Our Team

A bunch of legends, basically

Zach Johnston

Director
I’m passionate about travel, exploration and adventure. It’s the most exhilarating feeling available, brings us alive and inspires us to connect with ourselves, others, work, family and friends. Travel and Adventure open and strengthen the mind, expanding our perspective to make informed decisions that positively affect opportunities that come our way. I love turning fear of the unknown into curiosity and wonderment.

Zach is a former military officer, Senior Instructor Leadership Development, General Manager in the Tourism Industry; Field Based Outdoor Educator, International Expedition Leader and Operational Ambulance Officer with extensive travel experience in 3rd world, developing and developed countries.

Graham Kinlan

General Manager
Graham grew up amongst the cathedrals and pubs of lively Dublin. The Guinness didn’t get in his way of getting a master’s degree at the Dublin Institute of Technology though. He still loves going back to Ireland for a visit but has been calling New Zealand his home since 2011.

Of course, it’s hard to leave a place like Queenstown, which has so many outdoor activities to get involved with. You can often find him exploring new mountain bike trails, playing a game of ice hockey with his mates or shredding the slopes on skis or a board.

Travel has been a big part of Graham’s life as he has explored most of Europe and took an unforgettable six-month trip around Southeast Asia. Knowing all these countries has been a huge advantage managing travel companies. He has previously been a General Manager for a small group tour company and a Business Manager for a well-known extreme activity company, before taking on Pacific Discovery and Pure Exploration.

Ben Hulance

Admissions Director
Ben was born and raised in the small English town of Bedford but left for the bigger city of Leeds to study Hospitality Business Management at Leeds Trinity University. The rainy days were getting a bit too much for him, so he took a flight to sunny Australia 10 years ago and never looked back.

He is always on the lookout for stunning white sand beaches and found his favourite ones on the untouched and unexplored Gili Islands. Snorkelling in Bali, swimming with whale sharks in Western Australia and exploring the rock formations of Karijini National Park have been some of his highlights while travelling around the Southern Hemisphere.

After 8 years of working for travel agencies in Australia and New Zealand, Ben has joined the Pure Exploration team in Queenstown, which is the prime location for the outdoors way of life but also close to the social life. He loves that it is a small town with big town vibes, and you can feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere after a 15-minute drive.

Hollie Down

Program Advisor
Hollie was born in the UK, but only got to live there when she was about 16 years old. Her childhood was spent exploring and living in the Canary Islands, South Africa and Germany. After living in Hertfordshire for 13 years she'd had enough of the Great British climate and decided to spend her time travelling, and eventually came to settle in New Zealand.

It's safe to say she feels more at home on, in or under the water than on land so scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming and sailing are always her first choice when exploring a new area. Travelling the Galapagos Islands, trekking to Machu Picchu and scuba diving in Fiji are some of her travel highlights as well as making unforgettable trips to Rome - her favorite city in the world!

Travel is in her blood so it didn't take long to start a career in educational travel, which she has found to be extremely rewarding. Hollie has joined Pure Exploration after moving to Queenstown from the North Island and she's loving all the activities on offer here. She can't wait to tick some more big experiences off her bucket list in New Zealand's adventure capital.

Arthur Davey

Brand Manager
Arthur grew up on a farm in the UK taking advantage of the outdoor lifestyle that the farm brought with it.

Before studying Geography at University Arthur qualified as Ski Instructor in his gap year. This program was an eye opener for him and really helped mould who he is today.

Arthur started documenting his travels around Europe while dipping his toe into the marketing world at a chain of restaurants. 9 years on Arthur is a well versed videographer and photographer and enjoys nothing more than capturing an epic sunset or sunrise.

With his passion for the outdoors he decided to move to the adventure capital of Queenstown with his equally adventurous wife (Bex) and hasn't looked back since.

At weekends and any time off he can be found climbing mountains, biking or skiing! Ticking off all the great hikes around New Zealand.

Vicky Vleugels

Digital Marketing Manager
Vicky is from Belgium and even though she enjoyed growing up in her beer-loving country, she didn’t stick around after she graduated university with degrees in Linguistics & Literature and Business Communication.

Instead, she wanted to see the beauty this planet has to offer. A 5-month trip around Southern Africa and Southeast Asia, a Working Holiday year in Australia and magnificent trips to Peru, Cuba, Iran and Sri Lanka are some of her more memorable experiences.

Vicky has been lucky enough to use her love for travel in her job for a while. She started off as a Digital Content Creator at a travel company in Amsterdam and is using her writing and marketing skills now for Pure Exploration and Pacific Discovery. Queenstown has been her home for over a year now, but it still feels like paradise to her. From hiking up the many mountains in summer to skiing down them in winter, it’s her kind of place.