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Includes info on all of our trips and a tour itinerary booklet.

FAQ

Answers to commonly asked questions

We know planning an adventure vacation is no small decision, so we’re here to make the process as easy as possible for you. We've been doing this for quite a while, so we’ve got the answers to everything you need to know! Just click on the specific question you'd like to have answered below, chat to us online, or call us on the number that suits you:

1 800 661 9073 [USA and Canada]
1 800 661 907 [Australia]
0808 234 7780 [UK]
0800 234 726 [New Zealand]
0064 3 450 0414 
[from anywhere else in the world]

We'd love to hear from you!

How to book

Whenever you’re ready, it’s easy to book your Active Adventure. When you’ve done your research, driven yourself crazy with the choices and made your final decision, you can fill in the Book A Trip form, give us a call or have us call you.

Here’s how it works:

1. Hold your place

The fastest way to reserve your trip is to give the experts Miri, Fe, Jared or Matty a call. Or, fill out the Call Me Back form and we’ll call you back..

Alternatively, fill out the Booking Request form and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. To secure your place you’ll need a US$500 per person deposit (the remainder of the balance is due 60 days before your trip start date), payable by credit card, cheque or wire transfer, whichever works best for you. Once you’re all signed up, you’ll receive a confirmation email giving you access via a login on our Active Adventures Club page where you can access your booking pages and fill in your trip details online.

2. Check your international flight options

Your booking pages and trip notes will outline where you need to be and when to start your trip, so you can move forward with booking your flights. If you’re lucky enough to have time, it’s nice to arrive a few days early to settle into the new place and get used to your surroundings. If you’re on a tight schedule it’s no worries, the trip start time will be outlined in your trip information.

We recommend using a variety of methods to search for suitable flights from your own research online (e.g. Skyscanner.net), to contacting a travel agent, to see who comes up with the best fares.

3. Complete your booking pages online

By logging into your online booking information via our club page you’ll gain access to your trip notes, destination information, a detailed gear list and all the information you need for your trip. There are a few things to fill in – medical and dietary information, extra accommodation requests, gear hire requests etc. – to ensure you are well prepared for your adventure vacation.

4. You're all set

You can now start packing your bags and crossing the dates off your calendar. We look forward to seeing you soon!

What's included?

Accommodation

New Zealand accommodationWe've spent years finding places to stay that are quaint, out of the way, and comfortable when we take you to the most amazing parts of our country. The bed & breakfasts, farm stays, lodges, motels, and the occasional mountain hut we stay at have been carefully chosen because of their location and local flavour. Many of our clients have said that one of the highlights of their trip was meeting and getting to know the Kiwis who are our hosts when we travel around New Zealand. We strongly believe in the value of a good night's sleep, and our accommodation reflects this. We also like to have somewhere comfortable to relax after the day's activities. You won't have to camp on our scheduled trips, although we'll provide the gear if you'd like to sleep under the stars on the backpacking option in Nelson Lakes National Park or would like to include camping on a custom trip.

Transport

Active New Zealand transportNew Zealand is a small country - about 1000 miles from top to bottom, and only about 150 miles wide - but it's not THAT small! We're really focused on ensuring that we spend as little time as possible sitting in vehicles, and that we optimise your time for outdoors-oriented adventure. The average driving time over the period of our Rimu trip is just over two hours a day, and we try to spend us much time as possible in the outdoors. Even so, we prefer you to be comfortable when we do have to drive. We use modern, comfortable minibuses for smaller groups, and purpose-built coaches for larger groups. For instance, we often use one of our spacious, quiet and comfortable 25-seater coaches, even though we generally only take 10-14 people per trip! Make no mistake - our trips are not typical bus tour vacation packages! Our vehicles are fitted with good stereo systems, and we love to play New Zealand music.

