This morning our private jet flies us from Sydney to Kangaroo Island, a destination you won’t find on any scheduled flight route. While it is minutes from the mainland, the island feels like it is worlds away - kangaroos, wallabies, sea lions and seals dominate, giving the island its nickname of 'Australia's Galápagos'. On arrival, we check in to Southern Ocean Lodge, which has been reserved exclusively for us. It is famed for its gastronomy as much as it is for its views, and we are inducted into its offerings with a gourmet picnic lunch. This afternoon, our guide takes us to Seal Bay, where we walk among the country's third largest colony of sea lions.
In the evening, we are treated to a full performance from Chef Alastair Waddell. Kangaroo Island is blessed with artisanal farmers and growers, and the menu reflects this bounty. It is also an emerging wine region, with a temperate climate that allows a long, slow ripening of the grapes, producing wines known for strong varietal fruit flavours and intense colour. Our sommelier handpicks the finest wines to pair with our delectable four-course meal.
We spend the morning on the island's other natural charms located within Flinders Chase National Park. The Remarkable Rocks are indeed that, enormous boulders that have been carved by the elements and covered in an orange lichen that glows in certain lights. Admirals Arch is another example of the power of water - it is an ancient cave that has been broken by the waves. From its viewing platform, you might also spot the resident fur seal colony.
At lunch, our chef indulges us with three courses, suffused with flavour but deceptively light, so as not to slow any afternoon plans. Take a walk along the clifftop, wander down to the beach or explore the trails on a mountain bike - all are equally splendid ways to imbibe nature. Before dinner, we meet for drinks in the Great Room and anticipate our chef's delicious surprises.
After breakfast, we rejoin our private jet for the short flight to Port Lincoln, the jewel of the Eyre Peninsula. Set on Boston Bay, a harbour three times bigger than Sydney Harbour, the town's enviable coastline boasts many sheltered beaches and just inland, numerous wineries.
In the afternoon, we take a tour through town, then walk along the picturesque shore of Sleaford Bay, where immaculate sand meets rugged limestone cliffs and golden dunes. After the exercise, we slake our thirst at Beer Garden Brewing. Proudly owned by a Port Lincoln family, it only uses local barley, and it is indeed to delicious effect - make sure to try the EPA, or Eyre Peninsula Ale. We then check in to the Port Lincoln Hotel, our residence for two nights. We dine in the hotel's restaurant, Sarin's, on the freshest selections of the day's catch.
Port Lincoln is known as the seafood capital of Australia - the country's largest commercial fishing fleet is based here.
And so, for gourmands, there is no better place to dine on southern bluefin tuna, King George whiting, western king prawns and southern rock lobster. Today, we visit The Fresh Fish Place, epicentre of everything seafood, and sample all that we see. Then we don waders for a tour of a Coffin Bay oyster farm, where we pick and shuck our own, a thrilling experience that culminates in savouring the deliciously briny fruits of our labour. The epicurean day continues at Boston Bay Wines, a vineyard picturesquely set overlooking the sea. If you can tear your eyes away from the stunning surrounds, a tasting of award-winning wines and a leisurely lunch awaits.
Spend the afternoon at your leisure or take a cruise through the waterways of Lincoln Cove Marina while hearing about the birth and growth of the fishing industry. Later in the evening, pick from Port Lincoln's best restaurants for dinner. Our favourites include Del Giorno's and the Marina Hotel for its views and the ubiquitous and delicious seafood.
Our seafood cravings gratified, we leave Port Lincoln for Margaret River and the promise of succulent wines. The region is blessed in more than one way. While it produces a quarter of Australia's top wines, it is also a gastronomic paradise and boasts empty white beaches and limestone caves. We arrive in the afternoon and check in to Cape Lodge, a luxurious country house set in a vineyard just three kilometres from the Indian Ocean. The lodge has been decadently closed off just for us, and is the perfect launch pad for three nights.
This afternoon, we drop in at a handpicked selection of Margaret River's best wineries, tasting sumptuous reds, crisp whites and some of the best bubbles to rival Champagne's. A couple of favourites include Amelia Park, awarded five red stars in James Halliday's Wine Companion for 2017 and Windows Estate, named Best Small Cellar Door in 2016. In between, we nibble on artisanal cheeses and chocolates at their point of provenance. The gastronomic exploration culminates with a four-course dinner back at our lodge's celebrated restaurant.
Take even more time over breakfast, the morning is yours to relax. Or capture the unusual formations that are Canal Rocks.
Over thousands of years, the violent tides of the Indian Ocean have carved a channel into the granite. Today, a narrow timber walkway carries us from rock to rock, safely above the majestic, churning sea and over lagoons filled with remarkable crabs and starfish. Of course, you’ll also want to explore the town of Yallingup.
Come the afternoon, it’s off to tour Margaret River's finest wine estates, sampling, discussing and debating the merits of each vintage that passes our lips. A few perennially excellent ones are Watershed, for its Awakening Cabernet Sauvignon, Leeuwin Estate for its Art Series Chardonnay and Voyager Estate's Chenin Blancs and Semillon Sauvignon Blancs. While it's the wines that have drawn us here, each vineyard and accompanying cellar door has a distinct character that invites lingering. We enjoy lunch in one of these wineries. This evening, we have the choice of our lodge's spectacular restaurant or two other celebrated ones in the area. Lamont's is a family-owned winery with a kitchen famous for Pemberton marron, while Little Fish features seafood, simply prepared to show off its freshness.
