Day 1 – USA to Victoria, Australia
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!
Upon your arrival in Melbourne, a driver will transfer you to your accommodation. Crown Towers Hotel, Melbourne
Nowhere in the country, indeed the Southern Hemisphere, is there an entertainment complex with the excitement and style of Crown. At the glittering heart of Melbourne's world-class Crown Entertainment Complex is the luxurious Crown Towers Hotel. With a reputation for beautiful parks and gardens, wonderful shopping, spectacular special events and a rich tapestry of art and culinary fare, Melbourne is truly one of the world's most exciting cities. The five-star Crown Towers hotel is ideally located on the banks of the Yarra River which is a short stroll from the vibrant central business district and arts precinct. With 500 rooms and suites, convention and meeting facilities, business centers and the luxurious Crown Spa, it is the perfect destination for travelers.Starting Accommodation:
Day 4 – Lanes and Arcades Walking Tour
Have you ever been to a city and wondered what all the fuss was about? Or wasted time trying to find that cool local cafe you were told of, then ended up missing everything? Melbourne's arcades and laneways hide many of these answers. Join this indulgent morning walk through Melbourne's beautiful back streets, and become orientated in the life of the city that locals love. Discover local designers and specialty retailers that often are only found in the city. Some of the quirkiest cafes, independent designers, street art, architecture, and historical tales are found in these walkways, there is something for everyone, locals and visitors alike. Morning tea is included as well as lunch with a glass of wine.Starting Accommodation:
Day 5 – Day at Leisure
Today is at your leisure to explore all that Melbourne has to offer.
Explore the famous lane-ways and arcades of the city, catch a tram to trendy Southgate, rub shoulders with locals at the Queen Victoria Market or take in a show at the ornate Princess Theatre. For a break from the hustle and bustle, cruise along the Yarra River, or head out to one of the many beautiful beaches just outside of the city. Go in search of the unique Australian animals like Koalas, Kangaroos and the Little Penguins, and see them in the wild just an hour or two outside Melbourne. Explore one of the premier wine regions in Australia exporting wines to the U.S. to find your Yarra Valley blend. It is the closest wine region to any major Australian city, just an hour out of the city, but worlds away from the bustling streets of Melbourne.Starting Accommodation:
Day 6 – Melbourne to Gippsland
Depart on your first day of your Wildlife Journey. Travel past internationally acclaimed RAMSAR wetlands of the Lakes District of East Gippsland before traveling by ferry to an island sanctuary in the wetlands with a thriving colony of wild Koalas. Take a walk through the forest spotting the delightful animals in the wild, and learning about their lives. You may also see echidnas, wallabies and kangaroos and many colorful parrots, honey eaters and seabirds which you can help record for conservation purposes.
Dinner tonight is in a local restaurant, and accommodation is a homestead in a small town where you will stay for three nights.Starting Accommodation:
Snowy River Homestead (L, D)
Day 7 – Mountain Forests of East Gippsland
After a relaxing breakfast, travel into the rugged mountain forests of East Gippsland. The diverse forests of this area are the reason that wildlife is so abundant and the tour will visit both dry and wet mountain forests. Visit the famous Snowy River, and walk beside a wilderness creek where the landscape changes dramatically from the sunny, dry slopes to the near-rainforest of the gully. Your wildlife guide provides detailed information of the formation of these mighty forests, and helps you search for lyrebirds, parrots, goannas, wallabies and honeyeaters. Birds and reptiles are abundant, but other human visitors are few. Finish the day with a classic Aussie dinner at the Homestead.Starting Accommodation:
Snowy River Homestead (B, L, D)
Day 8 – Explore the Wilderness Coast
Today begins with a walk into a large lowland rainforest in search of birds and wallabies, followed by a walk through a heathland and along a forest-lined river to its estuary in Australia's Coastal Wilderness. Search for sea eagles, cockatoos, kingfishers, swans and huge goanna lizards. Visit a quiet beach with a complex dune system and frequently see beach and ocean-going birds. After lunch, walk on the nearby rocky headland, peering into rock pools, walking past wind-sculpted coastal shrubs looking at the expanse of the 90 mile beach. Spend a little time on a beautiful beach removing old fishing nets -- they wash up from the sea, and sometimes wash back out, where they trap and kill sea creatures.
Dinner tonight is a picnic in the bush overlooking the beach. On the way back to the Homestead, search the plains for wallabies, kangaroos and wombats.Starting Accommodation:
Snowy River Homestead (B, L, D)
Day 9 – Snowy River to Melbourne
This morning, depart East Gippsland after one last visit to the beach at the Mouth of the Snowy River. On the way back to Melbourne, visit the Krowathunkoolong Keeping Place, an informative Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Bairnsdale. Also, search for Grey-headed Flying-foxes in their daytime roosts beside the river at Bairnsdale (a large colony set up there in 2013, and at the time of writing provide great viewing opportunities. They may move on at any time though). Transfer back to Melbourne arriving in the late afternoon.Starting Accommodation:
Day 10 – Melbourne to Daylesford
This morning you will pick up your Budget rental car and make your way to Daylesford. Daylesford is 80 minutes drive from Melbourne. To get there, take the Calder Highway from the city to Woodend or Kyneton and head east to Daylesford from there.Lake House
Lake House provides an easily accessible haven of tranquil indulgence. An easy 90-minute drive from Melbourne, this Gourmet Retreat is situated in several acres of gardens on the shores of beautiful Lake Daylesford, in the heart of Victoria's Spa country. The region boasts the largest concentration of naturally occurring springs in Australia. The comfortable rooms are in a garden setting or overlooking the waters and bird-life of the lake. Enjoy a quiet read in the spacious lounge, or perhaps a hit of tennis, followed by a relaxing massage and some soaking in our spa/sauna room. A myriad of bush walking tracks meander from the property. Nearby are local wineries, boating facilities, places of historical interest, magnificent gardens and an 18 hole golf course complete with kangaroos.Starting Accommodation:
Day 11 – Day at Leisure
Daylesford is a shopper's paradise. The main street is lined with restaurants and eateries, cluttered antique shops, cavernous book stores, eclectic artists' studios and modern art galleries. Don't miss the Convent Gallery, which is housed in the beautifully restored 1860s Holy Cross Convent - room after room of sculpture, jewelry, ceramics and fine art leads you to a very good restaurant and bar. Walk off lunch in the gardens. If you need a break from the shopping, Lavendula Lavender Farm, ten minutes from town in the hills and farmland of Shepherd's Flat, is a nice place to sit and smell the roses, or in this case, lavender. Here, you can wander through fields of lavender, visit the still room where the essential oil is distilled or explore the extensive gardens. At the center of the property is a shady, vine-covered courtyard, reminiscent of the early settlers' native Italy. There, you can order a light lunch or snack from La Trattoria. Try the lavender lemonade, great on a hot day, or the lavender scones. Other choices are the less floral risottos, minestrone, polentas, cheeses and the local specialty, bullboar sausages. Starting Accommodation:
Day 12 – Victoria to USA
This morning, you will return your rental car and make your way to the airport for your flight back to the USA. (B)