Bespoke Australian Gourmet Extravaganza

Bespoke Australian Gourmet Extravaganza

Designed Exclusively for

14 Food & Wine Lovers

 

 

DAY 1    Fly to Sydney, Australia by your own arrangements      

Your Adventure in the Lands Down Under commences when you depart ***your home city for Los Angeles. When you arrive in Los Angeles Airport you will board your onward flight to Sydney, Australia. International airline tickets to be purchased by your own arrangements. Your flight should arrive in Sydney between  7.50 A.M and 8.45A.M. ***

DAY 2    In Transit        

During your flight over the Pacific Ocean your will cross the international Dateline and lose a day.

DAY 3    Arrive in Sydney, Australia. City Orientation Tour     L                                                You will arrive in Sydney early this morning and clear customs. After you have completed the Australia Immigration formalities your luggage will be collected and transferred to your hotel while you join our local private Sydney tour guide, Suzanne who will lead your elite group of 14 wine and food lovers on an introductory tour of Sydney Downtown. As part of your day you’ll visit the exclusive Eastern Suburbs, and famous Bondi Beach where you’ll stop for lunch at a local trendy bistro overlooking the beach.   Your day of exploration will conclude with a privately guided tour of Sydney Opera House commencing at 3.45P.M.

Park Hyatt Sydney - Exterior Cameo Horizontal

Photo Credit to Park Hyatt Sydney

Since 1996 readers of Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines have voted Sydney the World’s Best City for sixteen years in succession. You will enjoy this cosmopolitan city with its impressive harbor foreshores, glamorous homes and coastlines dotted with jagged sandstone cliffs and thirty seven golden beaches. With its Mediterranean climate where the temperature rarely falls below 50F, arcade shopping, restaurants, parks, gardens, museums, the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge- you’ll find Sydney a gem.

Following your tour you will be transferred to your hotel where your luggage will have been stored awaiting your arrival.

Park Hyatt Sydney - City Harbour Room

Photo Credit to Park Hyatt Sydney

During your four nights stay in Sydney you will be accommodated in eight city view rooms at the Park Hyatt Sydney with views of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney city skyline Your luxury hotel is uniquely positioned on the very edge of Sydney Harbor with spectacular views of the Harbor Bridge above and the Opera House at eye level. Architecturally designed guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling glass that open onto private balconies affording exquisite views of Sydney Harbor, Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Skyline. Join  Check in time: 2.00P.M. 

Suggestions for a light dinner to be enjoyed at a variety of Sydney restaurants (at own expense). Reservations to be made by your hotel Concierge

*****Optional tour at additional expense 

Massages in hotel rooms

DAY 4     A Foodies Delight Private Gourmet Tour of Sydney    B L

Sydney Fish Markets 2An early start at 6.20A.M.this morning. Join Suzanne at the well-known Sydney Fish Markets for a Behind the Scenes Auction Tour where you will have the opportunity to join a vibrant, leading edge commercial auction at the largest fish market of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere where over 100 species of fish are auctioned daily. During the 1 ½ hour tour you will experience all facets of the fish markets operation from the auction floor to the sashimi pavilion and the crustacean pen. At the conclusion of the tour you’ll be able to sample tastings of fresh sushi, sashimi and famous Sydney rock oysters while speaking to the locals about the catch of the day.

You will return to Circular Quay to meet any members of your group who would prefer to sleep-in or take an independent stroll around Circular Quay or The Botanic Gardens. Your day will continue along the Harbour Foreshores to Woollahra with its fine array of food provisioners including Victor Churchill’s Butchery and Simon Johnson for an introduction of Australia’s finest products. You’ll soon appreciate Australia has moved a long way from its British roots and “Bush Tucker” days.   Visiting a fine wine shop to   look at the wide regional variety of Australian wines will be the last stop before you are introduced to another cultural event, the Long Sydney Lunch. Your luncheon experience at the award winning Catalina’s overlooking Sydney Harbour at Rose Bay will reflect the very essence of Sydney’s gastronomy. An inspiring spot to contemplate the joys of Australian cuisine and to develop an appreciation of the Sydneysiders mantra. “Nobody cares about the meaning of life – it’s Harbour frontage that counts”

You’ll return to your hotel via water taxi suitably impressed and ready to write postcards boasting of your introduction to Sydney, The Best City of the World”

*****Optional tours at additional expense 

Massages in hotel rooms

Personal shopping

Visit to Sydney Aquarium

Visit to Sydney Wildlife Park

Suggestions for a light dinner to be enjoyed at a variety of Sydney restaurants (at own expense). Reservations to be made by your hotel Concierge.

DAY 5     The Ultimate Sydney Day. Lunch at Suzanne’s Beach House    B L

After breakfast at your hotel You will meet your Harley Davidson tour gides outside your hotel this morning to be kitted with helmets and leather jackets before taking a scenic ride across Sydney Harbour bridge, past Luna Park and through the Northern Suburbs. During your putt you’ll stop for photo ops at Balmorral Beach. Your tour will continue along the Northern Beaches to Church Point on the edge of, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park the 4th oldest national park in the world where you’ll meet Suzanne and board your private water taxi for a cruise along Pittwater en route to your luncheon site at Suzanne’s splendid beach house on Towlers Bay. Meet the local caterer and Suzanne’s husband Piers Akerman as the BBQ is lit and the wine cellar opened. Join in the preparation in the kitchen or relax on the verandah feeding the local parrots and kookaburras. You’ll find Towlers Bay on Pittwater an affluent yet unpretentious hideaway.  It’s casual, stimulating and breathtaking. Far too quickly your day will pass and you’ll bid your hosts farewell as you return to Church Point where you’ll meet your limo driver to return to your hotel in Sydney. A day of Aussie culture like no other!   This will be a fantastic day so not forget your cameras!

