Planning a trip overseas isn’t easy. Our incredible people just make it look that way. Meet a few of them below.
You’ll get passion, not just a pitch
Your journey begins with our people and the first you’ll meet are our school reps. Not here to just sell you a trip, they believe in our work with schools and focus on your needs—not ours.
Meet Mitch. A school rep and former professional athlete. Playing AFL for 10-years and moving away from home at 17 to do so, his journey taught him a lot about the power of resilience and leadership - which he now shares with young people. But it's not just about footy. Did we also mention he’s trekked in Africa and launched his own clothing brand? Fact.
This is Leigh-Ann, our NZ Manager who’s lived in all four corners of the world before deciding to call the wild coast of New Zealand home. Heading overseas for the first time at the tender age of 16, Leigh-Anne has photographed lions on safari, dived with manta rays in Mozambique and knows, more than most, the transformational power of travel.
Daniel Donati – Director of Sales & Marketing
This is Dan. Not just our Director of Sales and Marketing, he’s also an expedition leader, a father of three and one of the owners, but you’d never know it. He’s the definition of a pragmatic leader, spending as much time in the classroom as he does in the boardroom. He comes at the job from every angle—a leader, an educator, a parent and an adventurer. Above all, Dan is invested in Antipodeans because he believes in the potential of youth and the power of teamwork.
Dan has more than a decade of high-level experience working in personal development and student travel and in that time he’s witnessed the amazing impact of trips through his own expeditions to Vietnam, Cambodia, Borneo and Costa Rica.
Today, he’s passionate about sharing those stories and empowering young people to go write their own. Dan’s motto? “Just go.”
You’ll plan with a single point of contact
The next step after signing on is planning. This is where you’re supported by an Operations Manager. Notice how it’s not plural—you have one single point of contact from start to finish.
This is Larissa, one of our Operations Managers. If anyone knows how to give young people a safe trip, it’s her. A trained nurse who spent 13 years in Sydney and Melbourne’s Children’s Hospitals before Antipodeans, Larissa’s also travelled to 35 different countries and just returned from a cycling tour of Myanmar.
This is Rob, our Schoolies Unearthed Operations Manager. As part of his Bachelor in International Studies and Communications he spent a year in South America learning Spanish. Now he mentors at a youth outdoor education camp, teaches Primary School Ethics and in his spare time leads expeditions for Antipodeans.
This is Tony, one of our NZ Operations Managers. Tony is a seasoned traveller, teacher, outdoor instructor and avid rock climber. He’s also known to DJ on independent radio, used to work on the Power Rangers TV show, and prides himself on his dad jokes.
This is Marie, another Kiwi Operations Manager. When her former career in broadcasting landed her a role in a travel documentary series, Marie caught a serious case of wanderlust. From close encounters with polar bears in the arctic circle and active volcanos in Nicaragua, there's a fair chance if she's not planning your next big adventure, she's planning hers.
Our Operations Managers
Our Operations Managers share between them 40 years at Antips and have answers to questions you haven’t come up with yet. They get you there and back in one piece and make you richer for the experience.
Joe Lodge – Director of Operations
At age three Joe’s family spent four months driving from Europe to India in a Land Rover. The 4WD was then put on a boat in Bombay and shipped to Australia, where they settled into their new home.
At 17, Joe’s school trip to Iceland was cancelled. So he organised and guided it himself. It was three weeks of trekking over glaciers and sleeping in remote huts, all of it unsupported by vehicles and paid for by his part-time job.
To this day Joe has led 58 expeditions, trained over 500 outdoor adventure guides and spent 25 years managing trips across 4 continents. With enough stories to give Bear Grylls a run for his money, he’s probably the most experienced adventurer you’ll ever meet. On top of that, Joe has 20 years of experience working with teenagers to build personal skills and social coping strategies.
His belief in the importance of safe and positive learning environments is what drives Joe to make the Antipodeans experience the best it possibly can be.
We got your back, 24/7
The final stage of the journey: to see the world. While our leaders show you the way our backup team works tirelessly to make sure everything runs smoothly. Meet a few of our seasoned pros.
This is Wade. Antipodeans leader. He’s a high school and outdoor ed teacher who also flies an ocean rescue helicopter. Before that he was a firefighter and a lifeguard. Once, he spent a month kayaking solo around Fiji. He’s also a keen cyclist and made of kevlar.
Meet Georgie. Before joining us she was a nutritionist, personal trainer and outdoor ed instructor. With eight Antipodeans trips to her name, she’s now one of our Operations Managers, too. Catch her snowboarding in Japan or at a local gig.
This is Greta. She’s completing her Masters in Teaching whilst working with a not-for-profit that provides education to children after overseas emergencies. She once spent five years abroad working as a teacher in Vietnam, England and Canada.
Also an Operations Manager, Cathy loves getting the best out of teams. Having travelled to most of our destinations at some stage or another, she knows better than most how to prepare for them. Before joining Antips Cathy was a course coordinator for Outward Bound and Project Manager for Australian Business Volunteers’ international development sector.
Unlike other student travel companies
Unlike other student travel companies, our leaders are over 25, well-travelled, wilderness first-aid trained and have years of experience in youth education. They also might be the most interesting people you’ll ever meet.
Meet Lee, who’s been in educational travel since 2009 and led expeditions to Nepal, Laos, Borneo, Vietnam and Cambodia in that time. He’s so good at what he does we put him in charge of recruiting all our other amazing leaders.
This is Michael. He’s the assistant principal at a specialist support school. Before that he was a Unit Coordinator in Juvenile Justice training. Even farther back he lived in Europe and once spent 8 months volunteering and backpacking through India and Central America.
Behind everything we do is the belief in tomorrow’s leaders. Character and perspective are shaped through meaningful travel—an ideology embraced by CEO Lachlan Bunn and promoted by the rest of the Antipodeans team.
Lachlan Bunn – CEO
After completing degrees in Commerce and Psychology Lachie spent years working in the business world before setting off on his own global expedition. From volunteering in South America to ski instructing in Austria and social work in London, Lachie’s adventures solidified his passion for travel and education. They also formed the inspiration for his life’s work to come.
In 2002, Lachie returned to Australia with a vision: to empower other young people to find themselves through travel. Not long after he went on to establish a student expedition company.
Since arriving at Antipodeans in 2013, Lachie has maintained his commitment to providing the best leadership and personal development opportunities for students. As a pioneer in Australia’s educational travel industry, he’s seen what the best in the business looks like—and it’s Antipodeans.
Ebony – Marketing Manager
Sam - Program Manager
Lucy – Program Manager
Jodi – Expedition Leader
After 25 years we’re still Australian owned and operated; and with 35+ staff in Australia and New Zealand, you’re always supported by locals who understand your needs.