CairnsNEW SOUTH WALES This superb introduction to 'The Lucky Country'is a land of rolling farmlands and beautifulnational parks with surf beaches extendingalong a coast centred on the beautiful harbourof its capital, Sydney. Public transport is a goodway to get around Sydney, with the Manly Ferrya cheap way to take a tour of the bridge andharbour. You can also explore the waters byluxury yacht, helicopter or seaplane flights, ortake a walking tour and Harbour Bridge climb.The Blue Mountains or the wineries of theHunter Valley lie close by, but we also suggestless-visited places such as Kangaroo Valley andPort Stephens. Stay in the city and daytrip out tosurrounding areas, or find a more rural locationand zip in to see Sydney's sights. There arerewarding self-drive routes including a loopthrough Port Stephens, the Blue Mountains andthe Hunter Valley, the drive to Brisbane via theHunter Valley and famous surf beaches, or toMelbourne. New South Wales can be visitedyear-round as the winter is mild, spring andautumn are ideal and the summer suits thosewho like the heat.QUEENSLANDThis huge, dramatically beautiful state extendsfrom its temperate border with New SouthWales up into the tropical north, much of it stillbarely explored or settled. The capital isBrisbane, Australia's fastest-growing city and adynamic urban centre basking in 300 sunnydays each year and within easy reach of theGold Coast beaches and Lamington NationalPark. Most of the state's great attractions are upalong the coast: the huge Daintree Rainforest,the Outback oases of the Atherton Tablelandsand the kaleidoscopic colours of the GreatBarrier Reef. Palm Cove and Port Douglas makeexcellent bases, with small-boat cruisesexploring the reef, or you can head into themountains that hug the coastline. There are alsoluxury resorts on a few Great Barrier Reef islandsand character accommodation in the heart ofthe rainforest. It is worth taking time to explorethe Outback, with a few nights on a stationgiving a flavour of this pioneer world. Brisbaneand the south are glorious all year round, whilein the tropical north, the wet season runs fromJanuary to April, drenching the countryside daily.Audley in Australia6Australia is so massive and varied acountry that it is not possible to see allof it at once. The guides to the states onthese pages are designed to give you aflavour of what there is to see and do.The suggested itineraries are there togive you a feel of how they linktogether into facinating, but achievablejourneys. They have been designed toappeal to first-time visitors andreturning travellers alike.
AUDLEY IN AUSTRALIA7THE TOP END,NORTHERN TERRITORYAustralia's Top End plays host to some of itsmost intriguing wildlife and Aboriginal heritage.Darwin is a vibrant, hot city with an undeniabledynamism whose surrounding countryside ofmonsoon rainforest, Outback escarpments andremote billabongs shelter an array of wildlifefrom crocodiles and kangaroos to sea eaglesand Jesus birds. Though you can glimpse thenatural world through daytrips we believe ittakes longer to explore the vast wilderness: wereach often overlooked areas including Kakadu,Lichfield National Park, the Tiwi Islands, ArnhemLand and the Coburg Peninsula with its SevenSpirit Bay. We offer small-group tours thatsensitively visit Aboriginal communities andexperience Outback farming life with visits toremote stations. The extreme seasons of the TopEnd may affect your travel plans, the best timeto visit is the dry season, from April to October.After this the weather gets very hot and humiduntil the 'wet', from November to March,washes out roads and turns plains into swamps.tailor-made travelAll our travel arrangements are on a private,individual basis to offer you complete freedom ofchoice. The itineraries and accommodation optionsthroughout the brochure are designed to give you aflavour of what is possible and can be tailor-made tosuit your preferences. Prices vary according toselected accommodation and season. Please callour Australia specialists on 01869 276 345 todiscuss your individual requirements.THE RED CENTRE,NORTHERN TERRITORY Marooned amongst the Red Centre's vastscrubland lies Uluru/Ayers Rock and KataTjuta/The Olgas, two of Australia's awesomeicons whose colours change with the shiftingdesert light. The nearby desert outpost of AliceSprings is an important stop for the GhanRailway on its journey across the continent, acentre for the Flying Doctor Service and a vitalsupply point for the scattered residents who callthis unforgiving region home. To ensure you getthe most out of Uluru and Kata Tjuta we useAboriginal guides to explain the landscape'sspiritual significance, and further the experienceby meeting the Aboriginal community of GunyaTitjikala, south of Alice Springs, taking theLarapinta Trail, exploring the East and WestMcDonnell ranges and experiencing theOutback at its best at Ooraminna Homestead onDeep Well Station. The best time to visit is fromJuly to September, with warm days, cool nightsand fewest flies.AUSTRALIAUNCOVEREDA first time trip to Australia would not be completewithout visiting, 'Sydney, Rock and Reef'. Let us takeyou there, but include Outback life and Aboriginalexperiences and the stunning scenery of the TopEnd. Get the most out of your stay with a judiciousmix of self-driving and small group guided touring.Day 1:Arrive in Sydney, head for Circular Quayand enjoy a sail around the harbour. Day 2:Discover the history of Sydney through awalking tour of the historical Rocks. Day 3:Spend the day at leisure; perhaps take asea plane flight over the city. Day 4:Drive to the Hunter Valley and drop inon one or two of the local wineries. Day 5:Rise early and take a hot air balloon flightbefore enjoying a relaxing long lunch.Day 6:Take a drive to the Blue Mountains. Day 7:Spend the day walking through theJamison Valley. Day 8:Return to Sydney, fly to Cairns and drivethe short distance to Palm Cove. Day 9:Spend the day soaking up Palm Cove'svillage atmosphere. Day 10:Discover the underwater world of theGreat Barrier Reef. Day 11:Drive to the rainforest area of theAtherton Tablelands. Day 12:Explore this region's famed waterfalls. Day 13:Fly to Alice Springs. Day 14:Join a specialist small group tour of theRed Centre and drive to Kings Canyon. Day 15:Walk around the base of Uluru andwitness the spectacular sunset. Day 16:Take a walking tour through the domesof Kata Tjuta.Day 17:Return to Alice Springs. Day 18:Take the late afternoon train to Darwin. Day 19:Stop at Katherine and enjoy a short tourof Katherine Gorge. Continue to Darwin. Day 20:Spend the day at leisure in Darwin. Day 21:Explore Litchfield National Park. Day 22:Join a small group tour of Kakadu andArhem Land to discover rock art sitesaccompanied by an Aboriginal guide. Day 23: Head further in to Arhem Land and meetwith local Aboriginal communities. Day 24:Return to Darwin later in the day. Day 25:Leave Darwin.EXTENSIONSUnwind on a Great Barrier Reef island or spendtime soaking up the atmosphere on a sprawlingOutback station, or for those with an adventurousstreak, drive along the Gibb River Road to Broome.QueenslandGarma festival, Arnhem Land