All FAQs

All our trips are adventures and there's always a myriad of things to think about even before you pull on your boots and backpacks!   Aspiring Guides has been guiding in the New Zealand Southern Alps since 1990 - so there's not many questions that we haven't answered before.   Here's a list of some of the most frequently asked questions from our clients grouped by category:-



If you don't find your answer here - please feel free to contact us directly.

COMMON QUESTIONS

Climb

How big are the groups on our mountaineering/climbing ascents & courses?

As a general rule: the more technically advanced / higher climb grade - the lower the guide to client ratio.   All professional mountain guides contracted to Aspiring Guides are qualified professionals and operate under the terrain guidelines issued by the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association.


Our maximum group size for introductory mountaineering/ climbing courses is typically 1 guide with 4 clients. We write this as 1:4 guide ratio. Advanced courses run with two (1: 2) or three (1: 3) clients depending on the course & objectives.   As a general rule: the more technically advanced / higher climb grade - the lower the guide to client ratio.  Private instruction is also available 1:1 or 1: 2.

We can also offer instruction and mountaineering trips for larger groups but the maximum guide to client ratio stays the same - eg. 2 guides : 8 clients.   If you have a larger private group, contact us for further details.   

For ascents of most NZ peaks the guiding ratio is 1:1 or in some cases 1: 2.

Ski

How big are the groups on our ski snowboard tours & courses?

As a general rule: the more technically advanced / more complex the terrain - the lower the guide to client ratio.   All professional mountain guides contracted to Aspiring Guides are qualified professionals and operate under the terrain guidelines issued by the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association.


Our maximum group size for introductory ski/snowboard backcountry tours or courses is typically 1 guide with 6 clients. We write this as 1: 6 guide ratio.   For ski snowboard touring in glaciated terrain this ratio is 1: 4.

 

Wild Walks

How big are the groups on your Wild Walks hiking tours?

The maximum group size for all our scheduled Wild Walk hiking tours is one guide with 5 clients. We write this 1: 5.   Typically our average group size is 3 - 4 people although all our trips have guaranteed departures for just 2 people.   

However, we often cater for larger private groups and have operated hiking adventures in the NZ Southern Alps for groups of 20+ people.   Please contact us if you would like to organise a spectacular hiking adventure for your group.


 

Wild Walks

How hard are Wild Walk trips? Am I fit enough?

Each trip has a difficulty rating which can be found on that trips web page. For a definition of what we call hard moderate or easy, click here. Our small group size means that you can go at your own pace.

Climb

How hard are your climbing trips? Am I fit enough?

All our trips in the mountains are physically demanding.  It goes without saying that the fitter you are the more you will achieve and the more you will enjoy the experience.  If you are new to mountaineering here's some suggestions: - 

Endurance Fitness is the Key
In terms of fitness training for any mountaineering objective - endurance (both mental and physical) is the most important personal attribute you can have.  You need to be able to keep moving at a steady pace for 10 hours + while carrying a load and sustain this over multiple days - very few of our mountaineering trips require only one day of effort!  

For big objectives like Cook, you really need to aim to be able to climb 1000m vertical in about 3 hours.   While you will start to feel the affects of altitude at 3000m, altitude is not generally a big factor in climbing NZ mountains.  The degree of difficulty and technicality of the climb is! 

Recommended Training
One of the best ways to get "endurance" is sustained hiking under load.   Short intense work outs at the gym are only slightly helpful.  Big hikes ie., > 10 hrs on rough terrain with a pack is best.   Hiking trips of 4+ days are ideal training.   But we understand that this type of training is pretty hard to get as a city dweller.     Stair hiking with a 15+ kg and 20+ floors works remarkably well.  But nothing beats getting out of the city to national park areas and mountain trails.   Make a pre-dawn start to get used to using a head torch & give yourself a 15+kg pack weight.  Filling your  pack with water bottles is a good way to get weight into your pack.    

