Our dedicated guides are one of our most valuable assets and truly make our trips memorable for our clients. With their enthusiasm and knowledge, they bring to life the flora, fauna and history of the areas we love to travel.
We sat down with our Australian guide Holly to find out why she loves guiding, why her favourite trip is the Bungle Bungles Piccaninny Gorge Trek in Western Australia, as well as reveal her top tips for travellers! Holly has been guiding with World Expeditions for three years and is very passionate about nature and wildlife – particularly birds as you will discover from her stunning images below!
1. What inspired you to start guiding?
I always thought having a job that would allow me to travel and take me to some amazing places would be the best job. I was studying outdoor leadership and getting ready to work with school groups in the outdoors when I spent a month in Alice Springs working on the Larapinta for work experience with World Expeditions. This experience changed my focus from outdoor education with school groups to guiding adult clients.
I still love working with school groups, and outdoor education is just as important in guiding adults as it is in working with kids - everyone has a lot to learn from Mother Nature!
2. What is your all time favourite trip?
My all time favourite trip is the Bungle Bungle Piccaninny Gorge Trek that World Expeditions runs in the Purnululu National Park, Western Australia.
3. Why is the Bungle Bungles Piccaninny Gorge Trek your favourite trip?
The Bungle Bungles trip is my favourite for so many reasons... Visually, it is like something you would imagine from another planet - the 'beehive' rock formations are so incredible and beautiful it gave me goose bumps when I first saw them. The bird life is amazing in this area - flocks of wild budgies, great bowerbirds, friar birds, pheasant coucals... And so many more. It is perfect for someone who loves bird watching.
The style of the trip is exploratory, which means there is no deadline, there is no final destination. We explore as much or as little as we want - which is so relaxing and exciting at the same time. Forever looking ahead and wondering ‘What's around that corner? Let's go and find out!’
This trip is not just walking up gorges and river beds, it involves swimming through beautiful waterholes that were left behind from the wet season. Also, to get to where you want to go, we may have to do a bit of rock scrambling, even bouldering to get to some places. The best part is waking up to the sunrise and the song of the birds in the morning - no alarm clock needed!
4. What are your top tips for travellers preparing for a trip?
My top tip for clients is to have a really good read of your itinerary, not only that, do some research on the trip you have picked, read up on track notes, find out what other people have said about the trail or area. That way you have a really good understanding of what you are getting yourself in for and you can plan and prepare yourself for the trip. If you are trained up and ready for the trip, you will enjoy it more and get the most out of it.
5. Most memorable moment on the trails?
My most memorable moment on the trail was in Kakadu in the Northern Territory. We were relaxing by the plunge pool under Jim Jim Falls when a really interesting bird appeared - one I'd not seen before that was quite large and definitely a bird of prey. It seemed to be searching for something, flying around the plunge pool and landing back on its rock ledge...
All of the sudden it took off quite fast straight in the direction of the other guide Oscar, who was sunbaking on a rock in the waterhole. Right in front of Oscar it dove straight into the water and came out moments later with a fish! Then it flew back to its spot on the rock to have its meal and as soon as we got back to camp I whipped out the bird book to discover it was a juvenile eastern osprey!
6. Favourite trail meal?
My favourite trail meal.... I always get pretty excited for gnocchi night. Halfway through the day hiking, carrying a full pack, the thought of this delicious garlic tomato gnocchi with some mushrooms and zucchini (don't forget the Parmesan) really gets me excited!
7. What’s your favourite animal to encounter on the trails?
My favourite animal to encounter on the trail - you can probably guess it will be birds! In particular I love seeing the kingfishers in the Top End - From the big blue winged kookaburra to the smaller forsest kingfishers and then the really small azure kingfisher. There are still a few I haven't seen yet and I can't wait to come across them!
Our Bungle Bungles trip operates from May through to July each year >>> Bungle Bungle Piccaninny Gorge Trek