Meet THE CAPE TO CAPE EXPLORER TOURS TEAM
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 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. The better we do our job, the more headspace they’ve got to enjoy this incredible place.”
Operations Manager / Track Guide
Born and bred in Margaret River, Hamish has a passion for surfing and hiking, and an intimate knowledge of the area. A specialist in native orchids, birds and reptiles, he also takes a keen interest in the customs of the cultural Wadandi custodians. Hamish studied psychology and education before working for 20 years as a teacher in primary, secondary and School of the Air. That included a decade working alongside Cape to Cape Explorer Tours, planning school camps to inspire the next generation about our unique geology, flora and fauna; conservation; and leadership and team-building. Now he’s officially on the team in the operations role and as a guide. “I really believe in the health benefits of interacting with nature to relieve stress and create a space for connection,” he says.
Deputy Ops Manager / Catering Coordinator
Floss is a Jill-of-all-trades in the Cape to Cape team, doing a stellar job as Deputy Ops Manager, guiding on the Track and assisting the catering team. She’s also famous for her award-winning scones, winning the blue ribbon for best baked goods at the Margaret River Agricultural Show. These treats are in high demand! Floss previously worked at Mount Hotham in Victoria organising school snow camps and managing a lodge. Her love of travel took her to New Zealand, Sri Lanka and then Canada where she worked as a high-ropes guide, at a paragliding park, and then as a gardener at a hemp farm. While visiting family in WA, she was recruited by Cape to Cape Explorer Tours. “I love meeting our hikers, hearing their stories, and sharing this beautiful nature experience,” she says.
Deputy Ops Manager / Schools Coordinator
James moved to the South-West and instantly fell in love with the rugged beauty and incredible scenery here. Margaret River is now home amid the wild seas, magical forests and ancient landscapes which “sing to my heart and feed my soul”, says James. He has a background in teaching, facilitated youth expeditions across the globe including to Nepal and Uganda, and worked in schools in the UK and internationally. Now, his role is to engage local, interstate and international schools in camps that immerse students in our pristine and rugged environment. In doing so, he helps foster a love of place and nature, developing a sense of belonging and ecological responsibility that students can take away with them to “ripple out to communities far and wide”..
Nic Chirico & Nick Campbell
Surfpoint Resort GM & Grounds Keeper
Nic grew up in the South-West and spread her wings in a corporate HR and training career. She’s worked for iconic Aussie brands including ANZ Bank and Qantas, travelling Australia and the world. She returned to pursue a simpler lifestyle, working as a change management consultant and then in a regional leadership position in hospitality with AccorHotels – with more time to explore her incredible backyard. Following Cape to Cape Explorer Tours’ acquisition of Surfpoint Resort, Nic became resort General Manager. She also manages our corporate group experiences. She lives at Surfpoint with her partner, New-Zealand-born Nick. He’s grounds keeper and jack of all trades – and a very handy fisherman! Both have a deep love of and connection to the indigenous culture of the land.
Finance Manager / Track Guide
You’ll find Kristie somewhere in the outdoors in the Capes region, either swimming, surfing, mountain biking, hiking or running. In fact, ultramarathons are her speciality and she ran the 124km Cape to Cape Track non-stop in just over 20 hours, raising $160,000 for charity! Kristies has also traveled extensively with her husband Jeremy and the couple have three beautiful kids. She worked in tourism on the Ningaloo Reef before moving to Margaret River in 2000 to join the wine industry. But her love of the outdoors brought her to the Cape to Cape Explorer Tours team in the dual roles of finance and guiding. “I love all aspects of the job. But being out on the Track and sharing this incredible part of the world with our hikers definitely takes the cake,” she says.
Marketing Coordinator / Track Guide
Trev’s background is in writing for newspapers and magazines around Australia and as a globetrotting London-based travel writer. From husky dog sledding in the North Pole to kayaking down the Rio Grande or documenting London’s fetish scene, Trev’s done it all! He worked at a remote animal rehabilitation centre in the jungles of Costa Rica, and still travels to exotic surf locations as a surf-travel magazine correspondent. Trev came to Margaret River for the surf and fell in love with the epic nature and raw ocean. He’s a passionate guide and is also our marketing officer, sharing the amazing photos and stories of the Track. Plus, he also works for the region’s peak environment group, teaches permaculture, and grows all his own fruit and veg in his permaculture paradise.
Mike "Stomper" Mcauliffe
Mike’s a “Margies” veteran. An early childhood in Perth got sidetracked thanks to his grandparents’ house in Dunsborough and a 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 surfing career. For 20 years he traveled and competed, and was a three-time Australian Champion and two-time Margaret River Pro winner. He’s been Australian Surf Team Coach and Margaret River Pro contest director, while working in eco tourism as a cave guide, bush tucker tour leader. He’s our Head Guide on the Track, sharing his expert knowledge, particularly when it comes to the marine environment.
