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Ultimate South Island Adventure

Rimu

4.52 out of 5 (from 4853 reviews)

  • 14 Days - US$5299 + tax
  • 12 Days - US$4999 + tax
  • 8 Days - US$4199 + tax

Trip Introduction

Nat Geo Logo 2015This is our signature adventure and a great, outdoorsy way to see New Zealand. We’ve been fine-tuning this perennial favourite since 1996 and it’s simply an awesome trip. You’ll explore the most beautiful, famous and little-known places in the South Island – up close and personal – with legendary hospitality and our unsurpassed attention to detail. For a great way to see the North Island too, combine this trip with our 11-day 'Kauri' (5-day 'Kauri' options available).

Activity level: The ‘Rimu’ is one of our more adventurous trips, but has options to suit a wide range of ages and outdoor experience. Typically, hikes on the ‘Rimu’ trip range between two and five hours to complete, with longer hikes available on the multi-day option. If you think you’d prefer a more relaxed pace and shorter one to three hour hikes, we recommend checking out our ‘Kiwi’ trip. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to chat about the various options.

Highlights

Hike
Routeburn Track
Kepler Track
Punakaiki
Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
West Coast beaches and rainforests
Franz Josef Glacier (with heli-hike option)
To a fur seal colony in Kaikoura

Choice of multi-day options ...
Wilderness hiking in Nelson Lakes National Park OR sea kayaking in Marlborough Sounds OR biking on Queen Charlotte Track

Bike
Te Araroa Track near Wanaka

Sea kayak
Milford Sound, Okarito Lagoon

Plus ...
Explore Queenstown
Morelea Farm show

What's included in our NZ trips?

  • All guiding services
    - Two experienced guides per trip. In New Zealand you'll have a lead guide and a co guide. 
  • All accommodations
    - A range of hotels, lodges, chalets, inns, sheep stations and backcountry huts, depending on which trip you choose. 
  • All meals
    - Breakfast, lunch and dinner on all days, except where indicated on the itinerary (usually 1 day per trip is a free day, allowing you to choose your own dining location). 
  • All activities
    - Hiking, kayaking, biking, rafting, scenic flights, jet boating and more! 
  • All transport
    - Airport transfers.
    - When you're not travelling under your own steam, they'll be comfortable air-conditioned vans to stretch your legs.
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Interactive Trip Map

Daily itinerary

Day 1—Arrive, hike to a fur seal colony on the Kaikoura Peninsula

Most people leave the Northern Hemisphere on a Saturday evening, arriving in Auckland early Monday morning. You’ll lose a day crossing the dateline – but you get it back on the way home! It’s a short flight from Auckland to Christchurch on the South Island where we’ll meet you. We’ll start your trip by travelling up the coast to the seaside town of Kaikoura, where we’ll hike the scenic peninsula. Passing weathered limestone cliffs we’ll watch a colony of fur seals basking on the rocks and playing in the eddies, on a stretch of rugged coastline that was uplifted in the Kaikoura earthquake - it’s amazing to see this brand new land! Today is a relaxed introduction to New Zealand. Depending on where you’re coming from, you’ll probably find jetlag is no big deal. It’s a 12 to 13 hour direct overnight flight from the West Coast of the USA to Auckland and there’s only a 3 hour time difference between New Zealand and US Pacific time. If you’re coming from further afield, you’ll appreciate the gentle start to your New Zealand adventure.
Kaikoura Lodgings, Kaikoura (Lunch, Dinner)

Day 2 (morning)—Visit vineyard

From Kaikoura, we’ll travel along spectacular coastline for a couple of hours to Blenheim, in the Marlborough wine region. We’ll visit Forrest Estate Winery to sample some of their fantastic wines and have a picnic lunch before we head off for our various activities.

Hiking Option - Nelson Lakes National Park: The Angelus Circuit

Day 2 (afternoon) - Hike Angelus Circuit: Saint Arnaud to Lakehead Hut

Our hike begins in the charming village of Saint Arnaud, on the edge of Nelson Lakes National Park. This is serious wilderness country, with incredible views and marvellous solitude. The park straddles the upper Southern Alps, an area composed of beech forests, big lakes and even bigger mountains.We’ll hike the relatively gentle trail through the forest alongside Lake Rotoiti to Lakehead Hut, a small mountain cabin at the head of the lake and our home for the night. Our guides are pretty tough and they’ll carry the lion’s share of the load. All you’ll be carrying is a backpack with your sleeping bag, a few spare clothes, and a share of our food. To protect this beautiful and fragile environment, we always keep our group sizes small and our exact route flexible.
Lakehead Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park (All meals) 

Day 3 - Hike Angelus Circuit: Lakehead Hut to Angelus Hut

Today is an unforgettable day – the scenery gets better with each step! We follow the Travers River through beech forest, before heading up the Hukere Stream towards the ridgeline.This is a steep hike, with an elevation gain of 1,000 m (3,000 ft), but it’s absolutely worth it. The Angelus Circuit has exceptional scenic diversity, so it provides a great reward for the efforts you put in. We will encourage you all the way up to Angelus Hut, nestled beside a gorgeous alpine lake, whatever your hiking speed. Many people tell us this hidden gem was the highlight of their New Zealand adventure, and a lot of Kiwis prefer the Angelus Circuit to better-known tracks.
Angelus Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park (All meals)

Day 4 (morning) - Hike Angelus Circuit: Angelus Hut to Lake Rotoiti

This morning you’ll wake up on top of the world. After breakfast, we’ll hike out along the barren Robert Ridge with dramatic views of Tasman Bay and the mountainous Kahurangi National Park in the distance. We’ll descend below the treeline again into native beech forest completing our hike on the shores of Lake Rotoiti. Here, we’ll meet up with the kayakers and cyclists and share stories of our adventures, before carrying on to the West Coast.

Mountain Bike Option - Queen Charlotte Track (Add US$799 + tax)

Day 2 (afternoon) - Mountain bike Queen Charlotte Track

The third option to personalise your trip is to bike a portion of the Queen Charlotte Track, rated one of the best mountain biking tracks in New Zealand. After lunch, you'll head to Anakiwa on the edge of Queen Charlotte Sound, where you'll be fitted with a Specialised Rockhopper 29er mountain bike, perfect for single track riding. Today we'll ride from Anakiwa to Onahau Bay lookout and back, a perfect taster of what's to come! Tonight, we'll stay at a cosy architecturally-designed bed and breakfast set amongst native tree ferns.
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Day 3 - Mountain bike Queen Charlotte Track

Awaking to native birdsong, we'll head out to Torea Saddle, where we will bike towards the Bay of Many Coves. This part of the track is known as 'The Jewel in the Crown' with stunning views of both Sounds. The area is also well known for its native beech forests, secluded golden beaches and birds, so it's an amazing area to explore at handle-bar level. 
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Day 4 (morning) - Mountain bike Queen Charlotte Track

We'll spend the morning biking on the Waikawa Mountain Bike Park near Picton. Later we'll enjoy our lunch at the Picton Harbour before heading to Saint Arnaud to rejoin the hikers and carry on to the West Coast.

Day 4 (afternoon)—Finish multi-day backpacking, sea kayaking or mountain biking

After regrouping in Saint Arnaud, we'll head across the Southern Alps to the West Coast – a dramatic and rugged coastline stretching 600 kilometres (372 miles), with a population of only 40,000 people. We'll mingle with the 'coasters' tonight in the seaside village of Punakaiki, exchanging tales of our adventures over fish and chips at the local pub!
West Coast lodgings, Punakaiki (All meals)

Day 5—Hike Punakaiki Rainforest, explore Hokitika

We'll spend the morning hiking the Inland Pack Track through temperate rainforest and limestone canyons, following in the footsteps of gold miners who established this trail over a century ago. While we're in Punakaiki, we'll also check out the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes – aptly named limestone formations that have been sculpted through the relentless pounding of the Tasman Sea. Travelling along the scenic coastline, we'll stretch our legs in Hokitika and check out local art galleries and pounamu-carving workshops (pounamu is Maori for jade), before carrying on to the township of Franz Josef where we'll stay for the next couple of nights. Nestled in the rainforest-clad foothills of the Southern Alps, Franz Josef is the heart of New Zealand glacier country.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)

Day 6—Kayak Okarito Lagoon, hike coastal forest and beach

This morning we'll take a short journey over to Okarito, a little-known beach community on the coast. We'll take to the water in sea kayaks and glide along a picturesque lagoon, set against a stunning backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Okarito is home to the only native white heron colony in New Zealand, as well as a host of other interesting birds. Later we'll hike through lush coastal forest to Three Mile Lagoon, and wander along the beautiful stony beach next to crashing waves. Later we'll head back to Franz Josef where you'll have the option to take another hike or relax in the hot tub, before enjoying a traditional Kiwi roast dinner.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)

Day 7—Hike near Franz Josef Glacier

With some 140 glaciers making their way down from the Southern Alps, this area is fittingly known as glacier country. Few sights equal the spectacle of two of these giant frozen rivers (Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers) imperceptibly grinding their way down through temperate rainforest to just 250 metres (820 feet) above sea level. We'll spend most of the day near Franz Josef Glacier hiking up through the forest to either Alex Knob or Roberts Point, both of which give incredible views of the ice. These hikes can be inaccessible in wet weather, so we may opt to hike close to the terminal face of Fox Glacier, around Lake Matheson and to the Blue Pools near Haast Pass instead.

Optional Heli-hike (add US$350 + tax)

An outrageously scenic alternative to today’s hike is to heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier itself. After being fitted with crampons, ice axes and so on, you’ll board a turbine helicopter and fly towards the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, landing on the glacier at 1,300 m (4,000 ft) above sea level. Led by specialist glacier guides, you’ll hike through the grand ice formations of the glacier, checking out its crevasses, seracs and tunnels – no previous experience is required! The constant movement of the glacier means every day is different, so your guides will cut steps in the ice to make the most of the conditions. At the end of your hike on the ice, you’ll take another helicopter ride out of the mountains and back to civilisation.

The heli-hike is extremely popular, so we offer advance reservations with the helicopter operators and guiding company. At the time of booking, or up until one month before your trip, we can reserve a space for you, or you can leave your decision until the start of your trip and your guides will get you a spot if it’s available.

From Franz Josef, we’ll travel down the coast through lush forest and then inland to Makarora, a small village bordering Mt Aspiring National Park, with incredible views of the snow-capped mountains.
Makarora Lodgings, Makarora (All meals)

Day 2 (afternoon)—Start multi-day hiking, sea kayaking or mountain biking options

Sea Kayaking Option - Marlborough Sounds (Add US$799 + tax)

Day 2 (afternoon) - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

After lunch, you'll head to Ngakuta Bay in the Marlborough Sounds to begin three days of paddling in style. The waters are sheltered, meaning they are generally calm. The surrounding lush forest and rocky coastline are truly stunning. You'll be kitted out comfortably in your sea kayak with all the necessary safety equipment for paddling. After a thorough safety briefing, you'll head out with your specialist kayak guide for a gentle first day's paddle to Tanglewood B&B, with sparkling views of the surrounding sounds. This multi-day option is quite flexible, so you don't need any previous paddling experience, but if you are an experienced sea kayaker, we'll certainly keep you challenged.
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Day 3 - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

Today we'll kayak around the secluded bays of the Kenepuru Sound. You can paddle at your own pace and we'll make sure you get as much or as little 'paddle time' as you like! We'll check out the beaches, birdlife and native forest that characterise the area and enjoy being out on the water. With a bit of luck, we'll be visited by local dolphins, fur seals and little blue penguins (Eudyptula minor). You'll also have plenty of time to stop for short beach and forest walks along the way.
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Day 4 (morning) - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

This morning we'll have another chance to spot wildlife as we paddle along the northern coastline from Anakiwa, in the Queen Charlotte Sound. We'll then cross over the Sound and finish back in Ngakuta bay, which will complete the round trip of the Grove Arm. This is where our sea kayaking ends, so after lunch in Picton we'll meet up with the rest of the group in Saint Arnaud before carrying on to the West Coast.

