Australia Update...by Mary Malsch our AUSSIE SPECIALIST!
Melbourne was a surprising mix of new and old, arts and culture and food and wine. Beautiful old buildings repurposed into world class shopping, restaurants and quaint little local shops. Look down the laneway (alley) and find some of the most spectacular artwork where every surface is the canvas. You will find local artists painting the laneway's daily and the walls are an ever changing canvas so every time you go it is different. The Melbourne area has so much to offer! Aboriginal exhibits, wineries, excellent restaurants and even unique activities like hot air ballooning and the Colonial Tram Car where you can tour the city while you have a wonderful dinner. For you wine lovers the Yarra Valley is outside of Melbourne, went horseback riding between wineries and had a great lunch at Max's Red Hill Estate.
Did a "Hidden Secrets" walking tour to see the nooks and crannies of Melbourne on foot. I loved this tour!
Visited the Melbourne Museum (Aboriginal exhibit was very good and I would have liked more time there to look around)
Went horseback riding between 2 wineries and had a great lunch. Spectacular sights along the way!!!
We then did a little sightseeing around the Mornington Peninsula (for those of you that know Ward, this is his hometown) and visited the Mornington Peninsula Brewery a great little Brew Pub! This was on the way from Peppers Moonah Links Resort on the tip of the Mornington Peninsula south east of Melbourne. This is a very nice golf resort in a secluded area. The rooms here were Spectacular! A little bit out of the way but if you have golfers it might be something special for them to do in the Melbourne area. Another great attraction on the Mornington Peninsula is the Peninsula Hot Springs. This is a VERY upscale spring/spa that might be worth the trip. http://www.peppers.com.au/moonah/ http://mpbrew.com.au/ http://www.peninsulahotsprings.com/ These 3 things are for the person with a good deal of time to spend in the Melbourne area to explore.
Adelaide is the meeting point of some of the best wine and seafood areas in Australia. Head out of the city 20 minutes and you will hit the beaches and travel the other direction less than an hour an you are in the Barossa Valley, one of the most well known wine areas of Australia. Everything is so close! Adelaide itself is a small town but a jumping off point for some great activities. Here we stayed at the Crowne Plaza Adelaide, great location and very nice hotel. We walked from the hotel to an Argentinian Kitchen for dinner. Great restaurant choices and shopping all within walking distance on Rundle St. We only had one night here and we were off to the outback!
Heading Bush Outback Adventures picked us up in Adelaide and took us due north to the outback! http://www.headingbush.com/ This was a tour that took us to the Flinders Ranges and the Rawnsley Park Sheep Station. Staying at the Sheep Station was one of the highlights of the trip. We stayed in a 1 bedroom Villa. The villa had a full kitchen, living room, and laundry room. It was very modern with everything you could ever need. They even stocked the fridge with breakfast items like fresh eggs from the farm, croissants, bread, juice, fresh fruit and coffee. One thing to note it is about a mile from the check in point and the villas are in a very secluded area. There is also the "Homestead" which is a 3 bedroom home in the middle of nowhere with a private pool. Again, very modern. It is right in the Flinders Ranges area so if you have people that want to explore the outback this is a great base. In this area we took a scenic flight over Wilpena Pound http://www.wilpenapound.com.au/ and when we went to the visitors center saw kangaroos up close. They were just hanging around the parking lot! The next day we went on an expedition of the areas most scenic 4WD areas. Brachina Gorge Geological trail is a great place to see Rock Walaby and spectacular sights!!! We did a little walking here and looked around for a while. Wish we could have stayed longer. http://us.southaustralia.com/info.aspx?id=9000472 In this area we also visited the Yourambulla Caves and saw aboriginal art on the walls of caves along the cliff sides. WOW is all I can say. Hard to comprehend how old these cave paintings are. http://www.flindersranges.com/attract/yourambulla.htm
Our last day was spent in Sydney. What can I say, big city with the Harbor Bridge, Opera House, beaches, fine dining, great galleries and museums. I could go on all day about the attractions of Sydney. Had a sales meeting the whole day so no time to explore :( Stayed at the Sydney Harbor Marriott and could not be in a better spot. Walking distance to a great viewing area of the Harbor Bridge and Opera house. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sydmc-sydney-harbour-marriott-hotel-at-circular-quay/
Mary Malsch has been customizing Australia and New Zealand vacations for guests for over 27 years! Wouldn't YOU want to work with an experienced knowledgeable Aussie Specialist travel planner who is passionate about the destination?