Adventure : Trekking with elephants
Combine the fantasy of campsite in an African national park with Thai tropical forest environment at Thailand’s first luxury tented jungle camp. The 25 luxurious tents are tailor-made and set in the largest area of rainforest in Southern Thailand. Each tent features twin beds, fan, kettle and bathroom with toilet and hot shower.
This is your chance to get close to some of the most extraordinary animals on earth, with elephant treks, trips to explore Cheow Larn Lake, jungle hikes, mangrove forest exploration and canoe safaris.
Package cost: From $1199 per person twin share. Excludes airfares.
Unwind : New York city discovery
Eat and shop your way around the Big Apple, for an exciting metropolis experience in neighbourhoods that are always reinventing themselves. Shop in one of the world’s great fashion capitals, picking up special pieces from Macy’s, Saks or Bloomingdale’s. Put aside day just to window shop on Fifth Avenue, or hit the boutiques of Soho or the newly fashionable Nolita (North of Little Italy). Then at night enjoy Cuban cuisine with live salsa music in Harlem or take cab to quaint Soho for Italian. New York is city that never sleeps, so great food is on offer round the clock. Take picnic to beautiful Central Park with traditional corn beef on rye sandwiches ‘to go’ from one of the famous New York delis. Stay anywhere from budget backpackers to luxury hotels.
Luxury : Chianti and culture
Italy becomes place of friends and laughter when you travel in an intimate group of like-minded travellers on an 18-day grand tour of the country’s greatest sights. Local guides offer an insider’s view and overnight stays are mostly in appealing family-run boutique hotels. From an alfresco lunch at family home, to Nana showing how she makes her pasta, this tour makes Italy memorable. The trip includes the Cinque Terre hill villages, the Amalfi Coast, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper”, and Pompeii.
Tour package: $11,390 per person, twin share, through the Anne Van Dyke Travel Club. Excludes airfares.
Adventure : Kimberley flyaway
On private aircraft, link the best of the Red Centre, Top End and Kimberley into one journey of lifetime. Guides include indigenous custodians, rock-art experts, cattle station owners and locals along the way. The air tour brings to life the features that make Australia such special place. The itinerary takes you from Melbourne and Coober Pedy via Alice Springs and Darwin, to lavish and remote bush camp at Faraway Bay. The trip includes cruise along the Kimberley coastline and Uluru (Ayers Rock).
Tour package: From $18,010 per person, twin share, single supplement $1292, through the Anne Van Dyke Travel Club.
Unwind : Escape the burnout
At Gwinganna you’re hosted in luxury villas in the hills inland from Surfers Paradise, Queensland, for break that’s all about recharging the batteries and living healthy lifestyle. Take bush walk in the morning, learn to relax and breathe properly with Qi Gong, and experience world-class spa treatments and massages, with delicious hotel-style organic food at every mealtime. Everyone from Nicole Kidman to AFL bosses have found themselves basking in of peace and serenity at Gwinganna.
A five-night Optimum Wellbeing package in deluxe double room is $2875 per person, excluding airfares and connections, www.gwinganna.com.au
Luxury : Bali Hai
Explore the hidden secrets of Vanuatu by the water. The Secrets of Bali Hai is six-day luxury cruise inviting you to explore Vanuatu on board small ship. Expert guides escort guests deep into the interior to uncover the region’s wildlife and stunning scenery. Take specialised expeditions like trekking, kayaking and village tours … or just relax with good book from the library on steamer chair. Island Escape Cruises are all-inclusive: luxury boutique accommodation, chef-prepared meals, shore excursions and guides.
Expedition Cabin: $2995 per person triple share, excludes airfares.
Bridge Deck Cabin: $4475 per person twin share, excludes airfares.
Adventure : Cycle the gold trail
Take in New Zealand’s gold-mining history and get fit at the same time by cycling the Otago Rail Trail, an adventure through 150km of some of New Zealand’s most memorable scenery.
The trail thrusts deep into the heart of Central Otago, taking you from Clyde to Middlemarch, near Mosgiel, over the disused tracks of the old Otago rail link, through tunnels and past welcoming southern towns where you’ll find more than 100 country hotels, lodges, self-contained units, B&Bs, motels and campgrounds. The trail is easy cycling for most ages. Allow four days for leisurely cycle or week to walk it.
The trail is free, but there are organised tours with bikes and accommodation provided. Luxury Trail Tours (www.luxuryrailtrailtours.co.nz) can do corporate groups for $600 person and can offer luxury culinary variation for $3286 per person, or Off the Rails’ (www.offtherails.co.nz) four-day tours are $1250 per adult.
Unwind : Soak in the springs
Amid the colonnades, Moorish arches and the bell tower of the grand Heritage Hanmer, you could imagine yourself at one of the great European hotels. Its distinctive Spanish mission architecture of the 1930s creates sense of history and opulence. For more than century guests have journeyed to the alpine village of Hanmer Springs to ‘take the waters’.
Just 90 minutes drive from Christchurch airport, the Heritage Hanmer Springs attracts tourists to relax and unwind at the modernised, award-winning, Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa.
Enjoy sumptuous dinners matched with fine local wines prepared by executive chef Richard Crawford, formerly of Antoine’s in Auckland.
Springs Soak packages include night’s stay and breakfast, plus two Hanmer Springs Thermal Pool Passes included for $215 per couple.
Or for family break, book private three-bedroom villa with breakfast and Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools passes for family of four included for $360 night, www.heritagehotels.co.nz.
Luxury : Something to sing about
If you love opera, good food and classy interiors, Mollies five star luxury hotel offers all three. The restored villa and its attached suites and spa overlook the stunning Auckland city harbour and offer 13 spacious luxury suites. Each is very individual with its own balcony and unique interior design, with classic furniture, statement beds – and some even have their own grand pianos.
Mollies is perfect for romantic vacations, weekend getaways, indulgent honeymoons and corporate functions and meetings. The intimate courtyard gardens, terrace bar and restaurant provide range of options for inner-city entertaining and relaxing. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch live opera over pre-dinner drinks.
Packages include an Opulence package including Champagne, five-course degustation dinner and luxury accommodation for $1350 plus GST night in premier suite (maximum four nights), www.mollies.co.nz.
Except where specified, more information from www.annevandyke.com.