From the snow-capped mountains and rolling green hillside of New Zealand, to the amber glow of the Australian outback and the multi-hued colours of the Great Barrier Reef, the majesty of Australasia beckons you to do more than just marvel. Explore with AAT Kings’ Inspiring Journeys, learn from experienced guides, travel in intimate groups, stay at boutique retreats far from the hustle and bustle of souvenir-lined streets, and return home as an informed traveller, not simply a tourist. In your group of no more than 20 like-minded travellers, you’ll have privileged insight from expert directors as well as locals, without sacrificing luxury, so sit back and enjoy the journey – here are a few of our favourites.
The Long White Cloud, New Zealand
Christchurch – Punakaiki – Franz Josef – Queenstown – Milford Sound – Stewart Island – Mt. Cook – Christchurch – Wellington – Taupo – Rotorua – Coromandel – Auckland – Bay of Islands – Auckland
Glaciers and geysers, rainforests and ranges; Immerse yourself in the scenic delights of New Zealand on this 22 day tour, departing from Christchurch and returning to Auckland. Traverse the magnificent Southern Alps from Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass on the TranzAlpine rail journey, before heading on to Franz Josef to soak in the geothermal hot pools or take to the skies on a scenic flight above the glistening glaciers. Meandering through the World Heritage listed Fiordland National Park and greeting the native Kaka parrot on Ulva Island is a must for any nature buff, while the magical dinner cruise past the waterfalls of Milford Sound will please even the most discerning foodies. You’ll have plenty of free time too, so it’s not always all-systems-go, why not wander the landscapes of Middle-Earth on the Lord of the Rings movie set tour, or take a leisurely cruise to Somes Island?
Tasmanian Harvest, Australia
Hobart – Quamby Estate and Meander Valley – Cradle Mountain – Launceston
This spectacular 7-day Tasmanian tour begins with a cruise down the Derwent River for an afternoon of Moorilla Estate wine sampling and cultural insight at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) created by self-confessed rule-breaker David Walsh and often labelled as the ‘subversive adult Disneyland’. The buzzing market stalls of Salamanca lie beside historic sandstone warehouses, a perfect place to pick up a unique souvenir with innovative Tasmanian arts and crafts, or taste some of the freshly-baked goods. On to the World Heritage listed Brickendon Estate, and you’ll get a distinct feel of home – once an original convict working farm, still owned by the Archer family 7 generations on, the estate boasts a beautiful English-style garden with ducks and geese, and an architecture made up of original timber barns and cottages. Your small group will be guided around the 7 Shed brewery and hop garden of Meander Valley, and you’ll come to learn how the Pyka family came to be salmon farmers here after moving to Australia from Germany.
Kakadu’s Ancient Secrets, Australia
Darwin – Mary River – Kakahu – Nitmiluk National Park – Katherine Gorge – Darwin
If serenity, sunsets and safaris sound ideal for your Oz adventure, this 5 day tour ticks every box. Starting in Darwin, your luxury 4WD vehicle will travel to Litchfield National Park for a refreshing swim in the cascading Florence Falls, surrounded by tropical monsoon rainforest before snaking through the back country of the Mary River Region. Your accommodation includes a private safari tent at Wildman Wilderness Lodge; as the name suggests, you’ll be encompassed by the lush landscapes of Australia’s awe-inspiring Top End, and you’ll have opportunity to spot native bird species and crocs around Corroboree Billabong. On to Kakadu National Park, an icon synonymous with Aboriginal rock art, kaleidoscopic flora and fauna and tumbling falls, before moving on to Katherine where you’ll be welcomed with a traditional song on the didgeridoo by local, Manual Parnkal who was raised in the bush.
Outback Australia – The Colour of Red, Australia
Ayer’s Rock – Kings Canyon – Alice Springs – West MacDonnell Ranges – Alice Springs
Steeped in Aboriginal history and myth, and a sacred site for the Anangu, the Red Centre of Australia is a place of intrigue and beauty for the traveller. On this 5-day expedition you’ll learn of the Tjukurpa, the force that traditional landowners believe unites them with this astounding landscape, as well as the chance to travel the domes of Kata Tjuta and circle the base of the ancient monolith, Ayer’s Rock. Sparkling wine and gourmet canapes are served at sunset, as you witness Uluru’s impressive light display, while dinner is set up under a canopy of the southern night sky. Take a dip in the Ellery Creek Big Hole and explore the Ochre Pits as your journey continues to the West MacDonnell Ranges, before it’s time for farewells in the isolated yet interesting Australian town of Alice Springs.