FAMILY TRIP

New Zealand Family Vacation

  • 13 Days
  • 14 People Max

    This trip has a maximum of 14 guests, plus two experienced Active Adventures guides.

  • Activity Level 2
    • Activity Level 2

      On the Move

      Sure, I own some hiking boots, they're even worn in, but they don't go on long trips. I like my creature comforts and I like to give a range of activities a go.

    Read more about the Active Range

  • Trip Start: Christchurch
  • Trip End: Christchurch
New Zealand Family Adventure 'Kea' Trip

Let us take care of the details, and enjoy a hassle-free New Zealand Family Vacation.

Explore incredible landscapes of the South Island of New Zealand as a family, from Christchurch to Queenstown and back again, on our 13-day New Zealand Family vacation. Along with two incredible guides who take care of every last detail, you'll be amazed by the new challenges and activities your family will accomplish together. From jet-boat rides on the Rakaia Gorge to staying overnight in Mt Aspiring National Park and visiting a high country sheep station near Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, you'll step away from the busy modern world and into the giant playground of mother nature. You won't have to worry about where to stay, what to eat, navigating the mountain roads or deciding what to do each day - we'll take care of it all for you. Enjoy a family vacation, without a worry in the world, on our New Zealand Family Adventure.

New Zealand Family Vacation ~ Itinerary

Trip Start: Christchurch Trip End: Christchurch
  • Day 1Arrive, wildlife reserve and kiwi viewing

  • Day 2Jet boat Rakaia Gorge, hike Peel Forest and star-gazing

  • Day 3Hike Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

  • Day 4Explore Queenstown

  • Day 5Family rafting near Queenstown, explore Arrowtown

  • Day 6Free day in Queenstown

  • Days 7 and 8Mt Aspiring National Park and Wanaka options

  • Days 7 to 8Option A, Hike and overnight in Mt Aspiring National Park

  • Days 7 to 8Option B, Explore Wanaka

  • Day 8 (afternoon)Delve into Puzzling World

  • Day 9 Explore West Coast forests and beaches, discover glowworms

  • Day 10 Kayak Lake Mapourika, hike to Franz Josef Glacier

  • Day 11Explore West Coast Treetop Walk, visit Hokitika

  • Day 12Hike Castle Hill Basin

  • Day 13Farm show, depart for home

  • Day 1

    Arrive, wildlife reserve and kiwi viewing

    #147

    Most people leave the Northern Hemisphere on a Sunday evening, arriving into Auckland early Tuesday morning. You’ll lose a day crossing the dateline – but you get it back on the way home! It’s a short flight from Auckland to Christchurch in the South Island and we’ll meet your family either in central Christchurch or at the airport. We start with a great introduction to the wildlife of a country isolated for over 80 million years! Willowbank Wildlife Reserve is unique in that you can enter a lot of the animal enclosures and even pet some of the more friendly critters! You can see tuatara, the elusive kiwi, wallabies (small kangaroos introduced from Australia), and of course the namesake of our trip – the kea – our cheeky mountain parrot.
    Methven Lodge, Methven (Lunch, Dinner)

  • Day 2

    Jet boat Rakaia Gorge, hike Peel Forest and star-gazing

    #149

    After a hearty breakfast and relaxed start to the morning, we have an adventure planned that will knock your socks off – a fun jet boat ride through the winding Rakaia Gorge! Jet boats were originally invented by New Zealander Bill Hamilton to navigate our narrow, shallow rivers. You’ll be jetting down rapids, braided river sections and through shallow water just six inches deep in places. This thrilling, yet safe activity is suitable for the whole family. Then we’ll head to Peel Forest for a hike amongst ancient podocarp trees and many varieties of ferns. Many of New Zealand’s athletes, including our famous rugby team, the All Blacks, wear the fern as a national symbol. After lunch, we’ll travel inland to Aoraki/Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain, and Lake Pukaki – an unreal turquoise-blue coloured glacial lake. Tonight, the wide open spaces, regular clear evenings and lack of artificial light provides us with the perfect opportunity to gaze at the Southern Hemisphere’s constellations, including the southern cross.
    Aoraki Mt Cook Alpine Lodge, Mt Cook Village (All meals)

