Friday, August 10th, 2012
It’s only been in existence for three years, but the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has already garnered a reputation as one of Formula 1’s most anticipated showcases.
At the forefront of technology, innovative design and events planning, the Grand Prix is celebrated as the Middle East’s most illustrious sporting affair, attracting the world’s biggest names in motorsports, music and business, and a crowd of more than 50,000.
This year, racing legends like Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton will line up on the grid at the Yas Marina Circuit from 2–4 November. Off track, F1 ticket holders will be treated to an exciting programme of free entertainment, which in the past has included world-class music acts like Sir Paul McCartney, Beyoncé, Kings of Leon, Aerosmith, Britney Spears and Prince.
For those who can’t make it to Abu Dhabi on the weekend of the Grand Prix, the F1 experience continues year-round at Ferrari World – the world’s first Ferrari amusement centre and largest indoor theme park, home to the world’s fastest roller coaster.
Rich in reputation and wealth, Abu Dhabi is an ideal city for a luxury getaway. Combine the opulence and grandiose of everyday life, with the roar and excitement of the Etihad Airways Grand Prix and the UAE capital is a red-hot destination of distinction.
Plan Your Abu Dhabi Holiday
Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix holiday packages and Abu Dhabi holiday packages:
Take the hassle out of planning your holiday, our partner Blue Holidays offers exceptional Brisbane holiday packages, from $2978 and $1870 respectively, per person.
Flights to Abu Dhabi:
Virgin Australia operates flights to Abu Dhabi, direct from Sydney and Melbourne.
Fly Business Class to Abu Dhabi and enjoy Priority Check-in and Boarding, a generous baggage allowance, lounge access and superior on board space and comfort (including gourmet food and wine).
Abu Dhabi car hire:
Take to the road and discover Abu and the UAE with a hire car from one of our partners.
Abu Dhabi hotels:
Establish a great base from which to explore Abu Dhabi. Select from a wide choice of hotels and resorts with our hotel partner HotelClub.
Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
Brisbane has produced some of Australia’s biggest names in music … Think Powderfinger, The Bee Gees, The Go-Betweens, Savage Garden, Keith Urban, Regurgitator and The Grates, just to name a few. In 2007, global music authority Billboard magazine recognised the Queensland state capital as one of the world’s top five live music hotspots, and ever since it has become a must-visit stop for touring acts. Local venues like the Tivoli and The Zoo are touted to be amongst the best gig venues in Australia; while annual events like Big Sound (12-14 September 2012) and Valley Fiesta (7-8 October) attract the industry’s most prominent names.
Despite what 80’s tourism campaigns may portray, the food scene in Brisbane isn’t all about meat pies, XXXX beer and barbecue prawns. The river city embraces its surrounds and locally-grown produce to showcase some of Australia’s most impressive dining options. The CBD’s Eagle Street Pier hosts a plethora of fine-dining establishments with expansive views of Brisbane River. South Bank fosters a laid-back vibe with a gamut of ethnic eateries amid a cultural setting. And James Street sparkles with fashionable bars and restaurants.
Sport isn’t just a pastime in Brisbane: it’s identity, emotion and the ultimate form of entertainment. From the Reds to the Broncos, the Roar to the Lions, whenever a major sporting match is held, streets close, flags wave and voices raise. Venues like Suncorp Stadium and The Gabba attract record crowds. Local sporting heroes are adored and immortalised in bronze. Over 40,000 runners line up for the Bridge to Brisbane charity run (2 September 2012). While the world’s best tennis players converge on the city every summer for The Brisbane International (30 December 2012 – 6 January 2013).
Chanel, Alannah Hill, Ksubi and Tiffany and Co – Brisbane is home to the biggest names in local and international fashion. Queen Street Mall showcases everything from high-end labels to sportswear giants. Edgy and chic hipster hangout, Fortitude Valley is home to countless on-trend retailers. James Street presents a lively hive of designer boutiques. Even the suburbs offer exciting shopping opportunities; in particular Paddington, which is thrift store Mecca. To top it off Brisbane hosts its own annual fashion week, Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival (25-31 August, 2012), where designers like sass & bide, Camilla and Lisa Ho parade their garbs.