Day 8—Cycle Hawea River Trail

The landscape this morning changes rapidly from dense beech forests to semi-arid terrain. When we arrive at Lake Hawea, you’ll be fitted with a 21-speed front-suspension Avanti Black Thunder 7.1 mountain bike for a scenic ride along the Hawea River Trail. This gently undulating track follows the Hawea and Clutha Rivers through the rugged Central Otago landscape to the charming lakeside town of Wanaka. Here we’ll stop for lunch before a short but dramatic journey over the Cardrona Saddle to Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, our base for the next couple of days. You’ll sleep sweetly tonight at a lakefront hotel located in the heart of Queenstown.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 9—Free day in Queenstown

Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand (if not the world!) and all the comforts of civilisation are packed into this tiny resort town: restaurants galore, sidewalk cafés, stylish lounge bars, day spas, and boutiques. You’ll also find incredible optional activities here, including horse trekking, a gondola, kayaking, fishing, winery tours, hang gliding, mountain biking, bungy jumping, jet boating, skydiving, as well as some great hiking opportunities. Or you can just soak up the atmosphere or lounge about reading a book. Your guides will happily share their favourite haunts and point you in the right direction for your free day today.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (No meals included)

Day 10—Hike Routeburn Track

This morning, we set off for our largest and perhaps most spectacular national park, Fiordland. We’ll hike part of the Routeburn Track for unsurpassed views of the Hollyford Valley, as well as Lake Marian and Mt Christina. We’ll take a short drive through the Homer Tunnel and emerge at the top of a spectacular glacier-carved valley for a memorable descent to the shore of Milford Sound. Rudyard Kipling rated this fiord as the eighth natural wonder of the world and it is truly breathtaking, with steep granite walls plunging over a thousand metres to the Tasman Sea and waterfalls cascading into deep inky water. Tonight we’ll stay in some fairly basic accommodation in a wonderful remote location.
Milford Lodge Chalets, Milford Sound (All meals)

Day 11—Sea kayak Milford Sound, hike Kepler Track

Most people see Milford Sound from the deck of a ship, but we've got a more active way – gliding along in sea kayaks, causing very little disruption for the best chance of getting up close and personal with the friendly fur seals and dolphins that are sometimes in the area. It's an early start this morning, but the calm waters and peaceful solitude that you'll enjoy out on the fiord, are well worth it. Fully kitted out in double sea kayaks and lead by a specialist kayak guide, the padding is equally suitable for beginners and experts alike. After kayaking, we'll enjoy a tasty lunch before heading out to explore more of Fiordland's wilderness on foot. This afternoon we'll take a hike on the famous Kepler Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks. Beginning at Rainbow Reach, we follow the track through mountain beech forest and along the Waiau River. It's an awesome hike with spectacular views! Tonight we'll stay on the edge of Lake Manapouri, enjoying the scenery and the delicious local fare.
Lake Manapouri Inn, Manapouri (All meals)

Day 12—Spare time in Queenstown, journey over the Lindis Pass

After a relaxed start we return to Queenstown, where you’ll have a couple of hours to get some lunch, do any last minute shopping, send postcards home, or whatever you might need to do before heading back into the wilderness for the remainder of your trip. Then we’ll drive through the tussock-country of Lindis Pass to Lake Pukaki, where we stay on Hamish and Julia McKenzie’s 5000 hectare high-country sheep farm, Braemar Station (station is the New Zealand word for a big ranch). While we’re here, we’ll stay in a farm cottage that was built for the sheep shearers. It’s a rustic little place with views that will knock your socks off – the biggest mountains in New Zealand piercing the sky on the far side of a gorgeous cobalt-blue lake. With no lights for miles around, the stars on a clear night are like nothing you’ve ever seen. Many of our clients have told us this was one of their favourite places on the whole trip – just the place for your last couple of nights in New Zealand!
Shearers’ quarters, Braemar Station (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 13—Hike Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

Mt Cook, named Aoraki or ‘cloud piercer’ by South Island Maori, is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Directly opposite the mountain, we have a stunning day hike to the main ridge above Mueller Glacier. It’s a bit of a hike, but you’ll remember the view of the glacier and the surrounding peaks forever! The weather conditions are very important in this area, as it’s a true alpine climate notorious for sudden weather shifts. If we aren’t able to do the Mueller hike, or you’d like to take it a little easier, there’s an impressive hike up to a glacial lake (complete with icebergs!) at the base of the Hooker Glacier. Then we head back to Braemar Station for the last night of the ‘Rimu’. We’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner as we sit outside and watch the sun set on Aoraki/Mt Cook.
Shearers’ quarters, Braemar Station (All meals)

Day 14—Visit Morelea Farm, depart for home

After breakfast we’ll head into Mackenzie Country, to Morelea Farm, an 800 acre working farm producing wool, lamb, beef and some dairy grazing stock. The farm is nestled amidst rolling pastureland with the Canterbury Alps as a backdrop. Stan and Angie Taylor are your hosts here and they enjoy nothing better than sharing their love of farming - depending on the season you’ll see sheep shearing, dog round ups and lamb feeding. After a hearty farm-style lunch, we’ll head to Christchurch, arriving in time for afternoon flights. This is the end of your ‘Rimu’ trip and we’ll leave you refreshed and invigorated from the good food, exercise, rest, and great times you’ll have had with us in New Zealand! For a great way to see the North Island too, where you’ll experience Maori culture, pristine beaches and geothermal areas, you can combine this trip with our 11-day ‘Kauri’ (5-day ‘Kauri’ options available).
(Breakfast, Lunch)


Activity Key - zoom in to see activity detail

Hiking Biking Kayaking Boating Flying

Itinerary

Day 1 — Arrive, hike to a fur seal colony on the Kaikoura Peninsula

Most people leave the Northern Hemisphere on a Saturday evening, arriving in Auckland early Monday morning. You’ll lose a day crossing the dateline – but you get it back on the way home! It’s a short flight from Auckland to Christchurch on the South Island where we’ll meet you. We’ll start your trip by travelling up the coast to the seaside town of Kaikoura, where we’ll hike the scenic peninsula. Passing weathered limestone cliffs we’ll watch a colony of fur seals basking on the rocks and playing in the eddies, on a stretch of rugged coastline that was uplifted in the Kaikoura earthquake - it’s amazing to see this brand new land! Today is a relaxed introduction to New Zealand. Depending on where you’re coming from, you’ll probably find jetlag is no big deal. It’s a 12 to 13 hour direct overnight flight from the West Coast of the USA to Auckland and there’s only a 3 hour time difference between New Zealand and US Pacific time. If you’re coming from further afield, you’ll appreciate the gentle start to your New Zealand adventure.
Kaikoura Lodgings, Kaikoura (Lunch, Dinner)

Day 2 (morning) — Visit vineyard

From Kaikoura, we’ll travel along spectacular coastline for a couple of hours to Blenheim, in the Marlborough wine region. We’ll visit Forrest Estate Winery to sample some of their fantastic wines and have a picnic lunch before we head off for our various activities.

Day 2 (afternoon) — Start multi-day hiking, sea kayaking or mountain biking options

Hiking Option - Nelson Lakes National Park: The Angelus Circuit

Day 2 (afternoon) - Hike Angelus Circuit: Saint Arnaud to Lakehead Hut

Our hike begins in the charming village of Saint Arnaud, on the edge of Nelson Lakes National Park. This is serious wilderness country, with incredible views and marvellous solitude. The park straddles the upper Southern Alps, an area composed of beech forests, big lakes and even bigger mountains.We’ll hike the relatively gentle trail through the forest alongside Lake Rotoiti to Lakehead Hut, a small mountain cabin at the head of the lake and our home for the night. Our guides are pretty tough and they’ll carry the lion’s share of the load. All you’ll be carrying is a backpack with your sleeping bag, a few spare clothes, and a share of our food. To protect this beautiful and fragile environment, we always keep our group sizes small and our exact route flexible.
Lakehead Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park (All meals) 

Day 3 - Hike Angelus Circuit: Lakehead Hut to Angelus Hut

Today is an unforgettable day – the scenery gets better with each step! We follow the Travers River through beech forest, before heading up the Hukere Stream towards the ridgeline.This is a steep hike, with an elevation gain of 1,000 m (3,000 ft), but it’s absolutely worth it. The Angelus Circuit has exceptional scenic diversity, so it provides a great reward for the efforts you put in. We will encourage you all the way up to Angelus Hut, nestled beside a gorgeous alpine lake, whatever your hiking speed. Many people tell us this hidden gem was the highlight of their New Zealand adventure, and a lot of Kiwis prefer the Angelus Circuit to better-known tracks.
Angelus Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park (All meals)

Day 4 (morning) - Hike Angelus Circuit: Angelus Hut to Lake Rotoiti

This morning you’ll wake up on top of the world. After breakfast, we’ll hike out along the barren Robert Ridge with dramatic views of Tasman Bay and the mountainous Kahurangi National Park in the distance. We’ll descend below the treeline again into native beech forest completing our hike on the shores of Lake Rotoiti. Here, we’ll meet up with the kayakers and cyclists and share stories of our adventures, before carrying on to the West Coast.

Sea Kayaking Option - Marlborough Sounds (Add US$799 + tax)

Day 2 (afternoon) - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

After lunch, you'll head to Ngakuta Bay in the Marlborough Sounds to begin three days of paddling in style. The waters are sheltered, meaning they are generally calm. The surrounding lush forest and rocky coastline are truly stunning. You'll be kitted out comfortably in your sea kayak with all the necessary safety equipment for paddling. After a thorough safety briefing, you'll head out with your specialist kayak guide for a gentle first day's paddle to Tanglewood B&B, with sparkling views of the surrounding sounds. This multi-day option is quite flexible, so you don't need any previous paddling experience, but if you are an experienced sea kayaker, we'll certainly keep you challenged.
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Day 3 - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

Today we'll kayak around the secluded bays of the Kenepuru Sound. You can paddle at your own pace and we'll make sure you get as much or as little 'paddle time' as you like! We'll check out the beaches, birdlife and native forest that characterise the area and enjoy being out on the water. With a bit of luck, we'll be visited by local dolphins, fur seals and little blue penguins (Eudyptula minor). You'll also have plenty of time to stop for short beach and forest walks along the way.
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Day 4 (morning) - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

This morning we'll have another chance to spot wildlife as we paddle along the northern coastline from Anakiwa, in the Queen Charlotte Sound. We'll then cross over the Sound and finish back in Ngakuta bay, which will complete the round trip of the Grove Arm. This is where our sea kayaking ends, so after lunch in Picton we'll meet up with the rest of the group in Saint Arnaud before carrying on to the West Coast.

