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.