Get To Know Our New Zealand Tour Guides
When we ask our guests to tell us their favourite part of their trip with us they always tell us it was their tour guide. We’re proud to have assembled – without exception – the very best guides you could wish to travel with.
Our 5-star rated guides are all New Zealanders
It can be common for other companies to hire seasonal foreign guides, here for a summer to discover New Zealand for themselves whilst doing a fun job. In our experience, the best way to experience a new country is with a true local. That’s why all of our guides are New Zealanders.
Our guides have a passionate desire to share their New Zealand with you and make sure your experience goes well beyond that of a ‘normal’ tour. They are walking encyclopaedias on New Zealand life, culture, geography and history in a way that can only be obtained by being a New Zealander. Our guides return year after year and all of them have the “X-factor”, they're people who we would want to spend time with on holiday. They know how to be right there whenever you need something before you know it sometimes, yet out of sight when you want to bask in the solitude. They prepare exquisite meals seemingly out of nowhere, and know how to encourage you up that track. They're your new 'kiwi' mates eager to show you around their backyard!
Our small yet mighty team will look after you from start to finish!
We give it our all to make your experience with us remarkable, right from the moment you first hear of New Zealand Trails. We’re a team of knowledgeable travel experts and outdoor enthusiasts with countless years of experience. We keep things small and personal and you’ll always have a real person to talk to, no big call centres here! We’ll find out what you want to get out of your New Zealand experience, and then we’ll make that happen. When you first get in touch, Jodi will talk through your travel ideas and help you plan your New Zealand adventure. Then once you’ve signed up for your trip, Becky and our guest services team will help you put together the rest of your holiday, giving you advice on flights, booking your pre and post-trip accommodation, providing you with plenty of resources and answering all your questions about travelling to New Zealand, big or small. We’re here to sweat all the details so you don’t have to!
Meet our tour guides below, they're ready and waiting to show you your trip of a lifetime!
"Hayley is an impressive woman who modelled what it looks like to move with graciousness and compassion in this world. She elevated what was already an over-the-top travel experience." Winslow Umberger, World Heritage Walking Tour
Hayley is as social as they come and is a self-confessed psychology buff. She has spent the last few years guiding trips around Europe and New Zealand. Her background is in healthcare, she has a Bachelor of Health Sciences, majoring in Occupational Therapy and a Post Graduate Certificate in Allied Mental Health. Her favourite spot on our trips is Kaikoura, where you can go swimming with the Dusky dolphins.
"Shona was truly amazing. One of the best guides we've EVER had (we have visited 65 countries). An incredibly enthusiastic Kiwi, she was a fund of knowledge, humor, and can-do spirit. We loved our time with her." Tom Page, World Heritage Walking Tour
She hails from Invercargill, and pops up each year to show our guests our gorgeous country. Her background is in photography. She has a Diploma in Professional Photography and a Certificate in Digital Media and Adventure Tourism, so make sure to get her to take some snaps of you! Shona’s favourite place on our trips is a tie between Angelus Hut and Punakaiki. She loves the pristine alpine environment of Angelus Hut and the rewarding feeling of getting there versus the Jurassic feel and looming limestone cliffs of the Paparoa National Park.
"Rachael was unflappable, knowledgeable and a wonderful person to be around. Thank you for making our trip so unforgettable." Sarah-Jane Walsh, Masterpiece
Rach hails from the lower half of the North Island, from a little town called Dannevirke. She holds a Certificate 3 and 4 in Tourism, Travel and Business and a Diploma in Business Management. When Racheal isn’t on a New Zealand Trails trip, she is camping and swimming in our beautiful rivers and lakes, hiking backcountry trails, foraging for bush tucker or curling up with a good book. When asked about her favourite spots on our trips she says, “it’s hard to pick just one but Milford Sound, the Hollyford track, Martins Bay and Nelson Lakes National Park are definitely some of my favourites.”
"Kahu was a most thoughtful and organised driver, and great company too. I was impressed by the stories he told as we were driving." Debra Hallett, Pure South
Kahu has a Graduate Diploma in Science (Earth Science), Bachelor of Resource and Environmental Planning (Honours) and Te Ara Reo Māori (Level 2). He can’t wait to take you up some mountains on your New Zealand Trails trip. When he is not out on the road, he will be working on his Māori language skills or up in Tauranga enjoying the fantastic sunshine at the beach and also discovering new water holes for swimming with his kids. When he leaves the city behind, it's usually to seek out a new track in his local forest park, the Kaimai Ranges.
