ABOUT US

OUR STORY

Backroads Australia & New Zealand is an innovative tour operator and destination management company and wholesaler part of the Travelcation Group. As your local expert, we create bespoke itineraries for tour companies and travel agents around the world who are looking to bring their customers to Australia and New Zealand.

We know that international guests want to explore our thriving capital cities, but also want to immerse themselves into a unique outback experience so we have partnered with some of the most amazing local operators to provide a truly Aussie and Kiwi experience.

Our award-winning team at Backroads Australia & New Zealand is here to help create the perfect tour for you.

With two decades of experience in travel, we pride ourselves on our extensive knowledge of this wonderful land we call home and we want to share this with the world.

Whether you’re looking for a luxury group style with a specific language guide, a basic camping trip, a day private day trip or a totally unique food and wine experience of Australia or New Zealand, we have a comprehensive product range that will fulfill your needs.

Meet the team

Click on the image below learn more about us.

Founder & Managing Director

Jake Chiem

Sales & Marketing

Damon Low

International Sales Manager

Saskia van den Heuvel

Travel Expert

Elena Vartazarian

Travel Expert

Julie Revett

Travel Expert

Jasmine Porteous

Travel Expert

Lisa Chew

Travel Expert

Bronte Askew

Founder & Managing Director

Jake Chiem

I started my adventure in the travel industry two decades ago. Over the years my experience in this business ranges from retail and corporate travel booking to wholesale and tour operator. I managed multiple successful travel agencies picking up numerous awards over the years including 2 consecutive years for Best Travel Advisor and 5 awards for Best Travel Manager of the year and Best National sales manager. Was written up in the Travel Weekly magazine as the 6th most successful travel agent of 2006, more recently an award for best new starter business 2016 and Travel Partners entrepreneurial award 2020.

I have extensively traveled the globe ticking off over 50 countries and I truely believes that travel gives the best life experiences and I wants everyone to see the world the way I do.

Growing up in Australia, I made sure I don’t leave my beautiful home country out when I go traveling. Having traveled from one side of the country to the other, I am passionate about showing off Australia. I created Backroads Australia to showcase the amazing cities, towns, attraction and ‘back roads’ Australia has to offer.

Sales & Marketing

Damon Low

I have been working in marketing for the past 20 years and created the look and feel of Backroads Australia & New Zealand. Growing up, I spent many family holidays traveling up and down the east coast of Australia. These experiences instilled the sense of adventure you get on a Australian road trip and was the foundation of Backroads Australia & New Zealand. I know first hand that taking the “back road” can often lead you down a path that turns a holiday into something unique and unforgettable, which is at the very heart of Backroads Australia & New Zealand.

Since those childhood trips, my travels have expanded to many parts of the world. What that has ultimately taught me is, the old saying is in fact true, “there’s is nothing quite like Australia” and “no place like home”.

International Sales Manager

Saskia van den Heuvel

Ever since I can remember, I have always been fascinated with travelling the world, gaining new experiences and exploring different cultures. As a little girl, my favourite pastime was sitting on the couch with Dad and studying the world map, trying to memorise the countries and their capitals and imagining one day I would visit that place. It was my goal to visit every country in the world.

After completing my bachelor’s degree in International Tourism Management, I set out from the Netherlands to discover the world one country at a time. I have found myself falling in love with the country with stunning landscapes, wildlife and Indigenous culture – Australia!

Even though Australia has a massive piece of my heart, family, friends and COVID-19 motivated me to move back to the Netherlands. It definitely also helped that I got the opportunity to continue working for Backroads Australia, but as an International Sales Manager on the European side. This way I get to travel between my two homes and still get to share my passion, knowledge and excitement, turning traveller’s holiday dreams into reality by exploring the ‘back roads’ of Australia.

Travel Expert

Elena Vartazarian

Travel for me is more than getting on a plane, checking into a hotel and ticking off the sites from a checklist, it’s about truly experiencing what a destination has to offer with all my senses. It means taking time off from my everyday life to grow as a person by immersing myself in the culture, the language, the smells and tastes of local specialties and feeling the warmth of the locals…

I learnt the joy of travel with my family in my early years, then on a budget in my student years, luxury holidays with my husband and more recently sharing the love of travel with my two little boys. I am lucky to live in Australia and even luckier to have travelled to many parts of this remarkable land with its diverse landscapes. From wineries in Orange, Hunter & Barossa Valleys to snorkelling and diving in the Whitsundays & Great Barrier Reef, 4-wheel driving trips in Fraser Island to penguin viewing in Kangaroo Island & Tasmania. I have enjoyed short getaways along the NSW coast as well as the trendy café culture and nightlife of Melbourne & Brisbane. The sounds of Silence dinner at Uluru, breakfast with the birds in Queensland and introducing snow to my young boys for the first time are some of the highlights of my Australian adventures. Not so far away in New Zealand, I especially enjoyed the Heli-hike at the Franz Josef glaciers and the breathtaking beauty of Milford Sound.

