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!

North Island Trips

filters
View results

What Our Guests Say

view all

- June 2020

Active Adventures "Kauri" New Zealand Trip Review

"Most exciting and challenging adventure trip I've ever taken. A solid five-stars. We… read more

"Most exciting and challenging adventure trip I've ever taken. A solid five-stars. We hiked, biked, snorkeled and subterranean-tubed all over New Zealand's beautiful north island. The sights during the19 Km Tongariro Alpine Crossing were amazing. Our guides, Liana and Lauren, were the best. Both are fountains of New Zealand cultural and archeological history. They kept us safe and anticipated all of our needs. If I find the right woman, I'll bring her to New Zealand with me for another Active Adventures trip!! read less

5 Stars (1256 reviews)

David, United States

- May 2020

Kauri trip Feb 2020

"I enjoyed the shortened Kauri trip. Although only a few days long we saw… read more

"I enjoyed the shortened Kauri trip. Although only a few days long we saw a lot of the north island with several very fun things to do! read less

4 Stars (1256 reviews)

Tom, United States

- April 2020

Great trip with excellent guide

"There is no doubt that the scenery of Northland New Zealand is magnificent, the Kauri… read more

"There is no doubt that the scenery of Northland New Zealand is magnificent, the Kauri trip took us to places that we probably would not have visited had we travelled independently. More than that though our guides Andy and Jo brought the trip to life with their pride in New Zealand and Andy's constant supply of information about New Zealand's history and culture, we learned more from Andy and Jo and the Maori we met than we ever would have from reading travel guides. Highlihgts for me were the Maori guide led evening walk in the Kauri forest, sandboarding in Hokianga and the beach and cliff walk at Mangawhai Heads. We travelled with a great group and had a lot of fun. read less

4 Stars (1256 reviews)

David, United Kingdom

- April 2020

"This truly was an amazing trip. Every day a new adventure began. The guides were… read more

"This truly was an amazing trip. Every day a new adventure began. The guides were absolutely brilliant, they were so good at including and empowering everyone, despite some having reservations at times. The activities were quite a challenge but the relaxed but firm guidance gave everyone the confidence to ‘go for its. I felt safe at all times. The variety of challenges was superb, and when things didn’t quite work out as planned the alternatives always surpassed our expectations, didn’t feel like second best at all. read less

5 Stars (1256 reviews)

Anne, United Kingdom

- April 2020

Great trip.

"Active enough for me- walking up and down hills and volcanos, zip lining, sand dune… read more

"Active enough for me- walking up and down hills and volcanos, zip lining, sand dune boarding, cave floating and much more. read less

4 Stars (1256 reviews)

Lindsaye, Australia

- April 2020

Great way to experience New Zealand's North Island!

"The Kauri trip provided us with a very good diversity of activities and covered a… read more

"The Kauri trip provided us with a very good diversity of activities and covered a lot of ground! Well organized! Professional guides! read less

4 Stars (1256 reviews)

Andrew, Canada

- March 2020

Fabulous Trip!

"I booked with Active Adventures on the recommendation of a relative who works in tourism… read more

"I booked with Active Adventures on the recommendation of a relative who works in tourism in New Zealand. She told me you were the best and I have to agree. The locations and activities did not disappoint, the accommodation ranged from luxurious to quirky and the food was tasty and plentiful. On top of that, we had outstanding guides in Claire and Holly, with years of experience, plenty of local knowledge and a knack for treating their guest just right. These two were amazing and I would happily book to travel with either one again, regardless of the destination. Thank you Active for a great trip! read less

5 Stars (1256 reviews)

Kate, United Kingdom

- March 2020

Kauri trip

"Great trip. Great hosts. The food was wonderful. read more

"Great trip. Great hosts. The food was wonderful. read less

4 Stars (1256 reviews)

Dave, United States

- March 2020

Far exceeded our expectations!

