Absolutely South Pacific

Tour operator caters to high-end clientele who are not afraid to travel

By: Robert Carlsen

After recently visiting Australia and Africa, Ken Fish, president of Absolute Asia/Africa/South Pacific, said he was happily surprised that, despite the uncertainty in the world, “people are continuing to travel.”

Fish’s clientele, however, are not your ordinary vacationers, looking for a McDonald’s along the Champs-Elysees. They are wealthy and independent, who insist on personalized service, luxury accommodations and sophisticated touring all the while immersing themselves in the culture that they visit.

Fish said his overseas guides say Absolute’s clients are “among the most inquisitive, curious and thoughtful travelers they have encountered.” Its success is, obviously, a result of offering tours that keep these lucrative clients coming back.

Among Absolute South Pacific’s new products this year are four “Introduction to Australia” tours, an in-depth Aboriginal experience, three family vacations, and two tours focusing on specific regions of Australia.

With the 11-night Introduction to Australia package, clients visit Sydney, Uluru (Ayers Rock), the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. A longer, 14-night version of this tour, Classic Australia, adds Melbourne, Alice Springs and the luxurious Hayman Island Resort. Prices are $5,440 and $7,460 per person, double, land only, respectively.

The most comprehensive of the introductory tours is the 23-night Australia Explorer package, which travels from Sydney to Tasmania, then takes in Melbourne and Adelaide, the Red Center, Darwin, Kakadu National Park, the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Cost is $11,850 per person, double, land only.

Clients can absorb the country’s Aboriginal history, culture and belief systems in a 12-night program. “Aboriginal Experience” includes Sydney, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Uluru, Darwin, Bathurst Island and Aboriginal Arnhemland, which is a deeply spiritual region for the Aborigines. Cultural art lovers will have an opportunity to inspect ancient rock art, visit modern galleries and collections, and browse shops selling works by prominent Aboriginal artists.

A highlight of the tour is a stay at Longitude 131 the new, exclusive, lodge-based retreat in the outback. Cost is $6,260 per person, double, land only.

Families visiting Australia with Absolute can enjoy an 11-night program, which includes dinner in the desert with a live soundtrack provided by a didgeridoo player; a camel ride to breakfast in the outback, which concludes with a lesson on Aboriginal “bush tucker” (food); snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef; and a Skyrail ride over a rain forest. Cost is $5,400 per person, double, land only.

Besides Australia, Absolute South Pacific also offers multicountry tours to New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti and Papua New Guinea.


Absolute Asia was established in 1989, adding Absolute South Pacific in 1997 and Absolute Africa in 2001. Based in New York, the company is a Virtuoso and ASTA member.