    Hiking Distance: 1 kilometre (0.6 miles), 1-2 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    30 metres (98 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    30 metres (98 feet)

  • Day 3

    Hike Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

    #151

    We have a few hikes to choose from in this spectacular national park and our favourite is the stunning day hike (weather permitting) to the main ridge above Mueller Glacier. It’s a bit of a hike, though it’s a real achievement for the whole family to share and you’ll remember the view of the Mueller Glacier and the surrounding peaks of the Southern Alps forever! Of course, we always have plenty of options, so there are easier hikes available for you too, such as an impressive hike up the Hooker Valley to a glacial lake (complete with icebergs!) at the base of Hooker Glacier.
    Aoraki Mt Cook Alpine Lodge, Mt Cook Village (All meals)

    Mueller Ridge Hiking Distance: 7.2 kilometres (4.4 miles), 6-7 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    975 metres (3,200 feet)
    OR
    Hooker Valley Hiking Distance:
    9 kilometres (5.6 miles), 3-4 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    100 metres (328 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    100 metres (328 feet)

  • Day 4

    Explore Queenstown

    #153

    Today we’ll head through the mountains to Queenstown. We’ll stop along the way for some of the best ice cream in the whole of New Zealand – you’ll soon find out why! We’ll then continue on through fruit orchards and vineyards before arriving in Queenstown. After lunch we have options including a hike to historic Sam Summers hut or even a game of frisbee golf in the Queenstown Botanical Gardens.
    Scenic Suites Apartments, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)

    Hiking Distance: 7.4 kilometres (4.6 miles), 2-3 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    355 metres (1,165 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    355 metres (1,165 feet)

  • Day 5

    Family rafting near Queenstown, explore Arrowtown

    Excitement levels will be high this morning, as we head off for a family rafting trip in Skippers Canyon. Set in a deep, beautiful, rose-lined schist gorge, it’s a spectacular float trip – perfect for the whole family. The ‘Kea’ trip operates year-round, with minor changes during the New Zealand winter. From June to September, rather than rafting we take a lift on the gondola up Bob’s Peak for stunning views over the region and thrilling downhill rides on the luge. After lunch, we’ll explore an old Chinese goldmining settlement in the nearby historic village of Arrowtown. Chinese immigrants travelled to New Zealand during the 1800s and like many New Zealand pioneering stories, theirs is one of adversity and adaptation. You can try your hand at gold panning – in 2006 a man found a gold nugget worth $15,000 in this area, so you never know your luck!
    Scenic Suites Apartments, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)

    Hiking Distance: 0.4 kilometre (0.2 mile), 0.5-1 hour

  • Day 6

    Free day in Queenstown

    All the comforts of civilisation are packed into this tiny resort town: restaurants galore, sidewalk cafés, stylish lounge bars, day spas, and boutiques. There’s plenty of family entertainment here too: luge rides, a gondola, lakeside playgrounds, mini golf and a cinema. There are also some more adventurous optional activities such as horse trekking, kayaking, fishing, winery tours, hang gliding, mountain biking, bungy jumping, jet boating and skydiving as well as some great hiking opportunities. Or you can just soak up the atmosphere and lounge about reading a book. Your guides will happily share their favourite haunts and point you in the right direction for your free day today. A great winter option (June to September) is to spend a couple of days skiing or snowboarding at one of four local ski areas: Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona or Treble Cone. Transport, lift pass and equipment rental is about US$150 a day for an adult, slightly less for children, which we will happily organise for you.
    Scenic Suites Apartments (No meals included)

  • Days 7 and 8

    Mt Aspiring National Park and Wanaka options

    This morning we’ll leave Queenstown and head over the Crown Range to Wanaka – a small alpine village on the shores of Lake Wanaka. After lunch, we head off for our various activities.

