Open Road Hunter Valley. Credit: Holger Link

If you have ever spent time away from Australia in a foreign country you should know about the joy of travelling. Travelling educates, entertains and alleviates stress built up in the mind due to that feeling of ‘getting away from it all’. Here’s evidence from the US to prove it . Travelling is also a chance to reunite with family friends that you may or may not have met face to face – a video call is nowhere near as powerful as an embrace and the chance to absorb the aroma of that fond family member or friend.

Australians really love travelling. Anywhere you go in the world you come across some other Australians. Being a nation founded on immigration and still very much fed by immigration – around about a third of us were born elsewhere than Australia – we seem to like to go back to our ancestral roots and have a poke around.  

We like to see where we came from, learn what others think of us, see ourselves in the people on these foreign shores and understand why our ancestors left those foreign shores to make a new life in the ‘lucky country’ of Australia. Also is the desire to see completely new places, disconnected from our ancestral identity, and understand those rich cultures to compare with our relatively cringe-worthy lack of culture – seeing that we are such a young nation.

However, it takes a long time for us to get anywhere else in the world due to our geographical isolation ‘down under’. So you’ll often hear Australians say: “Since we are so far away from everywhere else we may as well make a trip of it”. Yet, how can we afford the expense and time to ‘make a trip of it’ in such abundance as we do?

To answer that you have to look at some statistics. Australians are wealthy people when compared against our fellow wealthy western nations and we are also generally wealthy in terms of time and education. Most Australians have a generous four weeks of paid leave if a full-time worker and additionally there are eight national holidays to use up for gallivanting the world.

We are in the top ten of global nations when ranked for educational attainment so Australians can relatively easily transfer their skills to become expatriates for stints of time in other nations. Now, Australian expats don’t waste their weekends sitting on the couch at home while living on foreign shores, they get out and about – using their time in foreign nations to absorb the environment.

THE PAINS OF NOT BEING ABLE TO TRAVEL

A spanner has been thrown in the works of Australian traveller joy. The current world-wide Covid-19 crisis has closed the opportunity of Australians to go to foreign shores, which we so love to do. Our government has banned all overseas travel unless travellers have a justified reason to seek exemption.

Additionally – for the first time in most of our lives – Australian state border controls are in place. It’s very hard for Aussies to accept state border restrictions being in place, thwarting any ideas of a weekend trip to Melbourne or a bit of sunshine on the QLD Sunny coast.

Expatriates have had the pain also, whereby they have been steadily returning back to Australia to escape economic calamity on foreign shores, to reunite with family and be safe in the support of our world-class public health system, but are locked up in quarantine and also restricted within states.

So where to next for the travelling Aussie? As of August 2020 your options are to ‘make the most of it’ and see your own state – your own backyard.

As a touring company based out of Sydney we’ve ridden waves of tour interest from Aussie travellers in the past, but in more recent years we’ve been serving the wanderlust of visitors from foreign shores to see Sydney and NSW surrounds, with our learned guides at the wheels of comfortable luxury vehicles.

But with doors closed to foreign visitors we are again ready to serve you our Aussie friends and families for private touring adventures closer to home, to realise why we have it so good here, with an Australian Discovery.

We take all the pain points of travel away by making the logistical plans and itineraries, doing the driving, providing insight and anecdotes and getting you fed and sheltered at some of the best places on offer in some of the most attractive locations on offer. Our intention is make it easy to get out and experience the joy of travel – albeit closer to home.

After just coming through one of the most severe summer seasons that saw drought leading to bushfires burning all around Australia and particularly in our most popular touring destination – Blue Mountains – which is bursting back to life:

 

We at AEA Luxury Tours now optimistically rise to a new challenge – the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This virus is unparalleled for AEA luxury Tours because the vast majority of guests that we carry come from foreign shores. And, as of Sunday 16 March 2020 our federal government, with good reason, shut the doors to foreign visitors getting out and about in Australia.

Since Sunday we have already seen a cascade of cancellations and we are acting reasonably to cancel bookings without fees in the hope that once the travel bans are lifted people will re-book from foreign shores to see spectacular Sydney and its surrounds.

Since the bushfires of 2019/20 our state tourism body – Destination New South Wales  – has been promoting the idea of staying local and booking a getaway that gives back to drought and bushfire affected regional communities. Now, with the impact of the virus, it’s more important than ever to stay local and support local businesses.

