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Marramarra Lodge – a new luxury retreat on the Hawkesbury

Marramarra Lodge is a brand new luxury retreat on the Hawkesbury. Only accessible by boat or seaplane, yet so close to Sydney, this new luxury accommodation will be a hit with both domestic and international travellers looking for a quick and easy escape from the city – just one hour from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

The exclusive Marramarra lodge sits high on Fishermans Point peninsula on the Hawkesbury River with just eight stylish Peninsula Tents and seven Hawkesbury Bungalows – all with water views and either sunrise or sunset options.

The all-inclusive stay includes a daily six-course degustation at Budyari Restaurant as well as daily activities. There is also a spa and pool for spending a relaxing day in the stunning surrounds.

Two night Marramarra Lodge packages include:
– Transfers via Brooklyn Wharf & Marramarra Lodge
– Accommodation in a newly restored Hawkesbury Bungalow or Luxury Tent
– Gourmet breakfast of chef’s locally sourced and house made produce, each morning
– Light lunch daily
– Exclusive selection of minibar items
– Dinner beverages and paired wines
– Chef’s degustation dinner each evening
– Luxury amenities
– Daily resort activities

From just $1,100 per person twin share.

UPGRADE
Include a scenic Seaplane transfer or a Jet Ski Safari.

To book or enquire please contact the Alquemie team at alquemie@alquemie.com.au.

Saffire Freycinet Exclusive Winter Offer

Tasmanians know that the best time to experience the breathtaking natural wonder of Freycinet National Park is in the cooler season. Whether you’re hiking to wineglass bay, dressed in waders at the oyster farm, or in a full-body apiarist suit for our beekeeping experience, the quiet, clear Tasmanian winter air makes this connection to nature even more magical. The locals are willing to share this secret with you (along with warm fires, finest whiskies, hot stone massages and deep-soak baths)

 

With this 25% off special we invite you to experience the iconic luxury of Saffire Freycinet!

  • Available for stays until 30 September 2019 (subject to availability)
  • 2 night minimum stay
  • Booking remains non – refundable

 

Wildlife Conservation Sanctuary Heli Swag Adventure

Imagine visiting a place so remote and so isolated that it’s like going back in time to pre-European days, where animals that have gone extinct elsewhere on mainland Australia thrive in uninterrupted peace. There is a wildlife sanctuary in the north west Kimberley that offers just this.

The sanctuary is home to more than 30 animal species that are found nowhere else in Australia. Being so inaccessible there is no accommodation and it is even difficult to get there by 4×4 which is what makes it such a special experience for those wanting to get off the beaten track. It plays s a vital role to play in protecting and restoring the endangered wildlife of northern Australia.

For philanthropic guests interested in conservation in Australia this is the experience of a lifetime. Within the sanctuary is a field research station, strategically positioned at the frontline in a battle to save some of Australia’s most endangered mammals from extinction.

Accessed by helicopter, guests would sleep in traditional Aussie swags and spend time with researchers in one of the most unique locations in the world.

Note that this experience would require a significant donation to the sanctuary in addition to the costs of the experience.

If this conservation experience appeals then please contact Alquemie to discuss what opportunities are available. This bespoke experience is by request only and at the discretion of the sanctuary.

 

A WALK ON ROLE WITH OPERA AUSTRALIA AT THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

In January 2020 you could be a star at the Sydney Opera House with your very own walk-on role in Carmen or La Boheme.  This is experiential travel at its very finest! Just a handful of lucky opera enthusiasts will ever get to experience this with less than 10 places available per year.

Part of the Cultural Attractions of Australia collection, this walk-on role with Opera Australia lets you explore so much more than the stage. You’ll visit the Opera Australia studio and a costume dresser will fit you with a handmade costume. The Assistant Director will take you through what happens on stage – when you need to be still, when you need to be a star.

On the night of your performance, you’ll enter the Sydney Opera House via stage door and report to hair and makeup to have your show makeup and wig applied. Then, you’ll mount the stairs to the stage to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience, while someone you love watches from the auditorium.

