By Maria Lisella
The much-anticipated movie Australia, directed by Baz Luhrman, starring Aussie film stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman has introduced travelers to Australia’s Northern Territory, an area most of the world has not seen before. Set in Australia’s formidable Northern Territory in the years just prior to World War II as the setting for an epic love story likened to Gone with the Wind. It is expected to create huge interest in travel to Australia.
At the same time, Australia’s Northern Territory tour operators and wholesalers have moved quickly to support the new marketing investment and objective from Tourism Australia to encourage as many North Americans as possible to see Baz Luhrmann’s epic Australia, then see the country.
Northern Territory Minister for Tourism, Kon Vatskalis says the feature film, set to hit the big screen in the U.S. over Thanksgiving this year, will put Darwin in the international limelight. “We’re absolutely confident that Baz Luhrmann’s film will do for Darwin what Crocodile Dundee did for Kakadu,” said Vatskalis.
As part of its initiative, Tourism NT approached trade partners in North America to develop specific and innovative itineraries and marketing plans to capitalize on the movie locations and themes. Incentivized with co-operative marketing dollars, Tourism NT received a number of entries. The chosen wholesaler – Abel Tasman Tours – launched three custom-designed Australia itineraries this week to encourage North Americans to see the country:
Darwin & Dreamtime – the history of Aboriginal & European Australia; Drover – Australia’s Greatest Outback Driving Experience; and Ultimate Territory – A Discovery of Australia’s Great Outback. Call 800-388-1828; www.attours.com/AboutAustraliamovie.html
Anticipating a rush on Downunder travel after the release of the movie Australia, Qantas Vacations is premiering an array of Outback - themed vacations, including an exclusive “Outback Airpass” for $1,199 that includes international air to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, plus three flights within the Outback, a savings of at least $400 per couple.
Qantas Vacations is featuring a comprehensive collection of experiences to the Outback in an exclusive 40-page Outback brochure features more than 60 vacation experiences found in Australia’s legendary Outback ranging from cattle drives on remote stations in the Kimberly Region to luxury tented safari camps in the Northern Territory.
“Qantas Vacations is the first operator to launch a brochure and website dedicated exclusively to out-of-the-ordinary Outback experiences and remarkable places from many scenes in Australia, the movie,” noted Kieron Keady, Vice President of Sales for Qantas Vacations. “We wanted to ensure our travel agents had the right tools to translate the excitement created by the movie and deliver a truly exceptional Australian vacation for their clients.”
Qantas Vacations’ Outback experiences are offered throughout Australia and highlight not just the region’s distinctive landscapes but also the fascinating people who call the area home. Travelers can explore ancient Dreamtime legend, culture and art with a member of a local Aboriginal community or enjoy “bush tucker” at a campfire with a “jackeroo” or “swagman.” And while most visitors fly between Outback sights, the Qantas Vacations website and brochure also feature transportation as varied as 4WD vehicles, camel safaris, rail journeys and luxury cruises.
Land vacations start at $660 with prices valid through March 2009. Inquire about the The Outback Airpass that becomes available frequently linked to special promotions.
Call 800- 641- 8772; www.qantasvacations.com/outback
One Australian company, however, has been charting its waters and traversing its scenically dramatic terrain for years. Orion Expedition Cruises, one of the world’s most luxurious expedition ships, in fact spends four months each year in Australia’s Northern Territory. From the historic coastal town of Broome, known for its pearl-diving and palm-fringed Cable Beach, to the wild and remote Kimberley coast with its spectacular gorges, inlets and waterfalls, and the fascinating indigenous art of the Arnhem Land, Orion opens this part of the world to the adventurous.
From April through August 2009, those inspired by the movie, can actually live it via an Orion Voyage. The MV Orion is a 53-cabin (106-guest) luxury expedition vessel, a five-star expedition vessel operating year-round from Australia, boasting the highest staff-to-guest ratio of any Australian-based ship.
Choices range from seven to 10-day voyages: the seven-day Art of Arnhem Land is hosted by Australia’s preeminent collectors of indigenous art who introduce guests to the remote art communities of the Arnhem Land coast while the 10-day Kimberley travels through the Northern Territory as it sets sail from Darwin and travels southwest along the coast to Broome, or vice versa. During August 2009 departures, guests can also enjoy Opera Under the Stars, world-class operatic performances at the spectacular new Cable Beach Amphitheatre. Visit www.orionexpeditions
For more information, visit www.australia.com