Day 1 – USA to Melbourne
Today you will begin your Swain Destinations customized itinerary. Please note, international air has not been included in this package price.
Day 2 – Cross the International Date Line
Cross the International Date Line, an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth that runs from the North to the South Pole - and defines one calendar day from the next. Crossing the International Date Line adds one day (24 hours) traveling west, and subtracts one day (24 hours) traveling east.
Day 3 – Welcome to Melbourne, Australia
On arrival into Melbourne you will need to clear customs and make your way through the main arrivals hall from where you will either catch a taxi into the city or be transferred to your accommodation.
At first glance, Melbourne may resemble any other modern city with its skyline full of concrete and glass. However, if you look a little closer, you'll find the real Melbourne, a city of unique charm. There are the clanging trams (street cars), swanky boutiques, friendly taxi drivers, Australian Rules Football, fickle weather and ‘BYO’s’, by the hundred (restaurants to which you bring your own liquor or wine).
Add to this, Melbourne's traditional virtues of tree lined boulevards, glorious parks, elegant buildings and imposing Victorian Banks and Churches, and of course the giant Melbourne Cricket Ground and you’ll have some idea of the city.
Melbourne has become a polyglot society with a huge diversity of cultures, Italian, Greek, East European, Middle Eastern and Asian. This diversity is reflected in the food styles, the lifestyle, and even the language spoken in the street.Starting Accommodation:
Day 4 – Aboriginal Melbourne Tour
Discover Melbourne's unique indigenous significance and uncover stories behind some of the city's main attractions. Today's experience begins with a private Aboriginal Heritage Walk at the Royal Botanical gardens, including herbal tea. Journey into the ancestral lands of the Kulin nation and explore rich and thriving culture on the award winning walk. Experience a traditional smoking ceremony with an Indigenous Guide and discover traditional uses of plants for food, tools and medicine.
Next is a unique 'Touch, Feel & Taste' of indigenous flavors and a light lunch at socially responsible restaurant Charcoal Lane in Gertrude Street, followed by a visit to Melbourne Museum's Bunjilaka Aboriginal Centre to teach you about Australia's first people. Also enjoy a visit and experience of Federation Square's indigenous stories at the Koorie Heritage Trust.Starting Accommodation:
Day 5 – Koalas and Kangaroos, In The Wild
See kangaroos and koalas in the wild! In small groups this naturalist guided eco-tour gives you quality time to learn about wildlife and enjoy the wide open spaces of Australia. Watch the natural behavior of wild kangaroos, koalas and abundant birdlife. Get involved in koala research with your naturalist guide. Walk amongst free ranging “mobs” (groups) of wild kangaroos. Spot emus, cockatoos and other unique Australian wildlife on the grasslands, in the bush and around the billabongs of Melbourne’s Western Plains.
Visit an open forest in a National Park that is home to a large and healthy population of wild koalas. An ongoing Koala Research Project ensures that on most days there are multiple sightings of these delightful creatures.
Within easy reach from the center of the city of Melbourne, these environments provide the perfect introduction to Australia's unique wildlife and indigenous culture. During your journey your guide will share with you the great significance of the Western Plains to Aboriginal People. A delicious bush lunch is included.Starting Accommodation:
Day 6 – Melbourne to Yarra Valley
Today you will pick up your rental vehicle and travel from Melbourne to the Yarra Valley.
