A history of pioneering spirit and award-winning ways
AAT Kings’ story began in 1912 when the Pyke family pioneered coach touring in Australia. Starting with self-drive car-hire in 7 seater vehicles in Sydney, we expanded to guided sightseeing tours. By the 1960s, the company, then known as AAT, had become Sydney’s largest tour operator and in the 1980s we teamed up with pioneering adventurer Bill King’s Northern Safaris, which ultimately led to the creation of what we know today as AAT Kings.
|1912||Pyke family, led by Colonel Pyke began the first daily route from Sydney to Blue Mountains.|
|1920s||Due to the success of this daily Blue Mountains venture, the Government intervened and the first bus tour operator license (Touring Vehicle 001) was assigned – this license is still held by AAT Kings.|
|1920s||Pyke family expanded, offering guided tours to Katoomba and Jenolan Caves in seven seater cars.|
|1935||Pykes introduced 14 seater coaches to Katoomba & Jenolan Caves tours.|
|1945||Grenda’s Bus service founded in October when George Grenda purchased four routes from Shaves Bus services in Dandenong.|
|1967||Bill King launched Bill King’s Northern Safaris.|
|1973||Grenda’s Bus service purchased Blue Line Tourist Coaches Sydney.|
|1975||AAT Coachlines was formed in July by a TAA & Mayne Nickless joint venture with the purchase and amalgamation of Pykes Tours, Grenda's Melbourne coach operations & Grenda’s Blue Line Tourist Coaches Sydney.|
|1980||AAT Coachlines purchased Bill King's Northern Safaris in December & tours were operated as Bill King’s Australian Adventure Tours.|
|1983||AAT Coachlines was purchased by Mayer Page and Geoff McGeary, proprietors of Australian Pacific Touring (APT).|
|1984||AAT Kings was formed with amalgamation of Grand Central Tours, Bill King’s Australian Adventure Tours & AAT Coachlines (formed in 1975).|
|1985||Bill King parted ways with Page & McGeary in September.|
|1993||AAT & APT split in June, with Page taking control of AAT Kings and McGeary Australian Pacific Touring.|
|1997||AAT Kings was purchased by The Travel Corporation.|
|1999||AAT Kings began operations in New Zealand.|
|2012||AAT Kings purchased APT’s Day Tours & Short Breaks.|
|2013||AAT Kings in October undergoes significant rebranding, launching new focus and tagline “Bringing Australia & New Zealand to life”.|
AAT Kings announced strategic investment in Down Under Tours, Cairns, opening a significant footprint in northern Queensland.
Off the back of a launch of first-of-their-kind glass roof coaches in Sydney, AAT Kings launches double decker ‘Sydney Sightseeing’ product in Sydney, the vehicles can cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge due to an innovative see-through roof.