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Birds of New Zealand

Kea Bird New Zealand 469756481 3575x2383

The first type of wildlife you may think of when New Zealand is mentioned is our national symbol, the kiwi. It’s not surprising that we have an endangered flightless bird as our national icon because New Zealand is a country dominated by birds, many of which are flightless. It’s an evolutionary result of having no predatory mammals. In fact, the only mammals we have are a couple of species of bat! So, if you’re out hiking in our national parks you won’t have to worry about seeing any big cats, bears, primates (apart from, maybe, a few locals), or snakes - because there aren’t any.

Having evolved in an environment that had no mammalian predators for 80 million years, our birds were vulnerable to the arrival of humans (and the rats and other animals they brought with them). Once humans arrived, over 40% of New Zealand’s birdlife became extinct. Birds like the giant flightless Moa, Haast’s Eagle ( the world’s largest eagle ever known), the New Zealand Pelican, the Laughing Owl and a host of other birds, vanished from our land. Many of the species that did survive are endangered or vulnerable to human impact, and are now part of extensive conservation efforts to increase numbers. The Department of Conservation is amongst the world’s leaders in population recovery for endangered birds, with the Chatham Islands Black Robin, which in 1980 was down to only five remaining birds of which there was only a single breeding pair, being an internationally recognised conservation success story (there are now about 200 of these little birds).

New Zealand’s birds are a curious bunch, including the kiwi, the kakapo (a critically endangered flightless parrot), the kea (a highly intelligent mountain parrot), royal albatrosses (we have the only mainland colony of royal albatrosses in the world), penguins (including some of the world’s rarest) and many others that you’ll see while hiking in New Zealand or exploring our coastlines.

Trip Reviews

  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    Great trip with fun and knowledgable guides. Accommodations and food were great.






    David Brodie Review Image
    – Washington, United States
    Kauri, April 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1888 reviews)

    Tui Trip

    As seasoned travelers we know what makes a great trip. Our guides Nick and Mel were over the top with all aspects of the trip. From the minute of our pickup to our improvised departure, through cyclone Gita we never missed a beat. Wouldn’t change a thing. A true trip of a life time.
    Kelly Zeiler Review Image
    – Montana, United States
    Tui, March 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4984 reviews)

    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 Review Image
    – North Carolina, United States
    Rimu, December 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4984 reviews)

    Perfect Trip for anyone who loves Nature!

    If you enjoy being outdoors and like to challenge yourself this trip is for you. I wasn't an avid hiker before signing up for the Rimu trip but after reading the itinerary I knew I couldn't pass up this amazing opportunity. You never know what you are capable of until you try and that is how I feel after climbing up to the Angelus Hut and hiking to Mueller ridge. I had never climbed a mountain before (since there are no mountains where I live) but the views are more than worth the climb.
    This trip is the best way to see all that the South Island has to offer, it is the perfect balance between adventure, relaxation, self-exploration, and cultural immersion. Anyone can go to New Zealand and rent a car and go hiking, biking, and Kayaking; however, they will miss out on the best parts of traveling to a new place and that is the knowledge and culture that only someone who lives there would know. The guides (Tory and Vanessa) were awesome! Tory is an amazing cook, and Ness was great at making jokes and keeping the atmosphere cheery during the longer drives. I loved listening to the guides tell us about the Maori people and the local legends or folklore. I actually thought Ness was lying to me when she would tell me that the views get better after being left speechless by the scenery, but every day was better than the previous!
    I have to mention the FOOD!!! The food alone is enough for me to sign up for this trip again. When I travel I don’t always know what the local food is or would be but with this trip the guides cook you all sorts of local food and all the food is fresh and delicious. If you don’t like something they will make sure to accommodate you.
    Ness and Tory made you feel like this was a trip among friends and family, not strangers. I will come back to New Zealand again!
    Brian Heinz Review Image
    – Wisconsin, United States
    Rimu, May 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4984 reviews)

    A Fantastic trip

    This is the best way to tour South Island of New Zealand. Enjoy the spectacular views, experience the first hand of back country and meet the physical challenges. With small group of people and two dedicated guides, what else one ask for?
    Sha Ma Review Image
    – Kansas, United States
    Rimu, January 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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