Australia From The Air

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Australia has always been a popular destination for pilots in search of a flying vacation, and with so many vast open spaces to explore, flying a general aviation aircraft is hands-down the best way to see the continent. Now with a popular new movie, Baz Luhrmann's Australia, out in theaters, and a favorable exchange rate (right now, $100 U.S. will buy about $150 Australian), Australia is likely to be a top choice for flying vacationers in 2009. A new trip offered by Air Adventure Australia takes eight travelers around the continent for two weeks as passengers in their own private twin-engine aircraft, with a professional photographer along to offer tips on getting the best pictures of your trip. "The Australian landscape is truly magical, and by plane is the perfect way to experience it, especially with a tour like this that visits so much of the best of Australia in a short time frame," said John Dyer, tour leader with Air Adventure Australia. Pilots can also book tours that allow them to fly on their own with Australian Air Safaris, which offers a wide variety of tours flying single-engine Cessnas, from the Outback to wineries to the Great Barrier Reef.

If the exchange rate continues to favor the U.S., Australia also might prove an economical place to seek out flight training. An article from National Geographic Adventure a few years ago tells about one student pilot's experience taking his initial flying lessons in the Outback.