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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

  •   4.64 out of 5 (from 565 reviews)

    Great Trip

    Great trip! Diverse and interesting hikes, bike riding, and kayaking in spectacular landscape. I particularly appreciated having all the trip details covered, so I didn't need to worry about any of the arrangements. A turn-key experience.
    Ian Christoph Review Image
    – California, United States
    Winter Rimu, October 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 4983 reviews)

    Outstanding Trip!!

    This trip was especially great because of our guides, Ben and Emma. I cannot say enough good things about those two. They were extremely patient, energetic, and very sincere.
    The trip has a wide variety of activities that allowed us to see and experience most of the South Island, keeping us away from the more congested tourist hangouts. I really felt like we saw the true South Island and not just the tourist trap attractions.
    The only reason I have not given it a 5 star rating is because my wife and I are very active and do very challenging trips that most people would never want to take on. It was not a trip of a lifetime for me only because of that. Take "trip of a lifetime" away from the 5 stars and just have excellent and I would mark that. Excellent trip!!!!
    Dave Mastolier Review Image
    – Alaska, United States
    Rimu, December 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 reviews)

    Tui Adventure

    This trip was all I had hoped for and then some. I expected beautiful scenery and exciting activities, but I did not expect the personal touch from our guides. One of the group members mentioned chips and salsa... that night we had chips and salsa to go with our appetizers. They knew I love birds, so I was introduced to every bird possible - along with descriptions of the birds’ personalities and habits. There seemed to be no end to Dani and Emma’s knowledge about New Zealand and that made a huge impact on our trip! We all felt like family by the end of the week, and for a person traveling alone, that is a wonderful gift!
    Janet Slover Review Image
    – Texas, United States
    Tui, March 2018
  •   4.44 out of 5 (from 908 reviews)

    South Island Sampling

    Despite starting the trip with a little rattle and shake (earthquake) the trip was a wonderful experience. We saw so much of the South Island and were able to enjoy the beauty of a sunny day as well as a cloudy one. Greg and Clara were amazing guides and took great care of us.
    Beth Wilson Review Image
    – Georgia, United States
    Manuka, December 2016
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1887 reviews)

    Beautiful, perfect trip!

    The Tui trip was a perfect way to see parts of New Zealand on a short time frame. I was concerned traveling by myself, and this trip was the perfect way to do it. Between the the most spectacular scenery, the knowledge of the guides, and the varied and incredible itinerary, this really was the trip of a lifetime for me.
    Rosie Stein Review Image
    – New York, United States
    Tui, March 2017

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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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