Itinerary: The 28-day tour commences in Baku, Azerbaijan’s cosmopolitan capital on the shores of the Caspian Sea and then travels through the lush green Kakheti region where they have been making wine since 300 BC to Tbilisi the capital of Georgia. Following in the footsteps of Silk Road merchants and medieval Crusader Knights the tour ends up in Yerevan, Armenia’s vibrant capital and departs with Qatar Airways to Doha, on the Persian Gulf, for a 2 night stopover on the way home. The Caucasus, independent since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 were made famous by noted journalist Thomas de Waal and much more recently by the TV series of Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure.
The Caucasus: Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, former Soviet Union countries are situated between the Caspian and Black Seas spanning Europe and Asia. Christian Georgia with a population of almost 4 million is about the same size as Tasmania; Azerbaijan, mostly Muslim, has a population of 10 million and is 20% larger than Tasmania while land locked Armenia is less than half the size of Tasmania with a population, mostly Christian’s, of 3 million. Combining all three countries the total area is 20% smaller than Victoria that has a population of some 6.3 million. The South Caucasus region sits right in the heart of the emerging Eurasian supercontinent covering more than 68 countries including 65% of the world’s population and 40% of the global GDP. China is to the east, Turkey and Europe are to the west, Russia is to the north, and Iran, the Middle East and India are to the south. The new BTK Railway through this region was the missing trade link of the much-heralded middle corridor of the New Silk Road, which is a multimodal trade route that goes from China to Europe via Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. New Zealand has joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) an extraordinary ambitious undertaking and one which continues to evolve with large-scale infrastructure projects being undertaken in developing countries along the Belt and Road. Sixty eight countries have joined China’s initiative but not so Australia. Azerbaijan is bounded by the Caspian Sea and Caucasus Mountains and its capital Baku is famed for its medieval walled Inner City. Georgia is home to Caucasus Mountain villages and Black Sea beaches. It’s famous for Vardzia, a sprawling cave monastery dating back to the 12th century and ancient wine-growing regions. Tbilisi the capital has mazelike cobblestone streets in its old town. Armenia is among the earliest Christian civilizations and is defined by religious sites including the Greco-Roman Temple of Garni and 4th-century Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Yerevan the capital is marked by grand Soviet-era architecture and is near biblical Mount Ararat, a dormant volcano just across the border in Turkey considered to be the resting place of Noah’s Ark.
Tour Leader: Dale Price runs a stud property, Majardah at Glencoe, just west of Mount Gambier where he breeds Poll Dorset and White Suffolk rams and operates a separate 2,500 commercial sheep enterprise while Angus cattle are used for pasture management. Dale and his wife Ruth first toured northern & central India extensively with Australian Farmers in 2012. They were also tour members of Australian Farmers Tours to South America in 2011, Eastern Europe in 2013 and Japan in 2014. In 2015 and again in 2017 they led two highly successful northern India Farming Tours and in 2018 the 38-day Great Britain & Ireland Farming Tour as well as the inaugural 18-day Sri Lanka Farming tour in 2019. As the tour includes many on-farm and technical visits it may well qualify as a tax deductible expense. Your tour leader Dale Price will maintain a detailed daily diary for you to submit with your income tax return. However, be rest assured the 2021 Caucasus tour is not all work and no play.
Tour Cost: The tour cost flying economy class with Qatar Airways from either Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide or Perth is $10,760 a person based on sharing a twin room with private facilities in mostly 3-4 star hotels, all meals in the Caucasus and breakfasts only in Doha, spectacular sightseeing with on-farm and technical visits. The single room supplement is $2,050. The tour cost also includes carrier imposed charges, airport taxes and fees and all tipping.
About Us: Australian Farmers Travel, registered in Victoria and owned and operated by Andrew Curry is Australia’s leading agricultural tour operator. It commenced in 1973 as a service to primary producers and shareholders of the then major rural co-operatives Victorian Producers’ (now Elders), Westralian Farmers (now AWB Landmark), Primaries (now Elders), Gippsland and Northern, Bennetts Farmers and Farmers & Graziers. Our tours offer the chance to see how farming is practised worldwide and also provide a sense of fellowship and a chance to meet other farm families from all over Australia. Friendships formed on an Australian Farmers Tour often last a lifetime. We value the loyalty of our past tour members and appreciate the fact that many of them continue to book with us year after year. We feel this is a mark of the quality of our tours and tour leaders and we continue to strive to attain the high standards that we set ourselves.