Experience the Whitsundays by air with Hamilton Island Air’s complete range of aviation touring options including helicopters, seaplanes and fixed-wing aircraft.
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- How Big Is Australia?
- Getting to Australia
- Getting Around Australia
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- Signature Experiences of Australia
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Travelling Around Australia
Major Domestic Air Carriers
Australia is a large continent, approximately the same size as the continental United States, and travel throughout the country is generally via one of four major domestic air carriers – Qantas, Virgin Blue, Jetstar and Tiger Airways.
Qantas Airlines is Australia’s national flagship carrier, having been established over 90 years ago and has grown via acquisition and amalgamation of a number of smaller airlines. In addition to its well known international presence (the unmistakable red kangaroo on the tail of its long-haul 747 and A-380 fleet in airports across the world), Qantas is also the dominant domestic carrier with over 50 per cent of seat capacity of the industry and operating about 5600 domestic flights weekly. Qantas has been positioned as the premium full-service carrier in Australia for decades.
Qantas is a member of the OneWorld global airline alliance, and therefore has frequent flyer benefits with members of similar programs of American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways and other OneWorld partner airlines. In some cases this may mean lounge access and incremental baggage allowance on Qantas domestic flights for elite-level members of these other airline loyalty schemes.
Domestically, Qantas flies predominantly Boeing 737 aircraft, configured with three rows of business class and typically about 25 rows of standard-pitch economy seating. On some routes, Airbus A330 aircraft provide additional capacity (with larger business class cabins). Many of its shorter regional routes are serviced via QantasLink branded flights using a variety of Boeing 717 and Bombardier Q-400 and Dash-8 aircraft. QantasLink services over 50 regional destinations including Ayers Rock for access to Longitude 131, Lord Howe Island for Capella Lodge, and Kangaroo Island for Southern Ocean Lodge.
Qantas service standards are very good by international expectations, with complimentary meals, drinks and video entertainment onboard in all classes, no charges for a defined weight of checked baggage, and an impeccable safety record. Qantas is currently implementing free in-flight wi-fi service across its entire domestic fleet of B-737 and A-330 aircraft. For more information, visit www.qantas.com.
Virgin Australia is the ten year old domestic airways arm of Virgin Group Australia, a partially owned affiliate of Sir Richard Branson’s international Virgin group of companies. Initiated as a budget carrier at the time Qantas’ only significant domestic competitor went into receivership in 2001, Virgin Australia has evolved into the second major domestic air carrier. Today the airline exceeds 30 per cent domestic market share, operating a network of 78 Boeing 737, Airbus A-330, Embraer E-170 and E-190 and ATR-72 aircraft to 32 Australian airports.
Within recent years, a new CEO at Virgin Group (formerly head of operations at Qantas) has signalled the intention to increase the range and appeal of premium guest services, competing more directly with Qantas for the corporate and high-yield tourism market. It is anticipated that this will mean a gradual introduction of separate cabins for premium seating, expanded lounge programs, and larger aircraft into the fleet.
Virgin Australia service standards are good by international expectations, with perky, attentive no-frills in-flight services, a good website for self-booking and arguably the best check-in counter staff in Australia. Seats are pre-assigned 24 hours before flight time, and economy class food and beverage and in-flight entertainment is on a pay-per-use basis, except for business class and premium economy where these are included in the fare. For more information, visit www.virginaustralia.com.au
Jetstar is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qantas Group, and is the leading budget airline in Australia. The airline offers generally reliable point-to-point flights at prices usually lower by 10-30 per cent than available from Qantas or Virgin Australia.
The Jetstar network of 20 domestic airports is served by 27 Airbus A320 aircraft (all purchased new within the past five years) configured with 177 leather seats in a single-class with moderate pitch. Point-to-point service implies that Jetstar does not interline checked baggage with other carriers and does not offer connecting service between its own flights.
The airline’s safety record is spotless and its service record is generally good, with only moderate assistance levels provided to travellers in the event of delays or cancellations. Jetstar observes a strict 30-minute domestic check-in time limit and 25-minute at the gate boarding limit, which has been known to result in denied boarding and loss of fare for slightly late airport arrivals. In-flight services are all extra cost, with service attention friendly and cheerful. For more information see www.jetstar.com.au
Regional Air Carriers
Australia is home to a number of regional carriers, whose networks serve many of the more remotely located lodges of the members of Luxury Lodges of Australia. Generally these carriers are operating twin-engine fixed wing aircraft seating from nine to about 30 travelers on scheduled services from major capitol airports outward to more remote locations.
