Australia with Gavin Kaysen
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You’re on a farm so picturesque it hurts, emerald hills and vineyards undulating gently away from you in every direction. As you sip a wine made from grapes harvested less than a mile away, it hits you—you’re in the hands of passionate experts sharing what they love to do. Over the past two days, you’ve had masterclasses in everything from pottery-making to gin distilling, cocktail-mixing to coffee roasting. This is Australia, a land of boundless energy and creativity, a place where ancient cultures and traditions—indigenous, European, Asian—have cross-pollinated to produce something endlessly new and exciting. You can’t wait for more. You already know you never want to leave.
Your companion on this journey is James Beard award-winning chef Gavin Kaysen, the force behind Minneapolis’ Spoon and Stable, Bellecour, and Demi. His refined-but-still-fun approach to cooking is evident in high-low combinations like foie gras-flecked pot roast and tablecloth-free tasting menus. Gavin shares this playful approach to food, art, and life with his friend Sam Gordon, a third-generation ceramicist in Melbourne who runs Robert Gordon Pottery Studio, which supplies the tableware for Gavin’s restaurants. Sam and some of Australia’s finest artisans, chefs, farmers, vintners, and fishermen will welcome us and Gavin into their homes and lives, sharing their craft and showing us firsthand what makes their country so special.
If your idea of the perfect trip blends art and culture, food and wine, personal connections and joyful exploration, this trip is for you. Discover Australia on this incredible nine-day itinerary. You’ll leave inspired and hungry for more. Join us.
The finest local delicacies, from wine and seafood to bush tucker and barbecued meats
In the local arts scene, from outdoor murals to glasswork, ceramics to indigenous art
Melbourne's urban delights, Barossa Valley wine country, Adelaide's glorious coastline
With Gavin and Australia—and with people as curious, joyful and inspiring as you!
Why Travel with Gavin Kaysen
A two-time James Beard Award winner, Gavin is chef/owner at Minneapolis' Spoon and Stable, recognized by Food & Wine as one of the “40 Most Important Restaurants in the Past 40 Years”; Bellecour, a French bistro inspired by Gavin’s friends and mentors Paul Bocuse and Daniel Boulud; and Demi, called Minneapolis’ “most accomplished and original restaurant” by Minneapolis St Paul Magazine.
He Takes Risks
Not many folks would leave a one-star Michelin restaurant to open their own. Gavin made the move in 2014 from NYC's acclaimed Café Boulud to open Spoon and Stable. His reward? A 2018 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Midwest.
He's Always Looking Ahead
No matter how many awards Gavin earns, he’s always looking for the next ingredient, the next food trend, the next big city. “I’m interested in what comes next? How do we stay inspired and interested and keep caring?”
The urban delights of Melbourne—art, shopping, exquisite food—and the glorious Barossa Valley wine country surrounding Adelaide, we’ll see the very best Australia has to offer with an emphasis on hands-on creativity in every form.
Welcome to Melbourne! We begin and end our first day with the legendary Sam Gordon of Robert Gordon Pottery Studio & Kitchen. Sam is the grandson of the founder, and part of Gavin’s long-time connection to Australia. We’ll have an exclusive tour of the studio and its iconic ceramic designs—featured in each of Gavin’s restaurants—in various stages of creation. We’ll also have the chance to create our own ceramics.
Lunch is at The Independent, set beautiful Gembrook, with a private meal hosted by head chef and owner Mauro Callegari, whose menu is inspired by his Argentinean childhood. We’ll continue on to the Melbourne Gin Company—one of the country’s finest distilleries and normally closed to the public—for a private tour and tasting.
Our day wraps at Sam Gordon’s beautiful private home for a welcome cocktail hour with an assortment of small plates and bites to feast on. This will be Aussie hospitality at its late-spring finest, with local wines and plenty of laughter as we experience Australia in ways no other traveler can.
Today we’ll uncover the best of Melbourne, starting with a mid-morning walking tour of the city’s vibrant urban heart. Narrow lanes, grand boulevards, 19th-century arcades—all gilded with the colorful street art—have made Melbourne a destination for art lovers the world over. Melbourne is equally known for its food and drink, so of course we’ll visit cult-favorite Lune Croissant before continuing on to Aunty Peg’s Coffee Roasters for a private tour as we sip.
