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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Mayfield garden major outdoor concert with James Reyne


Australia's largest open garden, Mayfield at Oberon, is marking its daily opening for the first time with a major outdoor concert featuring James Reyne, on 30 April.

Reyne will perform within the 64-hectare European-inspired garden alongside Boom Crash Opera, Matt Boylan Smith and Smith & Jones, as the finale to Autumnfest on now.

The celebration of the flamboyant autumnal colours at Mayfield is part of a dynamic annual entertainment program just released and includes luxe food events, yoga retreats (5-7 May), glamorous public gatherings, foraging, corporate retreats, weddings, major outdoor performances, and food and garden workshops.

The performances will take place in front of the spectacular Obelisk and Pond, and visitors can enjoy the concert from within the Alle of London Plain Trees with a hand selected range of the finest local food and beverage from the Central West.

For return bus transfer packages from Oberon, Bathurst, Orange, Lithgow and Katoomba visit: www.mayfieldgarden.com.au

Mayfield

530 Mayfield Road Oberon, NSW 2787 Info@mayfieldgarden.com www.MayfieldGarden.com.au

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

World Environment Day with Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts

The theme for World Environment Day 2017 is 'Connecting People to Nature – in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator'. This year, on World Environment Day, wherever you are, in whatever part of the world, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts invites all guests together with its associates to take part in environmental activities such as tree planting or beach cleaning for a week, starting from 5 to 11 June. This initiative is part of the groups' Stay for Good Greening Communities Together programme which aims to raise awareness for climate change and preserving the environment.



Now in its fourth year, this programme seeks to support the environment and care for the local communities through educational activities, community clean ups and recycling whenever possible at our hotels and resorts. Participating resorts from Maldives, Vietnam and Bintan; to China and Mexico, will purpose to clear their beaches, rivers, wetlands, hotel compound and streets; ensuring a pristine environment for indigenous inhabitants; and protecting the native flora and fauna.



Over in the Maldives, guests at Angsana Ihuru, Angsana Velavaru or Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru can take part in cleaning up the islands and removing the harmful Crown of Thorns Starfish from the coral reefs. All plastic bottles collected will be donated to a recycling company and the Crown of Thorns Starfish will be buried. In Playa del Carmen, Banyan Tree Mayakoba will be partnering a local youth organisation, "Plant for the Planet" and Solidaridad municipality to plant 700 native trees in order to restore greenery in the city affected by urban development. They will also clean the roads on the fringes of the town and are expecting to gather a total of two tons of garbage. They have also planned an environmental festival where guests and the local community will be educated on a variety of ways to conserve the environment and nature through a series of thematic games. To commemorate World Environment Day, the team at Angsana Bintan and Banyan Tree Bintan have dedicated to planting 200 mangroves and 100 corals, as well as picking up 100kg of litter at Angsana Beach and Kampung Baru Beach. In a hidden paradise in XiXi National Wetland Park, Angsana Hangzhou and Banyan Tree Hangzhou have committed to protecting the thriving plant and animal species by educating guests on wetland conservation with detailed presentations and guided nature tours to identify over 100 species of freshwater fish and birds.



Throughout the year, guests can contribute actively in the remediation of our global ecosystems with our sustainability themed guest activities found in our hotels and resorts worldwide, such as Citizen Science Programme in the Maldives, Earth Hour and Earth Day celebrations in Samui and Lijiang or Turtle Feeding and Release in Bintan and Phuket. Safeguarding the environment is core to Banyan Tree's values. Hence, the group endeavours to instill greater environmental respect among associates, partners, associates, guests and local communities through multiple efforts.

Read more about how you can participate in our Stay for Good programme here: www.banyantreeglobalfoundation.com/stay-for-good


Dynamic International Airways New Daily Route Between NY And Ecuador



Dynamic International Airways, a low cost carrier dedicated to providing travelers with convenient, affordable, and streamlined travel routes, this week proudly announced they have launched a new airways route between JFK in New York and Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Scheduled to provide one daily rotation beginning in JFK, arriving at GYE, and returning back to JFK, Dynamic International Airways will be offering the route five times per week with the exclusion of Tuesdays and Wednesdays from June 1 to the 30, 2017.

After the initial launch in June, the airlines will offer one daily rotation, seven times per week, from July 1 to October 28, 2017.

"We are incredibly excited to be offering travelers direct access out of New York right into the heart of Ecuador," said Elizabeth Sukie, Dynamic's Intl Airways Senior Vice President. "Ecuador is home to a rich culture, set in some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in the world. With our new route, seamless travel between Ecuador and the United States is now possible."

Customers will enjoy the comfort of bilingual - Spanish and English speaking - flight attendants and customer support agents. Dynamic International Airways is dedicated to providing passengers the best travel experience!

For more information, or to book upcoming tickets today, visit: http://www.flydya.com.

For Marketing inquiries: marketing@flydya.com
For support: support@flydya.com
Reservations: +1 (336) 790-8176

About Dynamic

Dynamic International Airways provides excellent, comfortable, low cost, long haul, point-to-point air service. The airline is headquartered in North Carolina and offers service from airports in New York, Guyana, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Palau, Saipan and now Guayaquil with its fleet of B767 wide body aircrafts.

SOURCE  Dynamic International Airways


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Now opened: Doot Doot Doot at Jackalope Hotel - Mornington Peninsula


DESTINATION DINING AT JACKALOPE HOTEL



Jackalope Hotel's signature dining experience, Doot Doot Doot, called first service when the much-anticipated accommodation opened April 1st. Offering contemporary, upscale dining, Doot Doot Doot serves dinner daily and lunch Friday through to Sunday.

Under the direction of Executive Chef, Guy Stanaway (formerly of Aman Hotels), the menu presents an outstanding assortment of Victorian produce. Drawing on relationships with local growers, Stanaway combines time-honoured techniques with culinary curiosity, delivering dishes that are a faithful expression of the region's palate.



"The menu's philosophy mirrors our winemaking", says Stanaway. "Willow Creek's single vineyard wines are produced to deliver a true sense of place; our menu is the edible edition of this same story." Dishes like seasonal vegetables, served with goat's curd, and lightly dressed with whey and orange blossom, offer an honest representation of the quality of the local produce.

Diners choose a four- or eight-course tasting menu, matched with estate and international wines. "Given the property's rich heritage as a wine producer, the partnership between food and wine is central to the Doot Doot Doot experience," adds Stanaway.



A further nod to wine-soaked roots, the 1,200-bottle, glass cellar showcases an international selection of limited-release wines produced from vineyards 11-hectares or less—the size of the hotel's vineyard. "This collection gives context to our winemaking story, while also presenting the world's premier small-batch producers – a mix of locals, favourites, and emerging stars," says Director of Food & Beverage, Josef Murray.

Murray is at the helm of this designer dining room, joining Jackalope after several years with celebrated restaurateur, Jason Atherton, in Sydney, Hong Kong and London.



The shining light in a dramatic interior by CARR Design Group, is a custom-made, 10,000-globe chandelier by Melbourne-based artist, Jan Flook. This 80sqm crown was commissioned to evince the process of fermentation, one of the seven stages in the hotel's narrative, alchemy.

Doot Doot Doot's cocktail bar, Flaggerdoot, delights in the alchemic process of distillation. Housed in the property's original homestead, the space itself is an infusion of forms; herringbone floors and open fires warm, while statement pieces from the likes of international icon, Rick Owens, create a sense of curated cool.

