Oz Odyssey - The Trip of a Lifetime

Anyone can get on a jet and visit another country but we take it to a whole new level!

Join us as we take a small group of our wine club members to our home country of Australia. Stay at fabulous resorts, enjoy a culinary school experience and dine with winemakers and talented chefs at totally unique places you might never find on your own. Let us take care of the itinerary, the hotels, the meals, tips and tax. For once in your life just lay back and enjoy our Oz Odyssey experience. I want to go on Oz Odyssey . . .

Sydney & The Hunter Valley

Join Dawn and Bill Williamson enjoying some of Australia's best food and wines while exploring the breathtaking harbor city of Sydney. Experience for yourself the gastronomic delights of this eclectic city where European and Asian culinary styles meet, integrate and excel. Each perfect day you will enjoy a leisurely multiple-course meal featuring superb fresh food paired with local Australian wines.

We meet at the iconic Park Hyatt Hotel in the historic Rocks area of Sydney, a great location, overlooking the Opera House and easy walking distance to the downtown shopping district.

Suspended above the waters of Sydney Harbor, each king suite of our Park Hyatt Hotel has breathtaking views of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge where the traditional values of courtesy, care and comfort are delivered with Park Hyatt’s discreet and sophisticated style.

We depart from the lobby and limo across the Harbor Bridge traveling through Sydney’s Northern Beaches for a long, luxurious lunch with stunning foods overlooking a fabulous beach with a panoramic view of the South Pacific Ocean.

After a leisurely we lunch return to Park Hyatt for a free evening to relax or explore the Rocks area pubs and shops. . . . more
It's a short walk to the wharf where we board our 65 foot cruiser on the stunning waters of Sydney Harbor. Please remember to wear soft, removable shoes as our time on the Enterprise is barefoot.

We disembark for lunch on the beach front at Balmoral, a masterpiece in elegant beachfront dining.

After lunch we will take our limo to Herbie's Spices in Rozelle where we will meet owner Ian "Herbie" Hemphill one of Australia's foremost culinary herb and spice experts.

Ian will take the our group through an interesting and informative hour of spice appreciation to show how easy it is to use spices in everyday cooking.

Return to the Park Hyatt area for a little free time to enjoy the local shops or hotel spa before changing for dinner. We stroll to the glass cylinder that is the coveted QUAY one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and is the highest ranked Australian restaurant in the world, also named "The Best Restaurant in Australasia." . . . more

Drive north of Sydney to the Hunter Valley which has an international reputation for exceptional wines, most notably Semillon and Shiraz. On arrival we enjoy a light buffet luncheon and then it's on for a tour and tasting at the oldest family winery still making wines in the Hunter Valley. Founded in 1858 the Winery with its dirt floor and old world charm has been preserved in its current state for over 100 years.

Next we check in at a truly unique small five-star luxury hotel in the Hunter Valley,where our group virtually occupies the entire hotel. The hotel estate offers spacious suites with truly indulgent amenities set among vineyards and natural bush land and the Estate’s own restaurant is a Hunter Valley gourmet icon.

We are joined at dinner by a fifth generation Hunter winemaker and his family to enjoy a local, farm-to-table produce & wine dinner and they will then host us all at their winery the next day. . . . more

We continue our Hunter Valley Odyssey with a tasting in a museum room housed in the 100+ year old winery. The original vats and wine barrel making equipment are exhibited while outside are exceptional views of the Hunter Valley.

Next it's on to a great set of wines with a private tasting at a five-star winery. Here we get to enjoy the company of the winemaker as we lunch with delicious dishes then back at our hotel estate for a genuine Aussie barbecue. . . . more

After breakfast is served in each suite we leave for Sydney Airport where we fly to Adelaide for the second half of our trip in McLaren Vale and The Barossa Valley.

At Sydney Airport we are booked on the 12:30 pm QANTAS Airlines flight QF751 to Adelaide. We already have tickets purchased for each of our Oz Odyssey travelers from Sydney to Adelaide.

NOTE: For security reasons at the airport you will need to manage your own bags and any excess luggage fees however we have a group booking with the best rates. . . . more important luggage information

McLaren Vale & Barossa Valley

Adelaide is the fifth-largest city in Australia and gateway to famous Australian wine regions . Noted for its many music festivals and sporting events, Adelaide with its food, wine and culture, ranks in the Top 10 of The Economist's World's Most Livable Cities.

Arriving at Adelaide Airport we are greeted by our favorite wine country host Joe Ahern who shows us his Adelaide ending up at a wonderful old Australian pub.

