27 February 2012

Egg-ceptional Easter Deals

Sunlover Holidays have gone hopping mad to provide egg-ceptional Easter deals, cracking the prices of egg-ccommodation by up to 36 percent so you can egg-scape! There is no need to go on a holiday hunt this year; we have baskets choc-full of holidays for everyone with twin and quad share egg-ccommodation so you can invite all your bunnies, chicks or eggs to celebrate. Egg-ceptional deals are hopping out the door for the Easter break so get cracking and check out our egg-citing options.

Palm Cove
Far North Queensland offers amazing tropical weather and gorgeous, laid back towns including Palm Cove and Port Douglas. Enjoy yourself in the pristine beaches, stroll along tree lined streets featuring caf├ęs, galleries and boutique stores. Get in touch with nature and enjoy amazing rainforest walks, four-wheel driving or even horse riding. Water sports ranging from leisurely snorkelling to jet skis and speed boats are widely available along the coast or if you prefer to stay dry, enjoy a relaxing cocktail by the pool at one of the many resorts. Port Douglas is renowned for its award winning restaurants so a fabulous meal is never far away with many offering fresh local seafood.

Surfers Paradise Beach
Don’t miss the Easter Carnival at Surfers Paradise; the beachfront comes alive with a basket full of family friendly events, games and entertainment on Easter Sunday. Surfers Paradise is located in the heart of the Gold Coast, a perfect location for the Easter long weekend but hop in quick because it has a reputation for being one of Australia’s favourite holiday destinations. Surfers Paradise appeals to all ages with its white sandy beaches, shopping precinct, nightlife, water sports and sightseeing options. To help you choose accommodation from the many hotels available Sunlover is offering fantastic deals at the Vibe Hotel, Breakfree Moroccan, Watermark Hotel and Spa Gold Coast and Jupiters Hotel and Casino Gold Coast.

Whitehaven Beach
If an Island escape is more your taste, why not hop over to the beautiful Daydream Island? As one of the Whitsunday Islands, Daydream is located within the Great Barrier Reef. Plenty of activities are available on the island for everyone from relaxing massages to jet ski, parasailing and boat adventures to get the heart racing. Take time to enjoy the beautiful reef whether you like snorkelling, diving or a more relaxed glass bottom boat adventure. To enjoy one of the top 10 beaches in the world join a day cruise to Whitehaven Beach.

Sydney Harbour
Sydney is full of things to do over Easter with the Sydney’s Royal Easter show which will be buzzing with excitement commencing on the 5th of April and the Hoopla Festival from the 6th to 9th of April. Sydney is home to many fantastic destinations such as Bondi Beach, Australia’s leading shopping districts, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, Taronga Zoo and the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Mt Wellington, Hobart
Small in size yet big on experiences, Tasmania offers an incredible list of things to see and do. Discover Australia’s heritage at the five World Heritage Convict Sites or engage in Tasmania’s popular nature based adventures; conquering mountains or trekking through the wilderness, cruise the rivers and discovering deserted beaches.

Northern Territory
If you are adventurous and like the heat the Northern Territory may be the perfect Easter holiday destination for you. The Northern Territory offers many nature based activities from discovering the outback desert, bushwalking through tropical north forests to find waterfalls, lakes and rivers, adventurous canoeing, bike rides and scenic flights. Aboriginal culture is abundant in the Northern Territory with one of Australia’s most well known iconic landmarks, Uluru (Ayers Rock) located 440km south-west of Alice Springs.

Seals on Kangaroo Island
South Australia is sure to have something for everyone with attractions from the busy and lively Easter Racing Carnival through to the numerous wineries. South Australia proudly hosts the Easter Racing Carnival at Oakbank Racecourse attracting more than 100, 000 people each year, qualifying as the worlds largest picnic race meeting. Experience the unique family friendly carnival atmosphere and enjoy trackside hospitality, rides and amusements, an animal petting zoo, roving entertainers and of course the thrilling horse racing all located in an idyllic country setting. South Australia also offers incredible beaches, the heritage town of Hahndorf, wildlife of Kangaroo Island areas or the Botanic Garden in the heart of the city may be more appealing. Adelaide is also in close proximity to over 200 cellars including the world famous Barossa Valley.

