The newest addition to our hiking family
Waitomo based Irene has tramped her fair share of New Zealand's ridgelines and explored many of our greatest walks. She's excited to combine her two loves (hiking and wild food), while showing visitors around our beautiful regions.
Where we you born and raised?
I was born Putaruru and moved to Waitomo when I was three years old. My fondest childhood memories are from the farm - we had no power and only a long drop! Everyone in the area knew each other and there were only two teachers at our school. I had a big family though, with 5 siblings. There was always plenty to do - sewing, knitting, milking house cow, sheep work, cooking, baking, making ginger beer, gardening, chopping wood, clearing land, playing in the bush, building huts, damming streams and chasing wild goats…never a dull moment!
What's your favourite Kiwi food?
I love watercress, mutton or wild pork in the slow cooker, mussels, crayfish, snapper, flounder - in fact any self-harvested fish or game, topped off with a Nelson sav!
What do you love the most about taking tours?
I just enjoy sharing our great outdoors with like-minded souls. I really enjoy meeting new people, learning from them, seeing the wonder on their faces when we show them our special places. It’s great having a global network of people who just love being ‘out there’. Seeing the wonder on people’s faces, especially stuff that is easy for us to take for granted in our beautiful big back yard, but they see it through new eyes. We have a lot of laughs on tour, that's what it's all about.
How have you spent the last 20 years?
I have a business management background with an accounting base, I was involved in setting up and implementing business systems and managing staff at a sawmill. I decided to “retire” three years ago to make time for more hiking and adventures. I love the freedom that comes with guiding, and my life is at the farm, beach, bush, hills and mountains now.
I have been a volunteer bush craft instructor with the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council for 15 years, I love learning about the bush and am passionate about sustainability and minimalised living. I've done a lot of solo tramping, complete with off track navigation and have learnt the survival skills you need in the New Zealand wilderness. I love learning about our native bush!
Where else do your passions lie?
The list is long!
- Snow skiing
- Fishing (surf casting and small boat)
- Horse trekking
- Quad bike rides
I fell in love with the mountains in Switzerland - the summer alpine life, spending time in the smaller villages, their customs and traditions. The Scottish Highlands hold an appeal for future travel.