Guides at Canterbury Trails
The most important asset of Canterbury Trails are the people who work for the company. All our guides are well travelled with a good understanding of cultures, world issues and current affairs. They take pride in surpassing the standards that have been set; in terms of passenger comfort & safety, their driving skills, route knowledge and tour management. All are passionate and knowledgeable about New Zealand, are considerate and display a high level of service and integrity. Our guides provide a full commentary in the vehicle as well as interpretation when on guided walks.
As co-owner of Canterbury Trails Irene is thoroughly enjoying taking on a new role as guide. Born in Christchurch but brought up on Banks Peninsula Irene looks forward to guiding in and around Akaroa. With her farming background and stories of growing up in “the bays” she will inform and entertain.
Irene has travelled extensively from living and working in the UK during her “OE” (Overseas Experience) in her early 20’s, back packing through the Middle East, and more recently sailing from New Zealand to Europe and back. She has a daughter and son in law and son who live and work in Christchurch. Now land based and responsible for two aging racehorses, and a Chesapeake Bay retriever called Jib, she looks forward meeting people who are also passionate about travelling and broadening their horizons.
Irene’s hobbies and interests include reading, painting, yoga, squash and of course sailing.
Co-owner of Canterbury Trails and an engineer by trade Chris has also embraced becoming a guide for the company. Born and raised in Christchurch Chris has become our “Arthur’s Pass “guide. Chris enjoys the walks the tour has to offer as well the chance to get away from the city and into the mountains for the day. Chris’s engineering background gives him the knowledge for maintaining Canterbury Trails fleet of 4WD vehicles to a high standard.
Chris has previously raced Jet boats and Rally cars and sailing both racing and cruising has been a large part of Chris’s life.
Sailing around the world with Irene (the sailing , not Irene) has been a life changing experience; it was an opportunity to visit so many different countries, experiencing alternative cultures and to lean their histories.
Chris’s hobbies centre mainly on fixing things and the enjoyment of the problem solving that goes hand in hand with that. Add to that the” joy” of owning a 5 acre lifestyle block with two aging racehorses and of course the dog.
Tia was born in Christchurch and moved to the small West Coast town of Hokitika at the age of 9, this is where her love of the outdoors began. Her mother is a school teacher and a bilingual Maori teacher, her father is from Samoa and a wood turner which has made her very culturally aware. She has been managing and working in hospitality for almost 20years, is finishing diplomas in Reflexology and Nutrition. She loves meeting new people, traveling, spending time with her family and friends, creating, yoga, going to the gym for a work out, being outdoors whether it’s by a beach or in a forest, learning and sharing new experiences. You can take the girl out of the Coast, but you can’t take the Coast out of the girl.
Fiona is a New Zealander whose family comes from Southland in the South Island. She is one of our newest team members and began guiding last season after twenty odd years working in local government. Prior to university study Fiona spent several years working and travelling in parts of Australia, North and Central America, Asia, Europe and Great Britain. Guiding provides her with the opportunity to share her passion for New Zealand with visitors and to broaden her knowledge and understanding of different countries – their people, cultures and environment. She has recently returned from a holiday in Great Britain and Western Europe where some of the highlights included visiting friends and her ancestral homeland of Fair Isle (one of Scotland’s northern isles) and cycle touring in the Czech Republic. When not guiding enjoys spending time at her small property in Christchurch, catching up with friends and family, and a range of other activities.
I enjoy meeting people and showing them around New Zealand. I was previously a coach driver and guide so I have great knowledge of the South Island and I am fluent in Italian and French while my German and Spanish isn’t too bad! I also enjoy golf so if you need a person to show you the many courses around (or you need an extra person for a game) I am available!
Beth’s family roots belong in Canterbury back to when the European settlers arrived. Travelling is a favourite thing and she has spent a number of years working overseas as a physiotherapist. These days she enjoys getting into the outdoors when she can fit it in with the day job as a school librarian. During the holidays, she finds showing Canterbury Trails guests around New Zealand’s countryside to be great fun, and she loves making them feel welcome, comfortable and entertained. She hopes all her guests leave with an unforgettable experience of Kiwi hospitality.
A born and raised South-lander, Maria Cairns is everything you’d expect from that part of the country. Southern men and women take huge pride in their laid back demeanor and iconic sense of peace and humour… and Maria is no exception. A wonderfully, bubbly personality, it comes as no surprise that she was an extremely popular and long term flight attendant with our award winning carrier Air New Zealand. Maria has talked to thousands of visitors to these shores and takes great pride in spreading the word about the place. Having lived most of her adult life in Christchurch and Canterbury, she knows the place intimately as she does the back roads and by ways all over the South Island. Maria adores her 2 sports mad kids and along with her husband loves their life by the beach and spending time with family and friends. A runner herself, she’s just as likely to go jogging with you, as she is to spoil you with some of her legendary home baking.
A born and bred Cantabrian, Peter says he’s older than he cares to admit. He claims to be a typical ‘ Kiwi ‘, yet with a Canterbury University degree majoring in Geography. Having traveled overseas, he returned and ‘ tried his hand at all sorts ‘. He has since been active in helping students attain their goals as well tutoring in English as a second language and teaching at Intermediate School. Peter’s also been involved in the tour bus and motor home industry. His passions are the great outdoors and hiking, usually with his two children and as a tour guide and geography buff, he reckons he has the best of both worlds.
Jan is New Zealand born and bred. Although born in the South Island she grew up in the North Island immersed in the Maori culture of Rotorua. Her parents installed a love of the outdoors at an early age with tramping, camping and water skiing. The South Island is where she raised her three children to enjoy the fabulous outdoor playground. She has been working in the outdoor/tourism industry for nearly twenty years and feels blessed to share this beautiful country with so many people from around the world. She loves to travel, meet people, share her kiwi ways and explore the unique corners of New Zealand as she works for various guiding companies. She has always loved the adventures the outdoor provides and believes the most important part is the journey on the way to the destination. When she does get some free time it is spent catching up with family and friends, tramping, biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, gardening and if she is really lucky a good book that you can’t put down.
Wayne van Huyssteen
Wayne joined the guiding team at Canterbury Trails in the summer of 2014. He is a highly seasoned tour guide with years of various guiding experience around New Zealand and Australia. He was born in South Africa and has a degree in Business, Law and Real Estate. He migrated to New Zealand in 2003 and was drawn to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand, where he began his new career as a tour guide. He guided 4×4 trips, sightseeing tours, and LOTR film location tours, then expanded his base to include biking and walking tours throughout the South Island. In 2007, Wayne crossed the ditch and expanded his career in Central Australia. This led to the purchase and operation of a tourism business till 2013, when he went into “semi-retirement”.
After a year of travel (highlights were reaching the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, and a self guided cycle tour in the Italian and French Alps) Wayne returned to New Zealand where he spent the summer as an independent contractor guiding with multiple companies.
When he is not touring, Wayne enjoys getting off the beaten track to explore more remote areas of New Zealand. In the off season, Wayne picks a spot on the map and sets off to explore the rest of the world.