On a Walking Legends trip you’ll find yourself hiking through some of the most beautiful places on earth with like-minded people, but it’s a guide that can make or break your trip, so we’re pretty careful about how we assemble our team. “Pretty good” won’t cut it for us, so rest assured that your hiking trip with us is led by an amazing group of characters who are experienced, fun, knowledgeable, passionate and capable. Not to mention great cooks!
Man, Dad, guide, geek, frisbee golf aficionado, 80’s pop-culture connoisseur, vintage toy collector, music fact encyclopedia…
He’s a true-blue, Bay of Plenty boy. He spent his boyhood on his parents 6-hectare block of green kiwifruit. He’s planted it, pruned it, picked it and carted it - kiwifruit juice runs through his veins. His first job was polishing crates of cucumbers his folks also grew in hot houses.
After high school Brad joined Waiariki Polytechnic in Rotorua to do an adventure tourism diploma. He used to blat* over the Rotorua hills in a 1975 Mini Leyland. Red. He also spent a lot of time floating down roiling river rapids in inflatable plastic rafts. Most importantly, he learned it was a lot more fun working outdoors than polishing cucumbers.
He began a guiding job with Walking Legends in 2008 and holds the prestigious, as-yet-unchallenged, title of ‘Most Complete Circuits of Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk,’ (he stopped counting at 100). You’ll most likely encounter Brad guiding either The Coromandel Explorer or the Great Barrier Island Escape these days, he’s still the same classic 80’s kiwi lad – only a far more safety-conscious version. He plays a mean guitar, has an audio-engineering degree, and produced two of his own albums. He’s a consummate professional and a stunning trail companion.
Kiwi slang explained:
*blat – to drive fast, though not recklessly
Everyone has one of ‘those friends.’ The one who knows what time the bus is leaving, the name of the paint colour you used on the kitchen 6 years ago, and the correct way to use an apostrophe. They’re your go-to friend, the one you rely on to get you through. They’re also the one who organises group get-togethers, and thank god for that, or you’d all have an empty social calendar!
Our Cathy is one of these people. She has spent her working life making stuff happen. Once upon a time she organized the Director of the Auckland Museum, then she organized construction projects for the Ministry of Education and now that she’s part of the Walking Legends team, by jove, she’ll organise the billy-o out of that too. There could not be a better person to curate your walking holiday of a lifetime. Before you put organising your group holiday into the ‘too hard basket,’ give her a call or send her an email and let her work her magic.
Collector of silly books, marine mammal medic, truck driver, architectural technician, furniture refinisher, bird garden builder, aspiring double bass player, extra in the movie ‘Dodgeball.’ Cathy is our quirky office ninja who makes it all happen.
Sister, Friend, West Coaster, Mountaineer, Kayaker, Mountain Biker, Adventure Racer, Chief Chicken-Chaser, Queen of Just About Everything!
Felicity, or Flic as we like to call her, hails from the West Coast. They breed a special kind of Kiwi down there, the ‘pull up a pew, crack a cold one and share a yarn’ kind.
She completed an outdoor education course in white water kayaking and mountaineering at Christchurch Polytechnic and then caught something many people catch at university……She caught the love bug! She found her special someone, followed him up to Rotorua, and has been part of the local tourism family ever since.
When she’s not working harder than advisable, she enjoys a stint of adventure racing. For the uninitiated, this is basically blasting up and down ridiculous hills on foot (or mountain bike) in all weathers and directions. Sounds fun right? And where does she get the fuel for all that extreme outdoor action? From the free range eggs her two sassy chooks, Betty & Queenie, lay. That’s if Steve, the loyal collie, doesn’t get to them first.
You could say hiking holidays are like plywood. Many layered, and only as good as the glue that holds it together. People like Flic are that glue. She’s happiest when every cog is oiled and the whole machine is humming.
Kiwi slang explained:
* pew – chair
* yarn – conversation
* chooks - chickens
I love tramping because of all of the amazing places that it can get you, and being a guide for Walking Legends is like a dream come true for me.
Waikaremoana is like a second home to me, and it never ceases to amaze me by how beautiful the place is. Every corner I go around I want to take another photo even though I have done the track 60+ times! Along with its beauty there is a lot of natural and cultural history that I just can't get enough of - there is always something else to learn!
When I'm not "at work" I do a lot of white water kayaking and mountain biking, but I'm very lucky because whether I'm out with a group at Waikaremoana or Tongariro National Park every day is packed with adventure.
I love it when I'm just chilling with a group whether it be on top of a mountain, in some hot pools, or on the side of the lake and people say to me, "and you call this work!"
Kia ora, Ko Paula toku ingoa… Hi I’m Paula.
I am lucky enough to call Mount Maunganui home.
I love being active outdoors, be it on a river, lake, mountain, forest or ocean. There is something invigorating and healing about being in nature. The Tuhoe (tribe of the Te Urewera) have a saying “Go to the mountains that you may be cleansed by the winds of Tawhirimatea” (god of storms) It is a call to return to nature, it also expresses the primitive and profound satisfaction humans have always felt in the ancient forests of Te Urewera.
I have spent most of the last decade working on boats as a deckhand/mate. I love being on the ocean but was missing being in the bush. I am currently studying Organic Horticulture. I am learning more everyday about the different flora and fauna that grace the forests of New Zealand.
I feel very fortunate to be working as a guide for Walking Legends, it has taken me to some stunning places, it fulfills my need to be active and outdoors, I have met many interesting people and learnt a lot.
Waikaremoana is a special place for me and it seems for most who visit, this unique isolated piece of New Zealand has some magic to it.
When I’m not ‘working’ I enjoy; sailing, hiking, camping, climbing, kayaking, swimming, yoga, dance, travel and learning about other cultures.
Kia Ora, My name is Kristy Deadman I have been guiding in the Tongariro National Park for 9 years now. Not only do I guide the tracks but I play in every other area in the park and surrounding areas. As a keen pig hunter and snow boarder this is the ideal place to be. My Maori ancestors are all from this area so I have a very close affiliation to the Maunga (mountain), and pass this through to the walkers on every trip so they receive not only spectacular sights but a trip full of local legends and history.
My most memorable trip was the first time I ever did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It was a sunrise trip so I didn’t see any of the views until we got to the top and watched the sun rise from behind the Kaimanawa Ranges. I asked myself then, “Why have I never been up here before?” 9 years later and I’m still here and loving it more and more everyday.
Aside from being amongst awesome scenery every day I think the best thing about being a tramping guide is being away from the stress of the modern world. Out on the track life slows down several beats to the point where you can get some time to have a chat, play some cards, take time to think and smell the proverbial flowers. Guiding sometimes feels like a stark difference to my other life with two young kids, and perpetual office work.
I’ll never forget the trip where we had an 84 year old bloke we took around Lake Waikaremoana. He smiled the whole way and thanked me about every km of the 46 km track. I always think of him as an example of perseverance and remember him when I'm feeling tired. He also cleaned up at cards!