Our Team

The Best People, For The Best Experience

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Zach Johnston

“"I love turning fear of the unknown into curiosity”
Director - Programs
“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.
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Kerie Stewart

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us! ”
Senior Program Advisor
Kerie is your go to person in the Pure Exploration office, right from the moment you first enquire with us through to giving you advice on the best program to suit your needs, and helping you to get organised to come out and join us in New Zealand for the trip of your life!

Kerie is NZ born and bred, and has spent the last 17 years living between Queenstown and Auckland along with winter seasons in the French alps. A skier and snowboarder at heart! Her passion is giving the best advice and assistance possible to help those looking to venture out for the next step in their lives!
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Ivor Levin

“To stop learning, is to stop living - Adventure Now”
Program Manager / Chief Guide
Ivor spends his time trying to live sustainably in the small town of Luggate, near Lake Wanaka. He has completed 14 expeditions to Nepal, and further expeditions into Africa, Mongolia, and South America.

After spending close to a decade teaching Outdoor Education at a Polytechnic, he can be found hanging off the sides of oil rigs at sea, or at a local climbing crag.

With plenty of experience and a masters degree, Ivor is a program manager and senior guide for Pure Exploration.
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Kaylee Pickett

“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life”
Intern Extrordinaire
Kaylee comes from Colorado, where she grew up with a fierce love for snow and all the ways to slide down it, a passion for the outdoors, and a serious adrenaline addiction. After completing a degree in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism, she came to New Zealand to work in the outdoor industry.

Kaylee earned her NZOIA Rock, Bush, and Abseil leader qualifications after completing the Adventure Guide Internship in 2017. Splitting her time between Pure Exploration and Climbing Queenstown, she spends her days dangling from ropes and helping people from around the world get to Queenstown to pursue life as an adventure guide.
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Mike Bilodeau

“Keep your fluids up 'eh'!”
Leader / Program Adviser
Mike hasn't stopped travelling and adventuring since he left Canada almost a decade ago! A passionate environmentalist, he craves opportunities to share his interests in travel, exploring, culture and the natural environment. People and places are what fuels his tireless energy for the participants he leads, his friends and family.

A hiking and kayaking enthusiast, he has a natural affinity and empathy for people, making him an absolutely genuine great guy to have around in any situation.

Just be wary of his love for pranks and making everyday situations hilarious.
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Lucy Scott

“Live in the present, but to improve the future”
Leader & Instructor
Lucy has been working in the New Zealand outdoor industry since 2010.

Before arriving in New Zealand, Lucy has lived and worked in England (predominantly The Lake District), Scotland and Switzerland, which is where she did her outdoor instructor qualifications which covers climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, kayaking and skiing.

When not working in her spare time she enjoys biking, climbing, tramping and trail running.
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Jeff Kennedy

“Keep It Real, But Always Fun”
Leader & Instructor
Jeff started life with a university degree in Paramedicine, becoming a Fire Fighter Paramedic. A Southern Californian, he only likes to leave warm weather and beaches behind when it's to inspire young people, trek and climb in the mountains or travel to far afield destinations.
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Heidi Almendinger

“Germany has Bread: NZ everything else”
Leader & Instructor
Heidi is a Secondary teacher by trade, however her travel and outdoors lifestyle has led her into Pure Exploration. She gets to fulfill her passion with helping us experience both living, and potential; while satisfying her cravings for developing world travel, adventure and NZ's infamous Kiwi lifestyle.
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Martin Maddocks

“Adventure is fertilizer to potential”
Leader & Instructor
Martin is from the UK, and has been travelling incessantly through South East Asia and Australasia for a number of years now. An Outdoors Instructor specialising in White Water Paddling and Rock Climbing, his best memories are paddling the big water in Africa for a summer. His ambition is to paddle a remote river in Nepal.

For now he loves watching people have their individual 'light bulb' moments when they realise just how much the world can change your perspective on life, or how much adventuring makes you learn about yourself and your limits.