www.visitedplanet.com 

 

newsletter-header1.jpg

VIP NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2012

VIP DESTINATION: CHRISTMAS DESTINATIONS

Pic: FlikkestephWhile many people elect to spend Christmas at home, there's plenty of good reasons to get out with your VIP Backpacker card and explore. Here are five destinations to consider this Christmas where you can either appreciate the age old traditions of a medieval celebration, lie on a tropical beach, sort your skiing or surfing out, see in the end of the world or simply let your hair down.

Banff | Bruges | Chichen Itza | Magnetic Island | Hawkes Bay

Back to top 

BANFF, CANADA

Pic: Chod HoundOkay so we know some of you definitely seek the cold climes at Christmas so you can ski and snowboard yourselves silly. Banff is the place to do all of that with big skies, big slopes and big fun. It also has one of the longest snow seasons in North America. If that doesn't have you sweating to get your ticket, although perhaps that should be shivering given temperatures here tary on the cool side in winter, the mix of slopes and off-piste action will.

The 2010 Winter Olympics were held here because this is the ultimate winter playground - a huge park that is 2500 square miles in size. It's got powder, it's got ice skating, it's got shopping and it's even got bears... Basically it's the ultimate white Christmas winter holiday you could book yourself into.

Accommodation | Tours

Back to top 

BRUGES, BELGIUM

For a medieval Christmas with the opportunity to skate in the town square, eat lots of wonderful Bruges chocolate and marvel at the ice sculptues in the annual festival, head to this little known town in Europe.
 
Bruges is UNESCO World Heritage listed and that means lots of cute little canals, fantastic squares, amazing buildings and plenty of chiming churches. Plus the Belgians like their beer and there are plenty of wonderful ales brewed specially for this time of year.

The Snow & Ice Sculpture Festival is held from 25 November until 3 January. Dress warmly if you plan to take a look! There's an ice bar inside the festival tent too.

Accommodation

Back to top

CHICHEN ITZA, MEXICO

If you want to see the end of the world (December 21) and celebrate Christmas a few days later (December 25), the place to go is where it all began in Mayan land - although you could escape the need to buy Christmas presents at all if it goes according to their predictions.

The Mayans are the ones that created the calendar about which there is all this hoo haa about the end of the world and one of their key sites was Chichen Itza. This year there is a festival, Synthesis 2012 (www.synthesis2012.com) being held from December 20-23 featuring world music, dance, ceremony and spiritual celebrations.

If the world doesn't end while you're there then make sure you explore the Yucatan peninsula - other than getting to know Mayan culture and the amazing world heritage site of Chichen Itza, there's excellent diving, jungle trekking and biking, iguanas and plenty of waterholes to explore.

Accommodation | Tours

Back to top
 

MAGNETIC ISLAND, QUEENSLAND

Just 8km off the coast of Townsville, this mountainous island is a world away for travelers seeking an off world experience. A lot of the island is national park so there's plenty of wildlife to ogle at, walking tracks to wander, hideaway bays to explore or relax on to work on your tan. If you feel adventurous you might like to climb the highest point on the island, Mount Cook, rent a scooter, go diving or even angling. Then there's the jet skis, the WWII remnants, sea kayaking and bikes.

However one of the biggest attractions to Magnetic Island these days is the Full Moon party held, yes you guessed it, every full moon - the next one is November 29, then December 29... and so on. So if you missed the action in Thailand, this is another place to let loose and celebrate come full moon.

Accommodation
 

Back to top 

HAWKES BAY, NEW ZEALAND

Travel to Hawkes Bay this Christmas and you could be sitting on a beach sipping some of New Zealand's finest wines. This part of the country is renowned for its wild coastlines, river valleys and terraced vineyards - a great combination should you be seeking some wine and seafood for your Christmas dinner.

Thanks to a wonderful climate somewhat similar to Bordeaux in France, there are some 90 wine producers in this region and 35 cellar doors to traipse. There are also fine orchards, sheep and cattle farms, great views in most directions and good food to find in the many cafes and restaurants in places like Napier. What bliss.

Napier was also nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site five years ago for its art deco buildings, while Hastings has an excellent farmers' market on Sunday mornings. If that's not enough there are a number of golf courses in the area and whale and dolphin sightings are frequent along the coast and there's a gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers.

Accommodation
 

Back to top