Meet our team

Meet our team

World Journeys was founded eight years ago to meet the demand for specialist skills in tailor-made travel. Our founding Directors have decades of travel experience under their belts, and work hands on, answering the phones and creating itineraries, alongside our experienced and passionate team of Travel Designers. A dedicated group of travel specialists, we have spent many years perfecting our craft! Some of the team are very specialised in certain areas of the world, but there will always be someone who will gladly assist you wherever you choose to go.

Ange Pirie -

Director

Ange has encountered incredible sights, sounds and people travelling the world. From remote northwest Namibia staying in luxurious safari lodges, to the heartland of Mexico at San Cristobal de las Casas, Ange is hard-pressed to pick a favourite between her two loves: South America and Africa. Recommended “hot right now” countries to visit include Cuba, Tanzania and Zambia. She takes pride in creating itineraries that perfectly combine sights and activities with boutique accommodation. Meeting people from colourful cultures is a real highlight of Ange’s journeys.

Brett Barclay -

Director

Brett is an inveterate traveller – 120 countries and counting. Recent travels have seen Brett ramble through Italy, sail the islands of Croatia, cruise on the great rivers of Portugal and France, and work a sabatical in Qatar. Brett loves to share his many travel experiences and counts seeing the gorillas in Uganda, taking part in the Carnival in Rio and snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands as three of many highlights. He also has a passion for cruising and has travelled with many of the world’s great cruise lines.

Kate Gohar -

Director

Kate travelled by motorbike through the UK, France, Switzerland, Spain and Germany, lived for several years in the Middle East and has spent time in Africa, Asia, Canada and parts of South America. Kate revels in our North African journeys involving Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Jordan feeding her passion for ancient civilisations and Middle Eastern cultures. Add to that Easter Island, Peru, Colombia and the Kingdom of Bhutan.  Kate recently explored the Manor Houses of southern Ireland.  Clearly the Blarney Stone has had its effect – just you try and stop her talking about it!

Chris Lyons -

Director

With decades of experience belying his youthful countenance, Chris has been involved in developing unique travel experiences for New Zealanders for many years. Most recently, Chris has cheerfully escorted groups all over the world and has recently led a small group journey along the ancient Silk Road, renewed his love of colourful Cuba, hosted our Grand South American Journey, fell in love with the Atacama Desert, and visited Morocco for the first time!

Elly Wealthall -

Travel Designer

A year as an AFS student in Brazil ignited Elly’s lifelong passion for travel, subsequently formalised by a degree in Tourism Management. Many happy years of tour-leading in Europe, Asia, Eastern Europe and South America ensued. Seeing Machu Picchu for the first time was one of many memorable moments, and one that has since been repeated ten times! Even coming home to NZ had to be special, so the route was via Africa and the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda – another absolute highlight. Elly’s passion is now to help others fulfil their own travel dreams – a perfect fit with the World Journeys team!

Joel Hiini-Neilson -

Travel Designer

Joel only strayed away from travel twice – once to a short-lived banking role, and again to produce three gorgeous sons! Fresh from school her first job was selling the likes of Orient Express, then she specialised in airlines before landing again in travel retail and wholesale. Her extensive travels have included Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Antarctica, China, Hawaii and most recently Eastern Canada. Joel loves immersing herself in authentic local experiences, trying new cuisines and connecting with people. “Exploring the world excites me, and helping others have these experiences is my dream job”.

Sue Barnaby -

Travel Designer

Sue lives, breathes and would eat travel if she could! With an impressive 30 years experience in the travel industry her enthusiasm is indefatigable, as is her love of Canada and Alaska in particular, which borders on obsession! Sue also rates Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as her favourites, and cruising the Med was a real highlight. Sue’s recently returned from doing a small ship cruise through Alaska with Un-Cruise.

Tony O’Callaghan -

Travel Designer

The stats say it all – 27 years working in travel, and 70 countries visited over 6 continents. We welcome Tony’s vast knowledge and experience, and embrace his passion for travel. Favourite moments include canoeing on the Zambezi River, sleeping under the stars in Petra, and the incredible sunsets of Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal. While travelling, Tony is most likely to be found exploring on foot, eating like a local, and soaking up the history.  Recent travels have taken him to the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar – and he’s happy to talk to anyone wanting to go.

Tracy Stewart -

Travel Designer

Tracy is our real estate agent turned Travel Designer. After deciding to follow her dream of working in travel, she headed to the International Travel College in Auckland and worked for American Express Travel.  Emerging as a stand-out graduate, Tracy was eagerly snapped up by World Journeys to focus on Central and South America. Highlights of her own travels have included renewing her wedding vows at sunset in the Maldives, scuba diving in Bali, elephant riding in Thailand and getting up close with the monkeys in Malaysia.

