Australia | bucket list trip

Sydney Bridge & Opera House (c) 2019 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

Australia is a bucket list destination for me. I've been once already, traveling with a group of travel advisors. I enjoyed amazing experiences — viewing hundreds of marsupials at Wolgan Valley, a koala in a tree on Kangaroo Island, sailing under the Sydney Bridge during a private cruise of the harbour. While my travel colleagues were all busy drinking wine, I was in the stern of the boat snapping photos, including the one above, one of my favourite travel photos ever.

But the Great Barrier Reef was not on my previous itinerary. As it's a place my wife has always wanted to see ... when I was presented with the opportunity to spend three nights at Lizard Island, I grabbed the chance! Here's the trip I've put together:

Cairns, the Pullman Reef Hotel — We fly from SFO to SYD, then continue on to Cairns. We're spending a night at the Pullman Reef in a Junior Suite, hopefully the one with the view down Trinity Inlet toward The Pyramid and Bellenden Ker Range.

Lizard Island — One of two Virtuoso resorts on the Great Barrier Reef (the other being qualiaLizard Island is an adults-only 40-villa resort. Guests have access to 24 private beaches with a motorised dingy provided for complimentary use, or book diving trips to nearby Cod Hole.

Silky Oaks Lodge — a luxury eco lodge high above the Mossman River set within the Daintree Rainforest. Guests enjoy one complimentary Rainforest hike during their stay, and there are opportunities to explore the Great Barrier Reef from Silky Oaks.

Longitude 131 — I've heard amazing things about this tented camp in the Australian outback. With just 15 luxury tents, guests at Longitude 131 enjoy seclusion as well as direct views of Uluru (Ayers Rock) from their tents. I'm looking forward to photography at dawn and sunset.

Bamarru Plains — Finishing up our "wilderness" time with a safari, Bamarru Plains is found near Darwin on the northern coast of Australia. This will be my first time in the Bush. Bamarru Plains has one of the largest crocodile populations in the world, and the annual migration of over one hundred thousand magpie geese is supposed to be amazing.

Park Hyatt Sydney — Last time in Australia, I stayed at the Four Seasons Sydney in a wonderful Premier room facing the Opera House. This time, I'm looking forward to ending our trip at the Park Hyatt Sydney. Practically under the Sydney Bridge, Opera rooms at the Park Hyatt directly face the famous Sydney Opera House. Nothing is better than a room with an iconic view!

Though my trip is more than 7 months away, much of the pleasure of travel is the anticipation that builds when looking forward to a trip.

copyright (c) 2019 by Ourisman Travel LLC.  All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or

No comments: