Aug 31 - Sep 3, 2021
4 days
$2,580per person, twin share (land content only). $440 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Robert Veel
Aug 31 - Sep 3, 2021

Tour Leader

Robert VeelChristopher Menz$2,580per person, twin share (land content only). $440 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


Join us in Brisbane, as the Queensland Art Gallery hosts a major exhibition of European art, with 65 masterpieces from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art coming to Australia for the first time. The span of the exhibition is truly impressive, representing 500 years of painting and featuring works by Caravaggio, Titian, Vermeer, Cezanne, Degas, Van Gogh and others.

Our tour is timed to coincide with the annual Brisbane Festival. We’ve secured tickets to the premiere season of Boy Swallows Universe by the Queensland Theatre Company, an adaptation of Trent Dalton’s much-loved novel and we’ve also included a performance of works by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Enjoy accommodation on Brisbane’s Southbank close to festival venues and dining in one of Brisbane’s fine dining restaurants.


The following special cancellation and refund conditions applies to this tour.

  • If you book on this tour and then find that you are unable to travel due to Government imposed COVID-19 travel restrictions we will provide a 100% cash refund of all monies paid to Academy Travel for this tour. This refund will be given irrespective of how close to the tour start date you become ineligible to travel, but you must inform us within 24 hours of becoming personally unable to travel in order to obtain a full refund.
  • If the tour cannot proceed due to Government imposed Covid-19 travel restrictions, the tour will be cancelled and all participants will receive a 100% cash refund of all monies paid to Academy Travel for this tour. This refund will be given irrespective of how close the cancellation occurs to the start date of the tour.


  • European Masterpieces – New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in 1880, just when Americans were opening their eyes to the beauty of European art. We are privileged to be able to see some of the Met’s best works in Australia.
  • Boy Swallows Universe is Trent Dalton’s novel, set in Brisbane, is being brought to the stage for the first time in this highly anticipated adaptation (pictured above).  Tickets are all but sold out for the show.
  • Queensland Symphony Orchestra, concert of Beethoven and Richard Strauss with pianist Jayson Gillham and conductor Dane Lam leading the Queensland Symphony.
  • Enjoy a meal at one of Brisbane’s fine dining restaurants
  • Watch the spectacular sunset, cruising the Brisbane River

Itinerary Overview

Day 1: Meet Christopher Menz at The Emporium for an in-depth introduction to the European Masterpieces exhibition.  Dinner in a fine dining restaurant.

Day 2:  This morning, we visit to the Queensland Art Gallery to view the European Masterpieces of the MET.  This afternoon, enjoy a sunset cruise down the Brisbane River.

Day 3: This morning there is a talk in the hotel, visit the William Robinson Gallery. Tonight, there will be an evening performance of Boy Swallows Universe.

Day 4: There is some time at leisure this morning before we see a performance by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, followed by lunch at the Gallery of Modern Art’s well regarded restaurant. The tour ends after lunch.

Detailed Itinerary

Start & Finish

The tour begins at 4.00pm on August 31 in the Emporium hotel.
The tour finishes after breakfast on September 3 after lunch.

Tuesday August 31 – Introduction

Arrive in the early afternoon and check in to your hotel. At 4.00pm join Christopher Menz for coffee and an in-depth introduction to the European Masterpieces exhibition. This evening we head to one of Brisbane’s fine dining restaurants for dinner. (D)

Wednesday September 1 – European Masters Exhibition

This morning head to the Queensland Art Gallery to view the exhibition. At sunset we take a cruise down the Brisbane River and enjoy a backstage tour of The Powerhouse, Brisbane’s newest performing arts venue. (B)

Thursday September 2 – Boy Swallows Universe

The morning there is a talk in the hotel.  We visit the beautifully located William Robinson Gallery, nestled in the Gardens Point Campus of Old Government House.  The Gallery honours the life and work of his contemporary style. This evening we head to the QPAC playhouse for Boy Swallows Universe. (B)

Friday September 3 – Depart

This morning, there is some free time.  We make our way to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) for an 11am performance by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Jayson Gillham performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, bookended by a new work commissioned for the orchestra and Richard Strauss’s tone poem Til Eulenspiegel. At lunchtime we dine at GOMA’s well regarded restaurant. The tour ends after lunch. (B, L)

Robert Veel

A cultural historian and founding director of Academy Travel, with a strong interest in visual arts, architecture and music.

