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MOVERS + SHAKERS: Robert Halfpenny on his first weeks with Heritage Expeditions

He’s just been in Christchurch to check out the Heritage Adventurer and the Heritage Explorer, meet the team at the Heritage Expeditions head office and even greet guests before they departed on a 28 day Antarctic expedition. Suffice it to say Robert Halfpenny’s been busy in his new role. 

He’s just been in Christchurch to check out the Heritage Adventurer and the Heritage Explorer, meet the team at the Heritage Expeditions head office and even greet guests before they departed on a 28 day Antarctic expedition. Suffice it to say Robert Halfpenny’s been busy in his new role. 

Karryon caught up with Heritage Expedition’s new Head of Global Sales before he left for New Zealand to congratulate him on his new gig and get the lowdown on what’s got Halfpenny excited about his new role and new company. 

Halfpenny, who formerly headed up Aurora Expeditions, and has held senior roles at Rocky Mountaineer, Virgin Australia, and Globus Family of Brands, said that he’s always thought highly of Heritage Expeditions.

“I have admired both the true expedition travel style and absolutely amazing remote destinations with plenty of mystical-type wildlife and fauna that Heritage Expeditions has been offering for more than 35 years,” Halfpenny told Karryon.  

Heritage Expeditions was founded by Rodney Russ, a New Zealand Wildlife Service biologist and his wife Shirley. Their belief that conservation and responsible travel can not only coexist but be partners has been passed to their sons Aaron and Nathan.

“The name Heritage says it all because both Aaron and Nathan were raised to explore these amazing destinations,” Halfpenny says of the still family run business. 

“And they champion the expedition style by slowing down and offering their fellow explorer/guests an opportunity to take in the magical destinations they are visiting.  

“Too many new entrants into the marketplace are undervaluing the core focus of an expedition and sadly making expedition style of exploring too homogenized.”

According to Halfpenny an expedition’s travel schedule shouldn’t be anchored. Instead, guests should have the time and space to explore a destination’s wonders which are “often not right there on the surface”.  

“They appear when you slow down and take notice and allow them to surface — which is what Heritage Expeditions has mastered for small groups over the past 35 years.  

“And in these remote destinations, you definitely want to be with seasoned veterans who know what to look for and how to respond responsibly!”

Even more compelled to build awareness

Before he saw the product and met guests, Halfpenny was already thrilled to be spruiking the company, but now, he’s even more invested. 

“Heritage Expeditions is one of the best kept secrets in the travel industry and I am thrilled to help build its awareness with our trade partners,” he told Karryon.   

Heritage Expeditions hires Robert Halfpenny

“There was a lot of soul searching these past few years for so many travellers and there is a large untapped market who are looking for the Heritage Expedition type of remote small group nature experiences.  

“Aaron and Nathan realised that in order to tap into this growing expedition market they just needed to make the journey a bit more comfortable. So they introduced the refurbished Heritage Adventurer (a 140-passenger purpose-built expedition ship which actually is designed for 180 passengers) with its pool, jacuzzi and spacious suites.  

“To round off the fleet we also have the 18-passenger Heritage Explorer yacht which focuses on the NZ waterways and its many remote jewels.  

“Both ships have zodiacs for landings and kayaks. The product is so much more accessible with these two ships for like-minded explorers!”

Halfpenny is still based in Sydney, we’re not losing him to the Kiwis yet!