Wednesday, 30 April 2008


Bentours latest brochure, 'Latin America & Antarctica 2008/09', has undergone a major expansion with Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil and Tahiti included for the first time and its Chile, Argentina and Peru product increased significantly.

"We have had growing requests for a wide range of Latin American experiences which clients can combine with our Antarctic cruises, so this has been the driving force for our expansion," Bentours sales & marketing manager Teresia Fors said. Fors said the module packages to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Easter Island and Tahiti were flexible and could be combined to incorporate the particular destinations, and time frame, wanted by the client.

New tours include an eight day escorted tour of Brazil, 'Sabor do Brasil', priced from $2690, which travels along the lush south eastern coast from Sao Paulo to the island of Ilhabela (the sailing capital of Brazil) and  then onto the colonial Portuguese seaside town of Paraty and the highlights of Rio de Janeiro.

In Bolivia there is a three day 'Focus on La Paz' priced from $230 twin share and a four day 'Grand La Paz' from $796.  The three day tour includes a city tour and a visit to Moon Valley while the four day tour also includes Lake Titicaca known as 'the cradle of Inca culture'.

For Ecuador there is a three day 'Focus on Quito' tour from $243 twin share and a four day 'Grand Quito' from $363. Both include a half day colonial and modern Quito tour while the 'Grand Quito' includes a day tour to La Mitad del Mundo' – where the northern and Southern hemispheres actually meet.

"Our collection of Antarctic cruises has also been increased to meet an increased demand from this market with Quark Expeditions the latest member of our cruising range; we now have the largest ever 'experiential cruise' selection," Fors said.

Cruise product for 2008/09 includes 'Land of Fire & Land of Ice', a 19 day trip ex Santiago through Chilean Patagonia and across to Antarctica; 'Shakleton's Antarctica', 21 day ex Buenos Aires to Puerto Madryn cruising for 17 days around Antarctica, and, 'King Penguin Odyssey' – an 18 day trip ex Buenos Aires cruising from Ushuaia to the Falklands and across the Great Southern Ocean to Antarctica.

For further information contact Bentours, phone 02 9247 3381, or 1800 221 712 email or visit

Bentours is cruise specialist and wholesaler specializing in travel product to Scandinavia, the Nordic region, Russia, The Baltics and Antarctica. MyPlanet Australia Pty Ltd, trading as Bentours (wholesale) and MyPlanet Australia (retail), is the General Sales Agent (GSA) for Hurtigruten Group, Icelandair and Gota Canal in Australia and New Zealand.


Escape the city winter blues and head to Victoria’s famous Shipwreck Coast with one of Mantra Deep Blue’s new winter value “Pillow Talk” packages.

Overlooking the rugged Warrnambool coastline – Mantra Deep Blue with its hot geothermal spa facility is the perfect spot for a weekend of winter indulgence and relaxation. The resort’s new Deep Water Baths & Spa facility – the first of its kind along the Great Ocean Road – is a unique bath house that takes advantage of the natural mineral aquifer located 800 metres below the resort’s surface and offers the ultimate in spa treatments.

So ward off those winter chills and relax in style – with the release of it’s “Pillow Talk” accommodation package – a perfect remedy to warm you and your partner.

The “Pillow Talk” Winter package starts from $270.00 per couple and includes:-

Ø Luxury overnight accommodation for two

Ø Full breakfast for two in Mantra Deep Blue’s Water Table Restaurant

Ø Make your own deluxe hot chocolate with your Belgian hot chocolate melting kit (yours to keep)

Ø Hot chocolate self-saucing pudding delivered to your room whatever hour your heart desires, served with a scoop of Timboon’s famous ice cream.

Ø Two $15 vouchers to warm up in the hot Geothermal Baths at the Deepwater Baths and Spa

Ø Two Mantra Deep Blue MicroCloud Pillows, packaged for you to take home*

*After you spend the night at Mantra Deep Blue you are able to take some of that comfort home with you, with MicroCloud Pillows, packaged for you to take home. You will enjoy the best night’s sleep with these deluxe pillows - the ultimate and healthy alternative to pure down, providing you with sheer luxury and comfort and are protected by HealthGuard.

There is no better time of year to explore the Shipwreck Coast with the Great Ocean Road boasting some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in Australia. In fact, international experts often rate the Great Ocean Road as one of the most breathtaking coastal drives in the world.

Mantra Deep Blue is also the ideal base from which to view potential whale sitings along the coast from the nearby Logan’s Beach viewing platform.

Imagine spending a wintry day discovering this magnificent coastline, to come back to the warmth and cosiness of one of Mantra Deep Blue deluxe rooms, where you will experience a true hospitality experience.

The resort offers a choice of 75 luxurious hotel rooms and one bedroom suites, as well as six, two and three bedroom Penthouse suites with majestic coastline views. There is the onsite, Water Table Restaurant and Bar which serves modern Australian cuisine for dinner, offering the very best of Victorian regional produce and an exceptional wine list, showcasing the wine regions of Victoria, Australia and New Zealand.

Mantra Deep Blue has been designed to adhere to its environmental sustainability policy, where in the winter, its geothermal waters below the resort generate all the energy for heating, reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.


Bookings and Enquiries: 1300 987 620

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Best Western Secures a Piece of History in Tenterfield

Best Western, the world's largest hotel chain, celebrated the acquisition of another property to the group recently, in historic Tenterfield – Australia's birthplace.

The Best Western The Henry Parkes, Tenterfield is equipped with luxurious features including licensed a la carte restaurant (open seven days), large well-appointed lounge bar, heated swimming pool, spa and gym. Built in striking colonial style, the property is surrounded by private porches, balconies and fragrant English gardens and, located only five kilometres from award-winning wineries, beautiful national parks, horseback riding and shopping.

"We are very happy to have the Best Western The Henry Parkes join the group," says Rob Anderson, Executive Director of Best Western Australasia. Named after Sir Henry Parkes, Australia's father of federation, the Best Western The Henry Parkes is in the centre of Australia's frontier town, close to many historically significant tourist sights – making it the ideal accommodation for family holidays.  

Tenterfield is also known as the town where Banjo Patterson married, as well as a common haunt for famous bushranger Fred Ward ('Captain Thunderbolt") and the birthplace for Australian entertainer Peter Allen – who immortalised the town in his song "The Tenterfield Saddler".

For more information or, to book accommodation at this or any Best Western property, call 131 779  or log on to from Australia or, from New Zealand call 0800 237 893 or log on to


Best Western Australasia is part of The World's Largest Hotel Chain®, which provides marketing, reservations and operational support to more than 4,000 independently owned and operated member hotels in 80 countries and territories worldwide. Best Western's diverse property portfolio, its greatest strength, stems from a business model allowing property owners to retain independent owning and operation, giving them maximum flexibility with the benefits of market-leading support. For additional information or, to make a reservation, please visit or


South African Tourism is proudly supporting the Soweto Gospel Choir 2008 Australian Tour and is urging Australian's to take the chance to see the world renowned performers and be introduced to South African traditions, people and culture from the comfort of a theatre seat.

The Soweto Gospel Choir performs both traditional and contemporary performances, showcasing the vocal and dancing styles that have evolved through time. The performances represent styles from all over the African Continent, in particular South Africa, where styles merge into one another, transporting the audience to an alternate time and culture.

"The Soweto choir is a unique blend of authentic South African cultural expression," says Bangu Masisi, General Manager of South African Tourism.

"Their upcoming Australian tour will allow Australian audiences to sample a small taste of South Africa and allow them to be inspired by what we have to offer as a tourist destination. We hope that the groundbreaking performances on stage will ensure that South Africa is top of mind when the audience member is choosing their next holiday destination" concludes Bangu Masisi
The Soweto Gospel Choir has performed throughout the world, receiving two Grammy Awards as well as the 'Best International Choir' at the U.S based, Gospel Music Awards. The Soweto Gospel Choir repertoire expresses the recognition of the past as well as the celebration of the harmony of the present and what lies ahead.