Wedged in-between the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast and a quick drive from Byron Bay, Brisbane’s enjoys an unparalleled location. World-class beaches, stunning hinterland, and the outer throes of the outback all wait within a matter of hours away, offering locals and visitors the best of all worlds.
Plan Your Brisbane Holiday
Flights to Brisbane: Virgin Australia operates flights to Brisbane daily, direct from all Australian capital cities and major Queensland ports.
Brisbane holiday packages: Take the hassle out of planning your holiday, our partner Blue Holidays offers exceptional Brisbane holiday packages, from $350 per person.
Brisbane hotels: Establish a great base from which to fall in love with Brisbane. Select from a wide choice of hotels and resorts with our hotel partner HotelClub.
Brisbane car hire: Take to the road and discover Brisbane, and nearby regions with a hire car from one of our partners.
Time-lapse sequence from around Brisbane, Australia.
Taken with a Canon 60D, edited with Lightroom and LRTimelapse.
Music: “I Dunno” by Grapes. ccmixter.org/files/grapes/16626
Used under Creative Commons licence: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Monday, July 30th, 2012
Iconic and patriotic, Dorothea Mackellar’s My Country tugs on the heart strings. The lyrical poem highlights Australia beyond the reaches of popular tourist cities; instead favouring off-kilter terrains and untold landscapes.
Big, bountiful and utterly beautiful Australia teems with awe-inspiring settings. Discover the true essence of this bronzed, wide-sweeping land with a trip off the beaten track.
New South Wales, Northern Rivers
“God’s Country”, “the Rainbow Region” and “Summerland”, are just a few of the monikers assigned to New South Wales’ Northern Rivers. Brimming with lush rainforests, quaint villages, imposing headlands and a pristine coastline, the Northern Rivers district is emblematic of utopia.
Australia’s most easterly point, Byron Bay is the region’s most distinguished township, fostering New Age philosophy, raw creative energy and ideals of escapism. A short drive south, the small surfing town of Lennox Head hosts one of the world’s best right-hand point breaks and a unique tea tree-stained freshwater lake. A few minutes into the hinterland, the Alstonville-Dunoon plateau is home to patches of ancient rainforests like Victoria Park and Booyong Reserve, and the cascading waterfalls of Dalwood Falls and Minyon Falls. While on the fringes of the Tweed Shire, imposing former volcano, Mount Warning witnesses mainland Australia’s first rays of sun each morning.
Long days, almost-perfect weather, never-ending beaches, first-rate accommodation and delicious food, the Northern Rivers has elements to impress even the most discerning city slicker. But beware… many who come for a weekend, often stay for a lifetime.
For more information about what to do and see, and where to shop and eat, in the Northern Rivers, view our Byron Bay destination guide.
Uncover the beauty of the Northern Rivers…
Virgin Australia operates flights to Ballina/Byron Bay daily, direct from Sydney.
Take the hassle out of planning your trip away, our partner, Blue Holidays offers exceptional Ballina/Byron Bay holiday packages from $454, per person.
Go off the beaten track and discover the Northern Rivers by car. Our car hire partners have cars to suit all terrains and adventures.
Victoria, Hepburn Shire
From the ocean to the country, rural Victoria is loaded with natural splendours. Hugging the bight of Bass Straight, The Great Ocean Road is heralded as one of the world’s most scenic drives. Rich red earth is met underneath bright blue skies in the Sunraysia district – one of Australia’s most prominent wine regions. While Australia’s longest river, the Murray snakes along the state’s boarder, supporting a variety of unique river life unseen anywhere on earth.
Just an hour and a half’s drive north west of Melbourne, the shire of Hepburn particularly provides for sensorial holiday experiences. Home to Australia’s largest concentration of natural mineral springs, famous for their relaxing properties, Hepburn Shire – specifically the villages of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs – promotes holistic health and traditions of healing. Explore the areas mystical appeal… Bath in or drink from the waters of one of the region’s mineral springs. Picnic under the period rotunda at Kyneton Mineral Springs Reserve. Hike through bushland at Mount Macedon. Or get caught up in the mystery of the infamous Hanging Rock.
