An Incredible Luxury Art Tour in Australia You’ll Experience First-hand on This Trip

by Robert Nathan

The editors of Travel + Leisure have teamed up with Black Tomato—a company known for securing insider experiences—on a series of one-of-a-kind journeys around the globe. Plus: the must-see experiences and sites in each destination that are so unique we’ve designated them our new wonders of the world.

The contemporary art scene in Australia is having a big moment, and you’ll experience it first-hand on a trip created with luxury travel experts Black Tomato that includes a stop at our New World Wonder, the Field of Light—an installation of 50,000 glass spheres that illuminate as the sun sets in the shadow of Uluru. Plus, visits to Melbourne’s cutting-edge galleries and a private tour of Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).

Read the full trip outline below, and when you’re ready to speak to an expert, get in touch with our luxury travel partner, Black Tomato.

Day 1: Sydney

After checking into the Langham, drive along the coast to join one of Sydney’s most respected Aboriginal Elders of the Dunghutti people and be immersed in a living Aboriginal cultural journey throughout Sydney. Be greeted with a traditional spiritual “Welcome to Country” ceremony on a sacred piece of land and experience the Aboriginal custom of gratitude for the land and the sun rising. The history of the land will be brought to life as your host takes you on a two-hour walk through Kamay Botany Bay National Park. Learn how Aboriginal people lived in ancient times and how they maintain their cultural connection today. Over tea, you will be able to taste some traditional recipes as well as contemporary creations using native ingredients such as lemon myrtle, wattleseed, and macadamia nut oil.

Day 2: Sydney

This morning, you will meet your private guide for a full day Sydney sightseeing tour. See and hear all about the city’s major icons including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, and Bondi Beach. Explore The Rocks area and some of the first streets developed as part of Sydney’s original urban plan. Hear how the city was designed and what makes it so unique on a global scale. Then head toward the iconic coastline, driving through the beautiful and highly sought after suburbs of Darlinghurst, Paddington and Woollahra. Discover Bondi Beach and the other famous Eastern Suburb beaches along the sandstone coastline. Drive through Rose Bay, and check out the country’s most luxurious harbour suburbs of Vaucluse and Point Piper. Next, cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge and find yourself in Sydney’s leafy north shore. Travel through the charming suburbs of Mosman, The Spit, Middle Harbour, and Manly. Plus, enjoy a lunch of fine Australian cuisine in a beautiful seaside setting. Returning to the city, you have the choice of taking the Ferry to Circular Quay from Manly or to be transferred by car.

Day 3: Sydney

Among the many activities that can be arranged: Join a guided cycling tour of the Sydney waterfront, its parklands and beautiful Botanic Gardens; take to the skies in a seaplane to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city and its coastline (or let them fly you to lunch at a waterside table in one of Sydney’s beautiful national parks); explore Sydney’s public and private galleries to see ancient indigenous works and thought provoking contemporary art; taste your way around Sydney with a hosted progressive dinner tour to introduce you to some of Sydney’s hottest eateries and meet the personalities behind them.

In the evening, make your way to the Sydney Opera House where you’ll begin with a tour of the Opera House. You will be guided into theaters and given a fascinating account of the history and architecture of the house. Then, enjoy an intimate pre-theater dinner in one of Sydney’s iconic restaurants. Following dinner, join the stars of Opera Australia for a concert of the greatest hits of opera—famous arias from Bizet, Puccini, Rossini, and Verdi will be performed by some of Australia’s finest opera singers in the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House.

Day 4: Alice Springs

Fly to Alice Springs and check into Longitude 131°, at the base of Uluru, which provides an authentic outback experience, minus the hardships.

In the afternoon, meet your guide for a tour of Uluru, who will delve deep into the significance of the place. You’ll explore the Mutitjulu Waterhole, a semi-permanent watercourse nestled in the contours of the rock, where you’ll learn aboriginal Tjukurpa stories about how ancestral beings created the world. You’ll also study the fascinating rock art of the ancients and learn of Uluru’s importance as a location for schooling young aboriginals. In the evening, dine under the stars in one of four secluded alcoves, the perfect spot to savour fine company and cuisine and the breathtaking setting.