Meals

Whats-included-pavlova-nzJust about all your meals are included when you travel with Active Adventures New Zealand. We provide a wide variety of cuisine - sometimes we dine out, and sometimes we dine in. Breakfasts when we are starting early generally consist of cereal, yoghurt, fruit, toast, coffee and juice. When we have more time, we whip up pancakes and full cooked breakfasts. Lunches are usually picnic style with sandwiches, salad and fruit, or maybe a barbeque in some beautiful spot. Dinners are usually two or three-course meals, covering a range of styles. We easily cater to vegetarians and people with particular dietary needs.

We have several second guides whose primary responsibility, when they are not guiding, is cooking up great meals. Their cooking skills will astound you, as you enjoy a traditional Kiwi roast dinner at the shearer's quarters, or French toast and sugared bananas at Punakaiki, or one of a score of awesome meals on the road! When we go out to eat, we pick a nice restaurant and enjoy a night out. You'll find the meals are a real highlight of your trip!

All Guiding Services

We have two incredible guides per trip, a lead guide/driver and a co-guide/chef. Our guests are often drawn to New Zealand by the beautiful scenic landscapes, promise of wilderness and clean air - and there's no doubt you'll find all that, but what you may not be expecting is to forge real, genuine friendships with the locals you'll meet, including our wonderful guides. They're hands-down the BEST guides you'll ever come across. 

Activities

It goes without saying, that all the activities as described in the itineraries including hiking, kayaking and biking are included in your trip fare. We make it clear when there's an additional charge for an optional activity, like heli-hiking on Franz Josef Glacier. 

Diving Tutukaka Poor Knights Islands

What is the weather like in New Zealand?

New Zealand is an island nation, therefore enjoys a maritime climate with plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures. The weather can vary a lot from top to bottom and east to west, which can be a bit of a surprise for many of our visitors, who come from a continental climate where the weather is a little more predictable. Have you heard of the song "Four Seasons in One Day"? If you haven't, we suggest having a listen - it's a classic song by a kiwi group called Crowded House, and of course, the weather in New Zealand inspired the lyrics! They say, one of the reasons Sir Edmund Hillary was such an acomplished mountaineer was his ability to read the weather - his training in the Southern Alps no doubt played a large part in this! 

In the far north (aka the 'winterless north') you can expect semi-tropical conditions, with a fair dosing of rain, plenty of sun and mid temperatures during the day and evening. As you head further south, the average temperature falls, though each region has its own unique characteristics. For example, you'll often hear us talking about one of our favourite spots, the West Coast of the South Island. Along this wild stretch of largely unihabited coast, rainfall is high (coming off the Tasman Sea) and temperatures are mild, which contributes to the jurassic-like forests you'll enounter. The Southern Alps, which divide the South Island act as a catchment for this rain (which turns to snow and glacial ice at higher elevations). By the time the clouds have reached the eastern side of the Alps, they're empty, and as they make their way down towards the plains, they warm up creating the typical nor' westerly winds. 

Parts of the South Island have a sort of mini continental climate, being further from the ocean and sheltered by the alpine ranges. These areas, such as Queenstown can get hot and dry during the summer and remain cool in the evenings - perfect for some grape varieties.

Learn more about the weather down here at our best time to visit New Zealand page. 

 

Celsius

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring (Sep/Oct/Nov)

Summer (Dec/Jan/Feb)

Autumn (Mar/Apr/May)

Winter (Jun/Jul/Aug)

 

 

High

Low

High

Low

High

Low

High

Low

Bay of Islands

19

9

25

14

21

11

16

7

Auckland

18

11

24

12

20

13

15

9

Rotorua

17

7

24

12

18

9

13

4

Wellington

15

9

20

13

17

11

12

6

Christchurch

17

7

22

12

18

8

12

3

Queenstown

16

5

22

10

16

6

10

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farenheit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring (Sep/Oct/Nov)

Summer (Dec/Jan/Feb)

Autumn (Mar/Apr/May)

Winter (Jun/Jul/Aug)

 

 

High

Low

High

Low

High

Low

High

Low

Bay of Islands

67

48

76

56

70

52

61

45

Auckland

65

52

75

54

68

55

59

48

Rotorua

63

45

75

54

68

55

59

48

Wellington

59

48

68

55

63

52

54

43

Christchurch

63

45

72

54

65

46

54

37

Queenstown

61

41

72

50

61

43

50

34

I'm planning a honeymoon. Which would be the best trip for us?

