A Kiwi's Point of View: Elisabeth Easther's First Tour With Adventure South NZ

Cruising on Milford Sound | Peter Walton
Cruising on Milford Sound | Peter Walton

Kiwi travel writer Elisabeth Easther joined us on our Milford and Fiordland Hike Bike & Kayak in 2018. We caught up with her recently to delve deeper into her experience with Adventure South NZ in the hopes to inspire some of you Kiwi's out there too.

Kiwi travel writer Elisabeth Easther |  <i>Elisabeth Easther</i>

How did you first hear about Adventure South NZ?

I was writing a column in the New Zealand Herald called He Tāngata, and each week I’d interview a person who worked in tourism, to hear a bit about their wider travel adventures. One day I interviewed Phil Wyndham, Adventure South NZ's General Manager and he had some great stories to tell. As well as making a great article, somewhere along the line he suggested I take a tour with Adventure South NZ and so we cooked up a plan.


Which tour did you do?

I did a tour of Milford and the Southern Lakes in the autumn of 2018 and it was just delightful, There was a decent amount of cycling with a little bit of hiking here and there, and a night aboard a boat on Milford Sound for good measure. It was the perfect way to bite off some delicious chunks of the South Island’s cycle ways and tramping tracks between the Queenstown Lakes District, Southland and Milford.

Around the Mountains Cycle Trail |  <i>Southern Discoveries</i>

Where did you start?

We started in Queenstown, and did a 46km loop setting off from the Lower Shotover Bridge headed for Arrowtown. The Kawarau River and surrounding countryside was just stunning. Pretty cottages and autumn leaves, it was a lovely introduction to our bikes, the tour group, a lovely bunch, and also our magnificent leader Sean Mulvany.

What was the management of the tour like?

I’ve usually been an independent traveller but, when you experience a fully support tour with a leader of Sean’s calibre, you quickly discover why you paying a bit extra - because you get an experience that is that much more refined and well thought out. Every day, Sean went the extra mile to ensure we all had the absolute best time.

As we continued along our tour, from Kingston to Te Anau, to Milford, Sean made sure we were comfortable, safe and never hungry or thirsty. He radiated easygoing efficiency, nothing was too much trouble and everything was done so elegantly. As we popped out from various bike rides or hikes Sean would be there with the van or a hot drink, a full picnic or his basket of goodies, healthy snacks and pick me ups and it was a delight from start to finish.

Enjoying the view from the cycle trail |  <i>Southern Discoveries</i>

Do you think you’d take a tour with us again?

Without a doubt. After doing the South Island trip, I later interviewed Sean for a He Tãngata story and then another Adventure South NZ guide, Wanda Vivequin, and a clear pattern emerged. The people who work for Adventure South are my kind of people. Curious, adventurous, capable and kind with a sense of wonder in the world around them, and the itineraries are so well designed.

I know it’ll be a while before we can travel the world again, the way we used to, but I’ll be happy to take advantage of the wonderful domestic itineraries offered by Adventure South NZ for the foreseeable future – and make the most of our beautiful backyard.

Read Elisabeth's full article in the NZ Herald here.

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