Your guides and hosts, Brian Lucas and Paula Sinclair offer completely customized, bespoke luxury small group trips for those looking for a more authentic, unique type of experience, yet still wanting to see the highlights and beauty of the South Island.
With over 24 years of experience, Brian and Paula specialise in creating South Island tours that are extraordinary and tailor-made to the needs of the discerning traveller. Excelling in hand-crafted, privately guided tours, guests come with us for authentic interactions and exclusive adventures that are carefully designed to fulfil their South Island dreams.
Using their own fully customised tour vehicles, they guide the trips themselves and exclusivity, flexibility and your safety are of the utmost importance.
Being locals, Brian and Paula will show you the special places, their favourite photo spots and the splendid isolation and serenity New Zealand’s South Island has to offer. Whether you travel as a couple, with family, with lifelong friends who share your inquisitiveness about the world, or whether you travel to mark a milestone in your life, you can expect to return from your journey spellbound at the beauty that New Zealand will bestow upon you.
Brian and Paula’s attention to detail, their expertise in the provision of top service combined with their knowledge of the culture, wildlife and history ensure that their guests get to see and experience South Island differently. This means that they take with them life-long memories and stories to share with family and friends.
Our travellers are typically retired or semi-retired, active, well-educated and usually well-travelled people from North American, the UK, South America and Europe and are generally aged 40 and over.
Many have brought their children and grandchildren on trips for those special occasions or just for the fun of travelling as a family. The common characteristic though is that they all seek involvement in experiences that combine natural world viewing, soft adventure, top-notch comfort and exceptional cuisine.
The guests that we guide and host travel as singles, couples, families or small pre-formed groups. Some take our suggested tour options while others prefer "customized" tours designed to meet specific desires.
Brian is a keen traveller, was born in England and lived in Western Australia for many years from an early age.
Being well travelled, he recognised the potential of New Zealand as a place to visit, a country about which he is extremely passionate. Although he was not born in New Zealand, he considers himself a “Kiwi” born in the wrong country and for him, New Zealand is home.
Educated in England and Australia, Brian’s hobbies are hiking, woodworking, New Zealand’s heritage, aviation and photography.
In 1994, Brian had a concept of creating tours that guided guests on journeys of exploration and discovery to experience the diverse ecologies and scenic wonders of Te Waipounamu (South Island) of New Zealand. These journeys would be personally guided “safari” style tours and the guests would also enjoy superb accommodations and first-class cuisine.
So, in1994, Brian created Canterbury Trails and began offering these safari style tours. He successfully grew the business, specializing in personal, small group tours as well as exclusive private tours with the aim of showing guests the wonders of South Island. The business grew to a fleet of seven fully customised 4WD tour vehicles and a team of guides, and Brian loved the role of guiding, meeting tour guests and sharing the country that he loves.
In 2009 Brian was one of three finalists in the prestigious national award - the New Zealand ITOC (Inbound Tour Operator’s Council) Tourism Awards.
In 2010, he sold the business and looked forward to semi-retirement. However, as someone once said, you can take the guide out of guiding but you cannot take the guiding out of the guide
Brians vast experience and love of guiding bought him back into the fold, and with his partner Paula, created Wildsouth Discovery which will deliver exclusive tours for the discerning traveller. These tours aim to give you a unique and relaxed experience while discovering the amazing beauty that New Zealand has on offer.
Paula Sinclair is a fourth generation Kiwi and was born in Lyttelton and is proud to be a New Zealander.
Educated in Christchurch, she studied to be a pharmacist in Heretaunga, North Island and after graduation, she returned to Christchurch. She has been practising pharmacy for over thirty-five years and has worked in many different community pharmacies as a locum.
In 1979 she travelled to Western Australia and worked in Perth and some remote country towns for a year as a pharmacist, but missing New Zealand made her return home to Christchurch.
Over the years, Paula has travelled to Australia, England, North America, France and Italy and has enjoyed walking and exploring in parts of those countries.
South Island will always be home to Paula and she loves the spectacular scenery and its fascinating flora and fauna. Her hobbies are gardening, cooking, hiking, sea fishing and playing golf.
In more recent years, Paula built a wonderful home in the Christchurch seaside suburb of Sumner, from which she operated a B&B. She enjoyed meeting her guests from all over the world and showing them Kiwi hospitality.
Sadly though, Paula’s home was a victim of the 2011 earthquake and was condemned due to its location and damage.
Paula’s service and hosting experience will be invaluable to Wildsouth Discovery tour guests and she enjoys sharing her homemade chocolates, pickles and relishes with them.
Showing their guests some of the most beautiful parts of South Island will also be a joy for Paula.
"Brian was fantastic, patient and very knowledgeable about the sites. Thanks for sharing your NZ with us. Brian is a real gem and hope you can continue to share your wealth and love of this country"
- Angela and Jan, Toronto, Canada