Any of our trips would suit an adventure honeymoon since all our trips are quite flexible and require very little planning on your part. We've done all the research and you can let us worry about the logistics - all you have to do is turn up, enjoy yourselves and each other. Click here to learn more about New Zealand Honeymoon Adventure Tours.

Amazing Honeymoon Experience

“We decided to travel around NZ with Active Adventures for our honeymoon. What an incredible decision! All the logistics were taken care of for us, so we didn't have to worry about any of it while we were focusing on planning the wedding. The staff were terrific....excellent tour guides and went above and beyond for us. New Zealand itself is such a gorgeous place and was a great place to kick off married life. Active Adventures really does it right and the group sizes (max 14) are perfect. We had an amazing experience and plan to travel with Active Adventures again on our next adventure!”
– Colorado, United States
Tui, January 2017
Read Reviews

Can you help me find flights to New Zealand?

Most flights from the United States to New Zealand leave Los Angeles in the evening, and arrive in Auckland the next morning. Air New Zealand also have regular direct flights between San Francisco and Auckland as well as Vancouver and Auckland, and Qantas offers direct flights between New York and Sydney, which have lots of connections across the Tasman. Because the flights cross the international dateline, the arrival dates can be confusing. For instance, a flight leaving Los Angeles on Saturday evening will not arrive in New Zealand until Monday morning. Conversely, flights back to North America from New Zealand often arrive on the same date as they left - so it's possible to fly out of Auckland at 9pm on a Sunday, for instance, and arrive in Los Angeles at 2pm on that same Sunday. This allows you to do a full 14-day trip in New Zealand, leaving North America on Saturday afternoon, spending the 14 days from Monday to Sunday on one of our trips, and be back at work on Monday morning.

If you are coming from Europe or elsewhere, you can connect through Los Angeles or the east, so also check out services run by Emirates, British Airways, Singapore Airlines and KLM.

What about domestic flights within New Zealand?

Most international flights arrive and depart from Auckland, on the North Island. Our Kauri trip starts and ends in Auckland, though for our South Island trips, you'll also need flights between Auckland and Christchurch or Queenstown. This is usually easy to arrange when you reserve your international flights, and it's worth checking for internet specials online. Go to the Air New Zealand website or JetStar too.

Let us know how you get on!

Can I use my frequent flier miles to get there?

Many of our clients have managed to get the international portion of their airfare or an upgrade to business or first class by trading in miles. There are two rules for doing this:

1. Get in early! Like really early - some fares open up a year or more before travel, so if you feel an exciting adventure coming on, call your airline frequent flier programme NOW!!
2. Things change! If you've called your airline, and they've said there's no availability for your frequent flier miles, don't worry too much. Call them back the next day... and the next... and the next…

If you DO manage to redeem your frequent flier miles, you may only get a free flight from Los Angeles to Auckland, in the North Island. If you're joining one of our South Island trips, keep in mind you'll need a further round-trip ticket to Christchurch or Queenstown to meet up with us.

What is your cancellation policy?

We require a US$500 deposit per person per trip to secure your place on your chosen trip/s. This deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable to another departure date or trip. In the event that it becomes necessary for you to cancel the trip, the following cancellation charges will apply:

• Cancellation made over 60-days prior to departure date - US$500 deposit per trip
• Cancellation between 60 and 30-days of departure date - 50% of total trip fare on all trips apart from the 'Manuka'
• Cancellation of the 'Manuka' between 100 and 30-days of departure date - 50% of total trip fare
• Cancellation of any trip 30-days or less prior to departure date - 100% of trip fare

A cancellation will be effective from when Active Adventures receive written notification of the cancellation. This cancellation policy includes voluntary or involuntary early departure from a trip. No refunds will be given for missed or unused services such as accommodation, activities or meals. You are strongly advised to take out cancellation insurance that will cover cancellation fees at the time of booking.

Do you recommend buying travel insurance?

As an Active Adventures New Zealand traveller, you're required to have full travel insurance for your trip. We recommend a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes medical cover, emergency repatriation, trip cancellation and other travel mishaps (e.g. flight cancellations or delays, trip interruption, theft or loss of luggage and personal effects).

Some insurance companies require insurance to be purchased within 15 days of deposit payment. Travel insurance can be obtained through local travel agents, some credit card providers or online brokers such as www.worldnomads.com or www.travelguard.com. These and other insurance policy packages can be compared at www.insuremytrip.com. We recommend keeping all travel papers (invoices, receipts, police reports etc.) when you travel in case you need them later to support a claim.

Do I need a visa? What about shots?

You will need a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date of your planned departure from New Zealand. If you're travelling on a US, UK, EU or Canadian passport you will be issued with a 90-day visitors permit upon arrival. Australian passport holders do not require a visa. If you are a citizen of another country, you can check if you need a visitor visa at New Zealand Immigration's Quick Check. You may also be asked for proof that you have funds to cover your stay (eg. a bank statement).

As for immunisation, New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world. No shots are required to come to New Zealand and none are currently recommended by the World Heath Organisation.

Is there a number to call in an emergency? How can my family, friends or colleagues contact me?

Please contact our New Zealand office using the details below. If the office is unattended (outside of New Zealand business hours), please leave a message so we can pick it up and respond as soon as we can.

Free phone 1 800 661 9073 (USA, Canada & Australia)
Free phone 0808 234 7780 (UK)
Free phone 0800 234 726 (New Zealand)
Worldwide +64 3 450 0414, ext 1
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What types of plugs and voltage do you use in New Zealand?

nz plugNew Zealand operates on a 240V AC system with the plug shown. Plug adapters are readily available from travel stores and airport shops, and you may need two - one for the plug shape and one for the voltage converter, or sometimes you can get an all-in-one plug for both reasons too. If your country doesn't use a 240V AC system (eg. USA = 110V AC) you may need some kind of converter, however many appliances have in-built ones these days (eg. iPods, iPads, laptops and camera chargers). If in doubt, ask at your nearest camera or electrical store before you leave home.

What are the guides like?

Our trips are all led and guided by New Zealand's best guiding talent. We carefully select our guides from a variety of backgrounds and they all go through rigorous in-house training before taking our groups on the road. They are experienced guides, drivers, outdoors-people, leaders and have a true passion for showing you the very best of New Zealand. Many of them have travelled extensively, done interesting jobs (like working on overland trucks in Africa) or are currently training when they aren't guiding (two are currently students at Otago University in Dunedin studying physiotherapy and other interesting things!). We're very proud of our calibre of guides and they have a habit of staying with us season after season. Some of our guides have been with us for nearly ten years now, so their experience and knowledge is passed down through generations of new guides every year.

 

How much luggage can I bring?

We recommend bringing one medium sized piece of luggage and one daypack per person. If you are doing the overnight hiking options on the Rimu or Tui trips, you could just use your hiking backpack. If you are doing any other trip, or the kayaking or cycling options on the Rimu, then a duffle bag or suitcase would be fine. While you're doing your 1-3 day options we'll store the rest of your extra gear for you - you don't have to lug it with you! You may wish to bring a soft overnight bag to store this extra gear.

As far as extra luggage goes, if there's not too much (such as one small extra bag per person) then it shouldn't be a problem to fit it in our luggage trailer during the trip. If you've got more than that, then all major airports have luggage facilities available on a weekly basis. If you are staying at a hotel pre-trip then they may be able to store it for you until you return too.

What should I wear for hiking?