Mountain Bike Option - Queen Charlotte Track (Add US$799 + tax)

Day 2 (afternoon) - Mountain bike Queen Charlotte Track

The third option to personalise your trip is to bike a portion of the Queen Charlotte Track, rated one of the best mountain biking tracks in New Zealand. After lunch, you'll head to Anakiwa on the edge of Queen Charlotte Sound, where you'll be fitted with a Specialised Rockhopper 29er mountain bike, perfect for single track riding. Today we'll ride from Anakiwa to Onahau Bay lookout and back, a perfect taster of what's to come! Tonight, we'll stay at a cosy architecturally-designed bed and breakfast set amongst native tree ferns.
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Day 3 - Mountain bike Queen Charlotte Track

Awaking to native birdsong, we'll head out to Torea Saddle, where we will bike towards the Bay of Many Coves. This part of the track is known as 'The Jewel in the Crown' with stunning views of both Sounds. The area is also well known for its native beech forests, secluded golden beaches and birds, so it's an amazing area to explore at handle-bar level. 
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Day 4 (morning) - Mountain bike Queen Charlotte Track

We'll spend the morning biking on the Waikawa Mountain Bike Park near Picton. Later we'll enjoy our lunch at the Picton Harbour before heading to Saint Arnaud to rejoin the hikers and carry on to the West Coast.

Day 4 (afternoon) — Finish multi-day backpacking, sea kayaking or mountain biking

After regrouping in Saint Arnaud, we'll head across the Southern Alps to the West Coast – a dramatic and rugged coastline stretching 600 kilometres (372 miles), with a population of only 40,000 people. We'll mingle with the 'coasters' tonight in the seaside village of Punakaiki, exchanging tales of our adventures over fish and chips at the local pub!
West Coast lodgings, Punakaiki (All meals)

Day 5 — Hike Punakaiki Rainforest, explore Hokitika

We'll spend the morning hiking the Inland Pack Track through temperate rainforest and limestone canyons, following in the footsteps of gold miners who established this trail over a century ago. While we're in Punakaiki, we'll also check out the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes – aptly named limestone formations that have been sculpted through the relentless pounding of the Tasman Sea. Travelling along the scenic coastline, we'll stretch our legs in Hokitika and check out local art galleries and pounamu-carving workshops (pounamu is Maori for jade), before carrying on to the township of Franz Josef where we'll stay for the next couple of nights. Nestled in the rainforest-clad foothills of the Southern Alps, Franz Josef is the heart of New Zealand glacier country.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)

Day 6 — Kayak Okarito Lagoon, hike coastal forest and beach

This morning we'll take a short journey over to Okarito, a little-known beach community on the coast. We'll take to the water in sea kayaks and glide along a picturesque lagoon, set against a stunning backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Okarito is home to the only native white heron colony in New Zealand, as well as a host of other interesting birds. Later we'll hike through lush coastal forest to Three Mile Lagoon, and wander along the beautiful stony beach next to crashing waves. Later we'll head back to Franz Josef where you'll have the option to take another hike or relax in the hot tub, before enjoying a traditional Kiwi roast dinner.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)

Day 7 — Hike near Franz Josef Glacier

With some 140 glaciers making their way down from the Southern Alps, this area is fittingly known as glacier country. Few sights equal the spectacle of two of these giant frozen rivers (Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers) imperceptibly grinding their way down through temperate rainforest to just 250 metres (820 feet) above sea level. We'll spend most of the day near Franz Josef Glacier hiking up through the forest to either Alex Knob or Roberts Point, both of which give incredible views of the ice. These hikes can be inaccessible in wet weather, so we may opt to hike close to the terminal face of Fox Glacier, around Lake Matheson and to the Blue Pools near Haast Pass instead.

Optional Heli-hike (add US$350 + tax)

An outrageously scenic alternative to today’s hike is to heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier itself. After being fitted with crampons, ice axes and so on, you’ll board a turbine helicopter and fly towards the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, landing on the glacier at 1,300 m (4,000 ft) above sea level. Led by specialist glacier guides, you’ll hike through the grand ice formations of the glacier, checking out its crevasses, seracs and tunnels – no previous experience is required! The constant movement of the glacier means every day is different, so your guides will cut steps in the ice to make the most of the conditions. At the end of your hike on the ice, you’ll take another helicopter ride out of the mountains and back to civilisation.

The heli-hike is extremely popular, so we offer advance reservations with the helicopter operators and guiding company. At the time of booking, or up until one month before your trip, we can reserve a space for you, or you can leave your decision until the start of your trip and your guides will get you a spot if it’s available.

From Franz Josef, we’ll travel down the coast through lush forest and then inland to Makarora, a small village bordering Mt Aspiring National Park, with incredible views of the snow-capped mountains.
Makarora Lodgings, Makarora (All meals)

Day 8 — Cycle Hawea River Trail

The landscape this morning changes rapidly from dense beech forests to semi-arid terrain. When we arrive at Lake Hawea, you’ll be fitted with a 21-speed front-suspension Avanti Black Thunder 7.1 mountain bike for a scenic ride along the Hawea River Trail. This gently undulating track follows the Hawea and Clutha Rivers through the rugged Central Otago landscape to the charming lakeside town of Wanaka. Here we’ll stop for lunch before a short but dramatic journey over the Cardrona Saddle to Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, our base for the next couple of days. You’ll sleep sweetly tonight at a lakefront hotel located in the heart of Queenstown.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 9 — Free day in Queenstown

Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand (if not the world!) and all the comforts of civilisation are packed into this tiny resort town: restaurants galore, sidewalk cafés, stylish lounge bars, day spas, and boutiques. You’ll also find incredible optional activities here, including horse trekking, a gondola, kayaking, fishing, winery tours, hang gliding, mountain biking, bungy jumping, jet boating, skydiving, as well as some great hiking opportunities. Or you can just soak up the atmosphere or lounge about reading a book. Your guides will happily share their favourite haunts and point you in the right direction for your free day today.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (No meals included)

Day 10 — Hike Routeburn Track

This morning, we set off for our largest and perhaps most spectacular national park, Fiordland. We’ll hike part of the Routeburn Track for unsurpassed views of the Hollyford Valley, as well as Lake Marian and Mt Christina. We’ll take a short drive through the Homer Tunnel and emerge at the top of a spectacular glacier-carved valley for a memorable descent to the shore of Milford Sound. Rudyard Kipling rated this fiord as the eighth natural wonder of the world and it is truly breathtaking, with steep granite walls plunging over a thousand metres to the Tasman Sea and waterfalls cascading into deep inky water. Tonight we’ll stay in some fairly basic accommodation in a wonderful remote location.
Milford Lodge Chalets, Milford Sound (All meals)

Day 11 — Sea kayak Milford Sound, hike Kepler Track

Most people see Milford Sound from the deck of a ship, but we've got a more active way – gliding along in sea kayaks, causing very little disruption for the best chance of getting up close and personal with the friendly fur seals and dolphins that are sometimes in the area. It's an early start this morning, but the calm waters and peaceful solitude that you'll enjoy out on the fiord, are well worth it. Fully kitted out in double sea kayaks and lead by a specialist kayak guide, the padding is equally suitable for beginners and experts alike. After kayaking, we'll enjoy a tasty lunch before heading out to explore more of Fiordland's wilderness on foot. This afternoon we'll take a hike on the famous Kepler Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks. Beginning at Rainbow Reach, we follow the track through mountain beech forest and along the Waiau River. It's an awesome hike with spectacular views! Tonight we'll stay on the edge of Lake Manapouri, enjoying the scenery and the delicious local fare.
Lake Manapouri Inn, Manapouri (All meals)

Day 12 — Spare time in Queenstown, journey over the Lindis Pass

After a relaxed start we return to Queenstown, where you’ll have a couple of hours to get some lunch, do any last minute shopping, send postcards home, or whatever you might need to do before heading back into the wilderness for the remainder of your trip. Then we’ll drive through the tussock-country of Lindis Pass to Lake Pukaki, where we stay on Hamish and Julia McKenzie’s 5000 hectare high-country sheep farm, Braemar Station (station is the New Zealand word for a big ranch). While we’re here, we’ll stay in a farm cottage that was built for the sheep shearers. It’s a rustic little place with views that will knock your socks off – the biggest mountains in New Zealand piercing the sky on the far side of a gorgeous cobalt-blue lake. With no lights for miles around, the stars on a clear night are like nothing you’ve ever seen. Many of our clients have told us this was one of their favourite places on the whole trip – just the place for your last couple of nights in New Zealand!
Shearers’ quarters, Braemar Station (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 13 — Hike Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

Mt Cook, named Aoraki or ‘cloud piercer’ by South Island Maori, is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Directly opposite the mountain, we have a stunning day hike to the main ridge above Mueller Glacier. It’s a bit of a hike, but you’ll remember the view of the glacier and the surrounding peaks forever! The weather conditions are very important in this area, as it’s a true alpine climate notorious for sudden weather shifts. If we aren’t able to do the Mueller hike, or you’d like to take it a little easier, there’s an impressive hike up to a glacial lake (complete with icebergs!) at the base of the Hooker Glacier. Then we head back to Braemar Station for the last night of the ‘Rimu’. We’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner as we sit outside and watch the sun set on Aoraki/Mt Cook.
Shearers’ quarters, Braemar Station (All meals)

Day 14 — Visit Morelea Farm, depart for home

After breakfast we’ll head into Mackenzie Country, to Morelea Farm, an 800 acre working farm producing wool, lamb, beef and some dairy grazing stock. The farm is nestled amidst rolling pastureland with the Canterbury Alps as a backdrop. Stan and Angie Taylor are your hosts here and they enjoy nothing better than sharing their love of farming - depending on the season you’ll see sheep shearing, dog round ups and lamb feeding. After a hearty farm-style lunch, we’ll head to Christchurch, arriving in time for afternoon flights. This is the end of your ‘Rimu’ trip and we’ll leave you refreshed and invigorated from the good food, exercise, rest, and great times you’ll have had with us in New Zealand! For a great way to see the North Island too, where you’ll experience Maori culture, pristine beaches and geothermal areas, you can combine this trip with our 11-day ‘Kauri’ (5-day ‘Kauri’ options available).
(Breakfast, Lunch)

