Since ascending to the throne in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II has undertaken trips to more than 120 countries, from closely connected members of the Commonwealth to less expected parts of the planet, making her by far the most travelled monarch in British history (not bad for someone who doesn’t possess a passport). Canada has had by far the largest number of visits by the Queen at 24, with Australia trailing in second with 16 and New Zealand in third place with 10.
Today, as we celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, Sally and Alice Travel Co. celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s dedication to travel and showcase some of these countries’ finest properties that are without doubt worth a royal visit…
A private seaplane ride of 45-minutes from Vancouver has you arriving to one of our all-time favourite wilderness retreats, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort on Vancouver Island. Accommodation here is in sublimely comfortable canvas safari tents, and believe us when we say the food is to die for…but the main attraction at Clayoquot is getting out and enjoying the wilderness itself. A slate of varied activities include horseback riding, river and ocean kayaking, whale watching, grizzly bear watching, hiking, mountain biking and world-class river, ocean, and lake fishing. Other highlights are hiking day trips to Flores Island, a volcanic First Nation island nearby, and Zodiac boat trips to hot springs. There are also zip lines, rock climbing, shooting and archery on site.
Visitors to British Colombia should also include time in Vancouver, where the contemporary downtown Shangri-La Hotel provides the perfect base from which to explore the city and recover from jet-lag in the supremely comfortable beds (still the best mattress we’ve ever slept on) and their impressive CHI Spa.
AUSTRALIA – 16 VISITS
Elizabeth II is the only reigning monarch of Australia to have set foot on Australian soil; she first did so on 3 February 1954, and since then, over 16 visits, the Queen has visited every Australian state and the two mainland territories.
If it’s big scenery you’re after then there’s no shortage of options in Australia – from the rugged mountains, wild bushlands and deserted beaches of Tasmania’s stunning Freycinet Peninsula – where we recommend a stay at luxury lodge Saffire Freycinet - to the wildlife abundant Kakadu National Park where bush camp Bamurru Plains offers a truly luxurious, wilderness experience on the coastal floodplains of the Mary River delta at the edge of Kakadu National Park.
Australia’s vibrant cities are as varied as the landscape that surrounds them, and with its impressive location at the tip of Sydney Cove and a rooftop pool overlooking the Harbour Bridge on one side and the Opera House on the other, the Park Hyatt remains the ‘grand dame’ of Sydney’s harbourside accommodation.
NEW ZEALAND – 10 VISITS
The Queen stopped in to visit the island nation of New Zealand on her first Commonwealth Tour in 1953. With a population of just 4 million and over a third of the country set aside for national parks and reserves, a tailor-made holiday to New Zealand is all about the great outdoors…
The South Island in particular is both the adventure playground and scenic wonderland of the country, and amongst the mountains of New Zealand’s spectacular Southern Alps and on the shore of glacial Lake Wanaka lies a private alpine haven perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, Minaret Station. Accessible only by chopper, the alpine lodge offers just four luxury tented suites which come complete with wall to wall sheepskin carpet, king beds, a private deck set with its own hot tub, full en-suite and hot showers. The Wallis brothers who both own and run the operation, are on hand to help you explore their 65,000 acres of private land – in Winter, Minaret can arrange personalised heli-skiing and heli-snowboard trips whilst activities in Summer include hiking the many trails; experiencing the life of high country farming, or taking a helicopter to explore the rugged Fiordland West Coast or access incredible fly-fishing rivers.
The North Island complements the South perfectly, with a unique cultural mix of Maori, European and Asian influences. In North Island’s stunning Bay of Islands region, Eagle’s Nest is perhaps New Zealand’s ultimate offering in luxury beach accommodation – each private villa has vast outdoor and indoor space, including state of the art kitchens (complete with your own personal chef if you wish) and a private walkway leading to a private beach.
We salute you, our Queen with a suitcase, long may you continue to travel! If you would like to follow our gracious monarch by example, please contact us on: