My perfect New Zealand adventure

by Jenniver Ayers
Active Adventures New Zealand

I did the Southbound Rimu trip in Feb-March 2015 with Active Adventures New Zealand tour company – and it was PERFECT!. It was fantastic - pretty much perfect.
This tour company is extremely well organized. Everything from the initial inquiry to the registration process to the trip itself went perfectly (even the parts that had to be changed due to weather). Our guides Daniel and Sally were exceptional- the best guides I've ever had. I've done a number of active tours with other companies. All have been good, but Active Adventures stands out as the best, and Daniel (Dan the Man) and Sally (Super Sally) absolutely could not have been any better. So fun, easy to talk to and be with, organized, and full of information. I found out late in the trip that they had actually never lead a trip together before, but we would have never guessed that. They both had their roles down so perfectly that everything flowed like they had done it hundreds of times together before. We awarded them with a cape (for Super Sally) and a crown (for Dan the Man) which were pretty hilarious. They always had special activities to surprise us with.

The scenery was, of course, spectacular every step of the way. Some days included a lot of driving in the bus, but with the scenery, the music (some of what Dan played for us was very funny, including a song "Sally I love you" which was hilarious due to the fact that everyone in our group was raving about her constantly) and talking and laughing with all of our new friends, it never got boring. We stopped in lots of cute towns and got a feel for New Zealand life. And pies! The motels and inns were quaint and most had amazing views.

The food was the best I've ever had (I think everyone in our group wanted to take Sally home as a personal chef). Two of us have some dietary restrictions, and they always catered to them. Meals were healthy too- tons of veggies! There were always healthy snacks available as well- a basket of fruit and granola bars in "Rob" (the name of our bus!) The few things that didn't go exactly as planned ended up being some of the funnest and most memorable parts. Mice in the sheep ranch the first night ended up bonding our group together and creating a lot of laughs. Pouring rain on the Nelson Lakes Hike lead to one of the most amazing and memorable adventures I've ever had. While some of the river crossings were challenging and a bit scary, we always knew we were in good hands and sure enough, Dan and Sally got us back to the mountain hut, soaked but in good health and with frequent laughs and a lot of comments, "that was so cool!" And then they built a fire and served us hot coffee or tea and a delicious hot meal (still better most restaurant meals, even though it was a backpacking meal).

The day in Queenstown was a lot of fun too. I HIGHLY recommend bungy jumping! It will make you feel so good that you did it! Only negative was the Chinese New Year tourists had taken over the city and we couldn't stay at the preferred hotel. (Where we stayed was fine, just not as centrally located) The only thing I can think of that would have made the trip better is maybe more cycling (we only did a few hours one day unless you signed up for the 3 day cycling tour) and if the weather had allowed us to helicopter to the glacier and snorkel with the seals. But there were always great alternative hikes and obviously they have no control over the weather. Besides, they delivered us great weather for kayaking Milford Sound, which is apparently rare. I will definitely find another Active Adventures trip to go on again. This is how a well-run tour company works!”

Active Adventures New Zealand, call 1-800-661-9073 0r visit: activeadventures.com/new-zealand

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