Oprah conquers “Oprah House”

Oprah’s two Sydney shows recorded yesterday were a mix of worship, celebrity, aspiration and a moment of drama.

The stars rolled up for the interviews, fans screamed their praise and Winfrey’s trademark exuberance was overflowing with praise for Australia.

Winfrey arrived to the strains of Men at Work’s “Down Under” as 6000 fans screamed their enthusiasm, and launched into “Aussie Aussie, Aussie.”

If that wasn’t enough she hollered to the audience, “ILOVEAUSTRALIAILOVEAUSTRALIAILOVEAUSTRALIAAAAAA!” before beckoning the rest of the world to come on down.


A longer clip of the show’s opening is here.

The first show featured Russell Crowe, Bindi, Robert and Terri Irwin, Canterbury Boys School, cancer sufferer Kristian Anderson and his wife, and Bon Jovi.

The second featured Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Olivia Newton-John, Bono and Hugh Jackman.

Jackman’s ambitious arrival via a flying fox became a moment of drama when it ended in a jolt and damage to his eye. Filming of the show was halted while he was attended to backstage, before he returned onstage.


350,000 fans had applied for tickets online. 95% went to Aussies, who joined the 302 international visitors.

Audience members at the first show all walked away with a pearl necklace. At the second show the gift was a diamond necklace.

Like a not-so-secret billionaire, Winfrey also kept other surprises for other Aussies.

Student and teachers at Canterbury Boys School were told they would each receive a laptop, totalling $1 million worth of goods. Cancer sufferer Kristian Anderson and his wife were given a $250,000 cheque to enable them to give up work.

Media have been falling over themselves to cover the event. Daily newspapers have been covering Winfrey’s every move, and speculated moves, with gusto.

Seven has been over the moon about the fact that Winfrey said she had watched Sunrise. Gayle King spoke to a tickled-pink Grant Denyer yesterday on the Opera House forecourt before Today‘s Richard Wilkins tried to get a word in.


The tourism generated from the show will undoubtedly ricochet for years. Here is a list of where the Oprah audience travelled.

Audience members were treated to a helicopter ride over the Twelve Apostles, a hot air balloon ride, a Yarra River bike ride and a trip to see the Phillip Island penguin parade. They also visited the laneways of Melbourne and attended an event in Federation Square with Oprah, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu.

Northern Territory
Audience members enjoyed the sunset over Uluru, and an Imma dance performed by the Traditional Owners of Uluru. They also visited the Gabarnmung caves with Margaret Katherine, elder and traditional owner and visited indigenous art galleries in Alice Springs.

Six best friends of more than 25 years stayed at a beautiful Australian resort, went on a boat ride to see wild dolphins, seals and a humpback whale as well as the highest cliffs in the southern hemisphere. They headed to a luxury coastal sanctuary that overlooked the wide expanses of Great Oyster Bay, where local farms produce fresh, succulent oysters in some of the world‟s cleanest waters. They also received a surprise visit from Gayle King at a local winery.

Hamilton Island
Oprah and the ultimate viewers were treated to an exclusive beach barbecue with world famous Australian chef, Curtis Stone, on Whitehaven Beach. They also had a trip to the Great Barrier Reef, a jetski tour, a bush walk, and a sail around the Whitsunday Islands.

Six guests took an exclusive trip to the Daintree, where the rainforest meets the reef. They took an Aboriginal walk to a waterfall, learned about Aboriginal culture, enjoyed a river cruise and helicoptered over The Great Barrier Reef.

Western Australia
The ultimate viewers took in a Margaret River tour, a scenic chopper flight, Kings Park Indigenous Heritage tour, a bike ride, the Ngilgi Cave tour and a didgeridoo dance performance. They also snorkelled, took in Indjidup Beach and had a surf lesson.

Australia Capital Territory
Audience members visited the Australian War Memorial, including a tour of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, aircraft hall including U.S. exhibits, and Afghanistan Roll of Honour. They also paid a visit to the National Gallery of Australia, the Embassy of the United States and Parliament House.

South Australia
Kangaroo Island
The audience interacted with untamed native wildlife on Kangaroo Island, „Australia‟s Galapagos‟, indulged in fine food and wine from the Barossa, met outback characters and marvelled at the incredible landscapes of the Flinders Ranges and Coober Pedy.

Blue Mountains
Ultimate viewers went on eco-tours to explore the forests, valleys and cliff tops, see kangaroos in the wild and enjoy easy bushwalks in the crisp mountain air. They also enjoyed a nocturnal wildlife spotlighting and stargazing tour and colonial heritage tour.

