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

Ultimate South Island Adventure

Rimu

4.51 out of 5 (from 4004 reviews)

  • 14 Days - US$4,999 + tax
  • 12 days - US$4,699 + tax
  • 8 days - US$3,899 + tax

Trip Introduction

Nat Geo Logo 2015This is our signature adventure and a great, outdoorsy way to see New Zealand. We’ve been fine-tuning this perennial favourite since 1996 and it’s simply an awesome trip. You’ll explore the most beautiful, famous and little-known places in the South Island – up close and personal – with legendary hospitality and our unsurpassed attention to detail. 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 ‘Rimu’ is one of our more adventurous trips, but has options to suit a wide range of ages and outdoor experience. Typically, hikes on the ‘Rimu’ trip range between two and five hours to complete, with longer hikes available on the multi-day option. If you think you’d prefer a more relaxed pace and shorter one to three hour hikes, we recommend checking out our ‘Kiwi’ trip. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to chat about the various options.

Highlights

Hike
Routeburn Track
Kepler Track
Punakaiki
Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
West Coast beaches and rainforests
Franz Josef Glacier (with heli-hike option)

Choice of multi-day options ...
Wilderness hiking in Nelson Lakes National Park OR sea kayaking in Marlborough Sounds OR biking on Queen Charlotte Track

Bike
Te Araroa Track near Wanaka

Sea kayak
Milford Sound, Okarito Lagoon

Plus ...
Exploring Queenstown
Snorkelling with fur seals in Kaikoura
Morelea Farm show

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What's included in our trips?

  • All guiding services
    Two experienced guides per trip.
  • All accommodations
    For the entire trip.
  • All meals
    Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • All activities
    Hiking, kayaking, biking, rafting.
  • All transport
    From trip start to end.

Interactive Trip Map

Daily itinerary

Monday — Arrive, snorkel with fur seals or hike Kaikoura Peninsula

Most people leave the Northern Hemisphere on a Saturday evening, arriving in Auckland early Monday morning. You’ll lose a day crossing the dateline – but you get it back on the way home! It’s a short flight to Christchurch, in the South Island, where we’ll meet you. We’ll start your trip by travelling up the coast to the seaside town of Kaikoura where you have a choice of snorkeling with the local fur seals or hiking. You’ll be outfitted with everything you need to swim with the friendly New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) as they cavort in the water, and a specialist guide will accompany you. If you prefer to stay ashore, we’ll hike to the scenic Kaikoura Peninsula past weathered limestone cliffs to watch another colony of fur seals basking on the rocks and playing in the eddies.

Today is a relaxed introduction to New Zealand. 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.
Kaikoura Lodgings, Kaikoura (Lunch, Dinner)

Tuesday (morning) — Visit vineyard

From Kaikoura, we’ll travel along spectacular coastline for a couple of hours to Blenheim, in the Marlborough wine region. We’ll visit Forrest Estate Winery to sample some of their fantastic wines and have a picnic lunch before we head off for our various activities.

Tuesday (afternoon) — Start multi-day hiking, sea kayaking or mountain biking options

Hiking Option - Nelson Lakes National Park: The Angelus Circuit

Tuesday (afternoon) - Hike Angelus Circuit: Saint Arnaud to Lakehead Hut

Our hike begins in the charming village of Saint Arnaud, on the edge of Nelson Lakes National Park. This is serious wilderness country, with incredible views and marvellous solitude. The park straddles the upper Southern Alps, an area composed of beech forests, big lakes and even bigger mountains.We’ll hike the relatively gentle trail through the forest alongside Lake Rotoiti to Lakehead Hut, a small mountain cabin at the head of the lake and our home for the night. Our guides are pretty tough and they’ll carry the lion’s share of the load. All you’ll be carrying is a backpack with your sleeping bag, a few spare clothes, and a share of our food. To protect this beautiful and fragile environment, we always keep our group sizes small and our exact route flexible.
Lakehead Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park (All meals) 

Wednesday - Hike Angelus Circuit: Lakehead Hut to Angelus Hut

Today is an unforgettable day – the scenery gets better with each step! We follow the Travers River through beech forest, before heading up the Hukere Stream towards the ridgeline.This is a steep hike, with an elevation gain of 1,000 m (3,000 ft), but it’s absolutely worth it. The Angelus Circuit has exceptional scenic diversity, so it provides a great reward for the efforts you put in. We will encourage you all the way up to Angelus Hut, nestled beside a gorgeous alpine lake, whatever your hiking speed. Many people tell us this hidden gem was the highlight of their New Zealand adventure, and a lot of Kiwis prefer the Angelus Circuit to better-known tracks.
Angelus Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park (All meals)

Thursday (morning) - Hike Angelus Circuit: Angelus Hut to Lake Rotoiti

This morning you’ll wake up on top of the world. After breakfast, we’ll hike out along the barren Robert Ridge with dramatic views of Tasman Bay and the mountainous Kahurangi National Park in the distance. We’ll descend below the treeline again into native beech forest completing our hike on the shores of Lake Rotoiti. Here, we’ll meet up with the kayakers and cyclists and share stories of our adventures, before carrying on to the West Coast.

Sea Kayaking Option - Marlborough Sounds (Add US$799 + tax)

Tuesday (afternoon) - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

After lunch, you'll head to Ngakuta Bay in the Marlborough Sounds to begin three days of paddling in style. The waters are sheltered, meaning they are generally calm. The surrounding lush forest and rocky coastline are truly stunning. You'll be kitted out comfortably in your sea kayak with all the necessary safety equipment for paddling. After a thorough safety briefing, you'll head out with your specialist kayak guide for a gentle first day's paddle to Tanglewood B&B, with sparkling views of the surrounding sounds. This multi-day option is quite flexible, so you don't need any previous paddling experience, but if you are an experienced sea kayaker, we'll certainly keep you challenged.
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Wednesday - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

Today we'll kayak around the secluded bays of the Kenepuru Sound. You can paddle at your own pace and we'll make sure you get as much or as little 'paddle time' as you like! We'll check out the beaches, birdlife and native forest that characterise the area and enjoy being out on the water. With a bit of luck, we'll be visited by local dolphins, fur seals and little blue penguins (Eudyptula minor). You'll also have plenty of time to stop for short beach and forest walks along the way.
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Thursday (morning) - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

This morning we'll have another chance to spot wildlife as we paddle along the northern coastline from Anakiwa, in the Queen Charlotte Sound. We'll then cross over the Sound and finish back in Ngakuta bay, which will complete the round trip of the Grove Arm. This is where our sea kayaking ends, so after lunch in Picton we'll meet up with the rest of the group in Saint Arnaud before carrying on to the West Coast.

Mountain Bike Option - Queen Charlotte Track (Add US$799 + tax)

Tuesday (afternoon) - Mountain bike Queen Charlotte Track

The third option to personalise your trip is to bike a portion of the Queen Charlotte Track, rated one of the best mountain biking tracks in New Zealand. After lunch, you'll head to Anakiwa on the edge of Queen Charlotte Sound, where you'll be fitted with a Specialised Rockhopper 29er mountain bike, perfect for single track riding. Today we'll ride from Anakiwa to Onahau Bay lookout and back, a perfect taster of what's to come! Tonight, we'll stay at a cosy architecturally-designed bed and breakfast set amongst native tree ferns.
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Wednesday - Mountain bike Queen Charlotte Track

Awaking to native birdsong, we'll head out to Torea Saddle, where we will bike towards the Bay of Many Coves. This part of the track is known as 'The Jewel in the Crown' with stunning views of both Sounds. The area is also well known for its native beech forests, secluded golden beaches and birds, so it's an amazing area to explore at handle-bar level. 
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Thursday (morning) - Mountain bike Queen Charlotte Track

We'll spend the morning biking on the Waikawa Mountain Bike Park near Picton. Later we'll enjoy our lunch at the Picton Harbour before heading to Saint Arnaud to rejoin the hikers and carry on to the West Coast.

Thursday (afternoon) — Finish multi-day backpacking, sea kayaking or mountain biking

After regrouping in Saint Arnaud, we'll head across the Southern Alps to the West Coast – a dramatic and rugged coastline stretching 600 kilometres (372 miles), with a population of only 40,000 people. We'll mingle with the 'coasters' tonight in the seaside village of Punakaiki, exchanging tales of our adventures over fish and chips at the local pub!
West Coast lodgings, Punakaiki (All meals)

Friday — Hike Punakaiki Rainforest, explore Hokitika

We'll spend the morning hiking the Inland Pack Track through temperate rainforest and limestone canyons, following in the footsteps of gold miners who established this trail over a century ago. While we're in Punakaiki, we'll also check out the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes – aptly named limestone formations that have been sculpted through the relentless pounding of the Tasman Sea. Travelling along the scenic coastline, we'll stretch our legs in Hokitika and check out local art galleries and pounamu-carving workshops (pounamu is Maori for jade), before carrying on to the township of 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)

Saturday — Kayak Okarito Lagoon, hike coastal forest and beach

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. Later we'll hike through lush coastal forest to Three Mile Lagoon, and wander along the beautiful stony beach next to crashing waves. 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)

Sunday — Hike near 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. We'll spend most of the day near Franz Josef Glacier hiking up through the forest to either Alex Knob or Roberts Point, both of which give incredible views of the ice. These hikes can be inaccessible in wet weather, so we may opt to hike close to the terminal face of Fox Glacier, around Lake Matheson and to the Blue Pools near Haast Pass instead.

