Dear Travel Diva: I am trying to plan a trip to Australia and need assistance from a travel agent who has expertise in the country. Do you happen to know of an agency in Michigan? My particular interest is to visit the Australian wine-growing regions and to travel by train. –Down Under Wonder
She says that in her 20 years of sending tourists to Australia, she finds that Americans now know far more about the faraway nation than they used to. It’s also a lot easier to get there, with nonstops to Sydney from Los Angeles and to Brisbane from Dallas.
“When I started coming here (from Australia) 30 years ago, you had to make five stops. Now you can fly nonstop,” she says. “It’s like taking the bus.” OK, it’s a bus that takes 14 hours, but it flies overnight. Although Delta flies to Sydney, she likes the service on Qantas better; it’s also a Star Alliance partner with American Airlines.
Flights generally cost about $1,600 to $2,000 round-trip. She advises visitors to plan a two-week trip at minimum — three days for traveling and 11 days there.
Most Americans don’t realize that Australia is about the same size as the continental U.S., Hodgson says — so don’t try to do the entire nation at once, mate. Explore that Aussie magic slowly.
“I try to give people four days at any one spot,” says Hodgson.