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

South Island Explorer

Kiwi

4.65 out of 5 (from 197 reviews)

  • 14 Days - US$5,299 + tax
  • 12 days - US$4,999 + tax
  • 8 days - US$4,099 + tax

Trip Introduction

New to adventure vacations or not quite ready to hang up your hiking boots just yet? On this South Island walking tour you'll experience beautiful, famous and little-known places – taking plenty of time to explore along the way! For a great way to see the North Island too, combine this trip with our 11-day 'Kauri' (5 day 'Kauri' options available).

Activity level: The ‘Kiwi’ suits anyone who enjoys walking and likes to give things a go. The pace is flexible and relaxed with most hikes taking one to three hours to complete on well-formed tracks with some undulations.

Highlights

Hike
Routeburn Track
Kepler Track
Punakaiki
Abel Tasman National Park
Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Franz Josef Glacier
West Coast beaches and rainforest

Plus...
Explore Queenstown
Cruise Milford Sound
Wine tasting at Torlesse Winery
Visit Kiwi Birdlife Park
Whale watching option near Kaikoura

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What's included in our NZ trips?

  • All guiding services
    - Two experienced guides per trip. In New Zealand you'll have a lead guide and a co guide. 
  • All accommodations
    - A range of hotels, lodges, chalets, inns, sheep stations and backcountry huts, depending on which trip you choose. 
  • All meals
    - Breakfast, lunch and dinner on all days, except where indicated on the itinerary (usually 1 day per trip is a free day, allowing you to choose your own dining location). 
  • All activities
    - Hiking, kayaking, biking, rafting, scenic flights, jet boating and more! 
  • All transport
    - Airport transfers.
    - When you're not travelling under your own steam, they'll be comfortable air-conditioned vans to stretch your legs.

Interactive Trip Map

Daily itinerary

Saturday — Arrive, wine tasting at Torlesse Winery, explore Gore Bay

Most people leave the northern hemisphere on a Thursday evening, arriving into Auckland early Saturday morning. You'll lose a day crossing the dateline – but you get it back on the way home! It's a short flight from Auckland to Christchurch in the South Island where we'll meet you. We'll travel north to Waipara's Torlesse Winery for a picnic lunch and a wine tasting to discover your favourite drop. Afterwards, we'll take a walk along the stony beach of Gore Bay to stretch our legs and get some fresh air after your flight. Then we'll continue on to the seaside town of Kaikoura where you can settle in, kick back, enjoy some delicious Kiwi cuisine and get to know your fellow adventurers. Depending on where you're coming from, you'll probably find jetlag is no big deal. For instance, it's a 12-hour direct overnight flight from the west coast of the USA to Auckland and there's only a 3-hour time difference between New Zealand and US Pacific time. If you're coming from further afield, you'll appreciate the gentle start to your New Zealand adventure.
White Morph Inn, Kaikoura (Lunch, Dinner)

Sunday — Hike Kaikoura Peninsula and Pelorus River track

Once a sleepy fishing village, Kaikoura is now referred to as the “Serengeti of the South Pacific”, as it has an amazing variety of whales, dolphins, fur seals and other marine life that feed from the surrounding waters. This morning, we’ll hike around the Kaikoura Peninsula to visit the local New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) colony, watch the sea birds and enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding coastal mountains.

Optional Whale watching (add US$150 + tax)

Alternatively, if you’re keen for an even closer view of Kaikoura’s abundant marine life, then the ultimate way is to hop aboard a uniquely designed catamaran and explore the krill-rich waters off the coast. With a 95% success rate of seeing whales year round, this is one of New Zealand’s most iconic wildlife viewing opportunities. Sperm whales and other species including humpback, blue, minke, southern right and beaked whales are common here. You may also get the chance to observe albatrosse, penguins, New Zealand fur seals and inquisitive local dolphins.

This is an extremely popular activity, so we offer advance reservations with this operator. At the time of booking, or up until one month before your trip, we can reserve a space for you, or you can leave your decision until the start of your trip and your guides will get you a spot if it’s available.

From Kaikoura, we’ll travel along the coast to Blenheim to an idyllic spot for a picnic lunch. This afternoon, we hike through cool, green native bush, alongside the Pelorus River, before settling in to our lodges for the night.
Abel Tasman Marahau Lodge, Marahau (All meals)

Monday — Boat ride and hike Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park is famous for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs and the world-renowned Abel Tasman Coast Track. This morning, we’ll take a water taxi through crystal clear, sheltered waters - we’re at the whim of the tides here, though our boat captains know the Abel Tasman Coastal Track like the back of their hands, so we’ll find the best section to hike. Once ashore, we’ll make our way along the coast through stands of ancient rimu, totara and rata. The rata (known as the South Island Kiwi Christmas tree) blossoms with brilliant red flowers between November and January. After our hike, we’ll relax on a white sandy beach and go for a dip in the ocean if you’d like. This area of New Zealand is famous for receiving the most sunshine hours of any place in the country.
Abel Tasman Marahau Lodge, Marahau (All meals)

Tuesday — Hike Cape Foulwind and Punakaiki rainforest

Today we journey to Cape Foulwind on the West Coast, where we'll hike a spectacular track that takes us to a view point overlooking a New Zealand fur seal breeding colony, then on to a lighthouse, taking in panoramic views of the coastline. The sparsely populated West Coast stretches 600 kilometres (372 miles) from north to south and is home to temperate coastal rainforest and two magnificent glaciers. After a picnic lunch, we'll hike the Pororari River Trail in Paparoa National Park, which passes beneath magnificent limestone cliffs and through dense temperate rainforest full of distinctive coastal plants including the southern rata and towering rimu. In nearby Punakaiki, we'll also visit the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes – aptly named limestone formations that have been sculpted through relentless pounding by the Tasman Sea.
West Coast Lodgings, Punakaiki (All meals)

Wednesday — Hike Truman Track, visit Hokitika, explore West Coast Treetop Walk

We’ll begin the day travelling on the coast to Te Miko and the start of Truman Track, rated one of New Zealand’s finest short walks. We’ll hike through dense native forest with tall flax stands near the ocean, eventually giving way to a pebbled bay and barren sandstone cliffs. Travelling along the scenic coastline, we’ll stop in Hokitika to check out local art galleries and pounamu-carving workshops (pounamu is Maori for jade). Next we’ll visit West Coast Treetop Walk, an exhilarating treetop adventure among giants. This walk will take you up above the forest floor, allowing you to pass through an ancient canopy of rimu and kamahi trees. From here, we’ll carry on down to Franz Josef where we’ll stay for the next couple of nights. Nestled in the rainforest-clad foothills of the Southern Alps, Franz Josef is the heart of New Zealand glacier country.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)

Thursday — Hike coastal forest and beach, kayak Okarito Lagoon (optional)

This morning we’ll take a short journey over to Okarito, a little-known beach community on the coast. We’ll take to the water in sea kayaks and glide along a picturesque lagoon, set against a stunning backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Okarito is home to the only native white heron colony in New Zealand, as well as a host of other interesting birds. If you’d prefer not to kayak, we’ll point you in the right direction for a relaxing hike through lush coastal forest or along the black sand beach. Later we’ll head back to Franz Josef where you’ll have the option to take another hike or relax in the hot tub, before enjoying a traditional Kiwi roast dinner.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)

Friday — Hike at Franz Josef Glacier

With some 140 glaciers making their way down from the Southern Alps, this area is fittingly known as glacier country. Few sights equal the spectacle of two of these giant frozen rivers (Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers) imperceptibly grinding their way down through temperate rainforest to just 250 metres (820 feet) above sea level. Our hike will take us along the Waiho River bed up the valley right to the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier.

Heli-hike option (add US$350 + tax)
An outrageously scenic alternative to today’s hike is to heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier itself. After being fitted with crampons, ice axes and so on, you’ll board a turbine helicopter and fly towards the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, landing on the glacier at 1300 metres (4000 feet) above sea level. Led by specialist glacier guides, you’ll hike through the grand ice formations of the glacier, checking out its crevasses, seracs and tunnels – no previous experience is required! The constant movement of the glacier means every day is different, so your guides will cut steps in the ice and make sure you make the most of the conditions. At the end of your hike on the ice, you’ll take another helicopter ride out of the mountains and back to civilisation.

The heli-hike is extremely popular, so we offer advance reservations with the helicopter operators and guiding company. At the time of booking, or up until one month before your trip, we can reserve a space for you, or you can leave your decision until the start of your trip and your guides will get you a spot if it’s available.

From Franz Josef, we'll travel down the coast through lush forest visiting historic Ship Creek to explore the Kahikatea forest, providing a glimpse back in time to what the West Coast may have looked like prior to human settlement. Tonight we’ll stay in the small settlement of Makarora, where you can enjoy incredible views of the mountains right outside your window.
Makarora Lodgings, Makarora (All meals)

Saturday — Hike Mt Iron, visit Arrowtown and the Kiwi Birdlife Park

The landscape this morning changes rapidly from dense beech forest to semi-arid terrain before transforming to an impressive vista of lakes and mountains. At Lake Wanaka, we'll hike the Mt Iron track, a spectacular circuit with great views of Mt Aspiring National Park. From Wanaka, it's a short but dramatic journey over the Cardrona Saddle to the township of Arrowtown where we'll explore the town's gold mining history, before heading on to Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, our base for the next couple of days. This afternoon we'll visit the Kiwi Birdlife Park to view and learn about New Zealand's icon, the flightless kiwi bird. You'll sleep sweetly tonight at a lakefront hotel located in the heart of Queenstown.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)

Sunday — Free day in Queenstown

Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand (if not the world!) and all the comforts of civilisation are packed into this tiny resort town: restaurants galore, stylish lounge bars, day spas, and boutiques. You’ll also find incredible optional activities here, including horse trekking, a gondola, fishing, winery tours, a historic steamship, bungy jumping, jet boating, skydiving, as well as some great hiking opportunities. Or you can just soak up the atmosphere at one of many local cafés. Your guides will happily share their favourite haunts and point you in the right direction for your free day today.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (No meals included)

