Immersive Luxury Camping Adventure Launches in Untrodden Oman

Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara - Luxe Mobile Camping Desert Setup
Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara - Luxe Mobile Camping Desert Setup

The tailored itineraries weave in southern Oman’s rich, traditional heritage through activities and camp locations that showcase a wilderness of star-studded skies, vast deserts, rugged mountains and empty beaches

You can now experience the true culture of old Arabia in the unchartered destination of southern Oman, thanks to a new bookable adventure by Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara. The desert resort has unveiled Luxe Mobile Camping Adventures in collaboration Oman Expeditions, offering the first bespoke luxury mobile camping experience to take guests across the diverse terrain of the Dhofar province, from the mountains to the desert to the sea.

Set between a relaxing stay at the luxury beachside resort in Salalah, the new mobile camping adventures offer travellers the chance to be fully immersed in the destination, in a trend that is on the rise among luxury travellers.

The various tailored itineraries – which draw on the vast country knowledge and experience of Oman Expeditions’ founder, Sean Nelson – weave in the region’s rich, traditional heritage through activities and camp locations that showcase a wilderness of star-studded skies, vast deserts, rugged mountains and empty beaches.

At the end of each day’s excursions, guests retire to the comfort of a luxury camp made up of semi-permanent structures that allow it to be mobile. Each tent has a private tented bathroom with showers open to the skies, comfortable mattresses, cotton sheets, Arabian rugs, candles and oil lamps. The chefs prepare Middle Eastern, North African and Mediterranean dishes onsite using local ingredients, and dinner under the stars is served on a properly-set table by a fire.

Travelling via luxury 4×4 vehicles, guests will explore some of the most intriguing, scenic and historically significant spots in the region. Oman Expeditions can also arrange specially-themed trips drawing upon a unique network of experts ranging from Oman’s leading whale and dolphin expert to anthropologists, geologists, archaeologists, astronomers and ornithologists. Dhofar’s top local guides, drivers and chefs to camel herders, artisans and religious scholars are also available to ensure clients have an enriching and authentic experience. In addition, expeditions are accompanied by members of the Mahrah, a tribe who have travelled along frankincense trading routes with their camels since the time of the Queen of Sheba.

To book-end the mobile camping adventures, guests retreat to Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, the first and only five-star resort in Southern Oman with private pool villas. Surrounded by lush tropical gardens, the resort sits on a pristine 250-metre beach and features a massive infinity pool along with three dining options and a spa.

Luxe mobile camping adventures are available from late September through April. Based on double occupancy, rates start from OMR 2820, which includes two nights in a One Bedroom Garden View Pool Villa with breakfast and dinner, as well as two nights all-inclusive luxe mobile camping.

For more information or to book, visit salalah.anantara.com

A&K Releases New Journeys Through Australia & New Zealand

Gourmet Tasmania | A&K
Gourmet Tasmania | A&K

The new journeys include visits to South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula as well as Waiheke Island and the Marlborough wine region in New Zealand

Abercrombie & Kent has released a new collection of journeys around Australia and New Zealand encompassing gourmet getaways, expedition cruising, family holidays and luxury rail journeys.

The itineraries in the portfolio have predominantly been handcrafted for individual travellers and are ready-to-book and ready-to-travel, however for those wanting more personalisation, each journey can also be adapted, amended and extended according to the guest’s individual requirements with the guidance of A&K Travel Specialists, on hand to offer customisation and bespoke journey planning.

New destinations for 2020 include South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, where food and wine take centre stage. The six-day South Australia: Flinders Ranges to the Fleurieu private journey sees guests explore McLaren Vale with an exclusive masterclass at Wirra Wirra’s Old Barrel Hall, a behind-the-scenes experience at the d’Arenberg Cube wine sensory room and an 11-course degustation lunch.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s Waiheke Island is a new addition to A&K’s portfolio. A haven of beautiful vineyards, olive groves and beaches, it’s only two hours from Auckland via road and ferry. Travellers can experience this on a two-night stay as part of A&K’s eight-day Connoisseur’s North Island private journey.

Dunedin also makes an appearance in the new portfolio, in a seven-day South Island Traverse. Known as the ‘Edinburgh of NZ’, the city has a rich Scottish heritage with one of the southern hemisphere’s best-preserved collections of Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Guests have the opportunity to explore its iconic buildings and take in the beautiful Otago Peninsula to the east where rare wildlife includes penguins, albatross and fur seals.

