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Monday, 20 June 2016

Christmas in July Murray Princess Cruise Sale



Christmas in July cruises onboard the PS Murray Princess just got cheaper with Captain Cook Cruises offering 25% off selected three, four and seven-night Christmas cruises throughout July.

Christmas in July cruises combine the popular three, four and seven-night cruise itineraries with Christmas in July festivities including a traditional Christmas Dinner or lunch, a range of Christmas themed activities and games, Christmas music, egg nog, and a visit from Santa with presents for all the guests.

In between celebrating Christmas it’s full steam ahead down the mighty Murray River as guests discover Australian history, culture, and wildlife on the newly refurbished PS Murray Princess.

Sit back in one of two cosy paddlewheel lounges, displaying views of the working paddle wheel, and enjoy the winter enchantment and beauty of the river as the Murray Princess cruises past towering limestone cliffs, and along riverbanks lined with mallee scrub and red gum forests.

Birdlife on the Murray River includes an abundance of Australian favourites including Swans, Swamp Hens and Wood Ducks and their young. Plant life is also thriving and led by on-shore guides passengers can enjoy nature walks, eco-tours and learn about the ecology of the river.

Each day features exciting day trips to historic ports, sacred Aboriginal sites, a sheep station and woolshed and a native wildlife shelter.

Follow the food and wine trail for with cellar door wine tastings and one evening enjoy an Aussie-style campfire barbeque on the riverbank.

The 25% off Christmas in July sale is available on three-night cruises departing July 8th, 15th and 25th, on four-night cruises departing July 29th and on seven-night cruises departing July 8th, 15th, 25th and 29th .

Sale fares for the three night Discovery cruise start from $694.50 per person, twin share. Sale fares for the four nightOutback Heritage cruise start from $949.50 per person, twin share and sale fares for the seven-night Murraylands and Wildlife cruise start from $1416 per person, twin share.

Prices include accommodation, all meals, Christmas in July festivities, guided nature walks, eco-excursions, onboard presentations, onboard WiFi, the Captain’s Dinner and Cocktail Party, live entertainment, use of ship’s facilities including a sauna, spa, sun deck, bar, two lounges, restaurant and mini gymnasium and complimentary scenic coach transfers from Adelaide or secure car-parking in Mannum.

For Further information and bookings please contact:

T: 1300 729 938 from within Australia or +61 9 8202 8697 from overseas

Email: murrayprincess@sealink.com.au

Visit: www.murrayprincess.com.au

Last week of Hunter Valley Wine & Food Festival


May and June has seen thousands of wine lovers, lifestyle enthusiasts, amateur cooks, and serious foodies flock to this year’s ultimate celebration of flavour, the Hunter Valley Wine & Food Festival.  For the first time ever, this ‘must-do’ event on the 2016 gastronomy calendar was hosted over a two month period, and this is the last week to visit and partake in this incredible festivity.

Home to more than 150 wineries, the picturesque Hunter Valley is Australia’s most loved and visited wine region. Located just two hours’ drive north of Sydney, the region offers an extraordinary selection of accommodation packages, providing the perfect excuse for an indulgent winter getaway. 

Visitors must get in quick to secure their tickets to the final remaining activities.  Here’s a delicious taste of the rest of the stunning line-up:

Chocolate & Sea Cooking Classes - Twine Restaurant - Saturday 25 June - $95pp
Learn how to cook a Confit Trout, Crispy Skin Salmon and Chocolate Fudge Cake at Twine Restaurant with owner Matt Dillow. Class includes lunch and wine  www.twinerestaurant.com.au
Bookings are essential: 02 4998 7449 or bookings@twinerestaurant.com.au
From Pan to Paella - The Verandah - Every Sunday in June - $90pp
Learn how to cook a Spanish Paella and Churros at the Verandah Restaurant guided by Chef & owner Matt Dillow. Sit down to enjoy your efforts over some yummy Sangria. www.verandahrestaurant.com.au
Bookings are essential02 4998 7231 or bookings@verandahrestaurant.com.au
Taste & Play - Around Hermitage Food & Wine Trail Hermitage Road Area - June - Check venue hours - Free
Feeling Playful? Hermitage Road and the surrounding beautiful countryside has a limited offer... come and play at our vineyards – wine tasting and games for all! Boules, croquet, giant chess, horseshoes, giant pickup sticks, giant jenga. At various locations on the Around Hermitage Wine and Food trail.  www.aroundhermitage.com.au
Bookings not required:  02 4998 7781 or info@aroundhermitage.com.au

