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Meet the team - Australasia Pacific

Our Australia travel specialists have lived and worked in the region. Not only have they travelled extensively throughout Australasia and know the best hotels, tours and activities from a traveller’s perspective, but they can also share local secrets and tips.

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Amit

Having grown up in a small town in northern India, I was always curious to know what lay further afield. It all started with a trip to Delhi. I was so fascinated by discovering new places that I chose to study tourism management and pursued my Masters in the same field. This led to numerous opportunities to travel extensively within India and abroad. The regions closest to my heart include the Himalayan region of Ladakh, the north-western frontier of Rajasthan, and west Bengal, purely because of their authenticity, colours, magnificent monuments, culture and cuisine. Among my many favourites, I would also include the north-eastern part of India because of its stunning natural beauty and the mighty Himalaya. Outside India, I have travelled widely within the Subcontinent, the Far East, Australasia and the Pacific; however Bhutan is my next passion due to its authenticity, culture and scenic beauty.

My Insiders Tip

Bhutan is a destination little visited, as it is difficult to access and therefore fairly costly, however it is one of the most special places on this planet. Its remoteness, Himalayan location, intense and intriguing culture and values, and spirituality of the local people and of the place make Bhutan a really interesting destination. Bhutan ranks among the most bio-diverse countries in the world. Surprisingly, the warm southern part supports wildlife and vegetation usually associated with a tropical, jungle climate. When flying from Kathmandu to Paro, if you take a seat on the left side of the aircraft, you will have stunning views of Mount Everest.

Favourite Experience

Cruising on Lake Vembanad, through the Keralan backwaters and staying on a private rice barge is an opportunity not to be missed.

My Favourite Place

Though I have many favourite places to visit, I think Ladakh tops the list. This enchanting place is sandwiched between the northern Karakoram mountain range and the Himalaya in the south. Far from the madding crowd, looking out at the mighty Himalayan peaks you feel a sense of control of your own destiny. The vibrant culture, traditional Tibetan architecture, chanting at the monasteries, soaring mountains and clear star-lit skies all make Ladakh an exceptional destination that feeds the soul of a traveller.

My Favourite Hotel

My favourite hotel has to be the Wildflower Hall near Shimla in India. A fairy-tale luxury resort situated at the foothills of the Himalayas, it was originally the estate of Lord Kitchener of Khartoum. The views from all the rooms are breathtaking. The staff are charming, courteous and nothing is too difficult for them. I highly recommend the picnic at The Peak, which is arranged by the hotel.

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Ian

I feel fortunate that my parents enjoy travelling and that they had the patience to put up with my siblings and I while doing so. Our family trips started in the Lake District, then we travelled further afield to South Africa and the Caribbean. These trips completely opened my eyes and I have since tried to visit somewhere new each year. 
Once I had finished university, I set off to South America on a six month solo trip and I have wanted to return ever since. Starting in Rio de Janeiro and finishing in Bogota, it was an unforgettable experience. I’ve always been amazed at the diversity of the continent’s landscapes; from the lush Brazilian and Peruvian rainforests to wild and windy Patagonia and the peaceful picturesque Caribbean coast. I have always loved being outdoors and looking for wildlife, which motivated me to travel through Latin America.

My Insiders Tip

I highly recommend the Peruvian jungle; you can fly to Puerto Maldonado from Cuzco, which only takes an hour. There are a number of comfortable eco-lodges that you can use as a base. These lodges are typically set on the riverside, serving delicious local food and offering a number of activities. My highlight was the guided jungle treks searching for sloths, capybara, giant anteaters as well as being told about the vast array of birdlife. Another absolute must is a river cruise in search of caiman, giant river otters and arapaima – one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. I would recommend a minimum of two nights in the Amazon so you have time to enjoy a couple of activities without tiring yourself out.

Favourite Experience

It has to be the very worthwhile 4am start to see the sun rise over the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia. The view is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, with the sun reflecting off the water to create a perfect mirror image – it also helps you forget the cold. The drive to reach the salt flats was a great experience in itself; travelling through the wilderness past colourful lakes, flamingos and spurting geysers. Once we arrived at the salt flats, you could drive along the salt flats for 20 minutes and it looks as though you’ve not moved!

