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About Us

Backcountry New Zealand


Myriam and Nigel have been in the tourism guiding industry for their whole adult lives since the late 1980s. In luxury lodges and resorts they have both held senior roles as well as heading up guiding and instructor teams. Their own outfitting guiding service, Backcountry New Zealand, has catered for hundreds of guests since 1998, both hunting and fly fishing. They are members of key associations such as the New Zealand Professional Hunting Guides Association (NZPHGA), New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides Association (NZPFGA), Safari Club International (SCI), Tourism Industry Aotearoa, Tourism New Zealand, and have also served as executive board members on some. They have been seen in many global TV productions including USA Today, Roughin it Outdoors, Discovery Channel, Christensen Outdoors, Fishing the West, ET Outdoors, The Great Outdoors, and Planet Fly Fishing to name a few. They enjoy providing New Zealand hunting trips and fly fishing experiences for individuals, couples, and small groups travelling together. Focusing on couples and our one hunt at a time policy. As opposed to the model of you being one of a number of differing guests within a larger outfitter model, staying at larger lodges and service that is not so personalized. Their approach to your care, their team of guides and fantastic private properties all meet a high standard, which Nigel and Myriam then match to your needs. They take great pride in seeing off guests travelling home that are very happy and have become new friends.


NigeL & myriam Birt

Nigel and Myriam Birt have owned and operated their family business ‘Backcountry New Zealand’ since 1998, complemented with their romantic accommodations ‘Red Cottages Staveley’. Based on one of their rural properties at the base of the Southern Alps in the South Island, this friendly couple have lived and breathed guiding and hosting since their younger years.


“We want you to experience not only great activities during your stay but to be united with the New Zealand way of life and friendly families.  This is an important part of our enjoyment in hosting our clients who often become close friends,” says Myriam. “Its important to us that we focus solely on one party or couple at a time, rather than a model that is larger with many different clients in any given week,” says Nigel. 


Myriam Birt


Myriam guides hunting, assists in logistics around the hunting & fishing operations and adds all those special touches to your stay in New Zealand.  Myriam operates many aspects of both business and adds an exceptional touch of class and detail, important to the total experience for many. She very much enjoys hosting visitors during their stay.  As an experienced and certified Swiss ski instructor, Myriam is also able to host non-hunting companions skiing or heli-skiing for those that wish to hunt during our winter months of June-August.


nigel Birt


Nigel is an internationally recognized fly fishing guide for over thirty years and PH hunting guide for the past 20. He has worked with many luxury outdoor lodges in the South Island since 1987. His love of hunting and fishing in the South Island of New Zealand shows through in his desire to provide clients with an experience of a lifetime.

Complimenting his outdoor skills, Nigel also holds a Batchelor degree in Tourism, Recreation and National Park management. He has high training in Avalanche management and wilderness first aid from previous roles managing ski areas and heliskiing operations.


MIA, annina, Ruben Birt


Mia, Annina and Ruben are passionate outdoor adventurers and enjoy interacting with guests that visit New Zealand for a hunting or fly-fishing trip. Their enthusiasm to hear about how your day was in the mountains is catching. They are always a great assistance behind the scenes of any trip, keeping all the logistics in great running order.

The great team


When catering for larger groups over the years, Nigel & Myriam have a proven team of support guides and staff that assist in trips' requiring more guides. Get to know a bit more about them here.


Paul McLauchlan


Paul has a long-standing history fishing and guiding the backcountry rivers and mountains of New Zealand. It is his extensive knowledge of these areas and as importantly a great long-standing relationship with station/ranch/run-holders that ensures a professional, enjoyable and rewarding experience is had by those that spend time with Paul. He is a specialist sight fishing and hunting guide who caters to beginners through to advance, he is very approachable and has the patience of a saint.


Donald Greig


Donald is one of the most experienced deer and alpine species hunters in New Zealand and is a quiet New Zealand legend in his own right. Respectably involved in New Zealand’s pioneering days of helicopter wild deer culling and live recovery, Donald has lived and breathed wild animals ever since. Having successfully guided thousands of clients onto ‘animals of a lifetime’, he is well respected globally as a top New Zealand hunting guide. Donald is a key adviser in the game animal management on our own hunting property, allowing fantastic trophy development each season. We are pleased to have Donald representing the Backcountry New Zealand hunting guides team.

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Neil Goldie


Neil is a professional fishing guide who has assisted Backcountry New Zealand for 20 years to date. Neil has extensive knowledge of the fishing hot spots around the South Island of New Zealand with over 35 years experience. Neil offers an excellent standard of guiding that will match your ability and expectations to maximise your opportunities to catch fish and have fun. All levels of anglers are well catered for, from the ardent enthusiast to the novice and junior fishing anglers.


John Leath


John has the outdoors in his blood. He is an accomplished mountaineer, a competitive kayaker and a keen hunter. The mountains are his passion. John is always up for a challenge, he is in great shape and not scared of hard work.  When you're around John you just know that you are in good hands and feel comfortable and confident to give him the reins.  But when the day is over and you are back at the cottages John is casual, relaxed and laughs easily.  A true professional and a perfect gentleman.

featured on USA Today, Nigel and Myriam Birt appear on the morning show.


Backcountry New Zealand


Nigel & Myriam Birt

4323 Arundel Rakaia Gorge Road,

Staveley, 7771, New Zealand​

Tel: +64 3 3030970



Backcountry New Zealand is situated in a quant rural settlement of Staveley, close to the resort town of Methven / Mt Hutt Village . Located in the central South Island of New Zealand and 1.5 hrs drive from the city of Christchurch and the Christchurch International Airport. Although we are based in the Canterbury Region, our operation spans most of the South Island.

It just doesn't get any more personalized than this!

Start planning your experience with Backcountry

New Zealand.

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