Wing­ing it

The Australian - The Deal - - First Up - LISA ALLEN

WITH vis­its to 180 coun­tries un­der his belt, Bris­bane prop­erty de­vel­oper and art col­lec­tor Peter O’Mara should be in the run­ning for an en­try in the Guin­ness Book of Records.

He has used Cap­tain’s Choice Tours for many of his trips. The Aus­tralian-owned lux­ury op­er­a­tor char­ters com­mer­cial jets, decks them out with lux­ury busi­ness-class seats and serves pas­sen­gers co­pi­ous quan­ti­ties of cham­pagne and fine wines. Itin­er­ar­ies can range from the Angkor Wat tem­ples in Cam­bo­dia one day, to the Taj Ma­hal the next.

O’Mara, who says he has made about 40 Cap­tain’s Choice trips cost­ing around $20,000 each, was in the na­tional spot­light three years ago when paint­ings worth about $2 mil­lion from his Nor­man Lind­say and Arthur Stree­ton col­lec­tions were stolen from his apart­ment in Syd­ney’s Dar­ling Point. The paint­ings were dis­cov­ered a cou­ple of years later in an outer-western Syd­ney house, vir­tu­ally un­touched.

De­spite his tra­vails with art and the fall of his $70m prop­erty busi­ness in the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, travel re­mains O’Mara’s ul­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence. Antarc­tica is one of his favourites.

“It’s pris­tine, no roads, no in­fra­struc­ture, just ice. It’s rock and ice and na­ture,” he says. “It hits you so hard. It is dif­fer­ent.dif­fere And then you see the an­i­malani life, the pen­guins, seals, whales – the nat­u­ral beauty is phe­nom­e­nal.phe­nom­e­nal “Cap­tain’s Choic Choice put to­gether a very goodg itin­er­ary. You are

not wast­ing t time. You get to see a lot in two o or three week weeks. Ev­ery­thing is or­gan­ised or­gan­ised, in­clud­ing your bags.”

De­spite the sig­nif­i­cant pricepric of some tours – the Ul­ti­mate So South Amer­ica by priv pri­vate jet, for ex­am­ple ex­am­ple, starts at $69,500$69,50 per per­son – O’Mara ar­gue ar­gues that the trips are good value forfo money.

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