Trans Otway Travel – Office location change update


First of all, we would like to send our warm wishes to you and your family and after more than 5 months of COVID-19, we hope you are getting through these changes required to our lives including the recent second lockdown in Victoria.

We would like to send you an update of how all this is impacting our business. It has been a great pleasure for us to arrange your business and holiday travel over many years from our office in Little Collins Street, and earlier from Royal Arcade. The Melbourne office location in Royal Arcade dates back to 1975 and then from 2010 at Little Collins St.

However, due to the two lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to make the big change as a growing number of travel businesses have, and operate
Trans Otway Travel from a home base.

Both Julie and I have been operating from our respective homes since mid-March 2020.

The office will be based at 6 Frodsham Rd, Ringwood North VIC 3134. This is my home address. I have set up an office here in the spare room, so my man cave has now doubled as an office complete with new Ikea furniture.

My new contact details are:

As a result of this, our ‘Suite 903’ has been emptied of furniture, brochures, souvenirs etc. like so many other offices in Melbourne.

As many of you now make your travel arrangements with Trans Otway Travel by phone or email, we don’t see any changes to the day to day business of quotes and bookings.

When the Australian Government opens our borders and allows both Domestic and International travel, it would be our privilege to once again assist you with bookings to visit more amazing destinations anywhere in the world.

During these difficult times it can be a pleasant distraction to think of travelling to new cities, beaches, village markets, music festivals or even to browse through your recent travel photos that hold so many memories.

We will look forward to hearing from you towards 2021 with any future travel plans.

Please keep safe and stay in contact with your loved ones as often as you can. Remember: ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.

Kindest regards
Philip, Jan and family
Julie, Rob and family

Vanuatu special package – Vila plus Santo – 8 nights

Combo package – Stay 3 nights in Vila at Poppys on the Lagoon Resort and then stay 5 nights on Espiritu Santo at Bokissa Island Resort. Both are lovely small resorts in old traditional style with local hosts and management.

Your package is inclusive of all flights ex Melbourne (inc. taxes/transfers/light breakfast in Vila and all meals on Santo). Current special inclusive price is from $2450 p/p.

**Cost is subject to available special airfares valid now for travel from 1 February 2020 through to 27 March 2020 and availability of accommodation. This is an early bird sale offer.

Bokissa Island Resort
A small resort on an exclusive island of 175 acres of tropical rainforest and pristine beaches. Relax in a hammock, enjoy using the snorkelling equipment and kayaks plus the pool. All rooms are beachfront fales with queen size beds.

Poppys on the Lagoon
Situated right on the main Erakor Lagoon in Vila. It is a boutique style property with a private beachfront location and only 5 mins walk from the township of Port Vila. Facilities include 3 pools, Kayaks, and use of non- motorised water sports.

Accommodation is based on a Lagoon Studio with queen bed.

To book this island getaway, call us on (03) 9600 1482 or email us at

Spectacular South Africa – 2020

Duration: 17 days
Departs: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth: 11 Jan; 8 Feb; 7 Mar; 11 Apr; 9 May; 6 Jun; 4, 18 Jul; 1, 15 Aug; 5 Sep; 3, 17, 31 Oct; 14 Nov; 5 Dec 2020
Price: From $4,325 p/p twin share inc airfares

South Africa, a vast land of unimaginable beauty and diversity of experiences, is set to take your breath away. A scheduled coach tour travelling to Kruger National Park, Zululand, Durban, Drakensberg Mountains, Garden Route and ending in the stunning city of Cape Town. This itinerary allows you to enjoy and take in the magnificent scenery that South Africa is famous for.

Includes 14 breakfasts and 4 dinners.

Full Itinerary

Day 1: Fly Australia to Johannesburg via Perth (overnight flight).

Day 2: Arrive Johannesburg
Upon arrival you will be met and assisted to the shuttle transfer service to the hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure until 19h00 for a briefing on the tour and a chance to meet up with fellow travellers.
Accommodation: Protea Hotel OR Tambo (or similar) – 1 night

Day 3: Johannesburg – Hazyview
This morning depart for Mpumalanga, dropping several hundred feet into the lush subtropical region of the Lowveld. Travel along the circular Panorama Route via Graskop, visiting the view sites of the Blyde River Canyon, one of the natural wonders of Africa. Gasp at the glory of God’s Window, with a boundless view of mountains and fertile plains and finally a visit to Bourke’s Luck Potholes before heading to Hazyview. (B)
Accommodation: Hippo Hollow Country Estate, Hazyview (or similar) – 2 nights

