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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 4525 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 NZ trips?

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

Interactive Trip Map

Daily itinerary

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  
Feb 27 ’17 – Mar 12 ’17 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Mar 6 ’17 – Mar 19 ’17 US$4999 + tax Almost Full - Check Now! Check Availability
Mar 13 ’17 – Mar 26 ’17 US$4999 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Mar 20 ’17 – Apr 2 ’17 US$4999 + tax Almost Full - Check Now! Check Availability
Mar 27 ’17 – Apr 9 ’17 US$4999 + tax Almost Full - Check Now! Check Availability
Apr 10 ’17 – Apr 23 ’17 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Apr 24 ’17 – May 7 ’17 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Sep 25 ’17 – Oct 8 ’17 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
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 Filling up Check Availability
Oct 23 ’17 – Nov 5 ’17 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Oct 30 ’17 – Nov 12 ’17 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Nov 6 ’17 – Nov 19 ’17 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 13 ’17 – Nov 26 ’17 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Nov 20 ’17 – Dec 3 ’17 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Nov 27 ’17 – Dec 10 ’17 US$4999 + tax Almost Full - Check Now! Check Availability
Dec 4 ’17 – Dec 17 ’17 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Dec 11 ’17 – Dec 24 ’17 US$4999 + tax Filling up 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 Filling up Check Availability
Jan 22 ’18 – Feb 4 ’18 US$4999 + tax Filling up 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 Filling up Check Availability
Feb 19 ’18 – Mar 4 ’18 US$4999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Feb 26 ’18 – Mar 11 ’18 US$4999 + tax Almost full 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 Filling up 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
Dec 10 ’18 – Dec 23 ’18 US$4999 + tax Great Check Availability
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

  • South Island Adventure 2017

    “I was able to keep active while vacationing and develop new found skills while hiking. The guides kept us safe while challenging our skills and abilities.”
    Chip Barry – Oregon, United StatesFebruary 2017
  • Experience an Amazing Place with Amazing Guides!

    “My trip was all that I had expected and more. The landscape was so amazing and spectacular, and the people of New Zealand, they are just as amazing - some of the nicest people I have met! Our guides, Claire and Ash, were just awesome in everything they planned, prepared and shared with our group. They were always right on top of things and never missed a beat!”
    Ernie Garcia – New Mexico, United StatesFebruary 2017
  • Great trip

    “I think this is the best one I have taken with Active!”
    SueAnn Griffin – Maryland, United StatesFebruary 2017
  • It doesn't get much better!

    “What a fantastic time traveling with family and new-found friends! New Zealand is an absolutely beautiful country, with thrills and adventure around every corner (and there a lot of them)! Our guides Ken and Elder were as good as they come; from their knowledge of the country, to their welcomed encouragement on the trail and the water. Oh, and did I mention their wholesome and delicious cooking?!?
    I would not hesitate to travel with Active Adventures again. Their organization, communication and willingness to please were simply over the top. Next year in Patagonia perhaps???”
    Dean Altaras – Washington, United StatesFebruary 2017
  • Astonished and delighted

    “”
    Mil Apostol – California, United StatesFebruary 2017
  • “One of the best trips I've been on. Ken and Elder were such great guides and the passion they displayed was fantastic.”
    Justen Altaras – Washington, United StatesFebruary 2017
  • Rimu, January 2017

    “We had high expectations for the Rimu trip, which were all exceeded. The South Island is a magical place. The trip was like spending two weeks in a national park. Even the occasional moisture added to a rain forest feel. The activities, which technically involved hiking, kayaking and biking, also included understanding of the culture, agriculture, city life, and experience sharing with fellow trip members. Jordan and Tory really made the trip into an experience through their knowledge, constant helpful support, excellent cooking and capacity to fully engage with us as a team. True professionals! The group connected immediately. Accommodations were excellent. We even "timed" kayaking Milford Sound the day following a major storm, resulting in the hundreds of waterfalls being at peak. Perfect trip. Thank you, Active Adventures.”
    Ellery Duke – Iowa, United StatesFebruary 2017
  • Absolutely wonderful experience!

