Saturday, December 26, 2009

2nd Asia Pacific OutGames - Wellington March 2011



Wellington Outgames 2011 will be held from Saturday 12 –Saturday 19 March 2011, in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand.

It’s going to be a huge event combiningsports competitions,a human rights conference,and a massive variety of artsand culture activities. It willbringthousands of participants together including more than 2,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex competitors and delegates fromthe Asia-Pacific region and beyond.


In January and February 2010 you can catch up with the  Asia Pacific Outgames at the following gay events in 2010.

  • January 17 we’ll be at Midsumma Carnival at Alexandra Gardens in Melbourne
  • January 23 we’re at home base in Wellington for the fabulous Out in the Square in Civic Square
  • February 14 we’re at the Big Gay Out at Coyle Park, Pt Chevalier, in Auckland
  • February 21 we’re at the Mardi Gras fair day in Sydney

For more information check out the following links:





For travel assistance please contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge

More information on our website, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Enriching Asia - Specials from North America




Here are some great deals for Asia for our North American readers:

Temples of Angkor
  • 4 nights hotel accommodation
  • Highlights Phnom Penh & Siem Reap
  • Arrival & Departure Taxes
  • Upgrade to Deluxe tour from only US$350
  • Group Travel from US$795 Land Only
Taste of Thailand
  • 6 nights hotel accommodation
  • Highlights Bangkok, Grand Palace
  • Domestic Flight Bangkok to Chiang Mai
  • Arrival & Departure Taxes
  • Group Travel from US$1255 Land Only
Diverse Vietnam
  • 9 nights hotel accommodation
  • Highlights Saigon, Chu Chi Tunnels, Hoi An
  • All transfers and road transport
  • Expert Western Tour Leader
  • Group Travel from US$1395 Land Only
The Fine Print
Terms and Conditions: All prices are “from” per person based on twin share and travel in Low Season. Not combinable with any other special airfare offer or vacation package special. Travel Insurance coverage is required for Small Group Journeys. Prices are current at the time of posting (11/06/09); Prices may differ when you book your travel and are not guaranteed until full payment is received and processed. Cancellation penalties and other restrictions apply. All prices, itineraries and routings are subject to change. Please call for our current prices. CST# 2001136-50.


Contact Travelscene if you live in North America
Phone - 888 830 9970

Interested in a gay and lesbian tour or not living in North America then contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge



Sydney - San Francisco = Sister Cities Groove in the Park


"San Francisco Place" is the proposed name for a new "urban place" in Sydney's gayest neighborhood, Surry Hills. It will be located in the northeastsern corner of Harmony Park if City of Sydney Council approves.


Since 1968, Sydney and San Francisco have enjoyed a Sister City relationship. Both have been rated #1 destinations for gay travellers, each taking the title from the other in surveys over the years. They may have Castro to our Oxford, and they may have a Gay Freedom March each June, but we have the bigger and better Mardi Gras festival month!

Many San Franciscians will be seen in Sydney - as part of many inbound tours like Mardi Gras Spring Fling 2010 - so if you meet one or more, take them to the new meeting point (off Goulbourn and Campbell streets) named in their honour.

Friday, December 11, 2009

...And leave the rest to JB @ Ramada Plaza Noumea




What kind of New Caledonia experience do you want?
Jean-Baptiste Ixeko is in charge of Guest Relations at the Ramada Plaza Noumea, and this is the first question he'll ask when you finish checking in and he escorts you to the Concierge Desk.



The Ramada is the newest Rainbow Tourism Accredited accommodation in the South Pacific Region, and one we highly recommend when you're considering a relaxed, hassle-free, educational, entertaining, cultural or unique holiday with a French accent!

JB will fix you up with a tour, side trip or dinner reservation that is exactly right for your style, your budget, your holiday fantasy. "I invite you to sleep in comfort, dine in style, work in peace and relax in luxury at the hotel or at our Spa and Energy Centre," says JB.

The Ramada Plaza, purpose built just 5 years ago, is ideally located on Anse Vata Bay, in proximity to the beachfront, cafes, shops and restaurants. In fact, it has its own fine dining experience on top. Restaurant 360 is Noumea's only panoramic revolving restaurant, with breathtaking views over the lagoon. The cuisine and service may just be Noumea's best kept restaurant secret.

Rooms with a View - Mountains, Race Track, Golf Driving Range from one round tower, and La Promenade and beach from the adjoining tower. The hotel has a range of spacious, air conditioned, well-appointed accommodation options, some with kitchens, and some VIP rooms with internet for those who insist on working in paradise.

This is the only hotel with a refrigerator where you can custom-order your own mini-bar supplies and with a steam/waterfall/shower combo that I had only ever seen before in NYC. One might never leave the room -
except for an exceptional, unusual tour that JB can arrange for you alone, for a group of friends, or to share with fellow non-French speaking tourists.