If you already rock climb - keep it up.  If you have not done any rock climbing, then look at doing at least a few sessions with a local climbing instructor or indoor climbing wall.  Being able to abseil & belay are important basic skills.   Practice your knots - figure of 8, clove & italian hitches and prussik knots are important - here’s a great website to help.

If you have any questions at all, please contact us - we can send you information about a full training program for mountaineering and ski touring in NZ.
 

Ski

How hard are your ski / snowboard touring trips? Am I fit enough?

Technical Skiing/ Boarding Ability
For any group ski / snowboard backcountry tour or course you need to be an intermediate or advanced level skier or boarder.  You are expected to have had experience skiing / riding off trail ("off-piste") and away from groomed runs at resorts.    You don't have to be an expert skier or rider but you do need to competently control your skis or board on a wide variation of terrain from gentle slopes to steep coloirs and exposed ridgelines and in snow conditions that can vary widely from hard icy conditions to deep heavy powder. 


Unless you are travelling hut to hut, generally we avoid skiing or riding with a full pack and instead base each day's skiing from one hut / or central location. So while pack weights are light on most days of your tour, your pack maybe up to 15kg on your first and last day and you need to still be able to tour uphill and control your skiing / riding downhill while wearing a full pack.  

Experience with touring equipment not essential but recommended
While it is not expected that you have experience utilising the specialised equipment for backcountry touring (ski touring bindings, skins, splitboards etc), some prior experience is an advantage.  If you wish to book on a multi-day trip we generally recommend that you take at least one day prior to become familiar with the use your gear (whether you hire or own). Booking a 1 day - Treble Cone Backcountry Day with us is often a great idea!

If you are a private group or booking a 1:1 privately guided trip - your guide can handle any variety of ski level or experience - even if you would rate yourself as a beginner skier! 

Fitness for Ski / Snowboard Backcountry Touring
There are no ski lifts in the backcountry!   Touring is 80% uphill with the incentive of an untracked exhilerating ride to the bottom for the remaining 20%.    

Endurance Fitness is crucial - both mental and physical.   You need to be able to keep moving at a steady pace for 6 - 10 hours while carrying and skiing with a load. And you must be able to sustain this effort over multiple days - very few of our backcountry ski / snowboarding trips require only one day of effort!

One of the best ways to get "endurance" is sustained hiking under load.   Short intense work outs at the gym are only slightly helpful.  Big hikes ie., > 10 hrs on rough terrain with a pack is best.   Long days cross country skiing and hiking trips of 4+ days are ideal training.   But we understand that this type of training is pretty hard to get as a city dweller.     Stair hiking with a 15+ kg and 20+ floors works remarkably well.  But nothing beats getting out of the city to national park areas and mountain trails whenever you can.   

If you have any questions at all, please contact us - we can send you information about a full training program for ski / snowboard touring in NZ.







 

Climb

How heavy is my pack for a mountaineering trip?

Most of our mountaineering asents & courses are based from a hut or camp. Most days there is only need for lunch, snacks, water, camera, jacket & tools. When relocating or walking out, you will need to carry 15-20kg which includes personal gear and some food.

Do not bring an additional "day pack" . Only one pack is required for your trip and once items like sleeping gear and personal items are emptied out at your base location you use your pack straps to reduce the volume/size of your pack for each day's mountaineering excursion.

For most mountaineering trips we recommend a 60 litre capacity pack with gear loops for ice-axe & crampons.   Resist the temptation to fill that space to capacity.  Light is right.  Your endurance and performance over a long trip can be severly affected if you are carrying "too much stuff".   Your guide will be checking every item in your pack before you leave the office on your trip.

Ski

How heavy is my pack for a ski touring trip?

Generally our winter trips are based from a hut. Most days there is only need for lunch, snacks, water, camera, jacket. When relocating or touring out, you may need to carry 10-15kg which includes personal gear and some food. 

Wild Walks

How heavy is my pack for a Wild Walk trip?

You will only need to carry your own personal clothing and gear: no tents, food or cooking supplies. See each trip description for particular trips.

Wild Walks

What makes the Gillespie-Rabbit Pass Wild Walk NZ's hardest guided hike?

