Do we all get involved with camp duties…?
Everyone is fully involved with the running of the safari, from collecting firewood, to setting up camp and cooking meals. You are expected to do your share of work. If you are not a great cook, don’t worry – your guide and other people in the group will help you.
Does it matter if I am travelling alone?
Most of the people on safaris are travelling alone. The safaris are strong on group activities and participation including playing outdoor games, going for swims, helping one another to cross rivers and explore caves, and overcoming obstacles and challenges. You will be encouraged to participate in activities, but if it’s not your thing that is also OK. We allow time for people to be by themselves on safari if they need it.
Can I do more than one safari?
Yes. More and more people are connecting safaris covering the whole of New Zealand. We really are the hassle-free way to experience New Zealand’s best adventures.
I am travelling and have a lot of stuff that I will not need on the safari – what should I do with it?
You can store it at your accommodation if you plan on returning to the area. Or, you can travel with it on safari. There is an allowance of 100 litres per person (1 large pack plus a daypack). Depending how full the safari is, you may be required to forward excess luggage if you exceed this. During overnight hikes every thing is locked securely in the vehicle.
What do I do with my valuables (passport, airline tickets, money, etc) while we are hiking?
Keep them with you in your hiking pack. You will be given a small plastic bag to keep them dry and keep them with you while you are hiking.
Can I be picked up at my hostel or accommodation?
No. It is much easier for everyone to meet at a central location – usually the local Visitors Information Centre – and it doesn’t cost much to get there on a taxi, shuttle or bus (or walking!). Leaving the city early means spending more time in the wilderness.
I’m a vegetarian – is that a problem?
Not at all. We often have vegetarians in the group. All the guides are familiar with vegetarian cooking. There are lots of excellent vegetarian recipes. Sometimes the whole group will cook vegetarian or there may be a separate vegetarian meal. The hangi is always a mixture of vegetarian and meat foods.
What is the weather going to be like?
New Zealand experiences very changeable weather – especially in the remote mountainous regions where a lot of time is spent. Some days the group can be broiling in 30 degrees and then the next day freezing in a cool southerly from the sub-Antarctic. It is best to be prepared for the worst conditions – see the ‘What To Take’ section. You may experience some rain on the trip so a good waterproof raincoat is important.
Which is the best trip to go on?
It depends on what you want, how much time you have and where you want to go. You can do anything from a 6-day Far North beach trip to a combination of safaris for 40 or more days! The Volcanoes and Rainforest trip has amazing volcanic scenery, the West Coast Wilderness has grand mountains and rain forests, the Secret South has a lot of tops travel and wildlife (dolphins, penguins, sea lions and seals) and the Arthur?s Pass is a great short getaway with spectacular scenery.
Will I be fit enough?
Our safaris are graded B, C or D. Read the section ‘Grading and Fitness’ and choose a trip to suit you. If you are concerned about your fitness get out there and hike in the weeks prior to your safari departure.
Who is in my group?
A small group (maximum 11 people), with a range of ages, nationalities and work backgrounds. Seventy percent of people are between 20 and 40, though there have been people from 17 to 72. On average, half are women and half are men. Everyone shares an enthusiasm for outdoor adventure and an appreciation of nature.
How far in advance do I need to book?
The sooner the better for safaris departing in the peak season (November to April). We get many advance bookings so it is important to book early to avoid disappointment. Availability for trips is updated regularly on our departure dates page.
What type of gear should I buy?
If you intend to do a lot of hiking then it is worth buying quality equipment – good leather hiking boots and hiking clothing. If you think you might not do any more hiking after safari then you could buy cheaper alternatives – just remember that it won’t last as long or do the job as well. You may also rent certain items from us.
What if I can’t keep up with the rest of the group?
We hike together as a group, stopping often for snacks and a good lunch. Some activities are optional if you feel like having some time out.
Are we going to encounter dangerous animals?
New Zealand does not have any snakes, bears, lions or alligators. We have a small poisonous spider called the katipo that is so rare that it is a protected species. At certain times of the summer and autumn, wasps can be a problem in some of our beech forests. If you are allergic to their sting, then make sure you carry medication, and tell your guide about it at the beginning of the safari. Otherwise, it is great to climb through the bush and lie in the grass without a thing to worry about.