  • Days 7 to 8

    Option A, Hike and overnight in Mt Aspiring National Park

    #161

    Day 7 (afternoon) - Hike and overnight in Mt Aspiring National Park

    After leaving Wanaka, we’ll venture up the Matukituki Valley and hike two to three hours into Mt Aspiring National Park to reach our home for the evening – a spacious mountain hut nestled in a valley in the middle of nowhere. The track meanders past majestic peaks, fresh mountain streams and natural beech forest. You’ll be carrying a sleeping bag, a few spare clothes and some food, so your pack won’t weigh much more than a regular day pack. The scenery is off the charts with Mt Aspiring rising 3033 metres (9951 feet) into the blue sky. It’s amazing how far you’ll feel from civilisation after this relatively short walk! Tonight your guide will whip up dinner in the backcountry kitchen while you and the kids relax by the fire.
    Mt Aspiring Hut, Mt Aspiring National Park (All meals)

    Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres (5.6 miles), 3-5 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    60 metres (197 feet)

    Day 8 (morning) - Hike to trailhead

    We have a leisurely start today, enjoying breakfast and a cuppa while admiring the view, before hiking back to the trailhead. Along the way, we might encounter the cheeky kea again – this time in its natural habitat – they’re really inquisitive and like to get pretty close at times!

    Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres (5.6 miles), 3-5 hours
    Elevation Loss: 60 metres (197 feet)

  • Days 7 to 8

    Option B, Explore Wanaka

    #163

    Day 7 (afternoon) - Explore Wanaka

    Lake Wanaka is the fourth largest lake in New Zealand and surrounded by an amphitheatre of mountains. There are great walking trails and biking tracks in the area, as well as jet boating and kayaking. It’s well worth a visit to the famed Warbirds and Wheels Museum, which is home to an amazing collection of old fighter planes and classic cars. Whether you’re skipping stones on the lake’s edge or relaxing by the fire at the lodge, Wanaka is a great spot to rediscover simple pleasures.
    Wanaka Lodgings, Wanaka (All meals)

    Day 8 (morning) - Explore Wanaka

    After a relaxed breakfast, you’ll have the morning to yourselves before meeting up with the rest of the group.

  • Day 8 (afternoon)

    Delve into Puzzling World

    After regrouping in Wanaka, we’ll head to Puzzling World to explore over a mile of passageways in one of the world’s largest modern mazes. Kids of all ages really enjoy trying to beat our wily guides through the labyrinth! Tonight we spend the evening in the small village of Makarora, sharing stories over a delicious home-made meal.
    Makarora Lodgings, Makarora (All meals)

  • Day 9

    Explore West Coast forests and beaches, discover glowworms

    #167

    This morning, we’ll travel over Haast Pass through spectacular beech forest to the wild West Coast, stopping on a deserted beach to stretch our legs and keep an eye out for friendly dolphins passing by. A little further north takes us to Lake Matheson for a short walk, where you’ll be rewarded with awesome vistas of the Southern Alps. After settling into our accommodation in Franz Josef, we can head out after dark with flashlights for a short night walk to search for the native glowworm while listening to some of New Zealand’s nocturnal birdlife, such as the morepork owl.
    Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)

    Hiking Distance: 2.8 kilometres (1.7 miles), 1-2 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    10 metres (33 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    10 metres (33 feet)

  • Day 10

    Kayak Lake Mapourika, hike to Franz Josef Glacier

    #169

    It’s an early start this morning for our kayaking trip on Lake Mapourika, a tranquil ancient lake formed during the last ice age. This is an awesome activity, run by specialist kayak outfitters, and it’s equally suitable for beginners and experts alike. With some 140 glaciers making their way down from the Southern Alps, this area is fittingly known as glacier country. Few sights equal the spectacle of two of these giant frozen rivers (Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers) imperceptibly grinding their way down through temperate rainforest to just 250 metres (820 feet) above sea level. Our hike will take us along the Waiho River bed up the valley right to the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier.

    Optional Heli-hike (extra fee applies)
    An outrageously scenic alternative to this afternoon’s hike is to heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier itself. After being fitted with crampons, ice axes and so on, you’ll board a modern turbine helicopter and fly towards the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, landing on the glacier at 1300 metres (4265 feet) above sea level. Led by specialist glacier guides, you’ll hike through the grand ice formations of the glacier, checking out its crevasses, seracs and tunnels – no previous experience is required! The constant movement of the glacier means every day is different, so your guides will cut steps in the ice and make sure you make the most of the conditions. At the end of your hike on the ice, you’ll take another helicopter ride out of the mountains and back to civilisation.

    The heli-hike is extremely popular, so we offer advance reservations with the helicopter operators and guiding company. At the time of booking, or up until one month before your trip, we can reserve a space for you, or you can leave your decision until the start of your trip and your guides will get you a spot if it’s available.

