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Australia’s Best Guides – Richard Graham | Bespoke Sydney

Richard Graham has travelled to some of the most exotic destinations in the world and he has many amazing photos and stories to keep you entertained for hours – but no matter where he travels, he still calls Sydney home.

His new and exciting concept in tourism has come from a rich family travel history spanning three generations. Richard started travelling at the age of 5 and has travelled to a different country every year since then.

What got you started with showing people around Sydney and what do you find most interesting about it?

For young Australians, going on a solo trip overseas has long been a rite-of-passage. When I was a young man of 24 I went on a 14-month trip to South America where I tracked 16 countries along the Andes. While I referred to my Lonely Planet Guide, I wasn’t interested in following the “gringo” trail. Instead, I would befriend locals and wander back streets until I felt I had uncovered the town or city in all of its gritty glory. On returning, I wasted no time by setting up with little more than myself and a vintage 1964 EH Holden. I’d always had a real passion for the city of Sydney, storytelling, and the unbeaten track, so sharing that with visitors came naturally to me.

How do you bring Sydney to life on your tours?

My point of difference is to bring an element of creativity and surprise into everything I do. My wife always jokes that “no” doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. Because of that, I’ll come up with pretty out-there ideas, like having a barbeque on top of the Harbour Bridge or an open air movie night in the Botanic Gardens. The difference is that my team and I will always find a way to connect our guests to Sydney by giving context to their experience with us.

Why do you think it’s important that people learn about Sydney?

I try to steer clear of the expected, tired, and overdone. I always go beyond by adding an extra layer of knowledge and perspective. I also have a real passion for our country’s Indigenous culture and history, and I work with local elders and communities to incorporate that into what we do.

If people wanted to find out more about Sydney are there any particular books, documentaries or websites you would recommend?

Crocodile Dundee: I know it’s a cliché, but it really is an essential guide to understanding our dry and colourful sense of humour.

Ten Canoes: This is one of my favourite films. I would go as far as to say a masterpiece. A raw and eye-opening glimpse into Aboriginal life before British settlement, Ten Canoes is a great way to get familiarised with the culture and history of the world’s most ancient civilisation.

What’s your favourite Australian animal and why?

Kookaburra as it has the responsibility for singing out to the sun to rise every morning.

What place is Australia’s best-kept secret?

Shark Island in Sydney Harbour.

What haven’t you seen / done in Australia that you’d like to and why?

Follow the songline of the Echidna from Yengoin NSW (a sacred site for Aboriginal people) to Uluru in the Northern Territory. This ancient route was walked along by hundreds of thousands of Aboriginal people and to experience it today with an Aboriginal Elder would be a once in a lifetime experience.

Finally, how can people follow you on social media?

Instagram: @mydetour_australia


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