The Soweto Choir has performed with international artists such as Bono, from U2, as well as performing for the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

Funds raised through The Soweto Choir's performances support the charity that was set up by the choir, 'Nkosi's Haven Vukani' which is part of 'Nkosi's Haven', to support the lives of AIDS Orphans in South Africa. The charity was set up in the memory of Nkosi Johnson, a 12 year old AIDS activist that inspired many.

The Soweto Gospel's Australia Tour will celebrate Africa with the support of South African Tourism. The 'African Spirit' Tour will feature in locations throughout Australia. Tickets are available though Ticketek.

"South African Tourism encourages all Australians to go and see this once-in-a-lifetime show to really get an insight of what South African culture has to offer" concludes Bangu Masisi.


Hertz Australia has introduced the sporty Holden Astra convertible, providing an exciting new option for leisure renters, or making that next business trip just a little more interesting.

The new Astra is a two-door, four-seat model, with an electrically-operated, fold-away hard top.

It also features leather-faced seats – including heated front seats – plus a six-stack CD player, automatic transmission and cruise control.

And for those unable to resist the temptation of a long drive in a convertible, the fuel-thrifty Astra has a 52-litre petrol tank, and the reassurance of electronic stability control and driver, front passenger and front side airbags.

"Renting a car is not just about transportation – it can also be part of the travel adventure," said Wayne Burgoyne, Director of Sales and Marketing for Hertz Australia.

"Our new Holden Astra can be both a stylish coupe and a snappy convertible, for two or four passengers," he said. "It is a car for all seasons."

The Holden Astra Convertible is being introduced progressively at Hertz locations in key mainland destinations, including Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Cairns, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

In addition, Hertz has also introduced NeverLost portable satellite navigation units, making it easy for any driver to navigate through unfamiliar locations.

The new NeverLost units, available for rent at selected Hertz locations, cost just AUD$15 per day. They can be used in any Hertz vehicle.

Hertz has more than 8000 locations in over 150 destinations worldwide, including more than 220 locations in Australia.
For more information about Hertz, please visit , call Hertz reservations on 13 30 39 or contact travel agents.

Monday, 28 April 2008

There's no better time to explore the Great Barrier Reef

The cooler winter months are just around the corner, so the water has been cleared to make way for lovers of dive. With fantastic clarity in the water and abundant wildlife coming out to play, the Great Barrier Reef is the place to take your dive vacation this year.

Voyages is offering some outstanding destinations to make your dive adventure affordable and easy. Heron Island is one of the best locations for diving on the reef, and Lizard Island offers the world famous Cod Hole while Wilson Island is a haven for snorkelling, so look no further for your next dive experience.

Heron Island

Located right on the reef and just a ten minute boat ride to the dive sites, Heron Island is the ideal resort from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef. With brilliant visibility and an abundance of marine life and coral, over 20 world class dive sites are awaiting you.

Until 30 September receive 2 nights free with our fantastic Stay 6/Pay 4 package.

Lizard Island

Set right on the Great Barrier Reef, Lizard Island is surrounded by fringing reef, and is only a 50 minute boat trip away from the legendary Outer Great Barrier Reef.

The resort itself offers the ultimate experience in which to unwind and indulge after a day under water.

Wilson Island

At Wilson Island, you can enjoy world class snorkelling directly off the beach.

All inclusive and with intimate access to the pristine reef, Wilson offers a luxury barefoot experience, like no other.

Iloho Extends Its Services With Launch Of New Flight Search And Comparison Function

Iloho, the online tool for travellers, today launches its new flight search and comparison function – – a service which is set to transform the way in which consumers access and review airline and flight information.

The flights function is the latest development from iloho as it continues its drive to expand and improve its services. It is an innovative and unique online database of the world's airlines, the routes they fly, the services they offer and how they rank with travellers in the know.

Iloho's flights function offers 360 degree airline and flight information that is easily accessible and quickly navigable. Focusing on providing insight into the actual experience and logistics of flying, core route data from OAG, a global flight information company, is augmented by a wealth of service information for over seventy of the world's leading airlines – from sample menus to cabin atmosphere  – and user-generated reviews.

This data is brought to life by a catalogue of images showing airlines' on-board and airport amenities, making iloho's information source as dynamic, original and interactive as possible. Airlines will be offered access details for iloho's content management system to ensure that only the latest and most accurate data is displayed.

Users can search for flights by route, stops and cabin class. Available flights can then be compared against each other, side-by-side, in an array of categories such as in-flight service, check-in options, food and drink and luggage allowances; results are broken down by class of travel and can be tailored according to the priorities of individual passengers by collapsing fields that are not of interest. 

In addition to route and service data, iloho's flights search function also provides information on flight schedules, flight times and aircraft models. Once users have made an informed travel decision, booking is available via direct links to airlines' websites.

Iloho's flights service provides highly targeted real time advertising solutions, which can be displayed according to demographic, keywords and geo-location, opening up a range of exciting new opportunities for advertisers. Sponsorship of iloho channels is also available.

Richard Archer-Perkins, Chairman and Founder iloho: "Launching a new and improved flight search service is an exciting step for iloho as it continues to grow and attract wider audiences.  

"By combining core route and airline data with user-generated reviews, we're confident iloho will be an extremely popular and useful starting point for travellers' journeys.

"In delivering fantastic content and by providing unique opportunities we aim to make iloho's flights function a huge success."

Mario M. Hardy, Vice President - Asia Pacific, Official Airline Guide (OAG), said: "OAG is the world's authority on global flight information and we are proud to be partners with an innovative brand like iloho. The combination of OAG's flight schedule information and iloho's own data will deliver a unique, valuable and comprehensive flight search function to travellers across the globe."

Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor Offers Warm Winter Retreat

Melbourne’s renowned Hotel Windsor is the perfect base from which to enjoy all that the city has to offer during winter and, with the gift of an exclusive Hotel Windsor scarf or umbrella, a winter retreat at the grand old hotel will be more special than ever.

Set in the heart of Melbourne’s theatre, shopping and cultural district, The Hotel Windsor is only a short walk from Melbourne’s leading attractions including Federation Square and the National Gallery of Victoria, Southbank and the Yarra River, and the MCG.

The hotel’s winter package is available from May 12 to August 31. Prices, inclusive of GST, start from $185 for a Standard Room, $225 for a Superior Room, $275 for a Deluxe Room and from $325 for Suites. All guests will receive one umbrella or scarf per booking.

“Melbourne can be at its best during the winter months,” Hotel Windsor CEO and general manager David Perry said. “Our special winter package prices ensure a range of people will be able to enjoy the delights of this charming and historic hotel while experiencing some of the many sporting and cultural events that are on in the city during this time.”

The 180-room Hotel Windsor was built in 1883, pre-dating some of the world’s leading grand hotels including the Savoy in London, which was built in 1889, the Waldorf Astoria in New York which dates back to 1893, and the Ritz Paris which opened in 1898. It is renowned for its magnificent Victorian architecture, its award-winning service levels, and the dining experiences offered at the elegant 111 Spring Street restaurant, including the traditional afternoon tea.

For reservations or further information contact the Hotel Windsor on 03 9633 6002 or visit

4-star med cruise from $699

Holidaymakers already booked to Europe or the Mediterranean later this year, can give themselves a bonus early Christmas present with an amazing 7-night Mediterranean cruise offer aboard the 4-star Costa Concordia that costs from just $699pp twin-share – including a choice of onboard dining options, nightly entertainment in a theatre extending through three decks, and onboard tips.

And children up to 18 years who share a cabin with adults will cruise for free – paying just their port charges.

This enticing offer from is available on Costa Concordia's 7-night sailing from Rome's Port Civitavecchia on November 9 this year and can be booked online on  

Costa Concordia visits Savona, Barcelona, Palma De Mallor, Tunis, La Valletta, Palermo and returns to Civitavecchia… an itinerary she'll sail every Sunday from May 4 to November 23, with prices varying from $899pp twin-share through to peak-season $1999.

The 4-star ship has 5-restaurants, 13 bars, four pools including two with retractable all-weather roofs, 5 Jacuzzis, a water chute, sports court, jogging track, and Wellness Centre with gym, Thalasso pool, sauna and steam room.

There's also a casino, disco, internet café, library, giant on-deck movie screen, shopping centre, video arcade, and children's club and splash pool.

