new zealand trails guides3

Our Guides

The common denominator on our team is a passion for the outdoor lifestyle we enjoy here in New Zealand. A lot of us were born and bred here, some of us chose to make this beautiful place our home, but at the core we’re all a bunch of genuine Kiwis.

Our Super-Guides

We’re proud to have assembled – without exception – the friendliest bunch of people you could wish to travel with. At a minimum, our guides have to be Kiwis, professional and up to date with all the necessary qualifications to even get an interview. Then what we're looking for is guides with the “X-factor” who we would want to hang out with on holiday. We make sure they’re fully clued up on New Zealand’s flora, fauna, history and heritage and are always learning more so they have more to share with you. We take your safety and comfort seriously, of course, so we provide the latest industry-standard gear and ongoing training on everything from safety plans to hospitality benchmarks to make sure they are equipped to give you their very best. 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 or across that bridge! They're your new mates eager to show you around their backyard.

Our HQ Team 

We give it our all to make your experience with us remarkable, right from the moment you first hear of New Zealand Trails. And we’re constantly improving everything. All the time. If you like what you see here, somewhere along the way you’ll probably have a chat to Jodi, who is the friendly voice at the end of the line. Then when you book a trip, Tash makes sure you have everything you need until our guides meet you on the first morning. A huge amount of work goes into producing the best adventure tours in New Zealand so, at certain times of the year, there are a few more folks pitching in behind the scenes here in our Queenstown office to make sure things flow smoothly everywhere. 

 

 

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Kim Mackay-Wallace

This Christchurch kid has never spent more than nine months consecutively in one country! The mountains are her favourite place, and she’s keen to surprise guests with what the Kiwi landscape has in store for them!

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found:

Hiking. Probably walking across an entire country or continent.

Most likely to be heard saying:

She’ll be right, it’s no biggie. Or something equally optimistic and vague.

Favourite spot on our trips:

Ohau, for its beauty and all the fun activities (ski, hike, cycle) you can do there. And of course, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.

Ridiculous fact:

I can only touch my nose with my tongue when I do a hand stand.

Qualifications:

I have a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Psychology and am first aid certified.

In a previous life I was:

A bar-tailed godwit (because they migrate really long distances every year, never staying in one place too long and are always travelling the globe).

Hayley
Hayley Blackburn

Hayley is the Trails social butterfly and self-confessed psychology buff. After completing her degree in Occupational Therapy, Hayley put her OT career on hold and has spent the last four years guiding trips around Europe and New Zealand. She loves meeting people from all over the globe and especially loves showing visitors her favourite place, her home.

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found:

Hanging out with my friends and family, or planning my next trip to be able to hang out with my friends and family!

Most likely to be heard saying:

All the things/This is so exciting/What’s your Myers Briggs?

Favourite spot on our trips:

In Kaikoura, where you go swimming with the Dusky dolphins.

Ridiculous fact:

I went on my first international trip at 18 and haven’t stopped since.

Qualifications:

I have a Bachelor of Health Sciences, majoring in Occupational Therapy and a Post Graduate Certificate in Allied Mental Health.

In a previous life I was:

An cccupational therapist.

shona
Shona Hore

Shona is our most legendary super-guide, and an expert at finding wild raspberries on tour. She hails from Invercargill, and pops up each year to show our guests our gorgeous country.

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found:

Tending to my vegetable garden, travelling the world, snapping pictures and tramping.

Most likely to be heard saying:

Sweet as!

Favourite spot on our trips:

It’s a tie between Angelus Hut and Punakaiki; both are epic in different ways. I love the pristine alpine environment of the Angelus Hut and the rewarding feeling of getting there versus the Jurassic feel and looming limestone cliffs of the Paparoa National Park.

Ridiculous fact:

I’ve rang in Christmas with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Qualifications:

I have a diploma in Professional Photography, a certificate in Digital Media and Adventure Tourism.

In a previous life I was:

In charge of the Southern Africa branch of a student volunteer organisation.

Kyle
Kyle Storey

Kyle is well-known at Trails for being a bit of a Tim Tam Slam legend. He will take up any excuse to whip out a packet of Tim Tams and show you how it's done! Originally from the Waikato region, Kyle loves to show off his home to our guests.

