Although a website is great as an introduction and for perusing at your own leisure, there is nothing better than the reassurance of a human voice answering any questions you have. This sort of trip is not an ordinary holiday so you will more than likely have a lot, and nothing can help you out as much as talking to someone who has been there and knows the ins and outs of expedition cruising.
Kayla Packett - Client Services Executive
Kayla has recently returned to Sydney after living and working in London. Originally from the New South Wales' Southern Highlands, Kayla relocated to Sydney to further her career in travel where she has enjoyed working in many different roles within the industry from luxury hotels to guided tours.
During her career Kayla has enjoyed travelling the world, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. Some highlights include the Il Palio festival in Sienna Italy, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, snorkelling with turtles in Oahu Hawaii and elephant trekking in Thailand.
Her favourite countries to explore include Italy, Spain and Ireland.
Jasmina Popovska - Sales Manager
Jasmina started working as a Junior Travel Consultant from the ripe old age of 17. Completing high school and going on to university studies, she quickly worked her way into a Management position and then went on to be one of the youngest franchisees for the Harvey World Travel brand. Having owned and operated her own Travel Agencies, Jasmina decided that her next challenge was to expand her career overseas, taking up a position as Sales Executive for one of the most prestigious brands in New York.
In 2011 Jasmina returned to Australia and was appointed National Product Manager for Wiltrans International GSA for Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas and Paul Gaugin.
Taking one step further in her career, Jasmina joined Aurora Expeditions in 2014 as Sales Manager and is the main contact for all trade and agent partners.
With a Bachelor degree in Commerce and Psychology from the University of Wollongong, Jasmina is currently completing her Masters degree in Clinical Psychology at Monash University.
Jasmina’s many interests and hobbies include global politics, chess, tennis, formula one racing and watching her favourite rock bands perform world wide. Jasmina's favourite cities in the world are St Petersburg, Quebec and Monte Carlo. Her most recent trip was to South America, from Argentina, to Brazil, Ecuador and Peru with the main highlight being a 4 day trek to Machu Picchu and visiting the wilds of the Amazon region.
Carla Pecorella-Balzan - Client Services Executive
Carla has had a passion for travel for many years studying tourism sales and operations through to management at University.
Her first job in the industry was working for retail agency group Harveyworld travel learning skills and travelling to exciting destinations such as Western Europe, New Zealand and Vietnam. She enjoys putting together itineraries and travel arrangements for her clients and loves learning and recommending new and exiciting places to visit.
On her spare time Carla loves going for coastal walks and heading to the beach with family and friends.
Charles Boutet - Marketing Coordinator
After a degree in modern languages, Charles moved to the UK to teach French, before continuing his studies in marketing. Originally from Bordeaux in France, Charles moved to Australia in 2009 and finished his studies in Sydney and Melbourne.
After graduating in marketing and business he settled down in Sydney and started working in travel and hospitality marketing. Charles worked for a South Pacific Tourism board, a Marketing and PR agency and a wholesaler before joining Aurora Expeditions in November 2014 as marketing coordinator. With many destinations to visit on his bucket list, he loves promoting Aurora's products for their genuine and ethical aspects.
When he's not working, Charles is out exploring Sydney, enjoying the beach, cooking, reading, doing yoga and catching up with friends.
Noeme Capuno - Finance Manager
Noeme has been working as an accountant for 13 years in a variety of roles including an accounting firm, restaurant chain, Korean Manufacturer and Export company (all Philippines based), Finance Manager for Admerex Limited - an Australian ASX listed institutional debt collection and credit risk software multinational company. Admerex Limited involved the centralisation of the global operations’ finance functions to the Philippine office which was being managed by her.
She’s been travelling regularly to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia and decided to live in Australia in 2009.
In 2009 she was Finance Manager for Montessori Academy - Australia’s largest Montessori methodology Childcare Group. In addition to the accounting and finance function of childcare centres, the Montessori Academy position also carry’s responsibility for the accounting and finance function of the group’s property development and construction companies and investor companies.
Noeme joined Aurora Expeditions in September 2014 as a Finance Manager and is really enjoying the excitement and interesting nature of the travel world which Aurora offers.
When Noeme is not working she spends her time with her young family. They love the beach.
Marcel De Graaf - CFO
Marcel joined Aurora in 2012 as the CFO. Marcel immigrated to Australia in 2001 from The Netherlands. In The Netherlands he worked for large engineering and contracting firms that had a global appearance. During this time Marcel worked on very large projects in Eastern Europe, South Africa, Canada, UK and France. This is when he developed his travel bug.
In Sydney, after a number of years as General Manager of a manufacturing facility for industrial batteries, Marcel became the Finance and Operations Manager of an IT Managed Services Provider and during this time he also became involved with Aurora Expeditions. Currently he shares his time between the two companies.
