About Nomad Safaris
Nomad Safaris offers small, personalised tours into the New Zealand backcountry, exploring historic gold mining areas and a selection of filming locations used in The Lord of The Rings and other movies. Nomad Safaris has been operating for over 25 years and over that time has built up a fleet of 16 true off road vehicles, including Land Rover Defenders and Toyota Land Cruisers, making it the largest commercial fleet of Land Rover vehicles in New Zealand. Nomad Safaris' large fleet, combined with an ability to subcontract other vehicles means that we can comfortably manage Conference and Incentive groups of well over 150 people.
Nomad Safaris understand its activities can impact on the local environment and have taken the lead in minimising these impacts. Nomad Safaris is also Qualmark EnviroGold Endorsed and a triple winner at the NZ Tourism Awards.
Please see the Environment page for more information on the conservation work we are doing in the local area.
History of Nomad Safaris
In 1988 a young New Zealander, Nick Duncan, returned from 10 years tour guiding in Africa and the Middle East. He was determined to set up a tour that embodied all that was good about the African trips.
A tour which was fun, informative and getting the clients really in touch with their surroundings. This meant no coaches, no crowds and, no microphones. Just the guides, their personality and their Kiwi hospitality. The company was Nomad Safaris.
This spirit has been carried through by each owner of Nomad Safaris and is still at the very core of everything that is undertaken today.
The current owners of Nomad Safaris, David and Amanda Gatward- Ferguson, began their story in May 1994 when they bought a small tour company called Outback Tours and single handedly ran tours into Skippers Canyon and Macetown. Outback Tours and Nomad Safaris were intense competitors. Then in 1997 Nomad Safaris became available for sale and David and Amanda decided to merge the two companies. Clearly this was a great success as now, Nomad Safaris operates the largest commercial fleet of Land Rover Defenders in New Zealand and still operates under the same values set out by Nick Duncan some 25 years ago.
The tale of Duncan Ferguson - an original pioneer
Duncan Ferguson took off his hat and mopped his brow. Leaning against the sweat-drenched withers of his draught horse he surveyed the land it had taken so many months to arrive in from Britain.
Instead of the miles of terraced red brick slums he'd grown up in he was surrounded by arid, tussock-covered hillside in stark contrast against the brilliant, cobalt Central Otago sky. And instead of the dull, grey cobbled streets a startlingly clear, aquamarine river tumbled through the dramatic gorge.
Somewhere down there amid the crumbling schist rock and ice-cold mountain water lay his future. The unseen gold called him with a silent siren song. Inspired, he replaced his hat, leaned into the harness and grunted as the mighty horse dragged his cart deeper into the valley.
More than a century later another Ferguson pioneer steps down from the driver's seat of his 4WD, helps his passengers out and shows them the same, astonishing vista. He tells them tales: the story of Duncan Ferguson and the thousands of other men just like him who dragged their families from the cities of the world to conquer an unrelenting land resplendent in its savage beauty.
As his tales come to an end he deliberately lets the silence take over and allows the surroundings to tell their own story. Aided by the scenery, the clear, clean air and the distant sound of the river far below, in each of their minds the scene comes back to life.
This is New Zealand 's pioneer heritage at its best.
This is the NZ Nomad Safaris experience.