Monday, 31 October 2011


Peppers Broadbeach – the property that brought five star accommodation back to the Gold Coast – is turning one and inviting guests to stay and celebrate summer in style.

The special Peppers Broadbeach 1st birthday package combines quality time with the family, with your partner and with yourself and includes: a 30 minute Clarity Massage for two people at Endota Day Spa*; a 3 hour child-minding service to give Mum and Dad some 'kid-free' time *; complimentary bike, beach and board game hire for the whole family to enjoy; complimentary in-room movies and internet for two nights so you stay connected and a complimentary upgrade to a Two Bedroom Ocean Suite for even more space and comfort and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

The package is priced from $405 per night on a minimum 2 night stay.  For bookings contact 1300 987 600 or visit

Peppers Broadbeach has done things differently to other apartments on the Gold Coast by setting the benchmark for personalised customer service.  From the iPad check-in and service by concierges fitted with mobile iPads, a mini-bar with a focus on local and organic products and free WiFi throughout the hotel, acknowledging guests needs to stay connected whether staying for business or leisure.

It is for these reasons, combined with the superb level of service, friendly staff and exceptional design and decor that in just one short year, Peppers Broadbeach achieved the Number 1 ranking on TripAdvisor for accommodation in Australia.

"Peppers Broadbeach is a stunning example of how the Peppers brand can work in metropolitan locations.  It has surpassed all expectations and provided us with an excellent platform to launch further CBD properties under the Peppers brand over the next 12 months," said Mantra Hotel Group CEO, Bob East.

The architectural design of the property's two towers provide a dramatic landmark on the Gold Coast skyline, and feature extensive use of life spaces including Zen gardens, tai chi lawns, private cinemas, guest lounges, teppanyaki barbeques, steam rooms, saunas and lap, plunge and resort pools, and housing 505 one, two and three bedroom apartments.

For a truly unique Gold Coast experience, stay with Peppers in the heart of cosmopolitan Broadbeach –a fusion of city sophistication and coastal relaxation where the Coast's premier dining and cafe scene complements an ideal beachside location.

Peppers Broadbeach is located cnr Surf Pde & Elizabeth Ave, just a short stroll to beautiful Kurrawa Beach and parklands; a 25 minute drive from Gold Coast airport and a 40 minute drive to the hinterland.

* Offer is valid until 31 March 2012, subject to availability and blackout dates apply.  Endota day spa massages and child minding service applicable once per stay.


Peppers Retreats, Resorts & Hotels is the Mantra Group's luxury level brand of stylish 4.5 star accommodation. There are 26 Peppers properties in Australia and New Zealand in regional areas, resort destinations and metropolitan locations with the first Peppers in Fiji due to open in 2012.  All offer a level of style and quality to meet the expectations of the most discerning traveller.

Korea Grand Sale 2012 - Korea's Greatest Shopping Festival

It is Korea's greatest shopping festival event and certainly one of the biggest in Asia.

The Korea Grand Sale 2012 will run from January 9-29. For a period of fifty-two days, major attractions in cities including Seoul, Busan and Jeju Island will offer great discounts to international visitors along with huge shopping discounts.

Co-organized by the Visit Korea Committee and the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism the event follows the hugely popular one earlier this year. Over 21,100 shops (72 types of businesses) including major department stores, duty free shops, hotels, discount stores, and convenience stores will participate in the event, offering 10-50% discounts (based on estimates as of October 6, 2011), significantly greater than the previous sale. Following the recent shopping trend, visitors will enjoy a variety of shopping experiences (food, tourism, and culture). The event will be more than just a shopping event, it will offer full-scale tourism experiences for visitors.

In addition, the Hallyu superstar, Choi Ji-Woo will join the Korea Grand Sale 2012 following this year as a promotional model. The event will launch with the grand opening on January 9th followed by a fascinating array of festivities including the Hallyu Concert and Korean culture experience programs. Diverse programs are in place for international tourists to fully enjoy the Korea Grand Sale 2012. During the event, a free shuttle bus will operate and tour major shopping attractions including the Gangbuk area (Myeong-dong, Dongdaemun, and more) and the Gangnam area (including Cheongdam-dong, Apgujeong, and more), three times a day (one in the morning and two in the afternoon) for three days a week.

An even better promotion is offered by the One More Night Promotion program. The program offers international tourists who stay in Korea for more than three nights one additional night's accommodation free of charge. Over 42 major hotels will participate in the program. Visitors can also find a wide array of promotional services including free food and drinks during the event.

Katie Han, Executive Director of Marketing of the Visit Korea Committee, expects, "The Korea Grand Sale 2012 will be even more successful than the last one by adding experience programs for tourists." She goes on to say, "The Visit Korea Committee will actively work on marketing activities to attract shopping lovers from around the world to Korea."

For more information, please visit the event's official website at



Great 'Stay for 3, Pay for 2' night deals or discounted rates across Australia

Aussie icon and Mantra hotel ambassador, Pat Rafter has made some prime picks for surf and city getaways this summer at Australia's most sought-after holiday locations from the tropics of North Queensland to historical Tasmania, coastal NSW to the wild west of WA - and everywhere in between!

Now is the ideal time to book your great Australian summer holiday with Pat's Mates Rates on offer at a variety of spacious Mantra apartments and hotels throughout Australia, valid for stays until 31 March 2012*.

The balmy beaches of Tropical North Queensland are a bargain-hunters dream where a 'Stay 3, Pay 2' special applies. Rates start from just $140* per room per night at Mantra Esplanade, Cairns with more '3 for 2' night deals also on offer at Mantra Amphora, Palm Cove from $160* per room per nights and popular Port Douglas resorts from $150 per night including Mantra PortSea, Mantra on the Inlet, Mantra in the Village, Mantra Heritage and Mantra Aqueous on Port.

