Explore Australia and New Zealand with Private Abercrombie & Kent Tours

Cairns to Cape York, Abercrombie & Kent

From bespoke New Zealand cycling tours to encountering indigenous life in the Outback, take a look inside Abercrombie & Kent’s Australasian private tours

Abercrombie & Kent announced its expanded portfolio in expectation of offering travellers unique Australasian private tours once it is safe to travel again. With tailor-made and small group options, guests can enjoy a variety of travel experiences from adventure travel to Outback retreats. A&K Australia Asia Pacific Regional Managing Director Sujata Raman says, “By travelling on these journeys, our guests will be giving vital support to the many local businesses right around the country who have been equally challenged throughout the pandemic.”

Adventure is just around the corner in Australia and New Zealand

The 10th edition of A&K’s Australasian private tour portfolio offers travel from tropical islands and red deserts to snow-capped mountains, glaciers and fjords. For those looking for more athletic adventures, A&K’s offerings include thrills such as golfing getaways, eco walks, fly fishing, swimming with whale sharks and more. Without further ado, here’s a look into some of the most anticipated new experiences:

South Australia

A new eight-day Outback Adventure by private aircraft takes a small number of guests on a private air tour of the raw South Australian landscapes from Adelaide. Flyers can enjoy views of the Flinders Ranges, Parachilna and William Creek, Coober Pedy and the Eyre Peninsula. On this journey, travellers can obtain insight to the state’s pastoral heritage by visiting outback stations and meeting the people who reside there. Relax in pubs and hotels while tasting the myriad of local cuisine offerings from ‘feral fare’ and home brew to seafood. There are just five departures with prices from $14,900 per person.

Other South Australian offers for the private traveller include a walking and houseboating experience through the Murray River floodplains as well as McLaren Vale, Kangaroo Island and the Barossa Valley.

Western Australia

Explore Ningaloo Reef from the comfort of the beachfront camp, Sal Salis, where guests may enjoy adventures to spot whale sharks and humpback whales or follow a gourmet discovery of the Southwest. Guest can compliment these experiences with a quokka walk on Rottnest Island or hiking and gourmet picnics in Margaret River.

Northern Territory

A&K adventures in the Northern Territory highlight the Outback through experiences such as an exclusive camping safari in Kakadu National Park that offers guests access to indigenous rock art galleries, gorge walks and billabong cruising.

Northern Territory add-ons include a special access visit to traditionally owned turtle breeding grounds and a self-drive adventure into the Red Centre, where travellers can marvel at the Field of Light installation.

Queensland

Explore Queensland’s northern regions with a week-long road trip from Cairns to Cape York via Cooktown, the Daintree Rainforest and remote cattle regions. A&K guests can further explore the far north region of Queensland with a guided indigenous walk through ancestral lands.

Head south from Brisbane or west from the Gold Coast to hike the Scenic Rim, where the Abercrombie & Kent experience includes a stay Spicer’s Lodge. For an island experience, A&K offers guests golfing excursions in the Whitsundays.

New South Wales

A private Kangaroo Valley retreat for 14 guests is on offer in New South Wales with possible paired experiences including an insider’s discovery of Sydney’s Chippendale or a wildlife adventure on Lord Howe Island.

Australian Capital Territory

A&K’s take on Canberra leads guests through a behind the scenes tour of Parliament House as well as into the Australian War Memorial and the National Museum. Private gourmet experiences highlight the capital city’s cuisine.

Victoria

Discover views of the Grampian mountains and the Bass Strait while driving the Great Ocean Road. A&K recommends pairing its in-depth Melbourne experience with add-ons such as a gourmet immersion in the Mornington Peninsula or an indigenous history and heritage experience at Worawa College in the Yarra Valley.

Tasmania

Explore Australia’s southernmost state by joining a walking tour on Maria island or discovering Hobart’s hidden gems before roadtripping to Freycinet National Park to reconnect with nature. Pair these experiences with an visit to the Raptor Refuge south of Hobart, which rehabilitates native wildlife and is supported by Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy.

For golfers keen to be reunited with the links, a private charter plane can escort players away for a day trip to the Barnbougle golf courses on the island’s northern shores.

New Zealand

Active adventurers can join a local host on A&K’s six-day ‘Active Fiordland Adventure’. This South Island experience ranges from Queenstown to Te Anau through hiking, lake and fjord expeditions complemented by stays in two lodges. Four departures are scheduled with pricing from $7,200 per person.

A six-day overnight catamaran trip introduces travellers to the Abel Tasman National Park. This tour has just four departures with pricing from $7,700 per person.

Explore the Nelson Tasman region of the South Island with a bespoke cycling tour that balances views of natural landscapes with visits to artists’ studios, galleries and wineries. Guests can also enjoy the mountain experience at Minaret Station and Blanket Bay or travel northwards towards to bathe in the Marlborough Sounds. On the Northern Island, guests can golf at Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs. Add-on experiences include glacier heli-adventures and wine tastings.

Each of Abercrombie & Kent’s unique experiences are crafted by team members who travel to regions to compile the guest experience firsthand. Travellers can book trips as created by the A&K team or tailor their adventure to suit individual tastes. See below for more information about A&K’s Australasian private tours.

abercrombiekent.com.au

A&K’s COVID Safe Plan

A&K is prioritising the health and wellbeing of its guests, and in order to help guests feel confident about planning future travel A&K has introduced new measures:

  • Elevating health and hygiene protocols, A&K’s partners have been vetted to ensure all local and global regulations are followed and that cleanliness and social distancing practices are met.
  • For new bookings made by 30 September 2020 for travel this year and in 2021, travellers may change or cancel up to 30 days prior to departure in the event of a COVID-19-related reason and receive a credit toward future travel.
  • Provision of personal protective equipment during the journey in the event local health regulations require it, or for guest peace of mind.
  • Health and safety procedures followed by all A&K guides and staff.

Bathing in the Beauty of Rural Japanese Traditions

Japan Kyoto Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine Torii Gates | © G Adventures Inc.

Japan is a nation steeped in tradition, but it is in the country’s lesser-known regions where cultural rituals are best explored

It’s been a long time since my Mum has run me a bath, which is probably for the best because I’m 38 years old. So, when Akiko shuffles into the dining room, where I am basking in the satisfaction of an entirely-too-generous dinner, to tell me she has drawn me a bath, it comes as a surprise.

For two nights only, Akiko is my host – or, as she is quickly dubbed, ‘Host Mum’ – as part of G Adventures’ 11-day Back Roads of Japan tour. I am in Hagi, a quaint castle city in Yamaguchi Prefecture on Japan’s southwest coast, enjoying the homestay portion of the itinerary.