"Reading the description for Kauri trip, it sounded a little too good to be true… read more

"Reading the description for Kauri trip, it sounded a little too good to be true but not only was it as good a advertised, but even better!! We were fortunate to have a small group of 5-6 (one person joined halfway through). The ages varied from 29 to 67 (we were the oldest in the group) from all different backgrounds. But within a couple of days, we felt like family! Claire and Holly made everyone feel included and important!!

I had broken my ankle the year before our trip and was concerned about doing the Tongariro crossing. Active Adventures provided a special guide for 3 of us who did not want to do the crossing. The guide, Olivia, was great! She took us on the beginning of the crossing and then for a beautiful hike through the woods around a nearby lake. It was great and I didn't have to feel like I missed out because of my physical limitations.

I really liked that in general we stayed at small, out of the way places. Not very touristy. I especially liked that Active used local guides. Bob, who took us in his water taxi to Deep Water Cove was great! He is Maori and told us many interesting facts about the Maori people from an insider's perspective. Charlie, who led us on a twilight walk in the Waipoua Forest is also Maori and told us Maori legends as well as sang us Maori songs. Claire and Holly are also very knowledgeable about Maori culture and gave us a lot of insight. Something we would not have gotten had we traveled on our own. I feel like I learned much more about Maori culture from these individuals than our trip to Te Puia which was much too touristy and glitzy for my liking.

My favorite activity on the trip was boogie boarding on the sand dunes!! I wasn't even sure that I would do it because I am not a very adventurous person but it was SOOO much fun! I just wish that we had more time to do it longer. The mountain biking was a lot of fun as well. I had never been mountain biking before but the guides were very calm and helpful and it went great. They only brought us on trails that they knew we could handle. It was great for a beginner but I wonder if there had been more experienced riders in the group if they would have been guided to more challenging trails.

The cruise to Poor Knights Islands was great!! The personnel on the boat were very friendly and helpful. We chose to go snorkeling and paddle boarding and enjoyed them both.

All of the hikes were great!!! Some were more challenging than others but all (except Toninga crossing) were very doable even with my bum ankle and bad knees. Although I must say that we followed Active Adventures advice and trained in the months before the trip to get in shape for it. We were able to go as fast or as slow as we wanted and were given plenty of time to take photos.

The tubing in the Waitomo caves was certainly exciting!! Even though I was very apprehensive about the whole idea, the guides put me at ease and were always handy at the difficult parts to lend a hand. It really was fun.

I can't say enough good things about Claire and Holly!!! They were unbelievable! They were patient, kind, fun, knowledgeable, etc ...And on top of all of that they were incredible cooks!! I loved the fact that they made most of our meals for us. The food was healthy (a lot of green salads), we were able to get and eat our meals much faster than if we had gone out, taking a prepared lunch with us gave us the ability to eat on our hikes, we were able to have friendly conversations without a lot of background noise, and Holly made sure that our dietetic preferences were considered. It was perfect. I could not believe how delicious the food was and how beautifully presented. My only complaint is that I gained weight on the trip when I should have lost some with all of the hiking we did. :-)

While on the trip we mentioned that we had gone to Ireland with We Banjo 3 (a musical group). A couple of days later, We Banjo 3 was on the bus's playlist!! It was touches such as this that made us feel like we were on a trip with family. We ran into Holly and Claire on our trip to the South Island and we really felt like we ran into well-loved relatives.

