As the Duke and Duchess of Sussex begin their tour of Australasia, we’re following in their footsteps and exploring why Australia and New Zealand are fit for royalty…
Over the past year, the nation has been gripped by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s blossoming love story – from their heart-warming engagement announcement last November, to the moment they said, “I do”, surrounded by beautiful floral arrangements in St George’s Chapel. Now, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are embarking on their first tour, visiting the Commonwealth nations of beautiful Australasia, where they commemorated their first day by announcing the joyous news they’re expecting a baby in Spring 2019!
As the royal couple begin their 16-day trip, we’re exploring a stunning selection of the destinations on their action-packed itinerary and revealing why you should be planning your next luxury holiday to Australia and New Zealand.
Host city of the Invictus Games, Sydney is the first stop on the couple’s tour. This sun-drenched Australian city is home to several iconic sights, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge – which Prince Harry will bravely be climbing to raise the Invictus flag – and the Opera House, as well as award-winning restaurants, vibrant culture and natural beauty like no other.
Outside of the city’s skyscrapers and suburbs, you’ll find several National Parks just a short distance away. The neighbouring canyons and waterfalls of the Blue Mountains National Park are an ever-popular excursion, whilst the aptly-named Royal National Park has a beautiful coastal path for a scenic afternoon walk. Even the Duke and Duchess can’t resist a visit to one of Sydney’s most iconic attractions – Bondi Beach. This world-famous stretch of golden sand is home to renowned surf schools and charming coastal walks, whilst additionally, you’ll find designer boutiques and countless restaurants and bars serving exquisite eats nearby.
There’s nowhere better for a memorable city stay than Park Hyatt Sydney. With views of both the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera house, in addition to its stylish suites, butler service and harbourfront dining room, you’ll never want to leave.
Moving on to Melbourne, just a one-hour flight from Sydney and Australia’s second-largest city. The Duke and Duchess were spotted strolling along South Beach, enjoying a short ride on one of Melbourne’s historic trams and sampling a taste of the region’s cuisine. In Australia’s gourmet capital, you can find every kind of world cuisine, whilst also easily being able to discover the strong and vibrant local food scene. As well as mouth-watering restaurants, the city is also home to a collection of tempting food markets, where you can spend the morning browsing local produce and perhaps creating your own lunch to-go.
Melbourne’s sporting side is also not to be missed, with test cricket, grand-slam tennis and Formula One driving many to visit the cosmopolitan city throughout the year. Contemporary Park Hyatt Melbourne boasts a privileged location in the historic capital, with a decadent art collection adorning the hotel’s walls for the ultimate culture-crammed sojourn.
Auckland, New Zealand
Upon their arrival in Auckland, The Royal Highnesses will attend North Shore, where they’ll stop to dedicate a 20-hectare area of forest to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, before a visit to the iconic Auckland War Memorial Museum. As well as natural delights, including thermal springs, sprawling parks and unspoilt forests, Auckland has a lively city lying at its heart. Visit a masterpiece-filled art museum, catch the All Blacks playing at Eden Park and don’t miss the extraordinary Sky Tower, standing at 192-metres high with a revolving restaurant at its peak!
At Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, you’re surrounded by the lively restaurants and bars – serving tempting gourmet delights – whilst relishing in the comfort of one of the city’s most luxurious properties.
Wellington, New Zealand
Situated at the southern end of the North Island, Wellington will see Prince Harry and Meghan potentially pay a visit to Abel Tasman National Park. Although it may be the smallest in New Zealand, this renowned National Park is filled with adventure, as well as wonderous native wildlife, including penguins and fur seals. Back at Wellington’s heart, explore the waterfront area, home to fine dining restaurants, museums and galleries, or head for the heights of the Botanic Gardens by cable car, where you’re free to admire panoramic vistas of the bustling capital below.
If you’re looking to escape the buzz of the city for a while, you can relish in a stay at Wharekauhau Country Estate, a short two-hour drive away from Wellington. You’re free to do as much or as little as you desire, with an extensive activity programme including quad-biking, horse-riding, archery, wine-tasting, hiking, mountain-biking.