Monday — Hike Routeburn Track

This morning, we set off for our largest and perhaps most spectacular national park, Fiordland. We’ll hike part of the Routeburn Track for unsurpassed views of the Hollyford Valley, as well as Lake Marian and Mt Christina. We’ll take a short drive through the Homer Tunnel and emerge at the top of a spectacular glacier-carved valley for a memorable descent to the shore of Milford Sound. Rudyard Kipling rated this fiord as the eighth natural wonder of the world and it is truly breathtaking, with steep granite walls plunging over a thousand metres to the Tasman Sea and waterfalls cascading into deep inky water.
Milford Lodge Chalets, Milford Sound (All meals)

Tuesday — Cruise Milford Sound, hike Kepler Track

Today you’ll have the opportunity to explore Milford Sound and hopefully spot some friendly fur seals and dolphins. We’ll jump on board a boat cruise, where you’ll gaze in wonder at the waterfalls tumbling down enormous vertical rock faces all around and journey right out to the entrance of the fiord. We’re on a smaller boat than is typical in Milford, which means we’ll be able to get up close to the wildlife and also have a good chat to the specialist nature guides who’ll give a lively and informative commentary. This afternoon, we’ll explore the Fiordland wilderness on foot to check out some of its endemic flora and fauna, like the kea (Nestor notabilis), New Zealand’s notoriously cheeky and intelligent alpine parrot and the kotukutuku (Fuchsia excorticate), the world’s largest fuchsia. Later we’ll hike a section of the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks.
Lake Manapouri Inn, Manapouri (All meals)

Wednesday — Spare time in Queenstown, journey over the Lindis Pass

After a relaxed start we return to Queenstown, where you’ll have a couple of hours to get some lunch, do any last minute shopping, send postcards home, or whatever you might need to do before heading back into the wilderness for the remainder of your trip. There’s spectacular scenery today as we journey through the Kawarau Gorge and over the Lewis Pass to the remote and beautiful Lake Ohau Lodge. The lodge is tucked in beside an alpine lake, with stunning views stretching across to Aoraki Mt Cook and the Southern Alps – the ideal spot to soak in the hot tub and star gaze!
Lake Ohau Lodge, Ohau (Breakfast, Dinner)

Thursday — Hike Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

This morning you won’t have to pack your bags as we’ll be returning to this wonderful setting in the evening. The highest mountain in New Zealand, Mt Cook was first named Aoraki or ‘cloud piercer’ by South Island Maori. This region was Sir Edmund Hillary’s training ground as he prepared for his and Tenzing Norgay’s famous summit of Mt Everest in 1953. Feeling inspired, we’ll take an impressive hike up to a lake at the base of the Hooker Glacier, complete with icebergs! The track is surrounded by peaks, glaciers, native vegetation and mountain streams, and provides excellent views of Aoraki Mt Cook on a fine day. If you’re keen for a challenge, another option is to take a day hike to the main ridge above Mueller Glacier. It’s a tough hike and the weather would need to cooperate, but the views across the Southern Alps are worth it! Afterwards, we’ll return to Lake Ohau Lodge for the last night of the ‘Kiwi’ and we’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner as we sit outside and watch the sun set on Aoraki Mt Cook.
Lake Ohau Lodge, Ohau (All meals)

Friday — Visit Tekapo, depart for home

After breakfast we’ll head north past Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo. With yet more views of Aoraki Mt Cook to your left, you’ll be amazed at the sheer scale of these lakes and their cobalt blue allure. We’ll stretch our legs with a visit to the Church of the Good Shepherd, easily one of the most scenic locations for a church you’ll ever come across!  After our lunch stop, we’ll head to Christchurch, arriving in time for afternoon flights. This is the end of your ‘Kiwi’ trip, and we’ll leave you refreshed and invigorated from the good food, exercise, rest, and great times you’ll have had with us in New Zealand! For a great way to see the North Island too, where you’ll experience Maori culture, pristine beaches and geothermal areas, combine this trip with our 11-day ‘Kauri’ (5-day ‘Kauri’ options available).
(Breakfast, Lunch)


Activity Key - zoom in to see activity detail

Hiking Biking Kayaking Boating Flying

Itinerary

Saturday — Arrive, wine tasting at Torlesse Winery, explore Gore Bay

Most people leave the northern hemisphere on a Thursday evening, arriving into Auckland early Saturday morning. You'll lose a day crossing the dateline – but you get it back on the way home! It's a short flight from Auckland to Christchurch in the South Island where we'll meet you. We'll travel north to Waipara's Torlesse Winery for a picnic lunch and a wine tasting to discover your favourite drop. Afterwards, we'll take a walk along the stony beach of Gore Bay to stretch our legs and get some fresh air after your flight. Then we'll continue on to the seaside town of Kaikoura where you can settle in, kick back, enjoy some delicious Kiwi cuisine and get to know your fellow adventurers. Depending on where you're coming from, you'll probably find jetlag is no big deal. For instance, it's a 12-hour direct overnight flight from the west coast of the USA to Auckland and there's only a 3-hour time difference between New Zealand and US Pacific time. If you're coming from further afield, you'll appreciate the gentle start to your New Zealand adventure.
White Morph Inn, Kaikoura (Lunch, Dinner)

Sunday — Hike Kaikoura Peninsula and Pelorus River track

Once a sleepy fishing village, Kaikoura is now referred to as the “Serengeti of the South Pacific”, as it has an amazing variety of whales, dolphins, fur seals and other marine life that feed from the surrounding waters. This morning, we’ll hike around the Kaikoura Peninsula to visit the local New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) colony, watch the sea birds and enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding coastal mountains.

Optional Whale watching (add US$150 + tax)

Alternatively, if you’re keen for an even closer view of Kaikoura’s abundant marine life, then the ultimate way is to hop aboard a uniquely designed catamaran and explore the krill-rich waters off the coast. With a 95% success rate of seeing whales year round, this is one of New Zealand’s most iconic wildlife viewing opportunities. Sperm whales and other species including humpback, blue, minke, southern right and beaked whales are common here. You may also get the chance to observe albatrosse, penguins, New Zealand fur seals and inquisitive local dolphins.

This is an extremely popular activity, so we offer advance reservations with this operator. At the time of booking, or up until one month before your trip, we can reserve a space for you, or you can leave your decision until the start of your trip and your guides will get you a spot if it’s available.

From Kaikoura, we’ll travel along the coast to Blenheim to an idyllic spot for a picnic lunch. This afternoon, we hike through cool, green native bush, alongside the Pelorus River, before settling in to our lodges for the night.
Abel Tasman Marahau Lodge, Marahau (All meals)

Monday — Boat ride and hike Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park is famous for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs and the world-renowned Abel Tasman Coast Track. This morning, we’ll take a water taxi through crystal clear, sheltered waters - we’re at the whim of the tides here, though our boat captains know the Abel Tasman Coastal Track like the back of their hands, so we’ll find the best section to hike. Once ashore, we’ll make our way along the coast through stands of ancient rimu, totara and rata. The rata (known as the South Island Kiwi Christmas tree) blossoms with brilliant red flowers between November and January. After our hike, we’ll relax on a white sandy beach and go for a dip in the ocean if you’d like. This area of New Zealand is famous for receiving the most sunshine hours of any place in the country.
Abel Tasman Marahau Lodge, Marahau (All meals)

Tuesday — Hike Cape Foulwind and Punakaiki rainforest

Today we journey to Cape Foulwind on the West Coast, where we'll hike a spectacular track that takes us to a view point overlooking a New Zealand fur seal breeding colony, then on to a lighthouse, taking in panoramic views of the coastline. The sparsely populated West Coast stretches 600 kilometres (372 miles) from north to south and is home to temperate coastal rainforest and two magnificent glaciers. After a picnic lunch, we'll hike the Pororari River Trail in Paparoa National Park, which passes beneath magnificent limestone cliffs and through dense temperate rainforest full of distinctive coastal plants including the southern rata and towering rimu. In nearby Punakaiki, we'll also visit the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes – aptly named limestone formations that have been sculpted through relentless pounding by the Tasman Sea.
West Coast Lodgings, Punakaiki (All meals)

Wednesday — Hike Truman Track, visit Hokitika, explore West Coast Treetop Walk

We’ll begin the day travelling on the coast to Te Miko and the start of Truman Track, rated one of New Zealand’s finest short walks. We’ll hike through dense native forest with tall flax stands near the ocean, eventually giving way to a pebbled bay and barren sandstone cliffs. Travelling along the scenic coastline, we’ll stop in Hokitika to check out local art galleries and pounamu-carving workshops (pounamu is Maori for jade). Next we’ll visit West Coast Treetop Walk, an exhilarating treetop adventure among giants. This walk will take you up above the forest floor, allowing you to pass through an ancient canopy of rimu and kamahi trees. From here, we’ll carry on down to Franz Josef where we’ll stay for the next couple of nights. Nestled in the rainforest-clad foothills of the Southern Alps, Franz Josef is the heart of New Zealand glacier country.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)

Thursday — Hike coastal forest and beach, kayak Okarito Lagoon (optional)

This morning we’ll take a short journey over to Okarito, a little-known beach community on the coast. We’ll take to the water in sea kayaks and glide along a picturesque lagoon, set against a stunning backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Okarito is home to the only native white heron colony in New Zealand, as well as a host of other interesting birds. If you’d prefer not to kayak, we’ll point you in the right direction for a relaxing hike through lush coastal forest or along the black sand beach. Later we’ll head back to Franz Josef where you’ll have the option to take another hike or relax in the hot tub, before enjoying a traditional Kiwi roast dinner.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)

Friday — Hike at Franz Josef Glacier

With some 140 glaciers making their way down from the Southern Alps, this area is fittingly known as glacier country. Few sights equal the spectacle of two of these giant frozen rivers (Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers) imperceptibly grinding their way down through temperate rainforest to just 250 metres (820 feet) above sea level. Our hike will take us along the Waiho River bed up the valley right to the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier.

Heli-hike option (add US$350 + tax)
An outrageously scenic alternative to today’s hike is to heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier itself. After being fitted with crampons, ice axes and so on, you’ll board a turbine helicopter and fly towards the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, landing on the glacier at 1300 metres (4000 feet) above sea level. Led by specialist glacier guides, you’ll hike through the grand ice formations of the glacier, checking out its crevasses, seracs and tunnels – no previous experience is required! The constant movement of the glacier means every day is different, so your guides will cut steps in the ice and make sure you make the most of the conditions. At the end of your hike on the ice, you’ll take another helicopter ride out of the mountains and back to civilisation.

