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Joanna McHugh

New Zealand Guide

Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I grew up on the Welsh coast; I've been in New Zealand for 5 years now.

Hobbies?
I'm a complete mermaid so I love anything water based (frozen water included!). Surfing is my number one, closely followed by diving and snowboarding.

What’s been your greatest outdoor adventure to date?
Fulfilling my lifelong dream of surfing and snowboarding in the same day, right here in NZ!

What did you do before discovering a passion for guiding?
I'm a bit of a Jack of all trades! From chalet hosting in Italy, to buyer for an Oil and Gas company, to surf inctructor, to diving instructor, I've done all sorts!

Do you have a favourite quote that you live by?
'Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than the things that you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.'  Mark Twain.

Have you studied beyond school? If so in what field? 
I have a BA Hons Degree in Italian and Spanish with Business Studies.

Joanna and Andy

Testimonials

  • “BEYOND EXCEPTIONAL!!! Jo made this trip the trip of my lifetime. She was so bubbly and perky to be around. There are not enough words to describe how awesome she is!!! She just is!”
    Pamela Massette (Corte Madera, California, United States) Kauri Jan 10 2017
  • "Jo was amazing, she was so warm and friendly and just radiated positive energy. She was a great cook and made sure we were always safe, and was comfortable hanging back on tough hikes to make sure we had a buddy!”
    Sara Elwell (Yardley, Pennsylvania, United States) Tui Jan 1 2017
  • “Jo was fantastic. Very well organized and made sure everything went smoothly with the smaller details like meals and accommodation. She was always very attentive to every member of group and took time to talk to everyone to make sure they were getting what they needed and were having a good time. During one of our longer hikes, Jo arrived at the end with the lead group, than ran back up the trail, all the way to those in the back and carried their backpacks the rest of the way so they could finish the hike. This really stood out to me and showed me how dedicated Jo was to making this trip the best experience to all of the group members. Being 23 and traveling alone, knowing that I had someone like Jo to look after me made all the difference.”
    Cassidy Anderson (West Wardsboro, Vermont, United States) Kauri Nov 1 2016

Trip Reviews

  4.73 out of 5 (from 87 reviews)

Put this trip on your to-do list!

Another wonderful trip with Active Adventures! That is what I say about Active Europe’s Tour du Mont Blanc. This was my fourth trip with Active and once again I was impressed with how they do business. Active’s Andy and Nick were excellent representatives for Active Adventures. They are fun, personable, engaging, helpful, and quick to help if there was a problem. The local guides, Jean-Marc, Suzanne, and Jean-Pat, were fun and a joy to be around. Their English language skills were excellent which was great since my French is pathetic! Point to a mountain or an object of curiosity and they could tell you about it. The whole crew worked together great to ensure everyone enjoyed the hiking regardless of pace, weather or skill level. The accommodations were great. Even the one hotel described a “rustic” (meaning it didn’t have en-suite bathrooms) by the guides was delightful. The food was excellent as to be expected and thankfully the hiking burned off the calories allowing for full indulgence at every meal! Oh! The Cheese! The wonderful cheese! Be prepared to sample some of the best cheeses around.
Now, for the important part, the Tour du Mont Blanc. Definitely something everyone should do in their life. The Alps are magnificent and the towns along the way are beautiful. Active picked great trails to hike that highlighted the beauty of the area. Throw in their choice of towns to explore (especially Annecy’s Old Town), kayaking and mountain biking and it really is an Active Adventure. I highly recommend taking the gondola from Courmayeur, Italy all the way to the Agullie de Midi if the weather is nice (Mother Nature was kind to us with only one day of rain, some fog, and LOTS of clear skies). The view from the gondola over the glaciers is awe-inspiring. Definitely a highlight of the trip. Active doesn’t pay for this but it is well worth the Euros. Active does pay for an Aguille de Midi trip from Chamonix, France but it doesn’t cross the glaciers so I suggest doing it from Italy (weather permitting) and choose the Accro-Park option in Chamonix at the end of the tour. However you decide to do it, the Agullie de Midi is a must do. The views of the Mont Blanc mastiff are spectacular! If you like zip lines and ropes courses the Accro-Park is a great time. If you want a challenge and have the time I recommend doing the Black course (they have four courses; Green, Blue, Red, and Black). Overall, I really enjoyed this trip. If Active didn’t have so many other trips I want to do, I would do this one again!
Damon Weimer Review Image
– Washington, United States
Tour du Mont Blanc, September 2016
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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