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Essence of the South Island

Tui

4.59 out of 5 (from 1462 reviews)

  • 8 Days - US$3,799 + tax

Trip Introduction

This is an action-packed adventure where you’ll hike, bike, kayak, fly and jet boat in some of New Zealand’s most iconic and remote wilderness. It works well if your vacation time is limited, since you can fly from North America on a Friday evening, sleep on the plane, and be back at work ten days later to share your photos and stories on Monday morning. 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 ‘Tui’ suits people of a wide range of fitness levels and outdoor experience, particularly if you enjoy a variety of activities. Typically hikes on the ‘Tui’ trip range between two and six hours to complete.

Highlights

Hike
Routeburn Track
Mt Aspiring National Park
Franz Josef Glacier

Sea kayak
Milford Sound

Bike
Te Araroa track to Wanaka

Plus...
Scenic mountain flight to Siberia Hut
Jet boat in Mt Aspiring National Park
Explore Queenstown

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What's included in our trips?

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

Interactive Trip Map

Daily itinerary

Sunday — Arrive, hike in Arthur's Pass

Most people leave the northern hemisphere on a Friday evening, arriving into Auckland early Sunday morning. You'll lose a day crossing the dateline – but you get it back on the way home! It's a short flight from Auckland to Christchurch in the South Island where we'll meet you. We'll then travel into the Southern Alps to hike Devils Punchbowl in Arthur's Pass. The walk will take you through native beech forest to an awesome 131 metre (430 feet) waterfall so make sure you have your camera handy! From there, we'll head down the coast to Franz Josef where we'll stay the night. Nestled in the rainforest-clad foothills of the Southern Alps, Franz Josef is the heart of New Zealand glacier country.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (Lunch, Dinner)

Monday — 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, or around Lake Matheson.

Optional Heli-hike (add US$350 + tax)
A less strenuous, but outrageously scenic alternative to today’s hike is to heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier itself. After being fitted with crampons, ice axes and so on, you’ll board a turbine helicopter and fly towards the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, landing on the glacier at 1300 metres (4000 feet) above sea level. Led by specialist glacier guides, you’ll hike through the grand ice formations of the glacier, checking out its crevasses, seracs and tunnels – no previous experience is required! The constant movement of the glacier means every day is different, so your guides will cut steps in the ice 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 to Haast, an isolated West Coast hamlet, where we’ll enjoy some local fare.
Heartland World Heritage Hotel, Haast (All meals)

Tuesday (morning) — Start Mt Aspiring National Park options

This morning we’ll cross Haast Pass to more arid country on the eastern side of Mt Aspiring National Park. From Makarora, we head off on your choice of activity.

Siberia Valley Wilderness option in Mt Aspiring National Park

Tuesday (afternoon) - Scenic flight, hike Lake Crucible

If you like the idea of staying in one of New Zealand’s most isolated mountain huts, then this option is for you (but let us know early as space is limited)! We’ll start with a stunning scenic flight alongside the snowy Southern Alps to the Siberia Valley airstrip, a short hike from our home for the night. After lightening your packs at the hut, you can hike up the trail to Lake Crucible, a cauldron-like glacial lake with fantastic views of the valley below. Tonight you’ll be served a candle-lit dinner in one of the most glorious places in the world. This is also one of the few backcountry huts where you can chat with a resident hut ranger from New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. Rangers are often keen for a yarn around the camp fire, and can offer further insight into the flora and fauna of Mt Aspiring National Park. This is the only night on the ‘Tui’ where your accommodation is basic, though it’s a true Kiwi experience and a lot of fun. Your load will be little more than a day pack – our guides will carry the lion’s share of the load. You’ll be carrying a backpack with a sleeping bag, a few spare clothes and some food – no need for any more than that, although we’ll provide tents and so on if you’d prefer to camp out under the stars.
Siberia Hut, Mt Aspiring National Park (All meals)

Wednesday (morning) - Hike Siberia Valley, jet boat Wilkin River

After an early start, we spend the morning hiking to The Forks, at the head of the Wilkin River, where we’ll be met by a jet boat for an exhilarating ride back to Makarora to meet up with the rest of the group for lunch.

Makarora Adventure in Mt Aspiring National Park

Tuesday (afternoon) - Scenic flight, hike Siberia Valley, jet boat Wilkin River

If you prefer accommodation with modern amenities instead of a mountain hut for the night, then this is the option for you. You’ll head out for a mind-blowing scenic flight into Mt Aspiring National Park, with a bird’s eye view of the lower Southern Alps, landing in the remote Siberia Valley. From here you’ll hike downstream along the Wilkin River, through beautiful silver beech (Nothofagus menziesii) forests to a jet boat rendezvous. Then it’s a thrilling ride back to Makarora for dinner and perhaps a well-earned drink at the Makarora pub.
Makarora Lodgings, Makarora (All meals)

Wednesday (morning) - Hike on Mt Shrimpton

This morning we’ll hike the Mt Shrimpton track. It’s a steep hike with a 750 metres (2500 feet) elevation gain, and wait until you see the views from above the tree-line! Alternatively, you can have a relaxing sleep in and spend your morning soaking up the mountain views.

Wednesday (afternoon) — Finish Mt Aspiring National Park options, cycle Hawea River Trail

After regrouping in Makarora, we’ll have a picnic lunch before taking a beautiful drive through spectacular glacier-carved valleys. The landscape 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 for 17 kilometres (10 miles) to the charming lakeside town of Wanaka. From Wanaka, it’s a short but dramatic journey over the Cardrona Saddle to Queenstown, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. You’ll sleep sweetly tonight at a lakefront hotel located in the heart of Queenstown.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)

Thursday — Gondola ride, hike Ben Lomond or free day in Queenstown

Today you have two options – a full day hike or a free day to yourself. For those keen for an alpine hike, you'll meet your guide at reception at 9am, ready to head up the Ben Lomond Track. To save our legs a little, we’ll take a short gondola ride up to Bob’s Peak, which is 450 metres (1476 feet) above Queenstown. From there we’ll head out along the trail through alpine tussock-land towards the summit of Ben Lomond. From this vantage point you’ll find yourself immersed in amazing views over Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, which are themselves dwarfed by the surrounding mountains including Mt Aspiring. As an alternative, you can have a free day to explore on your own. 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, kayaking, fishing, winery tours, hang gliding, mountain biking, bungy jumping, jet boating and skydiving. 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.)

Friday — Hike Routeburn Track

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

Saturday — 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 and providing us with an excellent chance of meeting friendly fur seals and dolphins that are sometimes in the area. We have an early start for this awesome trip, run by specialist kayak guides, and the paddling here is equally suitable for beginners and experts. This afternoon, we'll explore the Fiordland wilderness on foot to check out some of its endemic flora and fauna, like the kea (Nestor notabilis), New Zealand's notoriously cheeky and intelligent alpine parrot and the kotukutuku (Fuchsia excorticate), the world's largest fuchsia. Later we'll head to Lake Manapouri and hike a section of the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks. Tonight we'll enjoy a celebratory dinner for the last night of the 'Tui'.
Lake Manapouri Inn, Manapouri (All meals)

Sunday — Depart for home

After breakfast, we'll return to Queenstown. This is the end of your 'Tui' trip and you'll have had an exhilarating week. We'll leave you buzzing with excitement, but feeling relaxed and refreshed as well! For a great way to see the North Island too, where you'll experience Maori culture, pristine beaches and geothermal areas, combine this trip with our 11-day 'Kauri' (5-day 'Kauri' options available).
(Breakfast)


Activity Key - zoom in to see activity detail

Hiking Biking Kayaking Boating Flying

Itinerary

Sunday — Arrive, hike in Arthur's Pass

Most people leave the northern hemisphere on a Friday evening, arriving into Auckland early Sunday morning. You'll lose a day crossing the dateline – but you get it back on the way home! It's a short flight from Auckland to Christchurch in the South Island where we'll meet you. We'll then travel into the Southern Alps to hike Devils Punchbowl in Arthur's Pass. The walk will take you through native beech forest to an awesome 131 metre (430 feet) waterfall so make sure you have your camera handy! From there, we'll head down the coast to Franz Josef where we'll stay the night. Nestled in the rainforest-clad foothills of the Southern Alps, Franz Josef is the heart of New Zealand glacier country.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (Lunch, Dinner)

Monday — 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, or around Lake Matheson.