The heli-hike is extremely popular, so we offer advance reservations with the helicopter operators and guiding company. At the time of booking, or up until one month before your trip, we can reserve a space for you, or you can leave your decision until the start of your trip and your guides will get you a spot if it’s available.

From Franz Josef, we'll travel down the coast through lush forest visiting historic Ship Creek to explore the Kahikatea forest, providing a glimpse back in time to what the West Coast may have looked like prior to human settlement. Tonight we’ll stay in the small settlement of Makarora, where you can enjoy incredible views of the mountains right outside your window.
Makarora Lodgings, Makarora (All meals)

Saturday — Hike Mt Iron, visit Arrowtown and the Kiwi Birdlife Park

The landscape this morning changes rapidly from dense beech forest to semi-arid terrain before transforming to an impressive vista of lakes and mountains. At Lake Wanaka, we'll hike the Mt Iron track, a spectacular circuit with great views of Mt Aspiring National Park. From Wanaka, it's a short but dramatic journey over the Cardrona Saddle to the township of Arrowtown where we'll explore the town's gold mining history, before heading on to Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, our base for the next couple of days. This afternoon we'll visit the Kiwi Birdlife Park to view and learn about New Zealand's icon, the flightless kiwi bird. You'll sleep sweetly tonight at a lakefront hotel located in the heart of Queenstown.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)

Sunday — Free day in Queenstown

Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand (if not the world!) and all the comforts of civilisation are packed into this tiny resort town: restaurants galore, stylish lounge bars, day spas, and boutiques. You’ll also find incredible optional activities here, including horse trekking, a gondola, fishing, winery tours, a historic steamship, bungy jumping, jet boating, skydiving, as well as some great hiking opportunities. Or you can just soak up the atmosphere at one of many local cafés. Your guides will happily share their favourite haunts and point you in the right direction for your free day today.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (No meals included)

Monday — Hike Routeburn Track

This morning, we set off for our largest and perhaps most spectacular national park, Fiordland. We’ll hike part of the Routeburn Track for unsurpassed views of the Hollyford Valley, as well as Lake Marian and Mt Christina. We’ll take a short drive through the Homer Tunnel and emerge at the top of a spectacular glacier-carved valley for a memorable descent to the shore of Milford Sound. Rudyard Kipling rated this fiord as the eighth natural wonder of the world and it is truly breathtaking, with steep granite walls plunging over a thousand metres to the Tasman Sea and waterfalls cascading into deep inky water.
Milford Lodge Chalets, Milford Sound (All meals)

Tuesday — Cruise Milford Sound, hike Kepler Track

Today you’ll have the opportunity to explore Milford Sound and hopefully spot some friendly fur seals and dolphins. We’ll jump on board a boat cruise, where you’ll gaze in wonder at the waterfalls tumbling down enormous vertical rock faces all around and journey right out to the entrance of the fiord. We’re on a smaller boat than is typical in Milford, which means we’ll be able to get up close to the wildlife and also have a good chat to the specialist nature guides who’ll give a lively and informative commentary. This afternoon, we’ll explore the Fiordland wilderness on foot to check out some of its endemic flora and fauna, like the kea (Nestor notabilis), New Zealand’s notoriously cheeky and intelligent alpine parrot and the kotukutuku (Fuchsia excorticate), the world’s largest fuchsia. Later we’ll hike a section of the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks.
Lake Manapouri Inn, Manapouri (All meals)

Wednesday — Spare time in Queenstown, journey over the Lindis Pass

After a relaxed start we return to Queenstown, where you’ll have a couple of hours to get some lunch, do any last minute shopping, send postcards home, or whatever you might need to do before heading back into the wilderness for the remainder of your trip. There’s spectacular scenery today as we journey through the Kawarau Gorge and over the Lewis Pass to the remote and beautiful Lake Ohau Lodge. The lodge is tucked in beside an alpine lake, with stunning views stretching across to Aoraki Mt Cook and the Southern Alps – the ideal spot to soak in the hot tub and star gaze!
Lake Ohau Lodge, Ohau (Breakfast, Dinner)

Thursday — Hike Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

This morning you won’t have to pack your bags as we’ll be returning to this wonderful setting in the evening. The highest mountain in New Zealand, Mt Cook was first named Aoraki or ‘cloud piercer’ by South Island Maori. This region was Sir Edmund Hillary’s training ground as he prepared for his and Tenzing Norgay’s famous summit of Mt Everest in 1953. Feeling inspired, we’ll take an impressive hike up to a lake at the base of the Hooker Glacier, complete with icebergs! The track is surrounded by peaks, glaciers, native vegetation and mountain streams, and provides excellent views of Aoraki Mt Cook on a fine day. If you’re keen for a challenge, another option is to take a day hike to the main ridge above Mueller Glacier. It’s a tough hike and the weather would need to cooperate, but the views across the Southern Alps are worth it! Afterwards, we’ll return to Lake Ohau Lodge for the last night of the ‘Kiwi’ and we’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner as we sit outside and watch the sun set on Aoraki Mt Cook.
Lake Ohau Lodge, Ohau (All meals)

Friday — Visit Tekapo, depart for home

After breakfast we’ll head north past Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo. With yet more views of Aoraki Mt Cook to your left, you’ll be amazed at the sheer scale of these lakes and their cobalt blue allure. We’ll stretch our legs with a visit to the Church of the Good Shepherd, easily one of the most scenic locations for a church you’ll ever come across!  After our lunch stop, we’ll head to Christchurch, arriving in time for afternoon flights. This is the end of your ‘Kiwi’ trip, and we’ll leave you refreshed and invigorated from the good food, exercise, rest, and great times you’ll have had with us in New Zealand! For a great way to see the North Island too, where you’ll experience Maori culture, pristine beaches and geothermal areas, combine this trip with our 11-day ‘Kauri’ (5-day ‘Kauri’ options available).
(Breakfast, Lunch)

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Dates

Trip Date Price Status  
Oct 21 ’17 – Nov 3 ’17 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 18 ’17 – Dec 1 ’17 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Dec 16 ’17 – Dec 29 ’17 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
2018
Jan 13 ’18 – Jan 26 ’18 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 27 ’18 – Feb 9 ’18 US$5299 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Feb 10 ’18 – Feb 23 ’18 US$5299 + tax Almost Full - Check Now! Check Availability
Feb 24 ’18 – Mar 9 ’18 US$5299 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Mar 10 ’18 – Mar 23 ’18 US$5299 + tax Full
Mar 24 ’18 – Apr 6 ’18 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 20 ’18 – Nov 2 ’18 US$5299 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Nov 17 ’18 – Nov 30 ’18 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 15 ’18 – Dec 28 ’18 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
2019
Jan 12 ’19 – Jan 25 ’19 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 26 ’19 – Feb 8 ’19 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 9 ’19 – Feb 22 ’19 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 16 ’19 – Mar 1 ’19 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Feb 23 ’19 – Mar 8 ’19 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 9 ’19 – Mar 22 ’19 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability

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Useful Info

No Forced Single Supplement:

Most other travel companies charge all solo travellers a single supplement fee. We don't! When it comes to accommodation, our trip fares are based on a twin-share rate, which means we'll match you up with another person of the same gender to share a room with. If there's no one suitable to share with, there's no forced single supplement! Having said that, if you specifically request your own room, you can opt to pay the additional single supplement fee.

Trip start:

On the first day of the trip we can either pick you up from the Heartland Hotel Cotswold in Christchurch at 10.30am, or at the Christchurch airport (CHC) in front of the Travel and Information desk at 11am.

Trip end:

On the last day of the trip we can drop you off at the Christchurch airport in time for the flights below, or anywhere in central Christchurch about 3pm.

Recommended flights:

Arrival: If you’re flying in on the first day of the trip, we recommend arriving in Christchurch before 10am on Saturday.
Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, we recommend departing from Christchurch after 4pm on Friday. If you’re considering alternative flight times please check with us. International flights from Auckland (AKL) usually leave early evening, so if you’re heading back to North America, you’ll get home some time on Friday, even though you left on Friday evening! Flights back to Europe, of course, take a little longer.

Fitness:

The ‘Kiwi’ is our gentlest adventure trip, and is a perfect introduction to hiking and active vacations. It suits anyone who enjoys walking and likes to give things a go. The pace is flexible and relaxed with most hikes taking one to three hours to complete on well-formed tracks with some undulations. There’s plenty of time to explore and take photos along the way, and while a few activities may take a bit longer, nothing is compulsory and our guides are expert at ensuring everyone makes the most of their trip. If you prefer longer and more challenging hikes, we recommend checking out our ‘Rimu’ trip. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to chat about the various options.

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Reviews

  • A Great Overview of South Island's Attractions

    “The trip was great. We had hikes almost every day. The hikes were easy enough for my wife, a non-hiker, to enjoy but beautiful enough for me to appreciate. The key to the trip however, was the people. Rachael and Koru were fabulous guides. Their knowledge was outstanding. In addition, the other folks in the group were a great bunch. Their easy-going friendliness and happy willingness to participate and share in the adventure made it pretty much perfect.”
    Frank Martin – California, United StatesMay 2017
  • Our "Better Than Average" Trip

    “Poem written by Andrea Rudolph with and for the entire group of very happy campers: (If you publish it, perhaps you should ask Andrea for permission and credit Andrea and possibly the entire Kiwi group for inspiration?)

