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Julia heads Down Under to meet the locals and take in the stunning landscape

Julia Bradbury will be enjoying some spectacular scenery during her 12,000km journey around this enormous country in the weeks to come, but before heading into the wilderness, her first stop is Sydney.

In tonight’s opening episode, Julia meets Bondi Beach’s only female lifeguard, goes behind the scenes at the city’s iconic Opera House and ponders a tattoo in hipster hotspot Surry Hills.

Julia Bradbury with a tattoo artist in Sydney

Julia Bradbury with tattoo artist to the stars, Rhys Gordon at his Little Tokyo Tattoo parlour in Sydney

All in all, it’s a gentle introduction to a charming travel series, yet we can’t help but feel that the more spectacular moments lie ahead, when the former Countryfile host leaves the city behind next week…

TV Times rating: ****

Here, Julia, 48, tells TV Times more about her Aussie odyssey…

This sounds like a fantastic trip!

Yes, it was a real privilege to make the series, because, while it’s an island, Australia is vast and has so much to offer.

But the series is 
just as much about the country’s people and we wanted to show the fortitude of Australians and how they thrive in different conditions.

It was important to get off the beaten path and look at things 
from a different point of view.

Who were the most inspiring people you met?

I spent some time with a married couple that run one of the largest and most remote cattle stations 
in Australia – they’re 200km 
from anything.

They had three daughters, so, as a mother myself, 
I found that quite amazing. There’s no school, no shops, nothing.

I got to check if the cows were pregnant and we did it the old-fashioned way, which was a real eye-opener!

Any other animal encounters?

We had an incredible experience 
on the flood plains outside Darwin, which are home to the world’s largest population of saltwater crocodiles.

They’re the largest reptiles on the planet and can grow to over 20ft.

My guide was Chase Johnson, whose nickname is ‘The Crocodile Duchess’, and she told me they can climb and are often lying in the branches of mangrove trees while her boat passes underneath!

What were your personal highlights of the trip?

I really enjoyed getting to meet an Aboriginal family, who gave me a tour of a rainforest in Queensland that pre-dates the Amazon.

But I’ve wanted to see the Great Barrier Reef my entire life, so that was definitely a day
to remember.

Please note this programme airs in Ulster at 10.45pm, and not in Wales.