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Ashleigh Turnhout

New Zealand Guide

Ashleigh, or 'Ash' as she's known around here is originally from Taranaki in the North Island, which she claims is the best province in New Zealand. Many surfers would agree!

Ash has always been an active person growing up around the mountains, lakes, sea, and forest. If you haven't been to 'The Naki' before, it's a picturesque region, characterised by Mt Taranaki, or Mt Egmont, a near-perfect cone-shaped volcano that's around 120,000 years old. From the volcano, lush forest stretches to farmland and eventually to the West Coast, offering outdoor enthusiasts a huge playground to explore. 

Ash loves to hike and trail run... Anywhere, anytime! Rain or shine! She also dabbles in a bit of rock climbing, open water swimming and scuba or free diving. Anything that "gives you a rush and makes you feel alive" she tells us, "I love sports that continue to challenge your abilities. There is nothing I will not try in the outdoors! It's made to be explored."

One of Ash's greatest accomplishments, both physically and mentally was completing the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal - "What a feeling standing on the top of the pass! Nothing can beat that serenity and sense of achievement."

Previous to guiding for Active she worked in a Christchurch rehabilitation hospital for 2 years as a physical therapist. Prior to that she was a dance teacher and waitress. And In between her varied career, Ash has also found the time to travel through Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. With many more destinations on the bucket list! 

A couple of cracker favourite quotes:

'The core of mans' spirit comes from new experiences' - Jon Krakauer

'You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go' - Dr Seuss

Ashleigh hiking


  • “Ash was absolutely great. Very attentive to our needs. Great cook. Worked extremely hard.”
    Peter Singer (Park City, Utah, United States), November 2016
  • “Ash was truly amazing. When she didn't know the answer to a question she tried to find out, she was positive and up beat, plus a great cook!”
    Dottie Resnick (Denver, Colorado, United States), November 2016
  • “Ash was fantastic as well! She worked hard from early morning to late night ensuring we had good meals, equipment, and leadership along our day hikes.”
    Katie Purcell (San Francisco, California, United States), November 2016

Trip Reviews

 4.51 out of 5 (from 15330 reviews)

Trip of a Lifetime!

“I am still basking in the glow from this remarkable trip! I admit that I was a bit nervous at first as I was the oldest person in our group and not as fit (for hiking) as some in the group, so I worried about 'keeping up' on the hikes - especially the steeper climbs. Ben and Lauren were very reassuring and encouraging and I felt that I was able to 'hold my own'. In fact, while the hiking was probably the most challenging I've done in at least 7 years, it was the most rewarding/exhilarating part for me. I loved our group - a very positive, health-conscious and fun group of people from all walks of life. It was also wonderful that we were only 12 people - it helped to create a much more intimate and personal atmosphere. I felt we bonded together well - again, thanks to Ben and Lauren's great skills with ice-breaking, fun games, and ability to set and maintain a positive atmosphere from the beginning.
From the moment we set off from the airport to the emotional farewells back at the airport at the end of the trip, this was a top notch adventure. Our transportation was comfortable, our accommodations were always different and unique and very comfortable - I loved that they weren't all in your standard hotel and that some of them were really off the beaten track. The food was amazing - from the snack basket in the van, loaded fresh every day with fruit and other snacks, to the amazing meals that Lauren and Ben created and the breakfasts and dinners that we had at various restaurants - there was a lot of variety, special dietary considerations were accounted for and there was lots of it!
I did the kayak option and it was outstanding. The B&B and our hosts were wonderful (the hot tub at the end of the day was most appealing!) and our kayak guide, Nick was terrific - very accommodating, skilled and he made it all very interesting and fun!
I cannot say enough about our incredible guides - Ben and Lauren - they truly moved the bar for me from a great trip to one that will go down in history for me as the trip of a lifetime. They were so knowledgeable about the island - I loved listening to the legends/folklore and learning more about the vegetation, birds, etc. Ben was a terrific driver - I always felt safe. Lauren was terrific with her cooking and meal presentations - meals looked fantastic and tasted even better! Both Ben and Lauren added those special touches from decorating the bus for the Christmas season, organizing our Secret Santa, making a fantastic Christmas morning breakfast, complete with Christmas crackers and special hats, managing extra logistics like re-booking the paragliding for us, setting up the helicopter tour, taking the time and effort to help reconnect people with items they had left behind either in our accommodations or on a hike/kayak. They even had the perfect music for when we went through the Homer Tunnel and down into Milford Sound - the combination of the music and the scenery was so moving it had several of us in tears! They really ensured that they got to know each person and took a genuine interest in each person. Their positive energy and enthusiasm was infectious. They took kindness and customer service to a new level! The scenery was breathtaking everywhere we went. It would be hard for me to say what the favourite part was or favourite view as the South Island is simply spectacular. I felt that the trip was organized in such a way that I really got a good feel and appreciation for the South Island. Truly New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places (both 'inside and out') that I have ever visited (and I've visited over 20 other countries around the world). I really loved the more laid-back way of life and the local people we met were so welcoming and kind. I would love to come back again and see the North Island but also re-visit the South Island!
I highly recommend this trip and have already suggested it to a number of my friends. It really was transformational for me on so many levels! My heartfelt thanks to Ben and Lauren and everyone at Active Adventures!”
Sue Hazell's Review Image
– Ontario, Canada
Rimu, January 2018
Read Reviews

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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