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New Zealand Hiking & Adventure Regions

New Zealand is an island nation in the South Pacific. It's not part of Australia and yes, our rugby team is the best in the world! Technically there are 16 regions, each with their own council (and rugby team), from Northland in the far north, to (yes you guessed it) Southland in the deep south. But we like to keep things simple, and if you're thinking of visiting us for a hiking or adventure vacation, all you need to know is that there's a North Island and a South Island. 

Our largest city Auckland, and our capital city, Wellington are both in the North Island. With a number of other large cities as well, the North Island is home to around 75% of New Zealand's population. To a south islander, this makes the north 'busy', though to most visitors you'll still be surprised by the vastness of the countryside and unspoilt nature. Some of the highlights of the North Island include rich insights into our nation's heritage and culture, volcanoes, sub-tropical weather and wonderful ocean-based attractions. 

By contrast, the South Island is just as you'd expect. It's big, it's empty and it's dramatic! The South Island's magnificent scenery is the stuff dreams are made of and the reason it's the 'poster child' of hiking and adventure media. There are 9 national parks in the South Island protecting tall glaciated peaks, ancient rainforest, turquoise blue bays, U-shaped hanging valleys and immense lakes. 

South Island New Zealand

Trip Reviews

  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1888 reviews)

    Worth every penny!

    This was an amazing trip - highly recommended! Our guides, Koru and Liana, were great - kept us moving and active in all kinds of weather and conditions. Some of the planned tour had to be modified due to weather - it does rain a lot - but no regrets at all. We got a taste of New Zealand on beautiful days, rainy days, and once in rain, sleet and hurricane force winds, but we were always well cared for and felt like we'd seen New Zealand in all of it's majesty. The hiking was strenuous enough to feel like a challenge and leave us tired and a bit sore most days, but never too difficult. The Siberia Valley part of the trip was just spectacular! Koru's knowledge of New Zealand's native plants and animals, history, Maori heritage, and Lord of the Rings stories were particularly fascinating. Would love to go again!
    Bob Martin Review Image
    – South Carolina, United States
    Tui, December 2016
  •   4.70 out of 5 (from 266 reviews)

    Review of the Kiwi trip

    I chose to visit NZ with Active Adventures because I wanted to experience the South Island from tip to toe in an active fashion. The trip was exactly what I wanted. I loved hiking and kayaking, enjoyed visiting the towns and was swept away by the scenery. I learned a lot about the country's history, geology and mythology from my two guides. And I had fun.
    Barbara Delaney Review Image
    – Maryland, United States
    Kiwi, March 2017
  •   4.70 out of 5 (from 266 reviews)

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4984 reviews)

    Excellent Trip

    If you like outdoor activities this is your dream trip. The itinerary is very well planned. The scenery and landscapes are beautiful. Our guides Tia and Alex are fabulous. They are youthful, caring, knowledgeable, and extremely professional. Their hardwork made the entire trip smooth and enjoyable. Everyday is packed with interesting and exciting outdoor activities: multi-day hiking in Nelson Lake NP, kayaking in Milford Sound, biking along the shore of Wanaka Lake, and day hiking the Routeburn, Kepler, Sealy Tarns, Hooker Valley and many other beautiful short tracks in various NPs of the South Island. The group mates are very friendly and fun and the small group size made it easy to socialize. In addition, the food is healthy and very delicious. Thanks to every member of the group, in particular our great guides Tia and Alex, it is your care, warmth, encouragement, and tolerance that made this trip truly unforgettable.
    Siyuan Han Review Image
    – Kansas, United States
    Rimu, January 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1888 reviews)

    Virgin Active Adventurist-When can I do it again?!

    Fabulous trip! Not having to drive, research stops, plan activities, arrange accommodations and decide what to eat made this so relaxing, letting us enjoy every minute of every activity and even the down time! I can't wait to sign up for another trip!
    Karen Basil Review Image
    – Minnesota, United States
    Tui, March 2017

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Approx NZ flight times

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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