The names, Doot Doot Doot and Flaggerdoot, tie in with the legendary Jackalope tale. Flaggerdoot is the collective noun for a group of jackalopes, while the leader of the flaggerdoot is known as the doot doot doot.




For bookings phone (03) 5931 2500 or visit www.jackalopehotels.com

Open for dinner seven nights a week from 6:00pm and for lunch Friday to Sunday Doot Doot Doot offers breakfast to in-house guests daily

166 Balnarring Road,
Merricks North VIC 3926














Friday, 14 April 2017

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort Back in Business

 
BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort is ready to re-open on Tuesday, 18 April and jump straight back into fun-filled activities for the last week of the NSW school holidays.

The lagoon swimming pool is up and running, the weather has returned to normal gorgeous April conditions and Kid's Club, a full Activity Guide, the Animal Park feeding and outdoor movies will all be operating from next Tuesday.

Owner Mr Greg McKinnon and his team of 34 staff have worked tirelessly to get the resort back to its former glory after Cyclone Debbie hit on 28 March. He said, "our beautiful tropical gardens were the worst hit from the massive winds and we have removed between 200-300 truckloads of vegetation from the site. Although it's not quite the same, we certainly have a lot more sun coming in to the camping sites! Luckily it will all grow back." Mr McKinnon said it was unfortunate that all the Easter school holiday bookings had to be cancelled but after nearly two weeks without power, the priority was to ensure that any safety issues were addressed and that the resort was fully operational before welcoming guests back.

It's once again full-steam ahead for all the new developments at the resort. Construction has recommenced on the much anticipated 13 slide water park, one of Australia's largest resort waterslide parks. The tiling has begun in bright colours to reflect the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. Due to open for the June/July school holidays, this massive new activity will be a colourful and popular addition to the resort offering. Eight new Deluxe Studio cabins are also under construction and due to come online in the next few months. The resort's 2000 Easter eggs, ordered for the cancelled Easter long weekend activities, have been donated to the Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre, to distribute as a little token to local families doing it tough over Easter.
 
Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays rely on tourism and many tours, restaurants, accommodation and activities are already back up and operational. Greg said, "everyone in this town depends on tourism and we hope people will come back and visit us soon and support our recovery. Airlie Beach has taken a big hit but the community spirit and positivity has kept us all going. I think the Labour Day weekend is going to be one huge celebration for everyone in the Whitsundays and a sign that we are 'Back in Business'."
 
BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort offers a relaxed, family friendly environment with quality facilities and services, combined with genuinely friendly and helpful staff. Set amongst 26 tropical acres, the resort caters for a variety of budgets and tastes with a wide range of accommodation options from camping and caravanning sites to designer decorated three bedroom condos. Located in Airlie Beach, the resort has easy access to the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven Beach, the Whitsunday Islands and a vast array of trips, water activities and truly memorable Australian holiday adventures.
 
For further information or to make a booking enquiry, please go to www.adventurewhitsunday.com.au or call 1300 640 587.

The Whitsundays is located half way between Brisbane and Cairns and includes the mainland town of Airlie Beach and 74 islands right on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. The Whitsundays enjoy a sub-tropical climate, beautiful beaches, ancient rainforests and extensive National Parks. The two main airports are serviced by Jetstar, Virgin, Tigerair and Qantas and the region is accessible by air, road, rail and sea. For more information go to www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Old Bank Boutique Hotel in NSW Southern Highlands marks 125th birthday with new discounted package





Book and stay by June 30, 2017, for cosy autumn and winter stays

The Old Bank Boutique Hotel in Mittagong in the NSW Southern Highlands is marking the 125th birthday of the grand, historic property with the release of a new, discounted package that allows guests to fully immerse themselves in the old-world splendour of the luxury hotel.

Ideal for cosy autumn and winter stays, the 125th birthday package includes two nights' accommodation in one of the gracious suites, cooked, country breakfasts each morning and a delicious, three-course dinner for two at the hotel on one evening, including a bonus bottle of wine.

The package is available from $680 per couple on weekdays (or $170 per person per day, representing a 15 per cent discount,) and from $785.50 per couple on weekends (12 per cent discount). The package is available for stays until June 30, 2017.

The Old Bank Boutique Hotel, which opened in September 2016, is nestled in the heart of historic Mittagong and is ranked as one of the most elegant buildings in the Southern Highlands. The two-storey property was built in 1892 and operated as a bank and manager's residence for many years until falling into disrepair in the 1970s. Locals Warwick and Barbara Wainberg purchased the property in 2009 and embarked on a painstaking, seven-year project to restore it to its former glory.

Offering five suites renovated to a bygone era, a studio and a self-contained cottage, the deluxe hotel boasts rich furnishings, lofty ceilings, a grand cedar staircase, hand-carved wood panelling, individually designed rugs, polished floorboards, leather Chesterfields in the plush lounge and library, open fires, Egyptian cotton sheets and marble and granite bathrooms.

The property at 83 Main St, Mittagong, is situated close to the Southern Highlands' well-known antique shops, boutiques, bookshops, cafes and gardens.

The 125th birthday package is available by direct booking only and conditions apply. Call 02 4872 4496 or visit www.oldbankhotel.com.au

Monday, 10 April 2017

NSW's New Southern Pie-Lands



IT'S NSW'S NEW SOUTHERN PIE-LANDS  

David Ellis

PIE eaters unite – because come June the NSW Southern Highlands will be the place for the coming together of lovers of that great Australian institution, the pie… be their favourite meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit or whatever else they can think of, at this first-ever festival they’re going to call Pie Time.

With the Highlands having a-near thirty direct-outlet pie bakeries, which for pie buffs is more per square kilometre than anywhere else in Australia, and with pies of all varieties amongst favourites in the region’s famed eateries during winter, organisers are planning pie-making demonstrations, pie tastings, pie and beer matchings, pie talks and pie judgings.



And throughout June the cafés, hotels and restaurants of the Southern Highlands will be creating signature pie dishes with unique “Dine with a Pie” menus.

As well, to help visitors find their way around, a Southern Pie-lands Pie Trail map has already been created and is available highlighting all the local Pie outlets at which devotees can get stuck into the best of these places’ pie products year-round. The map can be accessed on DSH Planner Pie Trail 2017.

The month-long June Pie Time will culminate with the public crowning of the Southern Highlands’ very best professional and apprentice bakers and their award-winning pie products over the weekend of June 24 and 25 in Bowral.

For more information including help with booking ‘Pie, Bed & Breakfast’ packages if you are planning a visit during Pie Time, call 1300 657 559, or visit www.pietime.com.au

PHOTO:

[] THE NSW Southern Highlands will become the Southern Pie-lands when they host pie eaters young and old for the first-ever Pie Time in June.

[] PIES for all occasions come the Southern Highlands Pie Time in June.

Arsenal Legend Sol Campbell takes in the sights of Sydney



Arsenal Legend, Sol Campbell, is in Sydney to mark 100 days to go until Arsenal's Sydney Tour in July.

Sol took some time out today to get up close with a range of Aussie animals including Nangaw the owl, Thunder the koala and Penny the kangaroo at Taronga Zoo. Sol also sailed Sydney Harbour on a picturesque day, exploring the waterway on board a luxury vessel.

