Australian Book Review and Academy Travel proudly present an eight-day tour of Victoria. This survey of its Regional Galleries provides a remarkable insight into Australia’s heritage and its modern art.
The story of these collections speaks to a wider arc in Australian history, from the pastoralists of the colonial period to the ambitious new cities of the Gold Rush, a belated recognition of the region’s indigenous heritage and the revival of interest in regional centres as destinations for the cultural traveller.
This tour takes you to eight major collections, from Australia’s oldest regional galleries to wonderful modern and contemporary collections at Heide and TarraWarra. Visits to galleries are complemented with visits to historic sites, such as Maldon and Barwon Park, and the landscapes that have inspired generations of artists, from the Dandenongs, to the Mornington Peninsula and the distinctively Australian bush of the goldfields.
Peter Rose – Editor and CEO of ABR – will join the tour periodically – around the magazine’s production cycle in Melbourne.
COVID-19? Book with confidence If Government imposed COVID-19 restrictions mean that we cannot run a tour, or that you cannot travel to join a tour, then you will be given a 100% refund of all monies paid to Academy Travel for your tour.
Vaccination requirements Academy Travel requires all participants on its tours to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. We reserve the right to inspect your digital vaccination certificate.
Modern Art in Victoria
Discover the fine collections of modern art at Heide Museum of Modern Art, TarraWarra Museum of Art in the Yarra Valley, and McClelland Sculpture Park.
Bendigo and Ballarat
Explore Australian history in gold rush cities and enjoy the excellent collections at two of Australia’s oldest and largest regional galleries, renowned also for their special exhibitions.
Visit Point Nepean Quarantine Station, with nearly 50 heritage buildings, the beautiful gold rush town of Maldon, and Barwon Park, a spectacular 42-room bluestone manor.
See the landscapes that have inspired generations of Australian artists, from rolling hills, to temperate forests, varied coastlines, wool country and the rugged bush of the goldfields
Experience some of Victoria’s premier wine regions, with vineyard lunches in the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula, and at Tahbilk, a historic winery operating since 1860 on the Goulburn River.
The tour begins and ends at Terminal 1, Melbourne Domestic Airport. Qantas and Virgin fly into and out of Melbourne from most Australian cities. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Wednesday 12 October
The tour begins at 2 pm this afternoon, when we gather at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (Terminal 1, baggage carousel number 3) to travel by coach to the Yarra Valley. On the way, we visit the Heide Museum of Modern Art, founded by John and Sunday Reed, art patrons who transformed their acreage outside of Melbourne into a haven for writers and artists. This gem of a museum now houses one of the premiere collections of Australian modernism, with works by Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, and Albert Tucker, and its sculpture garden has works by Anthony Caro, Anish Kapoor and Inge King. After our visit, we continue to our hotel in the Yarra Valley, where we relax and enjoy dinner together. Overnight Yarra Valley. (D)
Thursday 13 October
TarraWarra & the Dandenongs
This morning, after talks in the hotel by Peter Rose and Christopher Menz, we visit the TarraWarra Museum of Art. Founded by Eva and Marc Besen, the collection is housed in a stunning modern space surrounded by vineyards. It includes works by many of Australia’s most prominent artists, including Brett Whiteley, John Olsen, Fred Williams and Rosalie Gascoigne, and often features highly regarded temporary exhibitions. We then enjoy lunch at Coombe, the estate of Dame Nellie Melba followed by a tour of the house and gardens. We then travel through the Dandenong Ranges, in whose temperate forests and secluded valleys artists like Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin and Tom Roberts found inspiration for an emerging Australian style of landscape painting. On returning, we’ll have dinner in the hotel. Overnight Yarra Valley. (B, L, D)
Friday 14 October
The Mornington Peninsula
Today we explore the Mornington Peninsula, starting with a visit to the McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery, an endeavour supported generously by Dame Elizabeth Murdoch. The 16-hectare open-air museum displays over 100 large sculptures in park and bushland settings, including ground-breaking works by Inge King, Patricia Piccinini and Ken Unsworth. After our visit we continue touring along the eastern side of the Mornington Peninsula, enjoying the vineyard views across the vineyards, stopping for lunch, and admiring the dramatic coastal scenery. In the later afternoon, we visit Point Nepean Quarantine station, where dozens of historic buildings look out across the bay. We then take the ferry across Port Phillip Bay to Queenscliff, a pretty seaside town. Evening at leisure. Overnight Queenscliff. (B, L)
Saturday 15 October
Barwon Park and Geelong
This morning we explore the history of grazing in Victoria with a visit to Barwon Park to tour the 42-room bluestone mansion built for the squatter Thomas Austin (who is thought to have introduced rabbits to Australia). Now a National Trust estate, the manor exemplifies the wealth acquired by the 19th-century squattocracy. Next is a stop at Geelong, whose role as the main port of the Victorian wool industry made it vital to the Australian economic boom. With its port in decline and the waterfront revitalized, however, the city is taking on a new role. Geelong Art Gallery, part of a multimillion-dollar arts facility, has a strong collection of works that highlight the region’s history. Upon returning to Queenscliff, the later afternoon and evening are at leisure. Overnight Queenscliff. (B)
