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Venture Out Gay Tours

Southern Australia Gay Tour

Alternative OZ
Lesser-Known Australia Gay Tour

Melbourne, Macedon Ranges, Daylesford, Adelaide, Australian Outback, Ikara-Flinders, Barossa Valley, Kangaroo Island, Glenelg, and more!

12 Days From Melbourne to Adelaide, Australia

October 22 – November 2, 2018

 

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Melbourne, Australia gay tourWe kick off our gay group tour in Melbourne — the capital of Victoria state and Australia’s second-largest city after Sydney but with a noticeably different feel to it. Truly a multicultural melting pot, nearly a half of the state’s residents were born overseas or have a parent who was. This, of course, gets reflected in the city’s very diverse and excellent dining scene. Evidence of stately 19th-century European-style architecture remain; the city’s trams are an iconic sight; a café culture rages; elegant tree-lined boulevards crisscross the city; and atmospheric laneways are adorned with street art. It’s hard to find a Melbournian who doesn’t like living here.

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The rest of our tour unfolds in the state of South Australia, usually missing from tourist itineraries yet has so much to recommend. We make our way up into a piece of the Australian Outback, specifically the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, with its awesome scenery with abrupt escarpments, gorges, and the famous elevated basin of Wilpena Pound — and with luck some good late-spring wildflower action. Basing ourselves at a historic family-run sheep station with upscale accommodations we explore by 4WD vehicle and walks, and you can also take a scenic flight over the area.

Journeying overland we reach one of the most notable wine regions in Australia if not the world — the lovely Barossa Valley. Cultural roots imbue the Barossa with a different charm from other wine-making zones as the area was settled by Silesian immigrants in the 19th century, their influence seen in some of the architecture and cuisine. Certainly we take advantage of the valley’s food and wine riches, including an overnight stay at the nicest accommodation in the Barossa and its very highly-regarded restaurant.

 

South Australia gay tour

 

Wilderness and wildlife abound on Kangaroo Island. It’s a rurally paced kind of place and still relatively undeveloped with friendly folks who savor their nature haven, excellent local produce, an abundance of flora and fauna, and 270 miles of wild coastline. Barely 10 miles off the mainland the island feels a world away and of another age, and we have two full days to explore its best sights.

South Australia’s capital of Adelaide is a lovely manageable city with heritage buildings, multiethnic population, a thriving arts scene, great dining, and parks surrounding it on all sides. We cap off our tour of Australia in this sophisticated city and include an excursion out to the nearby Adelaide Hills where historic towns, wineries, nature, and gardens co-mingle in an appealing, almost Bavarian-looking countryside.

 

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Alternative OZ - Lesser-Known Australia Gay Tour Itinerary

The following outline our planned itinerary, which is being published about a year in advance of operating this tour. It is possible that there will be changes to some of the specific sights visited during this program.

Day 1 - Monday, October 22, 2018
Arrival in Melbourne, Australia / Welcome!
Australia gay tour - MelbourneFly into Melbourne and transfer to the group hotel in the Central Business District.

Early-evening welcome drink in the hotel followed by dinner nearby.

Please do not purchase any flights until we’ve reviewed your schedule to make sure your arriving and departing flights coordinate with our tour logistics. See “Arrival & Departure Logistics” for further information regarding arrival into Melbourne.

If you would like us to set up any pre-tour nights for you at the group hotel in Melbourne please let us know.

Meals: Welcome Drink, Welcome Dinner
Hotel: Sofitel Melbourne on Collins Hotel, Melbourne, 5*

 

Day 2 - Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Melbourne
Melbourne, Australia gay tourFull day exploring central Melbourne and some nearby suburbs by bus and on foot.

• St. Vincent Place in Albert Park – considered Australia’s finest example of a 19th-century residential square, flanked by some of Melbourne’s grandest Victorian terraces.

• Travel past the inner city’s beaches on the way to colorful St. Kilda, Melbourne’s seaside playground with some grand historic buildings and an expansive view of Port Phillip Bay.

