OK, so it's old news that Oprah Winfrey is coming to Australia to film a few episodes for the next (and final) season of her eponymous talk show. For those who haven't heard, Oprah will be flying more than 300 guests and 150 crew over for an eight-day Aussie adventure.
So far we know that Oprah will be visiting Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney and Melbourne. One episode will be filmed in the Sydney Opera House to a 3000-capacity crowd (imagine the freebies!) – but the rest of her itinerary is still a closely guarded secret.
So, we figured that we'd do some of the work for her and draft up a tailored itinerary for Oprah and her 350-strong entourage. Here’s Lonely Planet’s Oprah extravaganza with a trip that takes in Australian icons, nature, a bit of beach and...coffee.
Start with a view. We suggest that Oprah's producers spike up the adrenaline and take her for a climb up the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The jumpsuit that visitors are required to wear may mess up Oprah's wardrobe plans but she'll be guaranteed panoramic views of the bay - and great television.
Ferry it! Oprah and crew should utilise the fantastic ferries that operate out of Circular Quay. I mean, ferries as public transport? Brilliant. The Manly Ferry is compulsory; it offers million-dollar views on a shoestring budget (not that budget seems to be a problem...). For lunch, duck into Hugo’s Manly on the East Esplanade. Pretty young things don shades and wolf down seafood at this ultratrendy waterfront restaurant.
Oprah can then grab another boat out to one of the many islands dotting the Sydney bay. Unesco heritage-listed Cockatoo Island is the largest of the lot and the site of Australia's colonial past - and some flashy media events (Hugh Jackman unveiled the Wolverine film preview here).
See an iconic beach. We're sure that Oprah will visit oh-so-obvious Bondi Beach. But she can dodge the sun-tanning hordes by doing the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. It's a 5km walk along some beautiful coastline.
To cap it all off, book the crew in for a dinner at Tetsuya's, arguably Australia's best restaurant. You have to book way in advance but Oprah might be able to work it.
Are we still in Australia? This chunk of land, south of Melbourne across the Bass Strait, is often viewed by mainland Australians as a country of its own: granted, it's only an hour-long flight, but you're crossing a whole strait to get there! But we know Oprah will be charmed by it. That’s why we suggest that she spends the bulk of her time there.
Start at the waterfront. Hobart's gorgeous waterfront has sandstone buildings, a breezy vibe and the fantastic Salamanca Market (every Saturday) which is chock-a-block with local craft, tourist trinkets, fine food and produce.
Take a drive. Heading out north into the Midlands, there is a swathe of Georgian-style towns, including a town called Ross which has a bakery serving treats from a 100-year-old wood-fired oven. The sausage roll is an iconic Aussie snack and the one here is one of the best.
Take a hike. We figure Oprah might like a bit of fresh air so from the Midlands, she could loop out east towards the Freycinet Peninsula and hike down to the magnificent Wineglass Bay, a crescent-shaped piece of white sand set behind a clear sheet of water. If she can get her crew to lug down a BBQ and some beers, she'll be set for the mother of all picnics.
Keep going. If Oprah did want more of Tasmania (and she should because four days is only a start), she could hike around Cradle Mountain and stay the night in a lodge there. For a remote experience, King Island and Flinders Island are ideal for dodging the media scrum - and perfect for sampling the famous local cheese and beef.
Back after all that fresh Tasmanian air, Oprah might be hungry for some good urban living. That's where Melbourne comes in. Melbourne is about several things: coffee, city laneways, and laid-back inner-city suburbs. Melburnians are coffee snobs and love to drink it in numerous ways.
Get (caffeine) loaded. We'd suggest Oprah and her crew get amped up on caffeine at St Ali in South Melbourne, a pumping warehouse-conversion equipped with an in-house roastery and a veritable science lab of java-making equipment, or we could cut to the chase and take her straight to Sensory Lab in department store David Jones where staff actually wear lab coats while they stir thick black concoctions in beakers over bunsen burners.
Seek out hidden laneways. In the city, it's all about wandering up, down, in and around the various laneways. Some are gritty, most are graffiti'd, but on the whole they're completely charming and absolutely 'Melbourne' and we think Oprah would get into the spirit of them. AC/DC Lane is a short but crazy tribute to the band and Hosier Lane is home to a changing panorama of street art, to mention just two. Others hide treasure troves of one-off designer jewels or dresses, odd bookshops, dumpling houses and bars above street level.
Pick a suburb. Heading further from the city, she might like to head north to explore the boutiques and cafes of bohemian-gentrified Fitzroy or she could go south to the always popular St Kilda waterfront where photo opportunities abound - Luna Park, sunsets over the palm tree-lined Esplanade, and the famous cake shops along Acland St.
End with a beer and a barbeque. It’s summer and this is a truly Aussie thing to do. Oprah and her crew could fire up some of the coin-operated barbies along the banks of the Yarra River (a short stroll from the centre of town) and watch the rowing boats go past.
'Toss another shrimp on a barbie mate!'
Get more great ideas with Lonely Planet's guide to Australia