Dates

Trip Date Price Status  
Apr 23, 2018 – May 07, 2018 US$5299 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Sep 24, 2018 – Oct 08, 2018 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Oct 01, 2018 – Oct 15, 2018 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 08, 2018 – Oct 22, 2018 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Oct 15, 2018 – Oct 29, 2018 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Oct 22, 2018 – Nov 05, 2018 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Oct 29, 2018 – Nov 12, 2018 US$5299 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Nov 02, 2018 – Nov 16, 2018 US$5299 + tax Full Check Availability
Nov 05, 2018 – Nov 19, 2018 US$5299 + tax Almost Full - Check Now! Check Availability
Nov 12, 2018 – Nov 26, 2018 US$5299 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Nov 19, 2018 – Dec 03, 2018 US$5299 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Nov 26, 2018 – Dec 10, 2018 US$5299 + tax Almost Full - Check Now! Check Availability
Dec 03, 2018 – Dec 17, 2018 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Dec 10, 2018 – Dec 24, 2018 US$5299 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Dec 17, 2018 – Dec 31, 2018 US$5299 + tax Christmas Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Dec 24, 2018 – Jan 07, 2019 US$5299 + tax Christmas Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Dec 31, 2018 – Jan 14, 2019 US$5299 + tax Christmas Season - Check Now! Check Availability
2019
Jan 07, 2019 – Jan 21, 2019 US$5299 + tax Christmas Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Jan 14, 2019 – Jan 28, 2019 US$5299 + tax Christmas Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Jan 21, 2019 – Feb 04, 2019 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Jan 28, 2019 – Feb 11, 2019 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 04, 2019 – Feb 18, 2019 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Feb 11, 2019 – Feb 25, 2019 US$5299 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Feb 18, 2019 – Mar 04, 2019 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Feb 25, 2019 – Mar 11, 2019 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Mar 04, 2019 – Mar 18, 2019 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Mar 11, 2019 – Mar 25, 2019 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Mar 18, 2019 – Apr 01, 2019 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 25, 2019 – Apr 08, 2019 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Apr 08, 2019 – Apr 22, 2019 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Apr 22, 2019 – May 06, 2019 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Sep 23, 2019 – Oct 07, 2019 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Sep 30, 2019 – Oct 14, 2019 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 07, 2019 – Oct 21, 2019 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 14, 2019 – Oct 28, 2019 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 21, 2019 – Nov 04, 2019 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Oct 28, 2019 – Nov 11, 2019 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Nov 04, 2019 – Nov 18, 2019 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 11, 2019 – Nov 25, 2019 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Nov 18, 2019 – Dec 02, 2019 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 25, 2019 – Dec 09, 2019 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Dec 02, 2019 – Dec 16, 2019 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 09, 2019 – Dec 23, 2019 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 16, 2019 – Dec 30, 2019 US$5299 + tax Christmas Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Dec 23, 2019 – Jan 06, 2020 US$5299 + tax Christmas Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Dec 30, 2019 – Jan 13, 2020 US$5299 + tax Christmas Season - Check Now! Check Availability
2020
Jan 06, 2020 – Jan 20, 2020 US$5299 + tax Christmas Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Jan 13, 2020 – Jan 27, 2020 US$5299 + tax Christmas Season - Check Now! Check Availability
Jan 20, 2020 – Feb 03, 2020 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 27, 2020 – Feb 10, 2020 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 03, 2020 – Feb 17, 2020 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 10, 2020 – Feb 24, 2020 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 17, 2020 – Mar 02, 2020 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 24, 2020 – Mar 09, 2020 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 02, 2020 – Mar 16, 2020 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 09, 2020 – Mar 23, 2020 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 16, 2020 – Mar 30, 2020 US$5299 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Mar 23, 2020 – Apr 06, 2020 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Apr 06, 2020 – Apr 20, 2020 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability
Apr 20, 2020 – May 04, 2020 US$5299 + tax Great Check Availability

Useful Info

No Forced Single Supplement:

Most other travel companies charge all solo travellers a single supplement fee. We don't! When it comes to accommodation, our trip fares are based on a twin-share rate, which means we'll match you up with another person of the same gender to share a room with. If there's no one suitable to share with, there's no forced single supplement! Having said that, if you specifically request your own room, you can opt to pay the additional single supplement fee. 

Trip Start:

On the first day of the trip we can either pick you up from the Heartland Hotel Cotswold in Christchurch at 10.30am, or at Christchurch airport in front of the Travel and Information desk at 11am.

Trip End:

On the last day of the trip we can drop you off at the Christchurch airport in time for the flights below, or anywhere in central Christchurch about 3pm.

Recommended flights:

Arrival: If you’re flying in on the first day of the trip, we recommend arriving in Christchurch before 10am on Monday.
Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, we recommend departing from Christchurch after 4pm on Sunday. If you are considering alternative flight times please check with us. International flights from Auckland usually leave early evening, so if you’re heading back to North America, you’ll get home some time on Sunday, even though you left on Sunday evening! Flights back to Europe, of course, take a little longer.

Fitness:

The ‘Rimu’ is one of our more adventurous trips, and has options to suit a wide range of fitness levels and outdoor experience. If you keep reasonably active and like to give things a go, you’re likely to enjoy the trip much more. If you’re used to pushing yourself, we’ll keep you challenged as well. Typically, hikes on the ‘Rimu’ trip range between two and five hours to complete, more, or less hiking is available depending on your multi-day option. If you think you’d prefer a more relaxed pace and shorter hikes, we recommend checking out our ‘Kiwi’ trip. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to chat about the various options.

Reviews

  • Rimu 2018, We will Always Remember!

    “An outstanding trip that met all my expectations and so much more. Our guides Ash, Lauren and Pepper were truly outstanding and made the trip one in a lifetime. I close my eyes and I can see the sights and smell and taste NZ. From hiking in Nelson Lakes National Park to kayaking and biking, it was all wonderful.
    We will be back....”
    Romana Davies – Texas, United StatesApril 2018
  • What an Adventure!

    “If you are looking for an escorted outdoor adventure, this is it! New Zealand's South Island is beautiful! Our guides, Daniel and Maddi, were wonderful. They have so much knowledge about the area and are always one step ahead. Just bring your active self, comfortable gear, and sit back. Active Adventures has the rest. We did the optional 3 day kayak package. You will not be disappointed! Thanks Active Adventures!”
    Renee Soerink – Washington, United StatesApril 2018
  • One of the Best Guided Adventure Trips

    “I’ve taken several trips overseas with different tour companies and Active Adventures is definitely the best! The guides Ash and Lauren were unbelievable! They made sure all of our dietary requirements were met and all of the meals (even during backpacking) were delicious and the best! They were amazingly strong (I don’t think any of us could have carried their packs) and Pipa (the 3rd guide who was with us due to our group size of 13) even carried another hiker’s 25lb pack plus her own! Ash was super knowledgeable with NZ’s history, trees, birds, local must eats and dos. They even provided us a list of restaurants to go to in Queenstown during our free day (I ended up spending 3 full days there after the trip and ate at most of the places on that list and every one of them was delicious!) they made the trip even more special besides the incredible scenery and the hard work of getting to the huts! The accommodations were excellent just wished we had more time to enjoy them!”
    Jessica Lo – Washington, United StatesApril 2018
  • Stunning and Gorgeous

    “It was hard to return from the high of this trip. Every day held a new adventure. The scenery was stunning at all points. The food was delicious whether we ate out, or the guides cooked for us.
    Early in the trip a cyclone hit the West Coast where we were headed and the guides, with help from the home office, recovered quickly and seamlessly. This was the case two other times during our 14 days when the weather didn't cooperate. We're planning future trips!”
    Carrol Murray – Nebraska, United StatesApril 2018
  • "Sweet As" South Island Rimu tour with Ash & Astrid

    “Wow, the south island of New Zealand is "sweet as". Rimu takes you on an incredible trip of amazing sights... it is a good mix of physical challenges (don't underestimate the Nelson Lakes multi day hike or the "staircase" climb at Aoraki/Mt. Cook...challenging hiking days but with stunning natural views), satisfying food and frequent breaks during the travel days. Highlights include the two overnights at the Braemar sheep station by Lake Pukaki, Milford Sound experience, visit to the working sheep farm on Lake Wakatipu near Queenstown and the overnights at Lakehead and Angelus Huts in Nelson Lakes. Both Ash and Astrid are lovely young women who are confident and patient guides and are good ambassadors for the beauty of New Zealand and friendliness of the Kiwis. Plus they can tackle a tough hike then drive or cook for the group without any seeming effort. It was a fabulous trip and I can't wait to return to New Zealand with another Active Adventures tour.”
    Kristin Certain – Florida, United StatesApril 2018
  • Rimu 2018, We will Always Remember!

    “An outstanding trip that met all my expectations and so much more. Our guides Ash, Lauren and Pepper were truly outstanding and made the trip one in a lifetime. I close my eyes and I can see the sights and smell and taste NZ. From hiking in Nelson Lakes National Park to kayaking and biking, it was all wonderful.
    We will be back....”
    Romana Davies – Texas, United StatesApril 2018
  • What an Adventure!

    “If you are looking for an escorted outdoor adventure, this is it! New Zealand's South Island is beautiful! Our guides, Daniel and Maddi, were wonderful. They have so much knowledge about the area and are always one step ahead. Just bring your active self, comfortable gear, and sit back. Active Adventures has the rest. We did the optional 3 day kayak package. You will not be disappointed! Thanks Active Adventures!”
    Renee Soerink – Washington, United StatesApril 2018
  • One of the Best Guided Adventure Trips

    “I’ve taken several trips overseas with different tour companies and Active Adventures is definitely the best! The guides Ash and Lauren were unbelievable! They made sure all of our dietary requirements were met and all of the meals (even during backpacking) were delicious and the best! They were amazingly strong (I don’t think any of us could have carried their packs) and Pipa (the 3rd guide who was with us due to our group size of 13) even carried another hiker’s 25lb pack plus her own! Ash was super knowledgeable with NZ’s history, trees, birds, local must eats and dos. They even provided us a list of restaurants to go to in Queenstown during our free day (I ended up spending 3 full days there after the trip and ate at most of the places on that list and every one of them was delicious!) they made the trip even more special besides the incredible scenery and the hard work of getting to the huts! The accommodations were excellent just wished we had more time to enjoy them!”
    Jessica Lo – Washington, United StatesApril 2018
  • Stunning and Gorgeous

    “It was hard to return from the high of this trip. Every day held a new adventure. The scenery was stunning at all points. The food was delicious whether we ate out, or the guides cooked for us.
    Early in the trip a cyclone hit the West Coast where we were headed and the guides, with help from the home office, recovered quickly and seamlessly. This was the case two other times during our 14 days when the weather didn't cooperate. We're planning future trips!”
    Carrol Murray – Nebraska, United StatesApril 2018
  • "Sweet As" South Island Rimu tour with Ash & Astrid

    “Wow, the south island of New Zealand is "sweet as". Rimu takes you on an incredible trip of amazing sights... it is a good mix of physical challenges (don't underestimate the Nelson Lakes multi day hike or the "staircase" climb at Aoraki/Mt. Cook...challenging hiking days but with stunning natural views), satisfying food and frequent breaks during the travel days. Highlights include the two overnights at the Braemar sheep station by Lake Pukaki, Milford Sound experience, visit to the working sheep farm on Lake Wakatipu near Queenstown and the overnights at Lakehead and Angelus Huts in Nelson Lakes. Both Ash and Astrid are lovely young women who are confident and patient guides and are good ambassadors for the beauty of New Zealand and friendliness of the Kiwis. Plus they can tackle a tough hike then drive or cook for the group without any seeming effort. It was a fabulous trip and I can't wait to return to New Zealand with another Active Adventures tour.”
    Kristin Certain – Florida, United StatesApril 2018
  • Enjoyable and Accommodating

    “I've been on a lot of group tours, and this one by far was the most enjoyable. The scenery was stunning, the activities were easily adaptable for a variety of exertion levels, the guides were friendly, informative, and super organized. I was also very impressed by the on-the-fly creation of a modified itinerary for the two group members whose flight was delayed so that they didn't miss any of the sights. I will definitely travel with Active Adventures again!”
    Jennifer Lange – California, United StatesApril 2018
  • Amazing Adventure

    “This was a wonderful trip full of daily activities and lots of fun. Our guides, Daniel and Maya, were terrific and very knowledgeable. The best part was the 3 day trek which took us through some beautiful country and was really challenging. Cannot say enough about the trip and our trekking group as everyone was encouraging and always there to help.”
    Nancy Cooper – Ontario, CanadaApril 2018
  • Rob's Rimu Review

    “The trip exceeded my expectations! It was the most fun I've had in a two week period. The hiking was enjoyable, and occasionly very challenging. Overall NZ is breathtaking via a hiker's perspective. Apart from the hiking spending time with my fellow travellers was very enjoyable, and our guides Ken and Pepper really made the trip as enjoyable as possible. Can't wait to go again with Active Adventures!”
    Rob Bozic – New South Wales, AustraliaApril 2018
  • Active Adventure Sums it Up!