"Tim was awesome; we always felt safe with him at the wheel. We enjoyed chats with him, and he was always keen to help in any way he could to make the trip comfortable and memorable." Jerry & Betty Johnson, Masterpiece
He’s a qualified teacher, ski instructor, inventor and of course, a New Zealand Trails guide! When not on a Trails tour, he is most likely to be found teaching, building anything out of recycled timber, traveling the world or selling his own brand of innovative ski poles. Tim’s favourite hike would have to be the Mueller Hut route. He says, “It starts off easy and you can get a good warm up and then, boom, you’re into the climb.”
"Kim is a superb driver, competent, we always felt safe. I loved her repertoire with so much knowledge, and not all from a brochure, she threaded in her personal experiences and gave us such lovely insight." Rose Ruane, NZ Great Walk Adventure - South
Kim has a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Psychology and is one of our longest-serving guides. Kim is something of a thru-hiking addict and in between guiding for New Zealand Trails has hiked the length of both Norway and New Zealand! If you meet Kim on a trip be sure to ask her about her hiking, skiiing and packrafting adventures in remote Fiordland.
"Tom was seriously incredible. He made the trip what it was! He went beyond expectation in every aspect. He treated every person as an individual and everyone fell in love with him. We were so lucky to have him." Peta Williamson, NZ Great Walk Adventure - South
Tom is a qualified pharmacist and all-round energiser bunny. When he is not on a New Zealand Trails trip, he is most likely to be found outside; tramping, mountain biking, diving, paragliding or kayaking. Tom’s favourite activity on our trips is kayaking in the Marlborough Sounds on a good day.
"Chris is amazing. He is so calm and confident and able to lead with great success. Everybody felt confident with his leadership and planning and taking care of us. He was always surprising us with a little something extra over and above what you expected." Mayo Friedlis, Pure South
When not out on a New Zealand Trails trip, he can be found at the beach, lying in the sand and strumming away on his guitar. Chris’ favourite spot on our trips is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, this was the first big hike he ever did. He says. “It was in school camp in year 10 and it was before I realized how much I loved hiking”.
"I cannot come up with words to express how superlative Chris was as our guide. He was friendly, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, funny and concerned about the experience of each person on the tour. Not just amazing, but totally amazing." Eric Frank, World Heritage Walking Tour
The all-round good guy loves nothing more than to see you with a smile on your face and enjoying everything New Zealand has to offer. Chris has a Diploma in Adventure Tourism. When not on a New Zealand Trails trip, he is most likely to be found on the road, in the moment following his true north or out sailing. When asked about his favourite spot on our trips, Chris said “definitely the Angelus Circuit in Nelson Lakes. It’s the most incredible multi-day hike in superb surroundings”.
"Kristy was genuine, authentic, creatively helpful, friendly, charming and an excellent cook. She was such a wonderful part of our experience that I can’t thank her enough." Syd Wright, Pure South
Here at New Zealand Trails, we see guiding as a life-long calling. It’s a profession, not something you tick off on your gap year. With a Certificate in Outdoor Recreation and a Diploma in Outdoor Instruction and Guiding, the skydiving instructor turned outdoor instructor, turned guide, has done it all. You’ll know the moment you meet Kristy that you’re in good hands!
"We loved Finn. She went above and beyond to make sure we were all well-fed, happy, and had everything that we needed, even before we knew we needed it. She is not only an amazing cook but also a truly wonderful person." Michele Hudson, Pure South
Growing up in the stunning Tasman region, Finn has hiked, kayaked, rock climbed and skied her way through life. Spending extended periods of time in the Canadian Rockies, Indian Himalayas and European Alps has given her an even deeper respect and appreciation for the incredible natural beauty here in New Zealand and an enthusiasm to share it with our guests. Nothing gives her greater pleasure than tramping (New Zealand’s way of saying hiking) in all terrains and conditions, especially the feeling of reaching a mountain summit.
