Katie McGonagle offers ideas on how to extend adventures in Australasia
Going all the way to the Antipodes is no easy task – you’re talking 24 hours on a flight, most likely a stopover on the way, and a day or two to deal with jet lag.
So if your clients are going to all that effort, why not have some handy ideas up your sleeve on how they could spend a few extra days Down Under? Get to know which places can be paired with popular destinations in the region and you’re on to a winner – not only will your clients get more out of their trip, but you’ll pick up a welcome boost in commission.
Australia and New Zealand are perfect for extended breaks; domestic travel is easy and quite cheap, and there’s no shortage of places to discover once you get away from the most common tourist destinations. Here, we look at a few of the best short add-ons with ideas for who to sell them to and how to book.
Where: 150 miles southeast of mainland Australia.
Get there: Fly to Hobart from Melbourne (50 minutes) or Sydney (under two hours), or take an overnight ferry across the Bass Strait from Melbourne if you want to bring a car.
Sell it: Offer your clients the best of both worlds by adding the wilderness of Tasmania to buzzing breaks in Sydney and Melbourne. With beautiful scenery, bushwalking, bike riding and wildlife watching, it also makes a great alternative to New Zealand.
The island’s best known creature is, of course, the Tasmanian devil, but there are many more native animals and plant species to discover. The scenery is impressive too, ranging from red-tinged boulders and pristine beaches at the Bay of Fires to the rugged peaks of Freycinet National Park and breathtaking views from Cradle Mountain’s walking trails.
If history is more up your clients’ street, Hobart is Australia’s second-oldest city, boasting great colonial architecture, while nearby Port Arthur has the best-preserved former convict colony in the country.
Book it: Tailor Made Travel has a five-night self-drive to Tasmania for £759 with accommodation in Hobart, Strahan and Cradle Mountain, four days’ car hire, a Port Arthur Discovery Tour, Gordon River Cruise and transfers, excluding flights.
0800 988 5887
LADY ELLIOT ISLAND
Where: 50 miles northeast of Bundaberg, off the Queensland coast.
Get there: Fly direct from Hervey Bay (40 minutes), Bundaberg, Brisbane, the Gold Coast (from Coolangatta) or Sunshine Coast (from Maroochydore).
Sell it: The island lies within one of the most protected areas of the Great Barrier Reef and is teeming with colourful marine life, making it a haven for scuba diving and snorkelling.
Turtles, manta rays, humpback whales, tropical fish and a host of seabirds are all common sights in the right season (turtles are active in the summer months), and there are plenty of activities such as guided reef walks and glass-bottomed boat tours. Clients can also visit the historic lighthouse and eco-friendly solar power station.
Book it: Anzcro offers five nights for the price of four including flights from Hervey Bay, half-board accommodation, a guided reef walk, turtle and birdwatching tours from £932 for travel until December 15 or from January 16-March 31, 2013.
DARWIN AND KAKADU
Where: Northern Australia.
Get there: Fly direct to Darwin from most Australian cities or en route to Singapore – a great way to break up the flight home.
Sell it: Darwin is a gateway to many of the Northern Territory’s biggest attractions, but also has a fascinating history and culture of its own.
Visit the colonial-era Old Court House, the wharf precinct, which was heavily bombed during the Second World War and remains a testament to the city’s wartime role, and Charles Darwin National Park, which boasts a fascinating Aboriginal history.
A day or two in the multicultural city is best followed by a visit to Kakadu National Park, the biggest park in the country and home to some of the best Aboriginal rock art ever found.
Further south lies Katherine Gorge, a series of 13 gorges carved through ancient sandstone and a great place to go canoeing, bushwalking and fishing for barra – watch out for crocodiles!
Book it: Gold Medal offers a five-day Complete Darwin and Kakadu tour from £819, including two nights in Darwin and a tour of the national parks with AAT Kings.
0800 014 7777
Where: South Pacific, north of New Zealand.
Get there: Fly direct to Nadi, the largest island in Fiji, from Auckland (three hours) or Christchurch.
Sell it: Those who want nothing more than a stretch of sand to call their own won’t be disappointed with Fiji – it’s the perfect place to fly and flop after a busy break elsewhere in the region.
Though with more than 300 islands, of which 110 are inhabited, there’s plenty on offer for those with boundless energy – try white-water rafting, scuba diving, snorkelling, rainforest hikes or coastal walks.
Book it: Austravel has seen Fiji bookings become more popular in the past year. The operator recommends a six-day essential island-hopping package to the Mamanuca Islands, including accommodation and transfers from £895. Flights from Auckland start at £240 one-way.
0808 159 6835
Where: More than 500 miles east of Christchurch.
Get there: Fly direct from Christchurch, Auckland or Wellington five days a week.
Sell it: The islands – made up of two main islands and a number of rocky outcrops – offer coastal and volcanic scenery, rare wildlife and a history of conflicting cultures. There are 18 indigenous bird species, including the black robin and New Zealand shore plover, plus flora and fauna.
For history buffs, the near extinction of the Moriori people by invading Maori tribes in 1835 will be a draw; visit the museum, or tour the island to see tree carvings at Hapupu historic reserve and a statue honouring the last Moriori man who died in 1933.
Book it: Cox & Kings offers three nights at the Hotel Chatham from £870, including domestic flights, transfers and breakfast.
0845 564 8285
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