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Kea - New Zealand's Alpine Parrot

Kea are found throughout the alpine parts of the South Island, including popular spots like like Franz Josef, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park and Fiordland National Park. Therefore it's highly likely that you'll see this bird when you join us on any of our South Island trips. Our TuiManukaKea and Weka trips all go through Arthur's Pass specifically, so they offer a great opportunity to see kea in their natural habitat and to learn about them through the conservation project.

Kea are not found in the North Island, although fossil evidence suggests a population lived there over 10,000 years ago. To survive in the harsh alpine environment of the South Island, kea have become inquisitive and nomadic social birds - characteristics which help them to find and utilise new food sources. Being so inquisitive and social, is also part of what makes them so attractive, as it's easy to see them up close and witness their quirky behaviour. 

Kea

The Kea's inquisitive behaviour, and readiness to interact with humans, unfortunately has caused the species to become critically endangered. In certain areas kea have become reliant on food scraps from humans and do not hunt for themselves, or they hang out by roadsides and can be injured or killed by passing cars. The Kea Conservation Trust is an organisation committed to conserving the Kea population and educating the public, both locals and toursits, as to how they can best interact with these incredible birds. At Active Adventures we're proud to be a major sponsor of the KCT's kea project in Arthur's Pass National Park. We're lucky enough to have been allowed to name our very own kea as part of the project, and after a poll on social media, the name 'Tuhura' was chosen (pronounced 'tah-hoo-ra' and meaning explore). Tuhura is often spotted hanging out in the car parks of Arthur's Pass National Park, and you can keep up with where he's been by checking on his reported sightings here. Below is a picture of the troublesome character! 

Tuhura

Learn about the work Active Adventures are doing with the Arthur's Pass Kea Project

 DISCOVER OUR NEW ZEALAND TRIPS

Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4984 reviews)

    Great trip! Wonderful guides!

    We loved our Rimu adventure! Tia and Tess were fabulous guides. Always cheerful and wonderful ambassadors for their country. The trip was a great mix of touring and challenging mountain experiences.
    Carl Helmetag Review Image
    – Rhode Island, United States
    Rimu, February 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4984 reviews)

    It doesn't get much better!

    What a fantastic time traveling with family and new-found friends! New Zealand is an absolutely beautiful country, with thrills and adventure around every corner (and there a lot of them)! Our guides Ken and Elder were as good as they come; from their knowledge of the country, to their welcomed encouragement on the trail and the water. Oh, and did I mention their wholesome and delicious cooking?!?
    I would not hesitate to travel with Active Adventures again. Their organization, communication and willingness to please were simply over the top. Next year in Patagonia perhaps???
    Dean Altaras Review Image
    – Washington, United States
    Rimu, February 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4984 reviews)

    Outstanding Trip!!

    This trip was especially great because of our guides, Ben and Emma. I cannot say enough good things about those two. They were extremely patient, energetic, and very sincere.
    The trip has a wide variety of activities that allowed us to see and experience most of the South Island, keeping us away from the more congested tourist hangouts. I really felt like we saw the true South Island and not just the tourist trap attractions.
    The only reason I have not given it a 5 star rating is because my wife and I are very active and do very challenging trips that most people would never want to take on. It was not a trip of a lifetime for me only because of that. Take "trip of a lifetime" away from the 5 stars and just have excellent and I would mark that. Excellent trip!!!!
    Dave Mastolier Review Image
    – Alaska, United States
    Rimu, December 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4984 reviews)

    Trip of a Lifetime!

    This was such an amazing trip! Our guides Ash and Astrid did a fantastic job. Everyday was met with amazing views and challenging activities like kayaking, biking and hiking. Two weeks felt like a month because we did so much in one day but there was still some down time to enjoy the beauty that is New Zealand. A must for anyone who wants to be active in New Zealand.
    Kilo Piedra Review Image
    – California, United States
    Rimu, March 2018
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 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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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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