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Community Involvement

In the mid-nineties we began running small guided hiking tours around the South Island of New Zealand, helping to get folks off the beaten track and into the wilderness. Joining the dots between hiking trails, we'd pass through small, traditional kiwi towns, often opting to stay the night to introduce our guests to the New Zealand way of life. We wouldn't still be running adventure tours if we hadn't taken the time to acknowledge and support these small communities. After all, it's communities like Okarito, Braemar Station, Makarora and Manapouri that make our trips special and unique. 

Another classic kiwi village is Arthur's Pass, in the heart of the Southern Alps of the South Island. This stunning village presented us with a unique opportunity when we were looking for new ways to give back to the communities of NZ that have given our travellers so much over the years. We were looking for an initiative that would benefit the local community, as well as the future of our country as a whole. The Arthur's Pass Kea Project (operating under the Kea Conservation Trust) did just that, with a focus on education and participation to conserve the endangered kea - an alpine parrot close to many New Zealander's hearts. So we jumped at the opportunity, and we're proud to say we're playing a key role in supporting the future of this important New Zealand character.

Arthur's Pass Kea Project

Black logo vert textThis is a major initiative that Active Adventures is proud to be a part of. Kea are a protected bird, endemic to New Zealand, found in the alpine environments of our South Island. They're the world's only alpine parrot and studies have proven them to be one of the most intelligent birds (learn more about Kea here). Unfortunately, kea numbers are declining as they're facing ever-increasing threats from human-related activity, and predators. 

The Arthur's Pass area includes a national park, some local ski fields and a small alpine village nestled in the Southern Alps. The area is characterised by large scree slopes, steep gorges and wide braided rivers, which straddle the main divide, and are the ‘back bone’ of the South Island. Many visitors pass through this area when travelling from Christchurch on the east coast to the wild west coast. The area is a mecca for seeing kea, attracting thousands of New Zealand and international tourists each year specifically to see this clever bird.

The Arthur's Pass Kea Project aims to provide people with a better understanding of kea while also encouraging visitors to partake in kea population monitoring through 'citizen science' - ultimately contributing towards enhanced conservation of kea. There are three main parts to the programme:

1. A concerted kea banding programme to build up the number of kea that are banded in the greater Arthur’s Pass area (for monitoring and educational purposes)

2. Development of kea advocacy/educational material for new information display boards, a pamphlet fact sheet, as well as a website and mobile phone App so that visitors can learn more about kea in general, and about the specific birds that visit the Arthur’s Pass area

3. Establishing a system to capture kea monitoring information from the public and incorporation into the national Kea Database. Initially this will be via a form visitors can fill out and drop in a collection box or post back, then ultimately it will be through an app, making your contribution simple and easy. 

How to support the Kea Conservation Trust

 

 

180 Degrees Trust

180 Degrees TrustThe 180 Degrees Trust focuses on rehabilitating teenagers who have self-excluded from mainstream high schools or who have fallen by the wayside of life’s highway. The charitable trust, based in Canterbury, teaches compassion, interpersonal skills, communication skills and the ability to make informed decisions.They do this largely by utilising the wonderful and rugged Canterbury high country where they run multi-day camping trips - the students are challenged beyond their comfort zones and develop new skills, a sense of success and personal achievement. 

One of the defining events that the Trust runs is a Southern Alps Traverse, where they select a team of individuals from both their school and mentoring programs to complete the 243km trip from the West Coast to the East Coast of the South Island. The purpose of the Traverse is to physically and emotionally challenge the young people involved, so that they learn and demonstrate valuable life skills like goal setting, discipline and respect for others and the environment. 

When the team at Active learnt about the 180 Degrees Trust, and in particular the Southern Traverse trip, it was immediately obvious that there were some great synergies with the experiences that we deliver and the interests of our staff. Fast forward, and Active Adventures are now a proud sponsor and we are looking for other ways to contribute and be involved, such as providing assistance for the Trust's backcountry trips. 

How to support the 180 Degrees Trust

 

 

Other NZ initiatives

As you can imagine, we have a lot of outdoor equipment, such as tents, packs and sleeping bags. We upgrade this gear as necessary, to keep you nice and comfortable in the backcountry, and we donate our second hand equipment to schools in Christchurch. You could consider it an investment in our future Active Adventures guides!

Also, during the busy months we're operating many trips throughout New Zealand and whilst we plan our food requirements to 'military sophistication', we sometimes have a little leftover at the end of a tour. Our logistics team in Christchurch deliver this food, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as non perishable items to the Salvation Army.

Community involvement elsewhere

We began operating trips in Nepal in 2011 and over the years we've been involved with the Himalayan Trust, donating a portion of every trip to support the incredible work founded by Sir Edmund Hillary. In 2015 the Gorkha earthquake devastated numerous parts of Nepal, throwing the country into turmoil. Our trekking groups were extremely fortunate to be unscathed, though it has affected our team deeply. Prior to the earthquake, our senior trip leader Dan Keys, together with support from other Kiwi and Nepalese guides, founded Active Hearts Himalaya - a charity that began as a small token of appreciation for the kindness and generosity our Nepal friends have shown. Immediately following the earthquake the charity refocused to provide emergency relief to the communities where our Nepal team come from. Now, Active Hearts centres its attention on remote Himalayan villages, prioritising health and education projects, and Active Adventures continues to be a key supporter. 

Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4982 reviews)

    Exceeded all expectations

    Our Rimu trip truly exceeded all expectations. Our Active guides, Rachael and Gary were wonderful guides with so much knowledge to share with us about the New Zealand culture, wildlife, history, and geography that we encountered along the way. This was truly an adventure of a lifetime that my son and I will always treasure.
    Mia Byrne Review Image
    – Michigan, United States
    Rimu, March 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4982 reviews)

    No regrets! Accomplish the impossible!

    I can't begin to describe my Rimu experience, from the amazing guides, Ken and Elder, to my fellow travelers and the detail that Active Adventures puts into everything we did. I was able to scale and climb those mountains and ridges that I laughed off as impossible, see the most amazing untouched scenery, completely decompress and completely check out from my daily life. If you want to see the south island the way it was meant to be seen, you're open to being active everyday with the conveniences for yourself taken care of, take this trip!
    Pam Lin Review Image
    – California, United States
    Rimu, January 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 reviews)

    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 Review Image
    – Washington, United States
    Tui, January 2017
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    An Outstanding Time!

    The north island deserves more notice than it gets in the press. A different world than the south island, well worth any time you can give it.
    Lissa Jackson Review Image
    – Tennessee, United States
    Kauri, April 2017
  •   4.68 out of 5 (from 244 reviews)

    Loved NZ Kea Adventure

    New Zealand is a beautiful country, but the experience would not have been half as memorable if it were not for our AA guides. They were professional, could answer any question about NZ, incredibly competent in all ways and so much fun! But it would be unfair not to mention the preliminary support team leading up to the trip. All requests and needs were handled quickly and efficiently. And last, but not least, the itinerary was so well thought out. I enjoyed every minute of the trip and was sorry to see it end.
    Lori Schimpf Review Image
    – California, United States
    Kea, January 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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