New Zealand Hiking & Kayaking – South Island

From: $4,799

per person dbl occ

Dates: Jan-Dec - see all dates

Total Days: 11

Activity Level: 3

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Monday–Friday,
7 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time

New Zealand Hiking & Kayaking – South Island

Price:

2014/2015

REI Member: $4,799

Non-member: $5,280

2015/2016

REI Member: $4,899

Non-member: $5,380

Additional Fees

2014/2015

Single supplement: $1,299

Holiday supplement: $125

Additional Fees

2015/2016

Single supplement: $1,399

Holiday supplement: $150

Trip Dates:

2014/2015

  • Nov 13–23
  • Dec 2–12
  • Dec 18–28 H
  • Dec 23 – Jan 2 H - Sold out
  • Jan 15–25
  • Jan 29 – Feb 8
  • Feb 19 – Mar 1
  • Mar 5–15
  • Mar 26 – Apr 5

H = Mandatory holiday supplement applies.

2015/2016

  • Nov 12–22
  • Dec 17–27 H
  • Dec 22 – Jan 1 H
  • Jan 14–24
  • Jan 28 – Feb 7
  • Feb 18–28
  • Mar 3–13
  • Mar 24 – Apr 3

H = Mandatory holiday supplement applies.


Or, book a
private departure.

Group Size: 4-14

Activity Level: 3

Activities:

  • Hiking, Kayaking

Accommodations:

Small inns/hotels, 9 nights, private cabin on boat, 1 night

Trip Highlights

  • Hike and kayak around New Zealand's amazing South Island
  • Visit Fox Glacier, Milford Sound, Mt. Cook, and much more
  • Stay in charming hotels and be welcomed by true Kiwi hospitality
  • Spend a day exploring Queenstown, adrenaline capital of the world

One third of postcard-perfect New Zealand is either park or reserve. After hiking and kayaking this rugged South Pacific paradise, you'll thank the Kiwis for their foresight. Our epic tour of the South Island begins on the West Coast, where we find rivers, rainforests, glaciers, and other geological treasures. The Okarito Lagoon's lush wetlands are perfect for exploring by kayak, paddling among its diverse and fascinating flora.

We visit the formidable Fox Glacier, and witness this majestic work of Mother Nature grind dramatically downhill to just above sea level. Amazing hikes on the famous Routeburn and Kepler tracks lead us to viewpoints of forested valleys, clear rivers, and alpine lakes. An overnight stay in Milford Sound affords us opportunities that few others have and a free day in Queenstown provides the perfect backdrop for whatever adrenaline-pumping activity you choose.

Our journey ends in Mt. Cook National Park. We hike from native bush to peaks and glaciers. Our multisport trip is a wonderful way to experience the wild side of this fabulously diverse and beautiful island.

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 - Our South Island adventure begins as we cross the Southern Alps.
  • Day 2 - Coastal forest and limestone cliffs await us in Paparoa National Park.
  • Day 3 - Kayak in Okarito Lagoon, home to more than 70 species of birds.
  • Day 4 - Hike among nature's wonders and visit Fox Glacier.
  • Day 5 - Cross over the Crown Range and hike Fjordland National Park.
  • Day 6 - Today our destination is the impressive and striking Milford Sound.
  • Day 7 - Hike on the world-renowned Routeburn Track, with stunning vistas.
  • Day 8 - Free day in Queenstown, the adrenaline capital of the world.
  • Day 9 - Mount Cook towers over turquoise blue lakes and emerald green valleys.
  • Day 10 - Today's hike rewards us with breathtaking views of the Southern Alps.
  • Day 11 - Depart for home.

See full itinerary

Trip Itinerary and Details

Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.

  • Day 1 - Our South Island adventure begins as we cross the Southern Alps.

    Our trip begins this morning at 8:30 a.m. in Christchurch, a city of gardens and stone architecture. Due to a full program today, we strongly encourage trip participants to arrive one day prior to the first day. After boarding our bus, we head west, stopping for lunch and a short hike at Punchbowl Falls as we cross the Southern Alps. It's a 4-½ hour drive to the west coast and we follow a scenic coastal road. We arrive in the early evening in the gorgeous seaside village of Punakaiki, where we'll spend the night. The sound of crashing waves of the Tasman Ocean provides the perfect backdrop for our first night on the West Coast. If time allows, we may see some local glowworms (larvae that create a light to lure prey to their web-like threads) in a grotto near the hotel! Lunch and dinner included.