Regional Express (REX) Airlines serves the southeastern crescent of Australia from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne around to Adelaide and into smaller airports in between. For instance, REX is the primary carrier from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island accessing Southern Ocean Lodge with two daily return flights. For more information see www.rex.com.au
Skywest Airlines serves primarily Western Australia connecting an array of smaller airports into Perth. Their flights along the isolated northwestern coast of Australia centered on Broome connect with Perth and Darwin and also Exmouth for access to Sal Salis and Ningaloo Reef. For more information see www.skywest.com.au
Air North serves the Northern Territory from Darwin and the northwestern quadrant of Australia to Kununurra, Broome, both embarkation points for True North, and beyond. For more information see www.airnorth.com
East Air, based in Cairns, offer a limited set of scheduled services to Lizard Island. These are generally arranged by the property in conjunction with an accommodation booking.
Private Jet / Charter
Australia’s luxury barefoot paradises are exclusive by virtue of their remoteness, their special location and the small number of guests they accommodate at any one time. Private Jet or Charter options provide convenient access and the opportunity to maximum time in these remarkable destinations.
For Australian Aeronautical Information please visit – https://www.airservicesaustralia.com/aip/
For specific lodge access information please click on the appropriate lodge; Arkaba, Bamurru Plains, Capella Lodge, Cape Lodge, El Questro Homestead, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Lake House, Lizard Island, Longitude 131°, Mt Mulligan Lodge, Pretty Beach House, qualia, Saffire, Sal Salis, Silky Oaks Lodge, Southern Ocean Lodge, Spicers Peak Lodge, The Louise, True North.
Adagold Luxe provides personalised, highly tailored travel experiences within Australia and the South Pacific for VIP high net worth travellers.
Their aim is to offer luxurious flexibility and diverse travel itineraries to the most coveted locations. The flexibility of a well managed private jet charter allows clients to “see it all” and experience the very best locations without the delays and restrictions of commercial travel.
Indulgent Australian Getaway – Lord Howe Island, The Kimberley, Margaret River, Kangaroo Island, Tasmania. Enjoy this luxurious Australian adventure where the long miles between each magical destination disappear seamlessly. A sensory journey of indulgent delights awaits. Features; Capella Lodge, El Questro Homestead, Sal Salis, Cape Lodge, Southern Ocean Lodge, Saffire.
Outback and Reef – Sydney, Uluru, Whitsundays. Watch the beauty of the Australian landscape unfold beneath you as you cruise the sky in the luxury of your own VIP jet on this iconic tour. Features; Longitude 131°.
Outback Wilderness – Flinders Ranges, Top End, Scenic Rim. There are wilderness gems that are so off the beaten track that time poor travellers rarely experience them. If remote luxury and adventure in isolated landscapes is on your wish list, then this wilderness Jet-Centric experience by private jet could be for you. Features; Arkaba, Bamurru Plains, Spicers Peak Lodge.
The Great Southern Gastronomic Experience – Freycinet, Barossa Valley, Kangaroo Island. Travel in ease and luxury to the most coveted and secluded locations in Tasmania and South Australia. Indulge in the wine region of the Barossa, the secluded beauty of the Tasmanian East Coast and the superb modernist design of the Southern Ocean Lodge overlooking the cliffs of Kangaroo Island. Features; Saffire, The Louise, Southern Ocean Lodge.
Ph: 1800 767 747 or +61 736 228 200
Air Adventure Australia
Air Adventure Australia has been a leader in air touring since 1977, providing enriching high-end air safaris. They are based out of Essendon Airport in Melbourne and their intimate knowledge of remote Australia ensures guests are in safe and experienced hands.
Their twin-engine Outback Jet was built for accessing remote Australia quickly and easily – the luxury interior allows guests to travel in style and comfort whilst its speed and ability to land on remote runways can significantly reduce travel times and provide guests with more time to enjoy their destination.
Air Adventure can create fully customised outback itineraries or simply provide private charter transfer tours between any number of Luxury Lodges.
Transfer options include:
- Melbourne to Southern Ocean Lodge via the 12 Apostles
- Saffire to Southern Ocean Lodge via the 12 Apostles.
Wine & Wilderness Safari (7 days) – This itinerary visits South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania and includes some of Australia’s finest accommodation, wineries and golf courses. Carefully designed to make the best use of Air Adventure’s deluxe private aircraft with the ability to land on remote airstrips, ensuring guests spend less time travelling and more time experiencing each of the incredible destinations on tour. Includes; overnight stays at Arkaba and The Louise.
