Top Travel News from Australia and New Zealand

Ribadesella beach - cineuno/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images
photo by cineuno/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

What's going on in the land down under? Check out the most recent happenings coming out of Australia and New Zealand.

Sofitel Wellington, slated to open in 2014, will be the third Sofitel in New Zealand. This city hotel rubs elbows with some of the capital's hottest shops, restaurants and bars. The Sofitel Wellington will have a ground-floor restaurant serving up local produce and wines from the surrounding Hawkes Bay, Malborough and Martinborough regions. There will also be a fitness center and indoor pool.

Sanctuary Cove, the popular five-star resort on Australia’s Gold Coast, has been rebranded the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort, as IHG took over management in December 2012. Formerly it was a Hyatt Regency. Located within a resort and residential precinct, the property is the first InterContinental resort in Australia. Housed in a 1940s-style Queensland homestead, the resort has 243 guest rooms styled with colonial décor, parquet floors, and furnished balconies overlooking the gardens, golf course, or marina. Facilities are extensive; think spa, two championship golf courses, tennis courts, heated indoor and outdoor pools, and a fitness center with private yoga classes. 

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Abercrombie & Kent has announced its latest offerings for South Australia and New Zealand, through the “South Australia & New Zealand Adventure” package, with the attractions including wine and five-star gourmet meals to the untamed outback, white-sand beaches, wildlife experiences and natural scenery. South Australia & New Zealand Adventure is a 15-day itinerary that takes guests deep into the heart of both countries. Private local guides orchestrate the experiences, personalized for each traveling party. South Australia offers a taste of Australia without the lengthy travel time involved in traversing the continent. The trip begins with a cruise in Sydney Harbour and a private tour of the Sydney Opera House. It then heads to South Australia, the wine and seafood state of the country. From the capital Adelaide, tourists can take a short drive or flight to Kangaroo Island, the Barossa or Flinders Ranges outback region. There will also be trips to Barossa Valley, home to Australia’s finest wineries, and the Clare Valley enroute to the Outback. Also, tourists may be able to explore the 260-mile Flinders Ranges, one of the oldest landscapes on earth and home to kangaroos and emus; and then discover Kangaroo Island, known as Australia's Galápagos for up-close wildlife encounters. The New Zealand itinerary includes: a floatplane over Mount Tarawera's Crater Rift, the hot lakes of Waimangu Volcanic Valley and the geysers of Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve for a bird’s eye view of the landscape; a helicopter flight through Fiordland over the peaks of Milford Sound, flying over alpine lakes and rainforest; and a walk in the bush en route to Rotorua. There will also be a trip to the Kiwi Encounter, a hatchery and nursery for New Zealand’s endangered national emblem; a Dart River wilderness safari; and an off-route drive showcasing the scenery immortalized in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

As of October 27, 2012 Diane von Furstenberg debuted her personally designed DVF Penthouse at Hayman, Australia. The scoop: The two-bedroom penthouse is decked out with furniture pieces all upholstered in DVF signature fabrics. The space offers a balcony with views over the tropical garden landscape, Hayman Beach and the Coral Sea. The master bathroom features a freestanding stone bathtub. The DVF Penthouse will accommodate up to four adults and offers full Butler service, all meals and other special inclusions.

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