At your leisure, take the Maroondah Highway out of Melbourne towards The Yarra Valley; a region of over 55 world class wineries, set amidst a backdrop of mist covered hills. The Yarra Valley region is ideal for a day trip or short break from Melbourne to visit Victoria's famous region of winery tours, farmer's markets, restaurants and boutique accommodations. For a more family oriented day, the Healsville Sanctuary is also a popular choice for the kids.Starting Accommodation:
Day 7 – Yarra Valley Ballooning
The Yarra Valley is one of Victoria's most spectacular winery regions. Let the breeze usher you along the corridors of grape vines and over the Yarra River as you take in the breathtaking views of mountains that surround the valley. Then away you go, drifting gently over the countryside - the flight will last for approximately one hour. After the final landing, pack the balloon away and head back to the launch site after a wonderful ballooning experience. Starting Accommodation:
Day 8 – Yarra Valley to Mornington Peninsula
Travel through Dandenong and Frankston on to Mornington Peninsula. Stylish Sorrento and Portsea are filled with antique shops, galleries, cafes, and numerous walking trails. Arrive in Mornington, a longtime favorite destination for lazy beachside getaways that come with green hinterlands and wild ocean beaches on the side.Starting Accommodation:
Day 9 – Foodies Journey through the Mornington Peninsula
Embrace the day with a stunning scenic coastal drive south of Melbourne and prepare to be constantly inspired and delighted by this diverse, boot-shaped region. Marvel at the panoramic views of the city, bay and peninsula from Arthurs Seat lookout before embarking on the next part of your journey.
Meet our highly regarded local chef for a private, culinary expedition through the Peninsula. Your journey changes seasonally (and almost daily) but you may do some of the following: meet cheese makers at a private goat dairy to discuss processes and techniques, press olives and learn about olive oil production, pick berries, visit Harry's mussel farm and collect fresh seafood, experience a working bakery, discover the joys of juicy hydroponic tomatoes, select premium quality quinces, learn about chocolate making or get involved in a spice blending class.
It's now back to the kitchen with your produce for an afternoon of fun with an intimate, hands on cooking class. Learn more about using local, seasonal ingredients and then feast on your hard work made entirely from produce from the Peninsula.Starting Accommodation:
Day 10 – Mornington Peninsula to Freycinet
Today you will drive back to Melbourne and return your rental car. From there you will board your flight to Hobart, Tasmania. Once in Hobart, you will pick up your rental vehicle and drive to Freycinet National Park.Starting Accommodation:
Day 11 – Great Oyster Bay Blast
Buckle up for a fast-paced blast around Great Oyster Bay on board Saffire. The vessel is powered by three 350 horsepower outboards and can cruise at speeds of up to 45 knots (80km per hour). This one-hour adventure will take you out and around the bay to the mouth of Moulting Lagoon and Hazards Beach. Learn about Tasmania's extreme weather conditions and the hazardous livelihoods of some of the bay's past and present inhabitants. Enjoy the blast!Starting Accommodation:
(B, L, D)
Day 12 – Freycinet to Hobart
This morning you will drive to Hobart from Freycinet National Park. Ideally located in the heart of historic Battery Point high on a hill overlooking Hobart's waterfront, just a stone's throw from fashionable Salamanca Place and the city center. Lenna, with its huge iron gates and sandstone archways, is one of Tasmania's best-known landmarks. Once you arrive in Hobart, will you drop off your rental car.Starting Accommodation:
Day 13 – Drink Tasmania Signature Tour
Today's tour allows you to sample the finest of Tasmania's whisky, wine, beer and cider - all in one day. Designed to experience the best of Tasmania's award-winning craft beverages.
Meet your guide at the Brooke Street Pier to begin the day with a complimentary tea or coffee from one of Hobart's finest barista's at Bright Eyes. Discuss Hobart's infamous history and the role that alcohol played during settlement, before trying the first cider of the day. Then head to the spectacular Huon Valley and your stop at one of the wineries. The region is renowned for its pinot noir and chardonnay varieties, and you will have the opportunity to sample several wines and perhaps walk through a vineyard. From here, the tour heads to one of the cider producers in the region, for tasting and time to purchase lunch (not included, own expense).
After lunch, travel back towards hobart to Lark Cellar Door for a dram of Lark Classic Cask single malt whisky, and learn why Tasmania is now producing some of the finest whisky in the world. Finish the day at one of Hobart's craft beer producers to taste a paddle of four beers and learn about the brewing process.Starting Accommodation:
Day 14 – Hobart to USA (via Melbourne)
Today you will take your flight from Hobart to Melbourne, and then on to the USA. (B)