Day 5: Alice Springs

The highlight of day five is a sunset experience at the top of a dune, where you’ll see the amazing transformation of colors as the sun sets on the horizon. Savour a selection of outback canapes with sparkling wine and beers as your host provides insights into the light installation that awaits you. As the last rays of sun hit Uluru, and darkness gradually falls, 50,000 glass spheres gently come to life. Field of Light beckons you to explore and lose yourself momentarily in the rhythms of colored light. Take in the vast scale of the installation one last time as you ascend the dune top for a panoramic perspective of the installation before enjoying the cool night skies at Table 131°, your hotel’s excellent restaurant. In the cool season, a warm fire sparks under the spectacular night sky. Later, Longitude’s resident astronomer regales guests with tales of the Southerly constellations.

Day 6: Melbourne

This morning, fly to Melbourne, check into the Park Hyatt, and take some time to connect with the city, its people, and their passions. Experience Melbourne’s art scene tailored to your interests. Visit The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), the oldest and most visited gallery in Australia. Situated over two magnificent buildings—NGV International and NGV Australia—the Gallery hosts a wide range of international and local artists, exhibitions, programs, and events from contemporary art to major international historic exhibitions, fashion and design, architecture, sound, and dance. Alternatively, for new development and promotion of modern art in Australia, visit Heide Museum of Modern Art, one of Australia’s most important cultural institutions.

Day 7: King Island and Hobart

This morning you will be met by a driver and transferred to Melbourne Essendon Airport for a private charter flight to idyllic King Island, famous for its natural beauty and pristine coastline. On arrival, meet your host, Ian Johnson, one of King Island’s most renowned restaurateurs and qualified chefs. Start with a private tour of the scenic harbor and hand-select seafood at the local fish-market for your private cooking class. Continue the day with a drive along the coastal beaches, and stop to enjoy sparkling wine and strawberries. Arrive at Ian’s famous restaurant, Wild Harvest, where you will learn the art of preparing crayfish and abalone. Enjoy a relaxed and indulgent 5-course degustation lunch and taste the new dishes you made along with wine pairings from Ian’s extensive wine collection. Following lunch, stroll through Grassy, a serene coastal village with a vibrant community. Before leaving the Island, stop by the world-renowned King Island Dairy for a premium cheese tasting with wine pairings and an exclusive opportunity to purchase wine at special “cellar door” prices. In the evening, catch your flight to Hobart and check into your hotel, MACq 01.

Day 8: Hobart

Today, take a walking tour of Hobart’s historic waterfront to learn the courageous and scandalous tales of the convicts, smugglers, settlers, explorers, entrepreneurs and adventurers who helped shape this city. Or, climb historic Kelly’s Steps to spend an afternoon wandering the streets of Battery Point. Dotted with mariner’s mansions and colonial cottages, they reveal the area’s history of poverty and prosperity. After, taste your way around some of Hobart’s best waterfront restaurants. There are plenty to choose from at Brooke Street Pier, Franklin Wharf or Hunter Street. Alternatively, cruise the River Derwent to enjoy a long lunch at pretty Peppermint Bay.

Day 9: MONA

At Brooke Street Pier, step aboard the ferry to the Museum of Old and New Art, famously known as MONA. Take in the incredible views across the water from the comfort of the “Posh Pit” where you will enjoy complimentary drinks and canapés as you make the 25-minute crossing. On arrival, relax over lunch at one of the highly regarded restaurants or cafés set within the museum before taking an in-depth private tour of the fascinating exhibits or exploring at your own leisure. This striking space is considered one of the world’s leading art museums but is also home to a brewery, a winery and much more.

Conclude your tour through MONA before joining dinner at the Source. Fine dining experience appears to mirror the museum that houses it and is intended to challenge and surprise. The menu features contemporary French inspired cuisine produced with fresh Tasmanian ingredients and a hint of mischief to present dishes such as artichoke gazpacho with mustard ice cream. The Source cellar houses more than 10,000 bottles of local and international wines and the glass walls of the modern dining open on to magnificent bushland and water views.

Following dinner, make your way independently to the Museum rooftop, for the viewing of James Turrell, AMARNA. AMARNA is one of a series of more than 80 Skyspace installations Turrell has built in high altitude and geographically isolated locations.

From $10,400 per person for nine days. To enquire about this trip with Black Tomato, click below.

Related Articles