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New Zealand Vacations

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Best New Zealand Vacation Packages

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4.85/5 Rating | 6,500+ Reviews

What guests are saying about their New Zealand vacations

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Ultimate North Island Adventure - April 2024

Great Trip

"This was a terrific trip and a great overview of the North Island. It was a follow up to our trip with Active Adventures eight years ago of the South Island. I was surprised that the trip took place as my wife and I were the only participants. Despite that, our guide, Braden, was absolutely wonderful. He was enthusiastic about sharing his homeland with us and very knowledgeable. He has a great sense of humor, was flexible and very attentive all along the way. It was a pleasure to spend two weeks with him.

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"This was a terrific trip and a great overview of the North Island. It… read more

"This was a terrific trip and a great overview of the North Island. It was a follow up to our trip with Active Adventures eight years ago of the South Island. I was surprised that the trip took place as my wife and I were the only participants. Despite that, our guide, Braden, was absolutely wonderful. He was enthusiastic about sharing his homeland with us and very knowledgeable. He has a great sense of humor, was flexible and very attentive all along the way. It was a pleasure to spend two weeks with him. read less

5 Stars (381 reviews)

T Tom | April 2024

Ultimate North Island Adventure - April 2024

Beyond Expectations

"We traveled with Active Adventures 8 years ago to see the South Island of New Zealand. We didn't didn't hesitate to book with them this year when we wanted to see the North Island of New Zealand. Active Adventures did not disappoint. The physical beauty of New Zealand was only surpassed by the warmth of its people and specifically our guide Braden.

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"We traveled with Active Adventures 8 years ago to see the South Island of New… read more

"We traveled with Active Adventures 8 years ago to see the South Island of New Zealand. We didn't didn't hesitate to book with them this year when we wanted to see the North Island of New Zealand. Active Adventures did not disappoint. The physical beauty of New Zealand was only surpassed by the warmth of its people and specifically our guide Braden. read less

5 Stars (381 reviews)

M Martha Van | April 2024

Classic South Island Adventure - April 2024

Magical New Zealand

"Our New Zealand Adventure was amazing and phenomenal. So many layers of landscape, adventures, experiences and friendships. Today we cruised the Fiourds of Milford Sound and hiked a final trek. And said "until next time" to some special people in a unique place that is truly "Middle Earth!" #activeadventures

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"Our New Zealand Adventure was amazing and phenomenal. So many layers of landscape, adventures,… read more

"Our New Zealand Adventure was amazing and phenomenal. So many layers of landscape, adventures, experiences and friendships. Today we cruised the Fiourds of Milford Sound and hiked a final trek. And said "until next time" to some special people in a unique place that is truly "Middle Earth!" #activeadventures read less

5 Stars (540 reviews)

L Laurie | April 2024

Classic South Island Adventure - April 2024

A memorable time with incredible people and jaw-dropping scenery

"This was a trip like one I've never taken and I'd leap at the chance to go on another adventure with this group. I appreciated the small group setting where we really got to know each other. There was a great mix of team activities and the ability to be in smaller groups or be someone solo if desired. The trip was well-planned and every detail covered. Thank you for a fabulous week!

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"This was a trip like one I've never taken and I'd leap at the chance… read more

"This was a trip like one I've never taken and I'd leap at the chance to go on another adventure with this group. I appreciated the small group setting where we really got to know each other. There was a great mix of team activities and the ability to be in smaller groups or be someone solo if desired. The trip was well-planned and every detail covered. Thank you for a fabulous week! read less

5 Stars (540 reviews)

L Lauren | April 2024

Classic South Island Adventure - April 2024

Awesome experience!

"Our Classic South Adventure was such a wonderful experience. Our group of travelers were all very laid back and great to get to know despite the variation from very experienced travelers to a few members on their 1st such trip. I cannot say enough good things about our guides Brogan and Lauren! They made us feel so welcome and comfortable from the very start and spoiled us rotten with all the terrific meals and personal care. They are so great at sharing their personal knowledge and experiences of New Zealand culture/life. Despite some small changes to our itinerary due to mechanical issues; we were still able to do all the adventures planned thanks to our expert problem solving Super Guides. Our group felt like long time friends and family by the end of our tour. I highly recommend Active Adventures and will be joining another trip in the not too distant future!

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"Our Classic South Adventure was such a wonderful experience. Our group of travelers were all… read more

"Our Classic South Adventure was such a wonderful experience. Our group of travelers were all very laid back and great to get to know despite the variation from very experienced travelers to a few members on their 1st such trip. I cannot say enough good things about our guides Brogan and Lauren! They made us feel so welcome and comfortable from the very start and spoiled us rotten with all the terrific meals and personal care. They are so great at sharing their personal knowledge and experiences of New Zealand culture/life. Despite some small changes to our itinerary due to mechanical issues; we were still able to do all the adventures planned thanks to our expert problem solving Super Guides. Our group felt like long time friends and family by the end of our tour. I highly recommend Active Adventures and will be joining another trip in the not too distant future! read less

5 Stars (540 reviews)

M Mariah | April 2024

Ultimate South Island Adventure - April 2024

Great planning and execution!

"It was my first visit to New Zealand and I was eager to learn about the country while being actively engaged in its exploration. Active Adventures went above and beyond all expectations in making this trip unforgettable! From some challenging hikes to biking, kayaking and boat cruising we were able to circle entire South Island and see its unparalleled beauty! We heard stories about history and traditions which made our experience more meaningful. Accommodations were great and so was the food!