Robert Veel is a cultural historian with over 20 years’ experience leading tours to Italy, the USA, Scandinavia and Turkey. He has a strong personal interest in the visual arts, architecture and music, and is a founding director of Academy Travel.

Robert holds a BA, Dip. Ed and M.Ed, all from the University of Sydney. He worked as a lecturer at the University of Sydney before a long stint at the University’s Centre for Continuing Education, lecturing in Italian history and culture and working as Assistant Director.  Robert continues to teach occasionally in Continuing Education courses.

Robert’s historical and artistic knowledge stretches from the Middle Ages through the early 20th century. In Italy he has led many tours focusing on the Medieval and Renaissance periods.  In the United States he likes to focus on the founding of the Republic and the Gilded Age of the early 20th century. In Scandinavia he is particularly interested in national identity and its role in Scandinavian literature, design and architecture. Robert speaks fluent Italian.

Robert led his first tour to Italy in 1990 and has not looked back! He has led more than 50 tours and designed many of Academy Travel’s most popular tours, including Sicily, New York, Rome and Venice residential tours, and our Scandinavia tours. More recently Robert led the first offering of Academy Travel’s tours to Tasmania and New Zealand.

We asked Robert, what do you enjoy most about leading tours?

“I really enjoy travelling with like-minded, interested travellers who are up for a bit of an intellectual adventure. It’s often the unexpected things that create the ‘shared joy’ of group travel”, says Robert “a wonderful, but little-known painting, a great performance or a fabulous meal. These are the things we travel for.”

“Over the years travellers have commented on my seemingly boundless enthusiasm. It’s true that I am curious about most things – people, places, history and artistic expression. There’s a kind of alchemy when this enthusiasm rubs off on others – hopefully with a bit of useful information as well!”

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Christopher Menz

A former art museum director and curator, with expertise in the arts and music throughout Europe, the USA and Australia.

Christopher Menz is a former art museum director and curator and has been leading cultural tours in Europe, the United States and Australia since 2013. He has expertise and interest in the visual arts and music.

Christopher has a BA (Hons) from Flinders University. He is a former director of the Art Gallery of South Australia. Before that he was a curator, specialising in decorative arts, and worked at the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, and National Gallery of Victoria. He has published and lectured extensively on Australian and European decorative arts, notably on the design work of William Morris, and curated numerous exhibitions. Christopher is based in Melbourne where he is an art consultant and valuer, and Development Consultant for Australian Book Review.

Christopher has led cultural tours to Germany, England, the United States, as well as in Australia. He has also been a tour leader on European river cruises.

We asked Christopher, what do you think clients get from travelling with you?

“It is always a great thrill to be able to introduce clients to new experiences and to places they might otherwise not have visited or not have visited recently. I always hope to give tour guests something that adds to the experiences of the places, cities, museums and art galleries, and performances that they would not get if travelling alone.”

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The Emporium Hotel,  Brisbane (3 nights)

We have reserved rooms in this five-star boutique luxury hotel in the heart of Brisbane’s Southbank. Emporium Hotel South Bank 

Tour Inclusions

  • 3 nights’ accommodation and breakfast at The Emporium Hotel Brisbane
  • Sunset cruise on the Brisbane River
  • Entry to the QAG exhibition and all other sites included in the itinerary
  • Performance tickets included in the itinerary
  • Travel on excursions by private coach
  • In-depth introductions to the European Masterpieces by Christopher Menz
  • All group tipping

Tour Details

Fitness Requirement

Grade One

A Grade 1 tour is appropriate for travellers in good health with good mobility, who can comfortably participate in up to 3 hours of physical activity per day on most days.
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For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
Hannah Kleboe (02) 9235 0023 or 1800 639 699
(outside Sydney)

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