In 1983, like millions of others, I was glued to the television set watching the mini-series, “The Thornbirds“. The tragic love story, set in Australia, was full of beautiful scenery causing me to fall in love with not only the characters, but the country as well. I knew that one day I wanted to visit Australia. My dream vacation to the land down under still hasn’t turned into a reality for two reasons time and money. Right out of college in 1983, money was an issue, now many years later, time presents a problem.
Located in the Southern Hemisphere, The Commonwealth of Australia is made up of the mainland and the island of Tasmania, as well as several other islands in the Pacific Ocean. From exploring the Outback and Great Barrier Reef, to the adventures of the big cities and beaches, travelers should take a minimum of 14 days to truly experience an Australian holiday. Clearing that amount of time on the work and family calendar would require the skills of a trained juggler — still with such beauty, adventure and romance offered by Australia, the effort put into the planning would be worth every memory.
Though there appears to be some non-stop flights from the United States to Australia making the route somewhat easier, travel to this continent is still lengthy and expensive. With an elaborate itinerary including accommodations, tours and additional travel arrangements, perhaps it is a wise decision to purchase Australian Travel insurance as a precaution.
The biggest problem for me is deciding where to begin the tour. To truly experience life like the Cleary’s in the Thornbirds, a trip to Queensland would be in order. Within Southern Queensland, home to the rugged life of the cattle and sheep stations, visitors can witness the wild Warwick Rodeo or the majestic Queen Mary Falls in Main Range National Park. Or opt for the pure white sand of Whitehaven Beach, or visit the World-Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, a day trip away.
For me, another option is to travel a loop through South Australia. Starting in Adelaide, I could visit several of the famous wineries located in the Barossa Valley and even walk the 25-kilometer Riesling Trail. From there is the chance to view the Aboriginal rock art within Flinders Ranges National Park and mine for opals in one of the 70 underground mines of Coober Pedy. Heading north provides the rugged outback experience of Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary where I would happily take a bushwalk or perhaps view the area from the back of a camel. Kangaroo Island offers views of visiting penguins and the opportunity to swim in a rock pool while curious koalas look on. Continuing the loop back to Adelaide, I plan to eat my way through the elegant city every foodie would love. From here, sharing a romantic train ride aboard the Indian-Pacific, I could venture into Sydney and explore all this city has to offer, beginning a whole new Australian adventure.