    “We have always wanted to travel to New Zealand, yet weren't sure how we might approach the potential journey. After looking at online reviews we contacted a Kiwi friend and former travel guide, who confirmed our thinking that Active Adventures would provide an amazing experience. To hike, bike, and kayak our way through 6 national parks in 14 days with special friends seemed just perfect. And it was exactly that, perfect!”
    Pat Dunn – Oregon, United StatesFebruary 2017
  • Great introduction to New Zealand

    “When visiting New Zealand, one must be aware of the tendency for Mother Nature to intervene. We altered our backpacking due to epic rains! The earthquake last year kept us out of the northeast coast due to slides (slips down under). Low clouds downed the helihikers. And high winds kept us out of kayaks at Milford sound. Our guides always had excellent backup plans and we had a ball.”
    John Wood – Illinois, United StatesFebruary 2017
  • Fantastic

    “Fantastic trip with fantastic guides”
    Derek Vander Velde – Florida, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Great guides

    “Our guides were great! Couldn't be better.”
    Carol Corbett – Utah, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Rimu 2017 New Zealand

    “My New Zealand trip with Active Adventures was full of excitement, beauty and of course, adventure! I am certain I would not have seen or experienced many of the sights if I had scheduled this experience on my own. Active Adventures knows where to take you, how to get there and where to stay. Some very sweet, out of the way places were explored. Thanks so much for a super three weeks!”
    Sue Lipsman – Utah, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Excellent Trip

    “If you like outdoor activities this is your dream trip. The itinerary is very well planned. The scenery and landscapes are beautiful. Our guides Tia and Alex are fabulous. They are youthful, caring, knowledgeable, and extremely professional. Their hardwork made the entire trip smooth and enjoyable. Everyday is packed with interesting and exciting outdoor activities: multi-day hiking in Nelson Lake NP, kayaking in Milford Sound, biking along the shore of Wanaka Lake, and day hiking the Routeburn, Kepler, Sealy Tarns, Hooker Valley and many other beautiful short tracks in various NPs of the South Island. The group mates are very friendly and fun and the small group size made it easy to socialize. In addition, the food is healthy and very delicious. Thanks to every member of the group, in particular our great guides Tia and Alex, it is your care, warmth, encouragement, and tolerance that made this trip truly unforgettable.”
    Siyuan Han – Kansas, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • New Zealand Doesn't Disappoint

    “My husband said this every evening we were there! The guides support and attitude, the environment and natural beauty of the South Island, the quality of accommodations, food and the local people we'd meet all combined to make this a trip of a lifetime.”
    Laurie Erickson – California, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • What an adventure!

    “Great adventure with wonderful guides Alex and Tia!”
    Stephanie Eskuri – Michigan, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Fantastic Family Adventure

    “Truly a memorable adventure for the entire family! From the first meet and greet with the guides and co-adventurers to the last day’s New Year Eve hurrah, we were awe inspired by the landscape, local hospitality, guides, and fellow travelers. This trip was much more than hiking, biking, and kayaking. Some of the many rewarding events included, sampling the local foods, an ad hoc blind sparkling wine tasting, an impromptu haka dance, free time passing the rugby ball, the warmth of a Queenstown sunrise, viewing the Milky way at Braemar Station, listing to the wonderful stories of others while hiking along scenic trails, defeating the 1800 steps to Sealy Tarns, and most of all creating unforgettable experience.”
    John Pfeifer – California, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • January 2 2017 Rimu with Ken and Holly

    “Just fantastic--knowledgeable, enthusiastic and caring guides, unbelievable sights every day, went way beyond our expectations.”
    Win Quayle – Massachusetts, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Rimu January 2017

