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Images: Destination New South Wales

 

There’s no place like Sydney, and no time quite like Mardi Gras. Sydney’s iconic Mardi Gras is the most colorful gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex celebration in the world attracting on average 40,000 international visitors each year. Enjoy 5 nights in Sydney to celebrate the best of Mardi Gras and experience this stunning harbor city and continue your Australia adventure by venturing out to the Hunter Valley wine region, where you will enjoy 2 nights in the oldest wine producing region in Australia.

 

Inclusions:

  • 5 nights Sydney at the 4* 57 Hotel Sydney in a King Room
  • Half day Sydney city sights small group tour
  • Sydney harbour cruise
  • Mardi Gras Parade Saturday 29 February, 2020 - Diamond Club Access
  • Mardi Gras party Saturday 29 February, 2020
  • 2 Nights at the 4* Hunter Valley Resort in a Vineyard Room including breakfast daily
  • 3 days Hertz full-size automatic car rental
  • Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) to enter Australia

Itinerary

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Day 1 - 27 Feb 20 - Arrive Sydney
Blessed with a temperate climate, Sydney is Australia's favorite city with the worlds most beautiful harbor. Take a taxi to the 57 Hotel, where you will stay for FOUR nights.

ACCOMMODATION - 57 Hotel brings the glamour of the 1970s boutique hotel into the 21st century, pairing it effortlessly with all of the modern creature comforts. The eye-catching interior and modern decor places 57 among the most beautifully designed boutique hotels in Sydney. 57 is centrally located within walking distance of Sydney Central Station and is just a stone's throw from the vibrant restaurants, bohemian bars and cozy cafes of Surrey Hills.

This afternoon you will be picked up from your hotel to commence a small group tour of Sydney. Visit the historic Rocks area and hear early convict history. Enjoy magnificent views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. See the shopping heart of the city, Queen Victoria Building and Sydney Tower. Visit Sydney's trendy Oxford Street district and travel through Paddington with its terrace houses before arriving at the Pacific Ocean. See the superb coast cliff walk around Tamarama and Bronte. Travel on to famous Bondi Beach and visit the beachfront promenade with time to enjoy a coffee or cool drink (at own cost). See Aussie lifesavers and Sydney's best panoramic view at Dover Heights. Return to Sydney via Double Bay, Kings Cross and Mrs Macquarie's Point for a final magical viewpoint over the harbour before returning to the city centre.

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Images: Destination New South Wales

Day 2 - 28 Feb 20 - Sydney Harbour Cruise
This morning make your way to Circular Quay and board your Sensational Sydney Cruises vessel at Campbell's Cove Pontoon to commence a morning Harbour Highlights cruise. Enjoy the company of a small group aboard a 52 foot motor yacht. Your captain and host will share the rich history of Sydney Harbour and its foreshore as you take in the sights of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and the bays and coves of Sydney Harbour. Enjoy a light morning tea with coffee, tea, juice and water. Cruise concludes at approximately 12.00pm at Campbell's Cove.

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Images: Destination New South Wales

Day 3 - 29 Feb 20 - Mardi Gras
Enjoy the day relaxing as you get ready for the festivities of the Mari Gras Parade & Party.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade captivates the nation and reverberates around the world. Join 12,000 fabulous people as they unite for a glittering explosion of pride in the heart of Sydney’s gay and lesbian district.

Born from a single night of political protest in 1978, the true Mardi Gras spirit lives on 40 years later, bringing the city to a standstill with hundreds and thousands lining the streets in support of equality, pride and a dazzling spectacle of sparkles and self-expression.

The Mardi Gras PARADE is scheduled to shimmy down Oxford and Flinders Streets at 7.30pm. We have upgraded your Parade experience to Diamond Club, the exclusive Mardi Gras experience in the heart of Taylor Square.

Includes a private bar, gourmet food trucks, or dance to party-starting DJs. No bustling crowds, no queues, no stress…Diamond Club is better than ever so you can enjoy the stunning Parade in style.

After the Parade make your way to the Party of the year, starting at 10pm - Featuring incredible main stage performances and Sydney's best DJ's mixing it big time with select international DJ's across multiple venues. You'll be dancing all night long.

World-class production and a sea of happy faces all adds up to one unforgettable night. It doesn't matter where you're from, you'll have the time of your life.

