Bear Grylls has consumed some pretty disgusting items in his time - rotten zebra, raw goat testicles, camel intestinal fluid and even his own urine. But New Zealand is home to one of the very worst things he's ever swallowed, the tree weta.

However, even that's not enough to put Grylls off the land he calls the "ultimate adventure playground".

"I can't wait to get back down there, I just love it."

That's high praise from a man who scaled Mt Everest at 23 years old, served in the British Special Forces, circumnavigated the UK on a jetski and is the youngest ever Chief Scout.


"And there's been a lot of near-death experiences and those are never the ones I'm proud of, whether it's parachute failures or getting caught falling down crevasses, getting pinned down in white water rafts or bitten by snakes or chased by crocs or close encounters with sharks. I try not to focus too much on those and focus on the good times instead.

"But the principles are always the same - never get complacent, keep calm in the storm and think clearly, be inventive and resourceful. That's what survival is about, that fire from within and the determination to keep going," he told the Herald yesterday.

The Man vs Wild presenter is coming to New Zealand at the end of November to perform live shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

During Grylls' last trip to New Zealand, the February 22 quake struck.

He and his team were in mountains about 240km southwest of Christchurch but were shaken by the tremor. It wasn't until they emerged from the wilderness that they realised the devastation of what they'd felt.

But despite his impressive resumé of survival stories, Grylls rates his family as the feat he's most proud of.

His three young boys are all growing into adventurers themselves and imitate their dad's skills from his show, though Grylls hasn't quite decided how he feels about that yet.

"Adventure is rich in their DNA and part of me loves that. They're always falling out of trees and stuck up things. But then the other part of me thinks, 'Oh no, they've got to have a normal job'.

"I keep telling them that they've got to have a back-up plan. If they're climbing a tree, 'What happens if the branch breaks? You've got to have a hand around somewhere in case.'

"I tell them they're reckless but then they see me on the TV and say I'm reckless and then I kind of run out of words."

For more information about the show, visit Tickets are available from Ticketek.