Optional Heli-hike (add US$350 + tax)
A less strenuous, but outrageously scenic alternative to today’s hike is to heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier itself. After being fitted with crampons, ice axes and so on, you’ll board a turbine helicopter and fly towards the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, landing on the glacier at 1300 metres (4000 feet) above sea level. Led by specialist glacier guides, you’ll hike through the grand ice formations of the glacier, checking out its crevasses, seracs and tunnels – no previous experience is required! The constant movement of the glacier means every day is different, so your guides will cut steps in the ice 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 to Haast, an isolated West Coast hamlet, where we’ll enjoy some local fare.
Heartland World Heritage Hotel, Haast (All meals)

Tuesday (morning) — Start Mt Aspiring National Park options

This morning we’ll cross Haast Pass to more arid country on the eastern side of Mt Aspiring National Park. From Makarora, we head off on your choice of activity.

Siberia Valley Wilderness option in Mt Aspiring National Park

Tuesday (afternoon) - Scenic flight, hike Lake Crucible

If you like the idea of staying in one of New Zealand’s most isolated mountain huts, then this option is for you (but let us know early as space is limited)! We’ll start with a stunning scenic flight alongside the snowy Southern Alps to the Siberia Valley airstrip, a short hike from our home for the night. After lightening your packs at the hut, you can hike up the trail to Lake Crucible, a cauldron-like glacial lake with fantastic views of the valley below. Tonight you’ll be served a candle-lit dinner in one of the most glorious places in the world. This is also one of the few backcountry huts where you can chat with a resident hut ranger from New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. Rangers are often keen for a yarn around the camp fire, and can offer further insight into the flora and fauna of Mt Aspiring National Park. This is the only night on the ‘Tui’ where your accommodation is basic, though it’s a true Kiwi experience and a lot of fun. Your load will be little more than a day pack – our guides will carry the lion’s share of the load. You’ll be carrying a backpack with a sleeping bag, a few spare clothes and some food – no need for any more than that, although we’ll provide tents and so on if you’d prefer to camp out under the stars.
Siberia Hut, Mt Aspiring National Park (All meals)

Wednesday (morning) - Hike Siberia Valley, jet boat Wilkin River

After an early start, we spend the morning hiking to The Forks, at the head of the Wilkin River, where we’ll be met by a jet boat for an exhilarating ride back to Makarora to meet up with the rest of the group for lunch.

Makarora Adventure in Mt Aspiring National Park

Tuesday (afternoon) - Scenic flight, hike Siberia Valley, jet boat Wilkin River

If you prefer accommodation with modern amenities instead of a mountain hut for the night, then this is the option for you. You’ll head out for a mind-blowing scenic flight into Mt Aspiring National Park, with a bird’s eye view of the lower Southern Alps, landing in the remote Siberia Valley. From here you’ll hike downstream along the Wilkin River, through beautiful silver beech (Nothofagus menziesii) forests to a jet boat rendezvous. Then it’s a thrilling ride back to Makarora for dinner and perhaps a well-earned drink at the Makarora pub.
Makarora Lodgings, Makarora (All meals)

Wednesday (morning) - Hike on Mt Shrimpton

This morning we’ll hike the Mt Shrimpton track. It’s a steep hike with a 750 metres (2500 feet) elevation gain, and wait until you see the views from above the tree-line! Alternatively, you can have a relaxing sleep in and spend your morning soaking up the mountain views.

Wednesday (afternoon) — Finish Mt Aspiring National Park options, cycle Hawea River Trail

After regrouping in Makarora, we’ll have a picnic lunch before taking a beautiful drive through spectacular glacier-carved valleys. The landscape 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 for 17 kilometres (10 miles) to the charming lakeside town of Wanaka. From Wanaka, it’s a short but dramatic journey over the Cardrona Saddle to Queenstown, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. You’ll sleep sweetly tonight at a lakefront hotel located in the heart of Queenstown.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)

Thursday — Gondola ride, hike Ben Lomond or free day in Queenstown

Today you have two options – a full day hike or a free day to yourself. For those keen for an alpine hike, you'll meet your guide at reception at 9am, ready to head up the Ben Lomond Track. To save our legs a little, we’ll take a short gondola ride up to Bob’s Peak, which is 450 metres (1476 feet) above Queenstown. From there we’ll head out along the trail through alpine tussock-land towards the summit of Ben Lomond. From this vantage point you’ll find yourself immersed in amazing views over Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, which are themselves dwarfed by the surrounding mountains including Mt Aspiring. As an alternative, you can have a free day to explore on your own. 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, kayaking, fishing, winery tours, hang gliding, mountain biking, bungy jumping, jet boating and skydiving. 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.)

Friday — Hike Routeburn Track

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

Saturday — 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 and providing us with an excellent chance of meeting friendly fur seals and dolphins that are sometimes in the area. We have an early start for this awesome trip, run by specialist kayak guides, and the paddling here is equally suitable for beginners and experts. This afternoon, we'll explore the Fiordland wilderness on foot to check out some of its endemic flora and fauna, like the kea (Nestor notabilis), New Zealand's notoriously cheeky and intelligent alpine parrot and the kotukutuku (Fuchsia excorticate), the world's largest fuchsia. Later we'll head to Lake Manapouri and hike a section of the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks. Tonight we'll enjoy a celebratory dinner for the last night of the 'Tui'.
Lake Manapouri Inn, Manapouri (All meals)

Sunday — Depart for home

After breakfast, we'll return to Queenstown. This is the end of your 'Tui' trip and you'll have had an exhilarating week. We'll leave you buzzing with excitement, but feeling relaxed and refreshed as well! For a great way to see the North Island too, where you'll experience Maori culture, pristine beaches and geothermal areas, combine this trip with our 11-day 'Kauri' (5-day 'Kauri' options available).
(Breakfast)

