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Introducing Raiwasa Villa in Fiji

Raiwasa Villa is undisputedly not only one of the most luxurious villas in the whole of Fiji, but also one of the world’s most exclusive hideaways.

Welcome to a tropical paradise that truly lives up to the word. A dream home in a dream location.

You’ll be entranced by the magical world in which you find yourself; pampered like royalty in an awe-inspiring tropical setting few people ever get to appreciate. You’ll marvel at the unique sights, sounds, and tastes of a pristine environment that blends five star comfort and lifestyle experiences you will never forget.

An environment acclaimed so much by seasoned world travelers that they begin to run out of superlatives. Spectacular, superb, amazing, perfect, and speechless are just some of the words that have been used. When well-versed guests tell you the food is the best they’ve ever tasted and the service is second-to-none you know you’ve found your own little piece of paradise.

Kick back and relax like you’ve never relaxed before, or experience emotionally connected activities like you never have before. The choice is always yours.


 

What makes Villa Raiwasa so special?

Consider Location

It’s perched high above the South Pacific, with an awesome 180-degree view overlooking the Somosomo Straight and surrounded by a lush tropical carpet of green rainforest and swaying palm trees. The dramatic sunsets are equaled only by the brilliance of the stars at night. No wonder that its name reflects its lofty location. In the Fijian tongue Rai means looking out from a height and Wasa means sea or ocean. Raiwasa simply means looking out to sea.

 
Consider The Property

Sitting on three acres of land and superbly-manicured gardens, Raiwasa Villa offers the privacy and understated luxury of a world-class retreat. The three-sided infinity pool is ideally situated to give stunning views of the deep blue and green ocean waters. A series of steps take you down to the private beach or just wander through the collection of rare palm trees, and banana, papaya, pineapple, orange and lemon trees.

Consider The Villa Itself

Two exquisitely-decorated suites are connected by a central living and offset kitchen area, designed to maximise the stunning ocean and garden views. The master bedroom has large bi-fold doors that open onto the wraparound deck. Both bathrooms provide twin honeymoon showers and outdoor bathtubs. Just imagine soaking in the fresh open air with an unfettered view of the stars with the soothing sound of the ocean waves in the background.

Resort activities include:

  • Star Gazing
  • Relaxation
  • Massage
  • Kayaking
  • Snorkelling
  • Paddle Boarding

Island activities include:

  • Scuba Diving
  • Hiking
  • Coastal Fishing
  • Pearl Farm Tour
  • Snorkelling
  • Bike Riding

 

Your Hosts

Your on-site hosts Richie and Rosie guarantee an unforgettable experience at Raiwasa Villa, raising the word pampering to new heights of excellence.

From the moment you arrive full of wide-eyed expectation until the moment you leave (wishing you didn’t have to go) the husband and wife duo head up a team that’s totally dedicated to taking care of your every need.

Together they deliver an experience that goes beyond five star—an experience that’s personal and discreet and tailored to your personal preferences.

During your stay Richie and Rosie will be your dedicated chefs introducing you to the gastronomic delights of dishes influenced by the different cultures of the Pacific region while also embracing your own personal preferences. If you’re interested, they love to share their culinary techniques with guests using locally grown, fresh, and mostly organic ingredients.

Both Richie and Rosie are extremely knowledgeable about the island of Taveuni and thrilled to share their insider secrets.

They have two children, Riya, six and Robert, two, and Rosie is an experienced children’s nanny, should you have need.

Richie oversees the villa’s skilled staff, who are so quiet and efficient that you will rarely notice their presence.

Patrick & Erika, owners of Raiwasa Villa, have entrusted their home and their guests to Richie, Rosie and the whole Raiwasa team. The couple is an integral part of the daily life of the villa. So much so that Patrick says,

“As your local hosts they are amazing and very skilled at what they do. I am sure, like us, you will just love them. But don’t think you can adopt them. We found them first!”

