Agent Contributors:

 

Lori - Vancouver Office

Lori Mezzomo - Destination Specialist

 

Sawyer - Calgary Office

Sawyer

 

Taryn - Calgary Office

Taryn

 

Ryan - Toronto Office

Ryan Kennedy - Destination Specialist

 

Jason - Calgary Office

Jason

 

Stephanie - Toronto Office

Stephanie Coleman - Destination Specialist

 

Jane - Vancouver Office

Jane Osborne Destination Specialist

 

Vanessa - Edmonton Office

Vanessa Lloyd

 

Laurel - Edmonton Office

laurel hawaii


Welcome to the Official Downunder Travel Blog!

 

Stay informed, inspired and up to date as we introduce you to the various regions of the South Pacific, Asia and Africa.  Our entries include the amazing sights, sounds, activities and experiences you can have when you visit such regions.

The following entries have been written by our Destination Specialists offering you personal insight into the fascinating destinations we're passionate about.

 

5 Unique Things to Do ONLY in Northern Territory, Australia

With thundering waterfalls, secluded waterholes, open-air markets and an ancient Aboriginal culture, it’s no wonder many travellers opt to add the Outback to their itineraries.  Here are my top five Northern Territory experiences!  

 

 

5 Most Romantic Resorts in Samoa

While Samoa is known for being very family-oriented (and you can certainly bring the little ones along!), here are some of our favourite resorts that are perfect for that one-on-one time with your sweetheart!  

 

 

5 Marketplaces To Check out in Northern Territory's Outback

From Aboriginal artwork to food, produce and second-hand items like books, there are great places to pick up souvenirs.  Often, these marketplaces give local vendors an opportunity to connect with thousands of travellers (and locals)!  

 

 

5 Things To See and Do in Savai'i, Samoa

The main island, and the most populated island, of Samoa’s two islands is Upolu.  But if you’re visiting Samoa, it quite worthwhile to visit the second main island: Savai’i! This island is also known as the "real" Samoa--find out why!  

 

 

What To See and Do on The Main Island of Samoa

You may not be too familiar with the paradise of Samoa and that’s alright.  Below I will share what makes Samoa an outstanding destination to visit, apart from its breathtaking beaches and amazing fire dancing entertainment!  

 

 

What Gives the Cook Islands its Paradise Status?

All the islands within the South Pacific offer some of the most stunning beaches, aquatic life and lush gardens—they’re constantly referred to as ‘paradise.’  Here’s why I believe the Cook Islands offer a unique experience in this paradise!  

 

 

Five Items Travellers Commonly Forget

Here are some of the most-forgotten items I’ve heard from travellers and of course, some tips on what you may be able to do if it so happens that you land and realize these items are not with you!  

 

 

Five Apps You Never Knew You Needed

From banking to email, weather and social media, we seem to always have a need for smartphone apps, including travel like checking when your flight comes in, for instance.  Here are our picks for 2017.  

 

 

Five Unique Shopping Experiences in Thailand

When travelling abroad, it’s always nice to experience a new culture, explore unique areas, learn something new and, of course, find special keepsakes and souvenirs!  

 

 

Five of Thailand's Most Secluded Beaches!

Many people visit Thailand for the country’s many incredible beaches.  From the outskirts of Bangkok to Phuket, Koh Samui and more, Thailand has your dream palmtree-fringed escape virtually all over!  

 

 

Five Unique Discoveries You Can Find in Thailand!

Thailand is a country that has become home to many little hidden gems that travellers are sure to marvel at!  Here are some of our favourite cultural wonders in the beautiful country of smiles!  

 

 

French Polynesia's Remote 'Hidden Gem' Islands!

Forget Bora Bora and Moorea (if only for a moment!).  Take your secluded vacationing style in Tahiti to a whole new level with a few unique islands in French Polynesia that’ll give you that total, untouched paradise you crave!  

 

 

Why Cruising Is a Great Way to See Tahiti!

If you’re like most travellers who want to capture a truly cultural experience, whilst also engaging in a ton of unique activities, experiences and events, then a cruise just might be a great option for you!  

 

 

5 Ways Bora Bora Isn't Bora-Boring!

Long known as a destination for couples to kick back and lounge on the patio of their overwater bungalows, Bora Bora is also home to fantastic adventures such as 4WD excursions, shark feeding and underwater tours!   

 

 

Why Tahiti is an IT-Destination Right Now!