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Dates

Trip Date Price Status  
Jan 29 ’17 – Feb 5 ’17 US$3799 + tax Private trip
Feb 5 ’17 – Feb 12 ’17 US$3799 + tax Full
Feb 6 ’17 – Feb 13 ’17 US$3799 + tax Almost Full - Check Now! Check Availability
Feb 12 ’17 – Feb 19 ’17 US$3799 + tax Full
Feb 19 ’17 – Feb 26 ’17 US$3799 + tax Full
Feb 20 ’17 – Feb 27 ’17 US$3799 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Mar 5 ’17 – Mar 12 ’17 US$3799 + tax Full
Mar 12 ’17 – Mar 19 ’17 US$3799 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Mar 19 ’17 – Mar 26 ’17 US$3799 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Mar 20 ’17 – Mar 27 ’17 US$3799 + tax Almost Full - Check Now! Check Availability
Mar 26 ’17 – Apr 2 ’17 US$3799 + tax Private trip
Apr 2 ’17 – Apr 9 ’17 US$3799 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Apr 16 ’17 – Apr 23 ’17 US$3799 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Apr 17 ’17 – Apr 24 ’17 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
May 1 ’17 – May 8 ’17 US$3799 + tax Almost Full - Check Now! Check Availability
Oct 1 ’17 – Oct 8 ’17 US$3799 + tax Filling up Check Availability
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Oct 15 ’17 – Oct 22 ’17 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 22 ’17 – Oct 29 ’17 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 29 ’17 – Nov 5 ’17 US$3799 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Nov 5 ’17 – Nov 12 ’17 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 12 ’17 – Nov 19 ’17 US$3799 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Nov 19 ’17 – Nov 26 ’17 US$3799 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Nov 26 ’17 – Dec 3 ’17 US$3799 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Dec 10 ’17 – Dec 17 ’17 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 17 ’17 – Dec 24 ’17 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 24 ’17 – Dec 31 ’17 US$3799 + tax Peak Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Dec 31 ’17 – Jan 7 ’18 US$3799 + tax Peak Season - Check Now! Check Availability
2018
Jan 7 ’18 – Jan 14 ’18 US$3799 + tax Peak Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Jan 14 ’18 – Jan 21 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 21 ’18 – Jan 28 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
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Mar 19 ’18 – Mar 26 ’18 US$3799 + tax New date Check Availability
Mar 25 ’18 – Apr 1 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Apr 1 ’18 – Apr 8 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Apr 15 ’18 – Apr 22 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Sep 30 ’18 – Oct 7 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 7 ’18 – Oct 14 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 14 ’18 – Oct 21 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 21 ’18 – Oct 28 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 28 ’18 – Nov 4 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 4 ’18 – Nov 11 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 11 ’18 – Nov 18 ’18 US$3799 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Nov 18 ’18 – Nov 25 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 25 ’18 – Dec 2 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 9 ’18 – Dec 16 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 16 ’18 – Dec 23 ’18 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 23 ’18 – Dec 30 ’18 US$3799 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Dec 30 ’18 – Jan 6 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
2019
Jan 6 ’19 – Jan 13 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 13 ’19 – Jan 20 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 20 ’19 – Jan 27 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 27 ’19 – Feb 3 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 3 ’19 – Feb 10 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 10 ’19 – Feb 17 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 17 ’19 – Feb 24 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 24 ’19 – Mar 3 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 3 ’19 – Mar 10 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 10 ’19 – Mar 17 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 17 ’19 – Mar 24 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 24 ’19 – Mar 31 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 31 ’19 – Apr 7 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Apr 14 ’19 – Apr 21 ’19 US$3799 + tax Great Check Availability
Apr 28 ’19 – May 5 ’19 US$3799 + 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 9.30am, or at Christchurch airport in front of the Travel and Information desk at 10am.

Trip End:

On the last day of the trip we can drop you off at Queenstown airport (ZQN) in time for the recommended flights below, or anywhere in Queenstown around lunch time.

Recommended flights:

Arrival: If you’re flying in on the first day of the trip, we recommend arriving in Christchurch before 9am on Sunday.
Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, we recommend departing from Queenstown any time after 12 noon. If you are considering alternative flight times, or an international departure from Queenstown, please check with us. International flights from Auckland airport (AKL) 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 ‘Tui’ suits people of a wide range of fitness levels and outdoor experience, particularly if you enjoy a variety of activities. If you keep reasonably active and like to give things a go, you’re likely to enjoy the activities much more. Typically, hikes on the ‘Tui’ trip range between two and six hours to complete, and there are shorter alternatives to the longer hikes. If you’re used to pushing yourself further, we’ll keep you challenged as well. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to chat about the trip or activities.

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Reviews

  • Fantastic trip

    “This was a great family vacation. The hiking, biking, and kayaking were awesome! We are an athletic family and it was just the right amount to keep everyone excited and wanting more. Nick and Hillary were terrific leaders and always up for activity and educating us on NZ. Thanks for a great trip.”
    Jan Garfinkle – Michigan, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • 2017's first Tui trip

    “The Tui trip exceeded my (high) expectations - it was a trip of a lifetime! Spectacular scenery, beautiful hikes, friendly trip-mates and superb guides - and generally some great weather to boot!”
    Peter Greulich – Illinois, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Super experience.

    “Great guides in Andy and Jo and we were lucky to have exceptional traveling partners in our group.”
    Jim Nehl – Minnesota, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • This trip will make you want to come back

    “This was a wonderful trip led by Michelle and Rachael. As a single traveller, the group size was ideal so I didn't feel overwhelmed by the couples and family groups.
    Quite simply this trip gives a superb overview of the South Island taking in some of the key sights of the area.... to the point where it just makes you want to come back. The pace and variety of the trip was set at the right level to suit everyone, including the option to have a lesser climb on the overnight section. The accommodation and the meals provided by Active were extremely good, and some of the settings were breathtaking. Quite simply the camera did not do the scenery justice and I can't wait to come back and explore some more of the country.”
    Sue Cole – Middlesex, United KingdomJanuary 2017
  • Outstanding Place, Outstanding Guides

    “We loved the way this brief tour showed us the full variety of NZ's South Island, and our guides knew how to take care of everything we wanted. They made it all look effortless, too.”
    Keith Rhodes – Nebraska, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Can't wait to come back!

    “Ever since I arrived back home I wake up thinking about NZ and our Tui trip! It was exactly what I had hoped it would be like and better! Better because not just the scenery and activities were amazing, but because of the people. Our guides Claire and Rachael took incredible care of us, (down to how we liked our tea and coffee) were fun to be around, really knew their stuff, and were total
    professionals! We can't wait to come back!!!”
    Pam Cruse – Colorado, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Best trip ever!

    “I went on this trip as a solo female traveler & am incredibly glad I did! The guides couldn't have been more informative of the kiwi culture and our group was perfect. Every activity was extremely organized. Highly suggest this trip for anyone only having 8 days to explore the South Island!”
    Starla Terry – Texas, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Tui Trip 2017

    “How could this have been any better? Can't think of any way. Our guides were extraordinary and handled every request or complication with ease and grace. The weather can be tricky, making this somewhat challenging, but you'd never know that from how they acted with the group. They always had options up their sleeves. Every day was some new adventure. Some challenging, some not. Always choices if things were too challenging. We plan on coming back for another trip as soon as we can.”
    Larry Noe – North Carolina, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Awesome

    “The South Island of New Zealand is incredible - the scenery is beyond description. The Tui trip provided us with a variety of activities and nature. Thanks for an unforgettable experience.”
    Barb Miller – California, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Great treks

    “We went as a family of five and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!
    The scenery was even better than you might imagine from gallery photos.
    The hikes were variable, some challenging and others easier but never felt pressured to do anything uncomfortable. The guides, Hiliary and Nick were fantastic.
    Highly recommended as a family trip for the adventurers.”
    Mike O'Donnell – Michigan, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Professionalism and Exceptionalism Beyond Expectations!

    “Our recent Tui trip of the South Island was absolutely the trip of a lifetime and more than I could have ever hoped for! As a very seasoned, frugal, independent, tour-averse traveller, signing up and spending the money for this trip was a bit out of character for me. However, that being said, this was probably the best travel investment I have ever made in my life! We packed so many amazing adventures into eight days, with the kindest most knowledgeable and most professional guides ever, that I seriously doubt I could have recreated it on my own. I cannot recommend Active Adventures and our guides Claire and Rachael highly enough and am already looking forward to and planning my next adventure this year with them!”
    Chris Gan – Washington, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Amazing!!

