Destinations

Australia: 5 of the best stopovers

Let’s face it: Australia isn’t exactly next door. With an average flying time of 26 hours, and a time difference that’s on its head, travelling directly Down Under should be attempted only by those on a tight timeframe.

For the rest of us, the trip can’t be done happily without a breather. And with more routes being offered by airlines, there’s a multitude of options for breaking up the journey. Head west and clients will hit the US, where they can give the credit card a workout in New York, star spot in Los Angeles or chill out in San Francisco; look east and consider Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bali and Singapore.

If your clients have the time, our round-up will help you find them the right stopover.


For shopping: New York

Flight times: London to New York: six-and-a-half hours. New York to Sydney: 21 hours.

Why? With tax-free shopping, clients would do well to buy their board shorts here rather than at home – and who wants to shop when they’ve got Australia to discover?

Manhattan should be the first port of call with large department stores, tiny boutiques and warehouses offering knock-down prices. Carrie Bradshaw lovers won’t be disappointed with a Jimmy Choo and a Starbucks on practically every street corner. Madison Avenue and Fifth are the most exclusive streets with many designer shops, and the funky east village has a variety of original goods at very reasonable prices.

Anything else?Non-shoppers won’t be disenchanted either. For unrivalled views of the city, clients should head to the top of the Empire State Building, while on the ground, Central Park is a must. For something different, suggest they board a boat and circle the Statute of Liberty or walk across the fully illuminated Brooklyn Bridge at night.

Sample product:Gold Medal Travel offers flights to Sydney via New York from £949 per person, including two nights’ three-star accommodation in New York, from March.

See also:Chicago or San Francisco.



For beaches: Bali

© Image BankFlight times: London to Bali: 21 hours. Bali to Perth: four hours.

Why?Closer to Perth than Sydney, Bali is where most Australians go for their annual dose of r ‘n’ r – and with Australia boasting some of the world’s best beaches, that’s a great accolade. Nusa Dua is the most upmarket area with large houses and miles of white sandy beaches, while Kuta is where the backpackers head for beach combined with a vibrant nightlife. The island is popular with windsurfers and divers, plus those wishing to get married or enjoy a relaxing honeymoon.

Anything else?With exotic temples, rice paddies and volcanoes, the scenery is not just about sand. Plus it’s cheap on the ground and can offer great deals on five-star accommodation.

Sample product: Qantas Holidays offers a 12-night package from £1,040 per person, twin-share, including flights, five nights’ bed and breakfast at the four-star Hotel Sanur Beach in Bali, a seven-night Choice Hotel, open-dated accommodation pass for Australia, and seven days’ Hertz compact car hire from mid-April. Offer ends 26 March.

See also:Thailand or Fiji.



For exotic: Tokyo

© Image BankFlight times:London to Tokyo: 15 hours. Tokyo to Sydney: nine- and-a-half hours.

Why?Tokyo’s exotic flavour isn’t obvious at first glance. The world’s most densely populated city, visitors will notice traffic, neon lights, hordes of people and neckache from straining at the skyscrapers before anything else.

Scratch the surface though and clients can relax in one of the numerous temples and gardens dotted all over the city. Japanese gardens are broadly split into three categories: Tsukiyamas, which are enjoyed from the top of temples; Karesansuis, influenced by Zen Buddism; and Chaniwas, built for tea ceremonies with authentic tea houses in the middle.

Anything else? Direct clients to Ginza for the latest Sony gadgets over eight floors plus Disneyland, or to Ueno Park for a high concentration of galleries and museums.

Sample product: Bridge and Wickers offers two nights in Tokyo and 14 nights in Sydney on a four-star, room-only, basis from £967 per person, including flights. Bookings must be made before the end of this month.

See also: Hong Kong or Singapore.



For luxury: Dubai

© Image BankFlight times:
London to Dubai: seven hours. Dubai to Sydney: 13 hours.

Why? Dubai’s probably the only city in the world where a top-class hotel can be unofficially considered seven-star. It may be a bit over the top, but it shows that clients can have anything they want on gold-plated tap.

Casinos with amazing views, shipped-in beaches, rollercoasters on rooftops and that’s just the outside. Love it or hate it, Dubai can offer everything for the luxury traveller.

Anything else? Shop for gold and fabric in the souks; go dune buggying or camel riding in the desert or just get up high and enjoy the views with a cocktail.

Sample product:Virgin Holidays offers 14 nights from £1,879 per person twin-share, including flights, three nights’ bed and breakfast at a four-star hotel in Dubai, 11 nights’ three-star room-only in Sydney, car hire and breakfast, starting this month.

See also:Miami or Las Vegas.



For something different: Mumbai

© Image BankFlight times:London to Mumbai: eight-and-a-half hours. Mumbai to Sydney: 12 hours.

Why?Formally known as Bombay, India’s spice capital can be a culture shock to the senses – and the stomach – particularly if clients haven’t got much time to acclimatise.

But for a stopover with a difference, it’s hard to beat. Suggest clients resist the urge to fit too much in and just sit back and soak up the atmosphere.

The city is small enough to wander round without getting too lost and the Gateway area – where the majority of tourists stay – has a good ambience where clients can people watch and tuck into curries or dahl. Also suggest the one-hour boat trip to Elephant Island, famed for its temples.

Anything else? Those with more time to spare should head to Ghandi’s house or take a walk around the British-built station where trains head cross-country. The Prince Charles Museum’s art collection is also worth seeing.

Sample product: Qantas Airways offers Dreamtime return fares from London to Sydney via Mumbai from £954, including all taxes, and two internal flights in Australia.

See also:Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok.

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