Outsiders Club

Dream Wyangala Park Manager Role for Barbara Konstantakis

20 Jun 2023
5 minutes

A CHANCE visit to Wyangala helped tourism veteran Barbara Konstantakis land her dream role as the new park manager of the Wyangala and Grabine sites of Reflections Holiday Park.

Only recently appointed to manage the two parks, Ms Konstantakis already has plans to launch a cinema under the stars experience at Reflections Wyangala in the coming warmer months.

While her “day job” is managing the 2800 hectares across the two parks, linked by Wyangala dam, you may see Ms Konstantakis in another community role.

“I’ve just signed up with the Rural Fire Service and I’ve also got a truck licence, and I help on the odd hay run,” the 52-year-old mum-of-three says.

Raised in Wagga by nature-loving Greek migrant parents, Ms Konstantakis’ childhood was anchored in the outdoors: the family would drive five hours to Bermagui caravan park, set up their tent in the dark and rise at dawn to fish. Sometimes the family slept in their station wagon at Eden wharf.

After high school, she moved to Tumbarumba, where she worked at the Boral Timber Mill and raised her children. Moving to Batemans Bay, she worked at the Eurobadalla-Bateman’s Bay Visitor Centre and was named Employee of the Year within months and soon became manager.

“I love the water, nature, and I fish, and the role and was all about helping guests have a better experience than they expected,” she recalls.

Ms Konstantakis worked in the hotel industry before she heard about the Reflections park manager role during a chance trip to Wyangala in January.

“It was just serendipity, I have been fishing at many lakes with my Dad, all over NSW and had never been to [Reflections] Wyangala. I was blown away by all the estuaries and went driving around here.”

Ms Konstantakis, who has a boat and uses the tinny of her late father, Savvas, is enjoying the challenge of managing two parks that attract 39,173 visitors a year.

Reflections is a social enterprise that reinvests all profits back into its parks, and its values were one of the reasons Ms Konstantakis applied for the job.

“I grew up in nature and was taught to respect both, and I knew Reflections was all about nature-driven holidays …. Being outdoors is my heart and my passion.”

Planning to launch the outdoor cinema experience, Ms Konstantakis is hoping to partner with community organisations and businesses, from caterers to wineries.

“Weather permitting, we are thinking of staging it right in front of the camp kitchen where there is a fire pit, maybe get the camp oven going, with lovely water views before the sun goes.”

Ms Konstantakis is loving the diversity of her job and the water commute between the parks, as well as the community involvement.

“Growing up with Greek immigrant parents was tough, and it was local groups that we got involved with who helped us and when I was in Batemans Bay and became a sole parent, it was the local surf life-saving clubs and the AFL club that helped us,” she says.

“It’s a way of me giving back. I know how important they are because they helped me. I want to be involved in community.”

Ms Konstantakis says that Wyangala is the perfect spot for a nature-based experience, where you can turn your phone off and unwind.