Beef-olution' Esca Bimbadgen - Lunch daily from 12pm / Dinner Fri & Sat from 6pm during June - $90pp
Enjoy a ‘taste’ of Bimbadgen and experience four sample size dishes which showcase a progression of beef with matching award winning Bimbadgen wines. Your ‘Edible Experience’ of the region incorporates ingredients sourced from the estate garden or from local producers located in the Hunter.  www.bimbadgen.com.au
Bookings are essential: 02 4998 4666 or esca@bimbadgen.com.au
Nan’s Super Indulgent Afternoon Tea - Nanna Kerr’s Kitchen - Thurs - Mon in June from 12pm (last sitting 4pm)- $35pp
Nanna Kerr's wouldn't be right without a super indulgent afternoon tea. For $35 a head we offer a choice of organic teas (or coffee), a glass of Bonics Sparkling Blanc de Blanc and a supremely delicious selection of sweet and savoury treats. We are delighted to welcome vegans, vegetarians coeliacs and those interested in sugar-free and dairy-free diets to enjoy in the tradition as well.  www.nannakerrskitchen.com.au
Bookings are essential0427 679 887 or nan@nannakerrskitchen.com.au
Lovedale Arts Festival - Various cellar doors, restaurants, accommodation - June
The Lovedale Arts Festival will this year run through the entire months of May and June.  Wineries, restaurants and other locations throughout Lovedale will be the venue for events and exhibitions such as music, new release wine launches, cooking classes, art and sculpture, pasta making and artisan chair making demonstrations which showcases the wonderful talent and diversity of our region all set against the stunning backdrop of Lovedale, the heart of the Hunter Valley. www.lovedalehuntervalley.com.au


A full calendar of events is available online at www.winecountry.com.au
@huntervalleywc #huntervalley #newsouthwales


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Vivid Sydney: Five More Nights to See Sydney Up in Lights



Have you taken a selfie in the Cathedral of Light? Cut some shapes on the dancefloor at Central Park's Silent Disco? Voted for your favourite burger at Martin Place's 8Bits+Bytes pop-up?

You may have ticked those off your Vivid Sydney list already, but have you stumbled across 'Human Touch' in a quiet courtyard in The Rocks, seen Vivid Sydney from the sky on Taronga Zoo's sky safari chairlift, had a drink at Busby's Bar at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney or seen your own face projected onto a 13-metre high water screen in Darling Harbour?

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said: “There's still five more nights to enjoy the bright lights, diverse music and dynamic ideas events that Vivid Sydney brings to our city. So plan your trip, leave your car at home and get out to Vivid Sydney to see what's left on your check-list before the lights go out this Saturday, 18 June.

“As always, we encourage you to visit early in the week and early in the evening, as we expect the last few nights to be quite busy as visitors take their last chance to see the city up in lights.”



Some suggestions of what else can be ticked off you Vivid Sydney to do list across Light, Music and Ideas over the next five nights include:

Night One: Be sure to visit Martin Place to see Fountain, which depicts the global human birth rate. Mountain of Light in Martin Place is also a gorgeous installation that changes colour throughout the night.

Whilst there, board the burger bandwagon at 8Bits+Bytes in Martin Place and vote for your favourite burger at the retro arcade game-inspired digital playground, with burgers from five of Sydney's best burger houses including Mary's, Milk Bar by Café ish, Pub Life Kitchen, Bang Bang, and Sammy's Burger Bar.

Night Two: Wander through Kendall Lane in the Rocks to see Tectonic, made from tonic water and 1,500 upcycled PET bottles, creating a constantly moving, luminescent installation that emits a calming blue glow by night.

Then, transport yourself to a world of heroes, villains, and paranormal phenomenon with a week of Marvel-themed madness just up the road at The Argyle hotel. Lose yourself in a world of superhuman characters, electrifying lighting displays and music from Minx, The Backhanderz, Bassik and Dave Winnel.