    After we’ve finished our various activities, we’ll return to Franz Josef for the night.
    Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)

    Kayaking Time: 2-3 hours

    Hiking Distance: 4.8 kilometres (3 miles), 2-3 hours
    Elevation Gain: 
    20 metres (66 feet)
    Elevation Loss: 
    20 metres (66 feet)
    OR
    Heli-Hike on Franz Josef Glacier: 3 hours

  • Day 11

    Explore West Coast Treetop Walk, visit Hokitika

    #171

    Today we’ll head further up the coast to experience the West Coast Treetop Walk, an adventure among giants. This walk will take you up above the forest floor, allowing you to pass through an ancient canopy of rimu and kamahi trees. We’ll then continue to Hokitika, where you can check out the local art galleries and pounamu carving workshops (pounamu is Maori for jade). The beach here is a great place for playing games or making sculptures out of driftwood. Then we’ll head back through to Arthur’s Pass, the highest pass over the Southern Alps, to settle in for the night.
    Arthur's Pass Motel, Arthur's Pass (All meals)

    Treetops Walk Time: 2-3 hours

  • Day 12

    Hike Castle Hill Basin

    #173

    Today, after breakfast, we’ll head off to check out the Conservation Centre in Arthur’s Pass and learn about the Kea, the only true alpine parrot in the world! Afterwards, we’re off to the ultimate hide-and-seek spot, Castle Hill. It’s a bit of a climb to the top, but it’s worth every step as we arrive at an eerie limestone landscape where much of the movie ‘Narnia – the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ was filmed. During a visit a few years ago, the Dalai Lama called this natural labyrinth ‘the spiritual centre of the universe’!
    Darfield Motels (All meals)

    Hiking Distance: 3 kilometres (2 miles), 1-2 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    50 metres (164 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    50 metres (164 feet)

  • Day 13

    Farm show, depart for home

    This is the last day of your ‘Kea’ trip, and we’ll head to the small farming community of Springfield to check out a working New Zealand high-country sheep farm. Here we’ll watch highly trained farm dogs rounding up stock and see a sheep shearing demonstration. All the kids (young and old!) will have the chance to join in and give sheep shearing a go. Then it’s on to Christchurch, where we’ll farewell your family and wave you off feeling refreshed, invigorated, and with lasting memories of the adventures, great food, stories, laughs and fun times you’ll have had with us in New Zealand!
    (Breakfast, Lunch)

New Zealand Family Vacation Departure Dates

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Looking for a private departure? Let us know when you fill your enquiry form, and our Adventure Planners will let you know your different options.

USD $5499/pp
27 Dec 2022
2022
27 Dec8 Jan
New Zealand Family Vacation 12/27/2022-1/8/2023
Departure Almost Full Almost Full
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New Zealand Family Vacation 1/31/2023-2/12/2023
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New Zealand Family Vacation 6/20/2023-7/2/2023
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New Zealand Family Vacation 7/18/2023-7/30/2023
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New Zealand Family Vacation 12/12/2023-12/24/2023
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New Zealand Family Vacation 12/19/2023-12/31/2023
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New Zealand Family Vacation 12/26/2023-1/7/2024
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New Zealand Family Vacation 1/30/2024-2/11/2024
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New Zealand Family Vacation 6/18/2024-6/30/2024
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New Zealand Family Vacation 7/16/2024-7/28/2024
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New Zealand Family Vacation 12/10/2024-12/22/2024
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New Zealand Family Vacation 12/17/2024-12/29/2024
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New Zealand Family Vacation 12/24/2024-1/5/2025
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New Zealand Family Vacation 1/28/2025-2/9/2025
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New Zealand Family Vacation 6/17/2025-6/29/2025
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Interactive Trip Map: Click on the map icons to read details for each day

What Our Guests Say About the Trip

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- May 2022

Amazing trip with great guides

"I had a great time on the Jaguar trip - our guides were friendly, knowledgeable,… read more