Day 4: Hazyview – Kruger National Park
Bright and early start to the day in order to experience the wonders of exploring the Kruger National Park in closed vehicles. Spend a morning with the Big Five in the Kruger National Park. Internationally renowned game reserve of nearly 2 million hectares and supports the largest variety of wildlife species on the African continent. Keep a lookout for the wonderful flora and bird life that abounds. Return to the hotel around lunch time and the afternoon is at leisure. (B)

Day 5: Kruger National Park – Swaziland
Depart on the journey to Swaziland. Proceed south to Malalane and then onto Swaziland and visit a real Chief’s village and have the fantastic opportunity to gain an authentic knowledge of traditional Swazi culture. (B)
Accommodation: Lugogo Sun, Swaziland (or similar) – 1 night

Day 6: Swaziland – St Lucia
This morning travel through Swaziland into Zululand. The journey continues into the Kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal where ancient traditions and modern cultures of both Zulu and Settler have combined into a vibrant society living in peace and harmony. Arrive this afternoon in the Umfolozi area. (B)
Accommodation: Anew Hotel, Hluhluwe (or similar) – 1 night

Day 7: St Lucia – Durban
An optional morning boat cruise (own expense) or simply soak up the atmosphere of this coastal town of St Lucia before heading off later in the morning towards Durban. An orientation tour of this multicultural, vibrant seaside city, before arriving at the hotel late afternoon.
Accommodation: Protea Hotel Umhlanga Ridge, Durban (or similar) – 1 night

Day 8: Durban – Drakensberg
This morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast or perhaps enjoy a stroll along Durban’s golden mile which buzzes with energy as surfers, joggers and cyclists take to this seaside playground. Then continue into the majestic Southern Drakensberg Mountains. Proceed on a visit to the 300 foot high Howick Falls, continuing through the Southern Midlands Meander Route, arriving at the hotel mid-afternoon. Afternoon is at leisure to soak up the surroundings, or go fishing, hiking and even horse riding in clean mountain air (own expense). (B,D)
Accommodation: Drakensberg Gardens Hotel, Drakensberg (or similar) – 2 nights

Day 9: Drakensberg
Full day at leisure to soak up the surroundings of the magnificent Southern Drakensberg Mountains. (B,D)

Day 10: Drakensberg – Eastern Cape Coast
This morning continue south to the Eastern Cape entering the fourth of the provinces and the birth place of Nelson Mandela (fondly known as Madiba). En route see the traditional way of life in the homeland area known as the Transkei. Stop for lunch outside the capital of Umtata. Continue via Nelson Mandela’s birth place and house, arriving late afternoon at our accommodation in Chinsta East, on the beautiful, unspoilt Eastern Cape Coast. (B,D)
Accommodation: Crawfords Beach Lodge, Eastern Cape Coast (or similar) – 2 nights

Day 11: Eastern Cape Coast
Awake to the sounds of the crashing waves and have the morning at leisure to unwind with beach sand between our toes. The beach stretches on uninterrupted for many kilometres and the thick indigenous beach forest is a haven for an amazing variety of birdlife. Depart for Port Elizabeth. (B)
Accommodation: Garden Court Kings Beach, Eastern Cape Coast (or similar) – 1 night

Day 12: Eastern Cape Coast – Knysna
Today the journey continues towards the Cape. Visit the Tsitsikamma Forest, which provides scenic walking opportunities. A short walk to the Storms River Mouth offers some magnificent views of the gorge and river below. Arrive in Knysna on the famed Garden Route late afternoon. (B,D)
Accommodation: Knysna Hollow Country Estate, Knysna (or similar) – 1 night

Day 13: Knysna – Oudtshoorn
After breakfast, travel inland over the spectacular Outeniqua Pass to Oudtshoorn, known as the ‘feather capital of the world’ because of its ostrich industry. Visit a working ostrich farm and then explore the famous Cango Caves. Walk (the more adventurous may crawl!) around the famous Cango Caves with their magnificent dripstone formations of stalactites and stalagmites. Travel back to the Eastern Seaboard, arriving in Mossel Bay late afternoon. (B)
Accommodation: Garden Court, Mossel Bay (or similar) – 1 night

Day 14: Oudtshoorn – Cape Town
Explore Mossel Bay and visit the famous Post Office Tree, the Bartholomeus Diaz Museum and Shell Museum. In the whale season (Aug – Nov) travel to Hermanus and try to catch a glimpse of these majestic mammals from the world most famous land based whale watching site. Out of season, drive via Swellendam, Worcester and through the Huguenot Tunnel before arriving in Cape Town in the late afternoon. (B)
Accommodation: Sun Square Hotel, Cape Town (or similar) – 2 nights

