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The small cities of the countryside and coastline surrounding Melbourne have a wealth of cultural sites to tempt visitors. Chief among them is an outstanding collection of regional and private galleries, with excellent collections of heritage and modern art. This new 9-day tour gives art lovers the chance to sample a range of Australia’s best regional galleries, going beyond the confines of galleries to explore the landscapes and historic sites that give a broader context for understanding the art and history of Australia. The tour is rounded out with fine dining and visits to wineries. Get to know The impact of the Victorian Gold Rush on colonial art and architecture The role of the bush and the beach in creating Australia’s visual identity The varied landscapes of Victoria and how successive generations of artists have approached them Cutting-edge contemporary sculpture and painting in superb natural settings The patronage of the visual arts by prominent Australians, and the role of the arts in reviving regional Australia The excellent collections of heritage and modern art that have cemented Victoria’s cultural reputation HIGHLIGHTS Superlative regional galleries in the goldfields towns of Bendigo and Ballarat: two of regional Australia’s most dynamic and expansive collections The wineries and landscapes of the Yarra Valley, Dandenongs and Mornington Peninsula The McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery and TarraWarra Museum of Art, leading private collections of contemporary art Colonial Australia, at Barwon Park Mansion, the well-preserved Gold Rush town of Maldon and Goulburn Valley’s Tahbilk Winery Heide Museum of Modern Art, celebrating Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker and the thoroughly modern Reed familyReturn international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
Day 1 : Heide
The tour begins at 2:30pm this afternoon, when we gather at Tullamarine airport to travel by coach to the Yarra Valley. On the way, we visit the Heide Museum of Modern Art. John and Sunday Reed, art patrons who transformed their acreage outside of Melbourne into a haven for writers and artists, including Sidney Nolan and Albert Tucker, founded this gem of a collection in the 1950s. It is now one of the premiere collections of Australian modernism, with works by Nolan, Boyd, and James Gleeson, and its sculpture garden has works by Anthony Caro, Anish Kapoor and Inge King. After our visit, we continue to our hotel in the Yarra Valley, where we relax and enjoy dinner together. Overnight Yarra Valley.
Day 2 : Tarrawarra and the Dandenongs
This morning, after a talk in the hotel, we visit the TarraWarra Museum of Art. This collection, founded by Eva and Marc Besen, is housed in a stunning modern space surrounded by the estate’s vineyards. The collection includes works by many of Australia’s most prominent artists, including Brett Whitely, John Oslen, Fred Williams and Rosalie Gascoigne, and the foundation is well known for its highly-regarded temporary exhibitions. After visiting the collection, we have lunch at a nearby vineyard. In the afternoon, we travel through the Dandenong Ranges, in whose temperate forests and secluded valleys artists such as Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin and Tom Roberts found inspiration for an emerging Australian landscape painting. After an afternoon tea break, we visit the National Rhododendron Garden, whose extensive plantings overlook this wonderful landscape. Returning to the hotel, we have a light dinner and an evening at leisure. Overnight Yarra Valley.
Day 3 : The Mornington Peninsula
Today we explore the Mornington Peninsula, starting with a visit to the McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery, a private endeavour of the May family in the 1970s, which has been mostly supported through philanthropy – notably, the generous contributions over the decades by Dame Elisabeth Murdoch. The 16-hectare open-air museum displays over 100 large sculptures in park and bushland settings, including ground-breaking works by Inge King, Patricia Piccinini and Ken Unsworth. After our visit we continue touring along the eastern side of the Mornington Peninsula, enjoying the views across the vineyards, stopping for a lunch break in a village, and admiring the dramatic coastal scenery. In the later afternoon, we visit Point Nepean Quarantine Station, which operated for over a century and has almost 50 heritage-listed buildings. We then take the ferry across Port Phillip Bay to Queenscliff, a pretty seaside town with views across Port Phillip Bay and Bass Straight. Evening at leisure. Overnight Queenscliff.
