Flying private around Australia doesn’t necessarily require copious amounts of time. In fact, you can take off and experience incredible attractions in a couple of days – exclusivity guaranteed.
For most people living in Brisbane or Sydney, a weekend (or a long-weekend) getaway means looking to their immediate surrounds. Realistically, how far can you travel – either by road or on commercial flights – in a couple of days without rushing, and while still enjoying your surrounds?
But if you’re flying private, you can expand your getaway horizons – quite literally, and quite vastly. Across three states, in fact, if you’re flying an Outback ‘Interlude’ with Captain’s Choice, taking in Broken Hill, Coober Pedy and Birdsville, with scenic tours over some of the country’s most jaw-dropping attractions.
The final puzzle piece
While there are parts of Australia you’ll want to see up close and personal, there are others that are best viewed from the air. This perspective gives levity and gravity in equal measure – while your heart is soaring, your sky-high aerie reminds you of your importance in the world, as only a perch this far above the ground can.
It also puts into place the kinks and notches of the Earth’s surface, like a giant puzzle coming to completion; sometimes, however, that puzzle is more complex than first it appears.
Case in point is Marree Man just south of Lake Eyre, which you – and a maximum of 47 other passengers – will gaze over from the windows of your private plane on the Captain’s Choice A Weekend in the Outback ‘Interlude’ journey. This is the only (literally, the only) way to see captivating, far-flung highlights of New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland in just two days. And at a pace where you can truly appreciate them.
Departing Sydney or Brisbane, your luxurious sky-high chariot comes replete with every comfort you’d expect in a commercial plane, except with a lot less passengers, making your journey a social distancer’s dream.
You’ll say goodbye to the city and drift over one of the country’s most magnificent, yet mysterious, sights: an enormous geoglyph carved into the SA countryside, Marree Man resembles an Indigenous Australian hunting with a boomerang. If you were walking through the bush you’d never know existed – it’s only from the leather seat of your plane that you’ll appreciate its significance: 4.2 kilometres tall and with a circumference of more than 28 kilometres.
This is just one of the many attractions that will make you (re)fall in love with Australia in as little as 48 hours. On a Captain’s Choice ‘Interlude’ journey, you see the best of the country, in the same time most are still packing their bags and getting to the airport. Plus, you’ll see it in supreme style, with a Tour Director and Tour Doctor on call around the clock. But back to that ravishing landscape.
Also best glimpsed from the air is Lake Eyre, or Kati Thanda. Bottoming out at 15.2 metres below sea level, this is the lowest point in Australia. It’s also one of the largest desert river systems on the planet, and is pocked with bizarre ‘mound springs’, which draw two-million-year-old water from the world’s largest and deepest aquifer, the Great Artesian Basin.
This is the country’s largest lake – when there’s water in it, that is. It’s normally dry, with the absence of liquid revealing surreal saltpans that shimmer to the horizon, a great expanse of white as far as the eye can see. And then, once every decade or so flood waters run in from Queensland, passing through the Simpson Desert and spilling over the banks of rivers that feed into the lowlands. It charges across parched plains, filling waterholes and wetlands and carving new arteries into the landscape. Amazingly, the waterway has the same salinity as the sea when it’s full – it gets even saltier as water evaporates, and when saturation occurs, it turns pink thanks to the presence of Dunaliella salina algae.
It’s an incredible transformation that brings with it an equally incredible amount of wildlife, including millions of migratory birds, which come here to feed and breed on the lake’s islands. There are emus and black swans, ducks and banded stilts, and pelicans – thousands of them – everywhere you look. Whether wet or dry, Lake Eyre dials up Aussie outback drama.
Before you fly over the lake, you’ll have the chance to take in Broken Hill – NSW’s frontier mining town and a hub for the Royal Flying Doctor Service – and then Coober Pedy, a place where you’ll leave the sky to head underground.
This ochre-hued town is the source of the world’s shiniest opals, and locals love these gems almost as much as you will – especially after you’ve spent a night in an underground hotel, your room’s walls marbled with the rainbow-hued stones.
Afterwards you’ll jet into Queensland, where Birdsville lies just over the border. Population 115, this country town on the edge of the Simpson Desert is small in population, but big in spirit. A beer and curried camel pie at the Birdsville Hotel are a rite of passage for any visitor, and your private plane chariot lands you just metres away from the legendary establishment.
Whichever way you complete this journey, in a loop from Brisbane or Sydney, you’re guaranteed two days of exciting, and exclusive, experiences – and memories that most people only dream about.
Australian-owned Captain’s Choice has been a pioneer in private jet and plane travel for more than 25 years. A Weekend in the Outback is in the company’s portfolio of short ‘Interlude’ journeys around the country. Click here to see what it’s like to experience this journey, and here to learn more about private jet and plane travel today.