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"It was my first visit to New Zealand and I was eager to learn about… read more

"It was my first visit to New Zealand and I was eager to learn about the country while being actively engaged in its exploration. Active Adventures went above and beyond all expectations in making this trip unforgettable! From some challenging hikes to biking, kayaking and boat cruising we were able to circle entire South Island and see its unparalleled beauty! We heard stories about history and traditions which made our experience more meaningful. Accommodations were great and so was the food! read less

5 Stars (922 reviews)

M Maya | April 2024

Ultimate South Island Adventure - March 2024

My awesome Ultimate South New Zealand Adventure

"This was my first experience on the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. The planning, the trip, the itinerary and our guides Mel and Brogan were absolutely outstanding and professional and worked so very hard. Some days we had very long van days, however they broke it up so the trip was delightful. Transport to and from the airport was a nice feature. The days were action packed, the sights and activities we so rewarding. I feel like I had the opportunity to experience the entire South Island and all the beautiful parts of it. The free day came at a perfect time. Our group was small which made it nice for all of us. The meals made by the guides were superb and featured New Zealand cuisine and features products made in New Zealand, like Barkers. We were even able to make a trip there before we headed to the airport. The accommodations were lovely and had all the necessary amenities. NZ accommodations tended to have towel warmers which was delightful and also helpful to dry a small batch of laundry. The 3 day back country backpacking was hard, but worth it, the climb to Mueller's Ridge was hard,…

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"This was my first experience on the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. The planning,… read more

"This was my first experience on the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. The planning, the trip, the itinerary and our guides Mel and Brogan were absolutely outstanding and professional and worked so very hard. Some days we had very long van days, however they broke it up so the trip was delightful. Transport to and from the airport was a nice feature. The days were action packed, the sights and activities we so rewarding. I feel like I had the opportunity to experience the entire South Island and all the beautiful parts of it. The free day came at a perfect time. Our group was small which made it nice for all of us. The meals made by the guides were superb and featured New Zealand cuisine and features products made in New Zealand, like Barkers. We were even able to make a trip there before we headed to the airport. The accommodations were lovely and had all the necessary amenities. NZ accommodations tended to have towel warmers which was delightful and also helpful to dry a small batch of laundry. The 3 day back country backpacking was hard, but worth it, the climb to Mueller's Ridge was hard, but worth it! All other adventure hikes, kayaking, biking were nice and rewarding as well. The travel wallet was good, options to use their insurance and their travel agent. The price/cost for the trip was just right. I worked with the travel agency they recommended, specifically I worked with Shelley Bartlett who was outstanding. I will definitely travel with Active Adventures again. read less

5 Stars (922 reviews)

W Wendy | March 2024

Ultimate South Island Adventure - March 2024

Ka kite anō Aotearoa

"New Zealand provided a magnificent backdrop to an amazing Active Adventure trip. I enjoyed every second of this trip. Mel and Brogan, challenging tracks, beautiful views from William and magnificent vistas on our hikes, nutritious and delicious food and snacks, great accommodations, especially the Hermitage Hotel near Aoraki, the small stops along the way grabbing an ice cream, coffee or just stretching our legs and taking pictures (did that a lot), Mel and Brogan providing a ton of information on everything New Zealand, interactions with local people, I couldn’t have asked for more. Thank you. By, the way, did I mention Mel and Brogan?

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"New Zealand provided a magnificent backdrop to an amazing Active Adventure trip. I enjoyed every… read more

"New Zealand provided a magnificent backdrop to an amazing Active Adventure trip. I enjoyed every second of this trip. Mel and Brogan, challenging tracks, beautiful views from William and magnificent vistas on our hikes, nutritious and delicious food and snacks, great accommodations, especially the Hermitage Hotel near Aoraki, the small stops along the way grabbing an ice cream, coffee or just stretching our legs and taking pictures (did that a lot), Mel and Brogan providing a ton of information on everything New Zealand, interactions with local people, I couldn’t have asked for more. Thank you. By, the way, did I mention Mel and Brogan? read less

5 Stars (922 reviews)

Y Yvonne | March 2024

Classic South Island Adventure - March 2024

Beth from Malibu CA

"My Active Adventure Tour of the beautiful South Island of New Zealand was Outstanding! Our tour guides were phenomenal! Ryan was an excellent, safe, and courteous driver, and Noah an amazing chef (yum!!). They both shared so much knowledge about Maori culture, history and stories, re: conservation, wildlife, plant life, and more. Onto the tour, I loved every beach we stopped at, our lagoon kayak trip, all of the hikes, the bike ride, and more! The Siberian Valley was out of this world, from the small plane ride, to the river crossing, the hike. and the most fun of all, the crazy, wild, fun, jetboat trip back! Woohoo! I loved Queenstown, our accommodations there were amazing, and Milford sound and the hike after was fantastic. I also loved all of the birds fluttering around us on hikes, from the Fantails to the Tomtits and more! I will definitely be returning to New Zealand!