More great value 'Stay 3, Pay 2' deals can be found across leading Australian leisure destinations including Mantra on Salt Beach at Kingscliff in Northern NSW from $217* per night, Mantra Mooloolaba Beach on the Sunshine Coast from $198* per night, Mantra Hervey Bay from $140* per night and Mantra Erskine Beach Resort in Victoria's summer haven of Lorne from $179* per night.

The holiday mecca of the Gold Coast provides both an action-packed family getaway or a much needed escape to relax and rejuvenate.  Stay in luxury in the heart of Surfers Paradise at Mantra Circle on Cavill from just $176* per room per night in a One Bedroom Spa Apartment or enjoy the cosmopolitan coastal charm of Broadbeach at Mantra Bel Air from $120* per night in a One Bedroom Apartment.

Alternatively holidaymakers can follow the bright lights to the big cities for cultural encounters, a cosmopolitan vibe and endless entertainment with these sizzling Pat's Mates Rates.

Guests can enjoy the delights of Sydney from $165* per night in a Studio Room at Mantra Parramatta, the buzz of Brisbane from $135* per night in a Hotel Room at Mantra on Queen, the magic of Melbourne from only $179* per room in a One Bedroom Apartment at Mantra 100 Exhibition, the historical sites of Hobart from $141* per night in a One Bedroom Apartment at Mantra One Sandy Bay Road or the relaxed pace of Perth from $159* per night in a Queen Studio at Mantra on Murray.

For more great deals and to book call 13 15 17 or visit

*Subject to availability. Block-out dates and minimum night stays apply. Valid for sale and travel until 31/03/2012.


Saturday, 29 October 2011

Breaking news - All Qantas flights worldwide grounded


Qantas grounds entire domestic and international fleet

Qantas has just announced that effective immediately there will be no further domestic or international departures of its aircraft anywhere in the world, with the carrier locking out all employees who will be covered by the industrial agreements currently being negotiated with the Transport Workers Union (TWU), the Australian Licenced Engineers Union (ALAEA) and the Australian and International Pilots Union (AIPA).

CEO Alan Joyce said the step is being taken under the provisions of the Fair Work Act in response to the ongoing industrial action taken by the unions, with the lock-out in place until the unions drop their "extreme demands".

"Pilots, licenced engineers and baggage, ground and catering staff are essential to Qantas operations and the lock-out will therefore make it necessary for all Qantas aircraft to be grounded," he said, with this occurring effective 5pm Sat 29 Oct 2011.

Aircraft currently in the air will complete the sectors they are operating, but all future departures are cancelled "until the ALAEA, the TWU and AIPA drop the extreme demands that have made it impossible for agreements to be reached," Joyce said.

Jetstar and QantasLink flights will continue to operate, along with Qantas flights across the Tasman operated by its NZ-based Jetconnect subsidiary.

The lock-out is effective from 8pm AEDT on Mon 31 Oct, and until it commences all employees are require at work as normal and will be paid. Once it commences, employees who are locked out will not be required at work and will not be paid; employees working overseas will not be locked out and will continue to be paid; and all other employees are required at work and will be paid as normal.

Customers booked on Qantas flights should not go to the airport until further notice. Qantas is offering full refunds to customers who choose to cancel their flights, while full rebooking flexibility will be available to customers who want to defer their travel.

Customers who are mid-journey will be given assistance with accommodation and alternative flights, Joyce said, asking that only customers travelling within the next 24 hours call Qantas contact centres.

"Qantas regrets that this action has become necessary and apologises sincerely to all affected passengers," Joyce said.

He said the cost impact of the grounding would be $20 million per day, but said that the move was necessary because "customers are now f.leeing from us," with key high value customers now actively seeking to fly with other carriers because of the ongoing strike action uncertainty.

Joyce urged the union members to "consider their own interests and tell their leaders they want to reach reasonable and fair agreements that will be good for them and for Qantas".

MEANWHILE Virgin Australia has also just issued a statement saying it will accommodate Qantas passengers on current services where possible, and is also looking at putting on additional flights to support affected travellers.

Special "Stranded Passenger" recovery fares will be offered for those who are at a port away from home and hold a QF ticket to return home, initially within the next five days, with details to be shortly available at

More information in Monday's Travel Daily.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

New Bradman Gallery another reason to visit Cricket Nirvana in Bowral

The International Cricket Hall of Fame in Bowral is gearing up to open the new Bradman Gallery in late November 2011.  Set on the historic Bradman Oval, the very ground where the late Sir Donald Bradman honed his cricketing skills, the new Bradman Gallery will be the centrepiece of the International Cricket Hall of Fame which is a magnet for Cricket Tragics and sports fans alike.

"The Bradman Gallery underpins the International Cricket Hall of Fame and we are thrilled that we can take the Bradman story to a new level and introduce new audiences to the incredible achievements and legacy of Sir Donald Bradman" said Museum Curator, David Wells.

The new gallery will showcase items from the Bradman Museum that have never been on display before integrating low and high tech interactive technology to tell the story of 'The Boy from Bowral' and his incredible achievements both on and off the field.

"The International Cricket Hall of Fame goes from strength to strength and opening our relocated and expanded Bradman Gallery gives visitors yet another reason to visit the museum" commented Rina Hore, Bradman Foundation Executive Director.

Other elements of the new Bradman Gallery include a dedicated Bodyline Theatrette, a new interactive Tank Stand display, an interactive Bradman letter trail from 1926 to 2000 and the first ever display of Sir Donald's presentation coaching slides, shown in context and replicating his own presentations. Priceless pieces such as Sir Donald's first cricket bat and a selection of his baggy green caps will be on permanent display.