Optional Heli-hike (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 1,300 m (4,000 ft) 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 to 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 and then inland to Makarora, a small village bordering Mt Aspiring National Park, with incredible views of the snow-capped mountains.
Makarora Lodgings, Makarora (All meals)

Monday — Cycle Hawea River Trail

The landscape this morning changes rapidly from dense beech forests to semi-arid terrain. When we arrive at Lake Hawea, you’ll be fitted with a 21-speed front-suspension Specialized mountain bike for a scenic ride along the Hawea River Trail. This gently undulating track follows the Hawea and Clutha Rivers through the rugged Central Otago landscape to the charming lakeside town of Wanaka. Here we’ll stop for lunch before a short but dramatic journey over the Cardrona Saddle to Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, our base for the next couple of days. You’ll sleep sweetly tonight at a lakefront hotel located in the heart of Queenstown.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)

Tuesday — 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, sidewalk cafés, stylish lounge bars, day spas, and boutiques. You’ll also find incredible optional activities here, including horse trekking, a gondola, kayaking, fishing, winery tours, hang gliding, mountain biking, bungy jumping, jet boating, skydiving, as well as some great hiking opportunities. Or you can just soak up the atmosphere or lounge about reading a book. 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 incl.)

Wednesday — 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. Tonight we’ll stay in some fairly basic accommodation in a wonderful remote location.
Milford Lodge Chalets, Milford Sound (All meals)

Thursday — Sea kayak Milford Sound, hike Kepler Track

Most people see Milford Sound from the deck of a ship, but we've got a more active way – gliding along in sea kayaks, causing very little disruption for the best chance of getting up close and personal with the friendly fur seals and dolphins that are sometimes in the area. It's an early start this morning, but the calm waters and peaceful solitude that you'll enjoy out on the fiord, are well worth it. Fully kitted out in double sea kayaks and lead by a specialist kayak guide, the padding is equally suitable for beginners and experts alike. After kayaking, we'll enjoy a tasty lunch before heading out to explore more of Fiordland's wilderness on foot. This afternoon we'll take a hike on the famous Kepler Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks. Beginning at Rainbow Reach, we follow the track through mountain beech forest and along the Waiau River. It's an awesome hike with spectacular views! Tonight we'll stay on the edge of Lake Manapouri, enjoying the scenery and the delicious local fare.
Lake Manapouri Inn, Manapouri (All meals)

Friday — 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. Then we’ll drive through the tussock-country of Lindis Pass to Lake Pukaki, where we stay on Hamish and Julia McKenzie’s 5000 hectare high-country sheep farm, Braemar Station (station is the New Zealand word for a big ranch). While we’re here, we’ll stay in a farm cottage that was built for the sheep shearers. It’s a rustic little place with views that will knock your socks off – the biggest mountains in New Zealand piercing the sky on the far side of a gorgeous cobalt-blue lake. With no lights for miles around, the stars on a clear night are like nothing you’ve ever seen. Many of our clients have told us this was one of their favourite places on the whole trip – just the place for your last couple of nights in New Zealand!
Shearers’ quarters, Braemar Station (Breakfast, Dinner)

Saturday — Hike Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

Mt Cook, named Aoraki or ‘cloud piercer’ by South Island Maori, is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Directly opposite the mountain, we have a stunning day hike to the main ridge above Mueller Glacier. It’s a bit of a hike, but you’ll remember the view of the glacier and the surrounding peaks forever! The weather conditions are very important in this area, as it’s a true alpine climate notorious for sudden weather shifts. If we aren’t able to do the Mueller hike, or you’d like to take it a little easier, there’s an impressive hike up to a glacial lake (complete with icebergs!) at the base of the Hooker Glacier. Then we head back to Braemar Station for the last night of the ‘Rimu’. We’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner as we sit outside and watch the sun set on Aoraki/Mt Cook.
Shearers’ quarters, Braemar Station (All meals)

Sunday — Visit Morelea Farm, depart for home

After breakfast we’ll head into Mackenzie Country, to Morelea Farm, an 800 acre working farm producing wool, lamb, beef and some dairy grazing stock. The farm is nestled amidst rolling pastureland with the Canterbury Alps as a backdrop. Stan and Angie Taylor are your hosts here and they enjoy nothing better than sharing their love of farming - depending on the season you’ll see sheep shearing, dog round ups and lamb feeding. After a hearty farm-style lunch, we’ll head to Christchurch, arriving in time for afternoon flights. This is the end of your ‘Rimu’ 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, you can 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

Monday — Arrive, snorkel with fur seals or hike Kaikoura Peninsula

Most people leave the Northern Hemisphere on a Saturday evening, arriving in Auckland early Monday morning. You’ll lose a day crossing the dateline – but you get it back on the way home! It’s a short flight to Christchurch, in the South Island, where we’ll meet you. We’ll start your trip by travelling up the coast to the seaside town of Kaikoura where you have a choice of snorkeling with the local fur seals or hiking. You’ll be outfitted with everything you need to swim with the friendly New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) as they cavort in the water, and a specialist guide will accompany you. If you prefer to stay ashore, we’ll hike to the scenic Kaikoura Peninsula past weathered limestone cliffs to watch another colony of fur seals basking on the rocks and playing in the eddies.

Today is a relaxed introduction to New Zealand. 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.
Kaikoura Lodgings, Kaikoura (Lunch, Dinner)

Tuesday (morning) — Visit vineyard

From Kaikoura, we’ll travel along spectacular coastline for a couple of hours to Blenheim, in the Marlborough wine region. We’ll visit Forrest Estate Winery to sample some of their fantastic wines and have a picnic lunch before we head off for our various activities.

Tuesday (afternoon) — Start multi-day hiking, sea kayaking or mountain biking options

Hiking Option - Nelson Lakes National Park: The Angelus Circuit

Tuesday (afternoon) - Hike Angelus Circuit: Saint Arnaud to Lakehead Hut

Our hike begins in the charming village of Saint Arnaud, on the edge of Nelson Lakes National Park. This is serious wilderness country, with incredible views and marvellous solitude. The park straddles the upper Southern Alps, an area composed of beech forests, big lakes and even bigger mountains.We’ll hike the relatively gentle trail through the forest alongside Lake Rotoiti to Lakehead Hut, a small mountain cabin at the head of the lake and our home for the night. Our guides are pretty tough and they’ll carry the lion’s share of the load. All you’ll be carrying is a backpack with your sleeping bag, a few spare clothes, and a share of our food. To protect this beautiful and fragile environment, we always keep our group sizes small and our exact route flexible.
Lakehead Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park (All meals) 

Wednesday - Hike Angelus Circuit: Lakehead Hut to Angelus Hut

Today is an unforgettable day – the scenery gets better with each step! We follow the Travers River through beech forest, before heading up the Hukere Stream towards the ridgeline.This is a steep hike, with an elevation gain of 1,000 m (3,000 ft), but it’s absolutely worth it. The Angelus Circuit has exceptional scenic diversity, so it provides a great reward for the efforts you put in. We will encourage you all the way up to Angelus Hut, nestled beside a gorgeous alpine lake, whatever your hiking speed. Many people tell us this hidden gem was the highlight of their New Zealand adventure, and a lot of Kiwis prefer the Angelus Circuit to better-known tracks.
Angelus Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park (All meals)

Thursday (morning) - Hike Angelus Circuit: Angelus Hut to Lake Rotoiti

This morning you’ll wake up on top of the world. After breakfast, we’ll hike out along the barren Robert Ridge with dramatic views of Tasman Bay and the mountainous Kahurangi National Park in the distance. We’ll descend below the treeline again into native beech forest completing our hike on the shores of Lake Rotoiti. Here, we’ll meet up with the kayakers and cyclists and share stories of our adventures, before carrying on to the West Coast.

Sea Kayaking Option - Marlborough Sounds (Add US$799 + tax)

Tuesday (afternoon) - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

After lunch, you'll head to Ngakuta Bay in the Marlborough Sounds to begin three days of paddling in style. The waters are sheltered, meaning they are generally calm. The surrounding lush forest and rocky coastline are truly stunning. You'll be kitted out comfortably in your sea kayak with all the necessary safety equipment for paddling. After a thorough safety briefing, you'll head out with your specialist kayak guide for a gentle first day's paddle to Tanglewood B&B, with sparkling views of the surrounding sounds. This multi-day option is quite flexible, so you don't need any previous paddling experience, but if you are an experienced sea kayaker, we'll certainly keep you challenged.
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Wednesday - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

Today we'll kayak around the secluded bays of the Kenepuru Sound. You can paddle at your own pace and we'll make sure you get as much or as little 'paddle time' as you like! We'll check out the beaches, birdlife and native forest that characterise the area and enjoy being out on the water. With a bit of luck, we'll be visited by local dolphins, fur seals and little blue penguins (Eudyptula minor). You'll also have plenty of time to stop for short beach and forest walks along the way.
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Thursday (morning) - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

This morning we'll have another chance to spot wildlife as we paddle along the northern coastline from Anakiwa, in the Queen Charlotte Sound. We'll then cross over the Sound and finish back in Ngakuta bay, which will complete the round trip of the Grove Arm. This is where our sea kayaking ends, so after lunch in Picton we'll meet up with the rest of the group in Saint Arnaud before carrying on to the West Coast.