    Hiking: 1-2 miles, 1 hour hiking.

  • Day 2 - Coastal forest and limestone cliffs await us in Paparoa National Park.

    After a good breakfast, we start the day with a hike into Paparoa National Park through temperate rainforest and under steep limestone bluffs to some great coastal views. The rainforest in this area is unbelievably lush and the eroded limestone canyons and distant hazy mountains of Paparoa National Park make this an awesome day hike. We'll also follow the Truman Track to a small surf beach and visit the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes – stacked flat limestone formations that shoot geysers toward heaven when high tides coincide with westerly swells. In the late afternoon, we drive to the bird watcher's paradise of Okarito. Okarito Lagoon is New Zealand's largest wetland area and is a common feeding ground for "kotuku" (White Heron) and Royal Spoonbill. Along the way we stop at Hokitika, a lovely west coast village known for its greenstone (jade) carvers and art galleries. All meals included.

    Hiking: 4 miles, 3-4 hours, 500' elevation gain. 3 ½ hours driving time.

  • Day 3 - Kayak in Okarito Lagoon, home to more than 70 species of birds.

    The Okarito Lagoon is host to the only white heron colony in New Zealand and it's the country's only unmodified tidal inlet. With orchids, rainforest and more than 70 species of birds, it is sometimes compared to the Amazon. Spend three plus hours moving at your own pace on a self-guided sea kayaking trail in the lagoon, surrounded by magnificent Rimu and Kahikatea rainforest with a backdrop of snowcapped mountains. This afternoon relax on the deck with a good book or explore the optional scenic hikes near our beach accommodations. Sunsets here are not to be missed! After dark, we might head out to listen for New Zealand's most famous bird, the rare and elusive kiwi. It's very rare to see one – they're shy nocturnal birds – but they have a distinctive call. All meals included.

    Sea kayaking: 3-4 hours. (No driving today.)

  • Day 4 - Hike among nature's wonders and visit Fox Glacier.

    Today we're going to visit one of the great glaciers of the South Island. We'll make our way to a good viewpoint of the terminal face of the Fox Glacier, unique in that the enormous river of ice cuts right through the rainforest, dropping more than 8,000 feet, almost to sea level. It is one of the steepest and fastest moving glaciers in New Zealand. The views are fantastic. In inclement weather, there are several options for multiple short hikes that allow us to explore the moderate rainforest and waterfalls. Then, we'll cross the Main Divide to the scenic lakeside town of Wanaka. Wanaka sits at the foot of the Southern Alps and Lake Wanaka. Tonight's accommodations are walking distance to local shops and views of the lake. All meals included.

    Hiking: up to 4 miles, 3 hours. 4 ½ hours driving time.

  • Day 5 - Cross over the Crown Range and hike Fjordland National Park.

    After a light breakfast in the privacy of our own rooms, we head out for a 2 ½ to 3 hour hike that rewards us with views of Lake Wanaka. Initially the trail climbs briefly through Fuschia forest, before opening up into a landscape of short tussock and grassland. The trail winds its way around the east side of Rocky Mountain with panoramic views of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains. From the summit of Rocky Mountain, the views are magnificent. This hike greatly varies from our previous ones because the area is mostly out in the open, offering views of the distinctive non forested mountains of the Central Otago region and Aspiring National Park. We'll have lunch at a café in Wanaka before we travel across the spectacular Crown Range, following the highest main road in New Zealand. This portion of our journey provides more fascinating views of mountains and the backdrop for the "Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy and its sequel, "The Hobbit". We make our way to Te Anau, the gateway to Fjordland National Park. A stop at Lake Wakatipu for the view alone is a must. We check into our comfortable accommodations with time to explore the lakeside town. All meals included.

    Hiking: 3 hours, 2-½ hours driving time.

