Blue Mountains National Park High Country Tour

March 18, 2012

When I have Clients cruising in or out of Sydney, Australia, I always suggest spending 4-6 nights in one of my favorite Sydney luxury hideaways as well as organizing a few day tours for them.  We can set up a private car & driver or a small group tour.  For instance, the Blue Mountain National Park is close by and not to be missed. Below is an example of a Full Day - Small Group Tour:

Departing your city hotel this morning, the tour starts in the historical precinct of the Rocks, the birth place of Sydney and Australia. Heading North, we cross the Harbour Bridge and west towards the historical towns of Windsor and Richmond. Some of Sydney’s earliest history can be found in these quaint villages. We enjoy some beautiful, home made morning tea at the foot of the mountains.

Continuing, we cross the Nepean River at the charming village of Yarramundi where we stop to view a myriad of Native Australian Birds in their natural wetland environment. Not far from here we enter the Blue Mountains National Park and view outstanding Aboriginal Rock Art. Hidden in thick bush land, you will be amazed at the detail of artworks that are thousands of years old. Our steep ascent of the mountains continues as we arrive at Hawkesbury Heights for outstanding views over the Sydney basin.

Next it is on to the town of Blackheath, deep in the heart of the Blue Mountains for a traditional Australian Barbecue under the canopy of the Bush. Enjoy world class food and wine in unique surroundings and experience the plethora of wildlife that surrounds us. After lunch we visit the stunning Wentworth Falls for a short walk to explore the area and the view the stunning scenery. Later we drop into a hidden valley where we roam the area, seeking out the many kangaroos that graze in the wild, before returning to Sydney.

For more informations and ideas (on cruise and land arrangements),

contact the Travel Gal at 800 644-6659 or email

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Explore Australia Aboard Indian Pacific Train

July 22, 2011

The Great Southern Rail - What better way to explore the natural beauty of Australia than aboard one of Australia’s great train journeys between Perth - Adelaide - Sydney.

The Indian Pacific gives you two oceans on one of the world’s longest and greatest train journeys.  Named after the two great oceans it joins and symbolised by the magnificent wedge-tailed eagle that so often soars above it, the mighty Indian Pacific traverses 4,352km (2,698 miles) between Perth and Sydney.

More than three million guests have already enjoyed this epic journey, which spans a continent, travelling the whole distance in three days and three nights. Setting off from Perth, your train climbs through the scenic Avon Valley and into Western Australia’s expansive wheat belt, before arriving late evening at your first stop in the city of Kalgoorlie.

Next day, you’ll discover the landscape takes on a richer hue as the journey moves through the mallee scrub into the ancient Nullarbor Plain, with the landscape unmarked by the passing millennia.

Stepping off during a brief pause at Cook in the middle of the Nullarbor Plain, you will experience Australia’s vast open spaces from a unique perspective.

Arriving in Adelaide the following morning you can choose to break your journey for a few days touring this picturesque city, or continue directly on to Broken Hill, with its countless tales of riches won and lost.
From here you’ll travel through some of Australia’s most productive farming country and into the arid outback as the sun sets. Next morning is the finale of your journey through the spectacular Blue Mountains.

Naturally, you can also do this journey from Sydney to Perth - it’s just as unforgettable.
Whether your final destination on the Indian Pacific is west to Perth or east to Sydney, you’ll have many opportunities to leave the train and take in some of the region’s highlights. With so many wonderful sights to enjoy, this isn’t just one of the longest train journeys in the world, but also one of the most memorable.

Route: Sydney - Adelaide - Perth
Duration: 3 nights in either direction
Distance: 4352 kilometres
Frequency: Twice weekly in both directions

Call us if you are interested in experiencing Australia by train, boat or private tour

800 644-6659 or email

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Get to Know Brisbane, Australia

June 25, 2011

The city of Brisbane offers the traveler a range of luxury hideaways that include modern architecture to classic buildings dating from as far back as colonial times.

The lucky visitor will also find museums that were built by convicts and housed Generals, to the Brisbane City Hall that holds the city’s museum, Brisbane is rich in a history that can be traced by simply walking around.

Qantas Airways offers daily services to Australia from Los Angeles, and their newly launched service from DFW, Brisbane has never been more accessible.  So, whats there to do in Brisbane?

Tours & Sightseeing: There’s so many ways to discover Brisbane! Take a balloon ride, cruise the river or take in the sights on one of many bus tours.

Arts & Culture: Take the time to discover some of the pockets of expressions reflection scattered around Brisbane. Including independent theater companies, art galleries and indigenous galleries.

Fun for Free: This foot friendly city offers world-calls galleries, parklands, museums, tours, live music, and more… absolutely FREE!

