After award season and all of the plotting, prodding and press junkets are wrapped. After you’ve been nipped, tucked, feasted and feted — you just may need to get away. Like other-side-of-the-planet away and then a little farther. Fly to Melbourne, Australia. Then head off to the remote, rustic, yet luxurious Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island, South Australia.
Once you get to Australia, a trusted, knowledgeable guide can elevate your experience and maximize every precious hour. Dean Hampel, co-founder and tour guide at Localing Private Tour Company in Melbourne, is that person.
Localing offers luxury, customized and private experiences. What stands out about Hampel is that he’s, well, cool. Talking with him you get a sense of the real Melbourne. Sure, you’ll see the must-see city sites. But Localing can also arrange a behind-the-scenes deeper dive into a Melbourne neighborhood or scene — art, food, sports, nightlife, etc.
Melbourne is also an easy city to get around via public transportation. A myki is a ticket to travel on Melbourne’s trains, trams, and buses. Travel free in Melbourne’s central business district (CBD) free tram aone. Here, you’ll also find the free tourist tram-city circle tram 35 with recorded information. Uber is also easy to use in Melbourne.
There are a lot of tourist attractions in the CBD. Queen Victoria Market, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, National Gallery of Victoria, Flinders Street railway station, Laneways and Arcades, Hosier Lane and other Graffiti Lanes street art destinations, Chinatown and more.
The Fitzroy neighborhood is filled with vintage clothing and hip cocktail spots like The Everleigh and Naked For Satan with a stellar rooftop view. In tony South Yarra, there’s Toorak Road and Chapel streets packed with stylish shops and high-end hotels like the Lyall Hotel & Spa. South Yarra is also home to the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. In St. Kilda, there’s the beach.
Here are some of Hampel’s recommendations for a 48-Hour Melbourne Itinerary:
“Begin the day as a true Melbournian as you and your [Localing] host seek out the best specialty coffee,” says Hampel. “It’s a quick insight into our number one cultural obsession.”
The rest of the day includes Melbourne’s CBD, then nearby Carlton, “Melbourne’s Little Italy. A neighborhood bearing the marks of the many migrant communities that have called it home,” says Hampel. Afterward, venture to Fitzroy and Collingwood. “Australia’s most dynamic creative hub.”
Head back to the hotel and refresh. Then gear up for Melbourne nightlife. There are plenty of rooftop bars and “hidden local speakeasies from another time and place,” says Hampel. “It pays to expect the unexpected from the Melbourne night.”
Explore Melbourne’s stylish Southside via the bayside village of St. Kilda. Spot the fairy penguins that live along the pier. Make your way to the brilliantly decorated Brighton Beach Boxes.
Take a short scenic drive to the Mornington Peninsula. “One of Australia’s only coastal wine regions and a playground to the rich and famous of Victoria,” says Hampel. He also recommends a visit to Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park. Then experience the area’s restaurants “renowned for farm-to-plate experiences”.
After the city sojourn, travel to Southern Ocean Lodge Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Kangaroo Island is about eight miles off the South Australian coast. It’s called Australia’s Galápagos for its abundance of varied wildlife and stunning, rugged open landscape.
Southern Ocean Lodge sits like a glass sculpture luxuriously perched atop a secluded limestone cliff. The view of Hanson Bay looking across the Southern Ocean on the southwest coast of Kangaroo Island is shared by the 21 private suites.
Guests curate their itinerary. Options include outings to Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to see koalas, twilight cocktails and kangaroos watching, self-guided treks, Admirals Arch and a fur seal colony. Other local sites include Cape du Couedic Lighthouse and the otherworldly Remarkable Rocks.
A short walk on a winding boardwalk leads to the Southern Spa. Treatments, including the Southern Sojourn Body Ritual, incorporate Australian native ingredients.
Rates include dining and beverages. Guests help themselves to drinks from their in-suite bar and bar in the Great Room.
It’s about a 45-minute flight from Melbourne to Adelaide. From Adelaide, it’s a 30-minute flight to Kangaroo Island. Or, a 90-minute drive from Adelaide (there’s a Sealink Ferry bus) to the Kangaroo Island Sealink Ferry. Flying is much easier. Make clear arrangements with Southern Ocean Lodge for ferry or airport pick-ups. Car rentals are also available. And yes, there is a helipad.