What we learnt about New South Wales
by Laura Gelder | 29 May 2019
New South Wales is a region which encompasses all the factors that travellers want from a holiday to Australia, in one state. Persuade your clients to stay a little longer and they can find not only world class dining, shopping and urban attractions in cosmopolitan Sydney, but miles of beautiful coastline with stunning beaches; fascinating nature and wildlife in areas like the Blue Mountains; red sand outback landscapes in Mungo National Park; and award-winning vineyards in the Hunter Valley.
Below are 12 key suppliers you can book with, all available through the usual channels and offering great commisison to UK travel agents.
Qantas: Last year flag carrier Qantas switched its hub from Dubai to Southeast Asia and launched its ultra-long haul service from London Heathrow to Perth. So now there are two ways to get to Sydney and NSW: the award-winning A380 same-plane service via Singapore or the non-stop service to Perth on a new Dreamliner, with a hassle-free, same-day connection between Perth to Sydney which can mean as little as an hour in transit.
Let’s go surfing: This family-owned surfing school has been at Bondi Beach for 25 years but also has a base in Byron Bay. It’s Eco Tourism Australia-certified and offers daily small group lessons which can be taken by anyone, even if you can’t swim!
Did you know? Agents can also book the Bondi Local or Best of Bondi tour which incorporates transfers, a meal, shopping time, and a walk to the oldest surf live saving club in Australia.
Tourism solutions: This DMC has has been working with the UK market for 23 years and was talking to agents about its range of tours with AEA Luxury. Its half- and full-day Blue Mountains tours include all the usual attractions, including Katoomba, but also call in at a working farm where visitors can see koalas, kangaroos, wombats and emus and offer a two hour self guided hike or deluxe meal included. Other popular tours on its books are a Panoramic City Tour, taking in Sydney’s icons plus hiking at Watson’s Bay, and a Hunter Valley chocolate and wine pairing day.
Did you know? Agents also discovered some brand new product from Sydney Princess Cruises, the Sydney Harbour Long Lunch/Long Dinner, a luxury cruise which stops at different high-end restaurants for starter and main courses before serving cheese and desert onboard with Champagne.
Hunter Valley Resort: Independent and family owned, this 35-room four-star resort offers access the NSW’s famous wine region as well as other top attractions like the Hunter Valley Gardens, Cheese Factory, zoo and golf courses. It offers activities like wine tasting tutorials, barrel rolling, a cooking school, candy making classes, hot air balloon rides, e-bike tours and horse riding.
Did you know? A new package gives visitors the chance to travel by train, leaving Sydney at 9am and taking three hours, this can’t be done in a day trip but Hunter Valley Resort offers an overnight stay including train travel, meet and greet from the station and a buffet breakfast for £265 per couple.
Arts Hotel Sydney: The last family owned and operated hotel in Sydney, this 62-room property is located in hip and historic Paddington with a garden and heated pool at its heart. The only hotel in Sydney with free parking, it also offers free wifi, bicycles, a fitness room and complimentary tours of Paddington Market on a Sunday. On the bus route from the city centre to Bondi, characterful Paddington has the highest concentration of Victorian terrace houses outside of London and is packed with Italian wine bars and bookshops.
Did you know? Arts Hotel is great for families as it offers triple rooms at the same rate as doubles. The hotel also owns the Art Deco British pub next door where you can dine on classic meals like fish and chips.
BridgeClimb Sydney: This thrilling but accessible adventure sees travellers walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge itself for stunning city views. There are three products: the Original Climb on the outer arch, taking 3.5 hours; the Express Climb on the inner arch, taking 2.5 hours and the Sampler, effectively half of the Express and taking 1.5 hours. Climbers are attached to the bridge at all times by harness and the extensive prep means even nervous clients are eligible.
Did you know? No cameras or phones can be taken up and climbers are breath tested to check no alcohol is in their system. It’s suitable for children and adults ages eight up but those over 75 will need a fitness certificate from their doctor. Women under 24 weeks pregnant are free to climb but if over 24 weeks they also need a fitness certificate.