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found:

In and around forests, lakes and mountains or else out on the golf course dreaming of one day becoming the next Tiger Woods.

Most likely to be heard saying:

Steak and cheese is my pie of choice.

Favourite spot on our trips:

In my opinion, you can't really beat Mount Cook in all its glory. Or Kaikoura, hanging out with my dolphin mates. I also love stopping off at Fairlie’s Pie Shop en route to Canterbury, they have some of the best pies in New Zealand!

Ridiculous fact:

I never wore shoes to primary school. By choice, I did own some, ha.

Qualifications:

I have a Bachelor in Sport and Leisure Studies from the University of Waikato.

In a previous life I was:

A farmboy.

Miki
Miki Brown

Miki is hands down one of the best performers amongst our awesome group of guides. The Queenstown local will have you singing along to her guitar on your New Zealand Trails tour in no time!

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found:

Singing my heart out and playing my guitar. Although, I can't help but sing my heart out occasionally on the trip... it's like drinking water for me. I need it to survive.

Most likely to be heard saying:

Something philosophical or several words, sounds and expressions I've made up and like to use!

Favourite spot on our trips:

I love all the places individually for their own unique assets. If I have to choose one, my heart and soul definitely enjoys stepping back into the deep south of Fiordland National Park.

Ridiculous fact:

I’m obsessed with the 80s. I can often be found roller skating beside our pristine southern lake sidewalks.

Qualifications:

I'm still and forever attending the school of life. I studied Contemporary Music Performance at MAINZ Music School and Fashion, Hair and Make Up Artistry at WelTec.

In a previous life I was:

On the road to becoming a hair and make-up artist. Although you won't believe it when you see me in the outdoors!

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Andrew Graham

Andy is our resident ecology expert and globe gallivanter. Originally from the North Island; the surfer, climber and slackliner now calls the South Island his home. He is stoked to show you the very best of New Zealand.

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found:

Hiking, climbing rocks, running, cooking up a storm or researching my next travel destination.

Most likely to be heard saying:

Rattle your dags! (Hurry up!).

Favourite spot on our trips:

Abel Tasman National Park and Mount Cook National Park. Both are stunning wild places that I love to go and play in.

Ridiculous fact:

I travelled to see all seven wonders of the world in one year, just because.

Qualifications:

I have a degree in Conservation Ecology and a Diploma in Outdoor Instruction and Management. I also hold a certificate in advanced first aid (Pre-Hospital Emergency Care) and Avalanche Awareness Stage 1.

In a previous life I was:

A poor student, searching for the meaning of life. I still am, I suppose...

Monica
Monica Bean

Monica, from Christchurch, is our resident eco-warrior and spends her spare time volunteering for the Department Of Conservation. She looks forward to putting big smiles on the faces of her guests!

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found:

Rock climbing, looking up my next travel destination or being the resident eco warrior of wherever I am.

Most likely to be heard saying:

Are you going to recycle that?

Favourite spot on our trips:

I love the Pororari river track in Punakaiki. The nikau palms are insane!

Ridiculous fact:

I broke my ribs from coughing too much.

Qualifications:

I have a Bachelor of Sustainability and Outdoor Education, a PHEC (Pre hospital emergency care), a NZOIA ( NZ Outdoor Instructor Association ) and am a Bush Leader and Rock Leader.

In a previous life I was:

A poor student just trying to find time for a hike!

Rob
Rob Dunkerley

In winter the self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie can be found doing twenty jumps a day in his work as a skydive instructor! Rob hails from Wanaka and is driven to show our guests some of New Zealand’s most striking spots.

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found:

In the mountains, waiting to take off on my paraglider to absorb the decadent views of the Southern Alps. Or at my other job skydiving in Wanaka!

Most likely to be heard saying:

She’ll be right/ Oh yeah!

Favourite spot on our trips:

Wanaka, of course!

Ridiculous fact:

N/A. I’m a super serious person. ;)

Qualifications:

I am a certified skydiving instructor, qualified first responder, paragliding pilot, and I served in the military for over three years.

In a previous life I was:

Some sort of flying creature that enjoys the thrill of the chase!

