Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Death of Bill Samson, tour leader on four continents

Death of Bill Samson, tour leader on four continents
May 23, 2021

Bill Samson, Skipper and Wildlife Guide with Crocodile Express Daintree River Rainforest Cruises in Far North Queensland, has died of melanoma at the age of 62.

Working in the tourism industry for almost 35 years, Bill represented the backbone of the industry as an accomplished guide and tour leader with experience working in Africa, Europe, the Middle-East and, most recently, in his natrive Australia.

An effective communicator able to inform and engage tourists about their location and environment, he helped enhance tourism experiences for generations. Initially working in the adventure-oriented sector he was also adept at problem solving and dealing with local encounters and challenges.

Born in the NSW town of Dungog, like many young Australians, he headed to Europe in the mid-1980s on an overseas adventure, before looking to extend his stay by working.

Recruited by London-based adventure travel company Transglobal, he began to lead tours for the company in Egypt, then Turkey, before becoming manager of the company’s operations in each country.

Transglobal, which later morphed into the Imaginative Traveller, was one of a number of companies of the time that offered low-cost tours in the Middle East aimed at young travellers.

In Egypt, the company’s Nile and Beyond (NAB) tour was a three week bus-based camping trip taking in all the country’s famous sites but with added elements including sailing down the Nile on traditional feluccas (eschewing the better known cruise ships), desert camping, Red Sea snorkelling and climbing Mt Sinai.

Returning to Australia in the mid-1990s, he became a successful restaurateur in the Sydney suburb of Manly, pioneering wood-fired pizza and gluten-free pizza bases in Australia.

Later he moved to Far North Queensland, working with Crocodile Express Daintree River Rainforest Cruises from 2013.

The passion and enthusiasm for the Daintree that Bill shared as a Skipper and Wildlife Guide was infectious as he imparted stories of the region with guests on cruises, providing a wealth of information and anecdotes on local history, flora and fauna - as well as being an expert crocodile spotter.

Following Bill’s death, Crocodile Express co-owner, Anja von Keyserlingk stated “it is with much sadness and a heavy heart we say goodbye to our beautiful Bill Samson. A friend, a colleague we got to know him over seven years whilst driving boats and tour guiding for us in Daintree.

“Having been a tour guide through Europe and Egypt before running a stylish restaurant in Sydney, raising a family, he later sought a quiet reclusive life on his well-established fruit farm.

“He also skippered on Crocodile Express delivering his passion and enthusiasm for Daintree’s uniqueness via guiding.

“He was a decent, openly honest and trustworthy man. Never overreactive or mean spirited but rather a quiet, gentle and friendly natured soul. His presence was forever humbling giving us a deeper appreciation of the man; with regrets we didn't share enough time together.”

Close friend and fellow former Transglobal/Imaginative Traveller Manager, Wayne Driscoll wrote "RIP old mate, the candles that burn the brightest, burn out the soonest. Gone to that great NAB in the sky, spend the tipping kitty wisely, Billy ... gone but never forgotten."

Another former colleague, Sandy Hood, wrote "(Bill was) a man of integrity, decency, honesty and unbridled enthusiasm. A man I’m proud to say I worked with and whom I greatly admired.

"You will be remembered as one who lead the way and never left a stone unturned to help rose in need.

"Rest well my friend. The road on which we travelled was long, but sadly our journey together has ended."

Bill is survived by his children Nicol and Luca.

A private family event to commemorate Bill will be held on Monday 31st May with his daughter Nicol suggesting that his friends "light a candle or send some love up for Dad on that day."

Images: Bill Samson guiding on the Daintree River (top and upper middle, credit: Daintree River Rainforest Cruises) and in Turkey (lower middle) and Egypt (below) in the 1980s.

About the author

Nigel Benton

Co-founder/Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-founder and Publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.

In 2020, he launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.

Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.

Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.

Read more from this author

Related Articles

5th May 2021 - Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas moves towards opening of CrocArena attraction

21st February 2021 - Far North Queensland loses $2.2 billion of visitor spending

4th September 2020 - WTTC launches Safe Travels protocols for adventure tourism

31st August 2020 - $11.3 million funding boost announced for Far North Queensland tourism

19th August 2020 - ISO advises of update to adventure tourism standards

30th July 2020 - Ferry fees waived for Daintree Day Tour Operators

17th June 2020 - WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo recognises World Crocodile Day

3rd February 2020 - Crocodile sighting causes closure of Queensland’s Four Mile Beach

27th January 2020 - International adventure tourism community rallies to support Australia during bushfire crisis

30th August 2019 - Popular Far North Queensland boardwalk reopens

4th March 2019 - International adventure tourism experts to converge on Queenstown

13th May 2018 - Adventure Travel Trade Association shares report on trends in adventure tourism

17th November 2016 - Australia and New Zealand ranked among top adventure tourism destinations

29th September 2016 - 30 years ago this week, America fell in love with Crocodile Dundee and Kakadu

2nd June 2016 - Queensland Government to increase funding for crocodile management

30th May 2016 - MP blames ‘human stupidity’ for fatal North Queensland crocodile attack

19th August 2010 - $15 million Daintree rainforest hub plans

Support our industry news service
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

As an independent publisher, we need reader support for our industry news gathering so ask that - if you don't already do so - you back us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine and/or our online news.

Click here to view our subscription options.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Aflex Inflatables

Aflex Inflatables are the leaders for obstacle courses, pool toys, waterparks and land-based watersides and fitness runs. They are industry leaders offering the widest range of pool, lake and beach…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Waterparks



As of 2018, TicketServ operates as SeatGeek Asia Pacific Pty Limited, part of international ticketing platform SeatGeek. Click here to contact SeatGeek Asia Pacific via their entry in…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Events / Sport / Ticketing



Playrope Aqua-Fun, are the Australian & New Zealand exclusive distributors for Vortex Aquatic Structures International, the world leader in aquatic playgrounds and urban water landscapes.…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Parks / Play / Recreation


Pricemark Pty Ltd

Pricemark supplies a wide range of custom branded membership & RFID access products for the Health & Leisure Industry. 

read more




Parkequip is an approved supplier under the NSW LGP Contract 308 for a range of products including play equipment, shade, shelters, safe fall, park furniture and school outdoor seating. All materials…

read more

Fitness / Parks / Play / Recreation / Surfaces


Aussie Strength

We are Aussie Strength. The ultimate supplier for Commercial Gym Equipment that's built to deliver in the toughest environments. From USA-Built hardcore weight training equipment from Arsenal…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness


Anti Wave Global

Anti Wave Global is the original suppliers of top performance swim, aquatic sports, leisure and pool programming equipment. Founded in 1971, Anti Wave Global is proud of its long and tested…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Sport


SeatGeek Asia Pacific

SeatGeek is a search engine and mobile-focused ticket marketplace that allows fans to buy and sell tickets for live events. As of August 2018, SeatGeek has exited the Australian, New…

read more

Entertainment / Sport / Technology / Ticketing / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business