    “Never having gone on a guided trip I was not sure what to expect and uncertain how I would like it. The trip was filled with once in a lifetime experiences that I will never forget. I did and saw things in New Zealand with our guides that my husband and I would never have done. It was one of the most fantastic experiences I have ever had traveling. Our guides were amazing in their knowledge, enthusiasm and warmth. We hope to go on another trip with Active, but can not imagine how we it could equal this awesome experience.”
    Deb Manegold – Massachusetts, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Rimu Jan 2017

    “Awesome trip! Gorgeous country. What really made the trip was the guides- Ken and Holly! They were fabulous. Holly made awesome food every night and they both had great knowledge in multiple aspects of NZ. They were also very accommodating to the different members of the group and their own individual needs. Multiple highlights of the trip including Braemer Sheep station over looking mt cook, hiking in Nelson Lakes National Park (awesome snow storm up at Angelia Hut), and hiking in fjordland national park. Would definitely do another trip with active- esp if Ken and Holly were leading!”
    Maureen McDonald – Minnesota, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Great active holiday

    “Really had an opportunity to experience the back country of New Zealand. Great trip.”
    David Tamir – New York, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • “I had always heard how beautiful New Zealand was, which was why it was at the top of my travel list, so I was prepared to be predictably impressed, but even with this anticipation, I was taken aback by each stunning vista. New Zealand is an amazing place and the Rimu trip captures so many aspects of its appeal- incredibly friendly people, adventure, beauty, good food- all rolled into one. Our guides, Dani and Tory, were phenomenal ambassadors for all that the trip offers and made each adventure fun and exciting, even when challenged by the, at times, unpredictable weather. Always with a smile and word of encouragement, their warmth and love for the country was infectious.”
    Lisa Hunt – Florida, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Great hiking adventure

    “Enjoyed going all the way around the South Island and luckily had great travel companions and guides who made even the bus rides fun.”
    Jonathan Tamir – New York, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • A Fantastic trip

    “This is the best way to tour South Island of New Zealand. Enjoy the spectacular views, experience the first hand of back country and meet the physical challenges. With small group of people and two dedicated guides, what else one ask for?”
    Sha Ma – Kansas, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Best trip I have ever taken

    “There are many layers to this trip
    1. The Group - It was really fun being in a group, and our group was really fun! Sometimes I hung out with people in my family, sometimes I hung out with someone else in the group. This variety and freedom was very enjoyable.
    2. The Guides - Koru and Ash were sooo great. Koru is a polished, learned and experienced leader. Ash is a fabulous cook, so much fun, and cared about each of us on the trip.
    3. The Country - Stunning! We covered so much of the South Island that we were able to see many sides of it's weather and terrain. Really great route.
    4. Activities - It was great sharing a physical activity with others, something I know brings people together. Hiking was great. At the end of a long hike was a fabulous surprise, like a glacial lake with ice burgs, or a beautiful high-mountain vista, or a glo-worm tunnel. Biking was super fun, and I wish there had been one more day of it. In hind site I personally would have selected the biking 3day excursion. The kayaking was great. Heavy chop or glassy lakes, we kayaked in it.
    5. Accommodations - These were just great. As nice as it can be being out in the countryside. I loved how we all ate together every meal.
    5. Pace - I thought the trip was very well planned. Just when we needed a break in the beginning from jet lag, and our trip activities, a two day respite was there in Queenstown where we could recharge. I recharged and my family bungy jumped! Also, activities were structured so that the not so keen could bail out at a stopping point.”
    Ginny Nayden – Maryland, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Rimu - A Kiwi Adventure

    “We knew we wanted to have an outdoor experience in New Zealand and our Active Adventure guides made our trip an adventure delight beyond our expectations. The group was well matched and we felt like a group of explorers rather than participants on a tour group.”
    Mini Conway – Maryland, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • “Best family trip ever. The South Island of New Zealand is one of the most spectacular places on the planet and the Rimu trip takes you to all the highlights. Our group hit the jackpot with Koru and Ash. They were fabulous. This trip gets my highest recommendation all around.”
    Hank Nayden – Maryland, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Wonderful Trip

