New Zealand Wine Country

Posted: 17 January 2017

What makes New Zealand wine so good? From world famous Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris varieties, this small but influential country in the South Pacific has got what it takes. Could it be the climate… Or could it be the rich alluvial soil that covers much of this island nation?

june 2016 1

New Zealand has a farming tradition dating back to the first settlers, the Maori, around 800 years ago, a very short recorded history. The Maori cleared land to plant gardens of kumera and yams amongst other crops and when European settlers arrived more land was cleared and large-scale farming began. Along with the sheep and cattle farms, grapes were introduced with the first vineyard finding its feet in the Hawkes Bay region in 1851.

There are nine major wine producing regions in New Zealand with five located on the North Island, the most famous region being Hawkes Bay. While in Auckland, take some time to visit Waiheke Island. Just a short ferry ride across the harbour you can explore around twenty vineyards with tastings, restaurants, vineyard cafes and spectacular views of the city on offer.

june 2016 2

The remaining four wine regions are located on the South Island with Marlborough the most renown. It is here that some of the world’s best Sauvignon Blancs are produced. British talk show host Graham Norton was so taken with the quality of the wine that he purchased a stake in one of the wineries (Invivo Wines) apparently drinking it exclusively on his show and lending a hand with its production.

With all of this amazing wine it is no surprise that there are some fantastic eateries to be found on both islands. Auckland has an array of cutting edge restaurants and Wellington has more places to dine per capita than New York City. Queenstown, home to the Central Otago wine region, is brimming with hip cafes and smart relaxed dining.

june 2016 3

There is something special about New Zealand. You only truly realise it when you visit. With its friendly people, great natural attractions, immersive culture and brilliant food and wine, you will not want to return home.

Travel through the striking Central Otago wineries and indulge in unique flavours in the Marlborough wine region on our 15 Day 'New Zealand Experience' Guided Holiday.


Peter Rasmussen, AAT Kings

Exploring the waterfalls of the Top End!

Posted: 2 August 2016

The sun was burning, the humidity was extreme and we’d been driving for an hour and a half. We hopped off the coach, eager to climb down the 150 stairs that would lead us to Florence Falls. After a quick pit stop at the viewing platform to catch our first glimpse of the two cascading waterfalls, we continued.

At the bottom, we crossed over a small, freshwater, crystal clear creek. The falls were out of sight, but we could hear water crashing down into the rocky pool. After manoeuvring over and around a few small boulders we had finally arrived.

florence falls litchfield blog

Florence Falls

Pictures were taken and then shoes were coming off as everyone made their way into the refreshing waterfalls. It was a hard task to swim to the base of the falls and I highly recommend you do it without holding a waterproof camera in your hand. But it was worth the struggle to experience the power of the water falling onto your head and giving you what could be considered an ‘outback shower’.

Experience an oasis of waterfalls only 2 hours south of Darwin

The falls, the swimming hole and its surrounds were incredibly beautiful and natural. We could have spent all day here lying on rocks, taking underwater pictures and basking in the sun, but we had to press on, so we scaled the 150ish stairs again. This time it was a little more difficult as we were going up, not down (there is an alternative trail to take if stairs aren’t your thing).

wangi falls litchfield blog

Wangi Falls

Wangi Falls and the termite mounds were calling. We boarded the coach and continued on our mini outback adventure, certain that it couldn’t get any better than what we had already experienced...but oh how we were wrong!

Visiting the Norther Territory? Check out our Litchfield National Park Waterfalls - Full Day Tour for more information.

BIO: Travel addict, experience collector and culture seeker Ash has a never-ending bucket list. She loves foreign accents, food markets, and sunsets. You'll find her sharing her travel tips and destination advice on Instagram and Facebook as Travel Into Living.

Ash Fanning, Creator of Travel into Living

Field of Light Uluru by Bruce Munro

Posted: 1 August 2016

Last week I was fortunate enough to be part of the Media launch for the Bruce Munro Field of Light. We boarded the coach at 5am bound for a unique desert destination. Our Driver Guide gave us a brief welcome and introduction, but also kept us in a certain amount of suspense. We ventured down a short dirt road, disembarked the coach and had a small walk to the first viewing platform.


What makes Uluru Field of Light so special?

This is where my early morning start was rewarded by a scene never experienced before. The silent morning air was filled with ohhhhhhs and ahhhhhhhhs as we looked towards the direction of Uluru to where we were met with 4 acres of flowing fibre optic lights. The ohhhhhs and ahhhhhhhs soon turned to a tranquil peace and quite as everyone stopped to enjoy the fibre optic display gently changing colour with the backdrop of the Milky Way and night sky.


After a cup of tea I wandered down to begin my walk amongst the lights, this was a magical and breathtaking experience unlike anything I have ever experienced before! You can find a place all to yourself to stand or crouch in amongst the changing fibre optic lights that gently change from green to red to purple to blue. The lights are so gentle and don’t distract from the clear night sky. I found myself looking at the Milky Way then back to the Field of Light without having to adjust my focus. As the morning progressed I could see the Desert Oak trees and spinifex grasses start to appear as the sun began to rise. This added another spectacular element to the morning, the sun slowly rising and taking over as the fibre optic lights ever so slightly started to fade away. So many wow factors in one morning.


This experience was breathtaking, tranquil, mesmerising and is one that will remain with me for the rest of my life, a must see by all who visit the amazing Red Centre. Find out more about our Field of Light Sunrise Tour.  


Brett Holmes, Day Tours Manager, AAT Kings