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New Zealand

Active New Zealand: Hike, Bike and Paddle the South Island

Program No. 20621RJ
New Zealand is stunning. Come explore this outdoor adventurer’s paradise as you raft the Hurunui River, bike scenic trails and hike mountains familiar from the “Lord of the Rings.”

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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
Filling Fast!
Jan 29 - Feb 11, 2024
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Filling Fast!
Mar 4 - Mar 17, 2024
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Jan 13 - Jan 26, 2025
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Feb 17 - Mar 2, 2025
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Mar 10 - Mar 23, 2025
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DATES & starting prices
Filling Fast!
Jan 29 - Feb 11, 2024
Starting at
Filling Fast!
Mar 4 - Mar 17, 2024
Starting at
Filling Fast!
Jan 13 - Jan 26, 2025
Starting at
Filling Fast!
Feb 17 - Mar 2, 2025
Starting at
Filling Fast!
Mar 10 - Mar 23, 2025
Starting at

At a Glance

For outdoor enthusiasts who live for snow-capped mountain peaks, pristine coastlines and immaculate cycle paths through stunning landscapes, New Zealand’s South Island is the ultimate destination. In the shadow of the stunning Southern Alps, hike through valleys you might recognize from the “Lord of the Rings” films. Cycle through New Zealand’s renowned wine-growing country and stop at a vineyard for lunch. Experience the glacier-carved beauty of Fiordland National Park by kayak and on foot.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Hiking up to six miles on mixed, sometimes hilly terrain, cycling up to 20 miles on mostly flat terrain, and river rafting.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Enjoy an exhilarating day of expert-led rafting on the pristine Hurunui River.
  • Bike the Otago Rail Trail, a well-maintained gravel path through rocky gorges and past small villages.
  • Absorb the incredible beauty of the Milford Sound fjord on a boat excursion.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Russell Davie
Russell Davie is an ex-dairy farmer with a background in geology, geography, soil mineralogy and volcanology, with a particular interest in the Fiordland area, in and around Te Anau, where he now lives and the lake, which bears the same name.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Russell Davie
Russell Davie View biography
Russell Davie is an ex-dairy farmer with a background in geology, geography, soil mineralogy and volcanology, with a particular interest in the Fiordland area, in and around Te Anau, where he now lives and the lake, which bears the same name.
Profile Image of Nicola Cardwell
Nicola Cardwell View biography
Nicola originally trained as a registered nurse but spent many years working as an administrator at the local hospice. Feeling it was time for a change, she is now self-employed providing administration services as a contractor, and is enjoying a more flexible lifestyle. She enjoys walking, gardening, reading, cycling and a range of outdoor activities. Bruce and Nicki have four grown-up children and are now enjoying their first grandson.
Profile Image of Esther Sassenburg
Esther Sassenburg View biography
Esther Sassenburg is Dutch born, married to Eric, and lives in Nelson. Her main career has been in urban planning, and she has worked in countries around the world. After settling in New Zealand, she became a teacher, specializing in Social Sciences. This has given her a broad general knowledge of the country. In her free time, Esther loves the outdoors, particularly tramping (hiking), cycling, and water sports. Esther also has an interest in European languages and currently works as a French language teacher.
Profile Image of Eric McPherson
Eric McPherson View biography
Eric McPherson is married to Esther. He is a retired cabinetmaker and wood machinist and ran his own furniture-joinery business. Now in his free time he is doing community volunteering, mainly environmental and predator control work, and is a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Eric also enjoys tramping (hiking), recreational cycling, kayaking, and jogging. He has a passion for classic motorcycles and DIY in his garage.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Penguin History of New Zealand
by Michael King
The Narrative that emerges is an exclusive one about men and women, Maori and Pakeha. It shows that The British motives in colonizing New Zealand were essentially humane.....
Once Were Warriors
by Alan Duff
This controversial best-selling novel follows the fate of a Maori woman in what appears to be modern-day Auckland, an insightful look at social problems of the Maori in contemporary New Zealand.
The Whale Rider
by Witi Ihimaera,
The Whale Rider (1987) was written in New York and Cape Cod in the space of three weeks. A magical, mythical work about a young girl whose relationship with a whale ensures the salvation of her village, it is, says Ihimaera, the work of his ‘that the Maori community accepts best’
Presenting New Zealand, An Illustrated History
by Philip Temple
Organized from North to South, this oversized paperback, featuring large, full-color archival illustrations on every page, is a profile of the island nation, its history, people and nature.
Slipping Into Paradise, Why I Live in New Zealand
by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
In this far-ranging travelogue, Masson (who wrote a series of books on the emotional lives of animals) combines his travels and tales with history, riffs on the kiwis, nature and society.
Maori Tattooing
by H.G. Robley
A new unabridged edition of the classic, illustrated sourcebook on Maori tattooing (moko), first published in 1896. The author pays scrupulous attention to the intricate patterns, design and cultural meaning of traditional Maori tattoos.
A Personal Kiwi-Yankee Dictionary
by Louis Leland
Take this book with you on your trip to help you untangle the sometimes perplexing and colorful local idioms.
The Luminaries
by Eleanor Catton
