Oct 23 - 27, 2019
5 days
$2,190per person, twin share (land content only). $580 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Dr Nick Gordon
Oct 23 - 27, 2019

Tour Leader

Dr Nick Gordon$2,190per person, twin share (land content only). $580 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


Melbourne’s reputation as the cultural capital of Australia has been enhanced recently through the opening of a number of new private collections, many of which are in customdesigned house museums. This new four day tour takes you to the best of these, including Lyon Housemuseum, the Justin Art House Museum, the Johnston Collection and Buxton Contemporary. Private visits to these collections are complemented by a guided tour of the NGV’s spring blockbuster exhibition, visits to historic homes, including Como House, the Australian Tapestry Workshop, and the spectacular Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens.

Get to know

  • Philanthropy and patronage: Melbourne’s private collections, the legacies of their founders, and a vibrant program of public bequests
  • Modern and contemporary art in Australia, from iconic works to emerging artists: Tracey Moffatt, Patricia Piccinini, John Olsen
  • The progression of Australian architecture, from Victorian terraces to the MCG and contemporary gems
  • Lush spring gardens, from traditional colour to innovative native plantings


  • Lyon Housemuseum, one of Australia’s finest collections of contemporary art
  • The Johnston Collection, exploring the life and collections of colourful antique dealer, William Johnston
  • Como House and Garden, a beautifully preserved historic home of Melbourne’s 19th-century aristocracy
  • Buxton Contemporary and Justin Art House Museum, two of the latest additions to Melbourne’s art scene
  • The stunning Australian botanic gardens at Cranbourne
  • Private tour of the NGV blockbuster exhibition and the ACCA

Itinerary Overview

Day 1: Assemble at Melbourne Airport, continue to the Australian Tapestry Workshop and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.

Day 2: Private guided tour of the Johnston Collection, with its fine collections of antiques, followed by a private tour of the MCG and visits to historic Como House and Garden and Buxton Contemporary, Melbourne’s newest gallery.

Day 3: Private guided tours of Lyon Housemuseum and the Justin Art House Museum, two excellent private collections of contemporary art.

Day 4: Lecture and guided tour of NGV’s blockbuster exhibition. Visit Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens.

Day 5: Depart Melbourne.

A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.

Getting There

Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar have frequent flights to and from Melbourne. Contact us for quotes and bookings.

Detailed Itinerary

Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.

Wednesday 23 October: Art on Southbank

The tour begins at 1pm this afternoon at Melbourne domestic airport, from where we travel to Southbank. Southbank was, until the 1990s, Melbourne’s industrial centre, but it was quickly transformed into an arts and entertainment district in what has become one of the most successful urban renewal projects in Australia. Our first visit is to the Australian Tapestry Workshop, which produces tapestries using traditional techniques to designs by leading Australian artists, such as John Olsen, Nanyuma Napangati and Imants Tillers. The works of the workshop can be found in major institutions in Australia, including the War Memorial, Parliament House and in Australian embassies around the globe. After a tour, in which we see the tapessiers at work, the process of production, and the artworks produced by the workshop, we visit the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. The rusted steel and glass gallery, designed by Wood and Marsh, is quickly becoming a new Melbourne icon, and its exhibitions of contemporary artists are highly regarded. After time to relax in the hotel, we have dinner in one of Melbourne’s fine restaurants. Overnight, Melbourne. (D)

Thursday 24 October: Historic Homes

Melbourne’s historic homes provide unique insights into Australian history and the culture that has put Victoria at the forefront of the arts in Australia. We begin the day with a private guided visit of the Johnston Collection, in East Melbourne. William Johnston was an entrepreneurial antiques dealer, based in Melbourne, London and India, with tastes for both the exceptional and the eclectic. His house and collection have been very well kept, following their donation to the City of Melbourne, and they reveal complex stories about the social and art history of England, Australia, and the withdrawal of Britain from India after World War II. We then have a private tour of the MCG, an icon of Australian sport and home to little-seen works of art, such as the MCG tapestry, designed by Academy Traveller Robert Ingpen and produced by the Australian Tapestry Workshop. After lunch, we visit Como House, built in a combination of Regency and Italianate styles in 1847, as a retreat from urban life, which quickly became the centre of Melbourne’s high society. In the late afternoon, we return to Southbank to visit Buxton Contemporary, the private collection of Michael Buxton, who donated it and $26 million to build and fund the operation of a new gallery as part of the Victorian College of the Arts. The collection has numerous works by established artists, such as Tracy Moffatt, Patricia Piccinini and Angela Mesiti, but also has an excellent collection of works by emerging artists, who the Buxton supports through its acquisitions. Evening at leisure. (B)

