Traveling to Australia – Qantas A380
Park Hyatt Sydney
Sydney – Spice I Am, Watsons Bay, Manly Beach, Cafe Paci
Sydney – The Opera House Black Star Bakery, The Rocks, Sake
Emirates Wolgan Valley – Part One
Emirates Wolgan Valley – Part Two
Kangaroo Island – Southern Ocean Lodge, Part One
Kangaroo Island – Southern Ocean Lodge, Part Two
Earlier in the first part of my review of Emirates Wolgan Valley, I took you through our villa and some of the resort’s facilities, including the gorgeous pool. Today, I’ll take you through a (very condensed, packed) view of some of our favorite activities and dining while there, from morning to evening.
Each day at Wolgan Valley began with us walking to the main lodge for breakfast in the dining room! This is where we ate each morning and evening. It was a huge comfortable space where you could enjoy drinks and canapes by the fire, and then move on to the formal dining room for dinner.
Some of our favorites from breakfast. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and when I’m on vacation, I always indulge! Almost all the ingredients were local – my favorites were the mushroom toast and the poached eggs with toasted brioche and smoked trout. I could talk about the smoked trout for quite some time. Smoked and cured fishes/meats are my favorite.
I should mention that most activities and food at Wolgan Valley were all inclusive – meaning they were included in our room rate (standard for all guests). So there was lots of pigging out.
After a big breakfast, we would usually do an activity or walk around the property. One morning, we did a little hike along the river bordering Wolgan with one of the wildlife guides. The water was incredibly clear – we were told that you could drink it straight from the stream, that’s how clean it was. We each took a little taste!
Checking out all of the flora with our guide. We learned all about the various trees in the area, the acacia that were just coming into bloom, the sap that natives used to eat for energy.
And of course, there were also animals! We got quite close to a few kangaroos and wallaroos, and it was so, so fun to just stand still and watch them eating and eventually hopping away. Boing, boing, boing!
And finally, the breathtaking view.
On another morning, we decided to go on a hike ourselves (which Wolgan kindly drove us to), on a walk the resort called the “Glowworm Walk”, which took you through around the mountains and eventually through an old railway tunnel filled with glowworms. Cool!
Here’s me, fording the water. Oregon Trail, anyone?
We were surrounded by eucalyptus and acacia trees for our walk. Beautiful!
By the way, I wore my Birkenstock Gizehs on this hike only because I ended up forgetting to pack any other kind of trainers. Do not wear sandals on this so-called Glowworm “walk”. As I soon discovered, it is a medium level hike. Do not believe the staff when they tell you that wearing sandals should be “fine,” unless you are a fellow bad-ass Australian and not a soft, wimpy American like yours truly.
After our morning activities, we’d usually be sufficiently hungry for some lunch! We’d make our way back to the resort to chow down. Unlike breakfast, lunch was always taken in a separate area of the resort called “The Pantry” – a sweet little cafe/bistro style restaurant.
Each day there were new specials that appeared.
And the food was lovely! All the dishes were quite good but actually my favorite was the freshly baked bread that was presented each time after we ordered, along with some baked garlic bulbs that we would spread with butter.
After lunch, we’d head back to our villa to nap, or swim, or putter around the property. The total area of the resort covered a huge plot of land, and there was no way we could have seen it all. On one afternoon though, we took the opportunity to check out one of the original historic buildings on the property that was erected on the homestead in 1832. I thought it was very considerate and forward thinking of Emirates to have not only kept these buildings, but also restored them. It was fascinating to walk through them and get a glimpse at life in the Outback in the 1830’s. Some of the details, like the stamped tin ceiling tiles, were incredible.
On one evening, closer to dinnertime, we also went on a “night” safari, and drove around in an open vehicle with a wildlife guide, visiting all of the day and nocturnal animals which were starting to come out. There was an abundance of kangaroos, wallaroos, wombats and more all around the property – it was incredible!
Kangaroos, and wallaroos, or as the field guides called them, just “roos”.
We even saw a rare albino ‘roo!
Mr. Feather’s favorite animal was the wombat. These little guys are so cool! We had barely heard of them before we went to Australia, but by the time we left, we were obsessed.
And every night, after our activities, we took a few minutes to enjoy the sunset.
After our evening activities, it was dinner time, back in the main dining room. Some evenings we chose to have some canapes and drinks by the fireplace, but other times we just dove right in! Each night there was a tasting menu offered, as well as an a la carte, and you could mix and match off of each. Here were some of our favorite dishes. Almost all dishes used entirely local ingredients, and had suggested wine pairings.
Can you see now, how after three nights at Wolgan, we were feeling like we would be returning back to the U.S. quite a bit heavier?
Overall, we truly enjoyed our stay at Emirates Wolgan Valley (if you need a refresher, you can read part one of my review here).
Positives: An incredible location, remote in the Australian Outback, where you could truly enjoy nature and all kinds of amazing animals (including wombats!). Wonderful wildlife guides and a nature/animal lover would be very happy here. Beautiful villas and accommodations, with thoughtful amenities that made you feel like you were truly having an “Australian” experience. Fantastic pool, spa, and more. Price, while high, was “reasonable” in terms of the level of luxury, the type of activities offered, and also the fact that Australia in general is quite expensive.
Areas for improvement: The food served was all very high quality, and very fresh ingredients – however, I felt that many options were on the “heavier” side, and not as creative as some similar type resorts we’ve been to. I think after more than three nights, the menu might seem repetitive.
Would I stay again? Absolutely.
When we waved goodbye to Emirates Wolgan Valley, we were very sad, but took the opportunity to savor the view a little longer.
Thank you for reading along – next time, I’ll be covering the third destination of our Australian trip – Kangaroo Island!