Go Orange appoints new Kayak Experience Manager Courtney Quintrell

A love of the great outdoors and a quest for adventure are behind the appointment of a new Go Orange Kayak Experience Manager.

Courtney Quintrell has over 20 years’ experience working in tourism and hospitality, six of those in stunning Fiordland National Park.

And now she’s living her “dream job” enabling visitors to discover the serenity and beauty of Doubtful and Milford sounds on sea kayaking adventures in this remote part of the world, and kayak trips in the heart of Queenstown.

Born and raised in the US, Courtney says she loves to travel “anywhere and everywhere”, which ultimately brought her to New Zealand.

Her first New Zealand role saw her learning the ropes as a guide, driver and 2IC for a Milford Sound kayak company, interspersed with time in Alaska as a river guide and lodge guest services manager.

Joining Go Orange in November last year, she managed the daily operations of a full-service café on its newly-renovated scenic cruise boat the Milford Haven, catering for 500-plus guests each day.

And as the 2019/20 summer season cranks into gear she’s thrilled to take up her new role as Kayak Experience Manager.

“I have paddled a few places in the world, but nothing competes with kayaking in Fiordland!” she says. “The landscape is awe-inspiring, and the weather makes it even better. You haven’t really seen the place at it’s best until you’ve paddled in proper Fiordland rain. It’s incredible!

“It’s hugely rewarding to be in a position to have fun with our guests while working in such an exciting industry in the most beautiful place in the world.

“I am excited to work with our amazing kayaking team who deliver an outstanding experience, day in, day out.”

Go Orange is thrilled to welcome Courtney to her new role.

“We’re looking forward to working with her, especially knowing the level of experience and fun she’ll bring to the kayaking team,” says Go Orange Head of Experience Russell Thomas.

When she’s not busy working, Courtney’s renowned for the five years of time and energy she’s put into coordinating the Milford Sound Wild Foods and Brews Festival, the largest community event in the Sound.

And in what’s left of her ‘spare’ time she’s into tramping, camping, hunting, motorbike riding, fishing, skydiving, rock climbing, mountain biking, paddle boarding, rafting and snowboarding.

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Accolades come thick and fast for Ziptrek Ecotours

The accolades are flowing thick and fast for the team at Queenstown’s Ziptrek Ecotours.

Last Thursday (October 24) Trent Yeo won the PATA New Zealand Trust Emerging Tourism Leader Award in the prestigious New Zealand Tourism Awards, recognising his work as an outstanding tourism professional.

And last Friday (October 25) Ziptrek Sales Executive Kenny Wynter was announced as the only Queenstown-based member on the seven-strong YoungTEC Executive team for 2020.

YoungTEC is an arm of the Tourism Export Council which offers support, education and networking opportunities to young tourism professionals.

Trent says his award, while recognising his achievements in setting up the pioneering zipline company in tandem with multiple roles in industry organisations, events and working groups throughout New Zealand, could not have been achieved without his ‘team’.

“The tourism leader award isn’t just about me; it recognises the hard work of all the crew, past and present, who have contributed so much in the almost ten years we’ve been in operation,” he says.

Ziptrek Ecotours is a recognised leader in business innovation, eco-tourism and sustainable business practice, and Trent says the award could not have come at a better time for the business and the industry as a whole.

“Entering the award brought into sharp focus how much time and effort I’ve put not only into  Ziptrek but into the wider industry,” he says. “I’m really excited to be at the peak of my career when the New Zealand tourism industry is moving so strongly towards developing our sustainability on a global scale.”

The judges recognised Trent’s ability and commitment to go beyond his own business and demonstrate what they called “great examples of transformational leadership”, impressed with giving his time and generosity to the industry at the same time as the business recorded excellent achievements.

They also praised his entrepreneurial approach and innovation, and his dedication to responsible and sustainable tourism.

Meanwhile, Kenny said he was “excited to contribute, collaborate, learn and listen” in his role on the YoungTEC executive to continue to improve on New Zealand’s unique tourism offering.

New YoungTEC executive team member Kenny Wynter of Ziptrek Ecotours

He began his tourism journey by studying for a degree in International Tourism Management, and his passion for social licence meant his dissertation explored Corporate Social Responsibility.

After graduating he was naturally drawn to work for Ziptrek Ecotours, giving him an introduction to the world of eco-tourism. After working for them for a year, he left to gain international experience before returning to Ziptrek in 2017.

“I’ve been working to spread the word about their stance as the pioneers in eco-exhilaration ever since,” he says.

His other industry roles include being a member of the BYATA steering group for Queenstown, taking issues and initiatives to a national level, and also being an active member of Queenstown Young Professionals.

Multi-award-winning Zipline Ecotours is celebrating ten years in business this year, as the pioneers of ziplining and eco-tourism in New Zealand.

For a little more on Trent, check out this awesome Destination Queenstown clip:

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Villas among the vines – luxury Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa opens in December

Villas among the vines – luxury Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa opens in December

Central Otago’s most exciting luxury offering is on final countdown to opening.

Located in the heart of Central Otago’s founding winery, Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa will offer the ultimate in relaxed luxury, fine wine, culinary excellence and 5-star personal service.

In just over two months, its doors will swing open to reveal a stunning architecturally-designed lodge complete with striking feature fireplace, soaring ceiling, sun-filled conservatory, al fresco dining area, an exclusive restaurant and a Lodge Cellar overflowing with historic vintages.

With a locally-sourced schist stone exterior mirroring the rugged Central Otago environment, Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa will be firmly planted in the vineyard’s rich history.

The world-class luxury accommodation experience is oozing with sophistication, sleek interior and exterior design, accompanied by lush landscaping and peaceful water features.

