Meet THE CAPE TO CAPE EXPLORER TOURS TEAM

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 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.”

Hamish Gibson

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.

Floss Hayes

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.

James Hartley

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.

Kristie Bower

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.

Trevor Paddenburg

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

Head Guide

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.

Heather Schofield

Track Guide

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. 

Samatha Macgugan

Executive Support

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”.

Randall Smith

Track Guide

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”.

Colin Fox

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.

Bree Zikmundovsky

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 Wood

Track Guide

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 Green

Track Guide

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!

Anu Grace

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

Track Guide

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.

Ian Dignon

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 Stevenson

Track Guide

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.”

LESTER GEORGE

Driver

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!).

PAUL Wilkinson

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”. 

Lumari McGuinness

Driver

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.

Sophie P
Sophie P
20/12/2023
Incredible experience - just do it Everything about my experience with Cape to Cape Explorers was absolutely incredible. Everyone I met was so friendly, generous with their time and local knowledge and went above and beyond to make sure I had an amazing time. Surfpoint resort is really comfortable (cosy and comfortable tent, clean hot showers, clean and very well equipped kitchen) and has a great atmosphere - it felt like home immediately. The food was plentiful and really delicious. Everyone who gave me a lift was really interesting to chat to and went to a lot of trouble to accommodate you in the collections and drop offs. The track itself is absolutely stunning and far exceeded my expectations. I was originally thinking about doing the hike myself without support but I'm really pleased I went with Cape to Cape Explorers because there are very few shops/cafes/water supplies enroute and it would be hard work hiking on sand with a big pack. If you are on the fence just do it. I finished today and would start again tomorrow if I could!
Martin Mansfield
Martin Mansfield
12/12/2023
A truly outstanding walk with Cape to Cape Explorer Tours The whole experience was amazing. Everything was so well organised and ran so smoothly: the efficient transport, the very comfortable accommodation, the really yummy food, etc, right down to organising a little birthday celebration for me. And the staff were all so friendly and welcoming. The various guides led us superbly each day, with great enthusiasm, knowledge and concern for our wellbeing. And the walk itself is absolutely amazing: so much wildlife, beautiful flora, magical beaches with a range of blue and green colours of the water, and the never-ending stunning views - wow! I could not recommend Cape to Cape Explorer Tours more highly - they were simply outstanding.
Andrew M
Andrew M
05/12/2023
So so good! My wife and I did the 5 day self-guided highlights trek. Put simply, it was awesome! We are still buzzing.
Roy B
Roy B
02/12/2023
Another fantastic tour with CCET Don't book with any other company - these guys are the best! This is my second trip with them and I have done a trip with another company. I met a great bunch of people when I did the Cape to Cape with CCET 2 years ago and the group I met have continued to be walking buddies. We decided to do the Walpole Wilderness Tour and once again, it was superb. Colin and Cath were great guides - so professional, organised and knowledgeable and like all the CCET guides, their knowledge comes from being local and having real love and care for the environment. In these days of poor customer service, Cape to Cape Explorer Tours shine like a beacon for caring about their customers be that food, accommodation, advice or whatever. They are brilliant and I will be using them again.
PhilGordon74
PhilGordon74
29/11/2023
The best company to use to do the Cape to Cape The best way to do the Cape to Cape track. All meals are provided and are healthy and delicious. You walk with a different guide each day who shares knowledge of either fauna, flora, geology, history, etc, with you as you walk. If you are reasonably fit, you will complete the hike successfully. We had 13 in our group, and 6 of us did the whole walk. Go in spring so you can see the incredible wild flowers and watch whales playing off shore. I can not say enough about how stunning the scenery is on the Cape to Cape. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can stay in a tent, room, or ensuite. I had the tent, and it was great. Spacious and comfortable. Shared kitchen in the resort, so pick your times to eat breakfast. Loads of food. You won't go hungry. I really enjoyed my walking week. A highlight of my life so far.
Sue B
Sue B
26/11/2023
Beautiful Cape Hike Really well organised. Stunning scenery every moment of the trail. The beaches were empty and breathtaking. Learnt loads about the geology, flora, fauna, marine life and most importantly that of the indigenous people. And food was plentiful & amazing
Jennie H
Jennie H
22/11/2023
What are you waiting for????‍♀️????????‍♀️???? ???????? Bravo to the whole team @ Cape to Cape Explorers ???????? This was by far my most exhilarating, rewarding, spiritual, therapeutic & enjoyable life experience to date. I was blessed to meet lovely people & left with new friends. The itinerary, accommodation, staff, food, scenery was all beyond my expectations. Don't hesitate at all about doing this stunning, amazing experience, get on & do it, you will not be dissapointed. I left this experience with far more than I could've imagined, it was honestly life changing for me. Thankyou & bless you all, you will see me again for sure????❤️
Emily H
Emily H
18/11/2023
Amazing cape to cape Did the 4 day highlights tour and omg it was amazing. So well organised, beautiful accommodation, easy with transfers to and from the track and the food was so great! Gene was really great too answering all my questions before the trip. Absolutely loved it thanks to the Explorer Tours team
Louise T
Louise T
13/11/2023
Definitely one for the bucket list! Could not fault anything about Cape to Cape Explorer Tours! The team do a fantastic job with food, lifts, accommodation and those little personal touches. The guides were amazing....so passionate, friendly and informative. One of the best experiences.
Jenni E
Jenni E
12/11/2023
Amazing Amazing guides, great food, amazing scenery, just an awesome walk all round. Cape to Cape Explorer tours are amazing.

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Phone: 0459 452 038

Email:  info@capetocapetours.com.au

Office and postal address: 1/24 Auger Way West, Margaret River, Western Australia 6285