- Africa + Middle East,
- Australia + Pacific,
I want to climb Mt Kilimajoaro with Jason! Experiencing a crazy adventure together sounds insanely romantic to me. To top it all off we can relax afterward in a chic, luxurious hotel in Sydney to relax and reflect on our amazing trip:)
The Melting Snows of Kilimanjaro
Time may be running out for the peak's storied glaciers
Mnemba Island Lodge, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Tel: 888 882 3742
A favorite haunt of stars and supermodels, this private island is astronomically expensiveand one of the most romantic places on earth. The resort offers just ten secluded beachside bandas, or cottages, roofed with hand-woven palm matting. Each features a spacious veranda, a huge bed with intricate Zanzibar-style carved wood, and a covered walkway leading to a separate bathroom. Guests feast on fresh fruit, fish, and lobsters. By day, they can laze on the beach, get a massage, or explore the reef around the island, which teems with 600 species of fish, ghost crabs, and green turtles. The price includes all meals, drinks, scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking.
See + Do
Spice Tour, Zanzibar, Tanzania
In the 19th century, when Zanzibar was at the height of its economic prominence, its sprawling plantations dominated the global spice market—as well as the islands' economy. Cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla are still grown in abundance around Zanzibar; during the harvest, when villagers lay out blankets of freshly picked cloves on the roadside to dry in the sun, the pungent smell stings the nostrils. Spice tours are offered as popular half-day trips from Stone Town, typically including a visit to a plantation, spice tastings, and a traditional Zanzibari lunch, often wrapping up with some beach time before returning to town. All of the island's upmarket hotels offer tours, or you can book through independent operators such as Zan Tours (Malawi Rd.; 255-24-223-3116; www.zantours.com).
The World's Highest Destinations
There's something about getting high that helps you see things from a whole new perspective—and no, we're not talking about a trip to Amsterdam. Inspired by the January 2010 opening of Dubai's Burj Khalifa—at a staggering 2,625 feet, the spiky tower is the world's tallest skyscraper—we've searched high and low (but mainly high) to uncover ten stratospheric spots around the world that will have you gasping at the view or clinging, white-knuckled, to whoever is closest. You'll need special gear to enjoy some of these experiences; for others, a credit card and a smile will do. But all require nerves of steel and a resistance to vertigo.
Updated January 2010
Planning a winter escape—but bored by the idea of lazing away on the beach? A warm-weather getaway doesn't have to be all chaise lounges and rum cocktails. Here are 11 surefire adventures that will get your heart rate up, send your adrenaline pumping, and give your suntan a boost.
Published December 2005
InterContinental Sydney, Australia
Tel: 888 424 6835 (toll-free), Tel: 61 2 9240 1200
You can literally step—and sleep—inside a piece of Australia's past here: Part of the hotel is a historic building site. Three stories of dramatic sandstone arches, all that remains of the 1851 Treasury Building, have been beautifully incorporated into the architecture. The arches surround the interior lobby lounge and café—known as the Cortile—which has recently emerged from a major facelift looking more genteel than ever. The rest of the property, while modern and luxurious, is relatively ordinary in comparison: A major renovation in 2004 updated the 509 rooms in cream and brown fabrics and innocuous contemporary furniture; some have flat-screen TVs and marble bathrooms with spa tubs (and Bulgari toiletries). The best units are those on the rooftop club level with views over the harbor and Royal Botanic Gardens, and an outdoor deck for lingering over breakfast. Staff members have eschewed the polite but distant five-star model for an ebullient friendliness that might take seasoned travelers off-guard.
Tel: 61 2 9240 3100
Home to those who prefer the night. A boutiquey spot that occupies a repurposed warehouse a block from Circular Quay, this hotel has attracted a fabulous young crowd since it opened in 2000. The 33 rooms are decorated in slate and dark wood, with tall beamed ceilings and elegant bathrooms outfitted in marble or bluestone. Only the two penthouses have any views to speak of, but most guests seem content to size one another up at the two nightspots—the loungey Hemmesphere bar and Tank, a pulsing nightclub. If staying at such a sceney joint is too much, but you'd like a sampler, stop in at the foodie-mecca restaurant, est.
See + Do
Harbour Bridge Climb, Australia
Tel: 61 2 8274 7777
The three-and-a-half-hour climb up and over the bridge, snaking along the girders, is thrilling, but not for the unfitand best avoided on very windy or wet days. If you're not the superadventurous type, it's also possible to walk across the bridge at roadway level, free of charge, and still take in the views.
See + Do
Sydney has 37 ocean beaches, stretching from North Palm in the north to Cronulla in the south. There are also more than a dozen placid harbor beaches, including the nude or "clothing optional" beaches at remote Lady Bay and Obelisk.
