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Consultant Profile: Nathan Bartlett « Ashburton Outlet Page

Personal Details

 

Travel Consultant

nathanb@hot.co.nz

3-307-8764

242a East Street

Ashburton

Why ME?

I've been working for HOT since 1999 and was in the Top 21 Consultants for House of Travel in 2019. I have been awarded a customer champion 3 years in a row. I've been fortunate enough to travel to some amazing places so I can recommend them to you

Image Gallery

 
  • The end of Route 66, Santa Monica The end of Route 66, Santa Monica
  • On Interstate 10 from LA to Phoenix On Interstate 10 from LA to Phoenix
  • Grand Canyon Grand Canyon
  • Las Vegas Las Vegas
  • The River Thames, London The River Thames, London
  • The Wedding at Cana, Louvre Museum, Paris The Wedding at Cana, Louvre Museum, Paris
  • Navigating houseboat, Mildura Navigating houseboat, Mildura
  • Spice Souk, Dubai Spice Souk, Dubai
  • Dubai Fountain, Dubai Dubai Fountain, Dubai
  • Entrance to Oyunohara - the largest Torii shrine gate in the world Entrance to Oyunohara - the largest Torii shrine gate in the world
  • Vending machines everywhere! Vending machines everywhere!
  • Nachi-no-Otaki waterfall - Japan’s tallest waterfall Nachi-no-Otaki waterfall - Japan’s tallest waterfall
  • Universal Studios Osaka Universal Studios Osaka
  • The Bean, Chicago The Bean, Chicago
  • Graceland, Memphis Graceland, Memphis
  • Airboat Tour, New Orleans Airboat Tour, New Orleans

Where on Earth do you still want to go?

  • To most of those grey areas on the map -->

Useful Apps & Gadgets for Travel

  • Airline apps
  • House of Travel app
  • Currency converter app

HOT Awards & Qualifications

  • Top 21 Consultant, Gold Sales Award & HOT Customer Champion (number 1) - 2019
  • Silver Sales Award & HOT Customer Champion (top 10) - 2018
  • Silver Sales Award & HOT Customer Champion (top 10) - 2017
  • Silver Sales Award - 2016
  • Silver Sales Award - 2015
  • Bronze Sales Award - 2014
  • Bronze Sales Award - 2013
  • National Certificate in Travel, Levels 3 and 4
  • Advanced Diploma in Travel, Tourism & Business Technology

What I always take on holiday

  • Smartphone
  • Plug adaptor and multi-board
  • Headphones to listen to music (on Smartphone)
  • Phone charger

Where I've Been

 

Favourite Holidays

 

USA - May 2019

Every year, the Globus Family of Brands take away their top 10 sellers from New Zealand (and top 20 from Australia) on a trip and this year, I made the cut, we were off to the USA!

Flying direct from Auckland to Chicago was relatively easy, especially given that we did it in 14 hours instead of the scheduled 15! We got through customs quickly thanks to automated passport control, the biggest delay was getting our bags. We were met in the arrivals area by our (as we discovered on tour) amazing tour director Peter and whisked away to our hotel. Chicago is known for its architecture and is on the banks of Lake Michigan where parks basically run between the lake and buildings for the length of the city. It is also home to the deep dish pizza, Chicago style hot dogs (complete with 9 ingredients) and brownie to name a few – we got to taste the best on a food tour!

After two nights, we travelled to St Louis, home of the Gateway Arch (the world’s tallest arch), before heading to one of my highlights of the tour – Nashville! I was not into country music at all before, but after visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium and spending an evening with 3 songwriters who talked about their lives & singing some of their songs over dinner, that all changed! Great live music at the bars – day and night – something for everyone. We also visited historic RCA Studio B where more than 200 of Elvis Presley’s songs were recorded, so it was an honour for us to record a song of our own in the same studio, Elvis’s Can’t Help Falling in Love!

