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New Zealand Venison

venison

New Zealand venison is one of the healthiest – and most delicious – red meats you can eat and top chefs are now featuring New Zealand venison on the menus of some of the world’s finest restaurants. With no natural predators, besides hunters, wild deer populations in New Zealand have reached almost destructive levels in the native forests and hunters are encouraged to help themselves, so venison can be found on the dinner table year round. Wild venison is extremely low in fat (when was the last time you saw a pudgy deer?) and naturally free range and organic. Deer have recently been farmed in New Zealand for its meat, and the industry prides itself in exporting free range venison, raised in wide open pastures, that features a slightly less gamey taste than its wild counterparts.

How to Prepare Venison
Venison, whether farmed or wild, is naturally very lean so needs to be prepared with care to avoid turning it into a tough, dry tyre.

For prime cuts, like back steaks (also known as back strap), all you need to do is butterfly chops, season with salt and pepper, and add some chopped fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, etc.) if you’re feeling posh and sear quickly on the BBQ. The classic flavour pairing with venison is berries (cranberry and blueberry work well) and dried juniper berries, which is what gin is made from, if you want to serve a sauce on the side. 

For all other cuts, a venison casserole makes a filling winter meal. In a slow cooker, combine chunks of venison, small chunks of onion and carrot that have been lightly sautéed, cranberry sauce or chutney (preferably one of NZ artisan made Provisions chutneys), a generous swig of red wine and quality beef stock to cover. Throw in some fresh herbs and dried juniper berries if you have it. Let that cook on a low temperature for at least 5 hours for a hearty stew.

Venison is also delicious as Bambi burgers, sausages (often mixed with mutton or pork fat), or in a gourmet meat pie

Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    Best Trip Ever

    You go hiking, exert yourself, see spectacular views, and you think "this is the best day, it can't get better than this." Then you go kayaking, see wildlife, lush rain forest and red tinted water, all with the backdrop of snow capped mountains, and you think "no, this is the best day, it can't get better this. Then you go biking along a teal colored river and through a birch forest with snow capped mountains ringing a suddenly peaceful lake and you think, "okay, THIS is the best day." And then you drive to Milford Sound, gawk in awe at waterfalls tumbling down towering cliffs along the road and you get to the Sound and you kayak with dolphins, and you come to the realization, "this is my New Zealand trip, every day better than the last," so that on your last day when you are lying beneath the stars, staring at the Milky Way and the Southern Cross, you know you've experienced something beyond special.
    Tanya Karimi Review Image
    – Colorado, United States
    Rimu, March 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    Rimu—Feb., 2018

    Could not have been happier with our guides, their level of preparation/organization and the stunning scenery of the South Island.
    Tom Townes Review Image
    – North Carolina, United States
    Rimu, February 2018
  •   4.38 out of 5 (from 1211 reviews)

    North Island Kauri

    The North Island was an amazing adventure. We were kept busy hiking, biking snorkelling and kayaking, and our guides were very easy going and helpful in every way. We saw and experienced more of the Maori culture, the large Kauri trees (words cannot describe), and felt the love and appreciation of the Maori people for the land, birds and all living species. It was great to have them guide us through the kauri forests. The trip is spit in half in the middle with a day in Aukland, and the first half we had 12 in the group and the second half there were 13 (A lot) in our group. I prefer smaller groups. The scenery was amazing, Natalie and Jasmine were amazing as well. An AMAZING trip! Loved it!
    Colleen Clark Review Image
    – Ontario, Canada
    Kauri, March 2018
  •   4.64 out of 5 (from 565 reviews)

    I wasn't ready for the trip to end!

    I don't even know where to begin...so let's start at the beginning. I spent the last year dreaming about going to New Zealand, trying to talk just one friend into going with me, and finally, with some encouragement from family, booking this trip as a first time solo traveler. And let me be clear- that was the best decision I could have made! I enjoyed every single minute of my trip and wouldn't change the experience of traveling solo for anything. From the moment I met Gary and Mel, I knew that I had made the right decision. They were welcoming, to all, from the moment they met us. Right away I knew I had nothing to worry about, and worry I did prior to the start of the trip. I could not have asked for a better group of travel mates; it was as if you had hand-picked who should be on the trip together. They were amazing! The experiences on the trip would not have been nearly as amazing if it wasn't for these awesome people with whom I had the good fortune to travel.
    Gary and Mel were kind, patient, and so easy to be around. They answered every question a novice like myself asked, without ever making me feel like an idiot. Gary was witty, kept us going, and a super safe driver! ( I am not a big fan of mountain roads with cliffs on the edge that lead to instant death and not once did I fear for my life.) Mel's cooking...holy smokes was it good; so much so that the pounds I was so sure I would lose on the trip didn't happen. She has even inspired me to try to cook a couple of her dishes this winter. She made it look so easy, even with the varied diets of the group. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I had chatting with both Gary and Mel wherever we were: on the bus, hiking, eating or playing cards. They brought us all together.
    Now, for the adventures! Every day was different from the day prior. I saw and experienced so many new things that I can't stop talking about it. I loved the really challenging hikes (Sealy Tarns and Alex Knob) and the slower paced treks through the rain forest and valleys. The night sky at Mt. Aspiring Hut is indescribable! While we were unable to go on the second overnight hike due to weather, Gary and Mel didn't miss a beat. We were so busy and had so much fun, even in the rain, that you would never have known that we were doing almost 3 days of alternate activities. Major kudos to them for this! I could keep going on how much I enjoyed every aspect of my trip. This was the first vacation I have been on where I didn't want it to end and it truly was the trip of a lifetime. I can't wait to book my next trip with Active Adventures!
    Melissa Munno Review Image
    – California, United States
    Winter Rimu, August 2016
  •   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

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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.

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