An Australian Holiday - City and Island Adventure

May 30, 2012

Do you want to organize an Australia vacation or honeymoon but not quite sure where to begin? Do you have 2 weeks to spare and want to relax on the beach as well as enjoy the city?  I suggest a bit of Melbourne, the Whitsunday Islands and finish up in Sydney! Here is a great sample itinerary - this is a great one for a family holiday as well as honeymoon - of course we will be able to customize it for you:

Day 1 Fly USA to Melbourne
Please note international air from the USA has not been included in the package price.

Day 2 You cross the International Dateline
The International Date Line is an imaginary line on the earth’s surface that approximately coincides with the 180th meridian (LONGITUDE), and separates the calendar date. Traveling east across the line takes the traveler back one day; traveling west, takes the traveler forward one day.

Day 3 Welcome to Melbourne, Australia
On arrival into Melbourne, you will need to clear customs and make your way through the main arrivals hall where you will be transferred to your accommodation.

At first glance, Melbourne may resemble any other modern city with its skyline full of concrete & glass. However, if you look a little closer, you’ll find the real Melbourne, a city of unique charm.  There are the clanging trams (street cars), swanky boutiques, friendly taxi drivers, Australian Rules Football, fickle weather and ‘BYO’s’, by the hundred (restaurants to which you bring your own liquor or wine). Add to this, Melbourne’s traditional virtues of tree lined boulevards, glorious parks, elegant buildings & imposing Victorian Banks & Churches, and of course the giant Melbourne Cricket Ground and you’ll have some idea of the city.

Day 4 Melbourne tour
Melbourne is famous for its magnificent parks and gardens which surround the city. See the famous Floral Clock, Botanic Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens and inspect Captain Cook’s Cottage in the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens.  See the colorful Victoria Market, Old Melbourne Gaol, Shrine of Remembrance and travel over the Westgate Bridge for panoramic views over Port Phillip Bay.

Day 5 At leisure, Melbourne
Melbourne, the capital of Victoria and a cultural hub, is known for the good things in life - fashion, food, entertainment and sport. This is a city of style, architecture, trams, theatres and art.

Day 6 Fly Melbourne to Whitsunday Islands
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to the Whitsundays. Upon arrival you will board a luxury cruiser for your launch service to Hayman(Deluxe option only.)

Bordered by the Great Barrier Reef and 74 tropical islands in the calm waters of the Coral Sea, the Whitsundays lie midway along Australia’s Queensland coast.

Days 7-9 At leisure, Whitsunday Islands
Discover the wonder that is Heart Reef. Sink your feet into the white, silica sands of world-famous Whitehaven Beach. Or simply sail at sunset across our crystal-clear waters and take in the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.

Day 10 Fly Whitsunday Islands to Sydney
Launch from Hayman to Hamilton Island(Deluxe option only.)

Sunny, sexy, sophisticated - Sydney basks as the shining star of the southern hemisphere. The stunning Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge are the pride and joy, but there’s much more to offer.

Sydney’s sparkling harbor is the jewel in the city’s crown. It’s flanked by golden beaches and bush land, and is bisected by one of the most famous bridges in the world. Islands sprinkle its waters, and it’s crisscrossed by all manner of craft, from water taxis and yachts to tour boats and ferries.

Day 11 Sydney city tour
Enjoy a morning touring Sydney’s glorious city, harbor and famous beaches. Pass through the historic Rocks area and circular en route to Bondi Beach where we stop for morning tea (own expense). The tour will travel through Chinatown, Darling Harbour, Kings Cross and Double Bay, and you will view the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and visit Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair.

Days 12-13 At leisure, Sydney
At your leisure to explore Sydney. Most of the major attractions of the city are within easy walking distance from your accommodation - Sydney Opera House, Darling Harbour, Centrepoint Tower, Circular Quay, The Rocks, etc.

Day 14 Fly Sydney to USA

You will be met and transferred by private vehicle to the airport for your departure flight.

11 nights From $2,275.00 per person based on double occupancy - land and internal air; prices subject to change; black outs apply; ask for sw-city/island trip.