For more information about staying at the Ramada Plaza Noumea in New Caledonia, please ask Rainbow Tourism's Concierge.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

GET IT ON! BIG GAY OUT Set for Valentine's Day in Auckland

Blending a celebration of diversity with safe sex messages is central to the Get it On! Big Gay Out, an annual event sponsored by Get it On.

Originally started to provide a safe and supportive social environment for people of diverse sexualities and gender, Big Gay Out has become a celebration and an opportunity for the New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) to deliver safe sex messaging to around 10,000 attendees.

Performers & Politicians

New Zealand artist Annie Crummer will be featured at the 2010 celebration, on Sunday, 14 February. (Annie C has toured with lesbian icon KD Lang, and performed in both Rent and as Killer Queen in We Will Rock You.) Pop sensation Will C Barling will be joined onstage by sexy DJ Stevolicious. Other acts throughout the day will be a selection of premium bands, comedy, solo artists and dance performances.

The Get it On! Big Gay Out has extensive political support; Prime Ministers, Mayors and Opposition Leaders and MPs have all attended New Zealand’s biggest gay festival.

Follow the BGO Festival on Facebook. As soon as you decide to go to NZ, be sure to find lodging to suit your style on Rainbow Tourism. Beds may be at a premium with 10,000 people plus their Valentines expected at the noon-7 pm festival in the park to launch a summer of love (and safe sex).



Why does Rainbow Tourism recommend Redspot Cars at major Australian airports?

No hidden costs or fees at the counter and professional and personal customer service when selecting and picking up a classy car.


Redspot is an Australian owned and operated vehicle rental company with locations Australia wide. Not all vehicles are red, and they come in economy to luxury size, and they are younger than 6 months old.

# 1 Reason – Great insurance policies and a sense of humour.

Drive Away, no more to pay
Most car rental companies promise an all inclusive rate, but we're the only ones who really mean it. Your daily rate includes (take a deep breath) GST & stamp duty; registration, credit card, extra driver and premium location fees; windscreen and headlight cover; premium roadside assistance; unlimited Km's and of course, $0 damage/theft liability.
Redspot also offers other insurance plans like Middle of the Road, Bare Naked Web Specials, and More than a Monthful.

#2 Reason - Freebies

* free delivery to your hotel
* airport pick up and drop off


PS. Need help with a car on holiday? See all our rental recommendations.





Thursday, December 03, 2009

Try something new…the Paris end of the South Pacific.


Tired of holidaying in wet New Zealand, humid Bali and arctic Tasmania? Want somewhere closer, with an accent, and totally gay friendly? Try New Caledonia. (The new 'Gay Paree' ?)










Where is this French Territory? Just 2.5 hours by Aircalin from Australia and Auckland.

What’s new about this gay getaway hotspot is the attitude of the local tourism industry. which is actively courting Aussie gay tourists for romance, for gourmet indulgences, for quiet relaxation, even adrenalin activities. (It has been a learning curve, with individuals at the national airline and tourism board talking with gay businesses, bloggers, media and IGLTA representatives for more than a year. Now they're primed.)

What kind of New Caledonia do you want?

What does an island nomad like me enjoy about exploring new places like New Caledonia? Mainly, discovering places before they are commercialized, and Noumea that sort of experience. Hurry before more jet skis choke the lagoon with noise and pollution. Swim with the fishes and photograph the coral while it’s still thriving.

From hiking to world-class kite surfing, from Kanak culture to colonial history, from wildlife viewing and fauna seen at underwater parks. There’s something for every sort of traveller. Even scratch and social golfers will find driving ranges and championship courses on Grand Terre. Did I mention horse racing and casino gambling?

On a long weekend, I stayed close to Noumea for food & wine experiences that were intimidating in French but got me trying the unusual. Like a shot glass full of crab salad washed down with crème brule at brekkie, and succulent, sweet prawns stirred in garlic oil washed down with one each vin blanc and rouge. Certainly the most important phrase to learn is “parle vous Anglais?” Some locals speak English well, but too many more waiters can’t tell you if the ribs are pork or beef. Or if the wine is dry, complex or fruity

Dreaming of a tropical paradise?

Next visit (after French for Dummies lessons), I’ll set aside more days to fly to the Loyalty Islands for dinner over the water, a bungalow on the water, or a resort with a swim-up pool. I would hike some of the coastal trails and work up a hunger and thirst for more of the same. I'll book a foot massage after hiking, and rent a scooter to get to the local, hidden, nude beach where gays do their thing.

It is easy to island hop, and there are 3 Loyalty Islands and the Isle de Palms to experience the diversity of these seductive coral islands. Returnees say the country is one of the most unique destinations in the world.

NC is not cheap as chips.

