City breaks: stopovers for Australia-bound clients

Clients heading to Australia can break up the mammoth 26-hour flight in a variety of ways. With more route options being offered by airlines, clients heading west can hit Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco as well as trying out exotic locations such as Dubai, Tokyo, Bali and Singapore.

Travel Weekly picks five of the best Australia stopovers….


For beaches

  • London to Singapore: 13 hours

  • Singapore to Sydney: eight hours

Singapore’s not all about shopping, high rises and cocktails at the Raffles Hotel. Its beaches offer a respite from the hustle and bustle of the urban environment and are only a short hop away. The white sand and turquoise waters are welcoming and a temperate climate means sunbathing is possible year-round. Many of the beaches are man-made, but the results are convincing.

Relax on Palawan Beach, where a suspension bridge provides a link to Asia’s closest point to the equator. Stay in touch by making use of wireless Internet access or escape into one of the beach bars. East Coast Park is great for families with its beach and landscaped parklands.

Sample product:Travel 2 offers return flights to Sydney via Singapore with Virgin Atlantic plus a three-night stopover in Singapore including room-only accommodation at the four-star Orchard Hotel, transfers, a half-day city tour and a half-day East Coast and Changi tour from £912 per person for travel between April 16 and June 15 2008.

New York

For shopping

  • London to New York: six-and-a-half hours

  • New York to Sydney: 21 hours

The value of the pound against the dollar means your money will go a long way. Manhattan should be everyone’s first port of call, packed with department stores, boutiques and warehouses offering knock-down prices. Madison and Fifth avenues are lined with designer shops, and the East Village has a variety of original goods at reasonable prices.

Manhattan is laid out in a small and easily negotiable grid. A reasonably priced 24-hour metro system and more sights than you can squeeze into one trip means non-shoppers will be happy too.

Sample product:Gold Medal Travel offers return flights to Sydney via New York from £1,065 per person with Qantas or British Airways, including taxes from London, and two nights’ three-star accommodation in New York. Valid for departures between January 16 and March 21 2008.


For something exotic

  • London to Tokyo: 15 hours

  • Tokyo to Sydney: nine-and-a-half hours

Why? Tokyo’s cultural heritage isn’t obvious at first glance, masked by traffic, neon lights and hordes of people. Make sure to venture beneath the surface and relax in the numerous temples and gardens dotted all over the city.

The most famous Japanese garden is the karesansui, made from rocks. Creating a garden is regarded as an art, much like calligraphy and ink painting, so expect to be impressed.

Suggest Ginza to clients – Tokyo’s most famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district. Check out the latest gadgets at the Sony Building, spread over eight floors. Ueno Park is great for galleries and museums.

Sample product:Bridge and Wickers offers return flights to Australia via Tokyo with Japan Airlines with two nights in Tokyo and 14 nights in Sydney on a
room-only basis from £1,668 per person for bookings made before the end of February 2008.


For something different

  • London to Mumbai: eight-and-a-half hours

  • Mumbai to Sydney: 12 hours

India’s spice capital can be a culture shock to the senses and the stomach, but for a stopover with a difference, it’s hard to beat. Suggest visitors resist the urge to fit too much in and just soak in the atmosphere.

The city is small enough to wander round without getting too lost and the Gateway is a popular sightseeing spot, perfect for people-watching or tucking into some local curries. Suggest also the one-hour boat trip to Elephant Island, famed for its temples.

Those with more time to spare should head to the Mani Bhavan, where Mahatma Gandhi lived. It’s now a museum. The art collection at the Prince Charles Museum is also worth seeing.

Sample product:Qantas offers return flights to Sydney via Mumbai from £855 per person including taxes. This offer expires on January 1 2008.


For luxury

  • London to Dubai: seven hours

  • Dubai to Sydney: 13 hours

Dubai has the world’s first self-proclaimed seven-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab, where clients can have anything they want on gold-plated tap.

Elsewhere in the emirate they’ll find casinos with amazing views, beaches, roller coasters on rooftops, a real-snow ski resort and that’s just for starters. Love it or hate it, Dubai offers everything the luxury traveller wants.

Shop for gold, spices and perfume in the souks, go wadi-bashing or camel trekking in the desert, or just relax in the hotel’s luxurious surroundings.

Sample product:Virgin Holidays offers three nights at the four-star Rimal Rotana Suites in Dubai, and 11 nights at the three-star Travelodge in Sydney. Prices start from £2,029 including outbound flights with Emirates, via Dubai, and return flights with Virgin Atlantic via Hong Kong (no stopover), 11 days’ car hire and bed-and-breakfast accommodation. Prices are per adult, twin-share, for departures in February 2008.

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