Day 15: Cape Town
Enjoy a day of leisure in the ‘Mother City’ where a visit to the V&A Waterfront is recommended. Enjoy quality time exploring this beautiful city. (B)

Day 16: Cape Town – Johannesburg – Australia
Day at leisure until the departure to Cape Town International Airport. Fly to Australia via Johannesburg. (B)

Day 17: Arrive Australia

Price includes:

  • Return economy class airfares from Australia to Johannesburg, Cape Town return with South African Airways
  • 15 Day South Africa Scheduled Coach Tour
  • Meals, game activities and sightseeing as specified in itinerary
  • Arrival transfer in Johannesburg and departure transfer in Cape Town

*Airport Taxes. These taxes are subject to alteration until final payment has been received. These costs are based on current special offers and are subject to change.

To find out more about this African adventure, call us on (03) 9600 1482 or email

Discovery Voyage – Antarctica and South American coast

Discovery Voyage Antarctica and South American coast on MS Roald Amundsen – 18 Days

Only one departure in 2020 on 19 October. Limited cabins cost from $14,699 p/p.

This expedition takes you to the beauty of the South American coast and on to magical Antarctica. Visit one of the most scenic national parks in the world, see the rich wildlife of Patagonia, the Chilean fjords and Cape Horn before the highlight of the journey, Antarctica. Enjoy spending time ashore, kayaking, hiking and close encounters with penguins, birds and seals.

The final frontier of the world’s best travelled, Antarctica is unimaginably untamed, stark, cold and, yes, hauntingly beautiful.

Highlights include:

  • Experience Patagonia and Antarctica in one expedition
  • Visit Torres del Paine National Park
  • Sail into the Chilean fjords and see Cape Horn
  • Enjoy kayaking, hiking and close wildlife encounters in Antarctica

MS Roald Amundsen – In 2019, Hurtigruten will add a brand new ship to its fleet: the MS Roald Amundsen. The state of the art vessel features new and environmentally sustainable hybrid technology that will reduce fuel consumption and show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible.

What’s Included?

  • Hurtigruten Expedition in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • Transfer ship to airport in Punta Arenas
  • Economy flight Punta Arenas to Santiago de Chile
  • Wind and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
  • Professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee

Full Itinerary

Day 1 – Valparaíso, Chile
This expedition starts in the colourful and poetic city of Valparaíso. One of the best ways of seeing this scenic town is by riding its funiculars, which are scattered around the city, allowing sweeping views of the bay. From high up, the city´s multi-hued houses create a rainbow of colour and light. Stroll Valparaiso´s narrow streets, climb its endless staircases and discover something new at every turn: a beautiful building, a remarkable art gallery or some little gastronomic ‘find’. Don’t forget to explore the port and fishing piers, where you’ll get a real feel for Chile’s quirky seafaring side. Buy or sample freshly caught seafood at the market and enjoy the fishermen’s banter. We also recommend a visit to the UNESCO-listed Historic Quarter before embarking on MS Roald Amundsen.

Days 2-3 – Sailing South, At Sea
As you make our way along the Pacific coast of Chile, your Expedition team will start the lecture program to prepare you for the experiences ahead. Enjoy priming your knowledge about the history and wildlife of the area. There will also be various workshops and presentations. Make sure to spend some time on deck to enjoy the fresh sea air and look out for wildlife. Familiarize yourself with the newest and most innovative expedition vessel and take advantage of all the facilities on board.

Day 4 – Cosmopolitan Castro
Located on Isla Grande de Chiloé, Castro is set among windswept hills and green vegetation. The city is known for its colourful “palafitos”, wooden houses mounted on stilts along the water’s edge. Come ashore and enjoy the local Chilote character and curious energy, mixed with a dash of modern development. The Iglesia San Francisco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church is a visual delight: bright yellow and orange with a lavender trim. The varnished-wood interior is stunning, illuminated by rows of stained-glass windows.

Other sights include Plazuela del Tren, a small plaza right by the waterfront with an odd collection of old trains. A stroll in the Cementerio Parroquial is fascinating, as some of the tombs are quite grand and ornately decorated. Feria Campesina Yumbel is a bustling fruit and vegetable market. There are also household goods and fish stalls here.

In the shop Feria Artesanal Lillo, located just south of the port, you can buy excellent hand-knit woollen goods and handicrafts. Most of the restaurants and cafes in Castro are concentrated along the Calle Blanco, running from the southern end of the plaza down to the waterfront, and this is where you can get a taste of the renowned meat, potato and seafood stew.

Close to the town is Chiloé National Park, a largely unexplored wilderness hosting rare flora and fauna. The park features wide deserted beaches and long stretches of rugged coastline, and is home to dozens of seabird species, penguins and sea lions.

