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

I am the author of The Lonely Islands: The Evolutionary Phenomenon that is New Zealand (New Holland Publishers). The book is a readable and comprehensive account of the origins and evolution of New Zealand’s native plants and animals.
More information about The Lonely Islands

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.

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 possible. I provide an engaging and accurate commentary about specific locations and New Zealand in general, and am always ready to answer questions. I am well acquainted with almost every corner of New Zealand, and with the country’s human history, culture and natural world.

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, plants and geology) and human history.

Guide for educational tours 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. I can also provide a historical and cultural context.

Apart from field guiding, I can also contribute lectures about a broad range of subjects. I am knowledgeable about most environments in New Zealand, and (as a former hiking guide) risk management when in the outdoors.

My guiding style

There is more to rewarding 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 nature lovers, I communicate the wonders of New Zealand’s natural history at any level – to those with little knowledge of plants and animals, to the serious enthusiast. My deep all-round general knowledge of New Zealand’s flora and fauna is supported by my life-long interest in conservation and environmental issues.

Insights enrich your journey, and 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 book, The Lonely Islands, is an up-to-date and wide-ranging account of New Zealand’s native life; how it came to be here, and the often strange ways that it evolved on these remote islands.

The Lonely Islands: The Evolutionary Phenomenon that is New Zealand.  By Terry Thomsen


‘It’s rare to find a knowledgeable guide who caters so well to one’s interests; it was indeed a memorable day.’ – Mary Tang, Australia.

‘This is the most relaxed and informative tour we’ve been with. I only wish we had more time to spend with you!’ – Jean Y., Scotland.

‘My husband and I were completely satisfied and enlightened with “The Inside Story” tour in Christchurch. We will recommend to others.’ – Suzanne and Alfred Baumann, USA.

‘This was an exceptional tour that was well worth the cost! Very informative.’ – Daphne, USA.

‘Terry is an absolute fountain of local knowledge and customs and is to be highly commended.’ – Jennie, Devon, UK.

‘Leisurely, interesting and informative tour with personable guide. Exceptional value.’ – Brian and Marjorie, Harrogate, England.

‘Terry’s knowledge of the area, his attention to detail and friendly manner as a guide are well above the normal.’ – Ric and Ailsa McDonald, Western Australia.

‘A well-organised, interesting and friendly tour with very comfortable transportation.’ – Andrew, Australia.

‘Terry is very pleasant, knowledgeable and informative. We would recommend “The Inside Story” tours to anyone travelling in this area.’ – Sam and Debbie Chapin, USA

‘Great trip, intimate atmosphere, all questions answered. Saw a lot, and could stop to take pictures’ – Terry Cooper, USA.