    Our Better than Average Trip

    Active Adventures had everything planned
    For a better than average trip to kiwi land
    Our fearless leaders, Rachel and Koru
    In every instance knew what to do
    They prepped us on schedules and weather every day
    And tried hard to make us listen to what they had to say
    Koru always steered us in the right direction
    For finding trails and Pinots of perfection
    Rachael had to patiently repeat
    Our menu options so we could choose what to eat
    She was always there to help us climb
    And cheered us on time after time
    Rachael and her accent were really cute
    Her seeiven and eeigs always made us hoot
    The food was delicious morning and night
    From breakfast to barbecue it was always just right
    Each day we had coffee and muesli to eat
    Often Pavlova and (if we were good) a special treat
    Koru told myths of Maoris and war
    His tales were creative and never a bore
    He showed us plants like the silver fern
    This land is so varied theres a lot to learn
    About many birds he gave us the scoop
    And warned us about the wacky wekas poop

    The Hectors dolphins near the beach were rare
    They amazed us by doing flips in the air
    At the wildlife center we saw kiwis being fed
    And heard how theyre kept safe till they are bred
    We marveled at the kiwi eggs size
    That filled up the female almost to her eyes
    Possums, an invasive species, are major pests
    Eating kiwis and forests is what they do best
    Whether to poison them or use them for their fur
    Is hotly debated and not all concur

    The rain and wind made Foulwind a perfect name
    And the Tasman Sea is anything but tame.
    Riding the waves In Abel Tasman wasnt easy
    It was like a roller coaster and would have made George queasy
    Queenstown is the capital of all things daring,
    From bungee jumping and luge to parasailing
    At Franz Josef an earthquake comes every 300 years
    Its on the main fault line creating lots of fears

    Braemar brought us closer, running out to pee at night
    Sharing toilets and co-ed showers were also a delight
    We ran through the hills, and drank lots of wine
    Singing old songs and jingles and it was divine
    In the dark sky the stars shone ever so bright
    And made for a fabulous view our last night

    New Zealand is perfect except for the sandflies
    Which bite all our legs as they drop from the skies
    They even dare follow us into the van
    Where we smash them on windows as fast as we can

    Our photographers were an amazing lot
    And would do almost anything to get the right shot
    They took pictures of every breathtaking view
    As well as lots of our motley crew
    Julie, Gerry and Frank lugged gear everywhere
    So Frank could create a dvd to share

    Gerry led the trivia team from the west
    As they cruised to victory in our last contest
    We laughed and talked the whole day through
    Waking up to Georges cheers and positive view
    Jeannie his sidekick never seemed to mind
    Through everything she was patient and kind
    When she added her bra to the fence we all cheered
    The moment was tender and brought a few tears
    We could always count on Frank to come through
    With some daily tidbit about something new
    And Vesna was always stylishly dressed
    In outfits that matched and even looked pressed
    Frank, the model husband, brought her coffee in bed
    and gallantly swatted bugs dive bombing her head

    With her camera Julie could always be found
    She never minded lugging it around
    And always had a story to tell
    Of faraway places and people she knew really well
    Mike and Bonnie hiked steadily mile after mile
    But it was the waterfall that really made Mike smile
    Many sights looked like their Oregon coast
    But this was the New Zealand trip they loved the most
    When Lynette got sick we felt really bad
    But we really didnt want to get what she had
    Karen kept going even without her sister
    Even though we all missed her
    Karen Lynette Tom and Gerry may seem quiet
    But in the back of the van they had a real riot
    Talking about everything under the sun
    They laughed nonstop and had lots of fun
    Andrea was famous for her bathroom stops
    From talking toilets to smelly long drops

    Even though she had to go every time
    Everyone else got behind her in line
    Of our demerits Rachel kept track
    Who was naughty or late coming back
    In earning bad marks George was clearly the winner
    He gets the award as the biggest sinner
    While riding on Frank we passed the basket around
    Tim Tans and fruit were goodies we found

    Many of us discovered daily flat whites
    And drank local wines and beer each night.
    Everyone bought some manuka honey
    Even if UMF costs lots of money
    In Hokitika Andrea bought lots of jade
    with George helping negotiate the lower price she paid
    For Koru all blacks rugby is the team to beat
    And watching them do the haka was really sweet

    I tried really hard to write something clever
    To celebrate our group and the best trip ever
    Though our journey is over and we are all back home
    We can laugh and remember when we read this poem”
    Julie Semel – New York, United StatesApril 2017
  • The most fun 2 weeks ever

    “I was fortunate enough to be a member of the March Kiwi trip to New Zealands South Island. Its hard to recount all the wonderful highlights from this vacation as each day brought amazing new sights and experiences as well as too many laughs to mention. In one memorable day we went from a glacier high in the mountains to a beach with endangered dolphins doing flips near the shore. From the Milford Sound waterfall, Abel Tasman boat ride in high seas, beautiful hikes, seeing the milky way under the dark sky at Braemar, to bathroom stops and talking toilets, smashing sandflies, cocktail hours and singing old songs: it was all magical.

    We were so lucky to have Koru and Rachael as the leaders of our exuberant group. They kept us in line, encouraged us on long hikes, cooked great meals and generally took great care of us. After my wonderful Kauri trip I was not surprised that the Kiwi adventure was also well organized with flexible, patient and knowledgeable guides who also knew how to laugh and have fun.

    What really made this trip outstanding was the excellent chemistry of our group (and with our guides). We never lacked for conversation and we laughed and talked nonstop from the moment we convened for breakfast each morning.

    This trip helped awaken my sense of adventure and was the best thing I have ever done for myself. I came on my first hiking vacation by myself and feel like I have made lifelong friends and found a new passion to pursue in my retirement. I am already planning at least one more Active Adventures trip.”
    Andrea Rudolph – New York, United StatesApril 2017
  • Can I come back NOW?

    “I had been planning a trip to New Zealand for decades and seriously for several years before I went. Normally I do not travel in groups. For New Zealand I thought it would be good due to the distance and initially thinking I'd be traveling alone since I wanted to enjoy the country via outdoor activities and not have to plan it all which I have always done. (As it turns out a couple of good friends joined me on the trip as well!)

    From the moment my conversations with Active Adventures began and continue today, everything is top notch. It does not matter who I speak with. I have changed dates of travel and the trip and every interaction has been great.

    I assumed that anyone interested in such a trip would be "good people" and I was right! Our trip was a group of 7 independent people from various walks of life who thoroughly enjoyed each other and were considerate of one another.

    I was so happy to have gone when the tourist season was not in full bloom as I prefer nature to tourists. ( - ;

    From the moment that Nick and Jess picked us up at the airport they were a delight. I was surprised this was the first time they worked together. One thing I especially want to point out is that when we had bus trouble, no one knew it (I did because I was at the front with Nick and just noticed something sounded a bit different and he made a call to the office.) Nick and Jess handled the situation and when there was a plan, in his understated manner, we went on our way to the sheep farm as scheduled and another guide came with another bus and we didn't miss a beat. (I did prefer our newer bus for many reasons but most importantly we got to where we needed to go seemlessly and professionally.) Part of what impressed me is just how responsible and maturely Nick handled this and any other surprise. Jess, as well, was amazing in this situation and in taking care of all of us.

    In terms of the trip itself. Beautiful. The country is beautiful. I hope you manage to keep it that way. There certainly is concern on my part for that. Everywhere we went Nick and Jess made sure we were all happy and taken care of on the hikes. I liked learning about nature and am always interested in learning more.

    I loved everywhere we traveled.”
    Shoshana Harper – Indiana, United StatesApril 2017
  • Mar 11,2017 trip with Koru and Rachel

    “My wife and I have been traveling the globe for the past 20 years, with small tour groups about twice a year. This trip was absolutely the best tour we have been on. This was our second time in New Zealand in ten years. The tour guides Koru and Rachel were fantastic , so well organized and hard working. This tour was five star all the way. The sites, accommodations and the food was great.”
    Mike Durick – Oregon, United StatesApril 2017
  • Summer camp for adults

    “This was my (our) first group trip, and it was like summer camp for adults...except the adults were the kids and the kids (let's say younger adults) played the role of adults.
    We dreamed of this trip 40 years ago (when we were in college) and it did not disappoint”
    Jeannie Puglisi – Connecticut, United StatesApril 2017
  • Best Trip Ever!

    “We have been traveling several times a year for the last 18 years and this was the best trip we have ever been on. Rachael and Koru were great. They should be paid double for their great service. This trip was well planned with many breaks during the day. All the hikes were in beautiful areas from rain forest to flowing rivers to the glaciers. The food was wonderful. I was amazed at what Rachael and Koru would cook for us. New Zealand is a beautiful country and I thank Active Adventures for taking us there.”
    Bonnie Durick – Oregon, United StatesApril 2017
  • Kiwi adventure Feb 25, 1917

    “The trip was a wonderful adventure on the South Island, with a good mix of time being active and getting to new destinations of tremendous beauty. I only wish we might have stayed longer. Greg and Tess were great guides and hosts who made everything run smoothly.”
    Cate Gravely – Ontario, CanadaMarch 2017
  • Kiwi

    “We had a great time. New Zealand is beautiful and our tour guides, Koru and Jess, showed it to us to perfection. Great hikes, terrific food, wonderful companions and ideal locations.”
    Ellen Dole – Colorado, United StatesMarch 2017
  • Awesome Kiwi Adventure

    “The Kiwi trip was outstanding. The scenery, hikes, lodging, food and guides were fantastic.”
    Craig Nelson – California, United StatesMarch 2017
  • Have recommended to friends

    “When I returned home, all my friends asked about my Active Adventures adventure. It was wonderful - I have recommended Kiwi to them. Great guides, Michelle & Jess, flexibly rescheduled hikes considering the weather.”
    Rich Partridge – New York, United StatesMarch 2017
  • Excellent adventure

    “Every day was a new experience. The views were unforgettable and the memories will last a lifetime. Jess and Koru took care of everything that we needed.”
    Lee Jones – Texas, United StatesMarch 2017
  • Review of the Kiwi trip

    “I chose to visit NZ with Active Adventures because I wanted to experience the South Island from tip to toe in an active fashion. The trip was exactly what I wanted. I loved hiking and kayaking, enjoyed visiting the towns and was swept away by the scenery. I learned a lot about the country's history, geology and mythology from my two guides. And I had fun.”
    Barbara Delaney – Maryland, United StatesMarch 2017
  • Wonderful Kiwi Tour - Great Itinerary and Hosts!

    “The hiking selected was great, the timing flawless, and adventuring at a premium! The only complaint was our selection of the 8-day short version of the Kiwi Tour rather than the 13-day full tour. When we got to Queenstown, we simply wanted to continue but were heading home.

    Active Adventures has two great tour hosts in Greg and Tess. Greg is a great driver and wise beyond his years on nature, history, and New Zealand. Tess made sure that our culinary needs were met, was ready for any hiking emergency, and ensured the group was ready for the adventure ahead.