I guess you can tell from my description of the trip that it was stupendous!


read less

5 Stars (1256 reviews)

Anna, United States

- March 2020

Kauri Trip 2020

"Northern New Zealand has the most beautiful landscapes made up of forests, beaches, mountains, volcanos;… read more

"Northern New Zealand has the most beautiful landscapes made up of forests, beaches, mountains, volcanos; you will never get bored on this trip. The guides were very knowledgable about the Mauri culture and the history of New Zealand, safe transportation, beautiful accomidation, delicious food, amazing views and gorgeous hikes. I would recommend this trip to anyone who loves outdoor adventures! read less

5 Stars (1256 reviews)

Ashley, Canada

- March 2020

Our Kauri adventure

"another fabulous Active Adventures trip read more

"another fabulous Active Adventures trip read less

5 Stars (1256 reviews)

Dave, United States

- March 2020

Kauri trip

"The Kauri trip was a great combination of lots of different activities that showcased so… read more

"The Kauri trip was a great combination of lots of different activities that showcased so many different environments and the culture of the North Island. We hiked in mountains, volcanoes, high above the sea, on the beach and in the jungle. We biked, sand boarded, walked through caves, learned about the Maori culture, visited historical sites and saw some of the oldest tress in the world. Each adventure was very different, many challenging and all fascinating. read less

5 Stars (1256 reviews)

Adrienne, United States

- March 2020

What could be better?

"In February my husband and I did the Kauri trip which was truly an adventure!… read more

"In February my husband and I did the Kauri trip which was truly an adventure! We lucked out with great weather allowing us to do all the planned activities plus two. Not only did we sand board, snorkel, kayak, mountain bike, and go cave tubing, all connected with some amazing hikes, we rafted the highest commercially rafted falls in the world, and jumped off the sky tower in Auckland!! In between the adventures were great food and new friends,sightseeing and culture, all pieced together by fantastic guides. Jo & Koru were top notch New Zealand hosts, taking care of every need or want even before we new we wanted it! read less

5 Stars (1256 reviews)

Stephanie, United States

- March 2020

What a Wonderful Trip!

"I originally booked my trip with Active Adventures because I was traveling on my own… read more

"I originally booked my trip with Active Adventures because I was traveling on my own and wanted to be part of a group of like-minded travelers. I have used several other companies in the past (with my husband, my mother, and by myself) and this was by far my favorite.
Our group was on the smaller side, which made for lots of room on the bus and easier logistics than larger groups that I have been a part of. Our guides, Claire and Holly were absolutely amazing! Seriously, I can't say enough good things about them. Holly made us the most delicious meals. After a few days, she even remembered what kind of tea I preferred and always had it ready. She was also always cheery and a delight to be around. Claire was a wealth of information about the places we visited. She also rescued me on several occasions when I was not as organized as I could be. She got my Ipad back when I accidentally left it at one of the hotels, she lent me her hiking poles when I forgot my own on the bus, and even lent me her jandels when I didn't have mine available. They worked together seamlessly, clearly love what they do, and fostered a relaxed and fun atmosphere that helped us all to bond and enjoy the trip. And also, they played great music on the bus (including the Opo the Dolphin song, which will now be with me forever).

I thought the planned hikes and other activities were top-notch. On almost all of the hikes, it was just one beautiful view after another. It was also interesting to learn about the plants and animals around us. I appreciated that most of the hikes were spaced with other activities in between. I especially enjoyed the mountain biking, the boat day, and sand surfing.

Overall, I am a happy camper and will use Active Adventures when I come back to New Zealand and possibly for other destinations as well. read less

5 Stars (1256 reviews)

Rachel, United States

- March 2020

Awesome trip

"I did the first half of the Kauri trip and it was a truly wonderful… read more

"I did the first half of the Kauri trip and it was a truly wonderful experience. Claire and Holly were the best guides. Claire is an excellent leader, safe and always very competent driver, and gave deep insights about NZ history and culture. Holly is a brilliant cook, always using many herbs, and always going the extra mile to meet everyone's special needs or wishes. And, most importantly, both were huge fun! In addition to being great guides on the trip, they also gave lots of great and spot-on recommendations for the free day or other parts of the country to visit.
The trip itself was full of wonderful experiences and a wonderful combination of activity (especially hiking Cape Brett), spiritual insights into Maori culture (especially visiting the Lord of the Forest) and epic scenery and fun (snorkel day and sandboarding) - in short, perfect! The accommodations were great. I was amazed how well everything was organised and came together seamlessly. In short, six stars out of five! read less

