Friday, August 31st, 2012
When most people dream about a tropical paradise, images of swaying palm trees, deserted beaches, scattered coconuts, crystal clear water and friendly locals spring to mind. Spurred on by popular blockbusters like Cast Away and The Blue Lagoon, these images are most commonly associated with Fiji.
Located in the picturesque South Pacific, Fiji was formed hundreds of millions of years ago by volcanic activity, and inhabited in the second millennium BC.
Today, the beautifully remote island nation is rich with culture and tradition, and is a popular holiday destination for families and honeymooners, and solace seekers and adventurers alike.
Where to Stay
The island of Viti Levu is a great base from which to experience and explore Fiji. Located on the island’s west coast, Fiji’s major tourism hub, Nadi is a centre for Hinduism, Islam and commerce, and boasts a great mix of ethnicities and culture. Experience the country’s unique traditions and charm with a visit to a local village, and indulge in the South Pacific’s tranquility and beauty at resorts like Sonaisali Island Resort and Club Fiji Resort. Just west of Nadi, Denarau Island acts as a gateway to the Yasawa and Mamanuca island groups. The island is home to Viti Levu’s most plush resorts, including popular international chains like Sheraton, Sofitel and Radisson.
Located just off the west coast of Viti Levu, the Mamanuca Islands are the perfect playground for a tropical getaway. Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, the islands encourage water sports such as boating, yachting, snorkeling and scuba diving, and boast world-class resorts like family-friendly sanctuary Plantation Island Resort, backpacker paradise Beachcomber Island Resort, and child-free retreat Matamanoa Island Resort.
What to Eat and Drink
Fiji has two main cuisines, indigenous Fijian and Indo-Fijian. Indo-Fijian cuisine largely consists of rice, spices and chili; while indigenous Fijian cuisine focuses on fresh seafood like fish, crab, prawn and lobster, and local fruits like sweet pineapple, mango and ripe papaya. Kava (also known as yaquona or grog) occupies a central place in everyday life in Fiji. Kava ceremonies are crucial elements of diplomacy, and can be experienced in most villages and resorts, where guests are asked to participate with reverence and respect.
Most resorts cater for guests with several dining options – the most traditional of which is a lovo night, where food is cooked in an underground oven. Restaurants and eateries can be found all throughout Nadi and Suva, however Viti Levu’s most celebrated dining options are located on the marina at Port Denarau – where western-style and Fijian eateries have been establish to specifically satiate guests in transit to the Mamanuca and Yasawa island groups.
What to Do
The Fijian archipelago boasts some of the world’s most striking scenery. Made up of over 300 islands and 500 islets, the country’s natural beauty is best experienced by island hopping.
The Yasawa and Mamanuca island groups are Fiji’s most idyllic settings for island hopping adventures. Cruise the stunning Yasawas on Capitan Cook Cruise, and discover a new atoll and coral reef every morning and afternoon. Take in the world-famous Mamanucas, from aboard a South Sea Cruise or water taxi service. Charter a private yacht and enjoy the South Pacific sea breeze while lazing on the deck. Or take it all in with a bird’s eye view, from high above with a helicopter charter. Island hopping offers perfect opportunities to dive, snorkel and surf Fiji’s beautiful waters. Most Yasawas and Mamanucas trips leave from Port Denarau.
How to Get There
Flights to Fiji: Virgin Australia operates to flights Nadi from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Fiji Holiday Packages: Our holiday partner, Blue Holidays has exceptional Fiji holiday packages from $758, per person, twin share.
Fiji Islands Holiday Packages: Our holiday partner, Blue Holidays has exceptional Fiji Islands holiday packages from $982, per person, twin share.
What would at the top of your list to do when you visit Fiji?
Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
The hip and evolving beach-side suburb of Broadbeach is known as the cosmopolitan heart of the Gold Coast. The hub’s main strip, Surf Parade is dotted with atmospheric restaurants and trendy bars and nightclubs. Kurrawa Park and Pratten Park fringe the foreshore with landscaped walking tracks, children’s play areas, and free barbecues and picnic settings. While ample shopping opportunities abound at iconic retail malls like Oasis Shopping Centre and Pacific Fair.
Grab a coffee from No Name Lane. Indulge in gourmet delights at Manolas Brothers Delicatessens. Enjoy a flutter at Jupiters Casino. Or reserve a seat at Australia’s longest running and most successful dinner theatre, Draculas.
Book Broadbeach tours and activties.
The Gold Coast Suns
The Gold Coast hosts a spectacular year-round schedule of sporting events, among which we proudly sponsor the AFL and the Gold Coast Suns. Born through the support and love of the people of the Gold Coast community, the Suns are the coast’s newest sporting heroes, and are building a reputation as one of the most exciting football club in Australia.
