Small group adventure touring company, Natural Habitat Adventures, will reintroduce Australia to its global program from 2020 after an extended hiatus, LATTE can reveal exclusively.
The Colorado-based responsible tour operator has developed two brand new itineraries that will explore Australia’s north and south, both over 12 days and 11 nights.
The northern itinerary, named Australia’s Wild North, will encompass Kadadu, the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree. The southern trip will focus on Tasmania, Kangaroo Island and the Great Ocean Road.
Leading the Australian program’s development is Justin Brown, Natural Habitat Adventures’ Director of Field Operations, who said that launching two “big, significant trips” at the same time has its challenges, but that he was excited for the program’s public release.
Speaking exclusively to LATTE from Boulder, Colorado this week, Brown said Natural Habitat Adventures’ audience had been calling for the reintroduction of Australia for “quite a while”.
“Quite a few dedicated passengers who have travelled extensively with us in the past all over the world kept bringing up Australia. It just got to be that time to give it another go,” Brown said. He personally investigated the destinations and was in Australia last month to complete arrangements.
“Australia is a giant continent with a lot of diverse environments and interesting places to see. Trying to cultivate just one single itinerary that ticks all the boxes is impossible really, unless you’re going to be there for three months. We wanted to have a complementary pairing of programs, especially because the seasonality is relatively opposite in the two different locations.”
“The northern itinerary is hitting the more tropical-type of environment, and the Great Barrier Reef is an obvious choice for wildlife lovers, and is certainly a bucket-list location. The Daintree being an absolutely naturally beautiful, gorgeous location with really interesting and intriguing wildlife, Kakadu is an incredible spot, and Darwin and the Top End is amazing.”
There will be an initial six departures of each itinerary, with the northern program operating from Brisbane to Sydney between May and October, and the southern trip – from Adelaide to Hobart – running between October and March.
Brown said the southern trip is probably what more international tourists would come to expect of Australia, at least in terms of wildlife.
“That’s where guests will see the very typical Australian species of kangaroos and wallabies, koalas, wombats and Tasmanian devils. It’ll be more that stereo-typical wildlife versus the coral reef, fish, sharks and manta rays, turtles, cassowaries, saltwater crocodiles and all the birdlife that thrives in Kakadu in the north.”
Wildlife elements include tracking the endangered Tasmanian devil, searching for echidnas, wombat encounters in the south, marine life spotting in the Great Barrier Reef and ‘birding’ in remote parts of Kakadu on jet boats.
Guests stay in a diverse range of accommodation options, from the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat, Great Ocean Ecolodge, Cradle Mountain Lodge, Edge of the Bay Resort in Tasmania’s Freycinet, Heron Island Resort, Bamurru Plains, to the Heritage Lodge up north.
The Aussie program has been developed so that the two journeys can be linked at the front and back end of each season. Itineraries have gone on sale this week and will be featured in the next annual Natural Habitat Adventures’ catalogue, due to be released in September.
While the target audience is primarily American travellers, Brown said he could see Australian’s being interested in the “wildlife heavy” tours as a domestic holiday.
Each tour is capped at a maximum of 12 people who will be escorted throughout the trip by Nat Hab expedition leaders. As a result of the vast distances covered, internal flights will be necessary on each trip.
The Southern trip is priced from US$9,995 per person double occupancy, plus internal airfares of US$1,195 and a single supplement of US$1,750.
The Northern trip (which concludes in Sydney with an overnight stay) is priced from US$10,995 per person double occupancy, plus internal airfares of US$1,570 and a single supplement is US$1,990.
Visit nathab.com for more information.