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Travellers save big with a new way to book accommodation online Price Guardian is a price robot on your side. It works by checking your hotel booking against any fluctuations in price to make sure you’ve always got the lowest price locked in. “Let’s say…

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Culture vultures be on the alert!  The Melbourne International Arts Festival will be held from 9th October through to 24th October 2009.  This is Melbourne’s premier cultural event, featuring visual arts displays and performances by local and…

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We seem to think that #Christmas comes with its own unalterable laws that tells us what we should do, what we should eat, and where we should be during the festive period, but this is not the case. You don’t have to be siphoned into having the same experience as everybody else just because it’s tradition. Staying in a hotel, for instance, affords plenty of obvious and not-so-obvious advantages. Break out of the mould and you may find the Christmas you have this year is the best one yet!

You’ll Save Money

The first plus point for staying in a hotel at Christmas is a big one: it’s cheaper. Being a time when most people stay at home, hotels are able to offer bargain prices in a bid to entice travellers to book a room with them during Christmas. And contrary to what you might expect, it’s typically the more luxurious hotels that offer the biggest discounts in relation to other times of the year. You could end up celebrating the festive period in a plush five star hotel if you take the plunge and kiss goodbye to Christmas in the home for a year.

Space From the Family

No one’s suggesting you abandon your family at Christmas. They’re kind, sweet people, of course they are, but… there’s only so much of their sweetness and kindness you can take. Grab your favourite loved one and book yourself a romantic getaway to have the joyeux noel you both dream of. You’ll be able to have a relaxing, refreshing Christmas time together – and then return to the mania of the family for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Christmas Treats

A lot of money goes into making sure everything is just right for Christmas Day, with decorations, food and presents making it a particularly intensive time of year financially (listen to this: the average Australian family will spend a hefty $1,079 on Christmas). Book a hotel and you won’t have to spend money filling a shopping trolley with all the staples for Christmas at home. Instead, you’ll be able to take the money you’ve saved and treat yourself to something nice (we personally recommend a bottle of prosecco to toast Christmas day with).

Keeping it Simple

If Christmas at home was as relaxing as it’s hyped up to be, we would not have written this article. Alas, it’s not. What tends to happen is the cleaning and cooking and all the other small tasks of the day end up eating into time that should be spent relaxing and enjoying the simple joys of the season. Travel to a hotel for Christmas and these chores, much like Santa up the chimney, quickly vanish. You’ll be able to eat well and have fun, all without having to lift a finger yourself – a Merry Christmas indeed!

Shake Things Up

Not everybody feels overburdened by the demands of Christmas at home and there’s a reason it’s a tradition in the first place: a cosy, familiar backdrop for spending quality time with friends and family. But there’s nothing to stop you from spending the Christmas period in a new way every once in awhile. Travel to a hotel and you’ll be giving you and your family (if they’re invited along) a memorable Christmas that will live long in your memory – as well making the Christmases you spend at home all the more special in the long run.

Book your Christmas hotel now!

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We are not designed to have absolutely everything we desire in life. But does this apply to travel?

Read our article on Lowsumerism and travel >>

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The Mara River Safari Lodge offers you the chance to go wild in #Bali, and we're not talking about a big night out in Kuta. This themed family resort, located inside the Bali Safari & Marine Park, offers an unforgettable African experience within minutes of the island’s famous beaches.

Each room at Mara River is reminiscent of an African hut, with a thatched roof and painted circular walls. The comfortable interior of the ‘Tandala’ room is decked out with traditional masks, vases, paintings and wood carvings, as well as the modern luxuries you’d expect in a resort: air-conditioning, mini-bar, wireless internet access and international satellite channels on a flat-screen TV. The huge skylight in the rock and timber bathroom makes it feel like you’re showering under the stars, and the room overlooks a landscaped plain where zebras, oryx, wildebeest and an enormous rhino spend the day grazing in front of your balcony. Family-sized suites are available.

A highlight of the resort is the Tsavo Lion restaurant, where a glass wall separates you from your fellow diners – a pride of fully-grown lions! These beasts prowl and roar within metres of your table as you enjoy the diverse menu of Indonesian and Western cuisine.

Get the full safari experience with a three-day/two-night package, which includes meals and access to everything the park has to offer. Take an elephant ride through the grasslands. Get up close and personal with a couple of white tigers. View over 60 animal species from around the world on the Safari Explorer tour, or take a good old-fashioned hike through the rice paddies. Afterwards, unwind with a dip in the savannah-side pool and an in-room Balinese massage. An African adventure with Balinese service makes for the perfect holiday.

