By David Mendal on May 03, 2018
4 min read
2017 has been a doozy! That’s exactly what I was intending to repeat in 2018 when I was planning a trip to Australia to meet my daughter, whom I have been missing eagerly. Since I have always been passionate about traveling, exploring new places and experiencing the exquisite beauty of nature first-hand, planning a trip to Australia and New Zealand for meeting my daughter primarily and discovering the unique natural wonders of breathtaking lands wasn’t a difficult call indeed. The best places to visit in Australia and New Zealand.
Rounding up my whole travel experience in one blog seems to be merely impossible, but I would try my best to sum it up for you; the hotspots I visited and the overall experience.
Everyone has their reasons to travel
Some travel for educational purposes, some travel for pleasure, some for work, while others find eternal peace and a great escape from regular chores of life in traveling. Whatever might be the reason, we must always keep in mind that traveling is a healthy activity.
To begin with—initially, I was a bit enthused by the positive reviews I had from our agents regarding Qantas Airlines. Known for their secure connections throughout the U.S., coupled with exceptional services, and comfortable seating in international flights, it took me 17 hours to reach Sydney from Dallas on their A380. So, it is probably the best travel option for you, if you desire to have a smooth and comfortable journey.
Upon my arrival in Sydney, I checked into Park Hyatt hotel, which is a full-service lifestyle brand designed for leisure and business travelers. Across Sydney Harbour from the Sydney, this posh yet premier hotel in the Rocks neighborhood is located on the walking distance from all of Downtown and train station that made my traveling easy. Moreover, it was found just 4km away from Darling Harbour and on 10 minutes’ walk from the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, which made me feel more confident about my stay at Park Hyatt.
Apart from discovering new things of interest in and around Park Hyatt Hotel, I had a fantastic experience on my stay there, as the hotel had a European style restaurant that included a sleek bar, casual eatery, a spa, a rooftop pool and deck with exquisite harbor views. There were also some cool restaurants and bars nearby like Cove Oyster Bar at the pier, which had fantastic food and the harbor views. Also, there was a modern Australian cuisine on a wood fire grill, named Pony Dining the Rocks, whose food was excellent as well.
I would highly recommend you to go north to Bondi Beach if you have time on a 6-mile path to the beach, great sights! Don’t forget to have a coffee at the Lamrock Café. In the evening, walk & dine at Sydney’s new landmark waterfront destination, Barangaroo, and enjoy some of the best sushi at Zushi Barangaroo. Also, don’t forget to visit Hamilton Island, only if you have 3 or more days as it is an attractive yet secluded hotspot just 2 hours away from Sydney on Virgin America. I would highly recommend you to reserve at Qualia, and dine and surf at the Beach Club. Why? Because my experience at the Hamilton Island has been extraordinary as you get to meet and have fun with Koala bears on site.
The best things about Australia
There are countless sightseeing options like taking a quick helicopter or boat tour to the Great Barrier Reef for scuba diving and snorkeling, which can be all arranged within minutes. So, upon your return to Sydney, especially if you have extra time, then don’t forget to take the short 2 ½ hour train ride and tour the Blue Mountains. There, you will explore the rich natural heritage of Australia and witness the splendid scenic sights and views! If you decide to stay, I would recommend the Emirate One and Only Wolgan Valley for having a memorable overall experience.
Then, New Zealand
Once done with the chapter of Australia, I, then, took the morning flight on Emirates A380 from Sydney to Christchurch since I initially intended to tour New Zealand as well. Upon my Arrival in New Zealand, I had lunch at the centrally located Montreal Hotel and rented a mid-size car for a comfortable 9-hour drive on an incredibly scenic route towards Queenstown. Mid-way, I stopped at Mt Cook and grabbed a bite at Alchemy on Lake Wanaka. So, if you are one of those intending to begin a similar journey, then don’t forget to continue your drive towards Queenstown on the route. It would be ideal to stay outside of the city for a night or two in Glenorchy at the Blanket Bay Lodge, perhaps for breathing a new life into your soul as this place has an amazing fresh-air-aroma, which you will probably find nowhere else in New Zealand.
My Jet boat and helicopter experience
My jet boat and helicopter experience there when I reached Glenorchy gave me Goosebumps since I never expected to have that much of fun predominantly on two stops; Milford Sound and Glacier stop. So, it would be ideal for you to reserve your jet boat and helicopter rides in downtown with Heli Glenorchy or book rides yourself on the spot. For the jet boat, make sure to take The Lord of the Rings Tour.
I visited Queenstown the Eichardt Hotel known for its best location. Their in-house restaurant and ambiance both were fantastic but offered at a little higher price. So, for those seeking bigger breakfast and larger hotel surroundings yet with 5-star elegance, the Sofitel would be your best bet in town.
What to do
From Bungee jumping to zip lining, there is a long list of activities you can do and enjoy your stay in Queenstown surroundings. When I was done with all fun-filled events, I had a short flight back to Christchurch for my connecting flight to the States. However, if you have extra 5-6 days, don’t forget to explore Auckland and the caves. So, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that I probably had a lot of fun back there in Australia and New Zealand as I explored new cultures and traditions, met new people, tasted best cuisines, build some beautiful memories and last but not the least, enjoyed being alone!
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By: David Mendal
Chairman; Founder Forest Travel; Affiliate companies