Terry Thomsen - freelance private tour guide and nature writer in New Zealand


Terry Thomsen South Island tour guide

I am a freelance tour guide specialising in nature guiding in New Zealand.

I have recently completed writing a book about the origins and evolution of New Zealand's native plants and animals. It is scheduled for publication in early 2021.

Tour guiding for small private groups

As the owner and operator of The Inside Story Ltd, I organise and guide tours for private groups in New Zealand. I guide all over New Zealand (North Island and South Island), but particularly the South Island which is where visitors tend to spend most of their time.

I work with my clients to design itineraries that are tailored to their interests and specific needs. As such, they get to visit the most scenically striking and interesting locations in New Zealand at a pace that suits them.
The Inside Story has a Department of Conservation guiding concession, which allows me to guide my clients (if they wish) on many of the best short walks in the country, especially in the South Island.

Small private groups benefit from my knowledge in a broad range of subjects including New Zealand's natural world, its human history and culture, and interesting places visited en route.

Read about The Inside Story's private guided New Zealand tours.


Tour manager and guide on coach tours

As tour manager, I provide a professional and attentive service to ensure that your group's visit to New Zealand runs as smoothly as can be. I provide an engaging and accurate commentary about specific locations and New Zealand in general, and am always ready to answer questions from individuals. I am well acquainted with almost every corner of New Zealand.

I am best suited for English-speaking groups who have a specific objective of learning about aspects of New Zealand, particularly the country's nature (animals and plants) and human history.


Field guide for educational and study tours

I am an experienced field guide for US college study tours in New Zealand's South Island.
These tours require a guide who has energy and initiative, and who can deliver information relevant to the students' program in a stimulating way - while at all times acting with the utmost professionalism.

I am most suitable as a guide for programs that have a focus on natural history, environmental issues and nature conservation in New Zealand. Apart from field guiding, I can also contribute with lectures about a broad range of subjects. I am knowledgeable about most environments in New Zealand, and risk management when in the outdoors.


My guiding style

I strongly believe that there is more to travel than just seeing the sights. Some of the best mementos of your travels in New Zealand will be the stories and insights that you take home with you - whether they be about New Zealand nature, history, culture, current happenings or quirky tales about people and places.

For those visitors who would like to learn about New Zealand's natural world, I communicate the wonders of New Zealand's natural history at any level - to those with little knowledge of plants and animals, as well as to the serious enthusiast. My deep all-round general knowledge of New Zealand's flora and fauna is supported by a Master of Science in botany, as well as studies and a life-long interest in conservation and environmental issues.

There are plenty of insights if you want them; there is nothing dry about my engaging and often humorous telling of them. And I have guided long enough to know when to stop talking, so that you can enjoy peace in some of the most beautiful and serene locations on earth.

My writing

My recently-completed book about the origins and evolution of New Zealand's plant and animal life is scheduled to be published by New Holland Publishing in early 2021. This comprehensive book is an up-to-date account of New Zealand's tectonic splitting from the supercontinent of Gondwana, the life that it carried with it, and the life that arrived later via dispersal across the ocean. It then describes how life evolved on these remote islands, and the influence of events such as the mass extinctions of 66 million years ago, and the Pleistocene ice ages.

When not guiding, I busy myself with freelance writing, editing and proofreading.




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