This grand and historic hotel in the town of Medlow Bath has been the venue for many a family holiday, wedding, honeymoon and has also been a sneaky sojourn for Sydney residents and international visitors escaping the Sydney city hustle-bustle to enjoy the splendid Blue Mountains atmosphere.

Originally opened by Mark Foy in 1904, as a health retreat for well-heeled Sydney-siders, it has evolved into a sprawling and lavish cliff-edge property that has ridden the ups and downs of economic booms and busts.

Foy was a retailer who ran department stores in Sydney who saw an opportunity to expand his retailing empire by building the leisure facility in the Blue Mountains region that he loved so much to visit.

Strategically building the property next to the main road and the train line that would carry settlers and holiday makers across the Blue Mountains from the mid-1800s, through the heyday of domestic touring in the pre depression of the 1900s, Foy adapted the offerings to the clientele and their desires as a young country started to realise an identity. He would often have lavish costume parties and was one of the first people in Australia to import and drive motor-vehicles, which he would use for touring around the property for his distinguished guests.
Famously, the property was used during World War II as a hospital for soldiers and was the location of the death of Australia’s first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton.

When Foy faded out of the retailing and leisure industries the property passed through to his family and later would change hands multiple times to finally be closed for some time during 2008-2014.

While closed the property fell into a sad and forgotten condition but was revitalised with a $30 million facelift by The Escarpment Group, run by hotelier and financier Huong Nguyen.
AEA luxury Tours are proud to have engaged with the Escarpment Group shortly after the property reopened so that guests joining our Blue Mountains tour products could experience the glory of the revitalised and historic property.

For our Blue Mountains Deluxe Day product a superb lunch is offered at the Boilerhouse Café (the wonderfully adapted original powerhouse of the resort) on the Hydro Majestic property or guests can opt for the Blue Mountains Hiking product with a delicious packed picnic lunch prepared by the team at the Hydro Majestic kitchen.

Another option offered by AEA is to visit another venue in The Escarpment Group’s stable – Echoes Restaurant and Bar for dining as part of our Blue Mountains Luxury Private Charter. No matter which option you choose, you will be sure to be amazed by the properties and feel welcomed by their fabulous staff.

One of the truly best things about Sydney is our seafood.

In Springtime (September – November), as the weather warms to very pleasant temperatures, Sydneysiders (Sydney residents) start getting outdoors and eating alfresco. And seafood is very often on the menu.

Moving along to Christmas time (the height of summer in Sydney), this is the peak of seafood consumption in Sydney with our iconic Sydney Fish Markets staying open for a marathon 36 hours straight, prior to the Christmas day closure, to ensure as many people as possible can pickup some wonderful fresh seafood.

We take our guests to some wonderful venues around Sydney when private touring so that guests can sample some of our splendid seafood culture. Restaurants such as Jonah’s @ Whale Beach, Public Dining Room @ Balmoral, Corretto @ Dee Why and North Bondi Fish @ Bondi Beach all serve up tasty seafood dishes – from the humble, yet iconic Fish ‘n Chips (which might just be Shark – called Flake in Australia when served as fish), to a plate of Ocean Trout from the cool southern waters of Australia.

Other iconic seafood species that you might find on a menu in Sydney include:

Sydney Rock Oysters

 

King Prawns

 

 

 

Flathead

 

Snapper

 

John Dory

 

King fish

 

Balmain Bug

 

King George Whiting

 

Barramundi

 

We welcome you to come and join us on a small group or private tour in Sydney – where we get you to spectacular harbour and ocean viewing points to see where our fabulously fresh seafood comes from!

AEA Luxury Tours has been providing small group and private touring in Sydney for over 27 years.

From the Australian spring season and in to our peak summer season of 2019/20 and beyond AEA Luxury Tours are launching a selection of brand new private touring options.

The new private touring options are to entice guests back who may have toured with us before and want to try new experiences with us.

Or you may be first-time guests with adventurous minds who wish to escape the well-trodden paths of Sydney tourism destinations.

We’ll be showcasing the regions of the East and Northern Beaches of Sydney and the Central Coast, Beyond the Blue Mountains to Jenolan caves and South of Sydney to the Southern Highlands.

So we invite you to come on a luxurious private adventure tour with us. We pride ourselves on having the best tour guides – who each have specialist knowledge and connections with the areas we tour to – and will lead you comfortably and safely in one of luxury Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, Toyota and Renault vehicles.

