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Blue Mountain

Sydneysiders are spoiled when it comes to leisure options. When they tire of the beach, culture, and nightlife that brims within their city limits, a world-class mountain escape is nearby. The breathtaking Blue Mountains – harboring a series of national parks and conservation areas that have earned a UNESCO World Heritage designation – are set within easy striking distance of Sydney. They’re close enough to taste in a scratch-the-surface day trip, but are best enjoyed over a couple of active days. Just back from my own budget-friendly Blue Mountains escape, here are some tips for this sensational Sydney trip. Read more

sydneyharbor-apdk-edit_1.jpgUnwind on a stylish getaway to cosmopolitan Sydney, a city with miles of dazzling white-sand beaches and one of the world’s most spectacular harborfronts. With this special package from Qantas Vacations, you’ll spend four luxurious nights at the five-star Shangri-La Hotel. Situated within the historic Rocks district – a former British convict settlement – your hotel is just a stone’s throw from 19th-century landmark buildings, fascinating art galleries, and delightful restaurants along colorful cobblestone streets. The offer includes a guided tour of the world famous Sydney Opera House followed by a symphony performance, all transfers, and a full-day 4W-drive excursion to the magnificent Blue Mountains, located just two hours from the city by car. You’ll spot kangaroos, koalas, emus and other native animals. Book before August 31 and enjoy a bonus City Sights and Bondi Beach half-day tour ($40 value) exclusively available to ShermansTravel readers. Package rates start at $1,399.

strawberryhill.jpgWhile popular Caribbean islands have their best beaches lined with shorefront high-rise hotels and mega-resorts, there are still some hidden outposts, home to pristine beaches and quiet resorts far from the crowds. Perched high among Jamaica’s stunning Blue Mountains, this former 18th Century coffee plantation offers a sophisticated stay on more than 40 acres of lush tropical grounds and botanical gardens. Surrounded by miles of meandering nature trails, the resort offers a range of biking and hiking tours of private gardens, coffee estates, and nearby national parks. Each Georgian-style guest cottage includes four-poster beds, hand-carved fretwork, and private verandahs with magnificent mountainside views. The resort’s spa specializes in Ayurvedic healing techniques. For a deeply relaxing getaway, try the resort’s special Unwind Package, which covers breakfast and a la Carte dinner, a one-hour spa treatment, free use of the Sauna, and more, from $296/night for single occupancy and $455 for double occupancy.

You can also get more resort ideas on Jamaica, Nevis and the Bahamas in Sherman’s Travel magazine’s new Off-the-Path Caribbean Spotlight. These laid-back resorts offer value rates, packages, and special incentives that are just as appealing as the empty beaches.

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