For a bespoke experiential Australian holiday call +61 2 9571 6677


Paspaley – Experience the most beautiful pearls in the world

Recently Paspaley opened it’s Pearl Room doors to the Alquemie team and we had the privilege of a behind the scenes look at what goes into creating some of the most stunning jewellery on the planet.

As pearling pioneers, Paspaley has dedicated over 80 years to the perfect pearl. Today, this family owned business is the source of the rarest and most valuable pearls in the world. They are sourced in the Kimberley, one of the most pristine and remote locations on the planet.

Paspaley nurtures their pearls on a remote network of farms stretching more than 2500km across the north-west coast of Australia. With a sophisticated fleet of purpose built ships, they are one of the few companies to still dive for wild pearl oysters.

After they are lovingly harvested the pearls go through a serious selection process. Only a few make the grade to become part of an exquisite piece of Paspaley jewellery.

Guests of Alquemie are invited to discover the magic and beauty of Paspaley’s Australian South Sea pearls through a selection of behind the scenes experiences in Sydney, Darwin and Broome that are off-limits to the public.

These include:

The Pearl Room (Sydney)

Guests will travel in a heritage elevator to the basement level where within the refurbished bank vaults of the Paspaley building is The Pearl Room. In this room, which is not open to the general public, the Paspaley company’s sorting and grading operations are housed. The Pearl Room is also home to some of the most important pearls ever found including The Unique Collection – a selection of particularly special Australian South Sea pearls chosen for their exceptional shape, colour and lustre and The Kuri Bay Collection – a collection of Australian South Sea pearls from the first harvests at Australia’s oldest pearl farm, Kuri Bay.

The Paspaley Pearl

Pearl Grading (Broome)

In the Broome boutique guests will gain an understanding of The Five Virtues – the traditional method by which all fine pearls are graded. In a hands-on session, guests learn the steps involved in this highly skilled practice, and begin their journey to becoming true pearl connoisseurs.

Unique Paspaley favourites

Paspaley Pearl Farm Tour (chartered from Darwin)

In our opinion the best way to experience Paspaley is to do a private trip out to their pearl farms on the Kimberley coast, travelling in one of their Grumman Mallard flying boats and accompanied by one of their pearling experts. Discover the pearl farming process and the techniques used to produce the world’s rarest and most valuable pearls.


Romancing the Pearl itinerary

A Paspaley pearl experience can be woven in beautifully with a holiday in the Kimberleys. Contact your Alquemie Advisor about building a bespoke itinerary that oozes romance and crescendos in a unique piece of Paspaley jewellery.

Wild Food Adventures in the Southern Highlands

The Southern Highlands are only a short heli ride or an hour and a half drive from Sydney but are a world away. The scenery ranges from rolling farmlands and vineyards to lush eucalyptus forests and rainforest microclimates. On a Wild Food Adventure you’ll explore local villages and hiking trails, taste bush foods, swim in waterfalls, cycle through vast forests, take in the view from above via helicopter or sample some of the cool climate wines the region has become famous for. 

Here are a few of the fabulous Wild Food Adventures on offer. Note that they all have a similar theme – delicious food and wine! Stay for the day or linger longer – there’s so much to do you’ll not want to leave.


An artisan experience that is truly unique! Learn the skills of a Blacksmith with fire and forge in his workshop followed by lunch at an awarded Beer Brewing House to sample the local craft ales.

You’ll receive a 3-hour forge lesson from the Blacksmith on how to make your own fire poker, twisted skewer or drawn ‘S’ hook which you get to take away with you. This is followed by a visit to Southern Highlands Brewing Tap House where you can sit back and enjoy their locally brewed 4 beer sampler. Each beer is perfectly matched with a shared plate dish from their award-winning chef. 


Enjoy a Canoes, Champagne and Canapes adventure at Yarrunga Creek as you discover the wildlife of the sunken forest  then dine on a two-course French cuisine lunch and Mount Ashby wines at the Mount Ashby boutique vineyard.  Roam the Bowral Produce Store (circa 1918) which houses 17th to 19th century French and local antiques. At the end of the day explore Cherry Tree Hill’s award-winning quality boutique wines and snack on shared plate of local produce as you taste the vast varieties of wines.


