A beautiful reef that’s far closer to shore than the Great Barrier Reef. Tropical islands in the Indian Ocean I didn’t know about. Fantastic wineries, river cruises and luxury lodges. Oh, and a series of gorges with brilliant waterfalls and that famous Australian red rock. I just finished up a visit to Australia for what’s called the Australia Tourism Exchange. They had writers from around the world, including two Canadians, fly to Brisbane for a conference held in Surfer’s Paradise, about an hour south of Brisbane on The Gold Coast. All to talk about tourism and travel opportunities in Australia. ... continue reading →

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VANCOUVER – This is one of the world’s favourite cities, a perennial list-topper with gorgeous scenery, fantastic food and a wealth of great things to do. Here are a few favourites. STANLEY PARK This is Canada’s top urban park, and one of the best in the world. Nestled at the northwest tip of downtown, the park bulges out into the Burrard Inlet like a giant green thumb. You’ll find centuries-old, sweet-smelling cedars, towering firs and deep, dark forests. There’s an 8.8 km long walking and cycling path around the perimeter, but you’ll miss the essence of the park if you ... continue reading →

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PRINCEVILLE, KAUAI – It’s dusk at the Princeville Makai golf course on the north shore of Kauai and I’m bouncing around the practice area on a golf board. It’s kind of a Segway meets snowboard affair, a mechanized bit that golfers can use to get around the course in a different, youthful kind of way. It takes some getting used to, but it’s clearly a step above the dowdy golf carts you see puttering around most courses or Florida subdivisions. Also different at Princeville Makai are the short, four-hole lessons you can take and the $10 Saturday clinics and sunset ... continue reading →

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OTTAWA – Great food. Sleek new hotels. And lively neighborhoods. Ottawa is a city that’s most definitely moving in the right direction. Here are five things you need to do on your next visit. Oh yeah, Ottawa’s legendary Tulip Festival runs May 12-23. PARLIAMENT HILL – I hadn’t visited our nation’s Parliament for at least 20 years. They offer wonderful tours, with fun stories about the history and architecture contrasted with very sobering areas, including the Memorial Chamber near the base of the Peace Tower. A few minutes watching the House of Commons is a fascinating experience, and the main ... continue reading →

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MUNICH – Sometimes in life we read too much about a place before we arrive. We get all pumped up about this area or that, and then we get there and it all goes flat. I have to plan my trips reasonably carefully to get the stories I want, but I still try to leave as much unplanned – and un-scouted – as possible. That way, I get to a destination and find myself more surprised than I might otherwise have been. That was the case for my recent (and sadly, quick) visit to Munich. We were on our way ... continue reading →

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NOTE: All thoughts about destinations and the kayak.com websites are my own. But KAYAK paid for the posting of this blog and for me to let people know about the blog via social media. The Internet is a wonderful thing when it comes to travel. But sometimes a bit terrifying at the same time. The choices are seemingly endless. Iceland’s hot springs and towering waterfalls look funky and off-the-beaten-track. But the temples and beaches of Thailand are tempting, too. Not to mention the pristine hikes you could take among the Alberta Rockies. On top of all that, the options for ... continue reading →

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Aeroplan has always been a great way to fly to exotic – and familiar – parts of the world for a romantic getaway or memory-filled family trip. Now Aeroplan members have the option to fly cash-free. With a new program that came into place in March, Aeroplan members can use the miles they accumulate with Air Canada and other Aeroplan partners to not only buy tickets but also now to cover the cost of taxes, fees, charges and airline carrier surcharges. Those costs can be an annoyance when they have to be paid in cash, but now you can use ... continue reading →

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