    “An extraordinary trip. So well organized, amazing tour guides, with so many activities. A really lovely way to experience the South Island. Would highly recommend to anybody.”
    Abida Dhukai – Ontario, CanadaJanuary 2017
  • Tui Trip

    “Colin and I had a great time. Even though the guide is our daughter it is accurate and fair to say she has was really great. Very accommodating, friendly and skill full as well as being a great cook. Nothing fazed her. A very 'can do' attitude which everyone appreciated. The trip itself was great fun and the weather helped with that. The kayaking team was very good and I trusted their judgement. The walks were perfect for anyone. A very good all around experience.”
    Cheri Crosby – , New ZealandJanuary 2017
  • “What a fabulous trip this was! I have traveled extensively throughout the world and often avoid tours because I don't want to be too regimented and I don't want to be on a bus with 40 people! When we decided to go to New Zealand, our goal was to try to experience it rather than just see it and that is just what Active Adventures allowed us to do. The guides know their country well and truly shared it with us. Each day we were out tramping somewhere, rain or shine, but there was always an option to take it easy if one needed to do so. We loved the small size of the group, 11 of us, plus our two guides. They ran each day efficiently and were well-prepared for our meals. We had fresh wholesome snacks always available and all kinds of tips on how to do the hike of the day. Koru was especially knowledgeable about the Maori heritage of New Zealand and was constantly teaching us about the flora and fauna of the country. Liana and Koru both were working late and getting up early to make sure that our day went well. Even when the weather didn't cooperate, there was always another great alternative. They introduced us to the beauty and wonder of New Zealand and when the trip ended, we were excited to head out on our own, with the skills we needed to continue to discover and experience even more! It truly was a trip of a lifetime!”
    Sharon Funk – Colorado, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • The deep South

    “Top quality guide,great food,excellent bus commentary,excellent organisation.”
    Colin Wards – , New ZealandJanuary 2017
  • Terrific Tui

    “What a great route and selection of activities! Informative and fun guides, well-managed accommodations, and good eats! A wonderful tour and experience.”
    Matthew Gonser – Hawaii, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Perfect amount of adventure

    “From gazing upon Franz Josef Glacier to biking along Hawea Lake Trail, to gliding on calm waters in Milford Sound, it's been a most memorable adventure! Our guides Tess and Amanda were a great duo! I loved that it was just enough activity without being sore while still being able to see so much of South Island.”
    Grace Zheng – Hawaii, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • Everything went perfectly for us!

    “All the excursions were essential to understanding the South Island. Our guides were great! They made us feel comfortable and capable. All the adventures we tackled were exciting and challenging. We were able to complete them all! The provided food was good. The bus we rode in was new and nice. The rooms we stayed at were great. Having wifi at the accommodations was appreciated. In short, the Tui trip was amazing!”
    Danyel Goddard – Florida, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Amazing Experience, enhanced by an remarkable AA Staff

    “It was great doing it with a group of people who enjoyed it like we did.
    The two guides from Active Adventures made the whole thing excellent: perfectly organized, highly entertaining.
    The small group of 10 people, like minded with respect to nature and adventure, worked out well.
    The nights were spent in above-expectation locales. Those were welcome comforts after amazing hikes in the rain.”
    JP Abgrall – California, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Ran out of adjectives to describe the wonder of this trip

    “Awesome, spectacular, amazing, jaw-dropping... just a wonderful vacation. The intinery was everything we'd hoped for and more. The guides were perfect ambassadors for New Zealand and Active Adventures. The country - truly one of the most special places on earth. If you're into the outdoors, make this pilgrimage.”
    Matt Brown – Florida, United StatesDecember 2016
  • The trip of a lifetime!

    “Amanda and Clara made the trip five stars! Clara loves ball sports! I wish I could travel every year with these two beautiful ladies. Thanks for making our trip so special.”
    Diana Rauchwarger – Florida, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Exceeding expectations and more!

    “We had been planning this trip for about a year and I had been dreaming about this trip for about 7 years, therefore the expectations were high. Active Adventures did an excellent job and our guides Kuru and Liana made this a trip of a lifetime. The most amazing part is that they always were one step ahead of planning the next meal, hike, bike or even maneuvering around the NZ wild weather. All the planning ahead and adjusting on the fly would normally turn a trip to be very stressful but we were able to sit back and relax (not literally because it was very active) and truly enjoy the beautiful landscape and everything NZ had to offer. Truly the trip of a lifetime!”
    Ryan Hussey – New Hampshire, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Tui

    “We had a truly great time. Our guides, Koru and Liana were the best. They made the trip so much fun, especially in the light of the unpredictable New Zealand weather! And Lynette was always right there to help us along every step of the way. I brought home memories of a lifetime, and discovered that Kiwis are absolutely the friendliest people on earth. The Tui Trip was a great introductory tour, but now I want to come back again and spend more time hiking and exploring the South Island.

    Many thanks to the whole Active Adventures team. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    - Mick”
    Mick Owens – Florida, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Awesome Tui Trip!

    “My husband and I traveled to New Zealand for a late honeymoon and our adventure started with the Tui Trip which couldn't have been better! Between the amazing places we visited along the South Island from our unbelievable guides who quickly became friends, the trip definitely exceeded our expectations! We quickly learned how kiwis truly cherish and appreciate what their beautiful country has to offer and are so thankful to have had such a wonderful experience. New Zealand will always hold a special place in our hearts, along with our memories of hiking, biking, cheers-ing, and chatting with new friends. Thank you Koru and Liana, for making our trip so unforgettable!”
    Lauren Hussey – New Hampshire, United StatesDecember 2016
  • “My wife and I were 62 at the time of our trip and were concerned that we were getting in over our head. However, the guides carefully monitor our "activity" level to make sure we were fit enough for most activities. We also opted out of some activities but alternatives were available. We enjoyed our trip immensely because we got out of our comfort level and "experienced" the true beauty of NZ including the local accommodations, the food and the people. We tried whitebait and meat pies. We discovered that Makarora was an undiscovered treasure. We also discovered you could dine in Queenstown without waiting in line at Fergburger! We were also blessed with fellow guests that were patient and fun.”
    Casey Funk – Colorado, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Worth every penny!

    “This was an amazing trip - highly recommended! Our guides, Koru and Liana, were great - kept us moving and active in all kinds of weather and conditions. Some of the planned tour had to be modified due to weather - it does rain a lot - but no regrets at all. We got a taste of New Zealand on beautiful days, rainy days, and once in rain, sleet and hurricane force winds, but we were always well cared for and felt like we'd seen New Zealand in all of it's majesty. The hiking was strenuous enough to feel like a challenge and leave us tired and a bit sore most days, but never too difficult. The Siberia Valley part of the trip was just spectacular! Koru's knowledge of New Zealand's native plants and animals, history, Maori heritage, and Lord of the Rings stories were particularly fascinating. Would love to go again!”
    Bob Martin – South Carolina, United StatesDecember 2016
  • TUI 2016: LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE!