    “The Rimu trip was incredibly beautiful. The guides did an amazing job of looking out for everyone. Highly recommend it.”
    Suzanne Jacobs – California, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • The Perfect Trip

    “My husband and I went on the Rimu trip in celebration of our honeymoon. This trip was simply perfect. The guides went over the top to ensure that we enjoyed every minute of our trip. They took care of every single detail, from the basic logistics, to the individual food needs, to visiting each destination at exactly the right time. The accommodation is out of this world, with views that cannot be described in words. Each day was a new adventure -- whether hiking, kayaking, biking or creating your own adventure -- we spent every minute of the trip excited, active and very well-fed. This trip should be top of your life to-do list.”
    Marissa Gladstone – Ontario, CanadaJanuary 2017
  • Experience the best of New Zealand by foot, kayak and bike!

    “If you want to hike, bike or kayak the best places in New Zealand with like-minded folks, this is the trip for you. Our hardworking, personable guides made it easy for us to enjoy as much of Southern New Zealand as possible in two weeks...allowing for long hikes, beautiful cycling and kayaking through the sounds. We were able to stay in unique lodging, not easily available to the general public - especially at Milford Sound - and partake of local cuisine and wines through Active Adventure's contacts and experience. The van was very comfortable and took away the stress of driving in unfamiliar areas. Fellow travelers were friendly and easy-going, and like-minded in terms of the adventures they sought. Excellent trip!”
    Candy Hunter – Nevada, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Beautiful scenery and great hikes!

    “The hiking was spectacular, and the company and food was even better than expected. We saw some amazing locations -- often going from very diverse landscapes (fjords to farms, temperate rainforest to the Southern Alps) in a matter of hours. We could not have seen or done nearly this much on our own.”
    Jessica Vander Velde – Florida, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Going with a group that way surpassed going it alone

    “I'm a very fit and independent single who signed up with Active because I didn't want to take the time to plan a trip to New Zealand and needed company for long hikes. I never imagined that the dynamic of traveling with a group would be part of the fun! Further, Active took us places that I'd never have found or even perhaps dared to go on my own. I'm already planning my next Active Adventure and bringing my father, because I think Active will give us a more interesting trip than we could plan for ourselves.”
    Charlotte Matthews – New York, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Oh, What a Beautiful Country!

    “Beautiful places, accommodating and gracious guides, fun activities, and great meals. What's not to like?”
    Elaine Hartstein – New York, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • No regrets! Accomplish the impossible!

    “I can't begin to describe my Rimu experience, from the amazing guides, Ken and Elder, to my fellow travelers and the detail that Active Adventures puts into everything we did. I was able to scale and climb those mountains and ridges that I laughed off as impossible, see the most amazing untouched scenery, completely decompress and completely check out from my daily life. If you want to see the south island the way it was meant to be seen, you're open to being active everyday with the conveniences for yourself taken care of, take this trip!”
    Pam Lin – California, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Beautiful and Magnificent!

    “In 14 days we saw much of the South Island NZ. Much of it was spectacular. The rest of it beautiful and pastoral. Our guides Joe and Steve were great and made the experience very enjoyable and comfortable. They seemed to really work well together. This would have been an excellent rating, but felt that some of the places we went to were too short. Like Milford Sound. Perhaps not go to so many places and spend a little more time in certain areas exploring a bit more. It does take time to get from place to place and is interesting to experience the transition of terrain, but keep it as active as possible. Otherwise, overall it was a wonderful trip and met some lovely people.”
    Joel Amrani – California, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Ebner on Rimu

