Classic South Island Adventure

  • 5 - 8 Days

    All Prices:

    • 5 Days - USD $4499
    • 8 Days - USD $4999
  • 14 People Max

    This trip has a maximum of 14 guests, plus two experienced Active Adventures guides.

  • Activity Level 3
    • Activity Level 3

      Earn Your Lunch

      I stay active on vacation and love the feeling of relaxing after a busy day on the go. I season my trips with a little fresh exercise.

    Read more about the Active Range

  • Trip Start: Christchurch
  • Trip End: Queenstown
Essence of the South Island Trip

Discover the depths of New Zealand's backcountry via hiking, biking and kayaking on our Classic South Island Adventure.

Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime, exploring New Zealand's most iconic and remote wilderness, with every detail carefully planned on our 8-day Classic South Island Adventure. You'll be truly mind-blown by the array of activities and landscapes you can experience in just eight days. From flying into Siberia Valley, hiking up to Lake Crucible in Mt Aspiring National Park and jet boating out the next morning. Each day brings a unique challenge, a new adventure and a chance to see the South Island in ways very few experience. If you're ready to take in the wilderness of the West Coast, hike part of the Routeburn Track and spend a day in the charming mountain town of Queenstown, look no further than our Classic South Island Adventure.

Classic South Island Adventure ~ Itinerary

Trip Start: Christchurch Trip End: Queenstown
  • Day 1Arrive, hike in Arthur's Pass

  • Day 2Kayak Okarito Lagoon and Hike near Franz Josef Glacier

  • Days 3 and 4Mt Aspiring National Park options

  • Days 3 to 4Option A, Siberia Valley Wilderness in Mt Aspiring National Park

  • Days 3 to 4Option B, Makarora Adventure in Mt Aspiring National Park

  • Day 4 (afternoon)Finish Mt Aspiring National Park options, bike Queenstown Trail

  • Day 5Gondola ride, hike Ben Lomond or free day in Queenstown

  • Day 6Hike Kepler Track

  • Day 7Milford Sound Cruise, Hike Routeburn Track

  • Day 8Depart for home

  • Day 1

    Arrive, hike in Arthur's Pass

    #99

    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 on the South Island where we’ll meet you. We’ll then travel into the Southern Alps to hike Devil’s 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)

    Hiking Distance: 2 kilometres (1.2 miles), 0.5-1 hour
    Elevation Gain: 100 metres (330 feet)
    Elevation Loss: 100 metres (330 feet)

  • Day 2

    Kayak Okarito Lagoon and Hike near Franz Josef Glacier

    #101

    This morning we’ll take a short journey over to Okarito, a little-known beach community on the coast. We’ll take to the water in sea kayaks and glide along a picturesque lagoon, set against a stunning backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Okarito is home to the only native white heron colony in New Zealand, as well as a host of other interesting birds.

    Optional Heli-hike (extra fee applies)
    An outrageously scenic alternative to today’s kayak 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 (4265 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

    After our activities this morning we’ll regroup back in Franz Josef for some lunch before heading off to check out the 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. Our hike will take us along the Waiho River bed up the valley right to the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier. From Franz Josef, we’ll travel down the coast through lush forest, and over the divide to a small mountain village called Makarora, where we’ll enjoy some local fare.
    Makarora Lodgings, Makarora (All meals)

    Kayaking Time: 2-3 hours
    OR
    Heli-Hike on Franz Josef Glacier: 3 hours

    Hiking Distance: 4.8 kilometres (3 miles), 2-3 hours
    Elevation Gain: 20 metres (66 feet)
    Elevation Loss: 20 metres (66 feet)

  • Days 3 and 4

    Mt Aspiring National Park options

    This morning we’ll make our final preparations for our incredible flight into Mount Aspiring National Park, and true wilderness.