Unconventional, but full of unique and natural wonder – alongside acclaimed restaurants and cafes, farmers markets, roadside stalls and cellar doors – Hepburn Shire is an inspiring region, well worth venturing off the beaten track to visit.
Hepburn Shire is located 90 minutes from Tullamarine airport…
Virgin Australia operates flights to Melbourne daily, direct from all Australian capital cities and most major regional ports.
Take the hassle out of planning your trip away, our partner, Blue Holidays offers exceptional Daylesford holiday packages from $419, per person.
Go off the beaten track and discover the Hepburn Shire by car. Our car hire partners have cars to suit all terrains and adventures.
Western Australia, The Kimberley
There are few regions more quintessentially Australian than The Kimberley. Located in in the northern throes of Western Australia, the area is one of the remotest, wildest and most beautiful expanses on earth.
The desert meets the sea – in the form of famous 22 kilometre white-sand Cable Beach – at The Kimberley’s southern gateway, Broome. To the south of Cable Beach, Gantheaume Point’s red cliffs preserve dinosaur footprints. Spanning from Broome to Kununurra, Gibb River Road dissects some of the earth’s most rugged terrain, with access to spectacular wildlife and stunning gorges. While World Heritage Listed Purnululu National Park boasts The Kimberley’s most renowned star, the Bungle Bungle range – the ultimate Outback playground.
Home to ancient rock formations, gushing waterfalls, expansive lakes and stunning beaches, The Kimberley is one of the world’s last great wilderness areas, and hosts ample opportunity to indulge in a truly off-the-beaten-track adventure.
For more information about what to do and see, and where to shop and eat, in The Kimberley, view our Broome and Kununurra destination guides.
Discover the majesty of The Kimberly…
Virgin Australia operates flights to Broome and Kununurra daily, direct from Perth.
Take the hassle out of planning your trip away, our partner, Blue Holidays offers exceptional Broome holiday packages from $855, per person.
Go off the beaten track and discover The Kimberley by car. Our car hire partners have cars to suit all terrains and adventures.
Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Winter is here. It’s cold. You’re struggling to get out of bed. Your car windows are fogged up. Your cupboard is full of packet soups. And you’re complaining a bit more than usual.
There’s only one remedy for way you’re feeling… it’s time to shake off the winter blues, and embrace the seasonal change with a trip to the snow!
June marks the start of the Southern Hemisphere ski season, and sets Australian and New Zealand ski fields and resorts abuzz with powder hounds, socialites, families and novices.
Read more »
Thursday, June 7th, 2012
Regardless of whether you have secured Olympic tickets, London is set to be the place to be this July–August. The atmosphere derived from the games is sure to be electric, and the sense of community nothing short of extraordinary. To top it off, anyone who has lived in London will tell the same tale… summer in the city and its surrounds is reason enough in itself for celebration!
Discover the Olympic city this summer, with our London 2012 activity guide.
Read more »
Monday, June 4th, 2012
Our world is full of exciting and remarkable cultures, traditions and events; many of which need to be seen to be believed. To inspire you and help you discover life’s full potential we have scoured the globe to fashion a series of World’s Top lists.
To kick things off, we have sourced our top five Northern Hemisphere’s summer music festivals.
Must-attend Music Festivals…
Read more »
Friday, May 25th, 2012
Sydney is a veritable food utopia with a world-class reputation, bolstered by internationally-acclaimed chefs, fresh locally-grown produce and stunningly scenic settings.
From The Shire to Parramatta and Coogee to the Northern Beaches, alfresco restaurants, lively gastro pubs, on-trend bars, boutique cafes, ethnic eateries, and fresh food markets dot the city, offering inspiration and satisfaction at every turn.
While out-of-towners generally visit Sydney to shop or take in art, the theatre or sports; the city’s food scene is reason enough to spend a weekend in the picturesque metropolis. In recognition and celebration of the city’s dining scene, we’ve pulled together a weekend guide to food in Sydney.
