DIRECTOR OF SALES
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
Kim Feldmann de Britto
The Continent of Adventure10
Adventure of a lifetime | Oceania 12
Ultimate Watersports 20
Australia | It’s so much more 26
Clouds of Montville Eco Resort & Spa 30
Queensland Top 5 32
Arabella Guest House 36
Indigo Port Douglas37
Aussie on The Road 38
New Zealand 40
Introducting New Zealand 42
Lake Wakatipu 44
Central Ridge Boutique Hotel 48
Mantra Marina 49
The Style Jungle 50
Visit Marlborough 54
Papua New Guinea 56
Rabaul Scenic Tours 66
Excellence in Service is an important category, as customer
service can often be responsible for having guests return
year after year. We look for the hotels and tour operators
that go out of their way to please their guests, those that
provide a personal level of service and take the time to
get to know each visitor so that they might anticipate their
every need. This can be something as simple as a 24-hour
concierge desk, a hotel manager who offers a personal
greeting or a tour guide who is happy to create bespoke
private tours – but whatever it is, we are always pleased
when we encounter staff that have been trained in the art
of customer satisfaction.
It is no question that style and design plays a big part in
selecting our awards shortlist. A guest will form an opinion
about a hotel as soon as they arrive so it is important
to us that all our winners make those first impressions
count. We’re certainly not partial to a particular period of
architecture – but whether we’re judging a gothic castle or
an environmentally friendly lodge, the criteria remains the
same. We consider factors such as architectural features,
use of materials, creation of spaces, décor and the overall
feel. We love it when we find a hotel that tells a story
though its design and construction, or offers a design that
is sympathetic to the natural surroundings of its location.
STYLE & DESIGN
Knowledge of the local area is essential for any
organization, be it a hotel or a tour operator. The quality
of services takes a great hit when the quality of this
element is not up to the mark. Quite a few of our winners
in this category are because they have displayed excellent
knowledge about the surrounding areas. The criteria for a
hotel is slightly lenient compared to a tour operator, as the
latter is expected to have thorough knowledge of the area
in order to provide good services.
Image by: Hamish Clark
Award-winning guest rooms come in all shapes and sizes,
but they all have one thing in common – a home-awayfrom-home
feel. The comfort of the facilities on offer are
of vital importance; we look for luxurious linens, stylish
bathrooms and a coordinated colour scheme that work
together to create a cohesive sense of relaxation. Additional
touches, such as complimentary toiletries, free wi-fi or tea
and coffee making facilities are always a bonus in making
us feel welcome. We’re always impressed to find hotel
rooms that embrace technology and offer amenities like
tablets or smart thermostat systems, but this does not
always necessarily trump the traditional – four poster beds,
ornate fireplaces or antique furniture can add a touch of
decadence to a hotel stay.
Location is one of the most important factors, but also one of
the most subjective, as the ‘ideal’ is very much determined
by the type of visitor and the type of hotel itself. However,
there a few factors we take into consideration when
determining the winners of location-based awards. The
first is convenience; that is, hotels that are easy to travel
to. Many of our winners in this category are in convenient
locations, such as adjacent to airports, close to beaches or
found in the heart of easy-to-navigate cities. We are always
impressed when hotels go the extra mile to take the hassle
out of traveling and offer such additional services as airport
shuttles or car hire services. However, we’re always excited
to come across a hotel that is, to use a familiar phrase, offthe-beaten-track.
A hotel that can offer something a little
different, in terms of natural surroundings, can make the
difference between a good holiday and an incredible one.
In today’s modern age, a hotel or tour operator cannot rely
on word of mouth to get their message out into the world.
As social media has become a vital part of everyday life,
we like to see companies that go the extra mile to engage
with their guests, both past and future. Attractive and
informative websites and engaging and honest content
and what we look for when judging a company’s use of
marketing; how well they display their services, how upto-date
their content is, how well they get their brand
message across, and, most importantly, how well their
marketing can tempt us to go and see what they have to
offer for ourselves.
What better way is there to know about an organization
than by getting first hand reviews? Customers are the best
judges of any service out there as they are the ones who
experience them and can assess whether they were up to
the mark or not. Considering reviews from hundreds of
customers gives us a fair idea about the general pros and
cons of any organization and also gives us valuable inputs
for the other criteria as well.
Diversity is one important aspect that needs to be taken
into consideration when in the travel and hospitality
industry. It is essential to have staff that has varying diversity
to ensure that the organization can properly connect with
their guests. Diversity is taken into account in terms of
gender, nationality as well as languages spoken among
other factors. Not only do we take the diversity of the staff
into account but even that of the facilities and services
offered; a hotel or tour operator providing a better range
of services is preferred over those that do not.
It is of prime importance that an organization has thorough
industry knowledge. Without knowing the nit-bits of the
in , it is difficult to flourish and provide services which are
a class apart. Before any organization ventures into the
industry, it is essential that they know how the industry
is moving and how they should make changes to their
methodologies in order to remain relevant and also be a
Image by: ana Sawalha
ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME | OCEANIA
Formed by an extensive continental mass (Australia) and by thousands of islands with
contrasting landscapes and cultures, Oceania offers an array of attractions for the
Around the 16th century, during the period of the Great Navigations, Oceania was
known as the New World. Nowadays, the continent is subdivided among Polynesia,
Melanesia, Micronesia, and Australasia (a region that includes Australia and New
Zealand) and is increasingly explored as a tourist destination. Although Australia
occupies almost 90% of the territory of Oceania, the continent is made up of 16
independent countries and several dependencies.
