Kiwi Hospitality and the New Zealand Way

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By Claire Todd

7 minute read

Get hold of your free New Zealand Trails brochure here

New Zealand is famous for many things including, but not limited to, our rugby team, our beautiful landscape, our hiking trails, our friendly rivalry with Australia and the number of sheep here (about 28 million in case you were wondering). But as a nation, New Zealanders, or Kiwis as we’re commonly referred to, are also known for the unique style of hospitality that we extend to visitors from near and far, yes even to Australians! So, what is it about Kiwi hospitality that sets us apart and what sort of welcome can you look forward to when you join us on a New Zealand Trails trip?

A warm welcome

‘Manaakitanga’ is the Maori word for hospitality and its meaning includes kindness, generosity and support. It’s the process of showing respect and care for guests in our home and visitors to our country. Most Kiwis embody this without even realising it, welcoming strangers and warmly inviting them to share New Zealand with us. Our diverse population of 4.79 million people is a cultural melting pot of different ethnicities and backgrounds and we enjoy learning about other cultures as well as embracing our own.

Right from the get-go, you’ll probably notice that Kiwis are very laid-back and informal. Our idea of dressing up involves donning our ‘good’ jandals and maybe waving an iron somewhere near a clean t-shirt. More often than not we won’t RSVP (not that anyone sent an invite in the first place of course), we just show up with a bottle of wine and something to cook on the BBQ. No worries!

A classic Kiwi BBQ

The art of the BBQ is strong with our super-guides.

This easy-going attitude extends through most of what we do, including how we treat visitors to our shores. That’s not to say that we don’t care, we do! We want our guests to feel warmly welcomed and right at home - relaxed, comfortable and part of the family.

Most Kiwis you meet will be more than happy to give you directions if you’re lost and some will even give you a lift. If you’re after a restaurant recommendation, we’ll happily share our favourites and we’re always ready with a local’s tip for the best hiking tracks and trails around. If you need a place to stay in a pinch, Kiwis will offer up an obliging couch or tent in the backyard and if your cat is stuck up a tree, we’re the first ones there with a ladder!

As a small country, we often take for granted our peaceful and safe environment (New Zealand is the second safest place in the world according to the 2018 Global Peace Index) and whilst we’re not perfect, we’re incredibly lucky to call New Zealand home. There’s a real sense of trust and friendship between people here and our ‘no worries’ outlook means that we’ll often go out of our way to help someone or make them feel welcome.

The team here at New Zealand Trails are immensely proud of our country and we love nothing more than sharing it with travellers from around the globe. We thrive on offering a warm welcome; Kiwi hospitality is at the heart of everything we do, so much so that we’ve recently been recognised with a Gold Standard Qualmark award. So, what can you expect from your Trails trip welcome and the hospitality you’ll receive whilst travelling with us?

New Zealand Trails hospitality – a cut above

From the first moment you encounter us here at Trails, our aim is for you to feel comfortable and relaxed. When you get in touch with us, you’ll be greeted by the smiling and quintessentially Kiwi Jodi, whose years of travel experience and passion for the great New Zealand outdoors is palpable in everything she does. She’ll answer any and all of your questions and will help you to plan the perfect New Zealand vacation.

Once you’re booked, Alex, our resident organisational expert, will make sure that you have everything you need to prepare for your trip – packing lists, pre-departure information, FAQs and plenty of hints and tips to make your journey easier. She can also help with your flights, insurance and any additional accommodation you need during your stay. She’s a friendly voice at the end of the phone or a quick email away and will happily assist with anything you need in the lead-up to your New Zealand trip.

Once you arrive in New Zealand, you’ll be met by your guides, or ‘super-guides’ as we like to call them, and it will soon become apparent why. A lot of work goes into recruiting the very best guides possible and we specifically look for Kiwis who have an intrinsic understanding of what outstanding hospitality involves.

New Zealand Trails super guide

You're in excellent hands with New Zealand Trails!