Watch Suns’ players like Trent McKenzie, David Swallow, Karmichael Hunt, and Brownlow winner Gary Ablett Jr go head-to-head with Australia’s best at Metricon Stadium in Carrara.
Book tickets to see the Gold Coast Suns.
Every year thousands of families flock to the Gold Coast just to visit Australia’s premier theme park, Dreamworld. Home to “So many worlds in one” the Coomera hotspot has something for everyone and makes for the perfect family day out.
Entertain the kids at Wiggles World and in the DreamWorks Experience precinct. Interact with nature in the Australian Wildlife Experience and on Tiger Island. Test your courage freefalling from 38 stories on the Giant Drop. Get swept away on the world’s fastest thrill ride, Tower of Terror II. Or try your hand at surfing on Australia’s first Flowrider.
Buy your tickets to Dreamworld.
One part rock star, one part designer chic and two parts grand opulence, the Palazzo Versace showcases the late Gianni Versace distinctive vision of, and commitment to, luxury and beauty. Boasting the slogan “Why stay in a hotel when you can stay in a palace”, the Palazzo enjoys a private marina at Main Beach, 200 glamorous light-filled rooms and timeless Italian interiors and furnishings.
If an overnight stay isn’t on your agenda, book a table at one of the Palazzo’s three award-wining restaurants, get your hair done at its private Oscar Oscar salon, shop at its on-site Versace boutique, or pamper yourself at its five-star spa. And keep your eyes peeled… the Palazzo is a favourite haunt of celebrities like Bono, Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
Stay at the Palazzo Versace.
Lamington National Park
Just behind the infamous glitter strip, in the Gold Coast hinterland, the mesmerisingly verdant Lamington National Park covers the slopes of a gigantic ancient volcano. Thousands of years old, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed wilderness area contains Australia’s largest preserve of pristine sub-tropical rainforest, and is a great location for a camping trip or retreat getaway.
Boasting Gondwana derived flora and fauna, lush rainforests, ancient trees, spectacular views, extensive walking tracks, exceptional ecological importance and natural beauty, the ridge and cliff-lined Lamington National Park is an outstanding place to visit.
Book Lamington National Park tours and activities.
Plan Your Gold Coast Holiday
Flights to Gold Coast: Virgin Australia operates flights to Gold Coast daily, direct from Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as Auckland .
Gold Coast holiday packages and Gold Coast Hinterland holiday packages: Take the hassle out of planning your holiday, our partner Blue Holidays offers exceptional Gold Coast holiday packages, from $350 and $383 per person respectively.
Gold Coast hotels: Establish a great base from which to fall in love with Gold Coast. Select from a wide choice of hotels and resorts with our hotel partner HotelClub.
Gold Coast car hire: Take to the road and discover the Gold Coast, the hinterland, and nearby regions with a hire car from one of our partners.
The Virgin Australia lounge Gold Coast: Continue your holiday at the airport. Relax in comfort before board at the brand new Virgin Australia lounge at the Gold Coast domestic terminal.
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
In the lead up to the hugely anticipated Toyota AFL Finals Series, we are offering AFL fans the rare opportunity to get up close and personal with this year’s Premiership Cup.
As a proud sponsor and the official airline of the AFL, we are touring the Cup across Australia, with showcases throughout our lounge network. This week the Cup can be viewed in all its glory at the Virgin Australia lounge in Sydney, while next week it returns to the spiritual home of the AFL, Melbourne.
AFL Commercial Operations General Manager, Darren Birch explained the significant of the cup: “The Premiership Cup is the iconic symbol of greatness in Australia’s Game”.
Virgin Australia Group Executive of Brand and Customer Experience Mark Hassell echoed its importance: “As a proud Australian airline, we recognise the cultural significance of the AFL
Premiership Cup and we are honoured to be hosting it in our lounges”.
AFL Premiership Cup Tour:
Sydney: 21 – 27 August 2012
Melbourne: 28 August – 2 September 2012
Velocity Frequent Flyer Platinum or Gold Member, Lifetime lounge or lounge member or Business Class guests with a same-day itinerary with Virgin Australia or partner airlines can experience the Premiership Cup in person at Virgin Australia’s Sydney and Melbourne lounges.
Follow the Cup:
Fans who can’t make it to see the Cup in person can follow its journey around the country via:
Virgin Australia Facebook
There’s only a month until the Premiership is decided and the Cup is awarded. Secure your ticket to all the action, excitement, drama and spin-tingling atmosphere of the 2012 finals with a custom-made package from Any Game, Anywhere. Together with the AFL, we offer extraordinary AFL finals packages, including flights, accommodation and tickets. Don’t miss out on your ticket to the Grand Final BOOK NOW!
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.