The new week-long Kiwi Epicurean Adventure itinerary features New Zealand’s cosmopolitan capital, Wellington, whose edgy vibe is fuelled by great food, wine and craft beer, which guests can discover on a private gourmet tour. There’s also a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of Peter Jackson’s famous Weta Studios and three nights in the Marlborough wine region, with ample opportunity for cellar door visits and tastings.

In Tasmania, A&K Philanthropy supports the one-of-a-kind Raptor Refuge, which takes in injured birds of prey and rehabilitates them for return to the wild. On the new seven-day Gourmet Tasmania private journey, A&K guests have the unique opportunity of visiting the refuge and enjoying an unequalled level of access highlighting the aviaries and tactile displays there as well as the bird care and exercise areas to observe individual patients in the various stages of recovery.

Fore more information and details regarding all of Abercrombie & Kent’s journeys, visit abercrombiekent.com.au.

The Beautiful (and Delicious) Prosecco Hills Receives UNESCO Status

The Prosecco Hills
The Prosecco Hills

The United Nations has named the hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene Italy’s 55th UNESCO World Heritage site

The Prosecco Hills – one of the oldest wine regions in Italy and the birthplace of the world-famous sparkling wine – is joining the UNESCO World Heritage List.  Just an hour’s drive north of Venice in the foothills of the Dolomites, the Prosecco Hills is one of the world’s best and yet largely undiscovered wine regions. Here, ancient terraced vineyards clinging to the sides of every possible slope are dedicated exclusively to growing grapes for Italy’s most prized sparkling wine: Prosecco, and with the region soon to be on travellers’ radars thanks to the new UNESCO status, now is the time to visit.

Adventure tour operator Exodus Travels offers an eight-day walking tour of the Prosecco Hills beginning with a gentle walk in the town of Cison di Valmarino, following waterways, tranquil woodlands and panoramic views over the farmland and villages far below.

In the heartland of the Prosecco Hills, namely Valdobbiadene, S. Pietro di Barbozza and S.Stefano, travellers have the opportunity to visit one of the top local Prosecco producers. There they can tour wine cellars and sample delectable varieties of Prosecco during a guided wine-tasting.

Walking upon rambling mazes, streets lined with arcaded walkways and circled by pretty walls in the capital province of Treviso, travellers will have some spare time to sample one of the creamiest desserts, Tiramisu, whose birthplace is rumoured to lie in this city.

The tour concludes with a walk in Mt Cesen, a humble and charismatic mountain that sits gracefully above the Prosecco Hills.​ ​With an altitude of 1570 meters, Mt Cesen offers a stunning panorama of the mountain pastures, meadows and vineyards walked upon throughout the week.

“We take travellers to this beautiful region every season and it has quickly become one of our top-selling tours. Undoubtedly, Italy has one of the most infectious and alluring cultures in the world, so it’s no surprise the UN has added another Italian destination to their list,” said Exodus Travels’ Australasian Territory Manager, Louisa Day.

The tour includes all transport, all breakfasts, four lunches, four dinners, two wine tastings and accommodation throughout, with rates starting from AUD $2,379.

 

exodustravels.com.au

Former All Blacks Star Launches Luxury Adventure Tourism Brand

Luke Romano
Luke Romano

Inspired by New Zealand pride, the professional athlete’s company will boast custom outdoor adventures for guests of all ages

Luke Romano, former All Blacks rugby player and current Crusaders lock, has unveiled Monarch Pursuits – New Zealand’s first full-service outdoor adventure and travel company. The new brand targets the premium visitor market and will provide tailored itineraries incorporating hunting, fishing and heli-skiing experiences in NZ’s Southern Alps.

Guests are treated to a stay at some of the country’s most exclusive alpine retreats and explore off-the-beaten track locations for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.

Romano’s passion for the outdoors, hunting in the high country and his pride in New Zealand led to Monarch’s creation, with a team of successful Christchurch businesspeople and an operations team with extensive tourism experience financially supporting the brand.

“Whether it’s an older couple who aren’t interested in hunting and just want to have a high-end holiday package put together and tour around New Zealand, to a group of mates who are coming over to do straight hunting or fishing before spending four-days enjoying all the excitement down in Queenstown, to families who want to do a little bit of everything,” Romano said. “We want to appeal to every individual on the spectrum because we can cater to all their needs.”

The professional athlete-turned-entrepreneur will continue playing rugby for another year and will be actively involved in the business, dealing personally with all clients and, as his rugby schedule permits, participating in the hunting trips.

At age 33, he is acutely aware of the prospect of life after rugby: “I’ve been thinking about doing this for a wee while but wasn’t sure how to go about it. I’ve been fortunate to have the support and financial backing of a team of experts in business and tourism, who know what it takes to be successful. I’m the practical side of the outfit with my hunting and outdoor experience so it’s a win-win for all of us.”