    “The Rimu trip was just everything we had hoped for, and Kim and Tory were outstanding guides. The places we hiked, biked and Kayaked were terrific choices and by the end we felt that we understood some of the diversity in the South Island ecology: plants and animals that were native and those that were introduced. Hard to say what was best, but one of my favorites was walking the Kepler Track. Thanks for a great introduction to New Zealand's South Island.
    Ford Ebner”
    Ford Ebner – Tennessee, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • 14 Day Rimu Trip

    “Exceeded my expectations.
    Each site was uniquely different. All were great and some were exceptional.
    What a wonderful way to get a feel for the North Island.”
    Larry Fancy – Manitoba, CanadaDecember 2016
  • Amazing Experience

    “I fell in love with New Zealand on my first self-guided trip 5 years ago and this trip just renewed my love affair with the country. Beginning from when I booked the trip I've constantly been impressed with the high levels of organisation and communication from active. The trip itself was incredible, we went to so many stunning locations that I would never have known to look for on my own. Dani & Mel were amazing guides, cheerful, knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, and flexible. I couldn't have asked for two better people to have as guides for the two weeks. Thank you so much!”
    Jennie Castleton – British Columbia, CanadaDecember 2016
  • Awesome New Zealand experience

    “Wow, what a great trip! New Zealand was at the top of my bucket list & this trip was everything I expected and more. Mt. Cook on a beautiful evening with no clouds and the lake in front was one of my favorites. Milford Sound kayaking was another. Just getting to Milford Sound is spectacular! I'd go back in a heartbeat if it weren't so far away.”
    John Lippitt – Massachusetts, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Amazing tour of an amazing country!

    “The Rimu trip took us to what must be some of the most interesting and scenic locations on the south island. Each day Koru and Elder took us to a spectacular location, only to be topped by the next day's destination! After hiking in Nelson Lakes, traveling the west coast to Franz Joseph and Okarito Lagoon, the day in Queenstown, and Milford Sound, it didn't seem there could be anything more spectacular. But then we arrived at Lake Pukaki and its glacial waters, and went off the main road up to Braemar station, with its panoramic view of the Southern Alps. The skies cleared for us, and we enjoyed watching sunset and the following day sunrise that were just amazing. The group dynamics were great too - after one week I think we all felt like good friends, including Koru and Elder. Koru was an excellent driver and guide, telling us about some of the culture and legends of each area we visited. Elder was a friendly and capable guide who turned out to also be an excellent cook, who delighted us with some terrific food on the nights we ate in. I recommend this trip and Active Adventures highly! Thank you! We will return to New Zealand to explore the country further.”
    Steve Martel – Maine, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Active Adventures listened and acted

    “After some rescheduling disappointments during the early part of our trip due to the earthquake, the team at Active Adventures bent over backwards and succeeded in making our trip exceptional.”
    Amy Lippitt – New York, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Amazing!

    “Rimu took us through the most gorgeous landscapes and scenery I've ever scene.”
    Brian Allen – South Carolina, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Wet and Wild

    “I really enjoyed our Rimu trip! Steve and Liana were great hosts and guides!
    The many parks in New Zealand are proof of Nature's Beauty!
    I heard my first Avalanche and saw icebergs on an inland lake!
    The waterfalls seemed endless and the fiords were spectacular!
    It was a pleasure to let Steve do the driving and allow us to relax and enjoy the scenery.
    The hikes along the Kepler and Routeburn Tracks were great! It was great to see portions of these wonders.
    I thank Steve and Liana and Ellie too for helping us with the arrangements.
    I will recommend Active Adventures to all my outdoor friends.”
    Stephen Meek – California, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Amazing Adventure in Beautiful New Zealand