Full details of each week's cruise prices on 1300 369 848 or  

Millionaire’s Mission Reality Show Becomes i-to-i Community Project

In Millionaire's Mission – the four-part realty series that goes to air on ABC 1 at 8.30pm from April 29 – eight mega-rich entrepreneurs are given the formidable challenge of tackling 'world poverty' through the microcosm of a rural village in Uganda. Cynics may scoff, but the reality is that the series has resulted in the establishment of an i-to-i community project that provides sustainable income and benefits to the village where the series was filmed.

In the first program of the series, millionaire Seb Bishop suggests that the best thing they could do with their combined contribution of 'reality funds' would be to turn a dis-used building into a hotel, which would provide both an income and English-speaking volunteers (in the form of tourists) to help on community projects.

As the series plays out, its legacy emerges: the i-to-i Teach Inn Uganda project, where volunteers help to provide an education for the children of Niyakasiru, the small village in southern Uganda featured in the series, and stay at the purpose-built Teach Inn, which provides a steady income for the village. All funds raised are ploughed back into projects that can benefit the village. Currently, a much-needed grain store is being built.

"The message that emerges from the series is that, in Africa, it's training, education and manpower that will really help communities climb out of poverty, and not monetary donations per se," commented Andrew Jack, spokesperson for i-to-i. "So far we have 75 volunteers signed up, who will provide in excess of 13,500 man hours of on-ground assistance."

Education is seen as the key to Uganda's advancement, and to ensure the quality of the teaching the volunteers provide, a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course is included in the participation cost. Volunteer assistance is hugely appreciated as the local school is severely under-resourced in every sense: while education is now free, teachers are scarce and classes may have up to 60 children, and teaching materials are virtually non-existent.

The cost of participating in the project is $2185 per person for the first four weeks and $185 for each week thereafter, including the on-line TEFL course before departure, accommodation, on-ground support and airport transfers. The nearby town of Kibale is also a base for visiting the mountain gorillas.

i-to-i offers over 500 ways to mix adventure travel with volunteer work in 28 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

To find out more about i-to-i visit or call 1300 656 351.

Saturday, 26 April 2008




SINGAPORE – (25 April 2008) – Carlson Hotels Worldwide –Asia Pacific,
one of the world's largest privately-owned hotel companies, will
continue the expansion of its luxury Regent brand into key gateway
cities across the region with the opening of The Regent Kuala Lumpur
in the third quarter of 2011.

The Regent Kuala Lumpur will be developed by City Properties and joins
a growing portfolio of Regent hotels and resorts worldwide, which
includes The Regent Beijing and The Regent Shanghai. The 250-room
hotel will also feature an additional 102 exclusive luxury apartments
which will be branded as 'The Regent Residences, Kuala Lumpur'.

The Regent Kuala Lumpur, together with the The Regent Residences,
Kuala Lumpur, will occupy a prime city-centre location in the heart of
the city's 'Golden Triangle', with breathtaking views of the iconic
Petronas Twin Towers and KLCC Park, just 200 metres walking distance

"The development of The Regent Kuala Lumpur is an important part of
our strategy to establish the flagship brand in the Carlson Hotels
portfolio in every major gateway city across Asia", said Martin Rinck,
president & managing director, Carlson Hotels Worldwide – Asia
Pacific. "We are continuing to evaluate prime locations for more
Regent hotels, as well as for our luxury Regent resorts, and we expect
to announce further developments in the near future".

Bjorn Gullaksen, president of the Regent Luxury Group, which oversees
the Regent brand worldwide, noted that this new property in Kuala
Lumpur adds further momentum to the global expansion of Regent Hotels
& Resorts. "Offering an iconic heritage of luxury that was born in
Asia Pacific, we are pleased to be expanding Regent Hotels & Resorts
to key destinations around the world," Gullaksen noted.

In addition to managing Regent hotels in Beijing and Shanghai, Carlson
Hotels Worldwide - Asia Pacific has five additional Regent hotels and
resorts under development, including The Regent Kuala Lumpur. The
Regent Maldives is scheduled to open in late 2008, while another three
Regent hotels and resorts will open in 2009: The Regent Bangkok and
The Regent Phuket Cape Panwa in Thailand, together with the The Regent
Manila Bay in the Philippines.

"This is a signature development that will deliver a unique city
experience, and is positioned as one of Kuala Lumpur's most coveted
addresses for style and luxury," said Dato' Jeff Yap, the Executive
Director of City Properties, part of Duta Equities founded in 1976 by
Dato' Yap Yong Seong. The group's investments include listed
companies DutaLand and Olympia Industries as well as prime real estate
developer, KL Landmark, which pioneered the city's first luxury

Carlson Hotels Worldwide is the world's ninth largest hotel company
ranked by the number of properties worldwide. In Asia Pacific, it is
the largest international hotel group operating in India, and has more
than 9,000 hotel rooms under management in 11 countries across the


Singapore-based Carlson Hotels Worldwide - Asia Pacific is the
regional headquarters for Carlson Hotels Worldwide in the Asia-Pacific
region and is supported by reservations, sales and development offices
in Tokyo, Shanghai, New Delhi and Sydney. Carlson Hotels Worldwide,
based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, includes five hotel brands: Regent
Hotels & Resorts, one of the most respected brands in the luxury
segment of the hotel industry; Radisson Hotels & Resorts(R), one of
the world's leading upscale, full-service hotel brands; Park Plaza(R)
Hotels & Resorts, positioned in the mid-scale segment of the
full-service hotel category and known for its great value and
customer-focused service culture; Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM,
one of the fastest growing, mid-scale hotel brands; and Park Inn(R), a
growing global brand offering a fresh and stylish guest experience.

Carlson Hotels Worldwide is one of the major operating groups of
Carlson, a global leader in the marketing, travel and hospitality
industries. Other names in the Carlson family of brands and services
are: T.G.I. Friday's(R) restaurants, Regent Seven Seas Cruises(R),
Carlson Wagonlit Travel(R), and Carlson Marketing Worldwide(R), the
largest relationship marketing services company in the United States.

Regent(R) Hotels & Resorts is one of the most respected brands in the
luxury segment of the lodging industry, Regent Hotels & Resorts are
world-class landmarks of hospitality excellence offering international
luxury standards which reflect and celebrate each individual hotel's
location. The iconic Regent brand is expanding to new hotel and
resort locations worldwide and is also an industry leader in the
luxury cruise market with Regent Seven Seas Cruises. At present,
Regent hotels and resorts are located in the United States, Europe and
Asia Pacific.

South African sailings on board MSC Rhapsody and MSC Melody

MSC Cruises is offering guests the chance to experience the sights of
stunning South Africa alongside warm Mediterranean hospitality on
board MSC Rhapsody and MSC Melody.

MSC Rhapsody will be sailing some breathtaking itineraries during the
festive season. Guests also have the option to begin the New Year in
style with a cruise on board this classic ship this winter.

Passengers can delight in the numerous on board facilities such as the
beauty centre and spa, casino, piano bar or swimming pool whilst
visiting the beautiful Seychelles and sandy beaches of Mauritius, as
part of a round trip from Durban. Departing 16th December, prices
start from £930 cruise only for a 12 day Christmas cruise on MSC
Rhapsody. Or perhaps you'd like to indulge in a New Year's cruise
departing 27th December from Durban and visiting Reunion Island and
Mauritius with prices also from just £1,030 cruise only for 12 days.

For those looking to dodge the January blues, MSC Rhapsody also
features a 12th January sailing for 15 days visiting Port Louis, Port
Victoria and Nosy Be, from just £830 cruise only. A long getaway
visiting the jewels of the Indian Ocean – what better way to start the

For those looking to getaway in Spring, the ever popular MSC Melody is
offering an Easter Ocean voyage, the return leg of this October's
phenomenally popular voyage south. Calling at sought after locations
such as P.des Galets, Port Louis, Port Victoria and the exotic Safaga,
Aquaba and Sokna, she then sails back to Naples and docks in Genoa.
Prices start from £1,150 cruise only.

Guests who travel on board MSC Melody can also take advantage of an
optional pre-cruise Safari package, with the chance to see some of the
world's most exotic animals. Prices start from £580 for a double room
at a 4-star safari lodge for two nights.