Not only is Oceania seen as an exotic destination in the eyes of many travelers, but it
also provides a wide range of adventures – both on land and at sea – to make every
thrill-seeker’s heart beat faster.
WATER SPORTS IN
Among the many things Australia
is famous for, water sports are
definitely on the top of the list.
Aside from diving and snorkeling
at the Great Barrier Reef, sea
kayaking in Tasmania, crocodile
cage diving in Darwin, or jet-skiing
in the Sunshine Coast, surfing is
probably the one to be embedded
the deepest in the culture.
Anyone who has visited the country
noticed the close relationship
most people have with the sea –
possibly due to the fact that the
majority of the population lives
along the coast. When it comes
to surfing, the worship for the
sport is so great that one has the
impression that everyone surfs.
If the waves are good, it is very
common to find spots (and beach
parking lots) full from sunrise to
Surfing is practiced all year round
in Australia, especially on the part
of the Eastern Coast stretching
from Sydney all the way to the
Gold Coast, Queensland, where
the first leg of Quiksilver Pro (one
of the contests of the world tour
of surfing) takes place at Snapper
Rocks. The states of South
Australia and Western Australia
also offer great options for surfing,
albeit being known as “sharky”
regions. Among the most famous
surf spots in Australia are Kirra,
Snapper Rocks, Burleigh Heads,
Duranbah (on the Gold Coast),
Margaret River (WA), and Bells
Beach in Victoria.
LAND ADVENTURES IN NEW ZEALAND
Despite being far from it all, New Zealand is worth every second of the long plane
journey. The country is divided into two major major islands and gathers a host of
impressive sights and attractions for its compact size. On the North Island, where threequarters
of the population live, summers are relatively warm and there are beautiful
beaches (such as those on the Coromandel Peninsula) for surfers as well as for those
who simply want to sunbathe. But the North Island’s main assets hides in the interior:
active volcanoes, geysers, multicolored lakes, and other unusual geological formations
form unreal scenarios such as the Tongariro National Park, featured on The Lord of the
Overall, the best season for surfing in Australia is between December and April due to
the summer cyclones in the Pacific Ocean. However, there waves all year round, even if
in smaller size or consistency. In the summertime, water temperature is usually around
26º C, while in winter it can get as cold as 18º C (or less in places along the south coast),
making it is necessary to wear a wetsuit.
All that being said, if surfing is your thing you are bound to find a lot more of it across
Oceania, with places of Fiji, French Polynesia and the mighty Teahupoo, and even
New Zealand (although it is a bit colder) featuring great surf spots that range from
tropical, palm tree-laden islands to rugged coastlines with snow-capped mountains as
As another highlight of the North Island, is Rotorua, the city of volcanoes. Among other
reasons, a visit to the area is worth just in order to see the Waiotapu geothermal area.
The entire place seems to have originated from a fictional film, with gases coming out of
the ground, colorful lakes, geysers, and pools of bubbling mud with suggestive names
of “Hell’s Gate” and “Devil’s Pool” – the impression is that everything will explode in a
matter of seconds.
Meanwhile, in the sparsely populated South Island, a land of icy winters and mild
summers, the adventure attractions are the snowy peaks, gigantic glaciers, a coastline
populated by seals and whales, and some of the most beautiful fjords on the planet –
Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, among others. Another highlight of the South Island
for adventure seekers is the city of Queenstown, where the bungee jump was created.
Here, you can choose to jump off a 43-meter platform, ski in one of the region’s
renowned resorts, hike up and around ridges like the one leading to Aoraki/Mt. Cook,
try skydiving, or explore a series of 4WD, cycling, or quad biking trails around the city.
It is no wonder that the city is known as the “World Capital of Adventure Tourism”.
Add to these natural resources splendid wines, vibrant cities like Auckland and
Christchurch, friendly people and an exemplary infrastructure of sustainable tourism,
and this is one of the most complete and seductive destinations on earth. Still, despite
being hard to beat, some of New Zealand’s neighbors (particularly Australia, for its size
and infrastructure) also feature great options of land adventures, even if in a smaller
WILDLIFE ADVENTURE IN NEW CALEDONIA
Being an island, it is only natural that New Caledonia boasts a variety of water
adventures, like surfing, snorkeling, and sailing. And yet, what truly makes this country
unique within Oceania is the incredibly rich, exotic, and, to a certain extent, bizarre
Similarly, the coral reefs that surround the main island (Grand Terre) create one of the
largest marine reserves in the world, registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and
home to various species of turtles, exotic crabs, and many tropical seabirds that call this
unique environment home. In the month of July, it is also possible to spot humpback
whales within the lagoon, as they return from Antartica to give birth.
There is a plethora of diverse landscapes to
explore in New Caledonia – from woodlands
to underwater worlds and swamps – in which
more than three-quarters of the species are
endemic to the territory. Creatures like the
dugong and giant clams inhabit the islands’
shores, while endangered species like the
kagu – which is not only one the country’s most
sought-after species for birdwatching but also
the official emblem of New Caledonia – can
be spotted along the dense mountain forests
of the Riviere Bleue Territorial Park. Overall,
birdwatching is a very common activity in
the islands, especially in the capital Noumea,
where most excursions are organized.
