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STA Travel Blog

The reality of #PhilippinesUnplugged

Last year, STA Travel and Tourism Philippines embarked upon a pioneering new project. Philippines Unplugged would document the journey of British band Skinny Living as they traveled through the island province of Palawan. Raw, unscripted and all-access, this film series would show the beauty and honesty of the Philippines. The footage and photography would capture a world of authentic people and unfamiliar places; and the lyrics would tell their story, with Skinny Living writing an exclusive track for us on the road.

Here are our highlights from behind the cameras and the music.
“Don’t stop till’ we reach the highest high”

No travel company had ever done anything like this before, or told the story of a destination in this way. This was our opportunity to show how travel inspires us creatively. For the band, this would be their songwriting. For you when you travel, it would inspire something different. But the process is the same.

And our muse? Our muse was the Philippines – one of the most fascinating, truthful and staggeringly beautiful landscapes on the planet. And we had just landed.

The reality was wilder than we could have ever imagined. It’s hard to pick out the highlights, but here are a few.

Travelling as a creative team is a different type of travel

You experience each moment, while at the same time seeing it with a wider sense of storytelling – of how you can bring it to life for the audience who aren’t there with you yet.
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Surf’s up, drink up: the best bars in Surfers Paradise

Here at STA Travel, we understand that when it comes to drinking (responsibly, of course) there are usually four different types of ‘sessions’ you could be feeling on any number of days. You’ve got the day drinking session, which is something you tend to go for when it’s nice and sunny outside or you’ve got enough time to get over the hangover before work the following day (hello Sunday sessions!). Then you’ve got the pre-drinking session, whether that’s something you do at Uni in order to make your night out cheaper, or you’re just wanting to go to a few places and get in the mood before you head to the main place. Then you’ve got the classy and sophisticated session, where you’re thinking of just going to dinner and a few drinks, maybe some cocktails a la Sex and the City. Last but not least you’ve got the ‘out out’ session where you’re planning on going hard (and not going home).
We’re delving into the nightlife (or day drinking life) of Surfers Paradise, and have grouped our top venues in terms of these four sessions.

Day drinking

Who doesn’t love to go out on a sunny day and sit in a beer garden with friends, catching up, laughing and just generally having a great time? Australia does day drinking very well, it’s probably to do with their laid-back attitude, great weather, and beach front locations. Surfers Paradise ticks all three of these boxes, and here’s some of our top picks for a good day drinking session:
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A day in Melbourne

Our Student Ambassador Katya from RMIT University has moved to Melbourne from Newcastle and shares her top tips on where to go in the city

Forget Sydney, London and New York – Melbourne is the most livable city in the world and this is why…

Best Bars
No.1 – The Croft Institute - 21 Croft Alley, Melbourne
Hidden down a laneway in Chinatown, The Croft Institute is a wonderfully, creepy science lab- inspired bar. Even the toilets look like a mental asylum!
Open 5pm – 1am (Mon –Thurs), 5pm – 3am (Fri -Sat), closed Sunday

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Top spots along East Coast USA!

Thinking of a summer road trip in the states? Excellent! But before you go any further, forget those West Coast ideas and get ready to drive the lesser known road of East Coast USA. From Boston to Miami you’ll embark on a roadie that’s jam-packed with history, charming towns, iconic cities, buzzing nightlife and some of the most fantastic food you will ever eat, move-over California, we’re all about cruising the East Coast this year! To help you plan this epic drive, here’s our pick of ultimate East Coast stops along the way…


A photo posted by (@boston) on

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11 reasons to visit the Gold Coast

Hanging out on the beach all day getting your tan on, or grabbing a surfboard and hitting the waves – this is the epitome of the Australian dream. One of the places where you can do all this and more is the Gold Coast. Need further explanation as to why you should visit? You greedy thing, you. Here’s our 11 reasons to get on a plane/in a campervan and get yourself to the east coast of Australia!

Beaches that are out of this world

Image: Gold Coast

If beaches are your thing, the Gold Coast has got you covered. The coastline stretches for 57 kilometres (35 miles) and you can pick from 20 different beaches; what better excuse to take a 20-day holiday than visiting a new Aussie beach every day? Surfers Paradise is probably the most well-known of them all, and is highly distinctive as the skyline is practically on the beach. Then a little further South of Surfers you will find yourself on Mermaid Beach, unfortunately it’s not named after the abundance of mermaids nearby (we were sad too), but it is known for its laid-back appeal, which can be great if you’ve been going crazy in Surfers Paradise for the last few days. You can also take a trip down ‘Millionaire’s Row’, look at the fancy mansions and maybe have a little cry about how much you want one. South of Surfers you’ve got Burleigh Heads, which is famous for its surfing spots (or just for ogling the surfers!), and if you move even further south you’ll find yourself in Coolangatta, another top spot for surfing and a great place to visit if you love the old-school charm of a seaside town.
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