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Broad-Based Experience

MEET OUR TEAM

Our broad-based adventure experience is something that we are very proud of. Over the years, our senior guiding team has developed their own deep understanding of what makes a great client adventure experience through their connection and immense respect for the great outdoors. The experience and knowledge obtained through their own adventure pursuits is now pass on to others through the development of boutique adventures experiences for Peak Potential Adventures.

Shane Pophfer standing at base camp on Denali in Alaska
Shane Pophfer leading a team through The Six Foot Track in the Blue Mountains
Shane Pophfer celebating after leading a team to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro

Shane Pophfer

Shane is the Managing Director and the founder of Peak Potential Adventures. He has successfully climbed some of the highest mountains in the world on his own personal adventure pursuits, as well a lead many clients on adventures across the globe like Mt Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp, Overland Track, Six Foot Track, Kokoda Track. This extensive first-hand experience has allowed him to develop a wealth of knowledge and experience in managing and leading all levels of adventures. He is passionate about client safety and ensuring that they have a fantastic and memorable adventure experience.

Shane (also known as “Poff”) grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia. He had an adventurous childhood; swimming in creeks and rivers, climbing trees and bridges, roller-skating, riding his BMX or anything on wheels. One may ask, where does he get this zest for life? He says, “When it’s time to leave this earth, I want to be all used up and wrung out like an old sponge, with nothing left to give”. His enthusiasm for getting the most out life is infectious!

At the age of eighteen, Shane enlisted in the Army in 1986 and joined the 3rd Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), Australia’s elite airborne infantry battalion. As a young paratrooper, there was adventure and excitement, but with the role came a deeper understanding of courage, discipline camaraderie, loyalty, physical and mental endurance. These skills and core values would guide Shane as he negotiated the future challenges in his own life and on his own adventure pursuits.

After his military service, he moved around with his family, making the seaside town of Port Macquarie on the east coast of Australia his family home. This is where he found the love of the ocean and would regularly spearfish surf, and ocean kayak. The surrounding area also gave way to mountain biking, road cycling and paragliding.

Shane now lives on the Central Coast north of Sydney and even though he’s now a grandfather, he still lives by the mantra of ‘Adventure is a Way of Life’ as he quietly pursues completing the ‘7 Summits’ which covers climbing the highest point on the seven continents.

Shane has a heartfelt and emotional spot for the Kokoda Track because two of his great uncles fought on the track during the 1942 campaign with one being killed in Buna in fierce fighting on the 18 December 1942 with the 2/9 Infantry Battalion as a field medic.

Qualifications and Experience 

Certificate III in Fitness

First Aid Certificates (HLTAID007, HLTAID002 and HLTAID003)

Army Based Training

Strategic Planning and Logistics

Outdoor Navigation

Wilderness Survival

Teamwork Building

Disaster Response and Coordination

BattleField and Wilderness First Aid

Some Past Personal Adventures
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Aconcagua - Argentina, South America

Part of the Andes mountain range, Aconcagua is the second highest of the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on each continent), behind only Mount Everest in Asia. At 22,837 feet (6,961 meters), not only is it the highest mountain in South America, it is the tallest peak in all of the Americas, as well as the Southern and Western Hemispheres.

Denali - Alaska, North America

Denali, once called Mount McKinley, is the tallest mountain in North America. Located in south-central Alaska, the mountain's peak is 20,310 feet (6,190 meters) above sea level, also making it the third highest of the Seven Summits - the highest mountains on each of the seven continents - following Mount Everest in Nepal and Aconcagua in Argentina. By one measure, it could be considered the third tallest mountain in the world.

Mt Elbrus - Russia, Europe

Mount Elbrus is the highest mountain in Europe, and the tenth most prominent peak in the world. A dormant volcano, Elbrus is in the Caucasus Mountains in Southern Russia, near the border with Georgia. Elbrus has two summits, both of which are dormant volcanic domes

Mt Kilimanjaro - Tanzania, Africa (Umbwe Route 3 days)

Mount Kilimanjaro or just Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones, "Kibo", "Mawenzi", and "Shira", is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa, about 4,900 metres from its base, and 5,895 metres above sea level.

Approaching from the south of Kilimanjaro, the Umbwe route is a short, steep and direct climb to the summit. After reaching Barranco Camp, the trail turns east and traverses underneath Kilimanjaro's Southern Ice Field on a path known as the Southern Circuit before summiting from Barafu. Descent is made via the Mweka route.

