I (heart) Australia
Sunset over Uluru and the sights of Sydney are just two things that make Australia really special to me. It is a country full of diversity, and many people have no idea what to expect. They think it’s 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 are surprised to learn that Perth is closer to Jakarta than it is to Sydney.
SO MANY HIGHLIGHTS
Our tours have so many highlights, and one of my favourites is the Alice Springs bush barbecue. In what feels like the middle of nowhere our hosts attempt to teach us to throw boomerangs, with hilarious consequences. I am still waiting for one of mine to come back! As darkness falls the display of stars in the night sky is breathtaking.
The Gold Creek sheep station visit is also great fun and creates wonderful memories. The owners ask one of the guests to help round up the sheep and 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, but I also ‘caught’ the farmer in the process!
My favourite Australian city has to be Sydney, it is incredibly vibrant and has an electric atmosphere. It’s also steeped in history – you can see where the first fleet turned up and how it has developed. We stay in an amazing location, as our hotel is just a stone’s throw from the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. I always recommend getting an Opal card, which allows you to travel on boats, buses and trains to really explore.
TUCKER TO TUCK INTO
Australia is famed for its food and drink, and my favourite dish is barramundi, a fish similar to sea bass, which we are served on the optional excursion to Daintree, near Cairns. I always look forward to visiting the Barossa Valley, the wine district of Adelaide where we sample the best of Jacobs Creek and Wolf Blass wines. If you like whisky, a personal recommendation is The Baxter Inn, hidden away in central Sydney, the array on offer is mind-boggling.
THE ‘WOW’ FACTOR
If I had to choose just one ‘wow’ moment, it would have to be visiting Uluru. If the clouds are in the right position it looks like a glowing orb at sunset. Although whatever the weather this natural wonder always offers a fantastic photo moment.
Marcus’ top tip
Avoid jetlag by sleeping during the early part of the outbound flight, and on the return journey try to get back into your normal sleep pattern.