We'll take you on an unforgettable journey exploring our mountains, coastlines and countryside, on foot, by bike and with a paddle in your hands. Experience our unique culture and wildlife along the way.
This 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.

Be prepared to leave a piece of your heart in New Zealand!

Please contact us for Single traveller rates and options.

Remember, the activity distances and elevations that you see on the detailed itinerary are flexible with shorter and longer options usually available. Get in touch if you’d like to chat about these alternatives.

Highlights


• Have fun hiking and kayaking

• Enjoy Wildlife and Nature

• Travel through Rainforests and Vineyards

• Round trip Christchurch to Christchurch

If you are one of our guests who 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) Hiking Distance: 6.5 kilometres (4 miles), 1-2 hours Elevation Gain: 20 metres (65 feet) Elevation Loss: 20 metres (65 feet)
From Kaikoura, we’ll travel along spectacular coastline for a couple of hours to Blenheim, a town 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) - 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) Hiking Distance: 11 kilometres (6.8 miles), 3-4 hours Elevation Gain: 20 metres (65 feet) Elevation Loss: 20 metres (65 feet) 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 challenging hike, with an elevation gain of 1000 metres (3280 feet), 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. There’s no rush and we’ll be there to encourage you the whole way. It’s a tremendous feeling at the top when you reach Angelus Hut, nestled beside a gorgeous alpine lake. 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) Hiking Distance: 10 kilometres (6.2 miles), 6-8 hours Elevation Gain: 1,050 metres (3,445 feet) Day 4 (morning) - Hike Angelus Circuit: Angelus Hut to Lake Rotoiti 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. Hiking Distance: 11 kilometres (6.8 miles), 4-6 hours Elevation Gain: 70 metres (230 feet) Elevation Loss: 840 metres (2,755 feet)
Day 2 (afternoon) – Hike Rotoiti 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) Hiking Distance: 11 kilometres (6.8 miles), 3-4 hours Elevation Gain: 20 metres (65 feet) Elevation Loss: 20 metres (65 feet) Day 3 – Hike Rotoiti Circuit: Lakehead Hut to Saint Arnaud If weather permits, we’ll start the morning with a refreshing stream crossing over the Travers River, or in times of high flow, we follow the Travers Valley through beech forest until we get to a swing-bridge, a quintessential New Zealand hiking experience. Once on the other side of the river, we’ll head back along the valley until we get to Coldwater Hut for a picnic lunch in this stunning setting. Here we re-join the lake, and follow the trail as it gently winds its way around Lake Rotoiti to Whiskey Creek, and the beautiful Whiskey Falls. Feel free to fill up your water bottles from Whiskey Creek, but it IS only water, honest! From Whiskey Falls we’ll board a water taxi to take us back to Kerr Bay, finishing up this afternoon back in St Arnaud. St Arnaud lodgings, St Arnaud (All meals) Hiking Distance: 11 kilometres (6.8 miles), 3-4 hours Elevation Gain: 20 metres (65 feet) Elevation Loss: 20 metres (65 feet) Day 4 (morning) - Hike Rotoiti Circuit: Hike Roberts Ridge After breakfast we’ll clamber back into our hiking boots to set out for this morning's walk. We'll explore the beautiful peninsula track, stretching out into Lake Rotoiti, before making our way to the Pinchgut Track. This trail gives access to Mt Robert, and Robert's Ridge, where the rest of the group will be approaching from. We'll wind our way up the trail through the native beech trees and manuka scrub to meet the group. Once we’re back together we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch, before carrying on to the West Coast. Hiking Distance: Up to 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) Elevation Gain: Up to 400 metres (1312 feet)
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 Lodge, 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) Kayaking Time: 2-3 hours 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) Kayaking Time: 5-6 hours 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. Kayaking Time: 1-2 hours
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)
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) Hiking Distance: 6 kilometres (4 miles), 2-3 hours Elevation Gain: 130 metres (425 feet) Elevation Loss: 130 metres (425 feet)
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 head back to Franz Josef where you’ll have the option to take another walk or relax in the hot tub, before enjoying a traditional Kiwi roast dinner. Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals) Hiking Distance: 4.2 kilometres (2.6 miles), 1-2 hours Elevation Gain: 120 metres (394 feet) Elevation Loss: 120 metres (394 feet) Kayaking Time: 2-4 hours
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 the glaciers, around Lake Matheson and to the Blue Pools near Haast Pass instead. Optional Heli-hike (extra fee applies) An outrageously scenic alternative to today’s hike is to heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier itself. After being fitted with crampons, you’ll board a turbine helicopter and fly towards the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, landing on the glacier at 1300 metres (4265 feet) 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) Alex Knob Hiking Distance: 8 kilometres (5 miles), 5-6 hours Elevation Gain: 1,100 metres (3,610 feet) Elevation Loss: 1,100 metres (3,610 feet) Robert's Point Hiking Distance: 12 kilometres (7.5 miles), 4-6 hours Elevation Gain: 400 metres (1,312 feet) Elevation Loss: 400 metres (1,312 feet)
The landscape this morning changes rapidly from dense beech forest to semi-arid mountainous terrain. We’ll hike the Rocky Mountain track today, a spectacular circuit through an area carved out by iceage glaciers, with stands of native forest and shrub land. We’ll enjoy lunch after our hike in Wanaka 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) Hiking Distance: 7 kilometres (4.5 miles), 2-3 hours Elevation Gain: 375 metres (1,230 feet) Elevation Loss: 375 metres (1,230 feet)
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 and 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)
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 shores 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 at Milford Lodge, to make the most of a wonderfully remote location. Milford Lodge Chalets, Milford Sound (All meals) Hiking Distance: 3.4 kilometres (2 miles), 3-4 hours Elevation Gain: 380 metres (1,246 feet) Elevation Loss: 380 metres (1,246 feet)
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 - 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) Kayaking Time: 2-3 hours Hiking Distance: 9.5 kilometres (6 miles), 2-3 hours Elevation Gain: 50 metres (165 feet) Elevation Loss: 50 metres (165 feet)
After an early breakfast, we’ll head back through Queenstown and head North, driving through the tussock-country of Lindis Pass to Twizel, where we’ll hop on bikes and ride a portion of the Alps to Ocean Trail, following the well-groomed trail across the Mackenzie country basin to Lake Pukaki. The trail continues around the alpine lake with views across to the magnificent Aoraki Mount Cook and the last section of the ride you’ll pass a range of native plants including Kowhai (with brilliant yellow flowers, popular with endemic Tui birds), flax and tussocks. Afterwards, we’ll continue onto Braemar Station, where we stay on Hamish and Julia McKenzie’s 5000 hectare high-country sheep farm (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 travellers 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 (All meals) Biking Distance: 24 kilometres (15 miles), 2 hours
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 challenging 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 Glacier 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) Mueller Ridge Hiking Distance: 7.2 kilometres (4.4 miles), 5-6 hours Elevation Gain: 975 metres (3,200 feet) Elevation Loss: 975 metres (3,200 feet) Hooker Glacier Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres (5.6 miles), 3-4 hours Elevation Gain: 100 metres (328 feet) Elevation Loss: 100 metres (328 feet)
After breakfast 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)
Itineraries are subject to change.

