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Itinerary – Close Up Ocean Encounters

Surely one of the world’s greatest collection of interactive marine encounters, this itinerary combines swimming with Humpback Whales outside of Exmouth, cage diving with the ocean’s most formidable predator, the Great White Shark, swimming with Australian Sea-lions off the Eyre Peninsula, diving and snorkelling with Manta Rays, turtles, reef sharks and countless tropical fish off Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef and witnessing the amazing migration of Humpback Whales off Australia’s largest city of Sydney. Aside from these incredible marine encounters, these regions provide abundant opportunities for birdwatchers to spot seabirds.

Minimum Suggested Nights: 16 nights, plus a couple of extra nights in Exmouth if desired.
Suggested month: August 

Sydney

Watch whales as they migrate past Sydney

Departing from one of the world’s most beautiful harbours, board a luxury cruiser led by an experienced guide and crew, to encounter one of the greatest natural migrations in the world. Known for their spectacular acrobatic abilities, seeing Humpback Whales launch out of the ocean with sheer energy is awe-inspiring.

Guides will share key insights on the whales’ behaviour and on many occasions, these majestic and curious creatures will interact with the boat. Combined with Sydney’s stunning coastal backdrop, this cruise is a truly unforgettable experience. Other marine species that may be encountered include Bottlenose Dolphins, Minke Whales and pelagic seabirds including a wide variety of Albatrosses.

Seasonal highlights

Winter: Jun-Aug – Birds

Peak season for viewing albatrosses, petrels and prions. Black-browed, Campbell, Shy, Indian Yellow-nosed, Buller’s, Gibson’s, Grey-headed and Wandering Albatrosses are sighting possibilities. Fairy Prions congregate, Providence, Wilson’s Cape, Northern Giant, Southern Giant Petrels, Brown Skuas, Australasian Gannets, Crested Terns.

Winter: Jun-Aug – Marine Mammals

Humpback Whales head north to give birth and mate in the waters of the Coral Sea, providing plenty of sightings close to shore, Southern Right Whale will occasionally move along the coastline seeking places to mate and shelter with their newborn calves.

Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef

Manta Rays swim in the waters off Lady Elliot Island

Located within a highly protected ’Green Zone’ of the Great Barrier Reef Marine National Park, the waters surrounding Lady Elliot provide a sanctuary for over 1,200 species, with outstanding water clarity perfect for admire the healthy coral reef, abundance of turtles, Manta Rays, reef sharks and a vast array of tropical fish.

See green sea turtles on the Great Barrier Reef

In season guests can also encounter birds nesting, turtle hatchlings or migrating Humpback Whales. Staying at the Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, this package offers guests the opportunity to enjoy a myriad activities to learn more about the Island and its unique history, flora, fauna and incredible marine life. This slice of paradise provides an environment that inspires a diversity of exciting daily nature based activities including reef walks, bird watching tours, snorkel safaris, night tours and scuba diving.

Seasonal highlights

Winter: Jun-Aug – Fish & Marine Invertebrates

Seasonal Highlights: Peak season for seeing Manta Rays. Bull Rays, Cowtail Stingrays and White-spotted Guitarfish, Spotted Eagle Ray and Blue-spotted Fantail Ray, Damselfish, Wrasses & Parrotfish, Surgeonfish, Angelfish, Groupers, Blacktip and Whitetip Reef Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Wobbegongs.

Winter: Jun-Aug – Birds

Black Noddies, Crested, Sooted Terns, Silver Gulls, Lesser Frigatebirds and Great Frigatebirds, Brown Footed Boobies, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Capricorn Silvereyes, Buff-banded Rails, Tawny Grassbirds, Black-faced Cuckoo Shrikes and the Golden-headed Cisticolas.

Winter: Jun-Aug – Reptiles & Amphibians

Green Turtles, Loggerhead Turtles and critically endangered Hawksbill Turtles.

Port Lincoln, South Australia

Come face to face with a Great White Shark

This four day adventures combines the best terrestrial and marine protected areas across the region including Lincoln National Park, Coffin Bay National Park, Neptune Islands Conservation Park and Mount Dutton Bay Conservation Park. Being one of the only places to swim with wild Sea-Lions, visitors will be mesmerised by the agility, curiosity and playful interaction from these ‘puppy dogs of the sea’.

On shore, there is an abundance of seabirds, shorebirds, songbirds, parrots (including the beautiful Port Lincoln Parrot) and raptors including Osprey and White-bellied Sea Eagles, with Western Grey Kangaroos, Emus, Koalas and Rosenberg’s Goannas a delight for visitors.

For an adrenaline rush, guests  will venture out to the Neptune Islands to try and observe the Great White Shark via a cage or 360 degree underwater viewing pod, using a bait and berley free approach to witness the ocean’s most formidable predator.

Seasonal Highlights

Winter: Jun-Aug – Fish & Marine Invertebrates

Peak viewing for large Great White Shark females that feast upon the plentiful Long-nosed Fur Seals.

Winter: Jun-Aug – Birds

Nesting season for waterbirds. Black Swans, Grey Teal Ducks, Chestnut Teal Ducks, Pink Eared Ducks, Musk Ducks, Black Winged Stilts, Banded Plovers and Cape Barren Geese at Big Swamp wetlands. Osprey, White-bellied Sea Eagle breeding, Caspian Terns, Hooded Plovers, Red Capped Plovers, Red Necked Stints, Golden Whistlers, Masked Lapwings, Emus and Wedge-tailed Eagles.

Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

A Humpback Whale calf

A staggering 30,000 west coast Humpback Whales migrate through the Exmouth and Ningaloo region and start to rest after their long migration from the Antarctic. Mothers will typically move their calves into the Gulf area at Exmouth over these months, to fatten them up for their lengthy return journey south.

The Department of Parks & Wildlife has recently given authority for Exmouth Diving Centre to provide guided swims with these amazing creatures under strict parameters and conditions. Visitors will venture out in small groups of five with a guide & videographer to record one of the most special intimate encounters of the ocean. Following this, guests will enjoy a snorkel on the reef to enjoy the amazing tropical fish, rays, turtles and corals.

Swim with gentle whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef
Seasonal Highlights

Winter: Jun-Aug – Fish & Marine Invertebrates

Coral Spawn & Plankton reaches its highest concentration, Whale Sharks seen until the end of July Manta Rays around Exmouth, Parrotfish, Butterflyfish, Angelfish, Damselfish, Cardinalfish, Scissor Tails, Groper, Coral Trout, Nudibranches, Grey Nurse Sharks congregate around the Navy Pier competing for space with the Whitetip Reef Sharks and Wobbegongs.

Winter: Jun-Aug – Marine Mammals

Over 30,000 individual west coast Humpback Whales migrate to the area (opportunity to swim with them from July onwards) with Orcas prevalent. Pseudo Orcas, Minke Whales, Pilot Whales, Short-beaked Common Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins are occasionally sighted whilst Bottlenose and Australian Humpback Dolphins are abundant.

Click here to find out more about Australian travel with Alquemie

Wildlife, kayaking and walking – The ultimate Freycinet Adventure

This ultimate adventure offers a truly unique experience. Picnic island, spectacular coastal wilderness, Wineglass bay and so much more. Discover the feeling of freedom and rejuvenate in the fresh sea air of Freycient National Park.

Kayak to Hazards Beach in Freycinet National Park
Kayak to Hazards Beach

Over 4 days experience a true escape with this ultimate Freycinet Adventure. This unique adventure is so much more than just a walking tour. This hosted experience includes wildlife, kayaking, walking, boat tours and plenty of relaxing. Our base camp is on a private island (Picnic Island). It is completely unique and has a truly a spectacular outlook of Freycinet National Park.

View of Tasmania mainland from Picnic Island

This tour starts with the stunning drive from Hobart to Coles Bay on the Freycinet Peninsula. From here you’ll board our Aqua Taxi and head out to our exclusive island accommodation. Once you’ve settled in our guides will take you through your exciting itinerary for the next few days.

We include kayaking, walking, boat trips and wildlife encounters. Your accommodation will be in a luxurious cabin overlooking the water on the island. Your meals are prepared lovingly in the ‘birdhouse’ on the island by our passionate guides and include local produce and Tasmanian wines.

Highlights

  • Private evening penguin colony tour
  • Aqua Taxi tour on the Freycinet Peninsula taking in pristine deserted beaches
  • A picnic at Wineglass Bay
  • Sunset Kayak Tour
  • Oyster Tasting
  • Walks within Freycinet National Park including Mt. Graham & Mt. Amos

Accommodation

Accommodation on Picnic Island in Freycinet
Accommodation on Picnic Island

Your unique accommodation will be a highlight of this experience. Situated 800m offshore from Coles Bay & Freycinet National Park is Picnic Island. This architecturally and environmentally sensitively designed lodge makes this experience a true escape. Each sleeping quarter is decked out with a comfortable queen been with stunning water views. The common area (The Birdshouse) boasts a wood-fire, dining and lounge area.

Sundowner will have a new meaning for you. We also share the island with a colony of little penguins and some other spectacular visiting wildlife.

Itinerary

Day 1: Your transfer from Hobart is included. We will collect you from your hotel and take you on the picturesque drive up the East Coast. On arrival, the Aqua Taxi will shuttle you out to the island for a late lunch. Optional afternoon short walks in Freycinet National Park.

Day 2: We take the Aqua Taxi down to Hazards Beach to enjoy some coastal walks within Freycinet National Park. Our guides take you on a hike from Hazards Beach to Wineglass Bay for a picnic lunch.. After dinner, we also offer the option of a penguin viewing on the island.

Picnic Island is the ideal base in Freycinet National Park

Day 3: The morning consists of a walk up Mt. Freycinet (5.5 kms) which has picturesque views of the whole Peninsula. We will undertake the award winning Freycinet Paddle -3 hour guided sea kayaking tour at twilight.

Day 4: We include an oyster tasting at the local Marine Farm followed by a transfer back to Hobart. There is also plenty of ‘island time ’to enjoy a spot of fishing off the jetty, birdwatching, or relaxing around the island.

All walks/activities are optional.

For more information about this 4 day Tasmanian itinerary contact your Australian specialist at alquemie@alquemie.com.au.