Basically it's the combination of 3 factors which make this guided hike so challenging.

  1. Length of trip.   Quite simply - 8 days is a long time to sustain the level of physical exertion required for this trip.   You need to have excellent endurance (both physical & mental) to perform well on this trek.
  2. Terrain.   The tracks are rough and unformed with washouts, boulders and tree roots to negotiate.  In many places you will be using your hands to negotiate slippery or steep climbs.  Rivers are for the most part unbridged, and numerous crossings are required.
  3. Discomfort levels.  There are no "huts with hairdryers" on this trip.  Your shower is the crystal clear waters of the lakes & streams you will pass.  Accommodation is shared bunk style backcountry hut with no lights or running water & long drop toilets or small camping tents and sleeping mats.  Your boots will be wet from multiple river crossings.

But the Reward?

  • Access to some of NZ's most remote and spectacular backcountry terrain.  Unlike the NZ "Great Walks"   - this is not a trip you will feel you could have done yourself!
  • Experiencing true NZ wilderness. On most trips you will have days where you will not see another person.
  • Pushing your endurance to new levels but with the safety & re-assurance of experienced hiking guides to cross rivers & to negotiate steep & exposed terrain
  • Meeting other enthusiastic people who love the wilderness as much as you do.
  • Enjoying a well deserved beverage with us on our office deck overlooking Lake Wanaka at the end of the trip!

Wild Walks

What do you mean by rough and unformed tracks?

Rough and unformed tracks can be created simply by infrequent foot traffic and have not been improved, like many Great Walk tracks, to make the going easier. Even on our easier Wild Walks there may be streams to cross (resulting in wet boots), tree roots, slips and washouts, fallen trees or steeper track sections to negotiate.

On our more demanding treks (such as Rabbit Pass and the Adelaide Cirque) there may not be any evidence that people have travelled through previously as you make your way through tussock and scrub and over loose rock scree. Sometimes there is significant exposure to falling and hikers need to be good on their feet to use small footholds and ledges. On steeper sections you will be using your hands. On these challenging treks, the route can also follow features rather than a track such as wet or dry river beds where there will be slippery sections and boulders of all sizes to negotiate.  Rivers are for the most part unbridged, and numerous crossings may be required.Travelling on foot on rough terrain requires a lot of concentration, can be tiring and slow going. Despite a modest distance, the journey can take some time, but it is ultimately rewarding!

Ski

How long are your backcountry ski / snowboard trips for?

We have trips from 1 day to 5 days or longer. See the descriptions of individual trips on our website.

Climb Ski Wild Walks

How long do the trips last?

We can offer our guiding services for just a day of rock climbing, hiking or ski touring right through to a multi-week mountaineering, hiking or ski touring expedition in Peru and beyond.  

In NZ most of our climbing, skiing & hiking trips are typically 3 to 12 days. See our website for a comprehensive list of trips available.  

Climb Ski Wild Walks

I am travelling on my own. Can I still book as a single?

Most of our mountaineering ascents are conducted on a 1:1 basis, so no problem there.

For all other group climbing, skiing or WildWalks hiking trips, we have a 2 person minimum number to operate a trip.   If you are travelling on your own, try to organise your itinerary to match up with the dates scheduled for the course or trip listed on our website.  

If you can't join a trip on our scheduled dates: then you have two options:-

  1. Book a private 1:1 trip for any dates you wish or 
  2. We can book you as a single and we will try to match others to your dates. If we cannot find at least one other person for the dates you want, one month before the start date we will give you a full refund or offer you an alternative trip 1:1 for a fewer number of days. 

Climb Ski Wild Walks

What do we eat? I have a special diet, is this OK?

One thing we hear every trip is "the food was great! I never knew it was possible to eat so well on a climbing/ skiing/ hiking trip".  We put a lot of work into supplying you with wholesome meals with a variety of healthy and tasty ingredients and snacks catering to common preferences.  

