Sunday, November 13, 2005

Destination: Bay of Islands

Looking for something a bit different?

Then why not book a limousine with a Rainbow Tourism Accreditated operator, Bay of Islands Limousine Service.

Enjoy a trip in style with a knowledgeable driver from Auckland Airport to Northland to stay at the luxurious Orongo Bay Homestead, the women only Waihoihoi Lodge or any of the several properties in Northland.

The late model Ministerial (four passenger) and Stretch (seven passenger) limousines will transport you in comfort anywhere you want to go around Northland, Auckland or beyond.

They specialise in Auckland International Airport pick-ups and drop-offs for Northland bound visitors. Their Northland wide services include:

* Airport-Hotel Transfers
* "‘At Your Disposal"’ Transport
* Sightseeing Tours
* Wine, Golf & Art Trails
* Special Interest Tours
* Brunch, Lunch & Dinner Trips
* Corporate & Business Transport
* VIP Transport
* Events, Conferences & Special Occasion Transport
* Trips to Auckland Shows, Concerts & Sports Events
* Weddings

The cost of limousine hire depends on the type of limousine/s required and the length of time they are required for. There is no additional charge for kilometres travelled. Quotes can be given over the phone.

To make a booking , call the 24-hour phoneline (NZ FreeCall) 0800 LIMO-4-ME (0800 5466-4-63) or (International) +64-9-4074239. Fax: +64-9-4017916. E-mail:

2008 Update: Rosemary is now travelling so her wonderful lodge is closed - check out her stories on her Women Travel Blog

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Destination: South Island

The South Island of New Zealand offers a huge variety of scenic experiences with a number of local gay communities in Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin cities. In other small towns in the South Island you will find a very friendly welcome.

A small selection of the accommodation is listed below but the South Island has everything from GOO homestay, GOO/RTA guesthouses, boutique hotels and major hotels which are RTA.

Travelling to Nelson then check out Te Puna Wai Lodge (GOO). Your hosts Richard and James will make you feel very welcome.

Then head on down the West Coast to visit Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. If visit check out our latest RTA property - Ropatini's Homestay B&B - Ropatini homestay is a warm, comfortable home is surrounded by a large garden and has spectacular views of the Southern Alps and Mt Cook.

Crossing the Southern Alps and the Canterbury Plains you arrived in Christchurch (the largest city in the South Island) where you can find many places to stay including Christchurch Gay Stay

Heading south way not take a break at Poller View gay men's farmstay in Balclutha.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Destination: Girlfest on Gold Coast

Calling all lesbians!

Australia is trying to compete with America's popular Dinah Shore Golf Tournament and Women's Week in Palm Springs by launching something similar next year in Queensland.

Girlfest -31 Mar. - 2 Apr. 2006 - promises to rock the Gold Coast with 2500 participants during THE weekend for women. It will be jam packed with a comedy evening, live bands, a dance party, plus a blues and jazz recovery party and a golf tournament!

Tickets and accommodation are going fast, so book now. In case you can't get into the Royal Pines Resort, there are several Rainbow Tourism Network members on the Gold Coast, like Horizons at Peregian near Noosa.

Destination: Mardi Gras & Recovery Central

The OutTraveller, one of the leading USA travel magazines, has named Sydney's Mardi Gras as the world's best all-gay event...but surprisingly, Sydney was named third best foreign city for gay travellers in a tie with Amsterdam. (Paris & London took the top two places.)

The magazine also spotlighted one of Rainbow Tourism Network's members in its 2005 Reader's Choice Awards; it named Queensland's Turtle Cove Resort as the premier gay resort. You can book in there for post Mardi Gras recovery - if you act quick!

Another Rainbow Tourism Network member with a soothing Mardi Gras recovery package is Mai Tai Resort, also near Port Douglas in Far North Queensland. (See photo.) This is an exclusive Balinese Mountain Retreat set in a rainforest, where both men and women are welcome.

The resort caters for a maximum of 8 guests at any one time, offering an intimate, relaxed atmosphere where clothing is optional. So grab your friends and book now for a luxurious post party.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Destination: Dunedin

Our newest Rainbow Tourism Accredited bed & breakfast is Claremont House in Dunedin.

Claremont House is a private guesthouse with the comfortable feel of a bed & breakfast but the privacy and luxury of an exclusive lodge or hotel.

They offer a range of boutique accommodation from modern to classical. Suites offer a private lounge, furnished with antiques and collectables, queen bedroom and bathroom.

Rates in the main house include gourmet breakfast and complimentary light supper. Built around 1908, this historic mansion is close to Dunedin city in the elegant suburb of Roslyn.

Dunedin city in the lower half of the South Island (New Zealand) possesses a unique combination of cultural riches, fine architecture, and world-famous wildlife reserves on the Otago Peninsula.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Destination Kerikeri

GayStay Kerikeri - Gay owned/queer only - Kerikeri

Located in the beautiful sub-tropical Bay of Islands, this is the perfect
place for a stress-free vacation. Owned by vibrant gay couple Stan and
Steven, you are sure to feel comfortable and welcome at this bed and
breakfast. Just 3 hours north of Auckland, you will be able to really unwind at their totally private little piece of paradise.

Established in 2003, GayStay Kerikeri has accommodated many international gay and lesbian travellers here in the peaceful, fun, and relaxing haven. Situated on 6 acres of grounds with the house and pools smack-bang in the middle, the accommodation is surrounded by colourful gardens, orchard and mature trees - which means lots of space to unwind with absolutely no neighbours.

Guests may enjoy lounging by the pool, admiring the park-like setting, having fun with an evening barbeque, shaping-up in the weights room, bushwalking to a stunning waterfall... and to end the day a long hot soak in the fabulous spa-pool under the stars!

All queer people are welcome and the hosts look forward to hearing from you as you plan your trip to Northland.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Destination 1st World Out Games Montreal

With only 9 months to go before the 1st World Out Games open in Montreal in July 2006, do you know what sport or cultural activity will you participate in?

The Out Games will bring people together from all over the world for a fantastic celebration of diversity, camaraderie, achievement and acceptance. It will combine the best of sports and culture, comprising 33 sporting events and 4 cultural events over 7 days. The event will also be the venue for a conference on LGBT Rights - not to mention a chance to explore a great part of the world.

Why go to Montreal?

- Canada allows gay marriages
- A world gay capital
- A large number of people won't need a visa to visit. Click here for more details

Oz Rainbow in Sydney can assist with travel packages.

Rainbow Tourism will have more information shortly on our tour page.

While Canada has no restrictions on entry of HIV+ travellers, the USA does. This means if you are planning to travel to Montreal you may want to consider flying via Japan or Europe to avoid the issue of entry to the US. For more information, ACON has a booklet which you can download.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Destination: Great Ocean Road

I wanted to get away from it all after the expo. The GAYAZ show in Melbourne was great. I grabbed some wine - cleverly marketed for our crowd - from Witchmount EstateVineyard's stall, and headed down to the Surf Coast in search of some classy, casual beaches and gourmet delish delights to go with the red and white wines.

This Victorian coastline - better known as the Great Ocean Road - turned out to be a unique mix of beach and bush, full of unexpected wildlife and stunning scenery, as expected.

Though we couldn't find any gay -owned or gay-friendly accommodation, we suspect they must be out there (pun intended). We settled for a pet-friendly cabin in Wye River, a hamlet halfway between Melbourne and the 12 Apostles, our final destination on a three-day break.

Plenty to see & do besides photograph the remaining "apostle" rock formations, eg walk 250 steps DOWN to look UP at Erskine Falls and watch racy DVDs rented from the general store - after the sunset and BBQ, of course.

Yes, the leisurely drive is breathtaking; move it up a notch on your "to do" list if you want a holiday to talk about for years.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Destination: Waipu (NZ)

Looking for something different, then check out Waihoihoi Lodge and Studio in Waipu.

Where's that?

North of Auckland at the very top of the North Island, where tourism types refer to their region as "Northland."

What's that?

Whaihoihoi is a purpose built women's space set on 5 acres, less than 2 hours' drive from Auckland. The main, ultra-modern house has five rooms and is billed as "a country retreat especially for women." The adjacent, rustic studio is booked as "a self contained retreat for all." Both capture stunning views of Bream Bay.

This is not to be missed, says DownUnder Dee who visited there recently. "Take your golf clubs for a round after brekkie," she suggests.

Ask the hosts, partners Rosemary and Ngaire, to give you the captain's tour of their vegetable and flower gardens and I bet they'll make you a cuppa of tea from scratch!

Rosemary, who is the mama of Women's Travel New Zealand, is excited about having an overflow area for men friends travelling with women... just down the road two gay men are in the process of opening a lodge, with an equally awesome panoramic view.

2008 Update: Rosemary is now travelling so her wonderful lodge is closed - check out her stories on her Women Travel Blog

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Destination Calgary Stampede

Calgary in July and it is time for the annual Calgary Stampede - 'The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth'. Take your partners and don't forget your hat and allow the whole day (or do it over two days)

A great way to start the day is to go to one of the Community Pancake Street Breakfast in the morning. For a donation enjoy pancakes, entertainment for a hearty breakfast before the long day of the stampede.

The stampede is similar to Easter Shows or A&P shows with sideshows, exhibitions and lots of free entertainment. The big attractions of course are the afternoon Rodeo and the evening Grandstand Show.

The Rodeo is a full on event. While the rodeo has bare back riding (the horses are bareback - but riders are fully clothed), bull riding and more the real highlight is the ongoing dialogue between the clown and the commentator. The clown makes the rodeo with ongoing entertainment.

Of course if you are looking for a truly gay rodeo then try a couple of weeks earlier for the Canadian Rockies International Rodeo hosted by the Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo Association

For more gay rodeos check out the International Gay Rodeo Association's website

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Destination Canada

Over the next month watch the blog as I add more stories and photos from our recent trip to the West Coast of Canada.

The main purpose of the trip was to attend the World Master's Games in Edmonton (the next games in 2009 are in Sydney), but we took the opportunity to visit more of Alberta, the Canadian Rockies and Vancouver.

So are we going back. Yes for the Montreal Outgames in 2006.

From Canadian Immigration authorities (my partner and I could enter as a family on one form - unlike USA immigration) to the people one couldn't ask for a more gay friendly holiday destination.

Auckland Accommodation Featured in Historic Trust Magazine

We are delighted to tell you that Braemar B&B on Parliament St. in Auckland is featured in the Spring 2005 edition of the New Zealand Heritage magazine.

The two-page centre spread covers recent rennovations, which you can spot on the magazine's website, including some interesting "before" and "after" shots of the staircase. For a peek at their rooms, check out their listing on Rainbow Places.

Braemar is a proud Rainbow Tourism Accredited property, and I recommend booking there if you're headed to the North Island.

Destination New Zealand - Adventures for Women

Driftwood Dreamers run women's multi-activity tours around the North Island of New Zealand, combining a variety of outdoor adventures with a genuine insight into the country and its culture.

I can’t wait to return to NZ so I can have a go at rafting, biking, climbing, kayaking, sailing and hiking with these women co-leaders. They say you don’t have to be ultra-fit or experienced to join the adventures (though if you are then there are certainly challenges out there for you). All you need is an adventurous spirit!

COMING UP: Adventure Northland & Central - 1, 2 or 3 week adventures between 22 Oct and 11 Nov. 5% OFF FOR READERS OF THIS BLOG! Check out their website at

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Destination Queensland

Just learned that Womyn's Week is back by popular demand at Turtle Cove Resort, which is a tropical paradise located between Cairns and Port Douglas. I've only ever been there once - during the infamous Mardi Gras Recovery Week - when it was mostly populated by men. Love to have a return visit when it's the exclusive domain of babes! Swinging in the hammock with my girlfriend, enjoying live music on International Lesbian Day, and hijinks at one of the top 10 gay resorts in the world - how could you beat that?
Maybe now's the time to put the new swimsuit to use durring Womyn's Week, 7-12 October. Should be one tryst to remember! See you there, Deetouring Dee.

PS You can book your stay now by visiting the Turtle Cove page.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Destination Melbourne

Event: GayAZ Expo 23 to 25 September
Insider Tip: GayAZ stands for the A to Z of gay & lesbian lifestyle.
Dee says: “Be there or be square!”

The Gayaz Expo inaugural year was 2004 and it attracted over 15,000 people to the three days of the exhibition. This year the 2005 Melbourne GAYAZ Expo has a target of over 25,000 visitors - and Rainbow Tourism staff will be among them.

See some of Australia's best gay & lesbian talent, including comedians, bands, solo performers, choirs and of course the best of Australian cabaret performers and drag entertainment.

GayAZ has something for everyone from finance to photography, gardening to home wares, plus Dee and Mark’s favorite topic - travel & tourism.

I’m scootering over to find some leather accessories...uhh, for the Vespa. See you there! - DownUnder Dee

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tempting Tasmania is featuring Tasmania on its new Rainbow Places page. Tasmania has the most progressive laws in the country vis a vis G&L rights, making it a very friendly place to visit.

If you've ever been tempted to visit The Apple Isle, now would be a good time. There are plenty of gay/lesbian owned and friendly accommodation to choose from across the state, in all the hot destinations:
East=Freycinet Peninsula
West=Cradle Mountain
Rainbow Tourism recommends places to stay and labels each as Gay Owned and Operated or Rainbow Tourism Accredited. Every effort is made to ensure that only gay-friendly properties are listed below these GOO and RTA accommodation.
In Launceston, there are a range of RTA properties, from budget to B&B. Check out Airlie Dorset Terrace if you like Victorian charm, Sandor's on the Park if you're there for the food & wine festival in historic City park, or the Country Comfort Coach House for cosy comfort.
Just a short drive outside Hobart in the breathtaking Huon Valley, is a not-to-be-missed "green" retreat, Huon Bush Retreats. Choose your comfort level from cabins to campsites. Either way, you're inside a habitat reserve and can have breakfast with a wallaby, midnight outdoor bath with a family of possums and wake up with plethora of bird calls.
Whether you want to experience wilderness or wildlife, culture or history, or fine wine and or cool climate cuisine, Tasmania's the place to explore. Self drive itineraries or escorted tours (some wtih G&L tour guides) are available from GOO/RTA tour operators like Tas Vacations, DeeTours DownUnder and Vino Ventures.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Destination Tasmania

Tasmania is full of surprises and temptations. What's a guy or gal to do when touring under downunder? Plenty! I'm off this weekend for a peek around Launceston and Hobart to see what's new since leaving the Apple Isle at the top of the year.
Stay tuned for my exclusive report on just how gay & lesbian friendly the state's tourism operators really are. I had a disturbing report that maybe not everyone is on board with the concept of equal rights, so I'm checking out the truly Rainbow-friendly places and peopple.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Rainbow Tourism DownUnder

Just launched! The gateway to gay and lesbian travel destinations downunder. Accommodation and tours and things to do when you arrive in Australia or New Zealand. We list only gay/lesbian owned or friendly properties that are Rainbow Tourism Accredited and display this symbol.