* Please note international air from the USA has not been included in the package price.

For more information on travel to Australia - contact the Travel Gal at 800 644-6659 or email

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Royal Lahaina Resort - Golf, Jazz Club & the Spirit of Aloha!

May 28, 2012

The Royal Lahaina Resort is Maui’s original beachfront resort - located direct oceanfront in North Kaanapali.  This luxury hideaway reflects the spirit of aloha with its laidback atmosphere and island ambiance. But don’t let that fool you, there is a lot going on, including the newest (and only) Jazz Club on the island.  Join David Choy and friends to enjoy world class music and entertainment at Jazz Club Maui, where Hawaii’s most talented musicians will be performing smooth jazz, rhythm & blues. Saturday Nights from 8:30pm to midnight, starting May 26, 2012.

The resort was refurbished in 2008 but still maintain the island flare - the oceanfront cottage accommodations are reminiscent of Hawaii’s Plantation Era, while the 12 story Lahaina Kai Tower’s luxurious guestrooms and suites feature state of the art amenities and island inspired décor.

The resort is surrounded by 2 championship golf courses.  Take advantage of the “Royal-Tee Golf Package” listed below:

From $279 per night valid March 1, 2012 - November 30, 2012
Five night minimum stays receive a reduced rate in an Ocean View room, full American buffet breakfast for two daily, four rounds of golf per stay at either of the two championship Kaanapali Golf Courses, plus complimentary golf club rentals.

*Royal-Tee Golf package tee times are available after 11am at either the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course or Kaanapali Kai Golf Course. Tee times can be made within 90 days of arrival directly with the hotel. Not applicable for groups

If you’re not a golfer, then take advantage of the 5th night free package.  There are plenty of activities, the Resort is known for its popular nightly luau, drawing visitors from all over the island.  Resort guests will also find 2 oceanfront swimming pools, shopping, an 11 court tennis ranch, ocean-view dining and classic tiki bars.

Valid Apr. 1, 2012-Mar. 31, 2013. Blackout Dates Apply: Dec. 22, 2012-Jan. 2, 2013.
For every 5 nights booked your package price will be reduced by an amount equal to one night’s room revenue in the Oceanfront Cottage Room and Lahaina Kai Tower: Ocean View, Deluxe Ocean View, and Ocean Front View Rooms. Valid on consecutive night stays only.

Visit the Royal Lahaina Resort and step back in time when life moved at a slower pace and the beaches are virtually empty except for a few snorkelers and shell seekers.

For more information and island inside scoop, contact the Travel Gal at 800 644-6659 or

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Fiji Island Weddings - Just bring the Groom and a Dress!

May 28, 2012

Are you looking to run away with your true love and be married barefoot on the sand, just the two of you at sunset in an exotic location or private island?  Fiji has long been a favorite destination for weddings, honeymooners or the re-affirming of vows.

*** Weddings in Fiji are recognized as legal worldwide ***

It’s very simple and cost effective to arrange a wedding in Fiji, and we can do all the legwork for you. We work with the resorts in offering assistance with a wedding coordinator who will arrange everything including all legal requirements in advance.  We are able to customize your wedding so it will be your perfect day!

You will need to bring with you:

The couple must provide the following personal documents to the registrar for verification purposes at least two weeks before the wedding.

1.    Original Birth Certificate

2.    Valid Passports

3.    Divorce Papers, if applicable

4.    Death certificate if previous spouse is deceased.
A certificate of Single Status or certificate of no Legal Impediment must be produced ONLY IF:

1.    Marriage between a Fiji citizen and a foreign citizen.

2.    Marriage by former citizens of Fiji

3.    Marriage between foreign citizens residing in Fiji

5.    Marriage licenses can also be obtained from disctrict offices in main towns;

6.    Registration offices are open between 9.00am and 3.00pm Monday through Friday. Registration formalities take about 20 minutes and should be completed at least 36 hours prior to the wedding date.