Guests who simply prefer to extend their stay by spending time in
Durban can experience a one night pre-cruise stay itinerary from just
£100 for a double room.

MSC Rhapsody – departing from Durban on 16th December for 12 Days
visiting Fort Dauphin, Port Louis, and returning to Durban. Prices
start from £930 - cruise only (£2,510 including flights and transfers)

MSC Rhapsody – departing from Durban on 27th January for 12 Days
visiting P.des Galets, Port Louis and returning to Durban. Prices
start from £1,030 - cruise only (£2,610 including flights and

MSC Rhapsody – departing from Durban for on 12th January 12 days
visiting Port Louis, Port Victoria and Nosy Be and returning to
Durban. Prices start from £830 - cruise only (£1,780 including
flights and transfers)

MSC Melody – departing from Durban on 17th April for 21 nights
visiting P.des Galets, Port Louis, Port Victoria, Safaga, Aqaba,
Sokhna, Naples and ending in Genoa. Prices start from £1,150 - cruise
only (£1,690 including flights an transfers)

Safari Tour (MSC Melody) includes 2 nights at a four star lodge in
Durban. Prices start from £580 for a double room (a single surcharge
of £90). A minimum of 8 participants are required for the Safari Tour

South Africa package (MSC Melody) includes one night at a 4 star hotel
in Durban. Prices start from £100 for a double room.

For more information visit or call 0870 850 4883

Agents - to book visit or call 0844 561 1955

Notes to editors:

MSC Cruises currently has a fleet of eight ships: MSC Orchestra, MSC
Musica, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera, MSC Armonia, MSC Lirica, MSC Melody
and MSC Rhapsody, cruising in the Mediterranean all year round,
Northern Europe, Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean and South America. The
fleet will increase to 12 ships by 2010. In the spring of 2008 MSC
Poesia, the third ship in the "Musica" class will join the fleet,
followed in the autumn of 2008 and spring 2009 by MSC Fantasia and MSC
Splendida. These will be two of the largest ships built by a European
ship owner. Then in 2010 MSC Magnifica, the fourth ship in the Musica
class will enter service.

MSC Cruises is a partner of the city of Venice and a member of the
Club - 'Friends of Venice' as well as one of the supporters for the
project 'Venice Blue Flag,' which sets the standards for the carbon

Garuda Indonesia’s Bali seats in high demand

26 April 2008

Media release

Garuda Indonesia's Bali seats in high demand

Australians visiting Bali are on the increase according to the
Australian Bureau of Statistics with information released this month.

According to the ABS, "the number of movements in February 2008
(32,100 movements) is 44% higher than in February 2007 and 16% higher
than in February 1998. The number of short-term resident departures to
Indonesia in February 2008 was the second highest trend figure
recorded over the ten year period and is a strong indication that
Australian residents are again seeing Indonesia (and most likely Bali)
as a desirable holiday destination."

This huge resurgence has led Garuda Indonesia to look at more
efficient ticketing time limits in order to make ticketing more
efficient for both the agent and the client. These new time limits
mean that the seats held will be used. Travel agents will no longer be
affected by those "tyre kickers" who shop around and hold onto seats
whilst looking for a better price. Agents will have seats available
for genuine travelers who wish to use and pay for their seat.

Mr. Poerwoko, General Manager Australia & Southwest Pacific, said,
"The new ticketing time limits are also a positive step for agents
because clients are now encouraged to commit to a booking rather than
making numerous changes causing the agent more work. The new 60 day
time limit in particular will allow plenty of time for careful
consideration whilst avoiding a cavalier approach to holding seats."

He said, "The ticketing time limits are also excellent for the client
because once they are ticketed they are not affected by any increases
in taxes or fuel surcharges."

He said, "The savvy agent can also benefit from these new ticketing
time limits because of the insurance sales opportunities which have
now been created. There is a strong argument for buying travel
insurance that protects the client against cancellation charges that
come into effect once ticketed."

New time limits follow.

For all bookings created on/after 16 April 2008, Garuda Indonesia
advises the following AUTO TIME LIMIT and AUTO CANCELLATION

Booking Period

Ticketing Time Limit

11 Months - 03 Months prior to Departure

60 Days after Confirmation

03 Months - 01 Month prior to Departure

30 Days prior to Departure

30 Days - 07 Days prior to Departure

03 Days after Confirmation

06 Days - 03 Days prior to Departure

24 Hours after Confirmation

02 Days - 00 Days prior to Departure

Immediate ticketing

Bookings made prior to 16APR08 should not be affected by this change.

A full service airline, Garuda Indonesia offers 17 flights weekly from
Perth, 5 flights per week from Sydney, 3 flights weekly from Melbourne
and twice weekly from Darwin.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Celebrate all things holiday with the 2008 BIG4 Holiday Guide

For those ‘in the know’ the 2008 BIG4 Holiday Guide is regarded as the holiday bible for Australian family travel. It makes organising the next family holiday as easy and fun as the holiday itself!

The BIG4 Holiday Guide should be pride of place in every travelling family’s car glove box. It contains detailed information on all BIG4 Holiday Parks across Australia including information on holiday savings and a snapshot of the park’s local area, which makes planning the whole trip a breeze.

The main section of the guide, the individual park listings, is colour-coded state-by-state to make finding the perfect holiday option quick and easy. Each BIG4 Holiday Park listing has information on the types of accommodation available, park facilities, kids’ activities and other individual park highlights.

BIG4 Members will delight in the extensive range of special offers available to them in this year’s BIG4 Holiday Guide – there are savings across a range of categories including tourist attractions, tours and automotive. And for those who aren’t BIG4 Members yet, don’t worry because the guide clearly explains how to join!

Great new features in this year’s BIG4 Holiday Guide include:
- a handy holiday calendar which outlines each state’s public and school holidays
- a map of Australia highlighting the location of all BIG4 Holiday Parks, the perfect tool during the planning phase of your next family holiday
- a double page outlining facilities and amenities available at BIG4 Holiday Parks for all members of the family including small children
- photos of each BIG4 Holiday Park including accommodation options and park facilities

It’s also been a BIG year for new parks, with the following six parks joining BIG4 and featuring in the Guide for the first time:
- BIG4 Ashmore Palms Holiday Village, Gold Coast, QLD
- BIG4 Bungalow Park, Burrill Lake, NSW
- BIG4 Ledge Point Holiday Park, Ledge Point, WA
- BIG4 Shepparton Parklands, Shepparton, VIC
- Yamba Waters Holiday Park, Yamba, NSW
- BIG4 Hayes Creek Holiday Park, Hayes Creek, NT

For over three decades, BIG4 Holiday Parks have been dedicated to the spirit of the true blue Aussie holiday, celebrating the great outdoors and fun family activities. So what are you waiting for? Grab a FREE copy of the 2008 BIG4 Holiday Guide today from, by calling 1800 632 444 or by visiting any BIG4 Holiday Park.

Costa France on the wellness wave

Surfing on the ever-growing trend for spas and fitness in the country, Costa France has launched a three-week partnership with 50 of the top spas in Paris and the Ile de France region.

Titled ‘Cruising in wellness, a new way to experience sea travel,’ a well-illustrated 28-page brochure presents the wellness features on board Costa Concordia and Costa Serena and their Samsara spa, restaurant and cabins, and on Costa Atlantica and Costa Mediterranea, which are to be equipped with wellness cabins, suites and a dedicated wellness restaurant for the summer season.

Also outlined are the gyms and fitness programs on board other ships in the fleet, plus itineraries.

Some 20,000 copies (out of 100,000 printed) are to be distributed to the spa partners. ‘Apart from travel agencies, it is a good way of reaching potential spa-loving passengers,’ comments Patrice Régnier, corporate direct marketing manager at Costa France. ‘We are not a competitor for these spas, neither is Steiner, which is not present in France. All the selected spas were very interested in being associated with cruising and what remains a dream holiday for many people,’ he added.

The promotion includes opportunities to win free cruises and Apple iPods by entering a quiz, whilst one of the spa hostesses distributing the brochures will also win a cruise.

