4 Consultants, 4 Unforgettable Trips

7 May 2015
Read Time: 5.8 mins

Being a Flight Centre consultant provides plenty of opportunities to travel, for work and pleasure. We recently chatted to four very different consultants and each one shared a travel story they will never forget.

From Mexico and South Africa, to New Zealand and North Queensland do our consultants have a tale for you.
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North Queensland

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 Heidi Bradford International Consultant | Travel Consultant | Flight Centre Mildura 131 A Eighth St | Mildura Vic 3500 | Ph: (03) 50516055

I have always had a bit of a soft spot for North Queensland. The far North is truly a tropical paradise, and is where you get a sense of the tropics as soon as you leave Cairns airport, driving along that palm-fringed road.

We did some fantastic day trips, one to Fitzroy Island, which was a great place to snorkel and had access to lots of water sports.

There are also plenty of other activities ranging in effort available but horse riding along the beach at the beautiful Palm Cove was a gentle experience in beautiful surroundings.

Staying at the five-star Pullman Sea Temple Palm Cove really did top off the tropical retreat experience with its beautiful palm fringed beach and groves of paperbark trees. Perfect for anyone who loves the laidback resort lifestyle, but also wants access to other active types of things to do.

Palm Cove is positioned along the strip of beaches between Cairns and Port Douglas – an area that not only has one of Australia’s most picturesque drives, but also has many, many things to see and do. Things like the Kuranda Skyrail which takes you on an amazing experience over World Heritage listed Wet Tropics Rainforest and ends up at the historic Kuranda Village.

This area has a whole range of animal parks and zoos, with a family favourite being Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. The Park is over 2100 metres of easy boardwalks and pathways for visitors to discover the five distinct wildlife zones.

 Beautiful Fitzroy Island (Image: Getty)

Who should do this trip?

This itinerary is for anyone who would like to mix a little adventure with a bit of pampering and relaxation.

So it is good for families, couples and groups – a place where you can also squeeze in a lot in a just a few days if you want to, or not, and just relax in the great hotels and the beaches just north of Cairns.

What would you do again?

I would love to have some more time to just relax at the Pullman and enjoy the beach at Palm Cove.

An extra day or so to just sit and absorb the waving palms, white sand and beautiful atmosphere would have been brilliant.

Where to stay

We stayed at the Pullman Sea Temple in Palm Cove. The rooms were amazing. They were all very spacious with enough room for a family to fit very comfortably.

In Cairns we stayed at the Pullman, where the staff were really friendly and the food was absolutely delicious.

 The Skyrail is a great adventure (Image: Getty)

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Mexico

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 Candice Marsh | Manager | Flight Centre Business Travel | Shop 1 | 379 Cnr Eagle & Queen St | Brisbane QLD 4000 | Ph: 07 3220 3211 | Fax: 07 3220 3873 | Email: candice.marsh@flightcentre.com.au

"Vast with a huge variety of historical, cultural and adventure things to do, is how I would describe Mexico! A place, where 10 days only just manages to scratch the surface of this incredible country."

Candice was so impressed by her Peregrine trip to Mexico that she has now three trips there under her belt.

Mexico offers such extremes from authentic Mexican village life to luxurious resort-based beach experiences. And my big favourite, the diving at Cancun and Playa del Carmen, is world class.

Mexico City is an exciting mix of modern cosmopolitan with leftovers from both its ancient and colonial history. Situated in the middle of a vast valley, this busy metropolis with a population exceeding 20 million, is one of the largest cities in the world.

In stark contrast we visited the highlands around San Cristobal, where there are villages like Chamula and Zinacantan, which serve as market places and religious ceremonial centres for the indigenous people who live in the surrounding hills.

The local people have retained their traditional way of life and are often seen dressed in their own distinctive colourful costumes.

Our itinerary included a range of fantastic cultural highlights and finished with a trip to the resort city of Cancun.

Here the beautiful white, sandy beach of Playa del Carmen is only a short bus ride away and is an ideal place to soak up the warm rays of the sun.

 Playa Del Carmen (Image: Getty)

Who should do this trip?

Mexico caters to a broad range of age groups and is a great place for anyone who wants to see traditional village life, spectacular ancient cultural structures and spectacular, movie-set white beaches.

What would you do again?

I would love to spend more time in the sparkling blue waters of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, it was great for swimming and magnificent for any sort of diving.

Where to stay

The accommodation organised as part of the tour was just fantastic as it was all good quality and really centrally located. If you want to stay somewhere in six-star style, try the Royal at Playa del Carmen.