  • Days 3 to 4

    Option A, Siberia Valley Wilderness in Mt Aspiring National Park

    #105

    Day 3 (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 the hut where we’ll spend the night. After lightening your packs at the hut, we will hike up the trail to Lake Crucible, a cauldron-like glacial lake with fantastic views of the valley below. The hike follows the Siberia river upstream for a short while before crossing the river to make our way up into the Crucible Valley. This section of the trail is steep and forested and is where the majority of the 550m (1800 feet) in elevation gain will be tackled. The path will ease eventually, and you’ll cross the Crucible stream, making your way toward the moraine wall and the impressive backdrop of the valley, Mount Alba. The hike at times is strenuous, though the Lake Crucible Valley has exceptional scenic diversity, so it provides a great reward for the efforts you put in. We’ll be there to encourage you the whole way. Tonight, you’ll enjoy a true Kiwi experience at a small mountain hut, tucked within the Siberia Valley, our home for the night!
    Siberia Hut, Mt Aspiring National Park (All meals)

    Hiking Distance: 7 kilometres (4.3 miles), 6-8 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    550 metres (1,800 feet)
    Elevation Loss: 
    550 metres (1,800 feet)

    Day 4 (morning) - Hike Siberia Valley, jet boat Wilkin River

    After an early start, we spend the morning hiking to Kerin 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. Your load will be little more than a day pack – our guides will carry the lion’s share. 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 if you opt to camp out under the stars the night before, you will be carrying your tent out.

    Hiking Distance: 6.6 kilometres (4.1 miles), 2-3 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    140 metres (460 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    320 metres (1,050 feet)

  • Days 3 to 4

    Option B, Makarora Adventure in Mt Aspiring National Park

    #107

    Day 3 (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 local pub.
    Makarora Lodgings, Makarora (All meals)

    Hiking Distance: 6.6 kilometres (4.1 miles), 2-3 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    140 metres (460 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    320 metres (1,050 feet)

    Day 4 (morning) - Hike Haast Pass Lookout and Blue Pools

    This morning we’ll head back toward the West Coast and stop off at the top of Haast Pass to walk up to the Haast Pass Lookout. The trail has a steady incline and doesn’t let off until you reached the top, though the views from above the tree-line are well worth the climb! On our way back to Makarora, we’ll check out the iconic Blue Pools, nestled among mature beech and podocarp forest, these pools of deep, clear water flowing into the Makarora River offer a moment of tranquillity. Alternatively, you can have a relaxing sleep in and spend your morning soaking up the mountain views.

    Haast Pass Hiking Distance: 3.5 kilometres (2.2 miles), 1 hour return
    Elevation Gain:
    107 metres (351 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    107 metres (351 feet)
    Blue Pools Hiking Distance: 1.5 kilometres (0.9 miles), 1 hour return
    Elevation Gain: 54 metres (177 feet)
    Elevation Loss: 54 metres (177 feet)

  • Day 4 (afternoon)

    Finish Mt Aspiring National Park options, bike Queenstown Trail

    #109

    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 mountainous terrain. We'll take a quick stop in Wanaka before a short but dramatic journey over the Cardrona Saddle towards Queenstown, where we'll hop on bikes to ride a portion of the Queenstown Bike Trail. The trail is well packed and winds along beside the Arrow River to Arrowtown, a small historic gold mining village established in the 1800s. After our ride we'll check out the charming town before heading on to Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. You’ll sleep sweetly tonight at a lakefront hotel located in the heart of this alpine town.
    Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)

    Biking Distance: 6.1 kilometres (3.8 miles), 1 hour
    Elevation Gain: 127 metres (416 feet)
    Elevation Loss: 100 metres (328 feet)

  • Day 5

    Gondola ride, hike Ben Lomond or free day in Queenstown

    #111

    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 if you choose to have a free day today.
    Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (No meals included)

    Ben Lomond Hiking Distance (from the gondola): 8 kilometres (5 miles), 4-5 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    978 metres (3,208 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    978 metres (3,208 feet)

    NOTE: The 5-day trip option ends today in Queenstown. 

  • Day 6

    Hike Kepler Track

    #113

    This morning we’ll make our way around Lake Wakatipu, leaving behind the towering Remarkables and head west to the small town of Te Anau, the gateway to Milford Sound. This afternoon we’ll take a hike on the famous Kepler Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks - we follow the track through mountain beech forest and along the Waiau River. It’s an awesome hike with spectacular views! Tonight we’ll stay on the edge of Lake Te Anau, enjoying the scenery and the delicious local fare.
    Te Anau Lodgings, Te Anau (All meals)

    Hiking Distance: 9.5 kilometres (6 miles), 2-3 hours
    Elevation Gain: 50 metres (165 feet)
    Elevation Loss: 50 metres (165 feet)

  • Day 7

    Milford Sound Cruise, Hike Routeburn Track

    #115

    It’s an early start this morning as we set off for our largest and perhaps most spectacular national park, Fiordland. 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 breath-taking, with steep granite walls plunging over a thousand metres to the Tasman Sea and waterfalls cascading into deep inky water. We’ll jump on board the first boat cruise of the day, where we’ll have the water to ourselves, as we gaze in wonder at the waterfalls tumbling down enormous vertical rock faces all around and journey right out to the entrance of the fiord. We may be lucky enough to encounter the friendly fur seals and dolphins that are sometimes in the area. Afterwards we’ll explore the Fiordland wilderness on foot again, with a hike to Key Summit on the famous Routeburn Track. The panoramic views are incredible from this vantage point and you’ll probably get to meet New Zealand’s notoriously cheeky and intelligent alpine parrot, the kea (Nestor notabilis). After our hike we’ll continue heading out of Milford Sound to return for our last night on the shores of Lake Te Anau. Tonight we’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner for the last night of the ‘Tui’.
    Te Anau Lodgings, Te Anau (All meals)

    Hiking Distance: 3.4 kilometres (2 miles), 3-4 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    380 metres (1,246 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    380 metres (1,246 feet)

  • Day 8

    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)

Classic South Island Adventure Departure Dates

  • Upcoming
  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 1 year
USD $4999/pp
4 Dec 2022
2022
4 Dec11 Dec
Classic South Island Adventure 12/4/2022-12/11/2022
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Classic South Island Adventure 2/2/2025-2/9/2025
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Classic South Island Adventure 3/2/2025-3/9/2025
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16 Mar23 Mar
Classic South Island Adventure 3/16/2025-3/23/2025
Departure Open Open
23 Mar 2025
2025
23 Mar30 Mar
Classic South Island Adventure 3/23/2025-3/30/2025
Departure Open Open
6 Apr 2025
2025
6 Apr13 Apr
Classic South Island Adventure 4/6/2025-4/13/2025
Departure Open Open
20 Apr 2025
2025
20 Apr27 Apr
Classic South Island Adventure 4/20/2025-4/27/2025
Departure Open Open

Interactive Trip Map: Click on the map icons to read details for each day

What Our Guests Say About The Classic South Island Adventure

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- May 2022

Amazing trip with great guides

"I had a great time on the Jaguar trip - our guides were friendly, knowledgeable,… read more

"I had a great time on the Jaguar trip - our guides were friendly, knowledgeable, organized, and always helpful. Our porters and camp staff also were friendly and highly competent. The sites chosen by the guides for us to visit were always interesting, and the guides were able to provide great information about them. The information provided to us by Active Adventures was helpful and comprehensive - my only comments regarding the pre-trip information would be to update the materials to clarify that guests need a small day pack for biking and day hikes AND a 30L plus hiking bag for the Inca trail, and the pre-trip information could have included information about tipping for the porters and guides. While it is sensible that the company would not want to pressure guests into tipping a certain amount, everyone in my group had a wonderful time and genuinely wanted to show appreciation to our porters and guides. It would have been helpful to know how much cash we should have with us when departing on the trail to be able to tip each individual adequately, as well as information about when in the trip we would have an opportunity to tip both porters and guides. read less

5 Stars (2056 reviews)

Amy, United States

- May 2022

Bucket list trip for sure!!

"After having had my retirement bucket list trip snatched from under me in 2020, I… read more

"After having had my retirement bucket list trip snatched from under me in 2020, I was delighted to finally take it this April. Active Adventures deserves huge kudos for honouring its commitment to the trip. I travelled with two friends, and we were in a group of 15 on the trip - from the US and Canada. What a fantastic group of people! Best of all though, were our two tour guides from the Galapagos, Pepo and Paulo. They were the best ambassadors for the islands and Ecuador - very knowledgeable, professional, kind hearted - and just plain fun. They made us feel safe and relaxed throughout the trip. The islands are gorgeous - and the wildlife does not disappoint. I found deep ocean snorkelling a bit out of my comfort zone, and wished I had practiced a bit in a pool before I left. However, it is an essential part of the trip, and cannot be skipped. Learning about tectonic plates, volcanoes and the conservation efforts for the giant tortoises was food for thought. As for helpful tips, bring lots of sun screen, sun protective clothing, and bug spray. These items are not readily available on the islands, but they are absolutely essential. Also bring a reusable water bottle as recommended by AA, because although bottled water is available for purchase everywhere, it makes more sense to fill up from the large reusable containers provided and not create plastic waste. I would definitely recommend this beautiful active adventure - my first with this company, but not my last. read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Serena, Canada

- May 2022

Bucket List Trip

"We loved our trip to Galapagos! Our guides, Pepo and Paulo were so knowledgeable… read more

"We loved our trip to Galapagos! Our guides, Pepo and Paulo were so knowledgeable about the islands and loved sharing it all with us. The warm weather was so welcome after a winter in New England. All of the logistics were handled smoothly so that all we had to do was enjoy the varied land and marine wildlife. An amazing trip that I highly recommend! read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Claudia, United States

- May 2022

Somethings really do live up to the hype. This was AMAZING!!