Friday 25 October: Contemporary House Museums

House museums are usually historic buildings, dedicated to famous past residents. The opening of the Lyon Housemuseum in 2010 has started to change this, and its significance was internationally recognised almost immediately. The building is designed by Corbett Lyon to house both his private collection of contemporary Australian art and design, and his family. After a tour of the Housemuseum conducted by a member of the Lyon family, we’ll visit the custom-designed gallery next door, which opens in early 2019. After a lunch break, we visit the Justin Art House Museum, inspired in part by Lyon, but with a distinctly different feel and collection. Following our tour of the collection and exhibition, housed in the first two floors of the building, we retreat with the owners, Charles and Leah, to their apartment on the 3rd floor for refreshments. This evening there is a lecture in the hotel on the NGV’s spring blockbuster exhibition. Overnight Melbourne. (B)

Saturday 26 October: NGV Spring Blockbuster

The NGV has long enjoyed a reputation for hosting some of the best blockbuster exhibitions in Australia. This morning we take a guided tour of the exhibition, details of which will be confirmed once the National Gallery of Victoria has publicly announced its show. After a break for lunch, we visit Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens. About an hour’s drive from the CBD, these exceptional Australian gardens recreate diverse landscapes from the red sand deserts of the interior to the estuaries and waterways of the coasts and showcase the diversity of Australia’s flora. They even have sections dedicated to domestic gardens – from the backyards of the 1960s, to contemporary inner-city courtyards. In the evening we enjoy a farewell dinner at one of Melbourne’s fine restaurants. (B, D)

Sunday 27 October: Departure

The tour ends in the hotel this morning, after breakfast. There is a transfer to the airport in the morning for midday flights. (B)

Dr Nick Gordon

Has a University Medal and a PhD in History and lectures on European art. Nick is also a practicing painter and brings this passion to the visual arts.

Dr Nick Gordon is a cultural historian and artist, with over 10 years of experience leading tours to Europe. He has strong interests in art, history, philosophy and architecture, from the ancient world to the present.

Nick holds a University Medal and PhD in history from the University of Sydney. He taught medieval and Renaissance history at the University of Sydney, the history of political thought at the University of Western Sydney, and architectural and Australian history elsewhere. He continues to teach at the Centre of Continuing Education, and gives occasional lectures on topics ranging from Classical Rome through to Australian and contemporary art. Nick has lead tours for Academy Travel since 2007, and designs study tours, residential tours and art-focussed tours, such as the Venice Biennale, Art Along the Rhine, Art Basel, and Amsterdam to Paris: Van Eyck to Van Gogh.

Nick is also an artist and his firsthand experience of art complements his academic expertise, through his knowledge of materials and the processes behind how an artwork is made, and his well-practiced eye for reading art.

We asked Nick, what do you enjoy most about tour leading?

“One of the things I enjoy most about touring is helping people understand more about what they’re seeing. This happens through a combination of background lectures exploring different contexts, cultural commentary on the road, and especially by being able to explain what is going on in an artwork with the artwork in front of us.”

“The aim of all of this is to help people see more for themselves, independently, both on tour and beyond. Some of the best moments for me on tour are when this happens, and you get to be part of something bigger as people start adding their own knowledge and experience to what we’re looking at. It makes each experience unique.” 

View Bio & Upcoming Tours


Melbourne, Key West Suites (4 nights)

Modern all-suite hotel in Melbourne’s arts precinct. www.keywestsuitesmelbourne.com.au

Tour Inclusions

What is included in the tour price? 
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:

  • Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
  • Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
  • All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
  • Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
  • Services of tour leader throughout tour
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Local guides at some sites
  • Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals

Airport 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 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.

What is not included in the tour price?
Open-age tours do not include the following:

  • Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
  • Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
  • Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
  • Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity

Booking conditions

You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.


A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 60 days before departure: $500*
  • 60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
  • 44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
  • 14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due

*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.

Unused Portions of the tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Travel Insurance

Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.

Passport and Visa

A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.

Will the tour price change?

If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.

Will the itinerary change?

Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.

Final Payment

Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.

Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.

Fitness rating

Grade 1

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.
More Details


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Speak to a consultant

For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
Kathy Wardrop 02 9235 0023 or 1800 639 699
(outside Sydney)

Detailed Itinerary

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