Shopping & Fashion: Dynamic, positive, forward thinking and creative sums up Brisbane’s impressive fashion scene.

Parks & National Parks: The stunning fringes of Brisbane are world-class, and often heritage listed, and best of all, they start less than one hour away from downtown.

Heritage & Architecture: Discover Brisbane’s life during colonial times, the influences and the events that changed the city forever…

Bikeways & Walkways: Brisbane is truly a foot friendly city with over 750 miles of walkways, paths and bikeways.

Sport & Recreation: Outdoor enthusiast? You can test yourself in Brisbane without leaving the city. Want to be closer to the water? Then kayak your way around every bend of the Brisbane River.

For more information contact or and lets go to Brisbane!

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Thala Beach Lodge - Luxury Treehouse Living!

April 25, 2011

When considering a cruise vacation to the Great Barrier Reef, Australia - be sure to save a few days to visit Thala Beach Lodge located near Port Douglas, in North Queensland. Thala Beach Lodge is a family owned 5 star luxury hideaway, boutique resort set spectacularly atop a headland with breathtaking views of the Coral Sea and provides the perfect location to explore the world-famous Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest.

An island on the mainland!

Located just 45 mins drive north of Cairns (where International and Domestic Airports are located) and just south of Port Douglas, Thala Beach Lodge is the only beach nature lodge providing Port Douglas accommodation on a private headland between Cairns and Port Douglas.

Guests of Thala Beach resort relax in one of 83 deluxe timber bungalows are built high on stilts and nestle in a forest canopy. Talk about a luxury treehouse! All bungalows have either ocean views or forest views. Thala Beach Lodge features a restaurant, 2 bars, coffee shop, pool and jacuzzi.

Why vacation at Thala Beach Lodge?

1. Thala IS AN EXPERIENCE, rather than just accommodation, due to the complimentary onsite guided nature tours included in all rates.

2. Rainforest & beach experience in ONE location - saves packing bags & changing hotels to get both North Queensland experiences.

3. An ISLAND ON THE MAINLAND, the resort is surrounded by water on three sides so you get the feel of an island vacation however saves the inconvenience & additional cost of ferry transfers.

4. Value: The all inclusive rate consists of breakfast, lunch & dinner daily plus roundtrip transfers between Cairns and Port Douglas as well as In room mini-bar with spirits, wine, beer, soda, snacks, tea and coffee.

Our opinion: This boutique coastal sanctuary is an experience to remember. Unique, tranquil and secluded, with your own private beach and close to the town of Port Douglas.

Thala Beach Lodge provides memorable experiences that capture the essence of the diverse North Queensland region from the thrill of exploring the secrets of the Great Barrier Reef, ancient tropical rainforest, wild expansive outback and ancestral rock art of Aboriginal tribes - to viewing the grandeur of it all by air. Or simply visit this paradise to step away from the crowd, take some time out for relaxation and marvel at the natural world.

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Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa named in Top 10 Spas of the World

April 7, 2011

The world’s largest spa marketing company, SpaFinder USA have named Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa as one of the Top 10 Spas in the World in the Best Boutique Hotel and Best Environmental Spa categories.

Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa owner Cathy Maloney says,”To have been chosen in the Top 10 Spas in the world is really quite a feat. We are one of only three Australian spas to win in this years Reader’ s Choice World Spa Awards. Shangri-La Sydney and Gwinganna Health Retreat were the other Australian winners.”

While planning a trip to Australia, be sure to add in 4 or 5 days to visit the world’s oldest rainforest (65 million years older than the Amazon), and experience the world’s oldest culture.  Wake to the gentle sounds of nature in your rainforest “tree-house” at the small (just 15 room accommodation), personal private boutique resort.

Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa exudes a sense of exotic remoteness, but is easily accessible.
* Located only 90 minutes drive (113km) north of Cairns International Airport
* Only 40 minutes north of Port Douglas (45km), gateway to the Great Barrier Reef
* 3 kms south of Daintree Village
* Only lodge on the Daintree River
* Sealed road runs to property - no 4WD required
* South of the Daintree River - no ferry crossing required

Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa has also been awarded the 2010 Luxury Travel’s Gold List award for BestLuxury Eco Tourism and World’ s Leading Eco Lodge at the prestigious World Travel Awards late 2009.