Why you should put the Mornington Peninsula on your Australian itinerary

In recent years the Mornington Peninsula has stepped up it’s game. It’s always been a favourite weekend retreat of Melburnians but these days a plethora of world-class luxury accommodation and wineries, along with incredible scenery make it a must-do add on if you’re visiting Melbourne, and at only 90 minutes away from the city you’d be silly not to go. Here are just a few of the reasons you should visit:

Wineries & restaurants galore

Polperro by Even Keel winery has some delicious wines

The Mornington Peninsula is idea for producing cool climate wines such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Tempranillo and Pinot Gris, and there are more than 50 cellar doors to keep you busy. Being only 90 minutes away from Melbourne makes a day visit much more accessible than regions such as the Hunter Valley in New South Wales or Barossa Valley in South Australia, but given the huge number of wineries this wine region is best explored with time on your side.

Some of the standouts are:

Polperro by Even Keel
Small and boutique in a beautiful setting. Also with four luxury villas. (see below)

Jackalope
A great place to stop for lunch or dinner or stay a few days. (see below)

Port Phillip Estate
A large and commanding winery with some boutique accommodation. Also a great spot for a long lunch with a view.

Foxey’s Hangout
Excellent casual dining with scenic vineyard views. Just go with the Chef’s Menu where you’re served up what the chef decides on the day. It is great value but unfortunately you can not book.

Montalto
Popular and well-known winery with stunning views overlooking vines and a sculpture park.)

Ocean Eight
One of the most spectacular vineyards on the Peninsula.  The cellar door openings are a bit limited but we have access to private barrel tastings.

Merricks General Store
Excellent for lunch. Also serves as the Cellar Door for Baillieu Wines and Elgee Park (Baillieu Myer’s vineyard).

Golfer’s paradise

Play on some of Australia’s best golf courses on the Mornington Peninsula

If you love golf then you’ll want to come to the Mornington Peninsula. Australia’s premier golfing region plays host to 15 clubs and 20 golf courses. Three of these are in Australia’s top ten, plus another six in the top 100. There’s a golf course to suit every skill level and many boast spectacular ocean views. No where else in Australia offers such a broad range of courses in such a small area.

Click on the links below to find out more about two of the top golf clubs in Australia.

St Andrews Beach Golf Course

The National Golf Club

Beaches and Nature

Sorrento back-beach on Mornington Peninsula
Sorrento back-beach

From the calm crystal clear waters of shallow beaches all the way along Port Phillip Bay from Mornington to Portsea to the rugged back-beaches of the wild ocean on the other side of the Peninsula, there is plenty of choice for the novice to the experienced swimmer or surfer. The back-beaches could be said to resemble the coastline of the Great Ocean Road with wild waves, dense tea-tree covered sand-hills and eroded outcrops. There are some great walks along the back-beaches and at low tide there are plenty of rock-pools that are deep enough to swim in and cool down.

Note: There are life-guards at some beaches during summer however only confident and strong swimmers should venture into the surf.

Point Nepean National Park

Well worth a visit if you enjoy walking and history is Point Nepean National Park. It’s the furthest point from Melbourne on the Peninsula and was once a defence base. There are a series of military fortifications as well several walking tracks that lead to interesting viewpoints of Melbourne and Queenscliff on the opposite side of the bay.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse

There are numerous walks at Cape Schanck of varying lengths that take you along rugged coastal landscape. Visit the lighthouse, Bushrangers Bay and enjoy the several lookouts with views of Devils Desk and Pulpit Rock.

Boutique Luxury Accommodation

Jackalope Hotel

Jackalope Hotel
The impressive Jackalope sculpture greets guests upon arrival

This sleek new hotel has hit the ground running and got tongues wagging. Ultra modern and sexy, the juxtaposition of it’s black walls and unique art works are at odds with the surrounding vines and makes a striking impact.

With 42 suites, 2 onsite restaurants (Doot Doot Doot and Rare Hare), a cocktail bar and it’s own winery, Jacklaope is a destination in itself and a must for people wanting a lively funky escape from Melbourne. Find out more >

Polperro

Polperro Villas are perfect in winter or summer
Polperro Villas are perfect in winter or summer.

Polperro is perfect for that peaceful romantic getaway and a great base for exploring the region. We love the gorgeous suites (only four in total) overlooking the vineyards. You could spend all day in them, if only there wasn’t so much to do! Find out more > 

 

 

Jackalope Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula

If you thought the Mornington Peninsula needed a boost of creativity then look no further than Jackalope Hotel. Like it’s namesake creature of American folklore, Jackalope is designed to offer guests an escape from reality. Arriving in early 2017, this mythical hybrid of old and new is just what the region needed. Already winning the accolades of Hotel of the Year, New Hotel of the Year and Regional Hotel of the Year in the Gourmet Traveller Hotel Awards 2017, Jackalope has set tongues wagging for a conceptual approach to art and it’s dark colour palette which is at odds with the more traditional accommodation offerings near by. I visited Jackalope in September 2017 and was impressed with what I saw.

Jackelope Hotel
The striking black exterior is in contrast with the surrounding vineyard

 

With 46 rooms, a 30-metre outdoor pool over looking the vineyards, on-property winery and cellar door, a casual and fine-dining restaurant, plus a cocktail bar, Jackalope has filled the much needed gap where mid-sized luxury hotels were lacking on the Mornington Peninsula. Plus it’s only about 1 hour from Melbourne and the nearest helicopter landing is only 15 minutes away.

Jackelope room with vineyard view

Quirky commissioned art installations, nightclub style hallways and unusual architecture all add up to one fantastic feast for the eyes. Despite it being out of place, it all seems to make sense once you’re there.