Following are the links to our fantastic new products at our website:

Iconic Sydney Eastern Suburbs & Beaches

Tidal swimming pool and Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach

 

Sydney’s Local Northern Natural Wonders Half Day

 

Sydney’s Local Northern Natural Wonders & Secrets Full Day

 

Sydney’s Local Secrets & Sydney Harbour Dining Experience

 

Southern Highlands Delight

 

Broken Bay Pearls and Unique Brisbane Waters Experience

 

Blue Mountains & Jenolan Caves Luxury Private Tour

 

Twilight In The Blue Mountains

Of course, we still offer guests our classic collection of small group and private tours to popular destinations such as Sydney and Bondi Beach via the Eastern Suburbs, the magnificent Sydney Harbour and Beaches, The Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley wine country. Our new private tours collection will complement our traditional tour product offerings by providing a brilliant alternative for those looking to delve a little bit deeper with private tours from Sydney to the stunning surrounding regions.

Or you you may wish to customise a touring experience entirely to your own schedule and interests. Either way:

Please get in touch for rates and bookings…

Example vehicles used for private touring from our fleet:

 

The gentleman who launched AEA Luxury Tours is Don Rosenfeldt. Don is originally from Auckland, New Zealand but came to the golden shores of Sydney in the early 1990s with a keen interest in outdoors life. He worked in a scuba diving business and then, in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics, realised an opportunity to start a tour company taking tours from Sydney to the spectacular harbour, beach and bush locations around the city in minibuses and luxury vehicles.

When he started Australian Eco Adventures (as it was known in the beginning) he was just a few years into the parenthood roller coaster of twin boys – Tyler and Dane. He will be the first to tell you that is hands were very full!!

Now almost 30 years later Dane and Tyler are returning the favour, in a word, for the fact that they are both now gainfully employed by the company and running different aspects of the business while Don gradually takes steps away from the day to day operations of AEA Luxury Tours and Mount ‘n Beach Safaris, as we are now known.

Dane has been with us now for nearly 3 years – he’s been doing an outstanding job on the road running our high-end tours. Plus, he’s been assisting the team managing the upkeep of vehicles.

It was only this week that AEA Luxury Tours welcomed Dane’s twin, Tyler, into the company. Tyler comes out of a 12-year stint with a local vehicle service business where he bought a significant slice of that company over time. When he mentioned that he’d had enough of fixing greasy engines full-time Don made him an offer he really had to accept – to become a driver guide and in-house fleet mechanic.

Tyler brings with him his mechanical, auto air and electrical certificates and licences and 1 – 2 days per week he will continue to service our fleet on site in our premises.

A statement from Don on this momentous moment of the next generation coming into the fold:

“As a father, it’s an amazing experience to know that your sons want to be in the business I started almost 30 years ago. In time they will take full responsibility of the company and continue to provide the highest standards of luxury touring in Sydney.”

We welcome the brothers-in-arms to infuse that much more of a genuine family authenticity to this Sydney Tourism success story.

 

TYLER
DANE

The dominant tree of Australia is the Eucalyptus species with over 800 in number. We in Australia have another name for them – Gum Trees – due to the oils that weep from the trunk and are also released from the leaves, naturally hovering in the air as microscopic oil droplets. It’s these oil droplets that contribute to the blue haze that is so prominent in our popular day tripping destination from Sydney – The Blue Mountains.

Eucalypts are evergreens, meaning they have leaves all year round, and their leaves are hard, leathery and tough (scientifically known as sclerophylls). This means they do not easily wilt and can withstand the hot and dry conditions that dominate Australia.

When we talk about those hot dry conditions it is important to say that Australia as a landmass has a generally quite mild climate, albeit with seasonal variations. However, there are three dominant climate zones that cover the continent. In the north it’s a tropical zone in the east it’s temperate and in the centre and to the west it’s arid.

In Sydney, where AEA Luxury Tours is based, the climate zone is more specifically warm temperate, meaning rainfall is consistent throughout the year, but we do have a noticeable (but not remarkable) change in the seasons.

In Sydney, at the time of this post we are in the season of Autumn and so as we mentioned with Eucalypts, the leaves aren’t lying on the ground after having wilted and ‘fallen’. Interestingly though, many Eucalypt species will lose their bark in yearly cycles and some will often lose their branches – through times of stress such as drought, wind and heat.

The branches can fall heavily to the ground below, so beware rogue Eucalypt branches on a windy dry day! The Eucalypt species that shed their bark don’t having bark falling so much, instead the bark hangs in trails, pieces and ribbons from branches and trunks.

Autumn in the Blue Mountains region is unique and somewhat different however, because many of the villagers and settlers planted deciduous trees as reminders of cool climate mountain village life back in Europe and the northern hemisphere. Therefore, you could be forgiven for thinking you are in a ‘Fall’ country with rich variations in colour and piles of leaves gathering on the ground as you move through the Blue Mountains villages. Then the moment you move away from the villages you are again surrounded by Eucalypts and their gummy oils.