Fortunately, public transport (buses and tourist trains) is plentiful and inexpensive, and most of what you'd want from a resort village is within walking distance. Try the hop-on /hop-off explorer bus that runs around town for shopping and museum stops. Besides shoes and yet more Billabong stores, if you’re into collecting or viewing Pacific arts, there are plenty of buying opportunities. Even my newly renovated hotel restaurant and lobby (Le Lagon) was adorned with D’Art Polynesien, with some unusual pieces that I would love to hang on my walls.

I spent an hour and some at the Tjibaou Cultural Centre, which was silent and deserted on a Sunday afternoon. The only other touristas were a young couple from Wellington to speak English with; learnt they were staying at the same hotel and would bump into them around the pool a few hours later.

Not into mainstream, chain hotels and transformed Club Meds? You can do the romantic, boutique thing and stay at a newly-opened, gay owned B&B on the outskirts next to the Dumbea golf club. Guess where I’m staying next time?

Best Values

Noumea has hotels from 3 to 5 star, and the smaller are sometimes better at 3.5 star “family feeling” boutique hotels than the large chains with tour loads of Asians. Besides the French and Aussies, the majority of visitors are from Japan and New Zealand which have frequent and inexpensive air service ex Tokyo and Auckland.

I hope to encourage the gay-owned and gay welcoming properties to get listed on Pink Choice (they're adding a New Caledonia section), so travellers can decide for themselves the level of service and friendliness they want from reviewed properties. I give high marks to Le Lagon, the Ramada Plaza, the Best Western Premier Hotel La Promenade and Le Parc (in the same complex), and especially to l'Éscapade Island Resort on Maitre Islet, a small marine reserve about 40 minutes by private ferry. There are two Meridien Hotels in New Caledonia – one in Noumea on the grounds of a former Club Med, and one on the Isle de Palms, also five star and worth the 20 min. flight from the mainland.

If you go, contact the Rainbow Concierge for first-hand information and more travel advice on accommodations, tours, airlines, local community contacts at Homophere and currency exchange tricks.

View from my Boeing 777 window over the stunning Grand Terre island as we approached the high-altitude international airport. Aircalin is the national airline of New Caledonia.

Nouvelle Caledonie... aux couleurs du Pacifique


The Amedee Lighthouse shipped (in 3 pieces) by Napoleon to his penal colony in French Polynesia - today's island of New Caledonia. On a reserve, it can be seen close up on a day boat trip from the capital, Noumea.







Other colours of the Pacific (besides white sand, blue sky and water, and brown mud covering work utes) are to be found underwater in the world's largest and most beautiful lagoon (now on the World Heritage list).

Take your scuba gear or snorkel sets to be awe-struck by the myriad tropical fish and coral of every hue. The coral reef is extensive, second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef across the big pond in Australian waters.

Spotted these guys going for a dive in the protected underwater walk area on Duck Island, just minutes by water taxi from the main town beach.

To book your holiday to New Caledonia contact the Rainbow Concierge

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Go Vancouver! Go Whistler! 2010 Winter Olympics



Olympic Pride in Vancouver

A same-sex marriage mecca and host of Western Canada’s biggest Pride Parade, Vancouver has a long reputation for embracing the LGBT community. The upcoming 2010 Olympic Winter Games are no exception. When Vancouver welcomes the world this February, for the first time in Olympic history LGBT athletes will have a place to call their own. Pride Houses, with locations in downtown Vancouver and the Whistler ski resort, will provide a space for athletes, as well as friends, family and Olympic fans, to socialize during the Games.

"Homophobia is still very prevalent in sports," says Dean Nelson, an organizer of the Pride Houses and Whistler's annual Winter Pride festival. "Pride House is a pavilion that celebrates diversity and inclusiveness... open to all people regardless of sexual identity or sexual preference."

The Whistler Pride House, in Whistler’s Pan Pacific Hotel, will be equipped with big-screen TVs for watching Olympic events and will feature music, film screenings and wine and food tastings. The Vancouver house, located in downtown’s Qmunity queer resource center, will offer workshops on health and immigration. Its satellite celebration site – housed in Score, a popular bar in the heart of the Davie Street gay village – will be the place to meet up and enjoy the Olympic party.

"We anticipate the Pride House will be a legacy that Vancouver and Whistler will leave for future Olympic destinations," Nelson says

PS Dean gave Dee a tour of the olympic park area a year ago as preparations were underway to transform the village.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The 12 Gifts of Christmas in Sydney

The Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney in the CBD is making gift shopping easier this holiday season - and the celebration vouchers are good for the first 6 months of 2010.


The 12 special gifts created for the festive season are perfect for family, friends and colleagues. Santa can bring me one of each! From afternoon tea, special accommodation package, health club membership to intimate dinners with champagne.

