Renaissance Tours launches new experiences for older Aussies

Between the daily doses of depressing news flashes, it’s worthwhile remembering the saying, ‘Time and tide waits for no-one’. And that includes the changing of the seasons: pandemic or no pandemic, spring will arrive and soon Australia will again burst into colour to lift even the gloomiest of spirits.

With this as its rationale, and guided by its purpose to create the finest, enriching experiences for travellers, cultural and special interest tour operator Renaissance Tours has launched its largest-ever collection of spring tours around Australia, departing from October through to Christmas.

Renaissance Tours is Australia’s largest operator of expert-led special interest group tours and celebrates 25 years of business this year.

Highlights of Renaissance Tours’ new collection of spring tours
Renaissance Tours managing director Evan Petrelis explains that this year’s collection covers a wide variety of special interest topics, including gardens, art, architecture, music, and food and wine.

Read: Six world-famous gardens you can visit virtually

“Over the next few months, our tours will offer travellers exclusive access to people and places all around Australia in the company of specialist tour leaders who enthuse, educate and entertain through their passion for their areas of expertise,” he says.

The company’s collection of no fewer than 70 domestic tours range from day tours in and around Sydney to short, two-to-five-day breaks within New South Wales, and longer tours of up to 10 days all around Australia including, for the first time, Norfolk Island.

As an extension of its collection of expert-led group tours this spring, Renaissance Tours will be producing a classical music festival under its own banner, Baroque by the Beach, in Byron Bay in late November. The festival will be hosted by popular ABC Classic presenter Damien Beaumont.

“Florals? For spring?” Why not?! After years of devastating drought, welcome rains over the past two winters mean that Australian gardens and landscapes are looking the best they have in years. Not surprisingly then, the largest number of tours within the company’s spring collection are tours visiting stunning public and private gardens in South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria. Led by horticulturalists and garden writers, these tours offer garden enthusiasts exclusive access to exquisite private gardens and the opportunity to meet their passionate owners.

Read: Garden tours with Helen Young

The spring collection also features a large number of art- and architecture-focused tours, operated under the Art Escapes banner and presented in partnership with the Art Gallery of New South Wales Members association. Open to anyone, these include tours focusing on the lives of notable colonial Australian artists including Arthur Boyd, John Glover and Thomas Clark, an architectural tour to Canberra titled ‘Designing a Capital’, a tour to the country’s newest and largest regional art gallery, House of The Arts (HOTA), on the Gold Coast, and an archaeological exploration of Far Western NSW.

Gourmet enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice with a number of food and wine tours, including one led by ‘The Wine Man’ Peter Bourne to his hometown of Orange in the NSW Central West. He will also be leading a five-day wine tour to Margaret River in WA in November, while food and wine writer Robin Powell leads a four-day Spring Delights of the Yarra Valley food, gardens and art tour later in the month.

Spoiler alert: non-Sydneysiders, close your eyes now! Those living in the country’s most populous city can enjoy a selection of one-day tours in and around the harbour city including two Art Deco-themed day tours led by designer, artist, curator and television and radio presenter Claudia Chan Shaw, a couple of contemporary architecture-focused day tours with UTS architecture academic Anthony Burke and a unique ‘Islands of Sydney Harbour’ tour by private ferry with historian Brad Manera. 

For the full collection of Renaissance Tours’ spring tours, please see:

In the company of like-minded others, led by real experts
When people travel with Renaissance Tours, they are joined by others who share similar interests and hobbies. They are interested in the arts and culture and other special interests, and enjoy travelling with others who share this appreciation.

All tours are led by specialists in their fields, who generously share their passion and knowledge for their subjects with their tour members. They are not only seasoned, accomplished professionals but also ‘people persons’, who love nothing more than to share stories with their fellow travellers.

Read: Australian Travel and Tours For Seniors

The gift of a bad situation
Apart from a six-month hiatus immediately after the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, between September 2020 and June 2021 the company defied the odds and managed to operate no fewer than 60 expert-led group tours to all corners of Australia.

Mr Petrelis said that while operating tours, even domestically, in the midst of a pandemic, posed significant challenges, he was grateful that the company had continued to keep its head above water.

“With Australia’s international borders closed for 18 months now, we have relished the opportunity to get to know our own backyard in a way we’ve never before, and the rewards have been there for all our travellers who have taken up the gift of this moment in history. While there is a way to go still, the light at the end of the tunnel draws ever closer,” he concluded.

Which tour sounds most appealing to you? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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