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North Island Hiking & Adventure Tours

North Island Hiking Adventure Tours

Explore stunning beaches, volcanos, a cave system full of glowworms and dive into the Maori culture on our North Island hiking & adventure tours.

If you want to see it all - from huge, ancient Kauri forests in Northland to picture-perfect beaches in the Bay of Islands, bubbling geysers in Rotorua, active volcanoes in Tongariro National Park and countless hiking, biking and kayaking opportunities, then joining a North Island adventure tour is the perfect addition to any of our South Island adventures. Although it's only a short domestic 'hop' from the South Island, the North Island is a unique adventure destination you can enjoy fully with our 'Kauri' and 'Nikau' trips.
North Island Hiking Adventure Tours

Hiking, biking and kayaking on the North Island: from ancient forest to active volcanoes

The North Island's Kauri forests line its golden-beach coastlines and reach high into the volcanic mountains, where you can stand just meters from towering geysers in Rotorua, boiling sulphur pools and hike on live volcanoes in the Tongariro National Park. Let's not forget the surreal Waitomo Caves, in which thousands of glow-worms light up the underground labyrinth of limestone caves. As impressive as the South Island's rugged Southern Alps are, the North Island is the only destination in the world you'll get this unique experience. We have itineraries for all fitness levels - from a gentle walking holiday to a more challenging active hiking trip, you take your pick!

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North Island Trips

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Why Choose Active Adventures

Do It Yourself
With Active Adventures
Hours of research to plan
Expertly planned by professional adventurers
Which accommodations to book?
Premium accommodation booked for you
Which trails to explore? How to book?
Iconic & lesser-known trails booked for you
Which restaurants to suit all?
All meals included: delicious & to suit all
Unguided; reliance on impersonal travel books
Caring guides; passionate about what they do

What Our Guests Say

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Ultimate North Island Adventure - July 2023

Ultimalt Norht Island Adventure

"From the moment we got picked up we didn't stop. Jam packed filled with travelling,… read more

"From the moment we got picked up we didn't stop. Jam packed filled with travelling, hiking, experiences, eating and drinking. Lynette, the driver, and Nic guiding were extremely brilliant. Their knowledge and care of us all was exemplary. We couldn't have asked for better guides.
Totally enjoyed this holiday, I have nothing bad to say about it. read less

5 Stars (364 reviews)

Shirley,

Ultimate North Island Adventure - July 2023

Amazing Adventures

"The holiday was amazing, what a great way to explore New Zealand, North Island. Lynette… read more

"The holiday was amazing, what a great way to explore New Zealand, North Island. Lynette was a great driver and very knowledgeable about the country. Nicola was a fantastic cook, all dietary requirements catered for really well. All the activities were well organised and I thoroughly enjoyed them. read less

5 Stars (364 reviews)

Melanie,

Northland Adventure - July 2023

Great experience

"Had a great time exploring the outdoors with new friends. The activities were fun, the… read more

"Had a great time exploring the outdoors with new friends. The activities were fun, the views were breathtaking, and the guides were attentive to our needs. read less

5 Stars (1 reviews)

Tammy,

Ultimate North Island Adventure - March 2023

Adventures galore

"This trip was everything advertised and more. Our two guides (Lynette our driver and guide… read more

"This trip was everything advertised and more. Our two guides (Lynette our driver and guide and Natalie our chef and guide) made sure we got the most our of our 11 day tour of the North Island. Their expert knowledge on flora and fauna, trails and back roads, meals, local culture plus their encouragement and sense of humor made this trip unforgettable. We were treated to a wide variety of experiences and everyday was an adventure. read less

5 Stars (364 reviews)

Lynda,

Ultimate North Island Adventure - February 2023

Spectacular North Island Adventure

"I thoroughly enjoyed the Ultimate North Island Adventure, from the challenging hike on the #Tongariro… read more

"I thoroughly enjoyed the Ultimate North Island Adventure, from the challenging hike on the #Tongariro Alpine Crossing# on a rainy and windy day, to the amazing tubing in the #Waitomo Caves#, to the awesome #sand boarding# at the Te Pouahi Reserve, this trip was a great introduction to New Zealand. Other highlights included mountain biking followed by cappuccinos on a beautiful sunny day, an inspiring guided forest tour by a Maori leader, cultural performances that brought out the uniqueness of the Maori culture, visits to stunning waterfalls, and various water activities at the Bay of Islands. The North Island Adventure has something to meet everyone's interests. Our guides, Lauren and John, worked seamlessly together to make our expeditions enjoyable, showing off their hiking and culinary skills. The guide prepared meals were spectacular!
Overall, this was an outstanding experience, highly recommended! read less

