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Golden Compass CEO and Tour Leader Mark Goodwin
Mark Goodwin (Golden Compass CEO)

Mark Goodwin has been in the travel profession for over 30 years, first as a tour guide, then rose to Director of operations with SAGA Holidays, the UK's leading tour operator for the senior market, as Commercial Director with Rank Education, one of Britain's leading educational operators, as Director of Operations with the Travel Organisation, the UK's leading conference and incentive Operator and most recently 22 years as President and CEO of Golden Compass before his recent retirement in 2017. Over 25 years of his career have been involved with the educational Group Travel Market.

Mark is double Hons graduate from Kings College London in Modern Languages – French and German, an Associate of Kings College (Divinity) and a Fellow of the Institute of Travel & Tourism as well as a past Member of the Institute of Directors.

He has taught in France as well as spending significant periods of time in Germany, Italy and Austria as well as traveling extensively through almost all of Europe and North Africa. Mark led our Balkan Discovery tour in 2015 and 2017. 


Jim Archibald

Jim Archibald's University majors are in those interesting but somewhat abstruse subject areas of English Literature, Political Science and Australian History.

Jim’s career began with the Australian Federal Government and mainly as a diplomat who specialised in trade issues. His postings were in the USA, Japan and Papua New Guinea. Because of this experience, Jim was lured into the Australian mining industry as a  marketer  of  energy  commodities  like  coal  and  natural  gas.  His  customer  base covered all of Asia, especially Japan, India and Korea while he bought product from suppliers in Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and China. Before retiring in 2004, Jim worked as a consultant in the education sector, concentrating on the winning of education/training projects internationally for Australian educational institutions as well as recruiting students from overseas for those institutions.

Jim is an enthusiastic member of the Sydney Walking Volunteers who help chart and systemise information about the numerous walks possible in the Sydney region, with an emphasis on those walks that were accessible by public transport. Another passion is jazz and classical music, and he still occasionally plays acoustic guitar to the intense anguish  of  family  and  friends.  Jim  is  an  avid  reader,  especially  of  history,  with  an eclectic interest that includes Australian, Asian and American history.

Jim has been a keen traveller, especially if the travel involves walking or boats! He and his wife have tramped over a large swathe of the UK, barged down several of the French rivers and had some interesting walking experiences in places as divergent as Papua-New Guinea and Japan. He has also travelled extensively in both Greece and Turkey.

Jim has led a number of groups of North American visitors on Road Scholar programs throughout New Zealand and Australia. He has also led groups of Australians and New Zealanders to Norfolk Island, Japan and the United Kingdom.


Frank Bladwell

Frank Bladwell has travelled extensively in Europe and the UK, the United States, Africa and Asia, and over the past fifteen years has led tour groups in all of these locations.

He was selected as a Rotary Exchange Program student in 1971, and was based in Houston, Texas.

Following a twenty-five year career as a classroom teacher of English, History and Drama, Frank was appointed Principal of Maroubra Junction High School in 1988.

An experienced broadcaster, actor and director, Frank has worked extensively in both community and professional theatre, and maintains a lively interest in the performing arts, as well as in national and international politics.  He lives in Sydney, and has taught Film Studies at St George Community College since 1996.

Frank holds an MA in English from The University of Sydney.

Golden Compass Tour Leader George Dibley
Bruce Bulmer

Bruce Bulmer immigrated  to New Zealand aged five and was educated  at New Plymouth Boys' High School in Taranaki. He has always loved travel and, on retiring from NZ Police as an inspector, he began taking groups of Americans around Australia and New Zealand. Over recent years, he has led educational  groups to places as diverse as South America, Iceland, Sri Lanka, Croatia, South Africa and the UK.

Golden Compass Tour Leader Carolyn Burns
Carolyn Burns

Carolyn Burns has worked in educational travel for over 17 years and has also enjoyed a varied career in adult education, making her an ideal Program Leader for Golden Compass.

Carolyn is a French speaker and has studied the language in France. She has led numerous tours of France as well as programs in the Adriatic, Scandinavia, Asia, South America and China during her extensive time in the travel industry. Her career in travel spans the UK and Australia. Carolyn was one of the first Program Leaders in the travel division of one of Australia's largest automobile clubs and she helped establish their escorted tours department.

In addition to her experience leading educational programs in Europe, Carolyn has a great passion for travel, enjoying many independent journeys and adventures throughout Asia, the Americas and the Pacific.

Peter Burns

Peter Burns grew up in suburban Melbourne and graduated as a civil engineer. Following his keen interest in the natural environment, Peter then completed a Master of Natural Resources and Diploma in Education at University of New England in Armidale NSW.

