Ljana, a native of New Zealand, has been a biology and environmental education teacher for many years. She spent some time as the Head of Science at a South Island high school, leading student groups on educational programs within New Zealand’s natural environment. Her academic training is in zoology, geography and teaching. Since moving to Kaikoura, Ljana has worked in eco-tourism as a whale watching guide, though she continues to teach in the school system there as well. With a genuine passion for New Zealand's flora and fauna, a broad knowledge of New Zealand's natural environment, and an intense desire to share this with others, Ljana is an asset to the Natural Habitat team.
Praise from Natural Habitat travelers:
"Ljana went out of her way to show us the interesting details of New Zealand. She did an extraordinary job of balancing the interests/needs of 4 very different travelers. She was very knowledgeable about the culture, environment, flora and fauna. She tied in anecdotes about her own life growing up and living in NZ to help us understand the culture more fully. She was especially great at helping us find very special bird sightings and photographic opportunities."
"Ljana was superb, with a small but difficult group. She was well informed and fun to be around, and it was very positive that she participated even in those activities in which there was another guide -- whale watching and albatross watching, for example. I think she did a really superior job with a small but nonetheless diverse group."
“Ljana's knowledge of the territory and her command of the natural history of South Island contributed measurably to the quality of our trip.”
"Ljana is a wonderful guide and it was a pleasure to travel with her. She was very organized and made each hotel stop so easy for us. Our keys were ready for us and we were in our rooms in no time upon arrival. She and Melanie were great drivers, especially on the winding roads through the countryside. Ljana provided a lot of information about each area that we visited, and I felt fully informed about New Zealand, its natural environment and its environmental issues. On a free morning in Lake Wanaka area, Ljana took me and another traveler to the local bird sanctuary. She had told us that the birds were behind fences but it was an opportunity to see some rarely viewed NZ birds that we would not otherwise see. While we were watching the Takahe bird through the heavy fence, the feeder came by and entered the enclosure. Ljana talked to the woman, and next thing the three of us were on the inside of the enclosure, getting pictures of this bird of which there are only about 250 worldwide. Amazing!"
"What a wonderful leader! Ljana is not only well versed as a naaturalist but is also a "people person" and especially attentive to single travelers making them immediately feel one of the group. Being a local she not only knows many of the New Zealanders personally but also anecdotes about the people and areas we visited that does not come in tour books. A good choice for out leader."