Australia Trip

I had the opportunity to visit Australia as an Australia Tourism Aussie Specialist with a wine and wildlife tour of South Australia and Kangaroo Island before a 3 day conference meeting where I had one on one suppliers from all over Australia representing various tourist regions and activities.

The conference consisted of 300 travel agents with 100 agents from the USA, 50 agents from Canada, 10 to 12 agents from South America and the balance of agents from Europe.

There were a total of 43 US agents and 2 group leaders that flew from Los Angeles October 2nd on Virgin Australia to Sydney on a 14 hour flight arriving on Wednesday October 4th due to the dateline time change.  I was with a group of 13 US agents plus our group leader that participated in the South Australia and Kangaroo Island wine tour while the others did either the Northern Territories or Western Australia.

From Sydney, my group flew to Adelaide arriving around 3:00 in the afternoon checking into the Adina Apartment Hotel Adelaide Treasury.  Once checked-in, we walked several blocks for a Roof Climb experience of the Adelaide Oval which houses Cricket and Soccer Fields.

For the Roof Climb, we were fitted with special clothing that allowed us to have cables attached while we were climbing the roof of the Adelaide Oval.  Photos for the Roof Climb are below.

Day 1 – October 5, 2017

In the morning, we met our guide Ben Neville owner of Off Piste 4WD tours for a tour of the Pieuieu Peninsula.

starting with the Onkaparinga River National Park where the longest river in Australia flows enjoying the views and enjoying champagne and cookies to start the day.

From there, we traveled to d’Arenberg Winery which is a world renowned, family owned, McLaren Vale winery that produces high quality, award winning Australian wines where we were able to blend our own bottle of Shiraz to take home with us.


After tasting and blending our own wine, we stopped at the nearby Goodiesdon Brewery for a beer tasting experience.

We had lunch at our guide’s parents where our lunch was served outside including more fine Australian wines.


From there we traveled to Port Willunga where some of our group did horseback riding on the beach before we proceeded to Cape Jervis for the ferry to Kangaroo Island.

On Kangaroo Island, we checked into the Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge for our next two evenings including our evening and breakfast meals.

Day 3 October 6, 2017

After breakfast, we met Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours which were our tour guides for the exploration of Kangaroo Island.  Our tour started at a farm owned by one of the employees of Kangaroo Island Wilderness Tours so we could look for Koala Bears in the trees on their farm including a pleasant surprise of coffee and cookies back in the wooded area of their farm.


From there, we traveled to Seal Bay Conservation Park for a tour of the museum and observing the seals on the beach.

Our next stop was Flinders Chase National Park where we enjoyed lunch cooked on the open grills.

Following our lunch, we traveled to Admirals Arch where the wind was very strong to observe some interesting rock formations plus observing seals in the water.

Our next stop was Remarkable Rocks which was a sacred place for the Aboriginal people years ago.

Since many of us were making comments about not seeing very many kangaroos, we were surprised when our vans pulled up to Kelly Hill Conservation Park, unlocked the gates and drove back to an area when we were able to approach the kangaroos in a group within 30 feet without them moving away from us.

We finished our adventure observing kangaroos in the wild before heading back to our hotel for dinner and the evening.

Day 4 – October 7th

After breakfast, we were transported to the Kingscote Airport for a short 15 minute flight onboard a regional airline to the Adelaide airport where we met our guide, Mary Anne Kennedy for the next 2 days for touring of the Barossa Valley.

Our first stop was for lunch at Fino Seppelsfield winery and after lunch we visited their Port wine storage cellar where they barrels of port that they had brewed going back to 1868.  Each one of us was able to enjoy a glass of port brew during the year of our birth.



We then traveled to First Drop, Home of the Brave winery for more wine tasting.

After First Drop, we traveled to Jacob’s Creek Winery for an introduction to wine tasting with various cheese.

From Jacob’s Creek Winery, we traveled to Lyndoch Hill Hotel for the evening.  This hotel and conference area boast over 30,000 roses plus a section containing priceless antiques.  Since this was early Spring, the roses were not in full bloom yet.

Day 5 – October 8, 2017

After breakfast, we continued our tour of the Adelaide Hills stopping at Gorge Wildlife Park to explore the park and participate in a Koala hold experience.


Our next stop was the Unico Zelo & Applewood Distillery for sampling of wines and spirits.

We then traveled to Melba Chocolate and Confectionery Factory for cheese and chocolates sampling.

Following our cheese and chocolates sampling, we went to Bird in Hand Winery for lunch and wine sampling.

Following lunch, we stopped at Prancing Pony Brewery for beer tasting.

After beer sampling at Prancing Pony, we traveled to Beeremberg Farm where a lot of different jams and jellies are available for purchase.


We then travel to Hahndoft which is a old German town checking into the Manna of Hahndorf Lodge and had dinner at the Haus located across the street.

Day 6 – October 9th

After breakfast, we continued our tour of the Adelaide Hills stopping at Hahndoft Hill Winery enjoying the ChocoVino Experience which consisted of sampling various chocolates with our glasses of outstanding white wine.

Following our ChocoVino Experience at Hahndoft Hill Winery, we continued to the Crafers Hotel for lunch before proceeding to the Adelaide Airport for our flight to Brisbane.

Day 7 – October 10th

After arriving in Brisbane, we boarded our bus to the Star Hotel Gold Coast for our 4 night stay on the Gold Coast.  On the morning of October 10th, we traveled to the Jellurgal Aboriginal Culture Centre to learn more about the Aboriginal Culture.  We walked to the beach where native dances were performed for us.


We traveled to a restaurant for lunch and then to Budd’s Beach for either paddle boarding or kayaking before returning to the hotel for our evening functions.

Days 8-10 – October 11th to October 13th

We met with 160 Australian Suppliers ranging from tour operators to individual hotels in one on one meeting for 10 minutes each.  Australia is a beautiful country with friendly people and a vacation spot that should be on everyone’s bucket list to visit.  While I visited South Australia and Kangaroo Island which was outstanding, the other travel agents that I talked to at the conference also felt that their trips were outstanding and well worth returning.

I would be happy to discuss Australia with anyone that has an interest.  I developed some great contacts where I can recommend unique venues that that the large tour operators may offer but not on the top of their recommended itineraries.

Please call Preston McKinney at 210-656-0083 to discuss Australia or email me