Back in Business: flight routes returning to take flight

Slowly, but surely, the international travel sector has begun to re-emerge from an enforced two-year hibernation.

With Japan finally throwing open its doors to visitors from October, it seems you can more or less travel anywhere save for a few closed kingdoms led by dictators.

We’ve rounded up a few air routes that have recently reopened, or that are worth taking a look at:

Melbourne/Sydney to Colombo (Sri Lankan Airlines)

There’s a large Sri Lankan diaspora in Australia – especially in Melbourne. This is good news for Australians –flights operate out of Tullamarine to Colombo EVERY SINGLE DAY, and there’s a few each week to Sydney as well.

Sri Lanka is both a budget and luxury destination, with extraordinary experiences for every kind of traveller: check out get lost’s Instagram for recent vibes from this beautiful island destination.

Melbourne to Texas (Qantas)

From 2 December, Qantas will operate four weekly return flights between Melbourne and the major US hub, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), on Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Dallas is the perfect place to start a U.S. trip, with the option of heading to L.A and the west coast, or east through Virginia to New York and America’s eastern giants.

Everywhere to Japan

The Land of the Rising Sun is only just re-opening (check out four of the most epic stays that have opened since the pandemic) but it’s just in time for the snow season.

Jetstar will soon be joined by Qantas, Japan Airlines and Air Nippon in offering flights direct from Australia to Tokyo.

British Airways offer connecting flights into Tokyo from London, while elsewhere in Europe, direct flights are expected to be made daily from Narita to Frankfurt. Hong Kong to Haneda will resume on October 31st. Japan Airlines are also expected to increase the number of flights operating the Kansai/Honolulu route.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways, fresh off being voted the world’s best airline, have today (October 1) added a second daily flight on their Melbourne to Doha route.

As well as this, a Canberra to Doha flight will be added from December.

Qatar hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup in December, which kicks off on November 20.

Your own private Sri Lankan Beach

There is a sense of ‘laidback chaos’ that courses through the veins of Sri Lanka.

The most relaxed, easy-going people swerve to dodge cows, buffalo and other livestock on the roads, while friendly handshakes bely the rapid Singhalese and Tamil languages that can be heard around the country.

At Maalu Maalu Resort in Pasikudah, however, the ‘chaos’ dial is turned right down: it’s 100% laidback.

Maalu Maalu’s ocean villas are literally eight steps from your bed to the beach…maybe nine or ten if you’re a little bit shorter. This town is the perfect place to unwind and take it easy, Sri Lankan style.

From the soft underfoot, and warm waters of the private beach, it is possible to walk 500 metres out into the sea and still have your head above water.

Maalu in Sinhalese means fish, and Maalu Maalu is the time honoured call that still comes from fishmongers selling their fish after a morning out at sea.

This is the perfect place to unwind, or romance; a four-course dinner is available to book, featuring lobster, tuna, prawns and more – all served on a completely seculded, private beach.

It is one extraordinary experience to eat dinner on a beach with a loved one, with nothing but the sound of gentle waves lapping at shore for company.

Photo series: Prints for wildlife

In 2020, Dutch and Austrian photographer Pie Aerts and Marion Payr created Prints for Wildlife, a print sale of some of the most epic wildlife shots in the world.

The project was a response to the global pandemic, which had a devastating effect on wildlife, conservation projects, tourism and communities across Africa. The first two instalments of Print for Wildlife raised more than US $1.75 million dollars for conservation non-profit organisation African Parks. To get lost, the project is not only a great way to support a terrific cause, but a fantastic excuse to get an unbelievable print of an animal into your home.

We’ve selected ten of our favourites below – check them out:

The fundraiser sees internationally renowned wildlife photographers donating one of their photos to be sold for a limited time at just $100. So far, more than 15,000 wildlife prints have been sold and delivered to wildlife lovers around the world.