    “The company name pretty much sums up this trip "Active"! This adventure provides an excellent overview of the South island's geography, history and culture. Activities are diverse, varied and interesting. The full day schedules are extremely rewarding. Can't think of a better way to experience the South Island.”
    Bob Wigmore – British Columbia, CanadaMarch 2018
  • 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 – California, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Amazing!

    “I am not sure I have the right words to describe my experience. All I can say at this moment is, 3 weeks later I am still feeling very much inspired to continue my love for travel and exploration. Ash and Astrid we're the bees knees! No doubt they thought we were nutzo but we had so many laughs and good meals together. New friends were made! ”
    Becky McKenna – Massachusetts, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Amazing!

    “I am not sure I have the right words to describe my experience. All I can say at this moment is, 3 weeks later I am still feeling very much inspired to continue my love for travel and exploration. Ash and Astrid we're the bees knees! No doubt they thought we were nutzo but we had so many laughs and good meals together. New friends were made! ”
    – , March 2018
  • Great Trip

    “Had a fantastic time on our South Island 'Rimu' trip. I cant say enough about our guides, Simon and Carrie. They were VERY accommodating and did an outstanding job. Food was fantastic and the hiking and sights were super! A bit more bus time than I was expecting but looking at the map Active provided of the South Island and all the cities and sights we saw, I should have expected that and no regrets! Highlight of the trip for us was the Angelus Hut despite some rain and low clouds. Thank you for how organized the trip was before, during and after. We really enjoyed our two days in Christchurch before the trip and 3 days in Auckland after.”
    Mark Rodning – Minnesota, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Rimu 2018

    “It has only been a little over a week since the end of my Rimu trip and I already miss New Zealand. The South Island has to be one of the most incredible places on the planet, with crisp and clean air, pristine lakes at the bases of mountains and the gorgeous rugged West Coast. There is literally beauty everywhere you look. The trip was enhanced by our two intrepid guides, Jackie and Pepper, who seemed prepared for any eventuality. They were able to provide lots of background information about New Zealand's culture, nature and geography, which added so much to the trip and brought the amazing scenery to life. I had always been hesitant to travel to New Zealand given the distance and effort involved in getting there but now that I've done it I am so glad I did. It was so worth it and I would recommend it to anyone.”
    Barbara Stamos – Massachusetts, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Another Memorable Trip with Active!

    “The Rimu trip was my 6th trip with Active Adventures and it again confirmed why I enjoy traveling with them. The trip was very well organized. The guides (local to New Zealand) were professional & FUN! We did so many activities that will forever be etched in my memory...kayaking Milford sound, hiking a section of the Routeburn Track, 3 day backpacking trip through Nelson Lakes. All amazing!”
    Kristy Woodward – California, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Awesome Group Travel

    “The scenery was great and we definitely were active but one of the best parts of the trip was the warm social interaction with my fellow travelers as well as our guides. It was great having a driver who knew the roads and allowed me to enjoy the views. One word of advice. The lushness of western NZ is due to lots of rain. Be prepared with a good rain suit and waterproof boots. The weather changes quickly and is part of the adventure. You will be experiencing nature up close and personal. Enjoy.”
    Joe Schneeweis – Minnesota, United StatesMarch 2018
  • New Zealand Adventure

    “Great trip. Katie and Tess (our guides) made the trip very memorable. ”
    Peter Landini – California, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Eleven Years Later. . .

    “It's worth noting at the outset that I took the exact same trip (clockwise Rimu) 11 years ago, when Ash and Tory were barely teenagers and my legs and lungs were a lot stronger. How things have changed! and how much they remain the same!!
    In terms of change: the South Island is busier, more built-up and more heavily trafficked than ever before. I saw scores of RVs where a decade ago there where almost none, fleets of tour buses, and steady streams of traffic on roads that were once quiet country lanes. Milford Sound was abuzz with boats on the water and single-prop airplanes overhead, and Hokitika (among other towns) was overrun with tourists - like us! All of which is to say, in some ways New Zealand has become the victim of its own success: the very attributes that most attracted visitors have been diminished by those same visitors arriving in such enormous numbers.

    In terms of things remaining the same: Active Adventures continues to shine, both in terms of its itinerary and the high calibre of its guides. The isolation and views afforded by Braemar Station make it an ideal opening chapter for the trip (and far less punishing at the outset than the alternative of hiking the Southern Alps beginning day two); the west coast is still as thrilling in its scenery; and the Angelus Circuit remains a breathtaking (literally!) capstone on the fortnight. Ash and Tory, meanwhile, were extraordinarily attentive, involved and knowledgeable, keeping everyone in high spirits and ensuring that those of us who needed some kind of accommodation got it without drama or self-consciousness. Both women are exceptional at what they do.”
    Andy Zipser – Virginia, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Our Excellent Adventure

    “We are still travelling, so this is a brief reply from Tongariro visitor center:
    Emma and James get rave reviews for their energy, attention to detail, glowing personalities (Really!) and providing a wonderful intro to NZ. Our traveling companions were ALL delightful. We remain in your wonderful country until 18 March, then on to Australia. We’re grateful we chose AA to begin our journey.”
    Sheila Malcolm – Colorado, United StatesMarch 2018
  • New Zealand the Right Way

    “New Zealand has long been on the top of my active vacation list. Having hiked a lot in the Swiss Alps - including Active Adventures' first Mt. Blanc trip - and kayaked in Vancouver Islands, the allure of New Zealand's famed treks and fiords was strong. Active's 'Rimu' trip was the perfect way to experience New Zealand's grandeur. From kayaking in the pristine Okarito Lagoon with its beautiful white herons to hiking part of the Routeburn Track to Key Summit, the 'Rimu' is a wonderful two-week journey.”
    Tom Metzloff – North Carolina, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Rebecca and Karen‘s Excellent Adventure

    “If you want an adventure to commemorate your retirement or an anniversary of friendship, this is the one! My friend and I have been travelling together for 40 years and this was the icing on the cake. The 'Rimu' hiking adventure gave us just enough of a challenge and just enough relaxing, friendship, and good food to feel like a luxury vacation. I recommend the three day hiking option. The guides are excellent and you couldn’t do this trip nearly as well without them. Thank you!”
    Karen Koelsch – Minnesota, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Fun and Challenging Trip

    “The southbound Rimu trip was a fun and challenging trip. Active Adventures took care of all of the tough logistics and treated us with supreme Kiwi hospitality. Each day was planned with meals, transportation and our unique daily adventure. Our guides, Ash and Astrid were informative and always had a smile on their face even when our boisterous American and Aussie group were making fun of their Kiwi accents. The Mount Cook and Angelus hut hikes were especially satisfying climbs. We certainly slept well those nights! Astrid prepared our vegetarian meals with aplomb and I ended up gaining 6 pounds during the 14 days. Well done Astrid! Ashley drove our van, Willy, with great care and we never worried about our safety while in her care. She is a master backer-upper. She also filled our heads with facts and figures as we toured through the different New Zealand regions. This was our first time in New Zealand and every Kiwi we met was very friendly and proud of their country. Our appetite is only whetted and we will return again to your beautiful country.”
    Chad Bearden – Florida, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Rimu

    “If you like beauty, physical activity, making new friends, and learning about New Zealand, then this is the trip for you.This trip was the highlight of 40 years traveling. Active Adventures New Zealand does it right.”
    Maddie Laule – Massachusetts, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Fantastic!

    “From start to end this trip was wonderful! We can't say enough about our guides, Katie A. and Tess, our tour mates and the hiking, biking and kayaking. Active Adventures has thought of everything to make the activities so enjoyable. The backpacking trip was fantastic, and the Valentine's Day dessert Tess baked for us at the Angelus hut was above and beyond the "call of duty". We loved Katie's Maori legends and driving music. The trip couldn't have been better.”
    Jane Norris – Minnesota, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Rimu Trip Feb 2018

    “What a wonderful trip! I was a bit apprehensive when I booked this trip because I was recovering from hip surgery but needed that extra motivation to get back to my active life. Well....it worked out perfect!! I hiked, biked, walked on glaciers, kayaked..... I did it all and came back stronger than when I left. You did a great job connecting us with a wonderful group of people I know call friends. And our guides, Katie and Tess. I love those girls! They made everything so enjoyable!”
    Bonnie Landini – California, United StatesMarch 2018
  • When Can I Come Back?

    “Active Adventures has organized a perfect itinerary to experience the South Island and our guides were not only well-trained and professional, but so personable and attentive. This trip was a great mix of outdoor activities with the group and some time on our own to explore towns. While there is a good amount of time in the bus, that's to be expected as we are touring the entire south island! Besides, the bus is comfortable with a great snack basket and there are interesting views and stops along the way.”
    Lorien Armour – Oregon, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Achieving Happiness

    “Have you ever had a sequence of events that one after another makes you smile? Well for me that was my most recent trip Feb 9-18 on the Rimu trip with Katie A and Tess. I was excited to have a lot of unique experiences while abroad and I got just that. We had a few changes to our original plan due to some weather and road issues but each of the guides provided some context and great supplemental hikes and activities along the way. There would be no other way to travel NZ. Katie and Tess found a waterfall that neither of them had stopped at on one of our days and sharing the new discovery was pretty awesome to share with a kiwi. They provided great history, trivia and created a friendly atmosphere while driving longer distances. I would positively sign up again to finish the Rimu south route as I wasn't able to get the last few days in and get back on to explore the North Island. With how well this was planned I am even looking into other Active Adventures destinations around the globe.”
    Ashley Miller – North Carolina, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Amazing Trip

    “The Rimu trip exceeded our expectations from the quality of our great guides Pepper and Dani to the breathtaking and exhilarating hikes. Even the accommodations and food were great. We were there during a cyclone and our guides took care of everything, we were never worried and could just relax and enjoy the trip. We look forward to going to the North Island next with Active Adventures.”
    Michael Meyer – Illinois, United StatesMarch 2018
  • New Zealand Rimu - My 5th Active Adventures Tour

    “Hard to imagine how the trip could have been better.”
    Doug Dischino – Connecticut, United StatesMarch 2018
  • My First True Holiday!

