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Our New Zealand Story

Since the mid-90's we’ve had the pleasure of guiding thousands of happy travellers on outdoor adventures and hiking trips all over New Zealand. We’ve always believed that an Active Adventures trip can make the difference between ‘visiting’ versus really ‘experiencing’ our country. We're determined that our trips should not be your average adventure tour package, but something rather more special. Our founders' original idea of taking people on outdoor adventures that challenge them a bit, reward them a lot, and allow them to experience a place, is at the heart of everything we do at Active Adventures.

From the beginning... 

We ran the first Active Adventures trip in 1996 with just three clients, sharing our favourite parts of New Zealand. It was a great trip with plenty of home-made trifle, long but awe-inspiring hiking days and story-telling late into the night. The next trip had a few more takers and it didn’t take long for the trips to gather momentum. Soon, we had a small team of staff to run our trips and had clients from far and wide keen to join in the adventures. For over two decades, the company has maintained its identity of running small, fun, physically challenging, outdoor adventures in destinations we know and love.

New Zealand our story

Other Active Adventures destinations

It was in the early 2000's that one of our enthusiastic New Zealand guides decided to research offering our type of trips in South America. With a vast knowledge of South America from years spent in Costa Rica surfing and teaching English, as well as guiding tours around the continent for backpackers, itineraries were designed that we knew our clients would love. With the support of an excellent and dedicated team in New Zealand, we started and launched our South America trips in PeruPatagoniaEcuador and the Galapagos Islands. Then, in 2010, we launched our Himalayas trips. With New Zealand having a very close link to the Nepalese Himalayas (most famously connected by Sir Edmund Hilary and the Hilary Foundation) we realised how well Nepal fits the Active DNA. Before we knew it the Himalayas quickly became a very popular destination for our clients, with many of them on their second or even third Active trip!

The latest destination to fall onto the Active radar is Europe! In 1998 our founder made his way to Europe with a few dollars in his pocket, a surfboard and hiking boots in hand. Surfing soon took a backseat after discovering the treasures of the European Alps, and good coffee! The lure of the Alps hiking trails, rivers, lakes and villages never went away, prompting a return to live there in 2012 with his family and carve out the foundations of Active Adventures Europe. As we've kept doing over the years with all our destinations, our Europe adventure tours are the result of our personal commitment, passion and experience in every location.

The behind-the-scenes team

We have a fantastic team running the show behind the scenes - a small and focused group of multi-talented individuals. We all bring a set of unique experiences, and with our own active lifestyles, we genuinely understand what it takes to experience a journey like no other, from the moment you get in touch and beyond. We look forward to you being part of the ongoing Active Adventures story.

Trip Reviews

  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1888 reviews)

    Tui Adventure

    This trip was all I had hoped for and then some. I expected beautiful scenery and exciting activities, but I did not expect the personal touch from our guides. One of the group members mentioned chips and salsa... that night we had chips and salsa to go with our appetizers. They knew I love birds, so I was introduced to every bird possible - along with descriptions of the birds’ personalities and habits. There seemed to be no end to Dani and Emma’s knowledge about New Zealand and that made a huge impact on our trip! We all felt like family by the end of the week, and for a person traveling alone, that is a wonderful gift!
    Janet Slover Review Image
    – Texas, United States
    Tui, March 2018
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    Even Cyclone Cook couldn't dampen our fun

    I hopped onto the last half of the Kauri after two weeks on the South Island in the Rimu adventure. It just so happened that we had a cyclone hit the island that week, so everything was very wet, to say the least. But everything still worked out okay! We still did lots of hiking in the rain, which was fun in itself. The views were not the same as they would be on a clear day, but different doesn't mean bad. They were unique, and there were a lot of rainbows thanks to the water. We even did the mountain biking in the downpour, which was hilariously muddy and still a lot of fun. Overall, the people were good, the guides were excellent, the food was fantastic, and the trip was terrific.
    Janine Carbone Review Image
    – New Hampshire, United States
    Kauri, April 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4984 reviews)

    Excellent NZ Adventures!

    My Rimu Active Adventure trip exceeded my high expectations. The hikes, backpacking, kayaking, and cycling adventures were thrilling, fun, and beautiful. Luckily for our group, we had absolutely perfect weather every day of the trip! Dani and Hilary were tremendous guides who taught me a lot about Kiwi life. Highlights for me were the 3-day backpacking tramp in Nelson Lakes National Park to Angelus Hut and kayaking in Milford Sound. I appreciated that we mostly stayed in local lodges, hotels, inns. I recommend this trip to anyone who wants to truly explore the stunningly beautiful South Island of New Zealand with wonderful friendly guides.
    Brian Holsclaw Review Image
    – Washington, United States
    Rimu, March 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4984 reviews)

    Best trip I have ever taken

    There are many layers to this trip
    1. The Group - It was really fun being in a group, and our group was really fun! Sometimes I hung out with people in my family, sometimes I hung out with someone else in the group. This variety and freedom was very enjoyable.
    2. The Guides - Koru and Ash were sooo great. Koru is a polished, learned and experienced leader. Ash is a fabulous cook, so much fun, and cared about each of us on the trip.
    3. The Country - Stunning! We covered so much of the South Island that we were able to see many sides of it's weather and terrain. Really great route.
    4. Activities - It was great sharing a physical activity with others, something I know brings people together. Hiking was great. At the end of a long hike was a fabulous surprise, like a glacial lake with ice burgs, or a beautiful high-mountain vista, or a glo-worm tunnel. Biking was super fun, and I wish there had been one more day of it. In hind site I personally would have selected the biking 3day excursion. The kayaking was great. Heavy chop or glassy lakes, we kayaked in it.
    5. Accommodations - These were just great. As nice as it can be being out in the countryside. I loved how we all ate together every meal.
    5. Pace - I thought the trip was very well planned. Just when we needed a break in the beginning from jet lag, and our trip activities, a two day respite was there in Queenstown where we could recharge. I recharged and my family bungy jumped! Also, activities were structured so that the not so keen could bail out at a stopping point.
    Ginny Nayden Review Image
    – Maryland, United States
    Rimu, January 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1888 reviews)

    Best Ever!

    Trip of a Lifetime for sure! I’m still on a NZ High :-D))
    Thanks to Nick B & Melissa for their knowlegde & Expertise experience, which made our trip successful & FUN! With their encouragement, I was able to challenge myself & push beyond what I thought my abilities were.......THANK YOU!!! Such a pleasure getting to know Nick & Mel, we were spoiled & enjoyed every minute of this adventure with them. Highly recommend Active Adventures NZ making dreams come TRUE!
    Wendy Woods Review Image
    – Montana, United States
    Tui, March 2018

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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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