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The Cameleers
Passion, Knowledge and Experience

A tour can be a great success or a dismal failure based purely on the performance and abilities of the guides. That's exactly why Camel Treks Australia employs, recruits and trains the best in the industry.

On every trek a Head Cameleer is leading the way, supported by Senior Cameleers and experienced camp shift crew. 

Camel Treks Australia Pty Ltd - Paul and Karen Ellis

Paul and Karen are the owners and operators of Camel Treks Australia Pty Ltd. They have won the prestigious Best Tour Operator Award from The South Australian Tourism Commission.  They have been filmed with Discover S.A, The Great Outdoors, Totally Wild, SBS, Life S.A., Good Life Pictures and the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and Nat Geo. They met in the 1990's at a camel race gathering in Canberra. Together they have been mentored by several old camel men who share links to a bye gone era. Their lives are lived with camels grounded in nature and they believe in the benefits that this offers. They have selected, trained and transported healthy Australian Camels to the middle east and are strong advocates for wise solutions to feral Camel populations in Australia. 

Paul Ellis - Head Cameleer - Owner Camel Treks Australia, Saddlery, Camp shift logistics, Export

Paul has been working with camels for over 30 years and has over time developed a natural instinct to read them in the yards, or out on the field. Like most professions, when you've been doing something for a while it becomes second nature. Paul enjoys starting fresh with untouched camels straight out of the desert, and watching their individual personalities develop. Paul started his career assisting camel treks for Bush Safari Co. with Rex Ellis in the 1980's and soon purchased his own camels and a property to look after them. He operated a rides business in Adelaide, and for 15 years was involved with the camel racing circuit in Australia. Paul met Karen, his wife of over twenty years as her competitor on the race track in the 1990's.  Paul is an easy going lover of the nature, and known his keen interest in flora and fauna identification.  Guests often tell us how much they love a yarn with Paul around the evening campfire with a cup of port. Paul is in charge of camel saddlery and camp shift logistics. Paul is also a licensed microlight pilot, qualified in Permaculture and remote first aid trained with St.Johns.

 

 

Karen Ellis - Head Cameleer, Owner, Admin, Website Maintenance, International Tours, Export

Karen began working with camels over twenty years ago purchasing her first camels Aloka and Najara when she was 21, working alongside well respected cameleer Lionel Keegan before joining Paul.  Karen has worked across a wide spectrum of cameleering and continues to expand her understanding of camels and working with them. Until his passing in mid 2014, she was guided by Jim Lowe having had her first camel ride with him as a child; he took his last breath in her arms. Karen also collaborated on a camel training book with the legendary Noel Fullarton just prior to his recent passing in September 2015 and intends to collate all this information into a camel handling guide.

 

One of the highlights of Karen's career was training camels to walk alongside rhino, cheetah, zebra, and giraffe at the Monarto Zoological Park for the South Australian Royal Zoological Society, and establishing tours.​ Karen has most recently turned her focus towards facilitating extended Camel treks along to Lake Eyre and into the Tirari Desert in remote South Australia. 

 

Karen and her family have trained and exported Camels into the United Arab Emirates, she has accompanied camels on flight and provided a professional hand over for Sheiks staff. Since then Karen has presented in the United Arab Emirates at an Australian Government supported conference sharing her knowledge regarding camel training and welfare guidelines for importation into the UAE. Karen has been the guest of several UAE Sheiks and has also visited and milked camels in India at the International Camel Research Centre. Karen has travelled through the Thar (India), Sahara (Morocco), and Gobi (Mongolia) Deserts, living alongside nomadic cameleeers and has a deep respect for traditional cultures. Her vision has turned towards longer remote expeditions  with accreditation to operate within desert National Parks, coupled with involving her guests with the daily hands on routine of trekking. Karen is a certified Eco Guide and remote first aid trained with St.Johns, she enjoys training new cameleers in the same fashion as she learnt, through mentoring hands on, for extended periods of trekking.