"I had a great time on the Jaguar trip - our guides were friendly, knowledgeable, organized, and always helpful. Our porters and camp staff also were friendly and highly competent. The sites chosen by the guides for us to visit were always interesting, and the guides were able to provide great information about them. The information provided to us by Active Adventures was helpful and comprehensive - my only comments regarding the pre-trip information would be to update the materials to clarify that guests need a small day pack for biking and day hikes AND a 30L plus hiking bag for the Inca trail, and the pre-trip information could have included information about tipping for the porters and guides. While it is sensible that the company would not want to pressure guests into tipping a certain amount, everyone in my group had a wonderful time and genuinely wanted to show appreciation to our porters and guides. It would have been helpful to know how much cash we should have with us when departing on the trail to be able to tip each individual adequately, as well as information about when in the trip we would have an opportunity to tip both porters and guides. read less

5 Stars (2056 reviews)

Amy, United States

- May 2022

Bucket list trip for sure!!

"After having had my retirement bucket list trip snatched from under me in 2020, I… read more

"After having had my retirement bucket list trip snatched from under me in 2020, I was delighted to finally take it this April. Active Adventures deserves huge kudos for honouring its commitment to the trip. I travelled with two friends, and we were in a group of 15 on the trip - from the US and Canada. What a fantastic group of people! Best of all though, were our two tour guides from the Galapagos, Pepo and Paulo. They were the best ambassadors for the islands and Ecuador - very knowledgeable, professional, kind hearted - and just plain fun. They made us feel safe and relaxed throughout the trip. The islands are gorgeous - and the wildlife does not disappoint. I found deep ocean snorkelling a bit out of my comfort zone, and wished I had practiced a bit in a pool before I left. However, it is an essential part of the trip, and cannot be skipped. Learning about tectonic plates, volcanoes and the conservation efforts for the giant tortoises was food for thought. As for helpful tips, bring lots of sun screen, sun protective clothing, and bug spray. These items are not readily available on the islands, but they are absolutely essential. Also bring a reusable water bottle as recommended by AA, because although bottled water is available for purchase everywhere, it makes more sense to fill up from the large reusable containers provided and not create plastic waste. I would definitely recommend this beautiful active adventure - my first with this company, but not my last. read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Serena, Canada

- May 2022

Bucket List Trip

"We loved our trip to Galapagos! Our guides, Pepo and Paulo were so knowledgeable… read more

"We loved our trip to Galapagos! Our guides, Pepo and Paulo were so knowledgeable about the islands and loved sharing it all with us. The warm weather was so welcome after a winter in New England. All of the logistics were handled smoothly so that all we had to do was enjoy the varied land and marine wildlife. An amazing trip that I highly recommend! read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Claudia, United States

- May 2022

Somethings really do live up to the hype. This was AMAZING!!

"To be honest, I was a little leery traveling with a new company, with new… read more

"To be honest, I was a little leery traveling with a new company, with new people and well, Covid. But this was abso-fricking-lutely the BEST ADVENTURE TRIP! From our guide, Pepo (who completely hit it out of the park), to the places we saw, to the organization behind the scenes and those wonderful meals, this was amazing! If you want the best way to SEE the Galapagos Islands, this is it. I can't say enough great things about Galakiwi (Active's partner) and our guides. They made this trip unforgettable. Pepo and Paolo answered our flora/fauna questions (we had lots!) and happily shared us what makes this place so special. And man, Pepo can dance - and surf! We're already talking about our next Active Adventure - we can't wait! :) read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Lori, United States

Ultimate Patagonia & Chile Adventure - April 2022

Wonderful Patagonia

"Although initially disappointed that the border with Argentina remained closed, the Torres del Paine hiking… read more

"Although initially disappointed that the border with Argentina remained closed, the Torres del Paine hiking with Alvaro and Christian was compensation aplenty. read less

4 Stars (1175 reviews)

Nick, United Kingdom

Ultimate Patagonia & Chile Adventure - April 2022

Bucket List Trip!