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"My Active Adventure Tour of the beautiful South Island of New Zealand was Outstanding! Our… read more

"My Active Adventure Tour of the beautiful South Island of New Zealand was Outstanding! Our tour guides were phenomenal! Ryan was an excellent, safe, and courteous driver, and Noah an amazing chef (yum!!). They both shared so much knowledge about Maori culture, history and stories, re: conservation, wildlife, plant life, and more. Onto the tour, I loved every beach we stopped at, our lagoon kayak trip, all of the hikes, the bike ride, and more! The Siberian Valley was out of this world, from the small plane ride, to the river crossing, the hike. and the most fun of all, the crazy, wild, fun, jetboat trip back! Woohoo! I loved Queenstown, our accommodations there were amazing, and Milford sound and the hike after was fantastic. I also loved all of the birds fluttering around us on hikes, from the Fantails to the Tomtits and more! I will definitely be returning to New Zealand! read less

5 Stars (540 reviews)

B Beth | March 2024

Classic South Island Adventure - March 2024

First time tour group experience as a solo traveler

"I really wasn't sure how I would like traveling with strangers (also considered new friends) and in a group setting, but this was one of the best vacations I have ever had. I did plan for some alone time before and after which was a nice mixture. But ultimately I do believe my experience probably has a lot to do with the company I was keeping. I feel grateful that the folks in our group were easy to get along with and I have made long lasting connections. I also believe that the guides can make or break it and our two guides, Ryan and Noah, were fantastic. They had a wealth of knowledge and I literally said, "it's really nice to have walking encyclopedias with us" on this trip! They were kind, funny, organized and Noah is an amazing chef! We ate well, we hiked great trails, we saw amazing sights and we didn't have to sweat any of the small details which really made me feel like I was on vacation. Overall, I had a wonderful time creating amazing memories I won't forget. It was without a doubt…

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"I really wasn't sure how I would like traveling with strangers (also considered new friends)… read more

"I really wasn't sure how I would like traveling with strangers (also considered new friends) and in a group setting, but this was one of the best vacations I have ever had. I did plan for some alone time before and after which was a nice mixture. But ultimately I do believe my experience probably has a lot to do with the company I was keeping. I feel grateful that the folks in our group were easy to get along with and I have made long lasting connections. I also believe that the guides can make or break it and our two guides, Ryan and Noah, were fantastic. They had a wealth of knowledge and I literally said, "it's really nice to have walking encyclopedias with us" on this trip! They were kind, funny, organized and Noah is an amazing chef! We ate well, we hiked great trails, we saw amazing sights and we didn't have to sweat any of the small details which really made me feel like I was on vacation. Overall, I had a wonderful time creating amazing memories I won't forget. It was without a doubt well beyond what I imagined the trip would be like. We also did have the most amazing weather pretty much the whole time so we lucked out on that. read less

5 Stars (540 reviews)

E Elizabeth | March 2024

New Zealand Walking Adventure - March 2024

Amazing trip with yummy food !

"The guides , Elize and Emma made our trip fun , exploratory and informative . They were very hardworking and sensitive to our needs including adjusting the schedule to the weather .

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"The guides , Elize and Emma made our trip fun , exploratory and informative .… read more

"The guides , Elize and Emma made our trip fun , exploratory and informative . They were very hardworking and sensitive to our needs including adjusting the schedule to the weather . read less

4 Stars (240 reviews)

R Regina | March 2024

New Zealand Walking Adventure - March 2024

New Zealand Walking Adventure

"The trip was first rate and exceeded my expectations. It’s easy to be won over by New Zealand’s stunning scenery and natural beauty! More than this though, the success of the trip was due, in large measure, to our two superlative guides, Emma and Elize. Both guides did their jobs superbly: Emma is a fantastic cook who put heart and soul, indeed love, into her cooking. Every meal she prepared was delicious and well presented. Elize is an excellent driver - steady and considerate, making us feel safe throughout the long distances covered over 14 days. As hiking guides, both enhanced our hiking experience with their knowledge of flora and fauna. They also kept us entertained with local stories and legends. Both put in so much effort to give us an unforgettable holiday, and even went out of their way and beyond the call of duty to help us on 2 occasions. They were exceptional!

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"The trip was first rate and exceeded my expectations. It’s easy to be won… read more

"The trip was first rate and exceeded my expectations. It’s easy to be won over by New Zealand’s stunning scenery and natural beauty! More than this though, the success of the trip was due, in large measure, to our two superlative guides, Emma and Elize. Both guides did their jobs superbly: Emma is a fantastic cook who put heart and soul, indeed love, into her cooking. Every meal she prepared was delicious and well presented. Elize is an excellent driver - steady and considerate, making us feel safe throughout the long distances covered over 14 days. As hiking guides, both enhanced our hiking experience with their knowledge of flora and fauna. They also kept us entertained with local stories and legends. Both put in so much effort to give us an unforgettable holiday, and even went out of their way and beyond the call of duty to help us on 2 occasions. They were exceptional! read less

5 Stars (240 reviews)

J Juniper | March 2024

Classic South Island Adventure - March 2024

Tomi (Classic South Island Adventure)

"This was an absolutely fabulous trip. Every step of the trip was smooth and all details taken care of. Beautiful country and our guides were spectacular (Liana & Lauren). The accommodations were great, food was good, and the narrative by Liana was second to none. She described in beautiful detail everywhere we went and the history (maori legends included) of each town and sight we saw. Lauren was a perfect partner to her in making sure we were well fed and all details taken care of.
I would gladly do another trip with Active Adventures or even Austin Adventures. Will only hope I get Liana and Lauren again.

