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New Zealand is globally known as the ‘Adventure Capital’ of the world and one of the main reasons for this is its wide array of exhilarating water sports. Ranging from surfing, paddle boarding to jet skiing, diving, and bodyboarding; there is a bounty of New Zealand water sports which allures every adventure enthusiast to check them out. So, next time, if New Zealand holiday is in your mind; be prepared for an electrifying adrenaline rush.

Popular Places To Try New Zealand Water Sports

Here are the most popular places in New Zealand to experience water sports:

1. Queenstown

Lake New Zealand Nature Queenstown Beach Mountains

With water sports options like jet boating, white water rafting, canoeing, kayaking; Queenstown is undoubtedly one of the best places for water sports in New Zealand, that every adventure freak must visit. Though the natural beauty of the place charms every heart but nothing can be more exciting and exciting than white water rafting and canoeing on Skipper Canyon and jet boating on Shotover and Kawarau River. Moreover, if you want to chill out and enjoy a thrilling adventure; try kayaking in Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown Bay.

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2. Auckland

kayaking new zealand

Aptly known as the “city of sails’; this beautiful city of New Zealand offers sailing experience in various types of wooden boats, yachts and water vessels throughout the city’s scenic harbours. If you still wish to instigate the adventure-freak in you and experience some electrifying water sports in New Zealand; try surfing, paddle boarding and sea kayaking along the pristine beaches of Auckland.

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3. Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo

Nestled in North Island; Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand, famous for parasailing, jet skiing, windsurfing, kayaking, fishing and stand-up paddle boarding. But what attracts maximum tourists here is one of the famous water sports in New Zealand; jet boating and white-water rafting. The experience of bumpy rafting and jet boating on Tongariro River, Huka Falls and Aratiatia Rapids makes the New Zealand trip not only exciting but also unforgettable.

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4. Raglan

The serene shore of Whale Bay Beach

Located on the Waikato region of North Island; the coastal town of Raglan is not only one of the popular surfing destinations in the country but undoubtedly one of the best places for water sports in New Zealand. The broken coastline of Manu Bay and Whale Bay makes surfing, kite surfing and windsurfing easy, convenient and super thrilling. But surfing is not the only New Zealand water sports seen here. The black sand beach of Ngarunui Beach is also popular amongst all for body boarding, paddle-boarding and swimming.

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5. Rotorua

og Things To Do In Rotorua

Another name in the list of places of water sports in New Zealand is none other than Rotorua. Adorned with lakes and streams, this place is an obvious spot for exciting water sports like surfing, rafting, parasailing, kayaking, and jet boat tours. Lake Rotoiti is a hotspot of such water sports and more. Fishing and leisure kayaking are also there for those who are not fond of extreme adventure stuff. But those who have a daring heart; gear up for a thrilling adrenaline rush while enjoying stand up paddle boarding in Blue Lake, Tarawera, and the Ohau Channel.

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6. Tutukaka Coast

Padang Padang Beach_22nd oct

No water sports list is ever complete without scuba diving and snorkeling and The Tutukaka Coast in Northland allows experiencing such famous water sports in New Zealand. Poor Knights Island is the main hub where people experience scuba diving, snorkeling and sport fishing. But there are other options too. Lined with pristine beaches of Sandy Bay, Matapouri Bay and Whale Bay, the Tutukaka Harbour and Marina Bay acts as a hub of adventure sports like surfing, kayaking, swimming.

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7. Abel Tasman National Park

The Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park has a moderate climate round the year and attracts tourists throughout. Blessed with beautiful white sand beaches; Abel Tasman National Park is one of the primary spots for sea kayaking, sailing, swimming, and fishing. People come here to take beach walks, enjoy water thrills or go for nature hikes in the adjoining forests.

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8. Whanganui River

Whanganui River, NZ

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If you are looking for a perfect leisure activity; try canoeing and kayaking in Whanganui River. This is the longest navigable river in New Zealand with 200 kilometres waterway and together with its network of tributaries make up for the best spot for trout fishing. If you are travelling on a shoestring budget and the cost of water sports in New Zealand is too high for you to afford; try these activities here and enjoy the same thrill and fun. The view of verdant forests bordering the river makes the canoeing and kayaking trip more charming.

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9. Waneka

Waneka Lake, NZ

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Lake Wanaka is a popular water sport destination in New Zealand, favourite amongst locals and tourists. With usual sports like paddle boarding, jet boat tours windsurfing, fishing and paragliding; Waneka is also known for deep water canoeing. Places like Niger Stream, Mill Creek, and Leaping Burn canyons in the Matukituki Valley of Waneka offer splendid place for deep water canoeing and making it one of the best places for water sports in New Zealand.