Where possible, we provide fresh vegetables and real coffee. However, there will always be limitations when cooking in an alpine or wilderness environment.  Meals like salads are limited or not possible to provide.     Some trips/courses are not recommended for people with very restrictive or complex dietary requirements.  If you do have a restrictive eating regime we ask that you disclose this to us at the time of booking and we may ask you to provide us with an advance copy of what you would typically eat on a wilderness trip.

For highly specialised diets requiring special food purchases - we may ask that you attend our offices on the day before your trip is due to commence.  If you are joining a scheduled group that doesn't have food requirements, we may ask you to shop & pay for some of your preferred dietary requirements.   You will also be required to carry this food and your guide may ask you to assist in the preparation of any separate meals required for you individually.   

Climb Ski Wild Walks

What equipment do I need for a trip?

At the end of every trip description on our website, we provide detailed information about the equipment required for the trip. Typically this includes a checklist which you can use to "tick off" your gear, a document giving more detailed explanations as well as some of our best "guide tips" and a video to visually explain some of the terminology.

For our climbing and skiing trips we have 3 categories of equipment:-

  • Compulsory items - this is equipment you must have with you. You can either purchase or hire depending on the item.
  • Trip Dependent - these are items that maybe needed but will depend on the venue for the trip and prevailing conditions.  Most times this cannot be decided ahead of time.   Our best advice is that if you already own the items listed in the trip dependent section & you can fit in your pack then bring them along.   Things like your own rock shoes and snow goggles are good things to bring - but disposable eating utensils can easily be obtained in Wanaka.
  • Optional - these are items which you can choose to bring or leave behind. But we think you should at least bring your camera!!   Your trip will to some of the most breathtaking locations on the planet!!   
 

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about the suitability of equipment to avoid purchasing or carrying unncecessary equipment.

Climb

What time of year do your mountaineering trips run?

Mountaineering
The summer mountaineering season in NZ is generally from late October to early May.  The peak season for mountaineering is Nov - Jan each year.

The NZ season for Winter ice-climbing is very short - typically from late June to early August.  

Mountaineering during the winter months from May - October is highly variable and while still possible all trips can be affected by adverse mountain & weather conditions.   For this reason we do not "schedule" mountaineering trips over the winter months.  However, if you have a particular objective in mind, please do not hesitate to contact us for further details.
 

Ski

What time of year do your ski snowboard backcountry trips run?

Most of our trips run from June to October. Check the trip page for the trip you are interested in for scheduled dates.

Ski / Snowboard Touring  & Snowshoeing
The NZ ski season typically commences late June and ends early October, however backcountry touring is at its peak in Sept - late October.

 

Wild Walks

Where do we meet you for our Wild Walk?

Our offices are located at 58 McDougall St, Wanaka.  We are a 10-15 minute walk from the centre of town..

Unless otherwise instructed, your guide will meet you at 4.30pm on afternoon of the day before the start of your Wild Walk.  If you need pick-up from your accommodation, please let us know.    At this meeting your gear is checked and final details of your trip are discussed. There will be time for last minute gear purchases if required.

Here's a google map of our office location.
 

Climb Ski

Where do we meet?

Our offices are at 58 McDougall St, Wanaka, a 10-15 minute walk from the centre of town. Unless otherwise instructed, your guide will meet you at 8.30am on the morning of Day 1 of your trip. We will confirm this meeting at the time of booking. If you require pick up from your accommodation, please let us know.  At this meeting your gear is checked and the final details of your trip are discussed. There will be time for last minute purchases if required.

Here's a google map of our office location.

Climb

Why helicopter in & out?

MAXIMISE YOUR TIME ICE-CLIMBING

Four days is not that long to perfect your ice-climbing technique and the daylight hours in the NZ winter are short.  By using helicopter to fly in & out of our private hut you will maximise your time climbing - you won't waste a day just hiking.    Other NZ ice-climbing locations require a 2 - 3 hour drive & then up to a 5 hour hike  (often through deep snow) to access or egress from the ice-climbing location.  Our helicopter base in Wanaka is a short 15 - 20 minute drive and you are lifted into the ice face early morning  on your first day and out again in the late afternoon on your last day.  

