Where will this Lunar New Year take you?

Posted: 16 February 2018

Breaking the boundaries of one-size-fits-all travel experiences, AAT Kings offers unique travel styles to suit your dream holiday desires. Whether you wish to get under the skin of the destination, are travelling in a small group or simply seek a short escape, we’ll share all the must-see sights, sounds and flavours of Australia.

In the spirit of this new Lunar New Year and the Year of the Dog, we’ve chosen the best of our portfolio, to suit the travel styles of each Chinese zodiac sign. 

Where will this Lunar New Year take you?



Birth Years: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008

The Rat enjoys the challenge of travel and are more likely to pick up and go as they driven by a strong sense of curiosity and often seek out new places, even when visiting a destination they’ve been to before, whether it be Western Australia’s sprawling wilderness or the very best of the Red Centre.

Our suggestions:

Guided Holiday: Western Wonderland
Short Break: Alice, Uluru & Kings Canyon Adventure
Day Tour: Kings Canyon & Outback Panoramas



Born: 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009

With a strong attachment to their home country, the Ox enjoys exploring the travel possibilities in their own backyard. They love to travel with family, making a foray into Southern Australia or the Northern Territory with loved ones, the ideal experience.

Our suggestions:

Guided Holiday: Tastes of Southern Australia
Short Break: Kakadu, Arnhem Land, Twin Falls & Jim Jim Falls
Day Tour: Uluru Morning Guided Base Walk



Born: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010

The Tiger is brave and competitive and is often the first of their friends to visit a destination, usually someplace slightly off the beaten path. Tigers take great pride in enjoying the challenge of travelling in unique environments, making Australia’s last frontier – the Kimberley the best place to explore.

Our suggestions:

Guided Holiday: Wonders of the Kimberley
Short Break: Outback Wanderer
Day Tour: Palm Valley Outback Safari by 4WD

Rabbit 1


Born: 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011

Rabbits are serene and artistic and love to travel to places known for art, cooking and fashion. Rabbits also tend to be quieter and more serene than other zodiacs meaning travel options that allow them to truly explore and immerse themselves in a destination are well suited. Cosmopolitan Victoria with its sophistication and natural beauty is a Rabbits paradise. 

Our Suggestions:

Inspiring Journey: Victoria’s Hidden Gems
Short Break: Melbourne’s Food & Wine Discovery
Day Tour: Marvellous Mornington Peninsula



Born: 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012

Courageous and tenacious by nature, Dragons love active travel, with thrills and adventure aplenty. Throw in the natural wonders of pristine New Zealand or the wildlife-rich Top End and the Dragons travel tastes will be satisfied.

Our Suggestions:

Guided Holiday: Best of New Zealand
Short Break: Kakadu & Litchfield National Parks
Day Tour: Kakadu National Park Explorer



Born: 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

As intellectuals, Snakes enjoy learning about their destinations, digging deeper and immersing themselves in destinations full of history and culture. Where better to head than the timeless Dreamtime landscapes of the Red Centre, learning of the indigenous culture’s ancient connection with the immortal Outback.

Our Suggestions:

Inspiring Journey: Outback Australia: The Colour of Red
Short Break: Uluru Unearthed
Day Tour: Uluru Base & Sunset



Born: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014

The Horse seeks the hustle and bustle of a busy destination and loves to be part of a group, travelling with friends and others. Exploring the best of Sydney or the stunning coastline all the way to Cairns is perfect for the Horse and their companions.

Our Suggestions:

Guided Holiday: East Coast Islands & Rainforest
Short Break: Sydney & the Blue Mountains
Day Tour: Sydney in a Day!



Born: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015

Sheep love to travel in a group, staying on the beaten path and thoroughly enjoy destinations that provide food for thought, as they learn about new cultures and ways of life. Well suited to a Guided Holiday through the North Island of New Zealand or heading to Melbourne before traversing the Great Ocean Road.

