Active Adventures |  Kea -  New Zealand Family Adventure

Christchurch to ChristchurchLet us take care of every detail so that you and your family can enjoy exploring New Zealand’s iconic places on a fun outdoorsy adventure.The ‘Kea’ is the perfect opportunity for everyone in the family to try some new activities together while our guides encourage, entertain, serve up delicious meals and ensure you make the most of your precious vacation time. You’ll be amazed how much everyone learns along the way and our guides will have you laughing as much as the kids!

  • Highlights

    Hike
    Franz Josef Glacier
    South Westland World Heritage Area
    Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
    Mt Aspiring National Park
    Beaches and rainforests of the West Coast

    Kayak
    Lake Mapourika

    Plus...
    Family rafting trip near Queenstown
    Wildlife reserve and kiwi viewing
    Jet boat the Rakaia Gorge
    Visit high country sheep station

  • What's Included

    All accommodations
    A range of hotels, lodges, chalets, inns and backcountry huts.

    All activities
    This was a tour for multi-generations before that was even a 'thing'! You'll find the usual hiking, kayaking, biking and then some extras that'll definitely get everyone excited.

    All guiding services
    Two experienced New Zealand guides per trip. Having two guides allows for much greater flexibility, meaning you're able to go at your own pace.

    All meals
    Breakfast, lunch and dinner on all days, except where indicated on the itinerary (usually 1 day per trip is a free day, allowing you to choose your own dining location).

    All transport
    Airport transfers on the first & last days.
    When you're not travelling under your own steam, there will be comfortable air-conditioned vans to stretch your legs.

  • Pricing

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      • Start Date:29 Sep 20
      • Price:$6,199
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      • Start Date:15 Dec 20
      • Price:$6,199
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      • Start Date:22 Dec 20
      • Price:$6,199
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      • Start Date:29 Dec 20
      • Price:$6,199
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      • Start Date:2 Feb 21
      • Price:$6,199
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      • Start Date:22 Jun 21
      • Price:$6,199
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      • Start Date:20 Jul 21
      • Price:$6,199
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      • Start Date:14 Dec 21
      • Price:$6,199
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      • Start Date:21 Dec 21
      • Price:$6,199
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      • Start Date:28 Dec 21
      • Price:$6,199
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      • Start Date:1 Feb 22
      • Price:$6,199
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      • Start Date:21 Jun 22
      • Price:$6,199
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    Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
  • Itinerary

    DAY 1 - ARRIVE, WILDLIFE RESERVE AND KIWI VIEWING

    Most people leave the Northern Hemisphere on a Sunday evening, arriving into Auckland early Tuesday morning. You’ll lose a day crossing the dateline – but you get it back on the way home! It’s a short flight from Auckland to Christchurch in the South Island and we’ll meet your family either in central Christchurch or at the airport. We start with a great introduction to the wildlife of a country isolated for over 80 million years! Willowbank Wildlife Reserve is unique in that you can enter a lot of the animal enclosures and even pet some of the more friendly critters! You can see tuatara, the elusive kiwi, wallabies (small kangaroos introduced from Australia), and of course the namesake of our trip – the kea – our cheeky mountain parrot.Methven Lodge, Methven (Lunch, Dinner)

     

    DAY 2 - JET BOAT RAKAIA GORGE, HIKE PEEL FOREST AND STAR-GAZING

    After a hearty breakfast and relaxed start to the morning, we have an adventure planned that will knock your socks off – a fun jet boat ride through the winding Rakaia Gorge! Jet boats were originally invented by New Zealander Bill Hamilton to navigate our narrow, shallow rivers. You’ll be jetting down rapids, braided river sections and through shallow water just six inches deep in places. This thrilling, yet safe activity is suitable for the whole family. Then we’ll head to Peel Forest for a hike amongst ancient podocarp trees and many varieties of ferns. Many of New Zealand’s athletes, including our famous rugby team, the All Blacks, wear the fern as a national symbol. After lunch, we’ll travel inland to Aoraki/Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain, and Lake Pukaki – an unreal turquoise-blue coloured glacial lake. Tonight, the wide open spaces, regular clear evenings and lack of artificial light provides us with the perfect opportunity to gaze at the Southern Hemisphere’s constellations, including the southern cross.Aoraki Mt Cook Alpine Lodge, Mt Cook Village (All meals)Hiking Distance: 1 kilometre (0.6 miles), 1-2 hoursElevation Gain: 30 metres (98 feet)Elevation Loss: 30 metres (98 feet)

