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Top 9 Common Sports to Do in New Zealand: An Overview

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

People in New Zealand are famous for their increased fitness levels. This is partly due to access to high-quality facilities and natural resources. Recreational physical activity is among the top tourist attractions in New Zealand. With this in mind, let's explore more about what New Zealand has on offer.


Whether you love water or are curious to try it, water surfing might be an ideal option for you. New Zealand is one of the best playgrounds for surfing. The natural coastline spreads out across 15, 000 km. There are many small bays and coves, providing many surf spots.

Surfing in NZ
Surfing in NZ

In Auckland, most surfers go to the West coast for surfing. They go to places such as Piha, Muriwai, and Shipwreck Bay. Piha and Muriwai beaches are iconic surf beaches in New Zealand. They have wild dark black sand and some big waves.

Ice Skating

Ice skating is a popular theme in New Zealand. There is no natural ice, only places such as Paradise Ice Skating in Auckland, Avondale. This is where you can find ice skating fields. The price per adult is $18, with skates included.

Ice Skating
Ice Skating

Ice skating organizations sometimes erect ice skating rinks. There you can buy tickets to ice skate on a custom ice field. In Auckland, for example, installations may appear with an ice rink at Aotea Square, CBD.

Mountain Biking

Interested in knowing what it looks like to be a mountain extreme bike rider? Mountain Biking is sometimes considered an extreme sport with a lot of risks. Depending on your preference, you may opt-out for an easy trip around the city or you may go for more extreme. There are special places for extreme mountain biking.

Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking

Refer to Auckland MTB Club for a list of mountain biking tracks around Auckland. For example, at Totara Park, there are some of the newest mountain biking trails. Located just off the Manukau Motorway, the place is perfect for a mid-week spin. Great for beginners to intermediate bikers.

You can find a list of mountain biking tours in MTB Tours NZ with New Zealand Single Track Adventures.

For some common things to wear and tips on how to choose a bike refer to Cycling in New Zealand: Beginner's Guide.

Hiking and Bush Walking

Can you guess how many miles is the longest hike in New Zealand? It is 1864 miles or 3000 km. The so-called Te Araroa - The Long Pathway is the longest walk in New Zealand. It starts from Cape Reinga, North of the North Island, and ends at the Bluff on the south island. The tramping route opened on December 3, 2011.

Another popular place for hiking is in the Abel Tasman National Park. It resides in the Northern part of South Island. At Abel Tasman you will see sandy beaches, granite cliffs, hills, and a coastal hiking trail.

Abel Tasman Hiking
Abel Tasman Hiking

Hiking and bushwalking are good ways to get outside. They also improve the general level of fitness. If you do it quite often, you may score your recommended steps per day count.

Yet, remember that bushwalking is not a replacement for gym activities. You can bushwalk only at a certain speed, otherwise, you may suffer from injury. With that being said, if you love bushwalking, go for it!

Common things to bring with you:

  • Hiking socks. These can be sports socks or anything that allows air to pass through.

  • Hiking pants. These should protect you from occasional scratches or punctures. Look for pants that are durable and waterproof.

  • Hiking poles. To keep you balanced while you walk. Good for elderly people and long walks.

  • Water bottle. You will be able to replenish this at a water fountain while on the walk.

  • Hiking boots. These can be mud boots if you are going to walk over mud and wetlands.

  • Hiking tent. It is good to have if you go for multi-day hiking in New Zealand.

You can find New Zealand hiking tracks and trails in Top 7 Tips to Enjoy Your Stay in New Zealand. Auckland-specific tracks can be found in the Walks section.


Whether it is swimming in the ocean or sea or going to a swimming pool, it will always be an enjoyable experience. You will meet new friends. You will strike the balance being between the air and water.

There are many places to swim in Auckland. From beaches to swimming pools to thermal pools and spas, the choice is yours. Be aware that many pools invite students to High school swimming lessons so it might be a little crowded. Still, swimming pools provide a good place for families to gather and for children to play in the water.

A Swimmer
A Swimmer

What to bring with you:

  • Towel. Must have.

  • Slippers. Must have in places with wet floors so you do not slip.

  • Drinking bottle. See this guide on how to choose a drinking water bottle.

  • Swimming cap. Protects your hair from getting heavy with water. It also protects your face should any hair cover your sight during a swim.

  • Swimming goggles. Essential if you are going to dive or do several laps along an occasional 50m or 25m pool.

  • Swimming trunks or shorts for men. These should have water-repelling properties. This will allow the trunks to dry fast and be lightweight when you swim,

  • Swimming togs or skirts for women. A swimming skirt for women,

  • Swimming nappies might be essential for your child.

  • Swimming fins if you are going to do fast swim laps.


Camping in New Zealand is both fun and active. Search for a camping van for sale or rent one from transport agencies and go traveling.

Abel Tasman National Park is a good place for both camping and hiking. It is a popular destination for hikers and campers doing solo multi-day hiking. It is a good spot for kayaking as well.

Camping at Abel Tasman
Camping at Abel Tasman

Common camping equipment for New Zealand include:

  • Propane fire pit. To have something quick and easy to light. Propane pits can be immediately switched off.

  • Camping chairs. For you to sit on.

  • Camping tent. Essential to enjoying a stay in one of the best national parks and beaches in New Zealand.

  • Camping power lead. This is an essential item to carry with you together with the power source. It helps when you need to charge your phone battery or switch your lantern on.

  • Camping lantern. On one charge, a quality LED lantern can last several nights—up to 20 hours on a high setting.

  • Rechargeable lighters. Good having that in case you need to go out for walks at night.

  • Camping freezer. Camping freezer is a good way to carry food, store fresh fish and other things.

  • Camping Heater. Bring your camping heater with you. This can be either electric or catalytic.

  • Camping wood stove. Perfect for making BBQs from sausages that you store in a camping freezer.

  • Camping hot water. A portable hot water system that can heat the water. Also, refer to Guide to Choosing a Drinking Bottle for hot-preserving bottle options.

The best camping grounds in Auckland are Long Bay beach, Takapuna beach, and Muriwai beach. Beach Road Otahuhu and Bruce Pulman Park are some with overnight campervan parking.


There are many tennis clubs in New Zealand that you can join and play with other players. The membership usually costs $220 per year for an adult player. There might be some discounts for beginner players.

Roger Federer playing tennis
Roger Federer playing tennis

If you want to play alone or invite friends who are not part of the club then you would usually pay an entrance fee of $10. You can bring your racquets, balls, and dress or you can hire that from the club for an extra fee.

There are also places with access to free courts which you can use in case you do not want to pay for playing.

What to bring with you

  • Tennis outfit

  • Tennis skirt for female

  • Tennis shorts for male

  • Tennis bracelets to hold your wrists

  • Professional Nike tennis shoes. These provide fast movement and good sticking to the ground.

  • Tennis racquet

  • Tennis balls

  • A drinking bottle


For all die-hard fans, the champions league games are played yearly, from September to May. The NZ Broadcaster Sky Sports broadcasts Football, Basketball, and Rugby leagues.

Soccer Player
Soccer Player

Football is a beautiful game, loved by millions. Here in New Zealand, there is a domestic soccer club competition called ISPS Handa. The stars here to watch out for are All Whites, Football Ferns, and several other teams.