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Travelmarvel – Our Story

Travelmarvel started out in Melbourne, Victoria, back in the 1990s. Now, as part of Australia’s largest locally owned travel company, we’re well placed to help Australians rediscover our great big ‘backyard’.

Keeping it Local

During the 1980s, Travelmarvel started out life in the Melbourne inner-city suburb of Carlton. Back then the travel focus was on ‘local’, which included shopping trips, ski tours and journeys taking guests across the border into New South Wales.


In the 1990s, the wholesale tour operator was a rare success story against the backdrop of Australia’s early-90s recession, thanks to company founder, entrepreneur Clyde Harding, the father of Peter Harding, who is owner of Grand Pacific Tours.

Opening up the World

Travelmarvel became part of the APT Travel Group in 1996, signalling APT’s move into the affordable travel market. Before long our guests were offered an extended repertoire of domestic touring destinations through great value-for-money holidays, a cornerstone of Travelmarvel’s service delivery today.


Travelmarvel’s expansion continued across the Tasman, providing budget tours to the North Island of New Zealand, opening the door to affordable overseas travel for many Australians, and meeting our guests’ demands.

Couple sitting on a jetty at Nelson Lakes National Park
Fairmont Lake Louise hotel with mountains and lake

Expansion and Exploration

Back home, we extended our touring program to include travel destinations such as Australia’s Flinders Ranges, the Red Centre, the Outback and Tasmania. Overseas, Travelmarvel’s New Zealand touring went from strength to strength and with guest feedback in mind, Travelmarvel also diversified into Canada & Alaska.


As APT had been an established touring provider taking Australians to Canada since 1991, it was not long before we were able to deliver great value to guests through comprehensive premium tours to Canada & Alaska.

Europe River Cruising and Beyond

Over in Europe, with river cruising’s exponential global growth during the 2000s, it was only a matter of time before Travelmarvel’s own fleet of river ships took to Europe’s waterways. The development of our global river cruising program did not stop there either; Travelmarvel’s world-class fleet of river ships now explore Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and Australia.


Whether you’d like to experience Galapagos cruising, trace Egypt’s Nile history or explore Croatia’s Dalmatian isles, we’re on board to smooth the way safely and seamlessly. Don’t just take our word for it. In 2019, Cruise Critic awarded Travelmarvel Best Value River Cruise Line. Cruise Critic said, “Travelmarvel’s more affordable fares deliver a premium experience including remarkably good dining, wine and beer with meals, as well as complimentary shore excursions. But the real highlight is the fun and flawless service provided by every crew member.”


Panoramic view of fields, buildings and fishing boat on the Mekong River, Cambodia
Admire the beautiful views of Croatia.

Investment in Tomorrow

Despite the challenges of 2020, we still believe there’s no time like the present to invest in the future. In 2021, new Contemporary River Ships the Polaris, Capella and Vega are set to join Travelmarvel’s European fleet.


Guest will cruise aboard these brand new sister ships along the Rhine, Main, Moselle and Danube rivers, enjoying all the inclusions of our European Gems itineraries in state-of-the-art style. On board, ships will feature a Sky Deck, open for the entirety of your cruise so you can fully enjoy the views. Dining choices include the fine-dining Constellations restaurant, relaxed meals in the True North Lounge or pub-style fare at McGeary’s Bar. Life aboard is centred around relaxation and wellbeing, with key sightseeing included and plenty of time to make your cruise your own.

travelmarvel contemporary river ship durnstein wachau valley, austria
Couple on the deck of a boat

Travel is calling.

Today, as part of the APT Travel Group, Travelmarvel offers premium worldwide experiences throughout Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Russia and South America.


Closer to home, 2020 has meant reimagining the ‘keep it local’ ethos from where we began and as the year draws to a close Travel is Calling. Rest assured that now, more than ever, as part of Australia’s largest locally owned travel company, our commitment to service and innovation, and a focus on the safety and wellbeing of our guests remain at our core.


Visit to see what exciting adventures are waiting out in Australia’s great big ‘backyard’.