ALH-JD - 2019 - Crystal Overland Adventures: Tree Tops, Caves & Margaret River Wines - per person double occupancy
This two-night adventure presents a panoply of Australian wonders. First, get an amazing perspective on the magnificent red tingle forest from the Tree Top Walk. Later, descend underground for explorations of two incredible show caves, Jewel Cave and Lake Cave. Day Two introduces you to the region’s culinary delights as you visit area wineries, sip suds at a brewery, stop at a chocolate factory and savor a wine-paired lunch.
Monday, February 18
Depart the pier and head to the Valley of the Giants, located west of Denmark and east of Walpole on the Southern Ocean coast of Australia. Here, you will experience the aptly named Tree Top Walk, a stunning walkway positioned high in the red tingle canopy with majestic views of the wilderness.
This impressive forest, known as the Ancient Empire, is unique to this part of the world. The trees can reach heights of 130 feet, with trunks measuring up to 50 feet in circumference, making them some of the largest trees on earth. They are also quite ancient, with some more than 400 years old. In addition to the Tree Top Walk, a ground-level interpretive trail meanders around and even through some of the towering giants, similar to the paths found amid the redwoods of California. Marvel at the mystical grandeur of the tingle forest as you stroll along a 650-yard walk on a gentle gradient, with benches to stop and rest.
After lunch, travel to another marvel of Western Australia, Jewel Cave. The largest show cave in Western Australia, Jewel Cave has accessible depths of up to 138 feet and covers an area of more than one mile. Enter this subterranean wonderland to witness massive chambers with fantastic crystal creations. Three enormous cave spaces are encrusted with delicate helictites, cave coral, pendulites, flowstone formations and one of the largest straw stalactites of any show cave in the world.
Be sure to bring your camera and your walking shoes: The one and only entrance to the cave has 250 steps that you will need to descend to enter the cave and climb to exit. The steps are staged, with sections of boardwalk and rest stops at platforms along the way, giving you the opportunity to admire this magical realm at a leisurely pace.
Nearby is yet another jewel of Western Australia, Lake Cave. The most actively dripping cave in the South West, Lake Cave is the only cave on the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge that has a permanent lake. This national treasure is home to the “suspended cable,” a spectacular crystal decoration weighing several tons that hangs from the ceiling, almost touching the waters of the lake. It is thought that this is the only cave decoration of this type in the world.
Again, be prepared to not only be amazed but to walk. Lake Cave has only one entrance with 325 steps, which, like Jewel Cave, you must descend in order to enter the cave and climb in order to exit. The show cave displays an incredible drama of dripping formations and placid waters, illuminated by the glow of well-positioned lights. Benches and platforms give you the chance to take it all in.
Emerging back above ground, transfer to the Cape Lodge Luxury Resort, a boutique country-house hotel and restaurant in the heart of the Margaret River wine region. A member of Luxury Lodges of Australia, Cape Lodge welcomes you with stylish amenities and an inspiring setting.
Enjoy a three-course dinner and your overnight stay at the lodge, anticipating tomorrow’s day of sightseeing and wine tasting.
Tuesday, February 19
After breakfast at the lodge, discover the wineries of Australia’s famous Margaret River. Producing only 1 percent of Australia’s total wines, the Margaret River region produces 20 percent of Australia’s premium wine. Varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Shiraz, Merlot, Chenin Blanc, Riesling and Verdelho.
You will visit four wineries, plus a brewery and a chocolate factory for a true taste of Australia’s culinary heritage. A two-course lunch with wines affords an opportunity to relish the company of your Crystal travel companions.
Returning to the lodge, enjoy dinner and your overnight stay.
Wednesday, February 20
Following breakfast this morning we head back to the ship via Busselton, a city on the southwest tip of Western Australia known for its sheltered beach and seasonal sightings of humpback whales.
Busselton is also known for its 19th-century Busselton Jetty, the longest wooden pier in the Southern Hemisphere, curving out to sea for a staggering distance of 1.2 miles. Arriving in town, experience the jetty for yourself with a ride across the jetty by train, marveling at the clear waters of Geographe Bay. At the end of the jetty you will discover the Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory, allowing you to view the amazing corals and fish through eleven viewing windows at various levels within a 31-foot-deep observation chamber. With more than 300 individual marine species, the waters around the jetty comprise an awe-inspiring “forest” of vividly colored tropical and subtropical corals, sponges, fish and invertebrates.
Enjoy time at leisure before heading to a local restaurant for lunch.Continuing your journey sit back and relax for your 90-minute journey to Fremantle and your Crystal ship. Guests should be a minimum of 12 years of age in order to participate. Guests must be a minimum of 18 years of age in order to participate in the wine tasting. The order of sights visited may vary. Traffic conditions may affect the duration of this excursion. As this program involves extensive walking over uneven and sometimes steep surfaces, it is not recommended for guests with physical and/or walking difficulties. This excursion involves extensive stair climbing at the caves. Photography at the caves is encouraged from the viewing platforms, but for safety reasons it is not recommended when walking on the stairs. While flash photography is permitted, most visitors find that better photos can be achieved without it. Tripods and selfie-sticks are not permitted in the caves. Except for bottled water, food and drinks are not allowed in the caves. Souvenirs, local products and refreshments are available at the Tree Top Walk, Jewel Cave and Lake Cave. Guests should bring along credit cards and AUD; USD is not accepted in Australia. It is recommended that guests wear flat, comfortable shoes. Guests should also bring raingear in case of inclement weather. This excursion will operate in all weather conditions. Single hotel accommodations are extremely limited. In the unlikely event that accommodations are unavailable at the Cape Lodge, a hotel of similar quality will be substituted.