Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hamilton Pride Week starts this Saturday

Hamilton tends to be one of those places you drive through on the way to somewhere else, or totally bypass.

However this weekend marks the beginning of Hamilton Pride Week. So if you are in the Waikato then why not get along to some of the pride events:

  • Red Party at GLAMZ on 1st December
  • Fairy Run on Sunday
  • Or try Karaoke, or go to the book club
  • Get dressed up and go to the Rock Horror Picture Show
  • Take a tramp up Mt Pirongia
  • And to finish it off there is the welcome return of the Gordonton Picnic Whanau Day
Hamilton is only a couple hours drive from Auckland travelling down the Motorway over the Bombay Hills and then travelling alongside the Waikato River.

So why not go down for one during week and stay overnight and meet some of the locals.

Websites: Hamilton Pride Week, Hamilton Region

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How do you find travel companions?

One of the great things about travelling is meeting local people, trying different food and doing new and exciting things.

So how you do you go about meeting local gay and lesbian contacts?

What if you are single but want to travel with another person to enjoy the experience more and to cut the cost?

What if you want to hire a boat but need two other people?

While it is possible to use the internet to find like minded people it can be a lot of work.

The "networking sites" have some travel features but generally are not focused on finding that person or persons who share your travel passions. is investigating a travel companion, review and community section on our website. We would be really interested in what your thoughts are.

So why not leave a comment or contact us with your ideas.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dorothy's Sister

When I lived in Auckland there used to be a great little bar called Surrender Dorothy's which was always great for meeting friends before going out or just a quiet mid week drink.

Sadly it closed a few years back but now Dorothy's Sister has opened as in Ponsonby Rd offering a nice intimate bar for meeting old friends or making new friends.

So if visiting Auckland why not check it out.

On a sadder note the Newtown Hotel in Sydney has closed recently, and with the Imperial Hotel been closed for renovations, means one has to head to Oxford St for a gay bar now.

The good news is that the NSW State government finally has changed the liquor licence law which might mean small bars like Dorothy's Sister may be a reality in Sydney one day soon.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

"Exceptional" star in Northland sky

One of the oldest-established boutique accommodations in Northland has achieved the highest star level in the demanding Qualmark assessment. On the road to Russell, Orongo Bay Homestead is a historic-listed landmark that was built in the 1860s for the first American Commercial Agent in the Bay of Islands. The two-storey Homestead with extensive grounds was opened as a gourmet guest house in 1994, after being purchased and refurbished by its proprietors Chris Swannell and Michael Hooper.

“Each year we’ve developed the grounds and building,” says Chris Swannell. “Along the way we’ve achieved organic certification, hosted numerous international figures, and been judged in the top three boutique hotels in the New Zealand Tourism Awards. Achieving 5-star status in Qualmark means we’ve measured up against 400 quality- checking criteria.” The rating also means the Homestead’s official tourism descriptor lifts from “excellent” to “exceptional”.

Michael Hooper says the top rating could not come at a better time. “We are about to represent Northland, and in reality New Zealand, at the Luxury Tourism Expo in Las Vegas, as founding members of the diverse New Zealand Luxury group. This is a marketplace for agents who sell to the world’s most discerning travellers. This grading gives the Homestead’s investment in the trade mission a much better chance of capturing attention, and adds to our credibility with bookers of high level tourist travel.”

Hooper and Swannell are also taking part in a Los Angeles consumer promotion next weekend, especially promoting high end Maori tourism product, with which they have long been associated.

During the pair’s absence, the Homestead staff will be occupied preparing the house and grounds for the tourism season ahead, which, says Chris Swannell, may prove to be a difficult one. “The high NZ/US dollar rate, a perception that New Zealand is not good value for money, and some less-than-excellent food and service experiences in other parts of the country have made some international visitors reluctant to make repeat visits. Our job is to counter that, and this rating will help us speak convincingly.”

Michael Hooper was head restaurant judge for Restaurant of the Year staged in Auckland in September, and he contributes to a variety of media as a food and wine authority and commentator. He is also current and multiple holder of the Magazine Travel Writer of the Year in the annual Cathay Pacific Travel Media Awards. Chris Swannell is a deacon in the Anglican church and, along with Hooper, is a published photographer.

The pair say they have plans for further upgrading of the luxury Homestead even within the next year. “We see attaining 5 stars not so much as a reward but as a real motivator. We’re in the front row, now we have to lead the pack.”

Qualmark is New Zealand tourism's official quality mark, a joint venture of Tourism New Zealand and the New Zealand Automobile Association. It demonstrates to travellers the professionalism of a tourism business that can be trusted to deliver a quality experience.

For more details and bookings click here

Anise for brunch in Newtown

If you happen to be visiting Sydney then drop in to the Anise cafe and enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch or maybe a coffee or tea.

The staff are friendly and the food is great. It always pays to check their specials as you never know what you will find.

On a nice day the courtyard is a great break from busy King St.

Newtown of course is full of a wonderful range of cafes, restaurants and shops to explore.

View Larger Map

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bali's Gay Men Hotel

Imagine lying in the pool and all your worries melting away. Then if you are a gay man head to the newly opened Spartacvs Bali Hotel.

Talking to Gary the manager in Sydney yesterday after a stressful day of traffic jams I wondered why I wasn't hoping on a plane and spending a few days winding back.

The great thing is that the hotel caters for gay men only and is 100% clothing optional and completely private from the street.

The other great thing is what you would pay for a basic motel room elsewhere Bali offers the gay traveller excellent value for money.

So check Spartacvs Bali Hotel and book your flight to Bali now.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

New site is now live

Our new site is finally live after 3 months behind the scenes work.

It may not seem much different but the back end is a huge improvement and as we work through a few minor issues you will be able to find a whole heap of things which was hard to find before.

Whether you are looking for family friendly places, gay only places, women run places our new advanced search allows you to do this.

So check out our advanced search and if you can't find something then let us know by leaving a comment in our blog.

We are editing files as we go to make the search better so your feedback is important.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What do you like about air travel today?

Often the worse part of travel today is the airline flight and the airports. Issues like

  • Long queues at check in
  • Security hassles - like no water past security - then paying inflated prices on the air side for a bottle of water
  • Cramped seats
  • Delayed flights
However what things are better. Rachel Berg blogged today about 5 *Good* Things About Air Travel Today.

Her five good things were:
  • Non smoking flights
  • No mobile phones
  • In flight TV
  • Online Check in
  • Carbon Offsets
To this list I would add:
  • Cheap airfares. Given the increases in taxes airline fares have continued to drop
  • Coffee which has definitely improved over the years.
  • More direct flights
  • Premium economy - for those of us who want a bet of extra leg room but don't want the full service of Business Class or the price.
What do you think has improved on airlines?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sunshine Coast: Home of Girlfest '08

The third reincarnation of Girlfest has a new home on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, now at the Hyatt resort at Coolum. Set your calendar for 25-28 January if you want to join 1000 lesbians for the 3-day event.

Comics, rock bands, dance parties, chicks frolicking in the pool, and ocean breezes - what more could a girl want?
I enjoyed GF06 and highly recommend the fun-filled long weekend. Afterwards, why not stay along the Sunshine Coast and try other GOO and RTA places to stay and things to see and do?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

2008 New Zealand International Arts Festival

The programme for the 2008 New Zealand International Arts Festival to be held in Wellington during February and March is now available.

The event is a showcase of International and New Zealand arts and a great chance to see what makes New Zealand unique.

The event is a fantastic excuse to visit Wellington and stay for a few days and spend time exploring the capital of New Zealand.