Deb Manders

Deb Manders

Managing Director

Hands-on and with a love for trekking and the industry, Getaway Trekking’s Managing Director, Deb Manders works closely with clients to ensure they get the most out of every experience, whilst arranging each trek with meticulous detail.

What is your greatest source of enjoyment in your job?

Arranging a successful trek brings me a tremendous amount of joy, but what I really love is being able to help others achieve what they didn’t think was possible.

Can you tell us about the most memorable moment of your career?

I walked the track with a student who had Asperger’s. On the first day he told me that he came on the track to get away from people like me who were telling him what to do. Mid way through the trek he wanted to walk with me and at the end of the trek, he asked me to play cards with him in one of the villages. Seeing him change was amazing – there aren’t many other jobs where you get to experience first-hand the positive differences you can make to individuals.

Is there a customer or trek that stands out?

My husband and I were planning a holiday to Venice for our 25th Wedding Anniversary, but we ended up walking the Kokoda Track instead. The first training walk had me in tears, but I persevered as I was determined to keep going. The group training walks were both fun and supportive. I found being able to talk to those who had already trekked as well as others, like me, who were new to trekking, helped build my confidence. By the time I made the decision that I was going to go on the trek, I already knew I could do it, and that I would be safe and supported by those around me. Whilst it was totally out of my comfort zone, it completely changed my life for the better and that’s what I want to help others to achieve.

I have since gone on to complete the Coast 2 Coast trek in the UK, as well as returning to the Kokoda Track a number of times. One time I flew my 74 old mother to meet us at the end of the trek, and then we visited the northern beaches of PNG. She slept on the floor of the huts, travelled in a dinghy, and even coped with the long-drop toilets.

In 2018, my son joined me on the track and I got to show him what I do in my job. It was very special for both of us. He has since become a leader with Getaway Trekking.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

Knitting and spending time with my grandchildren. Going to the AFL to watch Melbourne play. Relaxing with friends over a glass of wine or 4!

Tell us something surprising about yourself.

I studied ballroom dancing as a teenager!