     

    DAY 3 - HIKE AORAKI MT COOK NATIONAL PARK

    We have a few hikes to choose from in this spectacular national park and our favourite is the stunning day hike (weather permitting) to the main ridge above Mueller Glacier. It’s a bit of a hike, though it’s a real achievement for the whole family to share and you’ll remember the view of the Mueller Glacier and the surrounding peaks of the Southern Alps forever! Of course, we always have plenty of options, so there are easier hikes available for you too, such as an impressive hike up the Hooker Valley to a glacial lake (complete with icebergs!) at the base of Hooker Glacier.Aoraki Mt Cook Alpine Lodge, Mt Cook Village (All meals)Mueller Ridge Hiking Distance: 7.2 kilometres (4.4 miles), 6-7 hoursElevation Gain: 975 metres (3,200 feet)ORHooker Valley Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres (5.6 miles), 3-4 hoursElevation Gain: 100 metres (328 feet)Elevation Loss: 100 metres (328 feet)

     

    DAY 4 - EXPLORE QUEENSTOWN

    Today we’ll head through the mountains to Queenstown. We’ll stop along the way for some of the best ice cream in the whole of New Zealand – you’ll soon find out why! We’ll then continue on through fruit orchards and vineyards before arriving in Queenstown. After lunch we have options including a hike to historic Sam Summers hut or even a game of frisbee golf in the Queenstown Botanical Gardens.Scenic Suites Apartments, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)Hiking Distance: 7.4 kilometres (4.6 miles), 2-3 hoursElevation Gain: 355 metres (1,165 feet)Elevation Loss: 355 metres (1,165 feet)

     

    DAY 5 - FAMILY RAFTING NEAR QUEENSTOWN, EXPLORE ARROWTOWN

    Excitement levels will be high this morning, as we head off for a family rafting trip in Skippers Canyon. Set in a deep, beautiful, rose-lined schist gorge, it’s a spectacular float trip – perfect for the whole family. The ‘Kea’ trip operates year-round, with minor changes during the New Zealand winter. From June to September, rather than rafting we take a lift on the gondola up Bob’s Peak for stunning views over the region and thrilling downhill rides on the luge. After lunch, we’ll explore an old Chinese goldmining settlement in the nearby historic village of Arrowtown. Chinese immigrants travelled to New Zealand during the 1800s and like many New Zealand pioneering stories, theirs is one of adversity and adaptation. You can try your hand at gold panning – in 2006 a man found a gold nugget worth $15,000 in this area, so you never know your luck!Scenic Suites Apartments, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)Hiking Distance: 0.4 kilometre (0.2 mile), 0.5-1 hour

     

    DAY 6 - FREE DAY IN QUEENSTOWN

    All the comforts of civilisation are packed into this tiny resort town: restaurants galore, sidewalk cafés, stylish lounge bars, day spas, and boutiques. There’s plenty of family entertainment here too: luge rides, a gondola, lakeside playgrounds, mini golf and a cinema. There are also some more adventurous optional activities such as horse trekking, kayaking, fishing, winery tours, hang gliding, mountain biking, bungy jumping, jet boating and skydiving as well as some great hiking opportunities. Or you can just soak up the atmosphere and lounge about reading a book. Your guides will happily share their favourite haunts and point you in the right direction for your free day today. A great winter option (June to September) is to spend a couple of days skiing or snowboarding at one of four local ski areas: Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona or Treble Cone. Transport, lift pass and equipment rental is about US$150 a day for an adult, slightly less for children, which we will happily organise for you.Scenic Suites Apartments (No meals included)

     

    DAYS 7 AND 8 - MT ASPIRING NATIONAL PARK AND WANAKA OPTIONS

    This morning we’ll leave Queenstown and head over the Crown Range to Wanaka – a small alpine village on the shores of Lake Wanaka. After lunch, we head off for our various activities.