For a snaphot of the heritage hotel, see YouTube/Rainbow Tourism. The hotel is currently working on accommodation packages for the Mardi Gras season.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eco-luxury: combining responsibility with style

Top Eco Operators in Australia: 2 in Tasmania, 1 in Far North Queensland

In North East Tasmania, set on a hilltop, 40 metres above the pounding of the sea and surrounded by a national park, Bay of Fires Lodge is the only building on 20km of outstanding coastal wilderness. A truly ecologically-aware building has been gently let into the landscape here and enjoys views up and down the pristine white sandy beaches in an area of great significance to the Aboriginal community.


The lodge is located in Mount William National Park, a haven for some of Australia’s most unique flora and fauna. This area is home to a large population of eastern grey kangaroos, as well as echidnas, brush-tail possums, wombats, wallabies and Tasmanian devils. Birdlife too is abundant, with over 100 species occurring in the park, including many varieties of sea and shore birds.

Freycinet Lodge sits at the foot of the pink granite mountain peaks of the Hazard Mountain Range and looks out over spectacular Great Oyster Bay. To protect the delicate environment, the 60 timber cabins, hidden in the casuarinas and tea tree forest, are linked by raised boardwalks. Nearby, you can explore a local oyster farm, walk to the famous Wineglass Bay lookout, or visit the seaside villages of Bicheno and Swansea and the acclaimed cool-climate wineries.

Rainbow Tourism Accredited Daintree Eco-Lodge is a boutique resort situated in the cool of the world's oldest living rainforest in tropical North Queensland. The Eco Lodge reinforces the impression of being 'at one with nature', while still providing all the necessary creature comforts you would expect from a luxury resort.
Julaymba Restaurant serves up tastes of the tropics including bushtucker or you can have an Aboriginal inspired massage or spa therapy in the world renowned Daintree Spa. This is a place where you can breathe in the fresh rainforest air and fell reconnected to nature.


-- Article Courtesy Tourism Australia; Photos Courtesy Daintree Eco Lodge in QLD and Tourism Tasmania.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

On Q, QGuide, and Q1

It isn't every week the 17th letter of the alphabet gets such a workout in my daily vocabulary.


This week in Queensland, I was 238 m high atop the Q1 Tower overlooking Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. The Q Deck purchase for millions by Dreamworld made the news that day.

The following day I had lunch at the Q1 poolside cafe with the directors of QGuide.com, who came up from Brisbane to meet with me about their new niche social travel communities for queer bloggers.

When I returned to Sydney, my first task was to write about OnQ Event Management's Spring Fling package for Mardi Gras. Fortunately, it is not being held in Queensland atop the Q Deck and being blogged by QGuide. I think I'm mis-q -ing!







Friday, November 13, 2009

We heard from a fan.

Hi,

I spend a fair amount of time reading blogs to get an idea for what people are passionate about. Life is too short as the saying goes… So I just wanted to tell you that you’re doing a great job!

Nick Steele
nick.steele@vikingrivercruises.com

Friday, October 30, 2009

Homeland: Adelaide Exhibition

You are invited to the Launch of Homeland – Feast’s Premier Visual Arts Exhibition

Definition: One’s Native Land
When: Tuesday, 3 November from 6pm
Where: Higher Ground Art Café, 9 Light Square, Adelaide

In keeping with the ‘HomeGrown’ theme for the 2009 festival, Feast will be proudly hosting Homeland as its central Visual Arts Exhibition, a collection of visual art works by Indigenous visual artists from the LGBTIQ community exploring Aboriginal and LGBTIQ culture and the relationship between these two identities.

Auntie Muriel will provide a welcome to country and the Hon. Ian Hunter MLC will officially open the Homeland Exhibition. Artists involved in the exhibition will also speak about their work.

Please join Feast as it launches one of its first events for the 2009 festival… an event for the whole community!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

LGBT Survey In Latin America


By Roy Heale


At a news conference today in Buenos Aires it was announced that the first LGBT market research in Latin America will be expanded substantially beyond the original plans. It will now include Brazil, Uruguay,Chile and Argentina.

It was announced today that the first market research on the gay and lesbian community in Latin America will investigate the habits and lifestyles of more LGBT people than originally considered.

It had previously been announced that the Market Study Gay 2010 Out Now + GNETWORK360 would survey gays and lesbians living in Argentine territory.

Today at a press conference held at the Axel Hotel Buenos Aires, the organizers of the study revealed that there will be a far greater scope for this new LGBT market study. It will now include gays and lesbians in Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay in addition to Argentina residents.

Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now, indicated the decision to expand research on this scale was logical.
"Out Now works in countries around the world," said Johnson. "When we looked at the region of Latin America it became obvious that there was a strong need for information to be provided through studies of this kind. Now we confirm that this need is equally important in Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile as it is in Argentina.”

It was also announced by Johnson that the gay and lesbian marketing agency will open its first office in the region---Out Now Latin America---which will be based in Buenos Aires.

