Meet The Team

Meet the team at Cape To Cape Explorer Tours

meet the team (Gene Hardy)

Gene Hardy

Founder and Managing Director

Gene counts himself as one of the luckiest men alive. Born and bred in Margaret River, his childhood was spent out in the bush or on the beach, chasing fish, or waves, or his three brothers. A natural waterman, Gene started surfing competitively and eventually continued to travel the world as a surf journalist. He developed environmental, interpretive and team building programs in both Australia and the UK. And worked for a number of conservation agencies and NGOs. Gene is the Vice-President of the Friends of the Cape to Cape Track, sat on the Board for the Margaret River region's tourism association, and the National Board for coastal conservation group Surfrider Foundation. He's represented Western Australia multiple times in surfing and underwater hockey - and even won the World Wooden Bellyboarding Championships in the UK! Surfing alongside him most days are his wife Sunny and their girls Willow and Olive. Gene has more enthusiasm than just about anyone we've met, and he says he started Cape To Cape Explorer Tours in 2010 to share the magic of Margaret River with visitors. “The goal for Cape to Cape and the ultimate outcome is that people get to explore this place,” he says. "They don’t have to think about anything but the beauty of the Track and the area. So the better we do our job, the less they have to think about things. And the more headspace they’ve got to enjoy this incredible place."

meg canoe

Megan Pardoe

Operations Manager and Track Guide

Meg grew up in Margaret River, and when she's not hiking the Track you'll find her tackling the region's epic waves on a surfboard. After knocking off a Bachelor of Science (Environmental & Marine Science) at the University of Western Australia, she went on to study Outdoor Recreation in Tasmania. This lead to guiding opportunities throughout Australia, including the Overland Track in Tassie and the Larapinta Trail in Alice Springs. She even spent winters in Tasmania building hiking trails such as the South Coast Track, the Three Capes track and the Bruny Island Neck Lookout! But the call of home brought her back to Margaret River. Here, she's a stellar guide for Cape to Cape Explorer Tours. And is a whiz as Operations Manager, juggling the busy roster of guided and self-guided hikes and day tours.

meet the team (Kristie Bower)

Kristie Bower

Finance / Administration and Track Guide

Kristie is a WA country girl, who grew up on a farm outside the Wheatbelt town of Quairading. "My life so far has taken me on many different paths but the highlights were meeting my husband Jeremy. Having our three beautiful kids. Our travels. Working in the tourism industry on the Ningaloo Reef. Moving to Margaret River in 2000. Immersing myself in the fun-filled wine industry. Travelling around Australia with my family towing our caravan. And now working with a fantastic team of people at Cape to Cape Explorer Tours!" Kristie says. Her role involves guiding, administration and bookkeeping - all areas she loves. "But guiding takes the cake," she admits. "I love every day I’m out on the Track sharing this incredible part of the world with our hikers. And when I’m not out guiding or working I’ll still be outside between the Capes somewhere... trail running, ocean swimming, mountain bike riding or surfing."

meet the team (Trevor Paddenburg)

Trevor Paddenburg

Marketing Coordinator and Track Guide

Trev's background is in news & travel writing and reporting, working for newspapers and magazines around Australia, and as a travel writer based in London. It sure was a tough gig! Getting paid to travel the globe and write about his experiences, from husky dog sledding in the North Pole. To kayaking down the Rio Grande in Texas. And documenting the fetish club scene in the UK capital! His overseas adventures also included working at a remote animal rehabilitation centre in the jungles of Costa Rica. And being sent to exotic surf locations for a surf-travel magazine. Trev came to Margaret River for the surf and soon called it home, after falling in love with the stunning environment and turquoise waters. He continued his writing while also working as a cave guide and a permaculture gardener (including turning his backyard into an exotic food forest and edible Eden packed with every kind of fruit and vegetable). He's also into sustainability - ask him about his compost loo and dumpster diving for chook food! As part of the Cape to Cape team, Trev's role includes guiding, Track transfers and filling the media and marketing role. That means sharing all the amazing images, videos, stories and yarns from the Track and this wonderful region.

Heather

Heather Schofield

Head Guide

Our Head Guide Heather is a Margaret River born and bred treasure. And she's an absolute encyclopaedia of knowledge. In fact we're yet to find a fact about the region, its history, flora and fauna that Heather isn't the full bottle on. She was raised on the banks of the Blackwood River, and is an alumni of Karridale Primary, Margaret River High and Charles Sturt University. But Heather’s passion for country through ecological agriculture and indigenous culture has seen her amass a wide range of experience throughout West Oz. As a Margaret River young rural ambassador she has been proactive working in regenerating and revegetating much of the South-West. Her froth and enthusiasm for conservation led her into the eco-tourism field where she loves nothing better than getting out and taking a long walk and sharing her vast local knowledge. Biodiversity and plants and their myriad of names and indigenous applications are but a few of her specialities. If you come hiking with us, walking the Track with Heather is sure to become a treasured memory!

meet the team (Lisa Johnston)

Lisa Johnson

Catering Coordinator

From New South Wales' Northern Rivers to Margaret River, Lisa was pulled from one to the other by the number of opportunities and a strong community vibe. It ticked the boxes for raising a family in Western Australia! These factors were enhanced by the abundance of wild nature and weather in which she loves to play. Lisa is our culinary wizard and co-founder of our in-house catering business, Cape To Cape Movable Feast. She fuels our hiking explorations with a varied, fresh, locally-sourced menu of the South West’s famous produce. Lisa's Cape To Cape Movable Feast creates all of our Track lunches, prepared dinners, snacks and in-season delicacies. With dietary requirements that are all taken in her versatile stride! She's also set up Margaret River Hampers to cover gifts and special occasions. And she's been a champion of sustainability by eliminating single-use plastic packaging. It it’s trending at the local farmers market, it’s on the menu at Cape to Cape Movable Feast!

