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Southern Spirit Whistle Stop Tours, Australia

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, November 15 12:08 PM

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You may have noticed that Australia is big. Really big. Only slightly smaller than the United States, in fact, with vast stretches of countryside separating its cosmopolitan cities. Flying around the country is expedient, but on Great Southern Rail's new routes aboard the Southern Spirit, you get to see all the gorgeous landscapes in between.

Passengers on Southern Spirit Whistle Stop Tours can hang ten in hip surfing town Byron Bay, quaff New World wines in the scenic Hunter Valley, pet koalas at Taronga Western Plains Zoo near Dubbo, and go walkabout in the beautiful forests of the Grampians. Now that's the spirit.

Southern Spirit six-day Whistle Stop Tours from $4,235

Photo: Courtesy of Southern Spirit Tours

Sea Temple Surfers Paradise, Australia

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, November 07 01:13 PM

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Glitzy high-rises. Minuscule swimsuits. Endless sunshine. Australia's answer to South Beach, Surfers Paradise is a dazzling strip of beachfront populated by hunky surfers and aspiring models and laced with a distinctly laid-back Aussie flavor. The only flaw, until now, has been the stuck-in-the-'80s hotel landscape. But a boutique hotel newcomer, Sea Temple, is set to shake things up.

Spread across levels 4 through 39 of the skyscraping Soul Tower, the two- and three-bedroom suites feel like swanky private apartments, complete with high-tech gadgets, full kitchens, Miami-esque white-on-white decor, and balconies that catch ocean breezes. Both the poolside cocktail bar and the restaurant, with its panoramic views and pan-Asian menu, are sure to be the town's most preen-worthy hot spots. Finally, a scene that lives up to the scenery.

Photo: Courtesy of Sea Temple Surfers Paradise 

Young & Free Exhibition, San Francisco

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, September 27 07:00 AM

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Australia, it seems, is a hotbed of street art. But if a trip down under is looking unlikely anytime soon, you can check out the U.S.A.'s biggest exhibit of Aussie urban art at San Francisco gallery 941 Geary. The Young & Free show brings together a diverse group of mixed media artists, wheat-pasters, and spray-painters.

Running through October 22, the exhibit includes mixed media pieces by Reka, haunting aerosol portraits by Ha-Ha, and gold-leaf skulls by Vexta. Those who wish to take one home, be forewarned: Taggers' work commands a high price these days--possibly as much as a plane ticket to Melbourne.

Photo: The Kelly Gang series, from left: Steve and Ned by Reka, courtesy of 941 Geary

The Everleigh, Melbourne, Australia

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, September 02 07:00 AM

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If you had any doubt that the visionaries behind New York's Milk & Honey and PDT would go to the ends of the earth to spread their cocktail gospel, the opening of their latest venture--in Melbourne, Australia--should prove it.

Plush new bar The Everleigh recently opened its doors (at the top of a flight of stairs behind an unmarked street door) on the seedy-turned-suave strip of Gertrude Street. Under the watchful eye of mixology maestro Sasha Petraske, The Everleigh's cocktail list is heavily weighted toward Gilded Era libations such as the Old-Fashioned and the Rum Fizz.

In a town renowned for its fantastic swank-on-a-shoestring bar scene, this joint--sporting now-familiar touches such as hand-cut ice, cozy leather booths, and a whiff of the speakeasy--fits in like a waxed mustache on an old-timey barkeep. And, yes, there will be waistcoats.

Photo: Courtesy of The Everleigh

Omar Seluj Sunglasses

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, June 16 03:53 PM

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There are parts of Australia where cloud sightings are a rare occurrence, so it's little wonder that when it comes to anything ray-related, the Aussies really know their stuff. That's why we're so psyched that these rad sunglasses by Oz brand Omar Seluj have arrived on our shores.

Two friends from Down Under spent five years developing their line of unisex shades. The spring-hinge design enables the acetate frames to mold to your face, and with nylon UV 400 lenses, they provide legit eye protection. The frames have luxury touches like gold, wood, or leather detailing. Style and substance? Mate, they're just what we've been looking for.

Omar Seluj Bal sunglasses (pictured), $179.95

Photo: Courtesy of Omar Seluj

Food and Wine Trails Cruise, Australia and New Zealand

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, April 12 03:49 PM

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Beatles vs. Stones. N.Y. vs. L.A. Tyson vs. Holyfield. History's great rivalries are seldom easily settled. But a new Food & Wine Trails sailing with Oceania Cruises will take on perhaps the biggest debate of all: red wine vs. white.

Next February, the godfather of zinfandel, Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson, and the king of cabernet, winemaker Gustavo Gonzalez of Robert Mondavi, will enter the swilling ring aboard Oceania Cruises' Regatta. As they sail from Auckland, New Zealand, to Sydney, Australia, they'll host onboard tastings and dinners in an attempt to win over the die-hard oenophiles in their midst. On-shore excursions to top wine estates could spell a grape escape for whites or a crushing victory for reds. But don't expect a clean fight--spitting is encouraged.

Photo: Courtesy of Oceania Cruises

Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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