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10. Waitomo


Last in the league of places of New Zealand water sports is Waitomo but its uniqueness has given a high rank in terms of importance.Waitomo is known for Ruakuri Cave-glow worm-lit limestone caverns and underwater waterfalls. Along with guided cave walks one can experience black water rafting here. Undeniably Waitomo owes a mention in the list of offbeat water sports in New Zealand.

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Famous Water Sports In New Zealand

Here comes the list of popular water sports in New Zealand that will rekindle the thrill-seeker in you. Once in New Zealand; try these adventure activities and enjoy the adrenaline rush like never before.

1. Kayaking

Kayaking in Thailand

Kayaking is a relatively easy and widely popular water sport, practiced in New Zealand. People sail in kayaks and reach up to remote islands, bays, and beaches to enjoy their surreal beauty.

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2. Surfing


One of the popular water sports in New Zealand is surfing. People enjoy wind surfing, kite surfing and regular surfing along the coasts of Raglan. North Island and Piha. Those who are experts and pro at this adventure activity may explore Taranaki Surf Highway 45 or the Waitakere Ranges in Auckland for some ultimate surfing experiences.

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3. Canoeing

Canoeing in Maldives

Just like kayaking, canoeing is another fun-filling adventure activity. Generally seen around canyons, streams and waterfalls; canyoning is considered as one of the water sports that does not require swimming skills.

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4. Jet Boating

Man going on a speed boat ride

If you want your adrenaline hormones to race as fast as racing cars, try jet boating. As one of the special water sports in New Zealand, Jet Boating is fun and exciting. Maneuvering the small boat across the downstream gorges and canyons requires a lot of skill, endurance and this activity surely tickles the thrill-seeker in you. During jet boating; one can even turn the boat complete 360 degrees and make it an ultimate exhilarating sport.

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5. White Water Rafting

White-Water-Rafting-in-Goa_23rd oct

There are many rivers in New Zealand, ideal for white water rafting. The series of bumpy rapids and rocky outcrops under the water enhance the excitement quotient of this activity.

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6. Great White Shark Cage Diving

Shark Cage Diving

New Zealand is one of the few places in the World that presents great white shark cage diving as a water sport. This is a specialized underwater diving activity where the observer is confined under a protective cage contracted to guard sharks from making any physical contact with the divers. Generally, great white shark cage diving is used for photography, cinematography, scientific research and in New Zealand, this is also done as a tourist activity.

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7. Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving in Sea

Various places of New Zealand like Bay of Islands, Tutukaka Coast, White Island and Poor Knights Island are famous for scuba diving. Dive deep into the water and spot beautiful fishes, colourful corals, stingrays, and other aquatic fauna.

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8. Snorkeling


Places like Goat Island, Poor Knights Island, Tonga Island and Taputeranga Marine Reserve are popular snorkeling sites in New Zealand. Enjoy this super fun water sport and spot colossal hordes of vibrant looking fishes and corals.

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9. Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand-up Paddleboarding

Stand-up paddle boarding is a very common water sport, loved by locals and tourists alike in New Zealand. It is more or less a leisure activity and most of the tour agencies provide basic training needed to experience this drill.

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10. Sailing

Fish scouting boats sailing in Zanzibar at dawn

Be it sailing boats, yachts and or wooden boats; sailing is a preferred water activity in New Zealand. The scenic harbours, ports, and bays are the best places to enjoy this activity. Sail along, feel the cool breeze, enjoy sunset views and make your New Zealand vacay fulfilling in every sense.

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New Zealand Water Sports are fun, frolic and immensely exciting. Adorned with a lot of places that offer water sports to all, New Zealand is a pure delight to all kinds of adventure enthusiasts. Next time when you plan New Zealand holiday with Travel Triangle, consider this list so that nothing is missed out.

Frequently Asked Questions About New Zealand Water Sports

What are popular water sports in New Zealand?

The popular water sports in New Zealand are: 1. Snorkeling 2. Scuba Diving 3. Paddle Boarding 4. White Water Rafting 5. Shark cage diving 6. Kayaking 7. Canoeing 8. Parasailing 9. Surfing

Which is the best time to enjoy water sports in New Zealand?

December to February (summer season in New Zealand) is the best time to enjoy water sports in New Zealand.

What are the popular adventure activities in New Zealand?

The popular adventure activities in New Zealand are: 1. Heli-Skiing 2. Sky Diving 3. Caving 4. Off-Roading 5. Zorbing 6. Zip Lining

What is the official currency of New Zealand?

The official currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar. 1 New Zealand Dollar is equivalent to 46.15 INR.

What is New Zealand famous for?

New Zealand is famous the world over for its charming scenery, ranging from rolling mountains, caves, mammoth glaciers to sun-kissed beaches and islands. It also boasts of some pretty cities, wildlife and an array of super thrilling water sports


Category: Adventure, New Zealand, Watersports

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