Explore the natural beauty of the 40 Foot Falls in the Southern Highlands, followed by VIP access beyond the cellar door to taste cool climate wines from the region, and lunch near the antique stalls of Old Bowral.

Your day begins with a guided walk through stunning tall trees and traces parts of the old Boxvale Tramway Trail that used to haul coal through the Nattai gorge. The 40 Foot Falls at the end are the icing on the cake. Afterwards you’ll taste award winning cool climate wine at Artemis Vineyard, where you’ll meet the winemakers and explore this family run boutique winery.

Then enjoy a paddock to plate lunch with matching wines at Harry’s on the Green, nameed after the renowned English nurseryman and horticulturist, Sir Harry Veitch who dispatched daring plant hunters to foreign lands to find exotic treasures for his wealthy London clientele. Following lunch, discover over 75 dealers of antique and vintage wares at Dirty Janes. Finally roam through the iconic Book Barn and enjoy a VIP tasting with charcuterie or cheese platter at Bendooley Estate.


This day is a food lovers’ dream which includes exploring picturesque vineyards, VIP access to taste cool climate wines from the region and dining at a 2 hatted award winning restaurant, Biota Dining.

Your day will include tastings at Gourmet Traveller Magazine’s “Best Tasting Experience” cellar door at Tertini Wines with alternative varietals on offer and also the Saint and St Maur Lot41 Series at the picturesque St Maur Vineyard. You’ll dine at hatted award-winning restaurant – Biota Dining (Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon) / Bistro Officina (Fri, Sat, Sun) or Katers (Tues, Wed, Thurs) enjoying an unforgettable shared plate lunch experience of local wild and farmed produce. You’ll meet the winemakers at Centennial Vineyards where up to 35 wines are on offer and enjoy shared plates of cheese, olives and dips with VIP access beyond the cellar door.


A Walking & Creativity Retreat in Margaret River

Enjoy a 3, 4 or 7-day bespoke Walking & Creativity Retreat in Margaret River.  Walk along selected sections of the Cape to Cape track, be inspired & replenished by the natural beauty of the region and explore your creativity under the guidance of local artists.

Walks and creativity sessions are tailored to each guest.

Creative sessions could include painting, sculpting, textiles, weaving, pottery, theatre, writing, glass-blowing, drawing and photography. Other activities available are sound healing, yoga, canoeing, dance and wine-tasting.

Below is a sample 4 day itinerary.

Day 1 – Perth to Margaret River – walk 5km – wildflowers – canoeing

Let us drive you from Perth to Margaret River via Meelup Beach to enjoy brunch before a fun canoeing experience.
Walk from Cape Naturaliste to Sugar Loaf Rock – one of the most photographed coastal features in this region. Look out for whales and more unique wildflowers.

Day 2- Wilyabrup Cliffs – walk 5km – yoga – painting session

Start the day with gentle yoga. Walk along the spectacular Wilyabrup cliffs before a local cuisine degustation at one of the oldest wineries in the region & taste world-renown wines before our 3-course meal. During the afternoon create your own colourful canvas in a painting session with award-winning local artist.

Day 3- Boranup Forest – walk 9km – sculpture session

The stunning Boranup forest will take your breath away as you walk and feel deeply reconnected to nature.
Create your own site-specific sculptures deep in the heart of the Karri trees with our award-winning, international environmental sculptor to guide you.

Relax in the afternoon with free time to reflect & take in the beauty of our surroundings.

Day 4- Cape Leuwin walk

Walk through another magical stretch of Karri forest, coastal woodlands & heath all the way to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse &
enjoy lunch at the White Elephant overlooking Gnarabup Beach. Explore Margaret River town before our drive back to Perth.

The Great Beach Drive

Capture the dramatic coastline, scenery and wildlife and indulge in an unique once in a lifetime experience driving on over 70 kilometres of golden sandy beaches from Noosa to Rainbow Beach on Queensland’s Great Beach Drive. Accessible only by 4×4 vehicles, it’s an experience that can only be described as exhilarating.