"I finally made it to Patagonia! And I couldn't have done it with a better… read more

"I finally made it to Patagonia! And I couldn't have done it with a better company! This was my 5th tour with Active!
The landscape was even more breathtaking than I had imagined. And every guide was so much fun to hang out with and incredibly knowledgeable about the culture and the land. If you are planning a trip to Patagonia and you love being in the outdoors, this is the tour company for you! read less

5 Stars (1175 reviews)

Jolene, Canada

- April 2022

West Coast is a must visit

"This is our second Active Adventures trip and we weren't disappointed. The itinerary was excellent… read more

"This is our second Active Adventures trip and we weren't disappointed. The itinerary was excellent and food and accommodation of a high standard. We loved the West Coast scenery. The walks were amazing, particularly around Lake Matheson and Punakaiki. Kayaking on Okarito Lagoon, heli-hiking on Franz Joseph Glacier and the scenic flight over Mt Aspiring National Park out to Milford Sound were fantastic experiences. Our guide Clare was first class. Everything was organised to perfection and nothing was too much trouble. read less

5 Stars (2 reviews)

Robert, New Zealand

- April 2022

Fabulous trip!

"First “big” trip in 2 years due to the pandemic. Honestly, more anxiety than excitement… read more

"First “big” trip in 2 years due to the pandemic. Honestly, more anxiety than excitement prior to the trip but once I arrived in the Galapagos, the excitement hit and so glad my friend and I decided to go on the adventure together. AA tour made the trip really easy. I really like the balance of being “active” and some downtime of my own. The tour guides were friendly and very knowledgeable. The meals were all very good except for the first night dinner on San Cristobal Island…to me, it wasn’t good. I thought the fish weren’t well prepared and tasted too fishy. Another person ordered the same meal and I noticed she hardly touched hers. Later I found out hers was too salty. Another low light for me was the accommodations on Floreana Island. Apparently, very limited hotel selections on the island. Hotel Wittmer was ran down and we all had cold showers that night. I also found a smashed dead mosquito with blood on the wall! Isabela Island was fun and where we stayed was wonderful. I wish we had more time on Santa Cruz Island. All in all, I had a fantastic trip and would recommend this trip to my friends who enjoy the outdoor and animals! read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Hui-Chien, United States

- April 2022

Wonderful wildlife adventures

"The Tortuga trip was full of once in a lifetime experiences. Pablo, our guide was… read more

"The Tortuga trip was full of once in a lifetime experiences. Pablo, our guide was so passionate about the islands and knowledgeable about the wildlife and all aspects of our trip. We swam with sea turtles, rays, sea lions, and sharks!. The land tortoises were great to see in their natural habitat and in the breeding centers. I learned so much about the history of the islands, the environment, Darwin's studies and plans for the furture on the island. The snorkeling in Los Tunels was the highlight as well as the hike to the volcano lava fields. The Galapagos is truely a unique and fascinating place. read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Barb, United States

- April 2022

Great experience

"Well organised trip read more

"Well organised trip read less

5 Stars (863 reviews)

Adrian, New Zealand

Ultimate Patagonia & Chile Adventure - April 2022

Almost to Antarctica

"The Condor trip and the W Trek were wonderful. I was there in early February… read more

"The Condor trip and the W Trek were wonderful. I was there in early February and the weather was good; clouds mixed with sun, and surprisingly warm…but windy. The guides, as always, were special and took care of everything. The scenery is amazing, and constant for the entire 4+ days. The Argentina border was closed so the trip was modified to include the Chile Lake District, and I opted out of that portion of the trip because it was similar to the Active Adventures Puma trip which I did a couple years ago (also a great trip!). Even doing only the W Trek was great…and I hope to return for the whole trip! read less

5 Stars (1175 reviews)

Mark, United States

- April 2022

Great trip with Great people

"I could write pages about our Tortuga trip in April . Instead I will just… read more

"I could write pages about our Tortuga trip in April . Instead I will just say that we were so surprised how much we enjoyed traveling with Active Adventures. We are typically not "group travel" people but in the Galapagos it seems necessary...so many things to line up and local people and facilities to communicate with. AAdventures did this with amazing competency. Things flowed seamlessly. Our guide Pepo and his assistant Paolo were amazing. They seemed to do all this and yet still ENJOY being with us, answering questions and getting everyone excited for the next adventure. I will advise that this is an active trip, not intense but lots of exercise, sweating and moving every day. It is important to know that and be prepared or know that you might skip some of the longer things. I also want to add that the guides' English was beautiful and Pepo's knowledge about the area, the geography and the animals was impressive. To anyone who is worried about the "group" aspect but needs the logistics AAdventures can provide, be assured. They still respect your privacy, your right to skip something if its not for you and the small size makes it not feel chaotic. Food was also very good, fresh and simple but abundant and well prepared. I had dreamed of this trip since I was a little girl and read about the tortoises in National Geographic. I never thought the experience would live up to the dream, but it truly did and I think Active Adventures had a big part in that. read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Lynn, United States