The official opening of the new Bradman Gallery will take place on Saturday 26 November 2011, and will be attended by a wide range of cricket dignitaries and VIP guests.


Sir Donald Bradman is loved and revered the world over, dubbed The Boy from Bowral, Sir Donald Bradman is one of the greatest sportsmen the world has ever seen. He represented Australia for 20 years, playing 52 Tests from 1928/29-1948. Knighted for his services to cricket in 1949, he remains the only Australian cricketer to receive a knighthood for services to the game. He retired from Test cricket with a batting average of 99.94, making his Test batting achievements nearly twice that of the nearest Test batsman.

Sir Donald's Honours include:

·                     1949 Knighted, the only Australian cricketer ever to receive a knighthood and the first Test cricketer so honoured.

·                     1979 received a Companion of the Order of Australia.

·                     1988 Voted the greatest male athlete of the past 200 years by the Australian Confederation of Sport.

·                     Selected as one of only two Australians by International Who's Who top 100 people who have done the most to shape the 20th century.

·                     Nominated among the Top Ten sportspeople of the 20th century by the World Confederation of Sport.

·                     1999 Named Male Athlete of the Century by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

·                     Ranked the No.1 Australian Athlete of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated magazine.

·                     In 2000 he was voted the greatest cricketer of the 20th century by Wisden Cricket Almanack in a  unanimous decision of the 100 judges.

·                     Nominated captain of the Australian Cricket Team of the Century


Queensland Rail Ultimate Rail and Golf package


If you want to take on a couple of Queensland's best golf courses, and see how the pros do it, too, then you have just a few days left to book a seat on Queensland Rail Travel's Ultimate Rail and Golf Package for 2011.

This package is another example of Queensland Rail Travel designing themed events for customers, following on from its sold-out food and wine MasterClass journey.

The only driver passengers will need is the one you pull out of your golf bag on the first tee at Hamilton Island Golf Club, as Queensland Rail Travel looks after all transport needs, whether it be by train, plane, or boat.

The fly-train-drive-chip-putt package will take customers to three of Queensland's most prestigious golf courses, accommodate them at two stunning locations, before they get to rub shoulders with some of the biggest stars in Australian golf at the PGA Championship.

Queensland Rail Travel General Manager, Max Kruse, said the trip is an opportunity of a lifetime for golfers of all standards.

"Special packages like this don't come up very often, so if you want to put your game to the test on two of the best layouts in the country, then you had better get in quick," Mr Kruse said.

"After flying in to Proserpine and staying the night at Airlie Beach, we're going to whisk the group across to Hamilton Island.  It's then a short ferry ride over to the picturesque course on Dent Island, not much more than a five-iron across the water.

"This is the only championship island golf course in Australia, so it really is a unique experience.

From there, players and their partners can swap their spikes for something more sophisticated, with an overnight journey to the Sunshine Coast, travelling and dining in Queenslander Class on The Sunlander.

Mr Kruse said there will be even more time for customers to relax when they step off The Sunlander.

"Golfers don't normally like being in the sand, but we're going to put them up on the water's edge at Mantra Mooloolaba Beach for three nights.

"We've also managed to wedge in a day at the Australian PGA Championship at Hyatt Coolum.

"There's an amazing field lined up for the event.  Our tour group will get to see some big Australian names in action like Greg Norman, Adam Scott, Jason Day and Geoff Ogilvy, playing alongside visiting major-winners such as Y.E. Yang and Darren Clarke.

"I hope some of pros' skill rubs off on our players, as they finish the trip with 18 holes at the Greg Norman-designed Pelican Waters Golf Course.

After handing in their cards, passengers reach the 19th hole – Roma Street station – with a short trip home on the Tilt Train.

Seats are limited, and on sale until October 28, with a departure date of November 23.  The five-night package includes all travel, transfers, accommodation, green fees, and a ticket to the Australian PGA Championship for just $1719 per person twin share (ex-Brisbane/Gold Coast).

For more information log on to

Palace drawn into Western Australian DNA mystery


Buckingham Palace has been drawn into an international mystery and is endeavouring to validate the authenticity of a 100 year old oak tree growing at Accor Vacation Club's Grand Mercure Basildene Manor in Margaret River WA.

One hundred years ago in 1910 Percy Willmott, his wife Margaret and their three children left Fremantle port for a two month voyage to Percy's homeland England whilst their manor was being built in WA.

During their stay and on a visit to Buckingham Palace, Percy was walking through the manicured grounds when he sighted an acorn that he promptly picked up and popped in his pocket. He imagined this acorn growing into a majestic English oak tree on his Margaret River property, at his Georgian Victorian style Basildene Manor, named after his hometown of Basildon near Reading 

Percy planted the acorn at the front of Basildene Manor hoping to shade their new home, outside their bedroom window. This European sapling, struggled to grow in unforgiving soils and sweltering summers, out of place, amongst the stands of jarrah, karri and gum trees on the 14 acre property. But survive it did. 

Today, the majestic oak tree currently stands 32 metres tall and is still a favourite place for staff and guests to sit under, when visiting the world famous wine growing region 3.5 hours from Perth. The property was classified in 1978 by the National Trust of Australia as a significant heritage property, and listed with the Heritage Council of Western Australia in Sept 1991.

Of course Customs would frown upon such activity today, but photos of the WA tree are being compared to the famous oak tree at Buckingham Palace by head gardener Mark Lane, who is assisting Accor Vacation Club (owners of the manor) to ascertain if the "tall tree tale" is indeed correct, as they are set to celebrate the 100th birthday of the historic Hotel, in early 2012. 