Included:

  • 1 person on stage and a ticket for 1 guest in the audience
  • A costume fitting and hair and makeup session with Opera Australia’s wardrobe department.
  • Rehearsal with the show’s director and/or choreographer.
  • Backstage photographs taken by Opera Australia.
  • A souvenir program.

WHEN
2-30 Jan 2020.  Allow 2 days for the experience as costume fitting must be booked at least two days prior to performance.

 

Click here to enquire about this experience.

Dinner with David – a MONA experience in Tasmania

One of Australia’s unlikely superheroes is David Walsh, infamous creator of Australia’s most celebrated private museum – MONA – in Tasmania. Full of quirky, unexpected art, wouldn’t you like to pick his brains to see what makes him tick?

So why not have a private dinner with him and take him to task? Sure, he’s a terrible conversationalist—what with all the art and astrophysics chat—but the rest of this experience should be incredible. Dinner With David, one of the Cultural Attractions of Australia includes a ridiculously lavish private degustation in Mona’s chef’s hatted Source Restaurant. Mona has been known to make the tables out of humans, but that can not be guaranteed. Needless to say, David will also raid Mona’s legendary wine bunker for some game-changing wines.

Aside from dinner with the nerd, this experience also includes the best of everything Mona has to offer   — private jet transport from anywhere in Australia, luxury accommodation in Mona’s 5-star onsite Pavilions, a guided tour of the museum with Mona’s head curator, as well as a VIP tour of Moorilla Winery with the winemaker.

David may invite you play him at tennis on Mona’s not-so-private court at the museum entrance. Avoid this, his serve volley game is too strong.

Included:
  • Private jet transfer from anywhere in Australia
  • Two night’s luxury on-site accommodation (Mona Pavilions)
  • VIP museum tour
  • VIP winery tour
  • Private dinner and wine degustation at The Source Restaurant with David Walsh
  • Lunch in Faro (bar and restaurant)
  • Access to all bookable art experiences
  • Breakfast in the Source restaurant
  • and pretty much anything else you might want or can dream up!

 

THE BANQUET OF CLEOPATRA – A PRIVATE DINNER IN THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA

One of the latest additions to the new Cultural Attractions of Australia collection is this wonderful experience at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne’s city centre. Guests will experience an exclusive and unforgettable evening of art, music, fine dining and wine.

The Gallery will be exclusively yours for the evening. Arrive at the NGV’s iconic waterwall entrance where you will be welcomed and escorted on a private tour to discover the extraordinary highlights of the NGV’s acclaimed international collection. Intimate live music performances will accompany your private viewing experience.

Then indulge in a degustation dinner, set within the gallery space in front of the NGV’s revered masterpiece, Giambattista Tiepolo’s The Banquet of Cleopatra.

Included:

  • Exclusive and private evening at Australia’s oldest and most visited art museum.
  • Private evening access to the NGV.
  • Highlights tour of the art collection by NGV Curator or NGV Guide.
  • Curated live music performances.
  • Degustation dinner in front of NGV’s most famous masterpiece, The Banquet of Cleopatra by Giambattista Tiepolo.
  • Professional video or photography taken of the event will be made available to guests.

Pearls & whirlpools – Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm

Just over two hours north of Broome along a deep red, dusty road is a special place that will take your breath away. Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, famed for producing some of the world’s most beautiful pearls for generations, is now one of the must-do experiences in the Kimberley.

Arriving by road at Cygnet Bay you’re reminded that it is indeed a working pearl farm. Old buoys and boats decorate the driveway and it feels very authentic, because it is. Visitors come for the pearls, for a beautiful location to stay and for the ‘sea safaris’, two extraordinary experiences on the water.

The road to Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm

We visited in early April as one of the first guests of the season. Tourists do not usually journey this far north until a few weeks later when the wet season is truely over. At this time of year, some roads might still be impassable due to flooding and the extreme heat can make it unpleasant. On the plus side if you dare to risk it, it’ll be likely that you’ll have many places to yourself.

The pearl farm stretches across a vast area of the Dampier Peninsular encompassing the stunning Cygnet Bay, many uninhabited islands and red earth that is bordered on either side by indigenous communities. Despite being the only non-indigenous place in the area, there is a strong relationship that bonds the Brown family, owners of Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm and the local aboriginals from the area.

