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.
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.
Tomas Mariano Holik -
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.
Amanda Till -
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
Anthony Kleverlaan - Reservations 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.
Steve Demian - Marketing Coordinator
Steve discovered his passion for travelling after spending a year abroad in 2003. Swapping a degree in biology and psychology for a career in travel upon his return, Steve spent time working in travel reservations before moving into travel marketing – and hasn’t looked back since!
Music is another of Steve’s great passions, regularly DJ-ing at music festivals and organizing events in his spare time.
Steve joined the team at Aurora Expeditions in 2013, where he is enjoying managing our online presence and combining his interests in travel and marketing.
Steve’s travel experiences includes studying in Hungary, Italy, France, Romania, the Czech Republic, Austria and Egypt, with a lot of time spent on road trips exploring Australia also. The highlight though, without a doubt, was making it to Antarctica in Feb 2014!
Justine Bornholdt - Reservation Consultant
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. She has been part of their Reservations team since January and is enjoying her time learning about their great products.
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.
Bec McGilvray - Sales & Reservations Executive
After being served a colouring book at age 5 by a stewardess, Bec knew that was what she wanted to be when she grew up. Graduating from AFTA Travel college in 1997, she soon started her travel career in Wholesale, Retail & Entertainment. Taking a short break from the industry to dabble in real estate sales made Bec realise her passion was with the travel industry.
Bec has kayaked down the Zambezi river in Africa, trekked the Himalayas, The Inca trail, Patagonia and the Pyrenees. An avid snowboarder, her sport has taken her to the north & south islands of New Zealand, Canada, Japan & of course the slopes of our own backyard.
She has worked in Byron Bay & Darwin taking in numerous weekend trips through Kakadu, Uluru & even Kangaroo Island. She has also travelled to Bali, Thailand, Malaysia, UK, Europe, New York, Amazon & Iguazu Falls.
Bec is so excited to be part of the Aurora Expeditions family and is looking forward to helping clients with their ‘off the beaten track’ travel arrangements.
Anne Oyasaeter - Reservations Consultant
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.
Mael Ressos - Sales Executive
The desire to explore the world started at an early age for Mael and over the years she has been fortunate enough to visit some amazing destinations. Having worked in the travel industry for the past 10 years has given her the opportunity to share this passion with others, see some wonderful places and meet interesting people along the way.
Mael particularly enjoys combining her love of travel with her interest in photography. She discovered the joy of photography at the age of 6 when she received her first Fisher-Price camera, and went on to study photography at University.
When travelling she likes taking the time to observe and photograph quirky things and unique moments.
In her spare time, Mael enjoys spending time with her family, meeting up with her friends, being outdoors and taking in some of the fantastic things Sydney has to offer!
Jane Bell - Accounts Assistant
Jane started her accounting 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 rejoin 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.
Jane can't wait until her children are old enough to stay at home while she indulges in her passion for travel. She loves bears and is busting to get to the Arctic or the Russian Far East.
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.
Veronica Farris - Reservations Manager
Veronica has worked in the travel industry for over 17 years. During this time she has travelled extensively in Europe, parts of Asia, USA, Canada and South America. In November 2002 she travelled on our ‘Circumnavigation of South Georgia Voyage’ and loved every minute of it. She has also been ‘Across The Circle’ to the Antarctic Peninsula in 2006. Veronica now looks after our clients heading to PNG and also to the Arctic. When Veronica is not at work she enjoys going to yoga and spending time with her family including six special grandchildren.
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.