Day 4 : Geelong & the Bellarine Peninsula
After a talk in the hotel, we travel along the road skirting Port Phillip Bay to Geelong. As the major port of the Victorian wool industry, Geelong has played an integral role in the Australian economy. With the decline of the port and the revitalisation of the waterfront, however, the city is taking on a new role. Geelong Regional Gallery, part of a multimillion dollar arts facility, has a strong collection, especially of works that highlight the region’s history of grazing and the You Yangs – the most distinctive geographical feature of the region. After a break for lunch, we travel to Barwon Park to tour the 42-room bluestone mansion built for the squatter Thomas Austin (who is generally thought to have introduced rabbits to Australia). The manor, now a National Trust estate, is perfectly indicative of the wealth acquired by the squattocracy in the 19th century. Returning to Queenscliff, the later afternoon and evening are at leisure. Overnight Queenscliff.
Day 5 : Ballarat
Ballarat, whose name is derived from indigenous words for resting place (Balla Arat), was established as a township in the 1850s, when 20 000 diggers turned up to exploit the newly discovered goldfields (and whose rebellion against strict licensing and heavy taxation shortly afterwards at Eureka shot the town to further prominence). Ballarat’s place in the birth of the national story was further enhanced in the 1880s when the citizens of the town established Australia’s first regional gallery as a way of providing access to art for the people on the one hand, and advancing the city’s status on the other. This morning, we visit the excellent collection at Ballarat Regional Gallery, which has works by almost every major Australian artist from the 1870s to the end of the 20th century. After a break for lunch and some time to explore the city centre, we continue on to Bendigo, stopping for an afternoon tea break at Maldon, a small Gold Rush town that has preserved much of its original architecture and feel. After settling into our hotel in Bendigo, we have dinner in one of the city’s fine restaurants. Overnight Bendigo.
Day 6 : Bendigo
Bendigo’s history parallels Ballarat’s quite closely throughout the 19th century, with the discovery of gold in 1851 and the rapid development of the city in what would become the 7th largest goldfield in the world. As in Ballarat, the ambitions of the new townsmen extended to culture, and the art gallery was founded in 1887. The development of Bendigo Regional Gallery has taken a different course, however, especially following its recent expansion, its acquisition of contemporary Australian art, and its temporary exhibitions that are of an international standard rarely seen outside of Australia’s capital cities. This morning, after a talk we visit the impressive gallery. In the early afternoon, following a break for lunch, we take a walking tour of Bendigo’s historic buildings, products of the Gold Rush that are emblematic of the citizens’ aspirations. Mid-afternoon and evening at leisure; you may wish to take the historic tram to tour the Central Deborah Gold Mine or visit the Bendigo Woollen Mills, which produce some of Australia’s finest textiles. Overnight Bendigo.
Day 7 : Shepparton & the Goulburn Valley
Today we travel to Shepparton, in the Goulburn Valley. The town, although much less prestigious and much smaller than Bendigo and Ballarat, also owes its early development to the Gold Rush, and subsequently to the railways that linked the fertile valleys of northern Victoria to Melbourne. We visit Shepparton Art Gallery this morning, which has a strong collection of Australian ceramics, as well as paintings, prints and contemporary Australian art. We then travel to Tahbilk, a historic winery founded in 1860 on the banks of the Goulburn River. Here, we enjoy lunch in its highly regarded restaurant, tour the heritage buildings and gardens, and explore the wetlands by boat. Returning to Bendigo in late afternoon, the evening is at leisure. Overnight Bendigo
Day 8 : Mount Macedon and Departure
The tour concludes today. We depart the hotel this morning by coach for Tullamarine airport, stopping to visit Mount Macedon, from where we enjoy the spectacular views across Victoria. We continue to the airport, arriving before 1pm, in time for mid-afternoon flights.
Payment Terms & Methods :
* Some Advance Percentage of total booking amount
* Airfare/Transport fare to be paid full at one time in advance.
Cancellation & Refund Policy :
* Upon cancellation, refund will be made after deducting the Retention Amount.
* Retention Amount varies as per the number of days left before your package start date.
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