Guided Walks New Zealand's History
Richard Bryant, a fourth generation local and his wife Elaine are the pioneers of Guided Nature Walks. Together we have a vast knowledge of the flora, fauna, history and geology of this beautiful region and with the on-going assistance of Richard & Elaine we have a huge source of information and history that is unavailable anywhere else.
The Bryant family has been involved in guiding nature enthusiasts on walks around Queenstown and Fiordland for more than 130 years. That experience has created a reputation not only for a detailed knowledge of the region and all it has to offer, but also for being able to cater for wide ranges of groups and individuals with a huge choice of terrain, pace and commentary.
You can read more about the Bryants and their new adventures here
Guided Nature Walks since 1868
and a slice of history...
In the 1870’s a hotel was established at Kinloch, at the head of Lake Wakatipu, by R.C. Bryant which saw the first steps toward a visitor industry with the Bryants offering guests experiences on the Routeburn by foot or on horse back.
From 1912 the SS Earnslaw had started and would continue a schedule running to the head of the lake 3 days a week - Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. The Earnslaw is a twin screw steamer that had a cruising speed of 13 knots & a capacity for 1035 passengers; 1500 sheep; seventy head of cattle; or 200 bales of wool. She also occasionally carried cars or buses to Glenorchy and Kinloch. She connected with Kinloch on these days, unloading tourists for the Bryant family to transport to the Routeburn. At first horse drawn wagons were used, then Oakland cars and finally a small fleet of Ford buses. In 1942 an open top 1937 Chevrolet bus was brought up to Kinloch on the SS Earnslaw to join the fleet of six buses operated by R.H. Bryant of 'Routeburn Valley Motors', one of the first tourist operators in the region.
The last year that Routeburn Valley Motors operated was in 1971. With a direct road from Queenstown to the Routeburn Valley completed in 1962 and a bridge built across the Dart River, the Steamer SS Earnslaw stopped sailing to Kinloch around the same time, as her services were no longer needed.
Today we continue the legacy of Harry Bryant and his family transporting and guiding tourists into the Routeburn Valley and onto the track by providing full and half day walks not only on the Famous Routeburn Track but on many of the surrounding tracks in the Mt Aspiring National Park.