For me, few continents elicit such envy,
and provoke such passionate pleas of "take me with you", as does South
For Australians, this is the last unexplored land.
From my first foray into this continent in 1970, when I undertook an expedition
for 11 months with my own mini bus, until now, I have always found this
dark and exotic continent, swathed in mystery, to be effervescent with
excitement and deserving of every travel cliche in the book. It is probably
the most underrated, and widely misunderstood, destination.
South America is a huge continent, two and
a half times the size of Australia: a potpourri of cultures and
traditions, from primitive tribes who have rarely seen white man,
to the oldest European graciousness that is the legacy of the Spanish
and Portuguese colonists, along with the evocative remains of some
of the world's most magnificent civilizations.
While travelling recently in South
and Central America, visiting new regions that I feel will be of
interest, I was delighted to be awarded the honorary position of
Mayor of Peru for one year, and to be presented with the Varayoc
(Mayoral Staff) by the President of Peru. It is with this experience
that I have returned to Australia, and now with even greater gusto
I am promoting this last unexplored land as a fascinating (and safe)
area for Australians to travel through.
However, one is not so naive as to believe that South
America is merely a land of bowler hatted Bolivian women, toting their
offspring in shawls, or young shepherd boys leading llamas by the nose.
The sophistication of Argentina, the sultriness of Brazil, the colonial
loveliness of Peru, with the mystique of Machu Picchu and the awe inspiring
views of the Canyon de Colca (twice the depth of the Grand Canyon), and
the heart stopping beauty of Bolivia's capital by night are unique experiences,
and ones worthy of a flight to the other side of the world.
South America, however, is not a continent for everyone.
If you feel uncomfortable when faced with other people's hardships, if
you have no patience with other races, religions or culture, it is not
for you. In a word, South America can be fabulous and frustrating, exciting
and exasperating. A South American five minutes bears no resemblance to
an Australian five minutes. If you want 24 hour room service, the customs,
habits and standards of the western world, find another destination.But
if you want to experience a life quite removed from any other, where the
unusual is the everyday, then pack your tolerance, patience, understanding
and a hefty measure of good manners and head for South America, the land
of the samba, smiles, sun and fun.
We invite you to learn more about this wonderful
continent. Travel arrangements are varied to provide overland sectors by
bus, train and launch where these do not unduly increase travelling times.
We feel it is far better to enjoy the scenic delights of the country than
to spend a few extra hours in a major city.
If there is travel in your blood, then South America
is the ultimate destination.