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Julien Cepeda - 'Michelin Star' Chef and Senior Camel Handler

Julien is a culinary artist and qualified 'Michelin Star' ranked Chef who has fallen in love with our camels and outback Australia! All of our meals are prepared over campfires and coals with cast irons ... not many professional cooks are ever up for that challenge. Julien came to Australia seven years ago from France after having trained in Hôtellerie and has worked in exclusive restaurants in France, England, USA, and across Australia. Our guests are in for a real treat when it comes to tasty tucker prepared by our resident French chef. Julien will chef for the entire 2019 season, however you might also find him working with the camels. He has a background working with horses and spent the previous summer months gaining skills working with camels in Western Australia. In 2019 you'll find him leading and assisting Karen with the camels. Julien is amazing!

Brian Clerc - Senior Cameleer

Brian is from France and nobody including Brian himself expected him to be a natural born cameleer. Brain commands attention in the most gentle manner, and the camels listen. Brain has been an asset to the 2018 cameleer team and we look forward to his company again in 2019. Brian has a wealth of experience in tourism and hospitality and is known for his caring attitude towards fellow cameleers and guests.

Shelley Overson - Logistics, Risk Management, Secondary school camp support

Shelley packs some punch when it comes to Outdoor education experience. Currently Shelley is the Location and Compliance Co-ordinator for Australia's largest Outdoor education Provider 'OEG', although she has worn many hats over her lengthy career with OEG including, Risk Management, Group Leader, Programme Co-ordinator and Camp location - logists specialist. The entire team is beyond thrilled to have called Shelley a friend since 2014 and throughly benefited from her valuable input as a crew member in 2018. We welcome Shelley back with open arms in 2019 to look after logistics and our mid year secondary school camp program. 

Louisa Walsh - Assistant Cameleer

Louisa Walsh came to Camel Treks Australia as a guest on the inaugural Clayton Station trek in 2017. Inspired and energised by the experience, in 2018 she joined as a volunteer crew member for a 9 day trek on Clayton Station, and in 2019 will be joining CTA for the final 4 weeks of the trekking season. In addition to her growing knowledge of camels, Louisa has large animal experience working with horses, cattle, alpacas and sheep on her family’s farm. She is also the proud owner of two enormous hounds, which are often more of a challenge to walk than a string of camels! In her non-desert life, Louisa is a physiotherapist and health communications professional who is currently working in research and teaching roles at a university in Melbourne. Louisa says - “The trips with Karen and Paul give me the opportunity to step away from my busy life, take a break from my ‘thinky’ job, and do something physical in an environment I love and with a fantastic group of people. I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to keep working with CTA in 2019”.

Yolanda 'Yo Mo" - Swiss Horse Trainer and Camel Handler

Yolanda is dedicated to all animals well being. She is proactive and sees what needs to be done and does it, you will never see her sitting still during a camel trek. With over a decade of horse training in Switzerland, she was an asset to the Camel Treks Australia team  in 2018 and we look forward to her return in the later part of 2019. Yolanda has been nicknamed the 'Lara Croft' of CTA being highly intelligent, athletic and prepared to venture into hazardous zones, such as the dishwashing tubs and cleaning cast irons! Karen works closely with Yolanda and facilitated the 2019 India tour with her in January. 

Tessa Ivison - Zoologist

Tessa is a keen naturalist and zoologist with a deep love of the Australian bush and assists on our Secondary School camps with semi arid zone species identification. Currently studying for an Arts Degree and Masters of Zoology, Tessa has previously worked extensively in Natural History here in Australia and in the United Kingdom. While in Australia she participated in many field research projects and is an old hand at setting up expedition camps. When at home Tessa shares a hobby farm with an assorted menagerie, including two Llamas ( Cecil B de Llama and Skip ). Tessa enjoys camping, bird watching, bug catching and of course camel trekking. We are thrilled to have Tessa on treks assisting students with species identification in the semi arid zone we call home.

Luke Ellis - Camp Shift Assistant

Luke is the youngest son of Paul and Karen Ellis. He has grown up trekking and in between secondary school terms he lends a helping hand on camel treks. A young man of few words, like his father! You'll find Luke helping with camp shifts, driving vehicles, and hanging out with Zaki the camel!