Sydney Opera House: Perhaps the city’s most iconic building, UNESCO-listed Sydney Opera House is as stunning inside as it is out but visitors can’t go in unless they purchase a tour or performance ticket. Tours are from $42 and hold a maximum of 35 but private tours are also available. A one-hour tour costs $42 and uncovers the stories behind this famous arts venue. There’s also a Backstage Tour which departs 7am and includes breakfast in the Green Room; a Tour and Tasting Plate, with the latter served in the Opera Kitchen; or a Tour and Dine, including a meal at the Opera Bar.
Did you know? For those who can’t make it to the city for the Vivid Festival, every day at 7pm the sails are lit up for seven minutes giving a taster of the illuminations you could expect.
The Old Clare Hotel: A 62-room five-star boutique hotel which has sister properties in London and Dublin, The Old Clare is located across two heritage buildings, joined by a modern glass atrium in cool and arty Chippendale, a 15-minute walk from Darling Harbour. Design-led, it contains 96 different designer chairs and partners with local contemporary artists and designers. The hotel boasts super-fast wifi, huge beds, a rooftop pool and bar and eco-friendly features including sustainable and organic amenities.
Did you know? International phone calls are included at the Old Clare and the hotel prides itself on its personal service and takes great pains to find out about its guests so that they arrive to find a personal message or small gift.
Byron Bay and Beyond: Offering 14 products in and around Byron Bay, the eastern-most point of mainland Australia, this company prides itself on local knowledge. Experiences include kayaking with dolphins, seeing the sunrise from the cliffs, touring Stone and Wood Brewery, and exploring the stunning hinterland. It also represents an array of accommodation, including: six national parks cottages adjacent to the town’s famous lighthouse; the Elements of Byron, a five-star, nature-dominated 193-villa resort; The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa, an intimate boutique property in rainforest surroundings with big suites perfect for families; and Byron Bay Hotel and Apartments, a 43-room self-contained complex in the middle of town, 150 metres from beach, surrounded by restaurants and with underground parking.
Did you know? There are three airports from which you can access Byron Bay: Ballina, Gold Coast or Brisbane, so your clients don’t have to drive there if time is short.
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney: With 65% of its rooms offering iconic views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, this hotel on bustling George Street is also on the doorstep of Sydney’s popular and historic Rocks area. The hotel’s rooms are being remodelled for the first time in ten years and will be complete by November in time for peak season. Gone are the dark browns and all rooms are now light and fresh with window seats to take advantage of the harbour vista and all-Aussie artwork and bathroom amenities. The hotel also boasts a pool, spa and hair salon. There are 15 room types but if you book ‘full harbour view’ your clients will be able to see both the bridge and opera house.
Did you know? The hotel doesn’t force guests to have club access and you can book the leading room category without, but it has some of the longest free drink sessions, 5-9pm, in the city. There is also the new Grain Bar, serving over 200 types of whiskey
Dreamtime Southern X: This aboriginal-owned company offers immersive indigenous experiences in the heart of Sydney. Guests will be invited to take part in an ancient ceremony where they take acknowledge Mother Earth before a city tour taking in sacred spots, teaching travellers how aboriginals connect with the land and about conservation, cultural objects like boomarangs and important medicinal plants.
Did you know? Commissionable at 25%, the 90-minute Rocks Aborignal Dreaming Tour (10.30am to midday) is a leisurely walkabout uncovering the authentic history of the Aboriginal people’s heritage within Sydney Harbour and their spiritual connection to its waterways and foreshores.
Merlin Entertainments: There are four Merlin attractions in Sydney: Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Wild Life Sydney Zoo, Madame Tussauds Sydney and Sydney Tower Eye. Agents can get their clients access to one for $44, two for $50, three for $60 or four for $79, with passes lasting 30 days. Sydney Tower Eye is a great first activity to give visitors a chance to orientate themselves, with 360-degree views 250 metres high above the city - and if you plan your client’s visit around sunset they benefit from both day and night views.The tower’s Skywalk also opens in November and offers thrill seekers the chance to walk around the outside of the building. Other Merlin hightlights include Sea Life Sydney’s expedition boat ride through the penguin enclosure (included in entry price) or its cage-free shark dive (additional fee) and Wild Life Sydney Zoo’s new Koala Breakfast which cost $59 dollars and includes entry to attraction and a buffet breakfast with access to enclosure.
Did you know? Madame Tussaud’s new Justice League exhibition opens in June and is an interactive experience where you can attempt to help super heroes with seemingly impossible tasks.
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