Memphis was our next stop, famous for blues, soul and rock n roll, Graceland and the National Civil Rights Museum ­– located in the former Lorraine Motel where Dr Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated! But also the Peabody Hotel where, since 1933, the Peabody ducks have been walking the red carpet to/from the hotel fountain from/to the lift to their palace on the rooftop!

Finally, our biggest travel day, took us to New Orleans, my next favourite city after Nashville, with its distinctive French & American quarters, jazz music and where Creole and Cajun cuisines have unique heritages and complex backgrounds. The main highlight here was going out onto the swamp and bayous on an airboat and holding an alligator! We also made cocktails, had a cooking demonstration and enjoyed a walking tour where we sampled Beignets made from deep fried choux pastry and covered in icing sugar, delicious!

As I said, our tour director Peter was amazing, he was knowledgeable, passionate & fun. He had different outfits for each city which got us in the mood for what was to come, he really made the tour for us. This is the second coach tour I have done and I truly believe it is a great way to travel, whether you’re a first time or experienced traveller

Japan - October 2017

Japan: a land of technology, amazing culture and incredible food; a place I’ve wanted to go from a very young age and when the opportunity came up, I didn’t even look at the itinerary, I just said yes! Little did I know I would be walking part of the World Heritage listed Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route until later when my spot was confirmed, too late to pull out now, off I went!

The Kumano Kodo is located on the Kii Peninsula, south of Osaka. What an incredible, peaceful and sacred area, which, for thousands of years people have made this pilgrimage in the Kii Mountain Range! There are various walks you can do, the full walk taking around 6 days – we did a 3 hour section one day and an hour the next. The parts we did were relatively easy, a few [hundred] stairs at the end were well worth the sweat and sore muscles the following day – awaiting us were the impressive Kumano Nachi Taisha shrines and the Nachi-no-Otaki waterfall, Japan’s tallest waterfall at 133m high and 13m wide which can apparently be seen from the Pacific Ocean

Two of my 5 night adventure were spent in Japanese-style hotels complete with woven mats, low tables and cushions during the day and futon set up (while at dinner) for the evening. They were surprisingly comfortable. They also had Onsen (hot springs) which were fantastic to relieve achy muscles and – when in Japan...– karaoke!

The food, as I said earlier, was incredible: the freshest sashimi; gyoza; okonomiyaki; delicious hot pots; restaurants (including one that was all you can eat) where you order from an iPad!

We used a mix of transport, buses, trains and of course foot. Driving appeared relatively easy, especially out of the cities, with good roads and hundreds of tunnels making them (I assume) less windy. The main train stations had automated signage with Japanese and English displays, you just need to allow plenty of time to find your platform

The areas we went all seemed very safe even at night, not once did I feel unsafe or threatened. I had a wonderful time and would jump at any opportunity to go back to further explore and experience more of this inspiring country. If you’d like to hear more about my trip, don’t hesitate to come in and see me

Dubai - May 2015

Dubai – WOW! The city of Guinness World Records including biggest mall (Dubai Mall), tallest building (Burj Khalifa) & tallest hotel on an island (Burj Al Arab), and many others! And it’s not stopping there, with the build-up to the World Expo in 2020 there are plans for more records to be smashed! No longer just a 2/3 night stopover but a holiday destination in its own right, from shopping to cultural experiences, theme parks for the kids (and kids at heart) and with a side-trip to Abu Dhabi or an overnight stay in the desert, it has so much to offer!
 
No visit to a new city is complete without a city tour, Dubai has a few options to choose from depending on your interests. Our tour included a visit to the old Souk area where we walked through the fragrant alleys of the Spice Souk on the Deira side of the Creek and then to the Gold Souk which flaunts dazzling displays of jewellery – a chance to barter with the shopkeepers and get a bargain! For lunch we headed to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, set in a typical wind tower house, in one of the oldest Emirati neighbourhoods in Bur Dubai, we enjoyed a traditional Emirati lunch while hearing from UAE nationals about UAE culture, customs, traditions and religion.
 
