Sydney – The brazen middle sister … she’s got it all … the Bridge, the Opera House, the fine weather, the fabulous beaches … and it’s the first stop on our Australian adventure. Sydney’s an inviting blend of the exhilarating and easy going. You can find excitement in the city, but with a short drive you’ll hit the golden beaches of Bondi and Manly. She’ll be serving up plenty of summer, fresh air, unique flavors and many local Sydneysiders, who know a thing or two about living life to the fullest. There are two things Sydneysiders love above all else: a superb meal and a stunning view. We’re in for many a fine treat!
Melbourne – The older sister … she’s well educated, well rounded, with many fine accolades, heaps of wisdom and culture to her name. Melbourne is a blend of bustling laneways, world-class restaurants and captivating museums. The locals love their coffee, and serve it up in abundance at cozy cafes. There’s always a sense of excitement here – whether it’s in the city’s fascinating flavors or fierce sporting rivalries. The lazy, windy Yarra River winds lazily – no time for laziness on our trip though. We’ll triple through the city of Melbourne, and have also included a visit to the countryside, and wild kangaroo spotting! There’s plenty of great shopping in this Capital, always, and good wines.
Gold Coast – Queensland – Well, she’s the youngest of the sisters … she’s brash, loud, and crude sometimes, and downright rude other times. The Gold Coast’s star attraction is her beaches, including the world-renowned stretch of sand at Surfers Paradise. And of course the amazing Barrier Reef. They don’t call it the Gold Coast for nothing. Here you’ll find more than 70 kilometers (44 miles) of golden sand with waves to catch, sun to soak up and seaside pubs to enjoy.
Born in South Africa, immigrated to Australia in 2002, Jean a dinkum (honest) Aussie now. She truly adores her adopted country. Jean prides herself on a marvelous ‘can do’ attitude in life and is partial to Australian Shiraz. She’s been leading women-only luxury tours for many years now.
Given the lengthy flight to Australia for most people, we suggest that you arrive to Sydney a day (or more) before the trip starts. You can book extra nights at the Shangri-La Hotel, or we can assist. It has lovely views and a spa, so you can relax and unwind.
Arrive and get settled into your accommodation in Sydney – The Shangri-La Sydney is located in the historic Rocks area, where Europeans first settled in Australia back in 1788. This enviable location is just a 5-minute walk from both the Sydney Opera House and the MCA. (Museum of Modern Art).
Tonight, we’ll enjoy our welcome drinks at the Blu Bar on the top floor of Shangri La. Your welcome dinner at Café Sydney is included with the first round on Jean, our Aussie guide.
Cafe Sydney captures the essence of Sydney from its amazing location on the rooftop of Customs House with spectacular harbor views, innovative food, and an outdoor terrace, a very memorable spot to start our tour off.
Overnight: Shangri-La Hotel
Today we’ll visit Art Gallery SNW as well as the Parliament House before being transported to Bondi Beach. Today’s lunch will be at the iconic Icebergs Bistro. If there were an award for Sydney’s sexiest dining room, Icebergs would win hands down. Settle in at your table and let yourself be mesmerized by the endless rows of waves rolling into the beach and the seafront pool.
After a scrumptious seafood platter luncheon, we’ll do the Bondi Beach to Tamarama and Clovelly walk. This is perhaps the most famous coastal walk in the country complete with rest stops and superb views along the coast. We’ll likely meet many Sydneysiders out with their dogs, or mums with babies in prams. Along the way, you’ll follow a series of coastal paths which pass dramatic cliffs, scenic parks, swimming baths, and epic viewpoints.
Our next stop is Queens Street – Woollahra – the best boutique shopping in Sydney! Dinner is not included tonight, but there’s plenty of splendid options around our hotel (or at our hotel). A complete list will be provided.
Overnight: Shangri-La Hotel
This morning we’ll tour Sydney’s famous Opera House: The building fuses ancient and modernist influences and was built on a site sacred to the local Gadigal people for thousands of years. The sculptural elegance of the Sydney Opera House has made it one of the most recognizable buildings of the twentieth century, synonymous with inspiration and imagination.
Lunch today is at Buckley’s for Fish & Chips and includes a yummy dessert.
This afternoon from 3-7pm we’ll board a floating lounge, a luxurious and comfortable way to cruise Sydney harbor and disembark on beautiful beaches. View waterfront mansions from the boat of Sydney’s most affluent suburbs. Drinks on board are included. Sydney Harbor is one of the most idyllic harbors in the world.
Dinner tonight is at a well-regarded chef-driven restaurant Luke Nguyen’s Red Lantern. Chef Nguyen is the author of four bestselling cookbooks and countless TV shows about his native Vietnamese cuisine. Luke was recently inducted into the Sydney Morning Herald’s Food Hall of Fame for his cooking and travel programs. The first round of drinks is on Jean.
Overnight: Shangri-La Hotel
Today we’re headed to Melbourne via a short 1.20 min flight. Upon arrival we’ll check into The Langham (well located on Southbank near the Yarra River).
If you’re feeling peckish, you can have lunch at the hotel, or a nearby restaurant. (Lunch not included).
This afternoon, we’ll appreciate a private tour exploring Melbourne’s arcades and laneways which are creative, quirky and super-Instagrammable. It has been said that it can take a lifetime to explore all 200+ lanes each holding a piece of Melbourne’s valuable heritage. Here’s just a few that we will explore.
A walking tour is the ideal way to discover and learn about the enchantment of the city. We’ll unveil local designers and specialty retailers often only found in this part of the city. We’ll be regaled with historical tales of Melbourne along the way.
