LIT­TLE BLACK BOOK

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

MARKPey­ton, chief concierge at Sof­i­tel Syd­ney Went­worth, shares tips on lo­cal ac­tiv­i­ties with roy­als, pres­i­dents, prime min­is­ters and movie stars. He is a mem­ber of Les Clefs d’Or (Golden Keys), a so­ci­ety of elite concierges from across the world. More: sof­i­tel­syd­ney.com.au. Des­per­ate to get back to: Whale-watch­ing on Syd­ney Har­bour or off the coast. There’s noth­ing bet­ter than wit­ness­ing, say, a dou­ble breach at close range. Top shop­ping se­cret: The new per­son­alised stylist ser­vice at West­field Syd­ney (have all the leg­work done for you). Must visit: The Spit Bridge to DEALS OF THE WEEK West coast won­der: Save 30 per cent at San Fran­cisco’s four-star Ho­tel Palo­mar; from $138 a room a night to De­cem­ber 27. This his­toric 1907 prop­erty is close to the pop­u­lar bay city’s best shop­ping ar­eas, SoMa (South Mar­ket) and fi­nan­cial dis­tricts, Yerba Buena Gar­dens and Union Square. More: 133 810; ex­pe­dia.com.au. Manly walk: a jour­ney of 9.5km through some of Syd­ney Har­bour’s beau­ti­ful north­ern fore­shore. Ultimate eco-ad­ven­ture: Horserid­ing through Me­ga­long Val­ley, Blue Moun­tains. Stand-out af­ter­noon tea ex­pe­ri­ence: Rose Bay Ma­rina Is­land magic: Book a Septem­ber or Oc­to­ber hol­i­day to the Mal­dives with re­turn Sin­ga­pore Air­lines flights by Au­gust 31. Deals in­clude four nights at Par­adise Is­land Re­sort, in­clud­ing break­fasts and din­ners, from $1979 a per­son twin-share ex Mel­bourne or Perth, or $1989 ex Syd­ney. More: sia­hol­i­days.com.au. Kiosk is one of my favourite spots to re­lax with a cof­fee on a beau­ti­ful af­ter­noon. Invit­ing culi­nary des­ti­na­tion: The won­der­ful Hunter Val­ley for its fab­u­lous ar­ray of winer­ies and din­ing op­tions. Most mem­o­rable splurge: Com­mis­sion­ing lo­cal artist Stephen Evans to cre­ate a paint­ing of my beloved Bondi Beach. Best ex­pe­ri­ence afloat: A gen­tle row, with pic­nic bas­ket at the ready, on the Aud­ley Weir, Royal Na­tional Park, just an hour south from the mad­ness of the city. Best-spent travel dol­lars: Buy­ing a Canon EOS 450D SLR cam­era and light­weight tri­pod, as pho­to­graphs are for life. River dance: Ex­plore the Mekong on Uniworld’s new River Saigon cruiser. Book by Septem­ber 30 for a $960 sav­ing a cou­ple on a 15-day Time­less Won­ders of Viet­nam, Cam­bo­dia and Mekong cruise from $5648 a per­son twin-share. De­par­tures Jan­uary 15-March 25 and Septem­ber 6-De­cem­ber 27, 2012. More: uni­world­cruises.com.au.

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