Talk the talk and walk the walk…
If you thought it was impossible to really connect with a place and the people in a short space of time, then think again.
There’s a big difference between simply visiting a country, and really experiencing it. One of the aspects that we pride ourselves on at New Zealand Walking Tours is that our guests become totally immersed in not just our countryside, but also our culture. And what a culture it is – from the adoration of sport and all things active, to the passion for food, for wine and for all things fine. The traits so often associated with Kiwis are in many ways a reflection of the landscapes, those rough, impenetrable mountain vistas have shaped the ‘can-do’ attitude that made Sir Edmund Hillary the first person to conquer Mount Everest; the ‘give it a try’ mantra that gave birth to Peter Gordon’s internationally revered fusion cuisine. With such a smorgasbord of not just landscapes but also culture to showcase, we consider our Kiwi guides an intrinsic part of the whole experience. With a vast pool of practical knowledge at their fingertips, these skilled ambassadors for our company will take you to the most beautiful corners of our little piece of paradise, and introduce you to those at the heart of it, the New Zealanders themselves.
Our tours are in part designed to answer the question – who are these sport loving, sheep rearing people, who with a population of only 4.7 million rattle around their tranquil nook of the South Pacific? Many would put it down to the geographical isolation, along with the rugged countryside, that has created a nation of fiercely innovative locals. The dogged desire to make a mark, and the love of a challenge, has not just helped New Zealand with its international sporting domination, but also with its commercial achievements. Our tours feature the vineyards of both the North and South Islands – most importantly, these are areas of outstanding natural beauty, but in many ways the New Zealand wine making industry is a classic case of success against the odds. Overcoming adverse conditions, and harnessing terrain that is in some areas nothing short of brutal, winemakers in New Zealand have battled the elements and succeeded in producing some of the finest vintages in the southern hemisphere. With the diverse and complex sweet soils being in part the essential components that go towards the production of a well-balanced wine, these vineyards are in some of the most visually stunning parts of the country. When it comes to the wow factor, not much beats sitting, Pinot Gris in hand, with the sun beating down as you gaze from the cliff top outside a vineyard in Waiheke Island, looking out across the sparkling waters of the Auckland harbour. Conversely you could choose to explore the mountainous landscapes of Central Otago, where your wine will be served from the cellar door; your backdrop here the dramatic sight of the snowcapped peaks of the Southern Alps.
These rich soils and the bountiful countryside have fostered a host of opportunities for you, as guests, to enjoy world class dining experiences. A deep rooted love of food – and going hand-in-hand with it a real passion for hosting, goes a long way to explaining the reputation we have in New Zealand for being such an incredibly welcoming nation. Friendly to a fault, we love to invite travellers into our own homes, which is why the concept of a luxury lodge has blossomed in Aotearoa. Here the lodge owners do more than just serve the food, they will also serve the story. For us at New Zealand Walking Tours, the food and the wine are an integral part of your experience. From the buckets of green-lipped mussels to the giant crayfish plucked from the ocean, to the succulent organic venison and the butter soft beef and lamb – the food you will be presented with will be fresh, plentiful and local. Oftentimes the lodges we feature are tucked in unique, wilderness locations – places that you simply would not find a hotel chain. And we love that you are meeting real, local Kiwis who will share their knowledge and tales, leaving you feeling as though you haven’t just seen the sights, but you’ve experienced the lifestyle.
Needless to say, this is also where our phenomenal guides shine. These guys are the embodiment of the intrepid Kiwi with the go-getting attitude that we pride ourselves on. For us at NZWT your guide is the perfect combination of professional, approachable, and infinitely knowledgeable. They are the ultimate blend of butler and Bear Grylls. Of course they have all the practical skills that are required, but more than that they are tasked with the job of ensuring guests don’t just have a memorable trip, instead they have the trip of a lifetime. Our faith in the team is borne out by the feedback that we receive. Praised time after time by our guests, we have countless testimonies echoing the same sentiment. In the words of Bonita Rogozinsky, a recent traveller with us from the States:
“Awesome guides & beautiful scenery, need I say more? Seeing the incredible beauty of NZ would have certainly been enough to make the trip worthwhile, but learning the history, the culture, and the traditions, from the guides – Tory and Jordie – took this amazing experience to a whole new level! This trip far exceeded my expectations and left me wanting to go back for more!!”
Bonita isn’t on her own – Evelyn Zuk, another American guest, shares her thoughts:
“It truly was the trip of a lifetime. The guide was a local Kiwi who really knew her stuff in terms of hiking and activities, culture and local legends and flora and fauna. Could not have asked for a better guide. If you’re lucky enough to get Amanda L. to guide your trip you’re in for a real treat :)”
These words just touch on the attributes of our team, but we feel it’s vitally important that this aspect of the trip is considered. Because ultimately it is for this reason that people choose to travel with us – we believe it is our people that are our point of difference. The ability of our guides to navigate the terrain, whilst simultaneously putting our guests in touch with what is at the heart of New Zealand – the New Zealanders themselves, ensures you – our guests – leave this land feeling as though you have experienced the real New Zealand.
Kia Ora is a Maori greeting commonly used in NZ
Luxury dining experience in a wilderness lodge
Expect the very best guides on your New Zealand Walking Tours trip
Sir Ed had a good handle on kiwi ingenuity!