New Zealand Hiking Lingo

cows

If You're Going to Walk the Walk, You Gotta Talk the Talk. Although we speak English in New Zealand, Kiwi colloquialism can cause a bit of confusion sometimes.

  • You'll often hear us Kiwis referring to ‘tramps’ and ‘tramping’ in the context of our hiking tours and the outdoors. Contrary to the images this may conjure up, we're actually just talking about going out hiking or trekking, usually for several days at a time (otherwise you're just ‘going for a walk’).  
  • When a Kiwi says they're ‘going out for a walk, would you like to join them?’ you'd better be prepared because Kiwis notoriously play things down. So act cool, grab some snacks, water bottle, backpack and a jacket, because you could be out all day ‘walking’ up mountains rather than going for a leisurely stroll to the park!
  • Speaking of, Kiwis also have a tendency to downplay the steepness of a trail, at least by the standards of most people who weren't raised in the hills by billy goats. You can usually count on at least a few hills when a track is described as ‘flat’ and ‘undulating’ usually means more up than down.  
  • When we say ‘Queenstown's full of backpackers’ we're not necessarily referring to hikers. The act of ‘backpacking’ in New Zealand has morphed into much more than your typical freedom hiker. It usually connotes busloads of young travelers coming here to stay at hostels and thrill seek, couples and friends touring the country in rented campers or even retired couples cruising the country on a budget.
  • Going Bush’ is probably more of an Australian saying – conjuring the image of swathes of blue gum, shimmering heat and Koalas, with snakes around every bend… well almost. But the term ‘bush’ is alive and well here in New Zealand too to talk about the wilderness, especially amongst farmers and hunters when talking about hiking.
  • The ‘backcountry’ is certainly a popular Kiwi term and depending who you're speaking to, could refer to out-of-bounds ski slopes or the more remote parts of the country. Farmers who work on large farms may say they’re heading into the backcountry or the backblocks and if they're on one of the larger sheep stations (ie. a ranch), you can expect them to be gone all day or even overnight.

Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16217 reviews)

    Birthday we'll never forget

    We expected a great trip with where we were going, BUT Active Adventures guides (Michele and Rachael) made it that much more special. Their knowledge, expertise and storytelling abilities made it fun and engaging. Accommodations were better than anticipated, they were great.
    An absolute must for those thinking about this type of a trip.
    Liz Clapp Review Image
    – California, United States
    Tui, February 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16217 reviews)

    Nov 5 2016 Kiwi with Nick B and Jess

    Active Adventures allowed me to experience the breathtaking beauty of the South Island, New Zealand. I had so much fun. I had really high hopes for the trip of a lifetime before we left. My expectations were not only met but surpassed. Nick and Jess were great as was our small group of fellow travelers. The Active Adventures team were responsive to needs and made the trip care free. I would highly recommend the Kiwi trip and would do it again in a heartbeat. I would also look to do Active Adventures other trips when we go to travel again. At the conclusion of our trip, my wife and I asked ourselves what would we do differently if doing it again. Both of our answers was nothing different.
    Mitch Pfeiffer Review Image
    – Indiana, United States
    Kiwi, December 2016
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16217 reviews)

    Rimu is Wonderful - A few tips if you plan to go...

    My husband and I took the Rimu trip in early November 2016 and had a really terrific time. I encourage everyone who is seriously considering the Rimu to go ahead and sign up. That being said, with all of the fun we had, I do wish we had known a few things ahead of time. I include these tips for you, the soon-to-be Rimu traveler, to make your trip more enjoyable. However, I can promise that even if you do none of these things, you will still have a marvelous time:

    1. Guys, if you opt to snorkel with the fur seals be sure to shave your mustache before you leave home. It seems obvious now, but it never occurred to my husband that the mask wouldn’t seal properly to his face with his mustache. Do yourself a favor and shave it off or spend the afternoon dealing with a leaky mask.

    2. I also wish I had known just how intense and challenging the 3-day multi-hike through Nelson Lakes would be. If you’re an office worker and occasional hiker like me, then I encourage you to take this trip but do lots of practice/fitness training in advance. Load up your pack and get on the stair-master or start climbing really steep hills. The hike is gorgeous and worth it, but I can promise you it will be a lot more enjoyable if you’re in good shape for it. Also, there are no showers at the huts and only latrines (port-a-potties) for toilets, so bring baby wipes for exactly the same reason you would use them on a baby (wink wink). And also bring hiking poles! I know it says optional on the gear list, but I really found them to be essential. As for the water bottle – leave that at home and invest in a good water bladder system (a “Camelback” or similar). We found the water bottle to be a hassle to take in and out of the bag (forcing us to stop each time), which made us want to drink less water. The water bladders allow you to keep moving and you’ll find you’re more hydrated.

    3. The sea kayaks (and, honestly, New Zealand in general) are not made for people over 6’ 2” in height (187 cm). Watch your head everywhere you go, and as for the kayaks, it may help to have the taller person sit in the front seat of the kayak instead of the back.

    4. Also, pack enough clothes for a week and then expect to do laundry. Bring some travel-sized laundry soap packets to help save money and make sure you have enough 1$ and 2$ coins for laundry before you get to the hotel (the machines are generally pretty expensive: about $3 for the washer and between $3 - $5 for 30 minutes in the dryer).

    5. Bring good cycling shorts – yes, the ones with the weird-feeling padding on the bum. It will help prevent the dreaded ‘grumpy grundle’.

    6. And finally, a heads-up to my fellow outgoing introverts (yes, we exist): this trip contains long days of social interaction (think 7:15 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.), with few breaks for introspection/solitude. If you need some down time, skip dinner or unfurl all of the emergency blankets and build your own fort at the back of the bus and hang a sign that says, “Stay Out!” (just kidding about that last one).

    A great big thank you to our guides, Rachel and Jordan, who were informative and helpful beyond measure. How they managed to remain cheerful and engaging considering they had to do all of the exertion we clients had to do, plus all of their work on top of it, is beyond me. They are the embodiment of Kiwi hospitality! We are already thinking of coming back for a North Island tour sometime soon.
    Lauren Gerth Review Image
    – Missouri, United States
    Rimu, November 2016
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16217 reviews)

    Heaven

    Some call New Zealand home; I call it Heaven. Hiking, biking, kayaking - all with views of spectacular mountain ranges. Everything about this trip was wonderful. Now that I'm home, I'm wondering how I'll ever organize all of our photos.
    Valerie Ezrin Review Image
    – Maryland, United States
    Rimu, November 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16217 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

 previous

next 

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.

Active Adventures Brochure
no thanks, i don't like free stuff
Get your FREE Brochure Now!
Active Adventures Brochure
close
close
no thanks, i don't like free stuff
close
close