Mar 24, 2017

Meet Your Tour Guides.

It is fair to say that a tour guide can make or break a trip, which is why we employ the best. Our guides are inspiring individuals who enjoy sharing their beautiful country with you. It’s amazing what you will learn from these superheros, from bird calls to bad jokes, survival skills to brewing camp coffee, keeping dry to enjoying being wet, and how to find your way through thousands of kilometres of wilderness. All guides are trained in Mountain Safety First Aid and have a wealth of outdoor and hiking experience.

Please be gentle with your guide – good guides are hard to find!

Malcolm O'Neill

Director of Hiking New Zealand & Active Earth Adventures

Malcolm has a BSc in physical geography. He co-authored the guidebook Classic New Zealand  Adventures, which involved lots of fun all over the country. Malcolm’s interests include mountain biking, travel, skiing/boarding, photography, making furniture and jumping into rivers. Malcolm does more business stuff than guiding these days as he is a director of Hiking New Zealand, but he can still be found getting his hands dirty!

Daniel Murphy

Director of Hiking New Zealand & Active Earth Adventures

Dan studied something years ago at university but can no longer remember what it was! From agricultural roots, he worked on farms and in the rural service industry, before adventures and travel lured him overseas into the tourism industry. Hiking, mountain biking and day dreaming about great adventures are his main hobbies. Dan is the Operations Manager and a director for Hiking New Zealand. He is either a fantastic liar, or has had the oddest things possible happen to him - be sure to probe him for stories.

Graham Frith

Graham has had a lifetime of teaching, instructing and guiding and continues to take the odd hiking trip for us. Graham (a.k.a "Grum") is currently cycling around the whole planet raising awareness for prostate cancer but we are expecting him home in a few months. Grum also teaches wilderness first aid and risk management and is an avid mountain biker.

Kath Watzig

Kath pretty much lives off her land in the Far North and her home is a beautiful wee mud-brick house she built herself. Amongst a myriad of other things, Kath is very active in Northland conservation groups and a keen sea kayaker - her energy seems boundless. Kath is more convincing than a politician’s PR company and has more grit than the Lake Waikaremoana road. Basically she is a legend.

Justin Cowen (MPhil)

Justin doesn’t just talk conservation, he’s written a thesis on it (biodiversity and sustainable development). Previously with Department of Conservation Justin also ran international conservation volunteer projects before we snaffled him. On Quizz night you want this guy on your team. And don’t make the mistake of thinking he only talks environment! His sport / history  and general knowledge also go the distance. As do his long legs.

Dave Murphy

Dave has spent a lot of time overseas honing his wilderness skills. He has recently come back to New Zealand after hiking the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails. Dave’s geology degree (including years of geology experience in Asia and Australia) and his solid understanding of environment bring a wonderful depth of wisdom to his trips. But more importantly Dave holds the current Hiking NZ pancake distance record.

John Williamson (BSc)

John as a BSc and has ridden a horse across Mongolia. It made enough of an impression on him (the Mongolian adventure not the BSc) that he set up a horse trekking business in Mongolia over ten years ago. He now combines guiding in New Zealand with the treks in Mongolia during the New Zealand winters. John is often complimented for his stylish retro hiking attire and usually takes out the “most stylish guide” award.

Chai Pyle

Chai is the current Hiking NZ record holder for diverse work experience. Nepal rescue Kayaker/trainer to YMCA kids instructor, to dementia carer, to apple picker, to adventure photographer, to corporate caterer, to coffee barista, to semi professional wheelbarrow racer.  Hopefully not all these skills are used on Chai’s trips. Chai is pretty interested in sustainability, permaculture practice and healthy sustainable self-sufficient ways

Simon O'Donnell

Simon is an experienced climber, kayaker,mountaineer and bushman with many years professional instructing under his belt. From rafting to climbing to hiking. Now back studying in the winter, Simon joins us for the summer guiding seasons.

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