About me

Life before Swoop


Growing up in New Zealand, I always had an interest in learning what lay geographically further south. Christchurch is my hometown and one of five ‘Gateways to Antarctica’. Its connection with the White Continent spans over a hundred years: thousands of people turned out to farewell Scott’s 1901 Discovery expedition, Shackleton visited numerous times as he was preparing to go south, and Amundsen gave a public lecture in December 1912 to the city's people after he returned from the South Pole. These days, Christchurch plays host to American and Kiwi researchers and staff heading south to McMurdo and Scott Base, so our ties to Antarctica are still very strong.

Growing up in a family that was always keen to explore the outdoors opened my eyes to New Zealand’s unique birdlife. The Subantarctic Islands south of the nation are known as the 'Albatross Isles' and play host to thousands of seabirds. I was lucky enough to visit these UNESCO World Heritage Sites for the first time in 2010, and the gigantic colourful megaherbs, epic birdlife and rugged scenery blew me away.

My Antarctic experience

Cassia, a Swoop polar expert, poses in the snow

My most memorable experiences include being one of the very few to stand where time has stood still in the early explorers’ Antarctic huts on Ross Island; sitting quietly in the bright sun on the ship’s bow cruising through an iceberg graveyard as penguins bobbed on ice floes; watching hundreds of minke whales and orca encircling the ship while the Transantarctic Mountains glistened in the background; and being surrounded by inquisitive elephant seal pups and curious royal penguins at Macquarie Island.

Witnessing the colour, noise and drama of a 500,000-strong colony of king penguins on South Georgia Island is an experience like no other. Visiting Gold Harbour, where the creatures huddle in front of a spectacular calving glacier, is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Seeing five penguin species on one beach on the Falkland Islands was an unexpected delight. I loved cruising through iridescent icebergs at Spert Island, the intensity of the blues and greens so strong that previously I couldn’t even imagine that the colours existed in nature.

Why I love polar travel

Being in Antarctica makes me feel both very small and connected with the earth. A trip to the White Continent is on nature’s terms – you’re a visitor to this incredible environment. Every Antarctic experience is different and awe-inspiring, and it is always an absolute privilege to visit.

When you’re down on the ice, I strongly recommend taking some time for yourself. Find a sunny spot on a pebbly beach, or by a bustling penguin rookery, and leave your camera alone, if only for a minute or two, to truly take in your incredibly unique surroundings. Swap the holiday queues and the vacation traffic for penguin traffic jams and lines of icebergs. Antarctica is breathtaking.

Cassia, an Antarctica experts, poses in sunglasses

Day to day at Swoop

In September 2018, after 10 years of working in the polar industry, I joined Swoop as a Polar Specialist. I love connecting travellers with the best option for them to explore the polar regions – which ship to travel on, when to go and what size vessel.


Inexpressible Island, Antarctica

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What our customers think of Cassia

10/10 - I am so glad I booked my trip through Swoop and not through the expedition operator. Cassia and Kate answered all of my hundreds of questions so that I was completely prepared for my trip. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2023

Preetee Singhal - USA

Cassia and Carola were so wonderful and made sure that the trip would live up to our expectations. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2023

Penelope Simcox - New Zealand

Thank you so much!! It all looks incredible and absolutely perfect. We went from being completely overwhelmed by our options to really feeling confident that this is the perfect itinerary for our Antarctic adventure.

Travelled: May 2022

Dan & Erica McCoy - United States Of America

Thank you so much for all of your help, Cassia! We greatly appreciated all of the insight you were able to provide for the various expedition choices. We're so excited for this trip.

Travelled: April 2022

Waverly and Jeff - United States Of America

The care and detailed attention to booking and seeing the journey through from start to end was the best one could ever expect. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2021

Karen Getzel - USA

Swoop did the best job we could have possibly asked for. A seem less and worry free travel experience! Read the full review

Travelled: February 2020

Vincent Ochwat - United States Of America

Very organized and thorough with our travel planning. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2020

Patty Hunt - United States Of America

Very organized, and great follow through. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2020

Alice Chen - United States Of America

Swoop made the process really easy from start to finish with accurate and helpful info. on activities, costs, etc. It was nice to receive a full itinerary prior to leaving home, which included all of our flight info., hotels, tour details, recommendations on taxis in the various cities, etc. Well done! Read the full review

Travelled: February 2020

George Parson - Australia

Emma, Cassia and Charlotte have all helped make our adventure the holiday of a lifetime. Thank you so much. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2020

Janette Harrison - Australia

The close follow-ups and reminders before the voyage, they are detailed and personal and I felt attended to. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2020

Kwan Fitzgibbon - United States Of America

Beginning with communiques, Swoop made everything happen smoothly within a tight timeframe. Thank you, Cassie and Aimee. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2020

Kara Knox - United States Of America

Swoop were responsive and knowledgeable about what every ship offered and did a good job of steering us to the perfect ship. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2020

Marmie - United States Of America

Very well organised with excellent information for pre travel preparations. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2020

Agatha Reyes - Thailand

Swoop did a great job with personal contact and organizing the trip. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2020

Darlene Culver - United States Of America

Well organized and very professional. Very nice people to work with. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2020

John Cox - United States Of America

We appreciated the information and preparation--felt well-prepared for the trip and therefore able to enjoy. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2020

Glenda Durano - United States Of America

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Aimee, Cassia and Saffron were fantastic! Read the full review

Travelled: January 2020

Susan Tinkler - Australia

I loved all the information you have provided to us upfront in order to make this journey an unforgettable experience :) Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Günter & Sabine - Austria

The team was super professional, friendly, responsive, awesome. Thumbs up for making our trip as enjoyable as it was. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Günter & Sabine - Austria

I just want to thank you for helping us making this experience. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2019

Sabine - Austria

I'm extremely satisfied with the service. Swoop team provided me tons of information and followed up with me every step of the way. I had no questions left unanswered before I left for my trip. Cassia also called me before my trip to wish me 'Good Luck' which was very sweet. I've already started recommending Swoop to my friends for their Antarctic adventures. Read the full review

Travelled: March 2019

Abhi Pal - United States Of America

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Thank you for your information and always being there to ensure my safety and to answer questions when I needed. Prompt return of calls and emails were second to none. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2019

Marie Pryce - Australia


Ready to plan your Antarctic adventure?



We'll spend some time listening to your aspirations, then discuss the kind of experience that might suit you.



Next we'll discuss the options, shortlist the best trips for you and present you our impartial recommendations.



We'll place a 24 hour hold on your preferred option - without obligation - whilst we talk through the details.

With over 100 years of Antarctic experience between us, we can help guide you to exactly the right trip for you.