AAT Kings launches 2024/25 season, new Aboriginal Culture & Australia highlights tour

Margret Campbell performing a smoking ceremony at Blues Point Reserve, Blues Point in Sydney as part of the Dreamtime Southern X experience.
Edited by Travel Weekly

    AAT Kings has unveiled the launch of its new Aboriginal Culture & Australia Highlights tour, as part of the group’s new 2024/2025 touring season. 

    CEO, Ben Hall highlighted the latest news in touring for the company at a media event this afternoon at Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney Opera House.

    Ben Hall launches AAT Kings 2024/25 season. Image: Travel Weekly 

    The limited season, Australian-first Indigenous focused guided holiday features must-see destinations from city to outback across Melbourne, Uluru, Sydney and Cairns over 13 days, with a focus on local connection, cultural immersion, sustainable footprints, wildlife and nature.

    The Aboriginal Culture & Australia Highlights tour has been developed in response to Tourism Australia’s consumer insights, outlined in the global ‘Future of Demand’ research project released late 2022, which highlighted the latent demand for Indigenous experiences. 

    The AAT Kings team has collaborated closely with Discover Aboriginal Experiences (part of Tourism Australia’s ‘Signature Experiences of Australia’) to identify and curate Indigenous operators and experiences that form part of the new season itinerary, showcasing a unique and immersive blend of top locations, Australian highlights and Indigenous owned businesses.

    The Australian-first tour highlights 16 compelling experiences including:

    • Sunset drinks at Uluru, including an exclusive BBQ dinner and Dot Art Painting experience.
    • A behind the scenes Sydney Opera House tour, Dreamtime Walking Tour of the rocks and Indigenous Harbour Cruise in Sydney 
    • Great Barrier Reef trip with Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel
    • A show-stopping lunch at Big Esso by Mabu Mabu in Melbourne’s Federation Square with cuisine by renowned Torres Strait chef Nornie Bero.

    Both Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel and Big Esso by Mabu Mabu are two of four projects within this tour supported through AAT Kings Groups’ MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences and The TreadRight Foundation, alongside Maraki and Koorie Heritage Trust.

    “Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel provides a unique opportunity to gain insights from our Cultural Guides as they provide interpretation of the Sea Country on which we operate our Great Barrier Reef tours,” CEO, Experience Co, John O’Sullivan, said. 

    “We are delighted to be included in this new tour from AAT Kings and applaud this initiative which will make it easier for visitors to access a range of first-class Indigenous experiences across Australia.” 

    The tour also features a number of optional tours to cater for international markets and appeal to a broad range of travellers including:

    • The iconic Great Ocean Road and the Twelve Apostles or an Aboriginal Heritage Walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
    • The BridgeClimb Sydney with an option to experience the Burrawa – Aboriginal Climb and a Royal Botanic Gardens Aboriginal Bush Tucker tour in Sydney
    • A Daintree Dreaming Aboriginal Art and Culture tour or Madingalbay Ancient Indigenous Cultural Cruise in Cairns

    “Our customers’ desire is to have more cultural experiences in our itineraries, and AAT Kings is committed to helping drive Indigenous tourism and play a leading role in increasing understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal culture – a major step towards reconciliation and support of First Nations people in Australia,” CEO, AAT Kings, Ben Hall, said. 

    “This new tour is just a glimpse into how AAT Kings is committed to growing our range of Indigenous experiences across our suite of travel products, to advocate and highlight the range and depth of Indigenous tourism experiences, across Australia.

    Oysters with shaved ice and lemon was the standout canapé on offer. Image: Travel Weekly

    “Tourism experiences which share the stories of the world’s oldest living continuous culture through our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are of increasing interest to travellers,” MD, Tourism Australia, Phillipa Harrison, said. 

    “We know from our research that demand for Indigenous tourism experiences has been rising amongst both domestic and international travellers and that there are specific areas of opportunities for new and emerging tourism experiences.

    “Offerings like the new AAT Kings tour will enable travellers to experience first-hand the stories and cultures of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who have been the custodians of country, land, sea and waters here for more than 60,000 years.”

    The Aboriginal Culture & Australia Highlights tour will have limited departures in 2024 and 2025.

    Travellers can currently save up to 15 per cent as part of the AAT Kings New Season Sale which, until 31 October, 2023 with prices from $8,609 per person, twin share.

    The tour will commence in Melbourne and conclude in Cairns. 

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