• Brighton Beach with its 82 brightly painted, uniformly sized bathing boxes – providing an iconic postcard view of Melbourne.

• Stop at the Shrine of Remembrance – a memorial to Australians who have served in global conflicts, designed and built by veterans of World War I.

Gay Australia tour - Melbourne• Highlights of the Central Business District: the Arts Precinct, Flinders Street Station, Federation Square.

• Queen Victoria Market – with over 600 traders the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere where we can enjoy produce tastings in the art-deco deli hall.

• Photo opportunity at the Royal Exhibition Building in elegant Carlton Gardens – one of the world’s oldest exhibition buildings dating from 1880.

• Walking tour through Melbourne’s iconic laneways and arcades with unique shops and galleries, cafes, and bars.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Hotel: Sofitel Melbourne on Collins Hotel, Melbourne, 5*

 

Day 3 - Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Macedon Ranges and Daylesford
Macedon Ranges gay tour - Hanging Rock• Travel to Hanging Rock, a quintessentially Australian bushland setting and ancient Aboriginal sacred site made famous by the classic novel and its movie adaptation Picnic at Hanging Rock – a tale of the disappearance of a group of schoolgirls in 1901.

• Visit and tasting at a nearby winery – one of the finest vineyards in this cool-climate Macedon wine region.

• Lunch at one of Australia’s finest gourmet restaurants where they focus on fresh seasonal ingredients sourced from small-scale local producers.

• Exploration of the quaint town of Daylesford in the heart of "Spa Country". Popular with LGBT visitors as a gay getaway, the heritage streetscape bursts with character, from bluestones erected by early European immigrants to the gold rush era.

• Visit to Convent Gallery – an elegant Victorian-period mansion now housing various galleries featuring work by local, national, and international artists across a wide range of disciplines.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Hotel: Sofitel Melbourne on Collins Hotel, Melbourne, 5*

 

Day 4 - Thursday, October 25, 2018
Travel Day: Flight to Adelaide / Overland to South Australian Outback
South Australia gay tour - Flinders Ranges• Early-morning flight from Melbourne to Adelaide (1 hour 20 minutes).

• Overland transfer first to the Clare Valley (2 hours), one of Australia’s preeminent wine producing regions, with a lunch stop at a winery.

• Continue overland (3 hours) to Rawnsley Park Station – a historic sheep station with 29,000 acres and 2,000 sheep in the Australian Outback.

• Prior to dinner we head out to experience a brilliant Flinders Ranges sunset accompanied by drinks and canapés with the 31-square-mile, crater-like Wilpena Pound providing a stunning backdrop.

Meals: Breakfast, Light Lunch, Drinks & Canapés; Dinner
Hotel: Rawnsley Park Station, Flinders Ranges, 3.5*

 

Day 5 - Friday, October 26, 2018
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
Australia gay tour - Flinders Ranges• Half-day tour by 4WD vehicle inside Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park focusing on two of the most spectacular gorges in the area: Bunyeroo and Brachina gorges: spectacular scenery, wildlife, abundant flora, along with learning about the Aboriginal and European histories of the area.

• Free afternoon to relax in your eco-villa or by the pool; perhaps do a self-guided hike on the property; or take advantage of flight-seeing options over Wilpena Pound by small aircraft or helicopter (extra cost applies).

• Special dinner this evening featuring lamb prepared three different ways, each matched with Clare Valley wines, and finished off with port and a cheese platter.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Special Dinner
Hotel: Rawnsley Park Station, Flinders Ranges, 3.5*

 

Day 6 - Saturday, October 27, 2018
Overland to Barossa Valley
South Australia gay tour - Barossa Valley• Travel overland to the Barossa Valley (4 hours), perhaps Australia’s most famous vinicultural zone.

• Enjoy a light lunch at one of the Barossa’s wineries.

• Check in at one of the country’s best luxury boutique hotels and enjoy some relaxation time on the lovely grounds, perhaps using the pool and sauna or treating yourself to a massage or simply relaxing in your beautiful suite with private terrace.