Jackelope hotel
Jackelope’s hallway wouldn’t be out of place in a nightclub

The 42 luxury rooms have private terraces and the option of deep soak baths in four luxury suites. Sizes range from 52-85 sqm and you can choose from Garden view or Vineyard view (recommended).  In contrast to the abundant art in the common areas, the room interiors are decidedly understated with simple black walls and lush furnishings leaving the view as the key piece of art.

My recommendation would be to take a Signature suite with loft ceilings, an expansive 30 sqm terrace overlooking the vines, a double sided indoor/outdoor fireplace, a six-seater indoor dining table, kitchenette, cocktail bar and a personal wine cellar.

  • Inside: 85 sqm/914 sqft
  • Terrace: 30 sqm/333 sqft
  • West-facing (sunset aspect), overlooking Willow Creek vineyard
  • King Bed
  • Alfresco dining for six and outdoor lounge
  • Double-sided indoor/outdoor fireplace
  • Kitchenette, bar, private wine cellar
  • Deep soak, black stone bath tub
  • Complimentary breakfast served in Doot Doot Doot
  • Complimentary minibar (excluding wine)
Rooms are luxurious but sparsely decorated

Whilst there is no on-site spa, the hotel has several in-house masseurs ready to take your relaxation to the next level. You can enjoy a massage in the privacy of your own room (followed by a soak in your deep Japanese bath) or there are other private areas to accommodate you.

Enjoy an in-room massage on your private balcony.

When it’s time for an afternoon beverage then Jackalope won’t disappoint. You certainly wouldn’t expect to find an on-site cocktail bar like Flagerdoot amongst the vineyards. Sample the alchemy of experimental in-house creations such as ‘Mushroom & Maple’ made from Shiitake mushroom, maple, chocolate bitters, bourbon whiskey. With dark parquet floors, handpicked gold leather seating and a chic, industrial-chemistry lab feel to it, Flagerdoot attracts the curious hoards on a weekend, eager to see what all the fuss is about.

Jackalope
Flaggerdoot cocktail bar is an unexpected delight.

Also attracting day visitors and guests alike are the two superb dining options and rumours of the delicious food at Jackalope are true. Doot Doot Doot, the upmarket fine-dining option has a ten thousand bulb chandelier, five-course seasonal degustation of local produce fresh from the kitchen garden and a unique selection of limited-release wines. It’s visually impressive by day and even more so at night when then chandelier comes alive.

Open for lunch: noon – 3pm, Saturday and Sunday and dinner: 6pm – 9pm (last order), 7 days.

For more casual dining head to Rare Hare. I ate a sumptuous lunch there and despite the winter rain outside it was warm and toasty and buzzing with diners. Highly recommended is the Negroni cured trout with horseradish cream and dill on rye toast, and the Salmon cutlet cured in white miso, sesame and ginger. Open from Monday to Thursday 11am to 5pm and Friday to Sunday from 11am to 9pm it makes a great place for a lazy long lunch or a dinner whether you’re staying in the hotel or not.

Nearby Red Hill properties Polperro and Port Phillip Estate both mentioned that they send guests to Jackelope to dine.

Jackalope
The casual dining option of Rare Hare serves up fantastic share plates.

Before or after you feast, visit the Cellar Door of Willow Creek Vineyard. The entrance of Rare Hare backs on to a great room where wine barrels line up to the ceiling and guests can sample the wares. If you like Rosé you’ll be in for a treat.

Rare Hare Range
The Rare Hare Range

It was winter during my visit but the 30 metre pool will be the perfect place for guests to wile away a sunny summer afternoon, glass of wine in hand. Overlooking the vineyard, it’s for guests only and even in the winter the steamy attached jacuzzi was being used.

Overall the hotel feels like a place to enjoy with friends or for a celebration rather than for romance and peace and quiet. Maybe this is due to the two on-site restaurants and quirky cocktail bar, or maybe it’s just the funky vibe of the place – it’s all about good times, great laughs and a unique experience to be shared. Jackalope has made an impression and is here to stay. To add Jackalope to an Australian itinerary contact alquemie@alquemie.com.au.

Polperro Villas at Red Hill – A boutique luxury accommodation on the Mornington Peninsula

If you’re after a peaceful weekend getaway from Melbourne then look no further than Polperro Villas at Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula.  Only 90 minutes from the city, it is simply the perfect place for romance and relaxation. Just four luxurious villas are privately located on 25 acres of working vineyards in the heart of the famous wine region Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula. Here’s why we love it….

Polperro Villas sit on 25 private acres of vineyards.
Polperro Villas
The villas have a gorgeous large spa bath.

Each luxury villa features a king size bed, designer styling, an open fire place, a central spa bath and a private deck with vineyard views.

Polperro Villas are perfect in winter or summer
Polperro Villas are perfect in winter or summer.

On the property is also an intimate cellar door showcasing the full range of wines from Polperro and Even Keel founder and winemaker, Sam Coverdale.

Polperro wines
Sample wines made onsite at the cellar door.

There’s also a delightful bistro overlooking the vineyards with dishes like ‘Glazed lamb ribs, soft pancakes, garlic labneh, tomato relish, cucumber’ or ‘Duck breast, coffee chestnut purée, black quinoa, balsamic reduction’.