Byron Bay
The ultimate audience had a surprise visit from Australian actress Olivia Newton-John. They had a sing-a-long with her and a serenade by Ms Newton-John, and enjoyed dancing with drummers and a hilltop Aboriginal ceremonial meditation. They did some surfing, kayaking, snorkelling and also yoga on the beach at sunrise.

The Hunter Valley
The audience had a private seaplane ride along the coast, a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the vineyards and an exciting impromptu vow renewal in a chapel performed by another member of the “Ultimate Audience” who is a minister.

The viewers started their Australian adventure with bike and walking tours around the city, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sydney Opera House, and a visit to Taronga Zoo. They also enjoyed a party designed by leading Australian food editor and best-selling cookbook author, Donna Hay at The Royal Botanic Gardens and a regatta around Sydney Harbour. Oprah climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge with Gayle King and 249 audience members. They ended their Ultimate Australian Adventure with the two show tapings at the Sydney Opera House.

Source: Daily Telegraph,


  1. I am from Vancouver Canada and I was with Oprah’s audience on the Australian adventure. I feel sorry for the people who think that Oprah is only out for self promotion. Oprah is really all about her audience and the people who helped her become who she is. The ones who believe otherwise just do not “get” what she is really about. We really did have a wonderful time in Australia and despite the fact that I recognize that we were treated amazingly because of Oprah, we were also treated amazingly by everyday people who had absolutely nothing to do with Oprah. I really do appreciate feeling special for the week we were down under and for all who made it so. It’s not the jewelry or gifts that we recieved that will create my impression of Australia, it’s the people who were kind to us that I will remember.

  2. I agree casting couch. This is mainly to do with her ego. What has also been distasteful is the cringing and fawning Australian media coverage of the visit.

    I’m really glad that she has gone.

  3. Disgusting. Australia didn’t exist overseas until Oprah arrived? Ridiculous. She did this just to build her brand. She’s fooled so many people here.

  4. I don’t think that it’ll do a lot for Aus tourism, given that the US is very much in a depression, with 10% unemployment, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

  5. Phil Spector's lovechild

    I am so glad that this person has finally departed. Please Oprah, never grace our shores again.

    And take Nicole Kidman and those other plastic Australians (Hugh Jackman and so on) with you.

  6. Could you imagine the cost of putting on 4 hours of advertising in the 140 odd countries where Oprah is broadcast. I think the money has been well spent by tourism Australia.

    Congratulations on pulling it all off.

  7. richard wilkins
    blocking grant denyer made me so angry.
    I get that journalism is cut-throat, but that wasn’t an official interview, that was Gayle tracking down Grant to Chat him up!

    It was an informal meeting and wilkins had to get his ugly, greasy mullet in on it. I hope Gayle told him to eff off!
    but yay, loved Oprah watch for the past week!

  8. In one of her appearances she said something along the lines of, “You’re all so friendly! Did you all go to friendly school or something?” I’m not saying we’re unfriendly but uh…being Oprah – one of the richest and most influential people in the world with a propensity of giving away cars – might have had just a tiny bit to do with how friendly everyone is towards her.

  9. @Gary…man, she does not need any promoting! So many people with fame and fortune go off the rails big time, but not Oprah. She has it all together. She’s welcome back Anytime.

  10. When these shows go to air in the states 145 other countries will see our great places. Its better advertising for our tourism than out past campaigns. Our failed lara bingle one and so on.

    Also Oprah made people happy and it was nice to see people smiling and happy.

    Also sunrise got publicity they could not buy. With oprah saying she watches it then Gayle wanting to meet Grant to say hello. Unfortunately stupid Richard Wilkins thought he would butt in. Gayle just looked at him as if to say what do you want. Grant did very well to restrain himself and not push him out of the way. Richard get the hint no one wanted to talk to you.

  11. I noticed in the news coverage on the various channels they also went to Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria, and then a winery in the Yarra Valley where I think they met up with Oprah.

  12. I have to say that itinerary really covers a good mix of history, modern culture, landmarks and produce of Australia. She has done something for us that no ad campaign ever could.

  13. Even miserable old cynics like Steve Price weren’t game to be too critical. Love her or hate her, the Oprah Effect on our tourism industry will resonate for years.

  14. I was at the second show, fifth row centre. I was sitting in front of her American audience. They were so nice. They kept thanking me the entire time for having them in my beautiful country. I didn’t know it was mine? :p

    The whole show really was amazing! So surreal to be so close to Oprah. She really does know how to work the audience. Totally worth the trip up from Melbourne. Poor Hugh Jackman but he went on like a trooper!

  15. 90% of the Australian media coverage was very cringeworthy but overall I think the price tag of $5 million was well worth it for the exposure Australian tourism will get, both domestically and internationally.

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