Basildene Manor offers magnificent suites – some in the original homestead, with endearing names such as Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz, Chardonnay, and Verdelho

The lush gardens are now very well established, with trees, natives and herb & vegetable gardens, some of these featuring throughout the properties lounges and even make it onto the plates of the well known "Basildene breakfast."

A luxurious lounge and bar from a bygone era is nestled below the majestic sweeping staircase, and modern comforts abound in the Manor House, loved by locals and tourists alike, in a convenient position on the outskirts of Margaret River township, close to all the wineries and tourist attractions.

To enjoy your stay, as if "to the manor born," great rooms are on offer from $279 per room per night (2 people twin share) and include the well known Basildene Breakfast

To book at Basildene Manor please call   08 9757 3140 or visit 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

APT Outback deals for 2012

Australian holidays:  2012 Outback adventures – deals

Go Australian! APT's just released 2012 Outback wilderness adventures carry discounts of up to $900 a couple, if booked before February 29.

APT runs small group 4WD adventures to the Kimberley, Cape York, Red Centre, the Top End, the Gulf Country, Birdsville, the Pilbara, Flinders Ranges and Lake Eyre during the April-October season.

The 12-day Adelaide-Adelaide Birdsville and Corner Country Tracks, for example, is priced from $5,245 per person twin share (from $4,995 per person with discount) which includes guided touring, accommodation, 27 meals and entrance and park fees.

Among the experiences are 4WD Ridgetop tour of Arkaroola, The Flinders Ranges, Mungo National Park, Burke and Wills Dig Tree, travelling the Birdsville Track and two nights at the Birdsville Pub.

Contact: 1300 229 804, see or travel agent.

APT Outback Wilderness Adventures: Truly off-the-beaten-track experiences, no more than 24 guests, travelling in custom-designed 4WD vehicles, escorted by fully-trained driver/guide, staying in a selection of resorts, lodges, pubs and hotels and fully-inclusive pricing of meals, sightseeing, entrance fees, permits and accommodation are some of APT's key adventure experience selling points.


Saturday, 22 October 2011


‘Razor sharp’ tours of mobsters, murders and mysteries uncover city’s secrets

The Underbelly TV series has put the spotlight firmly on one of Sydney’s most vibrant and colourful areas and to celebrate the fourth installment of the franchise, the Mercure Potts Point is offering a special ‘Crimes and Passions’ package that includes overnight accommodation in a harbour view room, buffet breakfast for two, late check-out and a guided exploration with Bounce Walking Tours through the ‘Underbelly’ of Kings Cross – all for just $259 per night.

This fascinating tour takes you through the colourful history of Kings Cross with its mobsters, murders and mysteries as you follow in the footsteps of notorious criminals, prostitutes and crooked cops. With the Underbelly series currently screening, the tour is a great opportunity to hear the real stories behind characters such as Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh, stand on the site of unsolved mysteries, uncover the secrets of the sly grog and razor gangs and visit the original bar that started the Ibrahim empire.

The Kings Cross ‘Golden Mile’ literally stretches below the Mercure, but you will need to scratch the surface to uncover the street’s notorious past as today the area has been gentrified with trendy restaurants, boutique wine bars and upmarket clubs creating a sophisticated setting for the modern traveller.

Having recently undergone a $30 million refurbishment, the Mercure Sydney Potts Point boasts funky, colourful décor and spacious rooms, many with spectacular views over the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, all within one train stop of Martin Place in the city.

This package is valid until 30th December 2011, subject to availability.

For bookings – call 02 9397 1777 or email

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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Free air fares for APT’s 2012 Europe golf cruises

Rounds of golf at three courses in Scotland, three in Germany and one in Austria are now part of a new series of APT Magnificent Europe luxury river cruises with land extensions next year which have been launched with a free airfares offer, including air taxes of $850.

Deal bookings must be made before January 31, 2012.

The 20-day Scotland and Magnificent Europe Golf Experience package starts in Glasgow on May 1 and September 23 while the 15-day cruise only version starts in Amsterdam on May 6 and September 28. All finish in Budapest.

Golf is played on Prestwick and Turnberry's Ailsa and Kintyre courses in Scotland, Frankfurter Golf Club, Beckbauer Golf Course and Wurzburg Golf Club in Germany and Fontana Golf Course in Austria

The 20-day trip is priced from $12,795 per person, twin share which includes golf  at the seven courses (or excursions for non-golfers), four nights at Turnberry Resort, one night at Glasgow Hilton, 14-night cruise, 48 meals (regional wine and beer with cruise lunch and dinner), airport transfers, cruise tipping and port charges.

The 15-day package is from $8,795, which includes golf at the four Europe courses (or excursions for non-golfers), 41 meals on the cruise as well as the above cruise inclusions.

Professionals Mark Gibson and Tim Moore are golf hosts.

The May departures are on the Aria Class ms AmaDante while the September departures are on the Concerto Class ms AmaBella. Both are from the 10-ship fleet of luxury riverships built by APT in partnership with European river ship specialist AMAWATERWAYS. 

Golfers supply their own set of clubs, wear normal club golf attire and produce a valid handicap card and play to the minimum handicaps set by each club.

Contact: call 1300 229 804, visit or see a travel agent.

Note: Details of the courses and professionals available on request.


Thursday, 13 October 2011

Captain Cook Cruises Amazing Christmas Party Specials

What better place for a staff Christmas party or to celebrate Christmas with your friends than on Sydney's picturesque Harbour, while enjoying delicious food and the incredible harbour views. Even more appealing is that Captain Cook Cruises is offering groups with a minimum of 6 people some amazing Christmas Party specials on board the MV Sydney 2000.  