STAY 5/PAY 4 SPECIAL at Raiwasa Villa

FROM AUD$6,828 per person

Travel Dates:

  • Now to 20th December 2017
  • 8th January to 28th March 2018

Kimberley Coastal Camp 2018 Pre-Season Sale

SAVE $1980 per couple at Kimberley Coastal Camp. Stay for 6 – Pay for 5 – All Inclusive Package Stay

Book a 6 night stay during 2018 for 2 adults and only pay for 5*, transfers & alcohol additional.

There are very few places in the world where you can enjoy fabulous scenery, gourmet food, unique beach front accommodation, spectacular fishing and ancient rock art – all combined with unparalleled hospitality in a remote wilderness location.

Fill your days at Kimberley Coastal Camp with

  • Expert fully guided fishing (all equipment provided) – head out to the estuaries & blue water, try for the elusive Barra (with great success). Your catch is prepared for your mouth watering evening meal.
  • Drop the pots for mud crabs & Oyster gathering with of course Champagne!
  • Ancient rock art walks and tours (Gwion Gwion & Wandina) – the walk into the bush with Tub is a fascinating journey into the Dreamtime stories behind the incredibly preserved rock art he leads you to.
  • Boat cruises to remote private islands for gourmet picnic lunches, where you are likely to see no-one
  • Unplug and relax in truly one of the most unique and remote places.

New transport option – Paspaley Flying Boat! Direct from Darwin.

*Conditions apply. Per couple savings, min of 2 people booking to receive offer, twin share, transfers & alcohol additional, children at full child rate per night, limited bungalows subject to availability, non-refundable deposit of $2400 payable with in 7 days of booking, prices are correct at 20/9/17. Offer for nights booked between April & Sept 2018 and valid for bookings made before 31/12/17, not redeemable with any other offer. Only available for direct bookings, non-commission able

Kangaroos at the snow? Take a day trip to Australia’s High Country.

You might find it hard to believe but it does actually snow in Australia. We even have ski fields. Granted, it’s nothing like the Alps of Europe or the Rockies of North America, but that’s exactly why you should put it on your Australian to do list.

Our alpine region is home to a unique variety of flora and fauna found nowhere else in Australia.  There’s really nothing like the beauty of seeing snow on gumtrees. You may even be lucky enough to see a wombat burrowing in the snow or the occasional kangaroo looking a little lost.

Our mountains (perhaps just big hills to some of you from the Northern hemisphere) are located in NSW and Victoria and some can easily be visited on a day trip by helicopter so you can discover our little winter wonderland down under.

Here are a few facts about snow in Australia

The Australian Alps receive more snow than Switzerland!

The world’s longest continuously running ski club is in Australia (Kiandra Pioneer Ski Club).

Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest mountain stretches to 2,228 metres above sea-level.

Mt Buller is one of the busiest ski resorts in Victoria and only 3 1/2 hours drive away (or 1 hour helicopter ride) from Melbourne. With 22 lifts and around 80 kilometres of ski and snowboard terrain, this resort is open from early June to mid September each year, depending on the snow. There are even dog sled tours!

Mt Hotham, a Victorian ski resort in the Great Dividing Range, is upside down. The ski in / ski out accomodation is nestled at the top of the mountain not the bottom so when you ski out, you head straight down, not to the chair lift.

Perisher in in the heart of the Snowy Mountains in NSW is the largest ski resort in the Southern hemisphere.

Snow in Australia at an old settler hut on Mt Bogong
An old settler hut on Mt Bogong

A snow-shoe safari at Mt Sterling

Only an hour’s chopper ride from the centre of Melbourne takes you to Victoria’s High Country where you’ll discover the alpine wonderland and snow in Australia. On route, you’ll get an incredible sense of the vastness of the country.

As you take flight out of Melbourne, passing through our vibrant and creative city you’ll see just how flat the surrounding landscape is, with only a few dots of elevation to be seen – the Dandenong Ranges to the East, and the You Yangs and Grampians far to the West.