It’s one of the most talked about destinations right now.  Why? Because Tahiti is pristine and gorgeous.  It’s a secluded paradise in the middle of the South Pacific.  It’s easy to travel to from North America. Here are some additional reasons why Tahiti is a top vacation spot right now!   

 

 

Why Travel is Amazing When You Retire

Congrats on completing many years of dedicated, hard work!  You definitely deserve to kick-back and relax.  There’s no better way to unwind than with a special vacation after you stroll out of the office for the very last time!   

 

 

Five Best Christmas Markets in New Zealand!

Who wouldn’t enjoy visiting a new place during the most magical time of the year?  It’s especially great when you can discover some unique items to bring back home and gift to loved ones!   

 

 

Five Best Christmas Markets in Australia!

When you’re on vacation and you have a few people to cross off your Christmas gift list, there’s no gift more original than a gift from abroad!  They’ll treasure it for years to come!  Here are some great markets in Australia that totally win at Christmas!   

 

 

Stress Less with these 5 Handy Travel Gadgets!

The last thing you need to worry about when travelling is dealing with fees due to a heavy suitcase, having to keep track of your belongings when visiting multiple countries, frying your electronics and who knows what else!  

 

 

5 Non-Touristy Things to do in Melbourne

While we like to offer many recommendations on excursions and various things to do, there are a ton of activities you can enjoy that aren’t super ‘touristy’ and can actually make you feel like you’re... well, one of the locals!  

 

 

5 Mistakes Travellers Make When Booking Online

Sure you can find all kinds of deals when searching for flights, cruises and other vacation options online.  However, there are many advantages to booking that long-haul flight when working with a reputable travel agency.  

 

 

 

4 Reasons A Longstay Vacation is for You!

Longstay vacations as you may know typically cover a period of about three weeks to a month, sometimes even longer!  It’s a great way to celebrate a special occasion, spend an entire summer or have a family reunion with your loved ones.  

 

 

Incredible Things to do in South Island, New Zealand

The South Island has some of the most natural landscapes in the Southern hemisphere.  I had the opportunity to re-visit the South Island, New Zealand recently and here are some of my personal recommendations on where to visit.  

 

 

Places You MUST Visit in Western Australia

From the gorgeous Indian Ocean Drive filled with incredible white-sandy beaches, wildflowers, the world-famous Pinnacles to the Wave Rock and Kimberley, these are your definite ‘musts’ in Western Australia!  

 

 

Things To Avoid When Travelling in the South Pacific

You’re packed up and super excited to leave on your far-distance holiday!  While we’re happy to see you tick another box off your bucket list we’d also like to caution you on some major no-no’s so you’re best prepared for your adventures ahead.  

 

 

5 Things You MUST Do in Perth!

You’re going to be visiting Western Australia – which we at Downunder Travel all highly encourage you to do! – There are some places that are definite “musts” when you visit this special west coast city.  Here are my top five must-do's.  

 

 

5 Golen Places... In The Gold Coast!

With plenty of wildlife, attractions, amusement parks, wineries, entertainment and more, the Gold Coast is truly a 'golden' place of fun for all who stay there! I love everything about this tropical region, but here are my top five faves.  

 

 

Guest Blogger: "Our Great 26-Day New Zealand Escape!"

We've spoken to many tourists who have done variations of our itinerary and we concluded that if we were re-doing this itinerary, we wouldn't make any changes to both the routing or to the number of nights in each location.  

 

 

5 Places to Honeymoon in New Zealand

The honeymoon is the time you both can unwind and enjoy the beginning of the next chapter in your lives.  Thinking of New Zealand for your honeymoon?  You’ll want to be sure that you’ve got these five locations covered in your New Zealand itinerary. 

 

 

Things to Consider When Planning a South Pacific Honeymoon

You deseve to de-stress from all that wedding planning by going on an epic honeymoon!  If you’re thinking about visiting the South Pacific, there are a few things you must consider for a hassle-free, post-wedding escape

 

Reconnect with your partner... In Samoa!

When you think of a romantic escape, instantly your mind will think of secluded beaches, adventures and so on.  Samoa offers much for couples looking to escape, unwind and reconnect. 

 

Handa Opera Returns 24 March - 24 April 2016!

The 2016 show – now in its fourth year – is shaping up to be yet another major hit with audiences from around the world.  This year’s production presents Turandot: a love story that's also marked with much tragedy and sorrow. 

