We’ve all seen him heading down Portsmouth Drive in his leathers and sunnies turning heads, essentially creating an ‘ambulance affect’ but wailing siren has been replaced with the deep growl of a V8 Chevy motor encapsulated in a sleek gleaming 5 seater trike body. The custom built trike stands out in our southern city of Scottish heritage, we look, we’re curious and we wonder………
Today’s insider perspective is a special one – we are chatting to Andrew Sim (a.k.a sunnies & trike guy) and discovering the story behind Experience Dunedin, his unique and successful tour company.
We’ll find out a bit more about the guy behind the glasses, a people person who loves showing locals and visitors around Dunedin in such a distinctive way.
INSIDERS PERSPECTIVE: ANDREW SIM
E x p e r i e n c e D u n e d i n
Andrew contacted stw studio for some photography work recently up on the Otago Peninsula, an assignment that we were very excited to undertake. Nick was the kid that spent his school years pencilling Aston Martin DB4 GTZ's in his workbook so an opportunity to expand his photography portfolio doing a shoot on such a unique vehicle in his favourite city, at his favourite time of day....
Well just think big boy in a lolly shop kind of moment.
In preparation for this article due diligence has been observed revealing Experience Dunedin to be currently #1 outdoor activity in Dunedin on Trip Advisor. Rave reviews from both locals and visitors with common threads in the sentiment expressed – ‘awesome’, ‘wind in your hair’ ‘noise of the V8’, 'a unique way to see the area'.
‘Obliging and knowledgeable’ – is what reviewers are saying about Andrew repeatedly, this is a guy who loves the area and enjoys working with people as a guide - a role he worked in previously with Speights Brewery.
There is a broad client base signing up for a comfy bucket seat including visitors and travellers to Dunedin with the trike tours proving popular for cruise ship passengers. Some of the more well known passengers that have 'Experienced Dunedin' include More FM’s Jase and Jayjay as well as a few of our local Highlanders.
Evident in the reviews and through talking with Andrew it's clear that this is not just for visitors, locals across the spectrum are loving it too. Friends, couples, families on excursions (under 7’s bring car seats), work outings, retirement home trips all folks enjoying what is a one of a kind experience and a satisfying way to enjoy the Dunedin landscape.
It makes sense when you think about it, how often in our own hometown do we step out from behind the wheel, relax and really take in the city and its beautiful surroundings?
What a unique and fun way to enjoy an outing or to mark a moment!!
L e t ' s h e a r f r o m A n d r e w
V i s i o n
Andrew is a local whose pathway into the Dunedin tourism industry began while studying for his business degree and working as a tour guide at Speights Brewery. He found great satisfaction in this role, meeting and conversing with people from New Zealand and all over the world.
Contemplating what was on offer for visitors and locals in Dunedin and motivated to launch his own tourism business Andrew realised the potential for expansion into something new and different.
"I searched the world for an idea and saw a trike like the one I have now in Napier. I was finishing my business degree and really just wanted a job that was personally satisfying and made other people happy."
I n s p i r i n g w o r d s
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed in the things you didn't do than the things you did do." - Mark Twain
We asked Andrew to share some words to live by or a quote that has inspired him on his journey, these words penned by Mark Twain were his choice sharing that this was very much his attitude when he started his business.
Dunedin's southern climate and the assumed risk involved in launching a new tour company based around a custom made trike was a gutsy undertaking, an investment involving vision, cash, courage and commitment.
L e t' s t a l k t o u r s
Tell us about the tours
The most popular tour is out the Peninsula over Highcliff Road, I have added a tour out to Brighton and over Saddle Hill. I also go over Mt Cargill and down through Port Chalmers.
All great roads to ride the trike with exceptional scenery.
C o m f o r t i s k e y
What is a successful Experience Dunedin outing?
Enjoyment and happiness is what I want my customers to experience on their tour. I'm very conscious of giving an experience that is value for money and everyone being comfortable.
We never go out in the rain and if the weather is not ideal customers are contacted regarding their tour plans. Comfortable bucket seats on the trike, which sits well on the road due to its low centre of gravity all contribute towards ensuring passengers comfort throughout their tour.
I like meeting new people and hopefully making their day, my business is really just about making people happy.
What do your customers enjoy about their Experience Dunedin tours?
People love the uninterrupted views of Dunedin's beautiful scenery and architecture, the sound of the trike, the power of the trike, the comfortable seats, people waving at them. The trike has many appealing aspects.
For Dunedin people, having no roof combined with the fact they are not driving simply reminds them what a beautiful city Dunedin is.
What has been a challenging aspect of the business?
Like a lot of Dunedin businesses my business is seasonal but I knew it would be that way when I started it. Local people have been great though - they have been a much larger part of my market than i anticipated.
I am truly appreciative of the Dunedin people who have supported my business.
T h e t r i k e
For all our motoring enthusiasts tell us a little more about the trike...
Built in Rangiora, Christchurch by JamesD the trike is powered by a Chevrolet 350 engine which produces 330 Horsepower. It has an EA Ford Diff and Turbo 350 transmission weighing in at 950 kg's.
The low centre of gravity provides a smooth ride with customers often commenting how stable it feels.The vehicle is registered as a car so no safety helmets are necessary during the ride.
D u n e d i n l o v e
What do you love about Dunedin and your current job?
I love Dunedin's hills and the harbour, there are amazing views everywhere you go.
Riding the trike is fun but when you add in the scenery it makes for an amazing experience!
For more information on Experience Dunedin Tours check out their website and social media:
Old School: If you're more of the old school type head on down to the I-SITE in the Octagon and wait until you hear the distinctive low hum of a Chevy V8............
Well I don't know about you but I'm pretty convinced that this is a must do, next time Euan my Dad and a Marlborough farmer is in town - we are going for a tour!!!
Thanks to Bill of William Bourke Photography for his assistance & camera skills on location.