Mountain Bike Option - Queen Charlotte Track (Add US$799 + tax)

Tuesday (afternoon) - Mountain bike Queen Charlotte Track

The third option to personalise your trip is to bike a portion of the Queen Charlotte Track, rated one of the best mountain biking tracks in New Zealand. After lunch, you'll head to Anakiwa on the edge of Queen Charlotte Sound, where you'll be fitted with a Specialised Rockhopper 29er mountain bike, perfect for single track riding. Today we'll ride from Anakiwa to Onahau Bay lookout and back, a perfect taster of what's to come! Tonight, we'll stay at a cosy architecturally-designed bed and breakfast set amongst native tree ferns.
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Wednesday - Mountain bike Queen Charlotte Track

Awaking to native birdsong, we'll head out to Torea Saddle, where we will bike towards the Bay of Many Coves. This part of the track is known as 'The Jewel in the Crown' with stunning views of both Sounds. The area is also well known for its native beech forests, secluded golden beaches and birds, so it's an amazing area to explore at handle-bar level. 
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Thursday (morning) - Mountain bike Queen Charlotte Track

We'll spend the morning biking on the Waikawa Mountain Bike Park near Picton. Later we'll enjoy our lunch at the Picton Harbour before heading to Saint Arnaud to rejoin the hikers and carry on to the West Coast.

Thursday (afternoon) — Finish multi-day backpacking, sea kayaking or mountain biking

After regrouping in Saint Arnaud, we'll head across the Southern Alps to the West Coast – a dramatic and rugged coastline stretching 600 kilometres (372 miles), with a population of only 40,000 people. We'll mingle with the 'coasters' tonight in the seaside village of Punakaiki, exchanging tales of our adventures over fish and chips at the local pub!
West Coast lodgings, Punakaiki (All meals)

Friday — Hike Punakaiki Rainforest, explore Hokitika

We'll spend the morning hiking the Inland Pack Track through temperate rainforest and limestone canyons, following in the footsteps of gold miners who established this trail over a century ago. While we're in Punakaiki, we'll also check out the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes – aptly named limestone formations that have been sculpted through the relentless pounding of the Tasman Sea. Travelling along the scenic coastline, we'll stretch our legs in Hokitika and check out local art galleries and pounamu-carving workshops (pounamu is Maori for jade), before carrying on to the township of 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)

Saturday — Kayak Okarito Lagoon, hike coastal forest and beach

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. Later we'll hike through lush coastal forest to Three Mile Lagoon, and wander along the beautiful stony beach next to crashing waves. 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)

Sunday — Hike near 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. We'll spend most of the day near Franz Josef Glacier hiking up through the forest to either Alex Knob or Roberts Point, both of which give incredible views of the ice. These hikes can be inaccessible in wet weather, so we may opt to hike close to the terminal face of Fox Glacier, around Lake Matheson and to the Blue Pools near Haast Pass instead.

Optional Heli-hike (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 1,300 m (4,000 ft) 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 to 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 and then inland to Makarora, a small village bordering Mt Aspiring National Park, with incredible views of the snow-capped mountains.
Makarora Lodgings, Makarora (All meals)

Monday — Cycle Hawea River Trail

The landscape this morning changes rapidly from dense beech forests to semi-arid terrain. When we arrive at Lake Hawea, you’ll be fitted with a 21-speed front-suspension Specialized mountain bike for a scenic ride along the Hawea River Trail. This gently undulating track follows the Hawea and Clutha Rivers through the rugged Central Otago landscape to the charming lakeside town of Wanaka. Here we’ll stop for lunch before a short but dramatic journey over the Cardrona Saddle to Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, our base for the next couple of days. You’ll sleep sweetly tonight at a lakefront hotel located in the heart of Queenstown.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)

Tuesday — 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, sidewalk cafés, stylish lounge bars, day spas, and boutiques. You’ll also find incredible optional activities here, including horse trekking, a gondola, kayaking, fishing, winery tours, hang gliding, mountain biking, bungy jumping, jet boating, skydiving, as well as some great hiking opportunities. Or you can just soak up the atmosphere or lounge about reading a book. 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 incl.)

Wednesday — 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. Tonight we’ll stay in some fairly basic accommodation in a wonderful remote location.
Milford Lodge Chalets, Milford Sound (All meals)

Thursday — Sea kayak Milford Sound, hike Kepler Track

Most people see Milford Sound from the deck of a ship, but we've got a more active way – gliding along in sea kayaks, causing very little disruption for the best chance of getting up close and personal with the friendly fur seals and dolphins that are sometimes in the area. It's an early start this morning, but the calm waters and peaceful solitude that you'll enjoy out on the fiord, are well worth it. Fully kitted out in double sea kayaks and lead by a specialist kayak guide, the padding is equally suitable for beginners and experts alike. After kayaking, we'll enjoy a tasty lunch before heading out to explore more of Fiordland's wilderness on foot. This afternoon we'll take a hike on the famous Kepler Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks. Beginning at Rainbow Reach, we follow the track through mountain beech forest and along the Waiau River. It's an awesome hike with spectacular views! Tonight we'll stay on the edge of Lake Manapouri, enjoying the scenery and the delicious local fare.
Lake Manapouri Inn, Manapouri (All meals)

Friday — 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. Then we’ll drive through the tussock-country of Lindis Pass to Lake Pukaki, where we stay on Hamish and Julia McKenzie’s 5000 hectare high-country sheep farm, Braemar Station (station is the New Zealand word for a big ranch). While we’re here, we’ll stay in a farm cottage that was built for the sheep shearers. It’s a rustic little place with views that will knock your socks off – the biggest mountains in New Zealand piercing the sky on the far side of a gorgeous cobalt-blue lake. With no lights for miles around, the stars on a clear night are like nothing you’ve ever seen. Many of our clients have told us this was one of their favourite places on the whole trip – just the place for your last couple of nights in New Zealand!
Shearers’ quarters, Braemar Station (Breakfast, Dinner)

Saturday — Hike Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

Mt Cook, named Aoraki or ‘cloud piercer’ by South Island Maori, is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Directly opposite the mountain, we have a stunning day hike to the main ridge above Mueller Glacier. It’s a bit of a hike, but you’ll remember the view of the glacier and the surrounding peaks forever! The weather conditions are very important in this area, as it’s a true alpine climate notorious for sudden weather shifts. If we aren’t able to do the Mueller hike, or you’d like to take it a little easier, there’s an impressive hike up to a glacial lake (complete with icebergs!) at the base of the Hooker Glacier. Then we head back to Braemar Station for the last night of the ‘Rimu’. We’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner as we sit outside and watch the sun set on Aoraki/Mt Cook.
Shearers’ quarters, Braemar Station (All meals)

Sunday — Visit Morelea Farm, depart for home

After breakfast we’ll head into Mackenzie Country, to Morelea Farm, an 800 acre working farm producing wool, lamb, beef and some dairy grazing stock. The farm is nestled amidst rolling pastureland with the Canterbury Alps as a backdrop. Stan and Angie Taylor are your hosts here and they enjoy nothing better than sharing their love of farming - depending on the season you’ll see sheep shearing, dog round ups and lamb feeding. After a hearty farm-style lunch, we’ll head to Christchurch, arriving in time for afternoon flights. This is the end of your ‘Rimu’ 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, you can combine this trip with our 11-day ‘Kauri’ (5-day ‘Kauri’ options available).
(Breakfast, Lunch)

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Dates

Trip Date Price Status  
Sep 26 ’16 – Oct 9 ’16 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Oct 3 ’16 – Oct 16 ’16 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Oct 10 ’16 – Oct 23 ’16 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Oct 17 ’16 – Oct 30 ’16 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Oct 24 ’16 – Nov 6 ’16 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Oct 31 ’16 – Nov 13 ’16 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Nov 7 ’16 – Nov 20 ’16 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Nov 9 ’16 – Nov 22 ’16 US$4999 + tax Full
Nov 14 ’16 – Nov 27 ’16 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Nov 21 ’16 – Dec 4 ’16 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Nov 28 ’16 – Dec 11 ’16 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Dec 5 ’16 – Dec 18 ’16 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Dec 12 ’16 – Dec 25 ’16 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Dec 19 ’16 – Jan 1 ’17 US$4999 + tax Peak Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Dec 26 ’16 – Jan 8 ’17 US$4999 + tax Peak Season - Check Now! Check Availability
2017
Jan 2 ’17 – Jan 15 ’17 US$4999 + tax Peak Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Jan 9 ’17 – Jan 22 ’17 US$4999 + tax Peak Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Jan 16 ’17 – Jan 29 ’17 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Jan 16 ’17 – Jan 29 ’17 US$4999 + tax Full
Jan 23 ’17 – Feb 5 ’17 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Jan 30 ’17 – Feb 12 ’17 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Feb 6 ’17 – Feb 19 ’17 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Feb 13 ’17 – Feb 26 ’17 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Feb 20 ’17 – Mar 5 ’17 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Feb 27 ’17 – Mar 12 ’17 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Mar 6 ’17 – Mar 19 ’17 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Mar 13 ’17 – Mar 26 ’17 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Mar 20 ’17 – Apr 2 ’17 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Mar 27 ’17 – Apr 9 ’17 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
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Oct 2 ’17 – Oct 15 ’17 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 9 ’17 – Oct 22 ’17 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 16 ’17 – Oct 29 ’17 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
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Oct 30 ’17 – Nov 12 ’17 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 6 ’17 – Nov 19 ’17 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
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Nov 27 ’17 – Dec 10 ’17 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
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Dec 11 ’17 – Dec 24 ’17 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 18 ’17 – Dec 31 ’17 US$4999 + tax Peak Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Dec 25 ’17 – Jan 7 ’18 US$4999 + tax Peak Season - Check Now! Check Availability
2018
Jan 1 ’18 – Jan 14 ’18 US$4999 + tax Peak Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Jan 8 ’18 – Jan 21 ’18 US$4999 + tax Peak Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Jan 15 ’18 – Jan 28 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 22 ’18 – Feb 4 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 29 ’18 – Feb 11 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 5 ’18 – Feb 18 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 12 ’18 – Feb 25 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 19 ’18 – Mar 4 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 26 ’18 – Mar 11 ’18 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Mar 5 ’18 – Mar 18 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 12 ’18 – Mar 25 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 19 ’18 – Apr 1 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 26 ’18 – Apr 8 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Apr 9 ’18 – Apr 22 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Apr 23 ’18 – May 6 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Sep 24 ’18 – Oct 7 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 1 ’18 – Oct 14 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 8 ’18 – Oct 21 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 15 ’18 – Oct 28 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 22 ’18 – Nov 4 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 29 ’18 – Nov 11 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 5 ’18 – Nov 18 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 12 ’18 – Nov 25 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 19 ’18 – Dec 2 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 26 ’18 – Dec 9 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 3 ’18 – Dec 16 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
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Dec 17 ’18 – Dec 30 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 24 ’18 – Jan 6 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 31 ’18 – Jan 13 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
2019
Jan 7 ’19 – Jan 20 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 14 ’19 – Jan 27 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 21 ’19 – Feb 3 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 28 ’19 – Feb 10 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 4 ’19 – Feb 17 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 11 ’19 – Feb 24 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 18 ’19 – Mar 3 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 25 ’19 – Mar 10 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 4 ’19 – Mar 17 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 11 ’19 – Mar 24 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 18 ’19 – Mar 31 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 25 ’19 – Apr 7 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Apr 8 ’19 – Apr 21 ’19 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Apr 22 ’19 – May 5 ’19 US$4999 + 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 Christchurch airport 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 Monday.
Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, we recommend departing from Christchurch after 4pm on Sunday. If you are considering alternative flight times please check with us. International flights from Auckland usually leave early evening, so if you’re heading back to North America, you’ll get home some time on Sunday, even though you left on Sunday evening! Flights back to Europe, of course, take a little longer.