Arsenal will play back-to-back blockbusters at ANZ Stadium against Sydney FC on Thursday 13 July and Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday 15 July.

To buy tickets and for further information regarding the week-long schedule of events around the Arsenal In Sydney Tour go to www.arsenalinsydney.com.

www.sydney.com

www.visitnsw.com

African Safari Odyssey with Aqua Expeditions



Aqua Expeditions, one of world's leading luxury river cruise companies, has announced a Safari Odyssey being co-hosted in October 2017 by Aqua Expeditions Founder, Francesco Galli-Zugaro and renowned safari guide Howard Saunders, Founder of the Shackleton & Selous Society.

The 14-day adventure for up to 10 guests will journey into the African wilderness and has been developed with a dual purpose of exploring two iconic rivers of the world, the Congo River and the White Nile, travelling through Namibia, Congo and Uganda.

Guests will experience remote regions, with access allowed only to those few who are intimately familiar with the territory.  The trip will incorporate a few days of cycling for those keen to include an active element and provide the opportunity to help pioneer the new but growing tourism in areas such as Odzala in the Congo.

As a long-term fellow of the Shackleton & Sealous Society, and deeply passionate about travel and exploring remote destinations, Francesco was inspired to create this one-off journey by his many trips scouting for future river cruise locations – which so often have turned into unexpected exploratory adventures.



Highlights include:

•Exploring the Congo River out of Brazzaville, Republic of Congo

•Seeing Gorillas in the Republic of Congo

•Exploring Murchison Falls National Park and the source of the Nile in Uganda and Lake Albert

•Cycling through Black Rhino country in Namibia & Desert adapted Elephant (support vehicles for non-bikers)

•From the meeting point in Johannesburg or Cape Town all flights in two private planes thus reducing all transfers times to optimise game viewing and excursions

This Safari Odyssey is priced at USD13,530 per person, with internal flights approximately ZAR856,000 (approx. AUD16,300 per person) including:

•Accommodation in best available twin-bedded tent/rooms at full board; all casual meals detailed in the itinerary and all service charges relating to accommodation and meals, alcoholic beverages, bottled mineral water and sodas in camp and on game drives; all park entry, camping and activity fees

•All vehicle running expenses and transportation by 4WD safari vehicle with roof hatches; fully trained crew and Professional Safari Guide exclusively for every vehicle plus daily laundry service

•Two gorilla tracking permits in Odzala

•All flights as described in the itinerary using two Pilatus PC12s

Additional Costs:

·         International flights to and from Africa, airport departure taxes, entry visas, any charges for telephone calls or emails

·         Tips and Gratuities

Bookings should be directed to howard@howardsaunders.com 

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Seabourn Cruise Sale

Explore Extraordinary Worlds with Seabourn





Seabourn has made it even more attractive to explore the world in ultra-luxury style with onboard spending money and air credits on offer to destinations around the globe in 2017 and 2018.

On sale until June 13, 2017, the “extraordinary worlds” promotion includes onboard spending money of up to US$1000 per suite, reduced deposits, and air credit to the value of A$600 per person on select sailings between June 2017 and September 2018.

Guests who book during the sale period will receive complimentary upgrades from ocean view suites to verandas, with upgrades also available up to three veranda suite categories higher depending on availability and fare paid.

Cruises are available in Alaska, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and New England, including an 11-day cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles on Seabourn Sojourn. Departing October 3, 2017, fares start from $5999* per person twin share for a veranda suite.

Closer to home, a 16-day voyage from Sydney to Auckland onboard the line’s latest ultra-luxury ship Seabourn Encore is priced from $10,299* per person twin share in a veranda. Departing December 4, 2017, the cruise calls at Phillip Island, Melbourne, Halfmoon Bay, Dunedin, Timaru, Akaroa, Wellington, Picton, Tauranga, and scenic cruising in Fiordland National Park.

*Subject to availability, conditions apply

For more information see a licensed travel agent, call 13 24 02 or visit www.seabourn.com

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

New Dive and snorkel sites on Great Barrier Reef


Passions III to visit new Reef sites

New diving and snorkelling sites will be accessible on the Great Barrier Reef with the launch of Passions III in Cairns this month.

Passions of Paradise has unveiled its 25m reef vessel which was designed and built over three years to be one of the fastest commercial sailing catamarans in Australia.

Chief Executive Officer Scotty Garden said Passions III would cruise at 15 knots, with a maximum speed of 19 knots allowing it to access two of the Cairns company's 25 outer Great Barrier Reef moorings on a day trip.

"We have added a 30-metre mast so Passions III will have one of the largest sailing rigs in Australia to take advantage of Tropical North Queensland's prevailing south-easterly winds.

"Our carbon-neutral company takes great pride in sailing back to Cairns from the Great Barrier Reef and with the faster catamaran we can choose the best sites for the weather conditions on the day.

"As a locally owned company we have been able to draw on our 30 years of Great Barrier Reef and tourism experience to design an environmentally-friendly catamaran that suits both our market and our reef conditions.

"Passions III has a second deck, two large spaces for sun lounging and a modern luxurious interior with a larger galley and bar and plenty of room for 100 passengers to comfortably move around.

"The purpose-built boat will allow Passions of Paradise to tailor each day on the Great Barrier Reef to the wind conditions ensuring a comfortable trip with ideal dive and snorkelling locations.

"Passions III will visit a range of moorings including Flynn, Milln and Moore Reefs to the south of Cairns and Norman and Hastings Reefs to the north."

A revamped Passions of Paradise logo, website and new uniforms also will be launched with Passions III giving the company a new look for 2017.

"What hasn't changed is the friendly customer focus and the fun and educational, personalised experience on the Great Barrier Reef that Passions of Paradise is renowned for," Mr Garden said.

To book or for more information go to www.passions.com.au

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Whales, Waves and Wilderness with CruiseAway


Sail to the spectacular fjords and pristine wilderness of Alaska onboard Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas. This exclusive cruise package has been specially created by CruiseAway.com.au experts.

Set sail from Sydney and meander your way through the exquisite pacific island destinations New Caledonia, Fiji, and Hawaii before disembarking for a 4 night interlude exploring Seattle. Then time to head back onboard to cruise through the charming townships of Alaska where you will explore the wondrous Alaskan scenery in all its glory. The highlight of the cruise is the staggering Tracy Arm Fjord, with dramatic glaciers and native wildlife you will truly experience the beauty of Alaska.

Prices start from an incredible $5899 per person and this package includes one way flights from Seattle to Sydney, total of 29 nights on board Explorer of the Seas, 4-night accommodation in a 4-star hotel while in Seattle, Premium Seattle city tour, Boeing Factory tour and private transfers throughout.

Conditions apply. Offer is valid until sold out.

Link to offer: https://www.cruiseaway.com.au/cruise/waves-whales-and-wilderness-583538

Contact www.cruiseaway.com.au / Phone: 1300 306 134

New cruise to four Australian wine regions in three states



Because life is too short to drink bad wine – or cruise in cabins without balconies!

Get a Mini-Suite Upgrade – Book by April 30, 2017

Australian cruise travel specialist, Cruise Express, has blended four of Australia's major wine regions into a unique, new cruise tour in March, 2018, spanning the continent from east to west.

The hosted, 10-night 'Voyage to the Vineyards – East to West' tour from Melbourne to Perth includes visits to Victoria's Goulburn Valley, South Australia's Barossa Valley and also the Margaret River and Swan Valley wine regions in Western Australia. A day trip on the heritage train, The Spirit of Progress, and wine-paired lunches are also featured in the exclusive itinerary aboard Golden Princess.