"We are delighted that Pablo De Luca and Gustavo Noguera---the creators of GNETWORK360, the organization's most successful business networking for the GLBT community---join us as consultants for Out Now Latin America,” Johnson said." Both De Luca and Noguera, are intelligent, professional, dedicated, and committed to Out Now. This will surely prove to be really beneficial for the more than 12 million gays and lesbians living in the region in which we are starting to work.”

Out Now was founded in 1992 in Australia and works in markets around the world with many corporate clients including IBM, Toyota, Volvo, Hilton, KLM, Lufthansa, VisitSweden, German National Tourist Board, Barclays Bank and Citibank. The future services of Out Now Latin America will include research, strategic consulting, advertising, public relations, and staff training.

GNETWORK360 is a business to business event held annually for three days in Buenos Aires. According to Noguera "More than 650 people gather each year to share information, workshops, presentations and discussion panels plus learn about new business opportunities within the LGBT market segment.


De Luca stated, "Out Now and GNETWORK360 share the conviction that a better understanding of gays and lesbians helps businesses and other organizations to a greater awareness of the issues that concern our community assisting to create products and services in order to meet or resolve these issues in the most effective way to improve the lives of our community. "


For More Information Visit: http://www.gnetwork360.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

There are Queers and Queer Fairy Penguins on this Island

One of my all time favorite hidden places in Tasmania through another's eyes...a surfer who found Cloudy Bay. Shhs. Don't tell anyone else.

Patrick Steel
guardian.co.uk

At Cloudy Bay, on the south coast of Bruny Island, Tasmania the waves are barreling towards the shore. My surf instructor, a gnarled 50-year-old called Scotty, looks at me slightly nervously and asks: "How did I do?"

Scotty, you may have already guessed, is not a professional instructor. In fact, his only qualification is a love of surfing that saw him relocate from mainland Tasmania to Bruny some 20 years ago so that he could be nearer to the beach. A casual enquiry in a local cafe led to my being given his number, and a phone call later he appeared in his ute (utility vehicle) with a couple of wetsuits and two boards in the back.

This, apparently, is the way that things are done on Bruny. Situated almost as far south as it's possible to go on the Australian continent, an hour's drive and a short ferry ride from Hobart, it has a population of 550 and is undeveloped and unspoiled, with very little tourist infrastructure but an impressive can-do attitude. You want to go surfing? Here's the number of someone who can take you. You want to go fishing? There's a guy in town who has a boat. Hiking? Look around you.

In her book The Alphabet Of Light And Dark, the Australian author Danielle Wood describes Bruny as following Tasmania "like a comma, a space for pause". This description certainly fits the place where I am staying. Adventure Bay Holiday Village, despite having a name like a Disney attraction, is in fact a series of austere but comfortable self-catering cabins, some of them with views over the bay where Captain Cook once landed and the woods around it that boast Australia's only white wallabies. Mine looks out over a woodland stream that runs out to the sea. It is a good place to unwind, although the friendly ducks quacking outside my door each morning are determined to stop me from sleeping too late. There's also a cafe on hand, in case the self-catering option becomes too much like hard work, but I've opted for self-catering for a reason: I want to go fishing.

Enquiries in the town lead me to Chris who, as well as running the local trailer park with his wife has, for the past five years, been building up a sideline taking people out in his boat. Although he reminds me of Alf from Home and Away with his liberal use of phrases like "strewth" and "fair dinkum", Chris evidently knows the bay inside out. Within a couple of hours we've filled a large bucket with cod, ocean perch, parrotfish, and flatheads, and he's also caught some crayfish in the nets.

We take our haul back to the trailer park, where they are gutted and filleted in front of us, and I leave with a bag full of flatheads and instructions on the best way to cook them (fried in butter). Inviting the couple in the next door cabin to the communal kitchen for dinner, we eat the fish along with fresh oysters they picked up from the oyster farm in Great Bay, followed by homemade cheese from a nearby fromagerie and a bottle of Bruny Island wine from what claims to be Australia's most southern vineyard. This, we agree, is the life.

After dark we drive up to The Neck, a thin isthmus connecting the north and south ends of the island and home from October to April to a colony of fairy penguins and muttonbirds. A park ranger is on hand to show us how to fix red cellophane over our torches so that we can watch them returning to their burrows on the beach without disorientating them with bright light. The air is thick with squawking birds swirling above us in the night sky, and on the drive back we have to swerve several times to avoid stray penguins, hypnotised by the headlights, tottering along the dirt track.

I feel some empathy for those penguins after staggering out of Cloudy Bay, having spent a couple of hours thrashing around in the white water, dragging the surf board behind me while Scotty looked on in despair. Before leaving the island, I think to myself, I really must learn some of that Bruny can-do attitude.

The Bruny Island Ferry runs every day from 7.30am until 7.30pm, taking approximately 30 minutes, and a return fare costs $11 off peak and $13 peak hours for a normal vehicle. Go to www.discovertasmania.com for more info.

