Oprah roadshow swings into Melbourne

Oprah Winfrey fever is gripping Melbourne as the TV chat show queen makes the first public appearance of her Australian tour.

Thousands of fans are expected to gather in Federation Square today ahead of Winfrey's arrival at 2.30pm (4.30pm NZT).

She continues her Australian tour after spending Wednesday at Uluru, enjoying a helicopter tour of the area and meeting up with some of the US fans who are part of her Ultimate Australian Adventure.

Together they experienced the Kuniya Walk at Uluru National Park and learned the indigenous people's stories.

"Being here is a way to pay my respects to the Aboriginal people while showing respect for the land, their culture and all this rock means to them, the continent and the world," Winfrey told media at the site.

After flying into Uluru mid-afternoon, Winfrey met with Indigenous Land Council chairwoman Shirley McPherson and Kathy Luckey, a traditional owner representing the Anangu people who have recently acquired ownership of the Uluru resort and surrounding areas, a statement said.

The 15 American fans who joined Winfrey at Uluru then sat down for dinner with the talk show queen. They were entertained by a traditional dance performance from local Aboriginal women and their children.

Winfrey had originally planned to stay on Hamilton Island on Wednesday but says a phone call with singer Paul Simon convinced her to head to Australia's red centre.

"The reason I wanted to go to Uluru is that Paul Simon called me and said you must, it's not to be missed," Winfrey told Ten News on Tuesday.

Staff members at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Ayers Rock Resort signed confidentiality agreements to stop them talking to the media.

Winfrey will continue to meet up with groups of her 300 guests at various different points on her so-called Ultimate Australian Adventure, before they all meet back in Sydney next year to tape two episodes of her daytime show.

Oprah is wrapping up its 25th season as Winfrey launches her own network, The Oprah Winfrey Network, on January 1.


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