Oprah Winfrey's giddy audience of 300 arrived in Australia from the U.S. on Tuesday to begin enjoying the talk show queen's ultimate giveaway — an eight-day journey across the land Down Under.
Winfrey kicked off her 25th and final season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in September by surprising her shrieking, jumping and sobbing fans with what she's billed as the trip of a lifetime. The hand-picked audience was made up of some of who the program called its most loyal viewers over the years.
The itinerary for "Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure" had been kept a closely guarded secret, with audience members still left in the dark upon their arrival in Sydney. But travel details finally released by Australia's tourism minister later Tuesday reveal a sweeping adventure in store for Winfrey's fans, with trips planned to each of the country's eight states and territories.
The audience, which ranges in age from 18 to 75, will be split into several smaller groups and sent off to explore the glittering Great Barrier Reef, the crocodile-infested rainforests of northern Oz, and the famous red monolith called Uluru, located in the remote and dusty Outback. They will also tour the country's wine regions, visit a historic prison colony in the island state of Tasmania, and check out the wildlife on Kangaroo Island, home to koalas, sea lions and, of course, kangaroos.
Excited audience members waved at reporters and photographers as they were ushered through Sydney airport and onto a bus, which whisked them away to a hotel for a briefing and a traditional Aboriginal dance performance. Winfrey was traveling separately by private jet and expected to land later Tuesday or Wednesday (that, too, was being kept secret.)
"It's an unbelievable experience, and I just want to soak in every bit of it," said Jocelyn Kelley, of Boston, who was traveling with her mother, Gloria. "To be in that audience, to be a part of something so big, is just amazing."
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