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"This was an absolutely fabulous trip. Every step of the trip was smooth and… read more

"This was an absolutely fabulous trip. Every step of the trip was smooth and all details taken care of. Beautiful country and our guides were spectacular (Liana & Lauren). The accommodations were great, food was good, and the narrative by Liana was second to none. She described in beautiful detail everywhere we went and the history (maori legends included) of each town and sight we saw. Lauren was a perfect partner to her in making sure we were well fed and all details taken care of.
I would gladly do another trip with Active Adventures or even Austin Adventures. Will only hope I get Liana and Lauren again. read less

5 Stars (540 reviews)

T Tomi | March 2024

Ultimate South Island Adventure - March 2024

South Island trip

"Greg and Max were fantastic guides. They were positive and made the trip a joy to experience. If they were guaranteed to be my guide for other trips then I would sign up for a trip again in the future. Not only were they our tour guides, chefs, and drivers, but they also were wonderful teachers sharing their passion for New Zealand.

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"Greg and Max were fantastic guides. They were positive and made the trip a joy… read more

"Greg and Max were fantastic guides. They were positive and made the trip a joy to experience. If they were guaranteed to be my guide for other trips then I would sign up for a trip again in the future. Not only were they our tour guides, chefs, and drivers, but they also were wonderful teachers sharing their passion for New Zealand. read less

4 Stars (922 reviews)

C Courtney | March 2024

Ultimate South Island Adventure - March 2024

Fear not the bus

"A bit apprehensive at first about a guided tour, on a bus, etc but after the first day with Max and Greg at the wheel settled in to letting them be the excellent guides they are. Saw much more than previous trip I did on my own; secret places with thorough explanations Especially nice after an arduous day of hiking to have a gourmet meal cheerfully prepared by our guide! The last evening after another tough hike (how many thousand steps?) of crashing glaciers, we were entertained by both on the piano, bringing the history and ambiance of the Hermitage alive!

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"A bit apprehensive at first about a guided tour, on a bus, etc but after… read more

"A bit apprehensive at first about a guided tour, on a bus, etc but after the first day with Max and Greg at the wheel settled in to letting them be the excellent guides they are. Saw much more than previous trip I did on my own; secret places with thorough explanations Especially nice after an arduous day of hiking to have a gourmet meal cheerfully prepared by our guide! The last evening after another tough hike (how many thousand steps?) of crashing glaciers, we were entertained by both on the piano, bringing the history and ambiance of the Hermitage alive! read less

5 Stars (922 reviews)

P Patrick | March 2024

Ultimate South Island Adventure - March 2024

Outstanding Trip - Great Hikes led by Terrific Guides!

"Wonderful introduction to the South Island of New Zealand through hiking plus limited amounts of kayaking, biking and heli-hiking experiences. Our guides, Greg & Max, were outstanding. Greg provided insight into New Zealand history, geology and horticulture. The hikes were well thought out and gave the entire group access to areas we would unlikely have done on our own (including obtaining all of the necessary permits on the Great Hikes). Max was an excellent chef for the breakfast, lunch and dinner meals we did not eat out. The guides did a nice job integrating everyone on the trip which can be difficult when people meet each other and are then together for 14 days! Highlight of the trip (if I had to pick just one…..and there were many) was the hike in Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park to conclude the adventure.

We are already plotting out next trip back to New Zealand!

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"Wonderful introduction to the South Island of New Zealand through hiking plus limited amounts of… read more

"Wonderful introduction to the South Island of New Zealand through hiking plus limited amounts of kayaking, biking and heli-hiking experiences. Our guides, Greg & Max, were outstanding. Greg provided insight into New Zealand history, geology and horticulture. The hikes were well thought out and gave the entire group access to areas we would unlikely have done on our own (including obtaining all of the necessary permits on the Great Hikes). Max was an excellent chef for the breakfast, lunch and dinner meals we did not eat out. The guides did a nice job integrating everyone on the trip which can be difficult when people meet each other and are then together for 14 days! Highlight of the trip (if I had to pick just one…..and there were many) was the hike in Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park to conclude the adventure.

We are already plotting out next trip back to New Zealand! read less

5 Stars (922 reviews)

R Rob | March 2024

New Zealand Hiking Tours Adventure Tours

New Zealand vacations will deliver beyond your expectations with unparalleled landscapes, heart-pumping adventure, and warm, welcoming people.

New Zealand is a paradise island-country of extremes! Accurately nicknamed “adventure capital of the world,” some of the most active volcanoes on earth have sculpted awe-inspiring mountain landscapes and breathtaking black and white beaches. Our New Zealand Vacation packages are great for families and small adult groups on a quest for adventure. 

Our sister brand, Active Adventures, originates from New Zealand and has been guiding some of the best adventure tours in the country for more than 25 years - needless to say, you'll be in good hands!

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Let's get started on planning your New Zealand Vacation

Experience the birthplace of bungee jumping, stargaze in the largest dark-sky preserve in the southern hemisphere, and kayak the calm, pastel waters of Okarito Lagoon. Hike the glacier-carved mountains of Fiordland National Park to pristine, freshwater lakes that reflect snow capped peaks. Whether you are hang-gliding over mountains near Queenstown or enjoying a candle-lit dinner in a picturesque National Park, New Zealand’s beauty will captivate your imagination and inspire the spirit of adventure on your next vacation.