7.    The fee is approximately FJD$20.00 and the license is valid for 21 days.

8.    All ministers in Fiji belong to a certain church there are no nondenominational ministers. For Catholic weddings the requirements include a letter of Freedom sent well in advance, approximately 2-3 months out, to the Fijian Priest along with the Baptism Certificate. Your normal pre-wedding studies must be completed with a letter from your priest.

Marriage Fees

The current marriage fees are shown here below in Fijian currency. Payment should be made in cash or postal money order made payable to the Registrar General.

Application for special license F$20.25

Marriage officiated in the Registry (including normal standard marriage certificate) F$22.50

Marriage officiated by the Registrar or District Registrar after official working hours F$30.68

Working hours are from 8.00am to 3.00pm Mondays to Friday and closed on weekends and public holidays.

Traditional Fijian design Marriage certificate F$15.34

Standard Certificate F$5.63

(Inclusive of Fiji Government taxes and subject to change. Rates are valid as at 1st January 2010)

* Please note some of these fees and costs above may already included in the wedding package you select.

Legal Age

The Legal age of consent to marry is 18 years for both male and female.

Marriage Officers both religious and civil marriage celebrant are available. Arrangements may be undertaken for couples to bring their own celebrant to participate in the vows and the blessing of the ring but the local celebrant will solemnize the marriage and sign the marriage certificate.

All registered marriage certificate will be forwarded to the Foreign Affairs office to obtain an Apostille seal to authenticate that the marriage is legal and be recognized in foreign countries.

Travel Gal Note: I have been assisting couples in planning their weddings in Fiji since 1999, contact me at 800 644-6659 or email

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American Safari Yacht Cruises - The Ultimate Authentic Hawaiian Experience

May 26, 2012

American Safari Cruises (also known as InnerSea Discovery) the Un-cruise cruise experience is built on the fact nature is not set to a time clock and the animals don’t wear watches.  This flexibility allows the Guests onboard the yacht to experience an active adventure while cruising in luxury style not available on large cruise ships. See and experience the islands from a different perspective. Explore remote coves, bays and shoreline by foot, kayak, sailboat, paddle board, snorkel, and skiff.

The company’s signature cruising style is built on flexibility, which allows the yachts to follow whales and dolphins or dodge unpleasant weather. “We’ve built our reputation on spontaneity,” says Captain Dan Blanchard, who has explored the islands extensively by private boat. “Our style makes it possible to explore Hawaii without having to be at a specific port at a specific time. We can gunkhole, stop in out-of-the-way bays and coves, and be ready for whatever experiences may come along.”

The interisland trips include the islands of Moloka’i, Lana’i, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii. Below is a sample itinerary, call for more details as well as special pricing:

Lana’i - Embarkation
Welcome to Hawaii! You’ll be transferred to our hospitality suite on Lana’i for a warm aloha. Later, the Captain and crew greet you with smiles and champagne as you board the awaiting Safari Explorer. Search for marine life during a sunset cruise before dropping anchor for the evening.

On Lana’i, steep rock faces line the coves and ancient volcanic plugs sit both above and below the water surface. Gear up for a day of play. Morning activities include snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and skiffing; and in the afternoon, explore town or stroll through an orchid garden and along an island trail. The Humpback National Marine Sanctuary-located between Lana’i, Moloka’i, and Maui-provides front-row seats as you cruise through these productive marine breeding grounds.


Enjoy leisure time in the charming paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) town of Kaunakakai and live as the locals do today-learn to make lei’s at a plumeria farm, treat your taste buds with a stop for coffee at a plantation, and visit an organic macadamia nut farm. Get some sand between your toes on one of Hawaii’s longest beaches. And at a local museum, discover the history of this ancient homeland as you enjoy an evening pa’ina (feast), complete with a home-style Hawaiian “jam” session.

Moloka’i - Halawa Valley

Hands-on activities await you in the picture book Halawa Valley. “Talk story” with locals and experience their land and traditions as few visitors ever do. Take in a cultural lesson in taro patches, poi making, and legends and lore or a hike to a towering waterfall in Halawa’s cathedral valley-one of the island’s most historic areas.

Olowalu / West Maui

In ancient times, Olowalu was considered a place of refuge. Today, it delivers a treat of snorkeling among black rock and coral gardens teaming with underwater life. Later you’ll be underway in an authentic hand-carved voyaging canoe sailing as the early Polynesian warriors did.


Head to Kealakekua Bay, where Captain Cook perished in 1779, for some of the island’s best snorkeling. At Kailua-Kona, rendezvous for a guided walking tour of the historic town of Kailua. This evening you’ll anchor at an offshore location to search for and night snorkel with Great Pacific Manta rays.

Honomalino Bay / Opihihali

Fringed by coconut palms, Honomalino Bay offers a morning of snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking. The bay reveals a diversity of colorful corals, sponges, and tropical fishes. Lava tubes, kayaking, and skiff tours fill out your last day of ultimate adventure in Opihihali-an area known to be favored by marine mammals.

Hawaii, the Big Island - Disembark
As the Safari Explorer docks at Kawaihae Harbor, we’ll transfer you to the Kona Airport or to your American Safari Cruises hotel to begin your post-cruise extension.

Due to the nature of our explorations, itineraries are guidelines and will change in order to maximize wildlife and natural encounters. Variations in itinerary and the order of days may occur.

If you too would like to cruise Hawaii in a unique and memorable way
Call Me at 1-800-644-6659
Your See the South Pacific Specialist at Luxury Hideaways

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Thank you for the great trip to Maui!

May 23, 2012


Thank you - it was a nice trip. Kaanapali Beach Hotel was nice, great location…lots of senior citizens there, but I guess didn’t really matter. We were able to do some activities, but I wish I could have spoken with you a little more about that…it almost was a little stressful trying to dig through all of the info on tripadvisor, etc etc…but it worked out.

We spent lots of time in Lahaina, on Front Street, the Napili area and a day at the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua after searching for Nakalele Blowpoint and Honolua bay…that drive was a little nerve racking…so we never made it to Hana…was thinking I may have to do that on the next trip.

Thanks for your help,


Note from Travel Gal: Melva and her Mother stayed at Kaanapali Beach Hotel, located beachfront along Kaanapali Beach, the two mile strip of big, white sand beach, next to the Sheraton Maui Resort and a short walk to “Black Rock“, a wonderful snorkeling site.  Kaanapali Beach Hotel is a moderate priced hotel that offers some great specials as well as Hawaiian cultural activities - the hotels tagline is “Maui’s Most Hawaiian Hotel”. It is the perfect resort for couples or families on a moderate budget looking for an amazing beach vacation.

Yes, I agree, it is a good idea to plan a few activities prior to arriving on island so you are not scrambling, looking for a luau etc.  I suggest planning an activity (even a drive upcountry) every other day of your vacation so you have plenty of free time too.  Also, if you are considering a trip to Hana (a full day driving over 50 one way bridges, along a gorgeous coastline), I suggest either staying in a B & B in Hana for a night or taking a tour so the driver gets to enjoy the scenery too.

For assistance in planning your island holiday, contact the Travel Gal at

800 644-6659 or

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New Zealand - Cruise Aboard Oceanic Discoverer

May 20, 2012

Discover New Zeland on a Expedition Small Ship Cruise

  • All meals included
  • Excursion, zodiacs & glass bottom boats
  • Guest lectures cultural & eco tourism
  • Amazing on shore sightseeing
  • Cultural experiences
  • Resort style accommodations
  • Much more…
New Zealand Cruise on Small Ship Oceanic Discoverer

Oceanic Discoverer Cruise New Zealand

On your expedition cruise through NZ your’ll see and experience pristine landscapes and stunning natural features of the Land of the Long White Cloud. Get ready to be amazed by the spouting geysers, bubbling thermal pools, fiords, glaciers, snow-capped mountains, rivers and sweeping stretches of white sandy beaches enshrine the country’s natural heritage; forever protected in 14 national parks. New Zealand is a land of spectacular landscapes,amazing wildlife, lush forests, and pleasant climate make it a haven for many outdoor activities, and a great place to unwind. [Read more]

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A big VINAKA to you - the Weddingmoon was Awesome!