Peter has had an eclectic career, working as a civil engineer, teacher, and environmentalist. He has also lived and worked on remote Aboriginal communities in central Australia.

Peter has recently retired from Parks Victoria, where he worked for 18 years as the Ranger in Charge of the Great Otway National Park, which includes the iconic Great Ocean Walk.  Peter also undertook a 12-month work exchange to Scotland, as the Reserve Manager for Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve.  Peter has since become passionate about all things Scottish.

Peter and his wife live in a self-built sustainable house in the Otway ranges, where he is actively involved in the community as a volunteer Ambulance Officer.

An obsessive walker and Anglophile, Peter is committed to walking the length and breadth of Britain.  He has completed the Pennine Way, Offas Dyke Path, and a section of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in the past two years.

Peter has lead groups throughout India, the 'Stans and the Caucasus: but his real passion of course is Scotland - where he looks forward to showing you the best of the Scottish Isles. 

Golden Compass Tour Leader George Dibley
George Dibley

George Dibley has been involved in educational travel for more than 20 years, initially as a part of his work in adult education at the University of Auckland where he was Assistant Director. Subsequently he worked for an educational travel company planning programs and leading groups of North Americans visiting Australia and New Zealand and leading groups to various European destinations. Over the years he has led groups in Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic.

He has a special interest in music and with a colleague has led many special interest opera tours to various European destinations. His broader interests include the visual arts and architecture. In the role of tour leader, he enjoys the opportunity to introduce and explore the social history contexts that give extra meaning and pleasure to encounters with new places.

With a daughter and new granddaughter in Bergen, Norway, he has in recent years become a regular visitor to Scandinavia.

Golden Compass Tour Leader George Dibley
Ngaire Douglas

Ngaire Douglas has a PhD in History from the University of Queensland. Pre-retirement she lived and worked in a variety of countries across Asia, the Pacific and Europe, teaching and developing tourism programs for universities. Post retirement she enjoys leading tours with groups of people who want to learn something more about what they are seeing and where they are going. Her philosophy is that travel should be fun, rewarding, sometimes intellectually challenging, companionable and as seamless as possible. 

Golden Compass Tour Leader Dr Jone Gaillard
Dr Jone Gaillard

Your Italian expert is Dr Jone Gaillard. Dr Gaillard was brought up in Florence, Italy, but has lived in Melbourne for more than 30 years. She is a social historian with a doctorate in Italian Opera Libretti and lectured for many years in Italian studies at La Trobe University. She speaks fluent Italian, French, and Spanish.

Jone has a degree in Politics and Social Science from the University of Florence, a postgraduate diploma in Politics from the Centre of European Studies, Nancy (France), an MA and a PhD from Melbourne universities. Jone has taught Italian Language and Culture in Florence and as Affiliate Professor at the University of Northern Colorado. She has published many scholarly articles related to Italian social history and literature.

Jone is the author of a book of fiction as well as short stories published both in Italy and the USA. Her doctoral thesis on opera librettos has also been published in the USA.

Jone is the ideal Program Leader to introduce you to Italy or Spain and the Italian or Spanish way of life.

Tatiana Karma

Tatiana’s day job is Manager of Silicon Irradiation Business at Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation at Lucas Heights. Because her office is only meters away from the nuclear reactor and due to her nuclear and engineering background she often jokingly introduces herself as a “rocket scientist”. Leading a Golden Compass Travel Program as a Program Leader is a pure indulgence for Tatiana and a pleasant opportunity to pass on her knowledge to others in her busy career.

Tatiana was born in Russia and lived in St Petersburg, where she completed her secondary and tertiary education. Since she graduated from the St Petersburg Polytechnic State University with a Masters in Electronics, Tatiana has worked and lived in several countries before migrating to Australia in 1991. She fell in love with Sydney at first sight and this beautiful city has become her new home.

Over the years Tatiana has travelled extensively outside Australia and visited over 30 different countries in Asia, Europe, N & S America and Africa. She has gained a broad multicultural experience, giving her an insight into different cultures and ability to communicate and relate with people of all walks of life and nationalities. Besides holidays her current travel for work is averaging 3 overseas trips a year.

Tatiana has a passion for nature and people and she enjoys learning about the culture, history and lifestyle of the countries she visits. Tatiana is fluent in 3 languages – English, Russian and Polish. And apart from travel, she enjoys concerts, theatre, arts, cooking and outdoors. She loves water and keeps herself fit by swimming and walking on the beach. In her Uni days she was travelling to Caucasus on the regular basis for trekking and caving expeditions.

Robyn Laing

Robyn Laing's first contact with Japan came 40 years ago when she was selected to take part in the Japanese Youth Goodwill Cruise programme organized by the Japanese government. This experience proved a major influence for the young Massey University science graduate. Four OE years were spent in Japan, studying in Kyoto. 

