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Australia

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the Blue Mountains, Ayers Rock, and the Great Barrier Reef!

February 27 to March 7, 2014
9 days from $4999

View complete itinerary



 

Zoom Vacations® has cooked up a special trip for those who crave stunning scenery, delicious dining, exciting excursions, and likeable locals. Zoom Australia includes accommodations at the country's best hotels and special Aussie activities prepared exclusively for Zoom travelers, including VIP seating at Sydney Mardi Gras.

Australians have a reputation for being fun, friendly, and fabulous. During Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, they take this to another level, and Zoom Vacations® is at the forefront of the excitement! You don’t want to be left out of this one, mate!

In addition, you will visit what just may be the most beautiful mountain range in the world, and see the largest (and most famous) rock on Earth! And of course, you will sail away to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. You will be surrounded by magical coral gardens teeming with an incredible diversity of marine life and seabirds. Enjoy a day of snorkeling, sunbathing, relaxing, reading, rejuvenating, sailing, and swimming.

By the end of your trip, it will be hard to distinguish Australia’s best feature. Its sensational cities, pristine beaches, phenomenal rock formations, lush rainforests, and world-renowned reef are all in the running. However, what you will undoubtedly remember most are the people.

View more pictures from prior trips to Australia with Zoom Vacations®



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Gay Tour Highlights

• 4 nights Accommodations in one of Sydney's finest five star hotels.

• Breakfast daily.

• Complimentary Internet access in Sydney and Cairns.

• Services of a professional Zoom Concierge throughout the trip. Zoom Vacations® is a certified Australia specialist!

• Zoom welcome cocktail and dinner event at one of Sydney’s best gourmet restaurants, where you will get to know your fellow travelers and your Zoom Concierge.

• A private Taste of Sydney Tour where you will learn the history, gossip, and fun facts behind the famous sites, as well as what makes Sydney, Sydney!

• Tour to the stunning Blue Mountains and the interactive Featherdale Wildlife Park where you will hand-feed a kangaroo, wallaby and emu and enjoy a face-to-face encounter with friendly koalas.

• Sydney Mardi Gras Club Tropicana Ticket. This is the newest venue from which to watch the Parade! Located in the middle of the action in Taylor Square, it’s the hot spot at the epicenter. Your own outdoor club featuring DJ Josh Kirkby and DJ David DC, a buzzing vibe, gorgeous food, access to bars and bathrooms, plus your very own host to announce each entrant and keep you laughing. This is the prime position to view the Parade and party while the spectacle passes by in all its glitz and glory.

• 3 nights Accommodations at the Five Star Shangri-La Marina Cairns Hotel in sensational Horizon Club Level Rooms.

• First Class
Kuranda Scenic Railway journey comprising unsurpassed views of Barron Gorge National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travel through steep ravines, picturesque waterfalls, and the oldest rainforest in the world, while sipping sparkling wine or a cold beer and savoring delicious finger foods.

• Skyrail journey through the world's oldest rainforest including a visit to stunning, roaring Barron River Falls.


• Great Barrier Reef five-star catamaran snorkeling and sailing cruise and all meals onboard.

• Farewell Dinner, including a sumptuous spread of meats, gourmet salads, gourmet traditional BBQ "fare" and tantalizing desserts.

• 1 night Accommodations at Sails in the Desert Hotel in Ayers Rock (Uluru)

• Enjoy a stunning outdoor dinner in the desert, with commanding views of Ayers Rock, and complimentary wine, beer, sparkling, and port.

• See the majesty of Ayers Rock unfold on tour of this natural masterpiece

• Includes 10% Government Service Tax

• Admissions where applicable.

• Customize your trip with Zoom a la carte activities such as the Bridge Climb, parties, and High Speed Boat blast of the Harbor.


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Luxury Gay-Friendly Accommodations

Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney, Five stars

With stunning views of Sydney’s spectacular Harbour, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the world-famous Opera House, the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney brings welcoming Shangri-La hospitality to the historic Rocks district in the heart of this dynamic city.