Twenty-four beautiful, sumptuously comfortable and modern villas are nestled just above the first vineyard block ever planted in the valley, in perfect view of the vines and distinctive Central Otago landscape on adjacent hills.

A secluded on-site spa will be a luxurious retreat for health, beauty and wellbeing, offering a serene, relaxing environment for a range of indulgences including – fittingly – vinotherapy treatments.

Gibbston Valley Winery CEO Greg Hunt says the Lodge & Spa gives guests the opportunity to connect with the land and the winery experience on another level.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have created a totally unique and completely enriching new experience for guests,” he says.

“It’s more than just unwinding among the vines – it’s about exploring the vineyard and gaining an intimate, deeper understanding of the behind-the-scenes workings of a world-class winery to a degree that’s not available anywhere else in the world.

“Going at their own relaxed pace, guests will be able to take the time to indulge in outstanding food and wine and really experience Gibbston Valley in all her glory.”

A highlight of the Lodge experience will be the opportunity to sample exquisite cuisine, carefully created to pair beautifully with premium, handcrafted Gibbston Valley Wines.

The exclusive Lodge menu is the brainchild of renowned Chef Anthony Gradiska, guided by the seasons and fresh produce grown in his Chef’s Gardens scattered around the Lodge and Spa buildings.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa is set to have a distinct sustainability focus, going to great efforts to do away with single-use products and introducing eco-conscious options throughout the entire operation.

The diversification of the vineyard has been an involved four-year planning project to ensure all elements of the Lodge & Spa meld seamlessly with the iconic look and feel of Gibbston Valley and the 30-year-old winery.

Additional Lodge features include a small wine education theatre, private meeting rooms, and unique indoor and outdoor spaces for intimate boutique weddings.

Each villa, boasting a modern, sophisticated décor, open plan indoor living space and the latest technology, also features a secluded sun-washed courtyard surrounded by lush landscaping and a private covered deck with dining area.

As a matter of course, a selection of premium Gibbston Valley Wines personalized to guests’ preferences greet visitors on arrival.

Customised concierge services round out the experience by providing the very best advice and local knowledge on wine tasting, cycle tours, walking tracks and packages for activities on-site and throughout the wider Central Otago region.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa is set on 1000-acres of privately-owned land, dotted with many kilometres of exclusive biking and walking trails. The Queenstown Trail, New Zealand’s most popular Great Ride, passes the property and provides access to over 130kms of off-road trails between Gibbston, Arrowtown and Queenstown.

Luxury experience packages available at Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa include the Wine Immersion, Food & Wine Indulgence, Relax & Revive, Romantic Escape and Ride the Vines.

Rates start at $825NZD per villa. For further information and bookings go to www.gibbstonvalleylodgeandspa.com

 Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa – what you need to know

  • Villas feature 100m2 of private, open plan indoor living space
  • Bathrooms feature a large walk-in shower, separate feature tub and dual basins
  • Complimentary bike use included for guests
  • Private wine tastings and intimate dinners available in the Lodge Cellar
  • Seasonal à la carte restaurant menu
  • Exciting range of wining, dining and leisure activities on the doorstep
  • Shuttles available for guests into Arrowtown and Queenstown
  • Spa features three private treatment rooms, a sauna, secluded hot pools and small gym
  • Just 20 minutes from Queenstown’s International Airport
  • Lodge & Spa designed by Queenstown architects Wyatt + Gray
  • Villa design by Space Studios
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Go Orange named Deloitte Fastest Growing Services Business two years in a row

The awards keep coming for Queenstown and Fiordland tourism operator Go Orange.

For the second year in a row, it was announced today (Thursday September 26) that Go Orange has been named the Fastest Growing Services Business in Dunedin and the lower South Island by Deloitte.

Go Orange won the same award for the first time last year, with revenue growth of 209%, and went on to rank 37thon the national Deloitte Fast 50, announced later in the year.

“It’s an outstanding result for any company to be recognised for its contribution to the continued growth of the New Zealand business economy, but to do it two years in a row is exceptional,” says Go Orange General Manager Luke Taylor.

“We’re absolutely stoked with this latest award which recognises the hard work and dedication of our team across all our businesses in Queenstown, Te Anau and Milford Sound.”

It’s been a year of fast-paced success and industry accolades for Go Orange.

Less than two weeks ago it was named AWS Legal Fiordland Tourism Operator of the Year 2019. Within the past year Luke Taylor was named TIA emerging Leader of the Year, and Go Orange was a national finalist in the Humankind Employee Experience Awards.

Go Orange is also currently nominated as a finalist in the best tour/activity category of the Australia & New Zealand Adventure Tourism Awards 2019 and is an entrant in the innovation category. The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of tourism businesses in both countries.

The latest results are all the more remarkable for a tourism brand that was formed just over two years ago with the merger of a number of Queenstown businesses. It re-structured from a solely backpacker-focussed brand to one which aligns with a much wider range of travellers and demographics.

It delivers outstanding New Zealand visitor experiences with cruising, whitewater rafting, jet boating, kayaking and coach connections in Queenstown, Te Anau, Milford and Doubtful sounds.

In the past year it has launched a new Milford Haven cruise experience in Milford sound, a Go Orange jetboat experience, a bespoke Unimog fleet for rafting experiences, a new coach fleet and a new Queenstown ferry service.

“Our mantra is ‘Go Beyond’, inspiring and challenging visitors to become travellers, to go deeper, further and beyond the average tourist, and I’m incredibly proud of our team who have built an adventurous, fun and innovative brand,” says GM Luke Taylor.

Go Orange will attend the 2019 Deloitte Festival of Growth in November, where the national Deloitte Fast 50 index, national category winners, national Rising Star winner and national Master of Growth index are announced.

 

M: 027 337 7907 

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