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