Having just returned from a luxury travel trade show, I am feeling inspired! So, in case you needed some more must-do experiences to add to your luxury travel bucket-list, here are a few to get your heart yearning…
Escape to the Ultimate New Zealand Hideaway
If money was no object, what kind of South Pacific playground would you create? Well, this was the inspiration behind the development of Helena Bay, the ultimate in private luxury havens, due to open in November 2016. With three kilometres of pristine coastline, four private beaches, intimate coves, frolicking sea-life and a warm, sub-tropical climate, Helena Bay, in the Bay of Islands area of New Zealand’s North Island, will most likely become the place you never want to leave. Add to this the fact that you will only be sharing this paradise with four other couples, and a bevy of wagyu beef cattle, dolphins, whales, and birdlife, and you start to get a sense of utter hideaway indulgence. The cuisine at the private resort is created under the direction of Michelin starred Ristorante Don Alfonso of Southern Italy with an ‘estate to plate’ philosophy. For the active, there is hiking, biking, tennis, diving, kayaking or fishing, or you can just choose to chill at the pool or spa. This is taking luxury lodging to a whole new level!
Trek the ‘Other’ Inca Trail
If trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is on your list of things to do, but you are somewhat deterred by the crowds, the ruggedness of the trek and the thought of sleeping in a tent, then there is an alternative solution! You can now trek a less crowded, but equally authentic Inca trail, staying at luxury lodges along the way, visiting local Andean villages and exploring mountain passes, valleys and turquoise lakes, on a five-day adventure culminating in a guided tour of Machu Picchu. Sounds like the perfect gourmet trekking adventure….
Explore Australia’s Last Frontier
The Kimberleys is often referred to as Australia’s last frontier, and if it isn’t on your bucket list, it should be! There are many ways to explore this region, but the best and most luxurious, would have to be on a private yacht, with helicopter transfers to inaccessible gorges and waterfalls. If the famous True North is beyond your budget, there is a smaller, lower cost, but no less luxurious option. Catering for only 14 guests on a 26 metre custom-built adventure catamaran, the family-owned and run Great Escape Charter Company offers an intimate cruising experience, with gourmet food, knowledgeable guides, scenic helicopter flights and, ultimately, an experience to remember.
Immerse Yourself in the Magic of India
If you are like me, India holds a magical, mystical allure which I am almost afraid to explore, for fear of never wanting to leave! With its uncompromising beauty, history and cultural contrasts, it begs to be visited, but in way which leaves you thirsting for more. A privately escorted customised tour which combines all the elements you want, with the luxury of flexibility, is the ultimate in an Indian sojourn, and will satiate your desire to explore this mesmerising country even more.
Indulge in a Private Jet Safari
Nothing speaks luxury more than a private jet tour of your destination hotspots. Avoid the airport queues, be in control of your own timetable, and arrive at your desired location in the shortest time possible. It is more accessible and affordable than you think! A new operator is about to launch on the Australian market with customised and scheduled tours to suit every need. Watch this space!
Hop between Luxury Lodges
In my view, luxury lodging is the ultimate in holiday sublimeness! There are amazing lodges in incredible locations all over the world, but I believe that New Zealand (and Australia is not far behind!) leads the pack in terms of enabling you to hop from lodge to lodge in a relatively short space of time to experience a huge variety of scenic splendour, exquisite cuisine and hearty activity. The triage of The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawkes Bay, Matakauri Lodge near Queenstown and The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand’s north are a good place to start your lodge love affair.
Luxuriate in a Rainforest Eco Getaway
Luxuriating in a rainforest is a unique experience, with the opportunity to get up close and personal to flora and fauna oozing serenity, whilst also enjoying the spoils of modern life, such as award-winning cuisine and pampering spa treatments. Daintree EcoLodge & Spa is one such rainforest haven, set amongst the tropical beauty of Far North Queensland, offering the exclusivity of only 15 secluded rooms set amidst a rainforest sanctuary.
Experience Small Charter Cruising
Chartering your own boat on your favourite lake, river or ocean waterway is the ultimate in unique luxury. Whether you want to sail the Whitsundays, Caribbean, Amalfi Coast, Sydney Harbour or Queenstown, the choices are endless! Combined with helicopter flights to nearby volcanic islands, mainland villages or remote and inaccessible locations, it offers the ultimate in holiday fantasy. Not a sailor? No problem, captains and crews are available to cater to your every need…
Sleep with Wildlife
Nowadays, it apparently isn’t enough to visit wildlife in their natural or cossetted habitats, you need to sleep with them to really get to know them properly. It may sound bizarre, but for those who have experienced it, they vouch for its ability to connect you with your primal self. In Australia, the enterprising Canberra Zoo has created Jamala Wildlife Lodge, offering overnight accommodation literally a glass screen away from lions, tigers, cheetahs and sharks. Dine in comfort whilst being watched by a hungry lion, or hand-feed a giraffe from your balcony, all in the name of conservancy and species-protection.
Stay in a Heritage Hotel
I can’t stress enough the absolute delight of eschewing the usual 5-star chain hotels and opting for boutique, heritage accommodation. There won’t necessarily be a concierge, or champagne on arrival, or the perfect symmetry of a rectangular bedroom, but you will be rewarded with authenticity, history, culture, quirkiness and the very real feeling that you are in a unique location, complete with its idiosyncrasies and unforgettable colloquialism. Go on, try it – you won’t regret it – and will likely never turn back!
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