Looks from "Down Under"

About Elizabeth Charles Boutique
Melbourne-born Elizabeth Charles opened her eponymous boutique to bring the cutting-edge, high quality, unique fashion from her native Australia to the U.S market. A pretty simple idea that hadn't been done before.

The boutique currently focusses on the top-tier designers from Australia and New Zealand including Martin Grant, Richard Nicoll, Colette Dinnigan, Akira, Thurley, Willow, Karen Walker and Zambesi. Most labels can only be found in the U.S. or, in some cases, in the Northern Hemisphere - at elizabeth charles. Charles' first boutique opened in 2002 in the Meatpacking District, Manhattan's hippest fashion destination. An e-commerce web site soon followed and in May 2007 Charles opened her second boutique on the West Coast in sophisticated Pacific Heights in San Francisco.

Charles' stylish New York boutique, nestled in the ground floor of an old brownstone, is a 1,000+ square-foot urban oasis for women on the prowl for truly original fashion. It is furnished with European antiques and modern mid-century pieces, from the large ornate gold framed mirrors to the bird cage shaped crystal chandelier. "I wanted it to feel welcoming and effortless - like your (chic Parisian ;)friend's living room - somewhere where you can relax and chat while you enjoy this unique shopping experience" says Charles. Her San Francisco boutique builds upon this ecclectic mix of styles with hand-crafted steel rails and raw concrete flooring.

Caffe lattes, sauv blanc and a cosy rambling courtyard provide true retail therapy! Professional, friendly staff are more than helpful with their styling ideas and honest advice. The boutique's loyal following can be attributed to Charles' flair for finding highly coveted pieces that are not available anywhere else in the US. "My customer is a sophisticated shopper who has her own style and isn't lead by trends". It's this originality, care and highly personalized service that has attracted a discerning clientelle including Michelle Pfieffer, Kate Hudson, Charlize Theron, Ashley Judd, Ellen Page, Lindsey Lohan, Jennifer Lopez, Rashida Jones, Helena Christensen, Gretchen Mol, Gemma Ward, Brooke Sheilds and Karolina Kurkova to name a few.
>> Website: www.elizabeth-charles.com

About Sydney fashions
Sydney is Australia's fashion capital with more than 60 per cent of the fashion industry, including many of the country's leading designers, based in Sydney. The city is also home to the country's most high profile fashion events, the Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in May and the Rosemount Sydney Fashion Festival in August.

Sydney has a style all of its own. The city's balmy summer climate, intoxicating blend of cultures and love of the outdoors make this fertile ground for designers who want to make their mark with original creations. It has a real sense of freedom and individuality. Visitors to the city can discover their own sense of Sydney style by exploring renowned designer boutiques, fashion precincts and events.

With its sexy attitude and edgy creativity, there's no better place than Sydney to uncover some of the nation's trend-setting fashion stars or be wowed by some of the industry's biggest names. From beachside and suburban markets and historic city centre arcades, to mega shopping centers, secret laneways and hideaway warehouses, Sydney offers a treasure trove of eclectic, stylish and unique designs.

Sydney fosters dynamic and innovative fashion designers, Collette Dinnigan, Akira Isogawa, Sass & Bide, Leona Edmiston and Mambo are just some of the famous fashion names that call Sydney home, and the city continues to dazzle with fresh new talent.

Each Sydney suburb has a distinct sense of style - from young and funky recycled fashions in Newtown, to graceful and classic designs in Surry Hills. Visitors can uncover some of Sydney's hidden personalities on their next shopping expedition. Bondi for beachwear boutiques, Darling Street Balmain for cool and casual, Double Bay for the best of the European labels, Castlereagh Street in the City for luxury labels and Crown Street Surry Hills for designer boutiques.

Sydney's street markets are the place to go for funky one-offs, retro, accessories and bargains galore. There has been a surge of new specialist designer markets offering cutting edge fashion, accessories, and vintage fashions. Markets are held every weekend in Balmain, Paddington, The Rocks, Glebe and Bondi.

About Sydney's bikini trail
Think of Sydney and you imagine sea, blue sky… and bathers. It's no wonder the sun-soaked city with its 40 miles of golden beaches, is also Australia's swimsuit mecca.

Some of the world's leading swim and beachwear labels hail from Sydney. Browse for bathers here and you'll be shopping at the source!

Camilla: Local Sydney-girl, Camilla Franks has had sensational success with her Camilla label lively, feminine, exotic pieces, perfect for Sydney's stylish beach culture and worn by celebrities including Elle MacPherson, India Hicks, Beyonce and Nicole Kidman.

Zimmermann: Sisters Nicky and Simone Zimmermann founded their label in 1991 and have stores in Paddington and Bondi.

