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Monday, 28 February 2011

Win a Pacific Island Adventure - Six on Offer



Have you ever dreamed about having a holiday in the Pacific Islands? Perhaps you're longing to laze on a white-sand beach fanned by warm ocean breezes. Or maybe you'd prefer to hike through the jungle to see the summit views from the top of an extinct volcano. Perhaps you can't wait to grab some scuba gear and dive tropical reefs in crystal-clear blue waters.

No matter what your Pacific Island fantasy is, you have a chance to make it come true by entering our competition to win one of six fantastic Pacific holiday prizes. Just fill out the entry form on this page with your answer to the question 'What is your dream Pacific adventure?'

WALU BEACH RESORT FIJI: LOW SEASON PRICES FOR EASTER HOLS

NEW owners of Fiji's value-packed Walu Beach Resort right on the water's edge on Malolo Island, have taken the unusual step of not imposing a High Season price surcharge during the coming April school holidays and Easter.

"It'll be Low Season prices right through the holidays to show off just what a great place Walu Beach Resort is for families," said new Managing Director, Michael Hay. "So a  one-bedroom Beachfront Bure that can sleep four with double bed, two roll-out beds, bathroom and lounge-room will still be just $125 a night, and three-bedroom Ocean Villas sleeping up to six with double bed and four single beds, lounge-room, elevated veranda and the bonus of two bathrooms, just our Low Season $175 a night."

"Add our optional Meal Plan that gives full breakfast, lunch and dinner for just $40 per adult per day and $20 per child per day – and the best views in Fiji – and you've got High Season school holidaying for families at its best."

Malolo Island is just 20km from Port Denarau. Once there holidaymakers find Walu Beach Resort has so much to choose from – swimming in the pool or lagoon, snorkelling, kayaking, sailing, bushwalking, fishing, table tennis, volleyball, village visits, fish feeding and a massage service.

"Or just do nothing at all and relax under the palms for a read or a snooze – readying-up for the Sunset Bar and the dining room that features freshest local seafoods and tropical garden fruits and vegetables," said Mr Hay.

Details from www.walubeach.com, phone +679 665 1777 or email michaelhay@optus.ap.blackberry.net   Ask for their Bula11 Rates.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Virgin Blue New Uniform Launched

VIRGIN Blue hope to put the glamour back in to air travel with the unveiling of new designer flight attendant uniforms, a new business class cabin and a "superior economy class".


Autumn Escapes with 10% off and Dining Deals!



To reward our valuable members this Autumn, The Escape Club is offering a 10% discount on Constellation Hotels* rates and Autumn packages for stays till the 31st May 2011. If you are not an Escape Club member, JOIN FOR FREE and gain access to this exclusive 10% discount.

Just in time for an Autumn break - Constellation Hotels has some great escapes at more than 60 hotels in the city, the country and on the coast - perfect for a romantic getaway for two or a fun-filled family holiday.

Follow the sun and stay at Australis Noosa Lakes Resort on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. Lose yourself in the seven landscaped acres on the shores of Lake Doonella and the Noosa River, from only $89* for Escape Club Members, normally $99*per night, in a studio room including a bottle of wine and chocolates on arrival.

Enjoy a coastal break with Country Comfort Terrigal, nestled on the scenic and popular Central Coast of NSW, directly across from Terrigal and Wamberal Beaches, from only $112*, normally $125*, per night in a poolside room including breakfast for two and drinks on arrival.

Autumn is jam-packed with events, from food and wine festivals to fashion weeks in major city and regional hubs. Why not make a quick visit to the cultural city of Adelaide and stay at Grand Chifley Adelaide room only $108* per night (normally $120*) in a Deluxe room, including a $20 restaurant voucher.

And many, many more... www.escapeclub.com/autumn.
With all these great holiday deals available the hardest part of planning your Autumn break is deciding where you want to spend your Escape Dollars!

You can earn more Escape Dollars every time you stay at any Constellation Hotel and they can be used towards full or part payment of your hotel or restaurant bill. As a member of The Escape Club you will also be entitled to exclusive hotel deals as well as a free drink every time you dine in a hotel restaurant.

A great value holiday, plus a reward program that not only offers real dollar rewards but free meals too! So what are you waiting for? To join and to make your hotel reservation call 1300 650 464 or visit www.escapeclub.com.au/autumn.

*Participating hotels only. To join and for more information on the great range of Autumn discounts and getaways at Constellation Hotels visit www.escapeclub.com/autumn or call 1300 650 464.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Pacific Coast Legendary Online Competition Launched



In conjunction with Surfest, win a five night surf road trip adventure along the Legendary Pacific Coast

To celebrate the upcoming women's pro surfing event at Merewether Beach, Newcastle (15 - 19 March), the Legendary Pacific Coast Touring Route, Commonwealth Bank and Backpacker Campervans have launched a fun and easy online competition.

In 25 words or less tell us why you love The Legendary Pacific Coast.

Two major prizes are on offer valued at over $2000 each and include;
§ Five night Backpacker Campervan hire
§ Five night's accommodation at various locations along the Pacific Coast
§ Commonwealth Bank Visa Debit Card with $250 credit
§ Surfest t-shirt prize pack
§ Six bottle of Hunter Valley wine
§ Learn to surf lesson at Angourie
§ Entry into Australian Reptile Park

This prize encourages winners to experience some of the best of the Pacific Coast including Angourie, legendary amongst the surfing community for its superb breaks and natural beauty; Lennox National Surfing Reserve, just north of Ballina; Crescent Head with one of the longest and most classic right hand point breaks in Australia as well as the Hunter Valley, Port Stephens and Central Coast.

All promotion for this competition will be online utilizing social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. All support from industry and media is encouraged including newsletter snippets, Facebook sharing or tweeting out to followers. Please check out http://www.facebook.com/LegendaryPacificCoast and http://twitter.com/pacificcoastaus

To enter visit www.pacificcoast.com.au entries open 5pm Friday 25 February until 5pm Wednesday 9 March with winners announced Thursday 10 March.

First Ferrari Theme Park Marks 100 Days of Operation



Ferrari World Abu Dhabi Looks Back at Roaring Start

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the world's largest indoor theme park, marks 100 days of operation today. The Park opened its doors to the public on 4 November 2010 and has since welcomed hundreds of thousands of guests.

"After 100 days of operation, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi has exceeded all our expectations, reaffirming its position as an iconic experience in Abu Dhabi," said Claus Frimand, General Manager, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. "We've seen a large number of families, racing fans and car enthusiasts, all enjoying what the park has to offer."

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi has already garnered a tremendous amount of global attention. Guests from more than 50 countries have visited the Park, as well as in excess of 1,000 travel agents and around 2,000 media representatives who have flocked to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi as the first ever Ferrari theme park gains international notoriety.

The state-of-the-art rides at the Park provide a unique experience which brings Ferrari's spirit to a wide audience, exemplified by family friendly attractions such as Speed of Magic, one of the most technically advanced 4-D attractions in the world and the adrenalin pumping Formula Rossa, the world's fastest roller coaster. In addition to the 20 Ferrari-inspired rides and attractions on offer, stores and restaurants have gained equal popularity. Guests have snapped up the official Ferrari World Abu Dhabi products as a memory of the experience, and have made its Ferrari Store emerge as the best performer of all the Stores worldwide. Guests have also enjoyed the real Italian experience through special set menus based on the authentic ingredients from Emilia-Romagna, the region of the home of Ferrari, and the only certified Napolitana pizza in the Middle East.

