Monday 10 November 2008

Outback appeal proves a hit for TV veteran

While Paul Hogan may not agree with the decision to focus on outback landscapes in the new Australian tourism campaign, another national television veteran believes featuring the unique Australian scenery might be the way to go.

Bill Peach (pic right) says he is also looking forward to seeing what Baz Luhrmann's film Australia, will do for outback tourism.

"I hope they have rung the bell, I hope it's something that says this is a special place, this is like something you won't get somewhere else," he said.

Peach became a household name in the 1960s and '70s, presenting the current affairs program This Day Tonight on the ABC.

He went on to make several documentaries in and about Australia.

Peach says after leaving the television studios and travelling, "I found that there was so much in this big country."

The experience of travelling and making documentaries in Australia inspired him to make the decision to become a tourism operator, something he says was a natural progression.

Silver anniversary or long way round

Rosemary Champion lives on a property called Longway near Longreach, in central western Queensland.

Peach has brought thousands of tourists to Longway cattle station to experience a taste of what life would be like in the bush and Ms Champion has never missed a tour.

She recently planned a party for Peach to celebrate 25 years in the Australian tourism industry.

"He comes every year at least once a year and we have a very special friendship," she said.

"A lot of people come with a load of misconceptions and we can tell it exactly the way we see it from a producer's point of view."

Outback appeal

Longreach is just one of the many stops on the outback trip which also happens to be the most popular of all the tours run by Peach.

"A lot of the people are returning on this tour that have been up to 15 times before," Ms Champion said.

"There is nothing like seeing it and I did do it on television and I know that being there is different; better than a thousand pictures," Peach said.

Peach says he hopes to be touring the outback for another 25 years.

Adapted from an ABC Landline report by Pip Courtney

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