"To be honest, I was a little leery traveling with a new company, with new… read more

"To be honest, I was a little leery traveling with a new company, with new people and well, Covid. But this was abso-fricking-lutely the BEST ADVENTURE TRIP! From our guide, Pepo (who completely hit it out of the park), to the places we saw, to the organization behind the scenes and those wonderful meals, this was amazing! If you want the best way to SEE the Galapagos Islands, this is it. I can't say enough great things about Galakiwi (Active's partner) and our guides. They made this trip unforgettable. Pepo and Paolo answered our flora/fauna questions (we had lots!) and happily shared us what makes this place so special. And man, Pepo can dance - and surf! We're already talking about our next Active Adventure - we can't wait! :) read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Lori, United States

Ultimate Patagonia & Chile Adventure - April 2022

Wonderful Patagonia

"Although initially disappointed that the border with Argentina remained closed, the Torres del Paine hiking… read more

"Although initially disappointed that the border with Argentina remained closed, the Torres del Paine hiking with Alvaro and Christian was compensation aplenty. read less

4 Stars (1175 reviews)

Nick, United Kingdom

Ultimate Patagonia & Chile Adventure - April 2022

Bucket List Trip!

"I finally made it to Patagonia! And I couldn't have done it with a better… read more

"I finally made it to Patagonia! And I couldn't have done it with a better company! This was my 5th tour with Active!
The landscape was even more breathtaking than I had imagined. And every guide was so much fun to hang out with and incredibly knowledgeable about the culture and the land. If you are planning a trip to Patagonia and you love being in the outdoors, this is the tour company for you! read less

5 Stars (1175 reviews)

Jolene, Canada

- April 2022

West Coast is a must visit

"This is our second Active Adventures trip and we weren't disappointed. The itinerary was excellent… read more

"This is our second Active Adventures trip and we weren't disappointed. The itinerary was excellent and food and accommodation of a high standard. We loved the West Coast scenery. The walks were amazing, particularly around Lake Matheson and Punakaiki. Kayaking on Okarito Lagoon, heli-hiking on Franz Joseph Glacier and the scenic flight over Mt Aspiring National Park out to Milford Sound were fantastic experiences. Our guide Clare was first class. Everything was organised to perfection and nothing was too much trouble. read less

5 Stars (2 reviews)

Robert, New Zealand

- April 2022

Fabulous trip!

"First “big” trip in 2 years due to the pandemic. Honestly, more anxiety than excitement… read more

"First “big” trip in 2 years due to the pandemic. Honestly, more anxiety than excitement prior to the trip but once I arrived in the Galapagos, the excitement hit and so glad my friend and I decided to go on the adventure together. AA tour made the trip really easy. I really like the balance of being “active” and some downtime of my own. The tour guides were friendly and very knowledgeable. The meals were all very good except for the first night dinner on San Cristobal Island…to me, it wasn’t good. I thought the fish weren’t well prepared and tasted too fishy. Another person ordered the same meal and I noticed she hardly touched hers. Later I found out hers was too salty. Another low light for me was the accommodations on Floreana Island. Apparently, very limited hotel selections on the island. Hotel Wittmer was ran down and we all had cold showers that night. I also found a smashed dead mosquito with blood on the wall! Isabela Island was fun and where we stayed was wonderful. I wish we had more time on Santa Cruz Island. All in all, I had a fantastic trip and would recommend this trip to my friends who enjoy the outdoor and animals! read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Hui-Chien, United States

- April 2022

Wonderful wildlife adventures

"The Tortuga trip was full of once in a lifetime experiences. Pablo, our guide was… read more