  • Day 6 - Today our destination is the impressive and striking Milford Sound.

    When you tell people you've been to New Zealand, most will say, "Did you see Milford Sound!?!" Rated the 8th Wonder of the World by Rudyard Kipling, Milford Sound (a World Heritage site) is the most stunning fjord in a park full of stunning fjords. We depart our lodgings early in order to meet our boat's embarkation time later this afternoon. By way of the famous Homer Tunnel, we make our way through some of the most breath taking scenery in New Zealand. Optional hikes include Key Summit or other sections of the Routeburn Track. Upon reaching Milford Sound and boarding our vessel, M/V Wanderer, we depart from the Milford Sound wharf in the late afternoon and cruise the full length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea accompanied by an onboard naturalist guide. The cruise style is relaxed, allowing plenty of time to view the fiord's spectacular waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife. We will have the opportunity to launch kayaks and glide along the waterline and get an up-close and personal look at this magnificent natural wonder. Afterwards, the Milford Wanderer anchors in a sheltered cove, where we enjoy our buffet dinner in the dining saloon. Then relax in the company of your fellow travelers or indulge in some star-gazing before retiring to your private cabin. All meals included.

    Hiking 3 hours, Sea kayaking: 1 hour. 2 ½ hours driving time.

  • Day 7 - Hike on the world-renowned Routeburn Track, with stunning vistas.

    After breakfast on board, we'll disembark and prepare for our next adventure – a kayak tour that gives us a different perspective of Milford Sound. A gentle paddle takes us around the Deepwater Basin of Milford Sound with impressive views of Mitre Peak and Pembroke Glacier. Afterwards, we make our way to Queenstown, New Zealand's premier four season lake and alpine resort. This drive is one of the finest in the world. Lush rainforest carpeting the lower slopes of the mountains gives way to the massively steep, glacier-carved slopes and waterfalls of the Darren Range. Once we make our way through the Homer Tunnel, the panorama will include jagged snow-capped peaks rising majestically over the Greenstone Valley to the south. We stop for short hikes to stretch our legs and explore the natural beauty of Fjordland National Park. We continue on our way to Queenstown via Te Anau and the Southern Alps. We'll check into our hotel for the next two nights. All meals included.

    Hiking: 2- 3 miles, 4 hours driving time.

  • Day 8 - Free day in Queenstown, the adrenaline capital of the world.

    Hold onto your hat! We have a free day in Queenstown, which is called the "adrenaline capital of the world!" Consider these optional activities: jet boating, bungee jumping, horse trekking, hiking or bike riding. Or simply enjoy the sidewalk cafes in Queenstown, wine tasting or shopping for fine New Zealand wool sweaters. All meals on your own.

    Activities on your own today.

  • Day 9 - Mount Cook towers over turquoise blue lakes and emerald green valleys.

    Today's destination is the alpine village of Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand, but we're not ready to leave the beautiful surroundings of Queenstown yet. After breakfast at a local café, we can choose from the many great hikes that Queenstown has to offer. Depending on the weather, we can hike near towering Ben Lomond Mountain or hike to a beautiful mountain lake. After lunch, we journey to the alpine village of Mount Cook. We stop at the top of Lindis Pass, linking the Mackenzie Basin to Central Otago, for spectacular views. We'll spend our last two nights at a comfortable lodge within the Mount Cook village. Surrounded by mountains and native flora and fauna, our home away from home is the perfect retreat after a great day of hiking. You'll love watching Mount Cook as the sun sets and stars of the Southern Hemisphere shine bright on clear nights (no competing lights around!). All meals included.

    Optional easy walks. 3 - 3 ½ hours driving.

  • Day 10 - Today's hike rewards us with breathtaking views of the Southern Alps.

    Most of the day is spent exploring the park and hiking one of most scenic tracks in the park, Hooker Valley. The trail passes close to the Alpine Memorial, honoring the lives lost in the park. This spot provides a great viewpoint. The hike continues on to Hooker River and we cross it twice on swing bridges before reaching Stocking Stream Shelter. The trail continues beside the river and to our destination, the Hooker Glacier terminal lake. Once you catch your breath, you'll have no trouble understanding why native Maoris consider Mt. Cook a hallowed place (they call it Aoraki or "Cloud Piercer"). We head back to the lodge for our last night and farewell dinner. All meals included.