 

monarchpursuits.com

First Igloo Village Opens in Australia

Alpine Nature Experience
Alpine Nature Experience

Spend a cosy night in a fully-equipped igloo, complete with an extravagant three-course dinner and a skimobile tour

Mount Hotham will be hosting the first and only igloo village in Australia. The Igloo to Skidoo is a unique vacation stay offered by Alpine Nature Experience and includes an evening snowshoe adventure through the snow gums to reach a fully-sustainable eco-village and central tipi.

Guests will learn how to prepare an authentic French cheese fondue and indulge in a three-course dinner, followed by a cosy night’s sleep in a real snow Igloo. Alpine Nature Experience’s Igloos are all furnished with a proper bed, negative 8-degree sleeping bags and fur blankets.

For additional comfort, guests have the option of staying in a Snowdome. These eco-conceived structures are wood-heated and have a sky view. Watch the stars as you fall asleep wrapped up in fur blankets and wake up to the smell of fresh coffee and a cooked breakfast; classics like french toast, bacon and eggs are on the menu.

Igloo to Skidoo will conclude with a scenic skimobile tour to complete the one-of-a-kind night in the snow. Bookings are essential and the tour is open Wednesday to Sunday from June 15th to September 30th. Prices start at $269 AUD per person for the full experience, including snowshoes rental, guided tour, glass of mulled wine, 3-course dinner, overnight stay, breakfast and skidoo tour.

alpinenatureexperience.com.au

Say Cheese: Foodie Experience Launches at Australia’s First Igloo Village

Alpine Nature Experience
Alpine Nature Experience

In addition to hitting the slopes, Mount Hotham visitors can now sit back and relax with a glass of wine with expertly-paired cheese, or indulge in an extravagant cheesy feast fit for the whole family

Alpine Nature Experience, which runs memorable moments in the snow, is launching a series of events centred around the wonderful world of cheese at Victoria’s top skiing destination, Mount Hotham.

With the help of Mount Hotham Resort Management Board, the adventure company has built a sustainable eco-village to hold these cheese-inspired activities. The new village resides just outside of the main village and is accessible by snowshoe or skidoo. In addition, it boasts a central heated tipi, an outdoor bar, three snow domes and two real igloos.

The Wine and Cheese Masterclass follows founder Jean-Francois on a gastronomic journey across the world of cheese and wine, pairing 10 French and Australian cheeses to six wines from the North East Victoria. Classes can take up to 24 guests.

Perfect for the whole family, the Cheese Feast Raclette Lunch invites guests to a cheese feast like no other. Grill a half wheel of French cheese to serve with fresh baked potatoes, all accompanied by delicious charcuterie, smoked meats and a selection of wine and craft beer. Classes can take up to 16 guests.

Both events are two hours long and $75 AUD per participant, including snowshoe rental. They will be offered every Thursday from July to the end of September, with the masterclass occurring at 10:30 am and the lunch at 11:30 am. Bookings are essential and can be made at www.alpinenatureexperience.com.au.

World’s First Rideshare Submarine Has Launched at the Great Barrier Reef

scUber

You can now catch a scUber to the world’s largest ecosystem – the Great Barrier Reef

If you’ve ever wanted to explore the Great Barrier Reef, now’s your chance to do it a little differently. Rideshare company Uber has partnered with the Queensland tourism board to launch scUber — a first-of-its-kind rideshare submarine experience. From May 27th to June 18th, scUber will be available for a limited number of riders to request through the Uber app.

Rich in marine life, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest ecosystem and is renowned as a biodiverse playground. The launch will support the ongoing protection and conservation of the world’s largest coral reef system through Uber’s partnership with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef. This organisation is committed to engaging the world in the protection and conservation of the Great Barrier Reef and reefs all over the world, using tech, data and a collaborative approach to conservation.

Leanne Coddington, Tourism and Events Queensland’s chief executive officer, said: “In late 2018, consumer research identified that exploring the Great Barrier Reef in a submarine was the most desired future travel experience sought by visitors. scUber makes this wish a reality and reaffirms Queensland tourism’s commitment to providing locals and visitors alike with truly remarkable ways to explore nature’s wonderland.”

scUber started taking riders on Heron Island, off the coast of Gladstone in the Southern Great Barrier Reef region on Monday May 27th, and will move to Agincourt Reef off the coast of Port Douglas in Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef region from June 9th. Availability is strictly limited.