    “Tui trip November 2016 with Tess and Jordie was one of the best experiences of my life! Great vibes and a chilled out atmosphere to enjoy the best of the South Island! Hikes were different every day as were the scenic drives on board Ed! The mountain bike riding across Lake Wanaka was spectacular as was the scenic flight across Siberia Valley! There was a great workout every single day! Jordie and Tess made us feel so welcome and were super knowledgable of every town and national park they took us to! We were never hungry, they never let us lift a finger to do any of the work! FELL IN LOVE with NZ on this trip and will be back within 2 years.”
    Sai Malathi Siritharan – New South Wales, AustraliaDecember 2016
  • Cara Gambill

    “Best adventure trip ever. Every day the scenery and adventures got better. I'd highly recommend the trip.”
    Cara Gambill – North Carolina, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Trip of a Lifetime is a good way to put it

    “Our guides were absolutely amazing! They catered to all of our needs, which is not always the easiest task. I was impressed with how much we fit into our schedule, there is no way I would have been able to do what we did in such a short period of time on my own. It was exactly what I was looking for in a tour group.

    It was hard to leave our group and our guides!”
    Beth Kenney – California, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Tui 2016

    “This trip was fantastic, one of the best holidays I have had!

    The guides were enthusiastic, had great local knowledge and were able to work around the weather conditions so our days were filled with enjoyable and safe activities no matter what
    The hikes were tailored to suite everyone so everyone could join in and enjoy no matter age etc but were still challenging enough for avid hikers
    The food and accommodation were excellent

    I would definitely recommend this holiday to anyone who enjoys the outdoors and being active, thank you for showing us around your beautiful country”
    Jacque Ogilvy – South Australia, AustraliaDecember 2016
  • Amazing Trip

    “This trip was amazing - the hikes took us to beautiful vistas, the guides were knowledgeable and fun, and the food was never in short supply ("Food is Fuel!" as one of our guides kept restating).

    Koru and Kim were great guides throughout and everyone had so much fun! I was traveling solo but 2 of the other 4 on my trip were as well, so nobody was ever left out! Having such a small group made the activities much easier to enjoy.

    The hikes, like I mentioned, were truly unbelievable, though somewhat more difficult than I expected. Everything was talked as 'full-on' or by time, but know that NZ hikes are up mountains then back down, so work on hills more than distance before you go! Even some of the small walks we did (Blue Pools, only 5 minutes from the road & the Chasm, 10 minutes from the road) were breathtaking. Kayaking the Milford Sound was another once in a lifetime experience we got to have on this trip.

    The only thing I would have liked (and got jokingly by the end of the trip) were straight communication prior to the hikes about how long they were updates mid-hike about how much longer/further. There was one day with miscommunications leading me to think the hike would be another 3+ hours uphill (nearly inducing panic) but was really only 30 more minutes.

    Overall, I really loved this trip!”
    Taylor Ceithaml – California, United StatesNovember 2016
  • AWESOME

    “I have been trying to pick my highlight of the trip, and I have come to the conclusion that the whole experience of the Tui trip was a highlight, especially for me coming from the hot Queensland sun where I had not even seen snow before. The country side of NZ is awesome, clear skyes, clean water ways, endless beauty every where I looked. You were able to clear your mind on the hikes and get back in touch with nature, I came home with eye strain from trying to catch and absord all the beauty around me. The trip was even more that I was expecting from start to end. The knowledge of Koru and Kim was great, also those two are machines!!!!!. They went out of there way to make us all feel welcome, nurtured, comfortable and my god, well feed . I can't speak highly enough about Kim and Koru.
    I have come home feeling great buzzing about hiking and exploring. Even the girls in the office from start to end have been so helpful and happy. Thank you for making a big decision so easy.
    I could keep ranting for ages it was the best thing I have done. Thankyou Active Adventures. 1 Happy little Aussie.”
    Vicki Fry – Queensland, AustraliaNovember 2016
  • Tui

    “Amazing exciting adventure with great guides!”
    Holly Henderson – Texas, United StatesNovember 2016
  • Best Trip!!

    “The trip was everything and more of what I expected!! Our guides were amazing and very helpful and attentive. My group was super cool!”
    Maria del Carmen Quiroz – Distrito Federal, MexicoOctober 2016
  • Exceptional

    “I could not have had a better experience on my Tui trip. From start to finish, Claire and Alex were professional, organized, informative, patient and above all else... just amazing human beings. Claire (bear) had an incredible knowledge about New Zealand. No questions went un-answered. She clearly loves her country and it showed in her passion for the culture and the great outdoors. A true guide and educator at heart (I believe.) Alex was so fun and such a great chef. She has an amazing amount of travel experience (especially for her age) and it showed in her skill-set while guiding us.”
    Amelia Bradaric – British Columbia, CanadaOctober 2016
  • Wonderful Tui Trip

    “I wanted to visit NZ since I was six years old and a friend moved there. It took 50+ years for me to get there but Active Adventures made the wait worthwhile. Spectacular scenery, great guides and interesting travel companions made the trip go by too quickly.

    I just wish I had brought less stuff than the list recommended. Way overpacked. But Ken was good about it, moving bags around without a complaint. In fact, having Ken as a guide really helped make the trip. He has an indepth knowledge of NZ and a great storytelling style.

    I'd take the Tui trip again, well, except that I want to see other parts of NZ!”
    Pete Basiliere – New Hampshire, United StatesOctober 2016
  • we had a blast

    “We had the best guides, best group, Good mix of people, Perfect itinerary, cant ask for more for the South Island”
    Sai Krishna Gangavalli – Texas, United StatesJuly 2016
  • Great Fun & adventure

    “It was a well-organized and run trip with a wide variety of activities that were challenging, but also fun. It was great to get to know a lot of what New Zealand has to offer outdoor-wise. Sometimes we felt in a little over our heads, but looking back that was the whole point of an adventure. The leaders, Ken. Laura, & Ellie were personable, friendly and approachable and getting to know the fellow travelers on the trip was a great part of the trip. We felt lucky that everyone did get a long well. Since we had been to New Zealand previously, it was great to see & do a lot of things we hadn't had a chance to before. Having AANZ as a guide allowed greater depth & insight into the character of the country and its ecology. Brilliant trip!”
    Todd Henkelmann – Pennsylvania, United StatesJune 2016
  • Absolutely awesome

    “I visited New Zealand three times in the 1980’s and 1990’s and a fourth visit – a more “active” adventure - became my top bucket list item . . . it was worth the wait! The "Tui" adventure was truly a trip of a lifetime, and our guides, Katie and Alex, were terrific – it’s obvious they love what they do.”
    Robyn Jensen – California, United StatesJune 2016
  • Tui with Michelle and Joe!

    “Wow! such a fun trip! Great guides! Really enjoyed them both. Very professional yet so friendly. Toward the end of the trip, felt out group was really close!”
    Courtney Davis – California, United StatesJune 2016
  • South Island

    “It was a great way to see and experience New Zealand and its people. Michelle and Elder are excellent tour guides, and the 7 people with me were good company. I don't know if I will ever get to NZ again, but I definitely would return based on my experience. It would be a nice place to live.”
    Vincent Simpson – New York, United StatesMay 2016
  • The BEST:)

    “This was one of the best trips I have ever been on! Only downfall was it was only 8 days long...will definitely be going back to New Zealand:)”
    Liz Sinclair – California, United StatesMay 2016
  • Tui was amazing for me!

    “The South Island of New Zealand is the most beautiful place I've ever been. Our guides, Michelle and Joe, were extremely intelligent, kind, and fun! Our fellow tripmates were who you would pick without knowing that's who you'd pick. I had the best time and without Active Adventures I wouldn't have explored this splendorous country and it's natural beauty so thoroughly. It was some of the most adventurous, peaceful, and enjoyable days of my life...so far...”
    Allison Kelly – California, United StatesMay 2016
  • Incredible opportunity!