"Emily was just amazing. For a woman of her age, she has tremendous maturity. She had a wide range of knowledge. Her energy level was incredible." Michael Sanders, Masterpiece
Emily is from the beautiful town of Wanaka, where the mountains and lake make for some of the most wonderful outdoor adventures. When she's not guiding for New Zealand Trails, you'll find her tramping, reading, spending time with her friends and family, or studying for her Bachelor's Degree in Veterinary Science.
"Georgia is THE BEST! She was very knowledgeable, absolute fun to be with on the tour and when I come back again, I’ll only do it with Georgia!" Geoffrey Blenman, NZ Great Walk Adventure - South
Georgia grew up on the West Coast of the North Island. Prior to New Zealand Trails, she was a sea kayak guide in Kaikoura and a hut ranger on the Paparoa Track. In her spare time, Georgia loves spending time in the mountains either tramping, rock climbing, or adventure camping. She has a Certificate in Outdoor Education and can speak conversational Spanish!
"Niamh was very generous with her knowledge and love of the land. I appreciated the depth of her knowledge of your amazing country. She was enthusiastic, friendly, fun, encouraging, and kind. She was a pleasure to be with every day." Suzanne Roeder, Sweet North
Niamh has a double degree in Physical Education and Commerce, so it's no surprise that she loves the adventure tourism industry and outdoor education. Before becoming a hiking guide Niamh spent years working on the water as a senior kayak guide, divemaster, whale watch guide, and deckhand in both New Zealand and Australia. Niamh is also a Padi Divemaster and a Red Cross Lifeguard. When not on a New Zealand Trails trip you'll find her surfing, diving, or sailing.
"I am only giving Tasha 5's because your scale won't let me give her a rating beyond Amazing! Besides the wonderful meals she made us and keeping us safe on the trails, Tasha's knowledge of Maori culture was exceptional - I learned so much and this wasn't my first trip to NZ!" Darren Freeman, Pure South
Tasha grew up on a sheep farm in Waitomo, the home of the famous Waitomo Caves. She's a country girl at heart but loves spending her time in the mountains now that she lives down in the South Island. When she's not guiding, Tasha loves cooking, hiking, gardening and planning her next multi-day backpacking adventure.
"Daniel was amazing, so knowledgeable and the best storytelling voice. I miss his voice already. Always happy to share his life and views which I admired greatly. Really felt like a friend." Lindie Shrestha, NZ Masterpiece Adventure
Daniel hails from North Canterbury where he lives off grid with his young family, a few animals and a lot of fruit trees. Daniel has over a decade of experience as a hiking guide and in his spare time he loves rock climbing, tramping and getting out into our National Parks with his kids.
"Cass is so sweet and caring! And an amazing cook! She is strong, confident, easy-going and very patient. I have no doubt that her love of the country, the outdoors, and people make her one of your top assets." Suzanne Roeder, Pure South
Cass was born in Rotorua and raised in a small dairy farming town. She has a Bachelor of Broadcasting Communications and in a past life worked as a journalist. When she's not guiding you'll find her on the back of a horse, up the mountain with her snowboard, knocking off all the amazing hiking trails in Queenstown, or curled up at home with her two cats and a good book.
"Ryan is so warm, kind, helpful, and willing to do anything for us. He was creative in his food prep while also sensitive to those who had food preferences and all with great care, kindness, and sincere graciousness. What a special exceptional person." Paula Hardison, Masterpiece
Ryan grew up in the beachside town of Gisborne and is an avid hiker and photographer, so make sure you get him to capture some snaps of you on your trip! When he's not guiding Ryan enjoys surfing, hiking and spending time with his dog Koda.
"Tim was AMAZING!!!!! I felt 100% safe with him behind the wheel. The range of his knowledge was exceptional, and the diversity of information was as well. He was so warm and affable, easy, accommodating, and responsive. He made the trip! We all adored him." Peta Williamson, Masterpiece
Tim has a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and Tourism from Otago University and has spent the last 7 years guiding guests around New Zealand. When he's not on a New Zealand Trails tour he's most likely to be found kayaking or hiking in all corners of Aotearoa or playing a round of golf.