    “New Zealand has been a dream trip for me for years and I was so excited and a bit nervous to set out on this group journey. Excited for all the amazing destinations along the way, but a bit nervous about "group travel" as I was traveling solo, tend to be pretty independent, and didn't know what to expect. However, from day 1, the group got along great and the camaraderie grew along the way. The group was primarily solo travelers, with a few couples as well. Our guides, Andy and Ash, were fantastic and really helped deliver an incredible experience. The scenery was amazing, and we did a nice job breaking up driving/traveling days with hikes and activities along the way. The hikes were beautiful and appropriately challenging, but be prepared for all seasons in one day. In November, we experienced quite a bit of rain, but we were well prepared for the conditions and that didn't hold us back! It is hard to choose a favorite destination of this trip, but from mountains to lakes, rivers to sea, the Rimu trip was an incredible experience. A few favorites: Braemar Station and Lake Punakaiki, the beautiful lupine flowers highlighting Lake Wanaka and the Hawea River Trail, snow capped alps, and green hillsides along the way. Milford Sound was majestic, and the Marlborough Sound region was equally gorgeous. I had such an amazing trip and am already dreaming of the next destination!”
    Katie Purcell – California, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Rimu review

    “The accommodations were better than we could have found through our own research and the food was amazing the whole trip! What a great way to see the country and to spend our honeymoon!”
    Tiffany Brakefield – South Carolina, United StatesNovember 2016
  • Rimu is Wonderful - A few tips if you plan to go...

    “My husband and I took the Rimu trip in early November 2016 and had a really terrific time. I encourage everyone who is seriously considering the Rimu to go ahead and sign up. That being said, with all of the fun we had, I do wish we had known a few things ahead of time. I include these tips for you, the soon-to-be Rimu traveler, to make your trip more enjoyable. However, I can promise that even if you do none of these things, you will still have a marvelous time:

    1. Guys, if you opt to snorkel with the fur seals be sure to shave your mustache before you leave home. It seems obvious now, but it never occurred to my husband that the mask wouldn’t seal properly to his face with his mustache. Do yourself a favor and shave it off or spend the afternoon dealing with a leaky mask.

    2. I also wish I had known just how intense and challenging the 3-day multi-hike through Nelson Lakes would be. If you’re an office worker and occasional hiker like me, then I encourage you to take this trip but do lots of practice/fitness training in advance. Load up your pack and get on the stair-master or start climbing really steep hills. The hike is gorgeous and worth it, but I can promise you it will be a lot more enjoyable if you’re in good shape for it. Also, there are no showers at the huts and only latrines (port-a-potties) for toilets, so bring baby wipes for exactly the same reason you would use them on a baby (wink wink). And also bring hiking poles! I know it says optional on the gear list, but I really found them to be essential. As for the water bottle – leave that at home and invest in a good water bladder system (a “Camelback” or similar). We found the water bottle to be a hassle to take in and out of the bag (forcing us to stop each time), which made us want to drink less water. The water bladders allow you to keep moving and you’ll find you’re more hydrated.

    3. The sea kayaks (and, honestly, New Zealand in general) are not made for people over 6’ 2” in height (187 cm). Watch your head everywhere you go, and as for the kayaks, it may help to have the taller person sit in the front seat of the kayak instead of the back.

    4. Also, pack enough clothes for a week and then expect to do laundry. Bring some travel-sized laundry soap packets to help save money and make sure you have enough 1$ and 2$ coins for laundry before you get to the hotel (the machines are generally pretty expensive: about $3 for the washer and between $3 - $5 for 30 minutes in the dryer).

    5. Bring good cycling shorts – yes, the ones with the weird-feeling padding on the bum. It will help prevent the dreaded ‘grumpy grundle’.

    6. And finally, a heads-up to my fellow outgoing introverts (yes, we exist): this trip contains long days of social interaction (think 7:15 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.), with few breaks for introspection/solitude. If you need some down time, skip dinner or unfurl all of the emergency blankets and build your own fort at the back of the bus and hang a sign that says, “Stay Out!” (just kidding about that last one).