Zoe Clarke -

Travel Designer

Zoe brings with her an ambitious “to do” list including Antarctica and Iceland! Having worked and lived abroad in Canada, America and England, Zoe has also explored some the world’s more exotic destinations. Memorable experiences include hiking up to Machu Picchu, cycling the “Death Road” in Bolivia, leading a scout troop along the Appalachian Trail, and feeding a Leopard cub in Thailand. Very World Journeys!  More recent travels have included Sri Lanka and a memorable trip to Japan where she got engaged.

Jackie Bristow -

Finals Team

Jackie started her first job with an Australian travel wholesaler more years ago than she cares to remember. She has experience with inbound and outbound travel, cruising, niche product and much more besides. Jackie is particularly passionate about Canada and Alaska but is more than capable to turn her hand to just about anything.

Sarah Wilkinson -

Finals Team

Our resident fashionista, Sarah adds colour and flair to all she does – which includes the gorgeous itineraries our clients travel with! With over 20 years experience in travel, Sarah is also kept busy by three kids, and dabbles in touch rugby and netball when time allows.

Natalie Pirihi -

Finals Team

Born and raised in London with a hankering to explore the world – Natalie moved to NZ in her early 20s and hasn’t looked back! With a passion for travel, it was always inevitable that she would join the travel industry. Her career kicked off in wholesale,  working as a consultant in both the UK and NZ. She eventually moved to work for an airline where she ended up spending 12+ years before taking some time out to raise her two boys. She has travelled extensively but still have so much to cover –  highlights so far include India, Mexico, USA, Italy, France, Thailand and Hong Kong!

Judith Wesley -

Sales Manager

Judith was born in Bandung, West Java, igniting an early love of other cultures. A dance enthusiast, she has enjoyed Ballroom in Brighton, Tango in Buenos Aires and Salsa in the Atacama. Recent travels include Northern Patagonia, a small-ship cruise in Alaska and a stunning expedition to the Malvinas, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula! Favourite moments include having lunch stolen by a serval cat on Mt Kilimanjaro, cooking with the Bedouins under the stars, and kayaking in the Antarctic. In her words ”The world is one giant playground”.

Davina Bicker -

Sales Executive

Our latest recruit, Davina was born in the Channel Islands, and like many of us, her childhood travels led to a life-long passion for travel, and an impressive 17 year career ranging from kayak guide to flight attendant, to Sales roles in both NZ and Australia. Davina lives the ‘been there, done that’ life, having swum in the warm waters of Zanzibar, slept under the stars in the Sahara, cycled the Death Road in Bolivia, travelled by rail through the Canadian Rockies and most recently learned to cook in India – all experiences she will put to good use in her role with World Journeys – welcome to the team!

Caroline Clegg -

Marketing Manager

Caroline, our Marketing Manager has covered all continents bar Antarctica! Recent travels include Namibia, Botswana, Borneo, Cambodia, Ecuador, India and Myanmar. Highlights? An epic year in Africa, trekking the Inca Trail, the Trans Mongolian Railway, and climbing Mt Kilimanjaro on a significant birthday.  More recently, Caroline has enjoyed Japan and rediscovered India, World Journeys style!

Meredith Free -

Marketing Coordinator

Meredith has been very busy trotting the globe the past couple of years. Working and living in London she tried to do it all; bathing in Budapest, running the New York marathon, sipping on rum in Cuba, beaching in Bali, camel riding in Morocco and snowboarding at Silver Star. She’s attempting to learn Spanish at the moment as South America is high up on the bucket list. Recent travels have included Greece, Hawaii and the French flavours of Eastern Canada.

Madeleine Duthie -

Graphic Designer

Maddi’s new role in life is to create all things beautiful at World Journeys! Having a keen interest in travel will no doubt help her with that, having already explored Brunei, Borneo, Singapore, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, London, Germany, Amsterdam, Ghent and Paris.  Where next? Maddi has a hankering for Central America, the sounds of Nashville and New Orleans, and much more of France once her French lessons kick in!

Ulrike Fister -

Tourplan Administrator

Ulrike has stories to tell! Her first flight was on Aeroflot to China when Mao suits were the norm and Westerners were not! While escorting a group on the Trans Siberian Railway a Swiss couple on their OE inspired her to do the same! She left Germany in 1989 to travel, and watched the wall come down while WWOOFing in Australia!  Ulrike has travelled in Europe, India, America, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore and worked in Taiwan.  Settling in NZ her urge to travel waned, but we fear World Journeys has changed all that!