    The food prepared by Tess and Greg for breakfasts, lunches and dinners was abundant, fresh and met the needs of us omnivores as well gluten free eaters and vegetarian. The restaurants selected were good too.
    Hotels/Motels in foreign countries are always interesting, especially those in remote areas. All selected were clean, comfortable, and satisfactory. The hotel in Nelson was the most luxurious and the one in Makarora the most rustic.

    We definitely recommend Active Adventures and will use them in the future.”
    Paul Reinermann – Texas, United StatesMarch 2017
  • Yes: Adventure!

    “Really enjoyed the natural wonders away from civilization and tourist traps. Our guides, Koru and Jess took outstanding care of us.”
    Hank Nino – Oregon, United StatesMarch 2017
  • Most awesome!

    “What a great adventure with Koru and Jess. This trip met and exceeded my expectations. Plenty of hiking, beautiful views and delicious meals. It ended all too soon. Would recommend this to anyone wanting adventure into the great outdoors of New Zealand.”
    Liz Nino – Oregon, United StatesMarch 2017
  • Awesome introduction to the South Island

    “Excellently guided; magnificent views of the natural environment, including the birds and the vegetation; the option of two levels of walking made it easy; good accommodation. Kiwi Park in Queenstown a highlight as was the DOC exhibition near the foot of Mt Cook.”
    Jim Phillips – New South Wales, AustraliaFebruary 2017
  • Special Attention

    “Throughout the trip, we were constantly being monitored by our guides. During our hikes, there was often one guide in the front and the other in the back. My husband strained a muscle immediately prior to our arrival to New Zealand. On a couple of hikes, my husband had to return back to the bus. One of the guides followed him back while the rest of us proceeded forward with the other guide.

    The guides figured out quickly our special "likes" and "dislikes." One of our members had a dozen food allergies. I had none except I love salmon and prefer decaf coffee. Sure enough, I had decaf coffee every morning and fresh salmon at least 4 times during the tour.

    The guides went out of their way to know us. Each day, one or both of them would hike and talk with me. Sometime we talked about family while other times we talked about New Zealand or the U.S.”
    Vivian Tong – Oregon, United StatesFebruary 2017
  • “Well planned, balanced varied activities.
    Enjoyed the activities, the food, the ambiance.
    Welcoming Kiwis contribute to a relaxed and pleasant vacation.
    Super guides very competent: Amanda and Jess.”
    Louise Passerini – Quebec, CanadaJanuary 2017
  • Excellent Trip!

    “Our entire family really enjoyed our 14 day Kiwi adventure. The guides, Amanda and Jess, were the best at everything from driving the bus, to knowledge of the area, flora and fauna, and also amazing cooks. The weather was challenging at times but as Amanda says, "there is no bad weather, just bad gear." The landscape was breathtakingly beautiful. Thank you for the trip of a lifetime.”
    Jo Ann Shartrand – New York, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Oregon on steroids

    “We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and it's a great introduction to New Zealand. For us it was the right balance of hiking and touring.”
    Ray Bracis – Oregon, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • An excellent "bucket list" trip

    “I'm typically a "planner" and will devote months to logistics before a trip. And where I work, I need to know about long holidays way in advance to ensure coverage and continuity of service while I'm away. When my husband and I were considering an international holiday to celebrate a relatively "big year" for both of us, a colleague suggested New Zealand. Man, I am so glad I listened. I mentioned New Zealand to my husband and he took a look around at possible tours...he found Active Adventures and thought we should investigate. A full year before our trip, we inquired with Active about how it all works in terms of planning, and when we were told that an online planning app would assist us, I thought, "OK, sure...I'll be doing a bunch of this." We put down the deposit, got the insurance, and dove in. I must say, my assumption?...So wrong. The OBI website really did get us prepped for the majority of the trip. The only logistic detail we really needed to handle was travel to and from LAX. EVERYTHING ELSE, Active could either help plan, or completely handled. So aside from getting in the deposit, getting travel insurance, getting the flights set up with the recommended agency in Seattle, working in OBI, paying the balance, and packing, we were set UP for this trip. In my experience - this is all pretty minor work in the greater scheme of a 2-week trip around a country. :)

    We had a small group (two couples) on our tour, and 2 fantastic tour guides (Holly and Amanda). We saw things that we would never have even known to find if we had followed a travel book. We wondered, and wandered, oohed and aaahed, took pictures, and just floated along as Holly and Amanda cooly transported us, prepped awesome meals, and all that. If a trek got tough, we'd pause and admire the view. Our guides were encouraging, enthusiastic, and really the absolute heart of the tour. The scenery is awesome - don't get me wrong. But the Active people...just made the whole trip sing. Parting was really (reeeeeally) hard for me after 2 weeks.

    So truly, we were on vacation. No glitches in the itinerary (we only had 2 that I could perceive) were actually a problem - we'd adjust and keep moving, and never regretted a single activity. We learned about tectonic plates, glacial advance and retreat, Mauri myth, greenstone, conservation efforts, Kiwi lifestyles...oh, and some flightless birds too. :)

    And we apparently put in the perfect call for weather, because Holly and Amanda not only commented that we were really lucky to see what we saw...they also pulled out their own cameras to take photos. THAT'S how lucky we were on this trip.

    What did we see? It's probably easier to say what we didn't see. Complications. Traffic. Smog. Bad food. Frowns. Worry lines. But seriously - we saw tree ferns, next to tropical evergreen trees so tall we couldn't take photos of them, whether in the north at Abel Taz, the more coastal West side of the Alps, or the more deciduous forests near Fiordland. We saw fruit farms that shouldn't exist in the same geographic area (eg, cherries, apples, corn, soy, and other crops all growing in the same season and region). Foxglove...everywhere. We saw waterfalls like lightning bolts down the mountains, snow-capped mountains surrounded by glaciers, fjords in the fog/rain and the sun (within 2 hours of each other), grassy plains abutting turquoise glacial lakes, milk-like rivers coursing down from glacial sources, iconic sheep farms with mountainous backdrops so perfect they looked "Photoshopped".

    Holly and Amanda would ask us what we thought of the view, often. Since, "Wow," "Holy wow!" and related comments didn't seem to fit (too small and insufficient), I started with "ridiculously beautiful"...proceeded to add words in between, like "absurdly," "surreal-ly,"...and quickly just ran out. By the end of it all I adopted the Kiwi way and went sardonic, answering the guides with "Bah!!" because I just had nothing else to describe the awe. I only adjusted the volume of the "Bah!" to fit how absolutely floored I was.

    What did I take? More than I can describe, personally. New Zealand affected me. In a great and irreversible way....and I got some great Merino wool stuff too. :)

    I was told to share this take on my trip with "only the worthy". To me, if you are seriously considering Active, you already appreciate what this type of tourism brings to your life, or seriously and earnestly want to learn, and that makes me suspect that indeed you are. Worthy. Bring your poles, bring your gear...but most importantly, bring your sense of wonder, your humility, and your appreciation for culture, mythology, and conservation. You will not regret it. And you won't be better cared for, possibly even by your own.”
    Danyel Tacker – West Virginia, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Nov 19 2016 Kiwi

    “Our KIWI tour really exceeded all our expectations of a guided hiking tour and seeing beautiful New Zealand scenery. Our two guides, Michelle and Hilary, made it all happen. They efficiently organized all the varied itinerary, transporting us to some of the most remote and scenic locations on the South Island and produced some of the best meals and desserts we have ever eaten. Michelle and Hilary are extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic. The perfect combination to guarantee any successful and rewarding tour experience.”
    Gary Johnson – Pennsylvania, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Nov 5 2016 Kiwi with Nick B and Jess

    “Active Adventures allowed me to experience the breathtaking beauty of the South Island, New Zealand. I had so much fun. I had really high hopes for the trip of a lifetime before we left. My expectations were not only met but surpassed. Nick and Jess were great as was our small group of fellow travelers. The Active Adventures team were responsive to needs and made the trip care free. I would highly recommend the Kiwi trip and would do it again in a heartbeat. I would also look to do Active Adventures other trips when we go to travel again. At the conclusion of our trip, my wife and I asked ourselves what would we do differently if doing it again. Both of our answers was nothing different.”
    Mitch Pfeiffer – Indiana, United StatesDecember 2016
  • An amazing experience

    “This trip reflects the professionalism that Active Adventures brings to presenting the best of the South Island for those seeking a challenging experience within a length of time that is just right. The itinerary is well-thought-out, with distances between points that are manageable, covering a variety of places and interests. The accommodations were always comfortable, with a gathering space in most. We were treated to excellent cooking by our guides and/or meals in restaurant settings, with time for a glass of wine at the end of days that were full of adventures to reflect upon. Our trip was made pleasurable at every turn by our guides, Nick and Jess, who were knowledgeable, enthusiastic, helpful, and talented in so many ways.”
    Anne Taylor – Tennessee, United StatesDecember 2016
  • An Excellent Adventure

    “Hillary and Michelle were fabulous guides! They were funny, knowledge, open, energetic and master naturalists who taught us all about New Zealand's amazing and unique birds and plants.”
    Jane Smith – Maryland, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Great food and activity coordination

    “Great overview of South Island hiking trails and activities. Michelle and Hilary did a great job with good driving, delicious cooking, and activity coordination.”
    Anna Marie Sorriso – California, United StatesDecember 2016
  • kiwi

    “Michelle and Hillary were great and exceeded expectations!”
    Jeff Smith – Maryland, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Happy hobbit!

    “Totally enjoyed our kiwi adventure with Nick and Jess!!! The daily hiking trips were sometimes grueling, but the reward at the end, of being totally surrounded by the awesome natural beauty was truly worth it.
    Could not have asked for more... Truly a trip of a lifetime!!!”
    Patty Kepner – Hawaii, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Great way to experience New Zealand

    “”
    Rebecca Pfeiffer – Indiana, United StatesNovember 2016
  • Wonderful trip.

    “Spectacular trip. It was like rolling together most of the US National Parks into one state. The great locations just kept coming one after another.”
    Jim Niederberger – Missouri, United StatesNovember 2016
  • Kiwi trip with Michelle

    “Michelle was the perfect guide, gently urging us to go as far as we could, cooking delicious meals, and a great companion.

    The trip included long walks, kayaking, and scenic drives in the perfect proportion -- we saw an amazing amount of beautiful scenery, both up close and from the van.