Polperro Bistro with indoor and outdoor dining overlooking the vineyards
Polperro Bistro with indoor and outdoor dining overlooking the vineyards

Guests can grab a picnic pack and wine and venture out to explore the grounds for a long lazy afternoon in nature.

Polperro picnic
Grab a picnic pack and spend the afternoon relaxing outside.

For visiting guests there’s plenty to do, see and taste, with over 50 boutique cellar doors to explore, many celebrated restaurants to eat at, and pristine beaches and natural surrounds to feed nature lovers.

Polperro wines
Red Hill hosts more than 50 cellar doors

Polperro also offers guests Hot Hut yoga classes 7 days a week

HotHut yoga at Polperro
HotHut yoga

The accommodation here is our pick of the Mornington Peninsula. It is simply stunning and perfect for summer or winter. While one night here would be enough, we recommend two to really absorb and relax into the environment. To include Polperro Villas on your Australian itinerary contact alquemie@alquemie.com.au.

Great Barrier Reef Coral Bleaching update

We often get asked about the coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and how it affects the guest snorkelling or diving experience at destinations such as Lizard Island, Qualia and Orpheus as well as day trips to the reef from Port Douglas and Cairns. Unfortunately the GBR reef has suffered severe coral bleaching in some areas for two years in a row.

Despite this, we believe that a visit to the Great Barrier Reef region in Tropical Far North Queensland is still a highlight of an Australian itinerary – the colourful fish remain and your off-the-reef experience at luxurious properties will relax and delight you.

For serious divers there are options for multi-day live-aboard journeys to locations further afield where there has been less bleaching and Ningaloo Reef off Western Australia is also a fantastic alternative.

Below is the current information available to us about the state of the reef.

What is coral bleaching?

Bleaching is a sign that corals are under stress. Corals are able to cope in a limited range of environmental conditions but when these limits are exceeded (e.g. temperature), they experience stress.

Most corals have microscopic marine algae (called zooxanthellae) living inside their tissue. These photosynthetic organisms give corals much of their colour and also provide up to 90 per cent of the energy corals need to grow and produce. When corals are under stress, this symbiotic relationship breaks down, and corals expel the zooxanthellae and begin to starve. As zooxanthellae leave the corals, the corals become paler and increasingly transparent.

However, corals also contain fluorescent proteins (green, yellow, red and cyan) that may help minimise damage from ultraviolet light. When corals lose their zooxanthellae (bleach), these fluorescent proteins become more visible and the coral can display striking fluorescent hues of pink, yellow or blue. Not all of these fluorescent proteins are visible in daylight though, so corals can also look completely white.

What is the current bleaching situation on the Reef?

In 2016, the Great Barrier Reef suffered the worst ever bleaching event due to record breaking summer sea surface temperatures. This was due in part to a strong El Niño combined with the ongoing effect of climate change. An estimated 22 per cent of coral on the Great Barrier Reef died as a result of bleaching, mainly from reefs in the northern section.

In 2017, the Great Barrier Reef, along with other reefs around the world, suffered a second consecutive year of mass coral bleaching, driven predominantly by ocean warming due to climate change. The effects of this event are being monitored and will continue to unfold for several months.

Click here for the latest update on reef health from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Source: Great Barrier Marine Park Authority

 

 

Great Barrier Reef Update from Lizard Island, 2017

 

There have been some areas that have been affected by coral bleaching and recent cyclones, however, a number of areas are still pristine and untouched, whilst some of the damaged ones are showing positive signs of regeneration and growth. There are some amazing coral formations and marine life abundance just 20m from our shores on Anchor Bay or Watson’s Bay, such as the renowned Giant Clams Garden and surrounding formations, and all of the inner and outer reef locations that we visit with our guests receive glowing reports every week.

Lizard Island remains the single best destination on the reef from which to explore what the Great Barrier Reef has to offer, either as a snorkeller or a diver. There are amazing locations in both the inner and outer reef regions, or just around the island itself.

Photographic evidence below has been taken by guests, staff and scientists as recently as April 2017 and showcases that the reef is thriving in many places around Lizard Island. Please also refer to the unsolicited feedback received on TripAdvisor from recent guests.

We are obviously very passionate about the region, but we remain neutral and fair about the guest experience and invite you to come and experience the wonderful marine, island and resort life that Lizard Island offers.

Emilio Fortini
General Manager

 

Further information provided by Tourism and Events Queensland.

The Great Barrier Reef is our most valuable natural tourism asset with around two million visitors experiencing it every year. The Queensland tourism industry plays a vital role in protecting the reef by actively participating in programs run by key stakeholders to monitor reef health and build resilience.

The following are some key tips to share with your clients who are asking about the Great Barrier Reef:

  • Follow #thisisqueensland and @Australia @Queensland to see what amazing reef experiences travellers and operators are sharing on a daily basis
  • Download the Eye on the Reef app which provides up to date observations on the health of the reef by visitors and operators:
  • Book a high standard commercial tourism operator who has Ecotourism Australia or EarthCheck certification:
  • Join the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef – a social movement which aims to unite people from around the world to learn about and care about the Reef: www.citizensgbr.org
  • Visit the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the official source of scientific information and facts: www.gbrmpa.gov.au

 

Fishing in Australia

Australia’s fish population has had tens of millions of years to evolve and adapt to the unique aquatic environments of this massive, isolated island continent, so it’s hardly surprising that many species are found nowhere else on earth. However even those species you might be familiar with, such as black marlin and some types of tuna, tend to be more abundant and grow larger here than almost anywhere else. Below is a short list of some of Australia’s most exciting sport fishing target species or groups of fish.