Sunday 16 October
Ballarat, whose name is derived from indigenous words for “resting place” (Balla Arat), was established as a township in the 1850s, when 20 000 diggers turned up to exploit the newly discovered goldfields (and whose rebellion against strict licensing and heavy taxation shortly afterwards at Eureka shot the town to further prominence). Ballarat’s place in the birth of the national story was further enhanced in the 1880s when the citizens of the town established Australia’s first regional gallery as a way of providing access to art for the people and advancing the city’s status. This morning, we visit the excellent collection at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, which has works by almost every major Australian artist from the 1870s to the end of the 20th century. After lunch, we continue on to Bendigo, stopping to visit Maldon, a small Gold Rush town that has preserved much of its original architecture and feel. Evening at leisure. Overnight Bendigo. (B)
Monday 17 October
Shepparton & the Goulburn Valley
Today we travel to Shepparton, in the Goulburn Valley. The town, although much less prestigious and much smaller than Bendigo and Ballarat, also owes its early development to the Gold Rush, and subsequently to farming and the railways that linked the fertile valleys of northern Victoria to Melbourne. In the morning we’ll visit Shepparton Art Museum, which is housed in a splendid new building by Denton Corker Marshall that opened in 2021. The collection has Australian ceramics, as well as paintings, prints and contemporary Australian art. We then travel to Tahbilk, a historic winery founded in 1860 on the banks of the Goulburn River. Here, we enjoy lunch in its highly regarded restaurant, tour the heritage buildings, and explore the wetlands by boat. Return to Bendigo in late afternoon; the evening is at leisure. Overnight Bendigo (B, L)
Tuesday 18 October
Bendigo’s history parallels Ballarat’s quite closely, from its gold rush origins to the foundation of Bendigo Art Gallery. The main difference between the galleries is the internationally respected temporary exhibitions Bendigo continues to host. After a talk this morning we visit the gallery, whose collection ranges from historic paintings of Bendigo, through to the greats of modern Australian painting and contemporary art. Later, following a lunch break and some leisure time, we take a walking tour of Bendigo’s historic buildings, products of the Gold Rush that are emblematic of the citizens’ aspirations, and visit the Golden Dragon Museum. Later we’ll dine together at one of Bendigo’s fine restaurants. Overnight Bendigo. (B, D)
Wednesday 19 October
Castlemaine and Departure
This morning we travel to the airport, stopping for an out-of-hours visit to Castlemaine Art Museum, whose collections are housed in a beautiful art-deco building. We continue to the airport, arriving at approximately 1pm, in time for mid-afternoon flights. (B)
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.”
One of Australia’s leading literary figures, Peter is an award-winning poet, memoirist and novelist. Since 2001 he has been Editor of Australian Book Review.
Peter Rose is the Editor and CEO of Australian Book Review. His books include a family memoir, Rose Boys (2001), which won the National Biography Award in 2003. He has published two novels and six poetry collections, most recently The Subject of Feeling (UWA Publishing, 2015).
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
All accommodation at properties mentioned in the itinerary
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Taxis may also be used for short trips on some tours. Some city stay tours may involve local transport
Lunches and dinners indicated with the letters L and D in the itinerary
Beer, wine and soft drinks at sit-down lunches and dinners. Picnic and light lunches may not include alcoholic drinks
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
All tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
On international tours only
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required, and when stated as included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Some trips may be made by public transport such as high-speed train and subway
What is not included in the tour price?
Our tours do not include the following:
Air or land travel from your home city to the tour start/end points
Local taxes and airport levies that we are not able to prepay on your behalf. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Lunches and dinners not specifically indicated with the letters L or D in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as passports, laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
Airport Transfers on international tours
Tours may begin at either the arrival airport or the first hotel. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel, and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
We require all tour participants to have adequate insurance coverage.
For domestic tours, Medicare and your private medical insurance should be used to cover any medical expenses.
Domestic travel insurance is available and strongly recommended to cover non-medical expenses such as cancellation.
For international tours, we require you to have comprehensive travel insurance. Prices vary according to your age, your pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the length of your journey abroad.