On The Couch With Adventure South Guide Seán Mulvany

Tranquil beauty of Milford Sound | Alain Goerens
Tranquil beauty of Milford Sound | Alain Goerens

On the Couch: Adventure South Guide Seán Mulvany

Our cycling and trekking guides have vast knowledge, experience, and bountiful energy, and are paramount to the success of our tours. There to guide, support and impart the unique aspects of our environment, they make certain you experience the best New Zealand has to offer.

Born in the UK, and raised in Germany, Adventure South NZ guide Seán Mulvany has made New Zealand home. We caught up with Seán to discover how he first got into hiking with the British Army and read all about his Milford and Fiordland Hike Bike and Kayak with journalist Elisabeth Easther. He’s even shared a few pearls of wisdom for hikers concerned about blisters.

Adventure South Guide Sean Mulvany

How did you first get into hiking?

Whilst living in England I was in the British Army for a long time. Part of our routine and training was hiking, and lots of it, so I expect it started there. I also undertook mountain leadership training in Bavaria and Austria. I think it was during that time I truly got the bug. Europe has some pretty spectacular landscapes. It’s hard not to fall in love with hiking when you’re surrounded by such expansive beauty.


What does hiking mean to you, and what does it give you?

For me fundamentally, hiking means time outdoors. It offers the ideal time to process our ideas and problems. It’s a real tonic for busy lives. Apparently we have prehistoric programming to do this whilst moving as former hunter/gatherers. It’s also definitely time to be amongst some of the most interesting birds in the world. For me, seeing a Kākā or Weka is a real treat. However stopping to observe them closely in their natural habitat is what I really get amped about!


All time favourite New Zealand trip?

It would have to be the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, mid winter a few years ago. It was a bluebird day hiking with my wife and a great friend who guides the track regularly. Despite walking it almost daily, he couldn’t wait to share it with us in such a perfect conditions. These kinds of trips are pretty special when we can share them with our friends and family.


Most memorable moment on the trails?

Hands down that would have to be the many wonderful conversations with the visitors and students on our tours. Watching their reactions as they move deeper into the forest and further from their day to day lives is captivating.


What advice do you have for people choosing a guided walk?

It’s essential first and foremost to be comfortable. The better your boots or shoes fit, and the more confidence you have in warm waterproof gear, the more you’ll relax. This in turn allows the guide to fully immerse you in their Kainga (Work). Also bear in mind a larger daypack is easier to rummage through than one only just big enough for the items on the kit list!


What are your top tips for people preparing for a multi-day walk?

If you’re going to be hiking for a few days, it’s crucial to train and break in your boots. If you’re worried about fitness or blisters then you’re not open to fully appreciate the environment you’re moving through. Look at maps of the area. If there are contours to cross train on hills, and perhaps invest in (and here’s the important bit), learn to use walking poles correctly.

Journalist Elisabeth Easther recently joined Seán on our Milford and Fiordland Hike Bike and Kayak. Read all about her experience here.

Remember Seán’s advice is to be prepared, and we’re here to help.

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