     

    DAYS 7 TO 8 - OPTION A, HIKE AND OVERNIGHT IN MT ASPIRING NATIONAL PARK

    Day 7 (afternoon) - Hike and overnight in Mt Aspiring National ParkAfter leaving Wanaka, we’ll venture up the Matukituki Valley and hike two to three hours into Mt Aspiring National Park to reach our home for the evening – a spacious mountain hut nestled in a valley in the middle of nowhere. The track meanders past majestic peaks, fresh mountain streams and natural beech forest. You’ll be carrying a sleeping bag, a few spare clothes and some food, so your pack won’t weigh much more than a regular day pack. The scenery is off the charts with Mt Aspiring rising 3033 metres (9951 feet) into the blue sky. It’s amazing how far you’ll feel from civilisation after this relatively short walk! Tonight your guide will whip up dinner in the backcountry kitchen while you and the kids relax by the fire.Mt Aspiring Hut, Mt Aspiring National Park (All meals)Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres (5.6 miles), 3-5 hoursElevation Gain: 60 metres (197 feet)Day 8 (morning) - Hike to trailheadWe have a leisurely start today, enjoying breakfast and a cuppa while admiring the view, before hiking back to the trailhead. Along the way, we might encounter the cheeky kea again – this time in its natural habitat – they’re really inquisitive and like to get pretty close at times!Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres (5.6 miles), 3-5 hoursElevation Loss: 60 metres (197 feet)

     

    DAYS 7 TO 8 - OPTION B, EXPLORE WANAKA

    Day 7 (afternoon) - Explore WanakaLake Wanaka is the fourth largest lake in New Zealand and surrounded by an amphitheatre of mountains. There are great walking trails and biking tracks in the area, as well as jet boating and kayaking. It’s well worth a visit to the famed Warbirds and Wheels Museum, which is home to an amazing collection of old fighter planes and classic cars. Whether you’re skipping stones on the lake’s edge or relaxing by the fire at the lodge, Wanaka is a great spot to rediscover simple pleasures.Wanaka Lodgings, Wanaka (All meals)Day 8 (morning) - Explore WanakaAfter a relaxed breakfast, you’ll have the morning to yourselves before meeting up with the rest of the group.

     

    DAY 8 (AFTERNOON) - DELVE INTO PUZZLING WORLD

    After regrouping in Wanaka, we’ll head to Puzzling World to explore over a mile of passageways in one of the world’s largest modern mazes. Kids of all ages really enjoy trying to beat our wily guides through the labyrinth! Tonight we spend the evening in the small village of Makarora, sharing stories over a delicious home-made meal.Makarora Lodgings, Makarora (All meals)

     

    DAY 9 - EXPLORE WEST COAST FORESTS AND BEACHES, DISCOVER GLOWWORMS

    This morning, we’ll travel over Haast Pass through spectacular beech forest to the wild West Coast, stopping on a deserted beach to stretch our legs and keep an eye out for friendly dolphins passing by. A little further north takes us to Lake Matheson for a short walk, where you’ll be rewarded with awesome vistas of the Southern Alps. After settling into our accommodation in Franz Josef, we can head out after dark with flashlights for a short night walk to search for the native glowworm while listening to some of New Zealand’s nocturnal birdlife, such as the morepork owl.Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)Hiking Distance: 2.8 kilometres (1.7 miles), 1-2 hoursElevation Gain: 10 metres (33 feet)Elevation Loss: 10 metres (33 feet)

     

