is a seasoned traveller, a writer whose assignments have taken him
to every continent on the planet. He has escorted Tours Direct groups
to Antarctica, the Arctic, Turkey and Greece, Peru and Bolivia, Eastern Europe,
Russia and Scandinavia, and along the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Ian has always had an enthusiasm for out-of-the-way places. His
outdoor interests have been tramping, kayaking and adventure camping.
He’s slept on the ground in more outback sites than he cares
to remember, including on the ice in Antarctica. He has swum at
the Antarctic Circle and with crocodiles in Kakadu National Park
(although he does concede that they were the freshwater variety
which avoids contact with humans!) The Amazon jungle, the mountains
of Peru and Bolivia, the arid waste of the Gobi Desert and the remote
Easter Island have all been irresistible magnets for Ian.
Ian attended Otago University where he studied Ancient Greek and
Latin, both of which subjects he subsequently taught. That has contributed
to his fascination with the beliefs and practices of different cultures.
But his expertise is not just academic. He’s a skilled communicator,
with a gift for making places come alive. His writing is popular
because of his obvious enjoyment of the places he visits.
Wherever you travel with Ian you’ll find yourself caught
up in his enthusiasm for the beautiful and dramatic sights and the
range of human endeavours to be found in our world. Your experiences
will be spiced with his friendly humour. And your travel will be
eased by his suggestions and tips.
*** See Jills' latest Book ***
and writing about her travels, are two of Jill’s real passions.
She has travelled extensively through the UK and Europe, and driven
right across the United States. But there is a very special place
in her heart for Asia – especially South and Central Asia.
She has lived, worked and written about Pakistan, and made multiple
trips to India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Uzbekistan as well as visiting
Nepal, Turkmenistan and further west into Iran, Georgia and Armenia.
- “I love everything about travel – even long flights
and waiting in airports. But no matter how spectacular the scenery,
the architecture, or the culture might be, it’s the people
of the countries I visit who make travelling so memorable.
- “I’ve been to some very remote places. And I’m
thrilled to have the chance as a Tour Leader to help other people
explore some of these amazing locations they mightn’t want
to tackle on their own.
- “I get enormous satisfaction from writing about places
I’ve visited and ‘taking readers there’ through
my articles. But how much better to take them IN PERSON to some
of my favourite parts of the world.
Jill is one of New Zealand’s leading travel writers. In 2005
she was judged NZ Travel Writer of the Year, and over the past ten
or so years has collected more than a dozen NZ and international
awards for her writing. Her first travel book, A Blonde in the Bazaar
was judged runner-up best travel book published in New Zealand for
Jill has a BSc majoring in geography and botany. After more than
20 years as a journalist she now works from home as a writer, editor
and public relations consultant. And highlights of each year are
the tours she escorts for Tours Direct.
Click here to visit Jill's website
is one well-travelled person, having visited all 7 continents! Over
the years her travels have taken her to the UK, Europe, the USA,
Canada, Vanuatu, the Philippines, South Africa, Kenya, Israel, Egypt,
Jordan, Mexico, Russia, China, Burma, Croatia, Slovenia, Vietnam, India, Laos, Cambodia, Argentina and Antarctica plus a few more.
Mandy has always had an adventurous spirit, especially for places
more unusual. She particularly enjoys introducing others to these
destinations and making it possible for people to realise a life’s
Mandy attended Waikato University where she studied Management.
For a number of years she worked in the IT industry and not-for-profit
sector. Currently she works exclusively for Tours Direct travelling
with groups and researching new destinations.
She is interested in the arts and has an unquenchable fascination
with ancient history and cultures. You’ll benefit from Mandy's
extensive travel experience, and especially enjoy her infectious
dad always said she was of Spanish descent – something about
the Spanish Armada sinking off the Cornwall coast, sailors who swam
ashore, and the rest (as they say) is history!
She has lived in the USA, and her travels have included Chile,
Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, Spain, Portugal and Morocco.
Her heart races every time she hears a Spanish beat. This love
of all things Spanish and Latin American has sent her to learn the
language, dance the rumba and the samba, sample pisco sour and devour
the remarkable histories of Spain and South America.
Frances is a feature and travel writer and also moonlights as
a presenter of radio scripts. She has had extensive experience in
group dynamics and problem solving.
Travel is one of her special delights. She’s a natural leader
and wherever Frances goes there’s lots of laughter. Her irrepressible
sense of humour and hands-on attitude makes touring with her unforgettable.
Helen’s passion for travel started when she was selected as a teenager to be a New Zealand delegate to a UNESCO international youth congress. She worked in Japan in her early 20s, then on to Europe, and has travelled ever since as widely and often as possible, for both work and pleasure. Her trips have taken her to more than 50 countries – through Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, North and South America, Africa and the Pacific.
Helen has a BA from Canterbury University and most of her working life has been in public sector management. She was City Librarian in Auckland and later Director of the State Library of Victoria, before moving on to wider management responsibilities, and more recently to consulting work with local government, mainly in community planning.
Her overseas travel opportunities through work included two fellowships, stints on international committees and a City Manager exchange award to the USA, all wonderful opportunities to experience other ways of life first hand.
Helen lives in Christchurch and is a keen skier and tramper. She loves to search out interesting extra opportunities for walks with tour members who share her love of the outdoors.
“I am so excited to be part of Tours Direct’s Escorted Tours – with their unique opportunities for travellers to enjoy the world’s most interesting and exotic locations in comfort. Our excellent local guides add a wealth of history and their own cultures. It’s a privilege (and great fun!) for me to use my knowledge and experience to help people to get the most out of these wonderful tours.”
Colin’s love for travel started when he was teaching in the UK and he took several school parties to France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Russia; an overland trip to Turkey, and finally a four-week tour of the USA. Being a Commando in the Royal Marine Reserves led him to more adventurous travel and he left teaching and became an expedition driver/leader for a New Zealand overland company leading tours in Scandinavia, Africa, South America, Asia, and the Trans-Siberian Railway.
After ten years on the road his next adventure was to become a founding director of The Adventure Travel Shop in Wellington; this gave him the opportunity to keep travelling, to visit new destinations as well as his old favourites, and to share his enthusiasm with his clients.
Education was never too far from Colin’s thoughts and when he sold The Adventure Travel Shop he was involved in the setting-up of educational standards for the travel industry, and teaching Travel & Tourism became his full time occupation.
From 1997 to 2001 he was president of the New Zealand Institute of Travel and Tourism.
After three years in the Cook Islands he and his wife Barbara returned to Wellington but have recently moved to a lifestyle plot in the Wairarapa. When not travelling, Colin cares for the calves and also marks Travel Studies assignments for a local tertiary training establishment.
“Having taken two tours to the Namibia and Botswana region I’m now very excited at the thought of returning to Kenya and Tanzania, the home of game Safaris! Not only for the animal and bird life, and the vibrant cultures of the region, but for the majestic scenery of the Ngorongoro Crater, the Rift valley and Mt Kilimanjaro. Finally, to top it all off, a visit to the spice island of Zanzibar. Come and join me on this amazing journey!”