The Ultimate Australasian Stopover Guide

Published 20 February 2017

Alexandra Gregg

Two holidays in one AND something for pretty much every type of traveller? Now that’s value for money. Take advantage of your Australasian stopover with our guide to the best layovers beteen Britain and Australia or New Zealand…

The fountain of Wealth outside Singapore's Suntec City Mall

Stopover in Singapore if you like... shopping

Shopping is pretty much a national pastime in Singapore. For upmarket wares – think Dior, Burberry and Cartier – ION Orchard, Ngee Ann City and Paragon are all luxury shopping staples. When bigger is better, Suntec City Mall and VivoCity are the places to visit, combining iconic architecture with a mammoth amount of retail space.

Even if you’re not leaving the airport terminal, there are still plenty of purchases to be made in Singapore. Changi Airport is home to Shopping City, two malls with more than 130 shops and restaurants to choose from. Taste candy floss and hand-crafted sweets at Sophisca, try on fine jewellery in Pandora and get pampered at My Foot Reflexology.

The Grand Palace complex, Bangkok

Stopover in Bangkok for... temples

Most Bangkok bucket lists include the landmark Grand Palace and, in just half a day, you can easily get a flavour of this dazzling cultural complex and its myriad temples. Time poor? Prioritise the more unusual temples like Wat Traimit, Wat Pho and Wat Phra Keo, as well as their famous Buddha statues: the Reclining, Emerald and Golden Buddhas.

Stopover in Hong Kong if you’re into… panoramic vistas

Hong Kong may be a fast-paced metropolis that doesn’t rise until 10am and comes to life after dark, but it’s also serenely beautiful. Any trip to this Chinese isle, regardless of whether it’s for a stopover or a city break, should begin with tackling the 552 metre high Victoria Peak. From this well-known vantage point, you’ll be rewarded with views across a skyline to rival all the big hitters: from New York City to London. And it won’t be just shimmering skyscrapers in your sightline: green mountains tower to the north and, if you look hard enough, you can even spot the mainland.

The skyline is even more impressive at night too, so head up the mountain (using the 120-year-old Peak Tram railway system) around 30 minutes before sunset.

Downtown Dubai from atop the Burj Khalifa

Stopover in Dubai for… luxury

No matter how much time you have in Dubai, there’s always a touch of luxury to be had. With just a few hours spare you can partake in some pampering, food and drink at any one of Dubai International’s many plush lounges.

If you’ve got a good half a day between flights, tripping to Dubai’s Downtown is a must. This flashy residential and commercial hodgepodge is home to the world’s tallest building (and arguably one of the poshest): the 828m-high Burj Khalifa. The upper floors are home to private luxury residences and top businesses, but you can get up to the 124th and 148th floors with the At the Top Burj Khalifa SKY experience. Alternatively, book a table at the At.mosphere bar on level 122 and enjoy a glass of bubbly with your view.

Stopover in Tokyo if you like… group tours

For the first-timer with only a couple of days to spare, this lovely and lively hub is best discovered on a tour and there’s certainly no shortage of those. Bus tours, walking tours, night tours and bike tours aplenty – all you need to decide is what you’d like to see… Head for the Tsukiji Fish Market for authentic Tokyo; the Meiji Shrine for impressive architecture; Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden for Japanese cherry blossom (March-April); and the Shibuya Crossing – that unmissable city intersection.

The beautiful Venice Beach, LA

Stopover in Los Angeles for… seaside strolling

Venice, Santa Monica, Dockweiler, Manhattan… all picture-perfect seaside spots less than 30 minutes from LAX. And whether you want a three mile long shoreline, historic piers or a people-watching paradise, each is perfect for spending a few hours sauntering along in the sunshine.

San Fran icon: The Golden Gate Bridge

Stopover in San Francisco if you like… cheap eats

San Francisco is lucky enough to have the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), perfect for whizzing from the airport to the city in just 20 minutes. And, after exploring Fisherman’s Wharf, cruising across the Golden Gate Bridge or popping over to Alcatraz, we reckon the rest of your time should be spent filling your stomach! From burritos to sandwiches, to New York-style pizza, to Asian noodles, there’s every type of cuisine on offer, without blowing your budget.

Try Arinell Pizza for scrumptious slices from as little as $2.50 or Taqueria Cancun for bursting burritos, full of Mexican pack-a-punch flavour. We’re salivating just thinking about it.

Stopover in Fiji for… a beach flop and drop

If you like sun, sea and sand but in small doses, a Fijian stopover could be just the ticket. You can get from Nadi Airport to Denarau Island in little over 16 minutes, perfect for a bit of resort, beachside pampering between flights. Fancy more than just basking in the sun? The region is great for hitting the spa, playing a round of golf, having a leisurely swim or exploring the reefs with your snorkel kit too. Remember not to dive though – you need a week either side of diving before you fly to avoid decompression sickness, otherwise known as ‘the bends’.

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