I had met Akiko just a few hours earlier. The 75-year-old speaks no English, but her kind expression conveys a warm welcome and the bath, if it’s possible, delivers an even warmer one. I lower my weight into the comically short, but indulgently deep tub and am immediately inclined to draw a long and mindful breath. This isn’t my usual scene. I am a shower person, for starters. And while the idea of doing nothing appeals to me, when an opportunity presents itself, I am quick to start wondering what I can do. But there is something about this bath. The steamy water, bordering on scalding, is just my temperature. It’s also yellow and on that note, I want to swiftly put your mind at ease. Akiko has added a yuzu-scented (and -coloured), mineral-laden liquid, essentially transforming her bathroom into an onsen experience.

I soak. And I soak and I soak and I soak. It feels considered and restorative, two things that keep cropping up during my stay with Akiko. On arrival, we sit to a traditional tea ceremony, not a tea bag in sight. Instead, the ceremonial preparation of matcha, complete with a delicate bamboo whisk. The accompanying wagashi (tea sweets), made with white bean paste, are just as intricate. On to dinner, we slowly, steadily slice and plate the freshest of ingredients – salmon, kingfish, cucumber, avocado and the rest – in preparation for a make-it-yourself sushi feast.

Akiko’s kitchen is filled with ikebana, traditional Japanese flower arrangements that she has taken the time to create herself, and as we sit down to eat, our host offers us homemade plum sake. Onegaishimasu! She digs it out and, in the process, discovers a 20-year-old strawberry sake she’d forgotten all about. We try both. We finish both.

This isn’t my first brush with Japan’s famed alcoholic beverage, and it won’t be my last. The fact that our G Adventures tour guide happens to be a certified Sake Advisor can be credited, although only in part. His name is Makoto – Mack for short – and he’s not actually a guide, but a Chief Experience Officer, or CEO. The acronym is G Adventures’ way of acknowledging that its guides are the backbone of the company. With Mack as my example, as well as Ayako, who has joined us to complete her CEO training, I can’t argue. From the moment we meet, it is clear both guides possess not only the passion and knowledge required for such a job, but the telepathy, too. The WiFi code is in my hand before I draw breath to ask for it; a personal bottle of hand sanitiser is part of the thoughtful welcome pack; ponchos and umbrellas are at the ready when the rain begins to fall. I almost forget how to look after myself during our 11 days together, and this is before I’ve touched a drop of the fermented rice wine.

At an impromptu ‘sake party’ in Nagano, Mack offers a crash course, explaining the flavour profile of each of the three sakes he has selected for the group. He then compares the three-drink journey – which started “fresh”, moved towards “dry” and finished “deep” –  to life. The analogy is as layered as sake number three, but if anyone understands such transitions, it’s Mack. Four years ago, the now 58-year-old moved on from a three-decade-career in research and development for a chemical company to work for G Adventures because he “wanted to enjoy a second life”.

“From the moment we meet, it is clear both guides possess not only the passion and knowledge required for such a job, but the telepathy, too.”

And what a second life he’s living. On our Back Roads of Japan tour alone (G Adventures runs 12 different trips in Japan), he took in the neon glamour of Tokyo and the cultural gems of Kyoto; he witnessed the cheeky snow monkeys of Nagano and the tradition of making washi (Japanese paper) in Hamada; he explored the towering sand dune of Tottori and the charming streets of Hagi. But for Mack – and this comes as no surprise – his experience is not what matters. “I love introducing good points of Japanese people and their daily life [to travellers],” he says.

Japan’s good points are many and varied, and the rewards feel richer via the back roads. Traditions are sacred and locals hold firm. They are also immensely proud to share their knowledge, hoping such efforts will help preserve their treasured way of life. In contrast, other parts of the country stand at the forefront of innovation and modernity. Its capital is the obvious example. The world’s most populous city, Tokyo is a jungle of fluorescent advertising, its citizens scurrying below with help from an astonishingly sophisticated rail network.

Yet, even within particular destinations, Japan’s diversity is evident. Still in Tokyo, amid the frenzied pace of Shibuya, we stroll through Yoyogi Park, a 54-hectare expanse of lush lawns, picturesque vistas and forested nooks. The park is also home to Meiji Jingu, where my attention is torn between the grand shrine and the countless ema hanging nearby. A Shinto custom, ema are small wooden plaques on which worshippers – and, surely in this case, plenty of tourists – write their wishes and prayers.

Whether or not you believe that spirits will receive and grant those wishes, the ema make for inspiring reading. I stand and scan, reading requests for health, wealth, love, university admissions and everything in between. But it is two strangers named ‘C & L’, in particular, who catch my attention. “I wish to be rich in adventure,” they write. Likewise, which is why G Adventures is such a great fit.

The Details

Travel for good

Launched in 2019, the Hagi Homestay is part of G Adventures’ G for Good social enterprise program. A joint initiative between G Adventures and its non-profit partner, Planeterra, the homestay aims to link the Hagi community, which is dwindling in numbers, to the tourism market and grow opportunities for younger locals to remain in their rural homes.

Rates for G Adventures’ 11-day Back Roads of Japan tour start from $3135.

gadventures.com.au

Itinerary: Cruise Around Tassie in a Prestige Alfa Romeo

Luxury self-drive tour Tasmania
Luxury self-drive tour Tasmania

Dramatic mountains, verdant rainforests, picturesque bays, sparkling lakes, pristine beaches, abundant wildlife – this is a road trip through Tasmania

To road trip throughout Tasmania is to experience the full and glorious gamut of nature’s wonders, and when you’re zipping between inspiring landscapes and attractions in a prestige Alfa Romeo, the prospect is only elevated. This 10-night itinerary offered by TasVacations puts guests firmly in the driver’s seat of a journey packed with premium accommodation, heritage locations and pristine wilderness. Behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce, cruise on well-maintained roads and take in breathtaking vistas, pulling over at leisure to discover hidden wineries and restaurants.

Not to mention, the driving holiday includes a world-class Gordon River cruise, with a knowledgeable guide giving an account of the area’s fascinating history, ecology and geology, including Tasmmania’s harshest penal colony, Sarah Island. Guests will also sail through ancient World Heritage rainforests to arrive at the Heritage Landing boardwalk, where they cant ake a peaceful stroll through lichen-covered forest and get the chance to see a 2000-year-old Huon Pine.

The National Parks Pass provided to guests also grants free entry to the island state’s many woodlands, rainforests, beaches and mountains, and allowing drivers to go back as many times as they like to their favourite places.

Time to put the pedal to the metal.

 

Days 1–2

Hobart

Kick off your trip in style at a boutique property on the fringes of Hobart. Maylands Lodge is close enough for guests to enjoy all the city’s attractions and amenities, but far away enough to feel like a relaxing retreat. It’s a perfect blend of history and modernity. The building’s past blends effortlessly with the modern conveniences you’d expect in a luxury hotel. Generosity of spirit underpins the design, ensuring this special accommodation will help you feel relaxed and energised for the journey ahead.

 

Days 3–4

Experience the beauty and charm of the west coast during your Tasmania travel adventure. Located in the heart of this region, Strahan Village offers easy access to the Gordon River. As the entry point to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Strahan is perfectly situated to explore stunning the mountains, rivers and rainforests found here. It will be a highlight of your trip.