New Caledonia is also known for its various plant species (more than 160), of which
many are endemic to the island. A good place to get close to the country’s rich
vegetation is at the Maquis shrubland in the south – which hosts some of the world’s
oldest conifers –, around the La Madeleine waterfalls, as well as the mangrove regions
of Voh, in the north of the country.
If you are into exploring and getting to know a place’s wildlife, New Caledonia – and
the whole of Oceania for that matter – is bound to take your breath away.
The Award for Excellence
21 Flavio Crescent, Wandina WA 6530 ♦ Tel +0427 645 362 ♦ ultimatewatersports.com.au
Are you a watersports
is headed to Western
Australia? Get in touch with
Ultimate Watersports to
get the best watersports
experience in the region.
They ensure that you get to
try out any and every water
sports activity possible in
the area. Whether you are
looking to go on your very
own jet ski, flyboard or want
to even rise high up in the
air by donning a jetpack,
you can do it all with them.
You need not be an expert
in any of these sports
when coming to them,
they offer lessons in a safe
environment to ensure that
you can get your desired
thrills but at the same time
remain safe too.
They use state-of-the-art equipment and only have
professional instructors to teach you to give you the
ultimate experience. Whether you’re looking to hire
their equipment or want to go on their tours, they do it
both the ways. They go beyond their way to make sure
that you have a great experience when joining their
tours or hiring their equipment. From kayaks to jet skis,
you can hire it all and have a gala time in the ocean.
Unlike many other places, you could also bring your
own board to their tours!
If you’re planning to be a regular visitor, you
are in for a treat because they have opened
up memberships for jet skis and flyboards.
These enable you to have unlimited hires
of the equipment along with many other
advantages! They also have a family
membership that is perfect for families with
2 adults and 2 kids to have a fun time in
Marina 19-21, Apia, Barcelona, Samoa 08005 ♦ Tel Spain +685 ♦ 24443 Tel +34932211000 ♦ oceaniatravel.ws ♦ ritzcarlton.com
Rising above the rest of Barcelona, Hotel Arts located on the waterfront, provides
a luxurious stay with spellbinding views of the sea and city. With some amazing
facilities like terrace gardens, outdoor swimming pool and spa, they ensure that the
guests here get a unique experience. If that was not enough, you can keep up with your
gym schedule at the fitness center or get pampered in the hairdressing salon and luxury
fashion boutiques. The sophisticated rooms and suites have elegantly done décor and
plush furnishings.To top it all off, the hotel boasts of some amazing duplex penthouses
that offer the pinnacle of luxury travel experiences. The penthouses come with a butler
and shopping concierge to provide assistance along with luxury private transfer to
If you want the authentic Samoan experience, there is no better tour operator to
contact than Oceania Travel. Based in the village of Afega, they give you day-to-day
insight into the traditional way of life of Samoans. If you wish to explore all the islands
of the country instead, they offer a tour program that has guided group and individual
tours to every island in the nation. Moreover, if you’re planning to visit the neighboring
American Samoa, they provide guided tours to those islands as well. Apart from creating
experiences for you in the form of tours, they also provide services like ticketing, car
rentals, airport transfers, hotel and homestay reservations as well as cruise ship handling
to make your visit absolutely blissful. If you wish to have your dream wedding in Samoa,
they will be glad to arrange that too!
Image by: Alex Perez
Image by: Josh Withers
AUSTRALIA | IT’S SO MUCH MORE
Cultural immersion, cosmopolitan adventures, and luxury havens – Australia’s diversity
deliver captivating experiences of all kinds. Remote beaches border prehistoric forests,
deserts are swept by the wind that blows in rustic towns, where locals talk about art and
politics in pubs. Coastal cities come alive with the sights and sounds of local culture and
cuisine and fall asleep to the sound of wonderful, intriguing wildlife. Divided into six
states and two territories, Australia has many exciting experiences to offer.
As one of Australia’s “must-do”, Sydney boasts some of the most hospitable and
picturesque beaches in the country. Whether you’re looking to surf, relax with the
family, or get outdoors with friends, miles of sand and a variety of restaurants on the
beachfront make Sydney a city that can be explored at any time of the year.
Known for being a surfer’s paradise,
with beautiful beaches and an exciting
atmosphere, the metropolitan region
of Gold Coast is one of Australia’s most
coveted destinations. But it is not only
the beaches that Gold Coast has become
such a popular spot the: an array of
activities ranging from theme parks to
unparalleled natural beauty parks are also
on the list.
A cosmopolitan city that does not lose its
charm and elegance: this is Melbourne.
As Australia’s second largest city and
one of the country’s business centers,
Melbourne lavishes culture, organization,
and has a rather plural atmosphere. Here,
you find cafes and restaurants to suit all
tastes, people from all over the world,
and a mix of modern and classic, which
make Melbourne one of the best cities in
the world to live.
This large arid plateau with reddish lands,
low mountains, dry vegetation, and with
venomous animals is one of the main
destinations in Australia for those who
decide to leave the beaches behind.
The Australian outback is home to the
Kata Tjuta (which rises from a plain in the
middle of the desert), and Ayers Rock –
the largest monolith in the world, known
as Uluru by the Aborigines.
Kangaroo Island is the third largest island
in Australia and one of the country’s top
ecotourism destinations. Accessible
from Adelaide, the region is known for
displaying fantastic coastal landscapes,
as well as housing impressive wildlife such
as sea lions, kangaroos, koalas, penguins
and the beautiful marsupials known as
wallabies. It is also possible to admire
rock escarpments and caves, swim and
fishing along the many beaches and bays.