Your local and experienced guides take you to the best-kept secrets of this coastline, and their knowledge makes it an experience to remember.

Rainbow Beach is famous for its stunning coloured sands, which were once used by the Gubbi Gubbi people for their artwork and boomerang decoration.

The trip also stops at the secluded and serene Honeymoon Bay, Red Canyon where the red and yellow sands form this unique pinnacle in the sand dunes, a pristine rainforest at Freshwater and the Lighthouse at Double Island Point.

This stretch of stunning sandy beaches features two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves side-by-side, with the Great Sandy Biosphere and Noosa Biosphere offering a unique combination of both beach and bushland.


40 Mile Beach

A pristine stretch of white sand with stunning headland views all the way from Noosa to Double Island Point.

Red Canyon

Here, red and yellow sands form a unique canyon in the sand dunes where you will enjoy magnificent views over Teewah Beach – a landscape you will never forget.


A scenic and relaxing picnic ground in the Great Sandy National Park where we might be visited by Lace Monitors (Goannas), who love being photographed.


Double Island Point Lighthouse offers breathtaking 360-degree views across the Pacific Ocean and scenic surrounds of the Great Sandy National Park. It is here we often spot pods of dolphins, turtles, sharks, manta rays and the majestic Humpback Whales (season is June-October). We are the only operators with access to the lighthouse, allowing you to see parts of this popular spot otherwise missed. 

Coloured Sands

This world famous attraction has more than 40 different shades of colour. The tour includes a demonstration of the traditional techniques used by the Aboriginal people (with respect to the Gubbi Gubbi people) to create artwork and decorate boomerangs.

Honeymoon Bay

This area boasts a saltwater lagoon with some of the most scenic landscapes in Australia. Here we stop for a refreshing break where you can swim in the protected waters of the bay, or body surf on the longest right hand breaks in Australia all year round.


A beautiful and unique rainforest drive through sand dunes.

Dialogue in the Dark – A unique Melbourne must-do experience

Dialogue in the Dark is more than a just a tour of Melbourne. It is a sensory journey set in total darkness – an incredible experience where you step out of your comfort zone and take on the challenges of a bustling, simulated Melbourne in the dark.

The aim of Dialogue in the Dark is to give full sighted people the experience of getting about the world as a person with low vision or blindness. It’s one of the most unique tours I’ve ever done, and it was profoundly life-changing whilst being incredibly fun at the same time.

All the guides have low vision or are blind and my guide Jenny made me feel comfortable in her world as I stepped into the dark corridor equipped only with a white cane. As the light faded away my other senses heightened – the noises, the smells, and my sense of touch. Jenny led the way using her voice or tapping an object, guiding me through the streets of Melbourne and inviting me to explore my surrounds. We visited iconic places, explored every day objects that are taken for granted and covered the city in a way I’d never thought possible given it was just a simulation in a room.

Jenny had a wealth of knowledge about Melbourne’s culture and history and a great sense of humour. She also made me feel confident in my skills to navigate around as a person with blindness, in addition to being open about her story and situation.

As a Melburnian I thought it was a terrific way to explore my native city and experience some of the highlights. For visitors I think it would be perfect to start a Melbourne itinerary with a morning at Dialogue in the Dark, follow it with a trip on the nearby Melbourne Star Observation Wheel for an orientation over the city and then visit the sights in real life later in the day.


Dialogue in the Dark™ is presented in partnership with Guide Dogs Australia and is located not far from the city centre in the Docklands area. For more information about it click here.



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.








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. The 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 trip 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, experienced guides will take you through your exciting itinerary for the next few days.

Included is 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 the passionate guides and include local produce and Tasmanian wines.


  • 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 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.


Day 1: Your transfer from Hobart is included. You will be collected from your hotel and taken on a 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: An Aqua Taxi will take you down to Hazards Beach to enjoy some coastal walks within Freycinet National Park. The guides will take you on a hike from Hazards Beach to Wineglass Bay for a picnic lunch. After dinner, is optional 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. You will undertake the award winning Freycinet Paddle -3 hour guided sea kayaking tour at twilight.

