Guided Small Group Tours of New Zealand

Canterbury Trails Guides


New Zealand Tour 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.

Current Guides:

Irene Hayward ireneAs 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.



Chris Plattchris 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.



John Holtonjohn-h John Holton is a former owner of Canterbury Trails, and has recently returned from the UK where he has been guiding for Back Roads Touring in Scotland and England. Before entering tourism John spent much of his time in education in the UK, Argentina and New Zealand as a teacher, Director of Sport and for a short time as Principal of an English Language School for International Students. He is a keen Sportsman and these days keeps fit cycling and tramping. Passionate about the joy and value of traveling, he and his partner celebrated the Millennium by venturing round the world for 365 days.



Tia AreliIMG_2167 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.



John Dunnejohn-d John Dunne’s been a broadcaster through 5 decades and most of it on radio and TV in Christchurch. Widely traveled here and overseas. John spends winters hosting and instructing older first timers at the at the Porters Ski Area. He’s also a Marriage Celebrant, Auctioneer, PR type guy and JP. He knows most or Canterbury, as most of Canterbury seems to know him.



Fiona EunsonFiona has lived in Canterbury most of her life with the exception of early years spent in rural Southland. She joined Canterbury Trails as a guide in 2016 after a career in local government. Having lived, worked or travelled in parts of the UK, Europe, Asia and the Americas Fiona loves the opportunity guiding provides to introduce visitors to NZ’s unique natural environment, share travel experiences with like minded travellers and return the hospitality extended to her when visiting other countries



Mandy-MitchellMandy Mitchell Mandy (or Amanda if she’s in trouble) was born and raised on an arable and dairy farm in Southern England. She met her kiwi veterinarian husband in Newmarket England where she was working as a horse nutritionist. A love of horses and horse racing took them to Hong Kong and then on to a short stint in Qatar before settling in New Zealand with their two boys. Mandy has worked in recruitment and hospitality, and now runs a small wine business. She is passionate about local artisan food, wine and beer. Her happy place is trail running in the spectacular playground of the South Island.




Beth Clayton 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.




Hugh Flaus Hugh lives in Akaroa and has been in the Canterbury area all his life. He spent 40 years in the photographic industry. Some as a photographer and also in the importing and distribution of photographic and optical equipment. This career took him all over the South Island of New Zealand. His interests cover many outdoor pursuits. Such as Trout and ocean fishing. Recreational hunting. Spear fishing and Golf at the beautiful Akaroa golf course.
He really enjoys getting off the beaten track and sharing our beautiful country with like minded people.




Viki Moore Viki was brought up in Canterbury and spent many years working in the Travel Industry and more recently – politics. She is passionate about exploring our beautiful country and ensuring that visitors all have a wonderful time during their stay in New Zealand. She is a keen sailor, photographer, and writes a sailing blog. She runs the office, manages all the bookings, marketing and operations.



Alan Malcolmson Alan has had a long career in the food manufacturing and retail industry and is now a director of a number of different companies. He is married to Sally and has three grown up daughters. He enjoys spending time mountain biking, playing the guitar and motorbiking. He has a holiday home in the MacKenzie Country.



Peter Fletcher A born and bred Cantabrian, Peter says he’s older than he cares to admit. He claims to be typical Kiwi, yet has a Canterbury University degree majoring in Geography. Having traveled overseas, he returned and tried his hand at ‘ all sorts ‘. He’s since been active in helping students attain their goals, as well as tutoring English as a second language and has had time teaching at intermediate school level. Peter’s also dabbled in the tour bus and motor home industry. His passions are the great outdoors  and hiking, usually with his two children and reckons his love of geography and guiding, means he has the best of both worlds.




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.



George Moran George hails from rural Canterbury. George’s first career was in farming but after one too many days spent standing in muddy gumboots, he fled to the University of Canterbury. There he graduated with a Bachelor of Science. George then attended Christchurch Teachers College before teaching science in Christchurch for the next twenty years. His fondest memories of teaching, were at Hagley Community College where he was the Head of Science. Since then, George has worked as a stay-at-home Dad, a technical writer for a private educational company, and currently as a tour guide.
Outdoor pursuits are a huge part of George’s life. He has climbed and backcountry skied throughout New Zealand and overseas. George has worked as a raft guide and outdoor pursuits teacher here in New Zealand, as well as surfing, biking and hiking at every opportunity. When not working or recreating, George has two conservation projects that he runs voluntarily in the Lewis Pass.



Dave Sandford  Dave was born and has lived in Christchurch New Zealand for most of his life. He has a great love of the outdoors and has spent much of his years exploring the South Island participating in various outdoor activities and multi-sport races. You name it, Dave has probably tried it, from Coast to Coast races, paragliding and hangliding, to fly fishing, diving and skiing, tramping and surfing. Being a keen traveller, he has spent time in Europe the UK and the USA, Australia and the Pacific, pursuing adventure. He has worked for many years in the travel industry as Crew for Air New Zealand and in IT as a Reporting analyst for Telecom NZ. His hobbies also include painting and making beautiful jewellery.

“I love New Zealand and especially the uniqueness of the South Island. My passion is experiencing it while sharing it with others”.






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