    “My experience with Active Adventures was beyond my expectations and will forever be treasured as the most enjoyable holiday ever. My inner child was able to come out each day as we played and explored and I was not responsible for details. The accommodations and activities varied in interesting and spectacular ways to experience the true country that New Zealand is, a remarkable place with extraordinarily kind people. Healthy home cooked meals and packed lunches to delight the "foodie" in me. Overall, I could release all stress, focus on the fun and for the first time, really have a holiday while our gifted and equipped guides did the planning, the driving, the cooking, while leading us to great places of adventure... and all the while, invest their delightful personalities in each one of our group. Wow! Can I do that again???”
    Lisa Miller – Indiana, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Amazing Southbound Rimu

    “Wow what a country. Awesome guides (Ash and Tory Rock!!) amazing food great hikes and what a way to meet new friends. Would do another trip with Active for sure!!”
    Kevin Miller – Indiana, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Awesome Adventure!!!!

    “Everything about this trip was top notch! We were impressed with our amazing, helpful, organized and knowledgeable guides, the itinerary, the scenery, the activities and the food. We just loved every minute of this trip and thought it was awesome. A highlight was the 3 day hike in Nelson Lakes National Park.”
    Robyn Ptasznik – Ontario, CanadaFebruary 2018
  • Far Beyond our Expectations!

    “Our trip was everything we expected and more. Not only were the sights and experiences unforgettable but our guides went above and beyond to ensure that every request we made was fulfilled and that every moment was a true pleasure. We can't sign up for another trip fast enough!”
    Meg Kramer – Pennsylvania, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Great Trip

    “1st class and professional from start to finish. Both Jackie and Carrie were outstanding. Even though we had to make changes based on weather they always had a plan and options for us. 14 days passed in the blink of an eye. The food, the accommodations, the activities, the camaraderie, and the enthusiasm were all outstanding. We would not hesitate to recommend Active Adventures and are already thinking about future trips.”
    Eric Murray – Nebraska, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Spectacular!

    “I can't imagine a better way to see the South Island than on Rimu. Challenging? Definitely.... but worth every step!”
    Lisa Kurek – Texas, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • 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 – Ontario, CanadaFebruary 2018
  • South Island Rimu Trip

    “My South Island trip was outstanding, even with the cyclone that came ashore on the second day! The itinerary needed to be changed because of all the washed out roads to places that we were suppose to venture to. Our guides, Jackie and Carrie, came up with new plans that were great. A mark of a good company is when they can handle unexpected events, such as a cyclone, and still provide their guest with a trip of a life time. Thank you A.A. for a great and safe trip!”
    Pete Orefice – Connecticut, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Nov 2017 Rimu with Claire, Carrie and Natalie

    “The trip was so well organized and orchestrated. Claire’s driving was phenomenal with a bus full of gabbing woman and windy narrow roads. Natalie’s home baked goodies, nice touch. We were fed so so very well. So many highlights, like who lugs bottles of champagne and glasses on a hike to surprise us at the top?! Or having stubbies waiting for us as we emerge from the woods after two nights at the hut.”
    Rebecca Pope – Washington, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Rimu—Feb., 2018

    “Could not have been happier with our guides, their level of preparation/organization and the stunning scenery of the South Island.”
    Tom Townes – North Carolina, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Jan 2018 Rimu with Steve and Astrid

    “My wife and I were on the January 15th 2018 Rimu trip with Steve and Astrid. It was a trip that met all of our hopes and expectations! We were a part of what developed into a very small and close nit group of 6 travelers and 2 guides. The wonderful experience of spending such a thrilling time with such a group in such a fantastically gorgeous environment was one of the highlights of my lifetime experiences. I feel that spending 2 weeks of challenging daily activities culminating in the 3 day Angelus challenge hike could not have been better. Helping and pushing each other through with support and laughter will always be remembered. I find myself now back home after 2 weeks still reminiscing daily about our moments spent together. My thanks to our wonderful young guides who led us, supported us and fed us so well.”
    Bob Koubsky – Minnesota, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Amazing South Island Rimu Trip!!

    “The diversity of what we saw and did on the Rimu trip was amazing!! Beautiful mountain and glacier views, our first sea kayak experience, the sub-tropical West Coast rain forests, caving to see glowworms, cycling the Hawea River Trail, and a challenging but very rewarding Angelus Circuit hike. We were fortunate to be with a wonderful group of people - a great team that encouraged each other throughout the trip. Our guides (Dani & Pepper) were outstanding, very positive, and full of energy. We were so impressed with Active Adventures that we will be hiking on their Mont Blanc tour this summer.”
    Kevin Cahill – Washington, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Amazing Trip! Epic!

    “It is hard to find words to describe this epic trip. Our group included six travellers and two excellent guides! This 'Rimu' trip of two weeks included some of the most beautiful vistas in the world. We had beautiful weather and so enjoyed the New Zealand summer since we are from the north. The camaraderie with our team created a level of togetherness which increased as we paddled, biked, and hiked the most amazing trails I have ever seen. Our food made by Astrid was delicious and we looked forward to every snack and meal to the point I was a little disappointed when it was a time to eat out! Our lead guide Steve helped me through a few tricky moments of climbing as needed and drove our van so skillfully. It was the top trip of many trips! Not sure how many times I said “Wow”!”
    Cindy Koubsky – Minnesota, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • The Long Expected Trip

    “In 2012, when I learned that Peter Jackson was going to build the set of The Shire with permanent materials, I knew that it was time for me to go to New Zealand. I was 8 when "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" was released in theaters, and since then I have grown up with both the movies and J.R.R. Tolkien's books. These stories became very dear to me and New Zealand became (and always will be) Middle-earth. I have always wanted to visit NZ, but I never knew how or when that would happen. The deciding moment came in 2012. I saw my chance to visit an "actual" piece of Middle-earth. But I also wanted to experience New Zealand apart from the tourist spots. I wanted to explore and see NZ not just for it's role in the films but because of it's unique, natural beauty. So I went to Google to see what I could find that would satisfy my wish to see New Zealand. I forget the exact phrase I searched, but I know that Active Adventures was the first result. It was meant to be. Within days after exploring the site, I received a call from a representative named Matthew and we started talking about my trip. I was still in college at the time and explained that I would have to wait 5 years before I could go. It was a nice chat and I was reassured that New Zealand would still be there in 5 years. But 5 years is a long time, and although I was making plans, my trip seemed like a far off dream.
    But before I knew it, I was packing for New Zealand. By this time, my trip had evolved into 2 Active Adventure trips and 12 days on my own to explore places like Wellington and Matamata. I completed my degree and now it was time to begin a new chapter of my life. A month-long trip to New Zealand was a perfect start.
    It's hard to put into words how much I enjoyed this trip - incredible, terrific, amazing, life-changing...these sentiments don't seem to encompass how much this trip meant to me. I waited 5 long years, working and studying, and saving for this trip-of-a-lifetime. I could not ask for a better tour group than Active Adventures. The group was just the right size; the guides were friendly, cheerful, knowledgeable, and made sure I got the most out of my time in New Zealand. The food was amazing - I'll definitely be recreating the recipes at home. Having never really done intense hiking before, I've discovered a love for hiking in New Zealand. There were some trails that I though I wouldn't be able to complete, like the Angelus Circuit, but I did it! And I'd do the hikes again. I got so much out of traveling with Active Adventures that I will be looking for similar adventures of my own when spring comes along at home. It's hard to believe my trip is finished. I've waited for so long and worked so hard to get to New Zealand...where did the time go? I have memories to last a lifetime and photos and stories to remind me of where I've been. Though I will explore the world, I know that I'll be returning to New Zealand again and again. Active Adventures allowed me to see the incredible country they call home, and I'd be lying if I said that NZ hasn't become a home-away-from-home to me. I will never forget this trip.”
    Megan McDermott – Pennsylvania, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • A Great NZ Sampler

    “A great way to see and sample the South Island.”
    Scott Warner – Maryland, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Rimu January 2018... Even more beautiful in hindsight.

    “Pretty hard to capture with mere words just how beautiful and challenging this trip was. Only now, with the clarity of hindsight and reviewing my photos, am I really beginning to grasp the magnitude of the natural wonder that is New Zealand. And reviewing the map against where we traveled shows that we saw a pretty good chunk of the South Island on our Rimu trip, and only whets my appetite to see even more.

    If you are considering an adventure tour with knowledgeable fun loving guides, who also happen to be fantastic cooks, then look no further. Active Adventures has everything covered. We stayed in top notch accommodations, from a sheep station to a luxury riverside bungalow, and we started each day with a great breakfast, had a hearty lunch break during the day's activity, and finished with appetizers in the evening before a delicious dinner. Did I mention these guides can cook? And that fresh food using local ingredients tastes even better after a full day of adventure. And adventure is what you'll be doing, each and every day.

    So pick out a trip, book it, and do it. You'll be glad you did.”
    Barry Sloan – Montana, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Well done

    “This was a well organized trip done by very competent guides who went above and beyond
    their duties to provided what was a excellent experience.
    I think that the group size was an excellent number and the choice of activities made it better still.
    I would also like to thank the staff for locating and delivering my lost luggage.

    Thank you for an excellent experience”
    Jerry Stewart – Idaho, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • A Special Place

    “New Zealand is a very special place. The natural beauty was inspiring and the well planned trip provided unique opportunities to experience the magical environment. ”
    Patrick Kenney – Wisconsin, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Holiday Trip 2018

    “Our guides Ken and Carrie were great! We had a wonderful time with all the activities and the variety of experiences was perfect.”
    Todd Goatley-Seals – Nevada, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Rimu, Experience NZ's Stunning Nature

    “Searching for a suitable tour, the 'Rimu' promised exactly what I was looking for: daily outdoor activities, lovely accomodations and good coffee :-). This tour exceeded my expectations!! Our attentive and friendly guides kept us active and challenged every day. We experienced New Zealand's nature hiking, cycling and kayaking. Throughout the whole tour everything was organised and taken care of. They prepared delicious meals and picnics. Daily surprises such as a cold drink after a long hike or an especially beautiful lookout during the bus ride completed this outstanding tour. Furthermore we got to know many stories about New Zealand's customs, it's flora and fauna, the Maori...We had the chance to fully "immerse" into New Zealand and take home an unforgettable experience!”
    Esther Buegler – , SwitzerlandFebruary 2018
  • Excellent

    “This trip went beyond my expectations in every aspect. Active Adventures knows what they're doing and provides the most thoughtful and best experience. I've done many organized trips over the world with other companies, and this was one of the best I've taken. The company and guides create a trip that feels personal (not touristy at all) of the most amazing spots of New Zealand, while choosing exceptional and beautiful places to stay. This was exactly what I was hoping for (even better). If you enjoy to be active, you will love this trip. Thank you, Active Adventures!”
    Nadia Strasser – California, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Rimu Trip Review - Jan 15, 2018

    “Great Trip! Well planned, very enjoyable group, excellent guides! Really got a great feel for the South Island of New Zealand! I just hope I will be able to get back someday!”
    Doug Thornley – Delaware, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Best Trip Ever!

    “I have never been on a guided tour before so I did not know what to expect. I researched New Zealand's South Island and wanted to experience all the sites that were on the Rimu itinerary. My expectations were low going into the trip. What I discovered is that the Active Adventures tour and our guide Melissa (Mel) McCartney blew me away. The accommodations were great and way better than I could have booked on my own. The hikes, biking, kayaking and swimming were perfect and the food (especially Mel's cooking) was fantastic. The only downside was the driving time in the bus but there was no other way to cover the ground we did without a little sacrifice. James Stephens, Our driver and Lead Guide, was a great driver and as a son of a police officer, made us feel safe as he confidently drove us around the island. Both Mel and James kept us on schedule, made sure we were looked after and well taken care of. They were very pleasant and told stories of Maori legends, Kiwi history and NZ lifestyle. When they realized that several of us were more physically fit, they designed different hikes so everyone would be happy. We had six trekkers on the bus and all of us fell in love with Mel. She is the perfect guide and she loves what she does. She is a great cook, organizer and so casual and fun. Mel and James really made this trip fun for all. I have and will continue to recommend this trip to everyone.
    Thank you for a great trip.”
    Stephen Jackson – California, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • A Great Taste of the South Island

    “It's obvious that the Rimu Tour has been tuned to perfection over time. The venues are wonderful and the food is excellent (thank you Mel!). Many hours in the bus, but that was to be expected given the breadth of coverage. I'd highly recommend this tour without hesitation!”
    Doug Pierson – Massachusetts, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Rimu trip with Amanda T & Maya

    “A beautiful trip, between the scenery, hikes, sea kayaking, swimming, delicious food, the guides kindness & attention, along with their fitness & knowledge of the surroundings I could not have asked for anything more. It was rejuvenating & enjoyable.
    Paul Valerio – New York, United StatesFebruary 2018
  • Great Way to Enjoy a Beautiful Country

    “Great hiking, kayaking and biking. We covered a good amount of the South Island in a very comfortable bus. The guides were excellent, food was great. I highly recommend this tour.”
    Ellen McCabe – Wisconsin, United States of AmericaJanuary 2018
  • Amazing Family Trip

    “We travelled with our 20 and 23 yo boys and met another family and a single woman. The 8 of us hit the road, trails, lakes, bike trails together. The pace was excellent. The guides terrific. Even though the weather did not cooperate well, we had a great and memorable trip. Loved having everything meticulously planned, yet some ability to be spontaneous and adapt to the group's desires. Truly a vacation: all we had to do was show up! Meals, lodging, hikes, etc. all "happened" for us!”
    Linda Eckert – Washington, United States of AmericaJanuary 2018
  • An Unbelievable Experience

    “The Rimu trip was beyond phenomenal! The sights we saw were breathtaking and the small group size allowed us all to bond and truly enjoy our time together exploring this magnificent country. Our guides were fantastic and provided lots of information and fun facts, along with a large amount of encouragement as we tackled some of our adventures! I'm still searching for words to describe just how great a trip it was!”
    McKayla Anderson – Nebraska, United States of AmericaJanuary 2018
  • A blast!

    “The trip was great, the guides were very relatable and worked to meet our standards of the trip. To be personal and show the places but also culture is what made it so fun. Astrid did a wonderful job in hospitality and information. James was a strong leader of the group and gave a challenge but also insight to the group about the area. Thank you again and we look forward to another trip with your company.”
    Michael Leopold – Wyoming, United States of AmericaJanuary 2018
  • Oh-my-Gosh!

    “it was truly a fabulous trip! Only 7 other travelers and 2 great guides, and every day was packed with gorgeous scenery and fun ways to work off the calories. We enjoyed a nice mix of accommodations, from luxury hotel to a rustic but spotless A-frame in a secluded wide spot in the road, and everything in between. Truly memorable: Tanglewood on Queen Charlotte Sound, and the low-key but gorgeous place at Milford Sound. Superb food, Button and Maya were fabulous guides, and even the time in the van was pleasant with so much to see. Interesting fellow travelers too!”
    Ed Mencke – Washington, United States of AmericaJanuary 2018
  • The Great Outdoors!

    “Amazing way to connect to the natural beauty of New Zealand. The hut to hut hike pushed me to the limits of my endurance but every step was worth the views! Between the hiking, biking and kayaking, we experienced the vast and varied terrain of New Zealand. It is all breathtaking.”
    Jeanne Reynolds – DC, United States of AmericaJanuary 2018
  • WOW!

    “Where do I begin?
    At the beginning I guess.
    This trip was brilliant and perfect for anybody.
    The guides make it possible for everybody to join in everything.
    The activities are challenging but fun.
    The food is excellent and lots of it!
    The accommodation was staggeringly good.
    If you suffer with travel sickness - beware lots of long minibus trips but a good selection of music and snacks made them bearable.
    New Zealand is a beautiful country and the people are amazing.
    This trip will be in my heart and mind forever.
    Thanks xxxx”
    Elizabeth Webster – West Sussex, United KingdomJanuary 2018
  • Majestic New Zealand

    “Active Adventures attracts like-minded explorers who are up for anything and fun to boot! New Zealand is a remarkable country - and seeing the South Island through the special lens of this tour was truly life changing. The astounding beauty allowed me to feel more connected to our planet, collective community and to myself. Thank you for sharing this majestic place with us!”
    Libby MacFarlane – Minnesota, United StatesJanuary 2018
  • A Wonderful, Relaxed, Fun-packed, Gorgeous Adventure.

    “The title says it all, our guides were great, and the group dynamics were amazing. It’s not every time you luck out with a trip like this and we sure did. Between the dynamics of Astrid and James and that of the group, we had a truly special group and trip, and I can’t imagine having it done any other way... the way Astrid and James worked together to lead the group was pure magic. Truly. I think the only way I’d ever do an active trip again is if I had the two of them to guide it together. No joke. They rocked it that hard. Thanks to you all. I will never forget it.”
    Tiffany Dawson – California, United StatesJanuary 2018
  • Action Packed Road Trip - Fantastic Experience For Our Family

    “We loved our trip overall and appreciated the amount of miles and activities we were able to cover and experience in a two week itinerary. Every detail was thoughtfully executed and our guides were terrific; we actually can't say enough about how much we admired Jackie's driving and Emma's cooking not to mention their cheerful and encouraging leadership of our group! I was impressed with the bus which provided comfort, storage of daily items (YAY for cupholders!) and wonderful panoramic views; excellent since we logged a lot of miles on it. The hiking, biking and kayaking were epic & strenuous and led us to amazing sights. It was our goal to see as much of the South Island as we could on our first trip to New Zealand and the 'Rimu' trip sure delivered that.
    Our family has taken many guided adventure trips (road and mountain biking, rafting, and hiking) in America and Europe and your company is one of the very best at what you do. Thank you for a wonderful trip full of treasured memories.”
    Heather Weir – New Mexico, United StatesJanuary 2018
  • Mid Life Challenge

    “A great way to re-energize your life. Gets you to think about what is really important- life experiences- challenges and successes!”
    Gillian Harrington – California, United StatesJanuary 2018
  • 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 – Ontario, CanadaJanuary 2018
  • Rimu Rocks!

    “The trip was awesome! I met a great bunch of fellow travelers and now have family in New Zealand in Jackie and Emma! I felt like we saw a lot of the South Island in 2 weeks. I loved my first experience in New Zealand and plan on coming back in 2020!”
    Terry McNamara – Michigan, United StatesJanuary 2018
  • Amazing South Island Rimu Adventures

    “The most awesome and enjoyable adventure I've had, with Active Adventures on a Rimu trip with Jackie and Emma! We had a really good group and the best tour leaders too. Emma is a talented cook and Jackie is an excellent driver, as well as both being friendly and hilarious people. Nothing was ever too much trouble for them. They made us feel comfortable and happy. I enjoyed all the hikes we went on and the kayaking too. I would definitely consider going on another Active Adventures tour some day, as I really enjoyed my tour!”
    Georgie Wearne – Victoria, AustraliaJanuary 2018
  • NZ Alps and surrounding region: what a great place!

    “The much wilder South Island was a great place to visit, despite the weather which was for some days awful, notably on the West Coast (rain, wind, fog, snow). Incredible choice of outdoor activity, the highlight being the kayaking (with heavy rain) in Milford Sound as well as the hiking to Franz-Josef Glacier (hail did not allow us to complete it).”
    Ivo Bergamo Andreis Cesarini Sforza – TN, ItalyJanuary 2018
  • Absolutely the trip of a lifetime

    “This trip was both physically and mentally challenging, and I left with a huge sense of accomplishment and confidence! Not to mention the stunning scenery of New Zealand. Our guides were amazing and our whole group was one big family. This was a trip of a lifetime for me, and I'm already planning my next Active Adventures trip to South America!”
    Lauren Brennan – Dublin, Ireland (Republic of)January 2018
  • Great trip. Fantastic guides.

    “The guides were perfect. We kept a brisk pace and covered a lot of ground beside beautiful country.”
    Braden Pollock – California, United StatesJanuary 2018
  • An Amazing Tour of the Stunning South Island!

    “Through the Active Adventures trip, my group of family and friends were able to truly soak up and appreciate all the wonders NZ has to offer. We were able to visit the must-see tourist destinations while also going off the beaten track (sometimes quite literally) on stunning hiking routes where we barely saw another person all day. Filled with activity as promised, we were always in the hands of incredibly knowledgeable and caring guides who really made the trip an experience to remember. ”
    Sahar El Abbadi – California, United StatesJanuary 2018
  • Trip of a lifetime

    “Our Rimu trip of the South Island was a wonderful experience. Having a guided tour really took the stress out of planning and also allowed us to sit back and enjoy the views, which would not have been possible if we had chosen to drive ourselves. Our guides Simon and Maddi were extremely knowledgable and a joy to spend time with. Our tour was very personalized and we were able to see and experience much more than larger tour groups. Our guides made sure that we were able to get the most out of our experience and tailored our hikes and activities to fit our personal fitness levels and goals. New Zealand was truly a beautiful country and am very pleased with our experience with Active Adventures!”
    Jessica West – California, United StatesJanuary 2018
  • Dan Barnes Review

    “The trip was amazing . . . The views and experiences made the trip one of a kind”
    Dan Barnes – California, United StatesJanuary 2018
  • Nice job

    “Well organized, super friendly guides, saw gorgeous scenery.”
    Lisa Bloom – California, United StatesJanuary 2018
  • Unforgettable Experience

    “The trip and our guides more than exceeded our expectations for the trip. Each activity was backed by incredible scenery and unique memories. Our guides were amazing and very encouraging and our group hit it off from the start making it all the more special.”
    Hillary Jenson – Oregon, United StatesJanuary 2018
  • Exceeded Expectations