WHAT IF's

Climb Ski

How does the Aspiring Guides Weather Contingency work?

Aspiring Guides is the only NZ Guiding Company that offers this bonus to its clients. You can defer your trip for one day and not waste any precious guiding time. You will start the next day with the full number of days allocated for the trip still available.   Effectively your guide is holding themselves available for 1 extra day of guiding at no extra charge.


While one day may not be the cure for all bad weather situations, sometimes a one day delay at the start of your trip can make all the difference.   If you want to take advantage of this bonus, make sure you allow for this extra day in your itinerary.

The bonus one day weather contingency applies to all Summer Ascent based trips, any Winter trips (whether ascent, course, ski tour or Wildwalk) and also summer Wild Walk: NZ Glacier Hiking  . The Weather Contingency does not apply to any Summer Climbing Courses.  As you will appreciate - no matter what the weather there is always mountaineering skills you can learn indoors.

But please note:
The one day Weather Contingency applies only to the start date of your trip. This means your trip could start a day later if your guide recommends and you agree to choose this option. It is important to understand that once a trip begins no weather contingency days are included. There are no refunds for bad weather during the trip.

Ski

What about insurance for my backcountry ski/ snowboard trip?

Good travel insurance is essential. In addition to medical/accident cover we highly recommend purchasing travel cancellation insurance. In some instances, our clients have injured themselves in totally unrelated accidents or had a family emergency which has meant that they have had to cancel their trips at short notice. Unfortunately we were unable to resell their places and had to insist on our cancellation policy. A bad situation for everyone! But it’s also one that can be avoided with relatively cheap travel insurance. You may have your own preferred travel insurer. If not, here are some suggestions.
We do not recommend any company over any other.

 
 
 

Climb

What about insurance for my mountaineering/climbing trip?

Good travel insurance is essential. In addition to medical/accident cover we highly recommend purchasing travel cancellation insurance. In some instances, our clients have injured themselves in totally unrelated accidents or had a family emergency which has meant that they have had to cancel their trips at short notice. Unfortunately we were unable to resell their places and had to insist on our cancellation policy. A bad situation for everyone! But it’s also one that can be avoided with relatively cheap travel insurance. You may have your own preferred travel insurer. If not, here are some suggestions.
We do not recommend any company over any other.

               

Wild Walks

What about insurance for our WildWalks trip?

Good travel insurance is essential. In addition to medical/accident cover we highly recommend purchasing travel cancellation insurance. In some instances, our clients have injured themselves in totally unrelated accidents or had a family emergency which has meant that they have had to cancel their trips at short notice. Unfortunately we were unable to resell their places and had to insist on our cancellation policy. A bad situation for everyone! But it’s also one that can be avoided with relatively cheap travel insurance. You may have your own preferred travel insurer. If not, here are some suggestions.
We do not recommend any company over any other.

Climb Ski Wild Walks

What if I don't fit in with the group ability or otherwise?

This tends to be one of the major concerns of clients going on group trips. However, in our experience, it is very rarely a problem. Due to our small group size we largely avoid compatibility issues.

However, almost all of the trips we are offer are physically demanding.  It is very important  that you are realistic in the self-assessment of your skills and experience.    If you are not familiar with the NZ mountain and wilderness environment it is hard for you to judge how you will go.   However, our Chief Guide and all our guides are widely travelled and can give a good assessment before you join a trip whether your experience in other countries will work well for NZ conditions. 

If you are joining a group, tolerance is an important personal quality.  Tiredness from lack of fitness or sleeping in an unfamiliar environment can take its toll over a long trip.  But it is important to remember that while you might be the fastest, you might be the weakest at tying into your harness, crossing a river or making turns in deep powder snow.  Inevitably every person on a group trip will have their own unique strengths and weaknesses.    An upbeat temperament & accepting attitude go a long way in the mountains.

If you are really concerned about your compatibility with others and you have not done many group trips then we are happy to offer private options on request.

