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New Zealand Hiking Lingo

cows

If You're Going to Walk the Walk, You Gotta Talk the Talk. Although we speak English in New Zealand, Kiwi colloquialism can cause a bit of confusion sometimes.

  • You'll often hear us Kiwis referring to ‘tramps’ and ‘tramping’ in the context of our hiking tours and the outdoors. Contrary to the images this may conjure up, we're actually just talking about going out hiking or trekking, usually for several days at a time (otherwise you're just ‘going for a walk’).  
  • When a Kiwi says they're ‘going out for a walk, would you like to join them?’ you'd better be prepared because Kiwis notoriously play things down. So act cool, grab some snacks, water bottle, backpack and a jacket, because you could be out all day ‘walking’ up mountains rather than going for a leisurely stroll to the park!
  • Speaking of, Kiwis also have a tendency to downplay the steepness of a trail, at least by the standards of most people who weren't raised in the hills by billy goats. You can usually count on at least a few hills when a track is described as ‘flat’ and ‘undulating’ usually means more up than down.  
  • When we say ‘Queenstown's full of backpackers’ we're not necessarily referring to hikers. The act of ‘backpacking’ in New Zealand has morphed into much more than your typical freedom hiker. It usually connotes busloads of young travelers coming here to stay at hostels and thrill seek, couples and friends touring the country in rented campers or even retired couples cruising the country on a budget.
  • Going Bush’ is probably more of an Australian saying – conjuring the image of swathes of blue gum, shimmering heat and Koalas, with snakes around every bend… well almost. But the term ‘bush’ is alive and well here in New Zealand too to talk about the wilderness, especially amongst farmers and hunters when talking about hiking.
  • The ‘backcountry’ is certainly a popular Kiwi term and depending who you're speaking to, could refer to out-of-bounds ski slopes or the more remote parts of the country. Farmers who work on large farms may say they’re heading into the backcountry or the backblocks and if they're on one of the larger sheep stations (ie. a ranch), you can expect them to be gone all day or even overnight.

Trip Reviews

  •   4.44 out of 5 (from 908 reviews)

    Manuka-February 2018

    This is our third Active Adventures trip and we have never been disappointed. Each trip has been a learning experience for us. The beautiful sights and people we have met along the way have made it a very worthwhile event that we will never forget. We enjoyed working with your professional team of staff and guides and hopefully one day we will return for another adventure. Thanks, Steve and Marilyn.
    Stephen Tatham Review Image
    – Washington, United States
    Manuka, February 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    Exceeded my Expectations. A Trip to Treasure.

    Active adventures provided an outstanding New Zealand experience. Our guides (Tory and Jordie) went above and beyond during our South Island Rimu trip. Their passion for the outdoors as well as the traditions and culture of NZ enhanced the two week journey. As guides, I was most impressed by their attention to detail and safety. I appreciated the warm smiles, gems of knowledge and yummy meals on even the challenging hike days. For my birthday, during the three day hike at Nelson Lakes National Park, Tory and Jordie surprised me with two delicious cakes to share with my new hiking family. A moment I will treasure, enhanced by the breath taking views of the alpine lake at Angelus Hut.

    The beauty of the country surpassed my expectations, particularly sites like Milford Sound and Mt. Cook. Such a diverse, lush landscape, each hike offered a unique perspective of the stunning views. Combined with the kayaking and biking options, allowed for an exciting and interesting mix. The highlight of my two weeks was my heli-hike on the Tasman Glacier, such an unforgettable experience.

    I'm looking forward to future Active Adventure trips, but will definitely keep a little piece of NZ in my heart. A truly bucket list destination.


    Gigi (from The Bahamas)
    Gigi Smith Review Image
    – West Virginia, United States
    Rimu, July 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    Loved it!

    We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and felt we saw and experienced much of the island. Ben and Emma were exceptional guides: friendly, fun, knowledgeable, and hard working! We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary with this trip and they went out of their way to make it even more special. The sites were amazing and to top it off we had outstanding weather.
    Bonnie Mastolier Review Image
    – Alaska, United States
    Rimu, December 2017
  •   4.70 out of 5 (from 266 reviews)

    Nov 5 2016 Kiwi with Nick B and Jess

    Active Adventures allowed me to experience the breathtaking beauty of the South Island, New Zealand. I had so much fun. I had really high hopes for the trip of a lifetime before we left. My expectations were not only met but surpassed. Nick and Jess were great as was our small group of fellow travelers. The Active Adventures team were responsive to needs and made the trip care free. I would highly recommend the Kiwi trip and would do it again in a heartbeat. I would also look to do Active Adventures other trips when we go to travel again. At the conclusion of our trip, my wife and I asked ourselves what would we do differently if doing it again. Both of our answers was nothing different.
    Mitch Pfeiffer Review Image
    – Indiana, United States
    Kiwi, December 2016
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 reviews)

    Tui

    We had a truly great time. Our guides, Koru and Liana were the best. They made the trip so much fun, especially in the light of the unpredictable New Zealand weather! And Lynette was always right there to help us along every step of the way. I brought home memories of a lifetime, and discovered that Kiwis are absolutely the friendliest people on earth. The Tui Trip was a great introductory tour, but now I want to come back again and spend more time hiking and exploring the South Island.

    Many thanks to the whole Active Adventures team. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    - Mick
    Mick Owens Review Image
    – Florida, United States
    Tui, December 2016

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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