Karla’s passion for wildlife and outback Australia has taken her on some pretty wild adventures throughout her career. After studying zoology Karla worked as a zoo keeper for 5 years at the Australian Reptile Park on the NSW central coast. At the zoo Karla specialised in exotic reptiles as well as arachnids, milking funnel web spiders for the lifesaving antivenin program. Karla then began to travel outback Australia and fell in love with the lifestyle and transitioned into tour guiding.
In 2012 Karla joined the team at Uluru Camel Tours taking guests through the sand dunes overlooking Kata-Tjuta and Uluru educating them on the native flora, fauna, Indigenous culture, and all things camel. She then moved to the Kimberley working as a Ranger at El Questro Wilderness Park which was her introduction to luxury guiding. Karla then relocated south to Kangaroo Island guiding for Southern Ocean Lodge. During her time in South Australia, she became a wildlife presenter working at Raptor Domain providing educational free flight presentations with orphaned or injured birds of prey including eagles, kites, falcons and owls.
Karla’s adventures continued moving to the tropical Whitsundays where she obtained her Coxwain skipper ticket, learning to drive boats on the Great Barrier Reef as well as running jet ski tours on Hayman Island. It was then a move back to the Northern Territory to drive airboats, working on a buffalo station for the luxury lodge Bamurru Plains, which to this day is Karla’s favourite spot in Australia. Karla then ran crocodile jumping tours on the Adelaide River, worked as a naturalist guide at the Berkeley River Lodge in the Kimberley and then onto running tours on Christmas Island for the red crab migration. Karla’s love of crocodiles brought her back to the Territory working for Matt Wright the “Outback Wrangler” out at Sweets lagoon, her days filled with airboats, helicopters, seaplanes, floodplain cruises and of course lots of crocs! It was here that her interest in helicopters was piqued which she then moved to the sunshine coast to study aviation, graduating as a commercial helicopter pilot and landing her first role as pilot taking guests on scenic flights over the Bungle Bungle in the Kimberley.
Karla has also volunteered in Borneo rehabilitating orphaned orangutans, in Thailand with rescued elephants, at Monkey Mia with dolphins and sea turtle rescue in Airlie Beach.
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.” ― James A. Michener
I love this quote, it describes my life perfectly. I am so grateful to have such a passion for life, for adventure, for wildlife. And to be able to build a career around my passion, sharing my love of the natural world with people from all walks of life through Coral Expeditions.