My connection with Australia is, above and beyond, personal. My father is English and I grew up in England, but my mother is a fifth-generation Australian and the pulse of Australia definitely runs deep within me. My memories of the country go back to childhood holidays. They are memories of eye-popping colour – the vivid blues of the Australian ocean and sunburst-filled days with my grandparents on the Central Coast of New South Wales. After university, I spent four, carefree, happy and under-paid years in Sydney, training as a journalist and at The Australian newspaper. Over the years, I’ve travelled to most corners of this wonderful country. As a travel destination, Australia’s unique selling point is its amazing diversity. Australia has absolutely every landscape, from the balmy subtropics to idealized desert islands, and an atmospheric outback of epic proportions.
Australia is mesmerising – a remarkable continent encompassing the spectacular and the soul stirring. A land of huge contrasts with untouched deserts to explore and unforgettable spectacles to gaze upon: simmering rainforests; bounding marsupials; sunrise over mystical Uluru, symbol of Aboriginal heritage, practice and belief. Sailing around the Whitsunday Islands reveals pristine seascapes and brilliant reefs that are perfect for scuba diving and snorkelling. Dotted around the coast are sophisticated cities such as Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne – the latter a haven for the fashion conscious with its artistic café culture. In Sydney the attractions are many, spanning harbour bridge walks, designer shopping and world-class dining. Take a seaplane to Sydney’s northern beaches, landing at an exclusive restaurant for lunch. There are epic rail journeys to look forward to aboard the Ghan or the Indian Pacific, and an infinite choice of self-drive options, perhaps taking the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide with a stop off to sample the vintages at South Australia’s award-winning wineries. Across the Bass Strait lie Tasmania’s verdant wilds and green valleys, the rugged national parks proffering a vast expanse of hiking trails. The Australasian and Pacific Rim cuisine is outstanding, and everywhere there are luxurious resorts and hotels to pamper and cosset after the day’s explorations. Let your antipodean adventure begin.