An inspiring cultural journey is guaranteed when you venture ‘down under’. Discover vibrant cosmopolitan cities, historic sites, indigenous people, remarkable traditions and encounter a refreshing perspective…
Whilst Mother Nature has certainly blessed the southern hemisphere continent of Australasia with a rich variety of landscapes — ranging from tropical rainforest and arid desert, to volcanoes, grasslands and lush verdant plains — there is also a bounty of culture to discover beyond its incredible natural beauty. A journey to Australia and New Zealand may appeal to travellers for many reasons — such as its heritage, the attractive climate or unique wildlife — however, there are more mortal attractions to discover too.
Both countries are attractive touring destinations — they are easy to traverse, with superb travel access available internationally and internally, boast warmer climates and are great places to visit during our winter months. They also share deep historical and cultural connections to the United Kingdom and have English as their dominant language. Many tourists, students and migrants alike, are drawn to their welcoming cultures and rich, multicultural societies — not to mention their innovative fresh cuisine, sumptuous wines and all-important outdoor lifestyles available. With such vast lands boasting small populations with hospitable, laid-back locals, Australasia is an enticing travel prospect and perennial bucket-list favourite.
Contained within its attractive coastlines and above its famous underwater treasures — the Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world — there is an abundance of culture to seek ‘down under’. Stroll beyond the lively café culture, venture past the fine dining restaurants and tear yourself away from the bustling harbours and entertainment areas to immerse yourself in the vibrant artwork of the Aborigines. Lasting longer than any modern firework display, or seasonal Festival of Light, Music and Ideas, Australian Indigenous art is said to be the oldest ongoing tradition of art in the world and is attributed to a culture dating back between 60,000 and 80,000 years, when Aborigine’s first settled in Australia.
From the earliest known charcoal drawings found on a rock fragment in the Northern Territory, to the highly commercial canvas ‘dot’ paintings found in galleries such as the Argyle Gallery, located in the Rocks district of Sydney, there is a fascinating spectrum of Arts to explore. As well as the captivating oral story-telling and imaginative dream-inspired prints, there are crafts, artefacts and didgeridoos to absorb and admire. Whether you prefer traditional or contemporary art, the Spirit Gallery is another venue guaranteed to lift your mood and enlighten your journey. Featuring traditional carvings, boomerangs, ceramics, bark paintings, glassware and basket weaving, it is a vital community hub providing authentic, yet affordable, artworks. As well as being instrumental in showcasing boutique art, visitors can also listen to the country’s top didgeridoo players — a must-visit experience when in Sydney. Alternatively, there are Aboriginal Art Galleries and Art Centres in Melbourne to explore, along with stunning outdoor sculpture parks, modern aerial photography exhibitions, street art and cultural performances.
Outside of the cities, visitors can travel to the Red Centre to embark on guided cultural tour of Uluru. Longitude 131° is a luxury resort located just outside the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and provides an essential experience of Australia’s spirited heartland. Delve into the foundation of Anangu culture, explore the ancient monolithic rock and sacred red domes of Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), hear the stories of the traditional custodians. Enjoy a stellar gourmet dining event under star-studded skies — sipping fine Australian wine and fresh local produce — before unfurling your luxury sway and sleeping in your luxury tented pavilion.
Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand has evolved in splendid isolation and, as a result, provides a unique and dynamic cultural flavour for travellers. In addition to its spectacular landscapes and rare wildlife, its indigenous Maori people, with their Polynesian language and Pacific Island routes, have a strong influence on the everyday language, culture, arts and the accents of all New Zealanders. A nation famed for its love of sports and the great outdoors, the friendly ‘Kiwis’ are proud hosts for their beloved nation, with visitors encouraged to unearth a rich culture of traditions, dance and beliefs. A must-do experience, is to visit a traditional Maori marae or village, witness a cultural performance, or taste food cooked by a traditional Hāngi. Another, would be to watch a rugby game, go fishing and perhaps play golf at one of their many world-class golf courses.
Whilst journeying through the distinct islands and tasting the fresh local fare and delicious local grape varietals, there are pursuits to enjoy far beyond the infamous bungee jump. After indulging within the City of Sails and Auckland’s bustling harbour, venture to Rotorua and visit New Zealand’s Maori Arts and Crafts Institute with its traditional wood carving and weaving schools, before heading to Wellington and The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (the bold and interactive national museum and art gallery of New Zealand). Travelling further south, New Zealand’s South Island, provides a different cultural flavour with farming and outdoor adventure pursuits combining with modern cooking classes and world-class lodge experiences. Stay at Annandale or Otahuna Lodge, Go hiking with a local, stop to try some Hokey pokey ice cream, taste some Whitebait Fritters, crayfish or green-lipped mussels, and enjoy an iconic Tui beer!
The sparsely populated continent of Australasia boasts a cultural treasure trove to explore. From vibrant artwork, native rituals and ancient rock carvings, to modern city highlights and historic landmarks there is something for everyone. With a plethora of engaging experiential excursions and a smorgasbord of culinary tasting tours to encounter, culture — whether old or new — is very much alive in Australasia!
To book your luxury visit to Australasia and to immerse yourself in the culture of these exciting destinations, please call one of our Travel Experts.