Day 5 – At Sea, Waters of Patagonia
The expedition continues south through the fabled waters of Patagonia and onwards to one of the world’s most remote, undisturbed and beautiful places: the southern province of Ultima Esperanza, meaning Last Hope. As you sail through iconic Andean seascapes, you have plenty of time to gaze out on the magnificent natural expanse.

Day 6 – Puerto Edén – An isolated village at the end of the fjord
After an unforgettable cruise through Patagonian waters, the unique village of Puerto Edén will enchant you. It is a tiny settlement in Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, situated at the end of a deep fjord and surrounded by mountains. Its population of 250 includes the 15 remaining members of the Kawéskar people. There are no roads, only wooden walkways, and electricity is only available during a few hours every day.

Puerto Edén is a great place to experience the traditional indigenous culture of Patagonian tribes. The villagers sell fish, mussels and shellfish products, which are taken to markets by a weekly transport boat. For souvenirs, buy traditional Kawéskar crafts such as wicker baskets and boats made from sea lion skins and tree bark. Enjoy a stroll among the laneways, and maybe you will spot one of the many Magellan hummingbirds found here when you join the Expedition team for hiking or kayaking.

Days 7-8 – Torres del Paine National Park
Puerto Natales is the gateway to the world-renowned Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most attractive nature sanctuaries in the world. Its main feature is the “towers” themselves; impressive rock formations, called “Torres del Paine” (Towers of Paine). The formations are made up of the Torre Central (9,186 feet high), Torre Sur (9,350 feet) and Torre Norte (7,375 feet).

The park features azure lakes, trails that meander through emerald forests, roaring rivers, (which you’ll cross on rickety bridges) and one big, radiant blue glacier. Torres del Paine hosts stunning variety, from the vast open steppe to rugged mountain terrain topped by looming peaks. This diversity of environments here has led to the flourish of a wide variety of a fauna and flora. While we are here you might see llamas, pumas, chilla foxes and skunks in addition to more than 100 species of birds like the Andean condor and black-chested buzzard eagle. Enjoy hiking in these amazing surroundings.

Day 9 – Chilean fjords – A paradise for nature enthusiasts
The Chilean fjords´ deep channels, fjords and mountains plunging into the icy water always leave a profound impression on visitors. This wild and remote area seems almost untouched by humans. The ice has scoured its way between the mountains, creating the isolated islands and hidden bays that form the unique fjord landscape of Chile. Snow-capped mountains and steep valleys make a striking contrast to a lush coastline that is rich in wildlife. You might be lucky enough to spot sea lions, Andean condors and several bird species that can only be found here.

Days 10-11 – At Sea, Cape Horn and the Drake Passage
In the morning, you sail through the Beagle Channel, named after the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his voyage of discovery – HMS Beagle. Continue into open waters, and if conditions allow we will land on Cape Horn – the southernmost tip of South America. Going ashore can be very difficult because of the sometimes-extreme weather in this area. This is the southernmost point of Chile and lies almost 56 degrees south, marking the boundary between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the northern end of the Drake Passage.

The region is of great significance on account of its location, history, discoveries and trade routes. If we are able to anchor off Cape Horn, you will be able to go ashore to explore this deserted and yet romantic piece of land at the end of the world. Then you continue over the Drake Passage, where two oceans meet, on our way to Antarctica. On the way through the straits you can learn a great deal about Antarctica’s fantastic animals and history.

This sea passage was notorious among the early polar explorers and is a unique voyage which few have the chance to experience. The Drake Passage connects the southern Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Here the warm water from the north meets the cold, less salty water from the south. This makes the ocean particularly rich in nutrients and forms the foundational basis of the unique marine life here.

Days 12-15 – Antarctica – The Deep South
Antarctica is isolated from the rest of the world by ocean currents. Ninety per cent of the world´s ice is here, 4000 metres thick, covering the landmass. In winter it is further cut off by the sea ice forming off the coast – virtually doubling the size of the continent. In summer, it is a breeding ground for millions of penguins, whales and seals who, for the rest of the year, simply spend their time at sea. Most wildlife here depend on krill as a cornerstone species. The krill population in the Southern Ocean represents the largest biomass of one species on Earth.

As outlined in the Antarctic Treaty, this is a continent dedicated to peace, science and tourism. No human activity is allowed to alter the perfect natural balance. We are visiting a place that has evolved through millenniums without human interference. Therefore, we adhere to very strict environmental guidelines and rules. Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures!

