Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Gateway Cairns

Reef to Rainforest activities. Backpackers to luxurious hideaways. Beaches, pools and outdoor spas. Laid-back resorts. Great food, wine and shopping. What more could you want? I found nothing lacking on my recent visit - and can't wait to go back!

Fly into Cairns airport and drive 5 minutes to the all-new Skinny Dips Resort at 18-24 James St. I have fond memories of my stay there 10 years ago and spending time in their pool and outdoor cafe where the locals hang out. With a new chef, Kim, the restaurant has been transformed into the Montage Bistro. The entire complex has undergone a facelift under new management. This is gonna be a great place for post Mardi Gras recovery and any time of year you get to Tropical QLD.

If a smaller place is your cup of tea, drive 15 mins. further to Kewarra Beach and enjoy the homey feel of Boyz on the Beach. Your co-host, Bob, is also a tour operator and arranges 4WD escapes for guests. Ask about the rainforest and waterfall tour inside the stunning World Heritage region.

After a few days in paradise, head to heaven in Port Douglas (about an hour's drive). If you choose to stay in town, you can stay at woman-owned and managed Pink Flamingo, a relaxed and hip resort with outdoor gardens, showers and spa baths. The clientele is mixed but no worries about privacy in your private villa or feeling comfortable around the heated pool and outdoor lounge area.

Tip from the locals: Have brekkie at Cafe Ecco on the main street and say hello to David and Joe (who also have accommodation in Palm Cove.)

Or head 12 km up the mountain to Mai Tai, for a romantic getaway. You don't have to die to be in heaven is their slogan at this Balinese style retreat. Perched high on top of a mountain and nestled into lush tropical surroundings, Mai Tai offers complete privacy and magical views across the rainforest. I recommend staying in the deluxe suites which has a spacious outdoor shower... for the ultimate tropical experience.

Andre and Anthony are perfect hosts; they love sharing their personal paradise with discerning travelers. They arrange tours with local operators like RC Safaris that takes you to Cape Tribulation in the Daintree Rainforest, and Synergy, a catamaran that takes your snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. Even breakfast with the birds at the nearby Rainforest Habitat, an authentic environmental wildlife experience.

A sign of the times

Turtle Cove, once proclaimed as an exclusive gay resort, is still courting "gays, lesbians and friends." Contrary to rumors, new manager Ross Palm says the resort is not going straight, rather broadening it appeal to satisfy those who say "exclusive" is discriminatory. The resort, undergoing a tidy up, is going ahead with special events like Women's Week in October. A new ad campaign starting mid-July will detail summer packages and events. Stay tuned for the new, improved Turtle Cove.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Gateway: Byron Bay

Things are buzzing in Byron, and when Rainbow Tourism went calling on new operator Amber Gardens B&B, we quickly learned about the good work of the boys behind The Pink Guide. They told us BB operators want to promote the region for Mardi Gras recovery week. While Amber Gardens is the only Gay Owned and Operated B&B in town, there are plenty of gay-friendly accommodation to welcome visitors, including the Rainbow Tourism Accredited Byron Quarter.

The Byron experience really is something to be had. So if you've never been, or its been awhile, you should escape there soon. You'll be surprised that it is not just a backpacker destination, but also a upmarket getaway. There's something for everyone, from adventure to first-class indulgence.

When I go back I plan to find Tea Tree Lakes and Tyagarah Beach, which I'm told are not as crowded as the better-known King's Beach. Aah, the tropo scene!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ezy Car Winter Special - Free Skiing

All bookings made for travel 01 July - 30 September 2006 will receive 1 FREE
adult all lifts day pass for Treble Cone Ski Field Wanaka for each day the
vehicle is hired.

Eg: 7 day rental = 7 day lift pass.

* Promotion is only valid on Ezy Cars & Campa's.

* Only one voucher (valid for one adult) per day can be used

* Vouchers only valid for the duration of the rental.

The snow is falling, the skiers are excited and Ezy is offering FREE skiing!

Book Now

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Byron, Brisbane & Babes

Over Pride weekend, I stopped on the Gold Coast to check on next year's Girlfest date and location, then drove to Byron Bay to have dinner with Yvonne of Bushwise Women to plan a lesbian tour to Lesbos next Sep. During Fair Day, I met Georgina, sales and marketing diva for the Pink Sofa and discussed some joint promotions.

It's hard work hanging out with these dynamic women! In the coming weeks, look for details on rainbowtourism.com/tours.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Destination: NZ Ski Season Opens

The New Zealand Ski Season is off to a great start with heavy snow falls in the last week.

Expect excellent skiing over the next few months on both the North Island and South Island ski fields.

Check out more details of our ski offers on www.rainbowtourism.com