AEA Luxury Tours are well equipped to assist you in giving that support. We have a shiny fleet of  super comfortable vehicles and a learned team of guides ready to roll if you or someone you know wants to get out and about.

Please see our local product offerings or make a request for custom touring

by phoning:  02 9971 2402

or email:  info@localhost/aea/

and we will happily put a tour package together for you.

Happy (local) Travels

AEA LUXURY TOURS AND MOUNT ’N BEACH SAFARIS SUPPORTS WIRES WITH A $3 PER PERSON DONATION

 

WHAT IS WIRES?

WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.) have been rescuing and caring for wildlife for over 30 years and is the largest wildlife rescue organisation in Australia. Every year WIRES provide rescue advice and assistance for tens of thousands of native animals. In just the first 3 weeks of January 2020, WIRES volunteers accepted over 2,600 rescues.

WIRES mission is to actively rehabilitate and preserve Australian wildlife and inspire others to do the same.

RECENT EVENTS
Catastrophic fires, the worst drought in history and record high temperatures are taking a tragic toll on Australian native wildlife. Many animals were already struggling with a lack of water and food due to the drought. With the fires destroying unprecedented amounts of habitat, food shortages have increased, and lack of suitable habitat will be a significant long-term challenge for surviving wildlife

DONATIONS
Thanks to the incredibly generous support provided by the national and international community in the first week of January, WIRES is now able to offer national emergency support to assist groups working with wildlife affected by these emergency events. WIRES has established a national $1 million emergency ‘WIRES Wildlife Relief Fund*’ for frontline wildlife rescue and volunteer groups. The fund will provide immediate assistance to cover the costs associated with the rescue and care of animals affected by fire, drought and extreme weather conditions. Also, WIRES will be working with the Australian Veterinarian Association (AVA) to provide $1million in funding to support vets and specialist wildlife veterinary practices treating animals that have been affected during this crisis. These two grant programs are in addition to the $1 million WIRES has already distributed over the last eight weeks to the 28 WIRES branches across NSW. There are also further initiatives being worked on at this time.

HOW YOU CAN HELP
By choosing to travel on an AEA Luxury Tours or Mount ’N Beach Safaris tour from the 1st March to 30 June 2020, we will donate $3.00 from every person travelled directly to WIRES. Guests can also make a personal donation on board the vehicle on the day. All funds raised will be given directly to Wires – one of the Key Head office Staff is a close personal friend of our CEO Nicole Flanagan and we are committed to supporting this amazing charity.

So please book with us and help support our native wildlife!

 

Australia, or should we say, certain parts and many residents of parts of Australia have been seriously impacted by bushfires over months of November 2019 through December and in to the New Year 2020.

As a Sydney-based tour operator we have had to adapt operations around the impacts, the most difficult of which has been bushfires that have burnt through swathes of the Greater Blue Mountains region.

The most threatening time for people in the towns of the Blue Mountains was just as the new year approached and, due to the Blue Mountains National Park closing and smoke blanketing the region, we made a call to offer a ‘Plan B’ day of touring still including our visit to the wonderful Calmsley Hill City Farm for Australian wildlife interaction, but then heading north to visit the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park and the Northern Beaches coastal region of Sydney.

Feedback was very positive, with most guests choosing to take up the offer of an alternative itinerary that still touched on some of the majesty and beauty of Sydney and its surrounds.

There are still some areas of Australia that are suffering through bushfire ordeals, but if you are to scan foreign media coverage of this bushfire crisis it would appear that the entire landmass of Australia is ablaze. Nevertheless, respect and gratitude must be offered to the emergency services personnel who have so diligently and humbly supported the communities through this crisis, most volunteering their time.

The Blue Mountains region has gone through the worst of the bushfire danger and we are now happily touring back up to the region. To that end, alongside AEA Luxury Tours advising all that we now are moving on as normal, we wanted to provide you with an update from our relevant tourist bodies so that our clientele know what they are advising:

TOURISM AUSTRALIA

DESTINATION NSW

NSW RURAL FIRE SERVICE

SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE HONOURS ‘FIRIES’

Some recent images of touring in the Blue Mountains and Sydney surrounds:

 

AEA Luxury Tours has been providing small group and private touring in Sydney for over 27 years.

From the Australian spring season and in to our peak summer season of 2019/20 and beyond AEA Luxury Tours are launching a selection of brand new private touring options.

The new private touring options are to entice guests back who may have toured with us before and want to try new experiences with us.

Or you may be first-time guests with adventurous minds who wish to escape the well-trodden paths of Sydney tourism destinations.

We’ll be showcasing the regions of the East and Northern Beaches of Sydney and the Central Coast, Beyond the Blue Mountains to Jenolan caves and South of Sydney to the Southern Highlands.

So we invite you to come on a luxurious private adventure tour with us. We pride ourselves on having the best tour guides – who each have specialist knowledge and connections with the areas we tour to – and will lead you comfortably and safely in one of luxury Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, Toyota and Renault vehicles.

Following are the links to our fantastic new products at our website:

Iconic Sydney Eastern Suburbs & Beaches

Tidal swimming pool and Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach

 

Sydney’s Local Northern Natural Wonders Half Day

 

Sydney’s Local Northern Natural Wonders & Secrets Full Day

 

Sydney’s Local Secrets & Sydney Harbour Dining Experience

 

Southern Highlands Delight

 

Broken Bay Pearls and Unique Brisbane Waters Experience

 

Blue Mountains & Jenolan Caves Luxury Private Tour

 

Twilight In The Blue Mountains

Of course, we still offer guests our classic collection of small group and private tours to popular destinations such as Sydney and Bondi Beach via the Eastern Suburbs, the magnificent Sydney Harbour and Beaches, The Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley wine country. Our new private tours collection will complement our traditional tour product offerings by providing a brilliant alternative for those looking to delve a little bit deeper with private tours from Sydney to the stunning surrounding regions.

Or you you may wish to customise a touring experience entirely to your own schedule and interests. Either way:

Please get in touch for rates and bookings…

Example vehicles used for private touring from our fleet:

 

The gentleman who launched AEA Luxury Tours is Don Rosenfeldt. Don is originally from Auckland, New Zealand but came to the golden shores of Sydney in the early 1990s with a keen interest in outdoors life. He worked in a scuba diving business and then, in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics, realised an opportunity to start a tour company taking tours from Sydney to the spectacular harbour, beach and bush locations around the city in minibuses and luxury vehicles.

When he started Australian Eco Adventures (as it was known in the beginning) he was just a few years into the parenthood roller coaster of twin boys – Tyler and Dane. He will be the first to tell you that is hands were very full!!

Now almost 30 years later Dane and Tyler are returning the favour, in a word, for the fact that they are both now gainfully employed by the company and running different aspects of the business while Don gradually takes steps away from the day to day operations of AEA Luxury Tours and Mount ‘n Beach Safaris, as we are now known.

Dane has been with us now for nearly 3 years – he’s been doing an outstanding job on the road running our high-end tours. Plus, he’s been assisting the team managing the upkeep of vehicles.

It was only this week that AEA Luxury Tours welcomed Dane’s twin, Tyler, into the company. Tyler comes out of a 12-year stint with a local vehicle service business where he bought a significant slice of that company over time. When he mentioned that he’d had enough of fixing greasy engines full-time Don made him an offer he really had to accept – to become a driver guide and in-house fleet mechanic.

Tyler brings with him his mechanical, auto air and electrical certificates and licences and 1 – 2 days per week he will continue to service our fleet on site in our premises.

A statement from Don on this momentous moment of the next generation coming into the fold:

“As a father, it’s an amazing experience to know that your sons want to be in the business I started almost 30 years ago. In time they will take full responsibility of the company and continue to provide the highest standards of luxury touring in Sydney.”

We welcome the brothers-in-arms to infuse that much more of a genuine family authenticity to this Sydney Tourism success story.

 

TYLER
DANE

AEA Luxury Tours is now supplying JUST WATER included for guests on every tour.

The JUST WATER team designed a receptacle that results in 74% less harmful emissions when combining the steps of manufacturing and distribution and post consumption.

Their bottles are mostly made from plants… The bottle part is made mostly from paper. The cap is made from sugarcane. The bottle is 100% recyclable, but we are encouraging our guests to keep the bottle and reuse as they come with a nice wide neck to allow easy refill (and even include a place to label them).

Another step toward reducing our impact on the environment whilst running our Sydney tour company for discerning travellers.