KAKADU NATIONAL PARK & ARNHEM LANDS
Kakadu National Park and the Arnhem Lands occupy more than 110,000 square
kilometers in the northeast of the Northern Territory, with diverse landscapes that
make up the famous adventure scenery, aboriginal culture, and ecological activities.
Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest park, and it is home to one of the largest
concentrations of Aboriginal rock art in the world. Also known for its strong aboriginal
culture, Arnhem Lands is dotted with wild coastlines, savannas, lush marshes, and
prolific animal life.
THE WEST COAST WILDERNESS RAILWAY
If you are in Tasmania do not miss the trip from Strahan to Queenstown on the West
Coast Wilderness Railway. This 35km-journey runs through the King River Gorge,
into millenary forests and picturesque towns. On top of that, local guides bring the
experience to life by telling stories of the main historical spots in the region.
RESORT & SPA
Spa – Resort of the Year
The resort has a spa and a health retreat
where you can relax and rejuvenate with
treatments administered by experienced
masseuses. The infrared sauna is a great
place to relax post a dip in the floatation
pool. The Balinese Pavilion is set in
secluded sub-tropical gardens of the resort
and here you can go for massages or join
in for yoga classes! Moreover, you can chill
out in the midst of nature here.
166 Balmoral Road, Montville, Qld 4560 ♦ Tel +1800 367 262 ♦ cloudsofmontville.com.au
Set on five acres of
overlooking the Sunshine
Coast of Queensland is
the Clouds of Montville
Eco Resort and Spa. This
eco resort gives you the
opportunity to unwind in
the midst of nature. You can
choose between cottages,
apartments and 2-bedroom
townhouses here. Located
just north of Brisbane, you
can be sure that you’re
not too far away from the
city too. The cottages are
tucked away in a private
forest at the back of the
property and provide a
romantic escape to couples
with facilities like two
person spas and bio-fuel
fires! For those looking for
a smaller place to stay, the
are a great option. If you’re
coming as a family, the twobedroom
townhouse is the
perfect place to stay.
You can go and play in the disc golf course, eat in the Balinese style outdoor eating
pavilion, dine at the outdoor kitchen or take a dip in the outdoor mineral pool. The best
part though, is that this is an adults-only retreat so you can relax and enjoy views of the
hinterlands with utmost peace and privacy. The resort truly gives you a chance to enjoy
the very best of nature while on your vacation.
QUEENSLAND TOP 5
From forests and mountains to white sand beaches and coral reefs, Queensland boasts
a diverse range of attractions, making it a tourist mecca of Australia. You can relax with
a cocktail at a beach resort, stroll through lush tropical forests, enjoy the exotic flora
and fauna like you’ve never seen before, or enjoy the urban buzz of Brisbane’s vibrant
The beautiful and breathtaking Daintree Rainforest boasts an exceptionally diverse
flora and fauna, including 90% of the species of bats and butterflies in Australia. Like
the Great Barrier Reef, most of the Daintree Forest is part of a UNESCO World Heritage
Site (Wet Tropics of Queensland) and for good reason. It is possible to go on tours that
give you insights into the scientific significance and history of the region; or can also
enjoy relaxing walks and soak in the stunning scenery: waterfalls, wild rivers, and forest
and coastal views.
THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world and is the only living body
visible from space – even bigger than the Great Wall of China. The reef is a UNESCO
World Heritage Site, widely regarded as a jewel in the crown of Queensland, and the
idyllic spot to go scuba diving or snorkeling and enjoy its rich marine life. If you are
visiting Queensland – or Australia for that matter – this place should be on the top of
As the name suggests, Surfers Paradise is a popular seaside town on the coast of
Queensland which attracts surfers and beach lovers alike. The Surfers Paradise Beach,
with its remarkable evening markets and cultural events, is one of Australia’s postcard
and a particularly sought after spot on the Gold Coast. Aside from the beach, the city
itself has a bustling nightlife, delicious cuisine, and features many tourist attractions
such as the Futuristic Labyrinth, a Hard Rock Cafe and Dracula’s Haunted House.
LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK
Named in honor of Lord Lamington (one of Queensland’s governors), this national
park was yet another region of Australia designated as UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.
The park is filled with unique flora and fauna and is particularly known for its birds,
wildflowers, old trees and waterfalls.
A popular tourist attraction in the park is O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, home to 230
species of birds, and where the very tame rosella parrots will eat from your hand or
even climb on your head.
A few hours north of Brisbane is Fraser Island – the largest sand island in the world.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is a great spot for whale watching,
fishing, a romantic getaway, or a soothing nature walk. As the island’s main attractions
are the viewpoints of Indian Head, Lake McKenzie and Wabby, the Maheno Shipwreck,
and the colorful sand cliffs. The island is a refuge beloved by tourists and locals, and
worth adding to your itinerary of places to visit in Queensland.
Bed & Breakfast
Charter Company of the Year
297 Mooloolaba Road, Queensland Australia ♦ Tel +61 7 5478 1339 ♦
Wharf Street, The Reef Marina, Port Douglas, Queensland 4877, Australia ♦
Tel +0429 901 250 ♦ indigoportdouglas.com.au
If you’re travelling to
Queensland and are looking
for a homely accommodation,
look no further than Arabella
Guest House. Neatly tucked away
in the midst of lush greenery, this
guesthouse has all the essential
facilities that you’d need for a
luxurious stay. With five fullyequipped
suites with plush
furnishings for your comfort, you
can count on them to make your
stay relaxing. The courteous staff
ensures that all your requests are
taken care of at the earliest and
cater to all your requirements.
