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Luxury Australian Itinerary – Wine Flight – Margaret River, The Barossa Valley & Kangaroo Island

Wine Flight

Spend 2-3 nights at each property. This itinerary works equally well in reverse.

Not surprisingly wine region culture so often seeds a strong food culture and vice versa. The two simply go hand in hand. Australia’s reputation as a premium wine-producing country is undisputed.

Wine lovers from around the world are drawn to the ‘home’ of the wines they have tried, savoured and loved. The Louise Barossa Valley, Cape Lodge Margaret River, and Kangaroo Island offer an entree to these prestigious and emerging wine regions, and very often, a personal connection with the winemakers and characters who live there.

This itinerary offers world-class wine experiences together with warm and knowledgeable hospitality alongside culinary excellence and luxury accommodation.

This itinerary is just an indicator of what’s on offer in Australia. At Alquemie we tailor make every vacation based on the whims of our guests. Please contact us to find out about the magical holiday we could craft for you.

 

Cape Lodge, Margaret River
Cape Lodge, Margaret River

CAPE LODGE – MARGARET RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA (3 NIGHTS)

Cape Lodge private estate and boutique hotel sits within 40 acres on its own vineyard in the heart of the Margaret River wine region – a wine region by the sea. This premium wine region has a strong reputation for fine gastronomic flavours and spectacular scenery, where rolling vineyards sit against a backdrop of ocean and forest.

A selection of must do’s

  • Best of the Best Wine Tour – A sophisticated behind the scenes wine tour often referred to as “The wine tour for people who don’t do tours”. No minivans, no crowds; the Best of the Best Wine Tour represents personalised touring at its best.
  • Gourmet Weekends are also scheduled throughout the year bringing together winemakers, food producers and lovers of food and wine. These weekends include master classes, tastings and winemakers dinners.
  • The Cape Lodge Cooking Classes are ideal for lovers of great food and wine experiences. Keep an eye out for the Long Table Lunch Calendar including Truffle Hunt Tour.
The Louise overlooks stunning vineyards of the Barossa Valley
The Louise overlooks stunning vineyards of the Barossa Valley

THE LOUISE BAROSSA VALLEY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA (3 NIGHTS)

The Louise, an idyllic luxury vineyard retreat, encompassing acclaimed restaurant Appellation, is situated on a gentle hill surrounded by hundreds of acres of vines, with breathtaking vistas across the world renowned Barossa Valley. Home to more than 100 wineries, the Barossa is a vibrant community with a rich 160-year old cultural and architectural heritage and the oldest continuous food and wine culture in Australia.

A selection of must do’s

  • The Most Brilliant Blend – Don a labcoat and enjoy the challenge of being a winemaker for a day in the Penfolds laboratory where many of the iconic Penfold’s wine blends originate. Bring your blended wine back to Appellation to form part of your dining experience that evening.
  • Numerous private tastings and winemaker introductions may be arranged for guests such as the exclusive private tour of Seppeltsfield – A National treasure and living museum of wine history.
  • Appellation features a nightly wine-paired Chef’s Tasting Menu and believes that the sum of ‘food + wine’ should be greater than the individual parts and that wine is a finished product. A series of dishes created to pair with specific wines, creating a unique marriage, with ingredients directed by the season.

KANGAROO ISLAND, SOUTH AUSTRALIA (3 NIGHTS)

Kangaroo Island is the third largest island off the coast of mainland Australia and is known as Australia’s Galapagos. It is home to an abundance of iconic native Australian wildlife species and features stunning coastlines and spectacular scenery.

Indulge yourself in premium luxury at Ocean View Eco Villas, Kangaroo Island. Oceanview Eco Villas is a fully-hosted eco-luxury accommodation located on a 500-acre rural property, nestled atop the stunning Kangaroo Island coastline known as ‘Redbanks’.

A selection of must do’s

  • See Kangaroos (and koalas) in the wild of course!
  • Dine your way around the island as you explore a diversity of wild-catch and farmed seafood, olive oil, honey, wines, micro-brewed beer, gin and free range eggs.
  • Meet with researchers, volunteers and find out what is happening behind the scenes for conservation on Kangaroo Island.
  • Explore Kangaroo Island on a multi-mode adventure – four-wheel drive, walking, ocean rafting and fat-tyre cycling.
  • Walk among Australian sea-lions on a beautiful sandy beach at Seal Bay Conservation Park.

