Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Destination: Middle Earth (AKA Central Otago Region)

Central Otago Rail Trail:
Cycling Thru Middle Earth
by Bruce Morrison, owner, Christchurch Gay Stay

The Central Otago Rail Trail is a 150km cycle track which was formerly part of the rail network from Dunedin to Clyde. The line from Middlemarch to Clyde was closed in the 1990s and when the rails were removed a cycleway was born.
I have ridden the track three times, and believe it is one of the great ways to soak up the atmosphere of Central Otago. I first rode the track in 2000 and there was a lack of services like accommodation, bike hire, and transport back then but the track’s success has led to better catering for cyclists needs.
I’m possibly organising a group ride again in October ... a freedom ride where I book accommodation and transport, rather than a guided ride. If you would like information send me an email christchurchgaystay@paradise.net.nz. Happy Trails, Bruce

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Destination: Dalby, QLD

Full Moon Party for Queensland Men

Come experience a luxury farmstay at Halliford Station.

Gold Club Travel, our Brisbane affiliate travel provider, and Halliford Station have joined forces to present a unique farmstay event over the Easter long weekend, starting Good Friday on 14 April.

The sleeping arrangements include a bunk in the bunkhouse, a double room in the guesthouse, or sleeping under canvas in tents. Single fares start from $150 and include bus transfers and all meals while at Halliford Station, a gay-owned and operated accommodation.

Gold Club tours will operate short day tours during the weekend to points of interest around Dalby to test local vintages and arts & crafts. Or you can just laze by the river waiting your turn in the canoe.

At Halliford Station you could see dingo, emus and kangaroos, and as a working cattle station, there’s plenty of BEEF!

To find out more give Wally at Gold Club Travel a call today or contact him through RainbowTourism.com/tours.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Destination: Kiwi Land

Kia Ora from New Zealand...where there's something for everyone's budget, taste and pace. Some of the enticing new accommodation and tours available through the Rainbow Tourism booking engine are Kamahi Cottage, an authentic farmstay experience, the Spa Lodge, near the world-fanmous hot thermal springs, and Cabbage Tree Backpackers & Woody's Art Gallery in Auckland's trendy Ponsonby district. Woody also leads overnight and longer budget fun tours for my "fellow gay brothers and sisters,"called Art Safaris.

While everyone has NZ at the top of their downunder travel wish list, only Rainbow Tourism has it covered in terms of gay owned and gay-friendly accommodation and tours. Check out the OUT Operators on www.rainbowtourism.com.

Destination: Cape Tribulation, Far North OLD

Rainforests & Rainbows on Safari...where else but Queensland?

Mai Tai Resort is not only a unique stay for gay men and women and their friends (it's clothing optional and very private), but they also offer a range of Play Gay day trips with gay or gay-friendly tour guides. Best deal is their 4 day/3 ni package which includes a superior suite at Mai Tai, tropical breakfast, private stretch limo transfers from airport, a Rainforest Safari Tour to Cape Tribulation, a day on the reef snorkeling, and a dinner voucher at a gay-friendly restaurant....until 31 March this will only cost $995 pp. Get there now!

Food & Wine Experiences -With or Without Golf

Yarra Valley & Mornington Peninsula are on the world food and wine map, to those in the know. So when you travel to Victoria, be sure to contact these wine tour operators for your personalised tour of one or both of these regions.
Chillout Travel Winery Tours offer a lovely, relaxed scenic day out, whether you want to discover the Yarra Valley or the Mornington Peninsula. Both are about an hour out of Melbourne but in opposite directions. You could easily tour one region per day so book them both back to back or at the start or finish of your visit to Melbourne. Tours include gourmet food, wine tastings and incredible vineyard vistas for just $98 pp. Contact Elly for details.

DeeTours DownUnder has created weekend getaways for women golfers who also want a bit of pampering and indulgence afterwards.

Called Wicked Weekends for Women, the personalized and flexible getaway features:

  • a clinic, and round of golf on Mornington Peninsula's premier golf courses
  • pampering time at local natural hot springs and spa
  • indulgence at winery & restaurant with gay winemaker & chef
  • overnight at G&L accommodation and sightseeing on return to Melbourne

Mornington Peninsula, in Southern Victoria just an hour's drive from Melbourne, is fast becoming a golf and spa mecca, keeping pace with its reputation for indulgent food and fine wine experiences.

Ideal for social or competitive golfers, and affordably priced. Contact Dee for the details.

Destination:Tasmania. Put a tiger in your tank.

Tasmania, the island of rejuvenation, ranks fifth in the world among eco destinations. Don't fail to experience it - our way.
There are two "green"eco retreats that are GOO, one outside of Hobart in the Garden of Eden (my term for Huon Valley) and the other on the east coast, near the village of St. Mary's.

Both Rainbow Retreat in northern Tasmania and Huon Bush Retreats in the southern half of this tiny island are classified as wilderness eco retreats. Peter & Ian are the host and chef over the Rainbow and Michaeel & Paul are the creators and energy behind the hospitality and catering at their cabins, tipis and tent sites near Huonville.

Unique to both is the fact they are located in private nature reserves, where guests enjoy the wildlife that roams freely on the property and spectacular scenery like no where else on earth.

Rainbow Retreat is an Adult Retreat, whereas Huon Bush Retreats is children and family friendly.
Rainbow Ridge has ocean views, and HBR has a mild to wild wilderness track where you can hug ancient trees. Rainbow Tourism recommends a stay at both of them; they are just a couple of hours by car apart.

They've tamed the devils, watered the ferns and are waiting for you in paradise. You may not spot a Tasmanian tiger, but you'll feel their presence out there in the woods...

Destinations DownUnder - Our Way

Rainbow Tourism has a new look and feel to its site, and is slowly beginning to add content to the destination, events and tours pages. Another dozen tourism operators have joined the Rainbow Tourism Network since the start of the calendar year - including tour operators from OZ & NZ, and accommodation operators from Auckland to the Whitsundays.

Before I tell you about them and their special offers for G&L visitors, let me just interject a comment as an ex-pat American who came here on holiday and never left!

Aussies and Kiwis always seem to have time to engage with overseas visitors. This is not how the rest of the world behaves, and it is a quality which Australians & New Zealanders should never loose. If you want to have a terrific vacation in the land down under, look no further than these two island countries in the South Pacific. Come on down and enjoy the hospitality ...you'll want to come back - or stay like me!