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The 25 Best New Trips for 2010: Points South

National Geographic Adventure online

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New Zealand: All Access Kiwiland. The North Island has the Bay of Islands and the best surfing; the South Island trumpets Queenstown and world-class hiking. For decades, New Zealand's two halves have been vying for the country's title of premier travel destination. But Active Adventurees New Zealand just gave the South Island a major one-up: the first guided hiking and bicycle crossing from coast to coast.

For this 13-day trip, the high-octane outfitter has chosen the wildest route possible, using little-known tracks (Kiwi for trails) and New Zealand's excellent hut system, which offers everything from bare-bones shelters to cushy crash pads with private bunks and kitchens.

Starting in the temperate rain forests of West Fiordland National Park and the Milford Sound, you'll follow the Greenstone Track through the Southern Alps, then continue along Lake Wakatipu and across Central Otago to the brisk waters of the east coast. Highlights include beach-hut overnights on the Tasman Sea, where penguins and seals are a common sight; hiking to 200-foot Homer Falls; and biking to 3,000-foot Key Summit for views of three glacier-carved valleys, including the one you just hiked through, seven-mile Hollyford.

Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 15889 reviews)

    See the best of Patagonia and eat like a king!

    Great itinerary to see Chilean and Argentine Patagonia! While many people come to hike Torres del Paine, which is awesome, I thought Mount Fit Roy and Cerro Torre were even more spectacular in Argentina! Wished we could have hiked to more places in Argentina. Also loved the food and the ability to choose your own meals! I ate like a king!
    Patrick Nguyen Review Image
    – Colorado, United States
    Condor, February 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 15889 reviews)

    Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!

    The Condor trip with our tour leader, Zac, was AWESOME! Our W guide, Cem, was also exceptional. The two of them kept us at a great pace and kept us laughing. You're on this trip for the scenery, and it was breath-taking. A great one word description of the landscape is "rugged". This tour provides a nice balance of longer hiking days and shorter hiking days with just truly stunning scenery including Torres del Paine, French Valley, Grey Glacier, Perito Morano glacier, and Fitz Roy. Definitely do the ice hiking!
    Sandy Landsberg Review Image
    – Virginia, United States
    Condor, February 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 15889 reviews)

    LEGENDARY

    Travelling to New Zealand has been on my bucket list for nearly half my life, and I'm so glad I spent three weeks there with Active! I was a bit worried going by myself, but it turned out to be the best vacation of my life. They took us to so many spots that I probably would have never seen if I tried to organize everything on my own. It was great to have them feed me, drive me, hike me, and take me to our accommodations at night - not once did I have to worry about anything. The accommodations themselves were so fun and unique, staying in them was a highlight of my trip. Our guides, Kim and Ashleigh, were fantastic young ladies. Ash was an amazing chef and Kim rocked the in-bus narration. I also think we had a phenomenal group of people who clicked very well, and absolutely the best weather one could wish for.

    Even when there were a few changes to the itinerary due to road damages, weather issues, or anything else, the guides were on top of it so fast that we barely even noticed there was a problem. We did miss out on snorkeling with the fur seals, and our Franz Josef Heli-Hike was cancelled, but we were still able to see seals and take a helicopter ride to a glacier at another time. No loss whatsoever.

    I'm a fairly active person under thirty, who lives in an mountainous region, and I was still challenged by the hikes and activities they provided. I also have bad knees, and was still able to get up and down the more difficult mountains. For those wondering abut the multi-day hike, it's definitely a work-out, but totally worth it! And be sure to invest in a hydration bladder, you'll really appreciate it! If you're looking for an outdoor adventure with lots of activity and fun, this is definitely one of the better ways to explore New Zealand.
    Janine Carbone Review Image
    – New Hampshire, United States
    Rimu, April 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 15889 reviews)

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 15889 reviews)

    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 Review Image
    – Alaska, United States
    Rimu, December 2017

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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