Our Suggestions:

Inspiring Journey: The Endless Shores
Short Break: Melbourne and Great Ocean Road
Day Tour: Magnificent Melbourne Morning City Tour



Born: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

The Monkey loves to dig into unknown history and seek behind-the-scenes experiences when travelling.  Getting under the skin of destinations like Tasmania, Adelaide and Alice Springs is perfect for intelligent and curious Monkeys.

Our Suggestions:

Guided Holiday: Perfect Tasmania
Short Break: Adelaide & Kangaroo Island Discovery
Day Tour: A Town like Alice



Born: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

The Rooster enjoys travelling in groups where they can be the centre of attention.  All the fun and excitement of New Zealand’s South Island or the coastlines of Queensland and Victoria provide ample opportunity for adventure for those born in the year of the Rooster. 

Our Suggestions:

Guided Holiday: The Southern Drift
Short Break: Cairns & the Great Barrier Reef
Day Tour: Twelve Apostles & Great Ocean Road



Born: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006

The Dog loves to travel with others with adventures are filled with plenty of laughs and meaningful experiences. An array of experiences suits this zodiac sign, from the Top End to NSW’s Hunter Valley.

Our Suggestions:

Guided Holiday: Kakadu’s Ancient Secrets
Short Break: Kata Tjuta, Uluru & Kings Canyon
Day Tour: Hunter Valley Harvest Wine Experience



Born: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007

Sympathetic and generous by nature, the Pig loves to travel in culturally immersive environments. Unique experiences like traversing the legendary Australian Outback or an encounter with the rich culture of the Tiwi people speak to the heart of all people born in the year of the Pig. 

Our Suggestions:

Guided Holiday: Outback Adventure
Short Break: Port Douglas & Reef Retreat
Day Tour: Tiwi Aboriginal Cultural Experience

AAT Kings

Val Bird's Travel Diary in New Zealand

Posted: 1 August 2017

Our past guest Val Bird talks about her recent experience on an AAT Kings Guided Holiday "New Zealand Vista". Learn about her favourite experience and what it was like travelling with AAT Kings.

Day 1

Upon our arrival in Auckland we were immediately welcomed and put at ease by our Travel Director and fellow travellers, which turned out to be a mixed bunch from around the world who we had a relaxed ‘say hello’ meal with.

Day 2

She who never crawls out of bed usually until 8am was efficiently scrubbed-up, fed and ready to board the coach on time. After an Auckland highlights tour we headed to Waitomo, the home of the famous glow-worm caves, and then we travelled onwards for a pleasant countryside drive to Rotorua.

Tamaki Marae

We headed to Tamaki Marae where we spent the evening. It turned out to be an amazing cultural, humorous, unforgettable experience full of songs and education about Maori culture combined with down-to-earth Kiwi humour. The hangi food was first class with compliments flying!

Day 3

We paid a visit to the Agrodome Sheep Show, which was amazing. They have their act down to perfection with sheep, dogs, lambs and ducks all happily doing their act on cue – very enthusiastic sheepdogs! Afterwards we wandered downtown and had lunch. Later we checked out the flash restaurants of Eat Street, then popped into the Pig and Whistle to finish off the night.

Day 4 

After a stormy night, Rotorua put on a crystal clear blue sky to farewell us. The first stop along the way was Huka Falls, which our travel companions thought was fabulously blue and so boisterous. Next stop was Taupo for a coffee stop, then over the Desert Road to Taihape. We drove into Wellington and while some of our team were going out for a night on the town, we had a wine or two and then snuck off for an early night.

Day 5 

After paying a visit to Te Papa to view the Gallipoli display, which truly hit the heart, we had some lunch and wandered the Wellington waterfront watching the various goings-on and soaking up the happy-go-lucky atmosphere. The ferry trip across Cook Strait was smooth and uneventful, and we spent the night in Picton.

Day 6 – 7

We arrived in Christchurch and did a spot of shopping before having a beer in the temporary container mall, then went back to the hotel for dinner.