Indulge in a two course Australian a la carte menu including tea and coffee, with personalised service and ambient music on the two-course Top Deck lunch cruise. The cruise is only $55 per adult, normally $77 per adult, Monday to Friday for groups of 6 people or more from 1 November to 24 December 2011. An open bar of Tooheys beer, Tyrell's still and sparkling house bottle wine and soft drinks is available for $19 per person.

For the ultimate long lunch party, groups can't go past Captain Cook Cruises three-course Top Deck Lunch Cruise. As well as enjoying a three course Australian a la carte lunch, table service and ambient music, guests also are treated to an open bar of Tooheys beer, Tyrell's still and sparkling house bottle wine and soft drinks. The three-course Top Deck Lunch Cruise is available Monday to Sunday from 1 November to 24 December 2011 and is $99 per adult, normally $112 per adult.

All lunch cruises depart Jetty 6, Circular Quay at 12.30pm returning at 2.20pm or 3.45pm or depart No.1 King Street Wharf at 12 noon, returning at 1.45pm or 3.30pm.

Throughout November and December, Captain Cook Cruises is operating a special Buffet Dinner cruise on MV Sydney 2000. The buffet features Virginia baked leg ham, roast turkey, Sydney rock oysters, king prawns, smoked salmon, a wide selection of salads and every Saturday night from 9.30pm guests are entertained by a DJ.

The Christmas Buffet Dinner cruise is $79 per person and operates Sunday to Friday from 13 November to 23 December 2011, departing No.1 King Street Wharf Darling Harbour at 7.30pm and returning at 10.00pm.  An open bar of Tooheys beer, Tyrell's house bottle wine (still & sparkling) and soft drinks is available for $25 per person.

The DJ & Christmas Buffet Dinner cruise is $99 per person and operates every Saturday night from 12 November to 17 December 2011, departing No.1 King Street Wharf Darling Harbour at 7.30pm and returning at 11.00pm.  An open bar of Tooheys beer, Tyrell's house bottle wine (still & sparkling) and soft drinks is available for $35 per person.

Parties can dance the night away to tunes of the Sydney 2000 band on the signature Captains Club Dinner, nightly on the Club Deck of the MV Sydney 2000. Passengers will enjoy magnificent views, a superb three-course contemporary Australian a la carte meal including tea and coffee an open bar of Tooheys beer, premium wines, Yellowglen Vintage Pinot Noir Chardonnay sparkling wine and soft drinks.

The Captains Club Dinner cruise is $125 per person, normally $168 per person and departs Jetty 6, Circular Quay at 7.00pm returning 10.30pm every Saturday and 9.30pm Sunday to Friday. The dinner cruises also depart No.1 King Street Wharf at 7.30pm, returning 11pm every Saturday and at 10pm Sunday to Friday.

For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises toll free from Australia on 1800 804 843; Int +61-2-9206 1111, Email: or visit

Marry Me For Free at Tokoriki Island Resort, Fiji

Tokoriki Island Resort is offering all lovers the chance to get married or renew their vows with a free Kavuni Wedding package worth *AUD$960 if they stay for a minimum of six nights in a deluxe beach bure or sunset pool villa at the romantic boutique resort.

This deal is valid for sale until 31 March, 2012 and for travel from 15 January to 31st March, 2012.

The Kavuni Wedding or Renewal of Vows package is ideal for those wishing to tailor make their special day. The packages include flowers for the bride and groom – traditional flower leis and a floral tiara garland, floral welcome decoration in room on arrival, ceremony by a Minister, floral arch, band boy serenade during the ceremony, Champagne toast, three course dinner for two on the deck and a 10 minute relaxing head massage for the bride.

There is no nicer place than the adults only Tokoriki island Resort to get married or renew vows. Cast away on a secluded island on the most northern of the Mamanuca islands in Fiji, the boutique resort is ideal for couples or honeymooners seeking affordable luxury in paradise.

All bures and villas are nestled in lush tropical gardens, positioned beach front offering uninterrupted views of the stunning Pacific Ocean and are a fusion of Fijian architecture and modern luxuries and amenities expected in an upmarket island vacation.

Under the shade of the palm trees by day or beneath a blanket of stars on a private deck in the evening, dining at Tokoriki Island Resort is all part of the quintessential romantic honeymoon  experience.

Tokoriki Island Resort offers a range of activities, so honeymooners can do as much or as little as they please. The islands tropical environment lends itself perfectly to exciting water based activities or relaxing leisure pursuits.

For those seeking more adventure, Tokoriki offers scuba diving; game fishing, a Fijian culture village visit, guided snorkelling safaris, a sunset cruise and a private island picnic.

No honeymoon is complete without some pampering and Tokoriki Island Resort's newly built Spa will relax the mind and body. Managed by Senikai Spas Fiji, the beautiful and spacious facility features three individual couples' spa treatment bures with plantation timber shutters, high pitched traditional Fijian bure ceilings and a freestanding volcanic rock wall with gentle falling water and outdoor showers.

Upon arrival unwind in the open plan Spa Lounge with a relaxing foot ritual and then follow the stepping stones to the treatment bure where guests can indulge in therapeutic massage, pampering facials or a specially designed spa package. The Spa pamper is complete with a cleansing sorbet, enjoyed while relaxing on a chaise lounge.

Prices start at *AUD$3342.35 per bure for six nights in a deluxe beach bure and includes a free Kavuni Wedding package valued at *AUD$960.00. *Prices are based on conversion rate as at 14 September 2011

For further information Telephone: 07 5524 5222 or visit

For booking and enquiries please contact: Fiona Wozney on P: 07 5524 5222 Email:

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

1996 - 2011: Cruise Passenger Magazine Celebrates 15 Years of Being in the World's Fastest-Growing Travel Business - Cruising!

