Oprah Winfrey taking entire audience on holiday in Australia

The Mother of US chat shows Oprah Winfrey surprised her entire audience by announcing she was sending them all on an eight-day trip to Australia in December, and they will be in the hands of licenced pilot and film star John Travolta.

The Queen of chat shows announced the trip during the first episode of her 25th and final series yesterday. She had been teasing the audience about taking them with her to New York, Philadelphia or Los Angeles, before saying "I started to think about where would I most want to go. Maybe I should take all of you with me to the other side of the world. We're going to Australia!"

The trip will span over a number of episodes, and will include beaches, vineyards, Sydney Harbour and the Great Barrier Reef . This will be the first time the show will be filmed with its US audience outside North America.

The Australian government said it will be spending around 3 million Australian dollars to help bring the Oprah Winfrey Show to the country in an attempt to boost tourism. Winfrey is also expected to film an episode of her show at the Sydney “Oprah” House.

Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson insisted it was money well spent as it would put Australia in the spotlight, with the popular TV show watched by 40 million Americans and screened in 145 countries.

"Oprah is a household name and her star power has the potential to lift Australia's profile as a premier tourist destination," he said in a statement.

56-year-old Winfrey is due to launch her own television channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network, in 2011.