Bookings made by April 30, 2018, will receive a bonus upgrade from a Premium Balcony Cabin to a Mini-Suite aboard the Princess Cruises ship.

The cruise tour is the most comprehensive, wine-themed cruise tour yet offered by Cruise Express following a sell-out wine cruise to New Zealand in April, 2017, and another to Tasmania in November, 2017.

The itinerary starts with two nights' accommodation in Melbourne on March 13, 2018, including a trip aboard the historic Spirit of Progress train to Seymour in the Goulburn Valley where local wineries will showcase local vintages, followed by lunch.

Guests will then board the 2600-passenger Golden Princess for a seven-night cruise to Perth, with the first port Adelaide, where Cruise Express will take guests to the famous Barossa Valley with a visit to the prestigious Penfolds Winery.  The day trip includes lunch. At Port Lincoln, guests are free to sample the luscious, local oysters and during the next day at sea, Torbreck Wines from the Barossa Valley will host an exclusive, wine-paired luncheon.

Further west in Busselton, WA, a day trip to the famed vineyards of the Margaret River region is included, with lunch at Cullen Wines. After disembarking in Perth, the search for gastronomic flavours continues with a tour of the Swan Valley, including Houghton Winery. A farewell dinner and one night's accommodation in Perth ends the cruise tour.

Hosted by Cruise Express, the 10-night 'Voyage to the Vineyards - East to West' cruise tour is available from $3990 per person, twin-share, in a Balcony cabin, including 27 meals and the four wine region tours. Bookings made by April 30, 2018, in a Premium Balcony cabin, which are available from $4390 per person, twin-share, will receive an upgrade to a Mini-Suite aboard Golden Princess. The offer is subject to availability. Flights to Melbourne and home from Perth are extra.

Call Cruise Express on 1300 764 509 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au


Saturday, 1 April 2017

Flinders Ranges and Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre Escorted Tour


SeaLink has launched a new, 10 day fully inclusive and escorted tour of the Flinders Ranges and Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, departing 28th August 2017. Join Shirley Tamm on one of South Australia's great road trips to the ancient Flinders Ranges and Wilpena Pound, Coober Pedy, the Salt Lake Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre and the Clare and Barossa Valley's.

Enjoy the safety and security of having Shirley Tamm, a well-known travel identity and tour escort with over 35 years' experience, accompany this tour, allowing guests more time to meet new friends and just enjoy the holiday experience.

The 10 Day Flinders Ranges and Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre departs from Adelaide and visits Port Augusta, Coober Pedy, William Creek, Parachilna, Wilpena Pound, Clare valley, Barossa valley and many fascinating towns in between. The tour is also inclusive of spectacular scenic flights over Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre and Wilpena Pound.

At Port Augusta, the gateway to the vast outback region, visit the Wadlata Outback Centre and enjoy a stroll through a range of natural and themed gardens at the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden. At Woomera visit the Heritage Museum Centre and Rocket Park to see actual rockets and aircraft used in tests.

Spend two nights at the opal capital of the world, Coober Pedy, where a tour of the underground lifestyle and fascinating natural history of the town, including a visit to the Umoona Mine and Museum, is not to be missed. Head to one of the outback's best-kept secrets and witness the incredible views of The Breakaways at sunset before seeing the dog fence, a 2-metre-high wire barrier that stretches for over 5,300km across three States.

An amazing day to remember is spent in the skies. Be camera ready for the beautiful sights of the Devonport Ranges, part of the most pristine river systems in the world, then witness the visual extremities and breathtaking views over the vast salt lake Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, before experiencing the spectacular Anna Creek Painted Hills, an amazing sight with its rocky outcrop of large and small rusty coloured hills, emerging suddenly out of a flat, desert landscape.

Enjoy lunch at the famous William Creek Hotel, travel on the Oodnadatta track to Coward Springs, watch the sunset at the famous Prairie Hotel and go underground and visit what was once a working copper mine from 1862-1907 at Blinman Mine.

Spend three nights at Wilpena Pound, the centrepiece of the Flinders Ranges and explore the town by foot and air. Enjoy a spectacular 30-minute flight over Wilpena Pound and see Elder Range, Edeowie Gorge, Heysen Range, Lake Torrens, Bunyeroo Gorge, Brachina Gorge, St Mary Peak and the Pound Gap. Once back on the ground, relax and discover the walking trails, beauty and grandeur of this amazing part of Australia.

Enjoy the magnificent, panoramic artworks at the Jeff Morgan Gallery at Hawker, visit the Kanyaka Ruins, once a huge sheep and cattle station dating back to 1852 and stop in at the historic Pichi Richi Railway Museum at Quorn. Drive through the wonderful scenery of the Clare Valley and into the beautiful Barossa and take in the spectacular views at Mengler Hill lookout.

This all-inclusive tour features accommodation in a range of motels, hotels and resorts including Desert Cave Motel, Prairie Hotel, Parachilna and Wilpena Pound Resort.

The 10 day fully escorted Flinders Ranges and Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre tour departs Adelaide on the 28th August 2017 and is priced from $4490 per person.

The tour includes complimentary hotel pick up and drop off at selected Adelaide city hotels, luxury air-conditioned coach travel, nine breakfasts and dinners and ten lunches, nine nights of accommodation, all tour entry fees and guided tours, a 3-hour scenic flight over Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre and a 30-minute scenic flight over Wilpena Pound.

For further information and bookings visit: https://www.sealink.com.au/escorted-holidays/Flinders-Ranges-Kati-Thanda-Lake-Eyre-Tour/ , call SeaLink's Group Tour Consultant on 08 8202 8608 or email escortedtours@sealink.com.au

European Alps treks with UTracks in April

#traveldeals

UTracks, the active European holiday specialist, is offering 10%* off its entire range of Alpine walking itineraries in Europe for bookings made between 1 & 28 April 2017.

UTracks has more than 40 walking itineraries in the European Alps including a new traverse on Mont Rosa, Europe's second-highest peak, an exceptional walk in Slovakia's High Tatra and the classic hikes on the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc.

"Alps Month" deals include:

1. Mount Blanc Family Adventure, seven days

Experience the French, Swiss and Italian Alps with the kids on an UTracks Mont Blanc Family. Book between 3 & 28 April, 2017 and pay from $1071 for adults (was $1190) and from $819 for children (was $910).

The guided seven-day family walking adventure provides panoramic views of Mont Blanc with overnight stays in charming alpine villages and mountain huts and is suitable for active children from age seven and up.

This tailored highlights walk along the famous Tour du Mont Blanc route offers the whole family a chance to experience the spectacular trails and wonderful alpine spirit of the French, Italian and Swiss Alps at a more relaxed pace.

Each day the children can take turns leading their favourite donkey while everyone gets to enjoy the famous alpine views of the Mont Blanc region.

2. Mont Blanc Rambler, seven days

Experience relaxed European alpine hiking at its best on this seven-day guided Mont Blanc Rambler Walk. This small-group walk traverses high passes, meadows brimming with alpine flowers and passes through typical mountain villages. There is ample time to stop and take in the stunning scenery, enjoy a picnic of local ingredients and absorb the alpine culture as you make your way to your mountain accommodation.