East coast beaches - 1km/1 hours hiking - Bay of Islands - 9km/6 hours hiking - Whangaroa Kayaking - 10km/4-5 hours kayaking - Ninety Mile Beach, Cape Reinga - 2km/2 hours hiking - Cape Maria Van Dieman, Kauri forests - 4-12km/3- 4 hours hiking - Kauri forests - 2km/1 hour hiking
Depart Auckland and follow the east coast northwards. A quick stop to supplement supplies for the next six days before following crazy coastal back roads to Taupiri Bay. Set up our camp here just above the beach on a private camp. If the weather is wet there is an option of using a classic rustic kiwi bach (NZ holiday house) instead. Have a swim or explore this lovely coastline. Red-tinged pohutukawa trees (NZ Xmas tree) cover hidden coves and swimming beaches. If the sea conditions are calm there is excellent snorkelling here too.
Tumble out of sleeping bags and leap into the sea, refreshed, break camp and hike northwards. Climb up through regenerating native bush to the ridge tops looking down on hidden sandy coves and rocky headlands. Catching your breath, gaze out across the bright blue Pacific Ocean. Pass huge steel pots and ruins of the old whaling station. These stations all over New Zealand are a sad reminder of the many humpback and southern right whales hunted here. Many of New Zealand’s first Europeans were here for sealing and whaling rather than our beautiful natural environment! Lunch at a cute cove of turquoise water, secret beaches and funky palm trees. Descend from Pukehuia – at 345m the highest hill and best viewpoint in the Bay of Islands. The track ends at a perfect bush-fringed bay of lapping water and moored yachts. Sweat from the exertion is washed away by the clear water. A short drive to the historic township of Russell where you can catch the passenger ferry across to Paihia, while your guide drives around to meet you. A brief stop here, the main tourist centre of the Bay of Islands, before driving north to the campsite at Tauranga Bay and welcome hot showers.
Optional and highly recommended guided kayaking (NZ$95). Using a mix of single and double sea kayaks the group launches off a private beach and kayaks along this uncluttered coastline past red volcanic headlands, island outcrops and sandy beaches. After passing through sea caves you will reach the sheltered waters of Whangaroa harbour with its mangrove forests. Lunch on a beautiful beach before returning. Stories grow and expand with our stomachs over fish and chips at the famous Mangonui Fish Shop. Those not kayaking have free time at the Tauranga beach campsite until early afternoon, ask your guide about other options. Later, head to the twin coves campsite of Matai Bay.
Another swim and snorkel, and off again; this time a fascinating drive up the endless hard packed sands of Ninety Mile Beach. Te Paki’s massive sand dunes loom and you can jump out and impress each other with out of control fat-air-antics on sand-boards. Continue onwards setting up camp at a beautiful sandy cove. Later, have the option of a cliff-top walk, or a drive, to the edge of the world at Cape Reinga where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea. Watch the sun setting in the western sky from this (almost) northern tip of New Zealand.
Set off to explore a less visited part of the cape’s coastline. Crossing Te Paki Station leads you to the surreal iron stained sand dunes of Cape Maria Van Diemen. Climbing high you will enjoy grand views of this incredible piece of New Zealand landscape. Wander along an expansive stretch of empty beach before returning for lunch. In the afternoon the group leaves the Far North and begins the journey southwards passing through Kaitaia, across the Hokianga on a car ferry, and on to the Waipoua Forest. Tane Mahuta, New Zealand’s biggest Kauri tree, makes you feel humble as you curl up in your tent. Frequently we hear the screeching call of the endangered North Island Brown Kiwi; whose numbers are sadly dwindling each year.
Walk through Trounson Kauri Park mainland island where threatened native species are preserved. Return to Auckland. 1 hour hiking Note: Tour is subject to tide times and sea conditions and may happen in a different order than stated above. Xmas peak time you may stay at different campsites on nights two and three. Far North vehicle has snorkelling gear, boogie/sand boards and barbecue. What to Take: It’s warmer up north. Thermals and warm hats are optional. Hiking shoes (rather than boots), and 2 season sleeping bags are OK too. Due to limited space in this vehicle please keep your gear to a minimum.
Tour Prices 1st Jun 2014 - 31st May 2015
Tour Prices 1st Jun 2015 - 31st May 2016
Departure Dates 2015/2016
|Oct 6th 2015 G|
|Oct 20th 2015 G|
|Nov 3rd 2015 G|
|Nov 17th 2015 G|
|Dec 1st 2015 G|
|Dec 15th 2015 G|
|Dec 29th 2015 G|
G: More than 8 spaces available FU: Between 4 & 8 spaces available AF: 4 or less spaces available F: Sorry, no space available