Because of the power of this remote and beautiful environment, we need to be pragmatic; we change landings, re-route and shift plans to ensure safety and the best experiences for our guests. This also means that we will take advantage of the often-ideal conditions – we will spend hours ashore, on the water with kayaks, hiking or simply cruising amongst huge pods of whales.

We will attempt to land several places, including Deception Island, Half Moon Island, Brown Bluff, Cuverville Island and Neko Harbour. All of these places are serene and offer untouched nature, penguin colonies, seals, whales in the ocean, glaciers, icebergs in every shape and colour, old whaling stations and research bases. It´s hard to sum up all the impressions you will gain. As a well-known quote from a veteran Antarctic traveler put it: “If you can describe Antarctica with words, you have probably never been there.”

Days 16-17 – Crossing the Drake Passage
After four unforgettable days in Antarctica, MS Roald Amundsen takes us safely back across the famous Drake Passage. The voyage from the Antarctic Peninsula to the southern tip of Argentina is roughly 950 km (600 mi) or 40 hours sailing time in good weather. During the voyage north, you will continue the lecture series and recap your experiences of Antarctica.

Day 18 – The end of the expedition
Sadly, every expedition must come to an end. When you reach Punta Arenas, on the edge of the Strait of Magellan, it is time to say goodbye. Your journey home continues with your flight to Santiago de Chile.

To discuss this amazing trip in more detail, call us on (03) 9600 1482 or email

Innsbruck – Special Feature

Myself and my wife Jan have recently come back from a trip to Europe and one of the most enjoyable cities we visited was Innsbruck.

It’s located in a beautiful alpine region of Austria with many attractions all easy to access using an Innsbruck card. We secured this card from the tourist office at the main train station and set about seeing this beautiful city in our 48 hr stay. This card proved to offer amazing value with all the major sights, activities, admissions covered for a flat charge.

We visited the following attractions and all of these we were able to enter for no charge beyond the initial cost of EUR 50 p/p.

First was a train to the cable car that takes you up Nordkette Mountain. We had a spectacular day weather wise and the trip done in 3 stages finally has you at 2,300 metres above sea level. You have a stunning vista across the mountain tops and city below. A nice restaurant at the top allows a pleasant extended time and a number of walking trails/biking tracks are possible up down and around the mountains for a full experience. Parachute gliding is done off the mountain top and we had the pleasure of filming a local expert taking off on such a thrilling adventure.

We then visited the old town and saw the major historic places. The Golden Roof with its 2.657 gold plated tiles built over 500 yrs ago during Maximillian I rule. He used to sit in the Royal Box to watch jousting tournaments from here. Then we climbed up the City Tower which commanded terrific city views. Next was the Court Church which houses 28 larger than life bronze statues of Maximillan’s ancestors and heroes surrounding his empty tomb.This church was built after his death. It was too difficult to build a large memorial for him in Innsbruck so his body was buried in Vienna.

Next then Hofburg Imperial Palace. This dates from the 1500’s and was very beautiful inside with many grand state rooms and apartments to see. 400 rooms in total.

The last major attraction we visited using the card was to Swarovski Crystal Worlds. This is located about 20 kms bus trip out from the city transport is included and runs on a schedule across the day. A very famous product and we expected it to be moderately interesting. It ended up being a revelation of the senses. They have built a complex with a mix of art, culture and entertainment installations to creature wonderful exhibits for all ages. Crystals are used in most displays. Thousands of them used in various constructions. A great new addition for Innsbruck and a must see.

Here’s the link to the Innsbruck Card website for more information. Passes are available for 24 hrs and 72 hrs as well.

Other sights we did not have time to see were the Ambras Castle, the Bergisel and it’s impressive ski jump which was a venue in the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. Many museums are also include in the Innsbruck card.

Our stay was at a lovely boutique property called Nala Individuell Hotel Apartment. This was centrally located and only a few blocks from the main train station. A lovely garden in a courtyard setting. We had a garden access room with small balcony, and cost $242 per night.

Innsbruck is a city well worth including in a European trip for 2 – 3 days. Easy access by train from Salzburg and then after to Fussen to see the famous castles in southern Bavaria.

To find out more about Innsbruck or to plan your own European adventure, give us a call on (03) 9600 1482 or email

Georgia & Armenia – 13 day ‘Journey to the Caucasus’

This is a fascinating new part of the world to explore combining old world Eastern European charm. Bridging the east and west, these former Soviet Republics boast thousands of years of history, amazing scenery and unique cultural heritage.

You will have a number of special highlights including witnessing a spiritual vocal performance in an ancient monastery, sip wine from earthenware pots in the world’s oldest vineyards and prepare a lavash feast in a local home.

The trips start in Tbilisi, Georgia and finish in Yerevan, Armenia.

