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About New Zealand

New Zealand ain't no ordinary place! We're a small nation in the South Pacific, with a population of about four and a half million people. New Zealand is largely made up of the cleverly named North Island (which is in the north, just north of the South Island), and the South Island, which is located – you guessed it – in the south. We're not in Australia, although we're not too far away. Australia is a huge country, about the size of the United States, about 1600 kilometres (1000 miles) to the west of us.

Geologically, New Zealand is perched on the 'Pacific Rim of Fire' – the junction between two major tectonic plates. This means that, like Japan and California, New Zealand is prone to earthquakes and other significant geological activity, and it gives the country an extraordinary geographic diversity. The Southern Alps is a massive mountain range, which neatly bifurcates the entire South Island. The North Island, while less mountainous, is home to hundreds of volcanoes - many of which are still active.

New Zealand manages to be both a small country in terms of square mileage, and pretty spread out in terms of straight line distances, which means there's a great deal to do and see! You can happily spend a lot of time here, checking out all the sights and doing everything there is to do. Both the North Island and the South Island are each about 800 kilometres (500 miles) long, so the entire country stretches for about 1600 kilometres (1000 miles). The country is characterised by mountains, glaciers, rainforest (sometimes glaciers and rainforest in the same place!), lakes, farmland, and above all, a huge coastline. For the outdoor enthusiast, keen on hiking, biking and paddling, amongst other activities, New Zealand is a truly wonderful place to live – and, of course, to visit.

Wondering when to come 'downunder'? Skip straight to our best time to visit NZ page here

About New Zealand

Trip Reviews

  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1209 reviews)

    North Island Kauri

    The North Island was an amazing adventure. We were kept busy hiking, biking snorkelling and kayaking, and our guides were very easy going and helpful in every way. We saw and experienced more of the Maori culture, the large Kauri trees (words cannot describe), and felt the love and appreciation of the Maori people for the land, birds and all living species. It was great to have them guide us through the kauri forests. The trip is spit in half in the middle with a day in Aukland, and the first half we had 12 in the group and the second half there were 13 (A lot) in our group. I prefer smaller groups. The scenery was amazing, Natalie and Jasmine were amazing as well. An AMAZING trip! Loved it!
    Colleen Clark Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Kauri, March 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4979 reviews)

    Amazing South Island Rimu Trip!!

    The diversity of what we saw and did on the Rimu trip was amazing!! Beautiful mountain and glacier views, our first sea kayak experience, the sub-tropical West Coast rain forests, caving to see glowworms, cycling the Hawea River Trail, and a challenging but very rewarding Angelus Circuit hike. We were fortunate to be with a wonderful group of people - a great team that encouraged each other throughout the trip. Our guides (Dani & Pepper) were outstanding, very positive, and full of energy. We were so impressed with Active Adventures that we will be hiking on their Mont Blanc tour this summer.
    Kevin Cahill Review Image
    – Washington, United States
    Rimu, February 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4979 reviews)

    What an adventure!

    Great adventure with wonderful guides Alex and Tia!
    Stephanie Eskuri Review Image
    – Michigan, United States
    Rimu, January 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4979 reviews)

    The Best Way to Spend my 30th Birthday!

    Going to New Zealand has been at the very top of my bucket list for quite a long time and I finally decided to scratch it off when I turned 30. Active Adventures was, from the beginning, the only tour group I would consider travelling with. They were the only group that not only had everything I wanted to do in New Zealand, but also had the highest level of professionalism and ratings that made me trust them.
    From the moment they picked us up at the airport I was certain I’d judged them correctly. Tess was simply an amazing tour guide (we called her mum because that’s exactly how we felt about her) not only was she fun, she took care of us, fed us, and kept us organized. Andy supplemented the tour with such interesting history and facts that I felt like I was on a school trip (in a good way!).
    All in all it was an amazing vacation, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it!
    Thank you Active Adventures for making my 30th the year to remember!
    Dani Felton Review Image
    – Florida, United States
    Rimu, November 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1882 reviews)

    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 Review Image
    – California, United States
    Tui, November 2016

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Approx NZ flight times

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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