Oprah Winfrey has flown 302 of her most loyal fans to Australia for her final shows – and they have a diet of all things Australia ahead of them.
The US TV queen kicked off her 25th and final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show in September by announcing the trip.
The itinerary for Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventure had been closely guarded secret and the audience members were unaware of what lay in store for them. However, travel details released by Australia’s tourism minister Martin Ferguson revealed 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 groups and sent off to explore the Great Barrier Reef, the rainforests of northern Oz and Uluru. It’s understood they’ll go surfing in Byron Bay, tour the country’s wine regions, visit an historic prison colony in Tasmania, and check out the wildlife on Kangaroo Island.
The hand-picked group has been made up from what producers have described as her most loyal viewers over the years.
Kathryn St Peter, of Virginia told news.com.au she had been a fan for more than 20 years and was even married in Winfrey’s second-hand shoes – bought from the TV star’s website’s charity shop.
“I found them and they were blue, so she was my something blue. She is a mentor, a teacher, a preacher, a parent and a friend,” she said.
Many o the fans told media they knew little about Australia, including one woman who said her friends in the US told her to bring back a kangaroo.
Two women carried a florescent green handmade sign reading “Australia – here we come”, bearing the Aboriginal and Australian flags, and pictures of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
Another woman carried a joey stuffed toy in her bumbag.
Oprah herself has been keeping out of the limelight before her only official public appearance in Melbourne on Friday.
The civic reception at Federation Square will give Prime Minister Julia Gillard her first chance to share in Winfrey’s spotlight, with the PM confirming she will also make a guest appearance at Oprah’s Sydney tapings next week.