On this 100th day, guests will be able to see the world premiere of the FF, the revolutionary Ferrari 12-cylinder four-seater with four-wheel drive, broadcast live in Cinema Maranello. This follows some amazing Ferrari moments in which guests to the Park also had the opportunity to experience the Grand Opening ceremony, which included an amazing multimedia show in front of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces as well as Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo; and most recently the real time streaming of the launch of the 2011 Ferrari F1™ single-seater. Many others enjoyed the numerous private events held at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, including exclusive celebrations and corporate events, making the Park one of the most sought after venues in Abu Dhabi.

Among the most distinguished guests who paid homage to the legendary marquee during its first 100 days of operation were the Scuderia Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa; Prince Albert of Monaco; music icons Kanye West and the Jonas Brothers; Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk; Award nominated actor Jeremy Renner; UK Chef James Martin; Manchester City players Patrick Vieira, James Milner and Wayne Bridge; Australian Cricketer Shane Warne; in addition to a host of Arab celebrities including Walid Toufic, Roula Saad, Ahmed Al Sharif, Amal Bachoucha, Fares Karam and George Kordahi.

"While we've been overwhelmed with the success of our first 100 days, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is not a theme park which will rest on its laurels. The experience is continually being enriched to exceed guest expectations." said Claus Frimand. "We strive for outstanding levels of quality and excellence and continuously seek to enhance the operation. We've been able to implement immediate modifications to the daily operation, which have already had a positive impact on the guest experience. In addition, we are working on expanding the experiences at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi to continuously improve the show value now and in the future."

Elle Macpherson launches Virgin Blue new-look

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ELLE MACPHERSON AND VIRGIN BLUE CREW HIT THE FASHION RUNWAY TO LAUNCH SOPHISTICATED NEW UNIFORM

Australian icon and business woman Elle Macpherson launched Virgin Blue's sophisticated new uniform joined by 60 of Virgin Blue's own pilots and crew for a stylish runway show in Sydney this morning.

Designed exclusively by Australian designer Juli Grbac, the new uniform represents the first step in a series of exciting changes for Virgin Blue in 2011.

Danielle Keighery, Virgin Blue Group Executive of Corporate Communications, said the airline was redefining style in travel with their designer uniforms, enhanced levels of guest service and a new range of products and services still to be revealed.


MS EUROPA, the Only 5-Star Plus Ship in the World Introduces Honeymoon Packages

Honeymoon Packages Include Special Invitations and On-board Credits For Newlyweds Traveling Up to 6-Months After the Big Day

After the perfect wedding day, sail away on the perfect honeymoon. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' MS EUROPA, the only 5-star plus ship* in the world, is happy to offer their first ever Honeymoon Packages. The packages include an invitation to the "Restaurant Dieter Mueller," EUROPA's speciality restaurant headed by the award-winning chef, as well as on-board credits. The complimentary Honeymoon Packages apply to newlyweds that begin their honeymoon no later than six months after the nuptials.

Honeymooners traveling on shorter cruise itineraries of maximum six days, will be welcomed on-board with flowers and a large bottle of champagne, a dinner at the "Restaurant Dieter Mueller," which includes complimentary wines, an invitation to visit the ship's captain on the bridge during a departure, and on-board credits for beverages and treatments at the OCEAN SPA, worth 100 Euros per person. The second package, for honeymoon couples on cruises over one week will include ALL of the romantic amenities above, as well as an increased on-board credit of 150 Euros per person, a special dinner at the captain's table, and personal arrangements for romantic dinners for two, giving them the chance to experience the culinary diversity of the EUROPA.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is offering the Honeymoon Packages for cruises departing within six months of the wedding. To take advantage of this offer, the marriage certificate needs to be submitted before embarking on the cruise.

Upcoming Itineraries for a Honeymoon Cruise:

·      7-day cruise with the MS EUROPA from Nice/France via Porquerolles/Iles d'Hyeres, Ajaccio/Corsica, Porto Cervo/Sardinia, Porto Rotondo/Sardinia, Ibiza/Balearic Islands, Formentera/Balearic Islands to Barcelona/Spain, May 29-June 5, 2011.  Cruise-Only-rates start at $3,940 per person.

·      11-day cruise with MS EUROPA from Genoa/Italy via Monte Carlo/Monaco, Barcelona/Spain, Valencia/Spain, Cartagena/Spain, Marbella/Spain, Cadiz/Spain, Funchal/Madeira to Lisbon/Portugal, November 10-21, 2011. Cruise-Only-rates start at  $5,660 per person.

For more information visit www.hl-cruises.com

 *2011 Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

New Guide urges backpackers to ‘stay safe’

click to view full size

In a bid to reduce accidents and to ensure a safe and fun travel experience, Pro-Visual Publishing is urging all backpackers in Australia to take the necessary precautions with the Backpackers Guide to Local Safety & Health 2011.

Australia presents many new challenges and considerations for the uninitiated traveler and this year's Guide provides tips and advice for backpackers of all ages from sunscreen and safe sex to safety in crocodile habitats.

The Guide advises backpackers to be aware of beach safety and only swim between the lifeguard's flags.  Strong currents can be present in creeks, lakes and rivers, as well as the ocean, and the Guide details precautions that should be taken when swimming in un-patrolled areas to minimise risks.

Whether a first time backpacker or a well-travelled voyager, the Australian sun is a fierce companion and exposure should be limited or fended off with strong sunscreen, the wearing of a wide-brimmed hat, protective sunglasses and the regular drinking of water

Additionally, the Guide highlights how best to avoid an encounter with one of Australia's many notorious marine stingers.

"This year's Guide contains valuable information that is relevant to Backpackers of all ages," said John Hutchings, CEO, Pro-Visual Publishing. "When displayed in hostels and tourism centers, the Backpackers Guide to Local Safety & Health 2011 provides a comprehensive list of safety measures for a wide variety of backpacking activities as well as seemingly simple actions such as hiking and driving."

Backpackers will find that adhering to the advice laid out in the Guide will ensure their travels are memorable for all the right reasons.

The Guide will be distributed to hostels, backpacking lodges, airports, YMCA'S, tourist attractions and information centres and services. Additional copies are available and all Guides are produced and distributed without cost thanks to industry sponsorship.

"We would like to thank all the sponsors involved who have made it possible to distribute the Guide free of charge," concluded Hutchings.

For further information, or to obtain additional copies of the Chart, please call (02) 8272 2611, email enquiries@provisual.com.au or see www.provisual.com.au

Airshow thrills in First Class style



The Wright brothers were the first to claim success, but many before and after them have dreamt of being able to fly!

Aviation enthusiasts can catch the thrill of the 2011 Australian International Airshow on Saturday 5th or Sunday 6th March, in air conditioned comfort in Club Aerospace's private luxurious chalet, with full food and beverage service provided by Peter Rowland Catering.

The Australian International Airshow 2011, at Avalon near Geelong, will deliver more action than ever before on the ground and in the air, including the first opportunity to see one of the world's most talked about aircraft - the US military's current top-of-the-line fighter, the F-22 Raptor.

"This will truly be a day to remember", said Brian Leyden, CEO of Peter Rowland Catering who are hosting the Club Aerospace chalets. "Enjoy all the Airshow entertainment in style, with uninterrupted flight viewing from a spacious chalet with private facilities, complimentary parking a full day of mouth-watering dishes and accompanying beverages", he said.

"A table at Club Aerospace's chalet is a great opportunity for a birthday celebration with a difference, a 'big day out with friends', corporate entertainment or a gift for the person who has everything!" said Mr Leyden.

