Destination Christmas: Takeoff travel news




CHRISTMAS:Best-dressed windows
See how the world does Christmas through the best decorated windows throughout the festive season. Travel booker Cheapflights has listed the 11 most beautiful windows around the world, including Myer in Melbourne, which attracts more than 1.2 million noses pressed to the glass to see this year’s 3D ‘Santa Clause and the Three Bears’ theme.

In London, Selfridges goes back to the storytelling classics such as Pinocchio while the 2014 theme at New York icon Macy’s, which has been decorating its windows since the 1870s, is ‘Santa’s Journey to the Stars’. Others on the best-dressed list include topsy-turvy Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Smith & Caughey’s pirate display  in Auckland. See cheapflights.com.au.
APP
Thinker's pub crawl
Discover Sydney’s best waterfront pubs courtesy on a new app written by intrepid tippler Rob Dunlop. “It’s a thinking man’s pub crawl by ferry,” says Rob, who has personally tested all the watering holes. Thirst For Sydney has five one-day itineraries that start and end at Circular Quay, exploring the eastern waterfront, west of the bridge to Balmain and along the North Shore. And it will also make you new friends, with a connect function that lets you announce to other users that you’re in town and friendly, with a private messaging system. There are 13 great drinking spots in the five itineraries, and also a snapshot of the locale, including demographics and real estate info (who doesn’t love to talk house prices?) Sydney is the bellwether city, with more locations in the pipeline. Currently available for iOS only, free. See thirstforsydney.com.


FOOD
World diner
Eat the world at the best hotel restaurants on the planet – that’s the boast of the new, free iPad app Great Global Chefs. The trusty stomachs of luxe hotel booker group Mr &Mrs Smith have dined in 950 hotels throughout the world in search of the top 20 tables in their collection. They’ve even coaxed recipes from the kitchens, and profiled the stars behind the hotplates. While heavily weighted toward the Euro diner, Australia is amply represented by David Thompson of Nahm, in Bangkok’s Metropolitan by Como hotel, and Alla Wolf-Tasker from Lake House, in Daylesford, Victoria, amongst others. See greatglobalchefs.com/app.

KIDS
Sight for sore eyes
There’s money to be made in sunglasses design, so get your kids in early with this children’s My Design sunglasses kit. The kit contains a pair of Wayfarer sunnies in either black or white and removable decal sticker sheets for kids to decorate their frames to their heart’s content. The white pack comes with leopard spots and hearts, the black features pirates and space symbols. Unlike toy plastic glasses, the eyewear actually shields children’s eyes from harmful UV rays, and are compliant with Australian standards. The Frankie Ray My Design Sunglass Kit is best for kids aged 3 to 12 years.  Costs $39.95. See babyography.net.au.


GEAR
Get pumped for camping
Make summer camping a breeze, literally, with Black Wolf’s new blow-up family tent. The tent is inflated in seconds with a high-speed air pump, with air poles replacing tangled (or forgotten) tent poles. The new Turbo Air Plus sleeps eight, with a main room and separate bedroom to the rear and weighs 21kg. The tent will be on the market mid-January, but can be pre-ordered now through Black Wolf stockists. Costs $1199. See blackwolf.com.au.   

AIRLINE
Hop up to Honolulu
Named one of the top destinations for 2015, it’s just become easier to reach Hawaii, with Jetstar’s new direct flights between Honolulu and Brisbane starting tomorrow. Fares start from $479 one-way, without checked-in luggage. The service will operate three times a week in peak season, dropping down to two off-peak. The airline will fly an Airbus A330 featuring both business and economy class. From December 20, Qantas also adds an additional service from Sydney to Honolulu, to four times a week, rising to five flights weekly in school holidays and other peak periods. The airline has also upgraded its aircraft to A330s on all flights, with return fares from $1256. Last week, Hawaiian Airlines introduced its new A330s on its Brisbane-Honolulu route, upgrading to A330s, which include an ‘Extra Comfort’ class between business and economy. The service runs four times weekly, with a 64kg baggage allowance. Flight time is approximately nine to 10 hours, the direct flights contributing to steep increase of Australian visitors in the past four years. See gohawaii.com/au, qantas.com, jetstar.com and hawaiianairlines.com.au.

Edited by Belinda Jackson, Takeoff is published in the Sun-Herald's Traveller section every Sunday.

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