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Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
Tupac sang about his; Abraham Lincoln and George Washington publicly attributed their success to theirs; while Sandra Bullock won an Oscar playing someone else’s… Mothers, they come in all shapes and sizes, and wear different hats – woman, wife, daughter and friend.
Whether she is the archetypical mother who bakes treats and tends to damaged knees, or a dynamic career woman who juggles diverse roles; all caring and loving mothers deserve praise and reverence.
While a mother’s talents, strength and love should be acclaimed every day of the year, Mother’s Day is a great time for reflection and tribute, and the perfect opportunity to give back.
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Friday, April 13th, 2012
Described by The New York Times as “Beijing’s naughty sister”, Shanghai is a thriving metropolis with a pioneering spirit that exudes adventure, excitement and attitude.
A trip to Shanghai is an eye-opening experience. Nicknamed “Whore of the Orient” during the Golden Age of the mid-1800s to mid-1900s, the city was once rife with opium dens, brothels, gambling houses and a strong crime trade. Populous and ever-morphing Shanghai has since transformed into the “Pearl of the Orient” – a sophisticated playground for expats and socialites, where the trials and triumphs of capitalism are omnipresent and all-embraced.
Typified by flashing neon lights, a bustling cityscape and one of the world’s most recognisable skylines, Shanghai is a trend and pace setting showpiece of China’s economy – where the East first met the West with exciting new-world assertiveness.
If you’re looking to explore China’s history visit Beijing… If you’re looking for a good time visit Shanghai. Flashy mega high-rises tower into the air, showcasing opulent restaurants and shopping facilities; while the streets are abuzz into the early hours of the morning with lively bars and nightclubs.
Read more »
Friday, April 6th, 2012
In the realm of sport nothing quite shouts Australia, is as innately ‘True Blue’, or as characteristically ‘Occa’ as the AFL.
A game so different to other disciplines grouped under the ‘football’ moniker, the AFL was invented in Melbourne in the mid-19th century out of the desire for a winter off-sport. What started out as a match between two school-boy teams has grown into one of Australia’s favourite sports – supported by millions of face-paint wearing, team song chanting, jersey sporting die-hard fans.
Virgin Australia is proud to be one of these ardent fans, so much so that we’ve join forces with the code to become the “official airline of the AFL”. Our partnership has us following this year’s game results and teams with unrivalled passion.
We were there when Fremantle defender, Michael Johnson came good on his promise to make up for his lacklustre 2011 season. We witnessed Melbourne break convention, when they presented jumpers to their debutants in a huddle on the ground instead of in the rooms. We applauded West Coast’s forward Josh Kennedy as he booted goal after goal to help the Eagles secure a 49-point win over the Western Bulldogs. And we joined with the nation to pay our respect for AFL champion Jim Stynes when he lost his battle with cancer.
As round two gets well underway and the league gears up for round three, we have launched – in conjunction with the AFL Event Office and Blue Holidays – our Any Game Anywhere initiative.
Any Game Anywhere is a simple, fully customised website that enables AFL fans to choose their favourite team and destination, and book game tickets, airfares and accommodation all in a few easy steps.
Virgin Australia Group Executive of Commercial, Liz Savage, said “We are very proud to be the official airline of the AFL, and Virgin Australia is excited to offer AFL fans a range of tailor made packages through this innovative new site. With the convenience of additional flights, more often, we are committed to getting fans to any game anywhere in the country”.
AFL General Manager – Commercial Operations, Darren Birch said, “Any Game Anywhere footy packages are available for all games throughout the 2012 Toyota AFL Premiership Season along with 2012 Toyota AFL Finals Series. The Any Game Anywhere site is dedicated to the AFL code providing an interactive platform for fans, hosting a load of AFL content and news to keep fans updated on their team.”
Take the hassle out of planning your AFL weekend away… All packages include airfares, accommodation and a ticket to the game.
Virgin Australia operates flights direct to the birthplace of AFL, Melbourne, daily from all state capital cities and some major regional ports.
Our holiday program, Blue Holidays in conjunction with Tourism Victoria, also has a range of AFL packages on offer, from $324* per person.