For more information on gay-welcoming Tasmania and hidden gems like Bruny Island, see RainbowTourism.com and the new RainbowTourism.com.au. Some of the most exquistie food on the planet comes from Bruny Island, including handcrafted wine, chocolate, cheese, cherries and fresh seafood. You'll never go hungry and you could eat a penguin in a pinch, I suppose.

-Rainbow Concierge Dee, a Tasmaniac

Monday, October 26, 2009

Has the Tide Turned for Sydney's Iconic Gay Street and Beach?



Photos and story by Delia Farrell, reporting as repeat visitor to gay and lesbian travel icons in Sydney and beyond.











Over the course of a dozen years and multiple stints at living in Gay Sydney, I have seen a lot of changes at both locations - none more dramatic than my current perspective after an absence of two years.



Many visitors - especially backpacking travellers from Europe and North America - are saying Sydney is "over hyped, too expensive, and has substandard public transport between the city and the suburban beaches."

While the backpacker numbers are down - they are off to the cheaper Asian beach locations - I have seen the same numbers on the gay end of the beach. Yeah, more room for us in the cafes, pubs, shops and on the north end of the beach which is best for male cruising and topless lesbians!

Previously, after a day of watching tanned bodies at the beautiful beach, gay and lesbian visitors alike would head to Oxford Street for a meal, a thirst quencher, top shopping and then pub crawling from one end to the other. Those were the days of many gay bars, one right after the other. And restaurants that stayed open late and on Sundays. Sadly, this is not the case anymore.

You can grab a decent meal at Snakebean, a BYOB Asian dinner, and step into the Stonewall or the Colombian for beer and mingling with the locals. But some of the stalwarts have recently closed for much needed refreshing and repainting.

So if you thought you'd spend all night on Oxford Street, think again. Think Newtown









Sunday, October 25, 2009

Canberra Gay for a Day 31 Oct.


SpringOut Fairday is Canberra's LGBT community day. The annual Fairday is a marvellous day out for the whole family, bring your kids, bring you pets. Sunshine, great stalls, beautiful people, relaxed atmosphere. What could be more pleasant for a Saturday afternoon in Spring?

Fairday 2009 will include drag kings and queens, performances by local artists, the Canberra Gay and Lesbian Qwire, a children's treasure hunt, and - back for another year - the ever popular Pet Parade!

12 noon to 5pm @ Westlund House, Gordon Street, Acton (near the Film and Sound Archive and opposite the Academy of Science Dome).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

World's Top Cities are Gay Meccas


Sydney has been ranked the world's number one city for the eighth consecutive year by one of the world's most prestigious travel magazine.

The Harbour City beat Melbourne in the annual Conde Nast Traveller Reader's Choice. (Vancouver was the number one city in The Americas.*)

NSW Tourism Minister Jodi McKay said the ranking was a fantastic endorsement by the travel-savvy readers. "Visitors obviously enjoyed the very best of Sydney including our laid-back lifestyle, our iconic attractions and the beauty of our natural environment,” she said. Sydney received close to 2.6 million international overnight visitors in the last financial year.

From another source, here’s the flip side.

Vancouver has taken the title as the World’s Most Liveable City (Economist Intelligence report). Australia garnered three of the top 10 cities: Melbourne (2nd), Perth (5th) and Sydney (9th) .

Photo of Vancouver Pride 2009.

Not to brag, but Rainbow Tourism and Peacock Tourism Marketing have virtual offices in Sydney and Vancouver, so that should qualify us as smart cookies. So are all the gay and lesbians who live in those cities or visit them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Just Do It in 2010: Great Ocean Road Trip


Victoria is home to one of Australia’s most beloved- and the world’s most scenic – drives: the Great Ocean Road. Curving its way along almost 200 miles of wind swept coastline, it passes wide beaches, sheer cliffs and secluded coves. It also offers a glimpse into “real Australia”, passing through quaint villages, apparently forgotten by time for 100 years, except for the bare-footed surfers crossing the sand.

While parts of the Great Ocean Road can be seen on a day trip from Melbourne, many people chose to stay overnight in one of the small towns along the way. Another option is to drive or take a tour from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road which finishes in Adelaide in South Australia. For the best experience, be sure to allow at least two nights along the way!

At Apollo Bay the Road leaves the coast and winds through the rainforest of Cape Otway before returning to hug the coastline along the entire length of the Port Campbell National Park. This twisting and turning stretch offers the most dramatic coastal scenery, including an amazing collection of rock sculptures known as The Twelve Apostles - huge stone pillars looming out of the surf. (Erosion takes it toll daily. Hurry, there are only 7 Apostles left standing.)