 

Why Samoa MUST be Your Next Vacation

Samoa is entrenched in a rich society that is governed by tradition, a close-knit community, respect for elders and a cultural way of life that is 3,000 years old!  Why else should this uber-cultural paradise be your next vacation? 

 

Yarra Valley's 'Hop for Hope' - Exhibition from Sept-Oct 2015

While this region is known for its fine wines and delicious, world-renowned eats – and never disappoints – I was here for a somewhat different reason: to support 'Hop for Hope', a charity dedicated to keeping children safe from violence and bullying 

 

Five Ways to Make your South Pacific Vacation INCREDIBLE

Heading to the South Pacific is an incredible experience.  But, I’ve got a few tips that can ensure that feeling of excitement flows through the early planning stages, your entire vacation, and even upon your return!  

 

Five Stunning Islands in Australia you MUST Visit

Here are five scenic Australian islands, geographically spread out for greater diversity ...so no matter where you happen to be going within Australia, you’ll be sure to look for your nearest island and relish in its majestic glory and unique features!  

 

Five Tips on How to Pack for Long Vacations

If you’re heading to the South Pacific, your vacation is most likely going to be longer than a couple of weeks.  That said, packing everything you need into one suitcase may seem impossible but it doesn't have to be.  

 

Five Tips to Make Your Long-Haul Flight Super Comfortable

Going to Australia?  Maybe New Zealand?  Perhaps the Cook Islands or Fiji?  Wherever you’re headed in the South Pacific, you’re bound to be on a long-haul flight and you want to make that as comfortable as possible.  

 

How to NOT Look Like a Tourist... When Touring Thailand!

Travellers no longer wish to be labelled as ‘tourists’; instead today’s travellers are looking for authentic experiences.  Best way to achieve this?  Go where the locals go, eat where the locals eat and participate in activities the locals enjoy, of course.  

 

Reconnecting With Your Partner in Thailand!

From palaces to temples, museums, delicious restaurants, unique street foods and vendors, rejuvenating spas, the metropolis of Bangkok and world-famous beaches; Thailand makes for the perfect escape with your one-and-only, no matter what activities you both fancy.  

 

Why You Should Visit Thailand When You Retire!

Retirement is the time when you can reap the rewards of your many years of hard work.  It's also a fantastic time to embark on a journey to places you have never visited.  Here are our top five reasons why Thailand should be a priority to visit upon retirement.  

 

Thailand... Why Not?  5 Reasons Thailand Should Be Your Next Vacation!

From ancient cities to floating markets, gorgeous landscapes and magnificent palaces, Thailand is the destination that truly offers you something unique!  Here are our top five reasons you need to head to Thailand on your next vecation.  

 

Thailand: A Place of Unique Adventures!

Want to travel somewhere unique and different, while offering yourself a ton of adventures that also keep you active?  From mountain biking to visiting sacred caves and exploring the deep forests, Thailand’s got your exotic adventure travel needs covered.  

 

 

Guest Blogger: "Our Great Cook Islands Escape!"

The offshore circle of coral reef holding back the waves provides ideal conditions for any water activities. White sand beaches ring the island and the inland trees climbing the sparsely inhabited volcanic hills provide a tropical backdrop.  

 

 

Top Five Boating Experiences in New Zealand

New Zealand has an abundance of natural landscapes, awe-inspiring scenery, intriguing lakes, rivers, caves and harbours.  There is much to see and do in the country that has been known for years as being a paradise for the boatie!  

 

 

Adventures Abound in Fiji!

Whilst you’re looking to simply escape miles and miles from everyday life back at home, why not have a little bit of fun, immerse yourself in traditional art, or dare to explore areas you would not otherwise have known about?  You can enjoy a little adventure and fun in Fiji!  

 

 

Five things you MUST DO in Sydney

I just got back from an incredible journey to Sydney and Tasmania.  While Tasmania was a tremendous experience and I enjoyed some great excursions and adventures, I thought I’d also mention some of the fun and exciting activities in the stunning harbour city - Sydney.  

 

 

From Sydney to Tasmania: Itinerary Nuggets!

My trip to Sydney and Tasmania last week was incredible!  I enjoyed Sydney for two days before I ventured off to Tasmania, however, I must say that Sydney is such an iconic city – it’s got a happening night life, a vibrant and upbeat culture and so many neat activities to experience!  

