Americans -- and Oprah -- are well acquainted with eastern Australia. The cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Cairns get so much play in the American press that the state of Western Australia, home to the sprawling city of Perth, doesn't usually even bother to promote itself in the States.
But the Powers That Be in Western Australia aim to seize the moment that Oprah has created, and they're offering free flights to the west part of the continent. Yes, there's a catch: You have to get yourself, with a companion and flying on Qantas, to the East Coast of Australia first, and you have to spend six nights there. But if you're one of the first 200 people (100 couples) to meet that criteria, you can get round-trip airfare to Western Australia free.Since Australia is roughly the same size as the continental United States, flying from Sydney or Brisbane would pretty much the equivalent of getting a round-trip flight from New York City to San Francisco for free.
The last day of the promotion will be February 2, but I can't imagine it lasting until then. Airfare to the nearest coast of Australia can go for as little as $600 or $700 round-trip from America's West Coast these days, so the idea of being able to go half-way around the world for not a penny more is a temptation rightfully worthy of quick action.
I've been lucky enough to visit Western Australia a few times. Although it's the farthest international city from America, Perth strikes me as one of the most American in form, like another San Diego or Miami complete with suburban idylls, swimming pools, and a laid-back sunny lifestyle.
But the rest of the state, which takes up much of the western half of the continent, is empty and wild, from the mighty karri forests and winelands of the southwest to the tin-roofed bohemianism of Broome in its north. President Herbert Hoover worked a gold mine in Western Australia in his youth, and today, this mighty swatch of red land hasn't been developed much more. Its enormity and tough aspect makes Texas look downright timid and tame.
If you're looking for wide open spaces free from crowds, you can't find a place better suited than Western Australia. In fact, there is no inhabited place that's less crowded. That it could be free to reach should entice anyone looking to get away from it all.
Visit Qantas for the details.
Take the first steps to building your portfolio.View Course »