Kokoda Track - Papua New Guinea

The Kokoda Track or Trail is a single-file foot thoroughfare that runs 96 kilometres (60 mi) overland - 60 kilometres (37 mi) in a straight line - through the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea. The track was the location of the 1942 World War II battle between Japanese and Allied - primarily Australian - forces in what was then the Australian territory of Papua.

Darren Wise standing on a mountain summit in the Fox Glacier in New Zealand

Darren Wise leading a team to the summit on Mt Kilimanjaro
Darren Wise giving a big thumbs up after summiting Mt Aconcagua in Argentina

Darren Wise

Darren has always had a passion for adventure from a young age. At just five years old, he was seen jumping off a ten-metre diving board! What developed at a young age was a “leap of faith” attitude that saw him seek out an adventurous career path. Darren has successfully summited some of the highest mountains in the world on his personal adventure pursuits, but his real passion is sharing his adventure knowledge and facilitating adventure experiences for others. Darren is a qualified personal trainer specialising in outdoor and adventure training and preparation.

Originally from Tasmania, Darren enlisted in the Australian Army in 1986. After his initial basic soldier training, his was posted to the 3rd Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), Australia’s elite airborne infantry battalion. After serving nearly seven years, he discharged from the Army. Darren has a deep passion for great outdoors, eco-tourism and pursuing new adventures.

For Darren, the greatest reward is watching others get the most from their adventure experiences by just being outside their comfort zones or experiencing new things. Apart from being an adventure guide, Darren is also a qualified fitness instructor and has assisted many people in train for their adventure goals and pursuits at the highest level. Darren is also a qualified IRATA Rope Access Technician.

Darren is passionate about leading people into some of the most beautiful and unspoilt adventure destinations in the world and is excited about leading some of the Tasmanian treks as he considers Tasmania is one of the most iconic trekking destinations in the world. Also, Darren’s Tasmanian heritage that dates back to the early settlement of Franz Ludwig von Bibra in 1823 means it’s a place very close to his heart.

Darren now resides in Sydney and also still lives by the mantra, ‘Adventure is a Way of Life’ as he also quietly pursues his quest to complete the ‘7 Summits’ with Shane.

Qualifications and Experience 

Certificate III in Fitness (TAFE NSW)

Certificate IV in Fitness (TAFE NSW)

Certificate IV in Life Coaching (Life Coaching Institute of Australia)

First Aid Certificates (HLTAID007, HLTAID002 and HLTAID003)

Army Based Training

Strategic Planning and Logistics

Outdoor Navigation

Wilderness Survival

Teamwork Building

Disaster Response and Coordination

BattleField and Wilderness First Aid

Some Past Personal Adventures 

Expand all Collapse all
Aconcagua - Argentina, South America

Part of the Andes mountain range, Aconcagua is the second highest of the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on each continent), behind only Mount Everest in Asia. At 22,837 feet (6,961 meters), not only is it the highest mountain in South America, it is the tallest peak in all of the Americas, as well as the Southern and Western Hemispheres.

Denali - Alaska, North America

Denali, once called Mount McKinley, is the tallest mountain in North America. Located in south-central Alaska, the mountain's peak is 20,310 feet (6,190 meters) above sea level, also making it the third highest of the Seven Summits - the highest mountains on each of the seven continents - following Mount Everest in Nepal and Aconcagua in Argentina. By one measure, it could be considered the third tallest mountain in the world.

Mt Elbrus - Russia, Europe

Mount Elbrus is the highest mountain in Europe, and the tenth most prominent peak in the world. A dormant volcano, Elbrus is in the Caucasus Mountains in Southern Russia, near the border with Georgia. Elbrus has two summits, both of which are dormant volcanic domes

Mt Kilimanjaro - Tanzania, Africa (Umbwe Route 3 days)

Mount Kilimanjaro or just Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones, "Kibo", "Mawenzi", and "Shira", is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa, about 4,900 metres from its base, and 5,895 metres above sea level.

Approaching from the south of Kilimanjaro, the Umbwe route is a short, steep and direct climb to the summit. After reaching Barranco Camp, the trail turns east and traverses underneath Kilimanjaro's Southern Ice Field on a path known as the Southern Circuit before summiting from Barafu. Descent is made via the Mweka route.

