Thrill seekers will get their hearts thumping with these home-grown adventure activities, writes Juliette Sivertsen
If 2020 could be described through one sound, it would probably be a lengthy, blood-curdling scream. With that in mind, here are the best ways to let out all that frustration by way of an adrenalin kick.
New Zealand is renowned for its adventure activities - regularly hitting the top of many bucket lists all over the world - made all the more impressive by our spectacular scenic backdrops. While we have the country to ourselves, it's as good a time as any to pause for a deep breath, grit your teeth, then scream out all that 2020 angst.
Skydive above the Bay of Islands
New Zealand has many beautiful locations to go skydiving, but over the Bay of Islands, you'll get striking views of blue water, golden sandy stretches, a lot of sunshine - and 144 islands. Screaming as you free fall isn't just an option - it's practically compulsory as you hurtle from a plane, from thousands of feet high in the sky.
Skydive Bay of Islands also offers New Zealand's highest skydive, at 20,000 feet (6096m). That's higher than Mount Kilimanjaro and gives you a free fall of up to 85 seconds.
Jump off the Auckland Sky Tower
At 328m tall, the Auckland Sky Tower has been an iconic part of the city's skyline for nearly 30 years. The classy-but-tame can dine up at Orbit, Auckland's only 360-degree revolving restaurant; the slightly more adventurous can walk over the glass panels at the observation deck.
But if you really want to get the heart racing, step outside for the famous SkyWalk. At 192m, clipped on to a harness, you can venture out on to a platform with no railing to walk around the tower. If that isn't enough to get you shaking, add on the SkyJump, where you can scream your little heart out for your controlled descent at 85km/h to the ground.
Go canyoning in Piha
Abseil over waterfalls and jump into rock pools in the Piha Canyon, behind West Auckland's famous Piha Beach. A good level of fitness is required to make the most of the adventure. Canyoning with AWOL Canyoning Adventures will see you descend down narrow gorges and head through caves to discover hidden pools to swim in that are only accessible to those who are brave enough to experience this type of adventure.
To get to this canyon, you'll start with a half-hour walk through lush forest and conclude the day with a visit to the black sand beach at Piha and its famous Lion Rock.
Soar past the Huka Falls in a jetboat
Don the life jacket and a sense of adventure and jump into a jetboat to power down the mighty Waikato River to the Huka Falls. Expect to hurtle thrillingly close to cliffs and trees, torpedoing down the river at 80km/h before a 360-degree spin to momentarily stop the heart.
The Huka Falls jet will also take you past geothermal hotspots, as well as the Aratiatia Dam and the Huka Prawn Park. One word of advice - hold on tight.
Plunge into darkness black water rafting in the Waikato
If you're afraid of the dark, or remotely claustrophobic, then skip along to the next activity. Black water rafting at Waitomo will see you explore one of New Zealand's most diverse cave systems as you descend 80m below ground and complete a variety of activities in what feels like the bottom of the earth.
The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co will take you abseiling in the dark, zip-lining through caves with glow-worms, climbing and jumping off underground waterfalls, and rafting in tubes through underground rapids.
Fly across treetops zip-lining in Rotorua
Join the native birds as you soar over treetops through a network of zip lines, swing bridges and cliff walks.
Rotorua Canopy Tours has 1200m of zip lines, a 50m-high cliff walkway, and an 18m-high controlled descent as part of their experience, in a prehistoric native forest in Rotorua.
And the best part is their environmental conscience - the founders have helped restore the forest thanks to proceeds from visitors' tour fees, with native animals returning to the area, including the long-tailed cuckoo koekoeā, rare striped skink, tomtit and North Island robin.
Mountain bike by the beach at Kaiteriteri
The Nelson Tasman region has some of the most spectacular landscapes in New Zealand, with lush native forests and waterfalls, and countless secluded sandy bays and inlets. And what better way to immerse yourself in all of nature's glory than to hop on two wheels and mountain bike through the landscape.
The Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park has options for all levels of riders from easy to expert, with advanced trails given names such as "Shady Lady", "Skullduggery" and "Jaws".
Heli-ski on to the Southern Alps
Skiing is fun, but why not up the ante and get dropped on to a mountain by a helicopter first? Methven Heliski's ski territory is known as the Arrowsmiths and spans three mountain ranges, with runs to suit all abilities.
There are more than 200 heli-skiing runs across the three mountain ranges, with the highest landing at 2500m and the biggest drop is 1200m.
Parasail above Queenstown
If you like water-based adventures but prefer to stay dry, fly above the crown jewel of Queenstown on a parasailing adventure, towed by a boat across Lake Wakatipu - New Zealand's longest lake. The boat, which is custom-built for parasailing, is called the Red Dragon.
One of the great things about this particular adventure activity with Queenstown Paraflights is that it's suitable for those with disabilities and injuries - you just need to chat to them ahead of time to discuss arrangements.
Get muddy quad biking in Canterbury
Head off-road on a motorbike or quad bike and adventure from forests and alpine high country, down to beaches and rivers. Be prepared to get muddy and potentially wet but enjoy the thrill of grunting up and down trails well and truly off the beaten track, with incredible wilderness views.
Adventure Trail Rides in Springfield offers half-day adventures as well as multi-day tours, with accommodation options including farm stays, ski lodges and historic hotels.
Heli-hike a West Coast glacier
The Franz Josef and Fox glaciers are a spectacular natural phenomenon of Aotearoa. Take a helicopter flight over the terrain before landing on Franz Josef to hike and witness first-hand these incredible ice formations
Glacier heli-hikes require a reasonable level of fitness to navigate crevasses and narrow paths, and the terrain is variable - a glacier is like a living creature, moving and shifting day to day. Check with The Helicopter Line for further details about what you might need.
Bungy, swing or catapult in Queenstown
It's been more than 30 years since the world's first commercial bungy operation began at the Kawarau Bridge, just out of Queenstown. Now, the operation has expanded to include not just bungy jumps, but also a chair swing, which travels a 300m arc, and a human catapult over the Nevis Valley. If you're really game, choose to do all three options for the ultimate adrenalin rush.
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com