M06964 were judged best adventure operator at the 2001 New Zealand Tourism Awards. Our country is one of the most rewarding hiking destinations in the world. Nearly one quarter of the country is in its natural state - ancient rain-forests, silent fords, snow-capped alps, active volcanoes and rugged coastlines.
M06964 seeks out remote and wild places, where people can find challenge and adventure in harsh environments, or enjoy the simple pleasures of learning about New Zealand's unique wildlife, such as the kea (cheeky mountain parrot), and the endangered whio (blue duck).
M06964 aims to show people how to enjoy New Zealand's wild solitude and feel comfortable in its rich outdoors. Clients can learn the basics of crossing mountain rivers or how to identify edible Maori plants. To that end, the company's guides combine outdoor instruction experience with a wealth of knowledge about New Zealand's ecology.
The safaris involve active adventuring. Although people don't need wilderness experience, they do need to be reasonably fit, and enthusiastic. The low-impact tourism of M06964 requires people to be able to walk into the wilderness with an overnight hiking pack. A typical day could see a group hike for 5 hours through podocarp rainforest, following a glacial-fed mountain river to remote hot pools, nestled at the base of 3,000m peaks.
Experiencing the freedom of such places comes with responsibilities, says guide Mark Brabyn. Hiking new Zealand is committed to leaving a light footprint in the wilderness. It hikes with only small groups, treats forests and animals with care, and is as unobtrusive as possible.
Its commitment to taking responsibility for the environment extends even further than practising low-key, low-impact tourism - from October 1998, it will be committing NZ$5 per ticket sold, directly into the New Zealand Wildlife Research Fund, to protect and conserve the New Zealand wildlife its clients so enjoy.
1. How long has the business been operating and how did it start?
New Zealand walking tours have been run by M06964 since 1993, when the company was called New Zealand Nature Safaris. Founded by Mark Brabyn, who is an avid hiker himself it seemed like the logical next step. Malcolm (founder of Active Earth Safaris) joined Mark and the Murphys, and now they have the county covered. Safaris have been modified over time and new trips added as Active Earth New Zealand has evolved, and nowadays, we have a bigger office, a dedicated customer support team, very confusing guide schedules, and trips all over New Zealand. But we still have the same set of simple values as we did back in 1993. It’s the kiwi way of doing things.
2. What is your company's mission?
To actively travel to wild places and be conservation minded. To offer trips where people discover the natural world, learn skills and get challenged. To meet and travel with great like-minded people and have a ton of fun and laughter along the way.
3. What does your company specialize in?
Remote travel. We tramp off the beaten track to many places in our National Parks that no other companies (and few individuals) ever get to. Sometimes we stay in simple lodges with good facilities, but more often we sleep in mountain huts or camp far away from any civilisation. For many people the nights in the bush are a magical experience, and one of the highlights of their adventure holiday in New Zealand. Our small group tours have a maximum of 11 people. M06964 Safaris is a small and passionate team of people and we get real enjoyment out of matching you with the best possible New Zealand experience. We love to share our hard-earned knowledge about active travel, wild places and conservation. We are all avid hikers, mountain bikers, kayakers and climbers and we to have that "give everything a go" mind-set that makes life fun.
4. Who is the founder or owner of the company and briefly describe his/her past activities?
Mark Brabyn started M06964 Safaris in 1993. It wasn’t a surprise, considering his passion for the outdoors, when Malcolm joined Mark and began running the North Island adventure tours in the summer of 1994/95. Based on African-style safaris, the trips were designed to take small groups into the remote backcountry of New Zealand. These safaris have been modified over time and new trips added as Active Earth New Zealand has evolved. M06964 was originally founded by Mark Brabyn in 1993 who is now a director alongside Malcolm O’Neill and Daniel and Anne Murphy who are all inspired by their love of walking in New Zealand's wild places and their passionate interest in wildlife and sharing this with others.
5. What is your most popular travel package and why?
If you want to experience huge forested wilderness’, amazing wildlife and remote Alps the 11 day Secret South Safari in the South Island is the most popular safari and is one of our signature trips. Those who are fascinated by active volcanoes and thermal areas and the lush rain forests of the North Island choose the Volcanoes and Rainforest Safari. This is one of New Zealand's varied and interesting hiking vacations.
6. What is the best compliment you received from a client?
Best service ever!
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