Day 4: Included is 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

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.



A 3 day wilderness glamping event in the Southern Highlands – 27 to 29 October 2017

Be part of an unforgettable and uniquely Australian three day wilderness celebration.

It’s a festival connecting you to nature through soul-stirring and authentic wild activities. And as nature is unpredictable, exciting and untamed, we mix in the whimsical to craft those truly exceptional moments.

This definitely isn’t your average weekend in the country.

This creatively programmed three day wilderness event is a rich mixture of remote glamping with concierge, mouth-watering food experiences, up-close nature exploration through hiking, abseiling, canoeing and mountain biking, awe-inspiring performance art and enough stolen moments to just be. It’s a carnival for the senses designed to let you do as little or as much as you want.

As a special offer to all Alquemie customers we are also including the Canoes, Canapés and Champagne experience as part of this 3 day itinerary at no extra cost.

Add in a wild Native Feast, night photography and an open-air wellness spa and you are starting to understand what it is all about. And then of course there are the surprises that can’t be shared just yet.

All nature-connect activities are optional but included as part of the package price alongside your food, drink and accommodation. Everything is included, you will want for nothing.

Your day is scheduled based on the questionnaire you complete after booking and matched to either your fitness level or your desire for a more leisure-based or physically challenging activity choice.

We provide exceptional chef-designed catering and we do all the heavy lifting along the way. When you reach that magic spot, your deck chair, canapés and special glass of something will await. All you have to do is sit back and savour the beauty that is mother nature. It’s a step out of the everyday into the wild.

The location – Joadja Old Town & Distillery

Joadja Old Town is a very unique and special place and never before has an event like this been held in this location. Its wilderness is unmatched in the area and the historical backdrop of colonial mining ruins are mesmerising.

Only 25 kms west of Mittagong, Joadja town was founded on a shale seam in 1850 and Scottish workers were brought out to Australia to mine it. The mine closed early in the 20th century, and the town was abandoned. The buildings were left to the elements, and nature has slowly regained its hold on much of the valley. The ruins that remain, entangled with the wild, tell the story of those that lived and worked here.

The mining technology that made the valley so prosperous in its time stands as the last of its kind in the world. Joadja truly is a gem of world heritage significance and an intriguing part of Australia’s history.

Canoes, Champagne and Canapés Experience

Before check in on 27th Oct or after check out on 29th Oct from Joadja Old Town we are also including this unique experience in Kangaroo Valley.

Canoes, Champagne and Canapés is the perfect combination food, wine and wilderness. Its gastronomy heaven for lovers of great food as well as a wine tasting exploration of award winning cool climate varietals and boutique craft beers from the Southern Highlands, all set in a wilderness sanctuary where nature over delivers.

Gliding downstream on the Kangaroo River from Beehive Point to the mouth of Yarrunga Creek with the backdrop of the Morton National Park in Kangaroo Valley is one such place. Take a seat in one of our custom-built double-canoe rigs and immerse your senses in its sheer beauty. This area is home to the majestic azure kingfisher, wedge-tail eagle, diamond python, rock wallaby, white-breasted sea eagle, water dragon and more.

Package price does not include transfers to and from Joadja Old Town or Beehive Point for the Canoes, Champagne and Canapés Experience. For those unable to self drive and need transportation and for full terms and conditions please contact your Alquemie Specialist.

The 3 Day WILDfest Southern Highlands Premium Package is all inclusive.

