Journey through Australia’s Southern Highlands bound for Canberra, purpose-built with the goal of creating the finest capital in the world. Stop at historic Berrima, famous for its goal and early colonial architecture, then ’Connect With Locals’ at Gold Creek Station, where you’ll meet sheep farmer, Craig Starr, a ’Local Specialist’. Gain a deeper understanding of life on the farm before joining the Starr family for a Welcome Reception and ’Be My Guest’ Aussie barbecue lunch. On arrival in Australia’s modern capital, you’ll embark on a tour through Parliament House with a ’Local Specialist’. Inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II, the Parliament House is modeled on the shape of two boomerangs and is home to Australia’s House of Representatives and Senate. Later, ’Dive Into Culture’ and visit the Australian War Memorial to pay tribute to the brave Australian servicemen and women who have lost their lives in the past century in armed conflicts. Stay to hear an evocative lament, then join your Travel Director and fellow travelers for dinner.
Admire a city designed for a young nation as you ascend to the summit of Mt. Ainslie for panoramic views of Canberra with its man-made Lake Burley Griffin, named in honor of the Walter Burley Griffin, the American architect from Chicago who designed Canberra. Cross the mighty Murray into Victoria and visit its best-preserved gold rush town, historic Beech worth. We overnight in one of Trafalgar’s ’Stays With Stories’, immersing ourselves in the town’s country-style gold rush heritage. Delve into the history of Australia’s heady gold rush days after a brief orientation, with free time thereafter to explore its antique shops, galleries, the museum and the legendary Beech worth Bakery, self-proclaimed as ’Australia’s Greatest Bakery’.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast with your hosts, then journey through Glen rowan and Ned Kelly country to cosmopolitan Melbourne for a city sightseeing tour, where you’ll discover why Melbourne is frequently touted as one of the world’s most live able cities. Indulge in the city’s coffee culture, admire its Victorian architecture and rub shoulders with the locals as you stroll along the Yarra River, stopping to enjoy a crisp local brew and people-watch at one of the popular South Wharf eateries. Spend the evening at leisure immersing yourself in this capital of cool, reflected in its elegant arcades, grand civic buildings and stylish shopping and dining options.
Enjoy a full day to connect with Melbourne’s sophisticated city scape. Wander the narrow lanes in search of edgy street art, admire the sights, sounds and smells at Queen Victoria Market, the city’s pantry, or kick back in the Royal Botanic Gardens and watch the world go by. You could consider an Optional Experience touring the Great Ocean Road past lush forests and golden beaches to see such highlights as the Bay of Islands, London Bridge and of course the Twelve Apostles, which rise from the crashing waves of the Southern Ocean. An alternative Optional Experience could see you visit Summer land Beach on Phillip Island to experience the famous Penguin Parade where the world’s smallest penguins return in their droves to shore after a successful day of foraging. On your last evening in Melbourne, embrace your inner gourmand and seek out one of Melbourne’s lane way restaurants to sample the cuisine for which the city is justifiably famous.