Adventure South has been operating active holidays throughout New Zealand for 20 years and we are able to say with the utmost confidence that we can offer the best cycling, trekking and adventure itineraries ever available in New Zealand.
There's simply no other collection of New Zealand itineraries that can match the geographic coverage, originality and overall quality of our adventures.
For many years travellers to New Zealand have come to walk the classic trails like the Milford or Routeburn Tracks or cycle the West Coast roads. These trails and routes offer a great insight into some awesome regions, but we're here to show you that there are many, many more trails and cycling routes in our great country that are the new frontiers in adventure tourism - beautiful, scenic, and without the crowds.
At Adventure South we are proud of our many guides who have passed through the company. They bring their humour, compassion and caring and ensure that you have a great vacation and right degree of personal challenge. Behind our guides exists another band of office staff, dedicated to providing the infrastructure and safety net to your holiday, ensuring that the details are complete and correct.
Let Adventure South introduce you to the natural wonder that is New Zealand, join one of our small group, environmentally responsible, value packed adventures!
Geoff Gabites, Director Adventure South
First line of contact is likely to be either Tim de Jong our Operations Manager or our administration staff - Paula Hannon, Valerie Henderson or Dale Gibb. Our depot manager Bas keeps things ticking over at our base, and it is here that we will meet and brief those of you whose tours depart from Christchurch.
Tim de Jong
I have been working for Adventure South for seven years now in an Operations & Sales role. Prior to this I had over 10 years on the road as a cycle tour guide, leading tours throughout New Zealand as well as in Australia, Vietnam, Italy & the USA. I have a special passion for Vietnam having traveled & guided there for many years and have created our Mekong Delta & Limestone Landscapes tours in this amazing country. During the busy New Zealand summer season I coordinate the movements of our fleet of 13 vehicles, 120 bikes and approx 15 guides, as well as occasionally being let of the office to guide tours.
In the winter I switch to more of a sales/marketing role, including creating and planning itineraries for private groups and working on our new itineraries in New Zealand. As well as this, I am going to be working on my photography skills this winter having discovered a passion for photography by being fortunate enough to guide on our Autumn Colours of Central Otago Photography tour.
I take care of the reservation side and will make sure you have a bed each night whilst on tour with us. I have had a passion for travel ever since my father took me around the world at 5 years old and it was only a few years after leaving school that I decided to head off to Europe. I enjoyed the life of a tour leader in Africa and South America, both continents helped me perfect my problem solving skills and offered challenges of their own. I finished off my time in South America with a dream trip to Antarctica which blew me away and gave me memories that will last a lifetime.
After 16 years abroad visiting all 7 continents, I decided there was no place like home and returned to New Zealand. I did not explore enough of my country before I left and have certainly enjoyed guiding for several seasons around the South Island.
Having lived in gorgeous Central Otago for a number of years, I’m lucky to work at Adventure South where I can share the experience with you. If you love stunning landscapes enriched with a fascinating pioneering history, you’ll be talking to me about arranging your next adventure, cycling the Otago Rail Trail.
In 2012 I captured a photo in Queenstown that is published in National Geographic’s ‘Southern Exposure’ book. The shot was taken in the same location as our Photography Tour. As a keen photographer this area is my favourite, each season spoils you with opportunity.
My feet are permanently itchy and have taken me on many memorable trips from hiking the Annapuna Circuit in Nepal, to cycling through Vietnam and Cambodia. I am always plotting my next escape. When not helping arrange our various tours, you’ll find me out running local trails training for my next ultramarathon.
I joined the team at Adventure South in January 2013 as the Accounts Administrator so I’m the person who will be contacting you when your final payment is due! I have spent several years working in the tourism industry within New Zealand, in both accounts and customer service roles. Prior to that, I spent time travelling and working overseas which has given me a real appreciation of what New Zealand has to offer. I enjoy working for Adventure South as it allows me to combine m
y love of New Zealand and the outdoors with my number-crunching skills.