We captured some images of the recent Autumn colours on recent Blue Mountains day trips. You might call that ‘fall’ colours where you are from.

We welcome you to come and see the contrast of Autumn in the Blue Mountains.

 

AEA Luxury Tours is now supplying JUST WATER included for guests on every tour.

The JUST WATER team designed a receptacle that results in 74% less harmful emissions when combining the steps of manufacturing and distribution and post consumption.

Their bottles are mostly made from plants… The bottle part is made mostly from paper. The cap is made from sugarcane. The bottle is 100% recyclable, but we are encouraging our guests to keep the bottle and reuse as they come with a nice wide neck to allow easy refill (and even include a place to label them).

Another step toward reducing our impact on the environment whilst running our Sydney tour company for discerning travellers.

JUST WATER

Australia is the driest flattest continent of earth which, due to its long-standing isolation, has led to some unique fauna, but also some extremely unique flora.

The Blue Mountains region, our most popular day trip, is just a couple of hours from Sydney. In the region we bear witness to the many types of Eucalyptus trees (around 100 of the 900 or so species that dominate Australia but are also scattered in to neighbouring Papua New Guinea and Indonesia).

Eucalyptus are evergreen and for many species we see in the Blue Mountains their unique attribute is that they lose their bark in yearly cycles rather than their leaves. The bark that trails off the tree and falls to the ground is welcome tinder when time comes – and it inevitably does – for Bushfire. Naturally occurring and man made fire is a fact of life in the bush-land environments of Australia.

Because fire is such a consistent force in the landscape of Australia certain trees and shrubs have evolved to resist and some even rely on fire to spread their seeds.

Banksia trees are a common tree we see in the region that do just that….

However, not all types of the 170 or so that exist. Some species of Banksia will release whatever seeds that are ripe when available, often helped along to new locations by flying foxes and birds. Others wait (sometimes years at a time) for the heat and smoke of a fire.

The fruits of the flowering Banksia are hard and woody, and the seed lies encased inside. Like all seeds they require water, oxygen and the right temperature to germinate – move from seed to seedling or, put another way, dormancy to life.

The right temperature and conditions for some Banksias is often due to fire. When a fire arrives a parent Banksia may be killed but the fruit will open from the follicle. The ready to go seeds fall and the fire clears any competitors and fertilises the top soil with ash.

However, there is one key ingredient required with several Banksia trees to ensure germination happens after fire – where there is fire, there is smoke!

It took until the year 2004 for scientists to nail down the process of smoke germination on several Australian trees and shrubs, including the Banksia. A team based in Western Australia deciphered that from the 4000 or so chemicals that reside in smoke a molecule they named karrikinolide (a local indigenous word for smoke), which is scientifically known as one of the butenolides molecules. These master molecules, as they have been labelled, are a by-product of the combustion of cellulose (fibres of the seed) together with other organic compounds in the plant tissues.

So there you have the unique story of the flowering Banksia, which loves the inevitable fire and the smoke that comes before and after it, as well as the flying foxes, birds and insects that live on their nectar and spread their seeds.

We should also mention that the famous botanist Joseph Banks, who travelled on the Endeavour expedition in 1770 with James Cook is where their name comes from.

Following are some pictures of flowering Banksia fruits in different states.

Come and see them in the flesh on a day trip or overnight experience to the Blue Mountains.

 

Banksia Flower 1

Banksia flower drying

We, AEA Luxury Tours, are only a drop in the ocean of tour companies across the world. However, under the leadership of our director Don Rosenfeldt we have taken a small step which we believe will help encourage other bigger players in the tour operation game to make steps toward a change in behaviour.

For the 27 years we have been operating, we have seen the trend of single use plastic water bottles take over society. Due to the practical nature of single use plastic water bottles we have been offering them to our guests on tours for quite some time.

We have now made steps to change this. From October 2018 we will be offering all of our guests a reusable plastic water bottle with our logo as a reminder of their wonderful experience with us on a Sydney, Blue Mountains or Hunter Valley small group tour or private tour. So, it’s an environmental exercise and a branding exercise all wrapped up in the one movement.

This is a costly decision for a small touring operation such as ours, which cuts into our profit margin. However, the alternative of continuing to offer single use plastic bottles maintains that we are a guilty party in the action of plastic killing our oceans. Plastic is ending up as chemicals in our food due to fish and other animals eating plastic unintended for their consumption.