Nat Harris - Assistant Cameleer

Nat was a guest on a 4 day camel trek in April 2016, she experienced a special connection with these interesting animals that keeps drawing her back. In 2017, Nat utilised her 4 weeks annual leave to assist with Camel Treks Australia's artist and school themed treks. Very different from her day job working as a microbiologist and laboratory technician in the dairy industry. Nat has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Natural Resource Management) and Bachelor of Science (Honours). Nat has an interest in animal husbandry; animal conservation; ecology and desert landscapes. Her Interests beyond dairy products and camels include: dancing (Latin American, Street Latin) yoga, photography and travelling. Camel Treks Australia has since welcomed Nat returning on desert treks as an assistant in 2018 and now 2019.

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Jim ' Jum Buck Jim' Meyers - Professional Driver

Jim has called the Flinders Ranges home for many years and is highly regarded for his depth of knowledge about this region. He holds a passenger accreditation license and often assists our school groups return transfers as well as looking after vehicle and camp site logistics for Camel Treks Australia. Jim is a mate to everyone, all Cameleers feel settled when his muscles are in camp, he is a father to five children and his interest in youth developing skills shines on school camps. Always supportive and friendly Jim can be counted on when a sound frame of mind is required. We love having Jim on board and look forward to his helping hands on 2019 treks.

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Stefan Wilton - Aboriginal Guide

Stefan Wilton is the archetypal Adnyamathanha Aboriginal man. He has spent his entire life in the Flinders Ranges, immersed in his culture. He grew up in Nepabunna Aboriginal Community, surrounded by family, actively practicing and passing on their cultural knowledge. Stefan spent much of his childhood in the bush, learning from his uncles and especially his maternal grandmother, camping, trapping and tracking, cooking, collecting food and learning the stories of his land and the secrets of survival. It was a time when the Elders felt it was imperative that this knowledge be passed down as it was at great risk of being diluted and lost as more modern ways were being embraced. Stefan joins Camel Treks Australia on Secondary School camps, with him students might discover the secrets of how the Adnyamathanha bush men and women survived on the land, learning about bush tucker, bush medicine, plants and animals of significance to the Adnyamathanha people, how food and water was gathered, animals tracked and hunted. In the evenings students can listen as Stefan shares Dreamtime Stories of the Adnyamathanha people. These Stories describe how the animals, the waterholes, the rocks and the stars in the sky are all connected. The Stories establish the laws of the Adnyamathanha people, of how we should live together, respect the land, the animals and each other. Camel Treks Australia is extremely fortunate and grateful to have Stefan's knowledge on camps.

 

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Our Partners

Genesis Tour & Charter / Return group transfers from Adelaide or anywhere in Australia

 

Camel Treks Australia works with and highly recommends Genesis Tour & Charter who specialise in bus charter, bus hire, school transfers, airport pick-ups and much more. Genesis have been the favoured provider for our private guest groups as well as 90% of our school camps. Most of our Camel trek offerings are aligned with Genesis's weekly charter to the Flinders Ranges. For more information please visit our web sites Location page linked below.

Genesis are a family owned company with a variety of personable staff and vehicles, able to handle single transfers right through to large events requiring 25 vehicles or more. They are located in Victor Harbor and travel twice weekly to the beautiful Flinders Ranges offering the only twice weekly service to this regions . Genesis understand outback travel in South Australia and travels with experienced drivers and a satellite phone. Please contact them for a quote as their our office is contactable 24/7 by email genesis@genesistransport.com.au .

Richard Sellars 'RB Sellars Clothing'

Camel Treks Australia staff proudly wear RB Sellars clothing, on treks and off treks.

 

RB Sellars was established over 17 years ago, and as an Australian owned family business RB Sellars has been proudly outfitting rural and regional Australia since 1996, they have grown over the years to offer a wide selection of work wear and casual clothing for men, women and children. All of their products are designed in-house and made from premium yarn fabrics, ensuring superior quality.