In my spare time, I enjoy cycling, tramping, running and just generally getting outdoors. I have recently entered my first half ironman which takes place in January 2014 so will be busy training for that over the coming months. I also love travelling, both in New Zealand and overseas, and hope to get the chance to experience one of our Vietnam cycling tours in the not too distant future.
I help maintain the fleet of bicycles at Adventure South. I have been working as a cycle mechanic for many years, am Shimano qualified and have built the odd bicycle - tandems and touring bikes. My love for bicycles was cultivated while cycle touring in South America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. I think it's the best way to see a country, to meet the people in a new place and just to get around while travelling. Like most of the staff I enjoy riding to work, and I like to get out in the Port Hills for some mountain biking.
When I’m not working at Adventure South, I do contract bicycle maintenance through my mobile cycle services business, PedalOn. I really love being a bike mechanic and especially like working with Adventure South. They are great people, friendly and enjoyable company and make an excellent pot of tea.
Adventure South Guides
Supporting us over the summer months is a team of some 10-15 guides with some exciting, specialist skills. Amongst other things our guides have cycled around the world, climbed to the highest peaks in New Zealand and the Himalayas, worked in Antarctica, have degrees in Botany, are qualified chefs, have had their photographs published world-wide and have written travel journals and hiking guide books. As guiding work is seasonal a tour guide needs to be multi talented and during the off-season our guides are involved in many diverse activities from managing ski-fields to courier driving to teaching and consulting. Of-course to be a guide you must be a traveller at heart and many of our guides use the New Zealand winter period to travel, hike and cycle overseas.
"I just wanted to pass on how good the guides were on my trip last week, they did an excellent job in looking after us and are a credit to the company. Both of our guides were such decent and helpful people that it really the trip for myself and the other chaps I was travelling with." - Tony Montgomery-Clarke, Australia. Est Coast Glaciers Cycle, Nov 2012
Bas Kruisselbrink is one of our most senior guides with 10 seasons under his belt for Adventure South. If his surname sound a little un kiwi to you than you are right. Bas was born in The Netherlands in 1961 and was litterally raised on a bicycle. At the age of 16 he cycled with a friend from Holland to Spain and Portugal and that was the start of a life full of cycling adventures, the longest one a five and a half year cycle ride around the world through 44 different countries. Last year he spent two and a half months cycling around Peru, Bolivia and Argentina and various altitudes.
Cycling and travelling is in his blood and he loves sharing his cycle expertise with other people. Bas is a very keen cycle mechanic and keeps our cycle fleet up and running in the winter months while he is not guiding. Bas was trained as a mechanical engineer and studied business management in London. He managed a leasing company for the importer of Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche in The Netherlands, but that became too much of a life in the fast lane for him. After visiting 87 countries he thinks that New Zealand is the best place to be! Besides Dutch and English, Bas is fluent in German and proficient in French and Spanish.
Born and raised in Dunedin, after graduating college I worked first as a veterinary nurse, but spent my spare time pursuing my passion for biking, hiking and kayaking and volunteering for the Department of Conservation and Search and Rescue. Eventually decided to turn my passion for the outdoors into a career, i studied Outdoor Recreation and have never looked back! Since then I have been lucky enough to work in some of the most beautiful areas in New Zealand and abroad and met lots of amazing people in the process. At present I am studing some papers in ecology by correspondence and hope to continue my work with DOC in the future, helping maintain the special places i guide in.
I have been at Adventure South four summers now, along with my husband Rudy, who is also a guide. In the winter we chase the good weather back to his home town of Arequipa, Peru and to get to work and place in the Andes (and I get to practice my Spanish!).
I am passionate about New Zealand so am delighted to be back guiding this season. From a farming background, my love of nature began at an early age. School teaching was followed by a retail business, while experience in the outdoors was accumulated over many years involvement with a Tramping club, Alpine Club, the Mountain Safety Council and during private trips. Having explored much of the South Island while tramping and climbing and especially since having had adventures in South America, Africa, Vietnam, and Europe, my appreciation for New Zealand has intensified.