    Hiking: 4 hours with optional (weather dependent) challenging hike to Mueller Hut.

  • Day 11 - Depart for home.

    Christchurch is a 4 ½ hour drive from the Mt.Cook Lodge, so we plan to leave by 9 a.m., in order to arrive at the airport in the early afternoon, giving those departing on evening flights time to check-in. Head home relaxed and re-energized from spending so much time in an environment of rare beauty. Breakfast and picnic lunch included.

    4 ½ hours driving time.

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Price Includes

All accommodations, all sea kayaking equipment, meals as noted in the daily itinerary, scheduled airport transfers, ground transportation, sightseeing arrangements as noted in the itinerary, entrance fees, permits, experienced local guide.

Not Included

Airfare, 1 lunch and 1 dinner, optional excursions, cost of medical immunizations, insurance of any kind, excess baggage charges, New Zealand airport departure tax, alcoholic beverages, optional tips to your guides and items of a personal nature.

Air Travel

Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.

Weather

Seasons in New Zealand are opposite from North America. We operate our trips late spring through summer, which run November through the end of March in New Zealand. Daytime temperatures are in the 70s and nights cool off to the 50s. The weather is variable and changes often. Rain can be expected at some point on the trip; the west coast is notably damp so adequate rain gear is essential.

Qualifications

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. This trip will be enjoyed by anyone who is in good, physical condition and comfortable hiking 4 - 6 hours a day, up to 8 miles. The sea kayaking is designed for beginners. This trip is group participatory, with the trip leaders responsible for meal preparation.

Single Travelers

If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement noted on the trip itinerary. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a roommate if one is available. If a roommate cannot be found, you will be asked to pay a reduced single fee which is one-half of the full single supplement. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).

We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.

New Zealand Hiking & Kayaking – South Island Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff.

Gear Checklist

Provided Gear
  • Kayaks and paddling gear
  • Group first aid kit
Official Papers
  • Valid passport
  • Airline tickets
Luggage
  • Duffel bag or soft-sided suitcase (wheels and retractable handle are fine), sturdy and large enough to hold clothing and gear
  • Daypack for camera, water bottles and extra clothing
  • Passport security pouch or belt
  • Luggage tags and luggage locks
City Clothing
  • Lightweight, easily washable items for city wear or when traveling
Outerwear
  • Rain jacket and pants, waterproof and breathable
  • Windbreaker or light synthetic sweater
Clothing
  • T-shirts, some synthetic
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Hiking shorts
  • Hiking pants (zip-off legs are great)
  • Lightweight thermal underwear top and bottom, synthetic or wool
  • Underwear
  • Lightweight fleece or synthetic top / jacket
  • Swimsuit
Clothing Accessories
  • Sun hat
  • Wool or fleece hat
  • Bandana
  • Thin liner gloves
Footwear
  • Hiking boots, lightweight, water resistant, broken in, free of soil
  • Booties / water sport sandals for kayaking or creek crossings
  • Hiking socks
  • Liner socks
  • Comfortable walking shoes
Travel Accessories
  • Flashlight/headlamp with extra batteries/bulb
  • Water bottle(s), 1-quart size or hydration system
  • Toiletry kit (toothbrush, soap, etc.)
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap
  • Sun block and lip balm (high SPF)
  • Insect repellent
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Pack cover for rainy days
Optional Field Gear
  • Wool or fleece gloves (recommended for glacier hike)
  • Hand sanitizer gel
  • Camera, memory cards, spare batteries & charger
  • Waterproof disposable camera
  • Reading and writing materials, cards
  • Small binoculars
  • Travel pillow
  • Electrical plug adapter and/or converter
  • Several zip-lock plastic bags
  • Motion sickness remedies
  • Laundry soap (hand washing)
  • Trekking poles
  • Paddling gloves
  • Watch with alarm or travel alarm
  • Ear plugs