Priced from $1251 per person (was $1390), this package includes all meals and refuge accommodation, an experienced bilingual mountain guide and a mule to carry your gear.

3. Mont Blanc Comfort, six days

This trip is alpine walking at its most civilized, combining both comfortable private rooms in mountain refuges and exceptional day walks through the Italian, French and Swiss Alps. During this delightful introduction to walking in the region you'll gradually ascend high alpine passes, breaking for lunch to absorb the panoramic views stretching from tumbling glaciers to meadows laden with colourful blooms.

Book between 1 & 28 April, 2017 and pay from $1341 per person, twin-share (was $1490). Offer includes meals, accommodation, luggage transfer, internal transfers and experienced bilingual mountain guide.

There's also savings on other classic European alpine walking experiences in the Italian Dolomites, The French Pyrenees, the Swiss Alps, Slovenia's Julian Alps, the Dachstein Alps in Austria and Germany's Bavarian Alps.

Further information or bookings available at www.utracks.com or phone 1300 303 368.

* The offer is for bookings made between 1 & 28 April 2017. Quote Promo code ALPS2017 at time of booking.


Friday, 31 March 2017

Thai Gastronomic Journey at add@Prince


Experience a Quintessential Thai Gastronomic Journey

Vibrant Thai cuisine is adored in Hong Kong and around the world. add@Prince introduces its cheerful resident chef from Thailand by showcasing a Quintessential Thai Gastronomic Journey Dinner Buffet during April and May. Savour the unique flavours of this favourite Southeast Asian cuisine with an extensive array of authentic Thai dishes served nightly.

Devoted to the kitchen for over 38 years, Chef Nontra-Udon Buapha has been held in high esteem by guests and gastronomes since joining Prince Hotel in 1998 for his terrific food and friendly character. "People living in Thailand love to use local natural spices to create a variety of colorful, aromatic and scrumptious Thai delicacies", says Chef Buapha. The chef demonstrates this passion for Thai spices and sauces in his mouth-watering appetizers, such as Thai papaya salad, Thai nam tok, Chicken feet salad and Seafood salad.

Chef Buapha's signature Tom Yum Kung features over 10 kinds of spices plus fresh prawns, and his Chicken Coconut Soup is another highlight. Other traditional dishes on the menu include Yellow curry crab, Pineapple fried rice, Mixed satay, Thai grilled fish, Larb with lettuce and an impressive Thai snacks platter featuring fish cake, shrimp cake, spring roll and chicken with pandan leaf.

Complementing the Thai hot specialties will be a variety of Thai desserts prepared by the talented pastry team. Sago coconut pudding, Pandan taro net spring roll, Thai mango sticky rice and Pancake or Waffle freshly made with sweet Thai mangoes will be available alongside Mövenpick ice-cream and other exquisite desserts.

A prestigious Hong Kong business hotel, Prince Hotel is located at the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. The hotel is on the doorstep of the China Ferry Terminal and Harbour City - Hong Kong's largest shopping complex featuring more than 450 shops and the world's leading brands.

Its 394 contemporary guestrooms and suites offer deluxe comforts plus a comprehensive range of business services and facilities. All rooms are equipped with complimentary handy smartphone and Wi-Fi. Within a short walk are landmarks such as the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Space Museum, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and 1881 Heritage.

add@Prince, a contemporary all-day dining restaurant located on level 3 of Prince Hotel, offers world-class specialty cuisines with signature Cantonese, Japanese and Pan-Asian delicacies.

For more information, visit gha.com


Thursday, 30 March 2017

Kids Go Free to Kangaroo Island with Sealink

#traveldeals

Save up to $100 per family when travelling to Kangaroo Island with SeaLink's 'Kids Go Free to Kangaroo Island' deal, offering free return SeaLink ferry travel for up to two kids when travelling with one or two adults and one vehicle. This deal is valid for travel between 1 May to 31 August, 2017.

Kangaroo Island, Australia's third largest Island, is only a short 45-minute ferry ride from Cape Jervis and with hundreds of kilometres of quiet roads and adventure to discover, it is made for a self-drive family holiday.

Adults and kids alike will love the amazing wildlife, spectacular coastal scenery, beautiful beaches, adventure activities, scenic landscapes and fantastic National Parks.

Raptor Domain is a must see for families. Enjoy the "Birds of Prey" show and meet an array of birds including Jedda, the majestic Wedge Tailed Eagle and Casper the friendly Barn Owl. A quick stop at Clifford's Honey Farm is also essential, not just to see how honey is made but to try their famous Honey ice-cream.

A visit to Little Sahara! will guarantee hours of family fun as everyone enjoys the thrills and spills of sandboarding or tobogganing down the massive white sand dunes, and see Australian sea lions in their natural environment as they sleep, play and swim on a guided beach tour at Seal Bay Conservation Park.

The kids will love discovering the 'hidden' beach at Stokes Bay and getting up close and personal with kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and other nocturnal wildlife at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park.

A holiday to Kangaroo Island is not complete without a visit to Flinders Chase National Park home to nature's wonders, the breathtaking Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch.

Kangaroo Island also offers a range of family accommodation all over the island, from holiday homes, cabins and caravan parks to motels and hotels with family apartments. Most accommodation properties offer amazing deals and bonuses during May to August including stay five nights for the price of four, four nights for the price of three and three nights for the price of two.

SeaLink's 'Kids Go Free to Kangaroo Island' deal is valid for travel between 1 May to 31 August, 2017 and offers free return ferry travel for up to two kids when travelling with one or two adults and one vehicle.

For ferry, car and accommodation bookings visit: www.sealink.com.au


Free chestnut foraging this weekend for Leura Harvest Festival 2017

#newsouthwales

A free chestnut foraging will take place this weekend in the Blue Mountains in preparation for the autumn Leura Harvest Festival on 7 May 2017.

Visitors can help gather the nuts from 100-year-old trees at one of the oldest farms in the Blue Mountains, at Mt Irvine, this Saturday. Presented by Slow Food Blue Mountains, this event sees foragers hunting, gathering, processing and cooking chestnuts.

Participants can take home their own 1kg bags for $8. The chestnut theme carries over to Sunday 2 April with a self-drive tour incorporating chestnut bread tastings at Conditorie Patisserie Schwarz in Wentworth Falls, chocolate chestnut cake at Josophan's Fine Chocolates, chocolate-coated Giandouja at The Blue Mountains Chocolate Company, plus a chestnut-themed lunch at Katoomba's Palette Dining.


Sunday, 26 March 2017

New Monarto Zoo tour on Murray Princess Cruise


Captain Cook Cruises has added an exciting new on shore tour to their Murray Princess three-night Discovery Cruise and seven-night Murraylands and Wildlife Cruise with guests able to visit Monarto Zoo on a Wildlife Tour from April 1, 2017.

Monarto Zoo is the largest open-range zoo in the world, spanning more than 1,500 hectares and home to more than 500 animals and 50 species of exotic and native mammals, birds and reptiles.

Murray Princess guests will be transferred from Murray Bridge to Monarto Zoo by coach where they will be led by a guide through the zoo to see many of the zoos inhabitants including Giraffe, Eland, Zebra, White Rhinoceros, Cheetah, Lions, Hyena and Wild Dogs as part of the Wildlife Tour.

The Monarto Zoo Wildlife Tour is priced at $60 per person and is available every Saturday morning on the three and seven night Murray Princess cruises.