Climb Ski Wild Walks

What if someone is injured?

Obviously every situation is different.  But in the case of a serious accident the guide will notify our base and a rescue will be started usually by helicopter. Injuries are covered by the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).  ACC pays for the majority of costs incurred in evacuation and treatment of injured people. They do not cover you in case of illness. For more information concerning what ACC covers click here. We recommend that you have travel insurance that will cover you if you need to be repatriated to your home country.

Wild Walks

What if the weather is bad for my trip? Do I have to pay?

New Zealand is famous for its changeable weather. The mountains here are characterized by long sunny fine periods mixed with sudden and sometimes heavy rain or snow. Our experienced guides are well equipped to provide the best possible trip and have many years experience in judging the conditions.

Travel in bad weather is an art in itself. By using Aspiring Guides you give yourself the best chance of success dealing with whatever the weather may throw at you. 

Extreme conditions - flooding, unseasonal snowfalls, icy & windy conditions can all affect whether it is safe to cross a river or high mountain pass such as Gillespie and/or Rabbit Pass. With over 10 years guiding on the Wild Walks hiking routes, your guides are trained to make these determinations.

On the Rabbit Pass route in particular, if your guide determines that it is not safe to cross, an alternative hiking route will be utilised and all costs relating to a jetboat exit from the mountains are included.   Should the group wish to use a helicopter to exit the mountains a surcharge ranging between $210 - $430 divided equally between each person in the group is payable.

If the weather forecast is so adverse that your guide does not recommend commencing the trip as originally planned, we will offer an alternative hiking trip (s) which is not as serverly affected by weather conditions.  There are many options for excellent alternative trips accessible from Wanaka.    If any trip costs (like air or jetboat access) have not been utilised in this alternative trip they will be refunded. 

It is important that you have read and understood our booking terms and conditions. Once a trip begins there are no refunds.

Climb Ski Wild Walks

What if the weather is bad for our trip? Do I have to pay?

New Zealand is famous for its changeable weather. The mountains here are characterized by long sunny fine periods mixed with sudden and sometimes heavy rain or snow. Our experienced guides are well equipped to provide the best possible trip and have many years experience in judging the conditions.

Travel in bad weather is an art in itself. By using Aspiring Guides you give yourself the best chance of success dealing with whatever the weather may throw at you. We also offer a bonus one day weather contingency on ascents and winter trips that require helicopter access. This means your trip could start a day late if you choose to use this option.

If the weather remains adverse and prevents the trip from operating as originally planned, you have the opportunity to carry out sub alpine adventure and skill development activities. The Guide fee applies and any trip costs not utilised will be refunded.

It is important that you have read and understood our booking terms and conditions. Once a trip begins there are no refunds.

ACCOMMODATION

Climb Ski Wild Walks

Where do we stay when we are on the trip?

Depending on the trip we use a mixture of camping and mountain huts.  

Mountain & DOC Huts
For climbing and WildWalks trips the huts are public and administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC).  They provide open plan bunk sleeping & "long drop"/ composting toilet facilities. There is a communal cooking area and tank water supply. Most high alpine huts have eating utensils but no other cooking facilities and we provide stoves & fuel.  There is no plumbing or electricity and no shower or separate bathroom facilities.  No high alpine huts have heating.  It is not possible to reserve bunk space in these public huts.

Ski Touring Huts
Aspiring Guides has a number of small basic huts which are reserved for their private use. The huts are very small as they are transported by helicopter to their location and have simple bunk style sleeping, but no indoor toilet or shower facilites.  They also do not have heating.

Camping
Camping is generally in 2 or 3 man tents with sleeping on a thermarest or closed cell foam pads. For Wild Walks trips, we have some pre-placed camps which also have a communal cook tent.

Alternative accommodation out of the mountains
If your trip comes out of the mountains early (typically due to weather issues), we will provide similar shared bunk & bathroom style accommodation until the trip finishes. You may choose to stay elsewhere if you wish, but you will be responsible for settling your account directly with your chosen accommodation and we will refund an amount to the nightly charge for use hut or camping as if you had stayed in the mountains.