Beaches south of Sydney Harbour
Bondi, Australia's most famous beach, is about four miles from the city center. Finding a parking spot among the surrounding cafes and surf-wear shops is nearly impossible, but if you come early you can stake out a spot on the half-moon of golden sand and settle in for a day of the best swimming, sunning, and people-watching in Sydney. Just south of Bondi is the small bay beach, accessible by the coastal cliff walk (and by bus), called Tamarama—known locally as "Glamarama" for its stylish see-and-be-seen crowd. Bronte, just south of Tamarama and popular with surfers, has a dangerous current most times of the year but also a fantastic park-cum–forested valley that's perfect for picnics. A mile or so farther south is Coogee, a sort of mini-Bondi that's increasingly popular with the young, good-looking backpacker set. There's not much surf here, so it also attracts families with young children. Maroubra, about two miles south of Coogee, is one of the longest and best surf beaches on the south side. It has a burgeoning café scene but is really a locals' beach, quieter than its northern neighbors.
Manly, about seven miles north of Sydney via a half-hour ferry ride from Circular Quay or by car from the city center, looks and feels like a holiday resort. The Corso, the main street that connects the beach with the harborside ferry wharf, is lined with boutiques and alfresco cafes. Curl Curl Beach, about four miles north of Manly, is considered the best surfing beach on the north side. It's a picturesque, quiet spot far from the touristy beaches farther south. Palm Beach, about 14 miles north of Manly and known as "Palmie," is locally considered the jewel of the northern beaches. Its beautiful remoteness s the reason celebs have chosen to buy holiday homes here, and visitors tend to be equally flush. Balmoral, about four miles north of the city, is one of the most fashionable harbor beaches in Sydney. It is actually two small beaches separated by an outcropping known as Rocky Point. There's a great view out to North Head and the white lighthouse at Grotto Point. Cute cafes and restaurants line the Esplanade running behind the beach.
See + Do
Luna Park, Australia
Tel: 61 2 9922 6644
The restored 1930s amusement park is back, and entry is free (although the rides themselves will cost you; unlimited day passes are available). Grown-ups can get a rush on the Tango Train or the Space Shuttle, and put the little ones on the vintage carousel. There are also the usual game-of-chance booths, and vendors selling hot dogs and cotton candy (known here as fairy floss). Not gourmet enough? Check out Aqua Dining, suspended above North Sydney Pool between Luna Park and the bridge, for dishes with a uniquely Australian zing—Pacific oysters with lychee and chardonnay, for instance, or seared kangaroo filet (if you can manage to get past the sacrilege of eating the national emblem).
See + Do
Sydney Opera House, Australia
Tel: 61 2 9250 7250
Are those soaring roof peaks more like giant shells or sails? You can decide for yourself when you take a behind-the-scenes tour and get up close to one of the most recognizable buildings on the planet. You'll learn about its controversial design (architect Jørn Utzon has famously never returned to see his creation after a falling-out with government officials) and the outrageous expenses that were run up during the years of its construction. A cutting-edge array of musical and dance performances are on view at the six indoor theaters. Most shows tend to sell out, so be sure to purchase tickets in advance (61-2-9250-7777). Or if you time it right, you might catch one of the occasional free rock or pop concerts at the outdoor performance venue set against the stunning backdrop of the harbor.
Tours daily, every 30 minutes between 9 am and 5 pm; backstage tour daily at 7 am.
Will and Toby's Taylor Square
Hugo's Bar Pizza, Australia
Tel: 61 2 9332 1227
Yes, there's pizza—but what really draws the almost-too-gorgeous types here is the glamorous backlit bar, the great cocktails, and the other hotties that come to bump elbows with one another. There's also a sunken lounge and fireplace, which keeps things cozy. The only drawback here is the attitude: Some staff can be curt and dismissive if you don't seem sufficiently fabulous.
Open Mondays through Saturdays from 6 pm, Sundays from 3 pm.
Tel: 61 2 9420 3040
This soignée, Moroccan-themed bar is the swankiest at the Establishment property (which includes a fine-dining restaurant, boutique hotel, and several drinking holes). Well-heeled types and celebs (Sting and Robbie Williams have been spotted here) come to listen to DJs spinning soul, funk, and bossa nova, and the live jazz band that plays on Friday nights. Every imaginable libation is available here, including absinthe; the "applesinthe," one of the most popular concoctions, is a blend of Green Fairy absinthe, apple Schnapps, passion fruit purée, apple juice, and a touch of lime over crushed ice.
Open Mondays through Wednesdays 5:30 pm to 1 am, Thursdays 5:30 pm to 1:30 am, Fridays 3 pm to 2 am, Saturdays 6 pm to 2 am.