New Zealand is a land of contrasts. The South Island?s west coast drips with rain. Its forests are dense with tree ferns and towering pod carps, ancient remnants of conifer forests that existed when New Zealand was part of a gigantic continent called Gondwanaland. On the eastern side of the island, in the rain shadow of the Southern Alps, the hills are brown in late summer, back country travel is often across open slopes covered with tussocks of grass or through beech forests that smell like honey. Raw and young, this landscape is steep and rugged and its weather is capricious. You can go from hot sun in the morning to cold winds, rain, and snow in the afternoon. We leave behind the tourist routes and plunge deep into the forests or climb high up into remote alpine areas. Some courses float down its rivers or explore its coastlines, experiencing the country?s rich marine life?whales, dolphins, and seals?and its wide variety of endemic birds. New Zealand is a dramatic place that engages your senses, challenges you physically and mentally, and promises to give you the adventure of a lifetime.