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We've all been there. We're excited to kickstart our international journey, so we head out for the airport with ample time to get our boarding passes, clear security and indulge in some shopping. It's a perfect plan, until we get to the counter and are reminded that international check-in opens up 3 hours before the departure time. Now, we're stuck in the departures hall of our favorite (or least favorite) airport with nothing to do for an hour -- the ultimate backfire. Perhaps you've experienced this firsthand or seen it on the Amazing Race. It happens. All. The. Time. And it is not fun.
Well, Qantas has solved that issue with its newest trial of All Day Check-In, which allows passengers to collect boarding passes for their international flight at any time during the day of departure instead of the usual 3 hours prior.
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There's no doubt Australia is one of the best places on the planet to "catch a wave," which is why it makes complete sense to host one of the world's largest surfing competitions on an Aussie beach. Plan ahead, because, this upcoming February, Manly Beach will become the epicenter of hanging ten when it hosts the Australian Open of Surfing.
This second annual event features competitions between top international pro surfers and skaters, A-list band performances, and a host of summer activities. With just 160 days until the festival kicks off, it's time to start the travel brainstorming.
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If you find yourself in Sydney, odds are that you’re going to make your way to The Rocks. On the southern shore of Sydney Harbour you’ll have a front row seat — or view — of both the city’s iconic opera house as well as their awesome bridge. All this can be yours just steps away from the city’s central business core and Circular Quay so, if you’re lucky enough, this might even be your lunch break destination.
We won’t go into all the history of the area, as you can read about that elsewhere. Basically, it’s like one of the oldest darn neighborhoods in the city as the first buildings popped up shortly after Australia got its paperwork to become a full-fledged colony.
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When a destination like Australia comes up in conversation, what's usually called to mind are activities of the summer months, like surfing, beaches, snorkeling, and numerous other outdoor activities. Because of a little thing called global tilt, however, winter has just begun in Oz, but don't let that deter you from visiting the largest island on the planet.
Here's just a few reasons why winter is perhaps the best time to cross the Equator and head 'down under':
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Photo: Bernard Proctor/Qantas & Emirates Facebook
Easter Sunday in Australia was not only filled with egg hunts and chocolate bunnies, but it was the launch of the official partnership between Qantas and Emirates. The day signified the first flights for each of the airlines under the new friendship, all commemorated by each airline sending an Airbus A380 to buzz over Sydney Harbour at around 1,500 feet.
Alliances like this one are becoming a bit more commonplace in the industry, and they're pretty passenger-friendly in terms of more options for flying around the globe and for racking up frequent flyer miles.
Here are the immediate benefits of the Qantas-Emirates partnership for you:
Yesterday, Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia De Rossi were spotted arriving at LAX to catch a Qantas flight to Sydney, Australia for their Oprah-esque Trip with one very lucky studio audience.
As Ellen boarded her flight she was given more than just first class treatment#&151;they actually named the plane after her.
Heard of Tropfest before? If not, mark it down to satisfy your film buff side, as it is Australia's most prestigious short film festival. During Tropfest, thousands of stars and star-gazers converge on Sydney to celebrate the art of filmmaking. 2013's Sydney Tropfest ended this last weekend, but luckily it's now a global event.
When it began 20 years ago the festival was named Tropicana Film Festival, since shortened to Tropfest. The first screening had about 200 spectators and, in contrast, this year's had about 150,000 heading to the city's park area named The Domain. Mother nature held off her fury long enough for people to relax on the grass and catch the 16 finalist films. And, for the first time, the festival was telecast on Australian network TV.
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Seems that when anyone scores tickets to some talk show, the chance they walk away with swag are high. About a week ago, Ellen played the perfect philanthropic TV personality and gave her audience a huge trip to Australia as part of her own trip down under in March.
We've seen it all before, talk show host announces a free trip to Australia and the audience goes absolutely bananas with screams of joy and free-flowing tears. The scene wasn't too dissimilar to Oprah's announcement in 2010.
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Travelers are flocking to Australia to do more than pet a kangaroo or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. Apparently the majority of tourists are going Down Under to scream "Winner, winner, Chicken Dinner!" Yeah, we're talking about placing big bets.
Gambling and casinos are legal in Australia and the pastime has become part of the fabric of the culture. Think of it as a smaller-scaled Vegas, but an entire country. Just like their counterparts in the US desert, many casinos in Oz are mega-resorts that attract the entire family, but with areas dedicated to high-rollers wanting more than the thrill of winning (or losing).
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10 Days on the Island - Ringing the Changes
In a nation that has perfect weather almost year round, there's always reason to celebrate. If you're planning on heading down under next year, we recommend keeping this guide to the best Australian festivals the nation has to offer.
· We've talked about the famous Sydney Mardi Gras before, so if you have a need for fabulous debauchery, check it out. The city offers much more than glitter with Vivid Sydney where the buildings and cityscape become the backdrop to colored light to bring the city alive. The festival features installation light-art pieces from late May to the middle of June.
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Say goodbye to the days of Christmas trees decked out with strands of popcorn and cranberries or even homemade decorations. Cities around the world have turned to the Austrian crystal-iers of Swarovski to decorate their grand Tannenbaums.
If you're one to drive around the neighborhood oohing and ahhing at the Christmas displays, get your passport ready because we have the list of far-off (and not so far-off) places for you to check out the razzle-dazzle. Here's our list of trees with that special sparkle:
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After a short hunt like a mouse looking for cheese, we eventually worked out the signage and rode a virtually unmarked elevator to the second floor. A flash of our Business Class boarding pass and we were in. On first impression, the space looked quite tired and nothing like our