“I remember learning ‘Waltzing Matilda’ at school, and everyone giggling when we got to the part about the billabong. Now I can say I’ve actually slept beside one.”
Most of us have a few mental snapshots of the land Down Under: Sydney Opera House. Ayers Rock. Surfers. Koalas. Maybe even Crocodile Dundee (and a lot of bad memories of people with lame fake accents offering to “throw another shrimp on the barbie”). But to create a bespoke luxury holiday in Australia, a country that’s also an entire continent, you obviously need to get well beyond the obvious.
Many travellers like to start with an urban rendezvous, and few cities have a setting as seductive as Sydney, with its distinctive skyscrapers in sight of scenic coves and beaches. While most people head to Bondi, we’ll whisk you by private launch to Watson’s Bay for a picnic with the skyline shimmering in the distance. Or you can fly by seaplane from the harbour – or the jetty of your private villa – a few minutes north to Ku Ring Gai, where the national park feels a million miles away from civilization. We’ll also introduce you to Sydney’s top restaurants and chefs – and Melbourne’s too. Both cities have Italian, Greek and Vietnamese communities with superb culinary scenes.
But to experience the real Australia you need to go “beyond Bourke,” as the locals say. Trading five stars for an infinite number, we’ll camp by billabongs with Aboriginal guides who share their “dreamtime” insights and explain the creation of the Earth. And at dawn, after a rejuvenating dip in a rock pool, you can head out across red-rock terrain to see hundreds of kangaroos against the rising sun. The Outback is filled with starkly beautiful environments where your smartphone won’t get calls but you can fly in by helicopter and reconnect with what matters – while enjoying the comforts of a mobile luxury camp.
You have countless options to consider, but we’d recommend making time for Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory or less-visited Arnhem Land next door, both of which offer spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife. As for Ayers Rock – or Uluru, as it’s now called – this sacred site of the Pitjantjatjara people is definitely impressive, but you’ll meet fewer visitors at the equally awe-inspiring Bungle Bungles in Purnululu National Park, or heading south to the forests of Tasmania. And while divers love the Great Barrier Reef with good reason, you’ll virtually have the ocean to yourself on Ningaloo Reef, 700 miles north of Perth, where spotter planes practically guarantee you’ll see whale sharks when they’re in season.
Whatever pictures you have in your head of Australia, we’ll help you find a different angle – whether you’re exploring Charles Darwin’s beloved Blue Mountains with his great-great-grandson or relaxing on a private island off the coast of Queensland…and maybe surreptitiously barbecuing a few shrimp.
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To discuss what interests you about this or any other destination, call us: +44 203 358 0110