Saffire-Freycinet Lodge, Freycinet, Tasmania © Saffire Freycinet
3 new skills to learn on your next Aussie holiday
Stand aside, travel snaps and souvenirs – the coolest thing you can bring home from a holiday is a brand new skill. Get started with these learn-as-you-go Australian experiences.
By Ute Junker
Remember how much fun you had during craft lessons at school? The deep sense of satisfaction you felt at the end of class when you walked away with something you had created yourself? Channel that same sense of excitement with one of these fun hands-on travel experiences.
Blend your own wine in South Australia
The only thing better than enjoying a fine bottle of wine is enjoying a fine bottle of wine that you made yourself. Sign up for the Blending Bench experience at the d’Arenberg Cube in McLaren Vale, and you won’t just learn the secrets of making great shiraz, you will get to put the lesson into practice, creating your very own drop. The session starts with a briefing on how the geology of every vineyard influences the grapes grown there. After that, you will be given samples from three different vineyards, each with a distinct character. Try blending them a few different ways, then choose your favourite blend – you will be given a bottle of it to take home and enjoy with friends.
How to experience it: Stay for d'Arry's Verandah Restaurant's degustation and enjoy your newly blended creation.
Become a glassblower in Canberra
Where: The Canberra suburb of Kingston.
There is something almost magical about glassmaking, the alchemical process in which a glowing hot liquid is turned into a lasting object of beauty. Spend a weekend learning the basics at Canberra Glassworks in Australia’s capital city and you will head home not just with a head full of knowledge, but with several pieces you have made yourself.
Working in a small team, you will first spend time mastering essential skills such as blowing and shaping before creating your own pieces. Starting with a simple bubble shape, you will work your way up to creating tumblers or paperweights.
How to experience it: Don’t have a whole weekend to spare? One-day courses specialising in beads or bowls are also available.
Harvest honey fresh from the hive in Tasmania
Of course you know that bees make honey, but have you ever actually seen how it is done? At the luxurious Saffire Freycinet lodge on Tasmania’s breathtaking Freycinet Peninsula – where all the honey used in the kitchen comes from hives on the grounds – guests can now literally lift the lid off the hive to get a first-hand look at the mysterious life of bees.
You will need to dress for the occasion – the lodge supplies a full beekeeping suit – but it’s the insights into insect life that are simply fascinating. Watch big-eyed drones going about their business, or perhaps even spy babies hatching, before wrapping up the experience with a tasting of freshly harvested honey that carries all the natural flavours of Freycinet.
How to experience it: Although Tasmania’s already known for its cooler climate, you’ll want to pick a fresh day to don your full-body apiarist suit.