The first thing that struck us as we pulled up was the bright blue water behind reception. There really is nothing like the colours of this region and the sea was calling us but no visit to Cygnet Bay would be complete without first learning about pearl farming. To know that time, effort and good luck all come into play to create such beautiful pieces of jewellery make them all the more special. We watched as a pinctada oyster was opened to reveal a pearl – the only gem to be created by an animal.

Our pearl about to be revealed.

What makes this area unique (and so good for farming pearls) are the giant tides. Depending on the moon, the time of year and other natural phenomenon, the tides can vary as much as 12 metres between low and high. On the day of our visit the stars were aligned and we got to see the full force of these tides on a sea safari.

Pearling long lines

The excitement started on land as we boarded an amphibious vessel to drive across the beach and into the water. We cruised to see a floating pearl shell cleaning station in action before our giant tide adventure really blew our minds. Witnessing the power of the tides was just incredible. We saw whirlpools the size of houses and our boat used its full horsepower to move against the rush of water.

Giant whirlpools

We were also lucky enough to witness another incredible phenomenon due to the tides – ‘Waterfall Reef’ – which appears to rise out of the water as the tides drop.

Waterfall reef

We also visited ‘Shell Island’, only available at low tide but the perfect place to arrange something special. It’s a little sandy mound surrounded by the clearest blue water you can imagine and makes for a unique wedding venue, a pop up bar or a romantic picnic.

After our day on the water we were dropped off at the Master Pearler’s Retreat – our accommodation for the night – and with glass of champagne in hand as the sun set, we waved goodbye and watched the amphibious vessel drive back into the ocean. That night we dined on a chef prepared meal sampling the pearl meat found in the very same shells that produce the gems. It was the perfect way to finish what was an educational, thrilling and peaceful day all rolled into one.

Click here to incorporate an experience like this into your Australian itinerary

Killer Whales & Kangaroos

I recently discovered an experience that I didn’t know was even possible in Australia – seeing killer whales in a newly discovered marine hotspot.

In the south of Western Australia (about a 5.5 hour drive south east from Perth) lies a peaceful little coastal town called Bremer Bay. It’s from here that you can take an ocean expedition to encounter killer whales and a myriad of other marine and bird life that congregate here.

It’s about a one and a half hour cruise to reach the ocean hot spot – the deep sea Bremer Canyon. Here during the months of January to April, cold, nutrient-rich waters flow from the Antarctic and attract killer whales, dolphins, sperm whales, giant squid and much more.

The expedition was on a vessel purpose-built for the wild Southern Ocean with Australian Wildlife Journeys member Naturaliste Charters. On the trip I spent time with ‘Search for the ocean’s super predator‘ documentary maker David Riggs – the man who ‘discovered’ the region and who is doing all in his power to keep the area protected from oil and gas mining. His knowledge of the marine life and passion for the region is second to none. Also on board was a marine biologist plus a bird expert / photographer. We learnt all about the behaviours of orcas and the interspecies interactions between this apex predator and other marine life.

With documentary maker David Riggs

When we arrived at the ‘hot spot’ the anticipation on the boat as we looked for signs of the creatures was almost palpable. Everyone was on the look out for birds, surface oil slicks and spouts of water. But these are wild creatures and they hadn’t received the memo that we’d be there at 11am. In my heart I feared we wouldn’t see them but I had nothing to worry about – sure enough the experienced team found us what we came to see.

Whilst it was almost the end of the season, all up we saw two pods of killer whales (including a baby orca), about 100 pilot whales, dolphins, seals and the spouts of two blue whales. It was amazing to see these incredible creatures in the wild. Just days before I went out, guests were lucky enough to even see a pod of killer whales hunt down a blue whale!

Read our trip notes by Naturaliste Charters.

Photo credit: Naturaliste Charters

It’s a full day experience at sea from about 7.45am to 4pm with lunch and snacks served on board. Think of it as a mini-Antarctica expedition without the ice and cold. The cruise runs January to April.