    “Every day was a fresh challenge and a delightful experience in New Zealand. Our guides were fantastic. I can't really imagine how the trip could be improved. It was simply an expertly organized and led expedition. I hope to travel more with Active Adventures because you obviously know what you are doing!”
    Claire Forsyth – Virginia, United StatesMay 2016
  • Tui in the Fall

    “The Tui trip was an amazing way to see the Southern Island. It gets you to places that would be very difficult to access on your own visiting New Zealand for a couple of weeks. Guides were wonderful and very entertaining. Would suggest it to anyone wanting to see the beauty of the South Island”
    Kelly Dennis – Washington, United StatesMay 2016
  • Everlasting Memories in NZ

    “From start to finish, our Tui Trip with Active Adventures was everything we hoped for and more. I have never experienced a more action packed, stunningly beautiful, adventure filled 8 days in my life! Thank you for the many memories made Active!! NZ will forever have my heart!”
    Cori Harris – California, United StatesApril 2016
  • Fantastic 'trip itinerary' lead by 2 of the best guides

    “This is one of the best outdoor trips my wife and I have ever taken. The scenery to the trek sites is just fantastic and the trek routes are real great.
    We had 2 of the best guides ever!! The driving, guiding and the food preparation were just superb - kudos to Dave and Jasmine :)”
    Peter Tan – Sarawak, MalaysiaApril 2016
  • Tremendous Tui!

    “8 days of intense activity but soooo worth it! Great company, amazing places and just sheer awesomeness - from hiking up mountains, biking around beautiful lakes to jumping off mountains, small planes, jet boats and sea kayaks. Laughs and spills coupled with the odd glass of New Zealand wine - what more could you ask for!”
    Gwen Morgan-Fox – Berks, United KingdomApril 2016
  • Generally a great trip.

    “Generally a great trip.”
    Holly Gambill – Washington, United StatesApril 2016
  • Very well organized with great Guides

    “Overall the trip was very well organized and the guides were great. The guides were very knowledgeable about the areas visited and they kept us entertained with their experiences. The food & accommodation over the trip was quite good and I understand all well vetted by the Active team over the time they have been running their tours. Understandably some accommodation was basic, to other a little more lavish (like in Queenstown) based on the area we travelled through…however in general is was all very comfortable.

    The activities were also well organized - with most of the hikes being relatively easy (and some options for harder ones). As a portion of each day is spent travelling the mode of transport becomes key – the 20-seater bus was definitely a lot more comfortable with us just being a small group of 8.

    Was my first time in New Zealand and definitely was a great tour to get a glimpse of some of the divers areas of the south island.”
    Ankush Sanan – , Hong KongApril 2016
  • Tui Experience - my best ever trip

    “NZ is meant for adventure. It has a beautiful weather, huge open space, amazing scenery and friendly people. I figured that i can't be visiting NZ on a normal sightseeing mode. One need to experience the beautiful landscape and parks via active adventure such Tui. I think it's the best decision I've made. Tui adventure with Katie and Clara was a joy. They are a good team. Tui trip has given me the opportunity to meet and make new friends with people from different part of the world, all of whom share the same passion for travel and adventure. Tui makes me want to come back for more daring adventure NZ has to offer. Well done guys.”
    Hamid Rahman – WP KL, MalaysiaApril 2016
  • Loved Mel!!

    “I really enjoyed hanging out with Mel during our overnight trip in Siberia Valley, she took excellent care of us and even remembered that I don't eat refined carbs...she was super attentive and kind. Hope to see her in another adventure.”
    Leanne Chen – California, United StatesApril 2016
  • Awesome trip!

    “Our Tui trip was even more fabulous than we had imagined! Our guides were great, the scenery was fantastic, and being active & outdoors is definitely the best way to truly experience New Zealand.”
    Barb Mize – Oklahoma, United StatesApril 2016
  • Active Adventures knows how to take care of their guests!

    “From the booking process to last day of my trip, all Active Adventures staff made me feel so well taken of! They answered questions, were friendly, professional and worked with my special requests going above and beyond to make sure my trip was a success and just what I was looking for! I was so appreciative of their efforts!”
    Eden Zang – Hawaii, United StatesApril 2016
  • “I began this trip with the desire to spend 8 glorious days actively exploring with my daughter....in a place neither of us had been and a country I had been told, was just beautiful. I came away with much, much more. Not only was New Zealand breathtaking, from our treks to our prop plane ride, to our biking, kayaking and jet boating, but what made it even more beautiful was seeing the land and the life of the people through the eyes of our wonderful guides. They never tired of our endless questions, catered to our every need, and fed us the most delicious meals...and that's what truly made our Tui Trek second to none. My hats off to Active Adventures for providing us a trip to remember!!!”
    Sally Hawes – South Carolina, United StatesApril 2016
  • Fabulous

    “loved out tour, Joe's cooking was sensational and he and Gary got me to do more than I thought I was capable of doing.
    Each event was amazing and fun filled, challenging and exciting.
    I wouldnt have signed up if I had known how hard it was, but I feel a deep sense of confidence at having done it.

    Many thanks!

    Susie”
    Susie Alberts – Illinois, United StatesApril 2016
  • Outstanding trip for experiencing South Island beauty!

    “Active Adventures knows the top attractions, how to best experience them, and how to put you right into them! Take your fitbit or equivalent, you will log lots of steps and burn some calories! Highly recommend the Siberia Valley Wilderness hike/overnight stay.”
    Paul Markworth – Oregon, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Fabulous trip. Everything went great.

    “Been looking forward to our trip for over a year. We met our guides, Kate and Mel, at the airport as planned and everything was perfect. The transportation was roomy and comfortable. Kate and Mel did a wonderful job making sure we enjoyed our trip. They catered the activities to our desires and abilities. At times the group split up to accommodate everyone and they were completely flexible. We are already planning our next Active adventure to Patagonia.”
    Jim Combs Jr – Utah, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Lovely, well prepared trip

    “Gary and Joe at Active Adventures showed us an amazing time by taking us on challenging yet rewarding hikes as well as catering to any and all of our needs by being very patient and attentive. The trip ran smoothly and was an amazing way to see the lovely South Island of New Zealand in 8 days.”
    Rachel Hawes – South Carolina, United StatesMarch 2016
  • “This trip was awesome. Saw the South Island of New Zealand in the best fashion possible. Our guides were great and felt everyone on trip bonded nicely.
    There is no question you need to be in good shape to do this trip, but that was what made it so much fun. Just incredible!”
    Fran Kaminsky – Texas, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Magical New Zealand

    “Our Tui trip with Ken and Tess could not have been better. New Zealand is
    a beautiful, magical place and to see it with such competent and personable
    guides was very special. Many thanks!”
    Gina Wilson – Connecticut, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Awesome Introduction to South Island gems!

    “My TUI was absolutely AWESOME! Just the perfect way to be introduced to the gems of NZ's South Island with plenty of (official) firsts, well-planned and managed activities, fun and awe! Conquering my 1st trails mountain biking (all 29km++of it, 1st biking stint of any sort) was definitely one of the highlights of my TUI. Kayaking 12km++with my husband on the Milford Sound in almost surreal downpour, snoozing fur seals, penguins and, countless breathtaking waterfalls sealed the magnanimous beauty of TUI. Then, there were the 1st class trails; to get to run on 1st class trails such as up and down The Divide, Mount Shrimpton, Rainbow Reach was my dream come true. And finally, our wonderful guides, Jasmine & Dave with their generous relentless energy, warmth and efficiency absolutely sealed a truly memorable Kiwi adventure! Thumbs-up awesome!”
    Julie Teo-Tan – Sarawak, MalaysiaMarch 2016
  • Tui Trip

    “The trip was amazing. The itinerary was very well planned and of course New Zealand is a country unlike any other. The one factor that brought all of this together and made the trip really unforgettable were the guides Katie and Clara. I have been working in the hospitality industry for 20 years at some the worlds best restaurants and hotels. In my opinion the knowledge, kindness, positive attitude and fun spirits of both Katie and Clara were what brought the trip from good to amazing.”
    Shannon Bates – Florida, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Enjoying a taste of most everything in a place WITH everything!