Plans for rejuvenated RNA Showgrounds unveiled

The Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland (RNA) has unveiled plans to redevelop the RNA Showgrounds into a 365-day-a-year lifestyle and cultural hub.

Presenting the RNA Development Scheme Strategy, RNA President Dr Vivian Edwards said the new retail, commercial and mixed use facilities would be integrated into the 132-year-old site, with the EkkA a permanent cornerstone of the precinct.

“The RNA Showgrounds and the EkkA are steeped in Queensland history. Today is all about framing a vision for the future,” Dr Edwards said.

“This has been a long time coming and marks a significant change for us. It is an exciting proposal that will see the RNA Showgrounds become the centre piece of a new mixed-use precinct in Brisbane and will help rejuvenate the EkkA.

“The RNA has been working on a Masterplan for the past four years to ensure the RNA Showgrounds remain an integral part of Queensland’s social fabric and I’m pleased to say we’re now ready to bring this vision to life.”

Under plans outlined in the RNA Development Scheme Strategy, Water Street will become a retail precinct with 5,000 – 10,000m2 of land north of St Paul’s Terrace surrounded by up to 160,000m2 of commercial buildings made up of 15- 25 level towers.

Other plans include the restoration and renovation of many of the RNA Showground buildings with the Industrial Pavilion, home to the EkkA’s showbags, earmarked for significant redevelopment.

“The RNA has a responsibility as custodians of the RNA Showgrounds on behalf of the Queensland community. We are working closely with the Queensland Heritage Council to ensure the character and heritage of certain buildings and spaces are protected,” Dr Edwards said.

Construction is due to start after the 2009 EkkA when the Industrial Pavilion will be refurbished to include an underground car park, a flat floor exhibition level, new administration and meeting facilities and provisions for a future hotel.

“As Queensland’s population grows so too does the opportunity to host worldclass events and exhibitions. In order to do that, we need world-class facilities,” Dr Edwards said.

“We are keen to breathe new life into the site while retaining the character of the EkkA and RNA Showgrounds. What we will have is an innovative and unique venue with parks, walkways and bicycle paths that Queenslanders can access all year round.

“The EkkA will continue regardless of construction. From this year, we will be rejuvenating the show to maintain its position as Queensland’s biggest annual show.”

Dr Edwards invited the community to participate in shaping the final vision. The RNA will be conducting a series of public consultations and are inviting the public to leave feedback on the website, through email or via a free hotline 1800 066 053.

RNA Showgrounds
600 Gregory Terrace
Bowen Hills
p: 07 3852 1831

Vintage train boosts Illawarra Fly tourism potential

Robert Pritchard, managing director of ResourcesLaw International (left), with NSW Tourism Minister Matt Brown (right) and his son Isaac Brown (centre).
Chairman of 3801 Limited, John Glastonbury, aboard the Cockatoo Run train.

Tourists heading for New South Wales’ latest attraction, the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk, can do so in style aboard a splendidly restored, 1930s-vintage train.

New South Wales Tourism Minister Matt Brown, and other official guests, took the train trip last week for the official opening of the Illawarra Fly, a 500-metre elevated steel canopy at treetop level offering stupendous views of countryside, lake and sea.

Tourism chiefs see the train, operated by not-for-profit enterprise 3801 Limited, becoming an essential part of the Wollongong/Illawarra tourism mix, transferring visitors from Sydney to the new Fly attraction.

A lounge compartment aboard the restored Cockatoo Run train.
At the official opening of the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk (from left): Nicole Braden, Tourism New South Wales; Rina Hore, Bradman Foundation (Bradman Museum of Cricket); Elisabeth Allen, Tourism New South Wales.

The train makes the trip between Sydney Central Station and Robertson Heritage Railway Station in the NSW Southern Highlands on Thursdays and Sundays. Known as the Cockatoo Run, the journey uses the Illawarra Mountain Railway, built between 1927 and 1932. This stretch of track provides one of Australia’s most spectacular rail trips. Aboard the Cockatoo Run, passengers enjoy light refreshments and grand coastal scenery as the train climbs 600 metres, past waterfalls and through dense rainforest, up the Illawarra Escarpment. The train makes a stop at Summit Tank to admire sweeping views over Lake Illawarra out to the Tasman Sea.

A new train package, “Illawarra Treetop Flyer”, incorporates roundtrip travel from Sydney Central with entry to the Fly, located not far from Robertson. This costs $95 for adults and $75 for children, all-inclusive. Discounts apply for families and larger groups.

The Cockatoo Run train uses vintage 1930s carriages, beautifully restored and hauled by a heritage Diesel locomotive. Carriage attendants and buffet staff are all volunteers and boarding the train is like re-entering the gracious Golden Age of railway travel. 3801 Limited is negotiating to lease a steam locomotive, which would lift the operation’s profile, add cachet and boost patronage. It used to have a steam engine, until the NSW Government, through RailCorp, failed to renew the lease. This decision could have finished 3801 Limited, but it fought on, leasing a heritage Diesel locomotive replacement. 3801 Limited remains determined to secure a steam engine.

At the official opening of Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk (from left) Helen Moran, Australian Alpine Enterprises; Sean Haylan, general manager, Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk; Debbie Howie, Australian Alpine Enterprises.
The Cockatoo Run Train heads through Illawarra rainforest.

Opening the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk after travelling there on the Cockatoo Run, NSW Tourism Minister Matt Brown said visitors who travelled to the Fly on the train could “really appreciate how special this area is.” He said the Illawarra Fly had attracted over 1000 visitors for its opening and was set to attract 200,000 a year, building to 300,000 a year in five years. The Fly employed 16 staff, with visitor spend in the area estimated at $4 million a year.

“We are very supportive of this and know it will be a success,” Brown said.

Speaking later, 3801 Limited chairman, John Glastonbury, said the Cockatoo Run was an integral asset in the Illawarra tourism mix. It provided a novel and enjoyable way for tourists from Sydney without cars to reach the Fly.

The day-trip potential for international and domestic tourists, particularly families, is obvious. A steam engine would make the attraction even more special.

learn in luxury at FAIRMONT HOTELS & RESORTS

Destination Experiences for the Whole Family

As the trend continues for travellers seeking educational and cultural experiences while on holiday, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has designed a number of distinctive packages to broaden knowledge and encourage learning. Highlighting the culture and spirit of the destination or country abroad, from art lessons and exhibits to a trip to the local theatre, these packages are sure to create memorable experiences that will last a lifetime. Fairmont’s cultural packages include:

