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New Zealand Custom & Special Interest Trips

We often find that families, special interest groups, or groups of friends, prefer to travel on their own custom trip, rather than being part of a group experiencing one of the itineraries we already have in place. And that’s awesome! We love working alongside groups who’d rather go down that route, to build the perfect trip for them..

Designing your custom adventure

If your group has decided you’d like to have your own custom trip, and likes the look of one of our itineraries, then it’s really easy to tailor it to the kind of adventure you’re after. For example if you have looked at our Rimu itinerary, and think it looks awesome, but you’d rather not have the backpacking experience (or the alternatives) then we can talk about shortening your custom trip, or filling those days with something more up your street. Alternatively, if you’ve looked through our trips and find that none of them are a good starting point for your adventure’s design, then we can start from the ground up and build something just the way you want it.

One of the coolest things about us here at Active is that we’re kiwis, who have seen and done virtually all that New Zealand has to offer – so you can be confident that the suggestions we make for your custom itinerary are coming from a bunch of explorers and adventurers who know their country inside out! We love getting off the beaten track, and into places you’d never find on your own, it’s what we’re all about.

Group Milford Sound snowy tops

Group Size and Transport

Our buses are either 19 or 20 seater Toyota Coasters, and we also have smaller Toyota Hiace vans for smaller groups. All our vehicles are kitted out with drinking water, snack baskets, and comfort kits with napkins, wipes, sunscreen, and insect repellent. We tend not to take more than 14 people on our adventures. It allows you to stay comfortable on the bus, and keeps things manageable for your guides. However if you have a slightly bigger group of eager adventurers then we can definitely talk this over with you.

Activities

Our active adventures in New Zealand generally include any combination of hiking, mountain biking, and sea kayaking, and when it comes to custom trips we can throw as much or as little of each into your adventure. New Zealand is covered with stunning lakes, so swimming is a rite of passage for adventurous visitors – it’s a great way to cool off after a hike, or to wake up and get the day started.

We’ll usually get out there and do it whatever the weather – unless we think it’s dangerous. So be sure to pack for four seasons in one day. A lot of New Zealand’s most impressive landscapes are arguably more stunning in the rain – so it’s not always a bad thing when it rains!

If you are hoping to add other activities to your custom trip we’d be more than happy to talk it over with you. Popular additions include: Wine Tasting, Boat Cruises, Farm Shows, Jet Boating, Bungee Jumping, Scenic Helicopter Flights, and heaps more! We can give you some great tips on the best locations in New Zealand to throw these activities in.

Wilkin river Jetboat

Food

Our trips are all inclusive. So once you’ve landed in New Zealand you can relax and let us take care of everything. As a general rule on our trips we’d say 50% of your meals will be catered by your guides, and eaten in private accommodations as a group, or as picnics if you're on the go. Our superstar guides are used to catering for all sorts of dietary requirements, so there's no need to worry about that! The other 50% of your meals will be out at our favourite restaurants. The only thing you’ll need to pay for is alcohol as it’s not included; but we definitely recommend sampling the New Zealand wine!

Braemar dinner amazing light

Accommodation

The accommodations we use on our adventures are hand-picked by us and always reflect kiwi hospitality. We use the best lodgings in the coolest places – which means they can come in all shapes and sizes, but are most often locally owned lodges and B&Bs.

If you decide to include a multi-day hiking experience in your custom trip, then we’ll stay in a cozy back-country hut for those nights. The network of back-country huts in the New Zealand wilderness are an opportunity to get right back to basics, and appreciate your travel companions and the natural beauty of your surroundings. We love escaping to a hut for the weekend.

Milford Lodge mountain view chalet

Guides

We are lucky enough at Active Adventures to have a team of the most awesome kiwi guides. They’re not just mega outdoors enthusiasts, great drivers, and great cooks, they’ll also make sure everything runs smoothly behind the scenes so you can relax and enjoy your trip. The size of the group you’re travelling in will depend on whether you have one guide or two, go have a read of the meet our guides page, and see who you could be sharing your adventure with. A past guest of Active Adventures described his guides as ‘A cross between Bear Grylls, David Attenborough, and a Four Seasons concierge.’ We reckon that’s a pretty accurate assessment!

When should you come to New Zealand?

Check out our Best time to visit New Zealand page to see which season is for you. We run most of our trips during the kiwi summer season (the northern hemisphere’s winter!) but we do also run winter adventure trips, and can definitely cater for custom adventurers during winter too.

So, if you reckon you’ve got your heart set on designing your own active adventure alongside our kiwi travel experts, then don’t be afraid to drop us a line and we’ll get into the details with you.

Other relevant information:

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New Zealand April 2016

“What a fantastic place to visit. Active Adventures lives up to its name by providing lots of great adventures that keep you very active. Wonderful guides and office staff to make the experience truly memorable. Would love to do it again...maybe see you Spring time.”
Texas, United States
Space City Kiwi Adventure, May 2016
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Trip Reviews

  4.53 out of 5 (from 4940 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
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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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