 

 

You MUST Do These Five Things in Tasmania

I recently returned from an awesome week inTasmania and the activities on the scenic island-state are endless.  From ghost tours to kayaking excursions and even winding down with a delightful glass of vino and a full plate, Tasmania has got a lot to offer!  

 

 

Five Healthy Things You Can Do in Tasmania

You can keep fit even when on vacation!  Tasmania, an island-state just to the south of Australian’s main land, is a place where you can enjoy fresh food, World-Heritage wilderness walks and relaxing (but breathtaking) coastal views.  

 

 

Secrets to Capturing Amazing Vacation Photos

You don’t have to be a pro photographer to capture every experience in the best possible way on your vacation.  Upon your return, you want to feel like you're reliving your experiences all over again.  

 

 

 

Why Fiji Should be Your Honeymoon Destination

Fiji is composed of over 330 tropical islands of total happiness.  In fact, in a recent 2014 year-end global survey conducted by WIN/Gallup, the survey found that Fiji is the happiest country in the entire world.  

 
 
 
Why Travelling to Australia When You Retire is Awesome!

There's a whole world out there on this country, island and continent waiting to be explored.  Here are a few great reasons why you need to travel to Australia immediately after you retire!

 

 

Tahiti: For the Romantic and the Adventurous

When you think about Tahiti, your mind immediately goes to the gorgeous beaches, the swaying palm trees, the overwater bungalow accommodations and couples everywhere. However... in addition to Tahiti’s romantic flare, I’ve had my share of adventure too.  

 

 

Take "The Plunge" - The Launch of the Bora Bora Underwater Wedding!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a pro scuba diver or not – no scuba diving instruction is required for you and your sweetheart to enjoy the beauty and majestic setting of the underwater ceremony.

 

 

MUST download: Cool (and Free) Travel Apps

Just when you think you have all the apps for travel - flight check-ins, e-tickets, and even restaurant apps - it's safe to say that there are heaps of apps that continue to crop up. Here you will find a top five list of some suitable FREE apps for smart phones and and tablets.

 

 

The Cook Islands: Where are they and what makes them so special?

Nestled within the Tropic of Capricorn, in the heart of the South Pacific, the 15 islands that make up The Cook Islands are full of wondrous white-sandy beaches filled with friendly locals, year-round comfortably warm weather, Maori culture and an all around very safe location (and yes, the islands are free from venomous animals too).  Here are top reasons to travel to this picture-perfect paradise.      

 

 

MUST download: Cool (and Free) Travel Apps

Just when you think you have all the apps for travel - flight check-ins, e-tickets, and even restaurant apps - it's safe to say that there are heaps of apps that continue to crop up. Here you will find a top five list of some suitable FREE apps for smart phones and and tablets.

 

 

Make Yourself Comfortable:  Fiji Airways Latest Upgrades

As you sit back, snuggle with your plush pillow and recline your chair, you begin reading your luxury-lifestyle magazine, FijiTime, and become immersed in the captivating travel stories.  Just a few hours later your delectable dish featuring charred beef fillet with masala chai tea rub and herb buttered prawns arrives. 

 

 

Aida Performing at the 2015 Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

The event beautifully marries Sydney’s lively culture – the city’s admiration of theatre arts and opera, champagne and fine dining.  Expecting to be the biggest opera performed at this yearly festival, the season has been extended to four weeks to accommodate the increased demand of Sydneysiders and visitors alike.  

 

 

Lucky Enough to see Lucky Bay?

With gorgeous stretches of powder-white sand and comfortable camping grounds, those who make it to Lucky Bay are certainly ‘lucky’ to have stumbled upon this little paradise along the coast of Cape Le Grand National Park and Esperance.           

 

 

Bora Bora: The New "Little Italy" of the South Pacific?

Couple the many flavours of Polynesia with the island’s natural beauty, and his craft has met its culinary heaven.  While his dishes are mainly rooted in Italian heritage, they’re also in keeping with Polynesia’s flavours and culture. 

 

 

Air New Zealand's New Baby: The Boeing 787-9

The décor of this aircraft was beyond exceptional in all classes; Business Premier, Premium Economy, and Economy.  All seats are comfortable of course, with soft leather and ergonomic seat backs, complete with footrests and a sweet entertainment system.