AUS EDM Unmissable Activities

New Zealand Vacations for Families

For a destination that offers the whole family a wealth of fun activities in some of the most spectacular settings on earth, New Zealand is at the top of the list! How about a family rafting float trip in sensational Skippers Canyon near the resort town of Queenstown? Jetboating up spectacular braided rivers? Stargazing to spot the Southern Cross (not visible in the northern hemisphere!)? Hiking to a mountain hut in Mt Aspiring National Park for marshmallows over the campfire, and spotting kea along the way (New Zealand's mountain parrot)? With our specially curated vacation packages, you can plan a family vacation to New Zealand, and enjoy being together in stunning Southern Hemisphere surroundings. 

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When is the best time to visit New Zealand?

The best time to visit New Zealand for warmer days and stable weather is during the summer (December-February). It's a popular time of year for hiking, biking, and all types of adventuring. If you're after fewer crowds, autumn (March-May) will take your breath away with the warm colors and - if you're lucky - snow-capped mountains. 

Hiking in New Zealand

New Zealand at a Glance

New Zealand is a Pacific nation composed of two main islands and many smaller ones. The majority of the population is on the North Island where the country’s capital, Wellington, and largest city, Auckland, are located. The population consists of Maori, who are descendants of Polynesian settlers, and those of European descent. An increasingly multicultural nation, people from other Pacific Islands and further afield call New Zealand home.

Aside from New Zealand' epic scenery, New Zealanders, or Kiwis, enjoy excellent culture of sport, festivals, food and drink.

Maori Culture

Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand (Aotearoa). Several waves of canoe voyages led to several centuries of isolation before initial contact with Europeans in the 1700s. As of 2022, 17% of New Zealanders are ethnically Maori, and traditional Maori culture has enjoyed a significant revival following the upheavals of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

 

 

New Zealand's Sporting Scene

Rugby and Cricket dominate the sporting scene. The Rugby Union Team are known as the 'All Blacks', and have the best winning record of any national team in the world, winning the first Rugby World Cup, and in 1987, and have successfully gone on to defend their title 5 times since. The All Blacks famously perform a haka, a Maori challenge, at the start of international matches. 

Festivals and Music in New Zealand

Reflecting the mix of cultures on the islands, New Zealand’s three top music festivals offer a range of talent. 'Rhythm and Vines' on the North Island and 'Rhythm and Alps' on the South Island take place with the first sunrise of the year, showcasing the world’s best musicians at the beach town of Gisborne and the mountainous Cardona Valley. Pacifika Festival in Auckland has become the largest gathering of its kind in the world. Brass bands, drummers, ukuleles and melodic voices represent the prowess of the Pacific peoples. 

Food and Drink in New Zealand

New Zealand offers an impressive range of world-class food and beverages! From the intentionally acclaimed Sauvignon Blanc wine produced in the Marlborough region, to the kiwifruit (also known as kiwi) growing area of the North Island, to the delectable Bluff oysters of the Southern Ocean, New Zealand exports a range of culinary delights all over the globe. New Zealand's lamb (there are 60 million sheep to the 5 million people!), and dairy exports provide much of New Zealand's income. 

Understand the Locals

New Zealanders are generally known to be a warm,welcoming, and relaxed people, with a dry sense of humor and laid-back approach to life.  Kiwis are very polite and you should always "please" and "thank you" when conversing with the locals. The Maori language is an official language of New Zealand, and you will find Maori words used throughout everyday New Zealand English, and in the media. "Kia ora!" is a popular greeting, but also means thank you, is used as an acknowledgement, and a phrase of appreciation. It's not surprising with a backyard of beautiful wilderness, that outdoor sports feature heavily in the kiwi way of life, with snowsports, hiking, running and boating being the most popular.

 

Hiking along New Zealand alpine lake

Planning for a New Zealand Vacation

With New Zealand’s changeable weather and a range of activities to pack for, being prepared is the key to a great adventure. The three essentials below will help get you ready for the trip of a lifetime in the wilds of New Zealand.

Pack Practical Footwear

Packing correctly starts with bringing the right footwear. Trainers are comfortable for short distances over flat, artificial terrain, but hiking boots or cycling shoes are the correct choice for every hiking or biking vacation. Choose practical footwear to protect your feet, avoid blisters, stay comfortable and keep your balance on rough ground.

Pack Layers

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”. That is especially true in New Zealand, where interchangeable mountain weather blows warm tropical winds one day, antarctic gusts the next. Layers will help pack light but keep your options flexible for a day on the trail.

Pack for you

Remember the items that keep you comfy and happy on an adventure. Have you got a snug backpack and good sunglasses? Did you pack your cell phone charger and trekking poles? Rest assured your guides will bring plenty of spare sunscreen, snacks and water, but don’t forget your binoculars if they’re what bring you joy!

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Take 10% off the trip price when you book a trip and pay in full

By paying in full we are able to pass on savings to our guests, but please note that by opting for this payment plan, your booking becomes non-refundable, non-cancellable, and non-changeable. This offer is only valid for reservations where the trip is no sooner than 180 days from the departure date at time of booking.

We highly recommend that you purchase Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) insurance. We recommend Redpoint Insurance – you can find details here.

T+Cs Apply. Read more here.

 

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Secure Your Spot Now, Pay the Rest Later

As members of the Active Adventures family, Austin Adventures offers booking assurance that allows you to secure your spot with a deposit now and pay the rest later. Plus, if your plans change or you can’t travel, you can transfer your booking or request a refund on any additional funds paid (less deposit) up to 90 days (180 days for Africa and Himalayas trips) from your original trip start date.  

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Meet Your New Zealand Vacation Guides

FAQs About New Zealand Vacations

Do I need a visa to visit New Zealand?