Fitness:

The ‘Rimu’ is one of our more adventurous trips, and has options to suit a wide range of fitness levels and outdoor experience. If you keep reasonably active and like to give things a go, you’re likely to enjoy the trip much more. If you’re used to pushing yourself, we’ll keep you challenged as well. Typically, hikes on the ‘Rimu’ trip range between two and five hours to complete, more, or less hiking is available depending on your multi-day option. If you think you’d prefer a more relaxed pace and shorter hikes, we recommend checking out our ‘Kiwi’ trip. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to chat about the various options.

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Reviews

  • I loved every second of my Rimu Trip!!

    “I honestly don't think I could have had a better trip. Every aspect was incredible. We had a great group, only 3 of us and our awesome guide Michelle. We were pretty easy going and up for most anything, so I think that helped with it being really relaxing, while also active and challenging. I loved kayaking in Queen Charlotte Sound and others. The accomodations were always very nice as well as the food we were served. Again, it really was an epic trip. I have so many favorite parts, but Milford Sound was the coolest experience I think. We ended up driving into Milford during a rain storm so it was if the mountains around us were crying. SO. MANY. WATERFALLS. It was a magical event and I was mesmerized by it. The next day we woke up and they were all gone,dried up. It was crazy! Hiking on and near the Franz Josef glacier was incredible. I really didn't have a bad moment. I would highly recommend active adventure to all of my friends and hope to take another trip in the future. Thank you!!”
    Alyson Schreider – Texas, United StatesJuly 2016
  • Great trip!

    “We had a great time on the Rimu trip. Our guides were extremely organized with pleasant personalities. I was amazed at how excellent the food was. They were great cooks in addition to knowledgeable guides. We did have more rain then expected which caused some changes in the scheduled activity. I would highly recommend Active Adventures for a guided trip where everything is provided with super guides. I am planning to use Active Adventures in the future for a trip to Peru.”
    Margaret Dale – Idaho, United StatesJune 2016
  • Challenging...and Rewarding

    “This was a beautiful trip through a beautiful country. The South Island has lots of environments and the folks we encountered were uniformly friendly and welcoming. The trip was beautifully organized to give us a variety of experiences and our guides were professional and fun. All I needed was more time to take pictures of this wonderful place!”
    Sher Orpen – Texas, United StatesJune 2016
  • Rimu trip March 2016

    “I was a little apprehensive about a group tour but it was a fantastic experience all ways round! The trip organisation was excellent, the guides were awesome & the group was great. We would not have done as many walks nor have seen nearly as many beautiful parts of the South Island if we'd organised the holiday ourselves. I would recommend it to anyone with a good level of fitness who wants to get out there and experience the great outdoors!”
    Jennifer Jefferies – New South Wales, AustraliaMay 2016
  • Fantastic Way to See New Zealand!

    “I had been to New Zealand before and knew I had to come back. I also knew I wouldn't settle for a normal tour. This adventure ticked all the boxes! There was some time spent on the bus, but that's the only way you can get to all the amazing places this tour will take you. The food is fantastic, accommodations range from "primitive" to amazing, depending on your choices, and the activities are flexible enough for almost everyone. Gary and Laura are the best! I had so much fun getting to know them and the others in our group. I would say 20% of a trip is who you are traveling with, but it can be 80% of your feelings about it. We hit the jackpot! Everyone was fantastic! I do need to qualify my 5-star rating. This trip was indeed excellent! But I have been on some amazing trips and they ALL warrant trip of a lifetime status.”
    Bev Stotz – New Mexico, United StatesMay 2016
  • A delightful couple of weeks

    “First off, New Zealand itself is just majestic!

    This was the first time we had ever participated in an organized travel sojourn and we had a lovely time. It was a treat to have someone else doing all the work and taking care of the logistics (especially nice for us perhaps since we're still deep in raising our own kids). Dan (K) and Tess were tireless in their efforts and unfailingly good humored, and it was fun getting to know the rest of the group traveling with us.

    Overall, I would say the trip was a little different than I expected (somewhat less active, somewhat older audience, etc) but no less enjoyable for it. Given that it is a group activity, there is some compromise involved in terms of people adjusting to each others pace and fitness levels. But that is offset by the enjoyable camaraderie of the group itself.

    The food was always plentiful - not always inspired, but usually quite tasty, and special efforts made to accommodate people's preferences. And there is a good amount of time on the bus, but hard to avoid that given how much ground the trip covers. Most days the travel time was broken up in such a way as to not seem onerous at all.

    All around, a very relaxing two weeks. Well recommended.”
    Bella Holmes – California, United StatesMay 2016
  • Best trip ever!

    “From the moment we arrived at the airport, we never worried about a single detail for two weeks - not food, not transport, not what we were going to do -- it was all perfectly planned and wonderfully executed. All we had to do was hike, bike, paddle, and relax!”
    Susan Winkler – Massachusetts, United StatesMay 2016
  • “As a keen hiker turned tramper Active Adventures certainly helped me discover and explore 'Shangri-la' and I feel blessed to be a short 3hr flight away living just north of Sydney - I will return!”
    Lynsey Mallett – New South Wales, AustraliaMay 2016
  • Great trip

    “Of course New Zealand is beautiful, and Vanessa and Holly made the trip as smooth as possible.”
    Armando Smithee – Texas, United StatesApril 2016
  • “Our trip was absolutely fantastic. The country is spectacular! Holly and Vanessa were great guides and our whole group was of lot of fun.”
    Karen Lienhart – New York, United StatesApril 2016
  • Rimu Adventure!

    “Stunning scenery, awesome adventures, and fantastic guides made this truly, a trip of a lifetime!”
    Melissa Lambert – California, United StatesApril 2016
  • The Gear List gave me a fright!

    “I come from a tropical island in the Caribbean and when I received the gear list, I thought I had signed up for an Extreme Adventure. Summer is defined differently in the South Island in New Zealand, but this trip was the most spectacular experience of my life and the places we hiked and visited were breathtaking.”
    Ivette Alonso-Triack – , Puerto RicoApril 2016
  • Rimu March 2016

    “I had the enormous pleasure to part of a Rimu Trip this March. I cant speak highly enough about the guides. They made us laugh, fed us gourmet meals (even while backpacking) and were a pleasure to spend time with. Good weather and bad, this trip is designed to make every moment enjoyable as long as you like being outside. Along with the planned swim with seals, our group was lucky enough to have dolphins jumping alongside our kayaks in the Milford Sound. Cant wait to come back!”
    Tara Chambers – Alberta, CanadaApril 2016
  • Rimu 2016

    “Our guides, Claire and Kirsten were prepared for any circumstance and the itinerary was extremely well planned. The many years of experience that Active Adventures has leading trips to the South Island culminated in a fantastic trip.”
    Ruth Fay – California, United StatesApril 2016
  • “I had been on the North Island for 6 months and looking for a way to see the beauty of the South Island without me having to do the planning and you certainly made it easy”
    Russell Emerson – North Carolina, United StatesApril 2016
  • “My wife and I have done a fair amount of traveling (hiking, cycling, kayaking, sailing) and this was undoubtedly our best trip!”
    Rick Terek – Rhode Island, United StatesApril 2016
  • A + trip

    “Incredible trip! The Rimu tour of the South Island was a picture perfect paradise presented by two amazing leaders. Claire and Kirsten could not have been more capable and committed to all of us having the best possible vacation. There are not two more competent and caring individuals. A+trip and A+leaders”
    Terry Schraeder – Rhode Island, United StatesApril 2016
  • Rimu Feb 2016

    “Hats off to Active for a fantastic adventure! Thoroughly enjoyable. Each activity was well planned and tailored to the desires and abilities of the group. Amanda and Kim kept us well informed and laughing all the way.”
    Robert Merwin – New Hampshire, United StatesApril 2016
  • Rimu - Feb 2016

    “The Rimu trip was designed exactly as I always wanted to experience such a beautiful country....hiking, biking and kyaking. Our guides showed us the best segments of some of the most beautiful hiking trails which would probably take months to navigate. Loved the knowledge of historical stories shared on our long travel days. The meals were delicious and healthy. Our group was super fun and by the first day we were already friends.