Ecuador Volcano and Jungle Adventure - April 2022

Tapir with Alberto

"This was an excellent way to see more of mainland Ecuador. The scenery was… read more

"This was an excellent way to see more of mainland Ecuador. The scenery was breathtaking with waterfalls, rushing river and majestic mountains. Got to sample local cuisine with I enjoyed very much. read less

5 Stars (294 reviews)

Sandy, United States

- April 2022

Takahe trip 27 Mar-31 Mar 22

"This was a trip down memory lane for me revisiting old haunts & visiting new… read more

"This was a trip down memory lane for me revisiting old haunts & visiting new ones. I was thrilled with how it all went & with the experience of our guides & their enthusiasm. The weather was perfect & I achieved everything on my bucket list! read less

5 Stars (863 reviews)

Colleen, New Zealand

- April 2022

Our 4th trip with Active

"Another great guide. Beautiful diving, biking and hiking adventures. Great local food and accommodations. We… read more

"Another great guide. Beautiful diving, biking and hiking adventures. Great local food and accommodations. We have loved every single Active Adventure. As always though, the Active guides are what make the trip special. This time Pepo and Paulo were absolutely awesome with their knowledge and communication. The people in the group always seem to come together as great friends and we have the guides to thank for that! Can't wait for the next one! read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Paul, United States

- April 2022

Amazing trip

"We loved our Active Adventures trip. The guides were amazing, super organised and great company. read more

"We loved our Active Adventures trip. The guides were amazing, super organised and great company. read less

5 Stars (64 reviews)

Kate, New Zealand

Active Adventure Assurance

Our Active Adventures Assurance

If your plans change or you decide to travel to another destination, you can change your trip to any of our departures in any destination or request a refund (less deposit) up to 90 days out from your original trip start date.

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Useful Info

What's the maximum group size on this trip?

This trip has a maximum of 14 guests, plus two experienced Active Adventures guides. 

Where does the trip start?

On the first morning of the trip, our two pick-up locations are Merivale Manor at 10:30am or the Christchurch airport (CHC) in front of the Help Desk (near door 7) at 11am. You are welcome to stay at any hotel in Christchurch if you arrive before the first day, though you must make your own way to one of the two pick-up points at the pre-designated times.

Where does the trip end?

Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the Christchurch Airport (CHC) in time for flights below or anywhere in Central Christchurch around 3pm.

What flights would you recommend?

Arrival: If you’re flying in on the first day of the trip, we recommend arriving in Christchurch before 10am.

Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, we recommend departing from Christchurch after 4pm. If you are considering alternative flight times please check with us. International flights from Auckland airport (AKL) usually leave early evening, so if you’re heading back to North America, you’ll get home some time on Sunday, even though you left on Sunday evening! Flights back to Europe, of course, take a little longer.

How fit do I need to be?

As an Activity Level 1-2 trip, you’ll need a good level of fitness for this  trip though you’ll be hiking on gentle to moderate trails and can still enjoy the scenery and other fun activities! Typically, hikes range between two and four hours to complete, more, or less hiking is available too.

Please head to our Fitness Guide for great tips on how to prepare along with a workout plan!

What accommodations do we stay at on this trip?

We have selected the accommodation on your trip for its stunning setting, unique character or adventuresome feel – our trips are not designed as a tour of the fanciest hotels in New Zealand. We prefer to stay in quaint, comfortable B&B’s, lodges and apartments, some of which have private bathrooms and some shared bathrooms. Rooming on this trip is usually on a two people per bedroom basis, with families being put either in two bedroom units or in adjoining hotel rooms. Things are a little more rustic at Makarora or Mt. Aspiring Hut if you choose that option, and it’s a true kiwi experience!

If you've selected a single supplement for your trip, the Mt Aspiring overnight hike is not included as no single rooms are available in the huts, and the single supplement price takes this into account.

While there are laundry facilities at most locations, they may not be convenient or there may only be one machine to service your entire group.  We recommend bringing enough clothing to only have to do laundry a couple of times during your trip. The best time will be during your three night stay in Queenstown (during your free day). 