Club Aerospace and Peter Rowland Catering are offering tables of 10 for $5700 or individual tickets for $570 per person, which includes Airshow entry for either the Saturday or Sunday, souvenir program, complimentary parking, access to the fenced courtyard with uninterrupted views of the flying display, gourmet menu and selected beverages throughout the day. For bookings, contact Peter Rowland Catering on (03) 9825 0092 or email info@peterrowland.com.au.

Easter packages at Queensland's Hyatt Regency Coolum


Easter Luxury at Hyatt Regency Coolum


Hyatt Regency Coolum is offering a tempting choice of luxury escapes this Easter, allowing couples and families alike to spend their holidays in style.

Each package combines five-star accommodation and breakfast with a range of extras like golf, cycling or a three-course dinner.

The resort will offer a host of complimentary Easter activities including an Australian wildlife petting zoo, an Easter egg hunt and a bonnet parade for children on Easter Sunday.  Plus, children can eat free at the Village Square when staying on the Easter family package.

A choice of three different packages is available:
  • Easter couples package – from $290 per night (or $350 over the Easter weekend, April 21-26 inclusive), including accommodation for two in a King Room, continental breakfast, and a three-course dinner for two at any restaurant in the resort's Village Square (one dinner per two night stay). Minimum stay two nights (or four nights over Easter weekend).
  • Easter family package – from $425 per night (or $525 over the Easter weekend, April 21-26 inclusive), including accommodation for two adults and two children in a two-bedroom villa, continental breakfast, family bike hire for duration of stay and an activity voucher per night.  Plus, children eat free from children's buffet or a la carte menu at the resort's Village Square.  Minimum stay four nights.
  • Easter golf package – from $380 per night (or $440 over the Easter weekend, April 21-26 inclusive), including accommodation for two in a King or twin room, continental breakfast, unlimited golf green fees, a shared motorised cart and a bucket of range balls. Minimum stay two nights (or four nights over Easter weekend).
Each package also includes adult entry to the Spa, tennis court hire and weekday group golf clinics.  Plus, guests can take advantage of dozens of other activities at the resort including its free shuttles to Noosa and its superb stretch of sandy white Pacific Ocean beach.

Packages are subject to availability and conditions, valid for stays April 15 to 30, 2011. For full details and bookings contact Hyatt Regency Coolum on 1800 COOLUM (266 586) or visit www.coolum.regency.hyatt.com


Monday, 21 February 2011

Travel Advice - Libya


•We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Libya because of the unsettled security situation and the threat of terrorist attack. Australians in Libya are advised to leave the country by commercial means if it is safe to do so.
•Protests have taken place in a number of Libyan cities and towns in February 2011. There are reports of violent clashes between Libyan security forces and demonstrators in several cities, particularly in the east of the country, including Benghazi and al-Bayda. Large numbers of casualties have been reported. Pro-government demonstrations have also taken place in Tripoli.
•Australians are urged to avoid political gatherings and demonstrations as they have the potential to turn violent. You should follow the instructions of local authorities. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
•Recent credible information suggests that terrorists may be planning to kidnap foreigners in Libya. Such kidnappings are more likely in sparsely populated border areas.
•We advise you not to travel to the border areas with Niger, Chad, and Sudan because of the presence of armed tribal groups, the threat of kidnapping by terrorists and increased military activity in the area due to problems with illegal immigration.
◦Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
◦organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
◦register your travel and contact details , so we can contact you in an emergency
◦subscribe to this travel advice to receive free email updates each time it's reissued.

Civil Unrest/Political Tension
We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to all areas of Libya because of the unsettled security situation and the threat of terrorist attack. Australians in Libya are advised to leave the country by commercial means if it is safe to do so.

Protests have taken place in a number of Libyan cities and towns in February 2011. There are reports of violent clashes between Libyan security forces and demonstrators in several cities, particularly in the east of the country, including Benghazi and al-Bayda. Large numbers of casualties have been reported. Pro-government demonstrations have also taken place in Tripoli.

There are reports some communications networks, including the internet, have been disrupted.

You should avoid political gatherings and demonstrations as they have the potential to turn violent. You should follow the instructions of local authorities. You should exercise particular care around the period of midday prayers on Friday's. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.

Terrorism
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.

We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Libya because of the unsettled security situation and the threat of terrorist attack. Attacks could occur at any time and anywhere in Libya. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.

There is a risk of terrorist attack against Western interests in Libya. In planning your activities, consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided. Possible targets include commercial and public areas known to be frequented by foreigners such as hotels, office buildings, restaurants, schools, places of worship, outdoor recreation events, public transport, embassies, markets and shopping areas, historic sites and tourist areas. Significant concentrations of foreign workers in remote locations may also be at risk.

Recent credible information suggests that terrorists may be planning to kidnap foreigners in Libya. Such kidnappings are more likely in sparsely populated border areas. For more information about kidnapping, see our Kidnap Threat in Africa travel bulletin.

Borders with Niger, Chad and Sudan: We advise you not to travel to the border areas with Niger, Chad, and Sudan, or undertake cross-border travel between Libya and Niger, Chad, or Sudan, because of banditry, the presence of armed tribal groups and the risk of kidnapping by terrorists. There is also an increased threat of military activity in these areas due to problems with illegal immigration.

Crime
Most crime in Libya is opportunistic such as bag snatching, mugging and pick pocketing. Travellers to remote areas, including beaches, have been robbed and assaulted when travelling alone. Pick pockets are active in market areas.

Car theft and stealing from vehicles are increasing in frequency. You should keep valuables out of sight and your windows up and doors locked.

Local Travel
Although road conditions are reasonable throughout Libya, driving standards are poor and the volume of traffic is heavy. Wind-blown sand can reduce visibility quickly. For further advice, see our bulletin on Overseas Road Safety.

Visitors are required to carry identification documents at all times.

Travellers may require permits for travel to remote areas of the country. For further information, contact your tour operator or the General Board of Tourism and Traditional Industries. Australians travelling in Libya should obey the direction of local authorities, especially on the safety of travel in isolated desert regions.

Airline Safety
Please refer to our travel bulletin for information about Aviation Safety and Security.

Wildlife
Australians are advised to respect wildlife laws and to maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife, including marine animals and birds. You should only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.

Money and Valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and wether your ATM card will work overseas.

Libya is a cash society and credit card use is extremely limited. Travellers' cheques are not accepted and the number of ATMs is extremely limited. You should use official money exchange counters or banks as penalties can be imposed for transactions with unauthorised currency dealers.

Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Replacing a passport incurs an additional fee. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports. For further information, see Lost or stolen passport.

For Parents
For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling Parents brochure.

If you are planning on placing your children in schools or childcare facilities overseas we encourage you to research the standards of security, care and staff training within those establishments. You should exercise the same precautions you would take before placing children into schools or childcare facilities in Australia.

Ideas on how to select childcare providers are available from the smartraveller Children's Issues page, Child Wise and the National Childcare Accreditation Council.

Local Laws
When you are in Libya, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty or life imprisonment.

Other serious crimes, such as murder, may attract the death penalty.

Sexual relations outside of marriage are illegal in Libya and punishments include imprisonment.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Libya and punishments include a minimum three years imprisonment.

There are severe penalties for importing and using alcohol in Libya.

Political or religious offences, such as criticising the Libyan leader, Islam or the prevailing Jamahiriya state system, can lead to severe penalties, including life imprisonment.

Photography around military zones, assets and personnel and police assets and police personnel is illegal and may result in arrest and detention.

Foreigners involved in business disputes may have their passports confiscated and/or may not be permitted to depart Libya until the dispute has been settled.

Child custody decisions are based on Islamic law.

The penalty for illegally exporting antiquities is three years imprisonment plus compensation for any damage caused.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 17 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in sexual activity with children under 16 while outside of Australia.

