She came, she saw and she conquered! The Oprah Winfrey roadshow had its whirlwind tour through Queensland and New South Wales in Australia and won the hearts and minds of everyone.
It was not only a win for Sydney, but it was a huge win for tourism Australia, as Oprah announced to the world that she loves Australia and was sad to be leaving.
From all accounts, Oprah and the fans that she brought with her had great time exploring Far North Queensland, the Red Centre of Alice Springs and Uluru and off course the harbour city of Sydney. From cuddling Koalas, spending a night in the outback and cruising on Sydney Harbour the experience was enjoyed by all. The news in Australia opened each night with an update on Winfrey’s whereabouts, and kept in touch with her travelling entourage and what they had seen and experienced that day. The coverage that Oprah got from the Australian media got was huge, and the boost for tourism in Australia will be worth every cent spent.
On the steps of the temporarily named Sydney Oprah House, she recorded two shows live with Aussie icon guests like Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban and Russell Crowe who just walked along the harbour front to the show from his nearby Woolloomooloo home. Also making an appearance on the show were the Irwins, family of the late Steve Irwin or the Crocodile Hunter as he is more commonly known. In a heartfelt interview with Terri, Bindi and Bob they all expressed how they missed their husband and father, but felt close to him by watching tapes of him each day.
The evening show was full of the same excitement and action with appearances from U2’s Bono, and Hugh Jackman making a dramatic entry by arriving on a zip line from the top of the Sydney Oprah House. Unfortunately it was not a smooth landing for Jackman, as he picked up a little too much speed on the decent, he crashed into a lighting frame and ended up cutting open his eye. After being attended too by paramedics, he appeared in true Aussie style with a black eye on the show complete his interview.
The closing of the show was moving, with all the guests in attending receiving a pearl necklace and rousing rendition of the unofficial Australian national anthem “I still call Australia home” being sung by the stars that were there. The Australian audience that were lucky enough to be there gushed with excitement having finally seen their idol, some saying they felt blessed to have been there. They came from all over Australia, travelling by any means they could and queued in the summer sun for hours to get the best position to see Oprah.
It was only a short visit Australia, but the benefits and the boost for the country will last for a long time, as will the impressions of Oprah in everyone’s mind.