Lizard Island Reclaims its Position as One of the World’s Leading Premium Resorts

Known for its unrivaled Great Barrier Reef location, natural beauty, exceptional service and diving experiences, Lizard Island reopens its doors after a full year of restoration and rebuilding following the impact of Cycone Ita to welcome discerning travelers wishing to create their own unique experiences. 

Truly secluded from the rest of the world and located directly on the Barrier Reef, the resort features 40 luxurious suites with stunning views of the Australian seascape, 24 private powdery white sand beaches fringed with colorful coral reefs, five star cuisine and exclusive spa care from La Biosthetique.

Lizard Island is truly like nowhere else!  To discover the wonders of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef right outside your doorstep contact us today.

Shang-Ri La

Photo Credit to Lizard Island

LZR #2

Photo Credit to Lizard Island


Thank you from Heather and family

Dear Karen,

Overall we had a wonderful time in Australia and didn’t want to come back!  You did a great job of planning all the details.

Heather Sullivan OZ DEC 2014– The kids’ favorite activity was the Sydney Bridge climb.  Such a beautiful view!

– Our Sydney accommodation Radisson Blu was in a good location

– The surfing lesson was fun (but cold)

– Christmas brunch at the Waterfront was great.  Good food, good service, and a beautiful view!

– Loved shopping in China Town

– Experienced “Boxing Day”.  Wow, that was so much crazier than Black Friday in the U.S.!

– Took a tour of the Sydney Opera house

– We all loved the GrHeather Sullivan OZ DEC 2014 #5eat Barrier Reef cruise and snorkeling.  Soooo beautiful and the water was sooo warm!

– The kids loved feeding the kangaroos and wallabies at the wildlife sanctuary

– We enjoyed Daintree and saw a Cassowary bird with chick along the road.  Very cool.  Also had lunch at a café on the beach and listened to an interesting Aboriginal talk at the information center.

– The villas at O’Reilly’s are breathtaking!  Very relaxing.

– Walked along the river in Brisbane and did some shopping.  Beautiful city.  It would have been nice to have another day there.

Thanks again for planning such a wonderful vacation!  We will always remember it.

Heather and family

Thank you from The Robinet Family

Dear Karen,

We can’t thank you enough for putting together such a wonderful itinerary for us. Our trip to Australia and New Zealand was the trip of a lifetime and one that none of us will forget.

From Green Island to Ayers Rock to Sydney to Queenstown, we have memories of the most beautiful places we’ve ever seen. The adventures you chose for us were terrific.  From snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef to the Sounds of Silence dinner and camel ride at sunrise in Ayer’s Rock from Bridgeclimb, New Year’s Eve festivities and sailing on Sydney Harbour in Sydney to ziplining and bungy jumping in Queenstown, New Zealand, etc., everything was fantastic!

We’re already talking of going back! We booked this trip because we wanted to do a big family trip before our oldest son goes away to college. Thank you for exceeding our expectations. Australia and New Zealand truly are spectacular places to visit. The Aussie’s & Kiwi’s are wonderful too! They really know how to enjoy life and they made sure that we enjoyed it too. Thank you to you and your staff.


The Robinet Family

Thank you from Ronita & John

It was our 25th wedding anniversary and my 65th birthday and I had my eyes set on Australia and New Zealand. But what a headache I got trying to plan it solo. I lucked up on Karen at Australia 2000 and what a breeze it became.

It isn’t every day that you make plans and have an experience of ease and grace from a customer service perspective. And it isn’t every day that you find good people with a big heart like Karen and her staff that really care and bend over backwards to make your dreams come true.

It isn’t every day that every desire in your imagination becomes a reality, as you take in the beauty of another country – the warm people, the ancient customs, the cuisine, the nature, the Great Barrier Reef, sacred land of Uluru, kangaroos, camels, and wild birds, Sydney, clear blue waters and Ferg’s burgers of Queenstown, the Wearable World of Art in Wellington, fine wineries of Nelson, art, music, green stone, the snow capped mountains. Yes, we did it all! And, I tell you we enjoyed every moment of our 25-day experience.

We owe every expression of awe and beauty to Karen. And so I say with deep gratitude, look no further, if this is your destination. You will never find more dedication, more experience and wisdom, more spirit than Australia 2000.

Ronita & John

Explore Paradise ~ 74 Islands Floating Like Jewels in Australia’s Coral Sea

Discovering Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one of life’s must-dos.

Photo Credit to Sarah_Ackerman

In the heart of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, lie the Whitsundays – 74 Islands floating like jewels in the tropical warm waters of the Coral Sea.

Sail, snorkel, dive, ski or swim in the calm blue seas or take off on a scenic flight over the reef. The weather in the Whitsunday Islands is sub tropical making it perfect for beach side holidays. The Whitsunday Islands lie on the same tropical latitude as Honolulu in the northern hemisphere and Mauritius in the south. They have a year round warm tropical climate with an average temperature of 81°F .

