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  • Swim with Sharks: You've got to be keen, I admit, but this can be done in perfect safety. You can come face to face with Jaws's South Seas cousins in a tough metal cage in a knuckle-biting thrill just north of Gisborne.
  • Explore a Glacial Lake: Few things are as mind-blowing as a boat trip on Tasman Lake, on Aoraki/Mount Cook, sailing between towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs in total, surreal silence. It's one of only three places in the world you can do a tour like this, so don't miss it.
  • Whale-Watch in Kaikoura: When a mighty sperm whale flaps its tail at you, you won't forget it soon. These big sea monsters come to this particular stretch of water for a marine habitat rich in their kind of plankton. Don't be surprised to see dolphins aplenty, too.
  • Take the Train: Rated one of the five most spectacular train journeys in the world, the TranzAlpine is an easy day trip that gives a dramatic introduction to the splendor of South Island landscapes. Tunnels, beech forests, viaducts, massive river gorges - they're all there for the taking.
  • Eat Bugs and Beetles at the Wildfoods Festival: Prime yourself! You'll need culinary fortitude for this mind-boggling event - you could be served up anything from wriggling grubs to the unmentionable body parts of a number of wild and not-so-wild animals. This is the West Coast at its most rugged best.
  • Stalk Kiwis at Night: And I mean the birds! Prepare for surprises on this little southern adventure. It's the only place in the country where you can creep about lonely beaches at night with flashlights and not get arrested! At the same time, you'll be one of the lucky few who get to see a wild kiwi foraging for its supper among the seaweed.
  • Walk Around Sky Tower: And I mean from the top, not at ground level. See how brave you really are when it comes to walking around the thin perimeter ring of one of the tallest towers in the Southern Hemisphere. The fearless will be rewarded with amazing views; the terrified can cower inside the viewing level.
  • Visit a Maori Marae: Experience the hongi (the formal nose-to-nose Maori greeting), see deeply moving song-and-dance performances, and eat from a traditional underground hangi (oven). Do this in Rotorua as part of an organized tour experience, or seek permission to visit one of the dozens of East Cape marae (village commons).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.