My Favourite Place

Patagonia has to be my favourite place in the world due to its incredibly beautiful landscapes and sheer scale. My particular favourites are the town of Bariloche in Argentina for its lakeside setting, alpine feel and great hiking and the Torres del Paine National Park for its towering mountains, sprawling glaciers and numerous lakes of various shades of grey, blue and green. Spotting an endangered Andean condor over the Grey Glacier and reaching the famed peaks of Las Torres, really stand out as my favourite memories from such a special place.

My Favourite Hotel

Waking up to views of the famed ‘horns’ in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park is an unmissable experience. The explora Patagonia overlooks the stunning Lake Pehoé and the jagged mountains, which the park is famous for. The hotel is perfectly positioned in the centre of the park and you can easily walk to the nearby waterfalls and viewpoints. Guests staying at the explora can take advantage of more than 40 excursions with knowledgeable local guides and the hotel’s restaurant serves healthy cuisine that is paired with premium Chilean wines. If you enjoy walking, then I would recommend four nights so that you can take advantage of the many trails.

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Josh

What I love most about travelling is discovering the unexpected. Packing my bag and booking a one-way flight to Latin America was the best decision I’ve ever made. I waved to the Pope in Guayaquil in Ecuador, saw the never-ending Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia, trekked through the Peruvian Andes and witnessed the sun rise over Machu Picchu, which was truly magical. With so many wonderful and unforgettable experiences, it’s safe to say that Latin America has sparked my love for exploring and I always look forward to returning.

My Insiders Tip

A personal favourite has to be the idyllic San Blas Islands on the Caribbean coast of Panama, easily reachable by a short flight. Here you’ll find stunning beaches, crystal clear waters and the fascinating – and welcoming – Kuna tribe. They speak in Tule, the Kuna’s own regional language, and few of them know any Spanish, it feels like you’re travelling back in time. Relax and enjoy a good book whilst lying in one of the many hammocks in the shade of the coconut palms. Stay in a rustic eco-lodge and witness the incredible sunrises and sunsets, meet the fascinating island inhabitants and just as you’re getting hungry, a lobster is caught for you. The opportunity to spot marine wildlife on San Blas is endless; board one of the small boats and discover all that these tropical islands have to offer.

Favourite Experience

Arriving in Potosi in Bolivia at 5:30am is an experience in itself. I was greeted by the beaming smile of an old Bolivian lady. Still in a haze and incredibly confused, I found myself smiling and hugging my way down the street as she insists she knows where I need to go. After nine hours along unpaved roads, with a temperature of -1, I, along with a few weary-eyed travellers decide she’s our best bet and follow her lead. Within five minutes I’m sat in a beautiful, warm and welcoming café, laughing and joking over one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had.

My Favourite Place

Bolivia has a special place in my heart. A magical country where jungle and desert meet and you encounter so many smiling people. From the beating heart of La Paz and the Witches Market, to the serenity of the Uros islands and Uyuni salt flats. When you visit Bolivia, it’s as though you’ve seen five countries!

My Favourite Hotel

The Tierra Patagonia hotel in Chilean Patagonia is truly spectacular; thanks to the enormous windows, you have unbeatable views throughout. In a wood-clad lodge on the edge of Torres del Paine National Park, I experienced the best bubble bath view you could ever imagine! If you can bear to leave your room with its panoramic views of the mountains and lakes, there is a team of guides ready to whisk you out to explore Torres del Paine. Whether you choose to hike, bike, horse ride or go by 4x4, prepare yourself for an adventure. After a day of exploring, relax in front of the fire and gaze up as a billion stars illuminate the crystal clear night sky.

Order a Brochure Online

Discover the land down under in print form – order your brochure copy here. Order Now >

Discover Australasia Pacific

Explore Australia or New Zealand, or relax on sandy shores among swaying palms in the beautiful Pacific islands.… Read more