About us

Zac Zaharias
Head Guide / Zac Zaharias, CSM

Zac is the head guide at Peak Learning Adventures and has been climbing, walking and skiing for over 40 years. His great passion is mountaineering, with 19 expeditions to the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges covering Nepal, Tibet, Pakistan and India along with 11 seasons in New Zealand. Zac is one of Australia’s most experienced high altitude mountaineers with ascents of 6 of the 14 world’s highest mountains above 8000 metres in elevation. He has been on three Expeditions to Mt Everest and reached its summit in 2010. Zac was the last person to carry an SLR film camera to the summit, a record that remains unbroken!

Zac has outstanding outdoor leadership credentials. He has run adventurous training programs in the Army, led many Himalayan expeditions, worked as an outdoor guide for a number of companies and consults for the Outdoor Recreation industry. He has also led numerous treks and climbs in Bhutan, Nepal, Africa, New Zealand, Tibet, India and Pakistan. Zac is also an avid cross-county skier, Level 4 instructor and competes regularly at the World Masters Cross Country Ski Championships.

Zac was a career soldier for 31 years and is currently serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves, having recently commanded an Engineer Regiment of 350 soldiers. Along with his love of military history Zac brings his wealth of military experience to the PNG battlefield treks and tours, which he has been guiding for 11 years.

  • Just wanted to thank you for a great trek - even in my condition I still got a lot from the walk. I was coming good by Isurava and ate like a horse through the northern beaches so put on a few kilos before arriving back home. Will never forget the dawn service at Isurava - most moving I've ever been to, Gallipoli included.

    – Norman Fraser
  • My 2014 trip to Mera Peak with Peak Learning was life changing  – without comparison, it was the perfect way to revive, reset and recharge the batteries.  As a first time mountain climber I was naturally anxious about the adventure, but at all times in the lead up to, and during the climb I felt safe and secure in the organized and experienced care of Zac and Geoff our guides.

    – Alexandra Drury
  • What an unforgettable experience! To walk such a scenic and historical track is both an honour and a humbling challenge. Zac's knowledge of the track and detailed recount of its proud military history is second to none. There is no better way to do the track than with Zac and his team of jovial local porters teaching you about local customs, food and the language to keep you entertained along the way. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I would highly recommend to most ages and fitness abilities.

    – Lyndsay Freeman
  • I wanted to say a big thanks again. We all made it safely home. It's all sinking in and I wanted to thank you for all your efforts leading up to and during the Kokoda trek to ensure we had a memorable trip. We enjoyed the swims, the narrative and the coffee. Not necessarily in that order!

    – Anne Jaumees
  • Thank you once again Zac for a fabulous trek and you calm and comprehensive guidance.  I thoroughly enjoyed every day of our trip to the wild side.

    – Veronica Ritchie
  • Andrew Lock
    Senior Guide / Andrew Lock, OAM

    High altitude mountaineer and global adventurer, Andrew is the only person in the British Commonwealth to have climbed all 14 of the world's 8000 metre 'death zone' mountains, a project that took 23 expeditions over 16 years.  He made the first Australian ascents of 6 of those peaks and summited Mt Everest twice.  He has worked as leader and guide for climbing, trekking and adventure groups around the world since 1990, as well as for the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions, and has trekked, climbed, paddled, sailed, skied and adventured on every continent on earth. Andrew is Ambassador for Scouts Australia, the Sir David Martin Foundation and the Australian Himalayan Foundation.  He is the author of SUMMIT 8000 and featured in the Discovery documentary series Ultimate Survival: Everest.

  • Geoff Robb
    Senior Guide / Geoff Robb, OAM

    Geoff Robb is an accomplished high altitude mountaineer who has been on seven 8000m peak expeditions. He has reached the summit of four of the world’s highest peaks over 8000 metres including Mt Everest, Manaslu, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma Central. He was the first Australian to climb the Seven Summits. He has guided in PNG, Nepal and South Georgia. He is a retired banker and sits on the Board of Bank of South Pacific Ltd, based in PNG.

  • Mark Walton
    Guide / Mark Walton

    Markham St Clair Walton, aka "JB" born in NSW spent the 60s to early 70s in an 1805 homestead in the then quite rural south west Sydney town of Campbelltown. A journey into the Royal Military College, Duntroon commenced in 1974, (and gave him the "JB" nickname from the ghastly TV show “the Waltons”), graduating to the Royal Australian Artillery. His connection with Defence continues to this day with over 40 years distinguished service in the Army, currently with the rank of Major. JB is a specialist PNG Guide and is renowned for his energy and humour with clients and the local PNG staff.

    JB also gained a passion for surfboats and still competes currently rowing with the North Bondi club. He recently returned from a 100km surfboat race around the Dardenelles in support of events surrounding the 100th anniversary of ANZAC. As well as a keen interest in all things adventurous particularly those involving ropes and rock, and tracks and packs!

    Living in the Blue Mountains makes sense for the adventure parts of JB's life while boats and forays to the coastal beaches provide a short holiday-like break from mountain life.

  • Dr Annemarie Newth
    Expedition Doctor / Dr Annemarie Newth

    Annemarie is an experienced medical practitioner specialising in Emergency Medicine and Hyperbaric Medicine with extensive experience in critical care. Born in San Francisco to New Zealand parents she has been diving since the age of 15 and worked as a dive master since the age of 18. She also spent six years as a medic in the New Zealand Army Reserves.

    She recently joined Peak Learning as a guide and expedition doctor and has led treks to Kokoda and Mt Kilimanjaro. Her wealth of experience working in remote areas makes her an asset on every expedition. Her nickname is “Am” and is a great raconteur when the going gets tough. When she isn’t diving, treating patients or guiding, Annemarie is an avid hiker and triathlete, having competed in Australia and NZ.