 

For more information about fishing in Australia, visit the Australia website.

 

 

New Year’s Eve in Sydney by luxury yacht – an exclusive cruise for Alquemie clients

There’s no doubt that one of the best ways to spend New Year’s Eve in Sydney is on a luxury yacht where every whim is catered for. Unfortunately this time of year books out far in advance so Alquemie has reserved exclusive use of a 100 foot luxury yacht for clients. The Murcielago, is the private jet of the ocean with room for 12 guests to see in the New Year and six people to stay overnight and awaken surrounded by nature if they choose.

This is an opportunity for your clients to mingle with other Alquemie cliental.

Cost: US$8,575.00 per person based on min. 8 pax.
The booking deadline is the 31st August 2017. Full non-refundable payment at the time of booking. Please contact your Alquemie advisor ASAP to lock this in.

Sydney luxury yacht

Party like it’s 2018 (up to 12 guests)

Guests will be collected from a central Sydney wharf at 7pm where they’ll be welcomed aboard with their favourite beverage and delicious canapés to begin the festivities on the bustling harbour. This is a beautiful time of evening in Sydney as the golden light of the sun reflects upon the city skyscrapers and begins its decent. On a night like New Year’s Eve the Harbour is alive with thousands of boats – all bustling for the best vantage point to see the famous fireworks over the Bridge. These days though, the fireworks explode all across the Harbour and it’s one of the greatest urban spectacles in the world.

During the evening the luxurious Murchielago will cruise the Harbour, passing waterfront suburbs and grand homes as guests dine on a sumptuous three-course meal. At 9pm when the sun has finally set, the children’s fireworks burst overhead in all the colours of the rainbow. After dinner, cocktails will flow and the meandering cruise of the harbour continues until midnight when the sky lights up once again and rains down colour, signalling the start of a new year.

The Captain will have guests back on dry land by 1am to return to their accommodation.

Start the year surrounded by nature

An optional (and highly recommended) extension of the New Year’s festivities for six guests only is to remain onboard the Murchielago and wake up surrounded by nature, either in a gorgeous cove of Sydney Harbour, or the vessel can relocate further afield to Pittwater.

Either destination would be a relaxing start to 2018 with options such as swimming, stand up paddle boarding or kayaking available.

About the Murchielago

From the sumptuous Owner Room and VIP Stateroom with their en-suite bathrooms, to the two twin-berth cabins, this superyacht can sleep six people as comfortably as any high-end hotel.

Indoor areas include spacious saloons, lounges and decks – one with a retractable sunroof; guests can enjoy seating for up to 10 people and a fantastic barbeque offers outdoor cooking options to impress.

There’s a fully equipped galley with teak flooring, stunning granite bench tops and, naturally, its own espresso machine.

Full catering to restaurant standards for all guests can be prepared by an on-board chef, and a drinks bar can be stocked with every beverage you could ever desire.

Outside are massive sunbeds and a bathing platform, turning every sea into a private pool.

The bathing platform also has a hot shower and a wet bar. Perfect once you have finished your swim or snorkel, or a paddle in on of Murcielago’s three canoes, or a water-skiing/wakeboarding session with Murcielago’s on-board equipment.

Available in Pittwater only, the two Seadoo jet-skis are also capable of 45 knots meaning every other toy on board, like the wakeboard, kneeboard and water skis are built for speed too.

 

Contact Alquemie by August 31st 2017 to lock in this opportunity.

Itinerary – Encounters with Baby Australian Animals

A highlight for any wildlife enthusiast is the opportunity to spot baby Australian animals such as kangaroo or koala joeys. The autumn and spring seasons are a terrific time to spot these young marsupials, as they are exploring the world outside of their mother’s pouch and becoming more independent.

This suggested itinerary covers a broad range of habitats including semi-arid, open woodlands, wet and dry rainforests along with coastal heathlands, providing opportunities to see a wide range of species including Tammar Wallabies, Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, Brush-tailed Possums, Red Kangaroos, Common Wallaroos, Yellow-footed Rock Wallabies, Eastern-grey Kangaroos, Swamp Wallabies, Red-necked Wallabies, Tasmanian Pademelons, Tasmanian Bettong, Long-nosed Potoroos and Common Wombats. Aside from this, the spring season is also prime for seeing nesting birds including Wedge-tailed Eagles and raptors that fledge at this time.

Minimum Suggested Nights: 16 nights, plus a couple of nights on arrival and departure from Australia if desired.

SUGGESTED MONTHS: MARCH, APRIL, MAY, SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER, NOVEMBER

Baby Australian Animals - baby seal on Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island In Style

This tour combines the two most popular full day landscape and wildlife experiences; Island Life and Flinders Chase Focus. Guests will be exposed to a broad range of elements that make this island so celebrated, including the the Island’s history, ecology, wildlife, landscape and contemporary lifestyle. Regions visited include the Cygnet Valley, north coast landscape at Stokes Bay, central plateau, south coast landscape at Seal Bay to walk on the beach with Australian Sea-lions and the spectacular wilderness and the dramatic coastline of Flinders Chase National Park.