 

Day 5

The Cradle Mountain Hotel is a luxurious place to rest your head after a day of touring. The setting – an alpine forest on the edge of the mountain – will inspire you to discover all the wonders of the nearby UNESCO Wilderness World Heritage Area. The hotel has a restaurant and lounge bar offering all-day dining. Enjoy woodland views from all aspects of the property, or wander down to meet the wombats, wallabies and echidnas that roam freely on the grounds. Access to the Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery is free for guests, making it a must on your Tasmania itinerary.

 

Day 6

At just 20 metres from the harbour’s edge in historic Stanley, @VDL is true waterfront accommodation and will be a welcome stop on your itinerary. Built in 1843, this warehouse-style hotel has remained loyal to the building’s industrial past and original architecture. Modern elements, such as custom beds and deep-soaking baths, take luxury to the next level. You’ll find everything you need for an enjoyable stay.

 

Days 7–8

The Sebel Launceston provides a perfect base for exploring the charms of this picturesque city. This 4.5-star accommodation is a short distance from the Tamar River, and within easy walking distance to the thriving Seaport dining district and some of Launceston’s finest restaurants. The Sebel has a relaxed and contemporary feel, created through the use of natural timbers and stones. The open terrace restaurant caters for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers delicious regional wines and dishes made from quality Tasmanian produce. Savour your time here before setting off on the next leg.

 

Day 9

A Tasmanian driving holiday is not complete without a visit to Coles Bay, and Freycinet Lodge offers the unique experience of staying in a national park. You’ll relish the seclusion and beauty in this peaceful bushland setting which overlooks Great Oyster Bay and the Hazards mountain range in the distance. This is a wonderful spot to discover the breathtaking east coast of Tasmania. Spend your time strolling on pristine beaches, exploring the national park and scaling granite mountain peaks. The waterfront accommodation includes a restaurant, bistro, lounge and bar.

 

Day 10

Prospect House Private Hotel is a wonderful place to finish your Tasmanian adventure. Situated in the Coal River Valley wine region, it’s a short distance from Hobart and just 15 minutes from the airport. The beautiful building has a rich history, dating from the colonial era when convicts, servants and settlers roamed its corridors. This hotel is more than just a place to rest. It has an excellent restaurant and provides unique extras such as cooking and beekeeping classes. The rooms are luxurious with all the modern conveniences to make your final night a memorable one.

Book This Tour

The 10-nights Tasmania Indulgence tour is priced from $2,598 per person.

Find out more information along with booking information here.

Itinerary: A&K Total Solar Eclipse Cruise to Antarctica

Le Lyrial, Abercrombie & Kent
Le Lyrial, Abercrombie & Kent

In partnership with

Abercrombie & Kent Logo

Partake in this once-in-a-lifetime expedition cruise designed around the total solar eclipse on 4 December 2021, which will plunge parts of the Southern Ocean into complete darkness. View towering icebergs, massive glaciers and penguin colonies on this trip from Santiago to remote regions of Antarctica.

Cruising at the peak of the austral summer, the 15-day voyage aboard the exclusively chartered luxurious mega-yacht, ‘Le Lyrial,’ will explore the Antarctic Peninsula. Experts joining A&K’s award-wining Expedition Team include leading astronomer Dr. Massimo Terenghi, former astronaut Kathy Sullivan and space scientist David J. Crain. The Expedition Team will be on hand throughout the journey delivering fascinating lectures and sharing their remarkable experiences in the field. Dedicated photo coaches are also on hand conducting workshops on board to maximise photographic opportunities during the journey.

 

Day 1

Santiago

Arrive in Chile’s capital and transfer to your hotel, the Mandarin Oriental, located in Santiago’s Las Condas district. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure. Tonight, gather with your fellow adventurers and the A&K team for a welcome reception at the Observatorio Astronómico Andino, located in the outskirts of Santiago. Join A&K’s solar and space experts, who discuss the exciting itinerary of this once-in-a- lifetime solar eclipse voyage.

Day 2

Santiago

Choose from a number of included excursion options, such as an active walking or bicycle tour of the city, an insider art walk with a visit to an artist’s studio, a visit to Santa Rita winery located in the Maipo Valley, or a stroll through the city’s famed graffiti street art district. This evening, relax and enjoy the amenities of your hotel and prepare for tomorrow’s charter flight to Ushuaia.

  • Stay at Mandarin Oriental, Santiago
  • Breakfast

Day 3

Ushuaia

Fly to the port town of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. On arrival, enjoy lunch at the Arakur resort and — time and weather permitting — take a guided trek in the Cerro Alarken Nature Reserve. This afternoon, arrive at your ship and settle in for your first night on board. ‘Le Lyrial’ features all-balcony staterooms and suites only on A&K journeys to Antarctica. Wander the decks to become acquainted with the ship, or relax in the lounge and mingle with fellow guests in anticipation of your voyage. On departure, enjoy cruising through the Beagle Channel before heading out to sea.

Day 4-7

At Sea

Relax and enjoy the special touches and amenities available on board ‘Le Lyrial’ while getting to know your fellow explorers and enjoying the many enrichment programs offered. Weather permitting, A&K’s seasoned expedition staff lead the Zodiacs towards Signy Island and the rarely visited South Orkney Islands. Typically only traversed by British and Argentine scientists, the archipelago comprises four main islands and supports a wide variety of tundra vegetation, plus offers polar scenery. Attend a special presentation from guest lecturer Kathy Sullivan, who shares what it was like to be the first American woman walking in space and how the earth looked from the space shuttle ‘Challenger’ — 140 miles above the earth. Later, your Expedition Leader confirms the plan for the total eclipse viewing.

  • Stay on ‘Le Lyrial’
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 8

Southern Ocean

Weather, sea and ice conditions permitting, your Captain navigates ‘Le Lyrial’ to the centre of the solar eclipse’s path of totality, which is the very narrow track on the surface of the earth where the radiating “circle of light” is best seen. The proposed positioning of ‘Le Lyrial’ would allow for a remarkable viewing time of approximately one minute and 40 seconds. The next total eclipse in this part of the world isn’t until 2061, which makes this a truly once-in- a-lifetime trip for many travellers.

  • Stay on ‘Le Lyrial’
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 9-13

Antarctica

Dependent on weather, sea ice and wildlife conditions, Antarctic expeditions demand spontaneity and no two are ever the same. With that in mind, your Captain and Expedition Team carefully plan your active, curated itinerary and daily excursions that may include the following areas:

Danco Coast: Bordering the South Shetland Islands along the Antarctic continent, the Danco Coast is famed for its scenic waterways. From the comfort of ‘Le Lyrial,’ you may sail through some of its stunning and photogenic channels, straits and bays.

Elephant Island: Located in the outer reaches of the South Shetland Islands, Elephant Island is a mountainous and ice-covered islet. The island gained fame after British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton rescued himself and 22 of his crew from the remote island after his ship, ‘Endurance,’ was stranded by ice. Now, only the luckiest get to land on Elephant Island due to challenging currents and weather.