For more information please call the RB Sellars customer service team on toll free 1300 727 355 or email them at sales@rbsellars.com.au . Web site : http://www.rbsellars.com.au

Crashpad Gear

Camel Treks Australia proudly uses Crashpad Gear luxury swags on all of our treks: "The outdoors is what we live for. Our team has decades of experience in all sorts of outdoor activities, camping, four wheel driving, boating, rock climbing, fishing, hiking, even outdoor survival. Our products and designs are a culmination of those experiences. We know what works and what doesn’t, so when you are using Crashpad, you know that you have the very best product for your outdoor adventure. Crashpad products are by adventurers for adventurers."

For more information, please call the Crashpad Gear customer service team at 03 5300 2602 or email them at info@crashpadgear.com. Web site: https://crashpadgear.com/ 

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In Loving Memory

Jim Lowe - Thank you for allowing us to learn, we miss you.

Rest in Peace James Sanderson Lowe, known to all as Jim, Dad and Grandpa - 23/11/1933 - 28/6/2014.

 

​We miss him so very much, Jim Lowe was Camel Treks Australia's guiding light, a down-to-earth practical man with a multitude of skills and a wealth of horse, donkey and camel experience spanning over 60 years. Wagons, desert trekking, carnivals & weddings, movies, commercials and a camel beach rides business for over 30 years. Jim walked thousands of kilometres with camels, across the Nullabor Plain and Lake Eyre to south of Adelaide. He has led camels and driven teams of donkeys & horses in parades and festivals.

 

Jim's patience and skill allowed him to create everything required to complete the task, animal training, building saddles, wagons, harnesses, halters, packs & ropes. In his younger days, a professional rodeo & buck jump rider, Jim abounded with stories of fun, joy, challenges and how to make the most out of life. A quietly spoken man, Jim never boasted of his achievements. But those of us who were prepared to sit quietly and listen carefully, were rewarded with tales of his exploits and adventures, told with humour and a self-effacing humility. We loved Jim as a father, grandpa and wise mentor. Camel Treks Australia will aim high to uphold all that we have learnt and feel blessed among the many who knew this gentle soul.

 

"Jim you taught me about the true value of time, and life as we boiled the billy and sipped tea together around the campfire ... I wasn't ready for you to go, in truth I was never going to be ... love you in my heart till it no longer beats and we meet again." Karen

Noel Fullerton - 'The Camel King' - Born: 1934 Adelong, Temora NSW - September 6th, 2015 Quorn, SA

Noel grew up in the Northen Riverina at Temora. His family were fruit carters refered to as ‘bucket men’ because they sold fruit in buckets. Noel drove road trains for years and moved to the Northern Territory. It was here that one of his sons married an Afghan, Sallay Mahomet’s daughter, Desray. His next door neighbour was old Roy Morgan who looked after a few hundred camels for Elders and Gool Mahomet used to live with Noel's family. Noel commenced his camel life in earnest from his 40's and was a living link to the Australian Afghan community and the last Australian man to be taught by the Afghans. Gool’s father came out in 1872 to work with camels. Gool carried on with camels until the 1930’s. Another mate of Noel's was Arthur Liddle, Arthur’s father, Bill Liddle opened up Tempe Downs, Angus Downs and Kings Canyon. Noel told me he learnt much also from the Liddle's. 

 

Noel had a magic about him and a touch that commanded attention and respect. This was a man who knew what he was doing and I observed his personal training style which quietened and educated untrained camels fresh from the desert within literally minutes. 

 

Noel got his hands muddy in the realness of life, assisting others, we loved him for this and as his daughter Michelle stated -' the doors were always open and no one went hungry'. He accepted all walks of life, all nationalities, rich or poor, black or white. What I learnt from this straight shooting character was to 'start immediately, do it flamboyantly, without exception, and with no excuses.' 

 

I am forever grateful to have been in the camel yards with this giant of the camel world and am currently piecing together many hours worth of recordings Noel and I did together collaborating on a camel training book. 

 

May your spirit travel far and wide, may you find peace and joy Noel. - Karen

 

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