• Dinner at the renowned restaurant on the property.

Meals: Breakfast, Light Lunch, Special Dinner
Hotel: The Louise Luxury Lodge, Barossa Valley, 5*

 

Day 7 - Sunday, October 28, 2018
Travel Day to Kangaroo Island
Australia gay tour - Kangaroo Island• Leisurely morning at our boutique hotel, then transfer to Adelaide airport (1 hour 15 minutes).

• Flight to Kingscote, Kangaroo Island (35 minutes).

• Transfer to our harborside hotel (25 minutes). Settle in for three nights.

• Free time to wander the town of American River or explore the banks of Eastern Cove on the hotel’s nature trail before dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Hotel: Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge, Kangaroo Island, 4*

 

Days 8, and 9 - Monday, October 29, 2018, and Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island gay tour• Two full days to explore the wonders of Kangaroo Island on guided tours using 4WD vehicles, focusing on the wildlife, flora, and beautiful land and seascapes. Highlights includes: Seal Bay Conservation Park; Little Sahara sand dunes; Parndana Wildlife Park; strolling the beaches of Snellings and Stokes Bay; Flinders Chase National Park; Admirals Arch; Remarkable Rocks; Cape du Couedic; Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.

• Wildlife typically observed on the island includes: kangaroo, koala, wallaby, fur seal, sea lion, echidna, and a great variety of bird life.

• Lunches are al fresco, prepared and served by our guides, and include regional beers and wines.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch each day
Hotel: Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge, Kangaroo Island, 4*

 

Day 10 - Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Glenelg / Adelaide
Australia gay tour - Adelaide• Morning flight back to Adelaide, followed by an excursion to Glenelg – Adelaide’s nearby seaside playground – with lunch looking out over the harbor.

• Continue into central Adelaide taking in the city’s highlights this afternoon from the coach: Adelaide Oval, St. Peter’s Cathedral, North Terrace Cultural Boulevard (State Library, South Australian Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia, University of South Australia), plus a tour of one of the country’s prominent chocolate producers, with tasting.

• Check in to centrally located hotel, and then an open evening.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Hotel: Majestic Roof Garden Hotel, Adelaide, 4.5*

 

Day 11 - Thursday, November 1, 2018
Adelaide Hills
Australia gay tour - Adelaide Hills• Morning trip outside the city up into the lovely Adelaide Hills.

• Photo stop at the Mount Lofty Summit Lookout (elevation 2,400 feet) with delightful views over all of Adelaide.

• Self-guided tour of The Cedars – the former home of one of Australia’s best-known landscape artists, Sir Hans Heysen - with his studio and beautiful gardens.

• Free time to wander the charming and historic town of Hahndorf – the oldest surviving German se ttlement in Australia, dating back to 1838.

• Return to our central Adelaide hotel with free time for last-minute shopping or perhaps to visit in depth one of the sights we passed by the previous day.

• Gather for a farewell dinner!

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Hotel: Majestic Roof Garden Hotel, Adelaide, 4.5*

 

Day 12 - Friday, November 2, 2018
Departure
• Transfer on your own timing to the Adelaide airport, just five miles away, for your outbound flight.

Please Note: If you would like us to set up any post-tour nights for you at the group hotel in Adelaide please let us know.

Meals: Breakfast

 

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Alternative OZ - Lesser-Known Australia Gay Tour Highlights

• Australia’s cultural and culinary capital – Melbourne – with its heavily cosmopolitan vibe, iconic trams, edgy street art, great restaurants, and a European-accented feel ... along with its status as the world’s most livable city seven years in a row.

• The glowing red mountains of Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park – with some of the Australian Outback’s most exotic plant life as well as spectacular and timeless scenery, including Wilpena Pound, a colossal crater rim rising from the plains.

• The best-known and perhaps most charming wine region of Australia – the Barossa Valley – with several dozen growers producing internationally-acclaimed wines, including some from families descended from German immigrants arriving in the 1840s.