Antarctic Sound: At the northernmost tip of the Antarctic mainland, this body of water features some of the best sightseeing on the peninsula and a proliferation of giant icebergs. Noted for its vast numbers of bird species, the sound is home to the largest breeding colonies of Adélie penguins in Antarctica. Look forward to opportunities to land on remote, wildlife-laden islands as well as possible opportunities to experience a continental landing on the northwest tip of the Antarctic peninsula.

South Shetland Islands: Antarctic research stations, remarkable history, amazing geological features and abundant wildlife define these islands off the shore of the Antarctic Peninsula. Our expedition team looks for opportunities to visit a wide range of sites including working research stations, volcanic islands, and historic sites as well as gentoo, Adélie and chinstrap penguin rookeries.

Each cruise day begins with an early breakfast followed by a morning excursion on swift Zodiacs. Piloted by expert A&K drivers, each excursion is accompanied by lecturers and joined by groups of no more than 10 guests. After mornings discovering native species and striking terrain, return to ‘Le Lyrial’ for lunch and time to relax and observe the wildlife. The waters that surround you allow for excellent viewing of everything from fin whales, humpback whales and orcas, to Antarctic and imperial shags. By afternoon, set out for the day’s second excursion, which may include visiting a scientific research station, hiking on a sheltered beach packed with basking Southern elephant seals or circumnavigating colossal icebergs that serve as floating homes to seals and penguins. After full days of adventure, evenings aboard your luxury cruiser invite you to unwind over cocktails in the cosy lounge before dinner in the elegant dining room. At night, choose to recap the day’s discoveries with your naturalist guides, chat on deck with fellow guests or seize the opportunity to capture photos in the low light characteristic of Antarctica’s long, ethereal twilight.

  • Stay on ‘Le Lyrial’
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 14-15

Cruising the Drake Passage

The ship’s return through the Drake Passage is an interlude for recap and reflection with time to compare notes with your expert lecturers on the wildlife, history and geology of the White Continent. Spend time on board with newfound friends in the comfortable common spaces of ‘Le Lyrial,’ enjoy quiet relaxation on your own private balcony or absorb more fascinating lectures by your captivating Expedition Team. While cruising through this historic passage, you may spot various species of whales and seabirds. The immense albatross is an especially stunning sight to behold. These wandering birds boast a wingspan approaching 3.7 metres and are capable of gliding through the air for hours at a time in search of food.

  • Stay on ‘Le Lyrial’ 
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 16

Depart Ushuaia

‘Le Lyrial’ docks at Ushuaia this morning. Enjoy breakfast, and then say goodbye to your Expedition Team and ship’s crew before disembarking by 9:00 a.m. You are transferred to the airport for your return flight to Buenos Aires, where you connect to your international flight home.

  • Breakfast

The Details

A&K’s 15-day Antarctica & the Total Solar Eclipse Cruise sails 28 November – 12 December 2021 and is priced from $29,685 per person twin share (was $34,910), single supplement from $25,065.

Special offer is subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time.

For even more astral adventure, A&K is offering a six-day pre-cruise extension to explore the Atacama Desert and the lunar landscapes of the Moon Valley. An exclusive behind-the-scenes visit to the Paranal Observatory is included – alongside its founder, Dr Tarenghi – with a unique look at the world’s most advanced optical instrument, the VLT, or Very Large Telescope. Extension prices on application.

abercrombiekent.com.au

Beyond Paradise: A Journey Around Tahiti

InterContinental Tahiti Resort and Spa
InterContinental Tahiti Resort and Spa

French Polynesia is famed for its idyllic resort islands, but journey beyond these highly celebrated destinations and you’ll find a rich history and spirited culture, writes Caroline Riches

The boules clash with a metallic clunk on the patchy grass amid jovial French chatter. In the distance, waves break gently on the busy shore. With my eyes closed, I might be on the Cote d’Azur, not deep in the heart of French Polynesia. 

Casuarina trees provide shade, but the harsh Tahitian sun has already lost its bite for the day. I wander from the park onto Point Venus, the black sandy spit that nudges into the calm, cyan South Pacific.

For the British sailors who arrived at this spot 250 years ago, Tahiti was a foreign world. If they could see it today, with skimpy bathers nattering in French, I doubt they’d be impressed. They’d also be in the minority – the beach is packed.

The French eventually claimed French Polynesia in 1880. Today, the country retains significant autonomy and its Polynesian culture is deep-rooted, but French influence is everywhere, from the road signs to the school system and food. Propped up financially by France, it also enjoys a high standard of living, with clean drinking water, solid infrastructure and one of the highest GDPs per capita in the Pacific.

The capital Pape’ete is the entry point for most visitors to French Polynesia and often the only place they see on Tahiti before they head to other islands such as Bora Bora.

But to do so would rob them of French Polynesia’s history and spirited culture. Tahiti, which contains around two thirds of the nation’s population, offers a chance to experience local life and cuisine without compromising on luxury.

On a Sunday morning in Pape’ete, locals queue outside sweet smelling bakeries selling baguettes and brioche. At the Municipal Market, tables of bright fish and neat piles of fruits and vegetables vie for the title of most colourful. I imagine myself in Paris, but as the market prattle fades, the tradewinds carry polyphonic Tahitian hymns from the windows of packed-out churches.

I take a walk past the town’s famous black pearl boutiques to Pape’ete’s bustling waterfront. Along a promenade lined with ornate lamps, the French and Tahitian flags fly side by side. Behind me, food carts, or roulottes, serve raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk alongside pomme frites and Chinese noodles.

Beyond the capital, jagged volcanic peaks of Tahiti’s interiors slope down into luscious green rainforest and powder-soft beaches lapped by crystal-clear lagoons. I imagine it was a similar view for the Austronesians who first arrived on double-hulled voyaging canoes around 2000 years ago.

Since then the people’s identity has been defined by waves of colonisers, but their mana (spiritual energy) remains strong, expressed through music, tattoos, sports, crafts and cooking.

The best place to experience the rhythmic drumming and hip-wriggling of traditional Polynesian dance is at the InterContinental Tahiti Resort and Spa, just 20 minutes from Pape’ete. The hotel is on a stunning 13 hectares of tropical gardens encompassing serene pools and a snorkelling lagoon teeming with tropical fish. We tuck into a sumptuous breakfast of island fruit and homemade pineapple and mango jam on French pastries while admiring the red raffia skirts, proud smiles and joyous movements of large, rounded bodies.

From here we drive around Tahiti Nui, a loop of 114 kilometres where lush forests, caves and waterfalls are natural traffic stoppers. The cool blue waters of Mara’a Grotto once provided privacy to the royal family and inspiration to French artist Paul Gauguin. At the stunning Vaipahi Falls, water spills from tall hanging vines into a little cove.

On this Sunday afternoon, local families are cooling off. We join them in the Vaima river, where they smile warmly but – like the occasional eel who flicks our legs – they leave us be. They just want to know we appreciate their paradise. “Tahiti, c’est jolie eh?”

