5 hip and holy Easter locations

Priests carrying cross Barcelona, Spain by Joanne Lane

Easter in Barcelona, Spain. Pic: Joanne Lane, http://www.visitedplanet.com

Religious festivals marking the Easter celebrations are far from staid and boring. In fact some of these are amongst some of the most interesting you’ll find in your travels. With that in mind here are five VIP Backpacker locations where you can use your discount card for accommodation and tours, while taking part in some of the hippest Easter festivals on the planet. Continue reading

VIP Backpacker’s top 10 destinations for 2014

A new year means new travel plans. And with that in mind here’s a summary of our top 10 list of destinations to consider in 2014 covering everything from the beach locations of Australia to Europe’s ancient cities and the best party action around the world in 2014. To view the list in full click here to see the latest newsletter.

Whitehaven beachWhitsundays, AustraliaBy Joanne LaneMACKAY

Mackay makes for an excellent base for excursions out to the superb Whitsundays, fabulous island and reef cruises, the wonders of Cape Hillsborough National Park, tours through Eungella Forest and an array of other adventure activities on sea and land. Located on Queensland’s central coast, it has also avoided the big tourism hits of places such as Airlie Beach nearby despite its superb access to the aforementioned attractions. The Bluewater 20km trail is something else worth checking out – dedicated pedestrian paths and bikeways connecting various attractions. The annual Festival of Arts in July is also worth planning for with cheese tasting, live jazz, dance, music and other performances. The River Sessions Festival is held in June.

Accommodation | Tours

perth2PERTH

Perth easily gives Sydney a run for its money with its seaside location, great weather and relaxed manner. Not only is it appealing place to live for locals but a fantastic place for a working holiday or at least a holiday. The city also borders the Swan River adding a further attraction to cosmopolitan centres such as Fremantle, the wonders of Cottesloe beach, excellent local markets, the beauty of Kings Park and Boanic Gardens or wine tasting in the nearby Swan River area.

Accommodation | Tours

FRANZ JOSEF, NEW ZEALANDFranz Josef GlacierSouth Island, New Zealand

Located on the west coast of the south island of New Zealand, Franz Josef is a must stop off in this part of the country. This area is part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site park with a whopping great 12 km glacier, plus the 20km Fox Glacier just 20km away to the south. The village of Franz Josef is just 10km from the face of the glacier and has a busy heliport offering walking tours and even heli skiing on the glacier. Most tourists book into guided walks on the glacier – an incredible experience.

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Visiting Rome – the eternal city

I left Rome yesterday with a bottle of wine in hand – a gift from the hotel where I spent the last few days. A fantastic momento of Rome sure but also completely impractical. In fact I couldn’t fit it in my luggage and gave it to the girl who checked me in at the airport. She was having dinner with the girl at the – desk next to her so they thanked me with gusto and I wished them “buon apetito“. Italians never say no to a bottle of wine! But it’s also moments like these that make being in Italy so memorable.

And what is memorable here? Well everything. Rome features the Trevi fountain, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, St Peters, Spanish steps, Appia Antica… a list that reads like a list of credits.
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