1 September 2008 by Pete Mathers
Welcome to a land that lifts the spirits; a big and beautiful country that grabs you like an old friend and says, “Mate, you gotta see this!” It’s the spirit of mateship that distinguishes Australia from other destinations. You don’t just see Australia, you live it.
We’ll welcome you in, hand you a beer and show you around. And what a lot there is to see, from the striped rock domes of the Bungle Bungles to the coral cays of the Great Barrier Reef; from the wine-rich vineyards of the Barossa Valley to the Dreamtime swirls of the Anangu people. In this land of natural wonders, where everyone seems to be on first-name terms, you’ll rediscover what a holiday should feel like.
Discover a place with no name on the map. The vast and empty Outback is as much an idea as an actual place. It’s where doctors and postmen arrive by plane, where settlers farm emus and camels, where red-sand tracks cut through desolate landscapes, past deep river gorges and crocodiles’ swim holes.
> Why not… try your hand at mustering, shearing, whip cracking and horse riding at an Outback cattle station.
The world’s oldest indigenous people have a continuous history spanning at least 50,000 years. Modern Australia is a well preserved gallery of their ancient art and storytelling. A mere stroll in the bush can reveal paintings and petroglyphs. The Olary region in South Australia is believed to hold the world’s oldest known art – rock engravings dated to around 43,000 BC.
> Why not… lose yourself in a Dreamtime ceremony – stories and songs of ancestral spirits who came to Earth to create the land and all life.
LANDSCAPES & WILDLIFE
It took the forces of nature 250 million years to create the myriad landscapes in which Australians live – from the two giant coral wonderlands that run down each fl ank, to its rainforests, outback, mountains and savannah. You’ll find 16 World Heritage Sites, national parks that dwarf some countries, some of the world’s oldest mountains and a third of the world’s protected marine areas.
Why not… snake your way along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, past cliffs, rainforests and rugged ocean beaches. Be sure to see the Twelve Apostles, giant rock stacks rising majestically from the Southern Ocean.
Whether you want a fresh-off-the-grass steak that won’t fit on the plate, a hot chilli mud crab, crocodile sausage or racy Riesling, you’ll find it in Australia. Where you eat is only limited by your imagination. Try a table among the trees of a World Heritage-listed rainforest, beneath the stars of the Southern Cross as you gaze at Uluru, or perched high on a cliff overlooking the crashing surf.
> Why not… take a seaplane flight over Sydney’s northern beaches to the sparkling waters of Pittwater. Land at Church Point or Palm Beach, then transfer by boat to a secluded beach with a gourmet picnic basket. To transform the way you holiday, call a Wexas Australia specialist on 020 7838 5967 or email your enquiry to australi[email protected]
The remote Kimberley in Western Australia is one of the world’s last great wildernesses, featuring vast horizons, ancient gorges and places of beauty unlike anything on Earth. A novel way to see it is from the deck of a catamaran, while you cast a line to catch your own barramundi.
In 1981 Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, received the rare double honour of being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for both its natural wonders and its 5,000 Aboriginal rock paintings. The paintings – ‘the greatest body of rock art in the world’ – range from 30 to over 25,000 years old.
Landscapes & Wildlife
Just a skip across the water from Adelaide rests Kangaroo Island. Split from the mainland over 100,000 years ago, it’s a thriving menagerie of indigenous fauna: huggable koalas nestle among eucalyptus, possums ponder their fodder, penguins cliff-dive into cool, turquoise water … and there’s the odd roo too.
Few venues in the world rival the spectacular setting of Peppermint Bay restaurant in southern Tasmania. Sweeping cathedral ceilings framed by floor-to-ceiling windows showcase a panoramic view of Bruny Island and the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. The best seasonal produce is always on the menu.