ABOUT US

Australia & New Zealand Holidays is an innovative inbound tour operator, wholesaler and destination management company with a team of very experienced travel experts to help you create unique and bespoke itineraries for local and international travellers.

Australia & New Zealand Holidays is a modern take on what a wholesaler should be, and we invite you to some of the world’s most beautiful cities, landscapes and beaches.
With over 20 years of industry experience, we are uniquely positioned to deliver exceptional service from planning through to delivery.

We are your one-stop shop for various experiences, including luxury resorts, camping trips, private day tours or unique food and wine experiences.
We have it all on our list – if it’s not there, we will make it happen!

Meet the team

Click on the image below learn more about us.

Founder & Managing Director

Jake Chiem

Marketing

Damon Low

Domestic Sales Manager

Elena Vartazarian

International Sales Manager

Saskia van den Heuvel

Travel Expert

Sascha McRae

Travel Expert

Tahnee Inverno

Travel Expert

Raffaella Gatto

Travel Expert

Tara Sullivan

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 Australia & New Zealand Holidays to showcase the amazing cities, towns, attraction and landscape this region has to offer.

Years in the travel:19 Years

Email:jake@aunzholidays.com

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”.

Years in the travel:14 Years

Email:damon@aunzholidays.com

Domestic Sales Manager

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!

Years in the travel:17 Years

Email:elena@aunzholidays.com

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.

Years in the travel:7 Years

Email:saskia@aunzholidays.com

Travel Expert

Sascha McRae

I caught the travel bug at a very young age. From my first solo overseas trip from Canada to Australia as a curious 8 year old, to moving to Galway, Ireland as a youth craving adventure at 17, the signs were there – I should have known I would grow up to work in travel!
Years of living and adventuring through Europe and its surroundings led me to move to Australia. I had only ever experienced Sydney & The breathtakingly beautiful Blue Mountains in my youth. I have since lived in Northern NSW, Sydney, Adelaide, Eyre Peninsula, and Melbourne. I have dipped my toes in the Indian Ocean, holidaying in Fremantle, and drank fine wines in the Margaret River Region. I have slept under the stars in a swag at Kings Canyon and done the base walk at Uluru.
I have explored Byron and Surfers and spots in between. I have been to a Rodeo in Guyra and the Country Music Festival in Tamworth.
Living and working here for the past 15 years, I have found my joy and passion in being a travel adviser, helping folks discover the food, music, customs and cultures of the world, be it in our backyard or abroad.

Years in the travel:12 Years

Email:sascha@aunzholidays.com

Travel Expert

Tahnee Inverno

Hello! I’m Tahnee, a professional travel advisor currently residing in Perth, Western Australia. Since 2009, I’ve dedicated my career to providing exceptional travel experiences. I specialise in tailor-made itineraries for solo travellers, couples, families and groups and offer you a unique personalised approach to planning and booking Aussie adventures.

Although I may be biased, Australia is one of the most diverse and beautiful destinations globally. It’s this beauty and diversity that fuels my passion for helping thousands of other Australians explore their own backyard and inspire friends from around the globe to journey here from afar.

I’ve been to almost every nook of Australia; had close encounters with the wild life and wildlands of the Top End (Northern Territory), walked through the dense rainforests in Queensland, skied (and fallen) on the picturesque snow fields of Victoria, eaten amazing seafood with a view of the Harbour bridge in Sydney NSW and watched countless sunsets over the many pristine beaches here in Western Australia, to name a few.

New Zealand also holds a special place in my heart. I’ve toured both North and South Island extensively by car, rail and cruise.

My professional career ranges from managing an award-winning retail travel store for five years to running my own mobile travel agency and working for various online agencies in ticketing, corporate travel, and customer support.

There’s no doubt that travel has changed and it’s more important than ever to have your holiday booked by an expert. If you’re looking for someone backed by 12+ years’ experience, who can ensure a safe, seamless, enjoyable holiday, I’d love to hear from you!

Years in the travel:12 Years

Email:tahnee@aunzholidays.com

Travel Expert

Raffaella Gatto

Travel is such an infectious industry. To be able to share my love for travel with my clients is what enables me to thrive in my position as a travel consultant.

My passion for travel began at a young age as I grew up in a European family. Living in a family with such great culture drove my passion for discovering more. My love for the industry began as young as 15 during my high school work experience.

Having kids at a young age, we began to make memories by travelling around Australia. Discovering culture in our own backyard was something that the kids really enjoyed.

As they grew, I no longer needed to live my travelling dreams through my client’s itineraries and took the time to travel to parts of the world I had always wished to.

And although I have been fortunate enough to travel to many destinations all over the world, I’ve explored many places closer to home such as the Whitsundays, Western Australia, the Sunshine Coast and New Zealand, where there are so many opportunities to experience the stunning scenic beauty along with fine food, wine and the local cuisine.

Working in the industry gives me the chance to plan vacations for people that are sometimes out of this world! I love that I’m helping create their memories that will last a lifetime.

My purpose is to ensure that every one of my clients enjoys a tailor-made holiday that not only meets but far exceeds their expectations.

Years in the travel:12 Years

Email:raffaella@aunzholidays.com

Travel Expert

Tara Sullivan

Back in high school, my best friend and I had a plan to travel around Australia in a converted old school bus.  While that never happened, all the dreaming and possibilities fuelled my enthusiasm and passion for travel, so after finishing a pretty useless Arts Degree, I found myself drawn to the travel industry.

For me travel isn’t about the list of places I’ve been or jobs I’ve done. It’s about the experiences; the memories; the anticipation in the planning; the freedom; the friendships made; the food shared; the energy of a place – be it a bustling city or a deserted landscape.

One of the best things about travel is the anticipation; the dreaming, planning, imagining and creating.  The excitement starts from the moment you decide to go somewhere and it’s an absolute joy to be able to be a part of this for others!

We are so fortunate to live in such a spectacularly beautiful country – our magnificent coastline; wild interiors; a rich and ancient Indigenous culture, so connected and integrated with the land; a world-class food and wine scene; fabulous cities; iconic sights and just across the Pacific our equally stunning neighbour New Zealand to explore

Recently I hiked the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory, sleeping in a swag under the stars.  The sky so vast and expansive, the stars so numerous and bright.  You’d think you’d feel small and insignificant but it was just the opposite, I felt so connected and so part of the universe, an overwhelming gratitude flooded me, how lucky are we that we get to have these experiences and use our knowledge and passions to create them for others.

Years in the travel:18 Years

Email:tara@aunzholidays.com

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE

Australia & New Zealand Holidays is committed to delivering outstanding services. We want you to book with confidence, knowing that working with us means you’re working with a trusted and accredited provider.

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.