The World's 25 Best New Trips: 'Hoiho Wildlife'

National Geographic Adventure magazine - November 2006

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What's new: Ask any group of experienced guides about their dream trips, and chances are they'll rattle off dozens of options. This year Queenstown-based Active Adventures New Zealand invented a creative way to take advantage of all this unrealized trip-planning potential: The outfitter inaugurated an annual competition among its guides to design the best trip around New Zealand. The winner, of course, would get to lead his or her entry. 

On the ground: After trekking in the shadows of 12,316-foot (3,754-meter) Mount Cook, you'll set out on a three-day hut-to-hut hike along Warmington's favorite trail, the five-year-old Hump Ridge Track. Tucked into the southwest corner of the South Island, the 35-mile (56-kilometer) route has two new backcountry mountain lodges and offers stellar views of both Lake Hauroko, at 1,516 feet (462 meters) the country's deepest lake, and the moody mountain ranges of Fiordland National Park. The trip culminates with an overnight cruise through isolated Doubtful Sound, where you'll explore waterfall-draped shorelines populated by seals and gape as the sun dips into the Tasman Sea.

Trip Reviews

  •   4.76 out of 5 (from 21 reviews)

  •   4.54 out of 5 (from 1029 reviews)

    Worth every penny!

    As someone who mostly travels independently, the thought of signing up for a two week organized group trip was rather intimidating but after reading all the reviews for Active, I thought I would give it a try... and I am so glad I did! Active Adventures made everything flow effortlessly- from the second I signed up until we were dropped of at the airport. The itinerary for the Condor trip is phenomenal, covering lots of different areas of Southern Patagonia and highlighting the most beautiful places. The W trek was one of the highlights of the trip and was even more enjoyable thanks to our guide, Cem, who was a wealth of knowledge about the flora and fauna and brought such a fun energy to the group. Additionally, our tour leader, Zac, had such a positive spirit, strong sense of humor and passion for his work that showed during our two weeks getting to know him. He was so well organized and made sure everything was lined up so we could relax and enjoy our downtime- including nailing a birthday dinner and cake! Would highly recommend this trip and organization to anyone in the future!
    Laura Postles Review Image
    – Pennsylvania, United States
    Condor, December 2017
  •   4.71 out of 5 (from 290 reviews)

    Review of the Kiwi trip

    I chose to visit NZ with Active Adventures because I wanted to experience the South Island from tip to toe in an active fashion. The trip was exactly what I wanted. I loved hiking and kayaking, enjoyed visiting the towns and was swept away by the scenery. I learned a lot about the country's history, geology and mythology from my two guides. And I had fun.
    Barbara Delaney Review Image
    – Maryland, United States
    Kiwi, March 2017
  •   4.54 out of 5 (from 1029 reviews)

    Toughest hike yet but rewarding

    The "W" was one of the toughest hikes we've undertaken because of straight line steep grades and rocky trails. But when we finished we felt like we had met the challenge and all our pre-trip workouts were worth it. Our guide, Cahit, was fantastic - knowledgeable, outgoing and optimistic. The adding of mountain biking and kayaking was a nice touch!
    Jim Santori Review Image
    – Minnesota, United States
    Condor, December 2016
  •   4.39 out of 5 (from 1250 reviews)

    North Island - Kauri

    From the first day to the last, I have enjoyed travelling through the North Island with our fantastic guides Jo and Andy. Rain or shine there was always an interesting hike to go to, or a point of view worth stopping at and they know them all. The landscaping of NZ is fabulous in many areas and I liked the fact that we went out of the major tourist attraction points. Andy, excellent driver, is also an encyclopedia of information and such a good narrator he makes the long road trips fill shorter and very pleasant. Jo the mermaid is an excellent cook who enjoyed preparing meals for kings even in restrictive facilities. I enjoyed the fact that we could participate in a good variety of activities as we were hoping to. We felt secure at all times, we learned a lot about the Maori nation and their influence on the actual NZ.
    A very informative and pleasant trip overall, with excellent guides who adapt easily to any group of people or situations they have to deal with. Two tums up, I will definitely recommend this adventure to anyone who enjoys nature and culture out of their comfort zone.
    Claude Remy Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Kauri, December 2017

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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