My current interests include tramping, climbing, mountain biking, sea kayaking, and travel. In guiding what motivates me is meeting people from all over the world and helping to make adventures memorable.
My name is Ivor Heijnen. The 2011-2012 season will be my fifth year guiding for Adventure South. The last four seasons have been fantastic. Working as a guide, I get to meet some truly amazing people, from all over the world, and from all walks of life. And then I get to show these people some of the best biking and hiking places in the world. So I feel I am the luckiest guy around really.
During the winter months I teach Outdoor Education and Sustainability at CPIT, and other tertiary education providers, and I am a qualified mountain, rock, avalanche and bush/tramping instructor. I teach students how to safely recreate and instruct groups, in a variety of outdoor pursuits, as well as courses in environmental science, sustainability, communication skills, and risk management. When I am not working, I am usually out playing; tramping, biking, climbing, running, kayaking, or preferably a combination of these things. This last winter I gained a new obsession: ski touring. You get to climb a mountain and instead of slogging back down, you ski down..much better! I am also partial to some cooking and baking, and the eating of course!
Adventure South clients usually pick up on my strange accent, and yes I am an immigrant to these lands. I shan't tell you where my whakapapa lies, as it makes for a good guessing game. As an immigrant I love to share my wonder and continued excitement about, and hope to meet you here, in this amazing country called Aotearoa, New Zealand.
I really enjoyed my first season guiding with Adventure South - so much so that Im now on my fifth season with them. It has been great having the opportunity to introduce clients to the New Zealand back country. Meeting clients from all walks of life, with many laughs along the way, has been a particular highlight for me.
Guiding allows me to continue my life long interest in the outdoors - including mountaineering, tramping, skiing, fishing and cycling. When I am not guiding I am still lucky enough to be working outdoors in my own beekeeping business. My overseas travel includes trips touring in Europe, climbing trips to Tibet and Nepal, Chamonix and the Italian Alps. Two years ago I went cycle touring in southern France with my wife Ann. Most recently we went to Vietnam with some of the Adventure South friends and family crew and had a great time cycling on the Limestone Landscapes tour. We have two children Sophie and Christopher who enjoy the outdoors as much as we do. Family trips to the Pacific Islands are a highlight and our trips to Rarotonga have resulted in supporting the sole beekeeper in Rarotonga by hive inspections, providing industry advice for the importing of queen bees. I am impressed with the diversity of trips on offer at Adventure South and see this as one of its strengths.
This will be my third season with Adventure South and am loving every minute. I come from a long career in the airline industry so this is a great change for me. I love recreational biking and hiking and am passionate about our beautiful country so tour guiding for me is a dream job. All my passions rolled into one! My background is farming and horticultural so the outdoors and things botanical are dear to my heart. I have a 3-acre garden which doubles as therapy and my husband and I are working towards a self-sufficient lifestyle producing a lot of our own yummy organic food. Last year I had an amazing time biking in France with friends and this winter I am off to Peru to bike and then hike the Inca Trail.
Very exciting! I have a special passion for the Otago Rail Trail. Fantastic scenery, great biking, wonderful food and wine. A truly unique part of the world an what a great job for me to share it with you. The photo (me on the left) was taken during one of Adventure South's beautiful hiking trips in the Southern Alps. Centre is our lovely boss Geoff. Looking forward to meeting you and giving you the best New Zealand Adventure I can.
Kia ora, this is my fifth season with Adventure South, prior to that I spent the last ten years teaching outdoor and environmental education at the Christchurch College of Education. I have a great love of the outdoors and take every opportunity to have adventures either in the mountains or on the sea.
