Lonely Planet recently announced its Best of Travel 2017 winners, and some of our favorite locations were among the top 5 regions in the world! Taranaki, New Zealand came in at No. 2, while South Australia was named No. 5. Here’s a quick guide to our favorite things to see and do in these fabulous regions.
South Australia is known for its rugged and beautiful wilderness, as well as its delicious wines. Though it has some great cities, like its capital of Adelaide, South Australia is ideal for escaping urban life.
This is one of our favorite places to send our clients. Kangaroo Island is full of beautiful, untouched landscapes, and you can see kangaroos and koalas roaming freely in their natural habitat. Our mates at Exceptional Kangaroo Island give great tours that show the unique wildlife and local culture, including delicious food and wine. Our travel designer Ellen took a private tour of Flinders Chase and had a blast!
Image courtesy of Ellen Hoffman
This luxury hotel is set in a private wildlife conservancy in the middle of the bush, surrounded by unique vegetation and the Flinders Ranges. Plus, it only sleeps 10 guests at a time, ensuring a truly exclusive experience. Here, you can take guided walks and open-vehicle safaris to discover the unique wildlife of the area, or take a helicopter flight over the picturesque scenery.
Image: Arkaba Station, South Australia
The wine grown in Barossa Valley is some of the best in Australia, and, in fact, the world. Touring this absolutely stunning wine country and sampling some of the delicious cuisine found here is a must for foodies and wine lovers.
Image: Tourism Australia
Aboriginal Cultural Tours
Our mate Quenten gives remarkable tours of the South Australian bush that will give you a fresh perspective on the land. You can walk with him or one of the other aboriginal guides through beautiful, ancient, and historically important sites and gain insight into aboriginal history and culture. His award-winning tours allow you to “see and touch the past.” Our travel designer Shannon took his tour back in 2012.
Image courtesy of Shannon Bradley
Taranaki is a somewhat remote part of New Zealand and not a typical destination for most international travelers. It’s named after the dormant volcano that dominates the region. This mountainous, coastal area is great for hiking, making it popular with backpackers.
Thanks to Mt. Taranaki’s past volcanic activity, Taranaki’s coastline offers some of the best surfing in New Zealand. Avid surfers should head south from New Plymouth along the “Surf Highway” to find the best breaks. You can stop at Rocky Lefts, Graveyards (actually one of the gentler stops), Fitzroy Beach, Black Sand Beach, Mangahume, and Back Beach. There’s something for every level of surfer—even first timers!
Image: Tourism New Zealand
Food and Wine
Taranaki is the dairy center of New Zealand, so there are countless cheese shops you can visit, especially in the town of Eltham. You can also follow the Wine and Ale Trail to sample the delicious drinks of the region (our travel designer Phil recommends the rose at Okurukuru Taranaki Winery). In addition, Taranaki is famous for its fabulous seafood, which you can get at nearly every restaurant in this area.
Image: Tourism New Zealand