White Island / Whakaari is an active marine volcano, 48km north of Whakatane. Get there two ways – by helicopter as we did with Kahu NZ (formerly Frontier Helicopters) or by boat with White Island Tours.
White Island from above
White Island is a submerged stratovolcano, it is made up of layers of ash and lava flow and 70% of the cone sits under the sea. The volcanic vents under the water produce hot air bubbles and some fishermen have said they’ve caught precooked fish!
We caught a helicopter as we decided it was a once in a life … Read the rest
Mike’s keen to learn to fly a plane, but lessons are expensive, so instead I bought him a voucher to go gliding with the fine folks at Taupo Gliding Club. It costs $205 for an instructional flight that lasts 20 – 40 minutes depending on the weather. You get to take control of the glider, in Mike’s case for about 5 minutes.
Seat belt on and under instruction at Taupo Gliding Club
The glider was a GTG, Mike sat at the front and the qualified pilot behind. Mike found it easy to understand the instrument panel and flying … Read the rest
After driving a V8 in Taupo Mike was keen to get behind the wheel of another fast machine, so that made gift giving easy this year. Cue Raceline Karting at Off Road NZ, around 25 minutes drive north of Rotorua in the countryside near Mamaku. Off Road NZ is a professional set up with a top class race track. If you know your karts they have 390cc 4 stroke SODI GT3’s imported from France.
Karting track at Off Road NZ in Rotorua
Kitted out in a balaclava, overalls, gloves and helmet you’re good to go, up to 100km/hour the website … Read the rest
2018 Update: Agroventures is now called Velocity Valley.
Agroventures Adventure Park in Rotorua is an outdoor temple of adrenalin, there are five ways to get your adrenalin injection – Agrojet, Freefall Xtreme, Swoop, Shweeb and Bungy. We joined a city full of locals earlier this year when Agroventures hosted Locals Weekend. Rotorua residents were generously offered $10 tickets for all activities except bungy jumping which was discounted to $50.
Three people harnessed in the Swoop
We’d been away for the weekend and arrived at Agroventures late on Sunday afternoon to take our places in the queues. It wasn’t our … Read the rest
I knew Mike was having the most fun when he roared down the straight in the Holden V8 at Taupo Motorsport Park. He was kitted out in racing gear and had New Zealand’s version of ‘The White Stig’ in the passenger seat. This Stig talks on camera and off and it’s his job to guide drivers round the track, he also has his own set of pedals incase things turn to custard. (The real Stig and his custard).
Mike & ‘The Stig’ – Taupo Motorsport Park
Mike had no issues out on the track, but pre-race he came … Read the rest
The adrenalin wasn’t ours, it belonged to the young girl who was saying “I can’t, I can’t do it”. We were standing on the ground looking up as she hung 50 metres above in the Skyswing at Skyline Rotorua. What she couldn’t do (and who could blame her?) was pull the cord that would release the Skyswing and send her flying over the side of Mount Ngongotaha. (Feb 2017 video shows man fainting twice!! on the Skyswing).
Going up on the Skyswing
Looking down over the side of Mount Ngongotaha
G Force Paragliding, Skyline Gondola, Bob’s Peak
After a legal high in Paihia with Flying Kiwi Parasail I’ve been keen to keep my feet on the ground, or at least on the water. It was the white collar crim turned high flyer who was brave enough to fly off Bob’s Peak with G Force Paragliding.
Getting ready to go
The floating chair
Mike was matched with Rene for the tandem flight, and strapped into a harness – part of the harness turns into a chair once you’re in the air. With the paraglider wing open behind them, they took a … Read the rest
Thunder Jet, Earnslaw Park, Beach Street, Queenstown
“I was caught, In the middle of Lake Wakatipu, I looked ’round, And I knew there was no turning back, The engine revved, And I thought what could I do?, And I knew ….. hold on, you’re on the Thunder Jet”.
The real AC/DC lyrics boom out of the stereo on the Thunder Jet as you speed across Lake Wakatipu. Our driver Kylie was as good at spinning the boat as Angus is with his riffs. Usually when someone gives you the finger it’s not a good sign, but on the Thunder Jet … Read the rest
Parasailing has been described as adrenalin lite, having done a bungy jump I tend to agree, but with Flying Kiwi Parasail in Paihia you are going to fly incredibly high – up to 1200 feet – NZ’s highest parasail.
Flying high with Flying Kiwi Parasail
And unlike a bungy which is over in a few seconds, you are going to remain at a great height for around 10 minutes. Those minutes can feel like hours when you’re contemplating shouting “Please Get Me Down From Here”. Unless your wits have deserted you, and mine came close, you realise shouting is pointless, … Read the rest