* Travel back in time through the Mesozoic and Cretaceous eras with the help of The Fairmont Royal York and the Royal Ontario Museum. In a partnership of two of Toronto’s landmarks, the Dino-Night Package allows guests the chance to see over 750 fossils, including 50 dinosaur specimens such as the infamous Tyrannosaurus Rex. Package includes nightly accommodation, two adult tickets to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and daily breakfast for two. Rates starting from AUD220 per night, available year round.
* Soak up Spanish culture during the debut of El Greco to Velázquez: Art During the Reign of Philip III at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston featuring groundbreaking early 17th century Spanish painting, sculpture, and decorative art. Including several works by two of Spain's greatest masters, El Greco and Diego Velázquez, the exhibit consists of impressive portraits, still life, and religious paintings, many of which have never been seen outside of the churches and museums of Spain. The El Greco to Velázquez package at The Fairmont Copley Plaza includes overnight accommodation and two VIP passes to the nearby museum. Rates starting from AUD325 per night, available from now through July 27, 2008.
* Celebrate Quebec’s 400th anniversary by discovering its artistic and cultural history at the city’s most renowned museums: Le Musée de la Civilisation or Le Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec. Inspired by its historic location, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac offers a Museum Package that combines hands-on exhibits, classic paintings and sculptures with the antiquity of the city. Unique in their own way, Le Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec features an impressive collection of 27,000 artworks and objects dating back to the 17th century, while Le Musée de la Civilisation offers contemporary, interactive exhibits on a variety of topics from food to geography. The Museum Package includes overnight accommodation, daily breakfast and admission to the choice of either Le Musée de la Civilisation or Le Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec. Rates starting from AUD260 per night, available year round.
* Journey to the Field Museum with The Fairmont Chicago and meet Sue the Dinosaur, the largest and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex found to date. Home to many biological and anthropological collections that span from the age of the dinosaurs to the present, The Field Museum has long been a Chicago icon for historical research since it began almost 115 years ago. Summer exhibits include a wide variety of ancient, contemporary and even fictional topics such as Mythic Creatures, a fun, scientific look at dragons, unicorns and mermaids, March 21 - September 1, 2008. Journey to the Field Museum package includes overnight accommodation, two tickets to The Field Museum, a copy of Darwin, Discovering the Tree of Life by Niles Eldredge, an exclusive Field Museum scavenger hunt map and late check out. Rates starting from AUD290 per night, available year round.
* Minutes away from the country’s major historical monuments, The Fairmont Washington DC invites guests to explore the landmarks of the nation’s capital with The Patriot Package. Escorted by the Grayline Trolley, history buffs can create their own tour, choosing which sights to stop at such as the Lincoln, Jefferson and WWII Memorials. The Patriot Package includes overnight accommodation for two in a luxurious guestroom, two Grayline Trolley tickets, welcome amenity prepared by the Chef and daily breakfast for two. Rates starting from AUD330 per night, available year round.
* Epitomising the city’s rich architecture and modern culture, The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver provides art-lovers a full lesson in art history with the Gargoyles and Galleries package. Once the space for the Supreme Court, the neighbouring Vancouver Art Gallery is the largest in Western Canada, housing more than 7,900 works. Gargoyles and Galleries offers guests nightly accommodation in the gargoyle-guarded Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and admission for two to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Rates starting from AUD345 per night, available year round.
* Experience two memorable performances in one evening at Seattle’s Fairmont Olympic Hotel and The 5th Avenue Theatre. Prior to the show, guests enjoy the award-winning service of the Pacific Northwest’s only AAA Five Diamond property, delectable dinner for two and two tickets to one of the theatre’s latest performances. The Fairmont & 5th Avenue Theatre package also includes luxurious accommodation and complimentary overnight parking, making it ideal for out-of-town guests or for locals taking advantage of the finest the city has to offer. Rates starting from AUD530 per night, available year round.
* True to the history and spirit of San Jose, The Fairmont San Jose offers The Tech Museum package for guests looking to learn the secrets of Silicon Valley. The Tech Museum package includes luxury accommodation and two tickets to the world-renowned Tech Museum of Innovations, showcasing the rise and development of Silicon Valley’s digital inventions. Rates starting from AUD170 per night, available year round.
* Discover the beauty, charm and flair of Hamburg via boat and race car during the Deluxe Sightseeing Tour at the Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten. Journey through the city’s intricate river system with an Alster Lake boat ride, floating past the villas, parks and waterfront residences while learning the city’s history. Continue to soak up the spirit of Hamburg with a visit the Prototyp Car Museum, featuring exhibitions of classic racing and sports cars built by the native iconic brand, Porsche. The Deluxe Sightseeing Tour package includes two nights in a luxurious room or suite, daily breakfast, boat tour and tickets to the Prototyp Car Museum. Rates starting from AUD835 for two nights, available year round.
* Get a lesson in art with the masters at The Fairmont Algonquin during the En Plein Air art series. This New Brunswick landmark welcomes participants from around the world for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to paint, learn and create with elite artists including Kevin Macpherson, Joe Anna Arnett, and Betty Car. All guests are welcome to get a glimpse of the creativity and observe the artists on the front lawn, the garden veranda or the rooftop garden as masterpieces are created and unveiled. En Plein Air package includes seven-nights of accommodation, mentored painting sessions and critiques, daily ground transportation to painting sites, daily breakfast and a $20 ArtSmart card from Utrecht. Rates starting from AUD2,360 for seven-nights, available August 17 to September 3, 2008.

*All packages unless noted are subject to availability and holiday restrictions, per room, per night, exclude taxes and are based on double occupancy. Amounts listed are in local currency unless otherwise noted. Packages may be booked by calling 1800 804 456 or at

A leader in the global hospitality industry, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is an extraordinary collection of luxury hotels which includes iconic landmarks like The Fairmont Banff Springs, Fairmont Monte Carlo and New York's The Plaza. Fairmont hotels are one-of-a-kind properties where sophisticated travellers can discover culturally rich experiences that are authentic to the destination. Situated in some of the most exclusive and pristine areas in the world, Fairmont is committed to responsible tourism and is an industry leader in sustainable hotel management with its award-winning Green Partnership program. Fairmont's portfolio includes 55 distinctive hotels, with plans to develop over 20 new properties in the coming years in destinations as diverse as Beijing, Abu Dhabi and South Africa.

Fairmont is owned by Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, a leading global hotel company with over 85 hotels worldwide under the Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel brands. The company also owns Fairmont and Raffles branded Residences, Estates and luxury private residence club properties. For more information or reservations, please call 1800 804 456 or visit

SMS in the sky with Qantas

By the end of this year Qantas domestic passengers will be able to send and receive text messages and access the internet via their mobile phones during flights. The new mobile safety technology will be fitted to domestic Boeing 767-300 and Airbus 330-200 later this year.
The system also includes voice calls, however, Qantas have had the foresight to deactivate this feature on their aircraft. So passengers need not worry about having to listen to loud or annoying phone calls from fellow passengers. The system will only be activated when the aircraft is at cruising altitude and cabin crew will have the ability to monitor the system.

Emirates have had success after installing the system to cope with increasing demand for the phones already installed in their seats. Emirates terms of use include that passengers must have their phone on silent and must not use their phone during rest periods. Let's hope Qantas follow suit with these provisos!

Intrepid Celebrates the Launch of its New Nepal Trips with 10% off!

For keen adventurers looking to get ‘off the beaten track’ Intrepid has expanded its offerings in Nepal with the launch of eight new trips and a super special deal!

Exotic, remote and wild, Nepal is a land that conjures up images of frosted mountain peaks, deep green valleys and bustling market towns. After years of limited tourism, Nepal is opening up to the world once again and is back on the top of everyone's 'must see' list!

Intrepid has recently released its Nepal and India brochure showcasing its eight new trips as well as another ten amazing tours that explore the wonder of these regions. To celebrate, Intrepid is offering 10% off all trips listed in the Nepal and India brochure (excluding Intrepid Independent trips) for purchase from 1 May to 30 June 2008, for travel before 31 December 2008.

Travellers looking for a real life experience will find an abundance of amazing options in Intrepid’s Nepal and India brochure. New trips include a high-altitude adventure to Nepal's highest trekking peak - Mera Peak, a journey to the Secret Kingdom of Mustang and the incredibly challenging but equally rewarding trek along the Southern Route to Everest.

While these Nepalese locations may be well off the beaten track, the trip styles are distinctly Intrepid. Travelling in small groups and joined by expert local guides, travellers are able to experience unique cultures, amazing adventure and stunning scenery. Intrepid’s tours truly take travellers beyond the guidebooks to discover the real Nepal.

Examples of the Nepal discounts on offer include:

Mera Peak
21 days, ex Kathmandu
WAS from $3405, NOW from $3064
Nepal's highest trekking peak, Mera Peak, offers all that makes Nepal a classic travel destination. Challenge yourself as you trek to 6,476 metres and take in some spectacular views as you follow glaciers, frosted rivers and rocky valleys. Although this trek is challenging, it does not require special mountaineering skills - travellers need to be reasonably fit, have a sense of adventure and be ready for an awe-inspiring trek!

The Secret Kingdom of Mustang
19 days, ex Kathmandu
WAS from $3000, NOW from $2700
This trip is one of the more challenging in Intrepid's range. Travellers will trek around one of the highest mountain ranges in the world - the Annapurnas. The snow-capped mountains, deep plunging valleys, isolated communities and remote monasteries will inspire those with a true adventurous spirit. The trek will reach altitudes of up to 5,400 metres - giving Intrepid travellers the opportunity to truly feel on top of the world.

The Southern Route to Everest
25 days, ex Kathmandu
WAS from $1175, NOW from $1057
An unforgettable expedition into the most mountainous corner of the world, the Nepalese Himalayas. Everest has traditionally been the ultimate goal for mountaineers and on this challenging expedition, Intrepid heads towards the Everest base camp. Explore the mountains and valleys around the towering peak, learn about the traditions and cultures of the famous Sherpa and spend time in exotic Kathmandu.