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Images: Destination New South Wales

Day 4 - 01 Mar 20 - Sydney at your leisure
Enjoy the party into the early hours or take the day to relax and revive

Day 5 - 02 Mar 20 - Sydney - Hunter Valley
Pick up your Hertz full size automatic rental car at the Sydney City Depot and commence your drive to the Hunter Valley 110 miles (175 Kilometers), approx. 2.5 hours

HUNTER VALLEY - The Hunter Valley is the oldest wine producing region in Australia, with the first vines being brought here in the 1820's. It is one of Australia's more scenic wine growing areas, with the Hunter River winding its way lazily through the grapevine clad hills. Renowned for the production of top quality table wines, the Valley has wineries ranging from very large, more commercial estates to the smaller boutique style wineries.

Check into the Hunter Valley Resort for your two nights stay in a Vineyard View Room

ACCOMMODATION - The Hunter Resort - The much loved Hunter Valley Resort is a truly unique property of the region. They offer a choice of four star lodgings with views of forty year old vineyards including spa cottages to help you unwind and feel truly at home. There are a range of experiences available at the resort, including the Hunter Wine Theatre and Wine School, San Martino Restaurant, the Hermitage Road Wine Tasting Cellars, horse riding, and Sally Margans Heavenly Hunter Massage Centre. Nearby is the Binnorie Dairy Cheese factory.

Tonight enjoy dinner at The Hunter Resort onsite San Martino Restaurant a Fine dining restaurant serving Australian cuisine OR drive the short distance to Esca Bimbadgen Estate (Dinner not included - own expense):

  • San Martino Restaurant
    An authentic Italian dish always starts with the best flour, garden fresh tomatoes, and the best quality local produce. Then of course matched to a great wine. Sound simple ... We make all our own pasta and sauces from scratch , in the traditional Italian way. Our restaurant also features a glass fronted air-conditioned wine cellar where we have wines from all over the world including some rare vintage wines from local private cellars
  • Esca Bimbadgen
    With terrific views of the Brokenback Ranges via the vineyards of Bimbadgen Estate, Esca pays more than lip service to the notion of locally sourced produce. It prides itself on being a regional restaurant and its reflected in an earthy, intelligent menu built around local suppliers and traditional provincial techniques such as curing and smoking. This is a down-to-earth restaurant with very solid cooking youll find both familiar and rewarding paired with the estates wines.

Make your own way back to your hotel at your leisure.

Day 6 - 03 Mar 20 - Hunter Valley
Day at leisure to explore the Hunter Valley

Over the past three decades this once sleepy agricultural region has been transformed into an internationally recognised wine region boasting world-class cellar doors, award-winning restaurants and sophisticated accommodation. Today, there are 60 cafes and restaurants and almost 120 tasting facilities. The Hunter is home to some of the most famous names in Australian wine, including regular winners of national and international awards. Visitors are encouraged to sample the regions famous Semillons and Shirazes at cellar doors including Tyrrells, McWilliams Mount Pleasant, Hungerford Hill, Tulloch, Draytons, Brokenwood, Wyndham Estate, Tempus Two and Lindemans which should make for quite a busy day. See www.winecountry.com.au.

While several big-name wineries are must - see destinations, The Hunter is also home to dozens of small, family-owned boutique wine producers, many of whom are enjoying success with alternative grape varieties.

Tintilla Estate, for example, specialises in Italian varieties, while Margan, Allandale, Briar Ridge, Gundog Estate, Piggs Peake, Mistletoe, Thomas Wines, Pepper Tree, Scarborough, Meerea Park, Glandore Estate, Whispering Brook and De Iuliis all produce excellent wines that exemplify the boutique ethos.

If you need a break from wine tasting, other attractions include several outstanding cheese producers and merchants. Try Binorie Dairy, the Hunter Valley Cheese Company and the Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop, while golf enthusiasts will be in their element with resort courses including the Greg Norman-designed The Vintage, Cypress Lakes, and the Hunter Valley Golf and Country Club at the Crowne Plaza. Hunter Valley Gardens at Pokolbin features 60 acres of superb gardens, surrounded by vineyards. There are 10 different themed gardens along with a boutique shopping village and an Irish pub.

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Images: Destination New South Wales

Day 7 - 04 March - Hunter Valley to Sydney
Return to Sydney at your leisure and return your vehicle to the Hertz Depot. Enjoy a final night in Sydney at 57 Hotel Sydney.

Day 8 - 05 March - Depart Sydney
This morning depart Sydney for your return to the US or next destination within Australia.

 

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Terms & Conditions:

Starting from pricing is valid for travel 27 February - 05 March 2020. Certain black out dates apply on the accommodation and tour value add offers - check with your Aspire consultant. Seats are limited and may not be available on every flight. Hotels are subject to availability. All prices reflect a discount for purchases made by cash/wire transfer/check, please see terms and conditions for credit card payments. There are no discounts for payment made by credit cards. Cancellation penalties and other restrictions apply.