Cottesloe Beach, Perth
Western Australia is Australia’s largest state offering numerous things to do along the coast, in the cities and in the outback regional towns. The capital city of Perth offers amazing shopping, numerous entertainment and dining options plus a wide range of arts and cultural exhibitions. In the suburbs are a range of excellent beaches from which you can watch the sun set over the water. Broome is a tropical seaside town located in northern Western Australia. It is the point at which the red rocks of the desert meet the white sand of the beach and the cobalt blue waters making it the perfect destination to unwind over Easter. Take a stroll along cable beach, ride a camel, discover the abundance of sea life, discover the amazing pearls with a tour or in one of the many galleries and enjoy retail therapy all in the one place.

For assistance booking your Easter escape contact our Australian based travel consultants on 13 88 33.

Sydney on Screen

Two Hands
Two Hands is one of Australia’s best crime films, featuring a young Health Ledger in the lead role. The movie focussed on Health Ledger’s character Jimmy entering the underground criminal world centred around Kings Cross. During the day Kings Cross is a charming tree lined street full of independent coffee shops, restaurants and boutique stores. At night it turns into a vibrant neon lit street full of bars, club and pubs. It has become one of Sydney’s most popular destinations for young locals and tourists, particularly backpackers.

Bondi Beach, Sydney
One of turning points of the film was filmed at Bondi Beach when Jimmy, while waiting to deliver a pile of cash decided to go swimming – but of course while in the water the money was stolen. Bondi Beach is world famous for its glitzy bars, bronzed bodies and large summer crowds. The beach is popular with both locals and tourists from across the world.

Filming of the movie also took place in the historic The Rocks, underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This historic area is a former colony formation, which is still evident in the sandstone buildings from which the area got its name. Its history is coloured with gang activity and the bubonic plague but has now been some what gentrified and offers a range of dining options, gift shops, pubs and boutique shops including a few designer stores. On the weekends the Rocks Market offers up to 100 stores with souvenirs, crafts and street food. The area is home to Museum of Contemporary Art and historic walks through the alleys and first settlement buildings including Cadman’s Cottage, built in 1816.

The Rocks, Sydney
Haymarket is home to the largest Chinatown in Australia and set the scene for Jimmy and Alex’s (Rose Byrne) first date and romantic monorail ride. The monorail offers great views over the city and allows easy travel between Paddy Markets, Victoria Shopping Centre, Darling Harbour and the city centre.

Darling Harbour, Sydney
Muriel’s Wedding
Muriel asserts her independence when she moves from coastal Porpoise Spit (the real life Coolangatta) to Sydney. The scenes of her working in a video shop were filmed in Oxford Street, Darlinghurst. Its since become a mix of trendy boutiques, designer stores and high street chains. Macquarie Street in Parramatta is home to an array of bridal stores and is where Muriel stepped into a world of chiffon and lace to try on her dream wedding dress. The coastal suburb of Narrabeen doubled for the Heslop’s family home in fictional Porpoise Spit (real life Coolangatta, Gold Coast) with its relaxed beach vibe. 

Strictly Ballroom
Petersham Town Hall hosted the movie’s extravagant dancing scenes in its main auditorium. On the corner of Marrickville and Victoria Roads in the suburb of Marrickville is the roof top location for the moving dance scene set around a hills hoist clothes line and illuminated by a Coca Cola sign.

Mission Impossible II
Botany Bay’s Bare Island was a feature location for filming of this adventure flick. The historic military fort played home to the final thrilling motorcycle fight including a mid-air tackle between the hero and the bad guy whilst still on their bikes. The island is popular with scuba divers and with snorkelers during summer weekends. 

Also making an appearance in the film is Royal Randwick Racecourse, Elizabeth Bay plus the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House pop up in the background of scenes.

Sailing upon Sydney Harbour
The Matrix
This instant science fiction classic was filmed at Fox Studios, with some outdoor locations filmed around the city. The Matrix training scene where Keanu Reeve’s character sees the woman in the red dress by the fountain was filmed at Martin Place, off Pitt Street. In Superman Returns Martin Place makes another appearance when Superman stops a car about to hit pedestrians and sets in down in front of the fountain. 

