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Michelle Thorstensen

New Zealand Guide

Michelle grew up in New Plymouth, Taranaki (on New Zealand’s North Island). This region is renowned for its strong agriculture scene, and Michelle’s family owned a small hobby farm with sheep, cows, a horse and a pine forest. Over the years she’s spent some time living in Wellington and the Netherlands… but she’s a Kiwi girl at heart!

She can understand basic French and Spanish, and she does pretty well at the English language too.

Hobbies? – “I love living in Queenstown and being able to take advantage of all the great things to do here – the skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking and hiking is incredible! In my down time I like to read, and I’m a very keen cook.”

Special talents? – “I can fold fitted sheets. It takes years of practice.”

Favourite adventure memory? “That would have to be hiking the Milford Track with my family. Great company helps with walking uphill.”

Michelle’s been in tourism for years! After university she moved to Queenstown where she worked for AJ Hackett Bungy for 2 years. She then packed her bags for Europe where she spent 2 years working winters managing chalets in French ski resorts, and summers working on super yachts in the Mediterranean. “After 4 years of travelling I moved back to the most beautiful place I knew, Queenstown… and I’ve been here ever since!"

Describe a life experience that shaped you today. “Packing my bags and moving overseas by myself taught me a lot about the world. People are the same wherever you go - if you are nice to people they will be nice to you. Travelling opens your eyes to the world and all the amazing opportunities out there.”


  • “Michelle was fantastic! She was knowledgeable, funny, safety-conscious, and a hard worker. I really appreciated the extra touch of celebrating my and another client's birthdays during the trip - very nice!”
    Margie Evashenk (Roseville, California, United States), November 2015
  • “I really appreciate that Michelle had a lot of patience and flexibility for me, because I liked to push on further and faster than most of the group. I almost got lost a couple of times, but she kept me on track.”
    Andrew Davenport (Edmonds, Washington, United States), November 2015

Why travel with Active Adventures?

Legendary Kiwi Hospitality

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

Expert LOCAL Guides & Trip Leaders

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

Everything is Included

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

A Sense of Achievement

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

Small Groups

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

Diverse Experiences

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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