5 Stars (1256 reviews)

Friederike, Germany

- March 2020

Another Great Trip With Active Adventures

"Well, I am sad to be back home again after our wonderful Kauri trip with… read more

"Well, I am sad to be back home again after our wonderful Kauri trip with Claire and Holly. This was our third trip with Active, having previously gone on the Tui tour of the South Island with Amanda and Clara in early 2017, and then the Condor tour of Patagonia with Cahit, Anna, and Cristian in early 2018.

I can't say enough good things about Active. On every trip, our guides have been extremely fun, while at the same time very safety conscious and professional. And the food was delicious! It says something that I am three years away from that first trip and have no problem remembering the names of these wonderful people.

As with our previous tours, the itinerary was well-balanced between getting us out in the beautiful natural scenery of New Zealand, while at the same time allowing us enough time to recover so that we enjoy the trip. From sandboarding, to snorkeling, to mountain biking, to tubing a subterranean river, to hiking, we had a blast. I have been asked what the highlight of the trip was, and I struggle to come up with an answer I can stand by. There are too many superlative moments to choose from. It doesn't get better than that.

We have made friends again on this trip, as we have on previous trips, and I look forward to keeping in touch. And I look forward to my next Active Adventure. Thanks again for another wonderful vacation! read less

5 Stars (1256 reviews)

Jay, United States

Active Adventure Assurance

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.  

READ MORE

Why Travel With Us

benefit group size

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 with the perspective of an insider.

benefit guides

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, are experts in motivation, sweat all the details and whip up incredible meals, too!

benefit inclusive

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. Every detail is handled; all you need to do is show up!

benefit safety

Enjoy freedom to push your boundaries – safely

Every aspect of your trip is thoroughly considered for your safety, from highly vetted vendors and well-maintained equipment to extensively trained guides and our seasoned operations team at headquarters.

benefit family

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 and sustained relationships for decades, ensuring you'll experience your destination to the fullest.

benefit wow

"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. If we’ve done our job, they’ll have you saying “wow!”

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.

What about vaccinations for New Zealand?

New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world. No shots are required to come to New Zealand and none are currently recommended by the World Heath Organisation however we recommend getting vaccinated against Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Polio (infectious hepatitis) and Tetanus. These are our guidelines only and you’ll need to check with your local travel clinic for the latest advice.

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 flights to New Zealand?

We recommend booking your flights through our preferred travel partner – Fuzion Travel. They’re our experienced hand-picked experts in travel, passionate about what they do, and will tailor-make your flight itinerary to match your tour. Get in touch with them directly by email – active@fuziontravel.co.nz or on +1-833-244-5886. 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 Rimu 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.

How much luggage can I bring on the New Zealand trips?

You’ll need one piece of luggage on your trip, plus a daypack. Your main piece of luggage can be anything from a backpack, to a sports bag with wheels or a suitcase and a good quality daypack 25-30 litres (2000 cubic inches) to use throughout the days.

As far as extra luggage goes, if there's not too much (such as one small extra bag per person) then it shouldn't be a problem to fit it in our luggage trailer during the trip. If you've got more than that, then all major airports have luggage facilities available on a weekly basis. If you are staying at a hotel pre-trip then they may be able to store it for you until you return too.

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.

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!

Is there a number to call in an emergency? How can my family, friends or colleagues contact me

Please contact our New Zealand office using the details below. If the office is unattended (outside of New Zealand business hours), please leave a message so we can pick it up and respond as soon as we can.

Free phone 1 800 661 9073 (USA, Canada & Australia)
Free phone 0808 234 7780 (UK)
Free phone 0800 234 726 (New Zealand)
Worldwide +64 3 450 0414, ext 1
Email: service@activeadventures.com

 

show more

show less