Wānaka Mountain Guides is proudly locally owned and operated by certified New Zealand mountain guides and offers personalised mountain guiding, instruction, and adventures throughout the Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana. We have a commitment to operate sustainably and regeneratively to look after our communities and mountain playgrounds for the future.
We utilise a small team of local, established guides with extensive knowledge of playing and working in the New Zealand mountains as well as overseas. As experts in the mountains, check out our Knowledge Base for technical advice, route descriptions, articles, and our Downloads for course resources. We are committed to mountain education and sharing our knowledge of safe and enjoyable backcountry travel. Work directly with some of NZ’s most experienced guides and instructors who are leaders in the field and ensure that you receive industry-leading instruction covering the latest techniques.
Our home is Wānaka is in the Southern Lakes region of New Zealand’s South Island / Te Waipounamu. The region is surrounded by mountains and is a year-round hub for all outdoor activities including rock climbing, trekking, mountain biking, and skiing. The Wānaka and Hāwea lakes cater for kite surfing, paddle boarding, and kayaking and its tributary rivers and streams provide opportunities for pack rafting and world-class canyoning.
The town is the gateway to the valleys and peaks of Mount Aspiring National Park. A few hours drive north provides access to either the eastern or western glaciers and peaks of Westland and Aoraki / Mount Cook National Parks and to the south lies Fiordland National Park.
Wānaka Mountain Guides was founded in 2007 by mountain and ski guide Hugh Barnard and his partner Laetitia Campe. Tim Steward joined in 2021 and took over as Managing Director and Chief Guide in 2022. Tim brings 15 years of experience guiding based from Wānaka including managing other large guiding services and providing technical and safety advice, and audit services to other adventure activity operations.
Wānaka Mountain Guides is a Worksafe registered provider of adventure activities and a Department of Conservation Approved Business. The adventure activities certification demonstrates compliance with the Safety Audit Standard for Adventure Activities and therefore provides confidence in a high standard of technical expertise and safety.
Our guides are certified through the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association which is a member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA). The IFMGA qualification is the highest level of mountain professional certification available and is held by around 7000 guides based in 20+ member countries worldwide. Achieving this level of certification is the culmination of a long process of personal and professional development and proves extensive skills in instruction, leadership, decision-making, and safety management.
‘Great team at Wanaka Mountain Guides. A well organised, professional team of experienced guides who make each mountain adventure exciting and rewarding. Looking forward to the next adventure in the hills! Highly recommend.’
— Arthur, Private Guiding
‘I Learnt heaps on my course, it was a wonderful experience. WMG has very experienced and knowledgeable guides who share this knowledge with skill, expertise, and grace. Highly recommended.’
— Stuart, Avalanche Skills Course
‘A great local company offering backcountry tours. Less people, fresh lines and opportunity to enhance your backcountry skills. Our guide, was exceptional. He picked a great route, great skiing, and included some snow science along the way. Highly recommended.’
— Nathan, Remarkables Backcountry Tour
Meet the Team
IFMGA / NZMGA Mountain & Ski Guide
Managing Director and Chief Guide
Tim is based in Wānaka with his young family. He has been climbing, skiing, and guiding throughout the Southern Alps since arriving in New Zealand from the UK in 2008. He has climbed and skied around the world and in other roles, he mentors, trains, and assesses prospective ski patrollers and mountain guides and is a member of the local Alpine Cliff Rescue team. When not out in the hills guiding or instructing, he will be usually found introducing his young family to the outdoors, away on his own adventures, or out at the local rock climbing crags.
IFMGA / NZMGA Mountain & Ski Guide
Adrian, originally from northern England, moved to Wānaka in 1996 after cutting his teeth on the gritstone crags, in the Scottish highlands and European Alps. He has climbed and skied extensively around the Southern Alps as well as Canada and return trips to Europe and qualified as an IFMGA guide in 2013. He is a popular instructor with a clear, logical, and encouraging approach honed in his other engineering career.
IFMGA / NZMGA Mountain & Ski Guide
As well as mountain and ski guiding all year round, Lewis is currently working as a ski patroller at Cardrona and has worked as a member of the Aoraki / Mount Cook DOC SAR team, an avalanche forecaster, and a glacier guide on Fox Glacier.
