Interview with a VP: Goway Downunder’s Shirley Rourke

How long have you been in the travel industry?

30 years

Where were you born?

Toronto

How many countries have you visited?

34 countries, none of which are in Europe. With multiple trips Downunder of course.

Why did you start your career in travel?

I was always fascinated by cultures, geography and geology, so what better way to combine my passions? From a young age, I was also fascinated by Australia, so it’s amazing to be working with it as my travel specialty. In 1990 I packed up my backpack and my Lonely Planet and headed to Australia on a one year working holiday visa. I returned 2 years later with an even greater appreciation for its culture, nature, and personal growth.

What was the last vacation you went on?

My need to get away from it all took me to Noosa in Queensland Australia. This allowed me to relax, take it easy, and enjoy the nature around me. My days were filled with walks along an endless beach, walks through the national park linking deserted beaches, kayaking through the water ways among the mangroves, and eating great cuisine at a variety of local restaurants along the main street. I could have done a variety of day tours, however just exploring the town of Noosa gave me the down time and connection with nature I needed. By the end, I truly felt like a local.

If you were going to the airport (once COVID-19 has passed), where would you want to go?

New Zealand, to Nelson which is the jumping off point to the pristine Abel Tasman National Park, to enjoy our Walk & Kayak Break. Follow that with some R&R in the Marlborough wine region for some fabulous food and wine.

What advice would you give to a Travel Agent during these times?

Be patient. Be prepared, as I feel clients’ needs will change. I believe clients will be looking to get out and do more, experience all they can. To explore the vastness of nature with the excitement of experiences. Start to look at areas of specialty, so when clients are ready to go beyond the Caribbean, you are ready.

What is your ultimate trip for Adventure enthusiasts?

This would have to be a combination of Goway modules.

A visit to Sydney to enjoy the fabulous harbor, including a cruise like a local on a small yacht where you kayak, swim or fish off the back of the boat, sip champagne and enjoy the ambiance and views of the this spectacular harbor. Then a trip to South Australia. One of my favourite trips is Eyre Pennisula to take a 4WD adventure into the Outback to stay at Kangaluna Camp, staying in luxury safari tents, surrounded by outback. See wildlife up-close and personal in the wild, and visit volcanic rock formations and a salt pan lake. The contrast of the dried white salt lake against the red outback sand is amazing. This remote Wildlife & Outback 4WD safari is a must for any nature enthusiast wanting to get way from any crowd at all. Then back to the coast to swim with sea lions and see dolphins. Complete the stay in South Australia with a Great White Shark cage dive in Port Lincoln. Then head up to warmer waters of the Great Barrier Reef for a cruise and a visit to the rainforest.

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