Church of the Good Shepard

The next day, after a visit to the quake memorial and the Cardboard Cathedral, we departed Christchurch mid-morning heading for Omarama via The Lakes, The Church of the Good Shepherd, Canterbury Plains and Mckenzie Country, with a lunch stop at Geraldine. The Lakes were as stunning as ever, but Mount Cook unfortunately had some stray clouds on her peak! However, clouds and all it was truly awesome and cameras were clicking non-stop.

Day 8-9

It was an early departure for the run to Dunedin via Waitake Power Station, Benmore Dam, Oamaru and the Moeraki Boulders. Magnificent scenery all the way and we arrived into Dunedin to a hot day with tar melting on the roads. We explored the settler’s museum where we found some photos of my pioneering family, then admired the ornate railway station – an architectural dream. At each destination there are optional extra outings such as sightseeing flights, boating trips and farm visits for those who wish to go. Having been here before, we decided to use the time as ‘quiet time out.’ It was a take-it-easy trip to Te Anau the next day.

Day 10

A big day today, travelling from Te Anau, Milford Sound, back to Te Anau, then on to Queenstown.

Milford Sounds

Due to a spot of rain our boat trip around Milford Sound was picturesque waterfalls after waterfalls, mixed with the high-rise majesty of the surrounding peaks. It was totally and absolutely awesome.

Day 11-12

The next morning was cool but fine with a sprinkling of fresh snow on the Remarkables. After a wander, we settled into a waterfront café for a coffee, then went back to ambling around the waterfront. One of the highlights was watching the Earnslaw depart, as tonight it would be our turn! On the main deck of the Earnslaw lives a baby grand piano, so on the way home there was an old fashioned piano sing-a-long to darling old favourite songs from around the world. A lovely end to the day. We waved a chilly goodbye to Queenstown to head to Franz Josef, which had had a light sprinkling of mountain-topping snow overnight. Our first stop was Arrowtown – you’ve just got to love this place. Historic, nostalgic and totally charming.

Day 13

After an evening in Franz Josef, we departed mid-morning to head back to Christchurch and stopped at Hokitika for lunch, then off to Arthur’s Pass, with totally majestic scenery along the way. I was desperately looking out for kea which had so far eluded me on both my visits down this way!

Trans Alpine Express

We were dropped at the railway station to catch the Tranz Alpine Express while the coach travelled by road to meet us in Christchurch. There was a happy excitement when the train chugged its way out of the tunnel and we settled down onboard for what was one of the greatest scenic delights of the entire trip. As if moving from one climate to another, as we travelled the sun came out, the sky turned blue, the arctic dressers among us started shedding layers of clothing and we arrived in Christchurch to brilliant sunshine.

One thing I was asked frequently was:

Why, as New Zealanders, are you going on a coach tour of your own country? I was asked frequently, “Why not?” I always answered. AAT Kings allowed us to both sit back and relax. Everything was arranged for us, all we had to do was pack a bag and turn up on the day. Here was a chance to simply lay back and take pleasure in the scenery as well as the opportunity to see NZ through a tourist’s eye.

On the final evening there were oodles of good cheer, cuddles and sweet stuff, for we all knew when the morning dawned we would go our separate ways. We were told at the beginning of the adventure we would end up feeling like family, and yes, we did!

And I’d do it all again.

Val Bird, Past Guest of AAT Kings

Tasmania - Isle of Discovery

Posted: 1 June 2017

Tasmania is a destination on many travellers’ bucket lists. Known for its amazing scenery, wildlife, history and also home to some of Australia’s best wineries, Tasmania is a perfect guided holiday destination.

Whether it be exploring the contrasting colonial and modern atmosphere of Hobart or taking in all of the surrounding rainforest’s natural beauty, there’s so much about Tasmania that will leave you wanting more.

With sightseeing spots spread out across the island, relax and let AAT Kings bring the destination to life for you as their expert Travel Directors share their local knowledge.