"Blake's skills as a driver and an avid outdoorsman made me feel safe and well cared for. He interacted with everyone and was thoughtful and respectful of everyone's needs and skills while being humourous and fun-loving." Suzanne Roeder, Kiwi Classic
Blake first guided for New Zealand Trails in 2017 and is an avid hiker and backcountry enthusiast. When he's not on a New Zealand Trails trip he'll be found kayaking, mountain biking or out tramping in our beautiful mountain ranges.
"Ross was excellent - he has a quick sense of humor and is also very humble. I loved his adventurous spirit!" Shawna Weyers, Pure South
Ross was born into an active outdoor family in Auckland and was lucky enough to grow up sailing and tramping. He completed his first "great walk" at 10 years old! Ross has a passion for the backcountry and for snow sports instruction where he won a gold medal as a sighted guide in the downhill skiing event at the Lillehammer Paralympics.
"Tony was outstanding, everything one would hope for in a guide and more. We felt very safe and Tony drove extremely well. He was helpful and informative." John Butcher, Pure South
Tony was born on the West Coast of the South Island and enjoys spending time hiking, fishing, mountain-biking and exploring the NZ back-country. In between fun times Tony has worked in the sport and event tourism sectors here and overseas - including 7 Olympic Games, 4 Rugby World Cups and 4 America's Cups
"James was fantastic. Pleasant, informative, knowledgeable, great sense of humour, warm and helpful. I can’t think of anything negative to say. We enjoyed getting to know him, and learning from his knowledge about NZ geology, outdoor life, and culture." Nancy Everds, Pure South
Born in Dunedin and having lived in Queenstown and Wanaka, James is a true South Island expert! At university, James studied Geology before becoming a fully qualified builder. When James isn't out guiding for NZ Trails he's a true outdoor enthusiast and can be found white water kayaking, climbing, hunting, surfing or skiing in our beautiful backcountry. One of James' favourite places in New Zealand is Fiordland National Park and who can blame him - cascading waterfalls tumbling into deep fiords, surrounded by a wilderness paradise of native forests - what's not to like!
"I’ve travelled to nearly fifty countries and Cameron is easily in my top 2% of guides. He is patient, resourceful, smart, knowledgeable, caring, interested in his clients and invested in their enjoyment of and immersion in the tour activities. He is wise beyond his years and a great ambassador for NZ Trails. I would jump at the chance to tour with him again. A super guide!" - Pam Payne, NZ Great Walks Adventure - South
Hailing from Invercargill, the most Southern city in New Zealand, Cameron has a background in physiotherapy and a true passion for the outdoors and health. When he's not guiding, Cameron loves to challenge himself with ultra-marathons and open swimming water events or take on a fun 4WD mission into the New Zealand backcountry.
"Corinne has an amazing personality, she could not do enough for everyone. She is so personable and caring for each individual. Great sandwich and food prep, always smiling, laughing, and engaging with everyone. She was always so fun to have around." Linda Pennycook, Masterpiece
Corinne is from the sunny beachside town of Tauranga and loves hiking, trail running and mountain biking. She has a degree in Environmental Management and a Masters in Urban Design. Originally born in Switzerland, Corinne is a keen traveller and when she's not guiding for New Zealand Trails, she enjoys hiking her way around the globe, long-distance running or curling up in the sun with a good book.
"Mirai was super amazing. Such a lovely person, engaging and a super hostess. Service was her specialty." Ali Kelley, Kiwi Classic
Mirai comes from the adrenaline capital of New Zealand, Queenstown. Not one to shy away from adventure, she spent several years working as a hiking guide in Fiordland, home to some of the country’s most iconic scenery, and has also worked in snowsports on the South Island. Wanderlust is in her nature and her favourite foreign destinations include Japan, India and the Philippines, but the South Island’s rugged landscape called her home, luckily for us!
"I love Kelly. She was kind, careful, helpful, energetic and always took care of anything that was needed. I would do another trip with her anytime! Could not have asked for more in a guide/friend. Really enjoyed her company and our conversations." Bonnie Cutts, Masterpiece
Kelly hails from Waiheke Island and loves trail running, paddling waka (a traditional Maori canoe) and fishing with her family. Kelly first started guiding on overland tours in Africa and now loves sharing her own backyard with our guests!