Golf Links & Luxury (6 days) – Departing from Melbourne and spending six days in Tasmania. With a strong golf focus, guests have the option of playing at four of Australia’s Top 10 courses on consecutive days before enjoying a taste of Tasmania’s gourmet food and wine, including a two night stay at Saffire Freycinet.
For further information on the packages, please view.
Air Charter Service
Air Charter Service, is committed to providing a level of personal service which exceeds the highest expectations, enabling passengers to travel in style, safety, superior comfort and considerable peace of mind.
From preferred aircraft and specific dietary requirements to chauffeur-driven transport upon arrival, account managers are on-hand for the duration of every charter, taking care of the finer details every step of the way. Whether you want to fly from tropical Queensland in the east, to Sydney or Tasmania in the south, across to the dusty and untamed outback, or even further to the west, charter with Air Charter Service and stay at one of the many luxury lodges on offer. Air Charter Service are able to provide charter flights on smaller pistons and turbo-props for the more cost effective charters, private jets which are able to fly across Australia without a fuel stop and ultra-long range jets for any international flights.
Operating as an aircraft broker with access to hundreds of aircraft across Australia and the ability to service all Luxury Lodges of Australia.
Ph: +61 (0)2 9134 9430
Multi-award winning Aviair is a scenic tour operator, a regional airline and charter flight operator. The Aviair head office is located in Kununurra, the Kimberley, Western Australia, with a significant base at Karratha, the Pilbara, Western Australia.
Aviair’s fleet of 15 aircraft are all fully airconditioned and include; Pilatus PC12 pressurised single-engine turbine aeroplanes, King Air twin turbine aeroplanes, Cessna 208 propjet Caravans and a new GA8 Airvan.
Aviair’s business foundation are the twin principles of safety and service – both being areas that will not be compromised. Safety is key in all that they do and leads through to delivering the best service to their customers. Aviair have their own modern and private airport terminals at Kununurra Airport and Karratha airport with courtesy transfers for passengers.
Phone: 1800 095 500
AVMIN are industry leaders in air charter concierge services and provide private aircraft travel all over the globe. Their charter managers have extensive experience in providing truly seamless end-to-end travel solutions to meet the individual needs of each and every client. With a global database of partner operators, AVMIN can land you at any airport in the world. Their VIP private charter fleet includes luxury private jets, helicopters and business class configured airliners – available around the world – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. AVMIN’s exclusive charter services included private VIP departure and arrival terminals avoiding lengthy check-in and security processes as well as comprehensive passenger itineraries, schedule change support as well as real time updates throughout the duration of every charter.
East Air and Weipa Air provide reliable and flexible aircraft charter services throughout North and Far North Queensland.
Their extensive knowledge of the region combined with a large and versatile fleet ensures they can provide services to a wide range of client requirements.
Ph: +61 7 4222 1640
Edwards Aviation Australia
Whether you need to fly from one major destination to a regional centre, or combination thereof, Edwards Aviation Australia has the aircraft to get you to where you want to go.
Ph: 1800 747 800
Graham Aviation Cairns
Whether you’re wanting to cross off a bucket list item, planning a special weekend away or wanting to take the hassle out of travel, their five-seater jet is available to charter.
Ph: 0490 469389
GSL Aviation can offer a range of air charter solutions to suit client needs. With a fleet of versatile aircraft to suit most air charter requirements, operating 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.
Based at Cairns International Airport – an ideal hub for air charter in far North Queensland, the company can facilitate departures to a range of destinations including Cape York, the Torres Strait and Gulf of Carpentaria. GSL Aviation fly more than 30,000 passengers a year, to over 50 different airports, on more than 6000 individual sectors.
Ph: 1300 475 000
With over 30 years of experience, Hinterland Aviation is a regional airline committed to operational and safety excellence. We operate 15 aircraft all maintained to class A airline standard.
In addition to the regular service to Cooktown we also provide flexible charters anytime, anywhere. Conducting over 5,000 flights per year and averaging 50,000 passengers, Hinterland Aviation operates at the highest safety standard in aviation.
Ph:+ 61 7 4040 1333
Kimberley Air Tours
Kimberley Air Tours is an aviation company based in Kununurra and Broome, Western Australia offering unique air experiences and charter services throughout the East Kimberley region in both float planes and land based aircraft.
An option to consider for private charter access to El Questro Homestead.