The entire scUber experience will cost $3,000 AUD for two riders and includes:

  • Pickup from your location with the Uber app
  • Return scenic helicopter ride to either Heron Island (for riders requesting from Gladstone) or the Quicksilver Cruises pontoon off the coast of Port Douglas (for riders requesting from Cairns, Port Douglas and Palm Cove)
  • One-hour ride in a scUber submarine
  • Return trip back to your original pickup address with Uber

To celebrate the launch, Queensland and Uber are offering this whole experience to one lucky winner and a friend from each of the following countries: USA, Canada, United Kingdom, France, New Zealand and Australia. Entries can be submitted by visiting scUberQueensland.com and explaining in 25 words or less why you should experience the wonder of the Great Barrier Reef with scUber. Terms and conditions apply.

citizensgbr.org

Eat, Drink, Cycle, Repeat: New Foodie Bike Tour in Puglia

Puglia, Italy
Puglia, Italy

On the new tour offered by Ride and Seek, guests will be able to bike the back roads of Puglia averaging about 40 km per day, and spend their evenings at luxury hotels and fine restaurants dining on gourmet cuisine

Bicycle tour company Ride and Seek, in partnership with active travel tour company Tourissimo, has announced a new culinary cycling tour around Puglia, Italy as part of its new PLUS tours series.

Situated between the Adriatic Sea and the forests and mountains of Basilicata, Puglia offers a landscape of beguiling views, ancient olive groves, and UNESCO World Heritage sites that have seen the destination’s popularity boom in the past few years. The new tour highlights two of these UNESCO sites – Alberobello and Matera – known for their ‘trulli’ – whitewashed stone huts with conical roofs, and cave dwellings.

The trip starts in Savelletri with fig trees, blooming cacti, and herb gardens offering delightful fragrances. Guests will then ride through one of the gems of Puglia, the Valle D’Itria, where wooded slopes, vineyards, and endless olive groves are punctuated by the coned roofs of trulli.

“While many regions of Italy boast of having the best food in the world, Puglia could [truly] claim this title due to its simple preparations that allow the true flavours of the food to stand out,” said Beppe Salerno, Co-Founder of Tourissimo. “There are vineyards all over the region producing some excellent wines including full bodied reds like Salice Salentino, Primitivo, and Nero di Troia, and refreshing white and rosé wines.”

Guests will be able to bike the back roads of Puglia averaging about 40 km per day, and spend their evenings at luxury hotels and fine restaurants dining on gourmet cuisine and sipping wines.

The tour is scheduled for October 10-17, 2019 with rates from USD $4,195.

Tour highlights include:

  • Touring Matera where the 2016 remake of Ben-Hur was filmed
  • Discovering the white-washed town of Ostuni and the beaches near the fishing village of Savelletri
  • Visiting two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Alberobello & Matera
  • Riding among the trulli of Valle d’Itria
  • Attending a demonstration by a master cheesemaker
  • Exploring the Greek Ruins of Egnazia
  • Lodging in the award-winning Sextantio Hotel

For more information or to book your tour visit rideandseek.com

Intrepid Travel Introduces New Women-Only Tours

Intrepid Travel Women's Expeditions – Kenya

Intrepid Travel has expanded its range of Women Expeditions, giving female travellers the chance to learn about the everyday lives and challenges facing women around the world

Intrepid Travel has announced it has launched four new women-only tours. The Women’s Expeditions, launched to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8th March, will be led by female guides and provide a unique insight into the lives of women in Kenya, India, Nepal and Turkey. From Becky, the first female overland truck driver in East Africa, to Syrian refugees forging a new life in Istanbul, travellers will meet people from all walks of life and hear their inspiring stories on tours of between 11 and 13 days.

Intrepid’s global product manager Jenny Gray said the tours will give female travellers an opportunity to learn about the everyday lives and challenges facing women around the world. “This year we’ve discovered even more extraordinary stories of female empowerment. These remarkable new Expeditions give travellers the chance to hear from people from all walks of life about their personal and collective struggles and triumphs in achieving gender equality. They allow travellers to enter private spaces and foster conversations that would be impossible in mixed gender groups,” she said.

These trips include experiences that would otherwise be off-limits on regular departures, such as swimming on a female-only beach in Antalya or celebrating the female-only Gangur Festival in Rajasthan.

The new tours build on the success of the original Women’s Expeditions in the Middle East, launched on International Women’s Day 2018. The range has proven one of the most popular in Intrepid’s 30-year history, growing from just four departures to 36 in the space of a few months.

“These new tours follow an incredible response to the launch of our first three Women’s Expeditions. The #MeToo era is making its mark on travel – our female travellers want to hear the stories and struggles of women around the globe,” Gray said.