    “This was a well-planned trip that allowed you to see and experience so many things NZ's South Island has to offer. Smart travel routes between activity sites kept things both active and comfortable. Excellent guiding, great equipment, amazing fun!!”
    Pat Johnson – Minnesota, United StatesMarch 2016
  • An incredible way to see the South Island!

    “My husband and I were impressed with our guides ability to walk us through the beauty and diversity of the South Island. We felt very well taken care of and were able to see and do things I could have never planned on my own.”
    Anjali Pinto – Illinois, United StatesMarch 2016
  • “Ken was an outstanding guide, very knowledgeable about the area, flora and fauna; and a great cook at the mountain hut.”
    Greg Kvam – Minnesota, United StatesMarch 2016
  • beautiful country, great company and fun adventure

    “Active Adventure pack as much as possible into 8 days which we greatly appreciated. Wonderful people to share the journey with and delicious food. We had an amazing time.”
    Cecilia Redding – North Carolina, United StatesMarch 2016
  • Great trip

    “Hi-

    The trip was amazing. We saw extraordinary sights and the group compatibility was fantastic, enhanced by our guides, who took on all the planning and potentially stressful details. The perfect choice of music and humour and Katie's wonderful legends about the Maori explanations for things really enlivened the trip. The aspect of the trip that was most positive and exciting for me was to see that my aging body could do more than I thought that it could. I could see myself getting stronger every day. I could do things that I had cut out of my life ( I have a shoulder with chronic problems and a damaged knee) and I can still hike and even kayak. That is the most powerful take home message. Now the trick is to continue to hike and kayak now that I am home!!! I liked how Katie and Clara responded to how people were progressing- not judgmental or encouraging--both can feel patronizing. They were there as a supportive presence.”
    Sarah Lawton-Speert – British Columbia, CanadaFebruary 2016
  • “Wow the South Island of NZ is the most beautiful pristine place we have ever visited and our guide Michelle was awesome”
    Peter Clausen – Iowa, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Our active trip in New Zealand

    “As a seasoned traveler and an active person I had high expectations for being guided and also being able to push myself physically and mentally. This tour exceeded our expectations in most ways. The guides were strong and caring and very knowledgeable in the history of New Zealand as well as what we needed to know to have successful hikes, biking and kayaking. They also knew how to balance a group with different fitness levels and ages. Our group ranged from 25- 78 years old and yet we bonded beautifully as a group. We were also able to do each activity at the pace that we wanted. Nobody felt pushed and nobody felt held back. New Zealand is the most beautiful place on this planet and the people are the happiest and kindest you will ever meet.”
    Susan Golden – Maine, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Wonderful Trip!

    “This trip made us heavily consider moving to New Zealand. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to take in such beautiful landscapes while being actively engaged with the environment. The epic scenery coupled with the activities definitely made it a true adventure!”
    Becca Hallum – Georgia, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Best Trip Ever!

    “At the end of this trip, all I could think was that it was the antithesis to the children's book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". Someone on our trip must have done something good before coming, because everything came together flawlessly. The two guides (Katie and Clara) were fabulous - hilarious, informative, gracious, and kept the trip running smoothly, seemingly without effort. Ages on our trip spanned from 25-78, a mix of singles and couples, but the group couldn't have gelled better. On top of it all, the weather cooperated beautifully - apparently it rains 200 days a year on the West Coast, but we saw none of it. The activities were fun and well paced, the food provided was excellent, and the playlists on the drives were spot on. Oh and of course, New Zealand itself can't be beat for scenery and friendly people!”
    Erin Walsh – Texas, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Perfect!

    “Everything about my Tui trip was fantastic! James was an EXCELLENT guide. It was amazing how fulfilling such a short trip could be!”
    Paige Driscoll – Michigan, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Tui Trip

    “New Zealand was awesome, the guides were great and the hikes were even better. The helicopter and small plane rides were thrilling. The jet boat was also great fun.”
    Katherine Hallum – Florida, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Trip of a Lifetime!

    “We loved our Tui adventure! Ken and Tess were great guides and we would highly recommend Active Adventures. All in all a fantastic trip. Thanks!”
    Michael Wilson – Connecticut, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Beautiful beyond expectations

    “New Zealand was amazing and stupendously beautiful! The Tui trip enabled us to see some very remote parts of NZ, and experience the naturalistic beauty up close through our hiking and kayaking, and even during the bus travel between stops. The trip was paced very well and was a good balance between activities and down time. The guides made it easy to relax and enjoy what the South Island had to offer.”
    Kathy Clark – Pennsylvania, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • TUI JAN 2016

    “WELL ORGANIZED TRIP. GUIDES KEN & TESS WERE VERY FRIENDLY AND KNOWLEDGEABLE WHICH GREATLY ENHANCED OUR UNDERSTANDING & APPRECIATION OF NEW ZEALAND. HIKES, BIKING AND KAYAKING SPOTS WERE VERY MEMORABLE.”
    Clarence Clark V – Pennsylvania, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Mark hatter's review

    “The guides were superb, the sights were fantastic...lots of fruits and snacks which was great! We did spend more time than we expected on the buss traveling between sights. Really enjoyed the mountain biking and would liked to have had option to do more. Not sure why we had day off in Queenstown in the Middle of the trip, it was not strenuous that required a rest day. Would have liked a contiguous trip with added day of activity (mountain biking?)”
    Mark Hatter – Florida, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Beautiful Country!

    “Positives were the two wonderfully knowledgeable guides, Amanda and Rachel; the constant fresh fruit; the beautiful roadside "weeds'"; the stunning hikes and equally stunning rivers from babbling trickles to full blown rivers, and almost as good as the overall scenery was getting to experience a culture of courtesy everywhere we went. And although I did not like the hours spent traveling from activity to activity, it is probably the only way to cover all that we experienced within a short week's time.”
    Vicky Hatter – Florida, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Kia Kia Kaha

    “The trip was awesome from start to finish. Beautiful places with fantastic guides, a great group of people and heaps of fun things to do and see along the way. it made me happy, hungry and at peace. It was real life, proper hard work and fun - we laughed lots and made some genuine new friendships. FANTASTIC”
    Melanie Hawyes – New South Wales, AustraliaFebruary 2016
  • A Fantastic Field Trip!

    “My Tui trip was one of the best travel adventures I've ever experienced. New Zealand has unimaginable beauty that must be appreciated with your own eyes. Active Adventures did a great job in selecting a variety of majestic sites, as well as very fine lodging accommodations. Our guides were excellent! Nick, Tess and later Katie, took great care of our meals, transportation, safety and other adulting details. Because of their efforts, we were able to be like kids on a grand field trip, waking each day with only an itinerary of adventure to accomplish. They were also very knowledgeable, friendly and fun to be around. My only regret is not being able to visit longer. Thank you!”
    Jeremy Chambers – Idaho, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Loved the trip & guides

    “We enjoyed every day of our trip, and our guides Amanda and Rachael were so knowledgeable and accommodating. Our days were packed with fun activities and true to its name, it was a very active experience.”
    Rachel Hallum-Montes – Florida, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • Best guides ever.

