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Much like the rest of the world, Australia is feeling this global recession. Let's face it, most folks see Australia as a far away expensive land, so dream trips to Oz are easily dashed during tough times on the grounds of "it is just too far and too expensive."
However, there is no doubt one of the positive bi-products of this "recession which will lift by the end of the year" is that traveling to Australia has never been more comfortable and less expensive for Americans. Fact: Now that VAustralia is flying from LAX to SYD (and Melbourne later this year), Qantas has found itself in a fare war that have lowered USA - AU flights to an astounding $299 or so each way. These prices may even head lower when Delta starts service on these routes in July, so watch your favorite travel sites.
Still not convinced? The Aussie Dollar is at right around .60 cents to ours, and there are rumors that Aussie officials are kicking around the idea of actually paying for your flight.
Ok, enough with the hard sell, just take a look at what we learned in Sydney Australia 2.0
· Jaunted has Twitter followers in Bondi Junction, follow @carlyeinfeld.
· Our new travel Twitter friend, @lilyroseallen does a bang up job posting "Killer Hotel Views".
· Flip Mino HD will change the way you feel about lugging around a video camera on vacation
After the jump, enjoy the entire video reel from Sydney. No dramas, mate.
We just rode shotgun in a most excellent seaplane tour over Sydney. Before we took off, Pilot Andy let it be known that in his opinion there were few things better than riding in a seaplane, and he was right on. Take off, which you can watch in the above video was smooth and once airborne we put on our headsets and listened to Andy school us on a bit of aviation history as we cruised 1,000 feet above Sydney Harbour.
The quick tour takes you Southeast down the dramatic coastline a bit to Bondi Beach. At Bondi the plane circles back and affords you views of the Northern Beaches and, of course, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. After you pass Circular Quay you begin a quick decent, smoothly splashing down into Rose Bay.
The tour will run you $225 AU and you can get to Rose Bay easily by taking one of the Sydney ferries at Circular Quay (the green & white ones).
If you want to check out the Inner Harbour view video, it is after the jump. If you want to catch up on all our Jaunted in Sydney videos, you can watch them here.
Celebs have invaded Twitter! Celebrities Twittering is a social media perfect storm. This elite sect of Twitterati is extremely thumbnail photogenic, well-trained in innovative ways of seeking attention/letting it all hang out, and most importantly for us travel geeks, constantly traveling the world. This week we're looking at who's Tweeting what from where. Any Celeb Twitterers we should follow? Let us know.
A longtime MySpace blogger, Lily has now embraced Twitter has a way to communicate with her fans. Much like the rest of Lily's life, her online adventures are fodder for tabloids from West Hollywood to India, especially after she and Perez got into some sort of Tweet fight.
Which is why we were happy to see Lily was a top notch travel Twitterer.
It turns out Lily is in Sydney at the same time our own Markj is there. And she's mastered TwitPic sufficiently enough to post a killer view from her hotel room at the Four Seasons Sydney featuring the iconic Sydney Opera House in the background. And she even gave our sis site, HotelChatter, her opinion of the hotel's restaurant Mark was staying in, The Establishment:
@HotelChatter yeah, I've stayed there before, sushi e , the restaurant is yum
And there you have it. Lily Allen now ranks up there with Lance, Shaq and McHammer as worthy traveling celeb Twitterers. However, not every celeb can Twitter like these elite few. Here are some other top-dollar names you won't want to @reply on Twitter:
· Ashton Kutcher: Ashton's tweets are not usually worthy unless you like looking at pics of his wife, Demi Moore and him trying to run off with Penelope Cruz's Oscar statue.
· Demi Moore: See above.
· Britney Spears: Totally not done by Brit Brit but occasionally she'll pop in with a G-rated, on the message Tweet.
· Ryan Seacrest: How does this man find time in the day to Twitter? Doesn't he have like eight jobs? But because he's all work and no play, Ryan makes a boring travel Twitterer.
Walking through the Sydney Botanical Gardens after a quick lunch today we heard what sounded like Tucan birds screaming from the trees. With Australia being the land of crazy animals, we figured we weren't hearing your garden variety squawking crow, so we glanced up at the nearest tree and there they were -- tens of giant fox bats, probably over 100 in all.
In perfect Aussie fashion there was a sign under these trees that says:
DO NOT TOUCH THE FLYING FOXES
For many years Grey-headed Flying-foxes have been seasonal visitors to the Royal Botanic Gardens. At night these large bats feed on the flowers and fruits of many native plants and they are important in pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds of these species.
However, as you can see by looking around the Palm Grove, the bats that have set up camp in the Gardens are damaging the trees they roost in. For this reason, the Royal Botanical Gardens has been given a license to use non-harmful methods to discourage the bats from roosting here.
As far as the bat-touching goes, duly noted but we aren't keen to touch some bats. We wouldn't touch a normal bat, let alone a dinosaur flying fox bat. Would you?
After taking the inaugural flight from LAX to SYD, Jaunted's markj is staying Down Under and exploring Sydney for a couple of days.
As a visitor to Sydney you are almost always looking for great beaches that are easy to get to. And in light of recent events you probably want to seek out a beach that doesn't involve a "man in grey" while you are on holiday. Then again, one Sydneysider we spoke with said "you're a more likely to choke on a shark dinner than be attacked by a shark when visiting Sydney's beaches.
Point taken. However, when you add in "box jellies" and "blue bottle jellies" (jellyfish) maybe you should be aware of what else lurks in the Sydney waters. Luckily for you the lifeguards are on constant patrol, and constantly announce to swimmers when something is spotted in the water. For instance, we heard a lifeguard say "A group of blue bottles is washing ashore, if you are stung by a blue bottle -- there is no cure -- you will be in pain for about a half hour, so swim at your own risk."
Still want to find out what the best beaches in Sydney are? Sure you do, after all you don't have to swim if you are scared.
After the jump, we put together our list of Sydney's best beaches based on accessibility, beauty, and, um, swimablity?
Sir Richard Branson was on VA1 from SYD to LAX, but while Sir Richard was partying it up at The Chateau Marmont, Jaunted was riding VA2 from LAX to SYD to see what a Bransonless Virgin Australia experience was like.
LAX - SYD is the definition of the long haul route. For years Qantas and United have dominated this route, but VAustralia has jumped into the fray and is attempting to redefine the way we fly to Australia. How did they do? The full flight review is after the jump.