One sample of great Australian holidays:

6 Day Melbourne & The Great Ocean Road from $1299

Travel May 1-June 8 '10. Book by Oct. 29, 2009 with Travelscene.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Decisions: Busy Track vs Underused Secluded Parks

Around $5000

6 n Craddle Mountain hut-to-hut walk in NW corner through TAS’ world heritage area from $2550 pp twin share. Guided trip with many amenities and NP and Overland Track passes.

VS

Around $1000

Go to Bay of Fires Conservation Park and adjacentMt.William National Park in NE corner of TAS in campervan. Pitch a tent on an empty beach or coastal lagoon. From Musselroe Bay (great fishing and bird watching) you can see across to the Bass Strait islands. And in season, photograph wildflowers and wildlife across the heathlands.

Both parks are great for seeing wallabies, wombats, echidnas, pademelons, Forester Kangaroo ( unique to TAS) at dawn or dusk. The Tassie Devil, however, is most active at night.

If you pick B like I recently did you better hurry before things change, as The Lonely Planet has listed it as the world’s hottest travel destination for 2009!


Courtesy of The Lonely Plant

Forever the butt of mainland jokes, Tasmania has shrugged off the stigma of its isolation – the whole world seems to be discovering the physically dazzling, unique and accessible island. Suitably impressed, and a tad sheepish, the rest of Australia has finally stopped laughing and started visiting. ‘Tassie’ (as it’s affectionately known) has it all.

Out and about, the island’s natural treasures live up to the hype – bushwalking, cycling, rafting and kayaking opportunities abound.

The little-known, isolated Mt William National Park brings together long sandy beaches, low ridges and coastal heathlands – visit during spring or early summer when the wildflowers are at their bloomin’ best. The highest point, Mt William (a 1½-hour return walk), stands only 216m tall, yet projects your gaze over land and sea. The area was declared a national park in 1973, primarily to protect Forester (eastern grey) kangaroos, which have been breeding themselves silly ever since. Activities on offer in the area include bird-watching and wildlife-spotting, fishing, swimming, surfing and diving.

At Eddystone Point is the impressive Eddy tone Lighthouse, built from granite blocks in the 1890s. A small picnic spot here overlooks a beach with red granite outcrops. A short drive away beside a tannin-stained creek (and yet another magnificent arc of white sand and aqua water), is the idyllic campground atDeep Creek. Camping here is very basic, with pit toilets, bore water and fireplaces – there’s no power, and bring your own drinking water and wood. You can also camp at Stumpys Bay and Musselroe Top Camp. National park fees apply; pay camping fees on-site (unpowered sites $6). Bookings not required.

The park is well off the main roads, accessible from the north or south. The northern end is 17km from Gladstone; the southern end around 60km from St Helens. (This fishing village was once the home of Rainbow Tourism. Gay friendly businesses exist here and the catch of the day makes you want to stay and stay.)

Rainbow Tourism Recommendations at start/finish of your exploration.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Air travel has never before been so gay friendly.

Late News About Delta:

One week ago, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released its 2010 Corporate Equality Index, which rates 590 businesses on a scale from 0 to 100 percent, evaluating LGBT-related policies and practices including non-discrimination policies, transgender health benefits, and domestic partner benefits. An impressive 305 businesses achieved top ratings on the index (compared to 260 last year) and among them were 6 airlines – Alaska, American, Continental, US Airways, Delta, and JetBlue.


And what did the world’s number 1 airline have to say about its perfect score? “At the very core of Delta’s values is a strong commitment to global diversity,” said Mike Campbell, executive vice president – Human Resources and Labor Relations. “Achieving a 100 percent score on this year’s HRC Corporate Equality Index reflects the inclusiveness of our workplace and acknowledges the deliberate steps we are taking to continue making Delta a great place to work for all of our employees worldwide.”







RainbowTourism.com highlighted on
Delta's Lesbian & Gay Getaways Visit Sydney page.


Delta Air Lines & Rainbow Tourism are fellow members of IGLTA. The airline has just begun flying from its USA base into the South Pacific and Sydney in particular.

Use your SkyMiles now or book a Delta Dream Vacation to enjoy summer in the land downunder. At Rainbow Tourism, we can assist you with trip planning by reserving places to stay and places to play.







Tropical Greetings

Immerse yourself in the tranquil surroundings, listen to the birds and the natural sounds of the Daintree, and indulge in treatments that are therapeutic and restorative for your total well being, providing you with life enhancing tools to take home ... relaxing massages, nutritional body wraps to hydrate and to soothe, luscious facials to rejuvenate...


The rainforest Aboriginal people have named this place ‘Wawu-karrba' - healing of the spirit. Daintree is home to the spiritual ancestors of the Kuku Yalanji tribe. This would be an ideal place to view or purchase authentic Aboriginal artwork.

Rainbow Tourism Recommendation: Stay at Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa, a boutique 15 villa resort nestled in the rainforest, a short distance from Cairns. Daintree EcoLodge is a Rainbow Tourism Accredited accommodation, offering lesbian and gay spa goers a welcoming place to rejuvinate.