The Hotel offers Sydney’s most spacious and luxurious guest rooms and suites in the city. All rooms have breathtaking views of the harbour and are the largest in their class. Exquisitely appointed with contemporary furnishings, rooms feature triple-glazed soundproofed windows, plush duvets and signature bed linens.

Incredible location! The Shangri-La is within walking distance of: Sydney Opera House, Sydney Botanical Gardens, Sydney Harbor Bridge, Darling Harbor, Pitt Street Mall, The Rocks, Queen Victoria Building, Cockle Bay, Circular Quay, Sydney Harbor, Sydney Aquarium, and more.

For health-conscious travellers, the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney offers a Health Club with a fully-equipped gymnasium, indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi and sundeck.

Luxurious yet unpretentious, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney is honoured to offer CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La. Inspired by traditional Asian healing philosophies, Chi treatments are based upon the principles of restoring balance and harmony to mind and body. CHI, The Spa boasts the most luxurious private spa suites in Sydney, the personal space and carefully considered environment create a sense of timelessness where you can indulge your senses, soothe your body and revitalise your spirit.

 

Shangri-La Marina Cairns Hotel, 5 stars.

The best hotel in Cairns!

Ideally located in the heart of Cairns, the Shangri-La Hotel overlooks Marlin Marina, Trinity Bay and the green mountains that frame this jewel of a city, famous as a jumping-off point for the Great Barrier Reef.

The hotel—which recently completed a comprehensive AU$35 million redevelopment—is a 10-minute drive to Cairns International Airport, and a short stroll to the Esplanade Lagoon, Pier Shopping, Pier Dining Promenade and Great Barrier Reef Departure Terminal.

The stylish hotel offers airy, modern Accommodations with elegant furniture and spectacular views of the Marina. And with the renowned Horizon Club, Shangri-La is the only hotel in the area to offer a true five-star club floor facility.

Sails in the Desert Hotel, Ayers Rock, Five Stars

Named after the soaring white sails that crown its roof, this is Voyages Ayers Rock Resort's premium hotel. The interior decor focuses on Aboriginal heritage and culture, with a gallery in the lobby and significant artworks featured throughout the public areas and in the private rooms.

Slip into comfort right in the heart of the central Australian outback at Voyages Sails in the Desert Hotel. Relax in beautifully appointed rooms, enjoy a cocktail in the lovely grounds, or sit back and relax under the magnificent white sails.

The Hotel also features the acclaimed Mulgara Gallery, the lively, buffet-style Winkiku Restaurant, tapas-style cuisine by the pool at Rockpool (seasonal), and the award winning signature restaurant of Voyages Ayers Rock Resort, Kuniya Restaurant.


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Air: International and domestic airfare not included. Zoom Vacations® has negotiated a 5% discount off your fare with American Airlines on this trip.  To receive this discount, call AA's Meeting Services Department and provide Promotion Code: A8422AQ.

*Land only Introductory rate, based on double occupancy. Prices are subject to change. Need a roommate? Zoom Vacations® is happy to match you with someone, at no additional charge. Or, you may pay a single supplement and go as a single.

Please read Terms and Conditions prior to booking.

Zoom Vacations® is a certified Australia specialist!



Testimonials From Past Zoom Sydney Mardi Gras Vacations

It was great meeting you and the rest of the group. I truly had a wonderful time, and was very impressed by everything y'all did. I look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

Mark, Atlanta: Zoom Sydney Mardi Gras Vacation

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It made a huge difference to me to have the Zoom concierge service with us on the trip. For example, when the weather did not cooperate with our scheduled activities in Cairns, Zoom was quick to respond and create an alternate itinerary within a few hours. They really took care of us.

John, Phoenix: Zoom Sydney Mardi Gras Vacation

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I had a wonderful time in AUS. It was great meeting old and new friends, and I’m still living large on this holiday.

Tom, New Jersey: Zoom Sydney Mardi Gras Vacation

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I had a blast on the Australia trip. You guys worked your proverbial asses off, and produced another winning Zoom Vacation. I thank you once again for a terrific trip. Here are my ten most memorable Zoom Australia moments:

1. "Viva La France"! 30 or so gay guys (and one gal) in outrageous wigs shocking the heck out of the Japanese and other visitors at Sydney's Opera House. The attention we grabbed made us feel like French rock stars! I can't wait to see the picture we took at the fountain there. And the drag queen's performance of Opera in the men's room was hysterical.