It is your responsibility stay up to date on the latest visa and entry requirements for your destination. Please use the CIBT entry tracker on our website as a guideline or visit the relevant immigration webpage for more information regarding this.

Do I need vaccinations to visit New Zealand?

For the most up-to-date recommendations please check with your doctor or travel clinic, and always go with their recommendations, as these can often change. We strongly recommend that you see a doctor, preferably one with experience in travel medicine, at least 8 weeks before your trip starts to discuss appropriate vaccinations.

Do you recommend buying travel insurance?

It’s essential you take out travel insurance to cover the likes of personal injury, medical expenses, trip cancellation for your travel with us. Please head to our Travel Insurance page for more in-depth information and insurance provider options. It’s also important to check your insurance covers all the activities you’ll be partaking in, in case you’re travelling to altitude or looking at extreme sports.

Can you help me find international flights to New Zealand?

Our preferred Travel Partner Fuzion Travel can assist with you with flights and other travel arrangements. Let them know your preferred travel plans, including any stopovers or extra nights’ accommodation, and they’ll put everything in place for you. They offer a total travel solution and five star service that you’ll want to tell your friends about!

What about domestic flights within New Zealand?

Most international flights arrive and depart from Auckland, on the North Island. Our North Island trip starts and ends in Auckland, though for our South Island trips, you'll also need flights between Auckland and Christchurch or Queenstown. This is usually easy to arrange when you reserve your international flights, and it's worth checking for internet specials online.

What's included on your New Zealand trips?

Accommodation

New Zealand accommodation

We've spent years finding places to stay that are quaint, out of the way, and comfortable when we take you to the most amazing parts of our country. The bed & breakfasts, farm stays, lodges, motels, and the occasional mountain hut we stay at have been carefully chosen because of their location and local flavour. Many of our clients have said that one of the highlights of their trip was meeting and getting to know the Kiwis who are our hosts when we travel around New Zealand. We strongly believe in the value of a good night's sleep, and our accommodation reflects this. We also like to have somewhere comfortable to relax after the day's activities.

On the trips that include multi-day hiking options, you’ll stay in cosy back-country huts (only for the nights of the multi-day option). This is a true kiwi wilderness experience, at the end of the day you’ll kick your feet up and share stories with your fellow travellers as the guides stoke the fire and prepare a three-course candle lit meal, all before a well-earned kip on a comfortable bed.

You won't have to camp on our scheduled trips, although we'll provide the gear if you'd like to sleep under the stars on the backpacking option in Nelson Lakes National Park or would like to include camping on a custom trip.

Transport

Active New Zealand transportNew Zealand is a small country - about 1000 miles from top to bottom, and only about 150 miles wide - but it's not THAT small! We're really focused on ensuring that we spend as little time as possible sitting in vehicles, and that we optimise your time for outdoors-oriented adventure. The average driving time over the period of our Ultimate South Island trip is just over two hours a day, and we try to spend us much time as possible in the outdoors. Even so, we prefer you to be comfortable when we do have to drive. We use modern, comfortable minibuses for smaller groups, and purpose-built coaches for larger groups. For instance, we often use one of our spacious, quiet and comfortable 20-seater coaches, even though we generally only take 10-14 people per trip! Make no mistake - our trips are not typical bus tour vacation packages! Our vehicles are fitted with good stereo systems, and we love to play New Zealand music.

Meals

Whats-included-pavlova-nzJust about all your meals are included when you travel with Active Adventures New Zealand. We provide a wide variety of cuisine - sometimes we dine out, and sometimes we dine in. Breakfasts when we are starting early generally consist of cereal, yoghurt, fruit, toast, coffee and tea. When we have more time, we whip up pancakes and full cooked breakfasts. Lunches are usually picnic style with sandwiches, salad and fruit, or maybe a barbeque in some beautiful spot. Dinners are usually two or three-course meals, covering a range of styles. We easily cater to vegetarians and people with particular dietary needs.

We have several second guides whose primary responsibility, when they are not guiding, is cooking up great meals. Their cooking skills will astound you, as you enjoy a traditional Kiwi roast dinner at the shearer's quarters, or freshly seared salmon at Mount Cook, or one of a score of awesome meals on the road! When we go out to eat, we pick a nice restaurant and enjoy a night out. You'll find the meals are a real highlight of your trip!

All Guiding Services

We have two incredible guides per trip, one whom will be your driver and the other specialises as your chef! Our guests are often drawn to New Zealand by the beautiful scenic landscapes, promise of wilderness and clean air - and there's no doubt you'll find all that, but what you may not be expecting is to forge real, genuine friendships with the locals you'll meet, including our wonderful guides. They're hands-down the BEST guides you'll ever come across. 

Activities

It goes without saying, that all the activities as described in the itineraries including hiking, kayaking and biking are included in your trip fare. We make it clear when there's an additional charge for an optional activity, like heli-hiking on Franz Josef Glacier. 

Diving Tutukaka Poor Knights Islands

How many people are there on each of our trips?

We get a real variety of people on our trips and they all seem to have one thing in common – a love of the outdoors! Our group sizes range from a minimum of 4 to a maximum of 14 people, generally with a mix of singles, couples and friends.

Do you charge a forced single supplement if I'm a solo traveller?

