Holiday planning is often imbued with irony. While we may strive to indulge ourselves and have a relaxing experience, there seems to be a lot of work involved to get there – from arranging itineraries and accommodation to spending countless hours sitting on the plane and figuring out how to get around in a faraway, unfamiliar destination.

But a luxurious and hassle-free trip is not out of reach – in fact, it is just at your doorstep. Destinations in our own backyard await discovery, with plenty to offer – from the world’s oldest known continuous culture and the unique wildlife and natural landscapes, to the thriving cuisine scene and the idyllic boutique stays. And with luxury coach travel options, all you need to do is pack your suitcase and enjoy the ride.

Tasmania: Immerse yourself in nature and gourmet delights

An hour away from the capital city of Hobart lies Mt Field National Park, Tasmania’s first national park. The star attraction is Russell Falls, which consist of two beautifully segmented main drops and are surrounded by swamp gums, tall tree ferns and various flora of wet forests and rainforests. The gorgeous view of the falls is so beloved by nature enthusiasts it has been immortalised on one of Australia’s first stamps.

Another highlight is the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, part of the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness area and one of Tasmania’s most popular landmarks. Situated in the middle of the island, the park comprises ancient rainforests, jagged peaks and alpine heathlands with beech trees. As you explore the park, you can see the ever-changing scenery punctuated by wallabies, wombats and possums. You can observe majestic Cradle Mountain from the picnic area in Dove Lake and make your way to the iconic boat shed on the water’s edge, built by the first park ranger.

The heart of the Apple Isle also has its share of history – in Launceston, the historic homestead Entally House stands surrounded by great gardens and a vineyard. The old home of 19th century premier Thomas Reibey, the place now consists of various outbuildings, including a chapel, coach house and Australia’s oldest conservatory.

Continue to the winery of Josef Chromy for gourmet delights and some of the finest drops from Tasmanian grapes, served with a view of the elegant Colonial and Victorian architecture.

Tasmania, Australia
Travel along the scenic wine-producing regions to sample more exquisite elixirs at Bridestowe Lavender Estate. As the home and farm to over 260 acres of French lavender, Bridestowe offers a range of unique lavender-infused fare against the otherworldly backdrop of 650,000 plants stretched across 200 kilometres of open space.

New Zealand: Adventure seekers and food lovers’ paradise

As Tassie’s oceanic neighbour, New Zealand is perfect for those looking to venture just beyond the border. The Land of Long White Cloud comes packed with natural beauty and compelling heritage – and on the APT trip, you get to enjoy all the best destinations in a comprehensive 18-day tour.

After you land in Auckland, you can immediately enjoy the local delicacies on the Waiheke Island wine and olive tasting tour. Then cross the Harbour Bridge to get to the Bay of Islands, where sandy beaches and rocky outcrops could be found all around the subtropical enclave alongside historic sites, such as the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Matakohe’s Kauri Museum and Māori Meeting House.

Travel south to Waitomo to visit the home of the famous glow worm caves, where thousands of tiny luminescent creatures radiate an otherworldly glow that enfolds your boat ride through the underground rivers.

From there you can make your way to Rotorua. A trip here is not complete without an excursion to the Hobbiton Movie Set, the only place in the world where you can experience the real middle-Earth. Those who are less familiar with the Lord of the Rings series shall not worry – they can still take in everything the town has to offer, from a guided walk through Redwood Treewalk to sightseeing opportunities around the country’s largest boiling mud pool and colourful hot springs.

Once you’re done touring the North Island, it’s time to take on the South. Jump aboard the Interislander ferry to cross Cook Strait – the views of Marlborough waters and Queen Charlotte Sound will accompany you throughout until the ship lays at anchor in Picton.

More special travel options await – the TranzAlpine train, which runs from Christchurch, will take you on one of the world’s greatest rail adventures through the pastoral patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains and the rugged Southern Alps mountain range within Arthur’s Pass National Park.

Move ahead on coach to the artisanal township of Hokitika and the exquisite Franz Josef. You are spoiled with choice for quality meals in Queenstown, like taking a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet BBQ dinner.

Board a sightseeing cruise to witness the magnificent fiord that is Milford Sound in full length, carving a course across the stunning waterway encompassed by mountains, including the iconic Mitre Peak. At night, you can recharge with the unique Fiordland Dinner by Lake Te Anau.

Milford Sound, New Zealand 
Another summit awaits in the form of World Heritage-listed Aoraki Mt Cook national park, which hosts Australasia’s highest peak. Wander through the site to discover the native flora, get up close to icebergs on the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake, or view the southern night skies stargazing with an astronomer.
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand
Wherever you go in New Zealand, unparalleled beauty is to be expected. Learn more about how to explore New Zealand in Luxury here.

Signature getaways 

These two incredible destinations almost in our own backyards are luxuriously showcased by APT Luxury Travel. As a seven-time winner of the Best Domestic Tour Operator title at the AFTA National Travel Industry Awards, APT makes sure every detail of your journey is taken care of – so you can Live Fully.

This is sponsored content brought to you in conjunction with APT Luxury Travel.