Monday, July 23rd, 2012
As the hype of Wimbledon starts to ebb and wane, our focus remains on tennis with the exciting announcement that we’ve signed on, for the fourth year running, to be the official airline and proud sponsor of the Australian Open.
Not only are we the Open’s official airline; our holiday program, Blue Holidays are also on board as an official tour operator.
In anticipation of the thrilling action of the Grand Slam, Blue Holidays are set to offer tennis fans an experience like no other, with the introduction of a range of tailor-made event packages for the Australian Open 2013.
Virgin Australia General Manager Marketing, Michael Betteridge, said “The tournament is one of the most prestigious events on the sporting calendar and following the success of the Australian Open 2012, Blue Holidays will offer new and exclusive packages allowing guests to book airfares, accommodation and courtside tickets in a few quick easy steps online”.
Join the colourful crowds this summer amid the festive atmosphere of Melbourne Park’s world-class tennis facilities … Catch all the courtside action and witness the world’s best players go head to head, with an Australian Open event package.
Blue Holidays Australian Open Tennis 2013 packages include return airfares to Melbourne, three nights’ accommodation and a Rod Laver Arena session ticket, from $613, per person. GAME, SET, MATCH!
Virgin Australia operates flights to Melbourne direct from Australian capital cities and major regional ports, and from international destination such as Christchurch, Auckland, Los Angeles, Nadi and Bali.
Where: Melbourne and Olympic Parks, Batman Avenue, Melbourne
When: 14–27 January 2013
Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
This week saw the launch of two great initiatives at Virgin Australia. We launched our very first mobile specials app and mobile Check-in creating a ‘mobile boarding pass’ for all guests using any smart phone.
Available now from the App Store, our ‘Virgin Australia Flight Specials’ app for iPhone (Android coming soon) provides a one-stop spot to view the latest flight specials and happy hour fares, enables users to enter specific travel criteria and sign-up for real-time alerts, then get push notifications when a flight special matches the set criteria.
The app also offers the ability to share flight details with family and friends via Facebook and Twitter.
The Check-in feature from the Virgin Australia mobile website will send guests their boarding pass as an SMS to allow for mobile boarding. The mobile boarding pass can then be presented at the departure gate to board the flight, offering a faster and more convenient way to check in and board.
Never has it been so easy to book, track, check-in and share your travel journey.
Download our Flight Specials application & test run our new mobile Check-in feature today.
Monday, July 2nd, 2012
If you’re a frequent flyer, flying internationally or a business traveller it makes sense to fly Business Class. In a nutshell, benefits include: speedy check in and boarding, and second-to-none comfort, flexibility, personal service and privacy.
Still not convinced? We’ve pulled together a snapshot of what we offer our Business Class guests.
At the Airport
Transfers: Arrive in style, on time. Eligible Business Class guests travelling on our international long haul services can pre-book a complimentary limousine service to and from the airport.
Valet Parking: Save time at the airport. Virgin Australia Business Class guests receive exclusive access to Sydney Premium Valet. Business Class guests departing from Sydney can also enjoy direct kerbside Virgin Australia lounge access with Sydney lounge Premium Entry and Valet.
Priority Check In and Boarding: Skip the queues and benefit from a more streamlined, fast-tracked check-in, security screening and entry process. Business Class guests are invited to check in and bag drop using our Priority Check-in facilities, and board the aircraft first via our dedicated Priority Boarding lanes at selected airports. As an added bonus, Business Class guests travelling with carry-on baggage only, can choose to check in at the Virgin Australia lounge.
Lounge: Relax in comfort, removed from the hustle and bustle of the airport. Business Class guests flying on our domestic network receive complimentary access to the Virgin Australia lounge. Lounge benefits and amenities includes: dedicated service desks, complimentary food and beverages, business facilities, entertainment, flight information services, and private waiting areas and bathrooms. Virgin Australia international long haul Business Class guests also receive access to selected international airport lounge locations operated by airline partners.
During the Flight
Comfort: Relaxing onboard has never been easier, or more enjoyable. Our Business Class guests are privy to luxurious seats with generous legroom and recline (as far as a fully flat bed when travelling on our long haul network), as well as stylish amenity kits.
Service: Experience all-inclusive, second-to-none service. Business Class guests are catered for by specialist cabin crew members, whom serve gourmet food and beverages from renowned Australian chef Luke Mangan.
Privacy: Enjoy room to move and distance from your neighbour. Business Class seats are roomier than the rest. Business Class guests also have access to private Business Class restrooms.
To top it off, Business Class guests receive extra baggage allowances and exceptional flexibility when changing and cancelling bookings.
Next time you fly, consider Business Class. You deserve it! The added investment is worth the perks, excitement and comfort you’ll receive in return.
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 »