Barrenjoey Pittwater from SeaplaneFar too quickly your day will pass and you’ll bid your hosts farewell as you hop in the dingy to board your seaplane to return to Sydney flying low along the rugged Sydney coastline and over the Harbour to Rose Bay. From Rose Bay you’ll hop on the local ferry to return to Circular Quay and take the short stroll to your accommodation. Ferry ticket will be at additional expense and will be purchased once you have disembarked from the ferry.

Suggestions for a light dinner to be enjoyed at a variety of Sydney restaurants (at own expense).

DAY 6     Sydney Harbour Cruise. Performance Sydney Opera House  B L D

Sydney Harbour CruiseAfter a leisurely breakfast at your hotel you’ll join Suzanne before boarding a luxury motor launch on a 4-hour private luncheon cruise to discover beautiful Sydney Harbor and its many picturesque coves. During your cruise Suzanne you give good commentary on the Harbour’s history, scenic sights and unique marine biology. Canapés and a two course buffet luncheon will be served while anchored at a scenic cove on Sydney Harbour. You will return to Circular Quay at 3.00P.M. and have the remainder of the afternoon at leisure to return to your hotel to relax or to explore the city independently.

*****Optional tours at additional expense

  • Massages in hotel rooms
  • Personal shopping
  • Visit to Sydney Aquarium
  • Visit to Sydney Wildlife Park
  • Early morning Bridgeclimb

Sydney Opera House

The famous Sydney Opera House is a matter of minutes’ walk from your hotel.   Early this evening you ‘ll take a leisurely stroll to Sydney Opera House to enjoy pre-theater dinner at Aria Restaurant before enjoying the spectacle as you attend a performance of opera, ballet, music or drama in one of the three halls in the world renowned Sydney Opera House.

Note:  Sydney Opera House Diary for 2016 performances will be released in November 2015.

DAY 7   Fly to Melbourne. Food Lovers Melbourne Walk     B L

After breakfast you will be transferred to Sydney Airport in time to board your onward flight to Melbourne. On arrival in Melbourne you will be met by your local specialist guide to discover the diversity of Melbourne’s cuisine.   During your four hour private walking, talking and tasting tour you’ll discover Melbourne’s best kept foodie secrets and learn of Melbourne’s culinary history, culture and architecture. You’ll visit Federation Square and meander through the beautiful lanes, arcades and alleys that define Melbourne.   You’ll visit the best and most interesting chocolate stores, bakeries and spice stores and meet local artisans and baristas. In Chinatown you’ll enjoy Chinese egg tarts, dumplings and roast duck. You’ll discover the latest and greatest restaurants and bars often hidden in basements and on city rooftops.   Your tour will conclude with lunch of substantial small plates a glass of wine at renowned dining hot spot Cumulus Inc on Flinders Lane.   Following lunch you will be transferred to your hotel.

Park Hyatt Melbourne Lobby

Photo Credit to Park Hyatt Melbourne

During your three night stay in Melbourne you will be accommodated in eight Club King Rooms at Park Hyatt Melbourne, a luxury hotel. Overlooking St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fitzroy Gardens and the cosmopolitan mix of Victorian and modern architecture your hotel offers exclusive, luxury accommodation in the heart of the city. It provides a warm ambience and exceptional levels of personalized service. With walk-in closets, Italian marble bathrooms and open windows your hotel provides an unparalleled experience of elegant, contemporary luxury. Guests are invited to enjoy the award-winning ‘radii restaurant and bar, the decadent lounge and Melbourne’s favourite day spa featuring an indoor aquamarine pool, spa, sauna, gym and private sun deck. Check in time: 2.00P.M.

This evening you’ll be transferred from your hotel to Coda, an award winning Asian restaurant that’s fusion cuisine reflects its French Vietnamese origin.   Following diner you will be transferred to your hotel.   Dinner and beverages will be at your own expense.

****Optional tour at additional expense

  • Performance at Melbourne Art Center

DAY 8    Drive/ Fly tour of the Great Ocean Road     B L

On any given Sunday, this very James Bond Road, (in terms of its sheer geographical theatricality) is threaded with “Hogs” and sleek 750s twisting & dipping between forest and surf while we regular journey-makers proceed Indian file, too intent on drinking in the scenery to manage much more than 30 mph. Which, as it turns out, is pretty OK – for Victoria’s Great Ocean Road is one of the loveliest, and most dramatic, coastal drives in the world.” Christine McCabe

Twelve Apostles, Vic

Photo Credit to Tourism Australia

Following breakfast at your hotel you’ll join your specialist guide on a day of exploration. As you are driven to Apollo Bay via luxury 28 seat motor coach you’ll gain an insight in to the Australian surfing culture at Bells Beach. You’ll visit the historic Split Point Lighthouse that’s beacon of light has been credited with having saved thousands of lives aboard hundreds of ships that sailed along Australia’s treacherous “Shipwreck Coast”. During a stop for freshly roasted coffee and delectable pastries you’ll have time to enjoy the spectacular beach and ocean views and   see koalas in the wild at Kennett River before enjoying an indulgent gourmet picnic lunch on the sand at Apollo Bay. Following lunch you’ll board your Piper Chieftain fixed-wing aircraft to enjoy one of the world’s most scenic flights   as you fly above the Great Ocean Road you’ll enjoy breathtaking aerial views of the rock formations known as the Twelve Apostles, Moonlight Head, The Cape Otway Lighthouse Station, Gibson’s Steps and Loch Ard Gorge. On landing at Apollo Bay you’ll board your motor coach to relax and enjoy the return journey to your hotel in Melbourne.

This evening you’ll be transferred from your hotel to Movida, a fabulous Spanish eatery serving tapas. Following diner you will be transferred to your hotel. Dinner and beverages will be at your own expense.

DAY 9     Full day tour of Yarra Valley Wineries    B L

Dominique Portet Vineyard

Photo Credit to Dominique Portet Vineyard

After breakfast at your hotel you will join your private specialist guide to travel to the Yarra Valley, one of Australia’s oldest and most diverse wine producing regions where commercial enterprises and boutique wineries produce Pinot Noir, fine Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz varietals. The Yarra Valley offers a unique food and wine experience, with many wineries specializing in the foods of the region at the cellar door and adjacent restaurants. There’s an organic, artisan style bake house and a unique coffee bean-roasting facility. There’s something incredibly connective about wine tasting in the very place the wine is crushed, fermented, bottled and stored. Commence your day with an exclusive behind the scenes French Oak barrel room tasting with carefully matched Yarra Valley produce at the renowned Dominique Portet vineyard owned by the Portet family who have been making wine in France, Napa Valley and most recently Australia for ten generations. Commencing with Sparkling Rose, guests will be guided through a private tasting of four wines from the Dominique Portet Premium Range and come to understand the aromas and nuances of making wine in a cool climate winemaking region.   Just down the road you’ll enjoy a signature food and wine master class experience at Oakridge Winery. There you’ll taste eight wines from Oakridge multi award winning 864 range with canapés to match each wine variety. As part of the experience you’ll be treated to a one hour private tutorial discussing food and wine matching principles.   A three course lunch with matching wines will be served overlooking the vines.   Following lunch there will be time to explore the region where you’ll meet the local characters and sample wine from boutique wineries such as Yarra Yering, Coldstream Hills, Pimpernel and Yering Farm. You’ll return to Melbourne in time to prepare for dinner.

You will be transferred to Cutler & Co. Dining Room, located in an old metal works factory in Fitzroy, Melbourne’s first suburb and industrial area. The open plan kitchen at the front of the restaurant creates a dynamic focal point and allows for ring-side dining, light bites and drinks. The restaurant, opened in February 2009 by Chef Andrew McConnell reflects his passion for exceptional and often unusual produce. It strikes a balance between elegance and simplicity.  Following dinner you will be transferred to your hotel. (Dinner and beverages will be at your own expense)

DAY 10   Fly to Adelaide. Grange Hermitage Wine Tasting at Penfold’s Magill Estate. Chef’s Dinner at Appellation    B L D

Winery, Carnarvon, WA

Photo Credit to Tourism Australia

After breakfast at your hotel you will be transferred to Melbourne Airport in time to board your onward flight to Adelaide.   When you arrive in Adelaide Airport your private tour guide will meet and escort to Penfolds Magill Estate where you’ll join the local wine expert to tour the magnificent property nestled in the Adelaide Foothills before entering the underground cellars to taste a selection of Penfolds Premium wines including iconic Grange Hermitage.   Tapas, wine and cheese platter are included as part of your Great Grange Tour. Following your tour you’ll be transferred to your accommodation in The Barossa Valley.

During your two night stay in the Barossa Valley you will be accommodated in four Vineyard Suites and four Stonewell Suites at The Louise, an idyllic luxury vineyard retreat set atop a gentle hill with sweeping vistas across the internationally renowned Barossa Valley. The vineyard views will get any wine lover’s blood pumping.

This evening you’ll enjoy a Chef’s Tasting Dinner with wine pairings at The Louise, Appellation where Executive Chef Ryan Edwards’ menu is prepared daily.   The chef’s innovative and meticulous preparations are based on the freshest ingredients available sourced from an extensive network of local Barossa suppliers. Appellation Restaurant was honored with top marks in the 2014 Australian Restaurant Guide by Australian Gourmet Traveler Magazine. At the Annual Wine List of the Year Awards sponsored by Traveler WINE magazine and Fine Wine Partners Appellation was named for the sixth year in a row as the restaurant with the Best Wine List in South Australia. For the fourth year in a row the international Wine Spectator Magazine granted Appellation with an Award of Excellence in the magazine’s list of “The World’s Best Wine Lists”.

DAY 11     Full day Private Tour of The Barossa Valley    B L D

Ultimate Winery Experiences of Australia

The Centennial Cellar at Seppeltsfield Wines Barrossa Valley ~ Photo credit to Tourism Australia

After breakfast at your hotel you will join your wine specialist guide to travel through the famous Barossa Valley that’s backdrop of rolling hills is enriched by the hospitality and traditions of the German heritage. The Barossa Valley renowned for producing some of the best table wines is also one of the most   picturesque parts of South Australia. During your day you’ll visit a selection of wineries for private tastings. Among those will be Seppeltsfield. With a proud and priceless legacy dating back to 1851, Seppeltsfield is Australia’s iconic wine estate famed for the Centennial Collection, an irreplaceable and unbroken lineage of Tawny Port from every vintage commencing in 1878 to the current year.  It is the only winery in the world to release a one hundred year old single vintage wine each year. In addition to tasting the current 100 Year Old vintage you’ll be able to taste, and be given the opportunity to purchase port created in the year of your birth.   A private Barossa Shiraz Masterclass cellar door tasting will be included at Turkey Flat Winery along with a gourmet picnic lunch in the winery.

Seppeltsfield Wines ~ Photo Credit to Tourism Australia

At the award winning Henschke winery you’ll enjoy a tasting of Hill of Grace wines, surely one of the most evocative phrases in the world of wine. “Whenever I visit the Hill of Grace vineyard, perched up in the Eden Valley next to the angular Gnadenberg Lutheran Church, its cemetery and some old ruins, I inevitably catch myself alone, standing and staring at the oldest vines planted in 1860 by a bloke called Nicolaus Stanitzki. It’s a state of wonderment in which I stand, in awe of the more than 150 years these vines have witnessed and the implied wisdom of their gnarly, wizened old bodies.

Known today as the Grandfathers, these are the centerpiece of the Hill of Grace vineyard, sitting among thirteen plots of variously aged vines. Of these plots, just seven are planted to Shiraz, the others comprising Riesling, Semillon and Mataro. Aside from the 1860s plantings, which sit right at the center of the vineyard, other shiraz plantings date from 1910, 1951, 1952, 1956, 1965 and 1989, with a section of the 1952 Church Block replanted in 1997.”

You’ll be returned to your accommodation in time to relax and freshen up for dinner at 1918 Bistro Grill set within an old villa in a delightful garden setting in the Barossa Valley.   There you’ll enjoy some of the best modern Australian cuisine in the Barossa Valley. (Beverages and wine will be at additional expense)

DAY 12    Fly to Kangaroo Island.     B L D

Sealion on Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Sealion on Kangaroo Island ~ Photo Credit to Southern Ocean Lodge

Following an early breakfast you will be transferred to Adelaide Airport in time to board your onward flight to Kangaroo Island departing at 9.30A.M. You will stow your excess luggage and board your Rex Airlines flight to Kangaroo Island to commence your three night stay on this

extraordinary island, one of the world’s few remaining unspoiled natural wonders.

Widely regarded as Australia’s Galapagos and brimming with diverse wildlife and natural beauty, Kangaroo Island is a place of extraordinary contrasts. With a rich heritage and a world-class food and wine culture, Australia’s third largest Island offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.

During you three night stay on Kangaroo Island you will be accommodated in eight Flinders Suites at Southern Ocean Lodge. With floor to ceiling glass to embrace an uninterrupted view of the magnificent Southern Ocean and foreground of rugged coastline. Each suite features spacious interiors at 700 square feet king or twin beds, curved sunken lounge with bespoke soft furnishings, walk-in closet, ensuite with oversized rain shower and in-suite bar. An outdoor terrace with day bed invites.

Southern Ocean Lodge, Luxury Lodges of Australia, South Australia

Southern Ocean Lodge Kangaroo Island ~ Photo Credit to Southern Ocean Lodge

Wines at Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, SA

Wines at Southern Ocean Lodge ~ Photo Credit to Luxury Lodges of Australia

Located at Hanson Bay on the Island’s south west coast, the Lodge adjoins the Flinders Chase and Cap Bouguer / Kelly Hill National Parks. Set back from a cliff above the pounding surf the sensitive design showcases a full frontal panorama and is within easy reach of all of Kangaroo Island’s major attractions. Modern luxury and design integrity meld with the Kangaroo Island vernacular and an amazing coastal color pallet, creating a unique eco chic style.   Its location, stunning views, contemporary environmental design, locally sourced food and beverages, personalized interpretative activities and modern wellness spa will ensure its status as a South Australian icon.

Included daily in your stay: All meals with inspired daily dinner menu, open bar with premium wine and spirits, in-suite bar and signature experiences and island airport transfers.

DAY 13    Private Wildlife Tour on Kangaroo Island    B L D

Echidna at Hanson's Bay Sanctuary

Echidna at Hanson’s Bay Sanctuary ~ Photo Credit to Tourism Australia

Following breakfast with your fellow travelers you will join your specialist guide to spend a day in the Aussie bush on Kangaroo Island where things take time….where drivers wave as they go by – or even stop for a chat… You’ll stop for a “cuppa and home-made cakes before taking a walk down a country track through tall eucalyptus trees where koalas snooze overhead, or perhaps wake briefly for a feed.   You’ll travel through some of the Island’s best farming country to the north coast. At Lathami Conservation Park you’ll walk quietly through the bush with your guide – what makes that noise, whose tracks are those, and who left THAT little pile there? Look for wallabies that are almost extinct on the mainland, and a kangaroo found only on Kangaroo Island.

Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island, SA

Seal Bay Kangaroo Island ~ Photo Credit to Tourism Australia

When you break for lunch you’ll enjoy a delicious meal featuring King George whiting (local sea fish), fresh salads and fine South Australian wines at a private bush location.

At Seal Bay Conservation Park you’ll walk with your guide among Australian sea lions on a beautiful sandy beach.   You’ll watch pups nursing, or playing in the surf, see old bulls bearing the scars of territorial disputes and learn about their unique breeding biology. The remainder of the afternoon is spent exploring more of the south east region of the Island with destinations and experiences chosen to reflect seasonal opportunities.

DAY 14    Full day Private Art of Nature Tour    B L D

KI Private Art of Nature TourFollowing breakfast you’ll join your specialist guide on a full day tour to discover Kangaroo Island’s creative side.   As you traverse the island you’ll visit a variety of studios and galleries where you’ll meet local artisans whose work has been influenced by the solitude, wildlife and stunning coastal landscapes of KI. From ceramics, to fine arts, bronze sculptors, photography and jewelry your creative juices will be sated.

DAY 15      Fly to Sydney. Farewell Gala Dinner in Paddington.     B D    

Following breakfast you will be transferred to Kangaroo Island Airport in time to board your onward flight to Adelaide.   On arrival in Adelaide Airport you will walk to the baggage area to collect your stored excess luggage that will have been placed on the carousel along with the luggage you had taken with you to Kangaroo Island. Once you have collected your luggage you will check-in at the Qantas Airways counter in time to board your onward flight to Sydney. On your arrival in Sydney Airport you will be transferred to your overnight accommodation in City Harborview rooms at Sydney Park Hyatt.

Lucio's interior 2

Photo Credit to Lucio’s

Take a moment to freshen up before being transferred to Paddington to join Suzanne and Piers for dinner at a local Italian trattoria. Your host Lucio, an avid collector of Australian art will be delighted to introduce you to the art displayed on the walls of his restaurant. You’ll enjoy the creative cuisine of one of Australia’s young chefs paired with Australian wines in the perfect setting to reflect on the past two weeks of your ‘Epicurean Extravaganza’.  Following dinner you’ll bid your new Aussie friends farewell before being transferred to your hotel.