Nic Chirico & Nick Campbell

Nic Chirico

SurfPoint Resort General Manager

Nic grew up in the South-West region, went to school in Bunbury and spread her wings wide when she began her professional career. She found her niche, specialising in HR and training in corporate roles. Nic has worked for some iconic Australian brands, in a diverse range of industries including ANZ Bank, Coca-Cola Amatil and Qantas. She's travelled both Australia and the world throughout her career. She returned to the SW region in 2011 to pursue a simpler lifestyle, working as a change management consultant. But Nic realised she was living an “all work and no play” lifestyle. So she transferred her skill-set to take on a regional leadership position in hospitality with AccorHotels. This allowed her more time to explore her incredible backyard. Following Cape To Cape Explorer Tours' acquisition of Surfpoint Resort, Nic joined the team as resort General Manager in 2019 and also handles HR and compliance. She lives on site at the popular Gnarabup resort with her partner Nick, who is the maintenance manager and a true jack of all trades (not to mention a very handy fisherman)! Both have a deep love of their natural surroundings and a strong connection to the indigenous culture and spirituality of the land.

meet the team (Andrew Haskell)

Andrew Haskell

Schools Coordinator and Track Guide

Andrew is our "king of the kids", coordinating our schools program. And he's a fantastic guide on the Track with a deep connection to nature and community. "I'm excited to call Margaret River my home, with its wild oceans and majestic forests amidst ancient landscapes," he says. "My role at Cape To Cape Explorer Tours is to engage local, interstate and international schools in camps that immerse students in the pristine and rugged environments that Margaret River offers." In doing so, Andrew helps foster a love of place, belonging and ecological responsibility that will ripple out to communities far and wide. He's also got a favourite quote by Howard Thurman that he loves sharing: "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Andrew says he's super grateful to have found his feet with the Cape to Cape Team, and we can't wait to see how he grows our exciting schools program!

meet the team (Russell Pratt)

Russell Pratt

Fleet Manager

"Rusty" has a vast experience with the Western Australian coastal environment through his lifelong love of surfing, wave sailing, ocean yacht racing, diving, and fishing. It means he brings a unique perspective and understanding of the Western Australian coast. Russ was state champion wave sailor 1991-1996 and competing on a national level until a knee injury slowed down his ambitions. He moved to the region in 2002 to be close to one of his favourite sailing spots, the legendary Margaret River's Main Break. Previously, Russell was the owner of a brick recycling business and managed to reduce two million tonne of landfill by selling on second hand bricks! He has a love of all things green - a keen home gardener with a native garden, veggie patch and orchids. He loves to walk the trails around the region and spot wildflowers with his wife Gail. A mechanic by trade, Russ keeps a watchful eye on the company’s fleet ensuring you have a safe comfortable journey with us.

Dingo

Richard "Dingo" Bradley

Track Guide

Richie likes walking. And telling stories. He believes that these two activities paved the way to where Homo Sapiens are at. Born and raised on an East Kimberley cattle station, Richie had a 25-year walkabout fuelled by curiosity, a hunger for extremities and a career as a deep sea diver. Along the way he’s hiked and climbed, flown, studied, kite surfed, dived, B.A.S.E. jumped, devoured literature, gotten lost, fallen in love and, lately, settled down to raise a family on the Margaret River. Since 2016 Richie has been guiding on the Cape to Cape Track and sharing time on country with hikers. "I love the two-way learning that develops in the course of walking and talking," Richie says. A voracious reader, he uses his wide reading to reference and stimulate discussions relating to the environment, the human condition and why the Track is amazing. Richie also prefers to walk the Track without shoes. Ask him why!

meet the team (Mikem McAuliffe)

Mike "Stomper" McAuliffe

Track Guide

Mike’s a "Margies" veteran. An early childhood in Perth got sidetracked thanks to his grandparents' house in Dunsborough and a strong passion for the surf. Paddling out at Main Break as a 13-year-old in solid Southern Ocean swell was to have a formative influence on Mike. It wasn't long before he moved to Margs and started a young family whilst pursuing a professional surf career. For 20 years he traveled and competed on surfing's world tour and was three times Australian Champion. He's also won the Margaret River Pro surf competition twice. Lately he's filled the role as Australian Surf Team Coach and also been Contest Director for the Margaret River Pro. when he's not getting barrelled, Mike's working in eco tourism. Formerly in the region's caves, and hosting bush tucker tours and wine tours. But we're stoked to have "Stomper" hiking the Track, walking and talking the magic, with special emphasis on the marine environment. His favourite Cape to Cape section is Smiths Beach to Canal Rocks. "It's raw, rugged and beautiful," he says.