Detroit Free Press “Travel Diva” Recommends Australia 2000 Travel

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

Dear Down: Karen Hardy Hodgson, owner of Australia 2000 Travel in Birmingham, is an Aussie who specializes in Australia/New Zealand, especially in custom itineraries like the one you’re looking for.

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.

Read “Diva’s” full article here then contact us to design your own customized adventure to the Lands Down Under that CNN & Lonely Planet have named the Top Destinations of 2013!

CNN & Lonely Planet name New Zealand & Australia Top Destinations of 2013

CNN & Lonely Planet agree that Top Travel Destinations for 2013 are Down Under!

Standing out in the lists of “Top 10 Must See Cities for 2013” are Christchurch, New Zealand & Hobart located in the island state of Tasmania, Australia.

Often described as a little slice of England in the South Pacific, Christchurch is a gracious city of tree filled parks, elegant squares and beautiful stone buildings. Beautiful private and public gardens surround the city which is in a period of rebirth since the devastating earthquakes of 2010 & 2011.

Perhaps one of the most inviting aspects of Christchurch is its close proximity to an abundance of diverse activities from skiing at a world-class alpine resort, enjoying a round of golf, bungy jumping, rafting, mountain biking, hot-air balloon tours, whale watching and tours of internationally-acclaimed wineries and gardens.

Christchurch is also the gateway to one of our favorite New Zealand lodges, Arthurs Pass Wilderness Lodge which is a short journey away by train. Departing from Christchurch, the Tranz Alpine Express is regarded as one of the world’s best scenic rail journeys. Traveling through the mighty Southern Alps across open farmland of the Canterbury Plain, the Tranz Alpine Express climbs into the Southern Alps beside braids of ice fed rivers and spectacular viaducts before arriving at Arthur’s Pass.

Nestled in mountain beech forest and surrounded by the Southern Alps, Arthurs Pass Wilderness Lodge provides warm, eco friendly and hospitable atmosphere in which to enjoy the high country scenery and mountain ecology. Built in 1996 on historic 2,500-hectare high-country, the lodge is surrounded by 200 hectares of native beech forest, tussock grasslands and a small lake that invites guests to experience high country nature, guided activities, trout fishing and merino sheep farming.

Hobart, a charming city of the island state of Tasmania, is one of colonial architecture, with no pollution or traffic problems to speak of. Nestled beneath the slopes of Mount Wellington and Mount Nelson, Hobart is graced with a beautiful natural harbor. Head for the waterfront to visit Salamanca Place with its historic buildings and browse the arts and crafts galleries. Enjoy a wander through colorful, open-air Salamanca Market Place while being serenaded by local musicians.

Pause and refresh your senses in the Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens. Visit some of the historic sites including the oldest Australian Synagogue or head for Constitution Dock where locals and visitors alike gather. In a city famous for fresh fish, the floating fish markets are fascinating.

You Saw the Show, Now Take the Trip

From Watching To Going…


Australia 2000 can turn your dream of traveling to Australia into reality. Seeing Australia on a TV show is great way to learn more about the country, but traveling to Australia and experiencing it yourself can be the highlight of a lifetime.

For over 18 years, Karen Hardy has been using her native Aussie knowledge to design custom tours to the South Pacific for her clients around the world. She can design a custom “The Show” trip for you, call her at 1-800-875-4530 or email her at:

Down Under Adventures Begin Atop Birmingham

Published: Monday, August 16, 2010 by The Oakland Press

Karen Hardy-Hodgson — a corporate wife armed with a green card and a passion for her homeland — has developed a thriving international boutique cottage travel business.

When she isn’t jumping out of planes, the Sydney native and Australia 2000 Travel founder can be found going on a walkabout or perched above the downtown Birmingham street scene where she creates “trip of a lifetime” adventures for her diverse client-base of honeymooners, retirees and adventure-seeking world travelers.”

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