Book your room at the Mara River Safari Lodge >>

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Hot Water Beach, located on the #Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand’s North Island, is a place like no other. Underground hot springs filter up through the sand between the high and low water tidal reaches, giving visitors the unique experience of being able to build their own spa bath right there in the sand.

Bring a shovel and come within 2 hours of low tide (a guide to when low tide occurs during different times of the year can be found here), then just dig in the sand and the natural warm waters, with temperatures as high as 64°C will rise from the underground. There it is: your very own personal hot tub. It’s as soothing as it is fun. Soaking in these thermal waters is sure to relieve any aches or muscular soreness you may have. And surf shops in the area that carry shovels in the case you forget to bring your own!

Coromandel Peninsula Attractions
Once the novelty of your self-made hot tub wears off (it will take awhile, trust us), be sure to check out some of the many nearby attractions on the Coromandel Peninsula.

Cathedral Cove, named after its limestone cliff archways that resembles a cathedral, offers one of the most scenic hikes in all of New Zealand. The white limestone cliffs stand in stark contrast to the deep greens and blues of the forest and ocean it separates. They are stunningly beautiful. The best way to see these cliffs is on the water by renting a kayak or water taxi.

The crowds of Hot Water Beach may make you yearn for a more intimate experience with the ocean. You’ll find just that at New Chums Beach. No buildings, no roads, no infrastructure, no camping and no crowds. This is untouched natural paradise at its finest.

Swim At Your Own Risk
The unique build your own spa bath feature of Hot Water Beach makes it a popular attraction for both tourists (over 700,000 people a year visit this beach) and locals alike. But don’t be fooled: just because this spot is not desolate doesn’t mean it’s without danger. Many people have died here from Hot Water Beach’s notoriously frequent and strong rip tides.

Only swim if the Hot Water Beach Lifeguard Service is active on patrol, and even then, only swim if you are truly an experienced swimmer. Remember: you can swim at any beach, but you cannot build your own hot tub at any beach. The hot tubs are safer and offer a unique and memorable experience. There’s plenty of other, safer beaches to swim at.

Nearest Town to Hot Water Beach & Cathedral Cove
The closest town to Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove is #Hahei. Aside from these natural phenomena you can also cruise The Snorkel Trail, part of the Hahei Marine Reserve.

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You're spoilt for choice when it comes to hotels in Hawaii.

But we prefer one with direct beach access. Get the full list here >>

Best time to go? Early May. Great weather, fewer crowds, better deals. Start daydreaming...

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Enough of this hibernation we say – breathe the fresh air, bask in the sunshine and enjoy the scenery at one of these fun fitness events coming up in our most beautiful and beloved cities.

Bridging the Gap
Here’s a different way to see #Sydney. Get your family or mates off the couch and drop in for the annual Seven Bridges Walk in October. If the full 27km seems a bit too keen for your liking, you can always skip a few bridges, take in the Harbour and stop for some food, face painting and music at one of the ‘villages’ along the way. We recommend you register now, as the event is limited to 15,000 walkers.

Self-transcendence through Sport
Interested in the spiritual benefits of physical fitness? “Om” your way through the Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival, which bounces into #Canberra in November. The swim, cycle and run legs take you around the beautiful scenery of the capital’s Lake Burley Griffin. Even the kids can get involved with the Junior Joyathon mini-tri.

One Tough Mudder
Love the idea of an Artic Enema, Electroshock Therapy, Fire in your Hole or having your Balls to the Wall? Thousands of sadomasochists pull off the impossible each year: a 16-20km Tough Mudder obstacle course. It’s on in #Melbourne and Sydney. Goodluck!

Around the Bay in a Day
Riding along on a pushbike, honey… Around the Bay in a Day is held in Melbourne in October. Part of the Melbourne Cycling Festival, thousands of riders take up the challenge to raise funds for the Smith Family by pedalling distances ranging from 50-250km. Fuel up with some food at the Altona Beach Break, where you can chillax under the Moreton Bay Fig trees and take in live entertainment before heading back to the city via parkland and coastal trails.

For a place to rest your weary bodies afterwards, check out our current hotel deals.

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September is a great month to be in #Melbourne
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