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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
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After some time talking about the sexy new business class, the movie filmed onboard and even a new TV commercial, it was time for us to experience all the hooplah around the updates at Virgin Australia. We are huge fans of what Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America do, so we were excited to fly on the Aussie cousin.
Our flights were between Brisbane and Sydney which are pretty close to each other, but, along with Melbourne, create the Golden Triangle of Australian commercial aviation. Flights between these three cities are the busiest routes in the country and highly competitive. When we saw "Happy Hour" fares for $200 AUD each way in business class, we excitedly click "purchase."
Today's travel snapshot comes to you from a land down under, where kangaroos roam and koalas are not exactly bears. The locals call it Oz and if you have ever been lucky enough to land in this "Lucky Country," you could understand why the nickname exists. Australia, the only country-continent on Earth is just about the size of America, so it has about the same amount of things to visit.
More specifically, we come to you from the nation's largest city, Sydney. The city plays host to iconic Aussie symbols such as the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach. Naturally there's much more to this city then just three things, such as fine dining, local designer boutique shopping and museums for all tastes.
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Love ‘em or hate ‘em the Olympics are here to stay—at least for another week or so. Unless you're already in the UK, it's a tad too late to plan a trip to London at this point, and who really wants to wait another couple of years to check out the athletes doing their thing? That’s why we suggest taking in the sights—and remaining sounds—of recent former Olympic cities and their venues:
· Sydney, Australia
In Sydney it’s kind of like the Olympics never left, as there’s always something going on at the city’s Olympic Park. There’s a chance to try your skills at archery, practice your BMX skills, and even check out the cauldron—it’s been lit to celebrate the games in London. As a bonus, you can even make your way over to the AMP Services building in Circular Quay to check out an exhibition showing off past Olympic torches.