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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
Sojourn in sun-kissed Sydney for its stunning yacht-pocked harbor, surfer-magnet and cliff-fringed beaches, hip eateries and buzzing nightspots, and iconic bucket-list landmarks like the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. But be prepared: For budget-conscious visitors, Sydney’s lures don’t come cheap. Freshly back from a week on the ground there, I’ve scooped some well-worth-your-dollar picks for great value and smart splurge hotels, tours, and perches primed for taking it all in. Read more
Perhaps the worst thing about a trip to the beach is sharing that trip with hundreds (if not thousands) of other people. A day at the beach should be a serene, relaxing experience. Hearing other people’s radios and conversations, dodging their frisbees, and avoiding the sand that they kick up turns a pleasant day by the shore into a nightmare. That’s why it’s best to avoid the popular, mainstream, famous beaches for lesser-known plots of sand that provide more privacy with just as much sun and fun. Finding those underrated beach destinations isn’t always easy. If you’re visiting a new city, you might only know the popular beach spots listed in guidebooks or made famous on television.
That’s why we want your help. ShermansTravel readers are spread out across the world and have traveled the globe. We want to know your favorite underrated, unknown, and better beaches. Where should we go in Sydney if we want to avoid the hordes at Bondi? Where can we go in Miami to relax on a blanket rather than be part of the scene on South Beach? What’s a peaceful alternative in Los Angeles to the wacky world that is Venice Beach?
Tell us about your favorite lesser-known but totally awesome beaches in the comments below. Share them on Twitter with the hashtag #betterbeaches (and include @ShermansTravel in your tweets). Post them on our Facebook page. No matter where they are in the world, we want to know! We’ll compile the best suggestions and include them in a future blog post.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights, hotels, vacation packages, and more.
Not one of the 20,000 international travelers that are flying in for Oz’s greatest, gayest event of the year, Sydney Mardi Gras (née Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras)? Well, dry those eyes with your yet-to-be-used boa: You can still shake your booty with the best of ‘em and join in the fun of Australia’s most iconic public parade as Optus streams it to a worldwide audience for the first-time ever at MardisGrasTV.org.au — in high-def so you can be sure to catch every shimmering sequin.
Always a hoot, the festivities are shaping up for a banner year, expecting to top the $30 million it pumped into the local New South Wales economy last year. One reason: pop star Kylie Minogue, who returns after 25 years to be queen of the parade, in addition to a sure-to-be-show-stopping performance at the signature main event Mardigrasland. (See below for a video from the diminuative diva.)
Travel round-trip to Sydney for only $1599 with its world-famous Opera House and Harbor Bridge, Ayers Rock (Uluru) in the heart of Australian Outback , and Cairns (gateway to the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef) with the option to also stop in Brisbane and perhaps visit Australian Zoo. The Aussie Icons Airpass offers a fantastic mixture of city, outback and coastal experiences in some of the most stunning parts of Australia. With this deal you are flying to four different Australian cities for the price of one!
THE VALUE: Save up to 40% on this flight compared to other flights during this travel period.
THE CATCH: This deal must be booked by October 31 and travel must be from May 1-June 8, 2012.
THE DETAILS: Visit Travelscene to learn more about the Airpass or call Travelscene 866-538-7280.
WE’VE GOT MORE: See our Australia Travel Guide to figure out what to do when you get there.
Qantas: The Australian airline debuted in the Dallas/Fort Worth market on May 16 with flights to Sydney (includes stopover in Brisbane); return flights are nonstop (one-way fares from $499, based on round-trip purchase; www.qantas.com).
Lufthansa: The German airline will launch Airbus A380 service between Miami and Frankfurt on June 10, marking the first opportunity for Miami-area travelers to experience the world’s largest passenger plane (one-way fares from $614; www.lufthansa.com).
JetBlue: Starting on June 17, JetBlue (www.jetblue.com) will expand service from Boston to the Dominican Republic with the launch of that market’s only nonstop route to Santiago (one-way fares from $114).
Porter Airlines: Toronto-based budget carrier Porter Airlines (www.flyporter.com) kicks off its first fall service to Myrtle Beach (following two successful winter/spring seasons) on September 8, offering the only nonstop service between the beach resort and Canada (one-way fares from $179).
From the spring/summer issue of Smart Luxury Travel magazine by ShermansTravel.com.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, packages, and more travel deals.
Yesterday (January 18), Oprah Winfrey began airing her four-part taped telecast from Australia, where in December she took 300 lucky audience members (some of whom had never even flown before) on the trip of a lifetime. Their visit included celebrity-studded tapings at the Sydney Opera House (shown above at left; courtesy of Tourism New South Wales) and visits to Australia’s top tourist destinations. While the Land Down Under may be best known for its rugged Outback and Great Barrier Reef adventures, not to mention its only-in-Oz wildlife like kangaroos and koalas, I have visited the country twice and can vouch that it is also dreamily romantic.
Yes, Australia is far away (a 14-hour flight from Los Angeles), but it’s summer there now and all the Oprah hoopla means there are some good deals to be had. Here’s the scoop:
The Luxury The 20-night South Pacific Islands in Style package from Swain Tours takes you on an in-depth journey through Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. From Sydney city life to the secluded Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef, from a West Auckland winery tour to a wilderness safari, you’ll experience all the South Pacific has to offer – while bedding down each night in the region’s top luxury hotels.
A winding commute across the North-Pacific, Sydney, Australia, is a hotbed of trendsetting gastronomy, fashion, and eco-tourism, and a must-see city for travel enthusiasts of all walks of life. Follow your wanderlust with this eight-day Sydney vacation from Gate 1 Travel, clocking in at just $1,259 per person, including round-trip airfare (a steady $992 when booked separately in April and May). This Aussie steal includes a five-night stay at the 3-star Ibis World Square hotel (proximal to Darling Harbour and Cockle Bay), daily breakfast, and airline fuel surcharges.
THE VALUE: The advertised rate offers departures during Australia’s peak travel times and most comfortable climates in April, May, and June.
THE CATCH: You’ll have to spend at least 26 hours in air transit to visit this far-flung continent.
THE BOOKING: Visit Gate 1 Travel to book.
WE’VE GOT MORE: For trip-planning tips and information, visit our Sydney Travel Guide.
Check out our Adventure Travel blog for more exotic getaways.
On Friday, July 23, hundreds of athletes will take to the 1,504 stairs of the Sydney Tower, the second-tallest building in Australia, to see how quickly they can reach the top.
No, they’re not taking part in a reverse fire drill. The event, called the Sydney Tower Run-Up, is part of an emerging trend called vertical running or tower running. The setting? The stairwells of some of the world’s tallest buildings, including the Taipei 101, the Empire State Building and the Sydney Tower.
The effort involved is grueling – the Taipei race, for example, means climbing 2,046 steps – but brief. In Sydney, the average finish time is 15 minutes, though whoever reaches the top the fastest will win an impressive $25,000 prize.
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