  • 3 Days and 2 Nights Glamping on the Remote Joadja Old Town private site from check in on Friday 27th Oct to check out on Sunday 29th Oct
  • Glamping guests enjoy concierge service and tent inclusions are:
    • Real beds – Mattress on bed bases, floor rugs and welcome mat
    • Quality bed linen package – sheets, pillow cases, warm doona, warm throw and cushion
    • Towels, face washer and environmentally friendly toiletries
    • Luggage rack and low shelving unit• Bed side tables with solar lights and chairs
    • Communal lounge are in our Sperry Tent
    • Toilets and hot showers serviced regularly on site
  • Our central communal lounge Sperry tent will be stocked with local snacks to keep the hunger pains at bay as well as cool climate wines, local boutique beers and soft herbal non-alcoholic tonics and fresh gravity feed mountain water for you to access anytime.
  • Tea and coffee will be available on request through our concierge team.
  • Gourmet meals prepared by Brigid Kennedy of the Loch in Berrima & Simmer Catering. These include:
    • Welcome Lunch Friday 27th Oct – Our food is fresh paddock-to-plate all the way with gastronomic delights carefully crafted by our award-winning chefs for which the region is renowned.
    • Sundowners followed by Gourmet Fire Feast on Friday 27th Oct. Sit back and relax as we serve you a char-grilled extravaganza of the finest locally cultivated produce. Platters to satisfy the most ardent meat lover or vegetarian gastronome will be served accompanied by the best of the best Highlands wines: crisp Pinot Grigio, delicate Chardonnay, elegant Riesling or gold-medal winning Pinot Noir depending on your preference.
    • Breakfast on Sat 28th and Sun 29th Oct – After a steaming hot shower greet the day with fresh baked sourdough smothered in smoky butter, just-roasted coffee or hand-blended tea. Expect a sumptuous feast of freshly baked pastries, organic juices, super food porridge and classic farm-style hearty breakfast options such as free range eggs, locally reared bacon or pancake stacks with fruit and maple syrup.
    • Picnic lunch on Saturday 28th Oct at the Joadja Old Town Property – location depending on your chosen activities that day. Enjoy crusty bread with hand made artisan delicacies such as pate, ploughman’s or thick crusted open sandwiches served with fresh salads, fruits of the season and something sweet to fuel you until dinner.
    • Farewell Lunch on Sunday 29th Oct – Our last supper together will celebrate all that is amazing about the richness and diversity of food and wine produce from the Highlands region.
    • After lunch on Sunday 29th Oct we will take you on a tour of the Joadja Distillery where they make Single Malt Whisky, Moonshine, Dr Gin, Anise and their Wee Scottish Ale as well as set up a shop in the WIldfest Café – Why not pack your bag with a taste of the Highlands to enjoy while you look back on your unforgettable images of WILDfest™ Southern Highlands
  • Wild Native Feast event from 5.30pm on Sat 28th OctoberOur signature foodie event – A combination of award-wining local produce partnered with fresh foraged delights that have been crafted into a 7 course feast by resident chef Damien Monley. We will serve this under the stars in one of the paddock at Joadja Old Town and mix in some whimsical elements to really make your night complete – live entertainment with acoustic music, seven incredible courses and we provide you with Top Hat & Tails for the guys and Tiaras & Gloves for the ladies to really immerse=se yourself in the wonderland setting we have created for this special dinner.
  • Participate in 5 of the available Nature Connect Activities with our fully qualified guides over your 3 day festival period:
    • Hike & Harvest Bush Walk
    • Mountain Biking with bikes provided
    • Canoe experience with canoes provided
    • Abseiling with all equipment provided and guides to teach you
    • 4WD Drive tour of the Joadja Old Town Ruins
    • Wildlife Encounter with the South Coast Rescue Team and Australia Raptor Centre
    • Rejuvenate and Meditate- our bush spa treatment
    • Art Classes in the bush

The festival organisers schedule your day based on the questionnaire you complete after booking.  These are matched to either your fitness level or desire for more leisure-based or physically challenging activity choices.

  • Start the day with either Yoga or Tai Chi before breakfast.
  • Additional activities such as night photography and glow in the dark boules will be offered and you can choose to participate or not during your weekend adventure.



