Crooked Compass offers an exclusive range of small group tours (min 2, max 12 travellers).
Crooked Compass delivers immersive, perspective-shifting itineraries that challenge and inspire the sophisticated traveller on a deeply personal level, creating emotion through the powerful medium of storytelling and transforming their lives for the better.
Crooked Compass strategically and sensitively integrates the local community, aligning itself with the values of the inhabitants and protecting the authenticity of their culture, while enriching the experience of our travellers.
Crooked Compass offers outstanding examples of high-end design that contribute to the emotional experience of the traveller, using exquisite aesthetics and creative ingenuity to offer a new perspective and showcase the richness of its locality.
Our tours are graded on scale of easy through to tough. Learn more about each category.
Crooked Compass offers a unique range of exclusive small group tours personally created by Lisa Pagotto in conjunction with some of the world’s best operators. We offer small group escorted tours covering Asia, Middle East, Europe, Africa, Oceania and Latin America. Tours By Design, our customised touring department, can co-ordinate your worldwide travel requests.
Tours By Design is our customised touring department where the Crooked Compass team can design a unique itinerary, especially for you. Simply advise us where and when you would like to travel, your budget range and what you are wanting to experience, and leave the rest to us. Our bespoke hand crafted journeys are mindfully designed for you.
Crooked Compass provides a sensory way to understand the world – we help you live like a local, eat like a local, do what the locals do and seek the faces behind the places whilst discovering untouched lands and natural beauty.
Crooked Compass tours delve deep into the heart and soul of a destination ensuring you get out of your journey all you intended and much, much more. Our intriguing itineraries have been created by travellers for travellers.
Steering travellers to follow a different path, Crooked Compass’ itineraries allow you to experience the world’s most fascinating destinations in ways you never dreamed possible. It brings to life those ‘bucket list’ experiences you have yearned to do and separates the travellers from the tourists.
Crooked Compass tours are culturally rich, reward travellers with unexpected encounters and uncommon rendezvous, creating truly unique, authentic travel experiences.
Crooked Compass works with the worlds best operators who are specialists in their country, region and cities providing you with in depth local knowledge. We use local guides who live and breathe the areas they work in, making sure you experience their region, their way. We believe it is far better to have a local guide who knows a lot about a little than a text book trained Western tour guide who knows a little about a lot. Using local guides also ensures that money stays within local communities and supports the regions we visit.
Crooked Compass escorted small group tours cater for those who are well travelled seeking the what’s next and what’s new. Our travellers are curious minded soft adventurers who want to uncover something more than the mainstream tourist trail. Crooked Compass tours draw travellers with an interest in sustainable tourism and conservation for the areas they visit. A Crooked Compass traveller is someone who is seeking something fresh and unique, who has a yearning for authenticity and discovery, with an appreciation for cultures, tradition and the natural world. We call them Cultural Purists.
Focusing on providing authentic experiences where ever you are in the world, Crooked Compass has access to a vast array of accommodation styles. From boutique properties in larger cities to local guest houses and home stays within small villages.
Crooked Compass ensures that local authenticity flows through your accommodation throughout your tour without compromising standard. For Tours by Design travellers, the choice is yours. You choose the standard of accommodation best suited to your budget as well as the style you are looking for – we will provide you with the best possible options to meet your requirements.
Transportation utilised on a Crooked Compass escorted small group tour is a combination of a private air conditioned vehicle and local transport where appropriate. This may include a local bus ride, use of the cities metro system, a domestic flight to another city or overnight train ride.
If you are interested in any of our escorted small group tours, simply call or email us or complete the inquiry form one each tour page and a member of the Crooked Compass team will be in touch shortly to confirm your arrangements. If you are interested in customising your journey, simply click on the ‘Tours by Design‘ link on the touring page and complete the form. A tour designer will be in touch with you shortly.
Yes, for sure. The beauty of having a customised touring department is that even if you find your dream itinerary but perhaps it is slightly too long, the dates aren’t quite right, you want to request a specific hotel or spend more time in a certain place, Crooked Compass can work with you to remodel the itinerary to your liking.
Not necessarily. The beauty of customising your own itinerary is that you are only paying for the services that you want. As our escorted group tours are small, the pricing does not vary greatly from a group tour to a private tour. However, a private tour does provide you the convenience of travelling at your pace, your way, and to a certain extent, can be designed whilst on the road. You will also have the full attention of a private guide, so you can ask questions and learn about what is of interest to you personally, further enhancing your touring experience.
Yes. All travellers on Crooked Compass tours have the option to offset their part of their tour’s carbon footprint by donating $4AUD (tax-deductible) at time of booking. 100% of these funds are donated to Greenfleet, an environmental non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting our climate by restoring our forests. By partnering with Greenfleet, we are confident that our carbon offset program provides genuine and lasting environmental benefits. Your offset donation funds plant trees and restore permanent native forests in Australia and New Zealand. As they grow, these forests provide many community and environmental benefits by absorbing carbon emissions, protecting our unique biodiversity, restoring habitat for native wildlife, preventing soil salinity and erosion, improving water quality and much more.
If you’d like to find out more and offset the rest of your carbon emissions, visit www.greenfleet.org.au
Crooked Compass strives to be a leader in sustainable tourism. Our policy can be read here.
Yes. We love our travel agent partners and welcome you book through your preferred travel agency.
Crooked Compass is a member of the Council of Australian Tour Operators.
CATO Registered Operator No: 48335343
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This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.