New Zealand

10 Really Cool Outdoor Adventures With Kids

By Michael Lanza

Want to guarantee that your kids are always excited about getting outdoors as a family? Find adventures that excite them. We adults tend to look for nice scenery, but that, by itself, isn’t always going to fire up a school-age child or teenager. No matter what their age, kids want to engage with the outdoors—to get dirty and wet and climb around. By thinking a little more about trip planning, parents can find places and activities that inspire everyone scenically and experientially.

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Sea kayakers in Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

Photo Gallery: Sea Kayaking New Zealand’s Milford Sound

By Michael Lanza

A vast sea of liquid glass spread out before us as we aimed our kayaks out into Milford Sound, a 4,000-foot-deep fjord in Fiordland National Park, on the southwest coast of New Zealand’s South Island. A thick fur of rainforest clung to cliffs plunging straight into the sea. The sharp, rock-crowned arrowhead of Mitre Peak rose to 5,545 feet (1,690m) out of the ocean, slashing at the sky.

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Summit of Mount Luxmore on the Kepler Track, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

One Photo, One Story: Trekking New Zealand’s Kepler Track

By Michael Lanza

After my friend Jeff Wilhelm and I reached the Luxmore Hut, where we planned to spend the first night of our three-day trek on the Kepler Track in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, we quickly decided there was no way we were just hanging out there for the rest of the afternoon. The sun was shining—which, in Fiordland, is rare enough that a smart trekker takes advantage of it: This corner of the world receives a mind-boggling volume of rain, up to about 400 inches a year, about 10 times as much rainfall as Seattle gets annually. So instead of resting, Jeff and I went for a hike.

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Dart River, Cascade Saddle route, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand.

Ask Me: What Gear Do We Need for Backpacking in New Zealand?

Hi Mike,

My buddy Nolan and I are backpacking the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand starting in January, and I’ve got a few gear questions I’d like to ask you. We’re just graduating high school and will be selling ourselves into slavery for the next six months to make money for this trip, so we’re certainly on a budget but I think we can still afford the middle/lower end of the high-end gear spectrum. We’ll be in hostels/huts about a quarter of the time.

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On the rim of Red Crater in Tongariro National Park, North Island.

4 Top Outdoor Adventures in New Zealand

By Michael Lanza

Have you adventured in New Zealand yet? If not, then why not? Some of my all-time favorite assignments for Backpacker magazine have involved trekking and paddling on this island nation with an amazing bounty of natural beauty and a outdoors-loving culture to match it.

This is the time of year to start planning a visit during the upcoming austral summer; for many trips, you need to make travel arrangements and hut reservations months in advance. I’ve listed below a series of five-star, multi-sport adventures that could fill a two-week (or longer) visit to New Zealand. This itinerary includes dayhiking volcanoes, canoeing a wild river, a hut trek in the Southern Alps, and sea kayaking a remote fjord in the country’s largest national park. Click on the links (or any photo) to read the complete story about each trip.

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