The scenery changes as we approach our destination – Mt Sterling a nature lover’s winter paradise. With no lift system, recreational activities consist mainly of snow shoeing and cross-country skiing, and is a great way to be immersed in the Australian snow.

 

We land at the famous “Craig’s Hut”as featured in “The Man from Snowy River” movie. After some short refreshments, you’ll be kitted out with snowshoes for an incredible guided snow safari through wintery bushland.

Upon return, a  delicious catered feast, complete with High Country wines and mountain tales await you, and you’ll have time to explore and be photographed with this icon of the High Country.

On your final leg we fly over the Mt Buller Alpine Resort so you can see an Australian ski field in action before heading back to Melbourne.

Note: This experience is weather dependent and available May to October and snow coverage cannot be guaranteed.

A wallaby in the snow in Australia
A wallaby in the snow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Itinerary: Wildlife in Legendary Landscapes of Australia

SUGGESTED MONTHS: MAY, JUNE, JULY, AUGUST, SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER.

It is fitting that Australia’s most recognised locations are also abundantly rich in wildlife offerings. Beginning in picturesque Sydney Harbour, travellers will witness one of the world’s great animal migrations as Humpback Whales pass by the city’s cliffs. Next is a trip to the spiritual heart of the continent, with highlights seeing Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Kings Canyon, with this region being particularly abundant in raptor birds and bushbirds.

Venturing north, World Heritage Listed Kakadu National Park is a precious nature reserve covering multiple habitats, boasting a huge concentration of nesting waterbirds, Saltwater Crocodiles, marsupials, reptiles and amphibians. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s great ecological treasures, with Lady Elliot Island being a prime spot to dive and snorkel with Manta Rays, turtles, reef sharks, tropical fish and beautiful hard and soft corals.

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

Sydney

Departing from one of the world’s most beautiful harbours, guests will 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.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Birds

Wedge-tailed, Flesh-footed, Sooty, Hutton’s and Fluttering Shearwaters arrive in significant numbers in September and October. Black-browed, Shy and Indian Yellow-nosed are the most likely albatross encounters. Giant Petrel, Great-winged Petrel and Providence Petrels are also occasionally seen, with Australasian Gannets, Silver Gull and Greater Crested Terns ever present.

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.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Marine Mammals

Humpback Whales head south on migration to Antarctica. Early October to Mid December, mothers and newborn calves tend to swim very close to the shoreline, Common Dolphin and Bottlenose Dolphins often sighted with occasional visits by Minke Whales, False Killer Whales, Orcas and Pilot Whales..

The Red Centre

 
Traversing through ancient rocky and rugged ranges, vivid red sandstone canyons that are 350 million years old, rich ochre coloured sand dunes, vast expanses of Mulga and Spinifex and the awe-inspiring rock formations of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, this is the ultimate exploration of the Red Centre.

This small group, three or four-day immersive adventure showcases this beautiful desert region and the amazing flora and fauna that have evolved to thrive in this arid environment including numerous skinks, the iconic Thorny Devil, bushbirds, raptor birds, Kangaroos, Common Wallaroos and fascinating insects.

Guests will see Mt Conner, the third iconic rock in Central Australia, take in a stunning sunrise over Kata Tjuta’s spiritual domes and spend an afternoon exploring Uluru, the most culturally significant monolith in Australia.

As a finale, guests will travel to impressive Kings Canyon to undertake the inspirational Rim Walk or stroll along Kings Creek and marvel at the sandstone rock walls, towering more than 300 metres above the valley floor before returning to Alice Springs.

Seasonal highlights

Autumn: Mar-May – Birds

Nesting occur for Black-breasted Buzzards, Brown Falcons, Australian Hobby, Nankeen Kestrels and Wedge-tailed Eagles. Large flocks of Zebra Finches are generally seen across the desert skies at this time of year along with Galahs. Crimson Chats, Splendid Fairy Wrens and Australian Bustards are nomadic and present if rains have occurred.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Birds

Black-breasted Buzzards, Black Falcons, Wedge-tailed Eagles, Nankeen Kestrels and Brown Goshawks nesting. Crested Pigeons, Mudlarks, Butcherbirds, Fairy Martins, Yellow Throated Miners, Crested Bellbirds, Chiming Wedgebills and occasionally the Spinifex Pigeons, Major Mitchell Cockatoos, Rainbow Bee-eaters and Red-capped Robins. Australian Ringneck Parrots, Galahs and Emus.