When Marcel is not at work he spends as much time as he can with his young family preferably in the Sydney outdoors. He thoroughly enjoys bush walking.
Amanda Till - Expeditions Executive
Amanda's passion for Antarctica began when she was Expedition Coordinator on a 2001 expedition to Macquarie Island, Cape Denison and Dumont d'Urville. A life changing experience for her, she has lived and breathed the Antarctic ever since, working as an Assistant Expedition Leader and Expedition Leader for 8 years with Aurora Expeditions. She also works in the High Arctic, and developed a passion for the northern climes, including Norway, Scotland and Greenland. Amanda has been onboard since the inception of our Papua New Guinea voyages, and loves the friendliness and wonders of this part of the world. Her desire is to share the life changing experiences of the Antarctic, Arctic and other remote wildernesses, and the joys and challenges of marine travel.
Armed with accounting qualifications, a diploma in photography, and studying for her Master Class V Captain's Ticket, Amanda has a wide array of skills. She has worked in a variety of fields, including marine import and export, yacht production and yacht racing. She was part of the crew on the 'Survivor' television series in Panama and Vanuatu and her work as yacht delivery crew satisfied her adventurous nature. A keen sailor, Amanda has sailed the eastern Australian coast many times, worked as a deckhand and cook in the Whitsundays on a 55ft timber ketch, and sailed for several years on the tallships HMAV Bounty and SV Svanen. She has twice sailed to Lord Howe Island with Nuclear Free Seas and has actively participated in a number of Greenpeace campaigns. When not traveling the seas with Aurora Expeditions, she spends time in different countries, enjoying different cultures, and has recently returned from a 5 week walk across Spain. Amanda’s other main passion is writing and she is in currently writing her first novel.
Tomas Mariano Holik - Operations Manager
Tomas was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Ecology he underwent a winter in Antarctica at the Polish Research Base of Henry Arctowski, as part of his PhD. Scholarship.
Since 1993 he has been involved in the Expedition Cruising industry, leading expeditions, on board various vessels, bound to Antarctica, the Arctic, Amazon River, as well as Iceland and Greenland. His broad experience in these areas has seen him lead the field in operations, itineraries and logistics for premium expedition cruise companies around the world.
During his career, Tomas has also supported as well as managed logistics for several Antarctic Research Bases as well as provided assistance to the Antarctic Heritage Trust, and the South Georgia Heritage Trust, in between others.
In his free time he enjoys sailing his yacht in the River Plate, rowing, playing Tennis and cooking for friends.
Anthony Kleverlaan - Client Services Manager
Anthony's passion for travel was ignited in the early 70's when his family took him on a trip to Europe. Since then he has always had a passion for researching, discovering and organising travel to exotic destinations around the globe.
His extensive 20 year career in the travel industry has ranged from technology companies, to large corporate agencies, to finally running his own business specialising in Vietnam and Indochina. Before joining Aurora he took a break from the travel industry, starting an online business selling fashion accessories and skincare products, however it wasn't long before the urge to come back to the world of travel had him joining Aurora Expeditions.
Justine Bornholdt - Sales Executive
Justine came to Australia in 2001 from a beautiful town in New Zealand called Lake Taupo. Spending her first 5 years in the Corporate Hospitality Industry she started to feel that she needed a new challenge, being the little globetrotter that she is, she packed up and headed for the United States. She found her love for travel there by exploring different cultures and surroundings and knew there was a perfect role out there for her and she had to find it!
Coming back to Australia Justine started her role as a Travel Consultant at Trailfinders in Sydney. Within the company her skills and knowledge grew both in sales and geographically. Justine was chosen to Travel to Europe and Malaysia on two separate occasions due to her consistent efforts within the company and towards her clients.
Still seeking new challenges Justine left the coop again and headed for Canada where she lived for a year in the beautiful city of Vancouver. Once leaving Canada she set her sights on Europe where she travelled extensively for 9 months taking it all in before finally arriving in London.
In London Justine worked for MSC Cruises, an Italian owned company with 12 ships in their fleet who travel to the East and West Med, Caribbean, South Africa and South America.
Once the travel-bug wore off Justine decided to head back to Sydney in early December of 2013 where she found Aurora Expeditions.
Anne Kraft - Graphic Designer
Anne was born in the beautiful city of Hamburg, Germany. After finishing school she soon caught the travel bug that took her on an adventure through Canada, where she spent time working in British Columbia, and travelling through the Rocky Mountains to Alberta and Saskatchewan.
She has always had a great eye for detail and a passion for design so after returning home she completed a degree in communication design and started working as a Graphic Designer.