DAY 16    Depart Sydney     B     

Say farewell to Australia today. Before breakfast at your hotel early morning risers may wish to take a stroll along the Grand Boulevard in Circular Quay or pass by the Sydney Opera House and continue through the Sydney Botanic Gardens. You will be transferred to Sydney Airport in time to board your ***onward flight to Los Angeles. Once you have cleared customs in Los Angeles you will board your onward flight to your home city. Flights from Sydney should depart Sydney between 10.30A.M.a and 11.40A.M. *** You will return to your home in USA after having experienced the kind hospitality of the Aussies, stayed in an eclectic mix of our hotels and loges, visited our cultural, historic and natural icons, and explored the usual and the unusual from extreme perspectives. You’ll have seen the sights, found time to share a yarn with the locals and perhaps somewhere along the way you’ll have made a new mate. (That’s Aussie for friend)

*** Indicates international airline tickets are NOT included. Such tickets may be purchased by your own arrangements or through Australia 2000 Travel ***

Your 14-Day Gourmet Extravaganza includes:

  • Economy class flights within Australia
  • 13 nights deluxe hotel & B&B accommodation – twin share basis
  • Services of professional tour guide throughout
  • 11 Professionally guided private tours with local specialist guides
  • Performance at Sydney Opera House
  • Airport arrival & departure transfers
  • Baggage handling
  • 32 meals as denoted by B, L, D code
  • Australia goods & services taxes
  • Park entry fees
  • Selected wine lists at the included lunches and dinners
  • Travel Insurance

Does not include:

  • Optional tours and meals not listed
  • Items of a personal nature
  • International airfares
  • Roundtrip airfares from your home city to international departure city
  • International airport departure taxes
  • Gratuities

Please be aware that:

  • International air fares in economy, premium economy, business or first class may be purchased from Australia 2000 Travel. Please consult to airline information as part of your itinerary
  • Tour will run for 14 passengers.  Price will vary if numbers falls below 14 passengers.
  • Tour will run for a minimum of 10 passengers.

Australia 2000 Travel retains the right to modify the itinerary or venues due to unforeseen circumstances.

Occasionally one hears of an unusual and unique business where the relationship is harmonious from the beginning. Where quality is the only measure of success. Where everyone emerges from the experience fully satisfied with the end result. Australia 2000 Travel in Birmingham, Michigan is such a business. 

Thank you from Angela

Karen,

Well, we’re back, and we had an absolutely wonderful time.  We have traveled a fair amount, and this was my all-time favorite trip.  Australia is such an amazing country–the people, the food, the sights, the activities.

You did a wonderful job planning everything.  We all agree that you put the four destinations in the right order, and you had a nice mix of different types of activities.

Photo Credit to Angela

I am one of the most organized people I know, and your booklet and vouchers met even my high standards.  Every evening I would look at the itinerary for the next day and pull any necessary vouchers.

Thanks for the welcome bottle of wine and fruit in Melbourne too.

We all wish it were two weeks ago and that we were just starting our Aussie adventure!

Angela

 

Thank you from Mary Jo Drew

Hi Karen,

My entire foodie trip in the Lands Down Under went off with nary a hitch. The business class flights were the best splurge I’ve given myself in years!

MEL - Downtown from Mary Jo Drew

Photo Credit to Mary Jo Drew

The Hotel Lindrum in Melbourne was well positioned with easy access to shopping and attractions.  The Lanes and Arcades tour is an absolute must for anyone visiting Melbourne for the first time. As our guide pointed out, by not knowing to look down the city’s narrow alleyways many Americans would walk right past them and miss out on so much vibrant local culture.

There is so much colorful history in Melbourne.  At our guide’s advice, I even stopped in and had a drink upstairs with the famous Chloe in her namesake bar across from Flinders Railway Station!  The Yarra Valley winery tour was great fun. I really enjoyed seeing the Chandon Estate and didn’t realize Chandon had a vineyard in Australia!

Hobart in Tasmania was a really nice respite after the hustle and bustle of Melbourne.  The Old Woolstore Hotel was so close to the downtown area and harbor that I was able to walk virtually the entire downtown during my stay.  My private tour and lunch at the Morilla Estate was fantastic though the artwork at MONA came as a bit of a shock!   The trip to Bruny Island was great.  The weather started out very rainy but by noon everything cleared out and I had a lovely day.

ZQN view from Mary Jo Drew

Photo Credit to Mary Jo Drew

And then came Queenstown in beautiful New Zealand. The Dairy may have been my favorite accommodation – had I not stopped at The Manse later!  The view, room, breakfasts and staff service were all superlative.  I also enjoyed the hot tub on the back deck – a great place to sip wine while enjoying the view!  Although the weather was on again, off again, I had mostly great weather for my wanderings about town, the public garden, and the narrow streets.  I also enjoyed great meals at a couple of unique tapas bars on Lake Wakatipu.  The Doubtful Sound trip was quite majestic, but as The Sound is so remote it was a very long day. The winery tour to Otago was great and the charcuterie lunch was quite good.

NPE - The Manse view from Mary Jo Drew

Photo Credit to Mary Jo Drew

Lastly came Hawkes Bay. I knew I was in for a treat when I saw the plane I’d be flying on the leg from Christchurch to Napier – a regional aircraft not unlike some I have been on in the Pacific Northwest!  After staying at The Manse and being totally spoiled by the fantastic accommodation, the pool, the drinks before dinner, Gary’s sumptuous meals, and his and Dietske’s hospitality, I can only say that I wish I had had spent more time there!  My guide on the winery tour had spent years in the business himself, and it showed in his insights into the various wineries and producers.  My tour of Napier with Gary on the last day of my trip certainly cemented my wish to spend more time in stunning Hawkes Bay.