Autumn: Mar-May – Reptiles & Amphibians

Thorny Devils present before they burrow underground to hibernate for the winter. Long-nosed Water Dragons, Sand Goannas, Bearded Dragons, Central Netted Dragons and Black-headed Monitors.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Reptiles & Amphibians

Lizards emerge from winter hibernation. Blue-tongued Lizards, Perenties, Sand Goannas, Bearded Dragons, Central Netted Dragons, Long Nose Water Dragons and Thorny Devils all possible sightings.

The Top End


 
Covering black soil floodplains, paper bark swamps, savannah woodlands, monsoonal rainforests, river mangroves and dramatic escarpments, this is the ultimate Top End adventure for wildlife enthusiasts. Highlights include a visit to Fogg Dam, the iconic Yellow Water Cruise and airboat rides across the Mary River Catchment.

The richness and diversity of wildlife is simply extraordinary with wallabies, wallaroos, quolls, dingos, bats, goannas, frogs, pythons, waterbirds, cathedral termite mounds and the legendary Saltwater Crocodile, a small sample of viewing opportunities across these diverse habitats.

Visitors will be captivated by the cultural offerings found at the rock art galleries at Injalak and the sacred sites at Mt Borradaile, with the opportunity to learn about Australia’s fauna from the land’s traditional owners an unforgettable experience.

Seasonal highlights

Autumn: Mar-May – Birds

Red-winged Parrots, Double-barred, Star, Crimson and Long-tailed Finches, Red-tailed Cockatoos, Pheasant Coucal, White-bellied and Black-faced Cuckoo Shrikes, Bar-shouldered and Peaceful Doves.

Winter: Jun-Aug – Birds

Mass flocks of Magpie Geese nesting, White-bellied Sea Eagles, Brahminy and Whistling Kites, Great Billed Herons, Azure Kingfishers, Plumed Whistling, Wandering Whistling and Spotted Whistling Ducks, Royal Spoonbills and Glossy Ibis.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Birds

High concentration of waterbirds, Brolga courtship dance, Great Egrets, Royal Spoonbills, Black-winged Stilts, Black-necked Storks (Jabirus), Comb-crested Jacana, Blue-winged Kookaburras.

Autumn: Mar-May – Land Mammals & Marsupials

Arrival of Black Wallaroo joeys, Antilopine Wallaroos breeding, Dingos, Agile Wallabies, Rock Ringtail Possums and Little Red Flying Foxes babies, Northern Brown Bandicoot, Brush-tailed Phascogale.

Winter: Jun-Aug – Land Mammals & Marsupials

Agile Wallabies, Dingos, Wilkins’ Rock-Wallabies, Black Wallaroos, Antilopine Wallaroos, colonies of Ghost Bats, Black and Little Red Flying Foxes and Blossom Bats.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Land Mammals & Marsupials

Concentration of Agile Wallabies around creeks and billabongs, Antilopone Wallaroos, Wilkins’ Rock Wallabies, Northern Brown Bandicoots, Brush-tailed Phascogales and Northern Quolls, Black & Little Red Flying Foxes, Ghost Bats and Blossom Bats.

Autumn: Mar-May – Reptiles & Amphibians

Abudant Saltwater Crocodiles, Frilled-neck Lizards, Mertens’ Water Goannas, Sand and Yellow-spotted Goannas, Dahl’s Aquatic Frog across the floodplains, Northern Dwarf, Little Green Tree Frogs, Green Tree Snakes, Children Pythons, Banded Tree Snakes and Olive Pythons.