 The colours of Mexico City (Image: Getty)

Consultants on celebs. Celebrity Spotting: Best Places To Find Famous Faces

More itinerary recommendations. Expert Opinions – 4 Consultants, 4 Must Do Itineraries


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South Africa

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 Jacqui Hoitink| Flight Centre Chermside| Shop 394 Chermside Shopping Centre| Gympie Rd, Chermside QLD 4032| Ph: 07 3359 0800| Email:jacqui.hoitink@flightcentre.com.au

Expect the unexpected when visiting the South African wilderness as a part of a Peregrine South African tour! In the heart of the African bush, one day we were up close to lions and the next day staring down a mighty rhinoceros.

Our tour included time in Johannesburg and Sun City and three nights and days in the amazing Kruger National Park. Kruger Park covers over 19,500 square kilometres across South Africa’s Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

Our first game drive at Kruger was by spotlight. This was a great chance to see all of those elusive animals that only come out after dark.

Going on the South African trip, as someone who is crazy about animals, was just the best. I was so fortunate to see the most amazing wild animals. Part of the tour included actually spotting some iconic African animals, like lions, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, antelopes, elephants, and buffalo.

Whilst the tour had a strong focus on animals, we were very fortunate to have a tour of a Soweto village and Nelson Mandela's home, and the prison where he spent decades.

This was a great way to gain an insight into South African village life and Nelson Mandela’s legacy.

Before you fly home, a nice way to finish off the tour is provided with one or two nights in the six-star hotel, The Plaza in Sun City. A little bit of luxury after spending a few nights in the African bush.

 The sights of Sun City (Image: Getty)

Who should do this trip?

This trip is great for anyone who wants to experience the character of the African wilderness, and it suits any age group interested in nature and wildlife.

What would you do again?

I would definitely go back and do more of the game drives where you go out for 2-3 hours with a local guide and keep an eye out for elephants, white rhinos, giraffes, kudus, zebras and lots more.

Where to stay

The accommodation in Johannesburg and Sun City was fantastic and while we were at Kruger National Park we stayed at its private camp, the Umlani Bushcamp which is more than comfortable with outside bathroom facilities.

 In Kruger it's usually best to let them pass (Image: Getty)

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New Zealand

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 Rachel Sperring | Manager | Flight Centre Stud Park Shop 10A Stud Park Shopping Centre | Rowville 3178 Ph: (03) 9780 2700 | Email: rachel.sperring@flightcentre.com.au

"New Zealand’s South Island is long skinny but that doesn’t stop it from being packed full of amazing scenery, with a huge range of activities that take advantage of its extremes of hot springs and ice landscapes.”

Rachel flew into Christchurch and tells us how she spent five action packed days in the Southern Island of the Land of the Great White Cloud.

It was a pleasure to visit and stay in Christchurch – a city that is showing its strength of spirit in all of the construction and rebuilding since the devastating earthquake in 2012.

We stayed in the new Rydges Hotel, which is now the tallest building in the city, with all newly fitted rooms and a great restaurant.

From Christchurch we took the TranzAlpine train travelling from one coast of New Zealand to the other, over the spectacular Southern Alps. It feels just like visiting Switzerland, with all those picture postcard snow-capped mountain peaks and mirror perfect lakes.

Arriving in Greymouth, the adventure began with a ride down through the rainforest covered canyon to the forest floor on a 310 metre zipline. We then rafted the gentle rainforest river rapids.

We also took the Westcoast Treetop Walk, and looked over an amazing green canopy through and above giant rainforest trees.

 Spectacular Greymouth (Image: Getty)

This was followed by a helicopter tour over the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Landing on top of Franz Josef was a real highlight when we flew through soaring ice faces and landed on crunchy pristine snow on top of the glacier.

More adventure was to be had on the Country Quad Bike Tour, where we rode quad bikes over stony riverbeds, saw glacier fed rivers plus learnt from our guides all about the local history.

Who should do this trip?

This is a great destination and the jam packed itinerary was great for couples and groups of friends but there are plenty of family-friendly versions of this trip.

What would you do again?

I would do definitely do the helicopter trip to Franz Josef again, and I recommend going from one extreme to another by following the flight with a trip to the Glacier Hot Pools to enjoy a hot soak in fabulous surroundings.

Where to stay

The Rydges and Rendeveouz Hotels in Christchurch were really good and the Kingsgate Hotel in Greymouth was a good quality three-star place to stay for access to Franz Josef.

 Landing on the glacier (Image: Getty)

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Visit your local Flight Centre or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest travel deals.

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Flight Centre's Consultants

At Flight Centre, our consultants have travelled far and wide to offer you informed assistance when it comes to booking your next trip. These blog posts showcase just some of the experiences our consultants have had on recent adventures. We hope you enjoy reading these blog articles.