I recently privately guided a Texan couple on a 28 day ultimate Australia journey. Travelling the length and breadth of the country by private jet, we were blessed with mainly good weather, ranging from 45 degrees in The Kimberley (central Western Australia) to snow in Hobart (Tasmania) in the south.
These Texan ranchers were keen to visit cattle, sheep and goat enterprises in Queensland, Western and South Australia and their brief was to see the best Australia has to offer.
We started with an array of luxury properties and added incredible landscapes and interesting personalities to create the ultimate itinerary. ‘The real highlights throughout this trip were created by the personalities Pedro was able to introduce us to.’
The journey started in beautiful Byron Bay on Australia’s east coast with a few days to relax and adjust to the Australian lifestyle. Then onto…
The Great Barrier Reef and Lizard Island, off the coast of Far North Queensland. A memorable birthday was celebrated on this island paradise, snorkelling the coral reefs and even catching a barracuda as big as a person!
- A feast of exotic fruits with names the clients had never heard of with flavours never to be forgotten – Botanical Ark in the Daintree Rainforest
- Hiking rainforest tracks to pristine waterholes with no other people present, canoeing in the crystal clear river and snorkeling in search of the endemic platypus – at Mossman Gorge.
- Incredible scenery and swimming experience on a helicopter safari into the depths of the tropical rainforest, where no white man has walked before.
Next was up to the Top End of Australia in the Northern Territory with the simple pleasure of dining on fresh barramundi, watching a Darwin sunset through silhouetted coconut palms. This was the entree to their next stop, El Questro Homestead and station in the heart of The Kimberley region in Western Australia.
Over 700,000 acres, this amazing cattle station has incredible red sandstone river gorges, freshwater swimming holes and thermal springs covered in Jurassic palm forests. The flight over Lake Argyle to the Bungle Bungles offers some of the most ruggedly beautiful landscapes seen in Australia, the geology changes every 15 minutes and provides great photography.
So is the walk into the enormous natural amphitheatre of Cathedral Gorge, timed to ensure we had it all to ourselves, making it an experience beyond the ordinary.
There was rain threatening as we flew over Uluru in Kata Tjuta National Park but unfortunately we did not see it ‘raining on the rock’ – a rare occurrence in the Australian Outback. We hiked into Walpa Gorge by day and through the Field of Light art installation under a full moon.
Travelling by private jet provides a stunning, truly memorable bird’s eye view of both Uluru and Kata Tjuta. On route was a stop in Coober Pedy, the Opal Capital of the world and a very unique town in the desert where it is so hot that everyone lives in cave-like houses underground.
Flying into Kangaroo Island was like seeing Ireland; the verdant greens dazzling after a very wet spring. There was incredible scenery everywhere; thousands of white sheep dotted on rolling green hills, Tamar wallabies, KI kangaroos, echidna and scores of bird species, all flourishing in the good season.
- Visiting various ‘in residence’ artisans to learn about their crafts and island lifestyle.
- A bush lunch and hands on presentation by the world’s foremost authority on echidnas.
- The amazing red lichen covered Remarkable Rocks (below).
Taking advantage of the 110 knot jetstream, the trip from Kangaroo Island to Tasmania was just 90 minutes! – normally a long day of travel flying commercially via Adelaide and Melbourne.
This was a picture perfect day with seafood indulgence cruise to Bruny Island. A unique gastronomic experience into seafood heaven with plump spring oysters, sashimi salmon from the floating pen in the channel, rock lobsters still twitching, sea urchin and prized abalone, all gathered by the crew from the seabed before your eyes. It comes no fresher!
The boat cruise to Wineglass Bay and Schouten Island from the stunning luxury lodge in Freycinet National Park offers a timeless landscape and perhaps the odd humpback whale or pod of dolphins. The orange lichen covered rocks are typical of East Coast Tasmania and make for fabulous photography.
Sailing on Sydney Harbour, followed by a performance of “The Eighth Wonder” on the Sydney Opera House steps was ‘the ideal way to finish a perfect trip’.
Let Epic show you the real Australia on the ultimate private journey of a lifetime.
Pedro O’ Connor is Epic’s Australian specialist and Conde Nast Traveler 2016 Top Travel Specialist.