Our Guides

Each season brings new guides from New Zealand and around the world. All are river professionals and great cooks as well!

We are very fortunate this season to be able to employ some of the best river guides you will find anywhere in the world. Canoe Safaris is the only company to employ "full time" guides - they are trained professionals and their experience and knowledge can make a huge difference to your enjoyment and safety on a trip. All guides are trained in First Aid/CPR, and most also have qualifications in Swiftwater Rescue, Risk Management, Weather reading, and many are qualified Raft guides.

They are also great cooks and entertainers.

Canoe Safaris has over 25 years experience on our rivers - we are passionate river paddlers and we enjoy sharing this passion, along with the best river and camping equipment with our customers.

Darryl Jones

Darryl has worked with Canoe Safaris for 5 seasons. He is a local to the Ruapehu area and has spent alot of time on the Rangitikei River. He is a Whanganui River Guide, an aspirant raft guide, and over the winter works as a Ski Patroller for Ruapehu Alpine Lifts. Daz is into any outdoors experience and keen on Mountain Biking, Skiing and Kayaking.

Sarah Cate

Sarah now runs her own inflatable kayak adventure company (www.adventureoutdoors.co.nz), but has been one of our main guides for the past 6 seasons. Her enthusiasm and organization on multi-day trips is hard to beat. Sarah is a Senior Raft Guide and in our off season spends her time guiding trips in Japan and in the United States.

Phil Collins

Yes that's his name!  Phil started working here in 2013 after three years guiding in Canada and many more before that in Australia.  He loves it so much that along with his partner Kirsty he has bought the company.  You will see Phil guiding early and late season trips, driving the buses around and helping to organise and plan trips.  If you stop by for a chat or to check in for a trip, Phil (and Kirsty) will make sure you have everything you need for a comfortable and fantastic experience on the Whanganui or Rangitikei rivers. 


Bruce the wonder dog is mostly a base worker, but is great at welcoming all new guests to the property and distracting them from what actually needs to be done.  At only 15 weeks old and standing at 12 inches high he is still learning his swimming techniques and will be a great team member once his skills and training match his enthusiasm.  

Simon Dixon

Simon is mostly found in the office these days, or behind the wheel of the bus, but still guides early (September/October) and late (May) Raft and Canoeing trips. Canoe and Raft guiding since 1983 and has spent at least a total of a whole year paddling the Whanganui River.

Canon Larson

Canon is full time with us here at Canoe Safaris and first paddled the Whanganui river in 2013.  He has been guiding with us for three seasons and comes from the Kapiti coast.  Canon is passionate about this area, and will go the extra mile to make sure everyone has a great time, he also fancies himself as a bit of a kitchen whizz, so ask him for something special.  In the wintertime you can find him still working locally at Turoa Ski Field up Mount Ruapehu.  

James Thorp

James has worked with Dylan in Canada, but is from Australia. He has worked in the adventure tourism industry for many years as a Raft guide, kayaking instructor, safety kayaker and trekking leader. James is a professional Raft guide and has kayaked rivers call over the world.