London to Adelaide
Upon arrival in Adelaide, you will be met and taken to your contemporary boutique hotel in the heart of the city’s buzzing East End. There is plenty to do both in and around this picturesque city, with its airy boulevards, sophisticated architecture and pretty gardens. You can browse the museums and libraries of the North Terrace, indulge in some retail therapy or taste your way through the Adelaide Central Market. A short drive out of the city will bring you to Barossa, one of the country’s oldest wine producing regions, and further out you’ll find the rolling vine-covered hills of the McLaren Vale.
Stay: Two nights in a classic room at Majestic Roof Garden Hotel – bed & breakfast
This morning pick up your hire car and drive to the spectacular Flinders Ranges. This ancient mountain range is famed for its rugged beauty, amazing colours, wildlife, historic ruins and rich Aboriginal culture. Take walks to see the rock engravings at Sacred Canyon, the Aroona Valley, Brachina Gorge and Bunyeroo Creek. Wilpena Pound is the area’s star attraction, a huge natural basin backed by rock cliffs up to 500 metres in height. This natural amphitheatre plays host to an array of wildlife, in particular a plethora of birds.
Stay: Three nights in a luxury eco villa room at Rawnsley Park Station – bed & breakfast
Adelaide – Kangaroo Island
Today you’ll fly from Adelaide Airport to one of the world’s most pristine natural wonders – Kangaroo Island. Here you’ll find a range of indigenous wildlife, including seals, koalas, goannas, wallabies, penguins and, of course, kangaroos. Enjoy an ‘Island Life Tour’, starting with a stroll along a track fringed with great eucalyptus trees and koalas dozing in the branches above. You’ll venture over to Lathami Conservation Park for a bush trek through the outback with an expert guide, before stopping for a fresh seafood lunch in an exclusive bush setting. Finish at the Seal Bay Conservation Park with a walk along a glorious sandy beach populated by Australian sea lions.
The following day will include a tour of the Flinders Chase National Park, taking in dramatic dune scenery, cultural heritage sites, fascinating geological formations and a huge fur seal colony at Cape du Couedic.
Stay: Three nights in a standard room at Stranraer Homestead – breakfast and dinner included
Fly back to the mainland. Your journey now takes you to the Limestone Coast and the historic seaside resort of Robe, home of spotless beaches, jagged cliff scenery, serene lakes and delightfully fresh seafood. Spend a day exploring the coast and learning of Robe’s seafaring past on historic walking trails.
Stay: One night in an apartment room at Robe House – bed & breakfast
Today you check in to your waterfront hotel in Port Fairy. A charismatic fishing village, Port Fairy is steeped in history and has retained much of its 19th century architecture. Walk along wide streets lined by beautiful old buildings, stone churches, boarding houses and inns, and browse the local antique and boutique shops. Also on offer are guided fishing trips and whale watching tours, as well as cruises to see the massive seal colony at Lady Julia Percy Island.
Stay: One night in a riverfront room at Oscars Waterfront Boutique Hotel – bed & breakfast
Apollo Bay – located on the Great Ocean Road – is next up on your itinerary. Your stylish cottage accommodation is within walking distance of the beach, where you can swim in clear waters, kayak with local seals and learn to surf. You can also visit Australia’s oldest lighthouse and explore the nearby Otway Rainforest. For dazzling panoramic views over the town and coast, we recommend heading to Marriner’s Lookout Road or Cape Patton.
Stay: One night in a cottage room at Captains at the Bay – bed & breakfast
Your next two nights will be spent in Melbourne – a lively city with a sophisticated, cosmopolitan pulse. Explore the city’s different neighbourhoods – each with their own personality – and experience the brilliant beaches, buzzing restaurants and plethora of cultural, sightseeing and shopping opportunities. Enjoy a day tour of Philip Island, which will include visits to the historic farm on Churchill Island, the Koala Conservation Centre and the Penguin Parade Visitor Centre where you can watch penguins coming in on the surf. You’ll be staying at the modern and luxurious Crown Metropole, which boasts a fabulous Sky Bar ideal for soaking up panoramic city views.
Stay: Two nights in a king room at Crown Metropole – bed & breakfast
Flying from Melbourne to Hobart – Tasmania’s capital – lands you in one of Australia’s most charming cities. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the fine Georgian architecture, craft shops, bookshops, restaurants and cafes. Other activities include exploring the pristine rainforest of the South West National Park, home of the rare Orange Bellied Parrot, or touring the unmissable Port Arthur Historic Site – one of the best preserved convict settlements in Australia.
Stay: Two nights in a harbour view room at The Henry Jones Art Hotel – bed & breakfast
Freycinet National Park
Freycinet National Park is 42,000 acres of astonishing natural beauty; a stunning peninsula with pink granite mountains, flawless beaches, coastal dunes and dry eucalyptus forests. You can explore this untouched wilderness on foot, but why not take a cruise to explore the hidden corners of this raw peninsula, taking in sea caves and stopping for a luxury seafood lunch at Hazards Beach. Kayaking, swimming and scuba diving are also on offer, whilst bird watchers should keep an eye out for white-bellied sea eagles and Australian gannets.
Stay: Two nights at Freycinet Lodge – bed & breakfast
One from natural haven to the next – today you venture to Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park in north western Tasmania. The jagged peaks of Cradle Mountain form the northern end of the park, the showpiece of a wild landscape dominated by ancient rainforests, alpine heathlands, glacial lakes and deciduous beach – it’s no wonder this is one of Tasmania’s most popular natural areas. The park is also home to an array of unique wildlife, including Tasmanian devils, quolls, platypus, echidna and several bird species, in addition to numerous Aboriginal historic sites.
Stay: Two nights in a lodge room at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge – bed & breakfast
Launceston – London
Bid goodbye to Cradle Mountain and board your flight back to London.
It was a complicated and very individual trip, and several changes were made by me during the planning. None of this seemed to worry Ayesha and everything went according to plan.- AM, India, 2014