On the couch with Adventure South guide Rach Astbury

Adventure South guide Rachel Astbury | Rach Astbury
Adventure South guide Rachel Astbury | Rach Astbury

It would be fair to say incredible tours would only be tours if it weren’t for our dedicated cycling and hiking guides. With their extensive experience, knowledge, and abundant energy, they are fundamental to the success of every trip we undertake.

We caught up with our guide Rachel Astbury to discover how she first got into guiding, what she loves about the Alps to Ocean's Burnside Homestead, her tips for planning a multi-day tour and more.


When did your first get into guiding and what do you love about it?


Ive been guiding for the last 2 summers after 10 years working in tertiary education in the creative arts. Guiding combines my joy of being outdoors, my love of connecting with people, my passion for New Zealand and my thirst for variety! I learn something new every single day while guiding and absolutely love experiencing this country through the eyes of travellers.

Adventure South guide Rachel Astbury |  <i>Rach Astbury</i>

A fun fact people don't know about you?


My spouse is currently in the middle of a gender transition which makes for some interesting experiences and conversation! I've had my eyes, heart and mind opened through this in new ways and become a lot more mindful about representation of minorities in outdoor spaces and culture.


What's your favourite way to fill your free time?

I'm a busy person with a million projects on the go at any one time! Apart form spending time on my mountain bike or hiking ridgelines, I like to draw, paint and embroider - mostly for myself but have had the odd exhibition over the years. I also have an extensive veggie garden and my partner and I have hand built our own home on our 3.5acre property, an ever evolving project.

Heaphy Track, New Zealand |  <i>Rach Astbury</i>

What's your favourite Adventure South NZ trip and can you tell us why?


I love the Alps to Ocean cycle tour! There is a good reason this trail made it into the recent Lonely Planet Epic Rides of the World book! It's a very achievable challenge with unrivalled scenery, interesting riding and incredible hosts along the way


Most memorable moment in the outdoors?

Getting up to the ridgeline towards Muller Hut in the Mt Cook National Park with a group of visitors and being at eye level with the hanging glaciers on the opposite ridge while they were shearing and avalanching. The huge thundery booms as they broke off and cascaded down the mountainside was awe inspiring and worth every bit of the challenging hike to get there. The view of Mt Aoraki from here is not too bad either!

Favourite local accommodation or meal spots around? 

Staying at the private homestead of Burnside near Oamaru, a Catergory 1 historic homestead is a real treat. All Adventure South NZ itineraries seem to be packed with well chosen accommodation and excellent dining options. If you find yourself in Te Anau, the Sandfly Cafe do the most devine Chocolate/Raspberry Brownie you're ever likely to encounter.

Rach Astbury, Adventure South guide |  <i>Rach Astbury</i>

What are your top tips for people planning a multi-day cycling adventure?

Train! get your butt used to sitting in a saddle for several hours a day. Nothing can suck the enjoyment out of a ride like being uncomfortable. Don't underestimate how cold the South Island can get at any time of year, but if you're well kitted out, no weather can ruin a great cycling holiday.



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