 

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Luxury Australian Itinerary – Uniquely Australian Wildlife

Uniquely Australian Wildlife

15 nights, plus a night on route where required.

Australia is a place of exceptional natural beauty where ancient rainforests and vast national parks, rugged mountain ranges and reefs, beaches and waterways, provide sanctuary for Australia’s wondrous wildlife.

With the continent accommodating more than 20,000 plant species and 2,300 animal and bird species, many of these endemic, this itinerary encourages complete immersion themselves in Australia’s pristine natural environments and the ability to get up close and personal with our unique wildlife.

This itinerary is just an indicator of what’s on offer in Australia. At Alquemie we tailor make every vacation based on the whims of our guests. Please contact us to find out about the magical holiday we could craft for you.

Bamurru Plains is the essence of luxury travel to Australia
Bamurru Plains is the essence of luxury travel Australia

BAMURRU PLAINS TOP END, NORTHERN TERRITORY (3 NIGHTS)

(Bamurru Plains is open from 1 May to 31 October)
Bamurru Plains is an extraordinary safari-style bush experience on the edge of Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory.  The coastal floodplains of northern Australia are home to prolific bird and wildlife (Australia’s answer to the Okavango Delta) whilst Kakadu and Arnhem Land are the heartland of the country’s indigenous culture.

A selection of must do’s

  • Airboat tour – A morning trip out on the floodplain wetlands of the Mary River catchment in an airboat is utterly exhilarating and the only way to truly experience this achingly beautiful natural environment and the prolific bird and wildlife it hosts.
  • 4WD safaris – With the recession of the waters from much of the floodplain in the dry season, the plains become accessible to 4WD vehicles and an afternoon out with one of the guides will provide a unique insight to this fragile yet very important environment.
  • Bird watching – The Mary River catchment is home to some 236 species of bird, many of which are found at Bamurru Plains. Even in the dry season the floodplains on the property still retain large areas of water to which the birdlife congregates in extraordinary numbers rarely seen elsewhere in Australia.
  • Fishing – plus, with the camp being located on the edge of the floodplains it is the ideal place to hook one of Australia’s great sports fish, the Barramundi.

View wildlife by horseback at Emirates Wolgan Valley Blue Mountains
View wildlife by horseback at Emirates Wolgan Valley Blue Mountains

EMIRATES ONE&ONLY WOLGAN VALLEY BLUE MOUNTAINS, NEW SOUTH WALES (3NIGHTS)

Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Australian wilderness at the conservation-led Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley. With 40 stand-alone suites, each with its own private swimming pool and 7,000 acres of nature to explore, enjoy a memorable break with distinctive dining and very special wildlife experiences.

A selection of must do’s

  • Wolgan Wildlife Drive – An all-encompassing tour of the Wolgan Valley reserve, guests can observe Australia’s native wildlife including the rare white wallaroo. The tour concludes with canapés accompanied by a glass of sparkling wine as you watch the sun disappear over the horizon.
  • Trail ride – Horse riding in Australia’s Blue Mountains is the ideal way to become familiar with the bush, and the types of terrain while encountering the reserve’s wildlife.
  • Nocturnal Wildlife Spotlighting – Torchlight reveals the flashing eyes of sleepy possums, grazing wombats, wallaroos and wallabies. Lucky guests will see an albino wallaroo – one of only a handful in existence (a rare genetic strain found only at Wolgan Valley).
  • Guided mountain bike tour – Following tracks and trails over largely level terrain with only the occasional small hill, the exhilarating mountain bike rides skirt a picturesque freshwater dam where wildlife is commonly seen.
Capella Lodge at Lord Howe Island has fabulous marine life
Capella Lodge at Lord Howe Island has fabulous marine life

CAPELLA LODGE LORD HOWE ISLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES (3 NIGHTS)

Often referred to as the last paradise on earth, world heritage listed Lord Howe Island is home to Capella Lodge, a contemporary luxe beach-style lodge offering an exclusive and unique island experience. Located on the world’s southern most coral reef, with a mixture of temperate and tropical marine life – many endemic to the island, Lord Howe has a unique under water world to explore.