5 Stars (364 reviews)

Miriam,

Ultimate North Island Adventure - February 2023

Excellent way to explore the highlights of the North Island

"This trip is very well organized. The activities are interesting, the highlight being the Tongariro… read more

"This trip is very well organized. The activities are interesting, the highlight being the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Many walks were closed due to a recent cyclone. Replacement activities were interesting, but nit quite ad active as planned. This was beyond anyone’s control read less

5 Stars (364 reviews)

Mireille,

Ultimate North Island Adventure - February 2023

Ultimate North Island Adventure

"Had a great time. First 5 days were excellent then a Cyclone hit so for… read more

"Had a great time. First 5 days were excellent then a Cyclone hit so for 3-4days we had to do alternate less active things. Also could not do the Tongoriro Crossing. Can't control the weather. The Guides did a great job getting us out of harms way and finding interesting activities. Still had a fabulous time and learned a lot about Maori Culture. read less

4 Stars (364 reviews)

Peggy, United States

Ultimate North Island Adventure - February 2023

Fabulous Trip!

"As a single woman traveling on my own I was a little nervous about fitting… read more

"As a single woman traveling on my own I was a little nervous about fitting in wth 13 other people, most of whom were married couples or women traveling with a friend. I soon realized that I was among a wonderful group of very friendly and supportive people. On the first day of our trip we were greeted by Greg and Emma, our Active Adventures guides. I was so impressed by them from the start of our trip until the very last hour when the holiday was over. Greg possessed great driving skills and knew the alternate routes to avoid washed out roads on the way to our first destination. They both took great care to make sure that we felt confident about the terrain we had to climb and were patient and relaxed with those of us who were walking a little slower than those who were up front. By noon every day we were at a hilltop or a park with a beautiful view, eating a tasty lunch prepared by Emma.

Our first walk, through Waipoua Forest, set the tone for the rest of the trip. Our Maori guide, Mary Pi, showed us the largest and oldest living kauri trees, weaving facts and folklore into her heartfelt talk. Her deep respect for Mother Nature and her Maori ancestors left a deep impression on all of us, an impression of respect for the Maori people, their culture, and flora and fauna of New Zealand.
Highlights include Hiking Cape Brett ; how awesome to walk the ridge of a mountain that rises out of the sea, and be able to view
the Pacific Ocean on both sides of the trail!
Many of the other hikes included cascading waterfalls, such a beautiful sight!
My favourite place to stay was at Creel Lodge on the Tongariro River. All the cottages were nestled into a verdant landscape of beautiful shrubs and trees, including an especially large tree over-arching the outdoor picnic area where we enjoyed our celebratory dinner together on our last evening of a wonderful holiday.
All my best wishes to Greg and Emma. You were so kind and so much fun. I miss you!
read less

5 Stars (364 reviews)

Paulette, Canada

Ultimate North Island Adventure - February 2023

A really great trip

"Despite having to cancel some activities owing to flooding in Auckland a couple of days… read more

"Despite having to cancel some activities owing to flooding in Auckland a couple of days before it began, this was a great trip and one I shall remember for a long time. read less

5 Stars (364 reviews)

Judith, United Kingdom

Ultimate North Island Adventure - February 2023

North Island Fantastic Adventure

"I had the most wonderful time on the North Island adventure. The country, the… read more

"I had the most wonderful time on the North Island adventure. The country, the people, the travel guides could not have been more perfect for my vacation of a lifetime. It was all well planned and executed. I felt well looked after and learned a lot about the culture and what is important to "Kiwi's" read less

5 Stars (364 reviews)

Penny, United States

North Island Volcanic Adventure - February 2023

Wonderful

"This trip was just a half tour for us - and in fairness many things… read more

"This trip was just a half tour for us - and in fairness many things had been changed due to the crazy rain the North was getting. It was great to see that part of NZ though! read less

4 Stars (1 reviews)

Margaret,

Ultimate North Island Adventure - January 2023

Fun times in Aotearoa (North Island, New Zealand)

"A fantastic trip despite the rain at times. The places visited were well chosen with… read more

"A fantastic trip despite the rain at times. The places visited were well chosen with a good range of activities. So many highlights. Guides Lauren and Jon were fun, friendly, highly organised and flexible so that alternatives were quickly offered when weather interrupted planned activities. Any problems were quickly sorted. read less

4 Stars (364 reviews)

Deb, Australia

Ultimate North Island Adventure - January 2023

Great way to see New Zealand!

