Insider's View


On Location in Australia & New Zealand

The Exclusive Travel Group is our On Location partner in New Zealand and Australia, a dynamic company that we coordinate with to bring you the best personalized experiences possible in both countries. Here, Stephen White, Director of Business Development, gives us some sound advice and exciting vacation ideas.

Q: You offer everything from itinerary planning and reservation to organizing unique opportunities. What are some of the top adventure activities and trips you can arrange in New Zealand?

We currently find the following to be most popular adventure trips with our clients:

Top adventure trips in New Zealand:

  • Whale Watching
  • Walking one of the Great Walks
  • Guided walk on the Fox Glacier
  • White water rafting
  • Sailing on an America's Cup racing yacht
  • Bungy jumping
  • Climbing and walking the volcanic region
  • Helicopter to an active island volcano
  • Heli-flight through the sounds and mountain passes
  • Deep sea fishing
  • Heli Skiing
  • Hunting

Q: What about Australia for adventure seekers? 

Top adventure trips in Australia:

  • Diving the Great Barrier Reef
  • Diving with great white sharks
  • Sailing
  • Outback walks
  • Unique Flora and Fauna
  • All water sports
  • Trekking with Camels

Q: As "Architects of refined experiential travel" what special interests can you cater to?

We've never had a request that we've not been able to match so pretty much open to any special interest groups. From sport to culture; food and wine to nature, we cover it all.

Q: Can you arrange special events?

Yes, we certainly can arrange special events!  We have access to all main events in both countries and our own little black book of unique things to do.  We are going to have our own ETG yacht on Sydney Harbour this New Year's Eve, 2017/18.

Q: What are some of the behind-the-scenes activities you can arrange?

We are experts at creating unique experiences that cannot be found online or with our competitors.

  • Unique Helicopter Trips
  • Privately guided access to all main attractions
  • Special access to unique things to see and do
  • Pink diamond mine
  • Meet the Captain of the All Blacks

Q: What do you consider to be must-see events in Australia and New Zealand in 2017/2018?


  • Australian Open Tennis, Melbourne
  • Commonwealth Games, 2018, on the Gold Coast
  • Opera at the Sydney Opera House
  • New Year's Eve Fireworks, Sydney
  • Tasmania Food Festival, Hobart
  • Darwin Festival

New Zealand:

  • Balloons over Waikato 2017
  • Audi Quattro Winter Games
  • Bluff Oyster Festival, Southland
  • Wellington On a Plate
  • Wearable Arts Wellington

Q: Are there any new accommodation options available this year and what are some of your favorite places to stay?

My favorite place to stay in New Zealand is The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, a luxury lodge on a working farm in Hawke's Bay.

In Australia, the Saffire-Freycinet in Tasmania, a spectacular scenic luxury hotel on the East Coast between Hobart and Launceston.

Yes, there are some exciting new places to stay.

New Zealand new Accommodation:

  • Annondale, luxury villa, Christchurch
  • New rooms added at The Boat Shed, Waiheke Island
  • Marlborough Lodge
  • Helena Bay Luxury Lodge
  • Kinlock Taupo
  • Sofitel Wellington
  • So Hotel Auckland Due May 2017
  • Park Hyatt Auckland due 2018


  • Pretty Beach House

Q: How far ahead should people plan a trip to Australia and New Zealand?

New Zealand: This is predominately a summer destination, mid-October to end of May, with a limited number of Luxury rooms available.  For a holiday over the Christmas and New Year Period book at least 8 months in advance, preferably 12 months, otherwise first choice accommodation will not be available.  I would recommend at least 8 months in advance for other times.

Australia: Because half of the country has a good climate year-round, there are many more places to see. Also, there are more hotels available than in New Zealand with about the same number of luxury lodges. I would recommend 12 months for the Christmas season and 6 months for everything else.

Q: What are the advantages of using your services?

We pride ourselves on our attention to detail, our 24-hour support service, which means no hassle travel for our clients, and our dedicated guide/client liaison which for Australia is based in Sydney.

Q: How does your concierge support service work in both countries?

In New Zealand the Travel Managers have the company mobile phone in rotation and there is a 24 hour service.  In Australia the NZ office is open at 6.30am (NZ time) and the Australian office in Sydney closes at 5.30pm.  We do not offer full 24-hour concierge in Australia as it is too large and with too many time zones.  Guests with a private guide of course have them on a 24-hour basis.  All Lodges and Hotels offer a 24-hour service.  In an emergency, the NZ 24-hour phone can be called.

Coles Bay, Tasmania, Australia | Photo credit: Saffire Freycinet

Vacation Side Travel

Steven Talbott
Vacation Side Travel

533 Church St Ste #278
Nashville, TN 37219

 855-822-8747 (Toll-free)
 615-800-8069 (Fax)

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