Clare Vooght talks to APT tour director John Kennedy as the operator unveils new Australia itineraries
Q. How did you react to Australia reopening its borders?
A. This was fabulous news for Australians and the many people who rely on tourism. It means vendors can employ staff again, it will open up the outback and bring travellers to the Great Barrier Reef again. It will also allow students back to study and restart many backpacker jobs that we have missed badly during the shutdown.
Q. Which tours will you be working on in 2022 and 2023?
A. I’ll be guiding APT’s fantastic new Travelmarvel Red Centre Escape tour. I am looking forward to returning to the outback, touring Alice Springs and Uluru, travelling on The Ghan train and exploring Aboriginal culture and the influence of camels in opening up the inland.
The tour follows in the footsteps of explorer John McDouall Stuart, uncovers the influence of the Reverend John Flynn in the School of the Air and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and traces how Dr Fred Hollows cured trachoma in the Aboriginal population.
I’ll also be touring in Tasmania, where we immerse visitors in the island’s tough early history, its green movement and its beautiful landscapes. Tasmania has a fantastic food and boutique wine industry. It’s an easy destination with wonderful walking trails, where stumbling upon a wombat is not uncommon. The Overland Track is well worth the walk.
Q. What are you most looking forward to showing new arrivals?
A. Tasmania. It was a harsh convict colony, but today it offers flora dating back to the Gondwana era; landscapes that will take your breath away; beef, lamb, fruit, vegetables and berries that will excite your taste buds; and sandstone architecture from Georgian times.
Q. You’ve been at APT for 12 years. What do you enjoy most?
A. Tour guiding allows you to make a real difference to the way travellers see your part of the world, and to give them insight that they can’t get from reading books or magazines. By introducing them to all the senses, you can help visitors to touch, smell, taste, feel and see all of the splendours that Australia has to offer.
Q. Where’s your favourite place in Australia?
A. The Great Barrier Reef. No trip to Australia is complete without spending an idyllic day exploring one of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts.
Q. What’s the most special thing about Australia?
A. Its people and laidback approach to life. Its multicultural, rich history and blend of cultures make it a must-do destination.
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