General Information on Hiking Safaris

Safety and our Guides

An exceptional guide can often make the difference between a holiday of a lifetime and only an average tour. This is why we work hard to ensure we employ only the finest guides. Our top-quality professionals emanate from a variety of qualifications. All our hiking guides have wide-ranging outdoor and hiking experience, as well as a passion for New Zealand's wild and stunning backcountry. Our guides will make certain that your time with us is really inspirational, a massive amount of fun and safe. All guides are proficient in Mountain Safety First Aid. Please be gentle with your guide - it is difficult to find good guides!

Cooking and Food

Our first stop after we start is generally the supermarket where everybody assists with purchasing food for the following few days. Everyone takes part in the preparation and cooking of meals: pasta, barbecues, curries, stir-fries, salads, pancakes, hangi...Vegetarian meals are not a problem. While you are on overnight tramps, the group will generally eat rice and pasta meals. We always have a lot of hiking food, such as raisins, peanuts, chocolate and biscuits. We carry a complete range of cooking equipment in the vehicle; comprising gas burners, frying pans, woks and billies. The group will bring a portable stove when we go on an overnight hike.

Accommodation

We use a range of accommodation on our Hiking Safaris, including camping, cabins, backcountry huts, hostels and cribs (summer house). You will mostly camp if the weather is fine, so you get to appreciate the outdoors more. In less pleasant weather your guide will organize lodgings for the group.

Camping - We will camp as much as possible in a variety of settings; on the beach, beneath natural rock overhangs, conventional camping areas with showers and Department of Conservation campgrounds. We provide you with therm-a-rest sleeping mats and 2-person hiking tents to share. If fires are allowed you might have a small campfire.

Huts – Department of Conservation has excellent huts, which your guide will make use of. These huts come equipped with mattresses, an outside toilet and running water. For cooking we bring a portable stove. As we do not have sole rights to huts and so must share with other trekkers. Please be courteous to other hut users.

Cabins/Cribs - When the weather is bad your guide will look for other lodgings. This can be anything that is obtainable, from a cabin at a camping area, to a private crib (summer house).

Whilst hiking, you must be willing to go for three days (occasionally longer) without a hot shower. There is always a stream or lake for you to wash in. Some campgrounds or huts have natural hot pools!

Transportation

You will travel in a 10 or 12 seat minivan towing a trailer containing your baggage and camping gear. All vehicles have a public address system, and a stereo with a selection of music. It also contains a variety of natural history reference books. The typical amount of driving each day is about 2-3 hours and there will be a variety of roads – both sealed and unsealed. Your guide will frequently stop the vehicle so you can take photographs. Some nights you will camp beside the vehicle.

What to Bring

The weather in New Zealand is unpredictable, particularly in the mountains, and we can experience very cold weather at any time of year. Our camps and huts vary in altitude from sea level to over 1000 metres. Jeans are not suitable for hiking. It is essential to have warm clothes.

Essential Items

  • hiking boots (not shoes)
  • backpack (at least 60 litres capacity)
  • backpack liner (plastic bag)
  • 3-season sleeping bag
  • waterproof raincoat (gore-tex or similar)
  • warm fleece/wool jersey (not cotton)
  • shorts for hiking
  • polypro/thermals - top & long-johns
  • 3 pairs of socks (they get wet)
  • warm hat or balaclava
  • sunscreen and sunglasses
  • drink bottle (1 litre)
  • spare shoes or sandals
  • flashlight/head lamp
  • insect repellent (sandflies like foreign blood)
  • spare set of clothes
  • Optional items: Gaiters, binoculars, gloves/mittens, earplugs, walking poles, camera.

We supply: Tents, therm-a-rest sleeping mat, cooking equipment, plates and cutlery, maps, safety equipment and first aid kit.

Baggage: We permit room for 120 litres per person (which is the same as one large pack, plus one day pack). You might be asked to forward surplus baggage if you surpass this. Any gear you do not require whilst hiking can be locked in the van. We accept no responsibility for security of your belongings. We highly recommend Travel Insurance.

Equipment Rental

We have high quality hiking gear which you can rent for our Hiking Safaris. Please book hire gear when you reserve your trip. Applications for rental equipment must be made at least 5 days before the date of departure. Cancellation of equipment hire must also take place at least 5 days prior to departure, or no refund will be made.

Hire gear

2-6 day trip (NZ$)

7-11 day trip (NZ$)

Backpack (60 litre)

$30

$50

Sleeping bag

$20

$50

Fleece jacket

$20

$20

Thermal top & longjohns

$20

$20

Raincoat

$20

$40

Full set (all of above)

$90

$140

Gaiters

$20

$20

Walking pole

$20

$20 each

Transportation

You will travel in a 10 or 12 seat minivan towing a trailer containing your baggage and camping gear. All vehicles have a public address system, and a stereo with a selection of music. It also contains a variety of natural history reference books. The typical amount of driving each day is about 2-3 hours and there will be a variety of roads – both sealed and unsealed. Your guide will frequently stop the vehicle so you can take photographs. Some nights you will camp beside the vehicle.

Cooking and Food

Our first stop after we start is generally the supermarket where everybody assists with purchasing food for the following few days. Everyone takes part in the preparation and cooking of meals: pasta, barbecues, curries, stir-fries, salads, pancakes, hangi...Vegetarian meals are not a problem. While you are on overnight tramps, the group will generally eat rice and pasta meals. We always have a lot of hiking food, such as raisins, peanuts, chocolate and biscuits. We carry a complete range of cooking equipment in the vehicle; comprising gas burners, frying pans, woks and billies. The group will bring a portable stove when we go on an overnight hike.

Accommodation

We use a range of accommodation on our Hiking Safaris, including camping, cabins, backcountry huts, hostels and cribs (summer house). You will mostly camp if the weather is fine, so you get to appreciate the outdoors more. In less pleasant weather your guide will organize lodgings for the group.

Camping

We will camp as much as possible in a variety of settings; on the beach, beneath natural rock overhangs, conventional camping areas with showers and Department of Conservation campgrounds. We provide you with therm-a-rest sleeping mats and 2-person hiking tents to share. If fires are allowed you might have a small campfire.

Huts

Department of Conservation has excellent huts, which your guide will make use of. These huts come equipped with mattresses, an outside toilet and running water. For cooking we bring a portable stove. As we do not have sole rights to huts and so must share with other trekkers. Please be courteous to other hut users.

Cabins/Cribs 

When the weather is bad your guide will look for other lodgings. This can be anything that is obtainable, from a cabin at a camping area, to a private crib (summer house).

Whilst hiking, you must be willing to go for three days (occasionally longer) without a hot shower. There is always a stream or lake for you to wash in. Some campgrounds or huts have natural hot pools!