Things to Consider

  • Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing and medications in your carry-on baggage in case your luggage is delayed.
  • Laundry facilities are available most nights, making it easy to bring less clothing and wash what you do bring along the way.
  • Bring clothing that is light in weight and color, which ventilates and protects you from the sun. It is always good to have a lightweight, long-sleeve fleece or synthetic top, especially for the evenings.
  • Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
  • Make sure boots are broken-in. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip. Bring your favorite blister-prevention remedy such as Moleskin or Blister Block.
  • New Zealand is very strict about checking for high risk biosecurity items so it's a good idea to scrub your hiking boots clean and pack them at the top of your luggage. You may be asked to declare them and it's highly likely that they will be inspected.
  • A pack rain cover or large garbage bags provide good protection for your daypack, should it rain.
  • If you wear prescription glasses, use a safety cord and bring an extra pair if possible. Contact lens users should also bring an extra set, or bring eyeglasses for a backup.
  • We recommend that you carry a photocopy of your passport (the personal id information page) with you and keep it separate from your passport.

Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
REI AdventuresNew Zealand Hiking & Kayaking – South Island
 
4.8

(based on 10 reviews)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Group camaraderie (10)
  • Guides (9)
  • Well organized itinerary (9)
  • Exceeded expectations (8)
  • Once in a lifetime experience (6)

Cons

    Best Uses

        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Avid adventurer (7), Casual adventurer (3)
        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
        • Active adventures (9), Destination (8), All the details planned for me (6), I liked the itinerary (6), Travel with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts (6)

      Reviewed by 10 customers

      Sort by

      Displaying reviews 1-10

      Back to top

       
      5.0

      Great trip, great guides

      By David from Bellevue WA

      from Bellevue WA

      About Me Avid Adventurer

      Pros

      • Exceeded Expectations
      • Food
      • Group Camaraderie
      • Guides
      • Well Organized Itinerary

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about REI Adventures New Zealand Hiking & Kayaking – South Island:

          Our guides (Bas and Nicole) infected us with their enthusiasm and love for New Zealand - a beautiful, diverse country populated by extraordinarily friendly people. Their knowledge informed us; their story-telling and humor kept us entertained and laughing; their ability to plan and adapt our adventures to the whims of nature and man impressed us; and their outgoing personalities molded our diversity into cohesion. We even had the impression that Bas was able to control the weather – not just predict it. This trip packs a lot in 10 days without feeling stressed. Beautiful hikes, kayaking, a night on in Milford Sound; Mt. Cook and other beautiful mountains; lakes; waterfalls; glaciers; fjords; and unlimited opportunities in Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand. 10 days gives you only a delicious taste of the South Island: it leaves you thirsty to come back for more. I highly recommend this REI trip.

          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
          • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary
          • Why did you choose this trip?:
          • Everyone who has visited New Zealand has raved about it. I wanted to experience it for myself.
          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
          • Guides; Group; Hiking; Kayaking; Spending night on Milford Sound; Mt. Cook; Scenery; Diversity
          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
          • Sand flies can be pests near coast. Bring repellant. Also, bring warm clothes for night on ship in Milford Sound.
           
          5.0

          Best REI trip ever!

          By Traveler from Virginia

          from Richmond, VA

          About Me Avid Adventurer

          Pros

          • Exceeded Expectations
          • Food
          • Group Camaraderie
          • Guides
          • Once in a Lifetime Experience
          • Well Organized Itinerary

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about REI Adventures New Zealand Hiking & Kayaking – South Island:

              All the REI trips I've taken have been wonderful experiences, but this one surpassed them all. New Zealand is an extraordinary place, and this itinerary provides a great introduction to the South Island. Bas and Nicole, our guides, added so much to the trip. Their knowledge, warmth, and humor made us all feel at home immediately, and by the second or third day I felt I was traveling with a group of close friends. Don't miss this trip! And do try to go when Bas and Nicole are guiding - they're the best!

              • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
              • Active Adventures, Commitment to Sustainability, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
              • Why did you choose this trip?:
              • I have traveled with REI several times previously and had great experiences. I looked at several travel companies in planning a trip to New Zealand, and this itinerary provided the best mix of activities and locations that I found.
              • What was the highlight of your trip?:
              • The wonderful camaraderie with group members and guides; Milford Sound; Mt. Cook, the optional helicopter trip to Richardson Glacier.
              • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
              • Pack insect repellent and use it every day.
               
              5.0

              Best trip I've ever been on!!

              By Colorado Lori

              from Denver, CO

              About Me Avid Adventurer

              Site Member

              Pros

              • Exceeded Expectations
              • Food
              • Group Camaraderie
              • Guides
              • Once in a Lifetime Experience
              • Well Organized Itinerary

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about REI Adventures New Zealand Hiking & Kayaking – South Island:

                  This trip far exceeded my expectations in every aspect!! Amazing scenery, itinerary, weather, but most of all people!

                  This was my first international trip and my first group trip- so I was nervous about how it would go. The minute I met the guides I felt at ease and knew it was going to be a great time. I would encourage anyone in that position to sign up for this trip- you will love it!

                  The guides Bas and Josh were perfect! Bas is a great storyteller, truly loves NZ, has amazing people skills and is in general just a very impressive person! Josh is very kind, funny, a great chef, and a very impressive young man. They complemented each other amazingly well- they are both so very good at what they do. I was so grateful to have been on this trip with them.

                  I especially loved that everything was taken care of, no decisions which was great. We never had to wait when we went to restaurants, and they found some real gems which a typical tourist would not know about. The food was outstanding, much of it home cooked by our guides. Many nights of amazing grilled salmon, and awesome muslix breakfasts which I still miss!

                  I cannot say enough good things about this trip- if you want to go to NZ with a group nothing could top this experience with REI!

                  • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                  • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                  • Why did you choose this trip?:
                  • I had always wanted to go to New Zealand, and I wanted an active trip where I could meet new people.
                  • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                  • All the laughter and camaraderie!!
                   
                  5.0

                  Awesome adventure

                  By Amy Gerdes

                  from Seattle,WA

                  About Me 30 Years Old, Casual Adventurer, Very Active Runner

                  Pros

                  • Group Camaraderie
                  • Guides
                  • Quality Equipment Provided
                  • Small group size
                  • Vegetarian Options
                  • Well Organized Itinerary

                  Cons

                  • Wanted Longer Hikes

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about REI Adventures New Zealand Hiking & Kayaking – South Island:

                    We absolutely loved it. The hiking was spectacular and the kayaking was magical. We enjoyed the guides and the company of the other travelers. Food was excellent and the lodgings were very nice and not distractingly large, it allowed us to enjoy the scenery. This is an active adventure and we enjoyed all the events, our free day in Queenstown was spent rafting on the Shotover river. The one complaint was amount of drive travel, however it was necessary to get to the truly awesome places. If anything I would add a few days to the itinerary to compensate for the travel.

                    • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                    • Active Adventures, Adult Family Vacation, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination
                    • Why did you choose this trip?:
                    • Having never been there I went with my in-laws on family vacation. It was a great visit to many points in the South Island ( a summary). When we go back, and we will, my husband and I know many places we want to visit and stay and which we would skip ( skipping based on travel time- NOT because anywhere they took us was boring).
                    • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                    • Milford Sound kayaking and Rocky Mountain hike.
                    • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                    • Bring citronella lotion for the sand flies.
                     
                    4.0

                    An awesome experience and awesome guides

                    By ChristopherGerdes

                    from Seattle, Washington

                    About Me Casual Adventurer

                    Pros

                    • Food
                    • Group Camaraderie
                    • Guides
                    • Quality Equipment Provided

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                        Comments about REI Adventures New Zealand Hiking & Kayaking – South Island:

                        Bas and Nicole (the guides) were a great combination. They did an excellent job of keeping everyone entertained and they had an amazing amount of knowledge about the country they very obviously love and feel passionate about.

                        The natural beauty of New Zealand was awesome, and the guides did an excellent job of choosing the best things to see. They also did a great job of adapting to the rapidly changing weather of New Zealand, changing the itinerary when necessary to ensure we had the best experience possible. Having the knowledge and ability to change a planned trip on the fly due to weather changes in order to ensure that everyone gets the best experience possible is something that takes real experience...and they did a great job of it.

