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Claire Hesselin

New Zealand Guide

Claire was born in Invercargill (the southernmost city in New Zealand) and grew up in the nearby town of Gore. Adventure’s always been on her doorstep, she spends a lot of her spare time exploring the nearby Catlins, as well as the rivers and mountains of the Southland region. She speaks English and basic Spanish, while her hobbies include hiking, biking and kayaking into some of the most stunning parts of the world… basically everything she does here at Active! She also enjoys sailing, fishing, cooking, music, playing sports and creating an amazing veggie garden.

Greatest adventure memory? "It’s hard to pin down - there’s so many!". One that stands out is a 3 night/4 day sea kayaking trip with 8 of her friends around Stewart Island (just off the South Coast of New Zealand’s South Island). One night they shared a mountain hut with a group of 8 deer stalkers, they exchanged fresh fish for venison and compared adventure stories before an evening full of robust discussion and singalongs! After a sleepless night (due to snoring hunters) they bid each other fond farewells and the hunters helped them launch their kayaks. The two groups were from quite different walks of life but they all came together through sharing a love for the outdoors, in this amazing place that is Stewart Island.

Before guiding with Active, Claire worked as a Youth Mental Health and Addictions clinician (she trained as a social worker and she’s been working with youth for the past 9 years).

Favourite quote: “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship” – Louise May Alcott

Claire Hesselin

Testimonials

“AMAZING. Her knowledge of New Zealand and the South Island is incredible. She is an absolute asset to your team. Claire went above and beyond to make sure each and every one of us was having a great time. She was enthusiastic about every activity and her commentary as we were driving through different landscapes about history, legends, etc., was fantastic. She got to know each of us personally and made sure we got the most out of our trip.”
- Tessa Humphries (victoria, British Columbia, Canada), Tui October 2018

“Claire gets my vote as the ultimate all time guide. She was fun to be with, knew her stuff, could answer any questions and would make touring the garbage dump fun.”
- James Costello (Port Townsend, Washington, United States), Beautiful South December 2017

“Claire is an OUTSTANDING guide and the epitome of professionalism. She is a natural leader, strong and fit as hell, patient, caring, passionate about sharing her beautiful country, an amazing driver, and so incredibly knowledgeable about everything I threw at her question-wise (history, culture, places to explore, food, you name it!). I honestly cannot speak highly enough her or recommend her more strongly. She worked her ass off for us so that we were able to do so much, so seemlessly, in such a short period of time and for that, I am eternally grateful. She made this trip. Period. I would go on an adventure with her anywhere, anytime, and I say that of very very few people (most of whom I've climbed with and known for years). Claire is a quality person who is an exceptional guide. She is very much an asset to Active Adventures as well as an advocate for New Zealand as a whole. ”
- Christina Gan (Seattle, Washington, United States), Tui December 2016

Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 15883 reviews)

    Trip of a life time

    My wife and I planned this trip with some friends to try something new and to maximize the experience of New Zealand. We spent 8 days hiking, biking, and kayaking through the South Island. Every day was action packed with something different to do. We got to try new things, test a few of our limits that we wouldn't have normally done, and learn a few things about local culture along the way. I can't say enough good things about our guides Ben and Liana. They were enthusiastic about everything we did and full of information. They helped us push limits and get the most out of the experiences we had. Everyone I've told about our trip has been wowed by the awesome things we got to see and do.
    Chris Busch Review Image
    – Pennsylvania, United States
    Tui, January 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 15883 reviews)

    Exceeded all expectations

    Our Rimu trip truly exceeded all expectations. Our Active guides, Rachael and Gary were wonderful guides with so much knowledge to share with us about the New Zealand culture, wildlife, history, and geography that we encountered along the way. This was truly an adventure of a lifetime that my son and I will always treasure.
    Mia Byrne Review Image
    – Michigan, United States
    Rimu, March 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 15883 reviews)

    Birthday we'll never forget

    We expected a great trip with where we were going, BUT Active Adventures guides (Michele and Rachael) made it that much more special. Their knowledge, expertise and storytelling abilities made it fun and engaging. Accommodations were better than anticipated, they were great.
    An absolute must for those thinking about this type of a trip.
    Liz Clapp Review Image
    – California, United States
    Tui, February 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 15883 reviews)

    Glaciers, Cheese and Cows!

    Great time hiking in the mountains. Couldn't ask for a better time then to sit at the base of glaciers for lunch and relax (even have a nap) while listening to the cow bells.
    Donna Weimer Review Image
    – Washington, United States
    Tour du Mont Blanc, September 2016
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 15883 reviews)

    Best Ever!

    Trip of a Lifetime for sure! I’m still on a NZ High :-D))
    Thanks to Nick B & Melissa for their knowlegde & Expertise experience, which made our trip successful & FUN! With their encouragement, I was able to challenge myself & push beyond what I thought my abilities were.......THANK YOU!!! Such a pleasure getting to know Nick & Mel, we were spoiled & enjoyed every minute of this adventure with them. Highly recommend Active Adventures NZ making dreams come TRUE!
    Wendy Woods Review Image
    – Montana, United States
    Tui, March 2018

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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