Local Customs
There are strong Islamic codes of dress and behaviour in Libya. You should take care not to offend.

During Ramadan, eating, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset is forbidden for Muslims.

Information for Dual Nationals
Our Travel Information for Dual Nationals brochure provides further information.

Entry and Exit Requirements
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Libya for the most up to date information. Tourist visas are generally not available to individuals unless you are part of an organised tour group travelling with a Libyan tourist company.

Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected departure from Libya. Your passport details must be translated into Arabic by an accredited translator and written into the passport, as prescribed by the Libyan Government. For details, please consult the Australian Passports Office web-site,
Arabic Translation.

Travellers whose passport contains evidence of entry to Israel or to other-country border crossings with Israel will be refused entry.

You should register your passports with the police station closest to your accommodation. Failure to do so may result in fines and problems during your stay or on departure.

Under Libyan law, children born to Libyan fathers need their father's permission to depart Libya.

A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for entry into Libya if you are arriving from a country endemic for yellow fever. The World Health Organisation provides a list of countries endemic for yellow fever.

Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate before being allowed to board flights out of Libya. If in doubt, check with your airline.

Religious material and antiquities are subject to strict customs regulations.

All currency must be declared on arrival and a currency declaration form must be completed on departure.

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Health Issues
On 10 August 2010, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced it had moved to a post-pandemic period in response to pandemic (H1N1) 2009. The virus is expected to remain as a seasonal influenza virus and local outbreaks may occur. For more information see the WHO website.

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about immunisations (including booster doses of childhood vaccinations) and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our 'Travelling Well' brochure also provides useful tips for travelling with medicines and staying healthy while overseas.

Medical facilities in Libya are limited and some medicines are in short supply. Medical facilities in remote areas can be very limited or non-existent. Travellers may wish to consider carrying limited medical supplies for personal use. Foreigners will be required to pay an up-front deposit for medical services. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities would be necessary. Costs for a medical evacuation could be considerable (over $A50, 000).

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, plague and measles) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before travelling. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to parasitic diseases such as schistosomiasis (bilharzia). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world. For a list of these countries, visit the OIE website. For information on our advice to Australians on how to reduce the risk of infection and on Australian Government precautions see our travel bulletin on avian influenza.

Where to Get Help
The Australian Consulate-General in Libya provides full consular assistance. Contact details are:

Australian Consulate-General
Office 203, Level 20
Alfateh Tower 1
Tripoli, Libya
Telephone (218 0) 21 335 1468/69
Facsimile (218 0) 21 335 1368

The working week is from Sunday to Thursday, in accordance with local practice.

If you are travelling to Libya, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the Consulate-General, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Sydney Prepares for Royal Rendezvous with the New Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2



Sydney will host a tandem Royal arrival of two Queens for the first time when Cunard's latest ocean liner, Queen Elizabeth, makes her maiden visit to the city accompanied by her larger sister Queen Mary 2.

Midway through her inaugural 103-night world voyage, the 90,900-tonne Queen Elizabeth will meet Queen Mary 2 outside Sydney Heads before 5.30am Tuesday morning before following her sister into Sydney Harbour and berthing at the Overseas Passenger Terminal around 7am.

On her way to Garden Island Queen Mary 2 will round Fort Denison, sounding her whistle as she passes Queen Elizabeth around 6.30am.

Sydney will be the first of Queen Elizabeth's three Australian calls as she arrives from New Zealand on her inaugural world voyage.

The visits by the two ships are expected to deliver close to $3 million into the Sydney economy, with both ships carrying more than 6000 guests and crew between them.

Cunard Line's President and Managing Director Peter Shanks said the cruise line was anticipating a warm welcome from the city.

"Sydneysiders and visitors always enthusiastically welcome our liners when they visit and we hope it will continue for this historic Royal Rendezvous when our latest, Queen Elizabeth, arrives for the first time, chaperoned by her sister Queen Mary 2," Mr Shanks said.

The two liners' historic meeting in Sydney will recall an earlier Royal Rendezvous when the original Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth - both then World War II troopships - passed each other at Sydney Heads on April 9, 1941.

A special remembrance service, conducted with the assistance of the NSW branch of the RSL and the Australian military, and a lunch in tribute to 'Australia's Finest Generation', many of whom sailed to war on the original Cunard Queens, will be held onboard Queen Mary 2 on Wednesday.

Both ships will spend the night of February 22 in Sydney Harbour with Queen Elizabeth set to farewell her magnificent larger sister with a whistle salute at around midday the next day as she sails past her bound for Melbourne.

Having already called at Fremantle and Adelaide, Queen Mary 2 will depart for Christchurch at 5pm on February 23.

Launched in the United Kingdom by Her Majesty The Queen in October last year, Queen Elizabeth pays homage to Cunard's original Queen Elizabeth, offering famous Cunard hallmarks plus some new additions.

Her many features include more than 700 private balcony cabins, more than 10 restaurants and cafes, a two-storey library complete with leaded glass ceiling and a Games Deck including paddle tennis, croquet and bowls.

Backpackers Get on Board for Mission Beach Clean Up, Thanks to Oz Experience


Oz Experience has gathered 30 volunteers to help clean up far-north Queensland's Mission Beach, with the first 18 set to leave Sydney Tues 22 Feb.

The hop-on, hop-off bus touring service set up the Rebuild Mission Beach Project and received a strong response to its call last week for backpackers and others to volunteer.

"There's a lot of work to be done to restore Mission Beach and help the local community get back on its feet. This project will contribute at least 1680 hours of volunteering to that effort, " Adventure Tours Australia Group Sales Director Greg Zammit said.

The volunteers will be leaving from Oz Experience, 804 George St, Sydney at 6am tomorrow (22 Feb), with more volunteers being collected in Byron Bay on 23 Feb and Cairns on 26 Feb. All volunteers are due to arrive in Mission Beach on Saturday 26 Feb.

Among the volunteers is Sophie Garnett, 21, from the UK. Having only been in Australia for two weeks, Sophie volunteered for the opportunity to see "a beautiful part of the world" while helping clean it up.

"It's obviously been devastating what's happened up there and I'm happy to do anything to help," she said, adding that she's planning to stay on after the clean up: "I've got nowhere to rush off to, so I'll stay as long as they'll have me."

Andrew Gibb, 21, from Scotland, has also been in Australia for just two weeks and, along with two friends, is looking forward to helping out: "We thought it would be a good way to see more of Australia and help out at the same time."

The volunteers will work for a minimum of 7 days, with work overseen by Boyd Scott from Scotty's Beach House. Afterwards, Oz Experience will transport them to Cairns and give them a complementary Oz Experience 'Oz EXpress Cobber Pass', which they can use to travel along the East Coast of Australia.

As well as the volunteers, Oz Experience wishes to thank Scotty Boyd and Scottys Beach House, Nomads Byron Bay, Fraser's On Rainbow, 1770 Backpackers and Base Airlie, Meso Creative for sponsoring 100 A3 posters, Red Bull for donating cases of Red Bull and Wake Up for sponsoring 60 work t-shirts for the volunteers.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Guidebook provides solutions for family-friendly travel in Queensland

Support Queensland – holiday at home

Easter is traditionally at time when Australian families spend time reconnecting. Queensland has always been a popular destination at this time of year but recent weather events have hit the Queensland tourism industry hard. 

Sunshine Coast mum and author of Kids Welcome guidebooks, Sarah Pye, says much of Queensland has not been affected, yet visitors are still cancelling their holidays. 

"Queensland hotels and attractions are encouraging visitors through the door with remarkable specials and discounts at the moment, just in time for Easter," Ms Pye says. 

