Theology and Philosophy

Field Trips

Field trips outside Melbourne are planned for Saturday afternoon, 16th July, with opportunities to enjoy Australia's native wildlife, vibrant food and wine culture, and some of our colonial history.

The following are the options:

Monks, Games, and Wine at the Yarra Valley
See the beautiful Yarra Valley, with a gourmet winery lunch—then a special winery tour and tasting followed by either outdoor games or a visit to a Trappist (Catholic) monastery.

Itinerary includes the following:

  • Gourmet 2-course lunch at Rochford Winery.
  • Private winery tour at Dominique Portet winery for a barrel tasting with the winemaker. The Portet family boasts ten consecutive generations of winemaking that began in Bordeaux in the 18th century. Today, the Portet name is most closely associated with the Yarra Valley where father and son team Dominique and Ben Portet, respectively ninth and tenth generation winemakers, run a highly regarded boutique family winery.
  • Head on out to the lawn, wander around, and enjoy some lawn games such as petanque and croquet against the backdrop of the Yarra Ranges. (additional beverages on a consumption basis)
  • Or, instead of lawn games, visit the nearby Tarrawarra Abbey ( where Trappist monks live, work and pray.
    More information:

Australian Cuisine, Wine and Wildlife at the Mornington Peninsula
Visit the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, with a gourmet winery lunch, then on to an open-range sanctuary for a close encounter with Australia’s unique wildlife.

The Mornington Peninsula has been captivating visitors for more than 100 years. Attracted by the gentle hills, kilometres of sparkling bay beaches, rugged surf beaches and stunning coastal scenery, people flock to the peninsula to enjoy all it has to offer, not least the food and wine. The Peninsula is a glorious tapestry of changing topography, vegetation and cultivation lending itself to be one of Victoria’s leading food and wine regions. Some of the most picturesque wineries in Victoria can be found throughout this area. Regarded highly as a quality cool climate wine-growing region, you will find some of the best Australian examples of Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinot Noir.

Itinerary includes the following:

  • Arrive at Tucks Ridge a stunning vineyard restaurant in the heart of the peninsula. Enjoy a memorable lunch of the finest peninsula produce, paired with a glass of estate wine. Feel free to wander over to cellar to taste their premium range of cool climate wines.
  • Cap off an unforgettable day at the Moonlit Wildlife Sanctuary. This Conservation Park grew out of the childhood dreams of Chief Ranger Michael Johnson. Inspired by the British naturalist Gerald Durrell, he imagined a place where people could experience the rare and unusual animals that roam the Australian bush. It’s a wildlife wonderland.

More information:

Australian Colonial History and Goldmining in Ballarat
Trip to historic Ballarat, with a casual Asian-style lunch, explore a historic mining town with panning for gold, and then visit the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka on the site of the 1850s Eureka Rebellion.

Steeped in history, Ballarat is just over one hour from Melbourne – and is where you will explore the legacy of the gold rush in Victoria, which is still evident in the magnificent architecture and tree-lined streets of the town today.

Itinerary includes the following:

  • Visit Sovereign Hill and experience the hustle and bustle of an 1850s gold mining settlement.
  • Pan for gold and tour a mine shaft under the watchful eye of an experienced miner. Step back in time and experience Australia’s exciting gold rush days. Set on a former gold mining site, this award-winning outdoor museum recreates in fascinating detail the hustle and bustle of life in the 1850s. From gold digging to joining an underground gold mining tour – there is so much to do and see! (Carriage rides and costume pictures are not included in admission).
  • Visit working shops, hotels, schools, a theatre, crafts, a wheelwright, a candle maker, a confectioner and steam-driven machinery. Be entertained by characters dressed in traditional Goldfields costumes that are more than happy to pose for a photo – a great memory of your journey back in time!
  • Visit the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E) before returning to Melbourne.

More information: and

Please note: A minimum number is required for each trip to run (30 persons). When you register for the field trip (through the conference registration page), you will be asked to provide your preferences for the trips on offer (in order of first, second and third preference). Those who register for a field trip are guaranteed a wonderful excursion to beautiful places in good company, but we cannot guarantee that all three trips listed above will go ahead (until minimum numbers are reached). So you might get your second (or third) preference. Please be assured that we will do our best to ensure that you will be able to go on the trip that is your first preference. However, if you are not satisfied with the trip allocated to you, refunds will be available in May.

Spouses and Escapees’ Program:
A touring program around Melbourne will be offered on the Thursday and Friday afternoons during the conference for spouses, family and friends traveling with conference participants, and any conference-goers  who may value some time out. You will have a chance to see some fine Australian art, and enjoy the inner-urban vibe of Australia's most European city. These niche urban adventures will be led by Lisa Carley (Scott Cowdell's spouse). More details will become available on this site and at registration. A cost will be involved to cover each afternoon tour.