"Johanna was a fantastic driver, an excellent guide, positive, accommodating to the guests and a lot of fun to be around. Very poised, professional and confident young woman." Linda LaBelle, Masterpiece
As an active outdoor expert, Johanna is a keen mountain biker, trail runner and passionate conservationist with a love for sharing her favourite parts of New Zealand. With her Bachelor's degree in Visual Communication Johanna is also a keen traveller and has travelled extensively across the globe including trips to Zambia and the Galapagos Islands.
"Brough was awesome in every way. Everyone enjoyed her enthusiasm and kindness!!" Scott Hanson, Masterpiece
Brough’s favourite part of Aotearoa New Zealand is Taranaki Maunga. Before guiding, she was a film and television editor and has an Emmy award. She's also a social impact entrepreneur. Her passion for the outdoors started with her family on ski slopes and on mountain trails. When she’s not outdoors, she’s supporting other start-up founders to succeed, keeping up to date with the media industry and AI, brushing up on her Māori language, long-distance running, camping, or planning her next outdoor adventure.
"Sam was excellent, extremely road-aware and cautious. I felt totally confident being a passenger. Sam was very knowledgeable about NZ history and culture, very helpful and kind, and fun to be around." Margery Greene, Kiwi Classic
Hailing from Nelson, considered the sunniest place in New Zealand Sammy prides himself on being able to shine every day. With over 10 years experience exploring the mountains, rivers and valleys of New Zealand he has a passion for exploring and sharing this beautiful country. After Studying and working as an Outdoor Instructor he became significantly involved in the Solar Industry and renewable energies. When he's not on a New Zealand Trails Trip you'll find him exploring New Zealand with his dog, sniffing out the next best place to swim and camp.
"Courtney was an amazing guide, organizing our days down to every detail, from planning our activities, making sure we were happy and well-fed at all times to cooking some incredibly yummy meals. A talented young woman, her bubbly spirit gave us joy and laughter every day."
Doreen Lau, Masterpiece
With qualifications in Outdoor Adventure, Adventure Tourism and a degree in Sustainability and Outdoor Education, Courtney is a wealth of expert adventure knowledge. Growing up in the North Island Coutney's love of New Zealand has taken her around the length and breadth of our beautiful country. From Hawkes Bay to Christchurch and beyond Courtney's knowledge of New Zealand is second to none. When she's not guiding Courtney can be found hitting the local trails or hunting down the best coffee in town. If you're fortunate to have Courtney as your guide be sure to pick up some handy Maori phrases as our native language is one of her passions.
"Maya is an amazing asset to your company, her zest for life and sharing knowledge of your country, and culture, was exceptional. Maya worked so hard making sure we were all WELL fed and always had a spark in her step and a smile on her face." Cindy Hasthorpe, Kiwi Classic
Maya has travelled extensively through New Zealand from the hiking trails of Stewart Island to the natural lakeside hot pools of Lake Tarawera. Maya holds a gold-level Duke Of Edinburgh Award in Outdoor Training giving her a wealth of knowledge and experience in the outdoors and New Zealand. She loves to share her knowledge of New Zealand and its natural environment.
"Moana went above and beyond all expectations. Her driving was outstanding and her enthusiasm for the trip was exemplary. She encouraged & supported me through the Rocky Mountain climb & was a fantastic guide." Clare Cohen, Pure South
With deep connections to both our land and culture Moana is an expert on life in New Zealand and loves to share her local knowledge, helping her guests learn more about New Zealand than they ever could in a guidebook. Moana has travelled extensively herself having spent time in Samoa, Sweden, Norway, the UK and even 5 weeks in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal. She's passionate about New Zealand and loves to share it with her guests.
"Nic was amazingly knowledgeable. Her organizational skills, patience, attention to individual needs were top notch." Katherine Hall, Masterpiece
A qualified snowboard instructor and chef, Nicola has combined her passions into an exciting career in adventure tourism. Nicola has worked as a snowboard instructor in Austria and sailed yachts in Croatia and Greece. An expert in geography Nicola loves to share her beautiful home of Aotearoa/New Zealand with her guests.
"Brynee was AMAZING! She not only was a very good driver (we felt totally safe and in good hands the entire time) but she was so friendly, kind, funny, knowledgeable, and engaging the entire trip. We loved her!!!" Claire Kopp, Masterpiece
Brynee grew up in the gorgeous town of Wānaka, a place filled with endless outdoor adventures. She has a Bachelor of Broadcasting Communications and spent her past life in the radio industry. When she’s not guiding for New Zealand Trails, you’ll find Brynee diving, surfing, horse riding, snowboarding, or hiking her way around Aotearoa/New Zealand.