The stats say it all - despite the GFC and despite the stale misconception that cruising is for fat old people, nearly half a million* Australians took a cruise last year, and those numbers are set to increase big time over the next 15 years.

Why? People are discovering that cruising in the 21st century is a holiday mode that has something for (almost) everyone.

As Grant Hunter, long-time MD of Classic International Cruises, tells Cruise Passenger magazine, "Cruising is no longer just for retirees. All demographic groups, particularly families, have embraced the all-inclusive nature, the value for money and the 'unpack once" advantages that cruising offers."

Looking to the future, industry expert Brett Jardine, GM of the International Cruise Council Australasia, says, "Statistics show Australian passenger numbers have grown by almost 20 per cent a year on average since 2002. That's a fantastic trajectory and we're expecting more growth over the next decade."

Cruise Passenger is the magazine of choice for all cruisers and discerning travellers looking to book exciting, new and different holidays. The Spring issue comes with the free annual River Cruise Guide: all you need to know about river voyages on the Nile, Yangtze, Mekong, Murray and more.

And, as always, Cruise Passenger is packed with fascinating features - the Spring issue includes:

* ADVENTURE: Sailing and scuba-diving in remote Fijian islands; voyage up the Mekong
* REGION SPOTLIGHT Freo, Geraldton, Albany - get to know a slice of Western Australia
* BORNEO, INDONESIA, PNG: Explore this region before it!s overrun by tourists
* MEDITERRANEAN VOYAGE: Snapshots from historic Greece, Malta and Italy
* PLUS: The latest in-depth ship, port and cruise line reviews

Cruise Passenger magazine has had a loyal following since its inception 15 years ago. Its founder, Gil McLachlan, CEO of the McLachlan Travel Group, says, "It is now indisputably the best cruise publication in the world."

Cruise Passenger magazine is available by subscription for $29.95 a year (call 1300 668 905,, at selected newsagents for $9.95 per issue and, for the first time, through ICCA travel agents across Australia.

Notes for Editors

Cruise Passenger magazine is Australasia"s number one publication for cruise enthusiasts. Launched in 1996, Cruise Passenger has a crew of highly experienced cruise-travel writers and each issue is packed full of must-read features on popular cruise regions, ocean, river and expedition cruising, land-based tour options, plus the chance to win thousands of dollars worth of fantastic prizes.

* According to statistics from the ICCA, 466,692 Australians took a cruise in 2010

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Monday, 10 October 2011

Wallaby joeys out for sanctuary's 10th birthday

Moonlit Sanctuary celebrates 10th birthday with dozens of cute wallaby joeys ... and free bag of wallaby food offer 'til Nov 17

Dozens of cute wallaby joeys have emerged on the newly opened Wallaby Walk at Moonlit Sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula, just as this award-winning wildlife conservation park celebrates its 10th birthday.

The 250 metre-long Wallaby Walk is home to around 80 wallabies and kangaroos which live in a natural bush environment, but are tame enough to hand-feed.

To celebrate Moonlit's birthday – and those of the new joeys – visitors until November 17 will be given a free bag of special wallaby food so they can feed the wallabies and watch the joeys poking their heads out of their mothers' pouches.

"It's quite a sight," says Chief Ranger Michael Johnson. "The joeys perform some great antics as they wriggle around inside the pouches then suddenly pop their heads up or stick their legs out at very amusing angles."

Inspired by the work of famous British conservationist Gerald Durrell, Moonlit Sanctuary is now home to 50 Australian species, some rare and endangered, which live in 10 hectares of bushland.

Day entry to Moonlit Sanctuary costs $15 per adult and $7.50 per child. Coupons for the free wallaby food (valued at $2 per bag) can be downloaded at

Visitors who plan to experience more of the Peninsula get the best value through the Mornington Peninsula Attractions Pass, which saves up to 45% on admission and bonuses at four attractions and includes discount offers at three more. The pass costs only $55 for adults (more than $100 full retail value), $40 for children, and can be purchased at or at any participating attraction.

The Attractions Pass provides entry to Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park with a koala cuddle, Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens, Cape Schanck Lighthouse, and Peninsula Hot Springs.

Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, Box Stallion Winery and Rye Hotel all have a special 10% discount offer for pass holders.

Pass holders can also upgrade to the lantern-lit evening tour at Moonlit Sanctuary, when the park comes alive in a remarkable way.

Owls and other night birds are active, tiny feathertail gliders and giant yellow-bellied gliders swoop around, and rare and endangered species such as quolls, pademelons and bettongs forage for food.

Moonlit Sanctuary won the 2010 Victorian Tourism Award for Ecotourism. It was also voted Victoria's best wildlife park experience in the 2009 RACV survey to find Victoria's 101 best tourism experiences.

Contacts: for free food voucher; for Attractions Pass.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Abercrombie & Kent 2012 Brochure Launch - Africa, Egypt & Arabia

1264.JPGOn the eve of its 50th anniversary, luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent is delighted to release its 2012 Africa, Egypt & Arabia Brochure. The bold sleek design reflects just how far the company has come since the early days of pioneering safaris in the African bush. The strong, imposing cover image provides an inkling of the style and calibre of travel presented within.

Core to A&K's success is the provision of seamless and inspiring travel experiences the world over, personally tailored to suit the individual and enhanced by unique Insider Access opportunities. A&K's experience ensures excellence and reliability, which means peace of mind and security for guests – A&K's most important commodity.  All of this is made possible by the wealth of knowledge and experience that the company's collective network brings with it – a handpicked staff of over 2,200 and 60 offices worldwide.

