Heading to New Zealand or Australia? Head Here First

1 12 2011

New Zealand Maori Dancer Postcard; Flickr/CrayolaMom

Travel writer and gay tourism expert Jeff Guaracino recently visited Down Under (New Zealand and Australia).

He compiled his findings into a terrific tip sheet for anyone considering traveling there. And why wouldn’t you? It’s nearly summer in the SoHe (Southern Hemisphere0 and, well, the guys are hot and rugged!

Here are a few of his tips. For the complete article, visit Windy City Times.

On the looooong flight:

On a flight this long, it is important to rack up miles on one airline and you should definitely choose your carrier wisely. You will want a newer plane with a great international service. Air New Zealand now flies two new planes between Los Angeles and Auckland. Service is Kiwi-friendly and the food is superior. The airline has a good sense of humor and is very gay-friendly. Fitness celebrity Richard Simmons stars in the onboard safety video “Mile-high madness with Richard Simmons,” a hilarious take on safety. Check it out on YouTube.

At last check, roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles on Air New Zealand in November cost $2,000 for economy; slightly more for premium economy; and about $8,000 for business premier. Visit http:// www.airnewzealand.com for current prices. A round-trip flight between New Zealand and Australia costs about $500. It is best to search multiple airline websites at http:// www.kayak.com .

What does a gay traveler need to know?

Consider a travel agent or tour operator to book your trip. A trip to these two countries could be complicated and you will want to plan a few organized or group tours. Check out www.iglta.org for gay-friendly and LGBT-owned businesses operating in New Zealand and Australia. There are also a number of U.S. and Canadian based tour companies that organize group trips to these destinations. Research destination itineraries and explore New Zealand at http:// www.newzealand.com/us .

For gay nightlife, spend the weekend in Sydney. You will find a number of gay bars ( also called hotels ) along Oxford Street. New Zealand’s LGBT scene is very, very small but you will find bars that cater to mostly men. Search the web for up-to-date information. Grinder is also a terrific travel app where you can ask the locals what is happening while you are there.

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