I am Mike Stearne (aka MiketheGuide), a tour guide based in Wellington, New Zealand. I offer tailored private tours for solo travellers, couples and small groups, both locally and nationwide.
I like to start the conversation early, to get a feel for what your interests are, and to get to know you during the planning process. Together we can build a tour that gets the most out of your limited time in New Zealand. Whether you want to see as much as possible or spend more time in fewer places, you will return home feeling like you had the best possible time (and on your way home, you'll already be thinking about your next NZ adventure!).
As a long time fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, I was very excited by the filming of The Lord of the Rings trilogy in New Zealand. I was lucky enough to be an extra in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, where I played an Uruk-Hai, one of the bad guys! I'd say I'm a Middle-earth tour specialist, and I've been recommended as a private guide for custom film location tours by Ian Brodie in the official Hobbit Location Guide.
I grew up in Otautau, a small town of about 800 people in Southland, and moved to Queenstown when I was 19. Only 2 hours from where I grew up, Queenstown was a different world - the Adventure Capital of New Zealand. I did a short stint in Australia, living in both Sydney and Melbourne, before returning to New Zealand. My life as a tour guide began in Queenstown in 2002, where I first worked for Nomad Safaris. I got to drive Land Rover Defenders through mud, dust and water every day, showing off some of the world’s most beautiful scenery to visitors, including more Lord of the Rings filming locations and historic gold mining settlements. I was bitten by the guiding bug and decided that this is the industry I belong in. Not only do I get to share and show off my beautiful country every day, but I meet amazing people and learn as much as I teach while on the road.