By DIANE SLAWYCH -- Special to Sun Media
What better time than Valentine's Day to venture to the "heart" of a country. Tourism Australia has released a list of five suggestions for that special getaway, and among them is a trip to the red centre -- home to Uluru (Ayers Rock), an Australian landmark. Time your arrival just before sunset and watch as the rock, sacred to the aborigines, begins to change colour. Or stay overnight at the award-winning Longitude 131 degrees wilderness camp, which has 15 luxurious and eco-sensitive tents situated in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park with breathtaking views of Uluru.
The four other suggested trips for Valentine's include Hayman Island, Queensland; Cradle Mountain in Tasmania; Hunter Valley, New South Wales; and the Macedon Ranges and spa country, north of Melbourne. For more visit australia.com.
- If you haven't heard of moonlight cross-country skiing, you've probably never been to New Hampshire.
Ski the trails at night on your own or join the Mt. Washington Valley Ski Touring Association, which offers a popular Intervale after Dark series of guided stargazing and moonlight tours that begin at The 1785 Inn. For the truly adventurous, you might even try full-moon clothing-optional cross-country skiing at the Snowvillage Inn's private trails -- though you'll need to be a guest of the inn.
KISS FOR LUCK
Elsewhere, couples can share a romantic moment under the Kissing Bridge that crosses the Wildcat River at the entrance to Jackson, New Hampshire. Newlyweds have been coming here for generations to steal a kiss under the covered bridge in the hopes their marriage will be blessed as a result.
- Lover's Beach doesn't appear on any tourist maps of Antigua, which is part of the attraction.
There are two ways to get to this secluded east-end beach. One is via an unmarked, and therefore hard-to-find footpath. The other option is only available to guests of Dian Bay Resort (formerly Mango Bay) and involves taking a courtesy shuttleboat for the quick two-minute ride.
The small white sandy beach, which is almost always deserted, has a few lounge chairs, a couple of thatched umbrellas, and a flagpole. When you're ready to return simply raise the white flag and someone from the resort will come and fetch you. E-mail email@example.com for info.
- Just in time for Valentine's Day, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, has compiled a list of some of its "most wanted bedrooms." Among its Canadian properties, one prized room is the Belvedere Lakeside Suite at the Chateau Lake Louise with views of snow-capped mountain peaks, a turquoise-coloured lake and a majestic glacier. Other noteworthy features of the suite include a spiral staircase, en-suite bath with a Jacuzzi tub, sitting room, and dining quarters. If you can't afford the $1,199 nightly rate, the hotel has other more affordable rooms, which offer equally spectacular views. Visit fairmont.com.
- Fun-loving couples looking for an off-beat hangout for a few hours, will want to stop in at Duffy's Love Shack, a popular open-air bar and restaurant with two locations: St. Thomas and St. John's, both in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Leave your inhibitions at the door of this tropical-themed hot spot with its strobe lights, island music, and patrons who occasionally dance on the tabletops! Enjoy the food, which gets rave reviews, or try one of the trinket-filled drinks with names such as The Volcano or The Painkiller. Visit duffysloveshack.com.
This story was posted on Fri, February 11, 2005
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