 

 

The Bolded and the Beautiful - Northern Territory, Australia

Even after being a well-rounded Australian traveler (and, of course, specialist), I like the little surprises and that catch me off guard every time I return. Recently, I was traveling through the historic and magical state of the Northern Territory of Australia and the new experiences I’ve gained were absolutely astonishing.

 

 

Northland, New Zealand:  The (Always Tropical) Bay of Islands!

From ancient forests that tell a story, to the never ending coastlines and a land that consistently stays at a subtropical climate, the 144 islands that make up The Bay of Islands in Northland, New Zealand are as beautiful as they are magical!      

 


 

Warm Up Your Winter...In The Cook Islands!

As Canadians, we’ve endured grim winters year after year and they seem to drag on for months.  The cure for lengthy winters will always be palm trees, beautiful lagoons and peaceful, un-crowded beaches.                                                                             

                                                                                                                      

 

Don't Sacrifice Luxury When Camping:

Luxury camping, or "glamping" as it's often referred to as, is a type of camping that comes equipped with in-room electricity, proper bedding and an elevated camp villa.  There are many reasons that make luxury camping the way to go when you travel to remote places like the Australian Outback.                                                                               

 

 

Stephanie’s Australian Adventure:

From Kangaroo Island to the Whitsundays, I must say this was an excursion that’s given me a completely new outlook on key Australian places! And I’ve been there before, too, which is exciting when you can return to favourite destinations and still learn new things each time...

 

 

Have Your Vacation the Way You Want It - in Fiji!

Currently I am traveling solo amidst some islands and gorgeous white sandy beaches of the Mamanuca Group in Fiji. Although Fiji is often seen as a romantic getaway, the hospitality here in Fiji is sure to cater to every need, every activity level and every age...

 

Ryan's Secrets of Victoria-

And we’re not talking about the retail store with the words “secret” and “Victoria” in its name!  We’re talking about traveling to the state of Victoria in Australia and some of the visual treats you experience get along the way!...

 

Top 5 Multipurpose Travel Items-

When traveling to faraway places for adventures, like camping excursions in New Zealand or to the Australian Outback, it is often expected that we need to pack compactly. But keeping our suitcase simple seems like an impossible task sometimes...

 

Simply Stunning Aitutaki-

Like many of the constants in our life, such as the sun rise and sunset, Aitutaki stays timeless every time I visit. I have done both the Bishops Lagoon Cruise as well as the Vaka Lagoon Cruise – twice. Both are exceptional ways to experience the world-famous Aitutaki Lagoon nonetheless...

 

Atui - Untouched Paradise-

Upon boarding the 15-seater Embrodier Aircraft, I soon realized why my attempted trip to Atui the last time I visited the Cook Islands was unsuccessful. There was actually room on this flight!  With just a 45 minute flight north of Rarotonga, Atui is a coral cay island that is gradually being pushed up out of the water, ever so slightly every day...

 

Cook Islands Wifi/Internet Access-

The subject matter that follows may very well only be relevant for the next six months as we are all so aware of how fast technology changes, even in the Cook Islands...

 

Cook Islands-

This is my fourth trip to the Cook Islands and I feel very fortunate! Although I’ve been here before I am still learning new things about this little island group that lies deep in the South Pacific. The sun had recently risen shining its fresh morning light over the mountain, warming up the island instantly. The airport has not changed in all my visits to the Cooks either – There is no air bridge; this is very much ‘old school’...

 

Robbie's Restaurant Guide in Far North Queensland-

Good mate of Downunder Travel, Travel Industry Veteran, Author and Cairns Local Resident, Robbie Bastion, has shared his favourite restaurants with us in the Far North Queensland region.  Thanks Robbie for your insight on how Canadians can find a great feed while in Far North Queensland...

 

Uluru- Sunset vs. Sunrise-

Being my first time to Ayers Rock, I was really not sure whether to do the sunrise or the sunset tour of the Rock so I conducted some research before departing which lead me to doing both...

 

Traveling Long Haul with Children-

For the last 11 years we have been traveling with our children to various places around the world – the short, medium and long haul distances alike...

 

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour!-

In April this year, I had the opportunity to explore Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata New Zealand. I was fortunate enough to be toured around privately by the original and very first tour guide of this amazing attraction...

 

Perfect Honeymoon Destinations-

Most people imagine an isolated white sand beach located on an isolated light blue crystal clear lagoon, the odd palm tree, a hammock, and themselves laying soaking up the warm sun while sipping on a cocktail or two. Why not, this is what all the brochure images reflect… right?...