There are only 5 departures in 2020: 01 May, 31 May, 12 Jun, 04 Sep, and 04 Oct.
Cost is AUD 9495 p/p twin share. The maximum group size is 18 people.

Abercrombie & Kent, a world renowned international company, offers a very high level of quality touring, accommodation, meals and inclusions on this tour.

Full tour itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Tbilisi, Georgia
Arrive into the Georgian capital and this evening join your tour director and fellow travellers for a cocktail briefing on the adventure ahead.
Tbilisi Marriott Hotel

Day 2: Tbilisi | An Assortment of Architectural Styles
Tbilisi is a surprising blend of cultures. Your adventure starts with a walk through the cobbled streets of the atmospheric old town. Visit the 12th century Metekhi Church and a 19th century Jewish synagogue. Admire the old Georgian houses with their distinctive wooden, curved balconies and the Sioni Cathedral. You’ll see the oldest surviving church in Tbilisi before getting a bird’s-eye view of the city from the Narikala Fortress, which can be accessed by cable car or on foot. On the way back down, stop at the Sulphur Baths and the National Museum of Fine Arts. Tonight is a chance to savour some of Georgia’s finest cuisine at a favourite traditional restaurant.
Tbilisi Marriott Hotel | Meals: BLD

Day 3: Tbilisi | Design Your Day
Start the day at the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia with its extraordinary collection of gold filigree work. After lunch – design your day with the choice of a visit to a local workshop, (where artisans introduce us to the ancient technique of cloisonné, a decorative enamel work tradition over 1,200 years old), or embark on a local neighbourhood architectural walking tour of Tbilisi/ Free time at leisure.
• An artisan introduction to the ancient technique of cloisonné (decorative enamelwork).
• Join an architectural expert for a walking tour around the city.
Tbilisi Marriott Hotel | Meals: BL

Day 4: Kakheti | Birthplace of Winemaking
Explore the most picturesque part of Georgia – Kakheti, which borders the Great Caucasus range. This area is the birthplace of viticulture and winemaking, admire the profusion of vineyards and beautiful churches as you drive through. Stop at the 9th century Bodbe Nunnery before arriving at the pretty fortified town of Sighnaghi, famous for its wine and carpet making. Meander through the narrow streets before lunch with a local family serving up traditional dishes from the region, and of course matching wines. Before returning to Tbilisi we visit the grand Tsinandali estate, once home to the noble Chavchavadze family and noted for its historic winery.
Tbilisi Marriott Hotel | Meals: BL

Day 5: Mtskheta | Medieval Religious Architecture
The World Heritage site of Mtskheta is your first stop today. Georgia’s cultural and religious centre, it is also one of the country’s oldest towns. Visit the early medieval Jvari Church and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Heading along the Georgian Military Highway, take in the Ananuri Architectural complex, with churches and towers dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Arrive into the sleepy town of Kazbegi later this afternoon where views of Mt. Kazbek are breathtaking – especially from your hotel room.
Rooms Hotel Kazbegi | Meals: BLD

Day 6: Kazbegi | Gergeti Holy Trinity Church
This morning, head for the beautifully situated 14th century Gergeti Holy Trinity Church which perches high on a hill overlooking the town and the surrounding mountain scenery. Get up close by 4WD or, for the more energetic, on foot. More traditional Georgian hospitality today over lunch with one of the local families. This afternoon, enjoy the stylish Nordic atmosphere of the hotel before sundowners on the terrace.
Rooms Hotel Kazbegi | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Tbilisi | Heart of Georgia
Today’s adventure is to the fertile Kartli province with a stop in Gori, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin where a controversial museum traces his life. For lunch today, enjoy traditional dishes with the local wine.
Tbilisi Marriott Hotel | Meals: BL

Day 8: Sadakhlo, Armenia | Byzantine Monasteries | Yerevan, Armenia
We farewell Georgia this morning crossing into Armenia at the Sadakhlo border. After a short drive we arrive at Akhtala Fortress and Church. After lunch, we visit the beautiful Haghpat monastic complex, representative of Armenia’s finest religious architectural tradition with a unique style blending element of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture and the traditional vernacular of the Caucasian region. Haghpat is justifiably a World UNESCO listed monastery. We drive on to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan | Meals: BLD

Day 9: Yerevan | Lake Sevan
Travel today to Lake Sevan, the largest body of water in Armenia and the Caucasus region, where a boat trip is included. Then continue on to the Armenian capital, Yerevan. Yerevan stretches along the banks of the River Hrazdan, under the wistful gaze of Mount Ararat.
Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan | Meals: BL