This may sound strange but I love mountain running, I guess it's a freedom thing moving across the terrain as swift as you can. I own a very beautiful penguin sea kayak and have many adventures kayaking around our coasts. To be a tour guide has been a dream of mine for many years. I can't think of a better way to spend my time than giving people the opportunity to have adventures in the beautiful wild places of Aoteroa New Zealand. I'm really looking foward to meeting you. In the mean time Kia kaha which is Maori for be strong and stand tall.
Hola, I am originally from Peru although some people confuse me for a pacific islander. I married a kiwi (Louise, another guide here at Adventure South!), after meeting her in Peru a few years ago (lucky me). Since then we live part time between Peru and New Zealand. I have a degree in computer science and a degree in tourism management from Peru. I started guiding hiking tours in the mountains of Peru in 2005 and have been working for Adventure South for a number of seasons. At present I am doing depot work (getting trips ready etc) and going out on some cycling tours. I really enjoy working in NZ and I've had an unforgettable experience in my whole time living here, love New Zealand, its my favourite country - after Peru that is.
I first worked for Adventure South in 1999 as a cycle and Mountain bike tour guide, along with my husband Steve. We met through mountain biking and have travelled extensively throughout the world, with our bikes under our butts wherever possible! An active adventure is the best kind and we hope to have many more in our lifetime.
I have continued to guide as my other commitments allowed, over the last 13 years; I have a passion for biking, for stunning scenery and fresh air, for showing it all off, and for meeting and working with great like-minded people. (not to mention sharing well-earned tasty food and beverages with them!)
My aforementioned “other commitments” include an ongoing career as a Sports Physiotherapist, and two gorgeous daughters, now aged 6 and 8. I am lucky to have a mother who can look after my charges when I feel the need to guide a trip, so I am still able to share your fabulous active New Zealand experience with you! Yay!
From my days in school, and on into work as a bridge construction engineer, I spent my leisure time organizing and leading private hiking, skiing, kayaking and cycling trips for my kiwi friends, a great introduction to working as a tour guide in the outdoors of New Zealand . Then in 1988 I began work as an independent guide for a number of New Zealand and US companies, guiding a wide range of tours from road cycling to off road mountain biking These tours dovetail nicely with my other interest growing cherries and new potatoes organically for local orders, which keeps me busy in the spring .
When not working you will find me out hiking, cycling or skiing with my son's, as they too grow up to enjoy life in the outdoors.
Having lived in several countries and travelled to a great deal more, NZ is where I can call ‘home’...a place of majestic mountains and stunning scenery from cape to cape and source to sea! My name is Rossco and having guided groups both in and out of NZ since 1994, I feel privileged to be able to share my knowledge and excitement of our beautiful piece of the world with you..Aotearoa!
In a previous life I was brought up on a farm, ventured through business and went travelling in 1989 (of which I still spend approx 5 months per annum out of NZ). A love of all things sporting and the great outdoors, encompassed with an appreciation of photography and wine – not necessarily in that order – (my pics get better with the more wine YOU drink ) has bought me to work for Adventure South since..well ages ago! As kiwi as Lemon and Paeroa , fush n’ chips and Buzzy Bee –( Google that one), interests include triathlon, multisport, sea kayaking, hiking, and biking as well as discovering ‘new’ places with hoots of delight and laughter abound. Never one to be too serious, the only thing I may be qualified for is fun! Between and after tours I can be found at times with my ‘waterfront apartment’ aka Campervan, around The Top of The South kayaking and/or coffeeing (is there such a word?) or on the world’s best No 2 green at the Tasman Golf Club.
I'm coming up to my third season with Adventure South and really looking forward to it! From February to October I moonlight as a medical student at Otago University in Christchurch. However, come November I am ready for the bikes, the bus and the memorable holidays I can help provide to all our fantastic clients who experience NZ with us! I originally graduated with a Masters degree in genetics, but decided academia was not the life for me, so I left NZ for 8 and a half years. In that time I spent 5 seasons working as a tour guide on cycle rickshaws in Victoria, Canada, 3 years teaching English in Japan and many months hiking in the mountains of Nepal, Poland, Morocco, and Slovakia. I have been back in NZ for 6 years now and in my free time I love to get out hiking in the mountains and valleys of the South Island, except winter where I don skis for 3 months :) I'm really excited to meet all of you who choose Adventure South as a way of experiencing NZ.