"There is always a flip side to any crisis and families can save heaps on their holidays, while helping the relief effort." 

Ms Pye is passionate about making it easier for families to explore this beautiful state. Her guidebook Kids Welcome to Queensland includes reviews of over 1000 activities, attractions, tours, places to eat, places to stay throughout the Sunshine State. Many of the items are free or low cost. Each review saves valuable planning time with contact details and suitability in three age-groups: preschool, primary and teen.  

Ms Pye will be sharing some of her favourite Queensland destinations and activities on the stage at the Brisbane 4x4 Show on April 9 and 10. Her talk "School holidays made easy" is scheduled for at 10.30am each day and her talk "The grandkids are coming!" is schedules for 1.30pm each day. She will also have plenty of family-friendly prizes to give away. 

Kids Welcome to Queensland (RRP $24.95) is endorsed by Tourism Queensland and Playgroup Queensland. It been called "a must for every glove box" and one of "five top travel books".  It is available at most bookshops or online at www.kidswelcome.com.au. Sarah Pye's next book, Kids Welcome to New South Wales & ACT will be available in June. 

"Queensland needs your help to get back on its feet," Ms Pye says, "What better way than planning your Easter holiday at home?"

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Discount Buying Site Offers Great Deals - up to 90% off


What is it?

Jump On It is a shopping site, but not an ordinary shopping site. It doesn't have a whole list of items for sale - rather, each day, the website features one very special offer (and a bonus deal). The featured business gives us great discounts - always more than 50% off their regular retail rates - because we promise them a certain number of customers: you won't see these prices anywhere else! But you need to Jump On It straight away because you've only got 24 hours before the deal expires (and in many cases there are only limited numbers available, so some sell out even sooner)... and once the deal is gone, it's gone!

How it works:

Jump On It offers an incredible Daily Deal, so you've only got 24 hours to snap it up before it expires (and in many cases there are only limited numbers available, so some sell out even sooner)! If you really, really want the deal, the best way to get it is to help us get the numbers up so tell your friends and get them to buy it too!

Buying as a collective means you get a group discount and a really good deal. It's pretty simple. We promise the featured business that they will get a certain number of sales. They tell us how many people need to buy before it is worth their while to offer a special discount. Until we reach that magic number the deal is set as 'Pending'. When enough people sign up for it the deal is ON'.

Friday, 18 February 2011

GREAT NEW DEALS AT “FIJI’S BEST-VALUE BEACHFRONT BURES”

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WALU Beach Resort, renowned to its legion of fans for having "the best value Beachfront Bures and most sensational views in Fiji," has released new super-saver "Bula11 Rates" through to June 30 this year that are ideal for families or groups of friends looking to get the most from their holiday dollar

One bedroom Beachfront Bures now cost just AU$125 per bure per night and have a double bed, two roll-out beds, a bathroom and lounge-room, while 3-bedroom Oceanview Villas are now priced at only AU$175 per Villa a night and have a double bed, four single beds, two bathrooms, a lounge-room and elevated veranda.

And a great-value optional new Meal Plan gives breakfast, lunch and dinner  for just $40 per adult per day and $20 per child per day

"We're putting real value into holidaying at one of Fiji's most-perfect beach-front resorts that's set in a private secluded paradise surrounded by tropical  gardens, golden sands and graceful palms," said new Managing Director, Michael Hay. "And we're on Malolo Island just 20km from Port Denarau, the stepping-off point from Nadi Airport to Fiji's off-shore islands."

Walu Beach Resort has plenty to do (or nothing at all): swimming in the pool or lagoon, snorkelling, kayaking, sailing, bushwalking and running, fishing, table tennis, volleyball, billiards, village visits, fish feeding, trivia, a massage service, dining that includes freshest local seafoods and just-gathered local tropical produce, and a never-to-be-forgotten Sunset Bar.

Walu Beach Resort is also just a short boat ride to one of the South Pacific's best surf spots, "Cloudbreak."

Details from www.walubeach.com,  phone +679 665 1777, or email Michaelhay@optus.ap.blackberry.net.  Ask for "Bula11 Rates."

                                                

Sea World's New Baby Dolphin Jumps for Joy!



Sea World's 'Name the Baby Dolphin' eBay auction is going extremely well, with the current bid just shy of $9,000 and the new little baby is jumping for joy!

On Friday 11 February Sea World launched a 'Name the Baby Dolphin' E-Bay auction with all proceeds going towards a research trip to assist the flood effected marine life of Brisbane's Moreton Bay and to check on the health of its 1000 Dugongs.

The auction which ends on Monday 21 February at 6am (AEDT) offers the highest bidder the right to name the new calf, a three night stay at Sea World Resort & Water Park, four VIP Passes with unlimited entry into Sea World, Movie World and Wet'n'Wild, four tickets to Australian Outback Spectacular and a back stage tour of Dolphin Cove where they will get to meet the little calf.

Sea World Director of Marine Sciences Trevor Long said that he is delighted with the response to the 'Name the Baby Dolphin' auction.

"It is wonderful to see Australians supporting the marine life of Moreton Bay and the work of the Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation".

"The floods have and will continue to have a huge and damaging effect on Moreton Bay, especially the Dugong population.

"There is a huge concern that silt from the floods have covered many of the Bay's sea grass beds, depriving the Dugongs of their only food source".

"Sea World, in partnership with the University of Queensland is planning to conduct their third annual Dugong research trip into Moreton Bay as well as Hervey Bay in the coming months and the funds raised from this auction will be of great benefit to Dugongs".

"This research trip will assess the short and long term effect of the floods on the Dugong population as well as complete an overall health check of the Dugongs".

Plan a Spring Getaway to New York City: Get Your Bite of the Big Apple Before the Busy Summer Season



Spring is a perfect time to visit New York City: Central Park is awash in blooms and new leaves, temperatures are ideal, and, thanks to those last lingering months of the school year, the family vacation season hasn't yet hit its peak. For travelers, that means shorter lines at Manhattan's most popular attractions combined with more affordable, shoulder-season hotel rates.

Making Manhattan even more budget-friendly is New York CityPASS, which saves visitors nearly half off admission to the city's most memorable attractions. Inside each New York CityPASS are prepaid admission tickets to the Empire State Building, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), as well as two option tickets that give travelers a choice of additional adventures. The first option ticket lets holders choose between the Guggenheim Museum and Top of the Rock; the second between a trip to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise.

New York CityPASS costs $79 for adults (a value of $146) and $59 for kids, ages 6-17 (a value of $103). In addition to the savings, each New York CityPASS admission ticket allows holders to bypass most main entrance ticket lines.

Less time in line means more time to enjoy the attractions, including Top of the Rock, the observation deck at Rockefeller Center. New to CityPASS in 2010, Top of the Rock is an ideal vantage point from which to scout Central Park for signs of spring. The observation deck, which soars 850 feet (259 meters) above Manhattan, also provides unobstructed views of the city, the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty and other New York City icons.

Top of the Rock shares an option ticket with the Guggenheim Museum, whose stunning building is one of the most recognized in the world. Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece of modern architecture features a grand ramp that curves from the ground to the museum's dome. And under that dome is one of the world's finest collections of 20th and 21st century art: Chagall, Kandinsky, Picasso, van Gogh and other modern and contemporary masters. Add one of the museum's free daily tours for fascinating insights into the artists' lives and creations.