Racheal2
Racheal Helleur

Rach hails from the lower half of the North Island, from a little town called Dannevirke. She is happiest when in a field surrounded by wildflowers. Racheal is super knowledgeable on the country’s flora and can’t wait to tell you all about it.

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found:

Camping and swimming in our beautiful rivers and lakes, hiking backcountry trails, foraging for bush tucker or curling up with a good book.

Most likely to be heard saying:

This edible plant can be used for…/try these berries!

Favourite spot on our trips:

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.

Ridiculous fact:

I have walked 2200km of Camino de Santiago pilgrimages.

Qualifications:

I have a Certificate 3 and 4 in Tourism, Travel and Business and a Diploma in Business Management.

In a previous life I was:

A horse obsessed farm girl and a travel agent.

Sam
Sam Harris

Sam is our outdoors expert, it’s rare we see him without his mountain bike or paraglider in tow. Originally from Hamilton, he has explored much of the world before returning home to New Zealand.

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found:

Somewhere in the sky flying my paraglider, on the wharf fishing or watching the rugby at the pub.

Most likely to be heard saying:

She'll be right, sweet as, wheels up at 0800.

Favourite spot on our trips:

It’s a toss-up between relaxing at Lochmara Lodge or hiking in Mt Cook National Park.

Ridiculous fact:

I once held the New Zealand under eight, 50-meter backstroke record.. for a week.

Qualifications:

I have a Bachelor of Sport and Leisure.

In a previous life I was:

A wilderness first responder.

Bethweb1
Beth Lyons

Beth calls Queenstown home, loves the outdoors and a good yarn! She can't wait to show guests around the stunning sights of Aotearoa and hopes to help you spot a cheeky Kea or two along the way!

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found:

At Perky’s Bar in Queenstown or backcountry tramping somewhere on the South Island.

Most likely to be heard saying:

Happy days!

Favourite spot on our trips:

Tough one that, but I’d have to go for either Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park or Milford Sound! Gah, maybe the Hollyford Track too…

Ridiculous fact:

I once won a BBC quiz show!

Qualifications:

I have a Degree in English and I am also a qualified first aider.

In a previous life I was:

A seal. Nah, before Trails I worked as a journalist, specialising in sport and crime, an eclectic combo, I know!

kahu
Kahurangi (Kahu) Tapsell

Kahu grew up in a wee place called Maketu in the North Island. The first thing Kahu does when he reaches a new place is climb the closest hill/mountain to find his bearings! He can’t wait to take you up some mountains on your New Zealand Trails trip.

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found: 

Up in Tauranga enjoying the fantastic sunshine at the beach and also discovering new water holes for swimming with my kids. When I leave the city behind, it's usually to seek out a new track in my local forest park, the Kaimai Ranges.

Most likely to be heard saying: 

He aha te taima? - what's the time?

Favourite spot on our trips: 

Abel Tasman National Park because there is lots of water, sunny days, cheeky weka and you get to cross strenuous headlands in between.

Ridiculous fact: 

I've been in two dance shows as a dance dad, complete with wearing a tutu and doing the can-can.

Qualifications:

Graduate Diploma in Science (Earth Science), Bachelor of Resource and Environmental Planning (Honours) and Te Ara Reo Māori (Level 2).

In a previous life I was: 

A home handyman for Hire a Hubby in Feilding. It was a summer spent roaming the Manawatu building decks, painting and gardening.

dan
Dan Mackay

Dan is your typical kiwi bloke, he enjoys all things sports related and loves getting in the thick of it and getting his gumboots mucky! The Otautah/Christchurch local is already looking forward to his next fun filled adventure.

When not on a Trails tour, most likely to be found:

Spending time with friends and family or doing some form of outrageous outdoor adventure - hiking, camping, etc.

Most likely to be heard saying:

Choice as bro or tumeke!

Favourite spot on our trips: 

Nelson Lakes National Park is a beautiful playground and a super part of the Te Araroa.

Ridiculous fact: 

I have walked the length of New Zealand in a single pair of shoes and one pair of socks.

Qualifications:

Fifth and sixth form certificate BCITO – National Certificate Carpentry (level 4).