    Another plus was how friendly people were, on the trails and in restaurants. I have rarely felt so welcome and safe. New Zealanders are obviously concerned about their environment, and work to keep it pristine.”
    Mary Mittelman – New York, United StatesNovember 2016
  • Amazing Kiwi Trip

    “The Active Adventures Kiwi Tour took us to one beautiful hiking destination after another. We loved the opportunity to be outdoors and active on our vacation, and to see so much of the South Island. We were thoroughly spoiled by the delicious and healthy meals provided by our extraordinary guide, Michelle. We also enjoyed learning Maori legends and about the flora and fauna of New Zealand. Active Adventures clearly knows what they are doing, and hire great people.”
    Kristin Skuldt-Niederberger – Missouri, United StatesNovember 2016
  • Everything I Hoped for and MORE

    “My trip to the South Island of New Zealand was an adventure I won't forget! It is impossible to pick one favorite activity or day. From the first day of an "easy" hike at Kaikoura (and one very territorial seal); our very rough return trip on the water taxi from our hike at Abel Tasman where some of us got soaked; to our kayaking in Milford Sound (something I had never done before and one I now love).
    Our free time in Christchurch where I went white water rafting in the glacier water (what an experience). Also, while I was in Christchurch I had the opportunity to stop by the Active Adventure office and meet Lynette. It was great finally being able to put a face with some one whom I had been talking/emailing with. Everyone at the headquarters made me feel right at home!
    The pancake Rocks and blowholes; my first helicopter ride to Franz Josef Glacier (how do you top that). These are just some of the exciting, breath-taking destinations!
    When I first read the reviews, I couldn't imagine how the stay at Braemer Station could possibly be the highlight of my trip. But, even with all the truly unforgetable sites (and most I have permanently etched in my mind), my time at Braemer's is how everyone of my --- tell me about New Zealand -- talks ends!! What a truly remarkable place. The pure since of beauty, calm and peace I felt while I was there. It is hard to describe. It not only puts a smile on my face just thnking about it, but also tears of joy!
    Our group was lucky to have an amateur astronomer with us. We went outside both nights to gaze at the stars. Our whole group laid out on a borrowed table cloth gazing at the Southern Cross and the Milkey Way. We were totally enamored with our surroundings. What a place to spend my final night on the South Island of New Zealand!!!
    I certainly do not want to forget about James and Kirsten. Both making sure all our needs were not only met, but exceeded. From Kirsten's culinary skills to knowing just how much to push me hiking to accomplish my goals. She made sure I succeeded! And James, making sure he found out what made each of us tick! There aren't enough "kudos" to tell you how much they made my trip the success that it was!
    I could go on and on - and often do when I'm asked about my adventure to New Zealand. I have nothing but positive comments about my trip and Active Adventures (which I have recommended to several people).
    Well, now that I have written a "small" book I want to Thank You Active Adventures for making this my adventure of a lifetime -- something I will never forget!”
    Terri Fraley – Ohio, United StatesAugust 2016
  • Spectacular vacation experience

    “The difference between an okay trip and a spectacular one depends on the travelers, the leaders, and the activities. This trip was tops on all three.”
    Carol Kleis – New Jersey, United StatesApril 2016
  • Spectacular NZ....

    “Highly recommend the Kiwi trip as a good way to check out Active Adventures. Lots of ocean view hikes with seal sightings, ocean birds and sea side walks, followed by hikes into glacier country and more.....
    Two couples joined just for 8 days of the 14 scheduled trip and enjoyed ourselves though at times felt a little rushed. The pluses definitely outweighed this small criticism. Such a dramatic, beautiful country with extra friendly people who like to be called Kiwis!”
    Jennifer Brady – Ontario, CanadaApril 2016
  • Hated to say Goodbye

    “We experienced it all - sunny skies, and rain and wind that almost blew us off the tracks; days that pushed us hard, and times to relax; a luxury hotel (well, one night anyway) and a basic sheep herders cottage (which might well have been the best accommodations on the whole trip). And throughout we were led (and, on most days, fed) by two terrific guides: Michelle and Alex. They knew everything; were incredibly attentive to, and patient with, us; and could not have been nicer. And the group (all 15 of us) meshed extremely well. It was an adventure that exceeded expectations - and those expectations were high!”
    Bruce Maximov – California, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Awesome trip with incredibly energetic and lovely guides

    “Holly and Claire, our guides, were truly something else! They would make a hummingbird look fatigued. They did a lot of the cooking themselves, and it was excellent. The hikes and kayaking were varied and wonderful, so much gorgeous scenery; we hit all the best spots. I had a cold through the whole thing, and they made sure I wasn't left behind and was comfortable, and for my dietary needs Holly always had a refilled container of the BEST trail mix in the back of the bus waiting for me! All our needs were met in such a kind way, and they made it so much fun with their endless enthusiasm. We were surprised that the last day's hike was much longer and harder than anything else on the trip, but I stayed back to rest and Paul said one of them stayed back with him on the hike, as it was difficult and he was slower than the others. All around it was a great trip, including an incredible dessert (Pavlova?) made by Holly that was scarfed up by everyone. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
    Paul Frank – Washington, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Awesome trip

    “I had a fantastic time and Active Adventures was everything and more than promised!”
    Jane Auster – Berkshire, United KingdomMarch 2016
  • Hated to say Goodbye

    “We hiked in sun, rain, wind and loved every minute. Michelle and Alex were great cheerleaders, great cooks and wonderful Kiwi representatives. We recommend this trip to anyone who wants a well-paced sampler of the best of the South Island.”
    Susan Albert – California, United StatesMarch 2016
  • “Had great time and saw lots more than I
    could have managed on an independent trip.”
    Linley Power – New South Wales, AustraliaMarch 2016
  • Exhilarating experience

    “I travel quite a bit and the Kiwi trip tops them all. Breath taking views of nature, submerging myself in glacier waters, and climbing sublime Mt. Cook leaves me speechless. Holly and Claire bring tears to my eyes, they so had my back and moved from genuine care and absolute fun-loving.”
    Jeanette Goudaillier – California, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • What a trip!

    “The most enjoyable trip i've taken since I started traveling about 7 years ago. My experience of N.Z. is a country of proud citizens that take time to talk and help out when needed. A safe and clean country, with great cafe's and pubs. Oh, did I mention the beauty? Nothing short of spectacular and awesome.
    Try it... you'll LOVE it...”
    Vic Tretiakoff – California, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • An excellent adventure

    “Given that I am a 77 year old female, in reasonably good shape… This was the perfect adventure trip! The pace was excellent... Very long hiking days were interspersed with days of several shorter or easier hikes... the kayaking was challenging, but doable... and the days off were placed just right. Our guides, Amanda and Rachel were amazing!!! My first thought upon meeting them was 'two such young girls?' but they were so experienced and so capable that I never thought that again.”
    Sheila Poncher – California, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Carol Haspel

    “This was a wonderful trip. We were pampered and pushed at the same time. Holly and Dave couldn't have done a better job of caring for us. Holly made miracles with the food even though she was restrained by our kosher dietary requirements and she had the added burden of cooking two different meals. Dave was a gentlemen, helping us with our extensive bags, even picking us up at the bus stop after the sabbath when we rejoined the group. We hiked in conditions we might not have normally done so (extreme rain), which at first seemed troublesome, but then felt like an adventure. The scenery was wonderful but the weather was disappointing. We did not anticipate so much inclement weather (rain doesn't feel like liquid sunshine) which prevented the heli-hike and serious hiking at Mt Cook National Park . Nevertheless there was much adventure and fun packed into the two weeks.”
    Carol Haspel – New York, United StatesDecember 2015
  • Fantastic Kiwi Trip

    “This was our first trip to New Zealand, and we had a fantastic time. The South Island is truly magical. Our guides, Holly and Dave, were incredible. They took wonderful care of us and insured that the trip was a success.”
    Barb Allen – Massachusetts, United StatesDecember 2015
  • Kiwi was sweet as!!

    “Bonding first thing with fellow hikers got us off to a great start! Vanessa was guide/cook/driver par excellence! As we were a very small group of 4 hikers, Vanessa did it all! Each day we were literally blown away by the beauty around us!”
    Ann Carter McDonald – Georgia, United StatesApril 2015
  • March 14, 2015 KIWI trip

    “Our trip was great, something fun and new every day. Of course New Zealand is awe inspiring itself,but the places visited were the best. Our guide Vanessa made everything even better with her hard work and knowledge of the wild life, farm animals, and place names encyclopedic.”
    Allen McDonald – Georgia, United StatesApril 2015
  • Perfect Kiwi Adventure

    “My first trip to New Zealand lived up to all my expectations. Active Adventures is certainly the company to choose, as their organisation and attention to detail gives everyone a great time. The wine tasting on the first day was a fun way to get to know the group!
    Brilliant guides, fantastic weather, great company - what more could you want?”
    Judith Jones – Herts, United KingdomApril 2015
  • “Vanessa was an excellent guide and did a great job accommodating everyone's needs. She pushed those who were up for the challenge and supported those who needed it. I don't think I've ever been fed so well while vacationing! There was a great balanced of amazingly cooked meals, some of which even related to the days activities (pancake breakfast when we visited the pancake rocks) as well as great explanations and tasting of traditional kiwi foods, not to mention the Tim tam slam . There were a few hiccups involving the vehicle/trailer, which, I think, ended up bringing the group closer together. Vanessa handled it with poise. Amazing trip in a beautiful country!”
    Nancy Schlomer – Ontario, CanadaApril 2015
  • New Zealand - Brilliant!

    “Twenty years ago I first heard about New Zealand and what a special place it is. Well, I just retired and my wife and I decided to find out for ourselves.
    New Zealand and its wonderful people surpassed all of our expectations.
    The history, culture, and ecology had a profound impact on both of us.
    In addition, our two week Kiwi adventure introduced us to ten fellow travelers that became like a small family on our bus named Nancy. Our wonderful and patient guides, Craig and Sarah deserve most of the credit for making this experience, a trip never to be forgotten, thank you!
    Don Idaho USA
    Kiwi March 2015”
    Don Taylor – Idaho, United StatesApril 2015
  • Outstanding Dream Trip!!