                        The trip was truly amazing. The only thing I could have hoped for was an overnight backpacking excursion of some sort, but I can see how this trip wasn't really geared towards that.

                        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                        • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination
                        • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                        • Honestly, it would be tough to choose between the scenery and the guides for what the highlight of the trip was. New Zealand is a beautiful country. Our guides did an amazing job of not only keeping the trip entertaining but ensuring that everyone was getting along. They were absolutely hilarious and everyone on the trip was having a great time right from the start.
                         
                        4.0

                        Great even when Raining

                        By Charles Raeburn

                        from New York, NY

                        About Me Avid Adventurer

                        Pros

                        • Exceeded Expectations
                        • Group Camaraderie
                        • Guides
                        • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                        • Well Organized Itinerary

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                            Comments about REI Adventures New Zealand Hiking & Kayaking – South Island:

                            Brent and Josh were really great guides, as we had experienced on on previous REI trips. The guides make the trip, with group cohesiveness as an only slightly lesser factor, and we had a great group. All compatible.

                            Modest suggestion for improvement to REI: on the expanded itinerary or, better yet, on the final trip memo, if you could indicate which accommodations have laundry capability, that would be really useful. We packed more underwear and socks than we needed, based on prior trips to Northern Patagonia and Croatia, where laundry facilities were rare. In NZ, almost every place we stayed had washer and (usually) dryer. NZ is probably unusual in this regard I realize.

                            • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                            • Active Adventures, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                            • Why did you choose this trip?:
                            • Location and the fact that it was multisport.
                            • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                            • Milford Sound cruise and Mt Cook
                            • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                            • If you go before high summer in NZ, be sure to pack enough warm weather clothing, especially in layers. Be prepared to get wet but to continue with activities.
                             
                            5.0

                            Great views, great guides

                            By VickiR

                            from New York, NY

                            About Me Avid Adventurer

                            See all my reviews

                            Pros

                            • Exceeded Expectations
                            • Group Camaraderie
                            • Guides
                            • Well Organized Itinerary

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                                Comments about REI Adventures New Zealand Hiking & Kayaking – South Island:

                                The guides, Brent and Josh, were terrific -- very knowledgeable and committed to telling us about the South Island. The food was good and the accommodations were fine. NZ is beautiful and the trip was great.

                                • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                • Active Adventures, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary
                                • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                • Eager to experience New Zealand
                                • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                • Mt. Cook, Milford Sound
                                • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                • Bring your rain gear

                                (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                5.0

                                Best trip I've ever been on!

                                By Karen the traveler

                                from Washington, DC

                                About Me Casual Adventurer

                                Pros

                                • Activity Level
                                • Astounding Scenery
                                • Best Guides I've Ever Had
                                • Exceeded Expectations
                                • Group Camaraderie
                                • Guides
                                • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                                • Well Organized Itinerary

                                Cons

                                • Amount Of Driving

                                Best Uses

                                  Comments about REI Adventures New Zealand Hiking & Kayaking – South Island:

                                  The best things about this trip were the astonishing scenery, the truly GREAT guides, the people who were with us on the trip, and the introduction to Kiwi culture.
                                  Bas and Josh, the trip leaders, are the best trip leaders I have ever had, and I have been on two other great REI trips! Bas is amazing! I feel so fortunate to have met him and to have been led by him on a trip through New Zealand. He is trained in mechanical engineering, has cycled around the world, can play virtuoso piano by ear, seemingly knows everything there is to know about New Zealand, is incredibly passionate about New Zealand, plans fantastic trips, loves people, is really funny and charming, tells great stories, and picks great music to play in the bus when the rides get a little long! Despite all this, Bas is not at all arrogant. In fact, he is the kind of person you would want for a life long friend.
                                  Josh is a young Kiwi, but very strong, mature, kind, funny, a good steady driver, and a person you can rely on. He got me down a mountain that I did not have the skills to handle, by planting his feet and having me plant my feet next to or on his, telling me where to put my feet, holding my hand, holding my poles and generally exerting a calming and encouraging presence. He gets 50,000 stars in my book, and will always be "my hero" for the help he gave me!