    A great big thank you to our guides, Rachel and Jordan, who were informative and helpful beyond measure. How they managed to remain cheerful and engaging considering they had to do all of the exertion we clients had to do, plus all of their work on top of it, is beyond me. They are the embodiment of Kiwi hospitality! We are already thinking of coming back for a North Island tour sometime soon.”
    Lauren Gerth – Missouri, United StatesNovember 2016
  • Don't delay, sign up today!

    “Active Adventures has developed a fantastic itinerary for touring the South Island while hiking, kayaking, and biking at some of the most scenic spots. The guides are fun and treat you like family.”
    Kathy Martel – Maine, United StatesNovember 2016
  • A once in a lifetime trip

    “From the moment Koru and Elder picked us up to the sad moment when they dropped us off after our adventure, they were incredible hosts. Every day, we had an incredible adventure - the weather worked out perfectly for stunning views - with each day being even more awesome (really full of awe) than the last. There were people with a variety of physical fitness on the trip, but our guides were able to adjust accordingly (and let those of us who are more athletic press a bit harder).

    I also did things I was afraid to do - I finally went snorkeling thanks to Dave in Kaikora, and Elder was an amazing coach on the bike trail.

    I fell in love with New Zealand - the scenery, the people we met, the people on the trip, and our guides. Overall, a truly wonderful experience.”
    Linda Sughrue – New York, United StatesNovember 2016
  • Lifetime Experience

    “What an amazing time! An experience to remember forever. The Active Adventure Guides Hilary and Greg were fantastic and made this a memorable adventure.”
    Nate Trimmer – California, United StatesNovember 2016
  • Experience of a Lifetime!

    “Active Adventures was an incredible trip. We had two excellent and knowledgeable guides that were a real team and complemented themselves very well--plus the meals they prepared were awesome. They REALLY made our trip special! There were so many new activities for me that I had never done before that I can't even pick a favorite--I loved them all. New Zealand is a beautiful country, and your well thought out itinerary certainly allowed us to see and experience it in unique ways--hiking, cycling, kayaking, wine tasting, etc. Celebrating my 66th birthday with champagne and fresh strawberries after hiking up Searly Tarn trail was a birthday I will truly never forget! Thank you Active Adventures!”
    Stephanie Nelsen – Michigan, United StatesNovember 2016
  • Chris Darcy review of Rimu Trip

    “The term trip of a lifetime gets used far too frequently. This was one. The South Island of New Zealand is likely the most beautiful place on earth, pound for pound. Nowhere else can you find so much beautiful landscape, diverse landscapes and microclimates packed into such a small area, which can be travelled in such a short amount of time while still doing it justice. Our guides, Holly and Claire, were fantastic - wonderful dispositions, knowledgeable, tireless and attentive - and made the trip special. And Kiwis are some of the nicest folks on earth (after Canadians of course) - we didn't have a single negative experience the whole time we were there. If you've been thinking of going to New Zealand don't wait - you can't do better than this trip - just make sure you take extra memory cards for your camera.”
    Chris Darcy – Ontario, CanadaNovember 2016
  • Awesome Adventure!

    “Our guides Tess and Nick were amazing!! They had great chemistry and really went above and beyond what I expected from them. They made sure everyone was happy and included in everything we did. I can't say enough good things about those two!”
    Lindsay Reid – Utah, United StatesOctober 2016
  • Rimu Trip (September 2016)

    “This was by far the best tour that I have ever gone on! I really wish the trip could go on for another month! From the moment the trip began, Claire and Holly created a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere and made an effort to know everyone personally. They were very knowledgeable about various facts in New Zealand and when they didn't know the answers, they searched for them right away. Everything was very organized, from the daily itinerary to the meals prepared. Food was absolutely delicious and definitely one of the highlights! The places to visit were well chosen and I was amazed by the beautiful landscapes of the South Island. The hikes and stays at Nelson Lakes are a must-do! A fantastic group dynamic as well. I would recommend this trip without any hesitation!”
    Edward Sum – Ontario, CanadaOctober 2016
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

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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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