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Jo McHugh

New Zealand & Europe 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

“Jo was spectacular from the first day when she met us at the hotel! Her attitude and enthusiasm were infectious!! She would always start the day with a huge smile and an anything is possible attitude. Put together a wonderful breakfast so we had the energy needed for the day. She would always be very patient and encouraging on every adventure we were on. After the morning activity magically a beautiful lunch would appear out of nowhere, and Jo would be grinning like it was no big deal, she does it all the time. Then after a hard day of hiking, rafting or biking she put together a gourmet meal in no time at all. She bent over backwards to make sure that everyone’s needs were being taken care of and that all were happy. Jo is very down to earth, easy going and a pleasure to be around!!! She helped make this an unforgettable once in lifetime experience and I thank her for all she did to make it a very special time for me!!!!”
- Dan Hatch (Reno, Nevada, United States), Kauri February 2018

“How can you not fall in love with Jo? Encouraging, fun, sociable. The guides (on both trips I went on) were part of the highlights of the trip.”
- Janet Pahima (Savion, Israel, Israel), Kauri October 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 November 2016

Trip Reviews

  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1902 reviews)

    Graduation gift of a lifetime

    As a recent college graduate, the one thing I wanted to do was travel. I was completely unfamiliar with New Zealand, and my parents wanted to ensure I was safe and could know where I was going each day. Active Adventures was a great way to have the time of my life while being safe. Our group ranged in activity levels, but Andy and Jo made sure we all were comfortable while encouraging us every step of the way. From my initial call with the Active team, to booking, and eventually the trip, I did not have a single problem and had the experience of a lifetime! Thanks Mom and Dad, and thank you Active Adventures!
    Sara Elwell Review Image
    – Pennsylvania, United States
    Tui, February 2017
  •   4.44 out of 5 (from 919 reviews)

    An Amazing Experience!

    I loved this trip!! We had a great group of 13, with two guides who were professional, flexible, knowledgeable and just as kind as could be. Every aspect of the trip was developed and planned to maximize our time and enjoyment!! The countryside is so beautiful it takes your breath away!! I highly recommend this trip!!
    Ellen Scopa Review Image
    – Massachusetts, United States
    Manuka, April 2017
  •   4.44 out of 5 (from 919 reviews)

    Whatever the dream, if its New Zealand, find a way!!

    Where do I even start?!?!? NZ has been #1 on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. It wasn't until I realized I couldn't wait forever for that perfect time, to have X amount of money saved, to have a companion to go with me...that I decided to JUST GO ALREADY! And I suggest you do the same! Don't wait another moment. I went alone but found the most wonderful companions I could have ever hoped for! Even got a great roommate. The guides, Claire and Jess were PHENOMENAL! I started crying off and on a few days before the end of the trip because I became that attached to them and knew I would never see them again. Leaving at the airport, I couldn't even speak I was so upset and saying goodbye. So wonderful and beyond knowledgeable! I miss Jess' cooking and Claire's coffee already and I just got back yesterday!!! But seriously folks, the Manuka was beyond what expectations I could have ever dreamed. Yes it was indeed physical, so be ready for that; but there were some flatter, easier options for those that chose to not exert so much energy. There were a couple of times I wanted to just quit, but Claire and/or Jess kept me going saying it would be worth it (for the view AND the accomplishment) and MAN WERE THEY RIGHT!!!

    The food, the company, the knowledge, the laughs, the comradery, the views, the EXPERIENCES....all of it was TOP NOTCH! I have my memories that will last a lifetime; best money I have EVER spent.

    Don't wait! GO! I plan to go back in a couple of years to do the entire Milford Track. That's my only regret is that I didn't spend the extra to do that. But that's on me, not AA!
    June Vidrine Review Image
    – Texas, United States
    Manuka, March 2017
  •   4.60 out of 5 (from 1902 reviews)

    Perfect amount of adventure

    From gazing upon Franz Josef Glacier to biking along Hawea Lake Trail, to gliding on calm waters in Milford Sound, it's been a most memorable adventure! Our guides Tess and Amanda were a great duo! I loved that it was just enough activity without being sore while still being able to see so much of South Island.
    Grace Zheng Review Image
    – Hawaii, United States
    Tui, January 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 5004 reviews)

    An Unbelievable Experience

    The Rimu trip was beyond phenomenal! The sights we saw were breathtaking and the small group size allowed us all to bond and truly enjoy our time together exploring this magnificent country. Our guides were fantastic and provided lots of information and fun facts, along with a large amount of encouragement as we tackled some of our adventures! I'm still searching for words to describe just how great a trip it was!
    McKayla Anderson Review Image
    – Nebraska, United States of America
    Rimu, January 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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