About us

Meet the Wild Earth team

Aaron Russ - General Manager

Aaron Russ - General Manager

Aaron spent a childhood like no other travelling on small ships every holiday to the Subantarctic Islands, New Zealand and Antarctica. Since that time, he has led expeditions on over 100 small ship cruises to the world’s most interesting regions. With a degree in zoology, a passion for photography and a desire to showcase the world’s premier destinations, he is the perfect person to lead the Wild Earth Travel team. Antarctica still remains one of his favourite destinations, however he recently lead a number of cruises around the Scottish Isles which he really enjoyed. Spending time recently with the great pacific navigator Mau Piailug in Micronesia is one of Aaron’s most recent highlights.

Recently Aaron spent time exploring and leading small ship cruises in the following destinations -

  • Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands
  • The Antarctic Peninsula
  • Spitsbergen & Greenland
  • The Canadian Arctic


Kylie Dumbleton - Reservations Manager

Kylie Dumbleton - Reservations Manager

Kylie was drawn to travel through the enjoyment of learning about new destinations and products around the world and hopes to one day visit them all! In her 15-years of industry experience, she has mostly been involved in the wholesale segment and in Kylie's spare time (surprisingly), you can find her travelling both locally and internationally!- And, also reading, walking her dog and baking. 

Kylie has a colourful small cruise wishlist with cruising around the Galapagos Archipelago at the top, followed by river cruising in India, seeing Orangutans in the National Parks in Indonesia and getting lost in vintage Cuba. Kylie has already ticked off the Andaman Island and Myanmar with Silversea Expeditions, Croatia on board MS Splendid and most recently Alaska's Glacier Bay with Uncruise


Neil Saunders - Business Development (Adelaide)

Neil Saunders - Business Development (Adelaide)

With over 18 years travel industry experience, and expertise in Adventure Travel, Luxury Travel, Family Holidays and Small Ship Luxury and Expedition Cruising, Neil joins the Wild Earth Travel team managing our business development via the extensive Travel Agency Network in Australia.  Based in Adelaide and the home of wine in Australia, he loves nothing better than a good chat over a glass or two on travel and especially some of the great places you can visit on a small ship or while expedition cruising. He has sold tours, managed and run tour operators in the the UK, Europe and Australia and has travelled extensively in UK, USA, Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe including the Arctic (Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland). HIs most recent overseas trip was to Bali, Indonesia and is looking to head to the Pacific and Antarctica in the coming year.

Sarah Porter - Business Development (Auckland)

Sarah Porter  - Business Development (Auckland)

Sarah has been working with Wild Earth Travel since July 2014 but her passion for travel started at a very young age. Sarah is peppered with various experience and industry knowledge- after gaining a Communications degree she worked in the media industry for 10 years and also ran a supermarket on the small Pacific Island of Niue. Sarah is fairly busy with a young family and enjoys days out with them on the ocean either sailing, scuba diving, fishing, snorkelling or swimming. Sarah was drawn to her role with Wild Earth Travel because she loves "the idea of sharing such wonderful remote and iconic destinations. I love the variety of the itineraries we offer - from the expedition to luxury, solar to polar - we really do have something for everyone, and we help tick off so many bucket list trips for so many happy clients"

Sarah's travel wishlist starts in Raja Ampat as she would love to take the family along to swim with whale sharks, next is exploring Cuba with friends, and then finally retracing family ties in the Shetland Islands of Scotland (visiting whiskey distilleries of course, is also a must!). Sarah's first taste with small ship cruising was a short coastal cruise of New Zealand with her husband aboard L'Austral. Since then she has enjoyed experiencing an amazing family adventure on the Great Barrier Reef aboard Coral Expeditions II (and her kids would like to do this again rather than Disneyland!) and more recently she travelled to Antarctica on board Le' Soleal.

Michelle Dolan - Business Development (Wellington)

Michelle Dolan  - Business Development (Wellington)

Michelle has been in the travel industry for over 20 years. Michelle has now travelled across 40 different countries and in fact, entered the travel industry after travelling on her OE and coming back to New Zealand she was eager to make her new found passion into a career. Over the years she has worked in various parts of the industry including retail, wholesale and cruising. Michelle enjoys inspiring agents and helping them sell small ship cruises to their clients. When she's not on the road Michelle is busy at home with two teenagers, skiing, exploring the outdoors and every so often sitting down and getting stuck into a good book. 

Michelle's number one travel wishlist destination at the moment is Alaska. She would love to trek around the pristine National Parks and experience its many wonderful wildlife encounters. 


Tamsin Edensor - Business Development (Christchurch)

Tamsin Edensor - Business Development (Christchurch)
After completing her BA Hons in Travel and Tourism Tam has worked in the Travel Industry for over 20 years. She has been employed as a consultant, a trainer and a manager now more recently in a business development role for Wild Earth Travel. Tam is passionate about promoting destinations and experiences around the world. Her love of place has led her on extensive experiences across Asia, Africa, Australia and the across the Americas and Europe.

Tam has sailed around the Pacific, New Zealand and Southern Europe but her favourite small ship adventure to date was on board the MS Oceanic Discoverer across the remote shores of The Australian Kimberley. Whilst onboard this incredible cultural voyage they rescued turtles off the Montgomery reef and hand fed nurse sharks off the back of the ship.  Tam has a love of animals and her dream cruises would be around the Galapagos Islands or across the Arctic Circle with her young family sharing incredible wildlife encounters with them.