JUST WATER

For outsiders the Australian political system must seem like a farce. We have just seen the governing party of Australia – The Liberal National Coalition – change its leader, which means Australia has a new Prime Minister, Australia’s 7th Prime Minister in 11 years. The new head on the chopping block is Scott Morrison. Last week his party held a ballot to decide who their new leader would be. It seemed they weren’t happy with Malcolm Turnbull, who had only been in the job for a couple of years, and as we are coming to an election year (they happen every 3 years in federal Australian politics) the party wasn’t polling well, so they purged him

So what does all this have to do with a tour operator in Sydney?

Well firstly, our guests will often ask us how it is possible that we change Prime Minister so often before the term is up. A quick explanation is that the Australian political system is the same system as the British system – a Westminster system.

This system is a form of government that has two houses, in Australia’s case the Lower house is the House of Representatives and the Upper house is the Senate. Legislation is raised by the lower house executive members, or the dominant party, and the dominant party elects a leader – The Prime Minister. The Senate, a collection of members from each state of Australia, takes legislation raised in the lower house and signs it off after debate. So you see, we don’t elect our Prime Minister, we elect our local member of parliament who represents us in the lower house and puts their vote in at the party meetings to decide a Prime Minister.

Secondly, Australian politics has a lot to do with a tour operator in Sydney because we are part of the Australian economic engine and passion for life of this country – and we would like to present ourselves as a loyal and stable place for people to visit – somewhat unlike our current crop of policy makers.

We at AEA Luxury Tours start the engines in our luxury, leather-seated vehicles each day with an enthusiasm to meet new (and return) visitors to this country and give them exclusive experiences, impart knowledge about Australian politics, lifestyle and culture with passion and zeal.

Our guides are of varied ages and temperaments with back grounds in a range of industries. The ‘Prime-minister’ of our team is the obsessive Don Rosenfeldt. He’s not elected by us, but is obsessed with collecting the best guides and putting them in to the most comfortable vehicles to impart the widest range of knowledge on the most enjoyable itineraries of any touring company in Sydney.

We Australians love to participate in our democracy… However, the fact that it is compulsory to vote means, in a way, we are forced to love it!

In contrast, we members of the AEA Luxury Tours team have a natural urge to offer the best service to visitors and demonstrate that we really to love taking guests to our signature destinations of the Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley and Sydney surrounds on small group and private tours.

The fact that we have been offering these services in Sydney for over 27 years demonstrates why we are the essence of loyalty to our cause and industry, something that can’t exactly be claimed by our fickle federal politicians.

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. In 1975 the organisation set up a process concerning the protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Australia has 19 sites of natural and cultural significance including the spectacular Kakadu National Park (listed 1981) and The Sydney Opera House (listed 2007).

In the year 2000 Sydney held the summer Olympic Games and our harbour city was on show to the world. The Blue Mountains region was recognised that very same year with UNESCO listing. Already well known to Sydney-siders (Sydney natives) for many years as the cool climate escape to pure wilderness and welcoming townships, the hosting of the Olympics shone a light on the Blue Mountains located next-door to the 5 million people metropolis as Sydney’s go to day trip or weekend destination.

Eight protected areas make up the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area which was listed in the year 2000. The size of this region is 1.03 million hectares or 2.4 million acres.
It is hard to fathom just how large that is so you might compare it as roughly half the size of Wales in the UK.

The landscape of the regions is best described as a deeply dissected plateau dominated by temperate eucalypt tree species (the oils of which make the Blue Mountains blue). Criteria for listing of the region include the outstanding and representative examples of genus the Eucalyptus (approximately 91 species) and the diverse plant communities and geological environment that supports 400 vertebrate species (of which 40 are threatened) which breaks down as 52 mammal, 63 reptile, over 30 frog and about one third (265 species) of Australia’s bird species.

The geology and geomorphology of the region, which includes 300 metre cliffs, slot canyons and waterfalls, provides the physical conditions and visual backdrop to support these outstanding biological values.

Understandably the Blue Mountains region is our most booked destination. AEA Luxury Tours offers products to give visitors to Sydney a day or an overnight experience of the region. Our small group Blue Mountains Twilight Day  can be customised  to your desires.

We pride ourselves on our superior itineraries, our luxurious vehicles, the exclusive locations we visit and the high quality of tour guides that give our guests a second-to-none
experience.

We welcome you ticking this world heritage listed site off your bucket list with AEA Luxury Tours.