I grew up in small outback towns in South Australia before starting in the travel industry in Adelaide. After working many years in Sales & Marketing with tour companies, wholesalers and airlines, I headed off to the United States in 1994 for a ‘brief stint’. I started the US operation of an Australian tour company, and was Vice President of a South Pacific wholesaler for 7 years. I am married to and working with co-owner Warren Grau, a mother of 2 and am both a US and Australian citizen. We started Springboard Vacations in 2001.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"I specialize in creating customized itineraries throughout the South Pacific for singles, couples, families and small groups. I like to find unique and interesting ways for travelers to get to know our destinations. So instead of a coach city sights tour, I like to offer a guided bike riding tour, or a walk with an indigenous guide, a pub crawl through historic pubs, a progressive dinner to the hottest new restaurants or a surfing lesson with a local. We like to include romantic moments, family bonding experiences, a chance to meet locals in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia. "
How did you get involved in travel?
"I was an exchange student in Germany when I was 15 years old. It changed my life and set me on a path to travel the world. When I started working as a professional photographer, I traveled as often as I could. By age 22 I had moved into the travel industry and started exploring the globe seriously. As the song says... no matter how far I roam, I still call Australia home! I am passionate and excited about discovering new and interesting experiences within the South Pacific and creating unique and authentic experiences for my clients."
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"I was in New Zealand traveling through the north east of the country. It had been a long day and I had not eaten much so I was hungry and in a pretty bad mood. I just wanted to eat and go to bed but I had committed to doing a night kayaking trip. As I get kitted out and organized with my co-kayaker I was not in a good place and the thought of paddling upstream in the growing dark was not improving my mood. We struggled to coordinate our paddling and wound up in frustrating circles. Eventually we got it together and headed up stream. It has hard work and the night grew dark. Then it came time to paddle into a cave grotto. It was pitch dark and you could not see your hand in front of your face. Our group of kayakers were all silently entered the small cave and sat in the pitch dark. The guide then turned on a red right which caused thousands and thousands of glow worms to... well glow! It was magical! It felt like we were inside Christmas! It was truly awesome to sit in the blackness and be surrounded by the sparkle of these tiny creatures. Mother Nature is so awesome and unpredictable. It was so incredibly captivating and unexpected. No-one uttered a sound but it was an emotional and spiritual experience. As we left the cave some time later to head back, the moon had risen and cast an ethereal silver light across the water as we floated downstream and back home. In the silence we absorbed the display that nature had provided. It was truly an amazing and humbling experience, in a little known area of New Zealand that almost no-one visits. I will never forget it.
Its these life changing moments that I love to find for my clients. "
Featured trips & expertise
Australia is an enormous country, and when trying to work out an itinerary it can be difficult to choose between its lively cities, beautiful beaches, or unique wildlife. With this varied 15-day itinerary, you can experience a bit of everything. Starting in Melbourne, travel along the spectacular Great Ocean Road—one of Australia's best short road trips—before heading to Adelaide and wild Kangaroo Island. You'll also visit Australia's dramatic red center, relax at the Great Barrier Reef, and end in Sydney, Australia's largest city.
Spend a week in three of Australia’s eventful regions—Sydney, Uluru, and Cairns. Go sightseeing in Sydney, from The Rocks to Bondi Beach, then adventure through the stunning Blue Mountains region. Next, get a taste of The Outback in Uluru, where spectacular colors change from sunrise to sunset over Ayers Rock. Then, travel to Cairns to experience the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, along with an exciting journey across the Kuranda Scenic Railway.
Enjoy the best of the East Coast of Australia on this two-week trip. Begin with a tour of Brisbane before heading to the Whitsunday Islands. Indulge in a free day in Cairns, then cruise over to the world-famous Great Barrier Reef and lush Daintree Rainforest. Next, tour Adelaide and spend a full day with native species at Kangaroo Island. The trip concludes in Sydney to discover the landmarks, as well as the stunning Blue Mountains region.
When planning a trip to Australia, a 10-day trip is an ideal amount of time to visit four different areas. However, if you are strapped for time, you can explore two regions in five days, or up to three if you have a full week at your disposal. For those with more time and flexibility, two weeks allows you to make stops at anywhere from four to 10 destinations, depending on the pace you prefer.