In 2017 Intrepid committed to diversity and inclusion at all levels of the business and set the goal of doubling its number of female tour leaders globally by 2020.  Thanks to the work of Intrepid’s local teams in destinations including India, Morocco and Indonesia, the company has increased its number of female leaders by 70% and is on track to meet its target next year.

For details on the women only tours available in Kenya, Turkey, Nepal and India visit intrepidtravel.com/au/.

This Fishing Tournament is at One of the World’s Most Exclusive Lodges

Huka Lodge surrounding landscape of Lake Taupo.

In partnership with

The exclusive Huka Lodge Fly Fishing Tournament will serve up a whole lot more than world class fishing in 2019. 50 lucky participants can also expect a gourmet taste journey through France and a rare whisky tasting

Fishing fans and nature lovers, this one’s for you. New Zealand’s iconic luxury lodge, Huka Lodge in Taupo, has announced a fly fishing tournament taking place over three days this August.

And it isn’t just any old fishing competition.

The inaugural, exclusive Huka Lodge Fly Fishing Tournament was created in celebration of the story behind the famous lodge’s beginnings.

In the 1920s an avid Irish fisherman by the name of Alan Pye arrived in Taupo, New Zealand with a one track mind: he had heard tales about the size and fighting spirit of the magnificent Rainbow and Brown trout being caught in the numerous streams, rivers and lakes of Taupo. It didn’t take him long to realise the legends were entirely true, and he immediately set about purchasing land in a prime position that would give him perfect access to this fishing heaven. He chose a spot on the banks of the Waikato River, upstream from the mighty Huka Falls and established a simple fishing camp that quickly became known for its exceptional angling and generous hospitality.

The rest, as they say, is history.

In 2019, this exciting and exclusive three-day angling event, which is available to a maximum of 50 guests, will be an action-packed adventure both on land and on the water.

All participants in the tournament will be guided by a team of experienced and knowledgeable local guides thanks to a partnership with Lake Taupo’s premier outdoor experience provider, Chris Jolly Outdoors.

Fly fishing will take place in over 25 of the best spots, in the amazing crystal-clear rivers and streams around Lake Taupo, and for those wanting to brush up on their technique ahead of the tournament, individual fly-casting tuition will be available at the Lodge on the day of arrival.

Returning to the lodge at the end of each day of fly-fishing, relaxing activities await for the 50 lucky guests. A delicious five-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Paul Froggatt will be served up on the first night, but not before an aperitif from the Champagne station presented by Louis Roederer.

Guests will also experience a tutored ‘Highland Tasting’ by Tom Fastier, the Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador for New Zealand, featuring seven aged and rare whisky releases that have never been tasted in New Zealand before and never will again.

And if a champagne station and limited release whisky tasting session isn’t exclusive enough for you, one evening will be dedicated to a ‘Tour de France of Wine’ dinner with Ben Longhurst, Wine Ambassador from Eurovintage, who will closely collaborate with Chef Paul to create a stunning food and fine French wine journey. Starting in famous Champagne, your gastronomic and oenological travels will take you on an extraordinary passage from Burgundy to Alsace, through the Rhone Valley and finishing in Bordeaux.

The Huka Lodge Fly Fishing Tournament will build to a grand finalé with a Prizegiving Dinner hosted by Al Brown on the last night. An impressive tournament prize pool will be up for grabs featuring the finest fishing rods by local heritage brand Kilwell Sports Ltd, worth over NZ$13,000.00, NZ$2,500 worth of Rodd & Gunn products and a Helisika helicopter adventure. There will also be prizes awarded daily, as well as a special goodie bag for all participants to take home.

The Huka Lodge Fly Fishing Tournament will take place on 29th, 30th & 31st August 2019. Bookings can be made at hukalodge.co.nz

The Details

Rates include all activities, as detailed, associated with the tournament, vehicle transfers for fishing, guides, fishing licences, full breakfasts, pre-dinner drinks and canapés, five-course dinners, use of all lodge facilities and return Taupo Airport transfers.

 

Junior Lodge Suite

  • Single occupancy – NZ$1,980.00 + GST per night
  • Double/twin occupancy  – NZ$1,220.00 + GST per person, per night

Owner’s Cottage

  • Eight guests, in four suites, on a double/twin occupancy basis – NZ$1,520.00 + GST per person, per night

Alan Pye Cottage

  • Four guests, in two suites, on a double/twin occupancy basis – NZ$1,520.00 + GST per person, per night

Other accommodation configurations can be arranged, please contact Huka Lodge to discuss your requirements