Breakfast is served daily on
the ocean-facing deck which
overlooks Maroochydore so
that you can enjoy the delicious
preparations with the beautiful
view. If you wish to sit back and
read in silence, you can head to
the reading room on the top floor
and enjoy the company of your
book with the view of the ocean
and Buderim. The hotel also
provides airport transfers.
Australia has more than 7000 beaches on its vast coastline and with this comes the
great opportunity of chartering your very own boat and heading off into the deep
blue! With just 12 guests onboard a luxurious catamaran for a day trip or a sunset sail, you
can be assured of a VIP experience when travelling with Indigo Port Douglas. For a more
intimate experience, you can hire their catamaran, Indigo 2, for yourself and head out for
some day snorkeling or swimming with turtles! Whether you require the boat for a quick
getaway or a corporate event, they cater to all your needs and requirements. You also
have the option of going on an overnight trip with your close ones to wherever it is that
you wish to go, from reef and island hopping to whale watching! If you fancy a wedding
where you can arrive on a luxury catamaran, they will tailor your charter to your needs.
AUSSIE ON THE ROAD
CHRIS WALKER BUSH
CWBush83@gmail.com ♦ aussieontheroad.com
Supporting small, boutique hotels, cafes,
and tour operators is also an awesome
Have you ever considered showing people
around yourself, maybe as a tour guide?
I’m halfway there! I currently design and sell
safari tours for Shadows of Africa in East
Africa, and my fiancée and I would love
to someday lead custom tours around our
adopted homeland, China.
What would you say is the best way to get
I’m a big fan of my own two feet. I’ve come
to really love hiking – whether it’s a day trip
out to the California desert, an epic hike on
the Great Wall, or a longer pilgrimage style
What do you prefer the Outback or the
While I love the beach like every Aussie,
I reckon the Aussie Outback is a hidden
gem. I lived in Tibooburra and Menindee
as a kid, so I’ve got a lot of fondness for
the red centre.
What’s next for Aussie on the Road?
I’m off to Hoi An in Vietnam for a few
months! I’m going to really bury myself in
updating the site, generating some new
bucket list content, and just doing the
housekeeping I’ve been neglecting of late.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m a 30-something Aussie who grew up in
rural Australia and didn’t hit the road until
my mid-twenties. Since then, I’ve spent six
years of my life living in Asia (South Korea
and China), taken up residence as a safari
expert in Tanzania, and had a whole lot of
fun along the way!
What made you decide to set up a travel
I actually started Aussie on the Road to
impress a girl! The girl and I never worked
out, but starting the blog led me to my
career in travel and also introduced me to
my lovely fiancée, Richelle!
You’ve travelled all over but like most people
we’re interested in travel to Australia. Why is
Australia so appealing to so many travellers?
I think Australia’s immense natural beauty
and the sheer diversity of environments
and experiences make it a justifiably
popular destination. There’s something for
What are some of the more popular lifestyle
& travel trends in the country?
Everyone seems to be talking about
sustainability, which is a good thing. A lot
more people are eating and traveling in a
way that preserves the beauty of the places
Your favourite place & why?
That’s a tough call! Namibia captured my
heart and Taiwan is amazing, but I think
Uganda is my favourite spot on earth. I
just love how wild and beautiful the whole
What is the top “off the beaten path”
Hiking the Kumano Kodo Iseji route in
Japan. It’s a 170km hike through some
of Japan’s most rugged and beautiful
environments, sleeping in quaint ryokan,
and visiting quiet temples. Definitely one of
my all-time favourite experiences.
Image by: Jean Pierre Brungs
INTRODUCTING NEW ZEALAND |
THE HOME OF NATURAL BEAUTY
Aotearoa, home of unparallel natural beauty.
Straddled between two tectonic plates, New Zealand erupted from the South Pacific
Ocean to boast some of the richest and most contrasting landscapes in the world,
which complements the peaceful and invigorating air that flows from north to south.
This is the land of Fjordland and its magnificent crags and intrinsic inlets; cosmopolitan
Auckland, where you can dive into rich Indian dishes while tasting some of the South
Island’s best Sauvignon Blancs; the wilderness of the Abel Tasman National Park; the
grandness of Lake Taupo and Rotorua; the beautiful beaches of Coromandel; the
mysticism of Cape Reinga; and the bustling mountain life of Queensland and Wanaka.
In the past, New Zealand’s secludedness has been a burden; now it works as a trigger
for the local biodiversity to thrive and for people to understand and appreciate the
importance of this natural treasure. The country’s developed infra-structure and touristfriendly
culture make it easy for foreigners to indulge in its captivating atmosphere, with
most popular destinations being accessible within a 2-3 hour drive from each other.
New Zealand’s capital, Auckland, is often the gateway to the rest of the country, from
where most places can be reached by bus or car, with the option to fly to other major
cities as a means of speeding up long distance journeys.
There is little that New Zealand
lacks and whatever it is that you
may be looking for – natural
beauty, adventure, quietude,
gastronomy, culture, or simply
to get away from comfort – it has
the power to bring you closer to
your own essence. And it does
so with an utter welcome and a
big Kia Ora.