With a couple of years’ experience under her belt, Anne took a break from design life to work and travel in Australia for a year. Anne’s highlights included scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, canoeing in the Noosa Everglades, swimming with whale sharks in Western Australia, camping under the stars in the Outback and road tripping the Great Ocean Road.
Returning home to Germany, Anne worked as a freelance designer, providing a wide range of creative graphics to her clients as well as enjoying further travels to Egypt, Thailand, Laos and most of Europe. It didn’t take long for her to realise that she had fallen for Australia, and soon returned to settle into the Aussie lifestyle in 2010.
Anne joined the Aurora Expeditions team in January 2014 and is now happily combining her love for travel and design.
Anne Oyasaeter - Client Services Executive
Anne arrived from Norway to Australia in 1987 and after a few years of doing odd jobs such as working in racing stables, cafes and a taxi-radio room, she began a job in travel at an agency specialising in Scandinavia, Iceland, Greenland, Russia, the Baltic's and Antarctica. Anne soon realized this was the perfect job for her and stayed there for 12 years. During this time she travelled extensively through Scandinavia as well as trips to Iceland, Greenland and Antarctica. Highlights (apart from any trip to Norway of course) was a two-week cruise to Antarctica from Puerto Mondt to Ushuaia and an eight-day cruise to Greenland around Disco Bay on the west coast.
After taking a break from working life to look after her fantastic son Olav and beloved dogs/pets, she recently joined Aurora Expeditions and is enjoying working with their great products.
In her spare time Anne enjoys family life, great friends, a good book, food and wine and is always looking forward to her next trip away!
Emma Savage - Marketing Manager
Emma inherited her passion for travel from her English parents who travelled across land (and sea) from England to Australia in the early seventies. Having grown up hearing a load of weird and wonderful travel stories she completed a tourism and marketing degree at the University of Western Sydney in 2004.
Having started her travel career working in events for Australia's national tourism marketing agency, Tourism Australia, she then stumbled into the world of PR and communications. After almost three years of helping to promote Australia to the world she decided it was time to follow in her parents footsteps.
A two-year stint of travelling independently across Europe, completing a ski season in France, three months of pulling pints in a UK country pub and a few more working to promote Australia throughout the UK and Europe, she found herself yearning for home. A three-month overland trip through eastern and southern Africa was the last hurrah before heading back to Sydney and joining the Aurora Expeditions marketing team in June 2010.
Jane Bell - Office Administrator
Jane started her career in Property Management but soon developed a love of travel when she travelled throughout Canada and the USA. After a break from the workforce to have her three gorgeous children, Jane soon felt the need to re-join the ranks of the workers.
She initially joined the Aurora Expeditions team in a casual position and was such an enthusiastic worker, with a great eye for detail, that she took up the offer of a permanent part-time position in the busy accounts department. Since late 2012 she has moved to the challenging role of Office Administrator which involves working in many areas of the company. Her most important task is organising manifests and liaising information for Ship Operations.
Jane can't wait until her children are old enough while she indulges in her passion for travel. She loves bears and realised her dream when she travelled on the Spitsbergen voyage in 2011.
Leani Gray - Sales Executive
Leani recognised her passion for all things travel at an early age, studying tourism during her final years at high school. Even after brief forays into the worlds of hairdressing and television, not even the celebrities she encountered could sway her interest away from a career in travel.
Her first job in the industry was with tour company Globus/Cosmos, where she spent five years honing her skills as part of the reservations team. During this time she traveled extensively; exploring Western Europe, Asia and the Pacific islands.
When not busy helping our passengers with their additional travel arrangements, Leani can be found, worshiping the sun at the beach, shopping or relaxing back with a mudpack watching the latest comedy release.
Lisa Bolton - Chief Executive
Although it had always been Lisa’s dream to be a ski instructor when she finished high school, her parents had other ideas and sent her off to Business College. Having developed a keen eye for detail and strong business acumen, Lisa’s entrepreneurial streak led into her starting her own knitwear business at the ripe age of 21.
After spending some time in Bangladesh and India, the passion for travel had taken hold and Lisa’s career took a different direction. While studying for a Degree in Economics and Resource Management, she began working for Qantas Airways, first as a Reservations Consultant, and then as Business Analyst for Qantas’ Business Travel division.
Having firmly set her sights on a career in travel, Lisa wanted to specialise in the cruise market, thus embarking on two years as a Project Manager with Carnival Australia (P&O Cruises). It was during this time that she was exposed to all aspects of the cruising industry and travel market at large.
Working her way up the ladder, Lisa developed an insight into multiple facets of the travel industry, whilst her experience with the world’s largest cruise company left her ideally equipped to take the helm as Aurora Expeditions Chief Executive Officer.
Most weekends Lisa can be found on Coogee Beach working as a Patrol Captain and volunteer lifesaver for the Coogee Surf Life Saving Club.