3/126 Albert Road, Warragul VIC 3820 Phone: (03) 5623 5151 Fax: (03) 5623 4952 Email us EMERGENCY NUMBER +61 (0)419 213 274
Each year we run personally escorted tours showcasing our wonderful diverse country Australia. We try to offer a range of personally escorted tours to suit travellers looking for something new and different as well as repeating itineraries that have become so well loved over the years.
Travel Experience – New Caledonia
with Brianna Van De Ven
In November I was lucky enough to travel on an educational trip to Noumea, capital of New Caledonia, a French territory comprising endless islands in the South Pacific. New Caledonia is a beautiful place and I feel so blessed to have experienced its natural beauty.
Travel Experience – Antarctica
by independent traveller, Mary
25 days voyage on ‘Akademik Shokalskyy’, with travel companies Heritage Expeditions and Chimu, and involvement of Mawsons Huts Foundation.
Our expedition left in mid December, concluding in Bluff on New Zealand’s south island. Zodiac off-loads were had at Macquarie Island, in Commonwealth Bay Antarctica, then the sub Antarctic Islands Campbell, Enderby and Auckland.
Travel Experience – Antarctic Adventure
By tour guest, Deirdre
Departure day had arrived for my Top of Bucket List adventure!
And what an adventure it turned out to be!!!
Including the challenge of packing into 23kgs the clothing needed to traverse between Hot Humid 38deg to Dry Cold -4deg.
Our small group departed Warragul for overnight at the airport Park Royal Hotel for our early morning departure to Sydney, then on to Santiago arriving early evening in Buenos Aries (BA).
No rest for the wicked and we were off to a typical Argentinean Restaurant where I have to say the steak was magnificent.
Early morning departure for a short flight to Iguazu Falls! In the middle of the jungle we find a Sheraton Hotel with our balcony room views overlooking the dense tropical canopy with the mist rising from the thunderous falls.
A vast variety of wildlife, including an elusive “Gator”, was seen as we walked through the national park accompanied by local guide Maria.
My photography skills can be challenged at times, however very excited to capture a rarely seen Toucan (curved orange beak).
We experience thunderous tropical downpours interspersed with brilliant sunshine as we walked the over water pathways (that seemed to go on forever) through the dense vegetation, across vast expanses of Gator-filled fast flowing water ending up at The Devils Throat. A visually breathtaking sea of loud swirling waters that just fell over a precipice and disappeared into the depths below!
Dressed as supposedly waterproof inflated orange blimps, a zodiac-like boat drove us all at speed up stream and bored directly into the base of the falls itself!!!
Iguazu was quite the experience – took your breath away. I could have stayed longer – maybe next time.
Departed all too soon and arrived back in Buenos Aries for a few days to see the local sights including Recoleta Cemetery – resting place of Eva Peron. Experienced the art of Tango (not personally) and then had a trip 100kms north of Buenos Aries to Santa Susanna ranch to partake in traditional style horse riding (enough said about that!) another Tango show, great hospitality and of course the Traditional Argentinean BBQ!
Leaving the warmth of BA we flew south to El Calafarte for a couple of nights – colder brisk weather greeted us, just to get us primed for the Antarctic adventure to come… So much to see!
From a boat ride to the face of Perito Merino Glacier in the “Parque Nacional Los Glaciares” where we saw much calving of the ice shelf, to the spectacular walk around the edge of the glacier listening to the creaking and groaning of the constantly moving ice, the scenery was spectacular. The weather had been kind to us thank goodness and the day was topped off with a delicious local lamb BBQ!
Departing El Calafarte we flew further south to Ushuaia – commonly referred to as El Fin Del Mondo – the End of the World and were guided through Tierra Del Fuego National Park (very close to the Chilean/Argentinian border). The Falklands war is still very fresh in the minds of many older locals as we evidenced by monuments and landmarks in the vicinity of the Port. Ushuaia was the Argentinean Port used heavily during the war and sensitive issues ran just below the surface during local conversations.
Eagles, swans, magnificent vistas. We took a boat ride out into Beagle channel to see penguin, colony and fur seals sunning themselves on the rocks. What can I say!
With bags packed and spirits high we left Ushuaia to board our home for the next 12 days – The Sea Adventurer.
With safety briefings, accommodation and dinner service sorted we head off down the Beagle Channel into the highly anticipated Drake Passage – to clear Cape Horn and cross to the Antarctic continent. Our entry into the passage was delayed for a few hours (unbeknown to us ) as we subsequently found out , the weather was not welcoming at the time we were due to enter and for the comfort and safety of Ship and passengers we ended up briefly heading more towards New Zealand.
When ice was first sighted there was much excitement felt by all as we neared our destination and all passengers celebrated on deck at the bow of the ship with a glass or three of bubbles and the feeling was euphoric. We couldn’t have been happier.
In the ensuing days, cruising through sheltered calm, still waters of the Antarctic Peninsula we cracked our way through sea ice, eyes searching for wildlife. We were not disappointed. Lounging Crabeater and Weddell seals basking on sea ice shelves as we slowly passed by; frolicking penguins keen to avoid the ever vigilant Sea Lions always on the hunt for food and the odd whale or two cruising past our ship.