Prints for Wildlife’s third outing will launch on August 28, 2022, with limited numbers of prints available for $100 from over 130 photographers, including Beverley Joubert, Drew Doggett, Karim Illya, Ami Vitale, Joachim Schmeisser, Will Burrard-Lucas, Marsel van Oosten and Gaël Ruboneka Vande weghe. No less than 100 per cent of profits go to African Parks, who currently manage 20 parks in 11 countries, including Kafue (Zambia), Akagera (Rwanda) and Liwonde (Malawi) National Parks, on behalf of African governments for the benefit of local communities and wildlife, the largest and most ecologically diverse portfolio of protected areas in Africa under rehabilitation by any one organisation.

“The incredible success of Prints for Wildlife came as a much-needed reminder that, even in times of crisis, humanity can come together to spread hope and do good for our planet,” says Marion Payr. “Wildlife conservation, protecting valuable biomes and supporting communities has now found a place in the hearts and, with the stunning art of all the generous photographers, on the walls of thousands of homes across the globe.”

There are some legitimately crazy shots in this collection – just check the gallery above. If this doesn’t make you want to board a plane and head straight to Africa, then we’re not sure what will.

Live out your James Bond fantasies

Ever wanted to be James Bond for a day? In the Northern Territory, you can.

00Seven are a Darwin company offering epic Bond-themed adventures, on both water and land.

get lost took on the Casino Royale tour – a jet-ski adventure at full throttle along Darwin’s waterfront.

Fly along at long sun drenched, unspoilt coastlines while spotting marine life, feeding fish and enjoying the thrill of the pristine, open water. The tour goes over World War Two shipwrecks, and past Darwin’s iconic Mindil Beach Casino, making it feel as if you’re in hot pursuit of Le Chiffre following a high-stakes poker game.

All of the jet skis are named after Bond girls (get lost found itself on Pussy Galore) with the best tours running at sunrise and sunset, with the stunning ambience of Darwin’s famed red skyline providing the perfect backdrop.

As well as Casino Royale, other excellent picks are Golden Eye (an amateur photography class, by jet-ski) and Espresso Martini tour (an express session, with a ‘secret’ mission).

Back on land, the Moonraker, Licence to Thrill and Skyfall four-wheeler tours through Charles Darwin National Park are epic adventures in their own right, taking in wild trails, World War Two ammunition storage spots, bunkers and more.

The company is a well-oiled machine, with free photography and videos a part of the tour at the end of the day, and knowledgeable guides providing information along the way.

All skills and experience levels are welcome – you don’t have to be a Bond-level marksman, and doing a flip on a jet-ski that’s on fire as you chase a bad guy is not expected.

Darwin

Darwin can be visited at anytime, but is definitely best during the dry season, from May to October each year.

Temperatures are generally in the late 20s and the Top End’s famed humidity is more than manageable during this time.

Grand Designs in Portarlington

The 1888-built Portarlington Grand Hotel has had a few renovations over the years, but none as big as this.

A $10 million refurbishment has turned the local watering hole of this once sleepy town on the Bellarine into an absolute coastal gem.

There’s a few different parts to get your head around. First, the Atrium; a light-filled, open-air space with nautical vibes that don’t overdo it.

Out the back of the Atrium there’s the Lawn, a breezy, green area with picnic tables and umbrellas. You can imagine an absolute vibe kicking up here in the summer months.

Heading indoors there’s the front bar; with wooden floorboards and booths – a bloody good spot to catch some mates. And further down through the classy walkway is the bistro, which is packed out most weekends for lunch and dinner.

The pub’s food offering makes heavy use of this coast’s excellent seafood. Portarlington mussels – the subject of a truly riotous mussel festival every January – are especially delicious here in the seafood-and-chorizo risotto. You’ll also find pub staples such as panko-crumbed schnitties, the classic chicken parma, whiting with chips and more. Locals supply the grog, with esteemed wineries Jack Rabbit and Terindah Estate, plus Flying Brick Cider Co, The Whiskery and more.

Portarlington is only an hour from Melbourne by ferry, which cuts across Port Phillip Bay and is actually shorter than driving, making it the perfect weekend getaway location. There’s 18 stunning rooms upstairs from the pub main, six featuring balconies looking out over the town and the water.