The Luminaries is the second novel by Eleanor Catton, published by Victoria University Press in August 2013 and Granta on 5 September 2013. On 15 October it was announced as the winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize. It is the longest book (at 832 pages), and she the youngest author (at age 28), ever to win the award. The book was described as "a dazzling feat of a novel" by The Observer.
New Zealand, A Natural History
by Tui De Roy, Mark Jones
Having relocated many years ago to the beaches of Golden Bay on the North Island, Tui and Mark present the wildlife, habitats and splendor of their homeland in this photographic celebration.
New Zealand Through Time, An Illustrated Journey Through 83 Million Years of Natural History
by Ronald Cometti
Step back in time in this illustrated miscellany, featuring dozens of full-color paintings of giant moa, mixosaurus, and other splendid extinct creatures.
An Angel at My Table (video)
by Janet Frame (Jane Campion)
An Angel at My Table is a 1990 New Zealand-Australian-British[2] film directed by Jane Campion. The film is based on Janet Frame's three autobiographies, To the Is-Land (1982), An Angel at My Table (1984), and The Envoy from Mirror City (1984). An Angel at My Table is a dramatisation of the autobiographies of New Zealand author Janet Frame. Originally produced as a television miniseries, the film, as with Frame's autobiographies, is divided into three sections, with the lead role played by three different actresses who portray Frame at different stages of her life: Karen Fergusson (child), Alexia Keogh (adolescent) and Kerry Fox (adult).
by Katherine Mansfield
The three marvelous, long stories in this collection constitute the beginnings of a novel based on Mansfield's childhood in Wellington.
The Happy Isles of Oceania
by Paul Theroux
The peripatetic author flies off to Australia and New Zealand with a kayak and ends up exploring much of Melanesia and Polynesia, including Tonga, Fiji and the Marquesas in this wickedly funny, wide-ranging tale.
The Future Eaters, An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People
by Tim F. Flannery
An engaging ecological history of Australasia, focusing on human impact on local environments and animal populations in the recent geologic past.
Southern Exposure
by Chris Duff
Subtitled "A Solo Sea Kayaking Journey Around New Zealand's South Island."
New Zealand Map
by National Geographic
This handy, double-sided map includes an index and insets of the Sub-Antarctic islands.
Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance
by Lloyd Jones
Dancing between New Zealand and Buenos Aires and ranging over decades, tango is the leitmotif of this earlier novel by Lloyd Jones, published here for the first time, author of Mister Pip. Like Mr. Pip, this compact, seductive novel concerns the power of storytelling.
New Zealand Wildlife
by Julian Fitter
Julian Fitter's splendid introduction to the nature and wildlife of New Zealand features succinct chapters on geography and geology, history, habitats and wildlife, along with hundreds of color photographs.
The Hand Guide to the Birds of New Zealand
by Hugh Robertson & Barrie Heather
The revised compact edition of the classic field guide, featuring 74 color plates by Derek Onley. (Item no. NZL05)
A Traveller's History of New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands
by John Chambers
A brisk portrait of New Zealand, and its culture, economy and society, this concise history also covers the settlement of the Pacific Islands.
Making Peoples, A History of the New Zealanders from Polynesian Settlement to the End of the Nineteenth Century
by James Belich
A social history of the Maori from pre-contact to the late 19th century. With its wide, yet detailed focus, this book gives the reader a glimpse into the social forces that have formed the Maori, including the tremendous impact of colonization.
The Bone People
by Keri Hulme
Set on the South Island, this powerful novel brings together three troubled individuals who represent Maori and European traditions in contemporary New Zealand.
Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All
by Christina Thompson
In this endearing, offbeat memoir, anthropologist Thompson effortlessly alternates tales of mostly disastrous early encounters with the Maori and the story of the love of her life, Seven, the Maori she married.
Boy (2010 film)
by Taika Waititi
Boy (2010 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy_(2010_film) It is out on DVD Waititi wanted to shoot the film where he grew up in Waihau Bay. It was a summer film but impossible to shoot in the height of summer due to the popularity of the area as a fishing and holiday destination. The film features the maize fields and the maize is harvested from late April. Boy was shot entirely in the area of Waihau Bay, New Zealand. James Rolleston was never actually intended to play the lead role of "Boy". Rolleston originally turned up on set for a costume fitting as an extra and after short deliberation the teen was offered the role.
by Samuel Butler, Peter Mudford (Introduction)
Butler's classic Victorian novel inspired by his experiences in 1860s New Zealand. A satirical account of a journey to an upside-down country at the end of the world, where sick people are thrown in jail and murderers are taken to the hospital.
The Earth Machine, The Science of a Dynamic Planet
by James D. Webster, Edmond A. Mathez
An informative, illustrated overview of the earth and its fiery origins by curators of the American Museum of Natural History's Hall of Planet Earth.
A Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand
by Julian Fitter
Comprehensive and compact, this Princeton Pocket Guide features 600 color photographs.
The Hand Guide to the Birds of New Zealand
by Barrie Heather
The revised compact edition of the classic field guide, featuring 74 color plates by Derek Onley.
Eyewitness Guide New Zealand
by Eyewitness Guides
This superb illustrated guide features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region overview of attractions.

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