Here are some popular experiences enjoyed on AAT Kings’ Tasmania holidays:

1.     Get back to nature at Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park. Explore the extensive network of walking tracks and hike along the shores of Dove Lake with views of Cradle Mountain. The captivating landscape is home to wombats, Tasmanian Devils, platypus and echidna.

2.     Explore the environmentally-friendly 41° South Salmon Farm to meet the Pyka family and learn how salmon are raised in the fresh water ponds. Taste Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon harvested from the waters of the Montana Falls and tour their ginseng plantation.

3.     Discover Tasmania’s convict past at Port Arthur, located 100 km from Hobart. Port Arthur was the site of one of Australia’s highest security convict prisons, where between 1830 and 1853, around 12,500 convicts passed through.

port Arthur3005

4.     Get your art fix. The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) has made a name for itself on the global art scene since opening in 2011. With MONA and exhibitions at both the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Tasmania offers much for art enthusiasts.

5.     Visit Shene Estate, a reflection of early Australian architecture and the colonial era for a Be My Guest experience. Enjoy a walking tour of this iconic property with a local expert before partaking in some locally-made delicacies for a morning tea.


Experience these and other must-do Tasmania experiences like wine tasting at Josef Chromy Estate, a Gordon River Cruise and a visit to Freycinet National Park on an AAT Kings Tasmania Guided Holidays ranging from four to 12 days.

Holidays include many meals, sightseeing, accommodation, transport and airport transfers plus the services of a knowledgeable Travel Director and Driver Guide. 

For more Tasmania travel inspiration, visit

Gordon Gillan, AAT Kings

Winter Warmers to Australia

Posted: 23 May 2017

With the New Zealand winter and the cold weather about to kick in, it’s a great time for Kiwis to plan an Aussie getaway across the Tasman where the sun is still shining in many parts.

AAT Kings’ holiday experiences offer stress-free travel, luxury air-conditioned vehicles and include all the must-see highlights. Friendly and experienced Travel Directors and Driver Guides share their passion for Australia along the way.

Here are four winter warmer itineraries for some hot holiday inspiration flying into different Aussie gateways with Air New Zealand currently offering some great deals on flights*.

Hamilton Island blog

Start in Sydney and head to the Sunshine state exploring Australia’s glittering coastline across 13 days on the East Coast Islands & Rainforest Guided Holiday. Travel to Port Macquarie and the Gold Coast. From Brisbane it's off to relaxing Noosa and pristine Fraser Island. Tour a Rockhampton cattle station. Explore Hamilton Island and the exquisite Whitsundays, then head to tropical Cairns for a cruise on the Great Barrier Reef.

The Ghan Blog1

If time is on your side, start in South Australia and tick off the bucket list items of Ayers Rock and Kakadu plus ride the famous Ghan train spending 19 days on the Outback Tracks. See Australia’s vast rugged landscapes by road and rail and discover the culture, history and diversity of the remote reaches of South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Monkey mia blog

Head west and explore cosmopolitan Perth before heading inland to Wave Rock on the 16-day Western Wonderland holiday. Watch in awe as the landscape changes and you discover crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and ancient forests. Taste Margaret River's renowned food and wine, venture to seaside Fremantle and spend time discovering wildflowers and frolicking with dolphins at Monkey Mia.

cradle mountain blog

Tasmania touring holidays start in September when the weather warms up there but the 12-day Perfect Tasmania trip will be worth the wait. Experience what the island state is world renowned for - idyllic scenery, abundant wildlife, gourmet food and wine, art and friendly locals. Explore Hobart’s Salamanca, witness the stunning natural beauty of Russell Falls, Cradle Mountain and Freycinet National Park and tantalise your taste buds with Tasmanian Salmon, local cheese and other delicious treats.

For more Winter Warmers click here

 *Please note: Air New Zealand flight deals only applicable in New Zealand outbound. 