A desert safari is a must and was a highlight of my trip, we were picked up from our hotel in late-model 4WDs and taken out to the entry of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Here, they let the tyres down and off you go on the thrilling ride over the sand dunes! Along the way there is a photo stop and falcon show, before arriving at your dinner destination, a camp in the desert. Enjoy a quick ride on a camel, a belly dancing show and get painted with intricate henna designs.
 
Dubai has two waterparks, we visited the Aquaventure Waterpark on Palm Jumeirah, this is great for all ages with 42 rides of different thrill levels, the most thrilling (or scary) being Poseidon’s Revenge, where you step into a transparent capsule and wait, the floor falls out from beneath you and you plummet to the bottom at around 60 km/h!
 
Dubai was an amazing experience that is always changing, so for a long time, it will have new experiences every time you go back!

Melbourne - September 2014

My wife and I took a long weekend trip to Melbourne, we stayed in a fantastic apartment complex on Bourke Street (Citadines on Bourke) which was close to shopping, restaurants, Chinatown and the free city loop trams. We did some shopping at Harbour Town which is outlet stores, so there were some good bargains. We also did a coffee walking tour which was really good, we visited places you just wouldn't have seen otherwise, tucked down lanes....one place didn't even have any signage!

USA - October 2013

Anaheim is a great place to base yourself to tick off the attractions for the Los Angeles area, I stayed about 10 minutes’ walk from Disneyland and visited both parks over two days, for me this was long enough but would probably want another day or two if travelling with family. Some rides have single rider lines (you are a seat filler and the lines are much shorter), consider splitting up and going in these – some rides had an hour plus waiting. Alternatively, you can use your Fast Track pass to book your place on a ride to come back at the specified time. I also took a day trip to Universal Studios & Hollywood, the driver told us a few tips on the way to make the most of our day like going to the lower part of the park first, due to having (at the time) the new Transformers ride, do while it’s quiet….and do the whole lower part before coming back up as it takes a good 5 minutes to get from upper to lower part. There are also single rider lines here or you can purchase front of line passes. There are some great restaurants just outside the park, don’t do what I did and try to have dinner inside before going on the Hollywood tour (if you do the combo)! The park closes at 6pm and we had until 7pm to be back on the coach. We then headed to Chinese Theatre & Hollywood Walk of Fame followed by Rodeo Drive. It was a taste of Hollywood, but you may be better to come back during the day.
I then flew to San Francisco where I started my coach tour with Cosmos, the tour headed down the coast to Monterey – stopping at a town called San Luis Obispo for lunch – worth a stop, nice restaurants/cafés, shops and the world’s largest bubblegum wall! The following day we headed to Solvang, a town with Danish style buildings and food/beverages. From there we travelled to LA for another few nights (I was originally booked on a canyon tour, but due to the government shutdown, I changed to this tour the day before I left NZ!). Then we left LA through the desert & Palm Springs to Scottsdale (Phoenix). Here we went to a cowboy steakhouse where we had dinner and a spot of line dancing, yehaaa! Day 7 we headed for the Grand Canyon, en route stopping at Sedona which is a lovely tourist town overlooking the red rocks. On arrival at Grand Canyon National Park (the parks had opened by then), we boarded helicopters and flew out over the canyon, this was a fantastic experience to be able to see the canyon from above! We then went into the park and walked along the edge of the canyon. On the final day of the tour, we travelled to Las Vegas, getting a glimpse of the Hoover Dam as we drove by (large coaches unfortunately aren’t allowed to stop).
Overall, I thought touring is definitely a great way to learn about your destination, our guide was very informative and friendly. It takes the stress out of driving, you can just sit back, relax and listen to the commentary provided by the guide