The trip was spectacular and I will have great memories to share for years to come.  Thanks for all your help in making this happen!

Best wishes,

Mary Jo

Discover Melbourne’s Hidden Secrets with our Specialist Tour Guide

MEL - Lanes and Arcades Hidden Secrets TourOur Hidden Secrets Tour focuses on Melbourne’s history, politics, folklore, pop culture, architecture, street art, boutiques, restaurants, cafes and bars. You’ll meet quirky and unique Melbournians and several entrepreneurial shop owners while you discover some of the hidden lanes and arcades of downtown Melbourne.  A generous sprinkling of shopping opportunities will arise that focuses on small and creative Melbourne businesses hidden within the cities nooks and crannies.  You will visit a diverse range of shops including clothing designers, leather goods and the most extraordinary and beautiful jewelry. During lunch you will be able to study your map plotting your return to a number of the unique shops you have discovered.

 

Thank you from Gerald Fuller & Siamak Gholami

Our two week Australia/New Zealand adventure experience was truly one of the finest vacations either of us has ever had. Karen and her Michigan office and international staffs executed a fine-tuned, action-packed, successive whirlwind that we slept dead 12 of the 14 return hour flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles. Exploring the north Sydney beaches on Harleys, flying low along the Sydney beaches in a sea plane, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, swimming in the Coral Sea with three sharks, sand boarding, New Zealand jet boating, paddling the Waka (Mori outrigger), gazing in awe walking the Milford Track, mountain biking down a 3,000 foot mountain to downtown Nelson, hiking the Abel Tasman and Heaphy Traks, climbing active volcanoes of New Zealand’s north island, and chartering 11 helicopters, 3 planes, and a sea plane are just some of the excitement included in Karen’s adventure itinerary.

Gerry Fuller & Siamak Gholami SYD (2)Now to the hotels. Wow! Park Hyatt in Sydney, Eichardt’s Private Hotel in Queenstown, Edenhouse near Nelson, Peppers Awaroa Lodge in Abel Tasman National Park are just a few of the perfectly suited for the experience and location we enjoyed. Even with walking/trekking, mountain biking, paddling a Waka, and climbing mountains, we still gained an average of 7.5 pounds each; enough said on the naturally nutritious, delicious, and extremely well-presented food.

Gerry Fuller & Siamak GholamiWe spent nearly two years working with Karen to get the trip we wanted. Gerald wanted to end his 60s with a bang and Siamak just lives life with a bang. Together we all pulled it together, but the nucleus was Karen and her staff. Thank you.

Gerald Fuller and Siamak Gholami

Thank you from Carl & Laura Woodruff

Thank you, Karen and staff, for a wonderful three weeks in Australia!

P1000221We truly enjoyed relaxing Palm Cove and our magnificent Angsana Resort accommodations, right on the Pacific, and at the perfect time of year, October: 70F degrees and sunshine every day. How about orchids growing beside your front door? How about glorious sunrises and sunsets? A little piece of heaven. Then on to Melbourne, such a clean, vibrant, artistic city, and ending in Sydney, perhaps the most special metropolis on the continent with its unique Opera House and Harbor Bridge. Who could ask for a better vacation? Thank you, too, for arranging all the necessary help for Carl, who is handicapped and unable to walk more than short distances. You made everything so easy! Fortunately, there is more to see and do, which gives us all the reason we need to go back for a second (or third?) trip.

You are the best!

Carl & Laura Woodruff

Thank you from June Fasang

Dear Karen,

My trip was wonderful!  A big THANK YOU to you and your associates for your help in planning it.

I never really thought I would take this trip until I found out about your agency from the write up in the Sunday Detroit Free Press.  I had to keep pinching myself that I was really there after wanting to go for 60 years!

I am very glad you advised me to spend the extra money to upgrade my seat on the Air New Zealand flight to Auckland.  I cannot say enough good things about Air New Zealand and the flight attendant you alerted ahead of time to watch over me.  She was incredibly kind to help me through immigration and customs.

Auckland was lovely, the personal tour guides, Pete and Christine, were so helpful and went out of their way to welcome and show me their part of New Zealand.  City Life Hotel upgraded me to a suite and it was very comfortable. I only wish that I had more time there.  My last day in Auckland Pete showed up at 7 a.m. all spiffed up in suit and tie to transfer me to to the airport for my flight to Australia.

A friend was waiting for me in Adelaide and I really think that was my favorite part of the trip. Adelaide is a beautifully laid out city and the surrounding country is gorgeous. I loved Kangaroo Island.  It was perfect weather wise and it was there that I first saw kangaroos and koalas. Other places I enjoyed were the wineries at McLaren Vale and Granite Island where we hopped aboard a horse drawn carriage tour.

On to Melbourne on Virgin Australia, where I was upgraded to business class for the short flight and yet another reunion with friends.  After resting for a couple of days at their lovely home, their mother, who is my lifelong friend, arrived.  We visited the wonderful botanical gardens and enjoyed viewing the wild life.  Joanne made a Kangaroo supper one night and it was surprisingly good. The next day we set off to Canberra where we toured the new Parliament building and the War Memorial.  They were both amazing.

On to Sydney… The Sydney waterfront was all that I expected and that is where we met my sister and husband. I parted with my Melbourne friends and spent the rest of the day with my sister and family over in Manly Beach. I walked to the Quay to explore the Rocks and took a tea time harbor cruise.

I enjoyed the food but found Australia very expensive both in restaurants and grocery stores. Lamb was cheaper than here and I brought back Vegemite which I love (like British Marmite).

The Sheraton Hotel in Los Angeles that you arranged for me was just fine.  I took advantage of both the lovely accommodation and the limo transfers you arranged for me.

Thank you again, Karen, I could not have done it without you.