Walkabout Cultural Adventures

Complete your Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa experience with a day touring the local region with a local Aboriginal guide. In a relaxed and very interpersonal environment which is intimate.
Half or Full day 4WD tours; Personalised tailor-made charters
With tours including…
* Learn about the Kuku Yalanji Rainforest Aborigines & Visit Aboriginal cultural sites
* Learn the history of the region & Taste some bush tucker
*Discover the Rainforest  & See spectacular waterfalls
* Learn about marine life & Swim in freshwater streams
*Try traditional hunting & Spear throwing

Minimum 2 passengers, Maximum 6 passengers
Pick ups from Port Douglas, Mossman and Daintree areas
(Cairns, Northern Beaches and Cape Tribulation can be arranged)

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Kangaroos, Koalas & Kiwis - Cruise Sydney to Auckland

June 13, 2010

Date          Port                                                                        Arrive          Depart
Nov 16    Sydney, Australia                                                                        6:00 pm
Nov 17    At Sea, International Waters
Nov 18    Melbourne, Australia                                                8:00 am
Nov 19    Melbourne, Australia                                                                   6:00 pm
Nov 20    At Sea, International Waters
Nov 21    Hobart, Australia                                                      8:00 am       6:00 pm
Nov 22    At Sea, International Waters
Nov 23    At Sea, International Waters
Nov 24    Cruising Milford Sound, International Waters
Nov 25    Dunedin, New Zealand                                        9:00 am           6:00 pm
Nov 26    Christchurch (Lyttleton), New Zealand                  8:00 am           6:00 pm
Nov 27    Wellington, New Zealand                                     8:00 am           4:00 pm
Nov 28    Napier, New Zealand                                           8:00 am           6:00 pm
Nov 29    At Sea, International Waters
Nov 30   Tauranga, New Zealand                                        8:00 am            5:00 pm
Dec 01   Auckland, New Zealand                                        8:00 am

Aboard the Seven Seas Navigator departing 16/November 2010 for 15 nights in the six-star tradition of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Emerging from a refurbishment in December 2009 and occupying the uppermost niche in cruising, she offers her 490 guests an unusual level of luxury and some of the highest space and service ratios at sea. From her all-suite, all-oceanview accommodations with their luxurious marble baths to her signature cuisine to her superbly attentive staff, she has few equals.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers FREE Unlimited Shore Excursions on each and every voyage. Receive access to complimentary, award-winning shore excursions during your voyage, in addition to the all-inclusive cruise experience you have come to expect from the World’s Best Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

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Australia - Frequently Asked Questions

May 6, 2010

What clothes should I pack?
Australia is a reasonably casual country, which is reflected in the locals’ attire. To attend a performance at the Sydney Opera House or dine at a fine restaurant, gentlemen may feel more comfortable in a jacket. To be prepared for any weather, use the layer system. Wear a t-shirt, but carry a fleece and lightweight waterproof jacket in a daypack so you’re ready for all conditions. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. We provide you with a packing list with your final documentation.

Is it true that there are poisonous jellyfish in the waters around Cairns?
Yes, from about December to March, but there are designated swimming areas which are netted to keep the “stingers” out so that you can swim in the ocean. The Great Barrier Reef Islands are usually not effected, and all hotels have pools.

What regions do you recommend I visit?
Australia has so many experiences to offer, we’ll talk with you about activities you are interested in, your budget, your style of vacation and we can put a really unique and creative itinerary together for you that will cater exactly to the expectations you have. That’s what we are here for!

How far in advance should I book?
As far as possible to avoid disappointment at sought after properties. A minor deposit will allow us to confirm services and hold your reservation until final payment is due. We’ll supply complete Terms and Conditions with your Quotation.

What is the weather like; when should I travel?
Australia, which is as large as the continental US, has milder temperature extremes. The seasons are reversed so the northern Tropics are hot and rainy from December through February and the southern areas are cool, though rarely snowy, from July through September. Mildest months for all round travel are March and April, and October and November.

What documentation do I need for Australia?
To return to the US you need a valid passport. To enter Australia you need a passport valid for at least six months after the date of your departure. To enter Australia you need an ETA, which we can usually issue for you over the phone in five minutes, if you are a US citizen. When you book, we’ll fax you a Personal Information form to fill out which will ask you for all the details we need to issue your Australian visa. Getting a passport is your own responsibility.

How long should I spend in Australia?
Most people find that 2 weeks is the right amount of time to visit 3 regions. If you have more time, you’ll see more.

Will I lose a day?
On the way to Australia you’ll skip a day on the calendar when you cross the dateline, but the reverse happens on the way back so you really haven’t lost anything. Here’s how it works: If you leave the US on a Monday evening, you’ll arrive in Australia on Wednesday morning. If you leave Australia on a Monday you’ll arrive back in the US on Monday, the same day.

How long is the flight from Los Angeles to Sydney?
14 hours non-stop, or, as we like to say: Two good meals you don’t have to cook yourself, all the Australian wines and liqueurs you care for, and unlimited free movies. Seriously, by the time you have cocktails, eat, relax with a book or a movie, sleep and eat again; you’re there. Your vacation starts at take off.