After my day out at sea I was headed to Albany, a two hour drive away. As I pulled out of the car park two kangaroos jumped across the road. Whoever thought you’d see killer whales and kangaroos in one day?

 

Click here to incorporate an experience like this into your Australian itinerary


Western Australia’s Gourmet Escape Festival

Since 2012, Gourmet Escape has established itself as a world-class annual food and wine festival, highly anticipated by chefs and visitors alike. The festival brings together the world’s best chefs, sommeliers and food critics at over 50 incredible events in breath-taking locations.

2019 will see an exciting development of this multi award-winning festival, expanding from Margaret River to include two new regions, Swan Valley and Perth over a 10-day program, 08 November to 17 November.

Guests will love the range of extraordinary experiences to suit all ages; culinary festivals, fine dining opportunities and premium gourmet experiences in breath-taking locations.

Swan Valley

Swan Valley – Gourmet Feast in the Valley

A festival that has rustic charm, for all of the family to enjoy. Combining top-class food with live music in a relaxed and welcoming environment. Can be enjoyed as a day trip from Perth (25 mins travel time)

Perth Collaboration Dinner

Gourmet Escape will create a city culinary hub amplifying the best of ‘Culinary Perth’. This will be a memorable collaboration dinner with lauded chefs celebrating WA’s premium produce and wine.

Margaret River – Westpac Gourmet Beach BBQ

Enjoy privileged access to Castle Rock Beach, which is transformed into an uber-stylish waterfront eatery with giant tipis and live music for relaxed lunch BBQ feast with a beach party vibe. Castle Rock Beach is located within Meelup Regional Park, a Class A Reserve noted for its pristine environment and ecological significance.

Margaret River – Sunset Beats & Bites

Mix a handful of new wave winemakers, some local craft breweries and a good dose of cool beats. Add an iconic Western Australian sunset, delectable, delicious food and you have arguably Gourmet Escape’s most sought after party at the Sunset Beats & Bites event.

Margaret River – The Gourmet Village

At the heart of the Margaret River event programming is the must-see Gourmet Village, a buzzing world of culinary excitement and the perfect opportunity to experience the delectable delights the region has to offer. General admission tickets gain entry to the festivals many culinary delights

Contact the Alquemie team for tickets and travel packages!

Iconic luxury at the newly reimagined InterContinental Hayman Island

Welcome to a new era of immersive luxury in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.  Opening 1 July 2019, InterContinental Hayman Island Resort will immerse you in a world of breathtaking natural beauty, iconic island experiences and sacred moments of connection with your family, friends and yourself. 

Nestled at the northernmost point of the stunning Whitsundays, Australia’s most iconic private island resort redefines luxury island living with 166 beautifully-appointed rooms, suites and villas artfully intertwined with spectacular pools, panoramic seascapes and tropical gardens. From the moment your feet hit the sand, you’ll discover unforgettable island experiences where exploring the world-famous Heart Reef by air, turquoise swirls of Whitehaven Beach by boat or remote rainforest mountains by foot is just the beginning.

Embark on a culinary adventure with five innovative dining experiences designed to delight the senses and fuel the soul, boasting a diverse selection of cuisine to suite every palette from modern Asian-infused menus to family-friendly Mediterranean cuisine, spectacular seafood delicacies to poolside cocktails. 

Seeking something deeper. The Hayman® Spa will inspire you to leave the world behind and immerse you in one-of-a-kind treatments, wellness philosophies and luxurious products that will renew your body and mind. While the little ones will discover their own island paradise in a world-class kid’s club. Blending fun and nature to create a collection of entertaining experiences and adventures connecting them to the island wonders that surround them.

Experience the re-imagined InterContinental Hayman Island Resort and discover a place of visual and visceral beauty so deep, it will leave you feeling transformed.

** Experience Hayman’s Suites **

Offer: Stay 3/Pay 2

Travel: 01 July 2019 to 14 October 2019

Book by: 31 May 2019

** Opening Special **

Offer: Stay 3 nights or more and receive 25% off

Travel: 01 July 2019 to 14 Oct 2019

Book by: 10 September 2019