Night Three: Stroll down George St and take in Perspectives at The Galeries, which is made from a massive LED screen divided into 18 fragments, and illuminated with video art from prominent video artists from Australia and around the world.

Then, learn from the best in the business at an 'In Conversation with Director of The Dressmaker, Jocelyn Moorhouse' at Event Cinemas. Presented by The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Jocelyn is joined on stage by Gillian Armstrong (My Brilliant Career, Oscar and Lucinda), and celebrated film critic Margaret Pomeranz. Tickets are available here.

Night Four: Dance the night away at the hugely popular Silent Disco, whilst learning about the future of the workforce at Sydney's funky urban village, Central Park. Created by Ample Projects, the heritage listed Carlton & United Brewery building is animated to showcase the dynamic factory as it once was, and explore what it means to be X Factory.

Post boogie, head on down to Darling Harbour to take in the astonishing and technologically advanced Laser Dragon Water Theatre. Floating high above fifty-six fountains, arranged in snake-like coils, this moving water-screen assumes many forms, from ferocious dragons to the characters of commedia dell'arte.

Night Five: On Saturday 18 June, be the little piggy that goes to market and get along to the Carriageworks Night Markets on 18 June. Showcasing the very best producers and chefs from across Sydney and Regional NSW, The Night Market will be Sydney's first large scale immersive contemporary food and wine event. With over 50 stall holders highlights include offerings from Cornersmith, Icebergs, Porteno, Archie Rose Distillery and Young Henry's.

Whilst at Carriageworks, don't miss your last chance to catch the world premiere of the Bjork Digital exhibition a new virtual reality project from the iconic musician. Register here.

Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the State Government's tourism and major events agency. In 2015 it attracted 1.7 million visitors and delivered more than $63 million in visitor expenditure to the local economy.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Elk's tasty toasties fuel a resort


 $12.50 for toastie and coffee has to be a good deal breakfast?? Tasty Toasties entice the resort's early starters

"If you've ever enjoyed a few après ski beverages and then hit the slopes early the next morning, the saying "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" couldn't be more truthful or fitting", says Abbey Jones

"Whether your mornings are about making it to the first chairlift, or you prefer a leisurely start to the day sitting by the fire; elk at Falls, situated in the heart of Falls Creek Village, has the perfect breakfast option for you.

"It has proved itself time and time again; so this year Barry, Dave and the team are back and will go out of their way to deliver you the perfect foot long breakfast. elk's 12 inch value-for-money Toastie consists of  crispy country bacon, eggs (topped with their famous 'Nanna Bev's Kick Ass Chutney' ), served on lightly toasted French-style Laurant sourdough,  will leave you coming back day after day.

"As the most popular breakfast deal on the mountain, it is an absolute steal at only $12.50- including Free coffee .  Last winter resort guests and mountain staff consumed more than two kilometres of Toasties at elk and an ambitious target of three kilometres is the aim of the restaurant this winter that officially opened last weekend.

"Available for eat-in or take away {between 7am and 11am} it serves everyone from those after a delicious energy packed breakfast on their way to the first chair, to those after the perfect way to melt away the after effects of jug night."




Monday, 13 June 2016

Great value Hervey Bay whale watching deals from Mantra and BreakFree


SPOTTED: Great value Hervey Bay whale watching deals from Mantra and BreakFree

Mantra Hervey Bay and BreakFree Great Sandy Straits have released a range of great value accommodation packages for visitors migrating to Hervey Bay for this year's whale watching season.

Renowned as the whale watching capital of Australia, the Queensland coastal haven is preparing to welcome thousands of humpbacks over the coming months when they take time out from their annual migration in the calm waters of Hervey Bay.



Two of Hervey Bay's best located resorts, Mantra Hervey Bay and BreakFree Great Sandy Straits,  are offering a range of deals for the 2016 whale watching season that include a 10% discount on whale watching tours when booked through their hotel reception.

Stay for a minimum of two nights at Mantra Hervey Bay, the only absolute marina front property near cruise departure points, over the whale watching season from $130* per night in a Hotel Room; from $150* in a 1 Bedroom Apartment; or from $225* per night in a 2 Bedroom Dual Key Apartment. All packages also include a complimentary bottle of wine on arrival and late check out of 11am. Visit www.mantra.com.au/whale-watching or call 13 15 17 for further details and bookings.