Give Mum the Hyatt touch this Mother's Day

The luxurious Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove is turning on the love this Mother’s Day and is the perfect destination to show your mum you care.

With special Mother’s Day dining options in The Fireplace and The Grange plus a delicious afternoon High Tea in The Verandah Bar, you’ll definitely satisfy her with fabulous food but why not give mum the complete Hyatt touch and book her in for a weekend escape?

With package options to cater to her every desire Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove is the ideal destination for mum’s weekend escape.

Spoil your mum and let her live the good life, sipping a cocktail beside the magnificent one-acre beach lagoon pool or enjoying complete indulgence with a treatment at Champions Day Spa. The brand new collection of value-added Hyatt Retreat packages offer something for everyone.

The Amour package focuses on romance and reconnection and includes a welcome gift and buffet breakfast plus a special late check-out.

The Explore package offers local discovery with a half-day tour aboard a Tall Ship while the Balance package has been designed for wellness, renewal and relaxation and includes $100 worth of free spa treatments.

But if you are after a package to extend mum’s leisure moments, the Awaken package features freshly prepared breakfast for two on their own schedule – thanks to a late checkout.

Situated on the northern end of the Gold Coast, in the exclusive residential resort of Sanctuary Cove, the five-star Hyatt Regency Hotel is styled as a 1940’s grand Queensland homestead and set amidst lush, tropical gardens and mature palms.

For more information on rates and additional packages visit For reservations call Toll Free (within Australia) 13 1234 or +61 7 5530 1234.

About Global Hyatt Corporation

Global Hyatt Corporation, one of the world’s premier hotel companies, offers today’s travelers more than 750 hotels and resorts (more than 140,000 rooms) in more than 45 countries. The company’s affiliates own, operate, manage and franchise Hyatt-branded hotels and resorts under Park Hyatt™, Grand Hyatt™, Hyatt Regency™, Hyatt Resorts™, Hyatt®, Hyatt Place™ and Hyatt Summerfield Suites™ brands, as well as the company’s newest global luxury brand, Andaz™, which recently opened its first property in London. Global Hyatt Corporation is also the owner of Hyatt Vacation Ownership, Inc. operator of Hyatt Vacation Club and fractional residential properties and U.S. Franchise Systems, Inc, which franchises Hawthorn Suites and Microtel Inns and Suites. From the U.S. and Canada, reservations for any Hyatt hotel worldwide may be obtained by calling 1-800-233-1234, or logging on to

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Korea calling Travelling Gourmets, Shopaholics and Cultural Heritage Fans

Travelling gourmets, shopaholics and Korean cultural heritage fans can
learn how to best enjoy the country through new publications recently
released by Korea Tourism Organization.

Korean cuisine has been named in a recent survey as the number one
reason for foreign visitors to travel to Korea. A new brochure –
Great Tastes of Korea is a restaurant guide to the best restaurants in
the country. Together with the Wonderful World of Korean Food which
introduces Korean cuisine in detail with recipes for the national dish
kimchi and much more, these two guides are a very helpful for
travelling gourmets.

Shopping is very high on the list of priorities for many visitors to
Korea. The Korea Shopping Guide will help visitors to decide the best
shopping districts, and where to shop all day and all night if they
wish. Bargains abound in high fashion and ready made clothing, sports
goods, electronics, leather jackets and handbags, fashion jewellery,
beautiful arts and crafts, Korean traditional furniture and unique
souvenirs. From fashion designer shopping streets to traditional
markets to Techno Electronics Mart Korea is a shopper's paradise.

For cultural heritage enthusiasts to Korea the brochure UNESCO World
Heritages in Korea details the great number of sights included on the
UNESCO World Heritage List.

From megalithic ruins and ancient tombs to grand palaces and secluded
temples, a great number of sights and time-honoured traditions of
Korea have been designated as World Heritages. Also included are Korea
World Natural Heritages like the Lava Caves of Jeju Island off the
south coast of Korea. Over 120 lava caves are scattered around Jeju
Island, the maze of caves forms a 4,480 metre chain of caverns beneath
the island.

Contact Korea Tourism Organization Sydney office to request any the listed brochures.
Email: or Phone: 02)9252-4147/8

Golden Chain Website makes travel planning a one-stop shop

John SHeppard, Chairman of Golden Chain Motor Inns
Australia’s largest accommodation group has opened a “one-stop domestic travel shop” on the Internet with the launch of its new Website this month.

The Golden Chain Motor Inns Website is being developed over several stages, with the new site already being used by guests to plan trips around Australia.

Chairman of Golden Chain, Mr. John Sheppard, said the group’s goal is to make the new website a very friendly and easy place to plan holidays and business trips.

It has already improved the way Google and other search engines deliver guests directly to the most important information.

Mr. Sheppard said the new Website takes advantage of the fact that Golden Chain Motels are All Australian with more locations across the country than any other accommodation provider.

“Our customers are usually planning trips across the country that will include stays in many locations,” he said.

“The new website has already been used by guests to plan and book stays that span weeks of travel and include booking advance accommodation online with 10 Golden Chain properties so it is passing initial tests with flying colours.

“Essentially, the website is an extension of Golden Chain’s commitment to great customer service by making it easier to work with Members – be it by phone using toll free numbers, e-mail or online booking.”

Key features of the new Website include:–
• Easier for Guests to find Member Locations suited to their need,
• Access to more information about each location including property descriptions, things to see and do in the area, image galleries, pictures and descriptions of each room type,
• Ability to Check Availability and Pricing as well as make secure enquiries and bookings,
• Google Maps make it easy to see street and satellite images of the Member location,
• Embedded Videos that display features of the local area,
• 1800 numbers and links to Member websites to make direct contact easy.

The group also has extensive plans for the development of the site including:
• More information about towns and regions,
• Itineraries to help guests find the most interesting things to do while transiting Australia,
• User Reviews that will help guests see what other guests thought of Member Locations and local areas,
• Blogs to help Guests and Members stay informed of the latest information on things to see and do across Australia.

“We are planning to become a leader in the use of the Web for the benefit of or guests,” Mr. Sheppard said.

“We see it as the prime means of booking and planning travel in the future – and we want to ensure that we are the first to provide the best possible service.”

Opening of Q Station

It is with great excitement that Unique Venues announces the 25 April 2008 opening of Q Station (formerly known as the Quarantine Station). As an innovative sustainable tourism operation which has taken 12 years to restore, Q Station's picturesque setting and history will deliver an experience truly distinctive to Sydney.

Q Station is located just 30 minutes from the CBD and two minutes from Manly on Sydney's Northern Beaches in the unspoiled bushland of North Head in Sydney Harbour National Park, just moments from the beach and overlooking spectacular harbour views.

Please click here for more information.

Cunard Line's three Queens spectacular

Cunard Line's three Queens staged a spectacular and historic rendezvous in their home port of Southampton yesterday.

As Queen Mary 2 started her trans-Atlantic season, she sailed passed her sisters in a unique and emotional afternoon on Southampton water.

Queen Victoria, back in her home port after her maiden world voyage, and Queen Elizabeth 2 - undergoing her final Cunard refit before leaving service in November - exchanged whistle blasts with the Cunard Line flagship as she made her way through a flotilla of small craft witnessing the first and last meeting of the three liners in the port.

Cunard Line president and md Carol Marlow told invited travel trade and media guests aboard a specially chartered launch that the event marked another chapter in Cunard's illustrious history.

"We are in our element when we create history and here we are doing it again today," she said.

Following QM2's salute and departure for New York, Queen Victoria left her berth for a voyage to the Canaries. QE2 returns from her wet docking and refit on Sunday when she commences her final season sailing for Cunard before heading for Dubai in November.

Asked about the ship's departure from the Cunard fleet, Marlow said she was delighted the historic liner was going to a good home where her unique heritage can be preserved for future generations.

The president also reported strong early sales across 2009 itineraries launched earlier this month and reminded guests that by 2010 when the new Queen Elizabeth joins her sisters, Cunard will operate one of the most modern fleets in service.