Satisfied with our now encyclopaedic knowledge of wines, we venture out to discover the region's other pleasures. The 60-metre high karri trees of the Boranup Forest lure us in. These trees are among the tallest in the world, and walking between them is an awe-inspiring and humbling experience. On the forest edge sits the Boranup Gallery, a showcase of handcrafted solid timber furniture as well as a select collection of art by the country's best painters, sculptors and photographers. We browse the gallery and stop in at the cafe next door before moving on to the Margaret River Mouth and Surfers Point. With golden sand and deep aquamarine water, this is a stunning spot. We dip our toes in the Indian Ocean, then head back for a stroll through town.
We return to the lodge for a leisurely afternoon, or you may choose to tour the Vasse Felix and Cullen wineries. Yet another expertly prepared dinner awaits at either of the two restaurants that were on offer yesterday. Alternatively, stay on the grounds and allow our lodge's chef, Michael Elfwing, trained at Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck, to pamper you.
Founded in 1893 during the Coolgardie gold rush, Kalgoorlie is the quintessential outback town, surrounded by red dust plains, and with streets lined in buildings from its 'wild west' history, when bandits were as common as miners. As we fly in, don't forget to look out the window - the Kalgoorlie Super Pit is indeed a behemoth that dominates the landscape. Upon landing, we drive out to the Super Pit and pay a visit to the lookout at the southern end of the mine, which gives you an overview of the scale of the mining pit. Here, several mines have been combined to form the one we presently see, which is 3.5 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide. After a traditional pub lunch, we check in to the Rydges Kalgoorlie Resort and Spa for one night. The afternoon is for you to spend at your leisure. This evening, we dine in our hotel's Prime West Grill Restaurant and Bar.
After breakfast in Kalgoorlie, we embark our private jet for the flight to Port Augusta, gateway to the iconic Flinders Ranges. The unique Pichi Richi Railway awaits us. It is a heritage steam train that travels the oldest remaining section of the former Ghan route, crossing scrubby plains and underlining the romantic isolation of the bush. The train stops at Woolshed Flat, where we enjoy a Devonshire tea. Soon, the rugged walls of Wilpena Pound appear on the horizon, and we arrive at Ikara Safari Camp, our home for two nights. 'Ikara' is the indigenous Adnyamathanha name for the Pound. Our luxurious tents are well spaced from each other for privacy, and are truly comfortable retreats after a day of exploring. Once we are settled in, we watch the spectacular sunset with a glass of South Australian wine in hand, then meet in the gathering tent for dinner. The fire pit outside welcomes those who want to linger into the night.
Because the region is so vast, the best way to appreciate it is from the air. This morning, we take a scenic flight, exploring the natural amphitheatre of the Pound. In 1802, tens of thousands of years after the Adnyamathanha began living here, Matthew Flinders sighted the mountain range to which the Pound belongs, and lent his name to it. From up here, we have a true picture of its sheer size - 17 kilometres long and eight kilometres wide, an oval that appears sculpted by giant, otherworldly hands. The reality of its creation is more prosaic, involving 800 million years of sedimental layering. This afternoon, we delve into the history and legend of Wilpena Pound on a Yura Udnyu cultural walk. 'Yura' is what the Adnyamathanha call themselves and 'Udnyu' refers to the settlers who came to the region. On the walk, our indigenous guide tells us creation stories of the area and shows us ruins of failed farming efforts. Then enjoy sunset canapes and champagne before a special farewell dinner in The Barn.
This is the final day of our journey, and we make the most of it by dropping in at a winery. En route to Sydney, our private jet takes us to Orange, where the Highland Heritage Estate awaits. Amongst the rolling vineyards, we enjoy a private farewell lunch. After one last toast, our plane heads to Sydney, where we say our goodbyes. We hope to see you on another Captain's Choice journey soon.
As travelling should not be a chore, distracting you from the new and fascinating places you are in, we've moved everything mundane behind the scenes. You will never have to carry a map. Or your luggage. Or reach for your wallet.
There are no hidden costs. Everything is included - flights on your private jet and other travel arrangements, accommodation, travel insurance, all dining and drinks, every sightseeing trip. Even the extraordinary Your World experiences within your itinerary. And internet access when available.
Welcome to your homes away from home. Each one has a certain something that sets it apart from every other residence at its location. Whether for its history, cultural significance or natural setting, we’ve selected only the very best.
The hotel is set right on the foreshore of Boston Bay, which translates into sweeping views of the ocean. We occupy only Ocean View Balcony Rooms, decorated in beach house-like shades of white, blue and green. On the waterfront, its breezy Sarin's Restaurant offers the best of Port Lincoln's daily seafood harvest.
The ruggedness of the coastline is in direct contrast to the sophistication you'll find inside Southern Ocean Lodge. The building hugs the cliff line and every suite features floor-to-ceiling glass for uninterrupted views of the wild ocean. This lodge has been specially reserved only for our group.
River red gums stand guard over the luxury tents of Ikara Safari Camp. Inside the tents, no creature comfort has been spared. Air-conditioning, king beds, soft linens and en suite bathrooms promise a very good rest in between excursions. Each tent also comes with its own shaded deck, our favourite place to watch the late afternoon light shift on Wilpena Pounds's walls.
Business-class private jet journey from Sydney return.
Prices are in Australian currency.