Gordon Gillan, AAT Kings

AAT Kings' Easter Egg Hunt: Kiwi Bird Eggs

Posted: 13 April 2017

On our journey around Australia and New Zealand we've discovered Emu, Platypus, Little Penguin, Echidna and Tuatara eggs! Our search for Australia and New Zealand’s incredible Easter Eggs comes to a close as we uncover the adorable flightless Kiwi Bird. These little guys are truly unique, and you won’t believe how big their eggs are!

Kiwi 1

The Kiwi bird is a unique and native bird to New Zealand. There are five different species of Kiwi that all need our help to prevent them from becoming extinct. These include: the Brown Kiwi, Great Spotted Kiwi (Roroa), the Little Spotted Kiwi, Rowi and also Tokoeka. It has unique and unusual characteristics including the inability to fly, loose hair-like feathers, strong legs, no tail and one of the largest eggs in relation to its body in the world.

The Kiwi bird’s egg in proportion to its body size is huge. The female Kiwi will lay an egg bigger than almost any other bird. The Kiwi’s eggs are 6 times bigger than the normal egg for a bird of its size. While laying such a large egg can be painful, it also has its advantages. Most bird eggs are 35-40% yolk, however, the Kiwi’s egg is approximately 65% yolk. This yolk contains all the nutrition necessary so that when the Kiwi chicks hatch, they’re already fully feathered and independent.

 Kiwi 2

For the Kiwi to produce such a large egg, it must eat 3 times as much as usual. Just before the egg is laid, the female must fast for 2 or 3 days as the egg takes up so much room. Most Kiwis lay one egg with the exception of the Brown Kiwi, which will usually lay two eggs. A female Kiwi can lay up to 100 eggs in her lifetime. The first sign that the chick is ready to hatch is when the egg jiggles slightly. The Kiwi chick then has the exhausting job of kicking and pecking its way out of the egg.

The Kiwi is able to survive in many different environments, from snowy mountains and coastal sand dunes through to forest floors and farmed grasslands. The Kiwis are described as breeding machines; if you were to take away its predators, the Kiwi would successfully be in high population again.

Meet a Kiwi bird at Rainbow Springs National Park on our Contrasts of New Zealand Guided Holiday.

Alana Auld, AAT Kings

AAT Kings' Easter Egg Hunt: Echidna Eggs

Posted: 9 April 2017

Ouch, watch your step! We just found a spiny animal who lays a single egg at a time – what could be inside? It’s a baby Echidna of course! Have you read about the Emu, Platypus, Little Penguin eggs we've already discovered around Australia?

Echidna 1

The Echidna is one of oldest surviving mammal on the planet today – not to mention the oldest surviving egg laying mammal. There are 4 subspecies of short-beaked Echidna found in Australia. They can be found all over Australia and are able survive extreme temperatures. The short-beaked Echidna varies in colour depending on their location. In the hotter northern regions, the Echidna is light brown - they become darker with thicker hair further south. In Tasmania, the Echidna is black. The Echidna’s spines cover its head, back and tail. The spines are straw-coloured with black tips; the purpose of these being defence. They can weigh anywhere between 2-7 kilograms.

The breeding season for an Echidna occurs between July and August. As the Echidna is a Monotreme, they produce young from eggs which are hatched outside their body. During the breeding season the female Echidna develops a pouch in which she lays a single egg. This egg takes up to 10 days to hatch. The baby Echidna is carried around in its mother’s pouch for about 3 months, during which the female will sometimes drop it into a burrow for protection. By the time the young Echidna leaves the pouch the spine has started to develop, however it will still stay close to the mother.

Echinda 2

With a strong sense of smell, the Echidna uses its long hairless snout to search for food, detect danger and also locate other Echidnas. Termites are their preferred food. The Echidnas will catch their prey with a long sticky tongue. As they have no teeth it will grind the food between its tongue and the bottom of its mouth.

The Echidna has been known to live as long as 16 years in the wild but generally the life span is thought to be under 10 years. 

Mirima National Park in Kununurra is home to many Echidna. Home to a big variety of wildlife, visit Mirima National Park on our Wonders of the Kimberley Guided Holiday.

Alana Auld, AAT Kings

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