Back in the early 2000s, Suzanne and her husband travelled to Ethiopia to adopt their children; Archie and Liberty.
It was in 2005 that James, (Archie and Liberty’s dad) was going to be celebrating a significant birthday. Like so many people he chose travel as his means of celebration. Ethiopia was the obvious place to go to, a country that he’d been to twice but he knew relatively little about.
James’s mate, Chris Ramsey, was always keen for an adventure, so the two of them set off together.
It didn’t take the guys long to find their way to the Simien Mountains, where some of the best hiking in Africa is on offer – but only to the select few who know about it. The sometimes snow-capped Simien Mountains are spectacular, not only for their rugged beauty but also for their remoteness from the usual tourist route.
Ethiopia has a raw beauty; its people are so kind and open and the history intense and fascinating.
A crude plan was hatched; Ethiopia’s fledgling tourism industry needed a jolt-along with some adventurous Aussies!
In 2006, 16 crazy mates, friends-of-friends, neighbours, acquaintances and ring-ins, jumped on a plane, under the guidance of Chris and James. They headed high into the Simien Mountains for a multi-day trek. This was followed by a cultural tour of some of the significant sites within the country.
From that point on ICON Adventures started to grow as word spread from those original explorers; more adventures were added around the globe. Small-group, hosted tours to a variety of places, from Machu Picchu to Tuscany, Kilimanjaro to Gallapagos, Kokoda to Rio.
The hiking and cultural escapades started out as a hobby but soon a travel agency licence was obtained, then AFTA accreditation, enabling us to offer additional travel services to our groups and independent travellers too.
We now offer a fully independent travel agency service under the name ICON Travel.
COVID-19 has changed the travel landscape. It has given many Australians a whole new appreciation for local travel and ICON Adventures has enjoyed leading the way in this voyage of discovery.
Suzanne has also started up a local hiking group (Happy Hikers Toowoomba). This has given many people the opportunity to get out into nature for their health and wellbeing during COVID. There are so many physical, mental and social benefits of hiking in a small group.
The ICON group has remained a family-owned and operated business. Chris Ramsey still hosts a private tour each year. The main business is based in Toowoomba, Queensland, under the leadership of Suzanne Holden.
Liberty, Suzanne & Archie Holden, 2020
“ICON became part of us, part of the family and is still progressing and blossoming!” – Suzanne Holden