“As I step off the ferry, I see why they choose to live here. With one quiet road circling the lush mountainous interior, Mo’orea is the perfect place to while away some days swimming, surfing or kayaking.”

Our resting place for the next two nights is Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort, just 10 minutes outside Pape’ete but a world away with its infinity pool, tropical gardens and beautiful black volcanic sand beach of Lafayette. All rooms enjoy a sweeping view of Matavai Bay where European explorers once came ashore, and where tropical fish, eagle rays and turtles glide around us as we snorkel through the warm water.

In the distance, the neighbouring island of Mo’orea beckons. French Polynesia is 118 islands strung across the Pacific like pearls, many of which are days apart. Mo’orea is just 30 minutes from Tahiti by ferry, a trip that’s surely one of the world’s most beautiful commutes for those who work in Pape’ete.

As I step off the ferry, I see why they choose to live here. With one quiet road circling the lush mountainous interior, Mo’orea is the perfect place to while away some days swimming, surfing or kayaking.

Fishing is a local pastime; huge fresh-caught tunas, mahi-mahi and swordfish hang on hooks by the roadside. Cooking and tasting is another. Everything grows in this fertile soil, with pineapples and vanilla particularly prized.

Wonderful places to stay are the tranquil Mo’orea Beach Lodge, where you can cook your own food, or for an overwater bungalow, Sofitel Mo’orea la Ora Beach Resort offers some of the most spacious on the island.

Out in the lagoon, Tahitian kids paddle past in their canoes, navigating the waves and reefs with a skill passed down over generations. With small tiare flowers tucked behind their ears, they flash big Polynesian smiles as they call out to us in French, “bonne journee!” And ‘have a nice day’ we did.

The Details

Air Tahiti Nui offers three weekly services from Auckland to Pape’ete, connecting with Qantas codeshares from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

airtahitinui.com

Information on the islands of French Polynesia:

tahititourisme.com.au

Rooms at InterContinental Tahiti Resort and Spa start at $590 per night.

tahiti.intercontinental.com

Rooms at Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort and Spa start at $459 per night.

tahitipearlbeach.pf

Rooms at Mo’orea Beach Lodge start at $550 per night.

mooreabeachlodge.com

Rooms at Sofitel Mo’orea la Ora Beach start at $750 per night.

accorhotels.com

Falling for North America Aboard Silver Whisper

Bass Harbor, Tremont, Maine, United States
Bass Harbor, Tremont, Maine, United States

A mesmerising autumnal palette provides the perfect backdrop for an already colourful North American cruise

Bottomless bubbles in the fridge of our elegant suite on board Silversea’s Silver Whisper: it’s a great start, and then it just gets better. Sliding out of Boston harbour on a golden autumn evening, ahead lies a route that will include luxury, lobster, Alexander Graham Bell, multiple lighthouses, a man on fire, and a shipwreck.

Not of Whisper, of course. This luxury ship, where 382 cossetted guests are looked after by 292 solicitous staff, has all the expertise and equipment necessary to deal with anything the sea might throw at her.

Being on second-name terms with Whisper is, incidentally, the great giveaway on board, marking out those who are Silversea regulars; and there are plenty. Almost half of the passengers have sailed with the line before, one of them aboard Whisper for the second time this year, another clocking up an incredible — and enviable — 749 Silversea days altogether.

What brings them back? Service that’s friendly and unstuffy but includes a butler for every suite, superb surroundings, 10 great restaurants, a small but talented entertainment team, and virtually everything, from WiFi to tips, already included. Plus, like all Silversea ships, Whisper is small enough to be able to visit ports inaccessible to larger vessels, discovering places that are both quirky and uncrowded.

‘Leaf-peeping’, as it’s officially known, is the prime attraction of this route. In September and October, from Boston, all along the New England coast, on the islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and along the banks of the great St. Lawrence River itself right into Montreal, there is a mind-blowingly vivid and beautiful backdrop of red, orange, yellow and gold leaves — entire hillsides, for mile after mile, glowing in the sun. It’s a simple but intense pleasure that is the crowning glory to what would anyway be a fascinating and picturesque journey.

In just 10 days, book-ended by the historic cities of Boston, Quebec and Montreal, with all their varied attractions, the cruise takes us to colourful fishing villages perched on craggy rocks, past irresistibly photogenic lighthouses, to harbours bobbing with little fishing boats. At each stop there are excursions offered and activities suggested.

In Bar Harbor I swap into a lobster boat for an introduction to the area’s prime industry from Captain John, resplendent in orange dungarees and a Santa beard. Back in town, I lunch on the seafood in question before taking the chance for a walk along the edge of Arcadia National Park, where a silver sea breaks on round boulders, skeins of geese head south for the winter, squirrels are busy collecting acorns — and a local fishing boat beached on the rocky shore is causing much tutting amongst the locals.

Overnight we enter Canadian waters and in Halifax unexpectedly encounter men in kilts: Nova Scotia means ‘New Scotland’, and they are proud of their heritage here. The Maritime Museum has some fascinating stories to tell: a riveting account of the catastrophic explosion of a munitions ship in the harbour in 1917 and the subsequent fire, but most notably about the town’s role after the nearby sinking of the Titanic, in what started as rescue and sadly became body recovery. Some people visit the Fairview Cemetery to find the grave marked ‘J. Dawson’ — not actually of the character Jack in the movie, but still regularly marked by flowers left by fans.

I, though, head out of town, seduced by pictures of Peggy’s Cove. It’s every bit as pretty as I was hoping: colourfully-painted wooden houses along a rocky inlet, piles of lobster pots, a welcoming cafe serving hot gingerbread, and a dramatic lighthouse on a headland swirled about with low cloud.

“I, though, head out of town, seduced by pictures of Peggy’s Cove. It’s every bit as pretty as I was hoping: colourfully-painted wooden houses along a rocky inlet, piles of lobster pots, a welcoming cafe serving hot gingerbread, and a dramatic lighthouse on a headland swirled about with low cloud.”

On Cape Breton Island, Sydney shines brightly in the autumn sunshine — but not as brightly as the leaves in the woods we drive through to Baddeck, where I discover that Alexander Graham Bell lived most of his life and, besides inventing the telephone, did valuable work with the deaf and with hydrofoils, amongst other interests.

Cape Breton raises the bar even higher with its vivid autumn foliage on the way to Cape Percé which, against stiff competition, is the most spectacular sight of the cruise: a massive 500-tonne block of sandstone just off the coast of the Gaspé Peninsula. Here a boat trip finds us minke whales, seals and gannets, and afterwards we spot a red fox, trotting calmly across someone’s lawn.

The place names are just one indication that we are now deep into French Canada, as are the baguettes tucked under elbows as people go home to lunch, the arret (stop) signs on the road, and the familiar redstriped KFC bucket instead labelled PFK, for ‘Poulet Frit Kentucky’.