LAKE WAKATIPU | OTAGO
New Zealand is a place known
for its breathtaking scenery:
islands, mountains, lakes, and
glaciers impress and attract
visitors from all over the world.
As one of the postcards of
the South Island region of
Otago is Lake Wakatipu. What
makes the Wakatipu unique
is its shape – which resembles
that of a seated person –, the
translucence of the waters, and
the interesting tidal patterns
that make the lake look like it is
in constant movement.
There are various legends
about the lake, told by the local
Maori, which together with its
unique aura afford the place
a certain mysticism. In 2014,
Lake Wakatipu surprised the
residents and scientists when
its waters changed color. After
analysis, it was concluded that
the phenomenon occurred
possibly due to landslide into
the lake. The Wakatipu has
an area of about 291 km², an
average depth of 230 m, and
the waters are so clean that they
have afforded the lake place
among the most crystalline
lakes on the planet. As with
many places in New Zealand,
scenes of The Lord of the Rings
were also shot on the Wakatipu.
Around the lake, picturesque Queenstown stands as one of the most popular
destinations in New Zealand. This city is considered by many as the “capital of extreme
sports” and has, in addition to several tourist attractions, many natural beauties. There
is literally no shortage of things to do in the city: skydiving at 15,000 feet altitude; jet
boating through narrow canyons at speeds up to 120km/h; rafting; paragliding; 4x4
trail with Land Rover – the list goes on. If you really are an “adrenaline junkie”, it is
possible to jump off a platform in the first commercial Bungee Jump in the world.
Queenstown is also surrounded by majestic mountains that are part of the Southern
Alps, which means that the city is close to various ski resorts. They are at least 5 in a
radius of 1 ½ hours by car, all of them offering perfect terrain, snow conditions, and
completely different points of view that make the joy not only of beginners but all levels
of skills to the experts. Although relatively small, Queenstown has a vibrant and quite
diverse gastronomic scene. Set in the prestigious Central Otago region – famous for
producing excellent Pinot Noir wines and having a variety of world-class wineries – the
city is also a hub for wine tours. Last but not least, Queenstown is also the gateway to
Aoraki/Mt. Cook – a national park full of hiking trails, home to New Zealand’s highest
mountain: the Mt. Cook, at 3,754 meters.
Hotel & Restaurant of the Year
of the Year
4 Sydney Street, Queenstown, New Zealand ♦ Tel +64 3 442 8832 ♦ centralridge.co.nz
875 Frankton Road, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand ♦ Tel +64 3 450 9096 ♦
Located in the heart of Queenstown in New Zealand, Central Ridge Boutique
Hotel offers quality accommodation with ease-of-access to city’s main attractions
and recreational centres. From standard rooms to the romantic moonlight room with its
hydrotherapy spa bath and views of Bob’s Peak, you can choose rooms according to
your taste of luxury. With your room, you get a complimentary breakfast, sauna access,
evening drink and canapes in the lounge! Wish to unwind? You could go to Indulgence
Spa and get some relaxing treatments administered by experienced masseuses. The
hotel’s lounge is a great place to get cozy in front of the fireplace and enjoy a glass of
Central Otago’s finest beer. The tour desk in the hotel is always available to assist you with
everything you need for your travels around town too. They also have special rooms for
ski storage and luggage storage for your convenience.
Perched on Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by the spectacular Remarkables Mountains
range, this hotel occupies a beautiful and unique South Island location.
Only four minutes drive from the centre of Queenstown and not much further to ski
slopes, golfing, hiking trails, wineries and high adrenalin sports, all our self-contained
apartments and hotel rooms offer luxe touches such as plush king beds and underfloor
heating. Free WiFi and undercover parking plus a helpful tour desk will ensure you make
the most of your time in this adventure playground
THE STYLE JUNGLE
Marina 19-21, Barcelona, 08005 Spain ♦ Tel +34932211000 ♦ ritzcarlton.com
Tell us a little about yourself
Probably, I was an explorer before even
realizing it – born in Tashkent (Uzbekistan),
I later lived in Belgium, Russia and United
States. I was always very curious, so before
all the travels we jumped into with my
super-supportive husband, I was simply
reading books all the time (seriously, even
the switched off light never was a problem.
And that’s before the iPhone torch era!)
After completing my Degree in Journalism,
I was working as an editor at Cosmopolitan
and later – Marie Claire in Russia. There
are no words to describe how cool is the
atmosphere at the offices of women’s
lifestyle magazines – no matter how long
you work there, no two days are the same!
They say ‘do what you love and you won’t
work a single day of your life’ – well, that’s
about me and journalism.
What made you decide to set up a travel
As a journalist, I was always travelling a lot.
But being tied up with editorial guidelines
and word limits, struggled to express all the
wonderful emotions each new destination
was offering. How can one describe a thrill
of catching the first lobster of the season
in Sweden, breathtaking views of the
brick-red Israel desert or the excitement of
spending the night outdoor in search for
Aurora Borealis above the Article Circle in
several paragraphs? I needed more words,
more photos and even videos. I decided to
play it my way and created a space where
I could share memorable moments I’ve
experienced, authentic food or activities I
You’ve settled in New Zealand for now.
Why is that?
I love this country! It’s endless exploring
opportunities – from world’s most beautiful
beaches to snowy mountains with glaciers.