After a rest back at our hotel, dinner tonight will be at the Teppanyaki Inn, Melbourne’s oldest and most successful continuously running restaurant. Chef Arakane arrived in Melbourne in 1987 from Japan’s fish markets eventually opening his own Teppanyaki restaurant. First round of drinks is on Doni.
Accommodation – The Langham Melbourne
Today we’ll head out on a history and architecture tour along Collins Street stopping for a sneak peek inside the elegant Gothic interiors of the ANZ bank, the plush European-style hotels and into the austere but commanding inner recesses of Melbourne Town Hall and the Athenaeum.
Lunch today is on your own or with your new friends, suggestions given.
After a visually stimulating day, dinner tonight (not included) can be quiet and restful room service back at our hotel.
Optional: Glam it up and head over to the The Conservatory – Crown Casino. (not included). At the Conservatory you’ll find Melbourne’s finest and most indulgent buffet complete with stunning Yarra River views and lavish décor. Then there’s the temptation of trying your hand at Craps at the Casino after dinner!
We’ll depart Melbourne today to explore the coutryside. We head off to Daylesford (1.5 hour drive) known as the land of the Dja Dja Wurrung people who first inhabited this region thousands of years ago. Later the Swiss-Italian migrants from the gold rush took hold, and more recently for the last hundred years, it’s been popular with Melbourne holiday-makers. Daylesford has long been considered a special place of healing.
We’ll visit a family-owned business, Alpaca Passion, started in Daylesford over 10 years ago. With a vast range of stylish alpaca garments and cozy homewares selected from the best alpaca fashion suppliers in the world, Alpaca Passion is a shopping destination.
After, we’ll check into our superb country accommodation to simply unwind and relax. Perhaps it’s time for a massage today or a lovely wander around magnificent grounds of our hotel.
Our accommodation tonight … deep breathe out…is the Lake House which lies on the shores of beautiful Lake Daylesford. Walking lanes lead from the property, around the lake and into the Wombat State Forest, complete with local fauna and abundant mineral springs which the area is known for. The nearest one bubbles right on the Lake House’s doorstep.
Given the opportunity to explore the gardens you’ll come upon significant trees, a myriad of sculptures and artwork from many of the region’s top artists, extensive outdoor terraces overlooking the lake shore and established country gardens with everything from koala-loved stringy barks to lilac, Daphne, quince, plum and apple trees. The property attracts a large number of native birds including rosella, squawking parrots, kingfisher & loud, laughing kookaburra.
Find balance and invigorate your body and mind in Daylesford’s famous mineral waters. Enjoy the region’s natural mineral springs with a rejuvenating spa experience at Daylesford Day Spa or The Spa at Lake House or book in for relaxing massages and silky, skin-renewing rituals at Daylesford Healing Massage. (not included – pre booking is essential)
The dining room holds 2 chefs hats from the national Good Food Guide and multiple awards for its cellar and service. It’s a splendid four-course true farm to table dinner tonight with the first round of drinks on Doni.
Overnight at the Lakehouse, dinner and breakfast included.
Today we’ll transfer back to Melbourne to catch our flight to Coolangatta (the Gold Coast airport) with 2 hours+ of flying time. From here we’ll drive to Byron Bay (about 1 hour) and enjoy lunch at the famous Pass Café (included) which is directly above the beach. Pack your swimsuits because a swim at Byron is not to be missed.
There will be time for shopping and a stroll through town – Byron is a coastal town known for its spectacular beaches, unique shopping and dining experiences, world-class festivals, and vibrant community spirit.
After our exploration we’ll transfer to the Sheraton Mirage Hotel the only ocean front property on the Gold Coast. Here we will relax and enjoy the Marina Mirage facilities. If time, we’ll take a nice long walk along this beautiful beach, before dinner.
Farewell dinner tonight is included, at the Vanitas, Palazzo Versace. We’ll relish our 6-course degustation dinner. Put your glad rags on tonight girls, this promises to be a very memorable evening. First round is on Doni.
Overnight: The Grand Mirage
Today, you have a choice of itineraries: a visit to the Great Barrier Reef or remain on the mainland.
Option 1: The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef, stretching from South Queensland to Lady Elliot, is one of the very few inhabited Coral Islands. It actually host more turtles than human beings and offers absolute pristine waters, home to 1200 species of marine life.
We’ll fly (early) along the Gold Coast Skyscrapers, the beaches, Fraser Island before heading straight for the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. The destination is a family run business dedicated to sustainable initiatives.
Your day includes scenic flights to/from the Island, orientation tour, a glass bottom boat/guided snorkelling tour, snorkel equipment (mask, snorkel & fins), full use of day guest facilities, a hot and cold buffet lunch and an afternoon of snorkelling, leisure or joining our experienced guides for a guided activity.
The Great Barrier Reef itinerary is an additional A$625.
Option 2: Mainland
For those remaining on the mainland, you can relax at the hotel, or there’s an optional wine tasting tour of the Gold Coast Hinterland and/or some good shopping.
This evening, we’ll meet for farewell wine and cheese tonight (included). Afterwards those wanting dinner can enjoy the restaurant at our hotel, or there’s a few other great options close by (not included). Alas, time to pack our suitcases, and swap contact addresses.
We’ll be sure to keep our travel stories close to our hearts.
Overnight: The Grand Mirage
Transfer to Gold Coast airport for your flight back to Sydney
Meet & Greet in Sydney for International departure assistance
Tour concludes in Sydney at airport.
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