    DAY 10 - KAYAK LAKE MAPOURIKA, HIKE TO FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER

    It’s an early start this morning for our kayaking trip on Lake Mapourika, a tranquil ancient lake formed during the last ice age. This is an awesome activity, run by specialist kayak outfitters, and it’s equally suitable for beginners and experts alike. With some 140 glaciers making their way down from the Southern Alps, this area is fittingly known as glacier country. Few sights equal the spectacle of two of these giant frozen rivers (Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers) imperceptibly grinding their way down through temperate rainforest to just 250 metres (820 feet) above sea level. Our hike will take us along the Waiho River bed up the valley right to the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier.Optional Heli-hike (extra fee applies)An outrageously scenic alternative to this afternoon’s hike is to heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier itself. After being fitted with crampons, ice axes and so on, you’ll board a modern turbine helicopter and fly towards the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, landing on the glacier at 1300 metres (4265 feet) above sea level. Led by specialist glacier guides, you’ll hike through the grand ice formations of the glacier, checking out its crevasses, seracs and tunnels – no previous experience is required! The constant movement of the glacier means every day is different, so your guides will cut steps in the ice and make sure you make the most of the conditions. At the end of your hike on the ice, you’ll take another helicopter ride out of the mountains and back to civilisation.The heli-hike is extremely popular, so we offer advance reservations with the helicopter operators and guiding company. At the time of booking, or up until one month before your trip, we can reserve a space for you, or you can leave your decision until the start of your trip and your guides will get you a spot if it’s available.After we’ve finished our various activities, we’ll return to Franz Josef for the night.Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)Kayaking Time: 2-3 hoursHiking Distance: 4.8 kilometres (3 miles), 2-3 hoursElevation Gain: 20 metres (66 feet)Elevation Loss: 20 metres (66 feet)ORHeli-Hike on Franz Josef Glacier: 3 hours

     

    DAY 11 - EXPLORE WEST COAST TREETOP WALK, VISIT HOKITIKA

    Today we’ll head further up the coast to experience the West Coast Treetop Walk, an adventure among giants. This walk will take you up above the forest floor, allowing you to pass through an ancient canopy of rimu and kamahi trees. We’ll then continue to Hokitika, where you can check out the local art galleries and pounamu carving workshops (pounamu is Maori for jade). The beach here is a great place for playing games or making sculptures out of driftwood. Then we’ll head back through to Arthur’s Pass, the highest pass over the Southern Alps, to settle in for the night.Arthur's Pass Motel, Arthur's Pass (All meals)Treetops Walk Time: 2-3 hours

     

    DAY 12 - HIKE CASTLE HILL BASIN

    Today, after breakfast, we’ll head off to check out the Conservation Centre in Arthur’s Pass and learn about the Kea, the only true alpine parrot in the world! Afterwards, we’re off to the ultimate hide-and-seek spot, Castle Hill. It’s a bit of a climb to the top, but it’s worth every step as we arrive at an eerie limestone landscape where much of the movie ‘Narnia – the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ was filmed. During a visit a few years ago, the Dalai Lama called this natural labyrinth ‘the spiritual centre of the universe’!Darfield Motels (All meals)Hiking Distance: 3 kilometres (2 miles), 1-2 hoursElevation Gain: 50 metres (164 feet)Elevation Loss: 50 metres (164 feet)

     

    DAY 13 - FARM SHOW, DEPART FOR HOME

    This is the last day of your ‘Kea’ trip, and we’ll head to the small farming community of Springfield to check out a working New Zealand high-country sheep farm. Here we’ll watch highly trained farm dogs rounding up stock and see a sheep shearing demonstration. All the kids (young and old!) will have the chance to join in and give sheep shearing a go. Then it’s on to Christchurch, where we’ll farewell your family and wave you off feeling refreshed, invigorated, and with lasting memories of the adventures, great food, stories, laughs and fun times you’ll have had with us in New Zealand!(Breakfast, Lunch)

 

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