• Pristine Kangaroo Island, with its fantastic wild coastal scenery plus a huge variety of wildlife, including kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, platypuses, little penguins, fur seals, sea lions, dolphins, southern right whales, and over two hundred bird species.

• Gracious, relaxed Adelaide — which can boast a position among the world’s top five most livable cities – ringed with a green belt of parks and blessed with a thriving arts scene, multicultural cuisine, and four famous wine regions on its doorstep, including the Adelaide Hills with gorgeous scenery, historic towns settled by 19th-century European immigrants, stone cottages, vast orchards, and cool-climate vineyards.

• A variety of excellent accommodations, from urban luxe to country chic, with delicious meals along the way, of course!

 

Barossa Valley, Australia

 

Included:

• Accommodations for 11 nights in carefully selected high-end properties:
- 3 nights at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins Hotel in Melbourne;
- 2 nights at Rawnsley Park Station in Flinders Ranges;
- 1 night at The Louise Luxury Lodge in Barossa Valley;
- 3 nights at Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge in Kangaroo Island;
- 2 nights at Majestic Roof Garden Hotel in Adelaide;
• All breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 6 dinners
• Welcome drink
• Alcoholic beverages with some meals
• Ground transportation in comfortable minibuses
• Guided sightseeing tours and activities throughout the program
• Entrance fees to all sights mentioned in the itinerary
• National Park fees
Venture Out tour manager traveling with the group
• Professionally licensed local tour guides along the way

 

Not Included:

• International airfare to arrival city (Melbourne) and from departure city (Adelaide)
• Airport transfers at the beginning and end of the tour
• Three domestic flights within Australia (allow approximately $450)
• Extra hotel nights that might be desired or needed
• Meals not specified above
• Most beverages, although some meals will include them
• Gratuities for tour guides, drivers, hotel porters, and restaurant staff
• Personal expenses such as passport, laundry, phone calls, room service, minibar, etc.
Travel Insurance

 

Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park gay tour

 

Accommodations

We have chosen a nice variety of high-end, comfortable accommodations from urban luxe to country chic to unfussy-but-solid in order to experience the country’s different types of hospitality.

 

Sofitel Melbourne on Collins Hotel, Melbourne

Sofitel Melbourne on Collins HotelAlthough we don’t generally go in for large, international chain hotels, this five-star property does have a great deal to recommend it. Situated at the “Paris end” of elegant Collins Street the hotel’s guest rooms start at the 36th floor and up to 50 they go. So the views out of the floor-to-ceiling windows are good; the location is excellent (close to parks, al fresco dining, heritage buildings, and great shopping); the rooms are beautifully appointed and spacious. Facilities include a contemporary restaurant, two cocktail bars, and fitness center – all with a sweeping view.

 

Rawnsley Park Station, Flinders Ranges

Rawnsley Park Station, Flinders RangesWith spectacular views of Wilpena Pound our country-chic Outback resort provides the perfect base for exploring the Flinders Ranges. They have a very wide range of accommodation types: campsites, a bunkhouse, cabins, small cottages, etc., but we’ve booked their stylish and contemporary 1- and 2-bedroom eco-villas. Designed to complement the natural surroundings, the villas are totally self-contained and have the latest environmental design features. Each unit features a retractable ceiling offering night-sky viewing from the comfort of your bed, a fully equipped modern kitchen (which you won’t need), a wide verandah with outdoor setting, and a luxurious bathroom with guest robes. A selection of indigenous art work adorns each villa.

 

The Louise Luxury Lodge, Barossa Valley

The Louise Luxury Lodge, Barossa ValleyOur boutique hotel enjoys glorious vistas across the world-renowned Barossa Valley and holds an enviable place in the Luxury Lodges of Australia collection. It’s an idyllic, pampering vineyard retreat with a highly acclaimed restaurant (consistently appearing on lists of Australia’s finest restaurants), where a gourmet dinner awaits us with wine pairings. There are just 15 suites, each with its own terrace that provides lounging space in privacy. Suites are distinguished by artworks and other pieces by Australian artists and designers. Room amenities are top-notch, of course, and breakfast is served in your suite.

 

Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge, Kangaroo Island

Mercure Kangaroo Island LodgeApart from the one super-uber-highly exclusive lodge on the island we think the hotel we’ve selected is the next best option. While it doesn’t come with that “wow factor” of the two previous accommodations it’s certainly very comfortable, and we’ve booked their nicest category of rooms, which are spacious and come with lovely coastal views. Set on seven acres of natural bush land it’s in a beautiful and peaceful location with nature trails but is also within walking distance of the nearby town. The hotel has a very good restaurant where we dine the first evening. Steeped in history it was the first guest house built on Kangaroo Island, and it was fully refurbished in 2014.

 

Majestic Roof Garden Hotel, Adelaide

Majestic Roof Garden Hotel, AdelaideModern and stylish, this relative newcomer to the Adelaide accommodations scene sits in a prime location near the restaurants, bars, and eclectic shopping of vibrant Rundle Street as well as the museums and botanic garden. All rooms at The Majestic Roof Garden Adelaide feature modern bathrooms, king-size beds, full minibar and free Wi-Fi access. 24-hour room service and 24-hour reception are available. We’ve reserved their large rooms with balcony, and the rooftop garden has uninterrupted views of the famous Adelaide Hills and East End.

 

South Australia gay tour - Wilpena Pound

 

Arrival and Departure Logistics

This tour begins in Melbourne. There are some flights that go nonstop from the U.S. to Melbourne. From Los Angeles there are nonstop flights on United, Qantas (partner with American) and Virgin Australia (partner with Delta). Other ways to go include connecting through Sydney or Auckland, New Zealand. The Melbourne airport is about 15 miles from our hotel in the city center. Taxis and other forms of transport are easily available.

Our tour ends in Adelaide, and the airport is just five miles from the hotel. There are no nonstop flights from Adelaide to the U.S. Most likely you’ll connect through Sydney, Melbourne, or Auckland, New Zealand.

 

Australia gay tour - Koala

 

A Few Points to Consider

This is a fairly easy sightseeing tour, but it’s best enjoyed with a love of getting out in nature, including some walks. You should be comfortable walking up to a couple of miles each day (though not all at once), and you ought to have good walking shoes. Please check with us if you have any concerns in this area.

While exploring the Flinders Ranges and Kangaroo Island we use 4WD vehicles, and so some of the traveling is off-road.

We cover quite a large area, so there’s a good bit of hotel jumping. The number of nights at each accommodation is 3-2-1-3-2.

The flights to/from Kangaroo Island are on small, twin-engine turboprop planes – about 36 seats.

Please note the somewhat long driving distances on Days 4 and 6 – going to and from the Flinders Ranges in the South Australian Outback.

Please keep in mind the configuration of the eco-villas at our accommodation in the Outback, where we have to use some 2-bedroom/2-bathroom units.

Alternative Oz is a new itinerary for Venture Out. Thorough research has gone into the planning of the trip, however we reserve the right to modify the itinerary, including accommodations, as we think appropriate.

 

Australia gay tour

 

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Alternative OZ - Lesser-Known Australia Gay Tour Prices

Tour Date Description
Per person
$ (USD)
Availability

Tour Only, Per Person, Double Occupancy.
Intra-tour flights within Australia are not included (allow approximately $450)

$ 5,295

Tour Only, Per Person, Single Occupancy
Intra-tour flights within Australia are not included (allow approximately $450)
(If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room, we will match you with a roommate if one is available. Should there be no one to pair you with, the single supplement fee will apply.)

$ 6,290

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A small group surcharge of $200 per person will be added to a group size less than 14 travelers.

A small group surcharge of $400 per person will be added to a group size less than 12 travelers.

Payment card charges may apply.

 

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