Iconic landscapes in the southwest corner will deliver endless photographic opportunities especially at Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch and Cape du Couedic. Key species regularly encountered are Koalas, Tammar Wallabies, Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, endangered Glossy Black Cockatoos, Short-beaked Echidnas, Australian Sea-lions, Long-nosed Fur-seals and a variety of bush birds and shorebirds and seabirds.

Seasonal highlights

Autumn: Mar-May – Birds

Glossy Black Cockatoos nest in large hollows, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos aggregate post breeding (they breed in summer), Red Wattlebirds abundant, Black Swans, Royal Spoonbills, Crested Terns, Caspian Terns, Crimson Rosellas.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Birds

Short-tailed Shearwaters migrate to the area, Superb Fairy-wrens breed and the spectacular blue males are a stunning splash of colour, New Holland, White-eared Honeyeaters, Eastern Spinebills. Rainbow Lorikeets, Purple-crowned Lorikeets. Chestnut-breasted Shelducks, Yellow-billed Spoonbills, Australian White Ibis and White-headed Stilts abundant.

Autumn: Mar-May – Land Mammals & Marsupials

Young Tammar Wallabies are weaned off their mothers and form their own social groups, Kangaroo Island Kangaroo joeys following their mothers around, Short-beaked Echidnas, Common Brushtail Possums usually have one joey at a time in Autumn.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Land Mammals & Marsupials

Kangaroo and wallaby joeys emerge from pouches for the first time, Koala mating begins to occur from September onwards until March, Short-beaked Echidnas will feast upon eat large amounts insects and larvae during Spring.

Autumn: Mar-May – Marine Mammals

Australian Sea-lions bask on the sand in-between fishing trips to the continental shelf, Long-nosed Fur Seal pups can be seen playing around the rock ledges and pools at Cape du Couedic.

Baby Australian Animals - emu chicks

The Arkaba Walk

This four day walk traverses the ancient Flinders Ranges where 600 million years of geological history provide spectacular backdrops to the rich array of birds, reptiles and marsupials that call this region home. From dry creek beds, isolated waterholes, lined with 1,000 year old river gums to craggy ridge lines and rolling hills covered in cypress pines to the ancient ramparts of Wilpena Pound, this is some of the most stunning walking country in Australia and provides abundant opportunities to spot Red and Western Grey Kangaroos, Wallaroos, Emus, Wedge-tailed Eagles along with numerous parrots, songbirds, bushbirds and raptors.

Accompanied by expert guides, walkers are provided with a fascinating insight into the ecosystems located across the 60,000 acre private wildlife conservancy, along with the stories of the indigenous inhabitants, early explorers and pioneer settlers.

Seasonal highlights

Autumn: Mar-May – Birds

Black-eared Cuckoos and Brown Songlark migration, Grey-shrike Thrush, Rufous Whistlers, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes, Galahs, Australian Ringnecks, Red-rumped Parrots, Emus preparing for the breeding season.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Birds

Striped Emu chicks following their fathers, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Little Eagle, Black Kite and Brown Goshawk fledging, Rainbow Bee-eaters and Sacred Kingfishers arrive to breed.

Autumn: Mar-May – Land Mammals & Marsupials

Western Grey Kangaroos are abundant, Red Kangaroos, Common Wallaroos, Yellow-footed Rock Wallabies, Dingos breeding and occasionally sighted but often heard.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Land Mammals & Marsupials

Short-beaked Echidnas, Red Kangaroo joeys born, Western Grey Kangaroos, Common Wallaroos feeding on shoots and vegetation, Fat-tailed Dunnarts and Stripe-faced Dunnarts breeding and very occasionally sighted.

Autumn: Mar-May – Reptiles & Amphibians

Thick-tailed Gecko (also known as the Barking Gecko) can be heard with it’s distinctive call, Masked Rock Skink, Tree Skink, Boulenger’s Snake-eyed Skink, Bynoe’s Gecko and Central Bearded Dragon, Yellow-faced Whipsnakes.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Reptiles & Amphibians

Breeding males for the Painted, Tawny and Red-barred Dragons exhibit brilliant colours, Central Bearded Dragons, Nobbi Dragons, Thick-tailed Geckos with their barking calls.

Baby Australian animals - Yellow footed rock wallaby

Tasmania Wildlife Encounter

Over one-third of the ‘island’ state is reserved as a conservation area and this epic adventure traverses through some of the most scenic parts, including the World Heritage Listed Cradle Mountain, Rocky Cape, Narawntapu, and Freycinet National Parks. A mix of expansive ancient temperate rainforests, spectacular coastlines, rugged mountains and sparkling highland lakes provide refuge and habitat for a rich array of rare and endemic plants and animals.

Tasmania is a delight for Marsupial lovers, with opportunities to spot Pademelons, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Bennett’s Wallabies, Common Wombats, Tasmanian Bettongs, Long-nosed Potoroos, Quolls and of course the carnivorous Tasmanian Devil. A wide variety of songbirds, bushbirds, shorebirds and seabirds, including the Little Penguin are also highlights. Guests will be captivated by a cruise on the final day around Bruny Island, spotting Dolphins, Australian Fur Seals and seabirds along the towering 200m dolerite cliffs.

