Let’s face it – Australia is vast. Seeing it all, from the most northerly point of Australia to its southern isles, could take weeks (months, even) if you’re travelling by commercial airline. But if you’re exploring in a private jet or plane, you can not only experience the country’s most spectacular, and diverse, sights and attractions, but do so in serious comfort and style – minus the crowds.
Here are 10 only-in-Australia moments you can enjoy when you sign up for an exclusive air tour with Captain’s Choice.
1. Glimpse mysterious Marree Man
Etched into the barren South Australian landscape in the middle of nowhere, Marree Man is the world’s largest artwork. The 4.5-kilometre-long geoglyph is a complete mystery – no one knows how or when it was created, although it’s believed to have Indigenous significance. Given its scale, the only way to fully appreciate its immensity is from the window seat of a private plane.
2. Drop in on the Birdsville Races
Fondly known as the Melbourne Cup of the outback, this legendary horse race sees the population of Birdsville swell every September. It has been held in this regional Queensland town since 1882 – you’ll see what all the fuss is about after touching down and joining locals cheering on horses as they gallop around the track.
3. Tour ‘The Tip’
Go in search of Australia’s most remote northern reaches, taking a tour of ‘The Tip’ on Queensland’s far-flung Cape York Peninsula. Your private aircraft lands you on Horn Island, from where you’ll journey by ferry over to this rugged stretch of land that few others get to glimpse.
4. Swim with whale sharks
If there was ever a goosebump-inducing travel moment, swimming alongside whale sharks is it. The largest fish in the sea, measuring up to 18 metres in length, these gentle giants call the World Heritage-listed waters of Western Australia’s Ningaloo Coast home. Touch down, dive in, and flipper alongside for an experience you’ll never forget.
5. Savour King Island cheese
An island off an island off an island, King Island has some of the cleanest air and water in the world. Arriving in your private jet, carrying just you and 34 other passengers, you’ll spend the afternoon learning how this pristine environment contributes to the production of the country’s tastiest cheeses, from creamy brie to flavour-packed smoked cheddar – Tasmanian sparkling wine in hand, of course.
6. Shuck oysters in Coffin Bay
Your private, business-class jet lands in South Australia’s seafood capital along the Eyre Peninsula – when you alight, you’ll be handed waders to follow fishermen out into the Coffin Bay’s coastal shallows to forage for oysters. Your freshly shucked feast is accompanied by yet more champagne; it doesn’t get much tastier than that.
7. Marvel at silo art
Regional Victoria is not the most likely location for one of the world’s most ambitious art projects. But it’s here that you’ll discover the Silo Art Trail, a string of revealing, larger-than-life murals decorating 18 silos across the countryside. Drop in on remote towns and discover the significance of these creations and the stories they tell.
8. Discover Norfolk Island’s wild shores
Jagged cliffs laced with pine trees, postcard-perfect sandy beaches, reef-protected waters… tiny Norfolk Island has some of the most pristine landscapes in the country. You’ll reach this isolated slip of land in business-class comfort, then spend days discovering fascinating sights rich in history.
9. Stop by the Birdsville Hotel for lunch
The legendary Birdsville Hotel has been serving icy cold beers in the middle of the Queensland outback since it opened its doors in 1884. Arrive in style in your private plane, then meet a few of the local characters while you enjoy a pint and a pie for lunch.
10. Explore the west coast of Tasmania
Tasmania’s remote west coast is not easy to get to – but that’s part of the appeal of this World Heritage-listed wilderness. There are few locals, and even fewer visitors, which means that once you land you’ll have immense forests and shimmering lakes almost entirely to yourself. This is nature writ large.