Day 10: Yerevan | In the shadow of Mount Ararat
Your introduction to the capital begins with a guided tour of the city, one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited metropolises. See the beautiful Government buildings, the Central Post Office and banks. Visit the State History Museum as well as the Cafesjian Modern Art Museum, which exhibits collections of Armenian and international contemporary artworks. Later, we visit the sombre Genocide Museum and Memorial. Also in the afternoon, we discover why Armenian brandy is world famous at a VIP tasting specially organised for us at the Yerevan brandy factory. There is also time this afternoon to pore over the stalls at the Vernissage flea market, a short walk from the hotel.
Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan | Meals: BL

Day 11: Yerevan | Geghard | Garni
Our morning begins with a spiritual vocal performance in the acoustic hall of the ancient Geghard Monastery. Afterwards, a visit to the pagan Temple of Garni, which dates to the Hellenistic era. Built around 77 A.D., it is the only Greco-Roman colonnaded building in the country. Afterwards, we take part in a centuries-old Armenian cultural tradition at a hands-on lavash making ceremony followed by lunch in a local home. There is also time this afternoon to explore the stalls at the Vernissage flea market, a short walk from the hotel.
Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan | Meals: BL

Day 12: Yerevan | Etchmiadzin | Zvartnots
This morning we visit the the ruins of the 7th century Zvartnots Cathedral. Later we visit the Etchmiadzin Cathedral. This ancient catherdral is headquarters for the Armenian Orthodox Church. We explore the museum, then enjoy lunch at the family owned Megeryan Carpet Factory & Museum. Get comfortable as you admire exquisite handmade carpets before a traditional Armenian lunch in a rustic, but atmospheric, restaurant. This afternoon is at leisure, and tonight we celebrate the end of our journey through the Caucasus with a farewell dinner.
Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan | Meals: BLD

Day 13: Depart Yerevan
Transfer to airport for departure flight.
Meals: B

For more information or to discuss booking spaces on this tour, please call us on (03) 9600 1482 or email

Value priced European river cruise operator

New to the Australian river cruise market is an English company called Riviera Travel.

They have been in operation for over 30 years but only started selling river cruises throughout Europe in Australia from 2017.

The product is a high standard but offers value pricing compared to many other companies operating river cruises.

They do not include drinks in the initial price, preferring to offer a cost effective add on of $199 p/p for a drinks package. This way if you do not require a full facility drinks inclusion that most other companies provide, you can pay this small add on. The drinks included are beer, wine, soft drinks and juices with lunch and dinner so you are not paying a high price to include drinks.

Riviera Travel run cruises on all the main rivers of Europe and the majority of guests are from the UK.

Special no single supplement prices on selected cruises are also available for single travellers.

I have selected a popular 8 days Burgundy, the Rhone & Provence River Cruise to highlight. There are various departure dates available and good value cabins start from $3319 p/p in July/Aug 2020. Some include a EUR 200 per cabin onboard credit.

Experience more with so much included

  • Visit to Beaune, centre of the Burgundy wine region and wine tasting
  • Cruise the spectacular Rhône valley
  • Guided tour of Lyon, second city of France and its gastronomic capital
  • Visit to charming Vienne
  • Tour of the astonishing Ardeche Gorges
  • Guided tour of Arles, with its extraordinary Roman remains and home of Vincent Van Gogh
  • Visit to the Pont du Gard
  • Tour of superbly preserved, medieval Avignon and the stunning Pope’s Palace

Contact us on (03) 9600 1482 or email for more information


Turkey Encompassed – Intrepid Specials

Secure up to 10% off selected European and Middle East trips for bookings made by 31 October 2019.

These Intrepid specials are on trips covering Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Iceland, Georgia & Armenia, Turkey and France.

Turkey Encompassed -15 days

Various departures are available from now through all of 2020, starting from $1796 p/p twin share.

This trip is based on a start and finish in Istanbul and uses a comfortable grade of accommodation.

Tour inclusions

14 breakfasts, 3 lunches

Private Bus, Boat

Hotel (14 nights)

Included activities

  • Istanbul – Blue Mosque
  • Istanbul – City Tour
  • Beypazari – Yasayan Muze (Living Museum of Beypazari)
  • Goreme – Open Air Museum
  • Cappadocia – Pottery Demonstration
  • Cappadocia – Devrent Valley
  • Cappadocia – Highlights
  • Konya – Mevlana Museum
  • Goreme – Derinkuyu underground city tour
  • Antalya – Orientation Walk
  • Antalya – Kaleici visit
  • Antalya – Antalya Museum
  • Kas – Leader led orientation walk
  • Pamukkale – Hierapolis & Travertines National Park
  • Seluck – Orientation Walk
  • Sirince – Wine Tasting
  • Ephesus – Archaeological Site
  • Selcuk – Local Lunch taste of Gozleme
  • Gallipoli – Guided Tour

For more information about this tour, contact us on (03) 9600 1482 or email

Himalayan Adventure


All inclusive cost inc airfares, taxes, accommodation, all meals, sightseeing, visa fees and entrance fees is $8980 per person.