Still one of the world's most romantic locations, the elegant Empire State Building's 86th Floor Observatory provides a glorious panoramic view of the city that never sleeps. Best of all, the observatory is open nightly until 2 a.m. (the last elevators go up at 1:15 a.m.), which makes it a perfect stop for a late-night kiss against a backdrop of glimmering city lights. Thursday through Sunday, the Empire State Building ups the ante on romance with a live saxophonist performing on the 86th floor from 10 p.m.-1 a.m.

From awe-inspiring views to an awe-inspiring art collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art houses masterpieces spanning 5,000 years. Skimming through the Met's galleries, visitors revel in ancient Egyptian treasures, European masterworks (including sculptures attributed to Michelangelo), eclectic paintings by Picasso, Far Eastern antiquities and fascinating artifacts from colonial America. From the museum's sculpture-accented Roof Garden, open spring through late fall, visitors can drink in spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline and enjoy a snack, latte or glass of wine.

As a bonus, the Met's CityPASS admission ticket also includes same-day admission to The Cloisters museum and gardens, located in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park. After admiring medieval art and the famous Unicorn Tapestries, visitors can enjoy views of both the Hudson River and the greening trees along the New Jersey Palisades.

For both adults and children, the razor-toothed jaws of the Tyrannosaurus rex at the American Museum of Natural History leave an indelible impression. And, thanks to its cameo appearance in 2006's hit film "Night at the Museum," the 94-foot-long (29 meters) blue whale suspended from the ceiling in the Hall of Ocean Life will be instantly recognizable to most kids. But, movie buff or not, anyone with a lick of interest in our natural world will be happy to lose themselves in this trove of scientific treasures. A New York CityPASS admission ticket also includes entry to the Rose Center for Earth and Space, as well as a Hayden Planetarium "Space Show."

As the first museum dedicated to artworks of the contemporary era, The Museum of Modern Art's (MoMA) collection includes such masterpieces as Vincent van Gogh's "The Starry Night," Claude Monet's "Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond" and Andy Warhol's "Campbell's Soup Cans." Additional works by Picasso, Matisse and a vast array of painters, photographers, sculptors and multimedia artists are represented. Inspired visitors can pop into the MoMA Design Store (across the street from the museum) for accessories, jewelry, furniture, lighting and more — all inspired by MoMA's collection.

Two of America's most inspiring national treasures are highlighted on the second New York CityPASS option ticket, which gives visitors a choice between the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise.

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ticket takes visitors on a ferry ride to both Liberty and Ellis islands. Visitors can spend time touring each at their own pace (budget 4-5 hours to see both without rushing). Although the Statue of Liberty Pedestal/Museum entry is not included with CityPASS, access is free and available on a first-come, first-served basis to a limited number of early birds each day. Also, note that tickets to the crown are typically snapped up months in advance. For more information on pedestal access and crown tickets, visit statuecruises.com.

The Ellis Island Immigration Museum provides an important look at the building of our nation, as 12 million people passed through the island on their way to a better life.

On a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise, passengers glide past both the majestic Statue of Liberty and the iconic New York skyline. CityPASS ticket holders can choose a two-hour Semi-Circle Cruise, a two-hour Harbor Lights Cruise at sunset (both providing panoramic views of Manhattan and a close-up of Lady Liberty), a 75-minute Liberty Cruise (a shorter trip along the Hudson River) or The Beast Speedboat Ride (a 30-minute, full-throttle spin past the Statue of Liberty). Note: The Liberty Cruise and The Beast Speedboat are available only May-October.

New York CityPASS can be purchased online at CityPASS.com or at any of the CityPASS attractions. It is valid for nine consecutive days, beginning with the first day of use.

As a premier product for travelers who crave savings, convenience and a well-defined means to discovering a city's leading attractions, the CityPASS concept showcases the best attractions in North America's most exciting destinations at an incredible discount. CityPASS ticket booklets are available for New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Hollywood, Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California and Toronto. For more information on CityPASS and its partner cities and attractions, visit CityPASS.com.

Blue Mountains iPhone app



An iPhone application showcasing the Blue Mountains as a destination has been developed for Scenic World.

The app is available as a free download from the iTunes App Store. It will run on existing and future versions of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

"The strategy behind the app is similar to that behind our current television advertising campaign," said Scenic World CEO Philip Hammon. "We want to show the world what the entire region has to offer - this is a very special place. Not only is it generally accepted as Australia's most accessible wilderness, we also have hotels, restaurants, attractions, galleries and shopping to match any regional area in the country."

The application, entitled Blue Mountains Australia, was project managed by Scenic World's Marketing Manager, Rob Weaver, working with software specialists iVent Services of Katoomba and Synchroma of Leura.

"Blue Mountains Australia traces what is sometimes called the 'Grand Circular Drive' - that is, the loop from Penrith to Windsor via the Great Western Highway and Bell's Line of Road, with diversions to the Jenolan, Oberon and Lithgow areas," said Weaver.

It has brief introductions to various aspects of the Blue Mountains as well as sections to describe what can be seen in just about every town and village along the route, together with lists of accommodation, places to eat, activities, galleries and shopping.

"We are adding businesses to the app every day," said Weaver.

Blue Mountains Australia can be downloaded at
http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/blue-mountains-australia/id418208394?mt=8#

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Hunt for antiques and collectables not chocolate eggs this Easter

Visit Canberra's famed Old Bus Depot Markets this Easter long weekend for a hunt of a different kind at the special Easter Portobello Road event.
 
Held on Easter Sunday, 24 April, this annual favourite focuses on antiques and collectables, and offers a fun day out for those ready and willing to trawl the aisles, scan the stalls and pick through the piles of  interesting curios.
 
"Portobello Road provides such fun for those who like to browse the aisles full of quirky pieces, with plenty of favourites on offer including period art glass, antique jewellery and unusual collectables", said Old Bus Depot Markets Co-owner, Diane Hinds.
 
"There's always something to catch the eye and visitors can speak with experienced antique dealers throughout the day."
 
Portobello Road presents a huge variety of items including linens and lace, retro decorative arts, vintage clothing, fine silver, small antique furniture and restored pieces. 
 
"The fun is in the search, and your reward will be much greater than that from any Easter egg hunt!" Ms Hinds concluded.
 
Easter Portobello Road at the Old Bus Depot Markets will be open from 10am to 4pm on Sunday 24 April and entry is free.  For more information visit www.obdm.com.au
 
 
EVENT INFORMATION FOR YOUR DIARY:
 
 
What:              Portobello Road
 
Where:            Old Bus Depot Markets, Wentworth Ave Kingston
 
When:             Easter Sunday, 24 April 2011
 
Time:               10am – 4.00pm
 
Cost:                FREE entry
 
Web:               www.obdm.com.au
 
 

Monday, 14 February 2011

New Rhine-Rhone cruises plus deals for 2012


APT launches 2012 Europe preview deals,adds Rhine-Rhone cruises

APT is offering several deals to launch its 2012 Europe River Cruising Preview Brochure which features new Paris to Monte Carlo and Barcelona to Paris packages with cruising along the scenic Rhine and Rhone rivers.

APT will be the first travel company to market Rhine-Rhone cruise packages in Australia.


The offers are 2012 cruises at 2011 prices (fares will increase from May 1), free return airfares to Europe including air taxes on a variety of suite categories or savings of $2,200 a couple for April-September departures on Category C suites.

All offers relate to bookings made before April 30,2011.                                                      

The deals apply to the new Rhine-Rhone itineraries as well as the other 2012 cruises listed in an European River Cruising 2012 preview brochures issued to travel agents this week –  15-day Magnificent Europe (Amsterdam to Budapest), 18 and 21-day Magnificent Europe with Prague and Paris, 25-day Eastern Bloc & Magnificent Europe, 28-day Switzerland & Magnificent Europe, 31-day Italy and Magnificent Europe and 27-day Croatia & The Balkan Peninsula.