It’s kindest people, who always find time
for a friendly chat with a cuppa. We came
here in search for a different lifestyle, willing
to ‘live like locals’ somewhere outside our
home country. But once we’ve arrived, we
never wanted to leave!
What are some of the more popular lifestyle
trends in the country?
That’s a tricky one! When you live that lifestyle,
you stop noticing whether it’s ‘a trend’ or
something really common to do.
I would say, Kiwis are really into outdoors.
No matter the season, they go hiking, biking,
exploring hidden gems of the region or would
simply grab fish’n’chips for a quick beach
I’m very happy to see how quickly New
Zealand is turning into a sustainable, caring
country. Banning plastic and single-use waste,
turning vegetarian or vegan to save animals
and battle climate change. Definitely a trend
When it comes to travelling have you
ever considered showing people around
yourself, maybe as a tour guide?
A couple of our relatives and friends have
already visited us in New Zealand and we
couldn’t be happier to show them around
our favourite corners of this country. I tend to
memorize easily some random facts I read or
hear somewhere, like ‘Mount Maunganui is
one of the 10 most photographed views’ or
‘Water of Abel Tasman is the cleanest in the
world’, so sometimes I’m probably a bit too
pushy guide, though no one complainedJ
Your favourite place & why?
Hands down, Tauranga – the town we live
in. Surrounded by blue water and stunning
beaches, warm and blossoming, this little city
boasts with interesting activities, delicious
restaurants and talented people. I’m proud to
be a part of this supportive and always smiley
community! It is also the fastest growing city
in the country at the moment and we have
already witnessed a lot of changes in the past
two years. So curious to see what’s next!
What is the best “off the beaten path”
We always enjoy walking the trails of
Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway.
People mostly pass the Gorge by cars on
their way to Auckland or Coromandel, so
the walking tracks are empty and quiet.
Besides extraordinary views, there is also a
lot to learn about the gold mining history
of this region there. You can even walk
through the long old tunnels with a torch –
like a real gold digger!
What would you say is the best way to get
Definitely by car! New Zealand is not too
big, so you can get from point A to point
B by car easily. The flexibility of traveling
by car – when you can stop and soak in
the moment or a beautiful view you’ve
just bumped into – is really priceless here.
Many people rent (or own) campervan, that
is also a very interesting and authentically
Have you done any adrenaline activities or
walked the lord of the rings trail? If so, how
Not yet! We have been to Tasman Glacier
and it was beyond any expectations.
Though a risk of falling into an ice-cold
water is certainly quite extreme, but to be
honest it wasn’t scary at all! Only fascinating
and truly-truly unique. I mean, how many
places are there on Earth, where you can
taste a piece of a glacier that is several
hundreds years old?
What’s next for theStyleJungle?
We’re looking forward to explore Australia
and neighbourhood islands. New Zealand
might be tucked at the very edge of the
world, but what a beautiful edge it is! No
need to go anywhere else, there is so much
more to see and do here!
Marlborough is about world famous Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s largest
winegrowing region, it’s about fresh seafood sought by the world’s finest chefs. Join
a guided tour or hire a bike, choosing from more than 30 cellar doors, tasting award
winning wines along the way and indulge in a leisurely lunch along the way amongst
the vines. With Marlborough’s diverse landscapes, from valleys of vines to sheltered
waterways of the Marlborough Sounds there is something for everyone. Here are
Marlborough’s must do activities:
DINE LIKE A KING
Dine on fresh seafood straight from
the waters of the Marlborough
Sounds with a seafood cruise. You
will be taken out on the sounds to
enjoy seafood straight from the
source; including King Salmon,
mussels and clams matched with
a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc –
creating the ultimate match made
HIDEAWAY ON THE WATER’S EDGE
With 1500kms of New Zealand’s coastline in the Marlborough Sounds there is plenty of
opportunity to escape from the hustle and bustle. Discover the perfect place to relax
and recharge with uninterrupted views from your balcony to the beautiful bays and
native bush clad hills. There’s no shortage of activities for your stay, walking, tramping,
kayaking, fishing, or just relaxing.
GO WILD IN
Marlborough is home to many rare
and unique birds, marine animals
and wild creatures. See nature up
close in its brilliant habitat and
choose from one of the island
sanctuaries - a natural paradise just
waiting to be explored. It is about
getting out of the urban jungles
and back to nature. Immerse
yourself in the wildlife by kayaking
out in the water or cruising
through the sheltered waters of
the Marlborough Sounds on a tour
spotting the wildlife such as seals,
seabirds or one of the five species
of dolphins we have.
SHOP LIKE A LOCAL
Explore the local markets and artisan producers to try locally-grown produce such as
saffron, pinenuts, hazelnuts, honey, olives, chocolates, garlic and sea salt or purchase
some handcrafted woodwork, pottery, soaps, or natural beauty products for unique
souvenirs to remind of your visit to this beautiful area.
The most idyllic areas
of Marlborough Sounds
can only be accessed
by boat and are best
explored with a scenic
cruise. Whether it’s off
on a mailboat, out to a
restaurant on the water’s
edge or to explore the
tracks. There will be
ample opportunities to
meet the wildlife that
live in and around the
Sounds; fur seals, little
blue penguins, dolphins
the rare Rowi kiwi,
tuatara and weka.
JOURNEY BACK IN TIME
Discover the world-renowned WWI and newly opened WWII exhibit at Omaka Aviation
Heritage Centre where aircrafts are bought to life in a theatrical manner featuring Peter
Jackson’s own rare collection of historical aircraft and memorabilia. The captivating
scenes educate and entertain visitors of all ages.