"The Tortuga trip was full of once in a lifetime experiences. Pablo, our guide was so passionate about the islands and knowledgeable about the wildlife and all aspects of our trip. We swam with sea turtles, rays, sea lions, and sharks!. The land tortoises were great to see in their natural habitat and in the breeding centers. I learned so much about the history of the islands, the environment, Darwin's studies and plans for the furture on the island. The snorkeling in Los Tunels was the highlight as well as the hike to the volcano lava fields. The Galapagos is truely a unique and fascinating place. read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Barb, United States

- April 2022

Great experience

"Well organised trip read more

"Well organised trip read less

5 Stars (863 reviews)

Adrian, New Zealand

Ultimate Patagonia & Chile Adventure - April 2022

Almost to Antarctica

"The Condor trip and the W Trek were wonderful. I was there in early February… read more

"The Condor trip and the W Trek were wonderful. I was there in early February and the weather was good; clouds mixed with sun, and surprisingly warm…but windy. The guides, as always, were special and took care of everything. The scenery is amazing, and constant for the entire 4+ days. The Argentina border was closed so the trip was modified to include the Chile Lake District, and I opted out of that portion of the trip because it was similar to the Active Adventures Puma trip which I did a couple years ago (also a great trip!). Even doing only the W Trek was great…and I hope to return for the whole trip! read less

5 Stars (1175 reviews)

Mark, United States

- April 2022

Great trip with Great people

"I could write pages about our Tortuga trip in April . Instead I will just… read more

"I could write pages about our Tortuga trip in April . Instead I will just say that we were so surprised how much we enjoyed traveling with Active Adventures. We are typically not "group travel" people but in the Galapagos it seems necessary...so many things to line up and local people and facilities to communicate with. AAdventures did this with amazing competency. Things flowed seamlessly. Our guide Pepo and his assistant Paolo were amazing. They seemed to do all this and yet still ENJOY being with us, answering questions and getting everyone excited for the next adventure. I will advise that this is an active trip, not intense but lots of exercise, sweating and moving every day. It is important to know that and be prepared or know that you might skip some of the longer things. I also want to add that the guides' English was beautiful and Pepo's knowledge about the area, the geography and the animals was impressive. To anyone who is worried about the "group" aspect but needs the logistics AAdventures can provide, be assured. They still respect your privacy, your right to skip something if its not for you and the small size makes it not feel chaotic. Food was also very good, fresh and simple but abundant and well prepared. I had dreamed of this trip since I was a little girl and read about the tortoises in National Geographic. I never thought the experience would live up to the dream, but it truly did and I think Active Adventures had a big part in that. read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Lynn, United States

Ecuador Volcano and Jungle Adventure - April 2022

Tapir with Alberto

"This was an excellent way to see more of mainland Ecuador. The scenery was… read more

"This was an excellent way to see more of mainland Ecuador. The scenery was breathtaking with waterfalls, rushing river and majestic mountains. Got to sample local cuisine with I enjoyed very much. read less

5 Stars (294 reviews)

Sandy, United States

- April 2022

Takahe trip 27 Mar-31 Mar 22

"This was a trip down memory lane for me revisiting old haunts & visiting new… read more

"This was a trip down memory lane for me revisiting old haunts & visiting new ones. I was thrilled with how it all went & with the experience of our guides & their enthusiasm. The weather was perfect & I achieved everything on my bucket list! read less

5 Stars (863 reviews)

Colleen, New Zealand

- April 2022

Our 4th trip with Active

"Another great guide. Beautiful diving, biking and hiking adventures. Great local food and accommodations. We… read more

"Another great guide. Beautiful diving, biking and hiking adventures. Great local food and accommodations. We have loved every single Active Adventure. As always though, the Active guides are what make the trip special. This time Pepo and Paulo were absolutely awesome with their knowledge and communication. The people in the group always seem to come together as great friends and we have the guides to thank for that! Can't wait for the next one! read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Paul, United States

- April 2022

Amazing trip

"We loved our Active Adventures trip. The guides were amazing, super organised and great company. read more

"We loved our Active Adventures trip. The guides were amazing, super organised and great company. read less

5 Stars (64 reviews)

Kate, New Zealand

siberia hut

Accommodation

We have selected the accommodation on your ‘Tui’ trip for the stunning settings, unique character or adventuresome feel – this trip is not designed to be a tour of the fanciest hotels in New Zealand. We prefer to stay in quaint, comfortable B&Bs, lodges and apartments, some of which have private bathrooms and some shared bathrooms. Things get a little more rustic in the Siberia Valley wilderness huts, and it’s well worth it for the experience!