    “Our guides, Katie and Alex, were so incredibly friendly and encouraging to everyone on the trip. I loved talking to them and they both took great care of all of us and the nature we were surrounded by. They are hilarious and very positive people and I would take another trip with them anytime, anywhere.”
    Caitlin West – Virginia, United StatesFebruary 2016
  • “My daughter and I planned this trip for almost a year. The trip did not disappoint in any way. We had great weather, great guides and an outstanding group to share the 8 days with.
    God has created an amazing place in New Zealand and we enjoyed every minute of the trip.”
    Thorsten Wienss – Wisconsin, United StatesJanuary 2016
  • Incredible trip to the South Island

    “We took an 8 day Tui trip through the South Island as a part of our honeymoon, and had a wonderful experience. Each day was planned perfectly, and we got to see so much more and do so much more than we would have on our own. The hikes were challenging but fun and with incredible scenery, and having someone drive you to your hotel and just HAND you your room key after a long day on the trail was priceless! The guides were wonderful, friendly, knowledgeable, and fun. We definitely will carry the memories from this trip with us forever.”
    Phoebe Cohen – Vermont, United StatesJanuary 2016
  • Awesome adventure

    “The best way to see Nee Zealand for the first time with the best guides in the business ( Ken & Tess).”
    Danielle Grimaldi – Alaska, United StatesJanuary 2016
  • Worth every penny

    “We love to travel alone normally, doing our own thing and enjoying the privacy and 'together' time. But when we were going such a long way from home we thought it best to get some help from experts. Active Adventures didn't disappoint. We're already recommending them to others, for their support before the trip and the extensive choice and adaptability of the organised trips. Rebecca and I are quite different in our abilities and approach to adventure, and neither of us was disappointed really in what we got from the trip.”
    Lisa Bragg – Jersey, United KingdomJanuary 2016
  • An unbelievable journey through the South Island

    “Before coming to New Zealand, friends told me how beautiful the country is. After a week on the TUI trip, I can state emphatically that words alone cannot describe what I saw. Not only is the country unbelievably beautiful, the residents are welcoming and friendly. Our guides were terrific and made us feel welcome as soon as we arrived and throughout the entire trip. If we ever return to New Zealand, we plan to take a different trip with Active Adventures.”
    Kirt West – Virginia, United StatesJanuary 2016
  • Tui

    “I could not be happier with the quality of the trip. The guides, Katie and Alex were both excellent. Smart, funny, good communicators and problem solvers. They knew what we needed before we did! This was the best trip I had ever taken. Active surpassed our trip expectations. I would definitely go on another Active trip although it's hard to believe it could be better than NZ. The scenery, the people, and most of all, our guides, made it very special.”
    Renee West – Virginia, United StatesJanuary 2016
  • Garden of Eden

    “Right off the bat, we knew we were some place special, a veritable Garden of Eden.
    Our Tui trip had it all - challenging hikes that were far off the beaten path, mountain biking, kayaking Milford Sound, jetboating, a backcountry trip, awesome sunsets. Great guides, excellent food and awesome new friends helped make the trip everything we had hoped.”
    Les High – North Carolina, United StatesJanuary 2016
  • A real must !

    “WOW. So many awesome experiences in 8 days. Every type of environment. Every type of weather. A real Active Adventure... I think we smashed it !”
    Mike Brecht – California, United StatesJanuary 2016
  • Tui Trip -Dec 2015 / Jan 2016

    “A fantastic way to see the West Coast of the South Island, enjoy some terrific tramps and breath taking scenery.”
    Rebecca Keating – Jersey, United KingdomJanuary 2016
  • Great guides, vibe and pace

    “Nick and Holly were a great team, keeping everyone moving and happy (but at their own pace). Although we had a lot of the South Island to cover, the mix of activity and travel was managed well. The number of solo travelers made everyone feel included and part of a group.”
    Sue Merrilees – New South Wales, AustraliaJanuary 2016
  • Awesome Trip

    “Tui Tour Dec 13 – Dec 20, 2015

    This was such an awesome experience. For sure a bit challenging at times on the Siberia Valley hike, but well worth the effort. What truly made this trip were the guides, Holly and Nick, and the group of 7. We all blended well as a group which is always a good thing. Hats off to Holly and Nick for being exceptional guides and new friends. They were very attentive to the needs and interests of the group and went above and beyond to make this a wonderful time for all. A special thank you for making my 50th birthday a joy beyond measure. Holly and Nick: Your friendship has meant more than you will ever know. Thank you so much.

    As for the trip: of course there is a bit of driving to get from point to point, but the featured stops were wonderful even with the rain. No joke when they say pack for both warm and cold weather. I didn’t really get in shape for this level of exercise but still made it ok. It would have been more enjoyable had I worked out a bit.
    I was a little concerned about keeping up with the “rabbits” in the group but that turned out to be a non issue. We all took our own pace. It was nice to be hiking solo part of the time: just me and nature. Food food food!!! No shortage there. First nights meal with lamb and mint sauce: excellent. And last nights dessert was a BIG hit: Pavlova and passion fruit ice cream. Wonderful!!! I ate tons and actually lost a pound in the 8 days. I’m sure I left it on the trails.
    So glad I stayed in the hut instead of tent. Just less to mess with.

    I could go on and on about the trip, but overall it was a great experience. So glad I signed up.”
    Derek Ham – Texas, United StatesJanuary 2016
  • Trip of a lifetime

    “We loved our Tui trip! Our guides Nick and Kim were awesome. They answered all our questions about New Zealand and made our entire trip wonderful. We saw so many beautiful things, that would have been missed if we tried to do it on our own. I would definitely recommend this trip to family and friends.”
    Miranda Sale – California, United StatesDecember 2015
  • Walter's review

    “Magical surroundings, breathtaking scenery and Fun! Fun! and more Fun!,”
    Walter Traub – Ontario, CanadaDecember 2015
  • Great guides, great trip!

    “This trip powers through the best scenery in the South with great guides, sensitive to all our needs and enthusiastic beyond; making it possible for our gang to bond successfully.”
    Gilles Roussin – Quebec, CanadaDecember 2015
  • Memorable action packed trip

    “This trip was amazing! I felt that it packed in everything I could ever want in my short stay. Jasmine and Tess were fantastic guides, and I felt very well cared for. This trip far exceeded any of my expectations. I only wish I could have stayed longer.”
    Alan Lobo – Texas, United StatesDecember 2015
  • Superb guides, awesome scenery, exhausting hikes

    “Gary and Joe were fantastic guides; approachable, knowledgeable and attentive to everyone's needs. They provided lots of laughs and are excellent cooks too! In terms of the trip, there was a great variety of activities and stimulating experiences, not to mention the magnificent scenery almost everywhere we went. Some of the hikes were quite gruelling though and do require reasonable physical fitness. Sandflies were an issue and the itch seems to get worse as time goes on so I'd advise covering your hands and feet at all times or using strong insect repellant, especially in Siberia where there were literally thick clouds of them. Overall a really exciting and memorable trip.”
    Stephen Wood – Victoria, AustraliaDecember 2015
  • Thank you Gary and Joe

    “Although the weather might have been better, it was a wonderful way to get a chance to see some of the natural beauty of New Zealand in such a short amount of time. I was happy for the fact that there was some latitude in what we were doing and we were extremely lucky in that it was a small group. . I greatly appreciated the care our guides took in caring for us. I was also happy that they were able to join us zip-lining above Queenstown on our one free day (you should consider adding that to your program).”
    Franklin Yu – California, United StatesDecember 2015

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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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