Or choose BreakFree Great Sandy Straits for absolute beachfront access and uninterrupted views of the bay and marina from sunrise to sunset. Stay for a minimum of two nights from $125* per night in a 1 Bedroom Apartment; from $175* per night in a 2 Bedroom Apartment; or from $215* per night in a 3 Bedroom Apartment. Visit www.breakfree.com.au/whale-watching or call 132 007 for further details and bookings.

For more information on the best things to do and see in Hervey Bay, visit http://www.mantra.com.au/blog/postid/698/top-attractions-in-hervey-bay/

* Valid Sun-Thurs, minimum two night stay. Valid for sale until 15 September 2016 and for travel from 29 July to 15 September 2016.

Canoeing Nitmiluk Gorge



The canoeing season on Nitmiluk Gorge has officially opened as of 9 June 2016. The Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory has undertaken the annual post wet season river management program and opened the Nitmiluk Gorge system for canoeing in the second and third gorges.

"Canoeing has been opened in the second and third Gorge", said Mr Tony Clementson, General Manager, Nitmiluk Tours. "Guests wishing to canoe will be ferried to the top of the first gorge where we have set up a canoe shed for hire and storage."

"We believe this will in fact add to the canoe experience as without doubt the second and third gorges are the more spectacular– and quite often on a half day canoe hire, guests never get up this far. We encourage all guests who wish to part take in canoe hire to pre-book as this product is very popular and fills up very quickly," said Mr Clementson. "The Gorge is one of the most picturesque places to canoe in Australia – guests can admire the stunning views, get up close to the wildlife, and explore the rocky escarpments from the riverbank.


Canoeing options include:

Half Day Hire - 8am – 12noon OR 12:30pm – 4:30pm

DOUBLE - $41.50 p/p
SINGLE - $57.00 p/p

Full Day Hire- 8am – 4pm

DOUBLE - $61.00 p/p
SINGLE - $77.50 p/p

All costs include return ferry to the start of the second gorge.

Qantas and Virgin fly daily to Darwin from most capital cities. For further information and enquiries please contact Nitmiluk Tour Ph: 1300 146 743 or reservations@nitmiluktours.com.au

  

Friday, 10 June 2016

Essence Of Japan: Tauck’s New Itinerary for 2017




13 days from AU$12,490*pp twin share

Inspirational, innovative and intriguing, Japan has always been a favourite Tauck destination, where gilded temples and glittering skyscrapers reign over streets steeped in history and tradition. Discover the revered customs and unique sense of beauty that infuse life here... On the main island of Honshu, from Tokyo to the hot springs resort town of Hakone and on through the "Japanese Alps" to Kanazawa and the cultural treasure trove of Kyoto, visit a private home, shoes off, for a tea ceremony and Origami... explore castles, temples, shrines, a samurai home, and world-class gardens... make sushi, taste sake, cruise Lake Ashi to see Mt. Fuji... enjoy a taiko performance, Shinto music, Kagura dancing, a sumo wrestling demonstration... and meet a geisha expert. Join us for a Japan trip to remember.

What's included?

·         Upgraded hotel in Kyoto, now staying at Four Seasons Kyoto (small groups departure stay at the Ritz Carlton), additional night stay in Hakone at the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa and introducing 2 nights in Kanzawa an emerging Japanese City.

·         Tokyo's Edo-Tokyo Museum, Shinto music, Kagura dancing, taiko drums & sumo wrestling

·         In Kyoto, a private home visit with tea ceremony & Origami demonstration, explorations with a local Geisha expert, visits to Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji Temple & Pure Water Temple (Kiyomizu Temple)

·         A cruise on Lake Ashi beneath Mt. Fuji

·         Ceramics, glass-blowing, or flower arranging workshops or a whisky distillery tour in Hakone

·         A lesson on sake brewing & a tasting at a local brewery in Takayama

·         A guided tour of Kanazawa's Kenroku-en Garden, one of Japan's most revered landscaped gardens

·         Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted

·         29 meals (12 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 8 dinners); gratuities to local guides, service charges, admission fees, taxes and porterage

Book by 30 Jun '16 & receive 1 complimentary night's accommodation before or after your journey at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

*Prices are per person twin share in Australian dollars and are correct as at 18 May '17. Prices are subject to availability and seasonal surcharges apply. Bonus Hotel Night is subject to availability and is one room per booking. $12,490 price is based on 17 Mar '17 departure. Small group price of $14,990 is based on 19 Mar '17 departure.