Craig has been guiding with us for about 7 seasons now and has a long history in the New Zealand outdoors. He has worked for the NZ Forest Service, DOC (Department of Conservation), a nature tour company based out of Golden Bay and one of our local club skifields. Whenever he gets time off he's always out exploring, sailing, surfing, climbing, hiking or mountain biking. During this last winter season he’s helped construct our new depot down in Twizel for Cycle Journeys – being a dab hand at constructing, painting and general fixing he’s been really busy helping people out after the Christchurch earthquakes. Craig can often been found on our road cycling tours and specials, and this season enjoyed developing our new Northland cycle tour that explores the West and East coasts from Auckland to Cape Reinga (the northern tip of NZ) and back. Last year Craig and his son Llew decided to ‘climb something’. Their version of finding something to climb was to make the first ascent on Mount Cook for the 2011 climbing season! Mount Cook being the highest mountain in NZ!! This pic of Craig was taken on that climb.
I have been a Guide for Adventure South now for five years. Before this I lived in South Korea for 6 months recruiting English teachers from here, Australia and the U.S.A. Back in 1992 I started the Mountain Bike Adventure company hiring out bikes at top of the mount Cavendish Gondola (sadly now closed because of earthquake damage and risks of rock slides) I have a real passion for our stunningly beautiful country and absolutely love sharing it all with visitors both international and domestic. During the winter off season I enjoy playing around on my laptop with internet marketing projects.
Adventure South is an awesome company to be involved with, it has a culture where everyone has a wonderful belief of just having fun, experiencing new and exciting adventures. As Geoff the owner says … “Life IS too short NOT to be having FUN!”
Phan Thanh Binh
Phan Thanh Binh is our senior guide in Southern Vietnam and is also responsible for keeping our bike fleet in good shape. Originally from Buon Ma Thuot in Central Vietnam, "Mr Bing" as he is known, has been guiding cycle tours throughout Vietnam and Cambodia for 10 years. As well as being a very good cycle mechanic and a keen photographer, he is also a talented muscian and magician who will often be found entertaining our tour groups with his guitar and magic tricks! Binh very much enjoys passing on his extensive knowledge of Vietnam to our guests, who are always very high in their praise of him in our end-of-tour review forms.
“Binh made this trip wonderful, from the moment he picked us up until the very end. His knowledge was invaluable, his translation very helpful & his sense of humor priceless. You are lucky to have such an awesome guide - he tells great stories” - Tracey Murphy & Shelley Lines, New Zealand - Mekong Delta, May 2012.
Nguyen Xuan Loi
Nguyen or "Loi" as he is known, is our North Vietnam tour manager. A keen cyclist who has been guiding tours for over 10 years, Loi was born in Ninh Bihn - the heart of the Limestone region. He is a keen historian with extensive knowledge of the local countryside and the regional ethnic minorities - he is also a gifted storyteller who is an interesting asset to any tour. Loi takes great pride in being able to "make things happen" and will do all he can to help your tour run smoothly.
“Meeting with Loi’s family at their home in Ninh Bhin was amazing, especially walking in their garden with his uncle.” - Maria & Miles Fairburn, New Zealand - Limestone Landscapes, April 2012
Konnichiwa! (Hello in Japanese) I am proud to offer you the real Japan experience with great cycling.
