Over the last twenty years or so we’ve been honing our skills in adventure travel. We started with a group of three guests on a trip around New Zealand’s South Island in 1996, and have progressed to taking groups to nine different countries on four different continents. As kiwis we are famous for our hospitality, we love welcoming people, taking care of people, and sharing in experiences with people. When our guests finally arrive in New Zealand, they’ll often pop into our office in Queenstown mid-trip, because like us, friendships are so important to them. We love being able to put a face to the voice we hear on the phone before the trip!
That hospitality, and the sharing of experiences with new visitors to any of the countries we travel in, are the reasons we love doing what we do. And it’s guests like Andrea Rudolph (recently returned from New Zealand adventures) who help us to remember that: ‘Not only was the scenery breathtaking and the tour well run but our fun loving adventurous group made it even more special. Even the experienced travelers in our group felt it was the best tour they had ever been on. It’s been difficult to settle back into my ’normal’ life after such a life-changing experience.’
We find that guests on our adventures, because they always share common interests (adventure being just one!) really buy in to this idea that sharing the experience makes it so much more powerful. The willingness to be honest and open with one another about your life, and your achievements, and even your regrets, adds another dimension to the experience in a way that we find difficult to put in to words.
Andrea wrote some lovely comments about her South Island Explorer trip the ‘Kiwi’. On top of that she also took the time to write an awesome poetic review about the trip, here’s some of our favourite bits:
Active Adventures had everything planned
For a ‘better than average’ trip to Kiwi land
Our fearless leaders, Rachel and Koru
In every instance knew what to do
prepped us on schedules and weather every day
And tried hard to make us listen to what they’d say.
Koru told myths of Maoris and war
His tales were creative and never a bore
He showed us plants like the silver fern
This land is so varied there’s a lot to learn.
The Hector’s dolphins near the beach were rare
They amazed us by doing flips in the air
At the wildlife center we saw kiwis being fed
And heard how they’re kept safe till they’re bred.
Sharing toilets and co-ed showers was also a delight
We ran through the hills, and drank lots of wine
Singing old songs and jingles, it was divine.
New Zealand is perfect except for the sandflies
Which bite all our legs as they drop from the skies
They even dare follow us into the van
Where we smash them on windows as fast as we can.
I tried really hard to write something clever
To celebrate our group and the best trip ever
Though our journey is over and we’re all back home
We can laugh and remember when we read this poem.
So when our guests return home, from adventures in New Zealand, South America, Nepal, or Europe, they return home with a warm fuzzy feeling that never wears off. And it’s that warm fuzzy feeling, and those unforgettable moments that so often lead to our guests travelling with us again: ‘I’ve spent lots of time researching my next trips. I will definitely go on the Iguana trip. and I will definitely keep checking your website for new trips I can take in the next several years.’ And when those guests take the time to write such amazing comments as the ones Andrea sent us, that warm fuzzy feeling is transferred to everyone involved with Active Adventures, and reminds us all why we love this job.