We welcome many solo travelers on our trips – in fact, we get so many solo travelers and they always say it’s a great way to travel alone, but not actually by themselves. You’ll have an incredible adventure sharing your experiences with other like-minded travelers, and the best part is we don't charge extra for solo travelers, providing you don’t mind sharing a room. However, for bookings within 90 days of your chosen departure, a forced single supplement will apply if there is no other guest of the same gender already booked to share with.

If you prefer not to share a room at all, you can upgrade to a single room, if one is available. 

 

What kind of clothing should I be packing?

Once you've booked your trip, you'll have access to a gear list in your portal on exactly what to bring along. The gear list is carefully thought out to provide you with everything you need to be warm and happy, or cool and relaxed, whatever the weather! So it is best to bring everything we recommend along, if you don't bring everything you need, we can't guarantee your comfort. The video below is a good overview of what to bring when hiking in New Zealand.

Do I need hiking boots or are hiking sneakers okay?

You will need proper hiking boots - trail shoes are not good enough. We'll be taking you to some awesome places where you'll be hiking over a variety of terrain, therefore your boots should have full ankle support and a stiff sole with a high profile tread. It's also important that whichever footwear you decide to bring that it's well broken-in and waterproofed before you come down. If you have good ankles that will be able to cope pretty well with varied terrain, then good hiking shoes should be fine, but if not then hiking boots will give you better support.

What is the food like in New Zealand?

The type of food varies – on some occasions your guides will cook your meals and on other occasions we’ll eat out at restaurants. We also keep a generous snack basket on the bus at all times. All the food you eat, be it a traditional Kiwi barbeque, or a packed lunch to take with you on a hike, will be of top quality. All our guides have food hygiene certificates and are well practiced in the art of back country catering!

What if I need a special diet?

We are accustomed to catering to the following special diets:

• vegan (no meat or animal products)
• vegetarian (no meat products)
• fishatarian (vegetarian, and eat fish)
• no red meat (eat chicken & fish)
• gluten intolerant (no wheat, rye, barley or oats)
• lactose intolerant (no dairy products)

You will get the opportunity to specify your particular requirements when you fill in our pre-trip questionnaire. If you have any other dietary requirements please let us know well in advance, via email or the online questionnaire.

What is the currency in New Zealand?

The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar

What additional activities are on offer in New Zealand?

You’ll be participating in loads of amazing activities during your tour, however, you may be wondering what other cool stuff you can do before or after your trip to make the most of your time in New Zealand.  

We’ve teamed up with the good folk at Everything Travel and you’re welcome to book any pre or post-trip ‘things to do’ directly with them.  

For trips starting and/or ending in the South Island, check out things to do before and/or after your trip here.

For trips starting and/or ending in North Island, check out things to do before and/or after your trip here.

Make sure any activities you book are before or after your trip only as your tour itself is already filled to the brim with the adventures we offer!

How much spending money should I bring and where do I get local currency?

Your trip fare includes all transportation, guiding, meals and activities (except any optional activities). Most people like to bring a little extra to cover a round of drinks at the pub, take home some souvenirs, book a tour and eat out on their free day in Queenstown or Auckland, and tip our guides if they've had a great time. 

Usually the easiest thing to do is use your credit or debit card to withdraw money directly from your home account, in local currency. There are plenty of ATM's and banks in larger towns in New Zealand, and ATM's will accept all major credit cards and many debit cards. Cash advances are the most convenient way to get cash.

What altitude will we be at in New Zealand?

The highest elevation we get to on any of the Active Adventures New Zealand trips is about 1,500 metres (5,000 feet). So there are no real altitude issues to contend with in New Zealand though the tracks can still be quite challenging.

What time zone is New Zealand in?

New Zealand Time (NZT) is the time zone for New Zealand. It is +13 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

What types of plugs and voltage do you use in New Zealand?

nz plugNew Zealand operates on a 230V AC system with the Plug Type I.

Will I have access to the internet/WiFi?

WiFi is available almost everywhere in cities and easy enough to find in most towns/villages so you can rely on having access a few times a week during your trip. If you have data roaming switched on, then you'll be able to use the internet on your smartphone about 70% of the time during your trip, but beware of the fees! WiFi is available at some of the accommodations that you'll be staying at, usually for a small cost so check this out at each location when you arrive.

Is it safe to travel to New Zealand?

This also means New Zealand is a safe place to travel and the crime rate is low - visitors to New Zealand are held in high regard so you can expect the warmest of welcomes. . We recommend taking the same common sense
precautions you would anywhere else – just to be on the safe side! Don’t bring valuable things with you unless necessary for your trip. Keep your money and other valuables in a money belt or pouch under your clothes. Lock your bags and luggage, and leave valuable items you don’t need for the day (e.g. passports and credit cards) in the hotel safe.

What is the weather like in New Zealand?

New Zealand is an island nation, therefore enjoys a maritime climate with plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures. The weather can vary a lot from top to bottom and east to west, which can be a bit of a surprise for many of our visitors, who come from a continental climate where the weather is a little more predictable. Have you heard of the song "Four Seasons in One Day"? If you haven't, we suggest having a listen - it's a classic song by a kiwi group called Crowded House, and of course, the weather in New Zealand inspired the lyrics! They say, one of the reasons Sir Edmund Hillary was such an accomplished mountaineer was his ability to read the weather - his training in the Southern Alps no doubt played a large part in this! 