IFMGA / NZMGA Mountain and Ski Guide
Cillian splits his time between Wānaka and the Blue Mountains in Australia with his young family. Before pursuing his mountain and ski guiding, he spent many years instructing outdoor pursuits including rock climbing and canyoning and this shows in his calm and encouraging manner. He has climbed and skied throughout Australia, USA, Canada, Alaska, New Zealand, Thailand, and the European Alps.
NZMGA Climb Guide & Aspirant Mountain & Ski Guide
Hailing from Tasmania, Kim worked as a rock climbing guide and outdoor instructor before beginning his NZMGA training. He has climbed and skied around the world, including notching up first ascents and prestigious repeats in North America, Patagonia, and the Himalayas.
NZMGA Ski Guide and Aspirant Mountain Guide
Pete is based in Lake Hawea with his young family. Growing up in South Island, he decided that he wanted to devote his professional life to pursuing adventures in the backcountry. He has ski patrolled at the Remarkables and Treble Cone, been a member of the Aoraki / Mount Cook Search and Rescue team. He splits his time mountain guiding and managing operations at Harris Mountains Heli-ski and Big Red Cats in Canada.
NZMGA Climb Guide
Gavin, originally from Ireland, lives with his wife and daughter in Wānaka and has been guiding in New Zealand since 2004. He has worked as a travel agent, qualified as a Cave Leader in Belgium, gained a Diploma in Dutch, toured as a drummer, and was certified as a Psychosomatic Therapist and Emotional Anatomy Consultant in Australia. Gavin also runs a photography business, mountaineering trips to Peru and Nepal as First Light Guiding, and is the author of Seeking the Light.
NZMGA Ski Guide & Aspirant Mountain Guide
Petrouchka (Pet) has spent several years working as an outdoor instructor and mountain and ski guide in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Japan. When not guiding she will be away on a personal adventure in the mountains or cruising up hard rock climbs. She also holds a Bachelor of Music.
NZMGA Aspirant Mountain & Ski Guide
Cam, who recently moved over from the Queenstown side of the hill, has spent many years exploring the Southern Alps working as a glacier guide on the Fox Glacier, ski patrolling and snow safety at Coronet Peak, the Remarkables and Treble Cone ski fields, and three years as a full-time member of the Aoraki / Mount Cook Search and Rescue Team. He has hiked from Mexico to Canada and the length of NZ.
NZMGA Ski Guide
Dave lives in nearby Luggate with his young family. He has extensive experience ski patrolling in the Craigieburns, around Wānaka, and guiding in NZ and Japan. He has tutored on Tai Poutini Ski Patrol training program in Wanaka and spends his summers doing rope access work or mountain bike guiding.
NZMGA Ski Guide
Chris has been living and breathing skiing since an early age. As well as having extensive experience teaching and guiding in Chamonix, France, and New Zealand and now is based year-round in Wānaka. He is an ex-pro-free skier, ski patroller, fully qualified L4 ski teacher, and coach.
NZMGA Assistant Ski & Alpine Trekking Guide & NZOIA Rock Instructor
Monika, originally from Switzerland is now based in Wānaka living with her Kiwi mountain guide husband. As well as ski and trekking guiding in NZ and Antarctica, she also instructs rock climbing and is a professional florist. When not in the mountains, Monika will often be out rock climbing.
NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide
Bronwen is a ski guide and avalanche educator working in NZ, Antarctica, and Japan. Her breadth of experience derives from time working as a ski patroller in NZ, Norway, and Canada, as a trekking guide in Antarctica, Nepal, Mongolia, and Kilimanjaro, and as a basecamp manager on Mount Everest. She has also spent time working on the DOC Aoraki / Mount Cook Search and Rescue team. She has done a traverse of the South Island mountain chain in 84 days making a film about it.
NZMGA Assistant Ski Guide
Jimmy is a ski guide working in New Zealand and Japan. He has worked extensively throughout the country in industrial rope access work as well as having a degree in Maori language. Jimmy is a modest and friendly character and loves sharing his enthusiasm for the mountains.
Bruno left the field of accountancy in Wellington behind to dedicate himself to the Wānaka lifestyle. Busying himself with trekking, rock climbing, mountaineering, cycling, lake swimming, and household projects. With highly developed skills in conversation and camp cookery, he is an excellent companion on trips in the mountains.
NZMGA Alpine Trekking & Ski Guide
Laetitia grew up as a sailor circumnavigating the globe with her family for over seven years. She lived in Chamonix (France) before making Wānaka, New Zealand her home in 1993. As a mother of two, Laetitia balances being a practicing artist, a mother, and working as an alpine trekking and ski guide.