While exploring the Whitsunday Islands, join one of our specialist guides and set sail on a snorkel or scuba adventure to explore the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the natural world.  Experiencing paradise is what it’s all about.  You’ll check it off of your “bucket list” and return from your adventure with memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Contact us! We are Aussie Specialists drawing on our passion for the GLORIOUS South Pacific to create once in a lifetime journeys for discerning travelers.

Australia & New Zealand Considered for New7Wonders of Nature

Surely most have heard of the 7 Wonders of the World and perhaps a lucky few have visited all of them all but did you know that there is a New7Wonders of Nature Campaign taking place right now? The New7Wonders Foundation is on a global search to recognize the 7 most wonderous natural sites as selected and voted on by the public and the winners will be announced on November 11, 2011 (yes, that’s 11-11-11).

In order to be considered sites must be clearly defined as a natural site, monument or landscape that was not created or significantly altered by humans. Of the hundreds of sites originally nominated the contest is now down to its final phase with only 28 selections left for consideration and both Australia & New Zealand remain in the running. Among the top 28 finalists are The Great Barrier Reef & Uluru in Australia and Milford Sound in New Zealand.

There are only 83 days left to vote so let your voice be heard and vote now for your favorite.

The Great Barrier Reef

The largest coral reef in the world, The Great Barrier Reef, is made up of 2500 separate reefs and stretches over 1250 miles in length and includes over 500 islands from Queenslands coast to the western edge of the Pacific Ocean. Its ecosystem supports the greatest concentration of life on this planet with its resident marine life includes 1500 species of fish, 350 different kinds of coral, 4000 species of molluscs and 10,000 species of sponges. This natural wonder also provides breeding areas for humpback whales, sea turtles and seabirds.

To vote for GBR, Australia


Few people who visit Uluru, most commonly known as Ayers Rock, return unchanged. The rock and the surrounding land has huge spiritual significance for the Anangu Aboriginal people. It lies in Australia’s Red Center like an enormous, moody heart. At an enormous 348 meters tall and 5 ½ miles in circumference it’s hard to believe that more than two thirds of the rock remains hidden beneath the ground. Yet at its massive feet the icy-green and grey vegetation offer a refuge for wildlife. Arraying itself in a multiplicity of hues from black to purple, blue to brown, orange and red throughout various times of day and weather, Uluru’s sheer majesty outshines even the brilliant sunset.

To vote for Uluru, Australia

Milford Sound

Grand, brooding, serene and wild, Milford Sound, located within Fiordland National Park on New Zealand’s South Island,  draws visitors from all over the globe to cruise its length. Luxuriant rainforest clings to sheer rock walls washed with waterfalls line the shores of the sound and in the foreground stands Mitre Peak, a majestic presence dominating the skyline. On any given day you are likely to see dolphins and rare penguins or perhaps even seals sunbathing on the rocky shores.









To vote for Milford Sound, New Zealand



Australian Cruise Destinations


Sydney Harbor is known as one of the most beautiful harbors in the world. We have just the person to help you explore The Harbour aboard his luxurious 40 ft yacht. You will sail under the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge to be confronted by the magnificence of Sydney Opera House. You will pass the historic Rocks, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Mrs. Macquaries Chair and Fort Dennison. When Colin sails past the spectacular private homes lining the foreshore and you explore some of the picturesque harbor coves you will instantly understand why Sydneysiders measure quality of life as life by The Harbour.


With its magnificent coral reefs, tropical rainforests, pristine beaches and crystal clear waters The Whitsundays are one of the most beautiful sailing and cruising destinations in the world. The Great Barrier Reef provides protection for the numerous sheltered coves and safe anchorages and ensures idyllic calm water sailing and cruising. You might enjoy cruising this glorious area on your privately chartered crewed yacht, aboard a lovingly restored traditional 23 meter square-rigger sailing ship, aboard a windjammer that was designed along classic lines of the trading schooners of yesteryear or aboard a mini cruise ship that combines the amenities of a luxury yacht with the versatility of an expedition cruise. Accomplished sailors often enjoy exploring the islands via bareboat charter.