We recommend wearing clothes made from the quick drying, "breathable" fabrics. There are a wide variety of these types of clothes available at outdoor stores such as REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated). Brands such as Marmot, Patagonia and North Face are quite popular, although some "no-name" brands can be just as good and more economical. We recommend you don't wear jeans for any activities as they get very heavy & uncomfortable if they get wet, which you will at some stage during your trip. The same clothing can be worn for hiking, cycling and kayaking. We recommend wearing hiking pants or shorts, and shirts or t-shirts made from these quick drying, "breathable" fabrics. In cooler weather we recommend using thermal underwear - these are worn under your pants & t-shirts for an extra layer of warmth. On top we recommend sweaters made from fleece or wool - again because they keep you warm even when you are wet. As an outer layer we recommend a medium weight waterproof jacket - a poncho is not suitable as it is too lightweight and a sailing jacket is generally too heavy for hiking in. Jackets made from gore-tex or Marmot's PreCip are highly recommended.

If you're packing for your multi day hike and you're after a few helpful tips, then check out the video below! Lynette breaks everything down for you, and makes it really easy.

What kind of clothing should I be packing?

In general the best way to pack for New Zealand is to have a layered clothing system - this way you're prepared no matter what the weather as it can change quite considerably throughout the day. Also bear in mind that you can wash your clothes approximately every four or five days.

Do I need hiking boots or are hiking sneakers okay?

You will need proper hiking boots - trail shoes are not good enough. We'll be taking you to some awesome places where you'll be hiking over a variety of terrain, therefore your boots should have full ankle support and a stiff sole with a high profile tread. As far as your gear goes it's a great idea to get those boots broken in. For boot type, as long as they have full ankle support and a stiff sole with high profile tread they should be fine. I wouldn't be too worried about gore-tex liners, though if that's the ones you want then go for it!

Do I really need everything on the gearlist?

Yes, you really do need all of the required items on the gearlist. We want you to be warm and happy, especially if it's cold and rainy. And it can be cold and rainy at any time of year, although you are most likely to have good weather for most of your trip. We will do a gear check before heading into the mountains, and if you don't have any of the required clothing items, we'll try to lend you it - though if we can't find any for you to borrow, you'll have to buy it.

Will I have access to the internet/WiFi?

Internet cafe's are everywhere in cities and most towns so you can rely on having access a couple of times a week during your trip. If you have WiFi then you'll be able to use your cell phone about 60% of the time during your trip, and 3G/4G is available too for accessing the internet from a smartphone or tablet. WiFi is available at some of the accommodations that you'll be staying at, usually for a small cost so check this out at each location when you arrive.

Is tipping expected in New Zealand?

Tipping is neither required nor routinely expected in New Zealand, but it is appropriate for very good service. In New Zealand you don't usually tip in restaurants, or if you take a taxi, or get a haircut. Many of our clients do choose to tip our guides, at the end of an awesome trip.

Where can I get New Zealand dollars?

The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar. You can change some money at the airport when you arrive. As far as spending money goes here are a few ideas:

• ATM cards - There are plenty of ATM's in New Zealand so as long as your card has a pin number and a "cirrus" or "plus" symbol on the back of it you should no trouble withdrawing local currency from your home bank account. Check with your bank for overseas transaction fees.
• Credit cards - accepted in most places and have the best exchange rate. They are recommended for purchases, though not for cash advances due to instant interest charges, and also check with your bank for any overseas transaction fees.
• Debit cards - can be difficult to use in New Zealand, not recommended.
• We recommend withdrawing/exchanging a larger amount of money (NZ$100-200) when in larger towns, or every few days as required, as some of the smaller, more remote places that we get to may not have any banking facilities.
• Banks are generally open Monday to Friday 9am-4pm in most places, exchange centres have longer hours and open weekends.
• Airport Banks have the same exchange rates as the downtown banks so are the most convenient.

How much spending money should I bring?

Our trips include all transportation, guiding, meals (except where indicated on the itinerary - such as in Queenstown where people like to try the local restaurants), and activities (unless it says it's "optional"). For most trips, you could literally bring NZ$100 and go home with change, but realistically you'll be looking at at least a couple of hundred dollars, as most people like to bring a little extra to cover a round of drinks at the pub, take home some souvenirs, book a tour and eat out on their free day in Queenstown or Auckland, and tip our guides if they've had a great time.