Kokoda Track - Papua New Guinea

The Kokoda Track or Trail is a single-file foot thoroughfare that runs 96 kilometres (60 mi) overland - 60 kilometres (37 mi) in a straight line - through the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea. The track was the location of the 1942 World War II battle between Japanese and Allied - primarily Australian - forces in what was then the Australian territory of Papua.

Nikki George standing at Owers Corner on the Kokoda Track

Nikki George

You probably won’t find a more passionate Kokoda Track professional guide than Nikki. Having crossed the track just on 70 times over 15 years and having explored extensively across broader Papua New Guinea, she is a wealth of experience and knowledge. She is considered a veteran and an astute historian of the Kokoda Track. Nikki, through her years of experience guiding in the region, has developed a renowned and well-regarded reputation for the accurate interpretation and facts of Australia’s wartime history across the 96km jungle track during World War II. Her love and respect for the local people and their culture is evident, as well as for the broader natural habitat and environmental features that make the Kokoda rainforest and terrain famous.

Nikki was born and raised in Zimbabwe in Africa, which is where her love of adventure and her passion for other cultures, traditions and history originated. Nikki and her family moved to Australia when she was 12, but she never lost the passion or the adventurous spirit to explore the world as well as the desire to continue learning the richness of other cultures and destinations around the world. With over 30 years’ experience, Nikki is a veteran of the adventure tourism industry.

Her adventure tourism career started as a professional open water dive instructor. It was during this period that she decided to walk the Kokoda Track and explore broader Papua New Guinea. She instantly fell in love with the local people, the culture and the tracks legendary wartime history. With 20 years of dive instructing under her belt and the adventure and people skills learned from guiding people and teams in the open waters, she decided to transition across to land-based adventure guiding with a focus on her newfound passion, the Kokoda Track.

For the past 15 years, Nikki has developed strong and deep relationships with the local communities and villages across the Kokoda Track and around Papua New Guinea. During this time, she has also extensively researched all the facts and accounts of Australia’s history during the bloody Kokoda War Campaign during 1942, making her a renowned historian of the battle. This experience, respect and passion for the Kokoda Track makes crossing the track with Nikki an extraordinary and memorable experience which is obvious from some of her guiding testimonials below.

“I was fortunate to have Nikki as a guide while walking the Kokoda trail. I found Nikki to be highly organised, articulate, motivational, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. She certainly made the trek one of the most memorable treks I have undertaken. I would have no hesitation in recommending Nikki to any positions she would be applying for. In a simple summary I would describe Nikki as “dependable” Andrew West

“I feel very privileged to count the experience of the trek with Nikki as a diamond memory of my life. And it’s not going too far to say she was the prime reason for it being quite so enjoyable and memorable. Her experience shines through in the care, consideration and inspiration she brings to every single member of the party, I’ll never forget it and have the utmost respect for Nikki and the way she treats those around her. First class service in every facet!” Brian Byer

“Nikki was our head guide for our Kokoda trek in 2012. She has a good knowledge of the history of the track and included everyone in remembering and appreciating all those who served and made sacrifices. Each person walked at their own pace and there was no pressure to walk faster. She related well to the porters and the people living on the track. I would happily trek with her again.” Cynthea Leahy

“I was fortunate enough to participate in trekking the Kokoda trail 3 years ago. It stands as one of the most memorable experiences of my life and Nikki was a huge part of that. Nikki’s professionalism and organisation was a given but it was her warmth and passion for the history that truly made the journey so special. The relationship that Nikki shares with the locals, porters and villagers alike, is a privilege to witness and was extended to us as a trekking team too. We made lifelong friends on our trek and many of us keep in touch with each other, including a trek in Bhutan last year, and with Nikki. I would highly recommend Nikki as a professional, passionate and caring guide and would consider anyone lucky to be led by her.” Catronia Noble

“Nikki has a wealth of experience and knowledge of all the best things New Guinea has to offer but it is he detailed knowledge of the Kokoda Track, its history and her exceptional field craft which really sets her apart as THE GUIDE that will get you through. Tough, reliable and good humoured travelling with Nikki was a blast and if you want to do something a little off the beaten track in New Guinea, Nikki has the connections and knowledge to make it happen.” John-Anthony Hodgens

“I highly recommend Nikki as a Kokoda Trek guide! Nikki gave us practical and sensible advice before and while on the trek, ensuring we did not push ourselves beyond our fitness ability. Her knowledge of World War II, Kokoda Campaign, is outstanding and combined with her fun loving nature ensures you will have an amazing and life changing adventure!” Kylie Mead

