Australia

Swimmers get some sun at the beach in Byron Bay, Australia. (Jessica Gelt / Los Angeles Times / December 18, 2012)

After six months on the job, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti plans to fly to Australia next week for a 15-day getaway.

Garcetti, who vacationed in Belize in June, will travel with his wife, Amy Wakeland, and their 2-year-old daughter, Maya.

City Council President Herb Wesson will serve as acting mayor, but Garcetti will remain in close touch with senior advisors by phone and email, spokesman Yusef Robb said.

“We can hear his voice, see him face-to-face, and read his words, and vice-versa with the technologies we have today,” Robb said.

Robb said he did not know what part of Australia Garcetti’s family would visit. A one-sentence statement released Friday afternoon by the mayor’s office said Garcetti would be traveling in Australia from Dec. 18 to Jan. 1.

Robb declined to say whether a police security detail would accompany Garcetti.

Garcetti, a former international relations professor, has often traveled abroad, visiting more than 80 countries, by his count. He and Wakeland met when both were Rhodes scholars on a flight to England to begin studies at Oxford University.

Long-distance travel can pose political risks for big-city mayors. In July, Garcetti was visiting friends in Pittsburgh when civic unrest erupted in Los Angeles in the aftermath of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Garcetti canceled meetings later that week in Washington and returned home early.

In 2008, Garcetti’s predecessor, Antonio Villaraigosa, was on his way to Iceland for a summer vacation when a 5.4 earthquake struck Los Angeles. The minor quake didn’t warrant returning to California, but Villaraigosa took time during a London stopover to appear on CNN.

And in January, Villaraigosa’s weekend getaway to Cabo San Lucas turned into TMZ fodder when he was photographed with hard-partying actor Charlie Sheen.

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Twitter: @finneganlatimes

michael.finnegan@latimes.com