[Read more…]

14 Day Luxury Australian Highlights Tour

DAY 1 Arrive in Sydney, Australia
DAY 2 Private Sydney Tour
DAY 3 Sailing on Sydney Harbor
DAY 4 At leisure in Sydney. Evening performance at Sydney Opera House
DAY 5 Fly to Kangaroo Island
DAY 6 Full day touring on Kangaroo Island
DAY 7 Private tour in the Australian Outback
DAY 8 Adelaide orientation tour
DAY 9 Private tour in the Adelaide Hills
DAY 10 Fly to Cairns and the Daintree National Park
DAY 11 Full day cruise of the Great Barrier Reef
DAY 12 At leisure in the rainforest
DAY 13 Full day rainforest tour
DAY 14 Fly to Sydney
DAY 15 Depart Australia [Read more…]

Australian Ultimate 28 Day Action Packed Adventure

Australian Action Packed Adventure

DAY 1-3: In Sydney: Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sailing on Sydney Harbour. Explore the Blue Mountains.
DAY 4: Fly to Adelaide.
DAY 5-7: 3 Day South Australia Outback Adventure in Southern Flinders Ranges and Wilpena Pound.
DAY 8-9: Explore Kangaroo Island, Seal Bay and Flinders Chase.
DAY 10: Fly to Darwin. Half Day Darwin City Tour.
DAY 11-13: 3 Day Camping in Kakadu National Park.
DAY 14: Fly to Cairns.
DAY 15: At Leisure in Palm Cove.
DAY 16-20: 5 Day Wilderness Adventure.
DAY 21: White Water Rafting on the Barron River.
DAY 22: At Leisure in Palm Cove.
DAY 23: Full Day Great Barrier Reef Tour.
DAY 24: Fly to Brisbane. Transfer to your Rainforest Retreat in Lamington National Park.
DAY 25-26: At Leisure in Lamington National Park.
DAY 27: Transfer to Brisbane.
DAY 28: Depart Australia.

[Read more…]

Thank you from the Berminghams and Elders

Karen, Hillary, Shelly and Wendy,

Our Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania trip was spectacular. Everything was perfectly planned and we experienced a new adventure every day. We loved Sydney – the bridge climb, sailing the harbor and great shopping. A highlight has to be the Blue Mountains with such spectacular views, the opportunity to see kangaroos jumping about it the bush and lunch on the Wollondilly River.

We were very brave and drove on the opposite side of the road for our tour of Tasmania. We experienced Bruny Island with all the massive cliffs and just incredible views on our drive on the coast to Freycinet National Park. The Park has beautiful beaches with clear water and a nice secluded feel. It seemed there was one beautiful sight of beaches, waterfalls and rainforest after another as we drove to Launceston.

[Read more…]

Thanks from Debbie and Mike

Hi Karen & Hillary,

We are still talking to everyone we see about our incredible trip to New Zealand and Australia. We were met upon arrival in Auckland, Queenstown, Sydney and Cairns by your fun and interesting local guides who delivered us to our fabulous hotels/apartments as well as providing us with your detailed itinerary that included vouchers for our total convenience.

Karen grasped the personality and needs of Mike and I perfectly. The unique and spectacular journey to New Zealand took us to the Waiheke Island with fabulous visits to wineries, artist’s studios, and a taste of the local cuisine. However, we fell totally in love with Queenstown with its view of the Remarkables and our exciting ride up the Dart River.

[Read more…]

Thank you from Barry and David

Hi Karen,

As you know, we just returned from our amazing trip to Australia. It was good to talk with you yesterday.

Some more about our experiences:

The harbor views from the Grand Quay Suites were wonderful. We had a picnic dinner on the terrace one night, enjoying the views of the city and the Harbour Bridge at dusk. Sailer’s Thai was great, as was Hugo’s Pizza in Kings Cross. The service was wonderful at the GQS: one morning our breakfast was particularly slow to arrive, so they comp’ed our meal. Our guide on the Rocks Tour pointed out that another advantage of staying at the GQS is that when you are in your room, you don’t have to SEE the GQS (and the other towers that have been allowed to be built along the eastside of Circular Quay), which are an over-development eyesore on the harbor. There are also a large number of great restaurants strung along the quay.

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Thank you from Kevin, Kristin, Owen and Ian

We traveled in New Zealand 10 years ago and Karen planned an amazing 2 weeks in the South Island. She planned an equally amazing three weeks on Australia’s east coast this summer; we booked the trip and left 6 weeks later. She knew we were taking our 9 and 6 year old boys and created an awesome family adventure for us.

BRISBANE: We arrived August 15 to sunshine, palm trees, and found friendly people at every stop. The kids enjoyed the Australia Zoo with our private caddie, feeding the kangaroos and hearing about the animals of Australia. Canungra, at the base of the mountain going to Lamington, is the home of the Funky Dory restaurant. We recommend it for fish-n-chips (Baramundi and Red Emperor were our favorites), squid lips, and an owner who loves what she does. We drove to O’Reilly’s guest house in Lamington National Park and loved the birds, hikes, views and incredible food. The boys were up every morning for a 6:45 a.m. guided bird walk. When our son left his glasses in a restroom, Karen’s assistant in Sydney was able to help us track them down and send them to our next hotel.

[Read more…]

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.”

[Read more…]