    “In planning my trip to New Zealand I specifically signed on to the Rimu trip to achieve 3 goals: first to see as much of the South Island as possible in 2 weeks, second to get outdoors and get a feel for the environment and third to have fun with a group of people. My Rimu experience accomplished all three goals and then some. The mixture of driving, and daily activities was perfect. It allowed us to cover lots of terrain while getting us out and active every day. Our guides, Ben and Emma, were terrific. They were tireless workers who not only made us comfortable but created a positive group dynamic that helped bring complete strangers together into a cohesive group. Ben was great at sharing his knowledge of NZ culture and natural history. Emma was a fantastic cook who kept us well fed even at a hut at 1300 meters. Everything about the trip was well organized and well planned. Thank you for such a great experience.”
    Tim Reed – Massachusetts, United StatesJanuary 2018
  • Rimu nov. 27 - dec. 10 '17

    “This trip was unsurpassed by any other I've ever been a part of! Ben and Emma seemed like family to us with their wonderful cooking, extreme knowledge of the island and extraordinary skill as guides made every step of every hike better than the last!
    I have not stopped singing the praises of Active Adventures to my like minded friends since returning!
    You really 'knocked this one out of the park'!”
    Bob Anderson – Georgia, United StatesJanuary 2018
  • Oct 16 2017 Rimu with Simon and Liana

    “Your mission was accomplished. I would not change a thing about my Oct 16 2017 Rimu adventure with Simon and Liana. It was perfect!
    - Well organized – From the pickup at the airport, to meals and accommodations, to the drop off at the airport, the trip was well organized. Liana and Simon kept an eye on time to ensure we kept on schedule and they even added additional stops as time allowed for unscheduled adventures. They were very thoughtful and attentive to our preferences and requests.
    - Outdoor oriented – LOVED IT! I was able to eat outdoors, watch sunrises and sunsets, sit under the stars, and adventure out on my own in the mornings and the evenings. The timing of this trip couldn’t have been better for me; since it was Spring in New Zealand, the weather was wonderful with perfect temperatures and there were very few other tourists on our hikes and at our stops. Both Simon and Liana were great guides. Liana was a great source of knowledge, particularly about the vegetation, birds, wildlife, and the history of New Zealand.
    - Awesome adventure around New Zealand – The trip was well laid out to allow an efficient tour of the South Island. We were able to see and experience so many landscapes. New Zealand is quite impressive in what it has to offer. The days were well balanced; the amount of time we spent traveling in the bus was broken into smaller, manageable chunks of time. Simon did a splendid job driving the bus and having our luggage easily accessible.
    - Allow time to relax – I had plenty of time to relax and unwind. I had time before and after our daily scheduled events to do my own thing. There were also ample opportunities during our bus rides and activities (hiking, biking, kayaking) to just sit back in take in the beautiful surroundings and the serenity of it all.
    - Get off the beaten track - I loved the quaint places we would stay and visit; each was unique and an experience in itself. There was so much to see and explore. The remote locations were perfect for being unplugged/unconnected and just being in the moment.
    - Show the real New Zealand – Stops along the way (Torlesse winery, Andris Apse gallery, Garston Honey shop, sheep shearing at Morelea, etc.) to visit with locals and hear about their history are one of a kind experiences I will always treasure. I am impressed and grateful that Active Adventures supports local, small business entrepreneurs for outfitters (kayaking, biking), accommodations, meals, and shopping. Liana did a great job incorporating local cuisine into our meals and snacks. The food was wonderful; my compliments to Liana who is a very talented culinary artist.
    - Sent home buzzing with energy – My time in New Zealand couldn’t have been better. It is exactly what I needed; it truly reenergized me. I’ve been sharing my experience and recommending Active Adventures since my departure flight shuttle ride. Just thinking about my trip to New Zealand makes me smile. I would definitely consider doing another adventure with Active Adventures.
    I sincerely appreciate that the Oct 16 2017 Rimu adventure was allowed with only 3 of us. The potential of having 14 in a group was the only reservation I had when I signed up for this adventure; I was extremely delighted when I found out we had a small group. Our small group made the whole experience that much more personable.”
    Jean Erpelding – Minnesota, United StatesJanuary 2018
  • Rimu - South Island

    “Great trip, full of discoveries away from big city centers, the kind of adventure nature lovers will appreciate to the fullest. We had a great two weeks of travelling through the real NZ landscaping natural beauty and 14 days is not enough to see or do everything. We enjoyed hiking, kayaking, biking, swimming in pristine water, caving, always surrounded by super guides who made us feel in goods hands at all time. ”
    Claude Remy – Ontario, CanadaDecember 2017
  • Outstanding Locations. Outstanding Service

    “We have always wanted to see New Zealand, but we didn't know how to select the best and organize a trip around these. Active Adventures gave us an answer, and on the trip, AA gave us much more than we expected. We saw amazing locations, did lots of fun activities, and had amazing service... with the guides providing great information, assistance, service and various options. Terrific!”
    Rick Lent – Massachusetts, United StatesDecember 2017
  • Perfect in Everyway!!

    “With great guides, fabulous weather and scenery that is amazing, we hiked, kayaked our way through-out the South Island. We learned a lot about the country, the flora and fauna, birds and conservation efforts. ”
    Sharon Brownfield – Massachusetts, United StatesDecember 2017
  • Rimu - Awesome South Island trip!

    “This trip is really a great way to experience the true beauty of the South Island. We hiked in beautiful areas with spectacular views, biked the Te Araroa track and sea kayaked in Milford Sound and in the Okarito Lagoon. Our guides, Ben and Emma, were absolutely great! They were cheerful, caring and attentive to our needs. They kept us well fed all along the trip even while hiking in remote areas with minimal cooking facilities. Accommodations were great and representative of the visited area. Thanks to one of our travel companions, we had magnificent weather for the trip duration… we cannot have asked for better temperatures.”
    Claire Barrette-Remy – Ontario, CanadaDecember 2017
  • TOP

    “Awesome...
    How New Zealand is beautiful!
    Rimu did surprise me each of its 14 days with amazing landscapes and activities.
    How Koru & Pepper were nice, professionals, helpful and now friends!
    Rimu was much more pleasant because of these two top guides.
    I recommend NZ and Rimu. I highly recommend Koru & Pepper as guides.
    Rimu was perfect also because of my trip companions, now, friends.
    Who knows Koru & Pepper aren't responsible by joining us?
    Thank you Koru!
    Thank you Pepper!
    Tkank you Active Adventures!”
    Alfredo Furukawa – Parana, BrazilDecember 2017
  • Great New Zealand Adventure

    “Active Adventures provided a well rounded and action packed vacation. The guides, Simon and Maddie, were fully committed to the attention of their guest.”
    Ro Bradley – Michigan, United StatesDecember 2017
  • Mary and Mark best trip ever!

    “Our expectations for this trip was to experience things we had never done before and learn about the beauty of a country that was on our “bucket list” . This trip met our expections and more! Each night we would discuss our daily adventures and say it was the best day ever- and then the next day was even better! For the entire trip we had no worries or concerns- everyday was well planned out and extremely enjoyable.”
    Mark Erbstoesser – Wisconsin, United StatesDecember 2017
  • Rimu Trip - Should be #1 on Your Bucket List

    “First of all, the guides were "hands-down" the "BEST EVER"!!! They made this trip extra special. Katie C and Lauren were always looking out for our best interest. They were great at engaging each of us in the group, they took the time to get to know each one of us, they made sure they included groceries that you liked and more. They were fun, energetic and full of happiness! They worked very hard and feed us very well. The food was amazing!!! A big THANK YOU to both of you beautiful young women! Thank you active adventures for hiring fun and inspiring women!”
    Vicki Igou – California, United StatesDecember 2017
  • Awesome Adventure

    “I can honestly say that I don't think it would be possible to plan a trip like this on your own. There is a lot to be said for exploring off the beaten path & Steve & Pepper sure delivered that type of trip for us. ”
    Linda Gallivan – Ontario, CanadaDecember 2017
  • Exceeded Expectations!

    “From start to finish, our guides (Ben and Emma) spoiled us with first-class service. Always cheerful and genuinely caring for our every need. Accommodations were all GREAT, as was the food and the always available snacks on the bus. As food preparers/chefs, they always made sure we were fed well and on time... important after many a gruelling hike. The hiking was more challenging than I thought, but worth every breath and groan. The bus was comfortable (a necessity for the long rides) and spacious. The South Island was as gorgeous as billed, and fortunately for the group I brought along the magnificent weather we experienced throughout. If this is typical of Active Adventures experience, then I will for sure be a repeat AA customer. Good Job!!”
    Hans Anger – Florida, United StatesDecember 2017
  • 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 – Alaska, United StatesDecember 2017
  • Loved it!

    “We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and felt we saw and experienced much of the island. Ben and Emma were exceptional guides: friendly, fun, knowledgeable, and hard working! We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary with this trip and they went out of their way to make it even more special. The sites were amazing and to top it off we had outstanding weather. ”
    Bonnie Mastolier – Alaska, United StatesDecember 2017
  • The Most Beautiful Place in the World

    “Thank you to Active Adventures for a most spectacular trip. I traveled with my daughter, to celebrate her college graduation, and my brother. The Kiwi people are the friendliest people on the planet. Our guides were extremely helpful, cooked awesome meals, and taught us so much about New Zealand. They took care of everything. All we had to do was sit back and enjoy the ride. The locations for the lodging were probably the best views in all the country. We stayed right in the center of Queenstown, next to a remote area of a lake with views of Mt. Cook, in a small towns next to the ocean. They were all very clean and neat, always with a pot of tea ready, and cookies for a snack. There was always an excess of food. No one ever went hungry. In fact, I don't think I ever ate so much on holiday. The activities were fun and varied, relaxing at times, strenuous on occasion but with awesome views as payback. I am recommending this trip to all my friends, and already planning the next one.”
    Terri Donati – Colorado, United StatesDecember 2017
  • Epic Trip!

    “We did a custom trip very similar to the Rimu. Wonderful guides, accommodations and fantastic little surprises throughout the trip.”
    Debra Huntington – Maryland, United StatesDecember 2017
  • 2017 Oct/Nov Rimu

    “My 2017 Rimu trip was fantastic! Somehow our fabulous guides Ben and Emma arranged for clear sunny skies, a great mix of travelers, and an all around fun time. Seriously though, our group of 10/11 (we had a late addition) got along well from day 1 - we learned about each other's backgrounds, played cards and dice games, and shared bottles of wine. Ben and Emma worked tirelessly to make sure our travels were smooth - often 16+ hour days for them. Emma cooked wonderful meals for us and made sure everyone's dietary requests were met. Ben drove Whina (our bus) so well for so many hours to get us to our destinations - we'll never forget the tunnel! And they both were great guides on the hikes. Thanks for all the wonderful memories!”
    Jeanne Stallings – North Carolina, United StatesDecember 2017
  • Amazing Adventure!

    “Absolutely the BEST way to experience all the amazing things that New Zealand has to offer! This trip lived up to it's name and truly was an Active Adventure - we hiked, biked and kayaked across the gorgeous South Island.
    Skip the massive tour buses and join Active Adventures to go beyond the major tourist routes!”
    Erika Honerkamp – California, United StatesDecember 2017

Why travel with Active Adventures?

Legendary Kiwi Hospitality

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.

Expert LOCAL Guides & Trip Leaders

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.

Everything is Included

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.

A Sense of Achievement

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.

Small Groups

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.

Diverse Experiences

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.