Winter: Jun-Aug – Reptiles & Amphibians

Abudant Saltwater Crocodiles, Freshwater Crocodiles in the escarpments, Green Tree Snakes, Children Pythons, Olive Pythons, Rough Knob-tailed Gecko, Desert Tree, Rocket, Roth’s Tree and Northern Dwarf Tree Frogs.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Reptiles & Amphibians

Peak season for Saltwater Crocodiles observation with shrinking pockets of water, Freshwater Crocodiles, Fire-tailed Skink, Sand and Spotted Goannas, Copland’s Rock Frog.

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.

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

Autumn: Mar-May – Fish & Marine Invertebrates

Peak season for seeing Manta Rays. Bull Rays, Cowtail Stingrays, White-spotted Guitarfish, Spotted Eagle Ray and Blue-spotted Fantail Ray, Damselfish, Wrasses & Parrotfish, Surgeonfish, Angelfish, Groupers, Trumpetfish and Mooray Eels.

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.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Fish & Marine Invertebrates

Braching, Boulder, Plate and Mushroom hard corals and Gorgonian Fan, Organ Pipe and Pink Soft coral, Damselfish, Wrasses & Parrotfish, Surgeonfish, Angelfish, Blacktip and Whitetip Reef Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Wobbegongs, Epaulette Sharks, Manta Rays, Bull Rays and Eagle Rays.

Autumn: Mar-May – Birds

Crested, Roseate, Bridled and Black-naped Terns, Black Noddies, Lesser Frigatebirds and Great Frigatebirds, Brown Footed Boobies, Sooty and Pied Oyster-catchers, Eastern Reef Egrets, Pacific Golden Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone and Grey-tailed Tattler.

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.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Birds

Pacific Golden Plover, Ruddy Turnstones, Bar-tailed Godwits arrive from Northern Hemisphere migration, Sooty and Pied Oyster-catchers, Eastern Reef Egret, Brown Footed Boobies, Capricorn Silvereyes, Buff-banded Rails.

Autumn: Mar-May – Reptiles & Amphibians

Green and Loggerhead Turtles nest on the island’s pristine sandy dunes, hatchlings to emerge between January and May. The critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle can be seen in surrounding waters.

Winter: Jun-Aug – Reptiles & Amphibians

Green Turtles, Loggerhead Turtles and critically endangered Hawksbill Turtles.

Spring: Sep-Nov – Reptiles & Amphibians

Seasonal Highlights: Green and Loggerhead Turtle mating season, they commence nesting on the island’s pristine sandy dunes in November. The critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle can be seen in the surrounding waters.

 

 

Kimberley Coastal Camp

Kimberley Coastal Camp in the far north of Australia is one of our favourite places in the Kimberley region. With no ensuites, only cold showers, and sandy floors it may be seen as an odd choice but these details are minor compared to the incredible experience you will have. This unique destination is so remote that there is no road access, and with a maximum of just 16 guests, you will truly feel like you are one of the luckiest people on earth.

The small lodge is nestled unobtrusively on the pristine shores of the Admiralty Gulf, opposite the Mitchell Plateau and famous Mitchell Falls in one of the most beautiful and remote parts of the Kimberley. The camp has been built in a rustic style with timber beams and corrugated roofing with an eclectic combination of books, fishing tackle and beachcomber treasures for decoration. There are no pre-set itineraries here. You set the pace and can be as active or laid back as you like.

Kimberley Coastal Camp
Kimberley Coastal Camp

 

The area is a fisherman’s paradise and if you can catch it, they can cook it!  Guided bush walks take you to Aboriginal rock art galleries that include the unique Bradshaw paintings and the younger but equally beautiful Wandjina art.  Other activities during your stay will include boat trips to fish, visits to remote islands and beaches or even a helicopter flight over the Mitchell Falls.

This is one of the least explored and most spectacular coastlines in Australia – the craggy cliffs coming down to the water’s edge, with sandstone and shell covered beaches make this area nearly inaccessible.  All the ingredients for a perfect wilderness holiday are here – a pristine environment, deserted beaches, wildlife and birds, marine adventure, delicious fresh food, a cooling pool and magnificent scenery.