Regards,

June Fasang

P.S. I will not hesitate to recommend your agency.

Journal Entries from Down Under Travelers

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hi Karen,

Yes, the vagabonds are writing again! We had a wonderful 4 days in Tassie! Too short and already looking to return. Ian and Tanya at the Red Feather Inn were amazing. Saffire was gorgeous and we definitely could have stayed there longer.

We are on our way to Melbourne and almost the end of our adventure. We had a wonderful guide here in the Macedon region and tasted some amazing wines. And what a time we had with the Munaris! They invited us to lunch yesterday and it was as if time had stood still from the first time we met nearly 12 years ago in Ft Lauderdale! Another wonderful wine story!

Got to run…will call you next week after we adjust our “clocks” abit!

My best,

Marlies

A Traveler’s Notes from Australia

My trip to Australia seems ages ago but my memories run deep.  The land down under is indeed full of beauty and spectacle and amazingly friendly people.

Here are a few of my favourite places and things unique to Australia:
  • First there’s the delicious lamington! (Ha! Did you think I would start with the Sydney Opera House? Not focused on the uber-tourist trail with this little blog post. Besides food always comes first!) If you’ve never had a lamington, you must try one (or two) immediately…if you can find a place that makes them…or you’ll have to make your own. Lamingtons are sponge cake cut in cubes and dipped in a light chocolate frosting and sprinkled with coconut. They are divine!
  • The spectacular Great Ocean Road! (Yes I know this is on everyone’s list but there is good reason!) The highlight of my very long but incredible day was a helicopter ride to see the Twelve Apostles and Shipwreck coast from an unforgettable vantage point!
  • Lots of great wine! From the three wine regions (of which there are plenty!) that I visited across Australia and the few wineries that I was able to experience in each area, here are the standouts…
Margaret River:
There are the bigger, more well known estates like Voyager and Vasse Felix that are consistently good so I will focus on the houses that offered me the most memorable experiences and wines that were fantastic in my opinion (not to mention some interesting names!)
+Laurance – excellent reds in particular the Icon Cabernet
+ Evans & Tate – loved their whites and a beautiful pink Moscato
+ Wills Domain – excellent whites especially their Semillon
+ Knee Deep – fantastic, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc
+ Swings and Roundabouts – great reds and a beautiful Chardonnay
Yarra Valley:
+ Yering Station – this is a popular and quite commercial estate but they had a Shiraz Viognier (2008) that was amazing
+ Rochford – lovely, elegant wines especially their Chardonnay (2001)
Barossa Valley:
+ Schild Estate – very nice, smooth whites like the Semillon, Frontignac and Chardonnay and there was a fabulous blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre (GSM as the Aussies love their acronyms!)
+ Hentley Farm – fantastic Zinfandel and a Shiraz called The Beast (2010)! It was to-die-for…much more complex and interesting than The Beauty!
  • If you find yourself in Melbourne and you’re a huge fan of sushi, then you must try Jamon (www.jamonsushi.com) which is a little sushi place in the charming suburb of South Yarra. The owner and master sushi chef (be prepared to meet Charles, a long-silver-haired Harley Davidson type dressed in black) prepares everything for you fresh that day – the menu is omakase so the chef will make whatever he chooses from the fresh fish, mushrooms and vegetables that he had gotten from the markets that day (you can just tell him what you may not prefer). It was like an opera watching him prepare the whole fishes and creating delicate pieces of sashimi from various parts of the fish, slicing the beautiful shiitake and enoki while grounding fresh wasabi root and sprinkling some of his homemade mustard. Oh, and in that tiny space of sushi bar for 7 and 2 tables for 2, they project Japanese animation on the large white wall in front of the
    bar. It was a lovely, spontaneous and unforgettable experience!
  • Kangaroo Island is a spectacular place where you feel like you’re at the edge of the world…and you are! It’s on the Southern Ocean and there’s nothing between you and Antarctica! The island was bigger than I expected with so much nature to see…of all the beautiful natural surroundings, I would have to say that the Remarkable Rocks were a highlight and of the few man-made places, there is nothing more amazing than the Southern Ocean Lodge (www.southernoceanlodge.com.au) which is an eco-friendly resort that caters to your every whim! The rooms, food, guided tours, spa and hospitality are all absolutely second-to-none! If only we could have stayed longer…
  • Finally, after seeing so much natural beauty, I was ready for a big dose of urban culture when I reached Sydney. And the Art Gallery of New South Wales didn’t disappoint. The gallery is at one end of the beautiful Botanic Gardens and surprisingly had on view the works of some of my favourite modern and contemporary artists. It was the perfect closing to a fabulous holiday.

The Australian Open Heats Up Melbourne

Tennis anyone? Whether you “love” the singles, doubles or mixed doubles competition, the only Grand Slam tennis tournament held in the Southern hemisphere, the Australian Open, is certain to heat up Melbourne this January.

SPORTS: Milos Raonic rising fast at Australian Open

Photo Credit to Globalite

Considered the Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open matches begin on the 16th of January with final rounds concluding on the 29th. Two main courts, Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena, host a majority of the matches where players volley day and night during fierce competition against the best tennis players in the world.

With a rich history of over 100 years, the inaugural tournament, firstly known as the Australasian Championships, took place in 1905 on a grass court of the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.  In time, the event faded into obscurity as top tennis players from around the world found it difficult to travel to Australia before the advent of air travel. Revived in 1988, the tournament moved to the newly built National Tennis Centre at Flinders Park, currently known as Melbourne Park, to accommodate the growing number of fans, in part, because of the popularity of tennis legends like Andre Agassie, Mats Wilander and Ivan Lendl.

