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Manuka Tree (Leptospermum scoparium)

Tea Tree

manuka

Photo by Nzmanukagroup.com

The manuka or ‘tea tree’ is a common small tree or shrub found around New Zealand, particularly in drier areas where it is generally the dominant shrubland plant. The manuka plant is related to the Australian ‘tea tree’ (melaleuca) and both have many medicinal uses. The plants became known as tea tree because early pioneers used it to make a tea, although it would be safe to say that flavour isn’t one of manuka tea’s strong points! Manuka sawdust, however, is used for smoking fish and meats to impart a delicious flavour.

New Zealand Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is highly prized not only for its distinctive strong taste but it has been shown to have extraordinary anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is often used topically to help heal boils, burns, cuts and even acne as well as soothe sore throats when taken either by the spoonful or in freshly brewed lemon, manuka honey and ginger tea. If you’re buying manuka honey for its healing properties, look for a seal certifying the highest “Unique Manuka Factor” (UMF) you can find, or afford. UMF is still being studied, but its amazing healing properties is said to be due to a unique ingredient only found in New Zealand manuka honey and its health benefits haven’t been duplicated by any other type of honey or natural remedy. 

Where to find the Manuka Tree

The Manuka, our New Zealand hiking tour, was named after this plant that grows prolifically just north of the township of Te Anau, on the drier eastern edge of Fiordland National Park. The manuka plant can be seen on most of our South Island adventure tours that explore Milford Sound. Look for an evergreen shrub that grows up to 5m (16 feet) high and has small spiky leaves and very dark branches. The plant has pretty white flowers (sometimes pink) and it’s commonly confused with its close relative, kanuka, which has softer leaves and grows taller.

Trip Reviews

  •   4.68 out of 5 (from 244 reviews)

    New Zealand and Kiwis are the Best!

    It would be difficult to overstate how impressed I was with our Active Adventure tour. Mel and Claire were absolutely incredible!! Steve was great too, but he was only with us for the hike up and back from the Aspiring Hut. Plus, he was weighed down by a rock he so generously carried up the hill for Mel.
    Anyway, Mel and Claire made Active Adventures (and New Zealand) look so good! They were EVERYTHING I could hope for: friendly, funny, knowledgeable, professional, hard-working, kind, easy-going, energetic, .... Thank you for one of the best 2-week periods of my entire life!
    Mike Schimpf Review Image
    – California, United States
    Kea, January 2017
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    Kiwi & Active Adventures - Perfect!

    With great anticipation, and admittedly high expectations, Ann and I left New Orleans on Christmas Day to begin our trip to the North Island of New Zealand. We each had long wanted to see this special place! From the moment that Phil and Vanessa picked us up, until the time that Phil and Elder dropped us at the airport for our return flight, we could not have been happier, or more satisfied, with our trip. Phil, Vanessa, and Elder were perfect guides... and hosts. The history and information that Phil shared along the way helped us understand, and therefore appreciate even more, the places we visited and the people we met. We fell in love with the North Island, and its people and history! With Active Adventures having arranged practically everything, and Phil, Vanessa, and Elder taking great care of us along the way (even preparing our last 2 wonderful evening meals), we had nothing to do but rise each morning and enjoy our day! Perfect!
    Thad Minaldi Review Image
    – Louisiana, United States
    Kauri, January 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4984 reviews)

    Rimu Was Extraordinary

    We have been dreaming of visiting New Zealand for a long time, we wanted to see and explore all the best sites in an active way, but doing this on our own would have been overwhelming! Active Adventures was the complete answer. They took us to the best places, sites and beautiful landscapes that we could only have dreamed about. Our group was small which allowed us all to bond, our guides Astrid and Steve could not have been better - fun, knowledgeable, organized and excellent cooks. I got the sense they really enjoyed what they do! I would strongly recommend this tour - a trip of a lifetime that words can’t describe - we will never forget it.
    Colleen Clark Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Rimu, February 2018
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    Even Cyclone Cook couldn't dampen our fun

    I hopped onto the last half of the Kauri after two weeks on the South Island in the Rimu adventure. It just so happened that we had a cyclone hit the island that week, so everything was very wet, to say the least. But everything still worked out okay! We still did lots of hiking in the rain, which was fun in itself. The views were not the same as they would be on a clear day, but different doesn't mean bad. They were unique, and there were a lot of rainbows thanks to the water. We even did the mountain biking in the downpour, which was hilariously muddy and still a lot of fun. Overall, the people were good, the guides were excellent, the food was fantastic, and the trip was terrific.
    Janine Carbone Review Image
    – New Hampshire, United States
    Kauri, April 2017
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    Kauri

    What an amazing introduction to the North Island. Every day was unique - starting with the hiking and boogie boarding on the sand dunes to seeing a kiwi released was exceptional. Walking through the rain forest and seeing the phenomenal kauri trees are memories we will treasure forever!
    Ben Thorlakson Review Image
    – Alberta, Canada
    Kauri, 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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