Gabby Simoni, Australia’s Golden Outback; Nicola Izzard, Air New Zealand Gabby Simoni, Australia’s Golden Outback; Nicola Izzard, Air New Zealand

Western Australians push drive options to Kiwi agents

The New Zealand trade is being urged to promote self-drive and fly-drive options to their clients as a way to explore the massive state of Western Australia.
A delegation of five WA regional tourist offices is travelling around New Zealand and a key message is the new off the beaten track product that will appeal to Kiwis – especially those on a repeat visit.
One of the major driving options being promoted here for the first time is the Great South West Edge, a suggested 11-day itinerary that runs through Australia’s South West and Australia’s Golden Outback.

‘The drive has been around for about a year but we have mainly targeted Western Australians,’ says Gabby Simoni, Australia’s Golden Outback. ‘We think it will really appeal to New Zealanders.’
Simoni says the drive would typically start in Perth and head to Bunbury, then moving on to the Margaret River for a wine experience. After that clients would drive to Pemberton and Denmark, known for giant Karri Trees, then Waldpole for a treetop walk and Albany to visit the ANZAC Museum.
‘From there it is a five hour drive to Australia’s whitest beaches at Esperance. And along the way is the bio-diversity hot spot of Fitzgerald River National Parks.’
Kate Wright, manager New Zealand with Western Australia, says an example of a fly-drive programme would be to fly from Perth to Learmouth Airport, go swimming with the whale sharks and giant manta rays at Ningaloo and then take five days to drive back down to the state capital.
That would let clients explore Australia’s Coral Coast, represented on the roadshow by Suzanne Fisher.
‘Our message to the trade is that there are so many things to see – as well as the coast we’ve got desert, caverns, hiking, gorgeways and incredible wildlife.’
Fisher says trade and clients may not be aware that it has been possible to swim with humpback whales since 2016 off Ningaloo Reef.
‘It is handled by the whale shark operators so they are used to dealing with mega-fauna. It is extremely safe.’
The roadshow kicked off last night with nearly 200 trade attendees in Auckland, carries on tonight at Hamilton for 40 agents, then Wellington (70) and Christchurch (35).