From here we follow the St. Lawrence River to Montreal, stopping to enjoy not only the picturesque charms of old Quebec, but also quaint little towns along the shore, isolated in Canada’s vastness but linked by the river, and full of both character and characters. None of them, though, is so memorable as Saguenay.

Tucked away at the end of a fiord, far beyond the reach of the big ships, it’s a typically charming town of attractive French-style houses. Back from the harbour in an ordinary suburb, though, is an extraordinary thing: a huge purpose-built theatre where, for 30 years, around 200 versatile locals have performed an eye-popping show. It tells the lively history of the town, and no special effect is spared. Across the stage comes a procession that includes Indians, French aristocrats and colonists, a tank, two cars and a Jeep, cantering horses, a pig, a flock of geese, a cow and a goat, cannon fire, bombs, abseiling soldiers, a boat, flames, a man on fire, and a flood. The show is called La Fabuleuse.

Fabulous: it’s the perfect description of this cruise.

The Details

All-inclusive fares for a nine-day voyage from Boston, Massachusetts to Montreal, departing 20 October 2019 on board Silver Wind, start from $5900 per person based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite. All-inclusive fares for a 10-day voyage from Montreal to New York, departing 27 October 2020 on board Silver Whisper start from $5661 per person based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite and including an early booking discount of 10 per cent.

A Scottish Adventure from Edinburgh to the Highlands

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Overflowing with charm, Scotland is a fairytale destination where scenic landscapes capture the imagination

At just over 80,000 square kilometres, Scotland isn’t much bigger than Tasmania, yet the relatively small country packs a remarkable amount of personality. Crammed with mysterious lochs, dramatic coastline, rugged highlands and meandering glens, Scotland offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, golf enthusiast, nature lover or connoisseur of whisky, you’ll be charmed by this bonnie land.

This is my maiden trip to Scotland, home to my grandfather’s family, and I’ve only got nine days to see it. That being the case, I have decided to let the experts at Abercrombie & Kent handle the details for me. Having travelled with A&K in the past, I am confident everything will be seamless and that my excursions and accommodations will be top notch. This feeling is validated when we are met at Edinburgh’s airport by Margaret, our wonderful Abercrombie ‘Guardian Angel’ and Gordon, our knowledgeable driver and tour guide.

It’s a short drive from the airport to the very impressive Balmoral Hotel, the hallmark of Princes Street, and certainly the most prestigious hotel in Edinburgh. Now owned by Rocco Forte Hotel Group, the grand castle-like hotel, complete with turrets, was built above the Waverley Railway Station in 1902. It has since hosted many celebrity visitors including Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, and Paul and Linda McCartney. The Queen Mother, meanwhile, regularly dines at the Balmoral when in town and is apparently a keen admirer of the lamb. We are in good company.

Our Castle View Suite has a generous lounge with working fireplace, cosy nooks created by the turrets and stunning views of the Old Town and, of course, Edinburgh Castle. Talented designer Olga Polizzi, sister to Sir Rocco Forte, has used soft wool tartans of blues, greens, greys and purples in the furnishings and the walls are covered in the most beautiful wallpaper. The oversized marble bathroom has a deep tub and separate shower.

After helping us check in, Margaret gives us some tips on where to get a bite to eat and we spend the afternoon exploring the Old Town, which is less than a 10-minute walk from our hotel.

The next morning, after an amazing – and high protein! – Scottish breakfast of smoked kippers, local cured salmon, black pudding and a side of haggis, we are met in the lobby by Gordon for our full-day journey towards the Highlands and west coast. We revel in the next three days as Gordon delights us with Scottish history while we stare out the window, eyes fixed on beautiful wooded glens, braes and lochs.

Gordon also makes time to stop off at picturesque villages such as Luss and Comrie when we feel like exploring further. When hunger strikes, Gordon always has several options for us from a fancy seafood lunch with white tablecloths to cosy local pubs for a pint and a pie – always homemade and always delicious.

The High Road
From Edinburgh through the Highlands to Inverness, this is the ultimate castle-hopping road trip through Scotland
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“…we drive through the Great Trossachs Forest with the sun shining on the quiet lochs. We spot pheasants, wild turkeys, black grouse and red deer, and we get a roadside view of Stirling Castle before we are back in the Old Town of Edinburgh…”

We enter the Highlands up the mountain pass known as ‘Rest and Be Thankful’, appropriately named as that is exactly what travellers would do in times past when they finally reached the top. From the summit, the views of Glen Croe valley with a bright blue sky are incredible. Yes, I said blue sky. This is not what I expected. Where is all the rain and wind everyone cautioned me about? It’s a stunning 23 degrees and there is not a cloud to be seen.

A private tour of Inveraray Castle, home to the Duke of Argyll (chief of clan Campbell) is a great stopover, and the first of several that we explore. The castles in Scotland are a highlight of the trip and seem to pop up around every bend. I never tire of the history and hearing about the battles between clans.

We spend two nights on the west coast at the Isle of Eriska Hotel, a 121-hectare Relais & Chateaux property set on a private island estate accessible by a narrow bridge. The 19th-century mansion overlooks Loch Linnhe and the glorious west-highland scenery. Fittingly, there are several large fireplaces to cosy up next to with a glass of wine or a whisky – you can choose the deep comfy sofas with oak wood panelling in the hall or the sun-filled piano room surrounded by windows.

The hotel is a perfect jumping-off point for exploring the Hebridean Islands. A 45-minute ferry takes us to the Isle of Mull and from there the Isle of Iona. Sheep roam freely around both islands and Iona has a beautifully restored medieval abbey. In the sixth century, Saint Columba and his followers arrived from Ireland to spread the word of Christianity, and Iona was the first spot they landed. There are about 130 residents on the island as well as green pastures, sandy beaches and a handful of quaint shops selling locally produced crafts.

Our journey back to Edinburgh is just as delightful as we drive through the Great Trossachs Forest with the sun shining on the quiet lochs. We spot pheasants, wild turkeys, black grouse and red deer, and we get a roadside view of Stirling Castle before we are back in the Old Town of Edinburgh for a half-day private tour of the area including the Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Met by our enthusiastic tour guide, Sandra, we are given an abbreviated history lesson of all of the Georges and Jameses that ruled Scotland as we walk the Royal Mile from the palace to the castle. We explore both fortresses with Sandra and I take in more history in a few hours than I think I did right throughout high school.

So far, our trip has been sensational in every way, and the locals can’t stop talking about how spectacular the weather is – they keep thanking us for bringing the Australian sun with us. But I have to say I’m truly excited about the next part as we will be boarding the Belmond Royal Scotsman train for four days of beautiful countryside, delicious meals, local entertainment and more than a few ‘wee drams’ both at the whisky distilleries and on board.

We meet downstairs in a private lounge at the Balmoral Hotel to drop off our luggage and I happily tuck into some of the best shortbread I have ever tasted. Meanwhile, we ‘meet and greet’ our fellow passengers and our train host, Jerry. We are 32 guests in all, from all corners of the world.