So popular is the sport today, that in 2010 over 650,000 Aussies and travelers from around the world, gathered to cheer on their favorite competitors and ultimately watch Serena Williams come out on top in the singles and doubles competition. Roger Federer went on serve up a win in the singles competition and was handsomely rewarded with the coveted Norman Brookes trophy, named after the Aussie who was the first non-Briton to win the men’s singles at Wimbledon and was also a major figure in establishing the Australian Open, which he won in 1911.

Want to be a part of the action?  Call us to design a customized itinerary around the excitement of the Australian Open and we will weave your dreams into the adventure of a lifetime.

Christmas Down Under

3782 Darling Harbour Sydney
Photo Credit Rmonty119

Beautiful decorations and holiday anthems fill the warm summer air and although the temperatures are rising in the heat of summer, Down Under we are preparing our hearts for Christmas.  While it may seem unimaginable to think of Christmas without snow, we Aussies just wouldn’t have it any other way.

Christmas day activities often include heading outdoors to soak up some sun and sand at the beach, swimming, a game of cricket or gathering with mates to slip a shrimp on the “barbie” (barbeque).

If you’re feeling like a “kook” (a beginner surfer) head down to Bondi Beach, one of Australia’s most famous and well-known beaches, where up to 40,000 people visit on Christmas day. Even Santa is known to shed his suit and ride the surf dressed in only his swimmers (swimsuit).

For a tradition rich in history, don’t miss Melbourne’s Carols by Candlelight, a Christmas Eve gathering, held at the Myer Music Bowl.  Set outdoors Aussies gather, their blankets spread out on the ground, to light candles and sing Christmas carols, some traditional and some with an Aussie flair.  Started in Melbourne, Australia in 1937 by radio announcer, Norman Banks, to relieve the loneliness and isolation sometimes felt during the holidays, this annual event has grown from a handful of attendees to a live broadcast that reaches Eastern Asia, many Pacific Islands and New Zealand.

When it’s time for Christmas dinner many still gather around the family table to enjoy traditional meals of roast pork, cold ham off the bone, an abundance of seafood, plum pudding, fruit mince pies and rich Christmas cake.  Many also venture outdoors to join mates for a picnic in the bush or at the beach.

It’s not too late to break out the passports and sunscreen and join us Down Under where we celebrate Christmas in a tropical paradise.

The Melbourne Cup, Australia’s Most Prestigious Race

The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, a festival of horse racing and social events, taking place in several venues throughout Victoria, Australia, is well under way. Featuring an array of spectacles and race days to attend through the 20th of November, you will not want to miss the very best competitions, fashion and social affairs of the season.

Perhaps there is nothing more exhilarating than being amongst the crowd of 100,000 plus spectators, in a true reflection of Australian spirit and community, to witness the grandest of all Spring Carnival Racing Events, The Melbourne Cup.

moonee valley girls night out.jpg

Photo Credit rhoftonphoto

Taking place Tuesday, November 1st, The Melbourne Cup, Australia’s most prestigious thoroughbred event literally stops the country, as all gather to witness the three minute race that covers 3200 meters, and finishes with the winner awarded upwards of millions of dollars in prizes, as well as, the coveted cup trophy. Whether at the sidelines of cheering from afar, be a part of the Aussie spirit of mateship as you barrack (cheer on), your favorite jockey and horse.

For a full schedule of venues and events read more

Australia’s Capital Cities

ADELAIDE

The wine and festival capital of Australia, Adelaide in South Australia is one of the most vibrant, stylish and innovative cities you’ll ever visit. With rolling hills, pristine beaches, a lively nightlife, galleries, cafes, pubs, bookshops, fashion houses, antique stores, cellar doors and National Parks (all within Adelaide’s boundaries!), it’s a city you’ll want to come back to time and time again…

BRISBANE

Brisbane, capital city of Queensland is Australias third largest city. It has been built around the Brisbane River that snakes its way through the downtown. Be sure to check out the Botanic Gardens and the unique Customs House that have become part of Brisbanes heritage icons.

[Read more…]

Melbourne, The City I Adore by Shelley Hosking

Melbourne, the city I adore. With its multiculturalism, fantastic museums, passion for all things art and sport and its thousands of restaurants and cafes Melbourne is often referred to as the cultural heart of Australia.

Downtown Melbourne is surrounded by parkland that is a wonderful gift to its people. When I worked in the city I often took the time to sit under a leafy tree in the botanic gardens to eat my lunch, absorb the natural beauty and clear my mind.

There are numerous heritage buildings in the city that I enjoy visiting. I often wander around the Paris End of Collins Street within close proximity of the Old Treasury Building, where its not unusual to see wedding parties being photographed. Eating in Melbourne is a true adventure. I have never found another city with a better choice of restaurants than Melbourne. From street food to fine dining there is an enormous choice. On this trip I took a local tram from the city to Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, a funky little inner city suburb filled with great casual cafes and restaurants and an eclectic mix of shops to browse and there enjoyed a long Aussie lunch with a dear friend.

Recently I was fortunate to spend a few days in Sydney and experience some of the activities our vacationers frequently enjoy. I had the thrill of climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge. I am delighted to tell you that the preparation and professionalism of the staff at the Bridge Climb (not to mention the cable that firmly attaches you to the Bridge the entire length of the climb) helped me overcome my fear of heights that I was able to enjoy the breathtaking view without fear or trepidation.

I also had a great trip to the Blue Mountains just 2 hours west of Sydney. When our guide served delicious homemade lamingtons (a traditional cake that is made of a plain sponge cake, dipped in chocolate sauce and then rolled in desiccated coconut) memories of my Aussie childhood flooded back. As we drove along the winding Cliff Drive I felt humbled and in awe of the beauty of the spectacular canyons of this world heritage listed site.

It is wonderful for me to experience and explore Australia from the viewpoint of a traveler. I cannot impart the depth of my love for Australia. The dramatic images of this country are really only half the story; it is the friendliness of the people that really stays with me.