Other three and seven-night cruise activities include visiting Murray Bridge township and Mannum Dock Museum, a guided nature walk at Salt Bush Flat, a river and birdlife tour on board the 'Dragon-Fly' Flat Bottomed Boat, local food and wine tastings, music quizzes, bocce on the riverbank and even fishing off the ship.

Additional seven-night cruise activities include visiting the sacred Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Conservation Park, Sunnydale native wildlife shelter, Burk Salter Boutique Winery, Swan Reach, passing through lock 1 at Blanchetown and seeing the Sunnydale woolshed and towering sandstone cliffs at Big Bend. Optional tours available at additional cost include a Nocturnal Tour and a Bush Tucker Breakfast.

The three-night Discovery Cruise departs Mannum every Friday at 4.30pm with Early Booking Saver (EBS) fares starting from AU$787.00 per person, twin share.

The seven night Murraylands and Wildlife Cruise departs Mannum every Friday and Monday at 4.30pm with EBS prices starting from AU$1605.00 per person, twin share including a complimentary Barossa Valley tour.

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

Private car transfers for up to four people are also available from and to Adelaide CBD to Mannum and return to Adelaide Airport for $143 per person each way, based on two people travelling.

For further information visit www.murrayprincess.com.au or contact your local travel agent.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Aranui Offers Discounts on Tahiti Trip of a Lifetime



Aranui Cruises is offering discounted cruises in 2018 with savings of up to $900 on four select voyages.

The Tahitian adventure cruise line is providing a 10 per cent discount across all cabin categories on Aranui 5's January 13, March 29 and June 12 departures, with seniors also able to take advantage of a 10 per cent discount on the October 2 voyage.

Discounted premium suites are priced from $7830* per person twin share, a saving of $840. While a royal suite is available from $8557* per person twin share on the discounted voyages, a saving of $920.

www.aranui.com

Photo credit: James Morgan.



Travelmarvel Preview Offers for Canada & Alaska 2018

Preview deals for select 2018 Canada & Alaska cruises and tours are now available from Travelmarvel.

For a limited time, guests who book one of four popular Travelmarvel Canada & Alaska tours for 2018 will receive both '2 for 1' international return airfares and exclusive 2018 preview pricing.

Tours carrying these deals include the 21 day Reflections of the Rockies & Alaska Cruise, now priced from $8,695 per person twin share, including Travelmarvel's Early Payment Discount for bookings paid in full 10 months prior to travel.

This tour commences in picturesque Victoria on Vancouver Island and makes its way across British Columbia to Whistler and Blue River, before crossing into Alberta bound for Jasper, Lake Louise - where guests stay in the famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise - and Banff. Guests then ride the iconic Rocky Mountaineer to Vancouver, from where their seven day Inside Passage cruise to Alaska departs.

For those looking to explore Canada's eastern provinces, bookings are also open for the 28 day Highlights of Eastern & Western Canada with Alaska Cruise, which also includes Toronto and Niagara Falls, the city of Ottawa, Quebec City and Montreal in addition to Western Canada and the Inside Passage cruise.

Travelmarvel's Canada & Alaska preview offers are strictly limited, subject to terms and conditions and available until sold out.

For more information, or to request a brochure, call 1300 196 420, see travelmarvel.com.au/2018canada or your local travel agent.

Helen Wong's Tours Vietnam Package


Vietnam Airlines' decision to begin direct flights between Sydney and Hanoi has resulted in Helen Wong's Tours creating a special air-inclusive package to the Vietnam capital – at a bargain price.

As part of its 30th anniversary celebrations in 2017, the Asia tour holiday specialist has unveiled a four-night Hanoi package which includes return air fares from Sydney, four-star hotel accommodation, daily breakfasts, a guided half-day tour and tickets to the world renowned Water Puppet Show.

The Discover Hanoi package is priced from $1150 per person, twin share, inclusive of taxes.

For those planning to stay longer, Helen Wong's Tours is offering a two-day Hanoi-to-Halong Bay extension which includes a deluxe junk boat-like cruise of the breathtakingly beautiful bay and its array of limestone islands with Tonkin Cruises.

This package includes onboard overnight stay, meals and sightseeing, and is priced from $340 per person, twin share.

Details: Phone Helen Wong's Tours, (+612) 9267 7833 or www.helenwongstours.com

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Seabourn Returns to Alaska: Two Week Sale


Seabourn is celebrating its return to Alaska for the first time in 15 years by offering onboard spending money and air credits as well as complimentary upgrades as part of a two week sale.

On sale until April 3, 2017, the sale includes onboard spending money of up to US$1000 per suite and air credit to the value of A$500 per person on select sailings departing between June 1 and September 21, 2017.

Guests who book during the sale period will also receive complimentary upgrades from ocean view suites to verandas, with upgrades also available up to three veranda suite categories higher depending on availability and fare paid.


Monday, 20 March 2017

#TitanicTheExhibition Sails Into Sydney


The world's most famous ill-fated ship comes alive with artefacts and interactive recreations

From Saturday 8 April
Byron Kennedy Hall, The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park
Tickets on Sale Friday 24 March

"The largest and undoubtedly the most comprehensive Titanic Exhibitio in the world" – Perth Now

"An exhibition of titanic proportions" – Perth Sunday Times

Titanic The Exhibition unravels the mystery of the unforgettable tale of RMS Titanic's first and final deadly voyage in a thrilling self-guided tour sailing into the Byron Kennedy Hall, The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park from Saturday 8 April.

For a limited time only families and fans can re-live the opulence and tragedy of the world's most famous ill-fated voyage through dramatic room recreations, 100-year-old artefacts and hands-on activities.

Titanic The Exhibition features over 375 artefacts taken directly from the pre-sinking Titanic and her nearly identical sister ship Olympic, providing a rare opportunity to view the grand Titanic as she was before falling to her watery grave. Rare artefacts were removed from Titanic before she sailed to New York, and a lucky few pieces survived the disaster secured in the coat pockets of those rescued. Original props and set pieces from James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster film Titanic are also on display, including a recreation of the famous "Heart of the Ocean" diamond necklace.

This all-sensory exhibition experience transports visitors back to 1912 to absorb the sights, sounds and smells of opulent and excessive luxury steamship travel. Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship of its time, and visitors will learn of the ships' place in history from her conception and construction to that unforgettable day of disaster.

Each entry to the exhibition is completely unique, as every visitor will receive a Boarding Pass that contains the personal information of an actual First, Second or Third Class passenger. Visitors are encouraged to feel connected to the passengers' journey by learning about their background and life onboard. The experience culminates in the Memorial Gallery, where visitors learn of their chosen passenger's fate on the cold early morning of 15 April, 1912.

"Everyone can relate to someone on Titanic and the story of her voyage still resonates all over the world," said Tom Zaller, President/CEO of Imagine Exhibitions Pte. Ltd. "This particular exhibition, that will appeal to all ages, immerses the visitor in the moving tale of Titanic's voyage at every part of her journey - allowing visitors to experience the sights, sounds and stories as if they were on the ship."

Titanic The Exhibition has fittingly found its home in one of Australia's oldest and most beautiful exhibition buildings, The Byron Kennedy Hall, located within The Entertainment Quarter. From the stunning central dome supported by six ornate pillars to its distinctive bell tower, The Byron Kennedy Hall is itself an artefact of 1920's charm and style, precisely complimenting that of Titanic's 1920s England.

