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Helena Marks

New York, New York Travel Agent

Australia: My Second Home

Australia is like my second home. My son lives there, and I have been visiting two to three times a year for the past 15 years. Every time I go, I experience something new, and I love incorporating what I’ve learned to delight my clients.

Sydney is the point of entry for most and it is stunningly beautiful. The weather is good all year, the people are welcoming and the beaches and restaurants are laid back and fabulous. To really take it in, you need at least three days. Among my favorite things to do is the coastal Bondi Walk along the cliffs overlooking Bondi Beach, just 20 minutes from downtown. 

Climbing Sydney Bridge, (reservations are required), is an iconic, once-in-a-lifetime experience. It sounds scary but it’s not because they put you in a jumpsuit to cover your clothes, harness you in and hook you up so you are well protected. In addition to seeing the Sydney Opera House and other main sites, it is interesting to hire a driver/guide to take you to different neighborhoods and hear about their histories. 

Kangaroo Island, a preserve off the southern coast, is the highlight for many of my clients. It’s Australia’s third largest island and one third is National Park or conservation lands, so it’s a great place to see indigenous flora and fauna. You have to fly to it, and it isn’t the easiest place to get to but those who go love it. There is a very special, although expensive, all-inclusive luxury resort there, the Southern Ocean Lodge. One of the highest rated resorts in the world, it has just 21 suites and on their wildlife tours, you are likely to spot New Zealand fur seals, koalas, Australian sea lions, ospreys, echidnas and of course, the island’s namesake kangaroos. Everyone who goes loves it.

Another remote spot that is worth traveling to is Ayers Rock. It a very spiritual place and the best place to experience the Aboriginal culture and beauty of the desert. There are some amazing resorts there too. Some have deluxe tents complete with air-conditioning so you are comfortable but can sit on your terrace under the most amazing star-studded Southern sky. One of my favorites, budget permitting, is Longitude 131, where your glass-walled tent is decorated with indigenous art, and you can watch the changing desert scenery from your private terrace, but there are less expensive alternatives as well.

From Queensland’s beaches and rainforests to cosmopolitan Melbourne and its surrounding wine country, Australia is a huge and diverse country. It’s great for families and romance, urban adventurers and nature lovers. Plus, it lends itself to a wide variety of interests and travel styles. As I do with all the trips I plan, I get to know your desires and interests so I can create the trip that is right for you.