Our guide Heather is a Margaret River born and bred treasure. There’s not much 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. Her passion for country through ecological agriculture and indigenous culture means she’s amassed a wide range of experience throughout WA. As a Margaret River young rural ambassador, she’s worked in regenerating and revegetating the South-West. Her enthusiasm for conservation led her into eco-tourism, where she relishes long hikes and sharing her passion for country. Biodiversity, plants and their indigenous applications are just a few of her specialities.
Sammy fills the executive support role and assists the team with everything from drive shifts to catering, bookings and logistics. She’s a farm girl originally – her family produced wheat and sheep in country WA and Sammy grew up with a love of the outdoors. She went to Curtin University, studying commerce and Asian studies, and a love of Japanese prompted a move to the land of the rising sun. The travel bug didn’t let up and she spent the next two years in Canada working in tourism – and hitting the ski slopes! Sammy returned to Australia to work in event management, but her love of country life brought her to Margaret River (along with a surf mad husband!). Her favourite part of the job is “meeting our hikers and hearing their awesome stories”.
Possibly our most enthusiastic guide and a “frother” for all things ocean and nature-related, Randall was nominated for a Golden Guide Award in 2023. His childhood was spent surfing, fishing, hiking and exploring from Geraldton to Perth and Margaret River. But “Margs” won out thanks to Randall’s love of the coastline, the raw rugged beauty and clean crisp air. He’s previously worked as a snowboarding guide in Canada and in UNESCO-listed Fremantle Prison. “I love taking people on the Cape to Cape to celebrate the environment, share stories and encourage conservation,” Randall says. ” I love the wildlife. And I love being a part of a like-minded team.” He’s also completing a primary teaching Masters and is amped to “become a mentor for all the groms and get the next generation frothing”.
Track Guide & Driver
Col is a third generation local from the Margaret River region, so there’s not much he doesn’t know when it comes to the history of the area. He grew up at the township of Witchcliffe, where his grandfather was part of the historic Group Settlement scheme to populate the area and kickstart the farming industry here. “Foxy” enjoys keeping active and is always on the lookout to learn more about his backyard. He froths on connections, both in nature and with people. He’s an avid reptile fan, catching and relocating snakes for more than 10 years now. When he’s not sharing his intimate knowledge of the Cape to Cape Track as a guide, you’ll find him playing hockey, taking care of the small farm he runs with his wife, or holidaying somewhere in the wilds of Western Australia in their vintage caravan.
Track Guide & Driver
Born and raised in Sydney, Bree spent her youth living a free-spirited lifestyle up and down Australia’s east coast. She trained and worked as a painter and decorator, but her passion was the outdoors, camping in wild places and exploring the coast. Later, Bree and her husband moved west to raise three gorgeous kids, first living in Fremantle and finally building their dream home in Margaret River. Bree’s passion is connecting people to the earth through teaching and sharing yoga, meditation and sound healing. But a hike on the Cape to Cape Track “just blew my mind”, and led her to enlist as guide and driver with Cape to Cape Explorer Tours. “I just love walking on country and connecting people to the land,” says Bree. “It’s so much fun and such a privilege.”
Cath first moved to Margaret River three decades ago as part of an eco-village movement ahead of its time. As a child, her family holidays were camping trips into Western Australia’s wild places, exploring the landscape, hunting for orchids, admiring aboriginal art and spotting fauna. This fostered a love of the natural world, and combined with an insatiable appetite for learning, made Cath a great fit as a guide on the Cape to Cape Tack. When she’s not hiking, you’ll find Cath working on her strawbale house, rowing a single scull on the Margaret River, dancing whenever the opportunity arises, or spending time with her granddaughter. Cath and her hubby also head to Europe annually to cycle thousands of kilometres – just for the fun of it!
Andrew has always loved being in the bush and down the coast – from working on a cattle station and sleeping under the stars in the Kimberley, to diving for abalone and surfing secluded bays on the South Coast. There isn’t a species in nature that doesn’t attract his attention. When it came time for Andrew to put down roots, Margaret River was the obvious choice. He studied psychology and geography at UWA, but now reckons rocks are where the action is. He spent 13 years sharing the incredible geological timeline of the region’s stunning caves in his role as a cave manager. Now, he loves bringing the geological story to life as a Track guide. Plus, he’s got a passion for wildflowers, monitoring our shorebirds, and freediving for the odd crayfish!
