Let's Go NZ: From thrill seeking to alpine walking

By Heather Ramsay

Going beyond gravity

Mokai Gravity Canyon near Taihape recently added the world's highest tandem bridge swing to its range of extreme activities. The giant swing has a 50m freefall before it swings deep into Mokai Canyon. You can go solo or take a friend to share the screams. Gravity Canyon also boasts an extreme flying fox that reaches speeds of up to 160km/h, as well as New Zealand's highest bridge jump.

Contact: 0800 802 864
On the web: gravitycanyon.co.nz

Carnival after Christmas

Holidaymakers at Timaru's Caroline Bay can do a huge range of activities during the Caroline Bay Carnival, December 26 to January 13. The family event includes fairground rides, free daily concerts, minigolf, rides on a trucking rig, bungy trampoline and train rides. New Year's Eve features a special concert and fireworks display.

Contact: (03) 686 2136
On the web: carolinebay.org.nz

Pretty in New Plymouth

Pukekura Park in New Plymouth switches on its annual TSB Festival of Lights on December 16. The free festival runs for seven weeks. Every night sees at least one evening event, whether it's a movie, music, a cultural performance or a Glow in the Dark parade. Len Lye's kinetic artwork Big Blade will be on show.

Contact: (06) 759 6060
On the web: newplymouthnz.com

Summer on the mountain

Mt Ruapehu opens for the summer season on December 15, giving visitors the chance to take a chairlift ride over rugged volcanic terrain to the cafe at Knoll Ridge Chalet, which sits 2020m above sea level. Whether you take a self-guided walk on marked trails or join an experienced guide, you should be prepared for changeable alpine conditions. The chairlift operates 9am-4pm daily December 15 to April 27, weather permitting.

Contact: (07) 892 3738
On the web: mtruapehu.com

Wine in the Wairarapa

Martinborough Wine Tours offers personalised tours around the vineyards, olive groves and food producers in the southern Wairarapa. Tours run daily except Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday and Anzac Day. Murdoch James Estate also has a cafe and the 1920s Winemaker's Cottage is available from $180 per couple per night.

Contact: (06) 306 9165 or 021 329 335
On the web: murdochjames.co.nz

Out on the edge

Skywalk 360, the latest heart-stopping challenge available at Skycity, opens next month. It allows thrill seekers to walk the circumference of the Sky Tower on a narrow 1.2m ring that sits 6m out from the Sky Tower, more than 50 storeys above the streets below. Skywalk costs $115 and there'll be group and student discounts.

Contact: 0800 759 586
On the web: skywalk.co.nz

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