What kind of things are there to do on my free day in Queenstown/Auckland?

Queenstown rightly has the reputation of being the Adventure Capital of New Zealand. All manner of adventurous activities can be tried here, ranging from the infamous Bungy-jumping, through river-surfing, jetboat-riding, white-water rafting, parasailing, parapenting, hang-gliding, sky-diving, and a whole lot more. It is also a great area for hiking or mountain-biking. For a more leisurely time you can take a Wine tour or cruise across to Walter Peak station on the steamship Earnslaw, or sample some of the extremely pleasant cafes and restaurants dotted around the very picturesque town.

There’s so much on offer in Auckland that we like to leave it up to you to decide what to do. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, there’s bungy jumping off the Auckland Harbour Bridge or a Sky Jump off our tallest man-made structure, the Sky Tower! For those who prefer a more relaxed pace, there’s hiking, golfing, fishing, wine tasting and sailing options to name a few. Or if you’d like to take things real easy, then there are shops, cafés, book stores, pubs and restaurants to explore. For movie enthusiasts, take the day to visit The Shire in Middle-earth, the setting for ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of The Rings’ movie trilogies.

What if I need a special diet?

We are accustomed to catering to the following special diets:

• vegan (no meat or animal products)
• vegetarian (no meat products)
• fishatarian (vegetarian, and eat fish)
• no red meat (eat chicken & fish)
• gluten intolerant (no wheat, rye, barley or oats)
• lactose intolerant (no dairy products)

You will get the opportunity to specify your particular requirements when you fill in our pre-trip questionnaire. If you have any other dietary requirements please let us know well in advance, via email or the online questionnaire.

What are the accommodations like?

On every trip, we love to surround ourselves with our creature comforts. We’ve been running trips for over 20 years now, and we've hand-picked the best lodgings in the coolest places, coming in a variety of shapes and sizes.

We stay in warm, comfortable and unique lodgings with incredible hosts who know us well, know our trips, and understand the importance of a good night’s sleep, making sure you’ll wake in the morning feeling right at home. For the majority of our trips, that’ll be in the form of a locally owned lodge or Bed & Breakfast.

On those trips that include multi-day hiking options, you’ll stay in cozy back-country huts (only for the nights of the multi-day option). This is a true kiwi wilderness experience, at the end of the day you’ll kick your feet up and share stories with your fellow travellers as the guides stoke the fire and prepare a three course candle lit meal, all before a well earned kip on a comfortable bed.

Example of our lodges and B&B's:

Milford Accommodation

Example of a cozy mountain hut setting:

Mountain Hut Accommodation

Why do you run trips in two directions?

Some of our trips are so popular we often run two trips simultaneously, with generally no more than 14 guests on any one trip. We stay at some pretty small out-of-the-way places, so we operate one trip starting southbound around the South Island and the other one starting northbound. This also gives us the flexibility to arrange each trip for the best social mix. The itineraries we publish generally happen to be northbound, though it doesn't matter which way around you go, since both trips start and end in the same place at the same time. If for any reason you'd like to be on a particular departure (northbound or southbound) just let us know and we'll be happy to accommodate you if we can.

Do you charge a forced single supplement if I'm a solo traveller?

We don’t believe in charging you extra for travelling alone and we have lots of single travellers on our trips. There’s no forced single supplement if you don’t mind sharing a room (you might even get a room to yourself sometimes). If you prefer not to share a room at all, you can upgrade to a single room.

How many people are there on each trip?

We generally take up to 14 people per trip, although this can vary, and all our trips have at least two of our guides to look after you (apart from the occasions we have a really small group). We have found that our trips tend to attract a particular kind of person and many people have commented that the social scene was one of the highlights of their trip!

Why travel with Active Adventures?

Legendary Kiwi Hospitality

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

Expert LOCAL Guides & Trip Leaders

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

Everything is Included

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

A Sense of Achievement

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

Small Groups

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

Diverse Experiences

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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