If you’re seeking a safe travel option, Australia has had low numbers of cases of Covid-19, and there are bountiful opportunities for outdoor activities, plus remote yet luxurious lodgings. Whether you’ve headed down under before or it’s your first time, DM Concierge can help. The Melbourne-based travel firm can create a custom tour, with expert guides stationed around the enormous country as your personal hosts. With an itinerary created exclusively for Elite Traveler readers by founder David Melkonian, this 10-day, whistle-stop tour shows the best of the land down under.
The adventure begins in Sydney, where you’ll stay at the Park Hyatt (opt for the Sydney Suite; it has an outdoor terrace with exceptional views of the Sydney Opera House and harbor). Lace up your sneakers for a private walking tour of The Rocks to learn about this area Europeans first settled in 1788 before enjoying a private Opera House visit. For lunch, board a seaplane at Rose Bay and head north to the Cottage Point Inn before returning to the Park Hyatt by private yacht, marveling at the harborside views as you sip champagne.
The following day, a private guide will show you the best of Sydney by land, beginning with a trip over the Harbour Bridge for magnificent views from Kirribilli, followed by a private tour of Taronga Zoo to get up close and personal with local animals such as kangaroos and koalas. Then take a scenic 90-minute walk with your guide to Cremorne Point before heading back over the bridge for lunch at Bondi Icebergs Club at Bondi Beach.
Your guide will show you the surrounding ritzy areas up to Watsons Bay, Vaucluse, Double Bay, Woollahra and Paddington as you slowly venture back to the hotel. Possible stops include private art galleries, private local-label clothing boutiques or a stop at the city’s most famous butcher, Victor Churchill, for a unique cooking class. Dinner is at Rockpool, the city’s best steakhouse.
A two-hour flight brings you to the magnificent Qualia on Hamilton Island. Take a helicopter to Hamilton Island Golf Club, pamper yourself at the in-house spa, or venture over Whitehaven Beach by air to Heart Island for a glass-bottom boat ride. You’ll want to explore this resort on the Great Barrier Reef, where you’ll find private boat charters, fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling.
A three-hour flight south will take you to Melbourne, the country’s culture, sports and arts capital. Your private guide will take you straight to one of the city’s coffee roasteries for a short private tour of the facility before continuing on for a stroll through the stunning Royal Botanic Gardens and lunch at Stokehouse on St Kilda Beach. Spend the afternoon visiting some local suburbs such as Brighton for the colorful beach boxes, Armadale for the local designer clothing boutiques or alternatively hipster Fitzroy for street art, murals and art galleries. You’ll stay at the charming boutique hotel, United Places, in South Yarra. The next day you’ll get out of town with a thrilling 75-minute scenic helicopter ride to the Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Road, where you will disembark and marvel from the ground. Hop back into the chopper and fly over to the other side of Port Phillip Bay for a walk along the Cape Schanck Lighthouse. With your appetite sufficiently worked up, enjoy a private lunch and wine experience.
The day begins with a one-hour flight to Tasmania and to the outstanding Saffire Freycinet resort. Flying into Hobart, you’ll head to the MONA museum for a private tour followed by lunch at their in-house restaurant, then take a 45-minute helicopter to the resort northeast of Hobart. Saffire Freycinet is one of the most exceptional resorts in the world. It is adjacent to Coles Bay and overlooks the Freycinet Peninsula, so it’s no surprise that outdoor activities abound. Try shucking fresh oysters in the water, go fly fishing or mountain biking, shoot clay pigeons or go kayaking to spot pelicans.
The final port of call is in the center of the country, Uluru, or Ayers Rock. You’ll stay at Longitude 131, a luxury wilderness camp where the glowing red rock is visible from your suite. Signature experiences include an Aboriginal art lesson, guided walks, visiting sacred Aboriginal sites, the Field of Light art installation at night, and an alfresco dinner under the most bewitching night sky you’ve ever seen.