Australia and New Zealand are home to loads of extraordinary experiences, so make 2019 the year to explore the top spots a stone’s throw from your front door.

Presenting the passport might be the ‘cool’ option when it comes to holidays but Aussies need not venture so far with many special spots so close to home. Australia and New Zealand are perfect places to experience the wonders of the world and there’s the added bonus of spending less time flying and more time exploring.

We’ve investigated the AAT King’s inventory and have found the perfect itineraries to help guide travellers to the finest gems in our very own backyard.

 

1. SAVOUR THE SUBTERRANEAN STARS

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A two-hour drive from Auckland brings nature lovers to the mysterious network of underground streams and amphitheatres where millions of tiny glowworms sparkle to create a magical subterranean night sky.

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are a highlight of AAT King’s Best of New Zealand with the 18-day itinerary that roams from Auckland to Christchurch also including a Bay of Islands cruise and stroll around Punakaiki Pancake Rocks.

 

2. SEE THE CENTRE’S OTHER WONDER

While many a bucket list includes sunset drinks at Uluru or a morning meal at Kata Tjuta there’s nothing like climbing Kings Canyon while it’s still dark to be standing on the lofty rim when the sun pops above the horizon.

This geological wonder is on the schedule during AAT Kings’ Outback Adventure with the expedition that takes 15 days to navigate the Red Centre from Adelaide to Darwin also promising the Flinders Ranges and Litchfield National Park.

 

3. CROSS THE SOUTH ISLAND BY TRAIN

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Some of New Zealand’s best-kept secrets are the scenic trains that zig-zag around the South Island with the TranzAlpine a delightful day trip that crosses the Canterbury Plains, climbs towering mountains, skirts alpine lakes, and crosses ice-fed streams.

This journey is the penultimate experience on AAT King’s 10-day journey Southern Spectacular which traverses the South Island from Christchurch and also includes the Franz Josef Glacier

 

4. ALLURED BY ALBANY’S APPEAL

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This address on Western Australia’s south coast is one of Australia’s hidden gems with the destination home to the National Anzac Centre, a thriving wine region, and 13,000 wildflower varieties during springtime.

Albany is a stop on AAT Kings’ Western Wonderland which is a 16-day adventure making a big loop from Perth that not only takes in Kalgoorlie, Esperance, Margaret River and Monkey Mia but visits Wave Rock and the Pinnacles.

 

5. WATCH MAGNIFICENT MARINE CREATURES

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Majestic maritime mountains surround Kaikoura but it’s the whales, dolphins and seals that call this corner of New Zealand home that delight travellers venturing along the South Island’s dramatic east coast.

AAT King’s New Zealand Splendour pops into Kaikoura during a 15-day expedition from Auckland to Christchurch that also delivers a waterborne crossing of the Cook Strait from Wellington to Queen Charlotte Sound.

 

6. REST AND RECREATION ON THE REEF

The Great Barrier Reef is the undisputed jewel in Queensland’s crown with the world-famous landmark home to kilometres of colourful coral, islands boasting stretches of white sand, and rainforests right beside crystal-clear coves.

Queensland Highlights is an AAT King’s outing that touches the coast at Cairns and Airlie Beach – letting travellers ride a catamaran to the Great Barrier Reef to swim and snorkel –  during the 11-day journey along the Sunshine State’s eastern edge.

 

There’s never been a better time to see Australia or New Zealand with AAT Kings. Agents making plans right now are rewarded with up to $100 in gift vouchers, so visit the website or see your favourite BDM.

Plus, if you’re loving these backyard experiences, you’re in luck! Some of the above journeys are featured in AAT Kings Great Australian Sale. Get in quick!

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What places would you like to explore in your own backyard?

Written by KARRYON contributor: Sarah Nicholson

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