60 years in business (1954 - 2014)

In 2014, we celebrated 60 years in business and family ownership.

Real Journeys was founded in May 1954 by tourism and conservation pioneers Les and Olive Hutchins. Today the company remains largely in Hutchins family ownership with some third generation shareholders now coming through.

"Les Hutchins crafted the beginnings of this now significant business with his bare hands, sheer tenacity and absolute passion for Fiordland. His legacy still shapes how we do things at Real Journeys today and that I believe is why our visitors choose to travel with us,” says Richard Lauder, Real Journeys CEO.

Real Journeys Chief Executive Richard Lauder

The Hutchins’ started out walking people into remote Doubtful Sound under the name: The Manapouri-Doubtful Sound Tourist Company. In the 60’s they expanded their vessel services on Lake Manapouri and purchased the Te Anau Glowworm Caves and the associated services on Lake Te Anau. They saved the iconic steamship TSS Earnslaw from being scuttled by the Government in 1969.  Launched in 1912, the TSS Earnslaw has since celebrated her centenary and still plies the waters of Lake Wakatipu (Queenstown) with passengers.

In 1970 they took on the Government monopoly in Milford Sound and started running cruises, adding on flight connections from Queenstown in 1987. Walter Peak High Country Farm was leased and tourism operations commenced there also in the 90s.

Real Journeys co-founder Olive, Lady Hutchins says her husband Les would be extremely proud of where the company is today.

“Everything we’ve achieved over the last 60 years is due to what our staff do, and especially how they treat our customers – I believe that’s what makes us so special,” says Olive Lady Hutchins.

Interview with Olive, Lady Hutchins (2014):