Lunch and the afternoon is on our own before meeting up in the evening for a moveable feast of Melbourne highlights: a hands-on cocktail class at The Everleigh, stopovers at top-flight kitchens to sample an array of local dishes, finishing up meeting some of the passionate tastemakers behind one of the country’s most innovative gelaterias.
Today we’re off to explore the emerald foothills of the Macedon Ranges, with an obligatory morning tea stopover at Mr. Macedon, a gorgeous regional cafe and bakery famed for its all-day breakfasts (green eggs and ham, anyone?).
We’ll spend some time meeting with local farmers at a sustainable sheep and cattle station, the perfect preface to our lunch with an Aussie barbecue specialist. His preparation and cooking techniques are things of genuine beauty. He and Gavin will roll up their sleeves and treat us to an only-in-Australia barbecue, a true bacchanalia featuring fresh local produce paired with fabulous local beer and wine. On our way back to Melbourne we’ll stop for a quick visit to the glorious, 100-foot-tall Trentham Falls as they cascade downward over a craggy orange and red basalt rock face. Tonight is our final night in Melbourne, a chance to revisit favorite haunts and discover new ones.
Today we take a quick 90-minute flight from Melbourne to Adelaide, the cosmopolitan capital of South Australia, situated on the coast and at the doorstep of the world-famous Barossa Valley wine region. After settling into our downtown hotel, we’ll freshen up and venture out to the outstanding JamFactory. For more than 40 years, this non-profit has been supporting innovative craft and design through its studios and galleries focusing on ceramics, glass, furniture, and metal. We’ll have the pleasure of meeting with local artists and watch a glass-blowing demonstration.
Tonight we’ll dine at one of the restaurants that’s rapidly turning Adelaide into an exciting new Australian culinary destination. Just a short stroll from our hotel, we’ll gather for a fun, informal and casual dining experience together. Turn in for the night afterward, or head out to explore Adelaide’s nightlife.
If you love incredible wine, this is a day to get excited about! After breakfast we’ll drive out to the stunning Barossa Valley, its hills and valleys the source of some of the world’s greatest wines. Our first destination is Torbreck Vintners, a multi-generational wine producer, for an exclusive barrel tasting—yes, that’s direct from the barrels—before turning our attention to a masterclass tasting of Torbreck’s award-winning Shiraz.
Lunchtime finds us meeting with sixth-generation Barrossan farmers John and Jan Angus, who will greet us and guide us on a tour of the farm and the history of farming in the area before serving us an incredible paddock-to-plate lunch. We’ll continue on to the rolling estate of Seppeltsfield Winery, which dates back to 1850, to sample our birth year vintage of their famous Tawny Port.
Dinner is on our own to explore Adelaide’s exciting restaurant scene; take your pick of the cutting-edge establishments located just a stone’s throw from our hotel.
This morning we’ll wake up bright and early for a private breakfast tour of Adelaide’s farmers market: sample tart-sweet loquats and ruby-red strawberries, local bumbleberry jam, fresh scones and other baked goods. Thus fortified, we’ll head to the airport for our short hop over to Port Lincoln. We’ll enjoy a relaxed lunch after our morning of travel, then head out to Mikkira Koala Station, to spend quality time communing with this most adorable of marsupials. As we settle in under the manna gum trees, we may also spot kangaroos, emus, native birds and reptiles. We’ll stay in this tranquil bush environment through the evening, enjoying nibbles and white wine and savoring the aroma of dinner: a free-range Berkshire pig slowly turning on the spit.
We’ll spend today “hunting and gathering” some of Australia’s best seafood in Coffin Bay and along the Eyre Peninsula, a designated maritime wilderness area and one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Local oyster farmer Chris Hank will be our guide as we glide over crystal-clear, iridescent-turquoise waters, past white-sand beaches fringed with crooked paperbark trees, to the Coffin Bay oyster farm. Our lunch is on the beach in Black Springs, where we’ll also collect cockles, harvesting them by rake.
After lunch, we’ll have plenty of time to explore the beach by 4WD, speeding over sand dunes and the rugged terrain of Coffin Bay National Park. We’ll try our hand at some surf fishing before transferring back to Port Lincoln to enjoy our catches at over dinner at The Beach House.