                                  • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                  • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                                  • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                  • I've always wanted to go to New Zealand.
                                  • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                  • The highlights were many, but I would have to say that the overnight boat trip on Milford Sound had to be one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. The grandeur of nature there is just indescribable. Other highlights included the Truman Track, the Rainbow Reach rainforest walk, Mount Cook, Okarito, Key Summit, Queenstown and all of the beautiful lakes throughout the Southern Alps.
                                  • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                  • If there is any way you can take this trip, do it! The South Island is a large mountainous land mass without a whole lot of roads. To see all of the wonderful places there, you have to drive to them. Also, the trip leaders made the driving fun, by providing us with information about what we were seeing and by entertaining us with funny stories.

                                  (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                                   
                                  5.0

                                  Supurb Experience- ready to return

                                  By Happy Oregonian

                                  from North Plains, Oregon

                                  About Me Avid Adventurer

                                  See all my reviews

                                  Site Member

                                  Pros

                                  • Amazing scenery
                                  • Exceeded Expectations
                                  • Group Camaraderie
                                  • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                                  • Well Organized Itinerary

                                  Cons

                                    Best Uses

                                      Comments about REI Adventures New Zealand Hiking & Kayaking – South Island:

                                      This was by far one of the most memorable and enjoyable trips we have ever experienced. From trekking through lush, green jungles, experiencing fresh ocean breezes, hiking up an alpine trail to kayaking in crytal clear waters, the trip provides an endless variety of spectacular landscapes.
                                      Our guides, Bas and Josh told inspiring stories, infused a sense of adventure in all of us and provided us a continous array of activities that surged the senses to expect the unexpected.
                                      We want to return, but next time for an entire month!

                                      • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                      • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                                      • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                      • A desired destination after previous travel with REI Adventures.
                                      • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                      • Absolutely stunning scenery as we trekked along the Pororari River, Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers, Charming village of Hokitika, Routeburn track/Key Summit, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Mt. Cook.
                                      • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                      • Be prepared for changes in the itinerary,as the guides assure a top-notch experience.

                                      (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                                       
                                      5.0

                                      Spectacular trip, calling us back

                                      By Happy Oregonian

                                      from North Plains, Oregon

                                      About Me Avid Adventurer

                                      See all my reviews

                                      Site Member

                                      Pros

                                      • Accommodations
                                      • Activity Level
                                      • Amazing scenery
                                      • Exceeded Expectations
                                      • Food
                                      • Group Camaraderie
                                      • Guides
                                      • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                                      • Well Organized Itinerary

                                      Cons

                                        Best Uses

                                          Comments about REI Adventures New Zealand Hiking & Kayaking – South Island:

                                          This was one of the most spectacular trips we have ever experienced. The land, the guides, the people, were all superb.
                                          The trip takes you from Mountains to sea, all within a days journey. We hiked among lush, green, jungle-like forrest to the fresh ocean breezes. One of the hikes took us through harrowing green moss ridden trees that resembled creatures from another time. By the second day, the breathtaking beauty infused my senses and compelled the desire to experience more.
                                          The food was fabulous and what made the trip so amazing were our guides. Bas,had an exuberance for New Zealand that was palpable and sought to make each day a new and fabulous adventure. Josh gave us a wonderful perspective of his homeland and the two of them were a perfect combination of organization and fun.
                                          Meeting fabulous people from across the USA to share this superb adventure made it a perfect trip.
                                          REI did a fabulous job of finding just the right guides to help tandalize the senses to desire more of this amazing country.

                                          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                          • I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                                          • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                          • New Zealand was on our list of places to visit and noticed that REI had a trip scheduled, so we signed up.
                                          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                          • Each day brought a new adventure, stunning the senses and capturing a "child-like" freshness from the unmatched beauty of the land. Especially the hike along the Porarori River, Milford Sound and the trecks around Mt.Cook.
                                          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                          • Bring your sense of adventure and love for the outdoors and you will not be disappointed.

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