2.) Up Periscope! Touring the world's largest coral reef in a glass enclosed semi-submersible. How many times in your life do you have the opportunity to be that close for that long to what has to be one of the most amazing natural wonders I've ever seen--The Great Barrier Reef. And to do it in that cool semi-submersible was incredible. I probably said, "Oh my god...look at that!" about 100 times!

3. Was there a parade? While I remember seeing some pretty fun floats passing by the Glam Stands, I have to admit that the real memories of the parade for me were actually in the Glam Stands themselves. I think I had more fun talking with locals in the crowd, drinking, eating, watching the crowd antics, and drinking some more. I think I even got groped a few times. Yippee!

4. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition displayed at the Australia Museum. If you missed it, you missed one of the most beautiful and profoundly moving exhibits I have ever seen in any museum! The exhibit, on loan from London's Natural History Museum and the BBC Wildlife Magazine, portrayed nature and animal photographs taken by professionals and amateurs from ages 7 to 65. To call some of the photographs "awe inspiring" seems too trivial. I have to admit I found myself in tears a few times. It was an experience I'll likely never forget.

5.) Look Out Indiana Jones! A tour of the oldest rainforest in the world in that World War II amphibious boat/jeep was thrilling. It sloshed through the muddy roads while we heard about the stinging plants and other flora, and next it glided easily into the rainforest river where we spied huge butterflies. Simply cool. But, stopping in front of that huge palm fern, and hearing how they were from the Jurassic period simply floored me. I could truly sense a huge brontosaurus munching on them millions of years ago.

6. Koalas. As you know I'm a big animal fan, I won't ever forget the thrill of petting the koalas and the kangaroos in the Featherdale Park. Some people think, "yeah, they're cute", but for me, it was the culmination of years and years of wanting to see some of Australia's indigenous wildlife.

7. The Blue Mountains. Wow! 'Nuff said. Snap up, snap down!!! I could have spent a whole day there just gazing and hiking. Perhaps you could consider that as an option on a future trip. It was just too beautiful to rush through.

8. "Get me a schooner mate, I'm as dry as a dead dingo's donger!" Mark the Bus Driver to Featherdale and the Blue Mountains was a treasure. You might wonder how a bus driver makes my top 10 list. Well I have been on 100's of bus tours in my 50 years of life. Some of them were excruciating ("will someone let me shove that microphone up that person's ass!?"), and some of them have been downright condescending. Mark was truly brilliant. Few, if any, bus driver/tour guides have the perfect mix of humor, intelligence, professionalism, and local interest he does. Teaching us all the Australian idioms and local jokes was a real treat. I'd recommend you get him again on any future trips to Australia. In fact, if you could import him to the Black Sea I'd like to get to know him a little better.

9. "The halls are alive with the sound of music". Did we really get a private concert of our own in the Sydney Opera House?!! The chance for our group to hear Bartok being played in a practice session during the Opera House tour was FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC! The walls were shaking with some amazing music. I had goose bumps for hours! This was something not EVERY group tour gets. Thank you Zoom.

10. The Harbor Cruise. It went by too fast. I wanted to turn that boat around and say "ONE MORE TIME!". Great food. Great atmosphere. Great people. There is a vision I remember on this harbor cruise of the approaching dusk slipping slowly into darkness. At just the perfect time a flotilla of sail boats passed by our own boat. With Luna Park in the far distance on one side of the harbor, and the sea on the other, the shadowed image of sail boats was etched into my mind. It was something magical, surreal, and calming all at the same time. Does life get any better than that?

Wayne, Palm Springs: Zoom Sydney Mardi Gras Vacation

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We have been thinking about an Australia trip for several years and decided to do Mardi Gras this years. We chose Zoom Vacations® because we like the idea of traveling with a group, liked the upscale choices, and liked that you were on hand to personally lead the tour. You hit the balance of group and optional activities just right.

John, Seattle : Zoom Sydney Mardi Gras Vacation

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