The new 15-day Amsterdam-Arles cruise is from $6995 per person twin share. The itinerary (it operates in both directions) includes Cologne, Koblenz, Rudesheim, Worms, Heidelberg, Speyer, Breisach, Colmar, Freiburg, Basel, Gruyeres, Lake Geneva, Lyon, Trevoux, Vienne Tournon, Viviers and Avignon.

The price includes the luxury cruise, all meals (including soft drink, beer and wine with lunch and dinner on board), APT Cruise Director, comprehensive sightseeing, nightly entertainment, airport transfers and tipping.

The 21-day Paris to Monte Carlo package is from $10,897 per person twin share and the 21-day Paris to Barcelona package is from $10,495.

APT has very limited number of suites available for 2011 departures, so for those who wish to travel in 2011 it is advised to book as soon as possible.

Contact:  call 1300 229 804, see www.aptouring.com.au or your local agent.


Additional detail and comment

·         APT continues its pioneering role in European river cruising with new Paris-Monte Carlo and Barcelona-Paris packages. The company introduced European river cruising to the Australian market in 2000 and this year will have its own fleet of nine custom-built boutique riverships in central Europe.

·         APT will use Aria Class ships ms Amacello for the Rhine sector and the ms Amadagio for the Rhone sector on 15, 18 and 21-day itineraries across a 2012 March-November season .

·         Ms Amadagio will be barged from Amsterdam through the North Sea and English Channel to the Mediterranean Sea and the mouth of the Rhone at Arles for the first cruise in March.

General Manager Marketing, Debra Fox said adding the Rhone and its magnificent Provence countryside, culture and food experiences was aligned to APT's strategy to continue to invigorate its cruise product range and to demonstrate that we are the leaders in river cruising. "In recent times we've elevated our cruising product in Europe with our Concerto class ships and our first Christmas-New Year cruises announced earlier this month, we've just added themed cruises there as well, we're building our own ships for Russia and the Mekong River and we have secured a Yangtze River ship that aligns with our standards," she said. 'All this development has been driven by demand from customers who have experienced the European river product ... they want the same levels of service and comfort, but a new destination cruise. Provence's Rhone Valley and Germany's Rhine will meet that need."


Top Ten Sexiest Hotels in the World



Enough with the romance already. For those who like their Valentine's Day a little more raunchy The Luxury Travel Bible has come up with the TOP TEN SEXIEST HOTELS IN THE WORLD.

The top ten hotels with sex-appeal includes a range of designer hotels. From luxury boutique hotels with all-black walls and bedside copies of the Karma Sutra to hotels with 007 suites this is the ultimate list for those who like their liasons dangerous and their luxury stays lusty. All in the best possible taste of course.
http://www.luxurytravelbible.com


TopTen Sexiest Hotels in the World (in alphabetical order)

Andaz San Diego, San Diego, California, USA
Can a suite really be stylish with a stripper's pole at its centre? We think so. It is all about how you present it.

Crazy Bear Hotel, Beaconsfield, UK
This is where English eccentricity meets s-excess and it works.

Fleming House, Goldeneye, Jamaica
Make like 007 in this house built on a cliff, overlooking a beach and designed by Ian Fleming himself.

Hotel Amour, Paris, France
Who could resister a hotel called 'love', especially when it is in Paris?

Hotel Sezz, Paris, France
There is no denying this is a devil's lair ripe for raw seduction.

Maison Moschino, Milan
Who's been sleeping in my bed? Fairytale fantasies take flight in this hotel where beds are dressed as ballgowns and even a Little Red Riding Hood has her wolf tucked up in bed.

Night New York, New York, USA
Black is always sexy right? The nearly-all-black Night New York hotel, in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, was inspired by the 'pulse and passion of Gotham after dark'. Sounds promising.

The Library Hotel, New York, USA
A hotel which bases itself on books may not seem that sexy (hey, didn't you know the mind is the real erogenous zone?) but wait until you see the books....


The Palms, Las Vegas, USA
Hugh-Hefner inspired dreams, come true at The Palms - for a price.


The Seven Hotel, Paris, France
Floating beds, starry ceilings, mood lights, the 007 suite ..so many reasons to include this one ..

Discover Patagonia with a 20% Discount



Tucan Travel has an enticing 20% off several end-of-season Discovery Tours to give clients the opportunity to venture south and experience the majestic peaks and windswept steppes in a little more comfort than they may be used to.

Sample tours

Mara - 12 days. 20% discount available on 26/02, 02/03 and 29/03 departures.

Penguino - 12 days. 20% discount available on 17/02 and 20/03 departures.

Moreno - 17 days. 20% discount available on 17/02, 06/03 and 20/03 departures.

Villarica - 21 days. 20% discount available on 17/02, 02/03 and 20/03 departures.

Iguazu 1 - 98 days. 20% discount available on 08/03 departure.

More information about these tours can be found at http://www.tucantravel.com/specials/late-space-specials

Tucan Travel is a specialist adventure tour operator with hundreds of high quality, affordable and exciting adventures to worldwide destinations. Choose from over 470 group tours, Independent Travel packages and Expedition Cruises to Europe, the Middle East & North Africa, Asia & Russia, East & Southern Africa, Latin America & Antarctica.

Suprise Baby Turtles Make a Splash at the Pet Porpoise Pool!



The Pet Porpoise Pool team received a nice surprise early last week with the unexpected arrival of three baby freshwater turtles which were found in the early morning hours in the turtle exhibit.

The Freshwater Turtle exhibit at the park houses the eastern long neck and short neck turtles or otherwise known as the Macquarie turtle. The Macquarie turtle is found locally in the Bellingen River and is listed as a threatened species in NSW.

These baby Macquarie turtles will remain in care at the Pet Porpoise Pool and will not be able to be released into the wild until at least a year old, as per the National parks and wildlife which states no release of any reptiles that has been in captivity without a license.

This is the first time that the Pet Porpoise Pool has bred these turtles and the breeding is expected to be directly related to the recent re-design of the exhibit which included deepening the pool depth and providing nesting material.

Marine trainer, Kenny Damashke who cares for the turtles said "It's great to see so quickly how all the hard work we put into redeveloping the turtles exhibit has paid off with the birth of these new turtles".

The Pet Porpoise Pool is open daily from 9am to 4pm, with Marine Magic presentations at 10am and 1pm.

For a limited time the baby Macquarie turtles will be on exhibit for visitors to see.

For more information, contact the Pet Porpoise Pool on 66591900. www.dolphinmarinemagic.com

Spend Easter in the Country, Not in the Car



The car is no place to be spending a family Easter holiday, so swap I-spy and service stations for rolling countryside and outback adventure at Spicers Hidden Vale.

Set on a 12,000 acre working cattle station just one hour from Brisbane, Spicers Hidden Vale has 2, 3, 4 and 5 night Easter packages available from $369 per family, per night.*

The package includes bed and breakfast for two adults and two children, a bottle of wine for Mum and Dad and free dinner for the kids on the first night (kids menu).

There's also one pony lead or horse ride per child (age dependent), free use of all mountain bikes, or bring your own, and an Easter egg hunt on Sunday.

Spicers Hidden Vale offers elegant cottage accommodation, delicious modern cuisine and a long list of fun activities including horse-riding, archery, clay pigeon shooting and mountain bike riding. Guests can also take advantage of Hidden Vale's walking tracks, two swimming pools, a tennis court and games room in its barn.

*Minimum two night stay, $59 per extra child per night, maximum 4 in total. Further savings apply to bookings of three or more nights. Package available from 15th April to 28th April 2011.