    The physical demands for this trip were high and I found myself out of my comfort zone on the 3 days trek. It wasn't the long hiking days, the 3,000 ft. elevation gain, the mud and water crossings, or sleeping in the huts. It was the up and over two huge rockpiles carrying a very heavy backpack where every step forward was uncertain, loose , sliding rocks. There was no looking around because you can't stand up straight and you can't take your eyes off your next step. This was not a "fun" part of the trip for me. But...I made it!”
    Deborah Calos – Nevada, United StatesApril 2016
  • Rejuvenating for the Body, Mind and Spirit

    “The Rimu trip exceeded my expectations. The combination of activities -- hiking, snorkeling, sea kayaking, and bicycling -- was perfect for us. We don't consider ourselves to be strong hikers, but we stay pretty active. The Rimu itinerary kept us challenged in a good way. We particularly liked the structure of the itinerary, home-cooked meals, homey-type accommodations, etc. We plan to travel with Active Adventures in the future.”
    Pam Taylor – Texas, United StatesApril 2016
  • Once in a lifetime adventure

    “This trip is filled with great people, beautiful walks & hikes and other adventures. It would be impossible to plan a trip like this on your own. The guides are fantastic and go out of their way to make the trip memorable for everyone. Go, go, go!”
    Carol Olsen – Illinois, United StatesApril 2016
  • Trip of a Lifetime

    “Amanda and Kim did an incredible job. Provided great information, cooked great meals, and were exceptionally accommodating. The trip itself was a wonderful experience and I felt we did see the whole South Island.”
    Shel Orkin – Illinois, United StatesApril 2016
  • Doug Ahmann's RIMU review

    “The combination of guides from New Zealand (Dan K) and Peru (Elder) was excellent. Dan brought his kind and gentle leadership skills along with his vast knowledge of New Zealand culture and topography of the South Island. Elder brought his friendly and helpful attitude along with boundless energy and his ability to draw you into appreciating the beauty of New Zealand that you are seeing all around you. Both guides were very strong and hard workers in doing all the logistics of food purchasing, meal prep, cleaning up, and even carrying some of our loads at times when the conditions were difficult. They made good excursion choices of the level of difficulty according to the abilities (and tiredness) of our group! What was fun also was to watch Dan and Elder show youthful enthusiasm, especially when we came to places where they would jump into their favorite swimming holes! I'll have to say I enjoyed joining in with them on one of those playful moments!

    I believe that we all felt like we received a personalized adventure tour of the South Island that was tailored to our abilities, and will leave positive lasting memories of the land of New Zealand. It was great watching the group rise to levels of physical abilities higher than they personally thought possible, especially on the three-day backpack trip in the Nelson Lakes area. I think all felt a big sense of accomplishment when we looked back at how far we hiked and how high we climbed with backpacks!”
    Douglas Ahmann – Washington, United StatesApril 2016
  • Great Trip to see the South Island

    “This trip is designed well, with not only a variety of activities, but the ability to visit a variety of places on the South Island. Very comprehensive!”
    Vanessa Kalis – California, United StatesApril 2016
  • Trip of a Lifetime!

    “New Zealand has been at the top of my list to visit for awhile and it didn't disappoint. Going with Active Adventures made it even better! Our tour guides, Holly and Vanessa, were outstanding and the whole tour group made the trip very memorable. Not only were the "adventures" amazing, but having great company to do it with really made it the trip of a lifetime. I would highly recommend Active Adventures! Thank you for an epic trip!”
    Ashley Jordan – Tennessee, United StatesApril 2016
  • Who knew.......

    “....that a group of strangers could have so much fun together? Our guides Rachel and Jasmine deserve the lion's share of the credit for making our two week trip memorable and fun. Laughter against stunning visual landscape backdrops was the theme of our group, with each individual admired and accepted for what they contributed. Rachel skillfully took care of our nourishment needs (this was a lot of work) and Jasmine safely delivered us from one amazing place to another. Her stories provided wonderful context to wherever we were visiting. They both knew just how much to challenge the group physically and allowed for a wide range of stamina and abilities. One thing I loved about our guides, Rachel and Jasmine, is that they are incredibly proud to show off New Zealand and share their own stories. Terrific people!”
    Nibs Nichols – Maine, United StatesApril 2016
  • Rimu Feb 2016

    “What a trip! Great adventures, great guides, great group, great weather! So many highlights, Mt. Cook, Angelus hut, Milford Sound, the list is endless. Thank you Active for over delivering with those little touches that you do so well!”
    Joanna Clarke – Alberta, CanadaMarch 2016
  • A very fine time was had by all

    “Loved my New Zealand trip with Active Adventures because not only do they know the best places to visit, as they are or, they are well organized and safe when it comes to all events, lodging, and managing the myriad personalites and abilities of our challenging group. And our guides Katie and Kirsten were great cooks/bakers, strong, patient, and mostly fun! Then there are the contact gals, Ellie And Lynette, who took care of my fiance's crazy Valentine wishes from back home in the Rockies to finding and mailing my favorite old shoes back to the states. The personal care each staff/guide gave us made it all worth flying over there and exploring an extremely unique and beautiful country. The folks at Active are a wonderful, prime example of the rest of their fellow country kiwis, friendly and helpful! I highly recommend this team of experts!”
    Diana Dear – Colorado, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Steve's March 2016 Rimu Review

    “I have to start this review with my comments on the guides, Vanessa and Holly. They far exceeded any expectations I had prior to the trip! No matter whether they were cooking, driving, or leading our activities, they did it all with expertise, enthusiasm, and a smile. They were the best!

    We were unable to join the beginning of the trip due to our schedules and travel issues, but the 8 days we were there were wonderful. We saw some of the best New Zealand has to offer and are already talking about returning in the future when we have more time. As their name suggests, an Active Adventure trip is active! But they combine the hikes, biking, etc. with some well-deserved pampering, along with the opportunity to learn about the country you're seeing. I highly recommend an Active Adventures trip.”
    Steve Jordan – Tennessee, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Steph's Rimu Review

    “This trip was wonderful from beginning to end! Though I wasn't able to join the group until the evening of Day 6, due to time and travel constraints, the Active Adventures team made it work. Guides Vanessa and Holly were warm and welcoming! They know New Zealand and provided information and fun along the way. They took care of all aspects of the trip from packing bags in the trailer (Kermit), to driving (Ernest), to cooking and serving healthy meals, to listening to us "foreigners", good-naturedly! Thanks!!”
    Stephanie Jordan – Tennessee, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Rimu Trip 2016

    “This trip was a great overview of the South Island. Our motto on the trip was "Live the movie, don't watch it." With all of the activity and sights I felt like we were doing just that. The guides did an excellent job making the trip seamless and enjoyable, and the group itself was fantastic.”
    Tarn Ostrow – Washington, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Rimu 2016 (South)

    “The Rimu trip was lovely. We had a congenial group and two wonderful guides. We had a few weather issues which cannot be avoided but the company and the guides made the best of them. I enjoyed the company and the sites. I was especially enamoured by the Braemar Sheep station and the Mt Cook hike. The logistics were superbly managed. Some of the days were a bit long and it would be great if they could be shortened a bit.”
    Christine Harrison – Ontario, CanadaMarch 2016
  • Beautiful Action-Packed Trip

    “I found the trip to be a wonderful exploration of South Island New Zealand. DK and Elder were very competent and professional guides, as well as fun-loving and personable. The trip was challenging and fun and adventurous and beautiful. We really explored all that the South Island had to offer. I didn't like the backpacking segment - too rugged and risky for me. I loved everything else about the trip. The group size of 12 was perfect.”
    Kathy Berryman – Arizona, United StatesMarch 2016
  • First-class leaders created an unbeatable experience!

    “This was our first guided tour and after 20 years of making all of our own reservations, it was a dream. The only decision to make was what to have for dinner...everything else was planned beautifully, down to the minute. Our group's pacing was terrific - we never felt rushed yet accomplished so much each day! Because AA NZ has been around so long, they know of the best places to go at the optimal times to avoid crowds and maximize enjoyment of the experience. Our thoughtful leaders paid close attention to our needs and even surprised my husband with a cake on his birthday!”
    Judy Gross – New Hampshire, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Wonderful trip highly recommend it

    “What a lovely trip. We didn't have to lift a finger. The guides were very knowledgeable and kept everyone engaged. The areas we visited were just astounding. I would recommend this tour to family and friends who want a little taste of everything on the South Island.”
    Stacey Gray – Hawaii, United StatesMarch 2016
  • South Island is beautiful!

    “I really enjoyed the trip. Details are nailed down! I especially loved the variety of accommodations which were in beautiful locations. The food was incredible and the guides knowlegable and friendly.”
    Nancy Pfeifer – California, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Great trip!

    “Great guides and great scenery! Very well organized trip.”
    Mike Munsey – Alaska, United StatesMarch 2016
  • How to make a trip into an adventure?