The Lodge

The Lodge at Kimberley Costal Camp.  Photographer – Travis Hayto

The ‘Shed’ is the open sided living area with high raked ceilings and is the place to socialise or chill out with a good book.  An open plan kitchen and ‘help yourself to the fridge’ attitude ensures a relaxed, friendly camp atmosphere. The nucleus of the lodge with its high raked ceilings is open to the gentle sea breezes and features rustic handmade furniture from recycled timbers, designer soft furnishings, a unique outback bar, and is the setting for wonderful gourmet meals Kimberley Coastal Camp has become famous for.

Accommodation

Kimberley coastal camp

Accommodation is provided in hand built spacious guest gazebos scattered amongst native grasses and red sandstone. Just sixteen guests can be accommodated in the comfortable but simple wooden chaletsEach gazebo takes full advantage of the tranquil views over the Admiralty Gulf and is elegantly furnished with 5 star king size or twin single beds fitted with luxurious Sheridan linen, screened walls, handmade timber furniture, reading lamps and a ceiling fan.  Crushed coral and sand make up the floor with small bedside mats and there is a bedside lamp, mirror, bedside table and a fan.  The shared bathroom facilities that open to the sky are utterly in tune with this wild and remote environment and are not in any way an imposition.

Incredible Indigenous rock art

The ultimate in experiential travel, Kimberley Coastal Camp is ideally located at the centre of one of the world’s finest repositories of indigenous rock art. With many rock art panels and caves within close walking distance, guests are invited to experience intimate encounters with this ancient culture via fully guided bush walks or scenic boat rides. The rare Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) is dated no less than 17 500 years old (some suggest older) and is currently testing the world’s best scientific minds. The more recent Wandjina rock art with radiating headdresses and mouthless faces decorate thousands of caves throughout this country known to traditional owners as Yalrundair.

Superb fishing

Superb fishing conditions entice the most avid anglers and adventurers. The Admiralty Gulf is considered one of Australia’s greatest  fishing destinations. Guests can choose to take their catch ashore on an island fringed by Boab trees where our guide will prepare it ‘bush style’ on the open coals.

Even by Kimberley standards, Kimberley Coastal Camp is isolated. With access limited to helicopter and float plane, and numbers kept to a minimum, fishing here is for the privileged few.

Species

Fish these abundant waters for Barramundi, Mangrove Jack, Fingermark, Mulloway (Northern Black Jew Fish), Threadfin Salmon, Giant Trevally, Spanish Mackerel, Tuna, Queen Fish, Coral Trout, Blue Bone and numerous other tropical species. In one day it is possible to catch everything from Barramundi to Blue Bone to Blue Fin Tuna.

Fishing Conditions

Huge tidal rivers together with mangrove lined creeks, estuaries, flats, offshore reefs and islands as well as blue water, ensure an exciting variety of fishing options. Kimberley Coastal Camp is one of very few fishing destinations in Australia able to offer such diverse options to the keen angler.

Yalrundair

Wild dingoes, sea eagles, olive pythons, endangered quolls, and many other native animals share this country known to traditional owners as ‘Yalrundair‘, a rich expanse of land made up of towering escarpments and sandstone rock formations. This is true wilderness, unspoiled by the introduction of feral animals, roads and pollution.

Guided walks cater to those wishing to venture on a short stroll or a challenging all day hike. Explore by boat scenic river systems and abundant bird life. Or relax on the daybed and admire wild dingoes, sea eagles and Brahminy kites as they descend at sunset to enjoy their share of the day’s catch.

Kimberley Coastal Camp has been catering to the discerning traveller since 1994 with personalised itineraries, a staff to guest ratio of no less than 1 staff member per 3 guests, and gourmet food utilising fresh local produce and native Australian bush tuckers. This is hosted accommodation at its best.

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.