Spicers Hidden Vale is located at 617 Grandchester Mount Mort Rd, Grandchester, South East Queensland Country, QLD, 4340.

For bookings contact 1300 410 048 or hiddenvale@spicersgroup.com.au

Win a tantalising mini-break in Tasmania

SUBSCRIBE AND WIN!

Subscribe to Vacations & Travel today and go in the draw to win a luxurious two-night mini-break in Tasmania. The winner and a companion will enjoy flights with Jetstar to Launceston where they’ll share their accommodation time between the award-winning Quamby Estate and brand-new apartment, 41 on York.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Ubid's crazy start of week promotion

It's the start of a new week and Ubid wants to brighten things up by doing a crazy promotion.

As it is Valentines Day tomorrow, February 14th, we will give you an extra $14.00 per night discount for all bookings made until the end of Valentines Day.

Whatever your reason for taking a break, whether it is a last minute Valentines Day surprise, a business trip or just a weekend escape now is the time to book.

With this offer which allows you to book for anytime in the next three months, you will now not only save by bidding for the room but also another $14.00 per night, so the longer you stay the more you save.

Bid or book now on www.ubid4rooms.com and ENJOY.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Traveller's footwear - the Warrior sandal

Here is a great item of footwear for travellers who are likely to be in situations where their feet will get wet feet, or who just want a great casual item of footwear that are easy to slip on in seconds.

The Warrior sandal is made from high density EVA rubber with a nylon strap that adjusts so they stay on your feet snugly.

While they are great in the dry -  you can wear them all day and due to their closed cell construction they won't lead to smelly feet, it is when things get wet that they really come into their own.

This could be when wandering along a foreshore, with waves washing around your feet, or maybe for boating activities. Other times  could be when a tropical downpour makes the streets awash – the last thing you want are wet shoes. If you are wearing Warriors, you can scoff at wet conditions as they are impervious to water and after slipping them off for a few minutes your feet are dry as well.

Weighing almost nothing, they won't add to your baggage weight and the little space they take up is well worth the luggage space for an item that is so well suited to so many situations.

Available online at http://www.plusone.com.au/warriors/ in black or blue




Phuket Assists Queensland Flood Appeal



The Phuket Tourist Association and the Thai Hotel Association-Southern Chapter will auction rooms donated by their members at 26 hotels and resorts in Phuket in support of the Queensland Flood Appeal.

The on-line auction at Accommodation Auctions www.accommodationauctions.com will run for 5 - 6 weeks ( until mid - March ) offering a package of 3 - 5 nights for two persons including breakfast.

Bidding is open now. All proceeds will go directly to the flood appeal.

Phuket is the most popular island resort destination in Southeast Asia attracting over 400,000 Australians a year.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Romance & Weddings by GHM



Love never goes out of style

(Singapore, February 11, 2011) - The distinctive lifestyle experiences that draw guests to GHM hotels and resorts is inextricably linked to the genuine, close-up relationships that guests foster with each destination and with those they travel. The celebration of love and romance in the timeless luxury that is uniquely GHM is a memory waiting to be created, meant to last a lifetime.

GHM hotels and resorts make for the perfect settings for romantic getaways, with destinations that capture both the heart and the imagination, and delight with the unexpected. Be it a long overdue holiday with that special someone, an extravagant surprise for your significant other, or the start of a lifetime journey with the love of your life, GHM will help create lasting memories for a love to remember.


The Setai South Beach, Miami, USA

Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and vibrant South Beach, The Setai redefines the luxury of privacy with the seamless intermingling of its retreat-like setting with Miami's sultry international playground. Asian traditions of simplicity and elegance resonate throughout, creating intimate, idyllic spaces ideal for an oceanfront wedding ceremony, a honeymoon or a romantic anniversary celebration. With an exquisite Asian-inspired spa, three swimming pools, a private beach, award-winning restaurants and unrivalled service, The Setai leaves no requests unfulfilled.


The Datai Langkawi, Malaysia

Located on the northwestern tip of the lush tropical island of Langkawi off the coast of Western Malaysia, The Datai is home to picture perfect sunsets overlooking the shimmering Andaman Sea - a perfect location for romancing, ideal for a beachfront wedding. Nestled in the heart of a centuries-old rainforest, a weekend getaway or a wedding at The Datai is sure to be intimate and memorable. Imagine a torch-lit dinner for two on the white sand beach of Datai Bay, or a private gathering of up to 80 guests at the resort's rustic, open-air restaurant. The Datai's natural setting is the stage for the unfolding of a love story.


The Nam Hai Hoi An, Vietnam

If romance conjures up images of pristine sandy beaches, expansive landscapes and private villas amidst a sea of smiles, the award-winning Nam Hai is the perfect place for your romantic escapade. Your getaway to Hoi An, the quaint 15th century port city that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will offer you a rich cultural dimension to the understated charm of your stay at one of Vietnam's most stunning resorts. If you are moved to exchange vows, do so in true Vietnamese tradition at the resort's authentic Vietnamese Shrine or at the resort's open-air pavilion, where warmly-lit lanterns transform the setting to one reminiscent of the epic French film, Indochine.


The Legian Bali, Indonesia

If you have heard others waxing lyrical about tying the knot on the 'Island of the Gods', it must certainly have roused you to the intoxicating possibility of a dreamy wedding in Bali. At The Legian, couples can choose to exchange or renew vows in the blissful setting of an oceanfront tropical garden or in the privacy of the romantic Beach House. Situated on Bali's southern coast on beautiful Seminyak Beach and within walking distance of the island's trendiest shopping and dining areas, the chic Legian raises the bar on celebrations and getaways to remember.


The Strand Yangon, Myanmar

Imagine travelling back in time to a place where time stands still as you exchange vows with the one you love. The Strand is arguably one of the country's most prestigious addresses and the perfect venue at which to host your wedding as you and your guests relive the grandeur of a bygone era. Be it the splendour of the Grand Ballroom or the elegant Victorian setting of The Grill Room, a celebration at The Strand promises to be exquisite and unforgettable.


The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

The 20-villa Chedi Club in the highlands of Bali beautifully blends understated elegance with the traditions and romance of the island. The once-private estate, complete with butler service, is leisurely spread throughout five meditative hectares of tropical gardens and ponds, and surrounded by an infinite vista of rice fields. The feeling of being in love is almost palpable in this breathtakingly picturesque setting. Be it a romantic torch-lit dinner among the rice paddies or a glorious wedding in the resort's amphitheatre, bask in the headiness of it all and fall in love over and over again.


The Chedi Muscat, Oman

This resort's enchanting setting between the azure blue Gulf of Oman and the stunning Hajar mountains in the backdrop makes for the ultimate destination in which to be ensconced in the lap of love and luxury. Offering an artful blend of Omani architecture and zen Asian interiors, every simple pursuit becomes an indulgence of the senses. From lounging by the cabana-lined, black mosaic-tiled infinity pool to enjoying a heady dining experience under the stars, The Chedi Muscat presents the perfect mix of food, wine and d├ęcor for a memorable romantic holiday.


The Chedi Chiang Mai, Thailand

If Chiang Mai is the 'Rose of The North' then The Chedi is its prized bloom. An oasis of calm and understated elegance in this lively city, the hotel is situated along the peaceful banks of the Mae Ping River and offers luxury resort living in the heart of central Chiang Mai. Built on what was once the compound of the British Consulate, the beautifully restored main consulate building dating back to the 1920s is seamlessly integrated into the property's design. Celebrate romance riverside as you fall into the charming embrace of the resort and the city.

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