Friday, October 09, 2009

Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Going to Adelaide for Feast? Besides all the celebrations, here's something fantastic to experience during your time in SA.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Gay Gaucho Experience




By Roy Heale



Anyone who has visited Buenos Aires knows that the nightlife is diverse and entertaining for both straight and gay tourists. But many people are not aware of the party scene for a gay Gaucho --- the name given to Argentine cowboys --- Which exists in the nearby countryside. Local gay guide Gustavo from the 2Portenios will help you experience this unique culture in a tour that you will probably never forget!
Gaucho Night happens at ZONE X, a must see road-house nightclub an hour and a half outside of Buenos Aires, where anything and everything does happen entertaining.
The 2 Portenios can host a group via passenger chauffer driven shuttle on a midnight champagne excursion to ZONE X. You will find yourself transported to a colorful club that has for the last eight years been the best kept secret around Buenos Aires. The unreserved gauchos, transvestites, farm-hands, laborers, elders, gay and gay-for-a-day boys and girls, are more than happy to receive you into a party like no other --- where you can abandon your inhibitions and experience this unique lifestyle.
With music including disco, electronic, 80's, Latin, or sauce on a club-lit dance floor, where there are plenty of hot gauchos for the occasional slow dance at the end of the night. The crowd at ZONE X are friendly local people that have made their own style of party and revelry. Enjoy the night's alternative edge, enormous beers served in liter bottles for a couple of bucks, an outdoor patio, plus a dark backroom and Bush with tools greasier than any you'll find on the farm at home. Wear what you dare and do pretty much anything you want, as the staff are having as much fun as the crowd. Pole dancing is a participatory event and everyone joins in!
This will prove to be a once-in-a-lifetime side-trip on any visit to Buenos Aires. You will find an unexpected place in your heart for this unforgettable night round-trip excursion into the Argentine Twilight Zone. Chances are you will return for more in the future!
For More Information Visit: http://www.2portenios.com/ and for more stories by Roy Heale visit http://www.royheale.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 21, 2009

Registrations for Gay Games VIII Cologne 2010 Explode

The organizers of the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne, Germany, announced today that more than 1,700 athletes and artists have now registered to participate in the quadrennial sports & cultural event next July and August.

Participants from more than 30 nations have already signed up including many from Eastern European countries where being many who are openly gay & lesbian are still persecuted. Participation by the host country Germany leads all other nations with registrations from the United States and The Netherlands following close behind.

Gay Games VIII runs from July 31 to August 7, 2010, and will open with an inspiring Opening Ceremony at RheinEnergie Stadium, the city’s soccer stadium.

Celebrated every four years, the Gay Games motto is “Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best.” The Cologne Gay Games have their own motto: “Be part of it!” Everybody is able to attend at the Gay Games – without any qualification.

Registration is open at www.games-cologne.com.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Upcoming Gay Events, Pride & Cruise Calendar


Whether you're looking for a sporting or cultural event happening when you're travelling, you can find destination events lised on the network of Rainbow Tourism destination portals.


How about a Pride Festival in Perth this October? Got it. The OutGames in Wellington in 2011? Covered.
Whast's on in Sydney? No worries.

Whenever and wherever you're headed on the gay globe, we have global listings of events and activities to get you down the hill fast (Gay Ski Weeks) and dancin' the night away (Mardi Gras).

Stay tuned to RainbowTourism.com. We keep our Events page current as we hear from producers around the world about their event/party.


Feast Festival 2009



The Feast Festival happens annually in Adelaide during November. (Dates: 14-29 Nov 2009) It is South Australia's version of Midsumma in Melbourne and Mardi Gras in Sydney but on a smaller, cozy scale.


Feast is a Gay Cultural Festival featureing 15 exciting and culturally diverse days of theatre, cabaret, film, forums, literature, dance, visual arts, tourism, sporting and community events.

In addition, there are special events every month to round out the year. So whenever you're in South Australia, be sure to check their events calendar.

Midsumma 2010 - Celebrating Queer Culture



The annual Midsumma Festival that puts Melbourne on the Gay Travel Map like Mardi Gras does for Sydney should definitely be on your itinerary for 2010.

Midsumma, Melbourne’s premier queer arts and cultural festival, will bring the city to life over summer when the festival begins on 17th of January.

The festival spans three weeks and includes art exhibitions, theatre, live music and nightlife events with queer-centric themes for the queer and wider community.

Celebrating its 22nd birthday, Midsumma has grown in stature and audience and plays a significant role in the broader Melbourne arts festival scene as well as the cultural life of Melbourne’s queer community.




Rainbow Tourism Recommended: Accommodations, Tours, Things to Do in Victoria

After Midsumma, book a side trip to gay welcoming Phillip Island to see fairy penguins, koalas, kangaroos and more!