For bookings please contact Tauck on 1300 732 300 or reservations@tauckau.com

Centenary of two most significant battles in Australia’s history – Fromelles and Pozieres commemorated in July 2016




July 2016 marks the centenary of two of the most significant battles in Australia's history – to be marked by official commemorative services coordinated by the Australian Government in France and Belgium. In the lead up to this historic 100 year anniversary, Australian historian and battlefield guide, Mat McLachlan is available for interview.

"The Battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916, marked the first action on the Western Front for Australian troops - an absolute disaster, recognised as the worst day in Australia's war history with over 5,500 men killed and wounded in 24 hours," said Mat McLachlan. "A few weeks later, Australian troops were heavily involved in the Battle of Pozieres (23 July to 5 September 1916) – a six week struggle which resulted in victory, but at a terrible cost with over 23,000 men killed and wounded."

Mat McLachlan will be in Australia until 13 June 2016, and will then be heading to Europe where he will be leading a tour for the Centenaries of Fromelles and Pozieres – which will see Mat, together with his Australian tour group, attend the respective commemorative ceremonies on 19 July 2016 and 23 July 2016.

For more information on Mat McLachlan and Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours, please visit: http://battlefields.com.au/

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

P&O Cruises Top Deals of the Week


P&O’s cruise deals for this week.

P&O Pacific Pearl
CRUISE DEALS

Four top picks include:
  • A four-night cruise from Sydney to Moreton Island sailing roundtrip on Pacific Pearl on July 18, 2016. Highlights include snorkelling the shipwrecks, a sub-marine world rich in some 200 species of fish and an encounter with wild dolphins. Fares start from $329* per person quad share, offering a discount of more than 40% on launch fares. 
  • A 14-night cruise to Fiji and the Pacific sailing roundtrip from Sydney on Pacific Jewel on August 12, 2016, with fares from $649* per person quad share – a discount of more than 50% on the launch fare. The cruise’s many port visits include Noumea, Mare, Port Vila, Port Denarau, Suva, Dravuni Island and the Isle of Pines.
  • A seven-night Pacific Island Hopper cruise sailing from Brisbane on September 3, 2016 and calling to Noumea, Lifou and Port Vila. The cruise includes a visit to stunning Amedee Island and explores the world’s largest lagoon. Fares start at $499* per person quad share, and offer spectacular savings of more than 40%. 
  • A 50% saving on an 11-night cruise to Vanuatu sailing round trip from Cairns on Pacific Eden. Fares start at $699* per person quad share and the cruise visits Santo, Port Vila, Mystery Island and Noumea, with the chance to canoe down the Riri River and visit the captivating ‘blue holes’. 

*Subject to availability, conditions apply. Fare includes accommodation, main meals onboard, entertainment and most onboard activities.

For bookings or more information visit pocruises.com.au, call 13 24 94 or see a licensed travel agent.

Norwegian Jewel to homeport in Sydney beginning 2017 [video]



Norwegian Jewel will spend her inaugural season in Australasia in 2017.




Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) will base Norwegian Jewel in the Asia Pacific from Oct 2017-Mar 2018.

The vessel has an initial schedule of 15 sailings, including seven round-trip cruises from Sydney.

Executive vp of international business development for NCLH, Harry Sommer, said the deployment will give "local travellers the opportunity to cruise to or from Sydney on a range of amazing itineraries along the Australian and New Zealand coastlines, together with enticing island destinations such as Tahiti, Fiji and New Caledonia, before she begins a series of south-east Asian journeys early in 2018”.

On her voyages from Sydney, guests will be served local Australian produce including regional beef, lamb, seafood, fine wines and ales.

Australasian itineraries will go on sale 29 Jun.

Read the full story here

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