Active Adventure Assurance

Our Active Adventures Assurance

If your plans change or you decide to travel to another destination, you can change your trip to any of our departures in any destination or request a refund (less deposit) up to 90 days out from your original trip start date.

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Useful Info

What's the maximum group size on this trip?

This trip has a maximum of 14 guests, plus two experienced Active Adventures guides. 

Where does the trip start?

On the first morning of the trip, our two pick-up locations are Rydges Latimer Square at 9:30am or the Christchurch airport (CHC) in front of the Help Desk (near door 7) at 10am. You are welcome to stay at any hotel in Christchurch if you arrive before the first day, though you must make your own way to one of the two pick-up points at the pre-designated times.

Where does the trip end?

Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the Queenstown Airport (ZQN) in time for flights below or anywhere in Queenstown around lunch time.

What flights would you recommend?

Arrival: If you’re flying in on the first day of the trip, we recommend arriving in Christchurch before 9am.

Departure:
 Flying out on the last day of the trip, we recommend departing from Queenstown any time after 12pm. 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.

How fit do I need to be?

As an Activity Level 3-4 trip, you’ll need a good level of fitness for this trip as it’s one of our more adventurous trips. Typically, hikes range between three and six hours to complete, more, or less hiking is available depending on your multi-day option.

Please head to our Fitness Guide for great tips on how to prepare along with a workout plan!

What accommodations do we stay at on this trip?

We have selected the accommodation on your trip for the stunning settings, unique character or adventuresome feel – this trip is not designed to be tour of the fanciest hotels in New Zealand. We prefer to stay in quaint, comfortable B&Bs, lodges and apartments, some of which have private bathrooms and some shared bathrooms. Things get a little more rustic in Milford Sound and in the Siberia Valley wilderness huts, and it’s well worth it for the experience!

If you've selected a single supplement for your trip, the Siberia Valley wilderness option is not included as no single rooms are available in the huts, and the single supplement price takes this into account.

While there are laundry facilities at most locations, they may not be convenient or there may only be one machine to service your entire group. We recommend bringing enough clothing to only have to do laundry once during your trip, if at all. The best time will be during our two night stay in Queenstown (during your free day). 

How much luggage can I bring on this trip?

You’ll need one piece of luggage on your trip, plus a daypack. Your main piece of luggage can be anything from a backpack, to a sports bag with wheels or a suitcase and a good quality daypack 25-30 litres (2000 cubic inches) to use throughout the days.

If you've chosen the Siberia Valley Experience option, you'll also require a good quality trekking pack with well-fitting shoulder and waist straps. Your pack should have a volume of ~60 litres (3500 cubic inches), large enough to fit your sleeping bag inside along with all your multi-day gear.

Will we encounter snow on this trip?

During bumper snow years the snow may stay on the mountains into October and November. If so, the New Zealand Department of Conservation (equivalent of the USA’s National Park Service) will not allow us to travel over heavily snowed terrain for safety reasons and we heed their warnings. As a result, we may not be able to access some higher elevation hikes such as Mueller Ridge in Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park and Robert’s Ridge in Nelson Lakes National Park - both at 1,500 metres (4500 feet) in our itinerary. Luckily, New Zealand is full of stunning hikes so we’ll select an alternative hike that allows you to enjoy the snowcapped peaks from a safe distance.

Tell me about the Optional Activities on this trip?

You have the option to take an exciting scenic helicopter flight to visit the upper reaches of the Franz Josef Glacier on the West Coast – an area usually only experienced mountaineers would get to see. No prior experience is required, everything you need is supplied, and as long as you can hike, you can heli-hike!

The three hour package includes a scenic helicopter flight (15 minutes one-way), a two-hour guided walk on and around the glacier and amazing panoramic views of the area. A good level of fitness is required and the following equipment is provided for you: glacier boots, socks, crampons, ice axe and a waterproof raincoat. You’ll need to bring three warm upper body layers, leggings or lightweight trousers, waterproof trousers, sunglasses, sunscreen, some snacks and a small drink bottle.

Note; this is not a fast activity, as walking with a group and continually cutting steps in the ice can be time-consuming. This is however a unique experience. Also If you have (or have had) a heart condition, ACL Knee surgery or you exceed the weight limit of 110 kilograms (240 pounds), you may be refused this activity on arrival.

