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›You are hereHome›About Intrepid
Our founders’ story
What on earth possessed two uni mates to drive an ex-council tip truck across Africa? A harebrained idea that got out of hand? A thirst for real adventure and a heap of fun? The reality is probably a little of both. But there are now thousands of travellers the world over who - 20 years later - are mighty glad that Darrell and Manch were full of ideas and crazy about travel back then. For it was this half-baked trip which led to the creation of a totally new way to travel and one of the world's most innovative adventure travel companies.
The year was 1989, and the place, the inner suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. Darrell and Manch had no travel industry experience but big ideas about how to make the 'organised backpacker' experience a reality. Both had travelled extensively in their early twenties, overpaid for organised tours run on military timing and experienced the frustration of not knowing the ins and outs of a new country. There had to be a better way.
It turns out they were right, and over 100,000 travellers a year now set off to explore places unknown under Intrepid's wing. And, most importantly for Darrell and Manch, the grassroots and responsible travel philosophies that were developed very early on are still the guiding principles of the business.
Over the years, Intrepid has grown substantially and now employs almost 1,000 staff around the globe and has locally based companies or joint ventures in 22 countries. Intrepid offers more than 800 different tours across Europe, Asia, Africa, The Americas, The Middle East, Australasia and Antarctica.
Thailand Green Award at ITB in Berlin
The princess Ubolratana Rajakanya of Thailand presented the Thailand Green Award 2013 in the category “Large tour Operators” to Barbara Glanz, GM Intrepid Travel Central Europe, during ITB in Berlin. Since 2006, Intrepid Thailand travellers each receive a special shoulder bag, emblazoned with the call to action “Say No to Plastic” in Thai and English. The bags are produced by a women’s cooperative, Tae Moh Hai. The project aims to create work and income for local families and also to motivate people to understand the importance of conserving the environment.
Winner, Preservation Category, Conde Nast Traveler World Saver Awards, 2012
In a ceremony in New York City, Intrepid was presented with the award for the Preservation category of the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler World Saver Awards. Our far-reaching commitment to carbon management and low impact travel attracted the nod from the judges.
The Preservation category is awarded to a travel company for, ‘Championing heritage, greening the planet’.
Most Amazing Tour in Africa, Tour Radar, 2012
Our 8 day ‘Serengeti Trail’ trip has been crowned as Tour Radar’s ‘Most Amazing Tour in Africa’. The Serengeti Trail was competing against 8,500 trips from over 120 other tour operators. The winning trips were determined by the amount of user engagement across Tour Radar’s Facebook apps.
Winner, Travel - Tourism company, Green Lifestyle Awards 2012
In keeping with Green Lifestyle’s reputation for knowledge and expertise in the green field within Australia, the Green Lifestyle Awards give recognition to the companies, products and people within the industry who are leading the way by taking admirable measures to strive toward a cleaner and green living environment.
Highly Commended, Best Low Carbon Initiative, Virgin Holidays Responsible Travel Awards 2011
The Responsible Tourism Awards are organised by responsibletravel.com, with support from media partners Metro, Geographical Magazine (the magazine of the Royal Geographical Society) and World Travel Market, where the awards are presented. The judging process is designed and organised in partnership with the International Centre for Responsible Tourism, and Virgin Holidays have supported the awards as headline sponsor since 2007. The Best Carbon Initiative Award recognises an organisation or programme with a replicable and inspiring approach to reducing the carbon intensity of travel.
Winner, Top 10 Small Business Facebook Pages, Social Media Examiner
Social Media Examiner, the world’s largest online social media magazine, is designed to help businesses discover how to best use social media tools like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn to connect with customers, generate more brand awareness and increase sales. Annually, a panel of Facebook experts carefully review the nominees and finalists for Social Media Examiner's Top 10 Small Business Facebook Pages, analyzing their landing pages, engagement, reader involvement and creative use of promotions.
'Sumatran Highlights', 2011 50 Tours of a Lifetime, National Geographic Traveler
Intrepid's 15-day Sumatran Highlights tour in Indonesia was awarded a place in National Geographic Traveler's 2011 50 Tours of a Lifetime list. National Geographic Traveler is the world’s most widely read travel magazine, with more than 7.5 million readers. Its readers love to travel, with the highest passport ownership, the most international and domestic trips, and the most outdoor-recreation spending of any travel title.
Winner, Global Tourism Business Award, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards
Intrepid Travel in Australia won the Global Tourism Business Award for having demonstrated best practices in sustainable tourism at a large company level. Intrepid Travel is a group experiential tour operator that takes approximately 100,000 travellers to 130 countries each year.
- To get knowledge of, learn of, or become aware of, gain sight or knowledge, something previously unseen, unknown or unexpected
- Learn, realise, find out
- Travelling is the ultimate way to discover a new perspective.
- Astonishing; impressive
- Bewildering, astounding, beyond belief
The Serengeti - home to the most eye-popping orange sunsets.
- An instinctive impulse to roam or travel about
- Itchy feet, travel bug
There is no known cure for wanderlust.
- The capacity to endure.
- Supportable, maintainable, ecological
Since opening doors in 1989, Intrepid has had a firm commitment to sustainable travel.
- The act, process, or manner of growing; development;
- Development, evolution, progress
The travel industry has experienced significant growth since travellers started seeking real life experiences.
- New; original; relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas
- Ground-breaking, pioneering, inventive
Innovative developments in online travel have made it easier for travellers to research their dream destination.
- Affected with or dominated by passion or vehement emotion
- Fervent, enthusiastic, avid
The local guide at Angkor Wat was passionate about sharing the history of his heritage.
- Soundness of moral principle and character
- Honesty, truth, honour
Our local operators believe in maintaining the integrity of tourism in their region.
- Enjoyment; amusement
- Exuberance, joy, entertainment
Travellers flock to Thailand for fun in the sun.
- Fearless; adventurous; dauntless
- Brave, courageous, bold
Shackleton was one of the world’s most intrepid travellers.