FRIDAY 27TH OCT 2017  Sunrise 6.00am

11am – Arrive and Check In

Guests arrive at our remote location – Joadja Old Town in Southern Highlands about 1.5 hours south of Sydney. We have arranged car parking nearby for those arriving in their own vehicles or local pick ups for other arrival options. We then transfer you on to the WILDfest site by 4WD where you’ll enjoy a welcome drink, meet the festival staff and settle in to your perfectly provisioned bell tent. We’ll brief you on your itinerary before you embark on your long weekend.

Noon -1.30pm-  Welcome Lunch 

Our festival foodie mecca has been set up adjacent to the Whiskey Distillery where you will, over the next three days, sample the best of locally grown produce from more than 100 regional growers and producers. Brigid Kennedy and her team at The Loch, Berrima are well known for their Foodie Field Day Feasts and are providing our day-to-day catering.  Brigid is an expert chef and the driving force behind the Southern Highlands Food & Wine Clusters, a development which has put the national spotlight on the rich and diverse wine and food culture in the Highlands.  She is also a celebrated author having published Small Food and All Fired Up and is currently working on her next book Slave to Flavour

Expect delights such as line-caught local perch, fresh hand-reared Angus beef, free range chicken, luscious organic vegetables and fruit, artisan cheeses, the freshest of hand-kneaded breads, smoky churned butters, award-winning cold climate wines, and boutique beers and ciders that rival the best in the country. Our food is fresh paddock-to-plate all the way with gastronomic delights carefully crafted by our award-winning chefs for which the region is renowned.

2.00-4.00pm – Hike and Harvest 

Time to set off and explore the surrounding native bush with our expert guides. We have a number of trails to choose from that weave through pristine wilderness teaming with wildlife – meet some local kangaroos and wallabies, wombats, birds in abundance, lyre birds, monitors and our elusive platypus. See our colonial past as you pass by mining ruins and take in the abundance of native bush foods on which our forefathers and indigenous populations survived. Then quench your thirst with fresh mountain stream water as you unwind and get accustomed to the extraordinary landscape.  Hike to the top of the mountain to gaze over the escarpment from the comfort of your deck chair, raise your glass and take that unforgettable photo. Just sit back and take the time to enjoy the uniqueness of nature’s beauty – you have earned it.

6pm – Sun-downers by the waterhole 

With the sun setting over the water we have the perfect place to enjoy a pre-dinner drink and watch nature light up the sky. And as nature is unpredictable, exciting and untamed, we mix in the whimsical to make our first night a truly exceptional moment. Expect some entertaining surprises.

Sunset 7.18pm

7.30pm Under the Milky Way Gourmet Fire Feast

Sit back and relax as we serve you a char-grilled extravaganza of the finest locally cultivated produce. Platters to satisfy the most ardent meat lover or vegetarian gastronome will be served accompanied by the best of the best Highlands wines: crisp Pinot Grigio, delicate Chardonnay, elegant Riesling or gold-medal winning Pinot Noir depending on your preference.

Add in an optional glow-in-the-dark boules tournament or perhaps night photography under the splendour of the Milky Way guided by one of our award-wining photographers. There are also a few more surprises we don’t want to share just yet!

Make your way back to your inviting 900 thread count sheets by foot or vehicle and expect to see a few nocturnal friends along the way.

SAT 28TH OCT 2017 – Sunrise 5.59am

7.00am Start the day with morning yoga in the bush

Yoga is a group of spiritual, mental and physical disciplines which originated in ancient India and what better way to greet the coming day than in the quiet seclusion of the Australian bush. Deep breathe, stretch your body and leave your troubles behind you as you ready yourself for another day connecting with the wild parts of the world.

7am – 9am – Breakfast

After a steaming hot shower greet the day with fresh baked sourdough smothered in smoky butter, just-roasted coffee or hand-blended tea. Expect a sumptuous feast of freshly baked pastries, organic juices, super food porridge and classic farm-style hearty breakfast options such as free range eggs, locally reared bacon or pancake stacks with fruit and maple syrup.

9.00 – 11.00am – WILD Cycle

Explore the wilderness with our expert guides on mountain bikes and a choice of tracks: a challenging upward track or an exhilarating cycle down into the valley with the wind in your face. Mountain bikes are tailor made to handle our terrain from hard-packed, muddy, rocky, gravel, tree roots to soft form vegetation. They are the prefect vehicle for an adventure along the tracks and trails that make up the Joadja Old Town estate.

