Australia: New tours, flights and accommodation for 2009

Australia: New tours, flights and accommodation for 2009

Joanna Booth outlines new developments across Australia

Operator news

Travel 2 has launched a brochure called Australia's Outback, featuring tours in the country's remote regions. More than 80% of the accommodation and itineraries are new to Travel 2.

Visitors can travel across the outback by four-wheel drive and train, take safaris in the wilderness, with a choice of luxury and basic lodges.

They can also stay on working cattle and sheep stations, follow walking trails and ride mountain bikes, horses or camels, or take part in a turtle rescue project.

There's also a range of products that offer clients the chance to learn about Aboriginal history.

Cox and Kings has launched its first Australia and New Zealand brochure, which includes group tours and tailor-made holiday ideas. There are classic routes plus specialised itineraries featuring wildlife, wine and gourmet trips and rail and cruise options. 

Intrepid Travel has launched its first dedicated Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific brochure, which offers 40 itineraries. There are 13 Australian Adventures and 10 Urban Adventures in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland.

New itineraries include turtle rescue in Queensland, Tasmania's Tarkine Wilderness, the Larapinta Trail trek from Alice Springs, and the Cape York Discoverer, which includes rock art in Quinkan Country and camping on a cattle farm.   

Thomas Cook Signature has two new tours. The Australian Journey 11-day tour features Sydney, Kings Canyon, Alice Springs and Cairns, and the 15-day Australian Adventure features Sydney, Perth, the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu National Park and the El Questro Wilderness Park.   

Collette Worldwide Holidays is offering savings of £100 per person on all Australian holidays in 2009 which are booked by March 31. Agents receive a £25 bonus for every booking.   

Travellers in a hurry can now experience Arnhemland in one bite-size chunk on Lords Safaris' new one-day tour out of Darwin. As well as stunning natural scenes, there's lots of Aboriginal rock art to be seen.   

For 2009/10, Scenic Tours has grouped its Scenic FreeChoice escorted tour product and new Outback Discovery small group four-wheel drive tour programme in Australia with its Evergreen Tours in New Zealand.

The combined brochure features three new Outback Discovery products: the Kimberley Spectacular, Cape York Expedition, and the Kangaroo Island and Flinders Ranges tour – aimed at attracting second time visitors.

Options in the FreeChoice section include some shorter tours, like the 7-day Wildflower Wonders, which are designed to enable agents to bolt them on to a client’s travel arrangements.

Australia also features in Trafalgar Tours' first-ever Worldwide brochure. Options include the 24-day Great Australia Explorer, which costs from £2,550, including accommodation, some meals, transport and sightseeing but excludes international flights, takes in Sydney and Adelaide before heading for the outback and Red Centre before taking in Darwin and Cairns.   

Accommodation news

Mungo Lodge

The oldest known human remains in Australia, dating back up to 60,000 years, can be found in Mungo National Park in New South Wales.

Mungo Lodge has recently reopened after a refurbishment, so visitors can stay in cabins right next to UNESCO World Heritage Site, and take tours with Barkindji Aboriginal guides.   

Fitzroy Island Hunt Resort

Right on the fringing Great Barrier Reef of North Queensland, Fitzroy Island Hunt Resort is a luxurious new getaway.

A 45-minute ferry ride from Cairns, it offers rooms, one and two-bedroom apartments, beachfront suites and penthouses.

Activities include snorkelling, diving and cruises on the reef, fishing and sea kayaking and walks in the national park.

Seal Rocks Lighthouse

Visitors can stay among the unspoilt natural beauty of the Myall Lakes National Park in New South Wales, at the old lighthouse at Seal Rocks village.

There are three cottages with the largest, the Head Keeper''s Cottage, sleeping eight. The location is great for walking and birdwatching - residents may also spot dolphins and humpback whales.

Cockatoo Island camping

Cockatoo Island sits in the centre of Sydney Harbour, and has recently opened a waterfront campsite with spectacular views of the city. It's 10 minutes by ferry from Circular Quay.

On the island, campers can kayak or explore the island's history as a port and prison with an audio tour. 

Flight news

Travellers travelling with Qantas to Sydney will fly in the comfort of a new Airbus A380.

The huge 450-seaters have four classes, with 14 suites in first, 72 fully flat beds in business, 32 extra-wide seats with greater recline and legroom in premium economy and 332 economy places.

There's a help-yourself snack bar and a business lounge on board too.

The A380 flights will operate from London on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and from Sydney on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.


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