After the formalities, we make our way to the train platform, where I hear the faint sound of pipes. Being a huge fan of bagpipes – I get choked up whenever I hear them – I quickly make my way to the front of the group so I can follow right behind the piper. He leads us all the way down the platform and onto the train where we are handed a glass of champagne from a silver tray. With tears rolling down my cheeks and a grin from ear to ear, I know this moment will always be one of my best travel memories.

The four days that follow truly surpass my expectations. The handsome burgundy and gold exterior of the train and the lovingly restored vintage carriages with polished brass and decorative woodwork create a nostalgic feeling. It’s easy to remain riveted by the scenery as it’s a bit of an undulating meditation watching the countryside hurtle along. The bright yellow fields of canola alongside the green pastures and purple heather are mesmerising and I come to realise that to truly appreciate the variety of the terrain you need to experience it on the ground.

A luxury train journey is an intimate hotel on wheels where you get to know your fellow travellers as time passes with good wines and thought-provoking conversation. The food is unanimously excellent and the service outstanding. The crew knew our names from day one and by day two, also knew our preferred beverage whether it was a flat white at breakfast or an 18-year-old single malt whisky at cocktail hour.

You would have to look very hard to find fault with this train. I did hear a few comments about the size of the cabins, but this is a train after all; there is only so much width to play with. My advice is to pack light, though they did store our suitcases for us, and ther eis also storage space under the beds. My husband and I found the cabins very comfortable, and he is two meters tall. The ensuite was thoughtfully laid out with high-quality organic toiletries and the shower’s water pressure was excellent.

The daytime excursions run the gamut from private castle tours, often times chatting with the duke or duchess of the castle, to whisky tasting and clay pigeon shooting (so much fun and easier than I expected). In the evenings after dinner we gathered in the observation car for entertainment, which ranged from lively folk music to a highlander regaling us with dramatic tales of the past. On our final night, we celebrated with live music and Scottish dancing on the train platform, a perfect ending to a perfect trip.

While in days gone by it may have been the budget traveller who rode the train while the well-heeled chose to fly, the golden age of rail travel is back. This is a wonderful way to slow down and enjoy the journey. A true luxury.

The Details

For a private journey through Scotland with Abercrombie & Kent, consider A Scottish Sojourn, priced from $10,355 per person. The nine-day tour includes hotel accommodation, services of A&K Guardian Angel, breakfast daily, private transfers and transport by luxury vehicle, daily sightseeing with expert private guides, and entrance fees.

A&K ’s nine-day small-group journey Scotland: Edinburgh & the Highlands is priced from $10,285 per person, twin share, with a maximum group size of 18. Rates for the Belmond Royal Scotsman five-day Classic Splendours journey start at $9630 per person. For more information, contact Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 590 317 or visit abercrombiekent.com.au

Bookable Itinerary: An 8-Day Safari Through Kenya

Tap into the essence of East Africa on an eight-day safari in Kenya

Take daily wildlife drives in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, discover the Maasai way of life and learn about elephant conservation from a representative of the Kenya Wildlife Service. With endless plains teeming with wildlife and dotted with acacia trees, you own’t want to blink, let along put down the camera.

$3799 per person

Day 1 – Nairobi

Arrive at any time. A driver will be at the airport to pick you up and take you to the hotel. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting in the evening, a chance to meet your fellow travellers and your Chief Experience Officer (CEO).

Day 2 – Nairobi to Masai Mara

After breakfast, we depart for the world famous Masai Mara National Reserve. With its vast open plains and flat-topped acacia trees, no visit to Kenya would  be complete without a visit here. In the afternoon, we will arrive in the area and get settled at our safari camp. Then we’ll make our way into the reserve for an afternoon wildlife safari drive, with an excellent chance of seeing the Big Five: buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino.

Day 3 – Masai Mara

Set off on an early morning safari with our driver/guide and keep your eyes and ears peeled for movement and memories. Watch elephants and giraffe grazing, photograph zebras and wildebeest, and with a little luck, you’ll even spot animals feasting on a recent kill. The day continues with more wildlife viewing as you cross the rolling hills of the African savannah. Also enjoy a late afternoon/evening safari. Opt to fly over the Mara River, plains, and forests of the Masai Mara in a hot air balloon. Toast your return to earth with a Champagne breakfast, cooked wherever you land.

Day 4 – Masai Mara to Lake Nakuru National Park 

Depart early on a long but beautiful drive to Lake Nakuru. En route, stop in at a G Adventures for Good-supported project, Ubuntu Cafe an initiative that trains and creates more than 400 sustainable local jobs for mothers of children with disabilities, and supports paediatric health and education programs in the region. Visit the craft centre, meet some of the ‘Mamas’ in the program, learn how their lives have been impacted and, in turn, their communities empowered through this initiative, then sit down to a delicious farm-to-table lunch. Continue to our safari lodge inside the Lake Nakuru National Park. Enjoy a late afternoon wildlife safari drive, keep an eye out for the resident black and white rhino, buffalo, impala, and the elusive leopard.

Day 5 –Lake Nakuru National Park to Amboseli National Park

Enjoy a morning wildlife safari drive, heading to the shores of Lake Nakuru to see pelicans and cormorants. The park is also rich in other bird life, including grebes, white-winged black terns, stilts, avocets, and ducks. In the afternoon, venture south to famed Amboseli National Park, located at the foot of Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. The snow-capped peak of the mountain dominates every aspect of the park, providing the ultimate photo backdrop.

Day 6 – Amboseli National Park

Enjoy morning and afternoon wildlife safari drives. Visit with some of the 1500 African elephants that roam the park. Look  for  other  wildlife  and meet the resident Maasai along the journey. Marvel in the beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest free-standing mountain, as it reigns over the landscape of this uniquely African location. During your down time, relax at camp, enjoying views of Mount Kilimanjaro and the wildlife visiting the camp’s watering holes. Gain a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding poaching and elephant conservation during a lecture by an accredited   speaker from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), an exclusive activity to the National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures itineraries. The KWS strives  to sustainably conserve and develop Kenya’s wildlife and its habitats, as well   as create programs to enable communities living in wildlife areas to benefit  from wildlife revenue.

Day 7 –Amboseli National Park to Nairobi / Depart

Rise early for a final morning wildlife safari drive, enjoying the African sun as  it rises over the savannah of the Amboseli plain. Return to Nairobi in the late afternoon and opt to join the CEO in a farewell dinner.

Inclusions

  • Hotels (two nights), safari lodge (one night), comfortable tented camps (four nights)

  • Seven breakfasts, six lunches, five dinners (allow US$100-130 for other meals)

  • Transportation: seven-seat 4WD safari vehicle

  • A maximum group size of six travellers in addition to a Chief Experience Officer (CEO/tour leader) and a driver, both trained safari guides.

