Paul Hogan (AKA Crocodile Dundee) promised to “slip a shrimp on the barby” for us and Americans and others flocked to Australia in record numbers. Will Oprah Winfrey have the same impact on Australian tourism?


We’ll soon find out. The four shows she taped down under will air January 18 -21, and rumor has it that she waxes lyrical about the place and touts its many attributes.


Of course, I couldn’t agree more. For ten years I wrote and revised Frommer’s Australia, which meant that “Oz” became my home-away-from-home. I’ve crisscrossed the country numerous times, always enjoying the people I met and the beautiful sights I saw.


In fact, I think a trip to Australia should be on every traveler’s bucket list, but too often folks are overwhelmed by the country’s size and options and choose a smaller, more do-able destination.


In response, I created a shortlist of “Australia’s Five Must Have Experiences.”


  1. Savor Sydney – The harbor is her heart, so jump on a ferry and view one of the world’s most beautiful city’s from the water. Oprah focused on the Sydney Opera House and you should, too. Take a tour if you must, but also buy tickets for a show and enjoy “the house” the way the locals do. This includes picking up a sandwich at a nearby deli and picnicking on the front steps or around the back with a “beaut” water view.
  2. Go to the Great Barrier Reef – There’s a reason it’s one of the wonders of the world – but please skip Hamilton Island. Oprah needed easy access, but Authentic Luxury Travelers will be much happier at Lizard Island, Orpheus Island, or Heron Island.
  3. Watch the Wildlife – Head to Kangaroo Island in South Australia to see kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, fairy penguins, and emus in their natural habitat. The “bush” is literally alive with these Aussie icons – plus black swans, sea lions, sacred ibis, kookaburras, New Zealand fur seals and more.
  4. Enjoy the Food and Wine – Multicultural Australia offers myriad ethnic cuisines, but their home-grown Shiraz is the stuff of legends.
  5. Visit The Outback – Oprah went to Uluru in the heart of Australia’s Red Centre, but she didn’t have time to walk around the world’s largest monolith, which is my favorite thing to do. I also really like the nearby Olgas. These 36 enormous rock domes, with narrow valleys between them, are a great area for hiking.


Right now some folks in Australia are complaining that it cost 2 million dollars to bring Oprah and her entourage to their shores, but I’m guessing that the impact she’ll have on their tourism industry will make this seem like a bargain.


What do you think?





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