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New Zealand Hiking & Adventure Regions

New Zealand is an island nation in the South Pacific. It's not part of Australia and yes, our rugby team is the best in the world! Technically there are 16 regions, each with their own council (and rugby team), from Northland in the far north, to (yes you guessed it) Southland in the deep south. But we like to keep things simple, and if you're thinking of visiting us for a hiking or adventure vacation, all you need to know is that there's a North Island and a South Island. 

Our largest city Auckland, and our capital city, Wellington are both in the North Island. With a number of other large cities as well, the North Island is home to around 75% of New Zealand's population. To a south islander, this makes the north 'busy', though to most visitors you'll still be surprised by the vastness of the countryside and unspoilt nature. Some of the highlights of the North Island include rich insights into our nation's heritage and culture, volcanoes, sub-tropical weather and wonderful ocean-based attractions. 

By contrast, the South Island is just as you'd expect. It's big, it's empty and it's dramatic! The South Island's magnificent scenery is the stuff dreams are made of and the reason it's the 'poster child' of hiking and adventure media. There are 9 national parks in the South Island protecting tall glaciated peaks, ancient rainforest, turquoise blue bays, U-shaped hanging valleys and immense lakes. 

South Island New Zealand

Trip Reviews

  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1882 reviews)

    Tui in February

    I combined Kauri with Tui and it was the perfect blend to see both Islands in New Zealand. My Tui experience was terrific. It certainly was an active adventure!
    Andrea King Review Image
    – Connecticut, United States
    Tui, March 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4979 reviews)

    Trip of a Lifetime!

    I am still basking in the glow from this remarkable trip! I admit that I was a bit nervous at first as I was the oldest person in our group and not as fit (for hiking) as some in the group, so I worried about 'keeping up' on the hikes - especially the steeper climbs. Ben and Lauren were very reassuring and encouraging and I felt that I was able to 'hold my own'. In fact, while the hiking was probably the most challenging I've done in at least 7 years, it was the most rewarding/exhilarating part for me. I loved our group - a very positive, health-conscious and fun group of people from all walks of life. It was also wonderful that we were only 12 people - it helped to create a much more intimate and personal atmosphere. I felt we bonded together well - again, thanks to Ben and Lauren's great skills with ice-breaking, fun games, and ability to set and maintain a positive atmosphere from the beginning.
    From the moment we set off from the airport to the emotional farewells back at the airport at the end of the trip, this was a top notch adventure. Our transportation was comfortable, our accommodations were always different and unique and very comfortable - I loved that they weren't all in your standard hotel and that some of them were really off the beaten track. The food was amazing - from the snack basket in the van, loaded fresh every day with fruit and other snacks, to the amazing meals that Lauren and Ben created and the breakfasts and dinners that we had at various restaurants - there was a lot of variety, special dietary considerations were accounted for and there was lots of it!
    I did the kayak option and it was outstanding. The B&B and our hosts were wonderful (the hot tub at the end of the day was most appealing!) and our kayak guide, Nick was terrific - very accommodating, skilled and he made it all very interesting and fun!
    I cannot say enough about our incredible guides - Ben and Lauren - they truly moved the bar for me from a great trip to one that will go down in history for me as the trip of a lifetime. They were so knowledgeable about the island - I loved listening to the legends/folklore and learning more about the vegetation, birds, etc. Ben was a terrific driver - I always felt safe. Lauren was terrific with her cooking and meal presentations - meals looked fantastic and tasted even better! Both Ben and Lauren added those special touches from decorating the bus for the Christmas season, organizing our Secret Santa, making a fantastic Christmas morning breakfast, complete with Christmas crackers and special hats, managing extra logistics like re-booking the paragliding for us, setting up the helicopter tour, taking the time and effort to help reconnect people with items they had left behind either in our accommodations or on a hike/kayak. They even had the perfect music for when we went through the Homer Tunnel and down into Milford Sound - the combination of the music and the scenery was so moving it had several of us in tears! They really ensured that they got to know each person and took a genuine interest in each person. Their positive energy and enthusiasm was infectious. They took kindness and customer service to a new level! The scenery was breathtaking everywhere we went. It would be hard for me to say what the favourite part was or favourite view as the South Island is simply spectacular. I felt that the trip was organized in such a way that I really got a good feel and appreciation for the South Island. Truly New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places (both 'inside and out') that I have ever visited (and I've visited over 20 other countries around the world). I really loved the more laid-back way of life and the local people we met were so welcoming and kind. I would love to come back again and see the North Island but also re-visit the South Island!
    I highly recommend this trip and have already suggested it to a number of my friends. It really was transformational for me on so many levels! My heartfelt thanks to Ben and Lauren and everyone at Active Adventures!
    Sue Hazell Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Rimu, January 2018
  •   4.44 out of 5 (from 907 reviews)

    2017 Manuka Trip with Claire and Jess

    Awesome trip.....
    New Zealand is a beautiful country with plenty of great hikes and sights to see. Jess and Claire were fantastic guides. Would go again in a heartbeat!
    Paul Scopa Review Image
    – Massachusetts, United States
    Manuka, March 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1882 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
  •   4.64 out of 5 (from 565 reviews)

    Great Trip

    Great trip! Diverse and interesting hikes, bike riding, and kayaking in spectacular landscape. I particularly appreciated having all the trip details covered, so I didn't need to worry about any of the arrangements. A turn-key experience.
    Ian Christoph Review Image
    – California, United States
    Winter Rimu, October 2017

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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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