Chris Riley is the Owner of Eco Wanaka Adventures and is the Boat Skipper Guide & Hiking Guide
Chris grew up in forested east coastal Northland on a farm, always immersed in nature and showing a keen interest in natural history, the sea and diving. Chris began his career in Tourism at the age of 20 at Mt Ruapehu.
He then was drawn to the South Islands Southern Alps, alternating between Ski Guiding/Driving in Winters to Raft Guiding in Australia and Trek leading in Nepal’s Annapurna and Everest regions in the NZ Summers. The opportunity then arose to move to Wanaka for good, with year-round work with Edgewater Adventures Tour Company and to explore his new pristine backyard, Mt Aspiring National Park. He discovered that the glaciers and young mountains of Nepal were here in NZ – not as high, but so accessible that you can walk to a glacier in 2.5 hours – not 2.5 weeks without dysentery, altitude sickness and undrinkable water!
Utilizing his diving experience he has also worked with the NZ Natural History film unit from Dunedin on Dive trips in NZ and the Pacific and also on 4 trips to the Antarctic as a specialist ice diver, which stood him in good stead when helping to replace a propeller after hitting an iceberg on a wild sailing adventure through the notorious Northwest Passage in the year 2000. This involved sailing from Dutch Harbour in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska to Ilulissat in Greenland with his partner Lee Eadie and 6 others.
With boating in his blood and working for then eventually purchasing, a local Tourism business and renaming it Eco Wanaka Adventures nearly 14 years ago, his vision was to tread as lightly as possible on the planet. This company ethos and continuing work of tree planting and predator control initiatives gives fulfilment to this ambition. His untiring and enthusiastic passion to reveal NZ’s natural wonders to his guests is his driving force and gives him immense job satisfaction.