Discovery Tours Ltd
Vernon Reid formed Discovery Tours in 2001 from a desire to provide high quality tours which explore the unique features of this part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area. Vernon Reid has a long association with Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and the Te Wahiponamau World Heritage Area, having done his training in the area and later working for the Department of Conservation as park ranger. The only part missing from his duties as a Park Ranger was providing enducation in the field to visitors so Vernon startted a hike and bike company to help visitors discover the area. Discovery Tours grew to a size that included a Lord of the Rings tour, information centre and Helibike trips. In 2011 Vernon decided to focus on his passion of mountain biking and sold the LOTR tours, closed the information centre and now with a new business partner Sara Leadbeter, opeates Helibike.com Ltd.
I first got an interest in conservation when I worked for the Conservation Core in Dunedin in the early 1990's, this led to working for the Department of Conservation in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. After 4 years working for DOC I wanted to learn more about the tourism industry so I worked for the Hermitage Hotel where later in 1999 I was promoted to position of the Guest Services Manager. In 2001 I started Discovery Tours to provide tours where people could really learn about the world heritage area with a local guide who had a passion and love for the area. While living in Aoraki Mount Cook I was a member of the Industrial fire brigade for 10 years and was acting Chief Fire Officer, went exploring the National Park as often as possible by foot, bike, skis and climbing. I have an active interest in geology, history, ecology, conservation and glaciers, so much so I volunteered for 10 days in 2008 to assist Heather Purdie with her PhD field study of the Tasman Glacier. I'm always a keen mountain biker, rock climber, skier, and back country hiker. My claim to fame was to drive Tom Cruise around Mount Cook while he was filming The Last Samurai, I also drove Orcs from Mount Cook to Twizel for the big battle scenes, and got to watch parts of LOTR being filmed! I love cooking and can bake a great banana cake with banana whip cream and enjoy quality black coffee!