All bikes are provided for you and our guides will be on hand to show you the best places to ride. And of course we weave in some unexpected surprises to take your long weekend from ordinary to extraordinary.

12.30 – 2.00pm – Lunch

What better way to enjoy the water than in our custom-built canoes while you sip on award-winning Highlands wines and savour native food canapés? We have designed a central rig that links two canoes together offering not only greater stability to paddle but also a perfect picnic table.

2.30-4.00pm – WILDlife – Meet some of the locals

At WILDfest™ we are for wild and wildlife so we have arranged an out of the ordinary encounter with some of our adorable Australian animal citizens in conjunction with Wildlife Rescue South Coast Inc, HigherGround Raptor and Southern Highlands Koala Sanctuary. Their teams and a licensed exhibitor will be on hand to give you an insight into being a native animal carer and you can get up close with some of our more adorable mammals and birds.

5.30pm WILDfest Native Feast

No festival would be complete without its signature event and WILD Native Feast is ours! Under the stars guests will enjoy a 7 course food adventure carefully curated by Damien Monley of Grand Bistro, Bowral, from the natural bounty of our land. Enjoy a gastronomic treat using hand reared, hand grown and foraged local produce as the heavens put on a show for us.

Damien Monley is Head Chef and owner-operator of Bowral’s stylish Grand Bistro, has run the kitchen in Matt Moran’s eponymous 2-hatted restaurant, London’s internationally renowned Gastropub The White Horse on Parsons Green, the Brooklyn Hotel and has been owner-operator of two successful Sydney eateries, Madame Char Char at Surry Hills and Flat White Cafe, Woollahra.
He’s a man passionate about nature, the provenance of the ingredients and produce he uses, his relationship with local suppliers, and a belief in the joy of eating honest, rustic food.

No remote formal dinner is complete without an acoustic live performance under the milky way, so get ready for it. There is of course a twist. We’ve arranged to provide gentlemen with top hat and tails whilst the ladies are offered gloves and tiaras to add some magic to this signature event. It’s still outdoors though so gumboots all the way!

Sunset 7.19pm

SUNDAY 29TH OCT 2017- Sunrise 5.58am

7am Start the day with Tai Chi in the bush

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing. What better way to greet the coming day than in the quiet seclusion of the Australian bush. Deep breathe, stretch your body and leave your troubles behind you as you ready yourself for another day connecting with the wild parts of the world.

7am – 9am Breakfast

Another foodie feast selection to start the day from Brigid Kennedy and her team at The Loch, Berrima.

9.00 – 11.00am WILD Escarpment OR Joadja Ruins 4WD Exploration

Abseiling is not for everyone but if you like a really wild adventure then our team of expert guides will make sure they get your heart pounding as you see nature from a completely new perspective – off the top of the rocky escarpment overlooking Joadja Old Town.  It’s the view any social media addict will covet.You may of course prefer a guided tour in a 4WD exploring the tracks and trails of the 1000 acre Old Town historical site and get a glimpse into our rugged mining past.

12.00 – 1.30pm Lunch

Our last supper together will celebrate all that is amazing about the richness and diversity of food and wine produce from the Highlands region.  Why not pack your bag with a taste of the Highlands to enjoy while you look back on your unforgettable images of WILDfest™

2.00-3.00pm Rejuvenate & Meditate in our Bush Spa

Nothing says relaxation like an open-air bush spa. Opt for a luxurious foot massage to get the circulation going while taking in the peaceful bush views or perhaps a remedial treatment to smooth the knots in your shoulders, back and neck. It’s about shutting the door on the day-to-day, quietening your mind, relaxing your body and remembering what it’s like to feel wild and free.

Checkout from 4pm

Your bags will be collected from your tents and be on hand for your departure. We will transfer you back to your cars or arrange to drop you at your departure point. And for those staying in the Highlands to enjoy Anzac day we will coordinate transfer to your next accommodation choice.

