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Wonderful, wizard Oz


Neha Bhatt  |  New Delhi 

Australia is working its magic on Indians,

It is the gateway to living, studying, working and holidaying, they say, and Australia’s warm coastal wind is certainly blowing our way. With a 14 per cent growth in Indian visitors to Australia in the past years, the land of the kangaroo is being very optimistic with an expected growth of 373 per cent between 2006 and 2016. So, the question is, are you going to be one of them?

As one of the many upsides, in New South Wales, with its capital of Sydney, there is something for everyone.

If it’s leisure you’re looking for, you can take your pick from the golden sands of numerous beaches. Bondi beach is one of the most famous, and renowned for its surfing opportunities, but there are many more secluded, inviting coves. Or, you can hop into your car for a grand Pacific drive...

The harbour cruise, meanwhile, provides the perfect way to view a bunch of Sydney’s attractions, and you have options like the coffee cruise, a seafood buffet and Top Deck lunch cruise,

Not far from Sydney is the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains Area, where waterfalls topple from sandstone cliffs and disappear among towering eucalyptus trees, a place suited for some soft adventure while being a real feast for the eyes.

If you’re a nature vulture, whale-watching, various wildlife parks and zoos around Sydney and a trip to Hunter Valley gardens might just be up your alley, while you camp in style.

For the good reason that over 30 per cent of Indian visitors to Australia have been for higher education in the last decade, students and their families continue to be the bulk of Indian visitors drawn to this land.

“But now we are also looking at Indians coming in large numbers on business visits, offsites, honeymoons or even backpacking,” says Carmel Beattie, group manager, international markets, at

With a regional office in India in the offing, is looking to interact on a regular basis with the Indian tourist and making booking a lot easier.

And while Australia as a working holiday destination sounds like a tempting deal, the offer is still awaiting a boost from visa regulators for Indian visitors.

What Australia meanwhile wears on its sleeve as one of its USPs is the safety-for-tourists factor, given that in today’s world, it cannot quite be taken for granted.

First Published: Sun, September 28 2008. 00:00 IST