Hotel Bondi Swim: Drawing their inspiration from Bondi Beach, Hotel Bondi Swim is the work of artists Fern Levack and surfer Damion Fuller who's range of bikinis and swimwear took 2008 Rosemount

Mambo: Sydney surfer Dare Jennings launched this irreverent, iconic surfwear company in 1984. It's now a worldwide brand and national treasure.

Seafolly: Founded by husband and wife team Peter and Yvonne Halas in 1975, Sydney swimwear company Seafolly has been spreading Australian beach culture around the globe for over 30 years.

SPEEDO®: Was born on Bondi Beach in 1928, brainchild of a young Scottish immigrant called Alexander MacRae. He introduced the 'Racerback' costume, now one of the most famous in the world.

Billabong: Sydney boy Gordon Merchant launched this global surfwear success story in 1973, making board shorts on his kitchen table.

Anna and Boy: Anna Hewett and Lill Boy, two ex-Vogue staffers, are using their fash mag knowledge to create a fresh, contemporary women's and men's swimwear line.

About Sydney's one week walkabout
Sometimes you have to lose yourself, to find yourself. In Australia they call this going walkabout. Australia's aboriginal people know as much, going 'walkabout' to reconnect with the land and their traditional way of life. For most of us 'walkabout' takes the form of a vacation - a time to rebalance and refresh.

These days you can go walkabout and get the same experience in one week.


It's Closer than you think - a meal, a couple of movies and a sleep

  • With direct flights from LAX and SFO into Sydney, flying to Australia from the west coast of America is only 14 hours, largely the same as flying to Europe.

    A One Week Walkabout will give you the perfect taste of Australia
  • Australia is roughly the same size as America - for those with limited time, a visitor should not attempt to cover the distance of Australia in one vacation.
  • Australia's east coast hubs of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane offer American international travelers, specifically those from closer west coast USA, with unique an compelling reasons to visit for a fulfilling and authentic 6 night Aussie vacation.
  • Each city offers its own taste of the best of Australia: sophisticated and cultural cities, stunning coastal and mountain regions, unique nature and wildlife, world-class food and wine, indigenous culture, iconic journeys.
  • Sydney is the perfect gateway city to get to know fashionable Australia - its people, wildlife, wine country and culture.
  • Australian vacations are good value for American travelers. With its favorable exchange rate, you can easily spend a week in Australia without breaking the bank.
  • The American dollar allows American travelers to experience Australia in comfort and allows you to participate and explore a much wider range of activities and regions that when compared to a week's vacation in Europe.

    Sydney & surroundings
    Sunny, sexy and sophisticated, Sydney is the shining star of the southern hemisphere. The white-sailed Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are the pride and joy, but there's far more on offer. Discover the harbour, the city's historic enclaves, restaurants and cafes, beaches, museums and art galleries, and the national parks and wildlife within the city and on its fringes.

    Nearby the Hunter Valley conjures up images of lazy days, fine-wine tasting at the cellar door, romantic retreats, quality eateries and gorgeous farming country. Also close is the Blue Mountains National Park, a World Heritage-listed site anda spectacular area of dramatic canyons and caves, sheer-cliffed valleys, pretty stone and timber towns, and world-class guesthouses

    Surf Lesson at Bondi Beach
    Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge
    See a show or take a tour in the Sydney Opera House
    Hop on a bike tour- either a Harley Davidson or one you peddle
    A walking tour of Sydney
    Cooking classes with Australian chefs at the Sydney Fish Market
    Shopping and bar hopping on Oxford Street


    BLUE MOUNTAINS (Day trip or add-on)
    Personal 4WD tour
    Walkabout with an aboriginal guide

    HUNTER VALLEY (Day trip or add-on)
    Gourmet cooking lessons
    Private cellar tours

    Get on a Harley Davidson motorcycle for a great scenic ride along Grand Pacific Drive
    Walk the sea cliff bridge and take in the spectacular ocean views
    Try a locally brewed beer and gourmet meal at Five Islands Brewery
    Join a Dolphin Watch Cruise on Jervis Bay.
    Visit Hyams Beach, with some of the world's whitest sand.
    Enjoy a tour with Wreck Bay Walkabouts which give visitors an insight into Aboriginal culture.
    Try five star camping at Paperbark Camp eco resort and spot kangaroos, wallabies, possums and other native animals in a beautiful bush setting

    How do you plan a one week walkabout?
    Visit www.australia.com for help. Australia.com offers a one-stop shop of One Week Walkabout travel planning. Australia.com features deals, special 6-night packages, experiences to build your Walkabout, and video/pictures from people's past walkabouts, OR you can call a friendly travel agent from Qantas Vacations.

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