Since 2003, I have been guiding road cycling and mountain biking trips throughout Japan. As I’m a year-round cyclist who rides for work and for leisure, I’m confident to give you the best service from the cyclist’s point of view. I was born in a bike shop and inherited the DNA and the bike mechanical skills from my father and grandfather. My passion for riding a bike and playing with bikes is in my blood. I also spent three years in total in Hawaii as a windsurfer, and experienced “Mana”, the spiritual energy of nature in the Hawaiian culture. It drove me to start a career as an outdoor guide. When I returned to Japan, I rediscovered so much beauty in our culture and nature. I was convinced then, this was what I want to do; explore Japan on a bike and share this beautiful place with cyclists from all over the world!
“Small groups, Great Guides, Superb Holidays”
This comment encapsulates Adventure South. It didn’t come from a long and tortuous strategic planning process, but rather it came from a client review form summarising their vacation experience. Somehow I don’t think we could have done better!
Caring, Professional, Passionate.
We do care - about our clients, their welfare, happiness, and enjoyment. We care about our environment, our small communities and the values they hold in being a Kiwi. We care about our relationships and our reputation. We care. Professional is a broad term. For us it means that we will do whatever we agree to do – to a standard that meets your expectation. We will try to get it right – first time! Passion is what we look for in our guides over anything else. Passion to provide the best customer service, to share the best our country has to offer, and a passion to show our company in the best possible light.
Adventure South takes very seriously the responsibilities that come with being one of New Zealand’s leading Adventure Tourism operators. As well as our commitment to the environment & sustainable tourism we are also very involved in quality initiatives within the New Zealand Tourism Industry.
This is an independent quality audit process conducted by a joint venture organisation representing the New Zealand Tourism Board. The audit is very comprehensive and expensive. (which may explain why some companies choose not to engage in it). The audit examines virtually every aspect of our company’s operation – from safety plans to employment, financial planning to vehicle maintenance. The process is unique to New Zealand and the envy of most countries’ national tourism organisations.Adventure South has engaged in this audit process since its inception some four years ago. Our lowest score has been 88%.
A national project to build a world class network of cycle trails. Adventure South is an official partner, supporting all the great work NZ Cycle Trails do to build, create and encourage cycling our fantastic cycle trails.
NZTIA is the umbrella organisation for the tourism industry. Membership is voluntary and fees are based on staff employed. The organisation provides industry leadership and coordination, responding to membership issues. Geoff served as a board member for the TIA for approx 8 years, representing our outdoors sector.
Cycle Tour Operators New Zealand (CTONZ)
This organisation is dedicated to promoting cycle safety and professionalism among New Zealand cycle tour operators. Membership is voluntary and progress relies on participants putting aside personal rivalries and acting for a common good. As a founder member Adventure South is totally committed with oue of our part time guides Brian Farrant currently chairing the organisation.
Department of Conservation (DOC)
Adventure South work very closely with NZ's Department of Conservation to ensure that our impact on NZ's National Parks and reserves is minimal. We are licensed concessionaries and a portion of your tour payment goes to DOC towards park management.
Adventure South has been strong supporters of the professional guiding orgnansation, ProGuidesNZ. Five of our guides are full members and Clark Pollitt, one of our senior guides is on the Committee.
Established by Landcare Research, the carboNZero process has been established to assist companies identify, minimise and offset their carbon footprint. The process is run by Landcare who then require another independent, comprehensive and expensive audit of our result. Once these results are confirmed, our excess carbon footprint is calculated and Adventure South pays for its emissions. Adventure South is the only tourism operator to have completed a full company carboNZero process. Since 2001 we have lead the tourism industry in our practices having become the first New Zealand company to achieve Green Globe’s certification process.
Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA)
ATTA is dedicated to raising the profile of adventure travel in the world market providing valuable services for its members. This organisation also assists in defining "best practice" and operating standards as well as encouraging sustainable and environmentally and culturally sensitive adventure travel practices.
Pure Travel Member
At PureTravel, they offer hundreds of holidays from around the world. The trips are operated by specialist tour operators based in your destination who bring a wealth of local expertise to the organisation of your holiday. Whatever sort of holiday you are after, you will find it at PureTravel