Bill Peach Journeys — OUTBACK OPULENCE

TRADING ALL TERRAIN VEHICLES FOR PRIVATE AIRCRAFT

by Gay Hsiu Ping

BILL PEACH KNOWS HOW TO HAVE A GOOD TIME. Of all the many roles he held, he was a traveller at heart who developed his wanderlust during road trips with his father, a stock and station agent. Peach went on these trips to get out of school, but they soon ignited his love of the Australian Outback. At the height of his popularity as television host of travel documentaries, he founded a travel company, Bill Peach Journeys, changing the way Australians perceive the concept of a holiday.

As with many brilliant ideas, Peach’s grand plan began with a small shift in the way things were done — rather than commercial flights, he wanted to charter private planes to whisk people around the continent. He bought two Fokker Friendship turboprops and developed a 12-day luxury tour that brought people to hard-to-reach places such as Longreach, Katherine Gorge, the Bungle Bungles, Kununurra and Arnhem Land.

The tours proved popular, addressing a need that had previously gone unmet. Today, 33 years later, the itineraries have expanded to include destinations beyond Australia, such as India, Morocco, South Africa and Myanmar. Although Peach started with group tours, his agency now offers private tours for those who prefer a more intimate, personal experience.

PEACH DEVELOPED A 12-DAY LUXURY TOUR THAT BROUGHT PEOPLE TO HARD-TO-REACH PLACES

To Peach, private flights were the game changer. Worn down by dusty and gruelling 4WD rides through the rugged Outback, Peach realised that the way to travel through such wide expanses was via air. “A big country such as Australia is made for aviation,” he once remarked in an interview. Not only because it helped cover more ground in less time, but with its own fleet of private planes, Bill Peach Journeys saves travellers the hassle of airport procedures. After your initial check-in, your passport no longer needs to leave your luggage until you reach your destination. Baggage handling will be seamless as you move from one adventure to the next, with your luggage waiting for you in your room.

You will also have the flexibility and freedom to travel as and when you want to. Take your time with breakfast and stay for another day or two if the ivory waters of the Kimberley Coast captivate you. You can afford to take time and find your own balance between ‘go’ and ‘slow’.

But to choose private aviation only for its commuting convenience would be to overlook its other great charm. With their smaller sizes, private jets are able to fly at lower altitudes, allowing a closer survey of landscapes — some hauntingly barren, some teeming with life. With Bill Peach Journey’s 2017 offerings, you can cruise over the undulating terrains of the arid savannah in the East Kimberley Region as you travel from Kununurra to El Questro, or witness the vast grasslands of South Africa from above.

As Peach himself said: “the way to look at the Gibson Desert is our way —looking out of the plane, and sipping a gin and tonic.” The man certainly knew what a joyride was and his hedonistic philosophy extends to all parts of the journey. The company’s professionals meticulously curate every detail of each tour. And based on the stories of previous Bill Peach Journeys clients, they are doing every bit right. From luxurious lodgings and scrumptious dinners in faraway places, to impeccable service and attention to detail — travelling, especially in the Outback, has rarely been more pleasing.

SMALLER PRIVATE JETS ARE ABLE TO FLY AT LOWER ALTITUDES, ALLOWING A CLOSE SURVEY OF LANDSCAPES