May 20, 2012


Yes… Fiji is beautiful!

The weddingmoon was awesome!  Upon arrival to the Outrigger on the Lagoon we were upgraded to a BEACHFRONT BURE for our entire stay for free - it was very nice!

We got just what we wanted!!  We couldn’t have been more pleased with the Outrigger staff and property.  Thank you for your recommendation and helping with everything.  The wedding day was very stress free - exactly what Trish and I were looking for!  Moreen at the Outrigger did a great job!

The Bebe Spa was incredible and relaxing.  We do have plenty of pics….and I will try sending you some as soon as I can.  We took a day cruise out to Malolo Island through PJ’s Island Cruises and were very satisfied.  The snorkeling was great and the crew was very friendly.  We also hung out by the pool several different days and relaxed.  One day we went to the Wildlife Eco Park right near the Outrigger and enjoyed seeing the native birds, lizards and forest.

Also, thanks for recommending that we not take the meal plan as we got by well with just the cash that we brought!

A big……VINAKA!!!

Briant and Trish B.

[Read more]

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The benefits of a Virtuoso Travel Agency

May 11, 2012

Only the finest will do for my Clients - this is why Luxury Hideaways has been affiliated with Park Avenue Travel for the past 3 years.  Park Avenue Travel is one of the top Virtuoso Agencies in the world. This means my Clients will receive upgrades, benefits and amenities not offered to the general public.

Park Avenue Travel is also one of the select Virtuoso Agencies associated with Virgin Galactic - Sir Richard Bransons brainchild - offering outer space travel - if interested in more information, do give us a call as I will eventually be certified to offer trips to outer space too!

This also includes our sister websites:




For more information - please call 800 644-6659 or email

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Hotel Molokai is an Authentic South Seas Experience

May 9, 2012

My Mother, girlfriend and I ventured over to the island of Molokai to visit Kaulapapa Settlement where St. Damien preformed his lifesaving work with the Lepers and to experience the island of laidback island of Molokai.

We rented a room at Hotel Molokai, its not a 5 star resort but it has all of the amenities, including a beachfront pool, wifi, cell phone service, bar & restaurant and is styled after a Polynesian Village.

Hotel Molokai is full of character, reminiscent of a slower time, is quaint, as well as reeks of the aloha spirit.  Our room included a small kitchen, bedroom, a loft and a large lanai with table and chairs.  It is a genuine luxuryhideaway located oceanfront on Kamiloloa beach. By the way, it’s the only place to get draft beer on the island!  The hotel is “community minded” as they offer a Polynesian show every Friday night as well as host a community party once a year.

From the moment we arrived at Hotel Molokai we were treated like family (ohana). Mind you, we arrived at about 9pm exhausted and very hungry. The cafe had stopped serving food but in the aloha spirit, they saw how hungry we were and just happened to have a pot of soup and home made bread still warm for us.

The activity at the hotel was fantastic - if you’re going to Molokai you cannot miss the Friday night Kanikapila show where the locals get together to serenade, play ukulele and take turns dancing the hula.  I believe they would gather every Friday night whether there were guests at the hotel or not.  It is an ideal situation where the haoles (mainlanders) can get a glimpse of the authentic island culture.

I will recommend this resort to all of my Clients coming to Hawaii - you must make time to visit Molokai!

Room Tip: Pay the extra to reserve an oceanfront room to fully enjoy the view

For more information on any of the South Sea Islands, contact the Travel Gal at
800 644-6659 or email

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Hawaiian word of the day is ikaika ~ strong

May 9, 2012

Oi aku ka ikaika o na wahine ma mua o na kane.  Women are stronger than men.

Cultural Note:  In old Hawaiian society there was a great deal of egality and women were respected and revered for their strength.
Mahalo Lahaina Canoe Club!

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