    “How to make a trip into an adventure? Have Gary and Holly be your guides.
    New Zealand is an amazing country, but what made this trip an amazing adventure were, Gary and Holly. They were incredible, always had positive outlooks, quick with a smile, and a Maori legend. They took a sincere interest in every member of our group. They also have incredible patience. Active Adventures is extremely fortunate to have guides of that caliber.”
    Denny McConnell – New Jersey, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Truly and Amazing Vacation

    “Marilyn and I were amazed by the friendly outgoing people we met up with during our travels. The "Kiwis" really enjoy showing off their beautiful country to the diverse groups of visitors who come here each season. We can see why so many travelers fall in love with these breathtaking mountains, lakes and oceans when you are surrounded by a fun loving, polite and congenial people.”
    Marilyn Glenn – Washington, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Words Cannot Describe

    “I have wanted to see New Zealand for several years. My hope was to see it first-hand--outside! We were outside and adventuring daily. There was much that challenged me but I wouldn't trade a second of it. The trip was exceptionally well-organized. Every detail was taken care of. The guides were helpful and engaging and extraordinarily hard working. Their joy in taking us through New Zealand was contagious. Thanks!!!”
    Jo Dee Ahmann – Washington, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Christmas with Rimu!

    “A brilliant 2 weeks spent exploring the South Island - could not be more grateful to our guides for making the trip so special!”
    Rachel Munns – Greater London , United KingdomMarch 2016
  • A once in a lifetime experience

    “”
    David Anderson – New Jersey, United StatesMarch 2016
  • “If you are interested in experiencing the high points of the South Island this is the trip for you.”
    Al Reynolds – Rhode Island, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Rimu Feb. 2016

    “What a wonderful trip we had! The South Island is magnificent! Where ever one looked the scenery was fantastic. We had a awesome group, fabulous guides and great weather.”
    Kathy Pratt – Rhode Island, United StatesMarch 2016
  • lived it! loved it!

    “loved the whole trip.

    first off, we had the best guides ever. they set the tone for the group - and made sure that we made the most of every moment. they have different styles but the same passion for life and shared that with us.

    second - new zealand is just an amazing place. thank you for sharing your home with me! i get now why the govt requires you to have an exit ticket when you come - I certainly didn't want to leave! :)

    last - we had so much fun together as a group. I think the company attracts a certain personality type which just makes this kind of trip super fun.

    thanks! :)”
    Connie Chang – Massachusetts, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Rimu southbound 2/16

    “This trip was incredible! New Zealand is otherworldly, and the trip was planned to showcase much of its best. It was physically challenging for me, but always rewarding. Our guides were superb, and our group bonded tightly. The logistics were incredibly smooth - lots of kudos all around. Visiting New Zealand had been at the top of my list for years, and I will definitely go again. Many thanks to Katie and Joe, who worked incredibly hard, were always upbeat and pleasant, and whose contribution to our enjoyment can't be overestimated.”
    Leslie Kahl – Oregon, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Great Adventure

    “I really enjoyed my Rimu trip with Active Adventures and especially enjoyed our guides, Gary and. Holly. They both went out of their way to guide us, take care of us, keep us entertained, and cook for us. Gary drove our bus down winding roads and over one-way bridges, sometimes through the pouring rain.


    This is a very active trip, and you should be in good shape if you want to do it! Many of the hikes are not easy and most involve climbing. It is a workout, and I was very tired by the end of our trip. I thought the meals and lodgings provided by Active were excellent. In some places we had to share bathrooms, but these were remote lodgings in beautiful places that we would not have seen if traveling on our own.

    This trip is well worth it if you are in decent shape and are ready for some tough hikes. I describe our 3-day hike in more detail on my blog: http://www.robinbarefield.com/blog”
    Robin Barefield – Alaska, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Believe the active in "Active Adventures"

    “This was our second visit to NZ. The AA itinerary gets you to so many amazing places on the South Island in a relatively short amount of time. . Does help to be in shape for this tour but our guides, Katie and Joe did a great job getting us through the tough parts. Loved the challenge and met a great group of people on the trip.”
    Mary Reynolds – Rhode Island, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Fiords, friends, food and fun

    “This was my first visit to NZ and after spending two weeks on the North Island I joined the RIMU group for a truly memorable trip. Our outstanding guides, DK and Elder, often kept us busy from 7:00AM to 7:00PM. I was surprised by the diverse landscape; it is not just green hills and sheep or glaciers. Beaches, lakes, rivers, forests, lagoons, vineyards, arid areas, grasslands, alpine ridges - New Zealand has it all. The 3-day trek is a great bonding experience. It may be more challenging than you think if you are not used to hiking in rugged alpine terrain. The entire trip was very well organized, or as someone in the group said, it runs like a well oiled machine. In no small part, this was due to our two guides. They managed to be laid back and professional at the same time. They are also excellent cooks and prepared many of the groups' meals. I say without hesitation that some of those dinners could have been served at an upscale restaurant. Finally, the camaraderie among the travellers was wonderful. But it all starts with the guides' attitude and spirit which will be reflected back by the group. Well done guys!”
    Irene Fritschi Nelin – British Columbia, CanadaMarch 2016
  • Active Adventures

    “As the title says, you are active all day, dawn to dusk. Most days there is no time to even sit back and read a newspaper. Breakfast 7-7:30 am, on the road by 8:30am........some days more time spent on the bus travelling to certain destinations. Supper is somewhat late in the day but that can't be helped. I found no time for anything but bed after eating....early bird gets the worm!! Kudos (sp?) to the guides and their cooking skills. The food was great, healthy and never-ending....better than any of the restaurants we went to. The comraderie on the bus between everyone was great....I miss my "family"! I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
    Susie Armishaw – British Columbia, CanadaMarch 2016
  • Nelson Lakes

    “The Nelson Lakes National Park is spectacular. The views on the trails are so vast, there are no words to adequately describe them. The Angelus hut is well worth the effort up the Cascade trail. I saw the Southern Cross and Milky Way just before dawn. This place was the highlight of the trip for me and will stay with me forever.”
    Liz McCarthy – Massachusetts, United StatesMarch 2016
  • 2016 Rimu with Kate Brown and Kirsten

    “The guides--Kate and Kirsten--make or break a trip and in the case of our trip, they MADE the trip. I have total admiration for these gals.”
    Pamela Woodward – Washington, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Rimu Southbound!

    “Truly a wonderful trip and thrilled to have ventured south first...conquering the Mt. Cook hike before the backpacking trek and Rodgers Ridge!
    The professionalism, passionate, knowledge, class, humor, and unique touches from Andy and Mel along with the wonderful, eclectic group of people with whom I travelled made this the best adventure trip.
    With that said, the South Island of New Zealand is clearly pristine and majestic and was the perfect land for the adventure story to unfold.
    Ah, yes... great food; very important indeed! highly recommend this trip!”
    Grae Garl – New Hampshire, United StatesMarch 2016
  • RIMU 2016

    “We had a wonderful time with Active Adventures during our RIMU trip. Our guides: Ken and Alex were wonderful, engaging, cheerful and fun!”
    Kimberly Weekes – Wisconsin, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Great Experience!

    “Overall the trip was amazing and we were extremely well taken care of by our guides Gary and Holly...they were what made a good trip great!”
    Mike Hofmann – , SingaporeMarch 2016
  • Rimu

    “The Rimu Trip is an excellent way to see the South Island. You will get a honest appreciation of this beautiful, majestic country and the warm, happy people who live there. I won't forget New Zealand, especially the turquoise, glacier-fed lakes, rugged mountains, and the star studded night sky!”
    Jo Powers – Washington, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Mind, Body and Soul

    “Our Rimu trip with eleven people, six in our family, was an over the top adventure every day. My husband and I were the oldest and slowest, but we were encouraged by our enthusiastic and understanding guides, Alex and Jasmine, and we enjoyed the variety of activities. We experienced breath-taking sights and sites, mountains, lakes, rivers and towns. And we were very well fed. We came home on an emotional high. Thank you Active Adventures!”
    Nina Gray – Illinois, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Rimu South Island Adventure

    “The company chose its name well - Active Adventures - and lived up to its reputation as a well-organized, professional tour company that shows you the real New Zealand with plenty of outdoor adventure packed into a short time. I’m a lifelong athlete in above average condition for my age (58) , and the guides were very accommodating to meet the diverse fitness levels of everyone in our group. Many times I ran the trails - and did extra extensions or hikes at the suggestion of the guides. I got in a good 6 - 8 hours of activity every day - whereas other had a more moderate pace and adventure. By being with Active Adventures, you can expend as much energy as you like on the adventures themselves without having to be concerned with logistics (hotels, luggage, weather, cooking, driving the bus, etc.). The Rimu itinerary covers a lot of ground and we saw and experienced the highlights of the entire South Island in two weeks. I enjoyed both the food (about half the meals were tasty & healthy prepared by the guides themselves) & accommodation (a diverse set of charming lodgings). Christmas at the Shearers’ quarters in the Mt Cook area was a special treat - and then everyone got into the holiday spirit to make it a memorable occasion.”
    Howard Goshulak – Ontario, CanadaMarch 2016
  • Rimu fun

    “Excellent trip. Our guides, Rachael and James pushed us but that was exactly what we needed. The entire group was tremendous with everyone getting along and sharing.”
    Hank Langhals – Ohio, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Stan's Rimu Trip

    “This was a great way to see New Zealand's South Island! It was great to be on the trip with two guides that were native New Zealanders. I feel like I experienced the South Island like very few people get a chance to. The other travelers in our group were great and there was a lot of fun interaction!”
    Stan Oswald – Nebraska, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Wonderful country-wonderful people

    “I have traveled to a lot of places around the world generally in search of landscapes, wildlife and culture. This trip was highlighted by the people of New Zealand, our guides Kate and Kirsten and the special people that comprised our group. They all made the trip so much better. By limiting this group to 12 we were assured of comfort on the bus, relaxed meals and correct paces on the activities.”
    Scott Woodward – Washington, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Active

    “I am a man of few words!
    The tour was fantastic, well organised, well balanced, ACTIVE, and the same time relaxing!
    As one Indian gentlemen said on our jet boating trip in Queenstown - "lovely".
    Thanks must go to our two guides - they kept us well fed with food and knowledge - with a smile and a joke.
    Our tour team was panoramically great - thanks to all for making it a trip not to forget.
    Let's not forget who organised the weather - it was perfect.
    Active is the best description.”
    Richard Tough – Fife, United KingdomMarch 2016
  • WONDERFUL TRIP

    “The Rimu trip was such a great way to experience many of the wonders of New Zealand's South Island and its friendly adventurous laid-back culture, and I'll treasure forever sharing it with my daughter!

