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

Uniworld Trailblazes River Cruise Rail Journey Extension

Breitenstein Kalte Rinne viaduct
Breitenstein Kalte Rinne viaduct

Guests can go from sail to rail in Venice with Uniworld’s new train add-on for guests aboard S.S. La Venezia

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has announced a new luxury train journey available as an extension on select sailings of its Venice & The Gems of Northern Italy itinerary. Guests can now complete their voyage on the S.S. La Venezia and continue onboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express train to Zurich, with three nights onboard the locomotive and one night accommodation in Zurich on arrival.

Uniworld has further announced that it will introduce two additional itineraries that incorporate cruise, land and train travel for 2021. In partnership with Golden Eagle Luxury Trains, the two packages will travel through Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.

“Like river cruising, luxury train travel is an opportunity to bring our guests to the heart of Europe and with a view that changes daily,” says Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld.

The 2021 itineraries include the 14-day Cruise & Rail: Milan, Venice & the Swiss Alps and the 12-day Cruise & Rail: Venice & the Swiss Alps. Both itineraries provide guests with the opportunity to travel onboard the luxury train as it runs along the Lake of Zurich stopping in destinations such as the medieval town of Lienz, Lake Bled with a Pletna rowing trip to Bled Island and Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Excursion highlights on the train journey include a visit to Gutenberg Castle in Balzers, Liechtenstein and enjoying an evening with a private concert in the caves of Postojna.

The itineraries were created with sustainable tourism in mind, seeking to positively impact the destinations by bringing guests to eat at local restaurants and experience hidden-gem villages in addition to the popular cities.

 

New Itineraries, New Ships

Uniworld has also added two river cruise itineraries to its product line up for 2021: the 8-day Classic Germany & Amsterdam journey aboard the River Princess, and the 15-day Rhine, Maine & Danube Discovery itinerary that will travel from Amsterdam to Vienna.

The new developments come at a time of rapid expansion for the cruise company, with four new super ships being added to Uniworld’s fleet, bringing the total to 20 by the end of 2020. “In finishing 2019, we’re proud of the growth of the Uniworld brand and in 2020 we’re striving to exceed that in both bookings and delivering for our guests,” said Bettridge.

In 2021, Uniworld will provide guests with two ships to choose from for the popular 12-day Splendours of Egypt & The Nile itinerary: the River Tosca or S.S. Sphinx, in response to increasing demand for Egypt sailings.

Uniworld will also set sail in South America for the first time with two new itineraries throughout the Peruvian Amazon aboard the Aria Amazon, set to debut in September 2020.

The new, popular itineraries include the 15-day Peruvian Amazon & Machu Picchu Exploration that starts off with a land portion in Lima staying at a 5-star hotel, followed by the seven-night cruise through the Amazon rainforest and ends in the heartland of the Inca Empire with trips to the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Cusco. The 11-day Peruvian Rivers & Rainforest Discovery takes guests to explore Lima, immerse in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve and sail through the Amazon River roundtrip from Iquitos. On all sailings, guests are joined by native born-and-raised naturalist guides that assist in getting up close to native wildlife and meeting village locals.

 

The Details

Uniworld’s new Cruise & Rail 2021 itineraries go on sale in late February 2020. Just like the Uniworld experience, the train journeys are all-inclusive.

Uniworld is currently offering guests a choice of three offers when booking a 2021 river cruise:

  • Economy flights free, or
  • Business Class from $3,999 per person, or
  • No flights – save $1,000pp on a cruise

These offers are combinable with Uniworld’s River Heritage Club loyalty benefits, as well as available early payment discounts until 14 March.

Prices for the South American cruises start at $18,799 per person. Twin share and maiden voyages will depart on 23 September, 2020.

 

uniworld.com

Voting is Open for the 2020 Gold List

Luxury travel photo

Luxury Travel Magazine is pleased to announce voting is now open for the 16th annual Gold List awards

The Gold List awards celebrates the best in luxury travel in Australia and around the globe, as voted by our readers. With voting now open, this is your opportunity to have your say and nominate the best five-stars resorts and hotels, luxury rail journeys, ocean cruises and high-end tour operators.

 

How to Vote

  • Start your voting process by clicking on the link below and remember to include the location of the property you nominate for your vote to count (eg. ‘Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour’, not just ‘Sofitel’).
  • Please note that to be eligible to go in the draw to win one of three prizes below, you must fill out at least one category in the questionnaire, as well as Question 30, then continue to enter your name and email for the Prize Draw.
  • Voting closes 5pm, Friday 3rd April 2020. Winners will be announced Thursday 28th May 2019online and in the winter issue of Luxury Travel Magazine.

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.