"Megan is such an incredible tour guide and human being. She's a great conversationalist and storyteller, and made me feel comfortable from the minute we met. I'm so grateful that we had her on our trip!" Emma Lawson - Pure South
Just wait until you taste her food! When she’s not on a Trails trip, Megan is most likely to be found tramping up a mountain or kayaking down a river. Or studying for her degree in Sustainability and Outdoor Education.
"Kiel was simply the best and made every effort to keep us informed. Love how he used Te Reo and made the trip so relaxing and loved his broad knowledge of the land the people, the birds and plants along the way." Anita Wilson, NZ Great Walk Adventure - South
Kiel discovered a love for guiding and the outdoors in Europe and spent an extensive amount of time trekking guiding the Canadian Rockies, before settling home in Wanaka in Central Otago. With a deep love for conservation, nature and wildlife as well as a good understanding of history and culture (conversational Te Reo) he cant wait to show you all why this place means so much to him.
Having travelled extensively both at home and abroad Shannon brings an abundance of adventure experience and knowledge of New Zealand.
Shannon up and left the quintessential Kiwi farm life after school years with an intense curiosity about the world and how it works. Now having travelled extensively, both locally and abroad, Shannon has an abundance of worldly experience. A great place to ponder all this exploration has been out hiking in New Zealand's Southern Alps for the past 8 years, exploring all the beauty tucked away in our pristine backcountry. Shannon also expresses an immense passion for human psychology, potential, connection, creativity and adventure.
An experienced adventure guide and professional musician, Age loves to share his passion for New Zealand.
Age's passion for travel and love of music has taken him across the globe. From the US, Canada and the UK to Japan, Lebanon, Fiji and more, Age has travelled extensively and has a never-ending curiosity for people and places. Age is formally trained in classical piano and jazz guitar, and has forged a long career in music, playing his first gig at just 15 years old. With years of sea kayak and white-water raft guiding under his belt, Age has a passion for exploring the outdoors and loves to share the best of our country with all his guests.
"Can I rate Faith higher than “5”? This human dynamo was one of the best guides I’ve had on an escorted excursion. She was authentic, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, patient, and had the “Goldilocks” sense of humor that was so pleasing to our group. It was “just right.” Faith is a keeper, folks. Keep this woman on board!!" Marty Siegel, Pure South
Faith is from the beautiful lakeside town of Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park. She studied Outdoor and Adventure education at Tai Poutini Polytechnic on the West Coast of the South Island. When she’s not guiding for New Zealand Trails, she can be found multi day hiking, camping and catching up with friends and family. Before working for New Zealand Trails, Faith worked as an outdoor instructor with children in the Banks Peninsula, a hiking guide on the Milford track and worked on boats in Fiordland, working in 4 of New Zealand’s Fjords.
With a passion for travel and a deep love of New Zealand, Genevieve loves to share her favourite places and secret local spots.
Genevieve calls the Windy capital Wellington home. She has a passion for well-being and sustainability with a PhD in Diabetic Heart Function and more recently working in sustainable transport. She loves the mountains, and recently returned from a working holiday taking her from the beaches of Corfu all the way to the Himalayas! When not on a tour you will find her planning a new biking or trail running route amongst our beautiful New Zealand valleys and mountains.
Jessica is an expert geologist and loves to share information about the various formations we have here in New Zealand.
Jessica has travelled extensively in New Zealand and abroad. She studied Adventure Tourism Management in Queenstown. Jessica loves the outdoors, in her spare time, she is most likely found on the water either scuba diving, paddle boarding or kayaking. She also loves to share famous Māori stories and legends with her guests.
Sarah knows back-country New Zealand like the back of her hand after years of off-track multi-day hiking in our Southern Alps.
Sarah is passionate about the country she calls home, exploring the diversity of the land and customs in New Zealand. She has a degree in education and a plethora of experience in aviation and farming. When Sarah isn’t on a New Zealand Trails trip, she is taking long bike rides and walks on our glorious trails as well as getting to know New Zealand’s unique flora whilst gardening.