An education kit for Titanic The Exhibition will be available to download from www.titanictheexhibition.com.au.

History is alive again in the stunning, informative and heartbreaking Titanic The Exhibition, opening Saturday 8 April at The Byron Kennedy Hall, The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park.

www.titanictheexhibition.com.au

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @TitanicInAU

Hashtag #TitanicTheExhibition.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Family fun at Melbourne's Eureka Skydeck for Easter holidays


These Easter school holidays, Eureka Skydeck is once again teaming up with Crayola to invite kids to take part in FREE Easter-themed activities, every day between 11am – 3.30pm.

From 1 April until 17 April, Eureka Skydeck will have a Crayola Kids Zone filled with fun craft and drawing activities, including bunny-ear making and the opportunity to scribble on windows.

Eureka Skydeck's much-loved mascot, Deckstar, will be stopping by each day to keep everyone entertained during the first school break of the year.

The Eureka VERTIGO green screen installation will also be in action for parents and kids to enjoy. This specially constructed set allows guests to have their photo taken with the illusion they're falling through the glass floor of the Edge and holding on for dear life, 285 metres above Melbourne's cityscape.

People taking part in Eureka VERTIGO will receive a 9" x 6" printed photo and a digital copy for upload to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The Eureka VERTIGO experience will cost patrons $15.00 per photo.

Eureka Skydeck is the highest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere. Located on the 88th floor of Eureka Tower, the observation deck provides patrons with 360 degree floor-to-ceiling views of Melbourne and beyond. During the school holidays guests will also be able to take full advantage of:

· The Edge - The world's only Edge experience is an awe inspiring a 3m by 3m transparent glass cube, which slides out from the building on Level 88, suspending guests above the Melbourne skyline. Patrons can purchase their official photo taken while out on the Edge, ready for upload to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

· The Outdoor Terrace - Enclosed by a wire grid, the Outdoor Terrace exposes guests to the elements on Level 88. The Terrace is right next to the Edge, so family and friends can view those inside.

For further information about Eureka Skydeck, visit www.eurekaskydeck.melbourne or call 03 9693 8888.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

New rail and sail tour from Brisbane to Sydney and return


New heritage rail and sail tour from Brisbane relives the golden era of travel

Six-day short break to Sydney and back by ship and historic train in June 2017

A cruise from Brisbane to Sydney, two nights in the harbour city and a two-day rail trip back to Brisbane form part of a unique, new rail and sail tour this June released by Cruise Express.

Ideal for train and cruise fans from across Australia, the six-day 'Tin Hare Express' tour features three, privately chartered CPH rail motors built in the 1920s. Affectionaly known as 'Tin Hares', the restored rail motors once served regional NSW and offer windows that can be opened for fresh air and clear views of the passing countryside. The June trip will be the first time all three of the rail motors have journeyed to Brisbane.

Perfect as a short break and hosted by Cruise Express, the tour starts in Brisbane on Saturday, June 3, 2017, with a relaxing, two-night cruise to Sydney aboard the 2000-passenger Sun Princess which now boasts the specialty restaurant, 'Share', curated by celebrity chef Curtis Stone. A welcome-aboard cocktail party is included for Cruise Express guests.

After sailing into Sydney Harbour, guests will stay two nights with daily breakfast at the historic Grace Hotel in the heart of the city. On the second night in Sydney, the package includes a three-course gourmet dinner in the 'O Bar & Dining' revolving restaurant on the 47th floor of the Australia Square building which boasts spectacular views of the city lights.

On the fifth day, guests will board the CPH rail motors at Sydney's Central Station for a two-day journey back to the Queensland capital, with train staff sharing the history of the rail motors, their restoration and return to heritage service. The rail trip will make several stops including the Rail Motor Society's home at Paterson in the Hunter Valley for morning tea, Taree for lunch and Grafton for dinner at the riverside Crown Hotel and overnight accommodation at the nearby Quality Inn.

The final day will see guests reboard the train for the final run to Brisbane with a morning tea stop in Casino in far northern NSW.

Including 12 meals, two morning teas and the services of Cruise Express Tour Managers, the six-day 'Tin Hare Express' rail and sail tour is available from $1890 per person, twin-share, or from $2490 for solo travellers. Flights to and from Brisbane, if required, are additional. Visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au

Thursday, 9 March 2017

I love Paris, on a bike… in the springtime


Paris Bike and Barge deal

Springtime is an ideal time to experience Paris by bike; the flowers are in full bloom, the days are longer and warmer, the markets are brimming with fresh produce and the cafes buzzing.

And with Mother's Day coming up on May 14, why not treat the number one mum in your household and surprise her with an unforgettable UTracks Bike and Barge to Paris trip.

UTracks Bike & Barge to Paris trip highlights include:

· Cycle along quiet roads that follow the course of the Seine and Oise rivers and travel by both bike and barge through the forests and beautiful villages that inspired artists like Van Gogh and Sisley.

· Arrive into Paris through the canals to witness some of her most famous landmarks from the comfort of the barge. And spend a whole day exploring the sights of Paris including the Louvre and Eiffel Tower.

· Cruise and cycle through picturesque landscapes, visit Auvers-sur-Oise and Moret-sur-Loing and the castle of Fontainebleau (where Napoleon famously abdicated the first time).

Book in March on an eight day, guided "Bike & Barge to Paris" trip departing on either 13 or 27 May 2017 and you can save $120 per person (twin share).

Offer price is $1470 per person, twin share (departing Paris) - includes all meals and accommodation aboard the barge, bike hire and detailed information packs.

Conditions apply.


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Discover Sydney's Hidden Rooftop Gem at No. 1 William


Sydney's relaxed rooftop dining destination, No. 1 William, is the perfect spot to soak up the last of the summer sun whilst enjoying breathtaking 180-degree views across Hyde Park, Sydney Harbour and William Street.

Perched on Level 4 of the iconic Australian Museum, the 180-seater venue boasts floor to ceiling glass doors opening up onto an outdoor terrace where diners can enjoy a drink, a bite to eat and some of the best views in the city.

Accessible to everyone, not just visitors to the Museum, No. 1 William is open from 10am to 4.30pm daily and offers a delicious range of simple, classic and affordable Australian-inspired dishes for breakfast, lunch, morning and afternoon tea, as well as a wide selection of Australian wines and beers.

The menu has been created by Group Executive Chef Keith Jones, formerly Executive Sous Chef at the Hilton Hotel Sydney and Head Pastry Chef at the Park Hyatt and Aqua Dining. He explains: "Our aim here was to create a stunning rooftop dining destination in the middle of the city with great food and great wine that's affordable to everyone. The simple, fresh menu is all about local produce and real flavours that can be enjoyed by everyone from locals and business people looking for somewhere different for lunch to tourists and Museum visitors."

Served until 11.30am, breakfast offers a range of tasty treats from the classic No.1 Bacon & Egg Roll or William's Eggs Benedict to the more health-conscious Coconut, Chia and Quinoa Granola with Greek Yoghurt. Coffee is courtesy of local Sydney roaster The Little Marionette.

In addition to daily sandwich specials, there's a wide selection of dishes for lunch from the lighter Roast Heirloom Beets Salad to the heartier 200g Grain Fed Rib Eye Steak with Hand Cut Rosemary Chunky Chips. If there's any room left after that, a mouthwatering Chocolate Molten Lava Cake or Australian Museum Pavlova with Fossilized Fruits should do the trick. There's also the option of Let's Lunch – two courses and a glass of wine for $40, perfect for whiling away a sunny afternoon.