"In the 2012 collection we are pleased to present some exciting new travel ideas," says A&K Australia's Managing Director, Sujata Raman. "Perennial safari favourites such as Zambia and Botswana still feature prominently in our portfolio, as do destinations such as Oman and Israel. Sales to East Africa remain a key strength of our business, with A&K recording a 19% year on year increase in sales to Tanzania and an even more impressive 29% growth in business to Kenya."
After a tumultuous start to 2011, Raman is also pleased that Egypt is re-emerging as destination of choice for travellers. "A variety of Nile cruise options still remain the favoured way to experience Egypt - especially at this historic time when iconic sights are largely empty of visitors and the place exudes a distinct air of optimism."
What's new?

A&K rates multi-generational travel as an increasingly dominant trend. Providing for this, the company has released a family friendly safari in South Africa where wildlife encounters and tailored activities to suit children are part of the excitement at MalaMala Main Camp. A stay in Cape Town adds an urban slant with a cable car ride up Table Mountain, bread baking lessons and a cycling trip through the townships and a portfolio of family friendly safari lodges is also a new feature.

A&K's 'A Family Adventure in South Africa' from $6630 per adult and $3980 per child (based on family of 4).

In Egypt, family recommendations include sailing the Nile on a luxury cruise boat and searching for treasure in the Cairo bazaars or for a special family gathering an exclusive charter of A&K's dahabiya (traditional Egyptian vessel), a delightful alternative to a conventional Nile cruise.

Full 7 night charter onboard Zein Nile Chateau from $37,790.

In Central Africa, Uganda is one of the continent's most surprising destinations. A&K's new programme there includes a variety of different wildlife adventures from chimp observation and traditional game drives to tracking the endangered mountain gorillas of Bwindi.

A&K's 'Primates of Uganda' from $7,655.

 Guests looking to extend after a safari in East Africa have new choices including a short visit to an island camp on Lake Victoria in the far west of Kenya and a relaxing stay at Lake Malawi where the beach is beautiful white sand and the clear waters full of marine life.

A&K's 'Lake Victoria Extension' from $1,550 per person.

In Namibia a highly recommended add-on is the adventure to Serra Cafema in the far north-west of the country. The experience is about dramatic landscapes and the nomadic Himba culture.

A&K's 'Serra Cafema Extension' from $4,355 per person.

Zanzibar's Stone Town is another idyllic location for post-safari rest and relaxation.  Weathered Arabic buildings and fascinating sights give it a unique style.

A&K's 'Stone Town Extension' from $610 per person.

An exciting new addition to the portfolio is a Small Group Journey to Iran. With no more than 14 guests, there is just one exclusive departure and highlights include beautiful Isfahan, ancient Persepolis and the gardens and bazaars of Shiraz.

A&K's 'Pearls of Persia' departs October 2012 and is priced from $3,990 per person.

Lebanon is another fascinating destination open to A&K guests with an abundance of ancient sites including Byblos and Baalbek plus the cosmopolitan attractions of Beirut.

A&K's 'Jewels of Lebanon' from $3,535.

A new addition to the Jordan portfolio is a short stay at Ma'In Hot Springs where the beautiful resort oasis Evason Ma'In complete with Six Senses Spa is home for two nights.

A&K's 'Jordan in Depth' from $3,860.

Nearby the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea is another resort choice to experience the health-giving qualities of the mineral laden waters.

A&K's Dead Sea Extension from $795.

In Morocco there's a new coastal experience to add on to one of the longer explorations of the country combining the ancient port of Essaouira with the charming fishing village of Oualidia and bedding down in exquisite hotels.

A&K's 'Essaouira & Oualidia Extension' from $2,365.

To book or enquire further please contact Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 851 800 or

Get Up & Go’s big fat Europe special

Get Up & Go magazine, Australia's premier travel magazine for grown-ups – 55 years and over - has just released its spring edition.

Planning for Europe now or in the near future? We've got some great places covered – cruise the Danube; get arty in Montmartre; learn the lingo in Italy; visit spicy Istanbul; tiptoe through tulips in Amsterdam; go Bohemian in Eastern Europe and find out just what Bruges is all about. We take you on a road trip in Ireland, a volunteering holiday in Thailand and we advise you on spending your kid's inheritance on the grandkids!

Full of flavour, fun, insight and inspiration – this big fat issue of Get Up & Go will get you going. Also WIN a marvellous holiday in Turkey – it can't get much better.

The again, maybe it can – head to the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, some glamour caves in Western Australia and a revitalised landscape in South Australia where the Murray has been well and truly 'topped up' after the rains.

Facebook – GetUpAndGoNow





Wednesday, 5 October 2011

MasterChef inspired cooking retreat at Byron

In celebration of the Peppers partnership with MasterChef Series 3, Peppers Coorabell Retreat in the peaceful Byron Hinterland is staging a two-night cooking discovery using the region's finest seasonal produce.

Designed and hosted by Head Chef Adam Hall and Leah Roland from the Bangalow Cooking School, the MasterChef inspired Culinary Experience and Food Education Package will be held November 2-4.

The package includes two nights twin-share accommodation, full breakfast daily, three-course dinner at Wilson's by the Creek, hosted local market tour and cooking school with three-course dinner and Foodscapes farm tour plus a take-home copy of the MasterChef Series 2 cookbook and a MasterChef apron.

Priced from $749* per person twin-share, the package will commence on Wednesday afternoon with a kitchen skills class, followed by a discussion of the ingredients and the cooking style of the evening meal at the picturesque Wilson's by the Creek restaurant.

After breakfast on Thursday morning, guests will accompany Chef Hall and Leah to the local farmers market to source the finest seasonal regional produce.