    “This was my first international trip and it was the BEST! From the moment I got off the plane to the day our journey ended, it was flawless...with the exception of one small hiccup. A few days into the trip, I became ill and spent 24 hours in bed. This can be a bit uneasy... getting sick in a foreign country...but, here's the best part. Our guide, Craig, took such good care of me and I honestly feel like I had my own personal angel. On his day off, while the others went and had fun... he stayed with me, making a Dr.'s appt. for me, taking me to the clinic, waiting for me and then making sure I was ok when we returned to our cottage. He went above and beyond and I truly appreciated his care and concern. After that one day, I was well enough to continue and every aspect of the trip was beyond any expectations I could have had. Our group was very special..and I do mean special. I felt like I was on a family vacation! We all got along so well... that doesn't happen very often. The scenery, the food, the new experiences and all the laughter will never be forgotten. Sarah and Craig... words can't describe how incredible these two were. Active NZ is very lucky to have them...and so was I!”
    Jacque Taylor – Idaho, United StatesMarch 2015
  • The best vacation ever!!!

    “Weve had many great active vacations in the past but our two week Kiwi trip trip was simply "beyond beyond".
    We were so fortunate to inherit a fantastic collection of travel companions as well as two of the best Active guides you hope for. Put that together with the natural beauty of New Zealand and you have the best vacation ever.”
    Tim Anderson – Arizona, United StatesMarch 2015
  • NZ Epic Journey Kiwi Trip

    “I started my NZ journey with a throat/chest issue; however, Craig, Sarah and the other eleven guests refused to allow that to dampen my spirits. For 20 years I looked forward to visiting NZ outdoors and found the perfect professional company to tour with. Everything came together in such a great way even with a couple of hard rain days. Unfortunately our chopper rides were cancelled but two days of seeing Mt Cook from Brahmer Station more than made up for that. The trip plan allowed us the maximum time in places others probably don't get to experience. Although my fellow travelers had such enthusiasm for NZ's endless beauty the real trip success was due to Craig and Sarah. Professional yes but their ability to be one of us, coach us, feed us, advise us, shepherd us, greet us and entertain us was truly what made this Epic such a success.”
    Chuck Woodall – South Carolina, United StatesMarch 2015
  • Feb. 28 Kiwi-Trip of a Lifetime

    “This is the most spectacular country we have ever visited. We are semi retired professionals in our 60's. We have been in many countries around the world and I must say that this Kiwi trip was the best 2 weeks we have ever spent in a country. Our guides, Craig and Sarah were fantastic. Their knowledge of the flora, fauna, geology and history of the South Island places we visited was impressive. Their spirit and ability to guide, drive, lead hikes, organize accommodations and restaurant visits, cook or arrange many delicious meals and lead us around the best locations in the South Island in 2 weeks was amazing. Our group of 12 jelled very quickly and soon felt like a family. It helped that everyone was organized, considerate and on time as we moved around a lot. It also helped that almost everyone was in shape to do the hikes that ranged from 3 to 15 km. and two kayak trips. My highlights were staying at the Braemare Station Sheep Farm, kayaking Milford Sound and hiking up to the lake near Mt. Cook. We joined the tour after being on our own in the north island for a week touring Maori villages. New Zealand is a country that gets its priorities for residents and tourists right. The Maori seem to have been melded into the fabric of the country with pride. The people are friendly and helpful. On a point most countries ignore, there are well maintained free toilets everywhere you need them with sinks with running water and soap. We have not found that anywhere else in the world.”
    Joel Semuels – Massachusetts, United StatesMarch 2015
  • Great Trip on the South Island

    “We spent two weeks with Rachael and Dave, who, by the way, were the best tour guides I have ever had, and enjoyed it all very much. We did some great hiking, sight seeing and kayaking. The highlight, if I were to choose just one, would be the kayaking on Milford Sound on a beautiful sunny morning. I found the travel times reasonable, and I am certain I could now write a book called "Biffies I have known and loved". The fruit basket was a real plus, and Rachael's quick response to the comment that all the non-fruit snacks contained peanuts, was very rapid and appropriate. Also, her handling of all my food issues made the trip even better. Hard to say how things could have been better. I envy you if you are about to take this tour.”
    Bill Power – British Columbia, CanadaMarch 2015
  • Kiwi trip

    “The trip was excellent and delivered everything it promised. Our guides were both very knowledgeable, both about the trails and about New Zealand in general. The food was great (good thing we were hiking a lot), and I really liked having the fruit basket on board for snacking as we drove. I highly recommend this trip for active hikers.”
    Carol Drury – British Columbia, CanadaMarch 2015
  • Our best vacation ever!!

    “Our Kiwi trip exceeded our expectations in every way! I enjoyed the small group - 12 of us plus 2 guides. We have been on large bus trips before and will never do that again. Craig, our driver & guide, was so knowledgeable about New Zealand. We learned so much about biology, history, geology and much more. Some of the days had a lot of driving because the South Island is a large land mass, but he kept it interesting with his many stories and facts. Sarah was our other guide and gourmet chef! The food was amazing! The restaurants were fine, but her meals were delicious. We would visit a salmon farm and that night have fresh salmon for dinner! We thought we would lose weight with all the hiking and activities, but with all her good food, that didn't happen!
    The itinerary was perfect. We are over 60 and it was not too strenuous. The scenery was breathtaking, and with a small group, we were able to stay in amazing places. We enjoyed a "down day" in Queenstown halfway through the trip, and I went paragliding! What a thrill!
    Milford Sound was spectacular! We kayaked, hiked & tried to do a helicopter ride, but the weather wouldn't cooperate. It was still a great experience.
    I will be recommending this trip & this company to anyone who will listen. From our first contact with Active Adventures, the office staff was quick to respond and always so cheerful! Their website and OBI were so organized with no detail left out. The entire experience was "Eepic". Amazing!”
    Sally Anderson – Arizona, United StatesMarch 2015
  • Totally awesome

    “Each day was a new adventure and just as we thought it couldn't get better, it always did. Craig and Sarah were not only expert gides, cooks and drivers, but they created a family atmosphere that began in the first five minutes and continued thoughout the trip. Everything was incredibly well organized. We fell in love with New Zealand and our guides. The only bad thing was that the trip ended.”
    Marsha Semuels – Massachusetts, United StatesMarch 2015
  • More than I expected

    “First of all-you have the best trip guides!!! Craig and Sarah were outstanding. So much of a good trip depends on the guides and Sara and Craig were the best. Craig was full of information regarding history, vegetation and geology of New Zealand. I felt I learned a lot and Craig's love of sharing this information and his obvious love of his country was very much appreciated. Sarah had similar information and her love of adventure and country was equally inspiring. The meals that Sarah cooked were incredible. I ate food I had never eaten before and LOVED it. Both were good sports with all the teasing we gave them and were equal to the challenge of returning the teasing. This made for a lot of fun. This truly was a trip of a lifetime.”
    Kathleen Ostrander – Arizona, United StatesMarch 2015
  • “Very, very well organized and executed trip. Food was, for the most part, excellent and gave us an opportunity to eat as the Kiwis eat. Agenda was well planned and the tour leaders kept to the schedule. Our tour leaders, Dave and Rachael, were the absolute best. They worked very hard to satisfy everyone's needs and wishes and made everyone feel they were part of the group. They were very knowledgable and able to answer questions on a wide variety of subjects.”
    Tom Lightfoot – Virginia, United StatesMarch 2015
  • New Zealand is friendly and fun

    “I loved the New Zealand scenery, the New Zealanders we met, and the hiking tracks we walked. This is not a hard-to-do hiking/kayaking trip. And it is so much better than seeing the country from a 60 passenger bus. If you don't want to drive, then this is the best way to see New Zealand!”
    Linda Lightfoot – Virginia, United StatesMarch 2015
  • Sweet as!

    “This experience was better than expected. A magnificent country with incredibly friendly people all packaged up in an extremely well organized trip at a very reasonable cost. Just about the right amount of hiking with terrains that a reasonably fit senior (65 yrs old) can handle. The food was very good, plentiful, frequent and included lots of locally grown products. Rachel always seemed to have a treat in her back pocket. Despite that, with all the fresh air and exercise I still managed to lose a couple pounds. The bus was comfortable and sometimes we would have to ride a couple hours or more between destinations, but the scenery was fantastic and Dave was a very capable driver and full of knowledge that he shared. Some of his jokes were even pretty good. The accommodations were at times abit rustic but always clean and we didn't expect to stay at the Ritz in the wilderness of the south island. Shared bathrooms were not the highlight of the trip, but worked out just fine. As for our tour guides Dave and Rachel, we couldn't have asked for anyone to be more knowledgable, helpful or friendly. I would not hesitate to recommend active adventures for a trip to the south island of New Zealand!”
    Steve Ellison – Iowa, United StatesMarch 2015
  • The perfect way to experience NZ's South Island in two weeks

    “This trip was far better than I expected. A 'tour' can be off-putting for independent 50-something year-olds, but the Kiwi trip guides kept us moving and engaged. We had so many experiences exploring rainforests, glaciers, rivers, fiords, through hiking, boating, and kayaking. You really do come home feeling energized and rejuvenated.”
    Nancy Karuzis – Massachusetts, United StatesMarch 2015
  • South Island Kiwi Trip

    “It's hard for me to imagine how this trip could have been more enjoyable. The spectacular New Zealand scenery could stand alone as making the trip worthwhile, but add to that the knowledge, cordiality, and plain hard work of our guides (Amanda and Dave), and the friendships formed with interesting folks in our group, this trip was truly "over the top".”
    Dave Hilder – Maryland, United StatesFebruary 2015
  • “I never tired of the beautiful views from all parts of the country. I loved the waterfalls. The flowers and greenery were awesome. The mountains are so different than what I have seen before that I couldn't see enough. Everything so different than what we have here in my home state of Missouri.”
    Marilyn Ripple – Missouri, United StatesJanuary 2015
  • Trip of a lifetime!

    “Amazing trip! My family and I loved it! Perfect way to see and explore the South Island.”
    Ben Hill – Georgia, United StatesJanuary 2015
  • Kiwi

    “The style of this holiday was a perfect fit for me. I like to be kept busy and to spend my time outside. I loved staying in a variety of different accommodations in scenic places and loved the food prepared by our Guides.”
    Judy Keeling – Iowa, United StatesJanuary 2015
  • A lot of fun!