    The hiking and kayaking were at times challenging but always uplifting, the scenery dramatically changed every few hours, and the comaraderie of the group, - all ages and nationalities- made the 2 weeks comfortable, exciting and fun.
    Being in the exhilarating wild places we visited - besides making me love NZ - reminded me of the importance of loving and being physically and emotionally present in nature.”
    Laine Alexander – Maine, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Awesome trip with super knowledgeable guides

    “I really enjoyed the skill and knowledge of our guides. They were able to adapt to all sorts of quirks among the guests and changes in circumstances. They were great cooks and had an over abundance of additional hikes for those who were still energetic. We couldn't have packed more in and for traveling to so many remote places, I appreciated that.”
    Will Mitchell – Texas, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Rimu Trip Following My Kauri Trip

    “Much of what I said in my Kauri Trip applies to my Rimu Trip. My wife and I signed up for both the Kauri Trip that covers the North Island of New Zealand as well as the Rimu Trip that covers the South Island. We knew that we may never get back to New Zealand and wanted to see experience all that New Zealand had to offer. After completing the Kauri trip we did not think the South Island could match the beauty but we were wrong. The beauty of the South Island was amazing also and in different ways making ever day a completely new and amazing adventure. Seeing both the North and South Islands is necessary to get the total view of New Zealand.”
    Phil McLemore – Georgia, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Trip of a life time

    “One of the best trips I have ever done. It was certainly challenging!! but the team spirit and our wonderful guides (Andy and Mel) were there every step of the way. It was certainly demanding at times but it was fabulous that our group were all about the same level of fitness and we all completed everything.”
    Chris Hughes – South Australia, AustraliaMarch 2016
  • Fantastic Trip!

    “The Rimu trip exceeded my expectations. All the activities, guides, and accommodations were amazing. It was a great opportunity to spend time with my mom and see so much. Even long travel days were broken up nicely with hikes. Overall amazing trip... Now I'm looking at Active Adventure trips is South America.”
    Isabel Alexander – Maine, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Awesome Adventures!

    “Having just completed the "Rimu" trip, I am already missing our daily adventures and activities! It was completely run as advertised, with our excellent guides, Gary and Holly who were phenomenal! They catered to our every need, encouraged us when we needed it, and were tremendous cooks! They constantly checked in with us to make sure we were getting the most out of the trip! We kayaked, swam with the seals, hiked up and down some of the best tracks NZ can offer, saw dozens of waterfalls,and experienced the unbelievable beauty of this country. One word of advice - this trip is best enjoyed if you have a good level of fitness. Thanks Active -I will never forget this trip and hope to return some day!”
    Debbie Broeker – California, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Wonderful Trip with Terrific Guides and Participants

    “New Zealand is a beautiful and wonderful place. We couldn't have found all the terrific places we saw and visited on our own. Part of what made the trip so successful was the great guides, James and Rachael; a great, well matched group to travel with; and perfect weather.”
    Thomas Cramer – California, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Reflections, Rimu trip Southbound

    “What can I say, words can not express enough the fun that Richard and I have just had on the Rimu South Island trip. This was our first (and hopefully not our last) Active Adventures tour.

    From the moment we were met at the airport on day 1 all aspects of our Rimu trip were immense. Our guides Andy and Mel were great hosts with their knowledge and enthusiasm, their attention to detail in a relaxed enjoyable manner, their passionate and infectious approach to having a great time, provision of snacks, picnics and fantastic evening meals all at perfect spots and even Mel’s ability to make a cheesecake at 1650m at Angelus Hut during our 3 day hike was all fab. Added to that, no walk was ever too rushed. Mel was happy to chat away with me middle of the first week when I was at the back due to my legs still recovering from the decent of Muller Ridge on day 2. And with my fear of heights, Andy was brilliant in guiding me across the rocky parts of Roberts Ridge during our 3 day hike.

    Added to that, our small group of 8 from Scotland, USA and Australia all of similar ability added to the enjoyment. With plenty of fun along the way hiking, cycling, kayaking and snorkeling all with the sun shining made the places we visited very special and hopefully we will be back soon to experience more.”
    Mandy Strachan – Fife, United KingdomFebruary 2016
  • Wonderful. Exactly what I was looking for.

    “Was a wonderful trip and exactly what I was looking for. One day into the trip confirmed that I picked the right group. The trip leaders kept things moving at a nice pace fast pace. Very little down time. It was wonderful having the driving and organizing in someone else's hands.”
    Betsy Rowland – Pennsylvania, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Amazing Natural Beauty and amazing guides

    “We loved our trip to the South Island of New Zealand. The natural beauty took my breath away and the guides, Rachel and James, were beyond professional.”
    Martha Van Orshoven – California, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • South Island Rimu Trip

    “I was expecting an outdoor experience and the chance to see much of South Island. This trip turned out to be much, much more. As I sit back and think about the trip, review my photographs and trip log, each day I relieve the experiences. This trip was much, much more than I had ever expected. It was well beyond my high expectations. I was interdicted to the beauty of New Zealand. I would pack my bag and leave tomorrow to do the trip again. The memories, experiences, friendships will be with me for a lifetime. Okay, there was great scenery, great experiences, but all this was the result of Katie and Kirsten. These two women were the best guides I have even seen anywhere!”
    Rick Giardino – Texas, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Rimu

    “Had a wonderful time. The guides, Jasmine and Alex were great, very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. All the activities were well organised and enjoyable. This is my third trip with Active Adventures and their trips are always very well organised and great fun. The South Island is stunningly beautiful with lakes and mountains throughout; my favourite place to visit so far. Would highly recommend.”
    Frances Partridge – Hertfordshire, United KingdomFebruary 2016
  • Awesome adventure!

    “Active Adventures knows how to do it right! Had a great time hiking and experiencing beautiful New Zealand. The guides Michelle and Alex made the trip fun and seamless. I can't wait for my next trip with Active Adventures!”
    Jennifer Purpero – California, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • And we were where?

    “The guides Katie and Kirsten we the life blood of the trip and the group its vital veins. We had many great adventures. Glaciers, streams, rivers, waterfalls oh my! There can be no more beautiful place on the earth. Everything reminded me of " the Shire " and a Hobbit, could wander by any minute.
    Loved the trip, loved the guides and most importantly loved the group”
    Gerald Peak – Colorado, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Excellent

    “After experiencing three Active trips in South America, I was excited to do the Rimu trip in NZ. Once again, the trip exceeded my expectations. Our guides were very accommodating and informative as they led us around the South Island. I would highly recommend this trip - bucket list trip for sure.”
    Amy Schliem – South Carolina, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • A trip I'll never forget

    “Hiking up mountains, through rainforests, and across rivers. Kayaking around fjords and swimming with seals. The Rimu trip was like five vacations in one and I loved it!”
    Miriam Maring – New York, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Challenging Adventure

    “Great time. So different from the North Island. Hiking was really challenging but so glad we were up to it. Proved to ourselves that we were as fit as we hoped we were. Kayaking was awesome. Guides were great and took such good care of us.”
    Jane McLemore – Georgia, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Naturalist's Heaven

    “Everything about our New Zealand Active Adventures trip was eye-opening and a delight. I didn't know what to expect or even what I hoped for, but the Active Adventures trip surpassed anything I ever could have imagined.”
    Susan Knight – Wisconsin, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Truly Awesome Rimu

    “Unbelievably good! Beyond expectations! Expertly planned, superbly executed and thoroughly enjoyed.”
    Valerie Heslop – Aberdeenshireshire, United KingdomFebruary 2016
  • Beyond our expectations, Rimu tour Southbound

    “What a fantastic trip we had on the Active Adventures Rimu tour of the South Island. Out tour hosts were absolutely brilliant with a very nice balance between friendliness and professionalism. One of the hallmarks of this trip was the outstanding attention to detail, all aimed at the comfort, convenience and enjoyment of the whole group - Details like timing, food choices, availability of snacks and water, safety advice, choice of music on the bus, timing of comfort breaks and so much more.

    Andy and Mel's infectious enthusiasm for everything New Zealand has to offer rubbed off on all of us and it is very likely that we will be back for more.

    On a.practical note, the word 'Active' is not in the company name by mistake! We did the Southbound Rimu and day 1 involves a hike to Muller ridge with a height gain of around 1000m. A tough start (my wife and I are just each side of 60) but the pace was well managed and the picnic spot at half way was one of many spectacular locations we were taken to on the holiday.

