Meet Our Guides

A good guide goes a long way to ensure your trip is great. But “great” isn’t enough in our view. It has to be exceptional, and leave a lasting imprint on you. That’s why we take great care when it comes to recruiting our guide team, and the best in the New Zealand travel industry are always keen to work for us. This means we hire the cream of the crop, and take your trip from “great” to “absolutely incredible”. We’re in the privileged position of having a crop of outstanding guides employed by Active Adventures, the company from which New Zealand Walking Tours was born – and those guides are amazing at adapting, and so they are only too happy to guide on trips for either company throughout the season.

Clara Gyllentsten

Clara was born and raised in the South West of Sweden, on a small island called Bohus-Björkö, and speaks fluent English and Swedish. New Zealand is her home now though, and she’s delighted to share its secrets and stories with our guests. Clara spends her free time hiking, camping, riding mountain bikes, sufing, and sailing.

“Clara did an awesome job as our guide. She kept us well supplied with healthy snacks on the bus, and meals were superb. I was the oldest, slowest member of the group but Clara never made me feel that way, she was so encouraging!” 
Elaine Robak – California, USA – November 2017

Claire Hesselin

Claire was born in Invercargill and grew up in nearby Gore. Adventure has always been closeby, she likes to spend her spare time in the Catlins exploring. When she’s not guiding Claire enjoys hiking, kayaking, and biking – you might also catch her with a fishing rod in hand! She loves to cook, listen to music, and try to crack the formula for the world’s best veggie garden! Watch this space!

“Claire and Elder made two weeks into a lifetime of memories. The support, friendships, cultural knowledge, kindness, and those I shared it with made this trip for me. The guides went way beyond what they had to do to make sure I, along with everyone else, succeeded. Everyone left with an incredible sense of accomplishment which says tons about your staff. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Anna Flynn – Kansas, USA – April 2017

Dan Keys

Dan or ‘DK’ is a Kiwi with a long standing love affair with the New Zealand mountains and oceans. He has more than ten seasons of guiding under his belt throughout New Zealand, Australia, and Nepal. He loves to travel the world – but he also loves to come home to New Zealand and help others enjoy this beautiful country.

“I was fortunate enough to have DK as one of my guides, and between him and Gokul and the others who helped out, they made it a trip I will look back on as one of the best I’ve ever done. I’ve travelled a great deal in my time; this comes straight from the heart, trust me.”
Paul Cassot – New York, USA – October 2017

Amanda Linklater

Amanda lives in the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown, with her partner Pete. She likes to spend her time on camping ‘missions’ in the easily accessible backcountry of Otago, and calls rivers and mountain tops her favourite places. Amanda has extensive experience in the hospitality industry and loves sharing her back yard with our guests.

“I was amazed at the energy levels of our guides, Amanda and Holly. The amount of work that they were able to accomplish during the course of a day, their energy levels and very positive attitudes made the trip enjoyable for all of us guests. Also, their knowledge of their country and their willingness to share made the trip even more enjoyable. Again, thank you to all and especially to Amanda and Holly.”
Jerry Jobski – Arizona, USA – March 2017

Holly Adams

Born and raised in the South Island, Holly is as local as you can get, and knows her backyard as well as anyone. Her experience growing up on the doorstep is enormously valuable when it comes to running our trips, but she’s also explored many remote corners of the globe.

“Holly and Claire were exceptional guides. Holly always had snacks and tasty meals ready at the end of a walk. They correctly judged our hiking abilities and tailored the hikes accordingly. They were a joy to get to know and travel with, always encouraging and delightful!”
Charlene Newman – Alabama, USA – November 2017

Victoria Stephens

Victoria (or ‘Tory’) is a Kiwi – she spent the first ten years of her life in a town called Twizel, not far from Aoraki/Mt Cook, and her teen years in Geraldine – famous for it’s jam! In her spare time you’ll find Tory staying fit at the gym, or drawing/painting. She is a keen traveller, and one of her fondest memories is watching the sunrise from the summit of Volcan Acatenango in Guatemala.

“Our guides (Tory and Jordie) went above and beyond during our South Island trip. Their passion for the outdoors as well as the traditions and culture of New Zealand enhanced the two week journey immensely. As guides, I was most impressed by their attention to detail and safety – I also really appreciated the warm smiles, gems of knowledge, and yummy meals – they even surprised me with birthday cakes!”
Gigi Smith – West Virginia, USA – March 2017

New Zealand Walking Tours is proudly presented by Active Adventures, global leaders in delivering adventure trips of a lifetime.

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