Australia or New Zealand, Asia or Europe, organised tours or self-drive holidays are all trips I can help arrange. After 15 years in the travel industry in leisure and corporate travel, and now specialising in family holidays with kids, I have come to understand that each stage of life demands a different travel style – So tell me your travel dreams and let me find the best imaginable trip for you!

Travel Expert

Julie Revett

Booking your holiday can be quite involved, daunting & costly. I am here to find you the best deals, take the stress out of planning your well deserved break & make your holiday fun.

My love of travel began 20 years ago. I am lucky enough to have travelled widely to destinations such as domestic Australia, Indonesia, Singapore (yes, 22 times!) Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, India, China, Hong Kong, Jamaica (having been married on Onassis’ yacht!) Mauritius, Fiji, New Zealand (both North and South Island) Paris, England and Scotland, USA and Canada. I have even sailed a few cruises!
My clients book with me because they know I listen to their needs. I have the experience and first hand knowledge to give recommendations which are tailored to your requirements and more importantly I can save you time and money. Satisfaction is the number one element for me as a professional travel planner. Most of my clients will come by me, from recommendations from one of their friends, colleagues or family letting them know about their fantastic holiday experiences.

So, next time you are looking for the perfect holiday please call me. I guarantee to provide you with the highest possible level of personal service coupled with enthusiasm, reliability and most importantly my own extensive travel history.

Travel is indeed my passion not just my job.

Travel Expert

Jasmine Porteous

My passion for travel started at an early age, as my family travelled biennially to Singapore to visit relatives. I was drawn in by the incredible food, captured by the culture and traditions, and addicted to the different sights, sounds and experiences that these holidays gave us. I couldn’t wait to finish school, so I could explore more and see the world!

I’ve spent 9 months travelling across India and Nepal on a motorbike, a month white-water rafting down the Grand Canyon, spotted the “Big 5” on safari in Kenya, cooked with monks in Dharamsala, sipped schnapps in the Austrian Alps, soaked in hot pools in Budapest, travelled through 31 different countries and lived in New Zealand, Canada and Uganda, but my home country, Australia is still my favourite. I love our diverse landscapes, the vibrant colours and the sheer, wonderous scale of our country. Some of my personal favourites include hiking in Tasmania, scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, befriending the quokkas on Rottnest Island and sipping lattes by the harbour in Sydney.

Through Backroads Australia, I’m able to share my knowledge, passion and love for travel and help others experience some of the incredible wonders that Australia has to offer. I promise to dedicate my time with a personalised service to ensure that your journey is memorable, stress-free and as seamless as possible. Get in touch at any time, to let me help you make your Aussie travel dreams come true!

Travel Expert

Lisa Chew

Travel has always been a big part of my life. I should have known when I was planning the itinerary for our big family holiday to the USA when I was 13 that becoming a travel agent was inevitable. From picking the hotels and how many nights in each city, to the route for the drive and what we would do once we got there, I loved piecing it all together.

Fast forward to today and the only thing that’s changed is that I’m now sharing that excitement, passion and experience with others. Planning a food tour in the Barossa Valley? Sail around the Whitsundays? How about a wildlife tour of Kangaroo Island? Whether you’re travelling for the first time, or the 100th time, there’s always something new to discover, and I’m here to help.

Travel Expert

Bronte Askew

New adventures and exploring off the beaten track destinations has always been a passion of mine. Whether that be trekking through remote rainforests, fishing in a pristine lake, laying on a secluded beach or shopping in a 5 star mall.

Growing up on the Gold Coast I was lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful beaches, unique rainforests, and a large selection of theme parks. Living in the tourism capital of Australia I was exposed to large volumes of tourist activity and people from diverse cultures.

My favorite part of working as a travel expert is that I get to share my experience and knowledge with people who love adventure and are looking to explore new destinations.

Some of my favourite destinations are Italy,  Indonesia and many beautiful locations around Australia. If you’re looking for a fun and adventurous holiday, I am here to help you make this come true.

Our Company

Travelcation Group

Backroads Australia & New Zealand is part of The Travelcation Group, a collective of the following brands:

Travelcation is a ATAS accredited travel agency that focuses on the personal needs of our travellers.  

With our staffs based in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia, we want to make the experience of booking travel easy and painless starting with our flexible hours to service you at a time that is more suitable to you.

Our team of experienced travellers will offer you top service with competitive pricing, the option to pay off your holiday over 12 months interest-free, and will inspire you to visit destinations you never thought of.

Backroads Australia & New Zealand is an inbound tour operator, wholesaler and destination management company. We create bespoke itineraries for tour companies and travel agents around the world who are looking to bring their customers to Australia.
With our extensive knowledge of this wonderful region we call home, we want to share it with the world.

Whatever your holiday style, budget, needs, or desires, we have Australia & New Zealand covered. Backpacking on a shoestring budget or living it up in luxury. Chartering a group tour with a specific language guide or planning corporate function. We will look after all your needs. ​

Plant a Tree Program

More people than ever are traveling and seeing this amazing world. The Travelcation Group is taking responsibility to promote ecotourism and minimise the carbon footprint of our travellers. In partnership with Carbon Neutral, we are committed to planting one tree for every booking we make. Together we can leave the earth in a better place than we found it.