If I book a trip with my children, will I be sharing a room with them?

Active Adventures & Austin Adventures family vacations are naturally about spending time with family and as such, most families opt to share rooms on our trips. At time of booking, families consisting of four guests with children aged 17 and under will be automatically assigned one shared room. However, the following alternative rooming allocations are available:

  • Families consisting of four guests with all children aged 13 and above are welcome to opt for additional rooms as per advertised double occupancy adult rates.
  • Families consisting of four guests with at least one child aged 12 and under are automatically assigned a shared room. However, families can opt to pay the adult rates for all guests in their family to have an additional room.
  • The same principles apply for families consisting of more than four guests.

Rooming preferences are subject to availability and must be communicated in writing at time of booking. Automatic assignments as per this policy will be applied in the absence of any specification provided by guests. Any request for additional rooms during trips will be at the guests’ own expense and subject to rates made available by the accommodation provider at the time. All minors (guests aged 17 and under) must be accompanied by at least one adult.

How much luggage can I bring on this trip?

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.

If you've chosen the Mt Aspiring option, you'll also require a good quality trekking pack with well-fitting shoulder and waist straps. Your pack should have a volume of ~60 litres (3500 cubic inches), large enough to fit your sleeping bag inside along with all your overnight gear.

Tell me about the Optional Activities on this trip?

You have the option to take an exciting scenic helicopter flight to visit the upper reaches of the Franz Josef Glacier on the West Coast – an area usually only experienced mountaineers would get to see. No prior experience is required, everything you need is supplied, and as long as you can hike, you can heli-hike!

The three hour package includes a scenic helicopter flight (15 minutes one-way), a two-hour guided walk on and around the glacier and amazing panoramic views of the area. A good level of fitness is required and the following equipment is provided for you: glacier boots, socks, crampons, ice axe and a waterproof raincoat. You’ll need to bring three warm upper body layers, leggings or lightweight trousers, waterproof trousers, sunglasses, sunscreen, some snacks and a small drink bottle.

Note; this is not a fast activity, as walking with a group and continually cutting steps in the ice can be time-consuming. This is however a unique experience. Also If you have (or have had) a heart condition, ACL Knee surgery or you exceed the weight limit of 110 kilograms (240 pounds), you may be refused this activity on arrival.

Minimum age 8+ years.

Tell me about the overnight hike to Mt Aspiring Hut?

The Mt. Aspiring National Park option is designed for those that would like to experience a true wilderness area. If your family likes the idea of staying in a rustic mountain hut this might be the option for you! We’ll be carrying everything we need in with us in large backpacks. While your guides carry the lion’s share of the load, you’ll still need to carry your own gear (sleeping bag, dry clothes and some toiletries) and a portion of the group’s food. Any excess gear is stored securely in our vehicle for you.

It’s a two or three hour hike (10 kilometres / 6 miles) along the valley floor with great views of the towering mountains
and glaciers in the background. Our goal is to reach Mt. Aspiring Hut, our humble home for the night. Here you’ll play cards or read books while we whip up dinner - mountain style! The following day we’ll return the way we came, with an extra two hour detour up the Rob Roy Valley to spectacular views of the glacier, and possibly even encounter our native alpine parrot, the Kea!

The hut we stay in is a Department of Conservation (DOC) owned mountain hut. These unique places are open to the public and are warm, dry and comfortable. They’re located in very remote areas (with amazing scenery) however they don’t have private rooms, electricity, hot water, phones or flushing toilets - though the view from the outhouse is second to none! It’s not possible to book these huts, you’ll meet and share the experience with other adventurers.

Tell me about the overnight at Lake Wanaka?

The Lake Wanaka option is designed for those that want to have some time out with the family with all the creature comforts of home. You’ll be staying in the charming country town of Wanaka where there are plenty of things to do, from hiring some mountain bikes to taking a thrilling jet boat ride! You could also visit the Fighter Pilots museum, watch a movie at the unique Cinema Paradiso or explore some of the many shops, cafes and walking tracks. You’ll most likely be staying at the comfortable Lake Wanaka Hotel, which is a short stroll into town and the lakefront.

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Our Local Guides

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!”

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New Zealand

New Zealand Family Vacation