Trails guides are extremely experienced outdoors people with a love for New Zealand, but as well as that, they also need to be open and inviting, epitomising the very best of what it means to be a Kiwi. They’re down to earth, funny, caring and always willing to go the extra mile. Many of our guests tell us that it’s like being shown around the country by an old friend and chances are you’ll want to stay in touch afterwards.

Not only will your guides welcome you to New Zealand with big smiles and open hearts, but they’ll go above and beyond to ensure that you have the very best experience possible. They have an eye for detail and know that it’s the small things that take your enjoyment of your trip to the next level – like how you take your coffee in the morning, what little treats you enjoy (we’re looking at you Judy, we know you can’t resist Whittaker’s peanut chocolate!) and what comforts from home will make the trip that bit more special.

If you’re a keen photographer, your guides will stop off at secret spots so you can capture a memorable image. If you love wildlife, they’ll point out that rare bird warbling in the treetops. They’ll hike with you at your pace and regale you with their historical and cultural knowledge. And as the sun sets behind the mountains after another delightful day of exploring, you’ll enjoy a delicious meal together as you recall your adventures.

We don’t want to give away too much of the magic that goes into a Trails trip as that would spoil the surprise, but safe to say you’ll feel included and be treated as an individual. We know that no two travellers are alike, so we tailor the experience to ensure that yours is as unique as you are. With two Kiwi guides on each trip, we make sure that everyone sees what they want to see, hikes at a pace that suits them and makes the most of their time in New Zealand.

Cuisine and accommodation

When travelling overseas, aspects such as what you eat and where you stay can make the difference between a good trip and a truly remarkable experience. An important part of our trips is the cuisine – traditional Kiwi fare is hearty, healthy and delicious and we want our guests to enjoy the best of what’s on offer. Sharing a meal is one of life’s simple pleasures and as a nation, we love eating together, whether it’s a backyard BBQ with friends, a family get-together or a chance to get to know new people, we appreciate the tasty food and camaraderie on offer.

Depending on which trip you choose, you’ll eat out in a wide variety of excellent restaurants and cafes or enjoy fresh home-cooked meals that showcase the finest local produce. You’ll be able to taste New Zealand’s wines and craft beers, as well as experience our world-renowned coffee culture. As you enjoy your gourmet picnic lunch, sip your perfectly-made flat white or sample a rich pinot noir, you’ll understand why food and drink is a key part of Kiwi hospitality and our trips.

Plated dinner at Milford Sound

Whether you're dining in restaurants on your trip or enjoying awesome meals cooked by our guides, every meal is an occasion!

As for accommodation, we know that you need a comfortable place to rest your head at the end of the day, so we’ve hand-picked a selection of lodgings, chosen for their incredible views, charm and amenities. A lot of the places we stay are sort of off-the-beaten-track, but each one provides all the comforts of home, so even when you’re in the beautiful middle of nowhere, you’ll feel relaxed and well taken care of. For a taste of what you can look forward to, check out this blog on three of the incredible places we stay.

No need for post-holiday blues!

Once our guests have departed for home, they may be gone but they’re certainly not forgotten. We take the time to listen to feedback and love hearing from travellers about the highlights of their adventure, as well as areas in which we can make things even better. It’s a great opportunity for guests to reflect on their experiences and relive the moments which made it unique.

You might have noticed during your trip that our guides take photos throughout the journey; they capture all the fun, as well as the outstanding views. At the end of your trip, we’ll send you a link to an online gallery of these photographs for you to share with friends and meander through memories of your vacation. No doubt you’ll have your own collection of images from your time in New Zealand, but flicking through some new photos is a great way to extend the holiday feeling to see you through the first few weeks back to normality after a big trip.

Hot tub at Ohau Quarters

Your trip may only be a week or two long, but the memories will last a lifetime.

See you in New Zealand!

“Nau mai! Nau mai!” meaning “Welcome! Welcome!” in Maori - we can’t wait to see you here in New Zealand and we look forward to extending the warmest of welcomes to you on your New Zealand Trails trip. We’d love to help you plan your vacation, so when you’re ready just give us a call or flick us an email, Jodi will be delighted to hear from you.

For more information on our five different multi-day, all-inclusive, guided trips, you can also request a copy of our brochure here.


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