Seasonal highlights

Autumn: Mar-May – Birds

Summer migrants arrive including Welcome Swallows, Tree Martins, Dusky Woodswallows, Striated Pardalotes, Grey Fantails and Swift Parrots. Short-tailed Shearwaters leave the Tasmanian coast on their migration along with other migratory waders such as, Ruddy Turnstones, Red-necked Stints, Common Greenshanks and Eastern Curlews. Beautiful Firetails and Green Rosellas a highlight.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Birds

Fan-tailed, Pallid and Shining Bronze Cuckoos migrate to breed along with Welcome Swallows, Tree Martins, Dusky Woodswallows, Striated Pardalotes, Grey Fantails and Silvereyes and Swift Parrots, 18 million Short-tailed Shearwaters arrive. Little Penguins breed along with Red-capped Plovers, Hooded Dotterels, Pied & Sooty Oystercatchers, Cormorants, Masked & Banded Lapwings and a variety of Gulls and Terns.

Autumn: Mar-May – Land Mammals & Marsupials

Forester Kangaroos, Bennett’s Wallabies, Tasmanian Pademelons, Tasmanian Bettongs and Long-nosed Potoroos have joeys that are weaned off at this time. Tasmanian Devils breed in March, Common Wombats, Short-beaked Echidnas.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Land Mammals & Marsupials

Spring is the peak season for seeing a number of Tasmania’s baby marsupials including Forester Kangaroos, Bennett’s Wallabies, Tasmanian Pademelons, Common Brushtail and Ringtail Possums. Long-nosed Potoroos, Tasmanian Bettongs and Tasmanian Devils also sighted.

Baby Australian Animals -echidna

Great Ocean Road

This small group three day journey covers some of the most rugged and awe-inspiring coastline in Australia. Visits to the Serendip and You Yangs National Parks, the Great Ocean Road, Great Otway National Park, the Twelve Apostles, the Shipwreck Coast and volcanoes and lakes of the Western Plains provide dramatic backdrops whilst spotting wild animals including Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Koalas, Echidnas, Emus, Rosellas, Robins, Honeyeaters, raptor birds and various seabirds.

Guests will have the opportunity to walk beside the waves of the mighty Southern Ocean on pristine sands, experience an unforgettable sunset over brilliantly-coloured limestone cliffs and walk through dense rainforests of lush tree ferns. Led by expert guides, visitors will often be able to track and spot the Red-necked Wallaby and adorable Potoroo.

Seasonal highlights

Spring: Sep-Nov – Birds

Tawny Frogmouths roosting, Short-tailed Shearwater migration, Honeyeaters abundant including Red and Little Wattlebirds, Eastern Spinebills, New Holland, Yellow-faced, Tawny-crowned and White-plumed Honeyaters, Black-chinned, White-naped , Spiny Cheeked, Yellow-tufted, Fuscous and Singing Honeyeaters possible, Rainbow, Musk and Purple-crowned Lorikeets.

Autumn: Mar-May – Land Mammals & Marsupials

Eastern Grey Kangaroo joeys discover the world outside, learn to hop, play and graze, Swamp Wallabies, Red-necked Wallabies, Koalas, Common Brushtail Possums at dusk and early evening.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Land Mammals & Marsupials

Baby Koalas (joeys) come out of the pouch for the first time and will ride on their mother’s back late Spring, Common Brushtail and Common Ringtail Possums at dusk, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Swamp Wallabies, Red-necked Wallabies.

Click here to find out more about Australian travel with Alquemie

Itinerary suggestion courtesy of Australian Wildlife Journeys

Pre-book for the silly season – Christmas & New Years

It’s that time of year again already. The silly season is fast approaching and accommodation, experiences and restaurants WILL BOOK OUT. We can’t stress that enough. Please get in touch with us to lock in an amazing experience for your client. We can recommend some fabulous ideas to suit your client’s desires.

In Australia, it’s hot at Christmas and we celebrate on the day of the 25th, not Christmas Eve. You’ll often find families heading to the beach for a dip and a game of cricket after they’ve stuffed themselves with festive goodness and we recommend your clients join in the fun. It’s definitely a contrary experience to a Christmas in Europe or North America and a real part of the Australian culture. Our Christmas feast often consists of fresh seafood such as prawns and crayfish, ham off the bone and a roast turkey with all the trimmings. Around this time of year, a large portion of the local population head out of town to holiday destinations within a few hours drive of the capitals so often it’s mostly tourists that remain in the cities but the buzz of holiday season never wanes.

Please take note of the following:

Accommodation

Accommodation is already scare at the top end of the market. If you have clients thinking of travelling to Australia at this time of year, please get in touch immediately.

Dining

  • Most hotels have finalised their dinner and party menus and prices.
  • Other restaurants also have their festive season menus ready.
  • Ask us to book a dining experience for your client.

New Years Eve in Sydney – ideas

  • Spend the last evening of 2017 at the Sydney Opera House. Be entertained at the Opera Gala, featuring favourites by Verdi, Puccini, Rossini and more. Then, with a heart full of song, watch the fireworks the whole world watches. Interval is timed for the 9pm fireworks and the Sydney Opera House stays open well past the midnight fireworks
  • Charter a luxury vessel for your own private soiree to welcome in the New Year. While you sleep, the vessel can relocate so you’ll wake up to the soothing sounds of the Australian bush where you can swim, sunbathe and ease your way into the new year.
  • Grab the penthouse suite (be quick!) at any of Sydney’s harbour front hotels where your sky-high views of the fireworks will be the envy of all