A comment from Don on the step we have taken:

“Plastic is a problem of my generation – I feel a responsibility to at least play a small part in changing and fixing the problem. Reusable water bottles are the strongest environmental message we can send to our industry and those we carry on tour”.

For outsiders the Australian political system must seem like a farce. We have just seen the governing party of Australia – The Liberal National Coalition – change its leader, which means Australia has a new Prime Minister, Australia’s 7th Prime Minister in 11 years. The new head on the chopping block is Scott Morrison. Last week his party held a ballot to decide who their new leader would be. It seemed they weren’t happy with Malcolm Turnbull, who had only been in the job for a couple of years, and as we are coming to an election year (they happen every 3 years in federal Australian politics) the party wasn’t polling well, so they purged him

So what does all this have to do with a tour operator in Sydney?

Well firstly, our guests will often ask us how it is possible that we change Prime Minister so often before the term is up. A quick explanation is that the Australian political system is the same system as the British system – a Westminster system.

This system is a form of government that has two houses, in Australia’s case the Lower house is the House of Representatives and the Upper house is the Senate. Legislation is raised by the lower house executive members, or the dominant party, and the dominant party elects a leader – The Prime Minister. The Senate, a collection of members from each state of Australia, takes legislation raised in the lower house and signs it off after debate. So you see, we don’t elect our Prime Minister, we elect our local member of parliament who represents us in the lower house and puts their vote in at the party meetings to decide a Prime Minister.

Secondly, Australian politics has a lot to do with a tour operator in Sydney because we are part of the Australian economic engine and passion for life of this country – and we would like to present ourselves as a loyal and stable place for people to visit – somewhat unlike our current crop of policy makers.

We at AEA Luxury Tours start the engines in our luxury, leather-seated vehicles each day with an enthusiasm to meet new (and return) visitors to this country and give them exclusive experiences, impart knowledge about Australian politics, lifestyle and culture with passion and zeal.

Our guides are of varied ages and temperaments with back grounds in a range of industries. The ‘Prime-minister’ of our team is the obsessive Don Rosenfeldt. He’s not elected by us, but is obsessed with collecting the best guides and putting them in to the most comfortable vehicles to impart the widest range of knowledge on the most enjoyable itineraries of any touring company in Sydney.

We Australians love to participate in our democracy… However, the fact that it is compulsory to vote means, in a way, we are forced to love it!

In contrast, we members of the AEA Luxury Tours team have a natural urge to offer the best service to visitors and demonstrate that we really to love taking guests to our signature destinations of the Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley and Sydney surrounds on small group and private tours.

The fact that we have been offering these services in Sydney for over 27 years demonstrates why we are the essence of loyalty to our cause and industry, something that can’t exactly be claimed by our fickle federal politicians.

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. In 1975 the organisation set up a process concerning the protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Australia has 19 sites of natural and cultural significance including the spectacular Kakadu National Park (listed 1981) and The Sydney Opera house (listed 2007).

In the year 2000 Sydney held the summer Olympic Games and our harbour city was on show to the world. The Blue Mountains region was recognised that very same year with UNESCO listing. Already well known to Sydney-siders (Sydney natives) for many years as the cool climate escape to pure wilderness and welcoming townships, the hosting of the Olympics shone a light on the Blue Mountains located next-door to the 5 million people metropolis as Sydney’s go to day trip or weekend destination.

Eight protected areas make up the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area which was listed in the year 2000. The size of this region is 1.03 million hectares or 2.4 million acres.
It is hard to fathom just how large that is so you might compare it as roughly half the size of Wales in the UK.

The landscape of the regions is best described as a deeply dissected plateau dominated by temperate eucalypt tree species (the oils of which make the Blue Mountains blue). Criteria for listing of the region include the outstanding and representative examples of genus the Eucalyptus (approximately 91 species) and the diverse plant communities and geological environment that supports 400 vertebrate species (of which 40 are threatened) which breaks down as 52 mammal, 63 reptile, over 30 frog and about one third (265 species) of Australia’s bird species.

The geology and geomorphology of the region, which includes 300 metre cliffs, slot canyons and waterfalls, provides the physical conditions and visual backdrop to support these outstanding biological values.

Understandably the Blue Mountains region is our most booked destination. AEA Luxury Tours offers products to give visitors to Sydney a day or an overnight experience of the region. Whether
that be our small group Wildlife, Deluxe day or Hiking day or you may like to book our Blue Mountains Luxury Charter where you can customise the day according to your desires.

We pride ourselves on our superior itineraries, our luxurious vehicles, the exclusive locations we visit and the high quality of tour guides that give our guests a second-to-none
experience.

We welcome you ticking this world heritage listed site of your bucket list with AEA Luxury Tours.