Helen has shared many mountain adventures with Tim and provides operational and administrative support to the WMG team, even if that’s keeping the kids entertained during the busy guiding times of the year. Her background is in operations and project management in the wind turbine industry making sure everything is well organised behind the scenes.
Kea (Nestor notabilis) are an endemic parrot of the South Island’s high country. Although they are seen in reasonable numbers throughout the South Island, the size of the wild population is estimated to only be between 1,000 and 5,000 birds. If you are a guest in the alpine environment you will most likely encounter Kea. Raucous cries of “keeaa” often give away the presence of these highly intelligent, social, and inquisitive birds.
Our trusted suppliers and friends
Below are the actions we are taking in working towards our commitment to operate sustainability and regeneratively to look after our communities and mountain playgrounds for the future.
We have goal to minimise our carbon footprint. We choose initiatives, equipment suppliers, services and transport suppliers who share in this goal.
Love Wānaka is a giving platform that connects visitors to projects of impact in our region, raising funds for localised climate, conservation, and biodiversity action. We’re taking action to meet the greatest challenge and opportunity of our time: a regenerative, carbon-zero future.
The Love Wānaka community fund raises funds to support climate, conservation, and biodiversity action in the Wānaka region. They connect our visitors and visitor industry to projects of impact in our region, raising funds to support those who are tackling the climate crisis on the ground in Wānaka. We encourage you to donate as part of a trip payment.
We minimise the waste associated with the food we provide to our guests in the mountains. We actively select products and suppliers that can provide products in recyclable or compostable packaging and avoid single-use plastics through using reusable containers.
In the mountains, we sort waste into recycling, composting, and general rubbish. This allows it to be carried out and disposed of or recycled accordingly. Beyond what can conventionally be recycled, we have arrangements in place for recycling batteries and soft plastic. Our guests are asked to assist us in this process.
We also favour equipment suppliers who have made a similar commitment to reducing their waste in how they package their products. We work hard to maintain and repair our equipment, keeping it in safe and serviceable condition and maximise its lifespan.
Although we don’t use much electricity, the Wānaka Mountain Guides office is supplied by Meridian Energy who generates all its power from 100% renewable sources. In the South Island, that means harness the sustainable resources of our hydro-lakes and wind.
Many of our guests visit Aotearoa / New Zealand from overseas. The further you travel, the larger the carbon emissions. We welcome guests from all over the world to visit our special part of the world and experience our peaks and wilderness but ask you to consider your travel choices.
We encourage our guests to mitigate their travel when they can by donating to Trees That Count. By funding the planting of native trees, our guests can contribute to absorbing CO2 emissions over 50 years as those trees continue to grow.
|Return Journey||Emissions (kgCO2 equivalent)|
|Short Haul (Sydney to Queenstown)||580|
|Long Haul (London to Queenstown)||3600|
As a business, our largest contribution to carbon production is in the use of helicopters to access remote and spectacular parts of our country. These flights have a considerable impact on carbon emissions through the use of aviation fuels. Mountain flights usually use the Eurocopter AS350 ‘Squirrel’ that produces 480kg carbon per hour. This can be mitigated by planting 80 trees.
Aotearoa / New Zealand is precious, and everyone who lives and travels here has a responsibility to look after it.
Tiaki– Care for New Zealand was created through a collective desire to share a connection to the natural world. It’s aim is to inspire and help visitors to travel safely and conscientiously.
The Tiaki kaupapa invites your visitors to see the world through this lens. To feel a closer connection with the people and place around them. To commit to a promise to care for Aotearoa / New Zealand.
Kea Conservation Trust
Named by the Maori for the sound of its call, the Kea is endemic to the Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana. In fact, it is the only alpine parrot in the world. It is regarded as one of Aotearoa / New Zealand’s Taongas (treasures). These sociable and highly intelligent birds are well adapted to their harsh environment. Unfortunately, the traits that Kea developed for survival, their curiosity and omnivorous appetite, have created conflict with humans over the last 150 years. Persecution and predation have sorely depleted numbers and, with only a few thousand birds remaining. The Kea is a nationally endangered species.
The Kea Trust aims to preserve and protect these unique birds. We’re proud to support the Kea Conservation Trust. We encourage our guests to donate towards this cause.