Track Guide & Driver
It was full moon in February 2023 when Anu found herself transported out of her bus at 2am and walking the Cape to Cape Track by moonlight at Yallingup. It was at this moment she knew she wanted to work with Cape to Cape Explorer Tours facilitating hikes on Margaret River’s epic coastal hiking trail! Anu is quickly amassing local knowledge and beginning her journey as a guide, assisted by a strong respect for and connection to Country. A touring musician for many years, Anu and her partner Laurie were magnetised by the South-West and have moved to the Witchcliffe Ecovillage near Margaret River, building a small hemp house and edible garden. Anu is usually armed with her ukulele – so don’t hestitate to ask her for a bus singalong or a uke ditty!
Sophie Van Noordenburg
An enthusiast of all things nature, Sophie completed a uni degree in adventure ecotourism specialising in hiking and sea kayaking at Charles Sturt University in 2013. Ever since, she’s been living nomadically in stunning places around Australia and sharing her passion for the outdoors, food and travel. That included ski instructing at Mt Hotham, wilderness resort hosting in Canada and managing an adventure centre on Kangaroo Island. Soph loves helping people connect with place, self and others, while fostering appreciation and respect for the natural world. When she’s not on the Cape to Cape Track, you’ll find Soph somewhere in nature, soaking up a sunset, enjoying a “crafternoon” or out bush in her tiny home on wheels.
Track Guide and Driver
Ian spent most of his career as a health and physical education teacher in the UK and later in Western Australia, where he was a keen visitor to the South-West for camping, body boarding and wine tasting. A thirst for adventure saw him lead international student tours to Tanzania, India and Nepal, and hiking and abseiling camps on the Cape to Cape Track. He’s hiked every step of Margaret River’s 124km trail – twice! Life changed when Ian moved to Margaret River in 2021, and he joined our team as a guide and driver. “I love the company’s ethos and team spirit,” he says. When he’s not on the Track, Ian volunteers for Arts Margaret River and the Margaret River Men’s Shed, and stays busy mountain biking, hiking, ocean swimming and playing guitar.
Murray is better known as “Mr Sunshine” – he has an uncanny knack for dodging the rain on his guide days! After living in the picturesque town of Bridgetown for 25 years, Murray made the sea change down the mighty Blackwood River to Augusta in 2019. He instantly fell in love with the region, and when he’s not on the Cape to Cape Track you can spot him guiding visitors up to the top of Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. Murray has a 30-year background in early childhood education, and he also runs a “bush kindy” program for three-year-old children at a local independent school. “It doesn’t matter what your age, we all benefit when we connect with nature,” says Murray, “It is then that we appreciate that we are not ‘in’ nature, but that we are part of nature.”
Our driver extraordinaire, Lester knows the our local roads like the back of his hand. Born and raised in Margaret River with two children, Lester’s managed a local watering hole, a dairy and the shire’s road construction team. He became a taxi driver in 1990 and owned and managed Margaret River Taxis with six vehicles and more than a dozen drivers. When he sold the business, he signed up with Cape to Cape Explorer Tours. And his extensive knowledge of local people, places, happenings and history is an invaluable addition to the team. When he’s not ferrying hikers along the Cape to Cape Track, Lester is racing cars at the local speedway or volunteering with the local bushfire brigade (in fact, he’s a life member of both!).
Track Guide & Driver
Born and raised in Perth, Paul’s dad instilled in him a love for adventure and the outdoors early on. He tackled two weeks of hiking on the Bibbulmun Track aged just 7 – with many more stages of the 1000km trail completed over the years since then. Paul’s also knocked off the Overland Track in Tasmania, Kokoda in Papua New Guinea, and more recently some epic trekking in Patagonia, among many more adventures. “I still love nothing more than sitting around the campfire and sleeping under the stars,” he says. Paul moved from Perth into a hemp house at the local Witchcliffe Ecovillage in 2022 for a simpler, more rewarding life. And he enjoys working for Cape to Cape Explorer Tours so much he considers it a “paid hobby – not a job”.
Lu is one of our drivers ferrying hikers to and from the start and finish of each day’s walk. And she loves “picking up really interesting and lovely happy people walking this magnificent coastline”. An original “10-pound Pom”, she’s walked, swum, explored and lived out west in WA for almost six decades. Lu is a veteran of the Bibbulmun Track, having been a coordinator and team member of the charity group The Great Walk Network, walking sections of the 1000km trail for decades. “I love community and the richness this brings to our lives. And I love connecting to country and spending time on these sacred lands of ours,” she says. Music, family and her puppies also fuel Lu, who relishes calling Margaret River home.
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