Returning to NZ as a fluent speaker of Japanese her skills were sought to teach Japanese in a high school, then by the Embassy of Japan, Wellington where she worked for four years and then by the NZ Dairy Board. During her time with the Board Robyn was seconded to Tokyo, working for six years with a joint venture operation on the market development of specialized dairy products. Next she was asked to work with TV crew from NHK, Japan's public broadcasting organization. Ten exhilarating years were spent on TV documentary projects across the globe.

After her return to NZ, when approached to take on the role of tour leader, Robyn was very reluctant having enjoyed extensive independent serendipitous travel world wide. Having agreed to co-lead a tour to Japan with the marvellous Ann Matheson, she was delighted to learn what a pleasure it is to accompany mature travellers interested in their destination, to facilitate their discovery by sharing knowledge acquired over decades. After that wonderful experience, she happily took on the role. Clients on tours to Japan have found her to be a thoughtful, knowledgeable program leader who has gone out of her way to ensure their interests and needs are fulfilled.

Robyn has also spent considerable periods of time travelling through the European Alps in both Austria and Switzerland.

Golden Compass Tour Leader Hugh Morgan
Hugh Morgan

Hugh Morgan holds a BA in European History, German, Italian and Spanish from the University of Sydney and has also studied German at the Goethe-Institut in Lueneburg and Berlin, Italian in Perugia, Spanish in Salamanca and Russian in St Petersburg.

Hugh joined Qantas in 1966 and his twenty-five year career with the airline was primarily spent in sales and marketing. He was posted overseas a number of times, escorted groups and travelled widely. As Product Manager for Qantas Connections for UK, Europe and Africa, Hugh scoured his area to compile directories featuring interesting hotels, tours and attractions. His skills were recognised formally with the presentation of a bronze medal by the British Tourist Authority for exceptional services in the promotion of Britain - the first time an Australian has received this coveted award.

After leaving Qantas Hugh completed his BA whilst running a travel consultancy and has led over fifty small groups to various parts of the world. Recent tours have included Mongolia, Siberia, Russia and the Baltic States; Iberia and Morocco; the islands of the Western Mediterranean; and various journeys through Italy, the Alps and the Adriatic.

A member of the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society, the Art Gallery of NSW and the National Trust, Hugh now has more time to pursue his interest in art, architecture, archaeology, genealogy ... and travel.

Golden Compass France Ireland Scotland Tour Leader Louise Shave
Louise Shave

Louise Shave graduated from the University of Auckland, in Languages, History and Music and with a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching.

She has a passion for her chosen subjects and really enjoys sharing with travellers the history and culture of countries in which she has lived or experienced. The extensive time she has recently spent living in both France and Ireland has given her an in-depth knowledge of those particular countries. She is a fluent speaker of French.

For the past 14 years, she has led many outbound programmes, especially in Europe, the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, Ireland, India, Bhutan and Nepal. She is much in demand as a guest speaker.

For six years, Louise and her husband explored the waterways of Europe on their 20 metre converted Dutch Barge. Not content with river travel, they also sailed a 10 metre boat across the Irish Sea and then back to England. Three years were spent in Ireland on the canals and rivers, with numerous adventures, followed by more time around the coast and in the English waterways.

As well as those noted above, her interests include art, architecture, theatre, film, reading, trekking, and, not least, her family!


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2019 Guaranteed Departures

2019 Guaranteed Departures

New guaranteed departures for 2019!

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Meet Our Program Leaders

Meet Our Program Leaders

Our Program Leaders are based in New Zealand and Australia, so have an understanding of the needs of our New Zealand and Australian participants. They are all well-travelled with a…

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Gold Rewards Program

Gold Rewards Program

Our Gold Rewards Membership Program allows you to experience the Uk, Europe, Asia and beyond as a local with "Live Like a Local" experiences in addition to many more benefits.

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Refer a Friend Rewards

Refer a Friend Rewards

Receive a $200 discount off any Golden Compass tour when your friends or family book with us! Your friends will also save $100 off their own booking and there is…

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Japan Cherry Blossom Tour: 30 March - 11 April 2019

In April, when the cherry trees blossom throughout the country, Japan welcomes the return of mild weather. Excitement mounts as hanami (cherry blossom viewing) picnics are planned in celebration and close attention is paid to the daily 'cherry blossom front' forecasts which are included in the weather forecast. Our tour has been designed to take us through several of the cherry blossom 'front zones', to ensure we will enjoy this beautiful spectacle for which Japan is so well known.



Inclusive of field trips, local guides, gratuities and many meals.