We had been blessed by sunshine crisp days and little wind as we toured in Zodiacs daily; made many “wet” landings at places that included penguin colonies, deserted (for the winter) British/ Italian/ Argentinean Research Bases with ample opportunity to experience the AWESOMENESS of this majestic, magnificent, pristine environment.
The adventurous amongst us climbed to high elevations whilst others chose quiet contemplation gazing across this diverse, fragile environment.
In Wilhelmina Bay we saw so many whales – it was hard to know which way to look! Whales breached right next to the ship; protective mothers with offspring giving us “the eye” as they came to check “Us” out. Whales moving in packs to circle krill then surfacing with mouth wide open to gather them up to feast!
Sensational sights, including sailing into a Caldera at Deception Island – a Volcano that is still active today – where an abandoned whaling station was decimated by an eruption a decade or two ago. The rocky beach was peppered with fur seals and we picked our way through giving them plenty of space!!
We were fortunate our return trip across the Drake was calm (for the Passage that is) and back to Ushuaia we headed. Our Antarctic component nearly over… but such amazing memories…..
Flew back to Santiago via BA for some more local sights and Jacquey treats then regrouped for our flight home via Auckland.
Once again this has been an extraordinary trip, expertly organised by Jacquey and her great Team at Gippsland Travel. As a group we had the opportunity to have many wonderful and varied experiences yet also at various times to partake in our own exploration – it is a great way to travel!
Many thanks to my fellow explorers, our guides, exploration team and of course Jacquey for a wonderful adventure.
NEW CALEDONIA By Brianna Van De Ven In November I was lucky enough to travel on an educational trip to Noumea, capital of New Caledonia, a French territory comprising endless islands in the South Pacific. On arrival into La Tontouta Airport we were met by our transfer service and enjoyed the 45-minute coach journey into… Continue Reading
SOUTH AMERICAN SPECTACULAR By independent traveller – Sandra Cathie Most of our group departed from Melbourne after a night at the airport Park Royal Hotel and, whilst waiting for our connecting international flight to Santiago from Sydney, we were joined by three ladies from Brisbane and two from Sydney. … Continue Reading
Antarctica and New Zealand Sub Antarctic Islands By independent traveller – Mary 25 days voyage on ‘Akademik Shokalskyy’, with travel companies Heritage Expeditions and Chimu, and involvement of Mawsons Huts Foundation. ‘Remember, one hand for the ship and one hand for you!’ This message came over the ship every time the rolling or pitching… Continue Reading
Travel Experience – Spain & Portugal By guests, Clare & Colin Our ‘Journey through Spain and Portugal’ last October-November provided a stimulating and enjoyable mix of Iberian culture, rich and diverse history, tantalising tastes and new experiences. Arriving in Lisbon, we were met by our European guide, Lucy and had a magnificent welcome dinner… Continue Reading
Travel Experience – Belgium and Flanders Fields By Jacinta Anderson In late May I was privileged to attend an amazing trip to Belgium to learn about the Flanders Region along with the beautiful canal cities of Bruges and Ghent. 2017 commemorates 100 years since the WW1 battle in this area. It was a hugely… Continue Reading
Jacquey’s Escorted Tour to Poland and the South of France 2017 By tour guest Patty Jacquey's tours are about experiences – of a country, its history, geography, lifestyle, food, culture, environment, its people – and our tour of Poland and the South of France was no exception. … Continue Reading
Travel Experience – Club Med Bali By Debbie Hulbert Travelling to Bali last November, I flew both ways with Garuda – the aircraft were clean and comfortable and staff were courteous and friendly. Although it rained most nights, the days were beautiful with clear skies, which is unusual for the wet season so a lovely… Continue Reading
Travel Experience – Vietnam By Taylor Schack I recently flew to Vietnam for a week with Wide Eyed Tours. Our first stop was Hanoi where we started the day with a city tour, first visiting the Maison Centrale prison. We also had time to look through the exhibitions of the Vietnam/American war museum, which provided a… Continue Reading
Travel Experience – Tasmania TASMANIA DISCOVERED By Jacinta Anderson On Monday 16 January, I headed off to Hobart to embark on what would be a truly memorable journey around the pristine southern Coastline of Tasmania with Coral Expeditions aboard their smallest ship in the fleet, Coral Expeditions 1. After a lovely morning enjoying Hobart’s Salamanca… Continue Reading
Each year Jacquey escorts four or five international tours to destinations as diverse as India, Central America & Cuba, Canada, Egypt, Africa, Sri Lanka, Corsica, Sardinia & Sicily and South America. Jacquey tries to offers a range of personally escorted tours to suit travellers looking for something new and different as well as repeating itineraries that have become so well loved over the years.
Gippsland Travel turns 30
We are very proud to announce that this year marks the 30th anniversary since we took over the reins of Gippsland Travel in April 1988 and turned it into one of Australia's leading independent travel agencies.
Travel Experience – South America
by Tour Group Member, Sandra
Read about my sensational travel experiences in South America. This has been my first tour with Jacquey and already I am looking forward to the next one. The organisation was faultless and each day delivered something interesting and surprising on top of what we were expecting.