“Nikki led our trip to Kokoda with 9 amazing women – we couldn’t have had more fun or felt more supported. Her knowledge and experience is second to none (I have lost count of how many treks she has completed!) and she will share an amazing experience. I would highly recommend her as a trek leader as you will walk away with a memory of a lifetime.” Cindy Batchelor

“I may be bias but I think Nikki was an amazing Kokoda Track guide. Over the week of walking the 96km Nikki had us laughing, crying, singing and reflecting on just what happened in 1942. Didn’t matter how the trekkers were feeling (usually exhausted), Nikki managed to keep us smiling and informed. I often reflect of what a wonderful experience it was and Nikki was a huge part of that.” David Bryans

“A group of mates and I did Kokoda with Nikki a few years ago and we couldn’t recommend her enough. Excellent interactive and engaging guide. 5 stars..” Bradley Calvert

“Our experience with Nikki was as our guide/leader/friend on the infamously friendly Kokoda Track…and we would follow her anywhere/anytime. Attention to detail/sensitive to clients/always smiling/extremely congenial disposition…even in the mud and rain…none better.” Chet Moore

Yesse our lead African guide entertaining our clients in Moshi
Yess our African local guide on the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro
Yesse leading one of our clients to the summit of Mt Kilimanajro

Yesse

With over 320 successful Kilimanjaro summits under his belt, you would be hard pressed to find a more experienced, knowledgeable and passionate guide on Kilimanjaro. Yesse is part of our Peak Potential Adventures family having worked with him since 2013 when we started taking groups to climb Kilimanjaro. He has continually delivered exceptional service with his hard-working attitude, strong climbing abilities and exceptional leadership and organisational skills. Yesse will always go above and beyond for clients and his social awareness and leadership skills are on point, he knows when to give that little bit of extra motivation and encouragement when clients need it the most. We are proud of our 100% summit success on Kilimanjaro currently getting all our clients to ‘The Roof of Africa’, but a huge part of that result is the experience and knowledge of Yesse and our amazing local team that provide unparalleled support from start to finish.

Yesse grew in up the Karansi Village which is in Siha District and not too far from Kilimanjaro, he has three sisters and one brother and is married with one child. He knows the mountain well growing up under its shadow and is a well-respected guide on the mountain and member of his community

In 2006, he graduated at the School of Tourism Intel Training Centre in Moshi with a certificate in tour guiding. Yesse started his career on Kilimanjaro as a porter at the age of 22 before going back to school to study to become a mountain guide. He completed 6 months study at the Mweke Wildlife College before completing his first aid and customer service program with the Kilimanjaro National Park Service which secured him a position as an assistant guide in 2010.

Yesse speaks excellent English, is fun to be around and engages well with all clients. Yesse has been working in a guiding capacity on Kilimanjaro for over 9 years now with 5 years as a lead guide. He is a fully licenced and a registered guide with the Kilimanjaro National Parks Service.

Luke Viles in Nepal doing a high altitide medical training course
Luke Villes doing some rock climbing in his sparetime
Luke Viles doing some indoor rock climbing

Luke Viles

Luke is the newest member of the Peak Potential Adventures family, recently joining us in a medic capacity. Some of our adventures involve higher altitudes, so Luke will be not just assisting guiding some of our treks, but will also be in a position to provide some specific advice and assistance around high altitude training and prevention. He was recently trained in Nepal at a medical mountain outpost to treat altitude mountain sickness (AMS), edema, and hypoxia. Luke’s love and passion for adventure and helping others, makes him the perfect addition to our experienced team.

Luke is 28 years old and lives on the Central Coast in NSW. He has grown up with the passion and drive for adventure and exploring the great outdoors. Being the adventurous type, he loves surfing, rock climbing, touch footy, rugby league and of course hiking and mountain climbing. He is passionate about helping others in their adventure pursuit and is always ready to go above and beyond to provide a seamless and well-organised adventure experience.

He has been a firefighter on the Central Coast for the past 7 years where he has been trained in emergency situations such as swift water rescue, rope rescue and patient extraction. He has also been trained for natural disaster assistance and is currently studying to become a paramedic. He has recently worked in the foothills of Nepal at a mobile health clinic treating patients with hypoxia and other altitude illnesses. For Luke, personal safety is paramount and as a guide and medic, he takes immense pride in making sure that everyone has an enjoyable and safe experience.