    Our fitness levels were definitely enhanced by the end of the trip and if you have a grain of adventurous spirit in your body then we can wholeheartedly recommend the Active Adventures Rimu tour to you.”
    David Heslop – Aberdeenshireshire, United KingdomFebruary 2016
  • Four and a half!

    “A very good trip.
    Firstly, a bit different from several previous trekking holidays. More expensive, but more inclusive. The accommodation varied from very comfortable to posh, hot showers and ensuites, apart of course by necessity from the Angelus mountain huts. Andy and Mel were central to the success of the tour, working tirelessly to keep us extremely well fed, and helping to mould our geographically diverse group into a coherent unit. The tour itself was a well-tailored sample of South Island highlights, diverse and often stunning, often surpassing expectations formed from the trip notes.
    Additionally we were fortunate in several respects. We had outstanding weather, only half a day's liquid sunshine in a fortnight. The group was small (8), and although geographically diverse ( Scots 4, US2, Oz2), were largely of a similar age and fitness. And our leaders Andy & Mel worked very well together, despite this being their first trip together....the group benefitted immensely from this. Their skills were often complementary; Andy shared his extensive knowledge of local natural history, and Mel demonstrated remarkable culinary skills. Finally, the activity selection was varied and well-paced; the tramping of course, but also the kayaking, mountain biking and perhaps most surprisingly, the snorkelling with seals, were all really enjoyable.
    I never rate a trip as 100%, because this implies that it cannot be surpassed, and I don't have that knowledge. But definitely 4 1/2, highly recommended, well done to the entire team!!”
    Alan Hughes – South Australia, AustraliaFebruary 2016
  • “The guides were fantastic, coupled with the gorgeous scenery, it made for one our most memorable trips.”
    Jeff Zutz – Wisconsin, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Amazing Adventure

    “I had an amazing time on the RIMU trip; it was the trip of a lifetime... the itinerary was remarkable and the guides were exceptional. I would recommend this highly!”
    Jorge Benitez – Florida, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • An Adventure of a Lifetime

    “I finished my two week Rimu (southbound) journey in late January. We had an amazing trip. I traveled solo but instantly developed friendships with everyone in my tour group. You will not go hungry on this adventure. Joe was a fantastic chef. Vanessa, our Kiwi guide and driver, was amazing - always prepared, full of knowledge, fun, great with recommendations. Everyday was fantastic. Braemar Station was one of my favorite stops. The scenery was phenomenal. Queenstown will fill any adventurer's itinerary. I opted to zipline in Queenstown and heli-bike (Fat Tyre Adventures) - memories I will not soon forget. Lodging accommodations were good. While good weather cannot be guaranteed, my tour group experienced only one day of meaningful rain (Milford Sound). Whether you are looking for an ACTIVE challenge or a change of pace adventure, this is the trip for you. The guides will mold the trip to your skill level, but the trip is quite active - my Fitbit is proof. Amazing, breath-taking, serene, vast, fun, wild, epic, once-in-a-lifetime are a few adjectives to describe my experience. Did I mention the friendships that are possible? If you are thinking about this trip, do it!”
    Michael Alley – Texas, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Well done -- big picture to small details

    “As any seasoned traveler knows, it's not just about getting to the beautiful places and experiences... it's about how you get there: what's the ratio of smooth, no-fuss to aggravation, annoyance and (bad) surprises. No trip is perfect on that score, but it's hard to imagine things going more smoothly than what the folks at Active Adventures assembled and executed for us.

    Big picture, the RIMU trip hits just about as many of the highlights of the South Island that one could hope for in a two-week trip. I'd probably have appreciated another day each on Milford and Routeburn Treks, but not quite sure what to have given up to make it so.

    But that isn't the distinguishing factor for me--you can pick and choose from among the itineraries of the various tour companies, or plan your own, to your tastes. What made the difference was the care and precision with which everything was executed. Both the tour company far in advance, and our guides on the trip (Michelle, Mel(issa) and Dave were organized, let us know what we needed to know in advance, delivered what they said they would deliver, knowledgeable, and were appropriately prepared with contingency plans when weather demanded some improvisation. Two weeks of no worries as a result, which made the enjoyment of the big picture stuff that much more fulfilling.”
    Wayne Davis – Massachusetts, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Wonderful trip on South Island

    “I had a great trip on the South Island with a great group and wonderful activities! At the most days, there are options for those which would like to do more as well as for those which would like to just go for a small walk.

    The trip was greatly organized and I had a very active holiday, but it was anyway a recovering time. It was a wonderful way to experience New Zealand's South Island!”
    Samuel Moser – Schwyz, SwitzerlandFebruary 2016
  • The guides that rule the magical world.

    “From day one all the way through Katie and Kirsten are the reason my trip to NZ forever will be remembered as truly magical. Their proffessionalism and their energy and vibe was impeccable. Katie you do drive that bus like a champ! The group was really great - the weather not so much. Funny though how I already remember the days as being blessed with sunshine where it was needed the most.”
    Marlene Zollner – , DenmarkFebruary 2016
  • Trip of a lifetime...

    “While more physically challenging than I was able to train for - I made it through every day of my adventure with joy and wonder. What a beautiful country and a generous welcoming people I found in New Zealand. Our group was great and our guides Holly and Claire were the 'dream team'! So thankful that I was able to see places like Milford Sound, Punakaiki, Nelson Lakes National Park, Kaikoura, and all the places in between. I would never have been able to put together a trip like this on my own and am glad I found 'Active Adventures'. Thanks for helping me check this off my bucket list!”
    Joanne Lenahan – Arkansas, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Rimu Jan 2016

    “Fantastic trip, the first group trip I've ever done. Spent a bit of time driving every day (the South Island is big by the way), but the guides interspersed the time with great coffee shops, stops at interesting places to take pictures or impromptu walks to stretch our legs. The food was amazing and the guides managed to incorporate all of our requests for New Zealand dishes we heard of on the way. As for the activities - I had a different muscle hurting each day, went to sleep exhausted every night, and woke up each morning excited for our next adventure.”
    Roselynn Gentles – Montana, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Wonderful trip with Active.

    “Wonderful trip with Active Adventures. Katie and Kirsten were amazing and seemed to know what we needed before we knew it ourselves. A great way to explore the South Island and make some new friends.”
    Caitlin Miller – , ItalyFebruary 2016
  • “Overall a great trip. We were able to see a lot of the South Island. Both James and Kirsten were very nice, helpful and informative.”
    Leslie McCormick – California, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Excellent adventure

    “My family and I were blessed to experience New Zealand with Active Adventures. This was our second trip with them (Patagonia) and they delivered an excellent adventure. Our guides were young and enthusiastic. It truly is a wonderful trip for anyone wanting a good combination of trekking, sight seeing and reasonable accommodations. New Zealand is about perfect if there were no Sandflies. But hey I am not complaining. Highly recommend.”
    Christopher Smith – California, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Uncompromised Beauty

    “Our Rimu trip to the South Island was an experience to treasure. Being a nature lover - I felt that we were immearsed in grand beauty much of the trip. We enjoyed a pleasant balance of activity and restoration - to experience the maximum enjoyment that the South Island has to offer. I thoroughly enjoyed our guides and had a positive experience meeting people whom I would not be likely to cross paths with. I would happily book another Active Adventures trip.”
    Brigitte Hazen – California, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • A beautiful country

    “I was really impressed with the variety of ecoclimates and the beautiful vista wherever you look. Some are without parallel anywhere else in the world. I was most impressed because no matter where we went for two weeks I never saw one piece of litter anywhere. The hikes and activities were varied and always well planned. The guides were wonderful companions as well as guides.”
    Clifton Smith – Kentucky, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Best trip -ever

    “We were traveling as a family of 5 and each one of us had a remarkable time. The knowledge of the group leaders was fantastic. The food and accommodations were great. We relaxed on the bus, walked, kayaked, walked, biked, walked, and walked in total awe at every turn. We loved it!”
    Louise Hara – Massachusetts, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • 20th Anniversary Adventure

    “There is no way we could have explored so much of the South Island without the great guidance of the Active Adventure team they took all the stress away of finding lodging , eating , driving etc and making sure we experienced all the best locations for hiking, biking and kayaking that we could possibly do it was truly a trip of a lifetime the best ever!!”
    Lesa Boersch – Colorado, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • burke's trip

    “The trip was excellent and I felt the group experienced a large portion of the south island. The scenery was beautiful and often breathtaking. The hikes were fun and not real difficult. The guides we fun and very supportive. We were kept very busy, from early morning to night. These long days were seemed necessary in order to see the whole island.”
    Burke O'leary – Washington, United StatesJanuary 2016
  • Great trip!

    “I really enjoyed the RIMU trip! It was just challenging enough to put me out of my comfort zone and still enjoy the trip very much! The group I travelled with were great company and has made this a very memorable experience.

    Our guides Vanessa and Joe were outstanding and very much the reason the trip had been so enjoyable. Their experience, knowledge, kindness and patience as they took care of us for two weeks is very much appreciated. Vanessa was carrying a 22kg backpack on the second day of the Nelson's Lakes (1000m ascend!) hike and waited while I very slowly made my way up to the top! Joe is a wonderful guide dispensing technical advice and a fantastic chef - the group has named him the Man, the Myth, the Legend so that really says a lot! Vanessa and Joe gave really good guidance on the trails, difficulty level and clothing required for all our hikes, so we were well equipped to really enjoy them.

    I couldn't have picked a better trip to explore the South Island with! :)”
    Liu Yi Yeoh – , MalaysiaJanuary 2016

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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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