Ph: +61 (0) 8 9168 2653
Air Tour Packages
North West Luxury Lodges Tour – 13 day safari that includes Bamurru Plains, Longitude 131 , Sal Salis and Southern Ocean Lodge. Price on application and tour on demand. For further information, visit.
Kirkhope Aviation also offer ‘Bespoke Tours’ to as many Luxury Lodges that a client may wish to include, i.e. El Questro, Bamurru Plains, Crystalbrook Lodge, Longitude 131°, as well as those listed in the tours above. Click here for further information on bespoke touring options.
Ph: 1300 20 61 30
Navair is an Australian owned and operated charter jet and aviation consulting company. Specialising in business jet hire, private jet charter flights and helicopter transfers in both their own aircraft, and through their expert team of charter brokers.
Navair has charter planes for hire across Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Darwin, Hobart, Adelaide and everywhere in between. With over 40 years operational experience, and an impeccable safety record their fixed base operations at Bankstown airport and private flight lounge offer the ultimate in comfort and discretion. Browse their Luxury Lodges of Australia itineraries.
Ph: 1300 759 722
Norwest Air Work
With bases in Exmouth/Shark Bay, Western Australia, Norwest Air Work in partnership with Shark Bay Aviation provides air services throughout the Gascoyne, Pilbara, Murchison and Kimberley regions for the past 30 years.
Exmouth Ph: + 61 (0) 8 9949 2888
Shark Bay Ph: + 61 (0) 8 9948 1773
South Australian Air Charters
South Australian Air Charters fly executive aircrafts, offering levels of comfort and style that reflect famous South Australian experiences like Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island, Arkaba in the Flinders Ranges and The Louise in the Barossa Valley.
Pat Kent: 04880 50010
Sally Kent: 04393 68593
Australia’s luxury barefoot paradises are exclusive by virtue of their remoteness, their special location and the small number of guests they accommodate at any one time. Helicopter options provide convenient access to remote locations and the opportunity to maximum time in these remarkable destinations.
For specific lodge access information please click on the appropriate lodge; Arkaba, Bamurru Plains, Capella Lodge, Cape Lodge, El Questro Homestead, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Lake House, Lizard Island, Longitude 131°, Pretty Beach House, qualia, Saffire, Sal Salis, Silky Oaks Lodge, Southern Ocean Lodge, Spicers Peak Lodge, The Louise, True North.
Great Barrier Reef Helicopters offers Great Barrier Reef packages to World Heritage rainforest wonders.
Their full day reef experiences, half day tours and amazing scenic flights have all been created with one thing in mind – the complete satisfaction of every customer who flies with them.
With exclusive landing locations, their flights lift from Cairns and Port Douglas where clients can fly to a reef pontoon, a rainforest waterfall or an exclusive sandy cay.
Hamilton Island Air
HeliSpirit, a helicopter charter company, services the Kimberley region of far north Western Australia. With bases in Kununurra, Warmun, Mitchell Falls, Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungle), El Questro and Katherine, exploring the Kimberley intimately, by private helicopter, is effortless. Stay at remote luxury lodges, fish in wild rivers, marvel at galleries of ancient rock art. Experience extraordinary.
Ph: 1800 1800 85
Great Train Journeys
Getting around Australia may also include travel by rail, including several of the world’s great train journeys. Two of the most well known are the east-west cross country Indian Pacific and the north-south Ghan lines, offering private cabins with compact ensuite bathrooms and inventive Australian cuisine in a modern dining car. For more information see www.greatsouthernrail.com.
Other modes of Australian travel include self-drive, with international and domestic car rental agencies offering pick-up and drop-off points at all major airports and many capital city locations. A valid driver’s license, credit card and advance booking are the necessary prerequisites. All travel in Australia is on the left side of the road and rental cars will all have the driver on the right of the vehicle. Well known tourism routes in Australia include the Great Ocean Road along a 250km stretch of wild Southern Ocean terrain for a segment of the route between Melbourne and Adelaide, with a convenient intermediate stop at Lake House in Daylesford. The drive across the Nullarbor Plain between Adelaide and Perth is often promoted for adventurous drivers, as it includes the longest section of straight highway in the world; however, guest services along this isolated route are decidedly not luxury scale. Shorter drives, such as the route through the Blue Mountains between Sydney and Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, along the eastern Tasmanian coast from Hobart to Saffire Resort, or through the Adelaide Hills on the way to The Louise Barossa Valley and further north to The Flinders Ranges and Arkaba Station are all easily accessible tourist drives that are natural components of visiting these Luxury Lodges properties.