KidTripster Teen: 6 High-adrenaline activities that tweens & teens can brag about to their friends
I visited New Zealand with my family during my winter break; fortunately, it was summer in the Southern Hemisphere. I didn’t know much about New Zealand except that the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies where filmed there. Now that I have been, I realize that Kiwis (what New Zealanders call themselves) loves adventure and know how to make their own fun!
So while you’re there, act like a Kiwi!
Photo courtesy: Amy Dellzell & Skyline Rotorua
1/Take a dive
One of my family’s first stops was Velocity Valley, formerly known as Agroventures Adventure Park, where you’ll find several adventure activities. My dad tried the Freefall Xtreme. It’s like iFly indoor skydiving in the States, but you do it outside. My mom and I hopped in a piloted Agrojet boat that went about 100 km per hour; that’s 62 miles per hour. It was fun, but nothing compared to the thrill of Swoop. It’s a giant rope swing where you’re pulled up to 141 feet off the ground and then dropped into a free fall before swinging out in an giant arc. Watch here. Admittedly, there was some mild swearing involved, but that’s been edited out. And despite the look of terror on my face, it was super cool!
KidTripster Tip: Do the Swoop first before the line gets too long.
2/Abseil into a glowworm cave
Imagine telling your friends that you abseiled 328 feet into a glowworm cave. Impressive, right? Well, that's exactly what you can do at Waitomo Caves with Waitomo Adventures. Once you drop into the cave system, you scramble over rocks and make your way through different rooms of the cave. At the end, you come to a cavern where there are glowworms overhead. My one criticism is that you only see glowworms for about five minutes of the 4-hour tour. But it’s pretty unique!
KidTripster Tip: Use the restroom before the tour.
3/Feel your need for speed
Ok, luging downhill at Skyline Rotoura was my favorite activity of the entire trip. First, you take a gondola to the top of Mount Ngongotaha. You grab a helmet and then get in line for instructions on driving your luge sled. It’s kind of like go-karting, but instead of pedals, you push the handlebars forward to go. Watch here. There are three tracks: scenic, intermediate, and advanced; all of them are a blast! Each run takes about three to four minutes to complete. At the bottom, you jump on the gondola and do it all again! After you’re done, eat at Strastofare, a really great buffet restaurant at the top.
KidTripster Tip: Go in the morning before the lines get too long.
4/Ride the whitewater
I went whitewater rafting for the first time with Tongariro River Rafting. My family chose a trip with class 3 rapids. It was a 2-1/2-hour tour through 52 rapids; several rafts traveled together. Throughout the whole trip, only two people fell out; fortunately I wasn’t one of them. However, I did get out of the raft to jump off a cliff. That was a lot of fun! The trip is a little long, but our guide Paul made it entertaining yet safe.
5/Roll down a hill in a giant inflatable ball
This activity was actually invented in New Zealand. At OGO Rotorua, you get driven to the top of a hill. You jump inside an inflatable ball with up to two other people. In the warmer months, there’s water inside the ball. Then you get a big push and down you go! Watch here. There are four tracks: two straight tracks for racing, a zigzag track, and the Mega track which is super steep. No worries about getting sick; it just feels like riding a water slide. However, if you’re claustrophobic, I wouldn't recommend it. When you’re all done, you can jump into a hot tub to warm up. It’s loads of fun!
KidTripster Tip: Try running in the ball for an extra challenge.
6/Bike some of the world's best mountain biking trails
I love mountain biking, so I was really psyched to go to the world-famous Whakarewarewa Redwoods Mountain Bike Park. A stop on the Cranxworx World Tour, this park is epic! But it’s not just for experienced riders. There are trails here for everyone, even my mom and dad. Watch here. We rented bikes from Mountain Bike Rotorua. They had an impressive selection of trail bikes, and the people who work here know what they’re talking about. Just ask them about what trails would be best for you.
KidTripster Tip: Bring lots of water!
Aidan Shah is a high school freshman from Portland, Oregon. He’s visited six continents. New Zealand is one of his favorite countries. When he’s not traveling, you’ll find him mountain biking, playing lacrosse or hanging with friends.
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This writer received some complimentary activities for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions expressed are solely her own.