Leading adventure tour operator, Active Adventures, mark a milestone as they celebrate 20 years of small group adventure tours. Established in the mid-90s, and originally known as Active New Zealand, the company started with one guide, one van and one Department of Conservation concession – to hike in the Nelson Lakes National Park. From these humble beginnings the 14-day ‘Rimu’ trip was born, as the first true multi-sport adventure tour in New Zealand, offering hiking, biking and kayaking around the South Island.
Today, Active Adventures offer plenty of different adventure tours throughout New Zealand as well as in South America and Nepal. Over all these years the original Ultimate South Island Adventure ‘Rimu’ still remains the signature trip, with 3662 completed surveys (and counting!) and a rating of 4.49 out of 5. The trip has been tweaked here and there with upgrades to the accommodation and some new activities added, but the basic ingredients remain the same – because it’s a recipe that works!
The highlight for many guests who join the ‘Rimu’ is the three day wilderness hike in the Nelson Lakes National Park. This stalwart portion of the signature adventure trip sees guests hiking off the beaten path on the Angelus Circuit, a true local’s favourite. It begins as a relatively gentle trail through beach forest alongside Lake Rotoiti to Lakehead Hut and then becomes more demanding as you ascend almost 1000 metres towards the ridgeline. Effort is rewarded with incredible scenery including alpine tarns and views of the majestic Southern Alps. Often the most challenging moments are also the most rewarding. The journey also packs in some well-known, must-see destinations such as Milford Sound in the Fiordland National Park, and the Mueller Ridge Hike in the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. Needless to say, it’s an action-packed 14 days of adventure that leaves a lasting impression!
“Not A Lying In The Sun Waiting For a Pina Colada Vacation”
The adventures on our exciting Rimu trip kept coming and coming. We knew we were in for a remarkable experience when we donned our backpacks and took to the wilderness for three days. Although the initial adventure was a true challenge, the fortitude and good cheer of our wonderful guides, plus their amazing patience, was motivating and inspiring. After the accomplishment of this hike in the Nelson Lakes National Park, we were up for anything! And on we went – up through rain forests, along mountain ridges, finding hidden lakes, kayaking lagoons, and winding our way around a beautiful lake on our mountain bikes. The group was spirited and cohesive – a mood that was created and reinforced by our guides. Thank you to Active Adventures New Zealand for constructing such a wonderful itinerary and thank you to our fabulous guides, Ken and Nick.
Karen Goldberg, ‘Rimu’, March 2014
As the original multi-sport tour in New Zealand, the ‘Rimu’ has had its fair share of media attention over the years, with mentions in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Real Travel Adventures International, Globe and Mail Travel and Travel + Leisure.
In August this year, Active Adventures will embark on their annual guide training trip, which follows the Rimu itinerary to the letter. With new guide hopefuls and current guides alike, the training process is rigorous in embedding the leadership skills required to guide their unique adventures. With a reputation for being highly selective, Active Adventures make it clear to all potential guides that employment is not a guarantee at the beginning of this training week. Company Director Phil Boorman explains their stance on guide quality in frank terms: “While we don’t expect our guides to be expert mountain climbers or of that ilk (that’s not what we do!), we do expect a very high degree of proven leadership in the outdoors and an ability to engage with our clients who come from all over the world – some of which have never put on a pair of hiking boots in their life. But that’s why we do what we do – we like to think we change people’s lives, even if it’s just a little, through a connection with the outdoors”.
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