Only two departures in 2020 are left – 6 May and 7 Oct.

Fly to Chengdu. (D)

A visit to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding allows you to see China’s celebrated bears up close in surroundings that mirror their natural habitat. Stroll through People’s Park, see Matchmaker’s Corner, and visit a traditional tea house. (B,L,D)

Fly to Lhasa and have some time at leisure to acclimatise to the high altitude. (B,L,D)

Lhasa is a modern city but among the old streets, at its core, you’ll feel a million miles from the modern world. Venture inside Jokhang Temple where queues of people worship in the flickering light of yak butter candles. Wander around the Barkhor with traditionally dressed locals and prostrating pilgrims. There will also be a visit to Sera Monastery to witness the debating monks. This evening, try yak burgers for dinner. (B,L,D)

The Potala Palace is an architectural wonder towering over the city. The winter palace of the Dalai Lama, it houses thousands of rooms filled with old treasures. This evening enjoy a Tibetan dance performance during dinner. (B,L,D)

Travel across Tibet’s stark plains to Shigatse, Tibet’s second city and the traditional home of the Panchen Lama. (B,L,D)

Visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, the hilltop complex that is the monastic seat of the Panchen Lama. From here drive to New Tingri, admiring awe-inspiring Himalayan views. (B,L,D)

Rise early to make the final assault across the Gue La to Pasum and Rongbuk, a monastic village festooned in colourful prayer flags. See the world’s highest post office, with the Himalayas dominating the horizon, before reaching the Everest Base Camp Boundary Monument. Here, situated under the gaze of Everest’s north face, the views of the world’s highest peak are unsurpassed (weather permitting). (B,L,D)

Drive to the pleasant town of Gyantse and visit the famous Kumbum Monastery. (B,L,D)

Return to Lhasa, stopping en route at Karuola Glacier and Yamdrok Lake. Stay overnight in Lhasa. (B,L,D)

Fly to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Meet your Nepalese guide and transfer to Dhulikhel to see the traditional Newari houses and browse the local market. (B,L,D)

Take a visit to Changu Narayan Temple before hiking to Telkot through the forest landscapes, admiring the stunning Himalaya scenery. Drive to Bhaktapur and visit the Old Houses before enjoying a traditional Nepalese lunch. This afternoon wander Bhaktapur’s cobblestone streets where you’ll stumble across many old courtyards, temples and artisans busy at their craft. Visit the Golden Gate and the Palace of 55 Windows on Durbar Square. (B,L,D)

Travel to Pokhara. The town sits on the verdant banks of Phewa Lake with virtually uninterrupted views of the majestic Annapurna and Manaslu ranges. Take a walking tour, admiring the views. (B,L,D) The next day, explore Pokhara’s traditional bazaar, Bindyabasini Temple, Gupteshwor Cave and Devi’s Fall. Spend the afternoon wandering the Mountain Museum. (B,L,D)

Admire the sunrise and the serenity of a Hindu temple before departing for Chitwan National Park. A jungle safari delivers you to the plains of Terai. (B,L,D) Tomorrow, take an early morning nature walk, and visit the elephants. Later, take a serene trip down the Rapti River to search for wildlife along the river banks. Observe an elephant bath and this evening take in the fun of a traditional Tharu Stick dance performed by local farmers. (B,L,D)

Drive to Daman which has one of the most spectacular outlooks over the Himalayan range of anywhere in Nepal. Continue to Kathmandu. (B,L,D)

Essentially a suburb of Kathmandu, Patan was once the capital of an independent kingdom, something that is noticeable in its distinctiveness. See the UNESCO World Heritage Royal Palace and Patan’s Durbar Square. Returning to Kathmandu, visit the Boudhanath Stupa and Monastery for a very special Lama blessing. Continue to Pashupatinath Temple. (B,L,D)

Kathmandu is a city of many layers – a modern day assault on the senses, a hub of cultural and artistic heritage and a monument to the medieval era. Explore Swayambhunath Temple, Durbar Square, the Kumari Temple and Thamel Market. (B,L,D)

This morning is at your leisure before you are transferred to Kathmandu airport to board your flight to Australia, arriving home the same or following day. (B)

For more information or to book, contact us on 03 9600 1482 or email