  • Nikki George
    Guide / Nikki George

    I was born and brought up in Zimbabwe. My family moved to Australia when I was 12 years old. From a young age, I was exposed to the diversity and richness of different cultural groups. This instilled my passion for wanting to understand, share and connect with other communities.

    I have 32 years experience in the tourism industry, 20 years as a dive instructor and 14 years as a trek leader in PNG. I have completing 67 Kokoda treks in 13 years, 11 Black Cat, Mt Wilhelm, Mt Albert Edward and Shaggy Ridge. Additionally, I have led treks to Sandakan in Borneo, the historic death march of Australian and British POWs during WWII.

    As a trek guide I have been privileged to experience and engage with different cultures in magnificent natural environments. I have witnessed children growing up along the tracks, befriended and established strong working relationships with the communities.

    Kokoda draws you in – but it’s the raw beauty of the country and the genuine welcome of the people that make you want to come back for more

    When you trek with me you are with a veteran guide of the Kokoda Track, someone who has thoroughly researched this extraordinary campaign and you will discover things that you won’t read in books.. You are also with someone who is passionate about the people and cultures you’ll meet as you take part in this life changing, mental, emotional and spiritual journey.

    I have built the most wonderful friendships with the local villagers  Over the years I’ve talked to local elders who were there during WWII, war historians and senior military personnel who have walked the track with me.

    I’ve trekked in all weather conditions on Kokoda so I’ve experienced just about everything that this famous Track can throw at you. I know how to manage the risks and am fully qualified in Wilderness remote first aid.

    What inspires me about the historic Kokoda track, is the human sacrifice and the endurance of the men that fought, fell or survived for their country. For me, I feel passionately about bringing all these experiences to fellow trekkers.

    Every person I come across has a hero within him or her, even in this modern world we live today.

  • Bob Killip
    Guide / Bob Killip

    Put Bob in the bush, mountains or any natural environment and his heart sings. He enjoys sharing his love of wild places with family, friends and clients.

    Bob has been leading and sharing his knowledge of wild places for 40 years, the last 28 of these, working with corporate groups as Managing Director of Outdoor Insights.

    He is a keen rock and alpine climber, a passionate skier of telemark and backcountry, and has been a keen bush walker since he was 10. He has also four-wheel driven extensively in remote Australia falling in love with the desert and the Kimberley. Bob also enjoys fishing, caving and canyoning

    Bob has lead treks in Nepal, Kokoda PNG, NZ and Australia. He has climbed or walked extensively in NZ, Patagonia, USA, Canada, Tibet, Nepal and Europe. He cycled across the USA with his wife in 1979.

    A sailing trip to Antarctica with a group of mates certainly satisfied his sailing aspirations.

    He enjoys mountaineering expeditions with trips to Patagonia, Denali in Alaska, Mt Logan and the Bugaboos in Canada. He has 5 Himalayan expeditions to 8000 metre peaks under his belt including reaching the summit of Everest in 2006.

    Bob lives in the Snowy Mountains with his wife on 800 acres of farmland with a thousand kangaroos, a few sheep and Alpacas.

  • Dan Coletti
    Guide / Dan Coletti

    Dan with over 10 years in the game and qualifications in a multitude of different adventure disciplines including Rock Climbing, Sea Kayaking, Ropes Courses, Mtn Biking and Bushwalking has found himself working in a variety of situations both at home in Australia and abroad. Dan has spent 3 years guiding and providing logistic support in PNG and has owned and worked in a successful Outdoor Adventure business for over 5 years. Dan with a teaching/training and assessing background has worked with all group types ranging from school students to corporate and business clientele. Outside of work you might see Dan competing in the odd Adventure Race or Ultra-marathon or completing a ski tour or mountaineering mission somewhere in the great outdoors where he loves spending his time.

  • Reg Yates
    PNG Historian / Reg Yates

    Reg Yates brings a wealth of experience trekking in PNG since 1984 as well as outstanding knowledge of military history. He first walked with small groups of ADF soldiers from 1984 to 1989 on 'adventurous training' exercises including: the Kokoda Trail; the Bulldog-Wau Road; the Wau-Salamaua WW II tracks; walked from Kompiam, WHP to Eram on the Yuat River and boated to Tambanum village; crossed the Saruwaged Range of Peter Ryan's "Fear Drive My Feet"; and rafted down the Watut River.

    Reg worked for 36 years as a Qualified Ambulance Paramedic (QAP) with Ambulance Service Victoria, Melbourne, retiring in 2009. Reg enlisted in the CMF in 1971 and was an Army Reserve Infantry Captain for 20 years from 1980 to 2001.

    Reg continued visiting PNG on ADF 'study tours' during 1990 - 1998, travelling 'solo' but always accompanied by local guides or carriers: Shaggy Ridge; the Hindenburg Wall section of Karius and Champion's 1928 crossing of the headwaters of the Fly and Sepik Rivers; Finschafen, Scarlet Beach and Sattelburg; paddled a dugout canoe on the Sepik River from Frieda River junction to Ambunti; boated through the Gulf of Papua delta from Hohola to Kikori; and at various times visited Daru Island in Torres Strait, Mendi and Tari, Mt Bosavi, Lake Kutubu, Mt Wilhelm, Kiunga, Lake Murray,  Wewak and Mission Hill, Rabaul and Tol Plantation, Kavieng, Manus and Baluan Islands, and Milne Bay.

    Reg has walked the Kokoda Trail 51 times; Shaggy Ridge 8 times; Wau-Salamaua 6 times; the Bulldog-Wau Army Road 3 times; Rabaul-Tol Plantation 5 times.