X-men Origins: Wolverine
The Hugh Jackman starrer was filmed in several countries, with the main sound stage filming completed at the Fox Studios in Sydney. Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour was used for the Stryker facility. The island is the largest in the harbour and has a colourful history including time as an imperial prison, reformatory, shipping yard and gaol. The prison buildings are World Heritage listed as part of 11 Australian Convict Sites. In 2008 the island became a camp ground and is a popular spot for visitors to enjoy fireworks on New Years Eve over Sydney Harbour. Sydney Ferry services stop at the island as part of the Woolwich/Balmain ferry route and Parramatta RiverCat route. Tourists can visit for the day for a picnic, bbq or guided tour. 

Ferry at Circular Quay
Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby
The upcoming remake starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire has been filming all around Sydney including over 2 months of shooting at the International College of Management in Manly. This incredible structure sits high above Manly peninsula with views of the Pacific Ocean to the north and Sydney Harbour to the south. The former seminary was built by the Catholic Church over a 3 year period, opening in 1889. It wasn’t until 1995 that the seminary went under major refurbishment and it became a college.

Manly Beach, Sydney
Rozelle’s former White Bay power station was transformed into the barren wastelands of ‘The Valley of Ashes’ set on the fringes of New York City for the film. A property in Mount Wilson, in the Blue Mountains doubled for Long Island, New York. Shooting of the 1920s period movie was also completed in Centennial Park and Sydney’s major port of Glebe Island.

Baz’s most recent film, Australia, filmed at both Fox Studios and on location in Sydney. Strickland House in Vaucluse doubled for Darwin’s colonial Government House. The ball sequence is well known for Drover showing up in a white suit to dance with Lady Ashley.

20 February 2012

Outback Australia on Screen

Some of Australia's best known films have been set in our vast outback. From the edgy Priscilla to the epic Australia, we have found the small towns that appear on the big screen.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert 
The film featured the trios incredible journey between Sydney and Alice Springs The film crew hit some of the most well known outback towns in Australia to film, including Broken Hill, New South Wales and Coober Pedy, South Australia.

Coober Pedy hosts the world’s largest opal field in the world. The heat in summer is unbearable, so many residents have made their home underground. Take the chance to experience the local lifestyle yourself and stay at the Desert Cave Hotel, then take a tour of the Old Timers Mine. Not to be missed is the lovely Serbian Church, with its softly lit arched ceiling sculptured into the rock walls.

Serbian Church, Coober Pedy
In the film the trio fulfil one characters long life dream to climb Kings Canyon. You too can climb Kings Canyon or enjoy a jungle floor walk and stay overnight at Kings Canyon Resort or the luxury tents at Kings Canyon Wilderness Park. Alice Springs offers a range of basic to luxury accommodation and flights are available from almost all major cities in Australia. If you prefer to savour the journey, The Ghan travels to Alice Springs from Darwin and Adelaide.

The Kimberleys
Baz Luhrmann's Australia
This epic film was set in East Kimberley and Darwin during WWII. The fictional Faraway Downs (the working cattle station of Carlton Hill Station) is located 50 minutes north west of Kununurra. The hill that provided a dramatic backdrop to the cattle farm is House Roof Hill.

Home Valley Station
Kununurra is well known for it’s the world’s primary source pink diamonds, viewable at the Argyle Diamond Mine. It is also the gateway to the largest man-made lake in Australia, Lake Argyle. Immense in size, it is often called an inland sea. To get the best view of the rugged outback surrounds, dome shape Bungle Bungles and Ord River book a scenic flight.
Bungle Bungles, Purnulu National Park

The film made use of El Questro Wilderness Park to film the cattle stampede scene. The station offers a variety of accommodation options over 80kms. Emma Gorge Resort offers deluxe tented cabins close to swimming gorges and a local bar with restaurant. The Station offers fuel station, a bar, sundry shop and bungalow style accommodation. For travellers looking for the best country hospitality the Homestead set atop of Chamberlain Gorge offers all inclusive packages with selected tours daily.  

El Questro Wilderness Park
Do you Remember the romantic swimming scene between Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman beside the waterfall? That scene was filmed at King George River, located near Faraway Bay, The Bush Camp. The property’s name rings true – to get here you must fly for 70 minutes north west of Kununurra or drive 280km along the 4WD only Gibb River Road. When you arrive you are greeted with the sounds of isolation, of rare wildlife and water gently lapping the edge of the Timor Sea. The property aims to keep your stay tranquil, by setting guest limit to 16 people. Dine in the open air Eagle Lodge, fish the tidal creeks in a dinghy, or swim in the spring-fed plunge pool. Packages include all meals and beverages, daily tours plus scenic air transfers from Kununurra.

