Our Story

Ridgeline has been connecting people with Wanaka’s raw natural beauty since 2008  

Established in 2008 by Mark Orbell, Ridgeline has grown to become Wanaka’s premium operator of high country walks, 4WD safaris, and photography tours. Mark continues to own and operate the company alongside a small team of expert local kiwi storytellers.

Ridgeline experiences are unique, operating exclusively on private back roads of historic high country stations – West Wanaka Station (station is another name for a large alpine farm) and Dingleburn Station (Lake Hawea). Offering some of the finest scenery in New Zealand, fascinating history both human and natural allows the opportunity to learn about authentic farming life, local history and our conservation efforts to protect this place. 

Conservation plays a huge part of each and every experience. Ridgeline supports many conservation initiatives both on West Wanaka Station and in the Wanaka area. We maintain more than 30 predator traps on West Wanaka Station to aid in the recovery of local native birdlife. All Ridgeline guests partake in this process by assisting our guides with the checking, maintaining and resetting of these traps. We also have a native planting project in association with the local council and community native plant nursery, Te Kakano. For each passenger Ridgeline  takes we put a percentage of trip price back into purchasing native plants from the nursery to plant at our project site on the shore of Lake Wanaka. Another great way for our customers to give back to our Wanaka community.

Carbon Emissions 

We appreciate that in the course of operating our experiences we create a carbon footprint. We have estimated our carbon footprint at 30.5 tC02 based on our 2019-2020 year.  Our use of diesel vehicles contributes over 90% of this.  With fuel use as a primary emissions source, a number of different methods could be used to aim to reduce consumption. From looking at fuel consumption rates of different vehicles, identifying the worst performing vehicles to operational change such as reducing the number of trips

Operating vehicles with more efficient fuel consumption is of course an ideal improvement but can require significant capital investment.  Technology is not quite there at present  to operate fully electric  4WD vehicles but we will move in this direction once it is.  

Awards and Cerifications
Ridgeline has been awarded Qualmark Gold status.
Qualmark is New Zealand tourism’s official quality assurance organisation, providing a trusted guide to quality travel experiences in New Zealand.
A Gold Award recognises the best sustainable tourism businesses in New Zealand, with the delivery of exceptional customer experiences an integral part of everything they do.  A Gold Sustainable Tourism Award identifies those businesses leading the way in making the New Zealand tourism industry a world class sustainable visitor destination. 
Ridgeline has  received a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence every year since 2011 (if you don’t count 2020 and New Zealand’s closed border)


We are 100% focused on our community and sharing the love here at Ridgeline Adventures. It is something that underpins what we do.

We volunteer our vehicles and drivers for the annual Xmas Food bank drive here in Wanaka. Leading up to Xmas we join forces with Wanaka Police, fire brigade and locals to drive the streets of Wanaka on a pre organised evening collecting groceries people have left by their letter boxes. All food is collected and donated to Wanaka’s local food bank.

During lock-down in 2020 we volunteered our vehicles and staff to help deliver groceries to Wanaka’s most vulnerable members of the community. We had no work so we turned grocery deliverers……..Check out our video.

About Us

We are very lucky to have an exceptional pool of guides, all with a passion for Wanaka’s incredible environment, giving back and sharing their wealth of local knowledge. Check out their handsome faces below!