Then it's back to the retreat for a lunch of gourmet sandwiches and to prepare a three-course dinner.

During the cooking class, guests will unlock secret processes and techniques to preparing and cooking seasonal produce plus they'll have the chance to discuss all things food – taste, smell, colours and textures, sauces and accompaniments with Chef Hall.

To complete the ultimate foodie escape, guests will then be met by local tour guide Karen of Foodscapes and continue the discovery of the region with a tour of local farms and lunch along the way.

Peppers Coorabell Retreat is located just 20 minutes from Ballina, an hour south of Gold Coast Airport and two hours south of Brisbane's Domestic and International Airports.

Call 02 6684 7348 or email

*Subject to availability.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


Leading family-owned cruise line MSC Cruises has unveiled an exciting 22-night package which includes a19-day continent-to-continent voyage from vibrant Rio de Janeiro to romantic Venice.

Priced from $4573 per person, twin share, the hot fly/stay/tour/cruise holiday - from March 14, 2012 - includes economy class flight with Emirates from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth with two nights' accommodation in Rio's Copacabana.

A guided tour which focuses on the dominating 710-metre high peak Corcovado with its famous statue of Cristo Redentor or "Christ the Redeemer" and Sugar Loaf Mountain is followed by the cruise aboard MSC Musica, including calls on fascinating Brazilian ports Santos, Ilha Grande and Salvador.

After crossing the Atlantic, the luxury ship will call on Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, as well as Spain's Malaga, Palma in the Balearic Islands and Malta's Valletta before reaching Venice.

"It's a holiday of a lifetime," said Lynne Clarke, managing director of MSC Cruises (Australia and New Zealand), "at a price well below that you would expect to pay if you stayed in each of the ports," she added.

"When you consider all the inclusions and the fact that you are able to enjoy beautiful ports in Brazil and the Mediterranean in one holiday this package is sure to arouse much interest among Australian cruise fans."

Also included in the price are transfers, all main meals and entertainment while on board the ship, gala dinners and a captain's cocktail party, port charges and airport taxes and fuel charges. (Tour duration for travellers from Melbourne and Brisbane is 23 days due to return flight arrival the next day).

As with all cruises aboard MSC Cruises ships, children under 18 years cruise free when they share a cabin with two adults (pay only port charges).

Details: MSC Cruises, 1300 028502,


Silversea Cruises is offering exceptional savings for single travellers on two Australasian cruises departing January and February 2012 aboard the chic Silver Shadow. Solo travellers will enjoy a single supplement of just 10 per cent above the per-person, double occupancy fare, as well as a Passport to Luxury Onboard Spending Credit of US$500 per suite.

On 5 January 2012, a 15 day voyage will depart Auckland for Sydney. Along the way, Silver Shadow will visit Bay of Islands, Wellington, Akaroa, Port Chalmers (Dunedin) and Stewart Island, before cruising Milford and Dusky Sound and crossing the Tasman Sea to Hobart and Melbourne, where the ship will overnight to allow further time for exploration. Guests will enjoy fascinating enrichment lectures from one of Australia's best-known cinematographers, Pieter de Vries. All-inclusive cruise-only fares start from AU$9,685 per person, single occupancy.

Alternatively, on 4 February 2012, Silver Shadow will depart Auckland for Fremantle on a 19 day voyage, visiting Napier, Wellington and Picton in New Zealand, and Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Port Lincoln and Albany in Australia. Guests on this voyage will enjoy an enrichment line-up that includes gourmet expert Maggie Beer, hostage negotiator and humanitarian Terry Waite, and historian and world affairs expert Philip Hurst. All-inclusive cruise only fares start from AU$12,266 per person, single occupancy.

With a crew-to-guest ratio that is almost one to one, single guests will experience Silversea's highly personalised service, warm hospitality and a convivial ambiance. A welcoming champagne reception is hosted exclusively for solo guests aboard every Silversea voyage, and select voyages are escorted by Gentlemen Hosts, who are available as dance partners or dinner companions and will often participate in other shipboard activities as well as escort shore excursions.

Aboard Silver Shadow, guests will enjoy all-suite ocean-view accommodation and the renowned Silversea lifestyle which includes butler service; gourmet dining with Relais & Châteaux-designed menus; complimentary fine wines, spirits and Champagnes, and all gratuities.

For more information please contact Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or toll free 1300 306 872, or visit

Shanti Bloody Shanti: An Indian Odyssey

Shanti Bloody Shanti: An Indian Odyssey ($25.95, Transit Lounge, November 2011) 

In the travel adventure Shanti Bloody Shanti, writer Aaron Smith flees his shady Australian past and travels to India where he encounters a murder mystery, witnesses the tragic death of a friend, dodges terrorist attacks and a revolution and befriends a colourful cast of fellow characters fit for a Bollywood flick. More than just a funny and warm 'coming of (middle) age' travel tale, Shanti Bloody Shanti allows the reader to sink into the paradox and beauty of India without drowning in sentiment. It's a bit like Sarah Macdonald's Holy Cow but more dramatic or Gregory David Robert's Shantaram but laugh out loud funny.

Author Aaron Smith is an ex-punk rocker and one-time policeman on the Australian television series Blue Heelers, a theatre and script writer, and ex-first world drop out who lived in the favelas of Rio di Janeiro. He works as a freelance journalist writing for a number of Australian and international publications, including most recently Australian Geographic, AG Outdoor, Australian Traveller, Forty Degrees South and The Mercury. Aaron also appears regularly on ABC Radio 936 to talk about travel. He is completing a Masters in Journalism at the University of Tasmania where he lives with his hard-headed no-nonsense Brazilian wife.

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