In a previous life I was:

Full time carpenter by day and part time belly dancer by night .

ellie
Ellie Tresidder

Ellie is a snow-bunny through and through. She lives her life in endless winters. This super-guide likes to take a winter off on occasion though, to return home and show our guests around her beloved New Zealand.

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found: 

Outside. Hiking, biking, skating, swimming, eating with friends or solo, just as long as it’s outside.

Most likely to be heard saying: 

Something about snowboarding... or wanting chocolate.

Favourite spot on our trips: 

Oooo, it’s hard to pick one. Angelus is up there (literally) because it’s like another world and I love the walk out the next day.

Ridiculous fact: 

In the last ten years, I’ve had 17 winters!

Qualifications:

B.Ph.Ed Sport and Exercise Science, Post Grad Dip Teaching and Learning, Avalanche and Mountain Safety Certs and a fully certified snowboard and ski instructor.

In a previous life I was: 

I’m not really sure, but I plan on asking if I can come back as a Kea.

tim
Tim Thorstensen

Tim lives life at a faster pace than most. His love for the mountains has taken him all over the world. He’s a qualified teacher, ski instructor, inventor and of course, a New Zealand Trails guide!

When not on a Trails tour, most likely to be found:

Teaching, building anything out of recycled timber, traveling the world, selling my own brand of innovative ski poles.

Most likely to be heard saying:

That’s awesome! Nailed it. Yes of course you can do it!!

Favourite spot on our trips: 

It has got to be the Mueller Hut route. It starts off easy and you can get a good warm up and then, boom, you’re into the climb.

A ridiculous fact about you:

I don't like getting my hair cut and I live in a tree house.

List any qualifications you have:

Degree in Primary Education. Cert in Carpentry CSIA, Level 2 Ski Instructor.

In a previous life I was:

A Haast Eagle.

ky
Ky Mclachlan-More

Southland born Kiwi, Ky, dubs herself as ‘tall and goofy’. This creative adventurer is looking forward to sharing our beautiful whenua (land) with the world as part of the New Zealand Trails team.

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found: 

Exploring and regenerating in the valley of Makarora. With family, wandering in nature or reading, cooking, dancing and singing too loud at home.

Most likely to be heard saying: 

Some kind of inquiry of interest that enables me to learn more about the people and world around me. Or, something very female empowering.

Favourite spot on our trips: 

Being a Southlander of Ngai Tahu and Waitaha descent, the locations (my favourite places in the world) and cultural significance of Fiordland, Mt Aspiring and Aoraki really appeal to me.

Ridiculous fact: 

I've done a few ridiculous things. Solo trekking and wild camping around an Isle in the Hebrides for 10 days was one. Pretty acceptable... although it was Christmas, in the middle of winter and "storm Caroline" was beating me down. The ridiculous (and very Kiwi) part is that I was wearing Gumboots!

Qualifications:

Certificate in Psychosynthesis, Certificate in Te Reo, Cert in Whanau Ora and Diploma in Mental Health and Wellbeing.

In a previous life I was: 

I've always been told I would have been a monk, a nun, jungle girl/boy and "Woman of the forest".

chris g
Chris Gillard

This Hamiltonian has a guitar permanently strapped to his hand. He’s ready and waiting to serenade you with songs of the sea (his other favourite thing!).

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found: 

At the beach, lying in the sand and strumming away on my guitar.

Most likely to be heard saying: 

Shall we go for a swim?

Favourite spot on our trips: 

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, this was the first big hike I ever did. It was in school camp in year 10 and it was before I realized how much I loved hiking.

Ridiculous fact: 

I love CDs. I've got a collection of over 100.

Qualifications:

Trained barista, Duty Managers License, Liquor Control Qualification and Bachelor of Social Sciences.

In a previous life I was: 

A seal, I used to think I was a dog in my previous life but then I realized seals can swim much better.

jodi3
Jodi Alexander

Jodi grew up on a farm, surrounded by chickens. She’s also worked as a guide at Mt Nicholas sheep station, so you already know this country girl isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty out in the field!

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found: 

Hiking/camping somewhere random with my friends.