London & Paris - Oct 2012

London surprised me, I thought it would be a busy, dirty, cold city, yes it was busy but the streets I really enjoyed the time I spent there. We stayed close to Hyde Park which was fantastic, I even got a run in one morning! We did the London hop on hop off bus which is a great way to get your bearings and learn about the city, I highly recommend doing this on your first or second day so you can make the most of your stay. Getting around was easy, have your tube map ready, work out where you’re heading and hop on-board. Where possible, pre-purchase fast-track / front of line passes to attractions, you still have to wait but not anywhere near as long as without them! The London Eye provided fantastic views over the city, with fast-track, we probably waited half an hour, I’d hate to think how long it would have been without it!
We caught the Eurostar to Paris, check-in was similar to an airport except you take your own bags and put them on the carriage yourself; the trip takes just over two hours and was quite relaxing. Paris was great, we also did the hop on hop off bus here, again highly recommended. And the metro (tube) was also very easy to get around on. A highlight of the trip was a Fat Tire Bike Tour, we did the evening tour and had a fantastic informative guide who made you feel safe – riding the streets of Paris without helmets was a bit daunting, but they keep you together in the group and ‘dominate’ the road so cars just drive slowly behind or pass you. You didn’t have to be a confident bike rider, bikes were simple to use (3 speed). The tour included a ride to see some of the sights of Paris and included a boat cruise near the end with wine. Again, pre-purchasing fast-track / front of line passes to attractions is highly recommended! We got around this by going to attractions early to the Louvre, arrive before the doors open. For the Eiffel Tower, I climbed the stairs to the second level, the line was A LOT shorter than for the lifts, from the second level you can admire the views and/or take the lift to the top, don’t forget your camera and maybe a windbreaker!

Mildura - May 2011

Mildura is a city of approximately 30,000 people located on the banks of the mighty Murray River and only an hour’s flight from Melbourne, it is known for its fantastic food, wine and cultural mix. The Murray River is Australia’s largest river – weaving through three states: New South Wales, Victoria & South Australia and with such a grand river, what better way to experience the region than on a houseboat?
 
All Seasons Houseboats have a fleet of 4.5 to 5 star houseboats. Houseboats are a surprisingly affordable holiday for a group of friends or family, and there are plenty of activities along the river to keep everyone interested including golf, winery visits, fishing, walks & wildlife. The boat we stayed on, Sapphire Luxury, is a 4 bedroom (each with small LCD TV), 2 bathroom houseboat with a spacious lounge, full kitchen and dining room downstairs complete with large LCD TV, CD/DVD player, iPod dock and sound system that can also be played at the rear and on the upstairs deck – perfect for cooking on the BBQ or relaxing in the spa upstairs!
 
We took day trips from Mildura to explore the region. To the north-west of Mildura is the township of Wentworth, where the Murray & Darling Rivers meet, from the viewing tower you can see the contrasting colours of the two rivers mix. The afternoon comprised of winery visits before we headed back to Mildura to the Spanish Bar & Grill, which was awarded Australia’s Best Steak Restaurant in 2009, we weren’t disappointed!
 
Mungo National Park was also a fantastic visit. Lake Mungo is part of the Willandra Lakes system and in 1981 it was listed as a World Heritage site, it is now documented as one the oldest places for human occupation dating back to Aboriginal life from around 60,000 years ago to the present day. The lakes dried up approximately 18,000 years ago and the sand-dunes now show clear evidence of camp fires and cooking hearth of the aboriginal people as they sat around the once full lake. Now with the natural erosion the sand and clay have formed vibrant colours and breath-taking scenery. We were taken over the sand-dunes and shown evidence of ancient remains, only people on a local guided tour are able to step onto the sand-dunes. Back at the Mungo Information Centre, our guide showed us through the display centre, played the didgeridoo and showed us how to throw a Boomerang before heading back to Mildura.
 
Our final day, we headed up the river a couple of hours and stopped in at a winery on the banks of the Murray, Trentham Estate, we moored the houseboat and headed ashore for tasting and a fantastic lunch. If you do over-indulge, you can stay overnight on the mooring. After lunch we headed back towards Mildura and stopped briefly at the historic Gol Gol Hotel, first licensed in 1877 it served as a watering hole and stopover in the days of Cobb&Co

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