 Crocodile Dundee
‘That’s not a knife!’
If you are ready for a game of knifey-spoony then venture into the rugged Kadadu National Park. This World Heritage Listed area offers access to an abundance of wildlife, plunging gorges and unique wildlife. The tropical climate produces lush wetlands and cascading waterfalls such as the impressive Jim Jim and Twin Falls. Aboriginal history is best viewed here too with ancient rock art visible at Noulangie Rock and Ubirr Rock. ‘Spot a croc’ on a cruise along the scenic Yellow Water Billabong or East Alligator River. The cruise will be shared with a range of Australian bird and fresh fish species. Kakadu offers a variety of accommodation, from tented cabins to private resorts.  

Walkabout Creek was not filmed in Northern Territory, but north west Queensland at the tiny township of McKinlay. Set between the mining town of Mt Isa and Winton the town was named after the explorer John McKinlay, who organised the search for Burke and Wills in 1861. If you head into town you can’t miss a trip to the Walkabout Creek Hotel for a traditional counter pub meal. For assistance booking your Outback adventure, speak to the Australian experts at Sunlover Holidays on 13 88 33.

10 February 2012

Melbourne: What you need to know

The City
In Melbourne there is a multitude of laneways just begging for exploration. Discover trendy bars and cafes, plus exciting street art. In the more refined arcades you can browse through couture boutiques, discover new designers and spend up big at vintage stores. After hitting the shops kick back with a coffee at one of the many cafes in Degraves Street, the cobbled bluestone laneway from Flinders Street to Flinders Lane. 

Melbourne Laneway
Melbourne has a calendar packed full of sporting events. The Australian Open Tennis Tournament kicks off the year with 2 weeks of heart pumping tennis action in January; March brings the Formula 1 Grand Prix to Albert Park (just east of the city); winter offers AFL games each week at the MCG or Etihad Stadium in the redeveloped Docklands and the year caps off with Melbourne Cup Spring Racing Carnival. Sunlover Holidays enjoys a great tradition of offering packages to the Melbourne Cup each year. Choose from entry with reserved seating to marquee packages including lunch and drinks. 

Melbourne Cup Carnival
The city centre offers QV, Queen Victoria Market and the GPO with a offer a range of shopping options from budget to designer. Treasures are to be found in the laneways and alleyways, so don’t be scared to lose your way, as you might stumble across a gem. The best way to navigate the city is by the free city circle tram. On the fringe of the city centre is Bridge Road in Richmond, home to many high street factory outlets; Gertrude Street in Fitzroy offer eclectic clothing labels and Chapel Street in South Yarra and Prahran offers boutiques, designers and high street stores. Don’t miss Topshop, the first of the famous British fashion chain stores to open in Australia. There are also several large shopping malls offering the chain clothing stores and department stores in the suburbs of the city. To learn from those in the know, take a shopping tour of the best spots in the city. 

Tram outside of Flinders Station
There is a thriving live music scene in Melbourne. Inner city hipsters enjoy intimate venues in down city laneways or above a corner pub in streets such as Brunswick in Fitzroy. East of the city rock, folk and indie bands can be found playing in the trendy suburbs of St Kilda, Windsor and Prahran. Chapel Street in particular is well known for nightclubs, bars and restaurants that fill the streets each Friday and Saturday night.

Continuing with the trend of enjoying live entertainment comes Melbourne Comedy festival. Each year in March and April comedians from around the world take to Melbourne to enjoy one of the largest comedy festivals in the world.  If you can’t get to the city in autumn, you can still enjoy comedy all year in the smaller venues such as Comedy at Spleen.

Spend an afternoon strolling through the halls of the National Gallery of Victoria’s international collection or the Victorian Arts Centre. For outdoor art fused with architecture walk through Federation Square. If you prefer discovering new art then head to the laneways to find street art and small galleries offering local artists. 

Food and wine is a passion in this city. Visit Lygon Street in Carlton for great Italian fare, Lonsdale Street in the city for Greek food or Little Bourke Street in Chinatown for Asian dishes. Travel in March and you can be a part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Over 250 events are open to the public, including markets at Southbank, Federation Square and the Docklands. There are master chef classes, cooking displays, wine tastings, degustation dining events, five course brunches, international cuisine evenings and chocolate making classes.