A selection of must do’s

  • Ball’s Pyramid and surrounding sites – World class diving and species endemic to the region. Expect to see massive schools of Violet Sweep, Amberjack, Kingfish, Silver Drummer, Ballina Angelfish, Rainbow Runners, Trevally and occasionally Marlin, Dolphins and Wahoo. The dive sites average 25 metres in depth and range from drift dives, cave dives or simply following a coral wall.
  • Lord Howe Island Museum – Acquaint yourself with Lord Howe’s colourful past, you’ll find a library, plus historical and environmental exhibitions, as well as a replica skeleton of a long-extinct giant horned turtle. At 5pm each day (except Wednesday and Saturday), local experts conduct presentations on history and the environment.
  • Undertake a journey of discovery with world renowned naturalist Ian Hutton, spend a day exploring the most remote rocky coves while walking to the summit of Mt Gower rated as one of Australia’s best day walks and learn all about the islands rare birds, plants, geology and marine life.
  • Fish feeding – At Ned’s Beach let the fish come to you! Be part of a favourite Lord Howe ritual and help feed eager mullet, wrasse, garfish, silver drummer, spangled emperor and metre-long kingfish.
Exclusive Australian accommodation for groups at Arkaba
Spot unique Australian wildlife on a sunset safari at Arkaba

ARKABA FLINDERS RANGES, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Arkaba’s true luxury lies in the fact that its 60,000 acres of private wildlife conservancy is shared by just 10 guests, taking the definition of exclusivity to a new level in Australia.  Located in the ancient and awe-inspiring scale landscape of the Flinders Ranges, Arkaba provides the opportunity for guests to immerse themselves in the story of the bush – its ancient geology, diverse wildlife and the chance to understand the conservation challenges that Australia faces.

A selection of must do’s

  • Arkaba’s wildlife is prolific – with Australia’s three largest macropods (Red Kangaroo, Western Grey Kangaroo and Common Wallaroo) all regular sightings. The country’s most endangered macropod, the Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby, has also returned to Arkaba’s range since the introduction of active conservation programs.
  • For those keen to learn more of the challenges Australia faces in saving its diversity of wildlife, join one of Arkaba’s field guides one evening to track a radio collared feral cat or set up the trip cameras that monitor key sites across the property. The tourism dollars that are spent at Arkaba go straight back into wildlife conservation on the property and an ever improving wilderness experience.
  • Spending time with a local guide bushwalking along the dry bed of the Arkaba Creek is a great way to soak up the sounds and smells of the bush and expand your knowledge on Australian fauna and flora.
Getting up close and personal with the local seals
Getting up close and personal with the local seals

SOUTHERN OCEAN LODGE, KANGAROO ISLAND, SOUTH AUSTRALIA (3 NIGHTS)

Kangaroo Island is renowned as Australia’s Galapagos and nicknamed ‘the zoo without fences’. It brims with diverse wildlife and natural beauty. On the island’s southwest coast, globally celebrated Southern Ocean Lodge offers unrivalled luxury in a uniquely Australian setting.

A selection of must do’s

  • Wonders of KI – A half-day guided journey into Flinders Chase National Park showcasing natural icons the Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch, home to a fur seal colony. A spectacular introduction to Kangaroo Island’s wildlife, marine heritage and stunning coastal landscapes.
  • Kangas & Kanapés – Signature sunset drinks experience at nearby Grassdale, a historic island property. Premium South Australian beverages, canapés and kangaroos grazing in the late afternoon sunlight.
  • Explore Cape Young-husband –Trek with your naturalist guide through dense Mallee scrub and along impressive limestone cliff tops. Experience the wonder of hardy flora growing along this amazing rugged coastline, spot the Osprey hovering above, the Fur Seals frolicking in the Southern Ocean waters below and the intriguing formations of the Remarkable Rocks in the distance.
  • Quad Bike Safari – a fun, interpretive quad bike adventure led by the lodge naturalist guide providing insight into the local wildlife and landscape seen along the way.

 

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Australia’s Best Guides – Craig Wickham | Kangaroo Island naturalist

Craig Wickham

Craig Wickham is one of Australia’s leading experts on the fauna and flora of Kangaroo Island and he has been sharing Kangaroo Island’s secrets with guests for since 1990.