In the far north (aka the 'winterless north') you can expect semi-tropical conditions, with a fair dosing of rain, plenty of sun and mid temperatures during the day and evening. As you head further south, the average temperature falls, though each region has its own unique characteristics. For example, you'll often hear us talking about one of our favourite spots, the West Coast of the South Island. Along this wild stretch of largely uninhabited coast, rainfall is high (coming off the Tasman Sea) and temperatures are mild, which contributes to the Jurassic-like forests you'll encounter. The Southern Alps, which divide the South Island act as a catchment for this rain (which turns to snow and glacial ice at higher elevations). By the time the clouds have reached the eastern side of the Alps, they're empty, and as they make their way down towards the plains, they warm up creating the typical nor' westerly winds. 

Parts of the South Island have a sort of mini continental climate, being further from the ocean and sheltered by the alpine ranges. These areas, such as Queenstown can get hot and dry during the summer and remain cool in the evenings - perfect for some grape varieties.

Learn more about the weather down here at our best time to visit New Zealand page. 

 

Celsius

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring (Sep/Oct/Nov)

Summer (Dec/Jan/Feb)

Autumn (Mar/Apr/May)

Winter (Jun/Jul/Aug)

 

 

High

Low

High

Low

High

Low

High

Low

Bay of Islands

19

9

25

14

21

11

16

7

Auckland

18

11

24

12

20

13

15

9

Rotorua

17

7

24

12

18

9

13

4

Wellington

15

9

20

13

17

11

12

6

Christchurch

17

7

22

12

18

8

12

3

Queenstown

16

5

22

10

16

6

10

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fahrenheit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring (Sep/Oct/Nov)

Summer (Dec/Jan/Feb)

Autumn (Mar/Apr/May)

Winter (Jun/Jul/Aug)

 

 

High

Low

High

Low

High

Low

High

Low

Bay of Islands

67

48

76

56

70

52

61

45

Auckland

65

52

75

54

68

55

59

48

Rotorua

63

45

75

54

68

55

59

48

Wellington

59

48

68

55

63

52

54

43

Christchurch

63

45

72

54

65

46

54

37

Queenstown

61

41

72

50

61

43

50

34

Any good books or videos about New Zealand?

There are so many great stories to come out of New Zealand, probably because the landscape and the people inspire such creativity and adventure. Here is a list, gathered from across the Active Adventures family, of recommended reads:

  • "An Angel at My Table" - Janet Frame Though undoubtedly one of New Zealand's most accomplished novelists, Frame is perhaps best known for this three-volume autobiography, dramatised in Jane Campion's film which, with wit and a self-effacing honesty, gives a wonderful insight into both the author and her environment. Her superb novels and short stories use humour alongside highly disturbing combinations of events and characters to overthrow readers' preconceptions. For starters, try Faces in the Water, Living in the Maniototo, Scented Gardens for the Blind, Daughter Buffalo and Owls Do Cry (all The Women's Press).
  • "Dogside Story" - Patricia Grace - Short-listed for the 2001 Booker Prize, this is a wonderful story concerning the power of the land and the power of whanau at the turn of the Millennium. (whanau is the Maori word for family
  • "The Bone People" (Picador) - Keri Hulme - Celebrated winner of the 1985 Booker Prize, and a wonderful first novel set along the wild beaches of the South Island's West Coast. Mysticism, myth and earthy reality are transformed into a haunting tale peopled with richly drawn characters.
  • "King of the Gypsies" (Penguin) - Witi Ihimaera Bulibasha – The best introduction to one of the country's finest Maori authors. A rollicking good read, energetically exploring the life of a rebellious teenager in 1950s rural New Zealand, where two mighty sheep-shearing families are locked in battle. It's an intense look at adolescence, cultural choices, family ties and the abuse of power, culminating in a masterful twist. Look out also for the excellent The Matriarch (Penguin) and The Uncle Story (Talanoa, NZ) by the same author.
  • "The Luminaries" - Eleanor Catton - winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize. The plot follows Walter Moody, a prospector who travels to the fledgling West Coast of the South Island settlement of Hokitika, near New Zealand's goldfields in 1866 to try to make his fortune. Instead he stumbles into a tense meeting between twelve local men, who draw him in to the complex mystery behind a series of unsolved crimes.
  • "The Penguin History of New Zealand" – Michael King - For NZ history this is the best book - It catalogues the history of New Zealand from initial settlement (well, at least the various theories of the initial settlements) right through to the government in 2005. This one is my favourite history books - to be read in small sections and with much discussion!

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Why Travel With Us

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Just-right group sizes allow you to get off the beaten path

With an average of 12 guests per departure and an industry-leading average 6:1 guest-to-guide ratio, you’ll enjoy a highly personalized experience.

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Award-winning guides lead the way

It’s so much easier to relax and enjoy your adventure when you have fun, caring guides who know the land, sweat all the details and whip up incredible meals, too!

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You’ll never need to sweat the details

When we say all inclusive, we mean it! Meals and snacks, activities, lodging, transportation, guiding services and more. All you need to do is show up!

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Enjoy freedom to push your boundaries – safely

Every aspect of your trip is thoroughly considered for your safety, from highly vetted partners and well-maintained equipment to extensively trained guides.

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Decades of expertise mean you’ll experience only the best

Family travel and North American National Parks are our specialty. We’ve perfected our itineraries for decades, ensuring you'll experience your destination to the fullest.

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"Wow Moments” take your trip from enjoyable to extraordinary

For us, the extra mile is never extra, it’s part of the way! Count on special touches throughout your trip that will amplify your experience.