Climb Ski Wild Walks

Where is a good place stay before and after the trip?

Even though Wanaka is small it has excellent accommodation options for all tastes. We recommend the Wanaka Hotel for good value traditional hotel style accommodation right in the town centre. But there are also many other places that may suit your tastes and budget.   If you'd like us to make a booking for you please let us know.

Click here for a list of accommodation, and click here for map of Wanaka.

Unless you will have your own transport - we don't recommend staying at accommodation further than walking distance to our office. There are no local bus services.   We can provide a pick up & drop off service if you book this in advance but for any accommodation properties located more than 5km from the town centre there will be a $20 per trip fee (up to 5 people).

TRANSPORT AND TRAVEL INFORMATION

Climb Ski Wild Walks

Can I leave my extra bags and valuables with you while we are in the hills?

Yes, no problem.  We have storage for anything you aren't taking on your trip.  There's no electricity, internet or phone connection available on any of our trips - so it's best to leave most of your electronic gear with us for the duration of your trip.

Climb Ski Wild Walks

Can I rent a car in Wanaka?

You can rent a car in Wanaka but there is no facility for dropping it off in another town or city. To do this the vehicle must be rented in either Queenstown or a larger city such as Christchurch.

Climb Ski Wild Walks

Do I need a car?

No. Most people use shuttle bus transport from Queenstown Airport and accommodation in central Wanaka and find that they do not need to rent a car. Most cafes, restaurants and activities are within easy walking distance.

Climb Ski Wild Walks

How do I get to Wanaka?

The closest airport to us is in Queenstown.  There are regular shuttles between Wanaka and Queenstown airport (one hour drive).

For shuttle and taxi information:
Queenstown -Wanaka

Alpine Connexions
Connectabus
Yello Taxi Service
KT Sightseeing Taxi Service

Christchurch - Wanaka

InterCity Coachlines
Atomic Shuttles
Naked Bus ( don't worry you don't have to take your clothes off to use this service!!)

Ski Wild Walks

What do I need to bring for clothing and equipment?

On most trips all you need is your personal clothing and a good pair of hiking boots. On each trip page you find information on what is needed for that trip. We can usually supply everything you need in the way of sleeping bags and back packs if you are trying to keep the weight down for your international flights.

Climb Ski Wild Walks

Where can I leave my car?

While free long term parking is available in Wanaka, we cannot provide off-street secure parking for your vehicle while you are on a trip. You should ensure that any valuables are stored with us in our office.   If you are returning to the same Wanaka accommodation after your trip it is often worth asking if they are happy for you to leave your vehicle with them. 

Climb Ski Wild Walks

Where is the Aspiring Guides located?

Aspiring Guides is based from the small & scenically beautiful town of Wanaka. Situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka, on the South Island of New Zealand, Wanaka is the gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park - a World Heritage Area.

Wanaka is a 1 hour drive from Queenstown (which has an international airport for flights from Australia), 5 hours from Christchurch (with an international airport) and 3 hours from Dunedin. Wanaka has ample accommodation to suit all budget types and a wide range of outdoor sports stores necessary to equip you for a mountaineering, skiing or hiking trip with us. 

 

BOOKING

Climb Ski Wild Walks

How do I book a trip? How do I know if the dates I want are available?

You can book directly through our website using our online booking form.

Please make sure you include details of the trip you want to book and the dates that you prefer.

Provided that we have minimum numbers (ie., generally 2 persons) we will run all trips listed on our website.  If you have dates that don't match our scheduled dates or you want to check whether a particular trip or course is running - please contact us

 

We cannot confirm your place on any scheduled group trip or your guide for any 1:1 trip until we receive your payment of a NZ$500 deposit.  The balance of the trip price is due 60 days before the start of your trip.  If you are booking within 60 days of the trip start date then the full trip price is payable to confirm your booking. 