Diane Cowan - Accountant

Diane Cowan  - Accountant

Diane unfortunately only spends 3 days of the week in the office and the other 2 days you can find her working in and around Christchurch on native revegetation projects in the Port Hills or doing bird counts in various reserves. Fair to say Diane trumps at being the office's own Greenpeace Warrior, a passionate conservationist who in her spare time is growing native plant species in her back yard to be put to use in revegetation projects.

Diane has done her fair share of travel and Africa is one of her favourite places she keeps returning to. Often doing overland trips that include visiting Grauer’s gorillas as well as the 'creme de la creme'- climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. Other than Africa, Diane has also trekked in Nepal in the Khumbu/Everest area and visited Chitwan and in December 2000 she had an extensive trip to Patagonia which included a lot of camping and climbing in Argentina/Chile. Here in New Zealand she has lived and worked in Milford Sound for Summer seasons which has allowed her to explore a lot of the tracks in the Fiordland area as well as get out sea kayaking.


Lucy Evans - Communications and Sales Specialist

Lucy Evans - Communications and Sales Specialist

Lucy is the newest team member at Wild Earth Travel starting in June 2019 after working in agricultural marketing. Lucy is excited to be matching her career to an industry she is excited about. Although Lucy has just begun her career within the tourism sector she has extensively travelled throughout the Americas - South, Central and North from Chile to Alaska. Her favourite places included Bolivia, Costa Rica and the Yukon. She has also travelled through areas of Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands.

In the weekends you will find Lucy biking in the Port Hills of Christchurch, skiing in the South Island mountains or hiking on New Zealand’s amazing trails. After spending the New Zealand summer in Canada skiing, Lucy is now dreaming of a holiday to some place warm.

Tonia Kraakman - Online Content Coordinator

Tonia Kraakman - Online Content Coordinator

All the way from Russia Tonia finished University in Moscow with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management in 2010 and started working right away in five-star luxury, small boutique and family owned hotels in both Russia and New Zealand. She was drawn to the industry because she enjoys inspiring people to attain new experiences and discover new things. Tonia's been with the Wild Earth since 2013 and she feels like working with the team is like "being part of a big family". Located down in Alexandra, Tonia spends her spare time wandering around the beautiful landscapes of Central Otago, camera in hand with her big adventurous dog. 

For her next small cruise ship adventure, Tonia has her eyes set on either the Galapagos Islands, spotting whales in the Arctic or experiencing the ruggedly beautiful British Isles. To see some of Tonia's photo highlights from her last small cruise ship voyage Beyond Fiordland in the Sub Antarctic Islands last December onboard Spirit of Enderby click here

Ellen Batchelor - Reservations Consultant

Ellen Batchelor  - Reservations Consultant

Ellen's passion for travel began when she started backpacking with friends which lead her to the industry with an eagerness to make some money in order to keep travelling! Ellen's been in the industry for15 years, and has been with Wild Earth Travel for 7. Her previous experience includes hotel reservations in York (UK), flight attendant around NZ & the Pacific Islands and working in Whistler (Canada). Ellen enjoys walking, swimming and weekends at home with her young family. Her next small ship cruise wishlist destination would be discovering the stunning waters of the Indian Ocean voyaging to Mauritius, Aldabra Islands and onto Tanzania. 

Ellens experience with small ship cruising includes voyaging on Caledonian Sky around the spectacular South Island of New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands on a cruise in March 2014, a ANZAC Nurses historical voyage around the Aegean in 2015, Forgotten Islands of the Pacific on Spirit of Enderby in 2016 and finally, Alaska's Glacier Bay on board Chichagof Dream in 2017

Tomasa Demarchi - Reservations Consultant

Tomasa Demarchi - Reservations Consultant

Tomasa has always loved travelling and figured out pretty quickly that if you're not on holiday yourself, the next best thing is spending time planning travel for others! Tomasa has been in the industry for nearly 20 years. Her previous experience includes working at Flight Centre, working with United Travel, and then teaching at the New Zealand School of Tourism for 5 years before joining Wild Earth last year. Outside of work Tomasa enjoys going on holiday and (when she's not overseas), she enjoys reading and dining out.

Tomasa's travel wishlist is extensive... but on the top of the list is voyaging to the Arctic (having been to Antarctica recently she would like to compare polar experiences), the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. In January 2019 Tomasa travelled with Ponant to Antarctica which, "was an amazing opportunity and it has just made me want to experience more of the world on a small ship (preferably with good wine and French cheese!)"

You can view Tomasa's trip photos here

Lisa Gibb - Reservations Consultant

Lisa Gibb - Reservations Consultant

Lisa has 5 years industry experience under her belt mostly in the airline industry but has also worked in reservations and coordination with volunteer abroad programmes. Lisa's big love is travel and she has spent a lot of time (mostly backpacking) through South East Asia, Central and South America, Europe and India. Lisa has enjoyed working with a variety of travel styles and experiences and is excited to add small ship cruising and expedition cruising to her portfolio. In her spare time, you can find Lisa hiking, cycling or cooking up something delicious in the kitchen. 

At the top of Lisa's small ship cruise wishlist is Antarctica closely followed by a trip around Svalbard to see the Polar Bears!

Our Associates Include

Adventure Canada
Heritage Expeditions New Zealand
Lindblad Expeditions
Noble Caledonia
UnCruise Adventures
Variety Cruises