’t want to miss out on New Zealand’s must-do sights and experiences? Here is a list of things to try:

  • Take a scenic flight in a small plane or helicopter for a totally different view of New Zealand’s beauty. You can land on a glacier or picnic on alpine peaks – there are no limits.
  • Go stargazing. New Zealand has one of the darkest, clearest skies in the world making it a top spot to see admire celestial wonders.
  • Take a boat cruise to explore our marine wonders, from whale and dolphin encounters to glass bottom boats to see colourful array of fish life and corals.
  • Among New Zealand’s many easy walks is the Treetops Walkway in Hokitika on the West Coast, featuring majestic views of the Southern Alps and Tasman Sea.
  • Enjoy a scenic rail journey and soak in stunning scenery you simply can’t see from the road.  
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