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Australia, From Top End to New South

August 27, 2007 By: Stephanie Stephens Travel Agent

A "g'day!" indeed in the Land Down Under

Australia is the world's sixth-largest country, and undeniably one of its most fascinating. Because Americans perceive it as being a "far-away" destination and because there's so much to see and do, usually within a limited time, clients are frequently advised to explore the vast Land Down Under one portion at a time. Odds are that, after an inaugural visit, they'll book a second trip to experience "the rest" of Australia, which includes 10,000 beaches, 40 million kangaroos and the world's longest continuous fence.

Tourism Australia,
the country's marketing engine, is a first-rate source. Here's the trip-of-a-lifetime,
a two-week itinerary, suggested by the South Australian Tourism Commission,
which starts in the state of South

 Premium Deluxe one-bedroom apartment at Savile Park Suites Darwin in New South Wales

Fly Qantas from the
Sydney hub to Adelaide—the state capital of South Australia—and meet Ralf
Hadzic of Life is a Cabernet to experience a mouth-watering food-and-wine
tasting agenda in the gum-treed, kangaroo-friendly Barossa region, which is
about 75 minutes away. Savor big, bold flavors at the historic Seppelt and
ambitious Rockford
wineries, nibble at Angas Park Fruits and the Barossa Valley Cheese Factory,
then lunch at famous Chef Maggie Beer's Farm Shop. Hadzic can join you for
dinner at the quaint 1918 Bistro & Grill.

You can't do better than Peppers the Louise for your
Barossa accommodations. This is a luxury vineyard retreat with impeccable
service and suites that feature fireplaces, private courtyards and terraces,
chic furnishings and large en-suites, some with outdoor showers. The property's
popular restaurant, Appellation, is known for fresh, local ingredients
meticulously prepared by Chef Mark McNamara.

Upon returning to Adelaide, foodie guru Mark Gleeson will
"tastefully" guide you through the Central Markets with his Chef's
Market Tours (yes, sampling is encouraged). Adelaide, a center for the arts, is best seen
and understood with enthusiastic local expert Gwynne Brown of Tourabout Adelaide, and is ideal
for walking. Book your clients at the Hilton
, with bird's-eye views of next-door Victoria Square and the city beyond.
Recommend dinner at Penfold's Magill Estate Restaurant at the original
vineyard; Penfold's iconic Grange red wine is a must.

Bottom to Top

Next on your schedule, head to Australia's
Top End, the Northern Territority, and its capital, Darwin,
but not without guidance from Tourism NT: Choose spacious, mid-range Saville Park Suites for your stay,
which is centrally located overlooking Darwin Harbor and the Arafura
. An afternoon spent with Darwin Walking Tours and Steve
Noble will highlight parks, monuments and Aboriginal sites, providing a
captivating window into this city's surprising history. For traditional
Australian food and friendly service, book the Sunset Dinner Cruise with Darwin Cruises and Charters
aboard the Alfred Nobel. Consider an optional day-long side trip with
Tiwi Tours to nearby Bathurst Island and the
Aboriginal community of Nguiu; hop across the water with Australasian Jet, but
note: The small aircraft isn't a jet. Meet the famous Tea Ladies and purchase
coveted native art. Once back in Darwin, Pee Wee's at the Point offers a
memorable dinner menu and view across Fannie Bay.

Ready to go, again? Fly
Air North
to the Way Outback, stopping first in Kununurra, then
transferring to an Alligator
charter flight for the trip to Bullo River Station. The
500,000-acre "station," or ranch, is home to wallabies, wild buffalo
and pigs, 8,500 cattle and crocs. Gracious hosts Franz and Marlee Ranacher
welcome your clients to an out-there experience; Franz can take them to his
secret mountaintop waterfalls and pools in an open-sided helicopter.

The New South

Your clients started in Sydney,
so send them back there from Darwin for extended
quality time in Australia's
southeast corner with suggestions from Tourism New South Wales.

View of Darling Harbour and Sydney from The Observatory Hotel in the historic Rocks district

Luxury travelers will appreciate multi-award-winning The Observatory Hotel on Kent Street in the
historic Rocks district. With sandstone walls, antique furnishings, a Day Spa
and the highly rated Galileo Restaurant, the classically designed Observatory
exceeds discerning clients' service expectations.

At the opposite end of the spectrum architecturally, the
renovated Hilton Sydney is in a
league of its own. "Zoned" Relaxation Suites are the "it"
choice here. Sydneysiders flock to Hilton's contempo glass brasserie, its hip
Zeta Bar and the traditional Marble Bar.

On the town, start with a backstage Tour of the House at the
famed Sydney Opera House, then catch a concerto by the Sydney Symphony. Go next
door to dinner at Guilllaume at Bennelong, in the house's southern shell, for
exquisite food and service. Take a surf lesson with Let's Go Surfing at Bondi
beach, then have lunch next-door at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. Hike the
Bondi to Bronte Cliff Walk, or hop on a Harley and hang on for a Blue Thunder
DownUnder city tour on two wheels.

Bring History Alive

Learning the history of Sydney makes your visit so much more
meaningful, so call The Rocks
Walking Tours
. Animal lovers absolutely can't miss Sydney Aquarium and Sydney Wildlife World.
For clients who feel the need to shop, recommend Queen Street, as well as the Paddington
Markets, Oxford, Elizabeth and Paddington Streets and Glenmore Road in

Less than two hours away, the Blue
' phenomenally steep canyons beckon. Book the lovely,
luxurious Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort
& Spa
in Katoomba; on the way, stop for a gourmet lunch at Solitary
restaurant in charming Leura. Scenic
has cable car rides, while Tread
Lightly Eco Tours
runs interpretive wilderness walks in this World Heritage

Essential Links


Northern Territory

New South Wales

South Australia

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