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Ben Watkins

New Zealand Guide

Ben was born in the UK but has lived all his life in New Zealand - he grew up in a small South Island town called Temuka. When he's not guiding our guests around New Zealand on adventures of a lifetime, you'll find him surfing, diving, snowboarding, or mountain biking. He also tells us 'the banana dance' is one of his talents - we'll let you ask him what exactly the banana dance is.....!

What has been your greatest outdoor adventure?

There's been so many to reflect on, but one that comes to mind is a 10 day expedition into Marlborough Sounds, lots of swimming, hiking, mountain biking, and sea kayaking. I loved seeing a whole new beauty to Aotearoa and its flora and fauna. Great times with great people.

What did you do before you became a guide?

Before I started working for Active Adventures I was an adventure cave guide in Waitomo for 5 years, showing people around the caves and talking about the glowworms. Prior to that I was a rescue guide at adrenaline forest.

So you have studied beyond school..... What did you study?

I studied for 2 years to get my Diploma in Outdoor Instruction and Management.

Do you have a favourite quote?

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone" - Neale Donald Walsch.

Ben optimized

Testimonials

  • "I cannot say enough about our incredible guides - Ben and Lauren - they truly moved the bar for me from a great trip to one that will go down in history for me as the trip of a lifetime. They were so knowledgeable about the South Island. Ben was a terrific driver - I always felt safe. Both Ben and Lauren added those special touches from decorating the bus for the Christmas season, to organizing our secret santa, making a fantastic Christmas morning breakfast, and managing extra logistics like re-booking the paragliding for us, setting up the helicopter tour, taking the time and effort to help reconnect people with items they had left behind in accommodations or on their kayak. They really ensured that they got to know each person and took a genuine interest in each of us. They took kindness and customer service to a new level! This trip really was transformational for me on so many levels! My heartfelt thanks to Ben and Lauren and everyone at Active Adventures!"
    Sue Hazell (Ontario, Canada) December 2017
  • "I can't say enough good things about our guides Ben and Liana. They were enthusiastic about everything we did and full of information. They helped us push limits and get the most out of the experiences we had."
    Chris Busch (Pennsylvania, USA) November 2017

Trip Reviews

  4.37 out of 5 (from 16115 reviews)

Put this trip on your to-do list!

Another wonderful trip with Active Adventures! That is what I say about Active Europe’s Tour du Mont Blanc. This was my fourth trip with Active and once again I was impressed with how they do business. Active’s Andy and Nick were excellent representatives for Active Adventures. They are fun, personable, engaging, helpful, and quick to help if there was a problem. The local guides, Jean-Marc, Suzanne, and Jean-Pat, were fun and a joy to be around. Their English language skills were excellent which was great since my French is pathetic! Point to a mountain or an object of curiosity and they could tell you about it. The whole crew worked together great to ensure everyone enjoyed the hiking regardless of pace, weather or skill level. The accommodations were great. Even the one hotel described a “rustic” (meaning it didn’t have en-suite bathrooms) by the guides was delightful. The food was excellent as to be expected and thankfully the hiking burned off the calories allowing for full indulgence at every meal! Oh! The Cheese! The wonderful cheese! Be prepared to sample some of the best cheeses around.
Now, for the important part, the Tour du Mont Blanc. Definitely something everyone should do in their life. The Alps are magnificent and the towns along the way are beautiful. Active picked great trails to hike that highlighted the beauty of the area. Throw in their choice of towns to explore (especially Annecy’s Old Town), kayaking and mountain biking and it really is an Active Adventure. I highly recommend taking the gondola from Courmayeur, Italy all the way to the Agullie de Midi if the weather is nice (Mother Nature was kind to us with only one day of rain, some fog, and LOTS of clear skies). The view from the gondola over the glaciers is awe-inspiring. Definitely a highlight of the trip. Active doesn’t pay for this but it is well worth the Euros. Active does pay for an Aguille de Midi trip from Chamonix, France but it doesn’t cross the glaciers so I suggest doing it from Italy (weather permitting) and choose the Accro-Park option in Chamonix at the end of the tour. However you decide to do it, the Agullie de Midi is a must do. The views of the Mont Blanc mastiff are spectacular! If you like zip lines and ropes courses the Accro-Park is a great time. If you want a challenge and have the time I recommend doing the Black course (they have four courses; Green, Blue, Red, and Black). Overall, I really enjoyed this trip. If Active didn’t have so many other trips I want to do, I would do this one again!
Damon Weimer Review Image
– Washington, United States
Tour du Mont Blanc, September 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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