WALK OR CYCLE THE QUEEN CHARLOTTE TRACK
The Queen Charlotte track stretches 70km from Ship Cove to Anakiwa and is an
intermediate to advanced grade. The whole track can be completed in 5 days on foot,
or 3 days on a mountain bike with luggage transfers available by water-taxi. If you want
to try it all, there is the option of combining kayaking within your itinerary too. No
matter what you choose you will be rewarded with stunning views of Queen Charlotte
and Kenepuru Sounds and encounters with native birds such as the fantail and weka.
TASTE OF MARLBOROUGH
With more than 30 cellar doors, Marlborough offers every visitor the chance to find
the perfect drop. Explore the cellar doors at your own pace, self-drive, cycle or join a
guided wine tour. Or if you prefer a cold beer, then don’t worry Marlborough has you
covered with the local Renaissance and Moa craft breweries producing quality brews.
SWIM WITH DOLPHINS
As far as unique New Zealand experiences go, swimming with dolphins in the
Marlborough Sounds is definitely one of them. Set amid the spectacular scenery guides
will take you on a search for the five different species of dolphins found in this area, and
it is up to you whether you enjoy dolphin spotting from the boat, or take a dip into the
water for a personal encounter.
Choose to stay for a weekend or a week, in a vineyard villa amongst the vines or a
hideaway on the water’s edge. Whether it is during the perfect blue-sky days and calm
sparkling waters of winter, the carpet of red and gold vines through Autumn or the release
of new season produce and wines in Spring – Marlborough will be sure to impress.
Papua New Guinea covers the eastern part of the island of New Guinea (as well as small
islands around), while the other section belongs to Indonesia. This strange, straightlined
division also marks the boundary between Asia and Oceania. The country has
been inhabited for more than 40 thousand years but the first records of Europeans
visiting these lands was made in 1526, by Portuguese navigator Jorge de Menezes.
Despite attempts, effective European colonization only occurred in the last decades of
the 19th century, with Germany and subsequently Australia ruling the land.
In 1988, inhabitants of Bougainville – the most easterly of the islands of the country –
initiated a separatist movement. In 2001, the conflict ended with a peace agreement in
which Bougainville and nearby small islands became an autonomous region. In 1975,
Papua New Guinea gained independence, but the head of state remains the British
Papua New Guinea is considered as one of the most culturally diverse countries in
the world, with more than 800 different languages being spoken in the country. The
majority of the population live in various communities scattered across the wooded
landscape, with less than a quarter living in urban areas.
Traveling through the islands of this archipelago of the Pacific Ocean can be challenging
as tourist infrastructure is rather limited – but that is precisely what makes them more
attractive to many travelers. A trip through Papua New Guinea can have several high
points starting with trekking in dense jungles, crossing the mighty Sepik River, surfing
the waves of New Ireland, fishing around the Tufi fjords, bird-watching the famous birds
of paradise in the Highlands, or diving in exotic coral reefs.
To visit this archipelago – which already seems incredible due to its exuberant nature
and practically untouched – takes some courage and a lot of willpower. But perhaps it is
the excitement of running after the unknown what generates the adrenaline that many
travelers long to feel. Still, it is not like you will have to sleep in camps in the middle
of the jungle. The capital, Port Moresby, has great choices of hotels and restaurants,
being a reliable gateway to the rest of the islands. In addition, there are a few resorts
throughout the archipelago offering high-end accommodation in isolated areas.
Remember to enjoy a lot of walks and explore the ecotourism, since deciding to get
to know Papua New Guinea is to make a trip without frills, with much foot on the
ground and an open mind to understand new cultures. It is to get in touch with a world
opposed to that of most westerners and to draw from it life lessons that will inspire you
on the rest of your journey.
Papua New Guinea
Tour Company of the Year
With regards to the culture of Papua New
Guinea, you will get to see the Tubuan
Parade, Tolai Shell Money, and the
intriguing Whip Dance which is the first
thing you’ll see during your welcome to the
island. On the tour, you’ll get to travel in
a minibus across the changing landscape.
On your way, you’ll get to see the famed
Dawapia and get to photograph the scary
and steaming hot springs of Rabaul. You will
also get to travel on the Tunnel Hill, which
is the road to Volcanological Observatory
of the area.
Papua New Guinea ♦ Tel +675 7106 3049 ♦ rabaulscenictours.com
With Rabaul Scenic Tours, you can
explore every single wonder
that this beautiful place has to offer along
with its rich culture and war relics. All their
tours are not only suited for independent
tourists but also for cruise ship passengers
who have short halts in Rabaul. The Rabaul
tours take you to discover the city through
its markets and other areas. You will also
get to see the Barge Tunnels, Hospital
Tunnels, and the natural beauty of Matupit
Island Recovery. If history intrigues you
further, you can make a visit to Admiral
Yamamoto’s HQ Bunker which was of great
significance during the World War 2.
Their second tour takes you further away
from the Barge Tunnels to explore the life
of the island and its history at the museum.
You will also get to see the beauty of the
island from the Volcanological Observatory
which is on a hilltop. Moreover, the tour will
take you to the War Cemetery at Bitapaka
and also to the Kokopo Catholic Cathedral.
If none of their tours seem to fit your liking,
they can arrange special private tours for
you where you can tell them what you
exactly want to see with your group.