'We are in great shape,' she said.

New museum exhibits on display at Outrigger Reef on the Beach

Fijian wedding dress, ceremonial masks, and missionary furniture among many artifacts

Waikiki, Hawaii – Outrigger Reef on the Beach has unveiled two special museum exhibits featuring Pacific island cultural arts and Hawaiian missionary artifacts in its lobby. Both are free and open to the public and will be on display for a limited time.

“‘Art’ in the Pacific Islands” is a collection of traditional artifacts from Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands, Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu. Assembled by Curator Caroline Yacoe of Pacific Pathways from private collections, the artifacts include dramatic masks, a clothing mat, traditional Fijian wedding dress, ceremonial bowls and clubs.

“In many Pacific island countries, ‘art’ is an integral part of daily and ceremonial life,” Yacoe said. “Masks, sculpture, tattoo, pottery and weaving designs all help identify one’s clan and heritage. They help express feelings and emotions that underlie the society. Rituals involving these arts mark stages of life: birth, maturity, death, and make tangible the unseen spirits, ancestors and forces that control the natural world. Art in Pacific island societies is a main expression of the culture.”

The missionary exhibit was assembled by the Mission Houses Museum, a non-profit organization and genealogical society established in 1920 on Oahu. Its new exhibit at the Outrigger Reef encompasses two displays: “Taking Tea” and “Poi Suppers.”

Early New England missionaries arrived in Hawaii in the 1820s to spread their faith and teach Hawaiians how to read and write. They also brought their custom of taking tea. The “Taking Tea” exhibit displays furniture and household items from this era, including a Queen Anne tea table, Empire drop leaf sewing or work table, Windsor chairs, Federal candle stand, lithographs, an Empire style sofa, and Canton tea service set.

The “Poi Suppers” exhibit depicts a traditional missionary room including furniture, a shell collection and artwork, as well as a poi supper table setting, as might have been given by a missionary descendent around 1935. Artifacts include ceramic Lokelani tableware manufactured by Waterhouse for the Hawaiian market in the late 1800s, silverware, platters, serving bowl, poi bowls and glass candlesticks.

The Pacific island art and Hawaiian missionary artifact displays are part of Outrigger Reef’s ongoing commitment to preserving and sharing Hawaii’s cultural heritage with its guests and community.

The oceanfront anchor of the new Waikiki Beach Walk®, Outrigger Reef on the Beach is ideally situated between beautiful Waikiki Beach and exciting Waikiki. Currently undergoing a $110 million makeover, the hotel is being transformed into Oahu’s newest haven of elegance, gracious hospitality and unparalleled commitment to Hawaiian culture. The project is being carefully completed in multiple phases to ensure the continued comfort of guests. On property are a wide array of restaurants, shops and services including a complimentary Hawaiian Vow Renewal Ceremony. The adjacent Waikiki Beach Walk is Oahu’s newest entertainment destination, home to shops, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and accommodations spanning a nearly 8-acre area in Waikiki.


About Outrigger Enterprises Group

Outrigger Enterprises Group is one of the largest and fastest growing privately-held leisure lodging and hospitality companies in the Asia Pacific and Oceania regions and continues to expand its presence throughout the area.

A family-owned company with more than 60 years of hospitality experience, Outrigger runs a highly-successful, multi-branded line of hotels, condominiums and vacation resort properties, including Outrigger® Hotels & Resorts, OHANA® Hotels & Resorts, Outrigger Condominium Collection®, Embassy Suites®, Best Western® and Wyndham Vacation Ownership®. Currently, Outrigger operates and/or has under development 47 properties with close to 12,000 rooms located in Hawaii, Australia, Guam, Fiji, Palau, Bali and Phuket, Thailand.

Outrigger Enterprises Group also operates and develops hotel properties and hospitality-related retail and real estate opportunities for partners in Hawaii, the Pacific, the mainland USA and Asia. For on-line information, log on at and

The Listel Hotel goes Solar

ROBSON STREET: The Listel Hotel is the first hotel in Vancouver to install a cutting-edge renewable energy system. The hotel is reducing its carbon footprint -- and annual energy expenses -- by installing solar panels and a highly efficient heat recovery system.

The hotel’s partner on the project, B.C.-based renewable energy leader Swiss Solar Tech, has a slogan “The sun hasn’t raised its rates in four billion years.”

The Listel is now tapping into the sun’s abundant and easily-accessible alternative energy via solar thermal collectors to lower their heating costs and, most importantly, their carbon footprint. The hotel expects to reduce its carbon gas emissions by 170 tons annually.

Technical details. The Listel’s customized system employs equipment typically used as a ground-source heat pump. Such pumps exploit the steady underground temperature to provide seasonal heating and cooling. The Listel’s system however does not have an underground loop of liquid-filled tubing for geothermal exchange. Instead, the heat pump is connected to twenty solar collectors and a heat recovery system as well as a 20 ton air-to-water heat pump.

According to Roger Huber, owner of Swiss Solar Tech, “There is incredible potential for heat recovery, particularly when combined with the solar panels.”

Huber explains that the waste heat is collected from the cooling system (the air-conditioning chiller) to use as pre-heat for the domestic hot water and as heating support for the building. “This enables the existing gas-fired boiler to run less, since the heat pump has a much better co-efficiency rate than a gas boiler.”

A computer-controlled system from Care System of Vernon BC, combined with a gas-fired boiler, provides heating and cooling of water and air for the 129 room hotel. The solar heat from solar panels on the hotel’s roof is primarily used to pre-heat the domestic hot water. Solar-heated water is stored in a tank with a capacity of 4,500 litres.

The savings. The estimated pay-back time (amortization period) is less than six years, based on an estimated five per cent annual price increase on natural gas rates. A federal grant from the ecoENERGY for Renewable Heat Initiative reduced the cost of the solar part by 25 per cent.

Swiss Solar Tech is a BC-based company that creates cost-effective renewable energy and heat recovery solutions by designing and installing highly efficient heating and cooling systems for commercial buildings. They combine solar thermal with ground-source heat pumps and heat recovery systems.

The Listel Hotel is known as “Vancouver’s most art-full hotel*” and one of the city’s most well-appointed boutique hotels. Its other green initiatives include a comprehensive recycling program, composting, various water, energy reduction and air quality programs, a towel and sheet reuse program, bulk amenities, and a strong commitment to organic and local food and wine.

The Hotel Association of Canada awarded The Listel the highest eco-rating of any Vancouver hotel - 4 Green Keys. The hotel’s restaurant and bar – O’Doul’s - is an active member of both the Green Table Network and the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program.

Tasmania: Natural State News

Top Tastes

Voyages Cradle Mountain Lodge - Image library reference: a3e116

Voyages Cradle Mountain Lodge 'Tastings at the Top' (21-23 June 2008) is among Australia’s best food and wine experiences. It’s a three day festival which celebrates premier Tasmanian produce.

From degustation dinners to cooking demonstrations; fresh produce market to wine tastings; World Heritage wilderness walks to spa treatments at the luxurious Waldheim Alpine Spa; Tastings at the Top encompasses the very best of Tasmania.

This year, the 14th of this annual event, will be hosted by ‘The Wine Man’ Peter Bourne and Helen Waterworth a cheese consultant. Peter and Helen share an intimate knowledge of Tasmanian produce. Both are extremely enthusiastic and highly entertaining.

A unique selection of marketplace providores including boutique winemakers, brewers, cheese makers, confectioners, whisky distillers and specialist growers from various regions in Tasmania are taking part in this year’s event.

Tastings at the Top packages start from $1,405 per person (twin share) and include:

  • Three nights accommodation at Cradle Mountain Lodge in a Pencil Pine cabin
  • Full mountain breakfast each morning
  • Lunch on Sunday and Monday
  • Dinner on Saturday, Sunday & Monday
  • Welcome pack
  • Welcome drinks
  • All scheduled Tastings at the Top program events
  • Tastings of the Alpine Spa - sample a taste of the award winning Waldheim Spa treatments
  • Sampling a variety of local gourmet produce while mingling with providores.

For bookings: Cradle Mountain Lodge (03) 6492 2100 or

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