All bookings are subject to the our company Terms & Conditions relating to cancellation & liability issues.  Please make sure your read our Terms & Conditions carefully before booking your trip with us as you will be asked to confirm that you have read and agreed to them before your booking is finalised with us. 

Climb Ski Wild Walks

How do I pay?

We offer a number of different options for you to make payment for your trip:-

  • Web-based Foreign Exchange Dealers
  • Bank Transfer - NZ Domestic & International
  • Credit Card - Visa, Mastercard & AMEX

 

Click here for a full list of payment options and details.

Climb Ski Wild Walks

How much do trips cost?

See each individual trip descriptions for any trip or courses. All prices are in New Zealand Dollars and include the government 15% Goods & Services Tax (GST).
There is a currency converter on all trip pages to give you an estimate of the trip price in your own currency.

Climb Ski Wild Walks

What happens after I pay my deposit?

Your deposit confirms your trip. We then respond by emailing you a booking confirmation.  

Your trip balance is due 60 days before your trip commences. We will contact you to arrange final payment.

Approximately 4 weeks before we are due to meet you we contact you again to give final trip details. This email will also prompt you for any outstanding paperwork and ask you for a copy of your equipment list, your travel information, and accommodation booking here in Wanaka, etc.

Climb Ski Wild Walks

What is included in the price?

Generally the price includes all meals and snacks, your qualified and friendly guide, park fees, Goods and Services Tax, hut fees and communications with Aspiring Guides Operations base. Most technical equipment is included but transport costs like vehicle, jetboat, helicopter and/or air plane costs are not always included and vary with individual trips. See each individual trip description to see what is included or excluded from the price.

Wild Walks

What time of year do Wild Walks trips run?

Wild Walks - Hiking

We can provide hiking trips almost year round in New Zealand. 

Our Summer Wild Walks Hiking season is from November to April each year.   
In Winter - our snowshoe and glacier hiking trips run from July - November each year.

We generally do not schedule group hiking trips in May & June.  This is typically due to the lack of daylight hours and low demand for trips in these months.  However, if you have a private group and wish to hike during these months - please contact us with your requirements.

Alpine Summit Week - Yes I would recommend this trip. Main reason is the flexibility shown by Aritza as to our capabilities and goals. All our climbing friends are similar to us and have rarely used a guide in the mountains so an outfit that recognises this and adapts things a little is really important to us. Even little things like Aritza being happy for us to lead on the sport routes on the final day - I have heard many outfits absolutely not allowing such a thing.

Simon Laker, UK

"It was an awesome day.  Tim lead up a gully maybe only 10-15m in length at the start of the climb on Dixon.  That climb up the gully was awesome, something I haven't experienced before! Tim pushed me out of my comfort zone a few times which afterwards was very satisfying. As a punter, It's possible to climb in an amazing part of the world.  You can push yourself (or be pushed) and be really satisfied with the outcome.  

I know the safety of climbers is paramount with Aspiring Guides and Tim displayed all the safety aspects I could have hoped for which is always reassuring.

I also know that the back up support from the guys in the office will ensure a trip will run smoothly. Last minute travel and accommodation changes help to make these trips special. "

James Spaile, Australia

"Andrea is an AMAZING AND REAL MOUNTAINEERING GUIDE from his soul. Certainly he's an inspiration for me and he was really patient when I was not fast enough learning and applying what he was teaching. Every second was perfect since the begining! The course really helps to achieve the mountaineering skills a person needs to climb with the proper knowledge in every aspect involved area. A spectacular experience!" 

Alejandra, February 2017

The impression given of the level of difficulty was very accurate. It was just right for me - sometimes demanding but not exhausting. The precautions on the potentially dangerous areas were absolutely great - I never felt at risk. George was very hands-off at other times but we were experienced walkers, so I think he judged it pretty well. I'd highly recommended this Wild Walk to anyone who's after a spectacular walk and fit enough to do it. The best tramp in NZ? Would do it again in a heartbeat. Superbly organised with the food and gear stashes. 

Philip, Australia - Gillespie-Rabbit 2017

Back to Top