Today we continue exploring Australia’s seafood mecca, setting off across Boston Bay for an intimate look at two local fisheries—yellowtail kingfish and blue mussels—before selecting our own fish from the morning’s catch and having it cooked à la minute to perfection.
In the afternoon we visit the ancestral home of Susie Betts, one of Australia’s most famous artists (her work can be found emblazoned on everything from Qantas jets to Coca Cola bottles), and her mother Veda, an elder of the Wirangu and Kokatha tribes. Together they’ll show us the secret sights, waterholes and bush tucker—indigenous flora and fauna used in cooking and the healing arts—that make this coastline sacred to indigenous Australians.
We have something special planned for our final night: dinner hosted by renowned local chef (and comedian!) Tony Ford. He’ll dazzle our palettes with seafood delicacies of the Eyre Peninsula—otherwise known as Australia’s Seafood Frontier—that few tourists ever get to experience. We’ll raise our glasses to Gavin and our new friends, and above all, to Australia itself.
It’s hard to believe it’s time to say goodbye! After one final brekky, we’ll head to the airport for our flight back to Adelaide. From there, we’ll head home, our hearts and minds swirling with inspiration. Catch you later, mates!
The Lyall is understated elegance at its finest, tucked away behind the city's lush botanical gardens among towering trees and charming 19th-century mansions. City buzz is ready and waiting just down the Toorak Road, with its coffee shops, wine bars, and fine dining establishments. Fittingly in a city famous for its artwork, each floor of the hotel boasts its own mini art gallery.
This is city living at its finest, located in the heart of downtown in a landmarked Romanesque building (think towers, mansard roofs, even gargoyles!). The laneways of the West End, a warren of hip cafes, bars, and restaurants, are a short walk in one direction; turn the other way, and you’ll find the river and the bustling central market. Fittingly for a heritage building, no two of the Art Deco-themed bedrooms are alike.
Port Lincoln HotelPort Lincoln
Located on the foreshore of Boston Bay, this is everything an oceanfront hotel should be. Early risers will slip out the door for a sunrise stroll or jog along the promenade before enjoying an al fresco breakfast on the terrace; night owls will want to retire with a stubby or a glass of a fantastic local white to enjoy on their private balcony, the reassuring sound of the surf below.
Book Australia with Gavin Kaysen
What does the price include?
Eight nights at unique four- and five-star accommodations; internal flights between cities as mentioned in itinerary; private travel for all day trips and excursions; private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; guided activities, adventures and expeditions; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, lunches and most dinners; local beverages with meals; gratuities for local staff.
What does the price not include?
International roundtrip airfare; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s starting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs; food and beverage not included in itinerary; gratuity for tour leader.
Where does this trip start and end?
Our adventure begins at the Lyall Hotel in Melbourne, Australia. The closest airport is the Melbourne Airport (MEL). The program ends at the Adelaide Airport (ADL) in Adelaide, Australia. Your flight home should be scheduled to depart at 1:00pm or later from here.
What travel documents are needed?
In addition to having a valid passport, US citizens are required to obtain a visa to gain entry into Australia. Most U.S. passport holders traveling to Australia for less than 90 days can obtain an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). The ETA is an electronic label-free visa and can be obtained at the ETA website. Visit the Australia Travel Information page at Travel.State.Gov for more information.
Do I need to pay a solo traveler supplement?
For solo travelers, there is a $2000 single-supplement fee—paid at the time of booking to secure a private room. If you would like us to pair you with a roommate, that option may be available upon checkout—these spots are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Who is going on this trip?
Our adventures typically have between 10 and 20 guests, and our Modern Adventure Team. Our experiences are fun and inclusive and you can expect to be joined by a diverse group in terms of age, background and interests—including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This adventure is for travelers age 18 and above.
Who is leading this trip?
This trip is led by an expert Modern Adventure Trip Leader. They’re an experienced travel guide, a representative of Modern Adventure and your go-to person for questions or concerns on the trip. We’ll be joined throughout our adventure by local, expert guides who are deeply knowledgeable with respect to local cultures, customs and history and are passionate about sharing that with us.