There’s been plenty of pub and restaurant openings over the last few years, and s well as being on the water and a destination in its own right, Portarlington is in close proximity to surf coast hotspots like Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads.

Get down there…before everyone else does.

CIRCA HOTEL & CASINO

Circa Hotel & Casino is a new behemoth property in Sin City, geared entirely towards rabid American sports fans.

The first new casino-resort to open in downtown Vegas since 1980, Circa now sits head and shoulders above its ageing predecessors — both physically and metaphorically — boasting an amphitheatre-style pool dubbed ‘Stadium Swim’, an enormous sports bar (which is, in fact, Nevada’s largest indoor bar spanning 50 metres) and a three-story indoor betting stadium (yes, you read that correctly). This is the hottest ticket in town for America’s sun-seekers and sports lovers. Just be sure to bring a fat wallet for the booze and betting tables.

From AU$225 per night

Click here to GET AROUND IT

THE SHENANDOAH CHURCH HOUSE

YouTube superstar couple, Johnny and Iz Harris are no strangers to visiting unique properties around the world, so when given the opportunity to renovate and design their own forest retreat just outside their home in Washington DC they grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

Taking a historic and dilapidated church from the late 1800s, the couple completely transformed the former place of worship into the ultimate entertaining pad with enough room for an entire family. Some properties are just built to be most enjoyed during winter and the Shenandoah Church House is one of those, with its roaring indoor fireplace and outdoor seven-seater hot tub.

From AU$438 per night.

Click here to BE FULL OF PRAISE

SHELLBACK

At the very southern tip of mainland Australia is both a landscape and promontory so magical they belie the true nature of the destination.

Wilsons Promontory in Victoria is one of Australia’s most breathtaking national parks, laced with white sandy beaches, wombats, endless walking trails and ancient bushland. Shellback in nearby Cape Liptrap offers unbelievable views over ‘The Prom’, a laidback farm-style stay with modern touches in an open plan kitchen and living room. Life doesn’t get much better than sitting on the deck with a craft-beer from nearby Burra Brewing in Korumburra, and farmland lapping at the edge of this timeless property.

From AU$450 per night

Click here for a S’HELL OF A STAY

A BY ADINA

New hotels come and go in big cities, but when they make an effort to truly redefine the guest experience from the minute those lift doors open, you know it’s a keeper.

The studio rooms and apartments at A by Adina in Sydney are completely surrounded by office buildings and sandstone Victorian architecture in the city’s CBD skyline, but not imposingly so. Instead the rooms here feel cradled and secure, like a jewel in the casing of a necklace. The modern fit-out of the two-bedroom apartments, including the fully automated blinds on the floor-to-ceiling windows, are certainly chic, but not overstated. But please do yourselves a favour and hire a babysitter so you can saunter upstairs to Dean & Nancys on 22, a swanky new speakeasy featuring some of the most Instagram worthy cocktails in the city.

From AU$399 per night.

Click here for A PLUS LUXURY

A trip to the hottest place on Earth

Everyone pines for warm weather when travelling, but ‘the hottest place on earth’ is probably a little further than most would like to go.

The Danakil Depression has been described as the least hospitable place on the face of this planet, with an average daily temperature of 46 degrees Celsius in summer, yet curiosity has gotten the better of intrepid travellers which have started to visit over the last couple of decades.

Insane geological formations of fluoro-bright sulphur will genuinely make you feel as though you’re on another planet.

There’s three-day, two night trips to the Danakil Depression that also take in a trip to the edge of the equally otherworldly Erta Ale: a glowing, furious (and active) volcano deep into the ground, which is probably the most accessible volcano of it’s kind in the world. It’s important to note that this is for the intrepid – extreme temperatures and the nature of the landscape mean this is not a destination for everyone.

Erta Ale.

But travel is all about getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing places that are nothing like home, and this certainly fits that bill. Plus, you can always say you’ve spent a couple of nights in the world’s least hospitable location (not including that share house you lived in when you were 21).