Sunset 7.20pm

When you are not participating in an activity there is as much or as little to do as you desire. Perhaps you want to read a book in our relaxation shade tent at the glamping centre and enjoy a glass of award-wining cold climate wine or walk the 500m to the natural springs for a swim.

Joadja Old Town is teaming with wildlife from kangaroos, koalas and wombat populations to platypus, lyre birds and monitors. Nature offers a great show to just observe or perhaps engaging in conversation with another festival guest is the way to spend a lazy hour.

This is your long weekend so you can opt in and out of activities as you choose and set your own pace. And after check out, the more adventurous are invited to take their own transport to another location for our Twilight Strip N Dip to baptise ourselves in the WILD, just the way nature intended.

For more information or to book this please contact your Alquemie Australian Specialist.

Contact us to begin your tailor-made journey to Australia

Maria Island Walk

Why we love the Maria Island Walk

Summer is a wonderful time for walking in Tasmania – days should be sunny and warm, rain rarely falls on the east coast and nights are cool and star studded (the clear skies are perfect for star gazing).   Maria Island (pronounced Mar-aye-a) is an island national park and a natural wildlife sanctuary with historic ruins, sweeping bays, dramatic cliffs and peaks and tall woodlands and this is why we love the Maria Island Walk, one of the Great Walks of Australia.

Friendly Eastern Grey Kangaroos seen on the Maria Island Walk
Friendly Eastern Grey Kangaroos seen on the Maria Island Walk

In addition to the island being one of Tasmania’s great bird watching hot spots (11 of the state’s 12 endemic species can be seen here), wombats, wallabies, kangaroos as well as pademelons and Tasmanian devils are frequently seen.  The waters around the island are a Marine Nature Reserve and are regularly visited by whales, dolphins and seals.

Relaxing in the wilderness on the Maria Island Walk
Relaxing in the wilderness on the Maria Island Walk

Flush with awards (the walk has earned more Gourmet Traveller awards than any other product around the globe) here are 7 reasons why this walk is one of our favourites:

  1. Operating in a national park means all aspects of the walk are eco-friendly
  2. This is a great walk for wildlife spotting and for exploring different habitats
  3. The walk can be easy or moderate.  Without the side-trips the walk is an easy 25km over 3 nights / 4 days; add-in the side-trips and the challenge becomes 43km, some of it quite steep.
  4. The walk is owner operated – not that Ian Johnstone hosts every walk, but he does run the business and is very passionate about what he does.
  5. The walk is easily combined with two of our favourite Tassie destinations – Hobart & Saffire (perfect for a little indulgence after a few days of walking).
  6. During the height of the season the walk operates almost daily so it is an easy fit into a well-planned itinerary.
  7. Food glorious food … Tasmanian produce is some of the best in the world so enjoy delicious meals and a glass of wine each evening.
Maria Island walk - The Dining Hut, with a well earned bottle of red waiting on the table...
Maria Island walk – The Dining Hut, with a well earned bottle of red waiting on the table…

The walks operate in groups of 10 guests and two guides, they include transfers from / to Hobart. For those walkers who prefer not to carry the normal 5-8kg pack, The Maria Island Walk is now offering a “pack-free” experience, where guests’ gear is transferred between camps each day so they only carry their lunch, water, camera and jacket.

A cute Common Wombat seen on the Maria Island Walk
A cute Common Wombat seen on the Maria Island Walk.

Maria Island 2 night Winter Escape experience (May to September)

Winter is also a beautiful time to visit Maria Island. In groups of up to 8 guests guides will show you the island’s beauty and history and amazing wildlife. And then each night, in the warmth and comfort of Bernacchi House, a rare, heritage listed house dating back to 1880. Enjoy a delicious candlelit dinner with fine wines while your guides amaze you with their many fascinating stories of Maria Island. And after the night’s banquet take a stroll on to veranda and marvel at the millions of stars and the fragrance of the lavender garden below.

This really is an experience not to be missed.


Click here to find out more about Australian travel with Alquemie