    “Great and excellent trip! Friendly people, the guides were cheerful, knowledgeable and were very caring of us (Amanda and Dave)! There were so awesome landscapes (To see the Mt Cook the first day of 2015 in sun Wow)! I had much fun than I've expected! So I would really recommend this trip!”
    Thomas Finck – , FranceJanuary 2015
  • Kiwi December-January 2014-15

    “This experience exceeded my exceedingly high expectations! Our guides, Amanda and Dave, were both terrific and worked well together to make our experience wonderful.”
    Sharon Hill – Georgia, United StatesJanuary 2015
  • Kiwi Adventure

    “Fabulous trip! Great hosts and guides (Duck and Sara)! Fantastic group of travelers, great food and libations. The weather was totally unbelievable. This trip stands out as the best trip I've been on in 2014.”
    Laird Morrill – Minnesota, United StatesJune 2014
  • Great trip!

    “Didn't know what to expect when booking this trip. I was pleasantly surprised by the experience. The people, country, food, accommodations, etc were great. Our guides were outstanding and very accommodating. Hikes were doable for a 67 year old in good shape. Highly recommend this trip for all age groups.”
    Art Wong – Hawaii, United StatesApril 2014
  • Magical Kiwi Trip

    “We loved our Active Adventures experience! Our guides, Sarah and Duck, really took care of us. They thought of every detail from baking a birthday cake to adjusting the itinerary so we could have the best opportunities to enjoy each destination and hike. New Zealand's South Island lives up to its reputation as a place of beauty and grandeur, unique in the world. We felt the whole experience was magical.”
    Cathy Healy – Oregon, United StatesMarch 2014
  • Relaxing, invigorating, and packed with fun

    “I think it would be hard to organize a *bad* trip of New Zealand - the natural beauty and the friendliness of the culture are advantages that simply can't be negated - but the Active trip built on them wonderfully. The guides were cheerful and knowledgeable. The hikes were well-planned - never long enough to be boring or exhausting for the hiking neophyte, but always interesting and challenging. Even the drives were packed with interesting stops and activities. It was an awesome vacation!”
    Erica Saltzman – New York, United StatesMarch 2014
  • Great way to sample New Zealand's South Island

    “Guides did a great job. They adjusted the schedule to meet most needs and weather conditions. The hiking was enough to be able to see many sites as we worked our way around much of the South Island. Food was very good and allowed a chance to try some of New Zealand's fine dishes.”
    Dick Morse – Pennsylvania, United StatesMarch 2014
  • Awesome awesome trip

    “Our Kiwi trip was definitely the trip of a lifetime. Every day was full of great hikes and other activities, interesting information on New Zealand (geography, history, culture etc.), and fantastic scenery. Our guides were knowledgeable, helpful, just a lot of fun. I could have stayed another week or two! We will definitely be back!”
    Adean Bridges – Pennsylvania, United StatesMarch 2014
  • Fabulous Trip! Beautiful Country! Delightful Tour Guides!

    “I enjoyed every minute of my active adventure. Sara and Duck were superior guides and very accommodating when it came to meals, activities, etc. Every detail was organized to the Nth degree. Plus the food was delicious, healthy, and always freshly prepared. The Heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier was incredible. I am so glad I took this trip.”
    Sandy Cornfeld – Maryland, United StatesMarch 2014
  • Susan's Bucket List

    “NZ has been on my bucket list for years!!! This was a wonderful way to see NZ and just what I wanted. Perfect in every way and excellent guides!!! I am so happy with the trip.”
    Susan Beers – Virginia, United StatesMarch 2014
  • Wonderful

    “The trip met all of our expectations!!! The details were clear, the guides superb!!! They were helpful, clear and caring. They made the group come together and everyone enjoyed the time. The timing of hikes and sights was just right and comfortable.”
    Chuck Beers – Virginia, United StatesMarch 2014
  • Meadowbank bill

    “A great trip - once in a lifetime - worth the flight to get to NZ from the east coast of the US. Scenery was great and the adventures and people helped make the adventure what it was.”
    Bill Tritle – Pennsylvania, United StatesMarch 2014
  • Trip of a lifetime

    “This trip not only met but went beyond our expectations. Duck and Sarah, our guides, were wonderful. We saw the best and most beautiful parts of New Zealand, enjoyed great food and made new friends.”
    Dana Strode-Tritle – Pennsylvania, United StatesMarch 2014
  • Great trip!

    “The Kiwi trip was challenging for me. I read that it was the 'gentlest' of all the active trips and that it was appropriate for all fitness levels. I also read that hikes were 1-3 hours in length and thought, 'no problem'. It turned out that some of those hikes were 1 hour uphill climbs that I had trouble with. Of course, I was always rewarded with a spectacular view at the top. I cannot adequately express the natural beauty of New Zealand. 'Awesome' takes on a new meaning. Accommodations were adequate, food was good. Guides were helpful and fun. Our group was friendly, and everyone got along well. New Zealand totally met my expectation and I appreciate being able to see it with a small group, guided tour.”
    Linda Glueck – Missouri, United StatesMarch 2014
  • Aotearoa, Afoot and Afloat

    “Or "The South Island for Shits and Giggles". Our guides brought knowledge, competence and enthusiasm, we brought the good weather, an adventurous spirit, and good humor and this awesomely beautiful country did the rest in making this a magical experience.”
    Ron Larson – Washington, United StatesMarch 2014
  • Kiwi February 2014

    “A once in a life-time experience taking in the beauty of the South Island of New Zealand, from the sea to the mountain tops, from the glaciers to the lakes and rivers. Hiking New Zealand is a not-to-miss life adventure.”
    Melvin Freeman – Washington, United StatesMarch 2014
  • KIWI TRIP 2014

    “GREAT TRIP AND THE SCENERY WAS SO MUCH BETTER THAN I IMAGINED IT COULD BE. GUIDES WERE GREAT AND THE PEOPLE WARM AND FRIENDLY.”
    John O'Malia – Michigan, United StatesFebruary 2014
  • New Zealand Jan 2014

    “I really liked the kayaking and most of the hikes were great! The time in the buses was a little longer than expected because the roads do not allow for high speed travel.”
    Kurt Guter – Michigan, United StatesFebruary 2014
  • Wonderful New Zealand

    “Fantastic trip for fit people of all ages. We were a group of 8 senior adults and the guides made the trip enjoyable for everyone, no matter what their level of fitness. I would highly recommend the Kiwi trip for anyone who doesn't want to just see New Zealand from the bus window.”
    Bev O'Malia – Michigan, United StatesFebruary 2014
  • “A trip of a life time in an exquisite country. Two charming, knowledgable, warm, enthusiastic, fun loving, efficient guides. Thank you to them and you for affording us this view of New Zealand”
    Yasmin Richmond – Michigan, United StatesFebruary 2014
  • Barb and Greg

    “This trip was all we hoped it would be, and more. You promised an active schedule, and our days were filled with great hikes. You promised good food, and it was gourmet quality, cooked to group and individual needs. You promised a memorable trip, and it truly was.”
    Barbara Dobson – Colorado, United StatesFebruary 2014
  • Wow!!

    “Wow!! I think that was my most frequently used word on my two week Kiwi trip! Amazing country, kind of overwhelming sometimes so much to see, you just don't know where to look. The company was great and our guides (GT and Kate) were awesome! Thanks Active, definitely a trip of a life time and one I won't forget in a hurry!”
    Rachel Warriner – , United KingdomDecember 2013
  • “The South Island trip now tops the US as the most beautiful place I have ever been to. Andrew's stories made this all the more interesting. I have been reliving experiences every day for two weeks so far.”
    Michael Brown – New York, United StatesDecember 2013
  • Family of 5

    “Ended up that we, as 3 siblings and two spouses, were the only ones on the trip. Loved being able to spend the trip of a lifetime with family. Our guides, Alex and Andrew, were absolutely relentless in their pursuit of our sheer enjoyment of our trip. New Zealand is our new most beautiful country we have ever been to. The trip was worth every penny we paid. The country is stunning, the food and lodgings were very delicious and comfy and I cannot say enough wonderful things about our guides. We were leaving friends behind when we got dropped off at the airport. Alex and Andrew, we miss you already. We would definitely consider another trip with Active Adventures. Thanks for all the lasting, wonderful memories we have of your country.”
    Paula Campau – Michigan, United StatesDecember 2013
  • I'm in love!

    “I fell in love with New Zealand and with Active Adventures. New Zealand was even more beautiful than I had imagined. The South Island is roughly the size of my home state of Illinois, and yet it has glaciers, ocean beaches and rainforest - and we saw it all on the Kiwi trip! Our guides Sarah and Graeme made it so enjoyable. Of course they were informative, but even more important, they were just great people to be around - funny, encouraging and attentive. I loved the quirky motels we stayed in and the large houses we shared. It was so nice to stay in and enjoy Sarah's cooking rather than having to go out to a restaurant every night. This is my fourth hiking trip with four different companies. I definitely prefer Active Adventures' approach to housing and food, more adventurous and more relaxed at the same time. Our last two nights at the shearer's quarters at Braemar Station were amazing! I'll never forget rounding the bend of the driveway and seeing the view for the first time. It's simply stunning! What a wonderful way to end the trip.”
    Janine Davis – Illinois, United StatesDecember 2013
  • Oh my freakin' goodness!

    “Well, this truly was the trip of a lifetime. We got to see the most beautiful country (and I have been to many beautiful places) led by two amazing guides (Sarah and Graeme were stellar) with a wonderful group of fellow trekkers. It was so nice to have everything planned out for us so that all we had to do was relax, enjoy the scenery and get our hike on! We will definitely be doing another Active Adventure... the big question is where?”
    Michael Jackson – California, United StatesDecember 2013
  • Kiwi Trip October 2013

    “It took just a few days into the trip to realize that I had never felt quite like I was feeling on this trip. It was a wonderful feeling. All the pesky details were being taken care of and we were being delighted by wonderful sights, great activities, great food and lovely company. It was like being a kid again without any of the negative aspects of being a kid. Our guides, Sarah and Graeme were wonderful. They worked so well together to create a true trip of a lifetime. It couldn't have been better.”
    Debra Jackson – California, United StatesNovember 2013

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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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