  • A guaranteed window seat on safari 

Book This Tour:

Contact G Adventures here, call 1300 180 969 or email experience@gadventures.com

Tasting Tasmania: A Seven-Day Gourmet Itinerary

Tasmanian Gourmet Getaway | A&K
Tasmanian Gourmet Getaway | A&K

In partnership with

Abercrombie & Kent Logo

This seven-day private journey allows guests to immerse themselves in local food and wine, world class lodgings and signature Tassie experiences

This celebration of Tasmanian food, wine and culture reveals the very best of the Apple Isle. Take a self-drive journey from Launceston to Hobart, indulging in the flavours of Freycinet, the Huon Valley and Bruny Island along the way. A day at MONA challenges your perceptions in many ways and is sure to amaze. Highlights of the experience include indulging at Tasmania’s luxury coastal sanctuary Saffire Freycinet, discovering the bizarre and brilliant works at MONA, getting a behind-the-scenes experience at a raptor refuge, and touring the gourmet havens of Bruny Island and the Huon Valley.

Day 1

Arrive Launceston

Collect your rental car and drive to your waterfront accommodation. Spend an afternoon at leisure wandering the heritage-listed streets of Australia’s third-oldest city.

 

Day 2

Freycinet National Park

Journey to the East Coast, home to the majestic mountains, azure bays and white beaches of Freycinet National Park. Settle in to luxury boutique lodge, Saffire Freycinet, and soak up the landscape and views of the Hazards mountain range across Great Oyster Bay. Tonight, dine at Palate, possibly Tasmania’s most exclusive restaurant.

 

Days 3-4

Freycinet National Park

Relax, indulge and enjoy the beautiful coastal reserve with your choice of activities. Take a guided walk to stunning Wineglass Bay or enjoy private tastings at Freycinet Vineyard. Pull on waders and discover the workings of a local oyster farm before gathering around for a feast, or take time out for a complimentary spa treatment. Visit Saffire’s open-range Tasmanian devil enclosure and assist with saving this endangered species from extinction.

  • Stay at Saffire Freycinet
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5

Hobart

Head south to Hobart and MONA, the breathtaking and utterly brilliant museum. Lose yourself in the contemporary collection of art and antiquities that never fails to inspire, challenge and confront. Enjoy a three-course degustation lunch at The Source with wines from Moorilla Winery. Later, make your way to Hobart newcomer MACq 01, Australia’s first story-telling hotel situated on the waterfront.

 

Day 6

Huon Valley

Take a private tour to Kettering, first stopping at an inspirational raptor refuge where you are invited behind-the-scenes to observe how precious, and endangered, birds of prey are being rehabilitated and returned to the wild. Next, board the ferry to Bruny Island where you’ll discover a gourmand’s paradise first at the Bruny Island Cheese Company followed by Adventure Bay. Embrace the tranquillity of the Huon Valley and the vineyards as you laze over a locally-sourced lunch before meandering back to Hobart.

  • Stay at MACq 01
  • Breakfast and lunch

 

Day 7

Hobart

Drive to Hobart airport and return your vehicle before onward flight arrangements

  • Breakfast

The Details

Travel Dates 2018

As this Private Journey can be personalised to your specific requirements, it is not available for online booking.

Depending on your preferred dates and arrangements, final pricing will vary from low season to peak season travel.

Please call A&K on 1300 851 800 or send a booking enquiry to book this journey.

Prices

Per Person Twin Share: From AU$5,370

For more information and to enquire about this offer, please visit abercrombiekent.com.au

Itinerary: From the Flinders Ranges to the Fleurieu Peninsula

Arkaba Homestead Flinders Ranges | A&K
Arkaba Homestead Flinders Ranges | A&K

In partnership with

Abercrombie & Kent Logo

Combine a professionally-guided outback hiking adventure with the natural beauty of Fleurieu Peninsula through this six-day experience in South Australia

Explore the spirit of Outback Australia on a guided hike unveiling layers of history hidden within the Flinders Ranges. Traverse ancient landscapes and experience deluxe swag camping and gracious hospitality. Then, fly onto the Fleurieu Peninsula and explore the culinary playground which is McLaren Vale.

Journey highlights include exploring the rugged Flinders Ranges on a guided three-day hike, camping under the stars in luxury swag tents, sharing stories over dinner and South Australian wines in your homestead oasis and enjoying a behind-the-scenes tour of the d’Arenberg Cube, a must for wine connoisseurs.

Day 1

Arrive Adelaide – Flinders Ranges

Drive to South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, where the rugged Outback comes to life. Set off from Wilpena Pound, hiking to the rim of this natural amphitheatre, before descending into the Arkaba Wilderness and walking into camp in the late afternoon. Savour a three-course alfresco camp dinner and settle into your deluxe swag tent for a night under a canopy of stars (Walking approx 13km, 5-6 hours).

  • Stay at Black’s Gap Camp
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

Day 2

Flinders Ranges

Today is arguably the most scenic, as you move out from Black’s Gap through meandering riverbeds into the rolling hills. Follow the famous Heysen Trail for a while through Black’s Gap. Red and grey kangaroos and emus are regularly sighted. The last leg takes you into the hills, culminating in a sharp climb to the summit of the Red Range for panoramic views. Descend to the foot of the Elder Range and arrive at camp in the early evening (Walking approx 14-15km, 6–7 hours).

  • Stay at Elder Camp
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

Day 3

Flinders Ranges

Plenty of time today to stop for photographs, bird watching, botanising and discussion. Move southeast through mallee and native pine forests before crossing Slaty Creek. Ascend the Red Range ridge and down to the banks of Arkaba Creek, home to hundreds of magnificent river red gums. Arrive at Arkaba Homestead for a quintessential Outback experience, enjoying a beautifully-prepared meal and some excellent South Australian wines (Walking approx 14-15km, 6–7 hours).

Day 4

Fleurieu Peninsula

This morning, depart your homestead and fly to Adelaide before being collected for your discovery of world-renowned wine region, McLaren Vale. Start your exploration with a leisurely walk to view spectacular Onkaparinga Gorge and learn about the ancient geology of the area. Reward yourself with an exclusive masterclass at Wirra Wirra’s Old Barrel Hall, followed by a delicious lunch from local producers as you continue to explore this beautiful area.

 

Day 5

Fleurieu Peninsula

Today, enjoy your own exclusive experience of the d’Arenberg Cube, a unique cube-shaped complex built to excite the senses with its wine sensory room, Alternate Realities Museum, virtual fermenter and tasting room. Have a behind-the-scenes tour followed by a wine masterclass and a superb 11-course degustation lunch. Finish your day dozing as you drive along the tranquil Silver Sands Beach back to your accommodation.

  • Stay at Coastal Lodge
  • Breakfast and lunch

 

Day 6

Depart Fleurieu Peninsula

Farewell this stunning wine region as you transfer to Adelaide for your departing flight.

  • Breakfast

The Details

Travel Dates 2018

As this Private Journey can be personalised to your specific requirements, it is not available for online booking.

Depending on your preferred dates and arrangements, final pricing will vary from low season to peak season travel.

Please call A&K on 1300 851 800 or send us a booking enquiry to book this journey.

Prices

Per Person Twin Share: AU$8,385

For more information and to enquire about this reader offer please visit abercrombiekent.com.au