Mayank Singh first laid eyes on Australia after graduation from college, backpacking down the eastern coast while staying in hostels and with acquaintances made along the way. “I definitely prefer the comfort of a Windstar ship!” he quips, particularly on this Down Under intensive cruise that offers “a great mix of nature, wildlife, and urban landscapes.” The itinerary planner fell in love with Melbourne, which continuously ranks among the most livable cities in the world. He notes the beautiful Victorian architecture and amazing food scene thanks to a mix of immigrants from around the world: “I had the best Lebanese food outside of Lebanon!” he enthuses. His recommendation: arrive in Victoria’s capital a few days beforehand and head out to see the Twelve Apostles via the Great Ocean Road, one of the world’s most spectacular coastal drives.
Beyond Melbourne (which locals lovingly refer to as “Melbs”), wine enthusiasts find plenty of opportunities for tastings in the world-renowned Yarra Valley and Barossa Valley outside Adelaide. The recently stretched Star Breeze also spends four full days in Tasmania – including UNESCO World Heritage-designated Freycinet National Park – for what Mayank calls a “truly immersive Tasmanian experience.”
Our Storyteller: Our Storyteller, Mayank Singh
Mayank Singh grew up in New Delhi listening to family stories about the Fiji Islands. “My grandfather wrote a book about his time there called My Father’s Land,” he says. “It was an exotic place far, far away from India, and I dreamed of one day visiting that tiny island nation.” That day arrived right after Mayank received his degree in economics, when he took off on an extended journey around Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. Delving into his ancestor’s history and the local culture sparked a lifelong passion for travel and, after attending business school in the U.S., Mayank took a job with Carnival Cruise Line. He performed various roles in the cruise industry before joining Windstar to head up their itinerary planning – a role that, he says, “keeps me on the constant lookout for new destinations and immersive travel experiences for our guests.”
IF I WERE THERE...
Stroll the Adelaide Central Market — a city hub since 1869 – before visiting the Art Gallery of South Australia with its Indigenous Art Collection and the National Wine Centre – “You’re just an hour from Barossa’s world-renowned vineyards.”
Set out on a wildlife safari on Kangaroo Island, “a great place to see koalas in their natural habitat.”
Sample fresh oysters at an oyster farm on Eden – “Check out the Killer Whale Museum to see one of the only orca skeletons in the world.”
Catch the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island, when the Little Penguins come ashore at sunset: “An absolute must-see!”