 

Please tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

I grew up on Kangaroo Island and always had a keen interest in nature and wildlife. I spent a year living and travelling in Africa and studied wildlife and conservation management at University before working as a wildlife ranger with the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service. My family has a long history with hospitality and accommodation so the opportunity to work for myself with a professional guiding and tour service provided the chance to blend nature and hospitality.

 

What got you started with wildlife observation and what do you find most interesting about it?

Growing up with a strong sense of curiosity meant I was constantly observing and learning about the wildlife which surrounded me. Living on a spectacular coastal farm meant there was a constant stream of visitors and I was always keen to show people around and share what I knew. Once I started studying more formally it was clear how little we know about the natural world and guiding provides a chance for continuous learning. One specific element to wildlife observation which intrigues me is wildlife behaviour and habituation – how we are able to amend our behaviour and develop a level of trust in the animals we go to observe. The ability to blend into the background and watch animals doing what they would ordinarily do – not fearfully watching us ready to flee but grooming, joey kangaroos jumping in and out of their mothers’ pouch, or interacting with each other.

 

How do you bring wildlife observation to life on your tours?

A really positive message to share with our guests is the method by which we develop that habituation – not by providing artificial food sources but by carefully and quietly moving through the landscape and when we see the animals we stop and observe them, and then slowly move closer. Once they start to react we take a step back and sit down. We do not have to be totally silent – the animals will tolerate us speaking at a low volume. Over time this approach distance reduces and the animals start to ignore us – proceeding to feed, lay down to rest and even turn their backs to us, a clear indication that we are no threat to them.

 

Why do you think it’s important that people learn about wildlife observation?

I think this is a technique which is clearly transferrable and people can take this home and try it with their local wildlife species. It also gives an alternative to feeding which whilst in the short term would meet the objective of animals being habituated, it also rapidly leads to dependance, higher than usual densities which has environmental consequences, and often leads to conflict as animals become more demanding.

 

If people wanted to find out more about wildlife observation are there any particular books, documentaries or websites you would recommend?

I am unaware of specific books or documentaries relating to wildlife observation through benign habituation but there is plenty of commentary in research articles such as this one which outlines quite a few of the elements of the topic. A couple of favourite wildlife documentaries are: Faces in the mob – summarised in this short clip ; and The Ocean’s Supermum

 

What’s your favourite Australian animal and why?

The short-beaked echidna  – they are incredibly adaptable and flexible – being the most widely distributed native animal in Australia both in terms pf habitat type and climatic range. They are similarly diverse in their behaviour – one echidna will immediately “go to ground” digging into the earth and remaining absolutely still and I have been “out-waited” by echidnas for over 40 minutes! Another will appear very bold – trying to nudge people’s feet out of the way, tipping over camera bags left on the ground and appear to have no fear of people at all. I find it interesting that is a popular culture sense outside of Australia the platypus is very well know as “the egg-laying mammal” yet echidnas are virtually unknown despite being a far more widespread animal.

 

What place is Australia’s best-kept secret?

A favourite place of mine is Cape Gantheaume on Kangaroo Island’s south coast. Incredibly remote – half a day of walking to get there and I have fixed in my mind a day which held so many elements. White-bellied sea-eagles and ospreys wheeling overhead, Australian sea-lions on the whitest sand beach, thousands of long-nosed fur-seals out on the rocky point to the east and at the base of cliffs lay several long wooden beams – the fractured remains of the masts from the SS You Yangs which wrecked off the coast on Pelorus Islet on 14 June 1890. To me this spot epitomises the diversity of Australia, our wildlife and rugged coast and the powerful natural forces which continue to define our land and our history.

 

What haven’t you seen / done in Australia that you’d like to and why?

Whew – that is a long list! I am yet to dive with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, I would love to explore the extraordinary fossil beds at Riversleigh, I have not visited the Kimberleys and then there are thousands of places I have been once and would love to go back to!

 

Finally, how can people follow you on social media?

Twitter: @craigwick
Instagram: craig.wickham
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/exceptional.kangarooisland
Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/craigeki
Google+ +CraigWickham
Pinterest craigonki

 

Click here to find out more about Australian travel with Alquemie