The Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula in Victoria were my next areas of exploration. The Yarra Valley is Victoria’s famous wine region only an hour’s drive out of the city of Melbourne.
My favourite vineyard was the Domaine Chandon, Moet and Chandon’s Australian winery producing spectacular sparkling wines. Due to the climate in the Yarra Valley, it is possible to produce many varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz. Guided winery tours operate daily and are free of charge. The Mornington Peninsula is located south-east of Melbourne, a stunning beach location offering laid back coastal living and some of the most expensive houses in Australia. It is also home to one of Victoria’s first natural hot springs, Peninsula Hot Springs, which is a fantastic way to finish a day’s sightseeing, relaxing in one of the pools whilst enjoying the beautiful views over the Peninsula.
Then it was back to city life as I headed to Melbourne to check into the fabulous Crown Metropol on Melbourne’s Southbank, the heart of the entertainment district. Visit the Eureka Sky deck for a bird’s eye view of the city and a great photo opportunity. Melbourne is rich in arts and culture, as well as food and wine. It is a city that has many hidden gems and needs to be explored, preferably by foot, however there is a free city circle tram which offers commentary if preferred.
The next stay on my epic journey was Sydney where I did a Sea-Sydney lunch cruise to take in the magnificent views and landmarks from the comfort of this luxurious vessel. Another day was spent at Manly Beach which is home to tiny penguins and picturesque Shelly Beach. A highlight for me was the Bondi to Cogee 6km coastal walk offering beautiful views of the four beaches of Tamarama Beach, Bronte Beach, Clovelly and Cogee. For dining in the evening my favourite location is Sydney’s historic Rocks area with its abundance of restaurants , cafes and bars.
I then travelled from Sydney to Adelaide on Great Southern Rail’s Indian Pacific train. This 24 hour trip takes in a diversity of landscapes including the fringes of the Blue Mountains National Park. Travelling in Gold Service offered a comfortable cabin and all meals were included. South Australia was my final destination where I spent a day in Adelaide and visited the pretty coastal area of Glenelg, a 20 minute tram ride from the city. I challenged myself to an 11km round-trip walk to Brighton Beach. The beaches in this area are phenomenal and well worth a visit if you are spending time in Adelaide.
In many ways I feel I saved the best until last. Kangaroo Island, located 13km off the coast of Adelaide this is, in my opinion,the best place in the whole of Australia to view wildlife. Usually seen as a destination for third or fourth time visitors, I would now say after visiting that it should be incorporated into the itinerary for anyone with an interest in nature and animals. ‘Exceptional Kangaroo Island’ were my hosts for two fun filled days of touring on this 4,400 km2 island. The company were amazing and their pure passion for the island shone through constantly. Stay at Southern Ocean Lodge for pure luxury in a breath-taking setting, or Stranraer Homestead for a true home-away-from-home experience.
Whether it’s an active adventure, relaxing near the crystal clear waters, city delights or a cultural experience - Australia has it all and it truly is awe-inspiring! View Bridge & Wickers Australia holidays.