"The description of this trip understates the level of adventure that you will experience. … read more

"The description of this trip understates the level of adventure that you will experience. If you like travel where you will be immersed in the natural beauty of the destination this is a great way to travel! read less

5 Stars (364 reviews)

Deb, United States

Ultimate North Island Adventure - January 2023

North island adventure

"What an amazing place NZ is! It was even made better by our guides Greg… read more

"What an amazing place NZ is! It was even made better by our guides Greg and Eema! They looked after every detail to make this the most amazing journey. Eema’s cooking was to die for and she took everyone’s dietary requirements into account. They made all adjustments of ability into account each day and offered alternatives as needed. I would gladly go with them again what a great team they were.
Can’t say enough about them and the itinerary read less

5 Stars (364 reviews)

Bryna, United States

Ultimate North Island Adventure - January 2023

North Island Adventure

"This trip exceeded our expectations. The country is beautiful, the trip leaders were friendly,… read more

"This trip exceeded our expectations. The country is beautiful, the trip leaders were friendly, knowledgeable and wise and the food was fantastic with excellent accommodation to diverse dietary needs. Itineraries we’re flexible when required by weather. I definitely plan to travel with Active Adventures again. read less

4 Stars (364 reviews)

Sarah, Canada

Ultimate North Island Adventure - January 2023

North Island

"Great hikes, wonderful work by Greg and Emma dealing with a each individual’s needs. read more

"Great hikes, wonderful work by Greg and Emma dealing with a each individual’s needs. read less

5 Stars (364 reviews)

Tom, Canada

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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 from your original trip start date.  

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Our Local Guides

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 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 four people to a maximum of fourteen 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 solo travellers onto our trips – in fact, we get many, many solo travellers and they always say how it’s a great way to travel alone, but not actually be alone, so that’s always good to hear. You’ll have an incredible adventure at the same time as meeting and sharing your experiences with a bunch of welcoming other travellers. We don’t believe in charging you extra for travelling alone and we have lots of single travellers on our trips.

There’s no forced single supplement if you don’t mind sharing a room (you might even get a room to yourself sometimes). If you prefer not to share a room at all, you can upgrade to a single room.

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

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

What kind of things are there to do on my free day in Queenstown/Auckland/Christchurch?

Queenstown rightly has the reputation of being the Adventure Capital of New Zealand. All manner of adventurous activities can be tried here, ranging from the infamous Bungy-jumping, through river-surfing, jetboat-riding, white-water rafting, parasailing, parapenting, hang-gliding, sky-diving, and a whole lot more. It is also a great area for hiking or mountain-biking. For a more leisurely time you can take a Wine tour or cruise across to Walter Peak station on the steamship Earnslaw, or sample some of the extremely pleasant cafes and restaurants dotted around the very picturesque town.

There’s so much on offer in Auckland that we like to leave it up to you to decide what to do. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, there’s bungy jumping off the Auckland Harbour Bridge or a Sky Jump off our tallest man-made structure, the Sky Tower! For those who prefer a more relaxed pace, there’s hiking, golfing, fishing, wine tasting and sailing options to name a few. Or if you’d like to take things real easy, then there are shops, cafés, book stores, pubs and restaurants to explore. For movie enthusiasts, take the day to visit The Shire in Middle-earth, the setting for ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of The Rings’ movie trilogies.

In Christchurch you could take a walk around Hagley Park, including the Christchurch Botanic Gardens or visit the free Canterbury Museum to learn about New Zealand history, art and the natural world. Explore the Brockworth Street Art Gallery which gives you a taste of the awesome street art there is to see in Christchurch or head to Quake City (NZ$20 entry) gives you a deeper understanding of Christchurch’s recent history of the 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes. Check out the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial too by following by the 185 Empty White Chairs memorial to those who lost their lives in these earthquakes.

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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