Key Milestones

1954 Les and Olive Hutchins purchased the Manapouri-Doubtful Sound Tourist Company taking tourists into remote Doubtful Sound

1963 The company expanded to supply transport for workers to the new Manapouri Hydro Electric Power Project

1966 The company acquired Fiordland Travel, which operated the Te Anau Glowworm Cave excursion and Lake Te Anau launch transfers – the company was then known as Fiordland Travel Ltd

1969 Fiordland Travel Ltd acquired the TSS Earnslaw steamship operation on Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

1970 Fiordland Travel began operating Milford Sound cruises on board the MV Friendship

1978 Bryan Hutchins appointed General Manager of Fiordland Travel Ltd

1984 Queenstown/Milford Sound coach connections introduced

1987 Queenstown/ Milford Sound aircraft connections introduced

1988 Les Hutchins is awarded an OBE for his services to tourism

1991 Secured the lease of Walter Peak High Country Farm

1991 Winner of the NZ Tourism Supreme Award

1992 The Milford Wanderer (built in Southland) launched on Milford Sound, introducing a new overnight cruise option for visitors

1993 Joint venture with Mount Cook Group established flightseeing operations

1993 The Commander Peak catamaran launched at Doubtful Sound, enabling visitors to cruise out to the Tasman Sea

1994 The Milford Monarch (built in Southland) launched on Milford Sound, doubling scenic cruise capacity

1996 Joint-venture partnership with Vance and Carol Boyd, established Queenstown Rafting 

1996 Winner of the New Zealand Tourism Supreme Award

1998 Joint-venture partnership with Trips’ n’ Tramps established the Milford Track Day Walk

2000 The Milford Mariner (built in Southland) launched on Milford Sound – offering daytime and overnight cruise options

2001 The Fiordland Navigator (built in Southland) launched on Doubtful Sound – offering a new overnight cruise option

2002 Fiordland Travel Ltd rebranded tourism operations - Real Journeys 

2002 Les Hutchins named a Distinguished Companion of the NZ Order of Merit (a modern-day knighthood) in Queen’s Birthday Honours List in recognition of his services to conservation and tourism

2003 Milford Sound Flightseeing reverts to 100% ownership by Fiordland Travel Ltd, operating under the Real Journeys brand

2003 The Milford Sovereign launched on Milford Sound, extending scenic cruise capacity and offering a new level of customer service

2004 Stewart Island Experience established

2005 The Patea Explorer, built in Australia, launched in Doubtful Sound, replacing the Commander Peak 

2006 Upgrade of the Te Anau Glowworm Caves and launch of the Luminosa 

2006 Real Journeys wins ITOC Award

2006 Real Journeys wins Environment Southland's annual Environment Award

2007 Real Journeys wins the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand’s 2007 “Conservation in Action Award” and the “Qualmark Mark of Quality Award”

2007 Real Journeys purchased 50% of Trips ‘n’ Tramps

2008 Real Journeys purchased Stewart Island Lodge and 50% ownership of top sea kayaking operator Fiordland Wilderness Experiences

2008 One of New Zealand’s first companies to be awarded Qualmark's Enviro-Silver accreditation 

2008 Winner Tourism Industry Association "New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Award" and finalist for the "Conservation in Action Award"

2008 Winner Civil Aviation Authority's top safety award

2008 Winner ITOC "operator of the year" award

2009 Launches new $2.5 million tourism vessel - MV Sinbad - in Milford Sound to increase capacity

2009 Joint Venture with Totally Tourism Ltd formed Milford Sound Flights Ltd

2010 Lisa McIlroy becomes the TSS Earnslaw’s first female skipper

2010 Launched Doubtful Sound Small Boat Cruises aboard Breaksea Girl

2010 100th anniversary of MV Pilgrim, one of the first vessels operated by Real Journeys founders Les and Olive Hutchins on Lake Manapouri

2010 Walter Peak Independent and Guided Cycling excursions launched in conjunction with partners Around the Mountain Cycle Tours Ltd

2011 $46,172.55 presented to NZ Red Cross to support Christchurch Earthquake victims.  The money was raised by 800 Otago and Southland people buying tickets for fundraising excursions

2011 Les Hutchins inducted posthumously into NZ Business Hall of Fame

2012 MV Titiroa launched as part of a $10m upgrade to operations at Doubtful Sound

2012 Real Journeys takes over 100% ownership of Fiordland Wilderness Experiences sea kayaking operation and sells its 50% share in Trips ‘n’ Tramps

2012 Real Journeys appoints Richard Lauder as new CEO

2012 Real Journeys celebrates a 100 years of operation of the TSS Earnslaw vintage steamship on Lake Wakatipu

2013 Real Journeys named Operator of the Year by Tourism Export Council

2013 Real Journeys announces significant upgrade of Walter Peak dining and facilities

2013 Real Journeys purchases Cardrona Alpine Resort

2013 Real Journeys purchases land and facilities at Walter Peak

2014 Real Journeys celebrates 60 years in business

2014 TSS Earnslaw is the first of Real Journeys' fleet to move to the new Maritime Operator & Vessel Safety System (MOSS)

2015 Real Journeys embarks on large scale restoration of its land at Walter Peak to ensure visitors continue to have an authentically New Zealand experience

2015 Real Journeys purchases Christchurch’s International Antarctic Centre and adds it to its portfolio of successful tourism businesses

2016 Real Journeys takes ownership of Queenstown Rafting Ltd and associated coach services company Kiwi Discovery

2017 Real Journeys announces a $20 million dollar further investment into its iconic TSS Earnslaw & Walter Peak High Country Farm tourism attractions. 

2018 Real Journeys announces: A partnership between Cardrona Alpine Resort and Queenstown businessman John Darby which will lead to the development of New Zealand’s largest alpine resort, incorporating Cardrona and a new Soho Basin Ski Area.

2018 Real Journeys announces the establishment of a new corporate identity called 'Wayfare' to represent its tourism companies in the international market.

2019 Real Journeys Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise wins the inaugural Qualmark '100% Pure New Zealand Experience Award'.  Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ Lunch was a finalist.

2019 Real Journeys marks 65 years since the founders Les and Olive Hutchins purchased the Manapouri-Doubtful Sound Tourist Company to take tourists into remote Doubtful Sound. (The company later became Fiordland Travel in 1966 and then rebranded as Real Journeys in 2002).

2021 Real Journeys realigns as RealNZ, with the vision to become a conservation business, enabled by tourism.