Australia - Exploring the Land Down Under
Sunset over Uluru and soaking up the sights of Sydney are just two things that make Australia really special to me.
It is a country full of diversity. Many people have no idea what to expect; they think it is hot, has beaches and surfers, what they don’t think of is its remoteness, its nature and the fact that it has rainforests. The sheer size of Australia is incredible. When we first arrive people on the tour are surprised to learn that Perth is closer to Jakarta than it is to Sydney.
Our tours have so many highlights as we make our way across Australia and a couple of my favourites are the Alice Springs bush barbecue and the Gold Creek sheep station visit. For the barbecue we drive out to what feels like the middle of nowhere, our hosts attempt to teach us all to throw boomerangs, which as you can imagine, has hilarious consequences - I am still waiting for one of my boomerangs to come back!
It is the location that makes the bush barbecue so special. As darkness falls the display of stars in the night sky is breathtaking and something I will never get bored of seeing.
The sheep station visit just outside of Canberra is great fun. We are greeted like family with real country hospitality. This visit constantly creates some great memories. The owners of the station always ask one of the guests to help round up the sheep and to attempt to catch one, much to the amusement of the rest of the group. I once had to step in as a ‘willing’ volunteer and I am proud to say that not only did I catch a sheep, I also ‘caught’ Craig the farmer in the process!
Of them all, my favourite city in Australia has to be Sydney. It is incredibly vibrant and there is a real electric atmosphere. The city is steeped in history; you can see where the first fleet turned up and how it has developed. With Travelsphere we stay in an amazing location - the hotel is just a stone’s throw from the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. I always recommend getting an Opal card which allows you to travel on boats, buses and trains. You are then free to really explore Sydney.
Australia is famed for its food and drink. My favourite dish is barramundi, similar to sea bass, which we are served on the optional excursion to visit the rainforests at Daintree, near Cairns.
I always look forward to the visit to Barossa Valley, the wine district of Adelaide, where we sample the best of Jacobs Creek and Wolf Blass. For those looking for a special drinking experience, my personal recommendation is The Baxter Inn, hidden away in central Sydney - the array of whiskey on offer is mindboggling.
If I had to narrow down the ‘wow’ moment of the tour, it would have to be the visit to Uluru. If the clouds are in the right position then Uluru looks like a glowing orb at sunset, however whatever the weather, this natural wonder always make a fantastic photo moment.
My final recommendation is to do with jetlag. Everyone has their own secret remedies, mine is simple - on the outbound flight, try to sleep during the early part of the flight and then adopt a sense of humour for the first few days as you will feel tired. On the way home, try to get back into your normal sleep pattern straight away. Aim for no more than six hours sleep for the first couple of nights and you will be ready for your next adventure.