After a refreshing Aussie beer or two it's on to McLaren Vale with breathtaking views across the Onkaparinga Gorge to the sea. Here we stay overnight in The Retreat at Chapel Hill with its specifically designed culinary school teaching kitchen where we join the chef In a hands-on class to help prepare our own dinner, the embodiment of the wine and food experience. . . . more

After a sumptuous breakfast we visit a nearby winery where each couple has an opportunity to create their own wine in a blending session led by a brilliant Australian wine educator and members of the wine making team who fill couple of hours with fun and wine education.

The fun rolls on when we enjoy a famous multi-hour Aussie lunch at the winery. Fresh, seasonal dishes such as tender lamb, rich pork belly with citrus jam or warming dishes like home made Apple pie, are all paired with the winery's famous white Rhône wines as well as Shiraz and Grenache style wines.

After lunch Joe drives us to the Barossa Valley where we check into The Louise which offers absolute luxury and inspired design with totally private areas, generous en-suites and breathtaking vineyard views.

No visit to The Barossa would be complete without an Aussie style wine country barbecue so dinner is out on the lawn. Enjoy the barmy semi-tropical night and a selection of wines that would stump lesser people. . . . more

Meet Dan Standish, one of the powerful winemakers of the Barossa Valley and owner of one of our "Sister Wineries". Dan's exceptional wines sell out every year but a few find their way into "Bills Cellar Club".

In this rare opportunity Dan, often accompanied by his wife Nicole, shares his vineyard and wine making philosophy and even more importantly, his breathtaking wines.

After tasting the fabulous Standish Wines we meet Keith Hentschke to taste his award-winning wines then head chef Lachlan Colwill will produce a fabulous lunch in the stables at Hentley Farm, originally built in the 1880s on the banks of Greenock Creek, which have been meticulously restored and converted into a contemporary dining room.

After lunch we return to The Louise to enjoy the resort facilities, then its off to Yallumba, Australia's oldest family owned winery, to taste the world class wines, visit a working cooperage, marvel at the wine cellar accumulated by the family over 150 years of collecting then ending up in the tank room where local celebrity chef Peter Clark will present us with an incredible dinner. . . . more

No Barossa visit would be complete without experiencing Rockford Wines where winemaking is carried on using the traditional methods as it was in 1890. It's almost indescribable - you just have to experience it for yourself.

In 1851 Joseph Seppelt established Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley and on our last day we visit Seppeltsfield Winery for a wonderful experience. Here you have the rare opportunity to taste your own birth year vintage tawny, directly from the barrel as we take a behind the scenes look through the estate's treasure trove of historical buildings and spectacular surroundings, hearing the Seppelt family history and their profound influence on the Australian wine industry.

We saved a rare experience for our final dinner together. In 1847 a surveyor named William Jacob built a cottage on the banks of the creek which later lent its name to the famous wine brand Jacob's Creek, produced by Orlando Wines.

In 1997 Orlando Wines commenced a rejuvenation project for Jacobs Creek on which all non-native plants were removed, and replanted with blue gums, red gums and other Australian native trees and shrubs. In this historic cottage of William Jacob we will savor a degustation dinner to celebrate our last night together on our Oz Odyssey. . . . more

We spend our last morning saying goodbye to our fellow travelers in the beautiful Barossa and then each visitor goes their separate way to explore incredible Australia. Here are some recommendations for on-going trips.
  • Queensland - Australia's Sunshine State, Queensland, includes the Great Barrier Reef, world-class beaches, sun-baked islands, and green rain forests.
  • Victoria – Australia’s second-largest city, the cosmopolitan city of Melbourne boasts great festivals and shopping, a passion for food and wine, and fabulous arts.
  • Tasmania – This little piece of England transplanted is recognized for its Pinot Noir and picturesque beauty, an island haven at the edge of the world where you can still journey deep into pristine wilderness, and walk with wildlife found nowhere else.
  • Western Australia – Perth is a modern city and the gateway to the famous Margaret River wine area. WA’s splendid isolation has resulted in a vibrant, original music and arts scene - and locals that welcome visitors with open arms.
  • Northern Territory – A western adventure, visit Ayers Rock or Uluru as it is known by the aboriginal people, Kakadu National Park, Alice Springs and Darwin where the beach lifeguard is always on the watch for crocks.
  • New South Wales – Have some more fun in Sydney and visit the Blue Mountains.
  • New Zealand – Discover the fantastic flavors of New Zealand from Auckland's fresh cuisine to the vineyards of Marlborough and Queenstown's stunning scenery.
  • Tahiti - Return to the US via Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea and other islands in this South Pacific paradise where you can recover from the overindulgence that defines life in Australia.

Frequently Asked Questions . . . . More on Oz Odyssey . . . .