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A trip to Australia fit for a king

Down under is warming up for the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall's royal visit due in September, when they will take a trip to the Commonwealth country to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee 60th year on the throne

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With a wealth of spectacular scenery, divine hotels and the world's finest dining, it's not just the royal family who can enjoy a majestic experience Down Under. The gateway to Oz and the city most likely to be your first stop is Sydney. Situated on the Tasman Coast, the country's most populous city welcomes visitors with views of the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House down by the breezy waterfront.


One of the best places to capture the stunning skyline and watch the super yachts sail in and out of Darling Harbour is the Blu Bar at the Shangri-La Hotel. The sophisticated New York inspired bar is 36 levels above the rocks and whilst sipping a champagne cocktail you can see as far as the famous beaches of Balmoral and Bondi. The hotel is a favourite of Australian-born Crown Princess Mary of Denmark who stayed in the palatial Royal Suite on her last royal tour with husband Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. The couple have a strong attachment to the city where they met in a nightclub during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Had they met now it would no doubt have been in the chic Ivy club. Moments away from the Shangri-La, it's the new A-list hotspot in town with regular guests including Leonardo DiCaprio and Seal.


Once you're tired of the city bustle, there is one jewel in Australia's crown that provides the perfect idyllic getaway, The Great Barrier Reef. It's impressive up close but from a distance it's even more so as it's the only living thing on earth visible from space. It has been described as one of the seven wonders of the natural world for its sensational beaches, tiny exotic islands, colourful coral and abundance of marine life. And just a two hour flight away from Sydney, staying at the Hayman Resort is your front row ticket to experiencing this princely paradise in splendour. The recently refurbished hotel offers both soothing tranquility and action-packed activity. And the experience is exclusive from the start. Guests are greeted with a glass of bubbly at nearby Hamilton Island and climb aboard a sleek white yacht for the short hop to the private island resort. For snorkeling and diving enthusiasts it's a dream come true. Boats are at your beck and call to take you to the best spots where you can enjoy the pristine waters and swim amongst the plentiful undersea flora and fauna.


Tropical sea life aside, you might spot a celebrity too. The resort has become a firm favourite with pop and rock royalty in recent years, with Dannii Minogue, Mariah Carey and Slash all fans of the island. Schedule in a scenic helicopter ride and take in the breathtaking swirls of Whitehaven beach, Blue Pearl Bay and the iconic Heart Reef. Hayman won't disappoint on the food front either. A broad selection of top notch restaurants serve the freshest of seafood and locally sourced ingredients with Pan Asian and contemporary Australian influences. With outstanding wines and impeccable service to boot, Hayman offers a flurry of unforgettable culinary experiences. Don't let the long-haul flight put you off. Plan a stopover in Hong Kong for a blast of vibrant urban buzz en route. And travel in style in Virgin Atlantic's lavish first class. The epic 10,000 mile journey will fly by.


Passengers get the royal treatment from the word go at Heathrow's lounge with flowing champagne, an inviting a la carte menu and complimentary beauty treatments in the plush Cowshed salon. The exemplary service continues onboard with full entertainment and an all important lie flat bed to make sure you arrive in Australia feeling refreshed and raring to go. For more details on how to plan your royal trip Down Under go to

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