Tell me about the Siberia Valley Wilderness option?

The Siberia Valley Wilderness option is designed for those that would like to experience true remoteness in this stunning area. If you like the idea of staying in a rustic mountain hut this might be the option for you! We’ll be carrying everything we need in with us in large backpacks. While your guides carry the lion’s share of the load you’ll still need to carry your own gear (sleeping bag, dry clothes and some toiletries) and a portion of the group’s food. Any excess gear is stored securely in our vehicle for you. It’s an easy 15 minute wander from the airstrip across to the Siberia Hut, our humble home for the night, where you will drop the bulk of your gear before departing for Lake Crucible! We will hike up the valley further, following the Siberia river before crossing to ascend a steep, forested section of the trail, a tangle of roots requiring the use of your hands. Once we have reached the hanging valley above we will hike toward the Lake, with a last burst up the steep morraine to reach it! There is an elevation gain of 550 metres (1,800 feet) and the views are worth it! The hike is a good challenge and is a return hike on the same trail. The following day it’s a three hour hike (6.5 kilometres /4 miles) through to the next valley with your backpack, to meet the jet boat.

You’ll start with a jaw-droppingly beautiful scenic flight up the Wilkin and Siberia Valleys to land on an air strip virtually right at the foot of Siberia Hut, your humble home for the night. After dropping your overnight gear off at the hut, you’ll then decide what to do for the afternoon – hike up to glacier-fed Lake Crucible, go for a swim in the waterfall or chill out at the hut with a book. This evening you’ll be treated to a mountain-style candle-lit dinner. The following morning you’ll set off on a three hour hike downstream, and then it’s time to catch a ride on a jet boat for a thrilling trip back to Makarora.

While in Siberia Valley you’ll be sleeping in Department of Conservation (DOC) owned mountain huts. While this unique hut is located in a very remote area (with amazing scenery) it doesn’t have any private rooms, electricity, hot water, phones or flushing toilets - however it’s warm, dry, comfortable - and view from the outhouse is second to none! It’s not possible to pre-book this hut, so you will probably get to meet other mountain adventurers during your stay. 

If you’d prefer a little more privacy than the huts can provide, then you can opt to camp in the field outside Siberia Hut. You’ll be provided with a 2 person tent and a foam roll sleeping mat to carry in your backpack. You can pitch your tent wherever you choose (we can help!) and you’ll still be able to use all hut facilities. If camping sounds appealing, that’s great! Just bear in mind that you’ll need to pack the 2-3kg (4-6lbs) tent out the following day. 

Tell me about the Makarora Adventure option?

The Makarora Adventure option is perfect if you’d like to experience a scenic flight, a day hike and a jet boat ride in the stunning Mt. Aspiring Wilderness area, all the while staying in comfortable accommodations. You’ll be doing just as much activity as those on the Siberia Valley Wilderness option - without having to carry a pack!

On the first day of this option everyone in your ‘Tui’ group will head out for a mind-blowing scenic flight into Mt. Aspiring National Park for a bird’s eye view of the lower Southern Alps. After landing in the remote Siberia Valley, you’ll head off for a three-hour hike downstream to the Wilkin River. There, you’ll meet up with a jet boat for a thrilling trip back to Makarora, where you’ll spend the night in a comfortable bed. The following morning you’ll go for a lovely hike in the Haast Pass and Blue Pools, before meeting with the rest of your group once they return from their night in the hut.

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Experience adventure the way you want

You’ll be inspired and exhilarated, enjoying mind-blowing scenery on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike - all at your own pace. Get ready for the trip of a lifetime.

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We're proud of our Kiwi roots and you’ll love our professional, warm and relaxed style of hosting. Plus, we’re always here to help with planning, travel, bookings... even hiking boot recommendations!

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Every detail covered, to maximise your time

As soon as your trip starts, we've got everything covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport, superb accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

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Group travel for those who aren’t ‘group travellers’

With our small groups of typically no more than 14 (up to 18 max), 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 going at your own pace.

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All our carefully selected guides are highly experienced and have deep personal connections to nature and culture. You’ll enjoy a special experience, authentic local knowledge and an adventure like no other.

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4.54 out of 5 from 17045 reviews. That’s pretty solid.

We could hang around all day telling you how wonderful our trips are... but the best people to hear it from are our guests themselves.

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Classic South Island Adventure