Most likely to be heard saying: 

WOW - All the time at the scenery this country has to offer.

Favourite spot on our trips: 

Up at Angelus Hut, watching the sunrise/sunset and working out my planet app.

Ridiculous fact: 

I grew up with 100,000 chickens.

Qualifications:

Certificate II in Retail, Certificate III in Fitness, Class 2/Medium Rigid Licence, P Endorsement, LF Forklift Truck Licence.

In a previous life I was: 

A teddy bear.

tom
Tom Prebble

A qualified pharmacist and all-round energiser bunny. Tom is eternally positive, our resident storyteller who loves all things water above or below.

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found: 

Outside! Somewhere. Tramping, mountain biking, diving, paragliding or kayaking.

Most likely to be heard saying: 

Ohhhhh, look at this. This is amazing, let me tell you more….

Favourite spot on our trips: 

Kayaking in the Marlborough Sounds on a good day, so beautiful!

Ridiculous fact:

I was used as a stepladder by my brother on my first day home from the hospital when I was a baby and had a footprint squished into the top of my head.

Qualifications:

Bachelor of Pharmacy.

In a previous life I was: 

Young and carefree wandering the world.

libby
Libby Judge

Originally from Hawkes Bay, Libby’s goal in life is to facilitate transformational outdoor experiences with people of all ages, so working at New Zealand Trails is her dream come true!

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found: 

Camping next to a beach somewhere - surfing, reading, sleeping, and eating good kai.

Most likely to be heard saying: 

All I want in life is a dog and a tiny home.

Favourite spot on our trips: 

Queen Charlotte Sound is such a great playground!

Ridiculous fact: 

I've lived and worked in nine countries.

Qualifications:

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Education, Bachelor of Education - Primary Teaching (Montessori Specialty), Diploma of Sport and Recreation and Certificate in Hospitality.

In a previous life I was: 

A high school teacher, superyacht cook and a fitness instructor.

corben
Corben Turner

Corbs is the ultimate adventurer who loves nothing more than a good mission! He’s all amped up and ready to take you exploring in the New Zealand wilderness.

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found:

Living out of my car and surfing or rock climbing every chance I can get!

Most likely to be heard saying:

It's better to see it once in real life than to see a thousand pictures.

Favourite spot on our trips:

Abel Tasman would have to be one of my favourite spots. There is some seriously beautiful communities and scenery in that region.

Ridiculous fact:

I have immigrated five times so far in my life.

Qualifications (Uni degrees, Outdoor Ed quals, Instructor courses etc):

I have a Bachelor of Business from Newcastle University in Australia. I am also a qualified Emergency First Responder (soon to be PHEC hopefully).

In a previous life I was:

At some point in history I must have been a cowboy. 

chris t
Chris Tafili-Reid

You’ll rarely see Chris without a smile plastered on his face. 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.

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found:

On the road, in the moment following my true north.

Most likely to be heard saying:

That's the one. Ka pai.

Favourite spot on our trips:

Definitely the Angelus Circuit in Nelson Lakes. It’s the most incredible multi-day hike in superb surroundings.

Ridiculous fact:

I once hitch-hiked on a sail yacht 1200nm from Samoa to Vanuatu with a couple that had just broken up, a broken engine, two waterlogged GPS devices and too few charts!

Qualifications (Uni degrees, Outdoor Ed quals, Instructor courses etc):

I have a Diploma in Adventure Tourism.

In a previous life I was:

A PADI Divemaster.

megan
Megan Baxter

Megan will guide you around our tracks and trails safely and then whip up a feast to remember for you at night. Just you wait until you taste her food!

When not on a Trails trip, most likely to be found:

Tramping up a mountain or kayaking down a river.

Most likely to be heard saying:

I just can't get over how pretty this view is.

Favourite spot on our trips:

I love the tramp up to Angelus Hut. The variety of terrain and the amazing views are incredible.

Ridiculous fact:

I spent two months walking around Scotland.

Qualifications (Uni degrees, Outdoor Ed quals, Instructor courses etc):

I have a Diploma in Fashion and I am currently studying Sustainability and Outdoor Education at ARA in Christchurch.

In a previous life I was:

A singer.