How much does a trip to Australia cost?
That’s about as difficult as answering how much your house remodel will cost-it all depends on what you plan to do. Call us and we can work on a vacation to fit your budget/lifestyle.

If you would like to take a trip Down under to Australia
Call Me at 1-800-644-6659
Your See the South Pacific Specialist at Luxury Hideaways

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Early History about Australia & its Aboriginal People

December 18, 2008

Australia Red CenterAustralia’s Aboriginal people were thought to have arrived here by boat from South East Asia during the last Ice Age, at least 50,000 years ago. At the time of European discovery and settlement, up to one million Aboriginal people lived across the continent as hunters and gatherers. They were scattered in 300 clans and spoke 250 languages and 700 dialects. Each clan had a spiritual connection with a specific piece of land. However, they also travelled widely to trade, find water and seasonal produce and for ritual and totemic gatherings.

Despite the diversity of their homelands - from outback deserts and tropical rainforests to snow-capped mountains - all Aboriginal people share a belief in the timeless, magical realm of the Dreamtime. According to Aboriginal myth, totemic spirit ancestors forged all aspects of life during the Dreamtime of the world’s creation. These spirit ancestors continue to connect natural phenomena, as well as past, present and future through every aspect of Aboriginal culture.

Britain arrives and brings its convicts when a number of European explorers sailed the coast of Australia, then known as New Holland, in the 17th century. However it wasn’t until 1770 that Captain James Cook chartered the east coast and claimed it for Britain. The new outpost was put to use as a penal colony and on 26 January 1788, the First Fleet of 11 ships carrying 1,500 people - half of them convicts - arrived in Sydney Harbour. Until penal transportation ended in 1868, 160,000 men and women came to Australia as convicts.

While free settlers began to flow in from the early 1790s, life for prisoners was harsh. Women were outnumbered five to one and lived under constant threat of sexual exploitation. Male re-offenders were brutally flogged and could be hung for crimes as petty as stealing. The Aboriginal people displaced by the new settlement suffered even more. The dispossession of land and illness and death from introduced diseases disrupted traditional lifestyles and practices.

By the 1820s, many soldiers, officers and emancipated convicts had turned land they received from the government into flourishing farms. News of Australia’s cheap land and bountiful work was bringing more and more boatloads of adventurous migrants from Britain. Settlers or ‘squatters’ began to move deeper into Aboriginal territories - often with a gun - in search of pasture and water for their stock.

In 1825, a party of soldiers and convicts settled in the territory of the Yuggera people, close to modern-daykoala bear Brisbane. Perth was settled by English gentlemen in 1829, and n 1835 a squatter sailed to Port Phillip Bay and chose the location for Melbourne. At the same time a private British company, proud to have no convict links, settled Adelaide in South Australia.

Gold was discovered in New South Wales and central Victoria in 1851, luring thousands of young men and some adventurous young women from the colonies. They were joined by boat loads of prospectors from China and a chaotic carnival of entertainers, publicans, illicit liquor-sellers, prostitutes and quacks from across the world. In Victoria, the British governor’s attempts to impose order - a monthly licence and heavy-handed troopers - led to the bloody anti-authoritarian struggle of the Eureka stockade in 1854. Despite the violence on the goldfields, the wealth from gold and wool brought immense investment to Melbourne and Sydney and by the 1880s they were stylish modern cities.

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The Great Barrier Reef is the only living organism that can be seen from space…

September 19, 2008

float planeThe Great Barrier Reef is the only living organism that can be seen from space - astronauts have described it as a ‘thin white line in the blue ocean’. The reef is made up of about 2,900 unconnected reefs and 900 islands.

The Great Barrier Reef area abounds with marine and bird life. It is home to 400 species of coral, more than 1,500 species of fish, 4,000 types of molluscs, and more than 200 species of birdlife.

Other wildlife species include the dugong, varieties of dolphins and whales. Six of the world’s seven marine turtles can be found at the Great Barrier Reef.

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Why Travel to Australia?

September 13, 2008

ayers rock1. Australia is a safe and comfortable destination
2. No foreign language, no weird money, no worries - just wonders!
3. Stable political environment
4. From LA to G’Day in a day -By the time you enjoy your in-flight movies, your meals and a nap you’ll be Down Under!
5. Favorable exchange rate
6. Australian’s are friendly! People want to meet us
7. Australia is an Adventurer’s Playground.
8. 50,000 years of ancient culture
9. Roll out your swag- absorb the flavor of rural Australia
10. Wine & Dine - sample the exotic flavors of Australian cuisine from Barramundi to Balmain Bugs!

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