Twin share

$7,699 NZD pp

Additional charges:

GST (Goods and service tax) : 1005 NZD pp

Active Accomodation

These trips are no ordinary adventure holiday!. We believe that you can't truly experience a country through a bus window, or on the tourist trails that you read about in Lonely Planet. Sure, we'll include some of those 'bucket list' hikes and locations, but we're all about getting 'off the beaten track' and up close to the culture and people that make a destination and travel experience so special.

The Guides

We're often asked the question 'Why should I travel with a small group operator, rather than go independently and plan it myself?' and our incredible guides are the first, and biggest reason!

They are the story when it comes to traveling with us. You'll be guided by personable, friendly, active, empathetic people, who love showing off our superb trip destinations, but more than just that, they love watching you experience it. Our guides will entertain you, they'll cook delicious meals for you, make sure every aspect of your trip is safe, enjoyable, and full of lasting memories.

Imagine a cross between Bear Grylls, David Attenborough and a Four Seasons Hotel concierge and you'll get the idea of what these guys are like! 

If you've traveled with us before, we won't have to tell you what a difference an exceptional guide makes in building that special camaraderie Active Adventures trips are known for and to make the absolute most of your time. If this is your first guided trip, you're in for a real treat.

Safety

Safety is always a priority when you're exploring in the wilderness, and we have an impeccable record. Our guides are trained extensively, they have their outdoor First Aid certificate, food safety certificate, they undergo our customised and comprehensive guide training trip and our lead guides have a full class 2 drivers license with passenger endorsement - plus there's always a support team available here at HQ. Another reason to travel with the experts. 

Comforts and Accommodation

We like to visit some exciting locations by bike, on foot, rafting, kayaking, and canyoning, but we also enjoy our creature comforts. Our days end with hot showers, clean rooms and delicious meals. We even arrange rest days, where you can read a book all day or shop till you drop. Most important of all - our aim is to exceed your expectations and we will do all we can to make this vacation the best one you've ever had.

Accommodation can be very hard to come by in travel hotspots once the busy seasons really take off. By travelling with us you know that we've booked space for all of our trips years in advance, so there's never the disappointment of not being able to stay at that perfect place!

Food

Food is such an important part of any holiday - and getting the right fuel on an active trip is crucial (and of course, we cater to all dietaries!). When you travel with us your guides will prepare the food around half the time, the other half we'll be eating out in restaurants. But what's great about it, wherever we're eating, there's nothing for you to worry about.

Another reason to travel with us, as opposed to planning and taking your own trip, is cost. We believe our trips represent good value, and once you've considered all of the expenses involved in running all-inclusive trips, we think you will too. You see, we have no hidden costs and everything is included, you'll find all of this information clearly laid out in our itineraries, so you don't have to do any guesswork.  

This means we don't limit people to two cups of tea a day and an entree and main or main and dessert only! Other tour operators charge what looks like a really cheap price, but it only covers road transport, guides, and accommodation. We think of all the small things. This is your trip of a lifetime and we're going to do everything possible to exceed your expectations!

The Physical Side

Our trips are sometimes physically and mentally challenging. That said, our trips are designed for people who understand that a little challenge means a lot of reward. You might not be an athlete, or have even done any serious trekking before, but if you’ve got a little bit inside you that wants to take on a physical challenge, be it big or small, then we can help you light the fire!

Inclusions



• All guiding services. Two experienced New Zealand guides per trip. Having two guides allows for much greater flexibility, meaning you're able to go at your own pace.
• All accommodations. A range of hotels, lodges, chalets, inns, sheep stations and backcountry huts. The only tour company to overnight at the Milford Lodge in Milford Sound!
• 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 and more! On this trip we've refined the subtle art of adventure travel, allowing you to discover the South Island on foot, by pedal, or by paddle.
• All transport. Airport transfers on the first & last days. When you're not travelling under your own steam, there will be comfortable air-conditioned vans to stretch your legs.

Exclusions



• Excludes GST (Goods and service tax)
Active Accomodation
New Zealand Active AccommodationActive Accommodation
14 Days from
$7,699 NZD pp

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0800 945 3327

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1800 107 715

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