The kids will be all right with specially designed children's breakfast and lunch menus, all for under $10, and a range of delicious milkshakes to tantalise tiny taste buds.

Such an iconic venue also makes the perfect space for functions and events for up to 200 people cocktail style or 150 seated. A wide selection of food and beverage packages is available to cater for breakfast, lunch and dinner, meeting breaks, conferences and weddings. Event organisers looking for something a bit special can also request a specially created martini or oyster and champagne bar to add sparkle to any event.

For further information or to make a booking, email no1william@createconsultants.com.au or call 02 9320 6321.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Fly Land Cruise Deals for the maiden 2019 MSC World Cruise

#cruise



 
MSC Cruises is now offering fly cruise packages from Melbourne to Genoa and Melbourne to Southampton. Australian and New Zealand travellers are now able to plan a very accessible stunning journey and be part of history aboard this maiden MSC World Cruise.
 
Both fly/land/cruise packages include valuable offers for guests' enjoyment. The cruise fare includes 5 free shore excursions, to better experience these worldwide destinations. Meal-time drinks are included, so guests can relax with their gourmet dining on board. 30% laundry allows for ease during cruising. A cocktail party and gala dinners will be splendid events, where guests can enjoy the option of dressing up and feeling glamorous.
 
A Melbourne to Genoa fly package will involve 44 nights of international travel, departing on 22nd March 2019. This leg of the MSC World Cruise will feature amazing destinations. Guests will see beautiful locations of Singapore, Malaysia, Phuket (Thailand), Sri Lanka, the Maldives, UAE, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Greece, then Messina and Civitavecchia in Italy before landing in the beautiful port city of Genoa Italy.  
 
This 44-night fly-land-cruise package is a great value option at a minimal cost, being a portion of the MSC World Cruise. Prices start at only $AUD9,349 ($NZ14,699)* per person, less than half the price of the full world cruise.
 
Guests can take their holidays even further, by extending the cruise to Southampton for 51 nights. This international journey is not to be missed. This package involves all the stunning destinations of the first 44 nights above, plus additional visits in Marseille (France) and Lisbon (Portugal). Guests will also see the Spanish locations of Barcelona, Cadiz and Vigo. This cruise will conclude at Southampton, in the United Kingdom.
 
The 51-night fly-land-cruise package will bring enthusiastic travellers to more of Europe, for a minimal additional cost. Prices of this deal will start at only $10,649* ($NZ11,999) per person. For just that bit extra, opportunities will abound when experiencing even more delightful European sights.
 
With both options, cruisers can choose to either return after their maiden voyage or stay longer in either Europe or the UK - and discover more themselves.
 
These exciting fly-cruise holidays, during the MSC World Cruise, will be on the MSC Magnifica. Days of cruising will be comfortable and entertaining on this ship. Dining and beverage options involve 5 gourmet restaurants and 12 bars. The MSC Aurea Spa will be an opportunity to get pampered aboard the ship, with massages and beauty treatments. On-board fun and excitement will continue with sports facilities, an indoor pool and a 1200 seat theatre. Days at sea will be as fascinating as discoveries at shore.
 
Bookings are now open for these once-in-a-lifetime fly cruise deals. Contact MSC Cruises to make a booking, at 1300 028 502 in Australia or 0508 4278 473 in New Zealand.
 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

P&O Cruises | This Week's Top Deals




P&O Cruises has some terrific short cruises of between three to six nights on offer as part of this week's best deals.
 
The top three picks for deals on P&O Cruises this week are:
 
*Make a gourmet getaway onboard Pacific Jewel when she sails from Sydney on a three-night food and wine cruise on March 31, 2017.  Fares for the roundtrip cruise start at $349* per person quad share, representing a delicious saving of more than 50 per cent on the brochure fare.
 
*Laughing has never been so easy with savings of more than 70 per cent available on Pacific Eden's three-night comedy cruise, sailing roundtrip from Adelaide. Departing on March 17, 2017, fares on the cruise start at $329* per person twin share.  
 
*P&O Cruises will set sail on its first-ever cruise to Tasmania's Dark Mofo festival in June. Sailing roundtrip from Sydney on Pacific Jewel on June 13, 2017, and spending two nights in Hobart, the cruise incudes priority passes to Dark Mofo as well as entry to the famous Museum of Old and New Art. Fares on the six-night cruise start at $448* per person quad share, a saving of 40 per cent on the brochure fare.
 
*Subject to availability, conditions apply. Fare includes accommodation, main meals onboard, entertainment and most onboard activities.

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

 

Monday, 13 February 2017

In search of the Northern Lights - Aurora


Image: Pixabay (Noel_Bauza)

What Are The Northern Lights

The Northern lights are a natural bright light display in the sky that simply sway, curl, flicker and move elegantly, beautifully lighting up the dark sky. This magical display is caused by the electrically charged particles from the sun that had entered the Earth’s atmosphere.

With the insane amount of chemistry above the Sun's surface, electrons and protons are often thrown towards the earth by the solar wind. And since the Earth’s magnetic field is weaker at both North and South poles, the particles tend to reside there and collide with gas particles, emitting what we call as the Aurora.

The North Pole has the Northern lights which is also known as the Aurora Borealis and the South Pole as Aurora Australis.

Image: Pixabay (sharonang)

The colours that is often displayed are greens, pinks and even shades of red, yellow, blue, violet have been noticed. These phenomenal lights appear in many different shapes and forms, from patches, scattered clouds to streams, rippling curtains, or shooting rays that are simply awe-inspiring.

Why the different colours? It is all due to the altitude and oxygen molecules and ions at the time. The most common colour is a pale yellowish green that is created by oxygen molecules located about 100 km above the Earth’s surface. The red auroras for example are more rare and are formed by high altitude oxygen over 300km high. The lights of the Aurora can extend from 80 km to as high as 640 km above the surface.

Image: Pexels (Pixabay)

Where Can You See The Northern lights

The dazzling Northern lights can be seen above the magnetic poles of the Northern Hemisphere. But don’t forget, there is also a Southern Hemisphere that equally showcases an amazing sight to behold.

The Northern lights can be seen as far south as New Orleans. However the best place for the Northern lights are in the North Western parts of Canada, Southern parts of Greenland & Iceland, Northern part of Norway and Siberia, typically the Scandinavia region. The lists goes on, each with their unique viewing spots. The aurora is more visible at higher altitudes, closer to the poles.

You can see other great places to see the Northern Lights here.

The Southern lights has less viewing destinations but the display is equally as impressive. The oval light display around the South pole can be visible around Antarctica, South of New Zealand and Tasmania.

Image: Pixabay (Robzor)

There are many flights that take you right to the Aurora lights destination and would not require much travel. But for those that seek more, there are polar cruise tours that cover flights as well as expedition trips visiting notable attractions along the way. From majestic whales to mountain ranges, to husky dog safaris, and uncharted wilderness. There is just so much flexibility with travel nowadays.

Winter is typically the best time, and viewing from small communities, far away from light pollution would be much greater. There are many apps and resource websites that can predict the light displays, so make sure to do your research to avoid missing out on this spectacular exhibit.

The Aurora lights can occur at any time throughout the day, but it is more visible at night.

The main obstacles to see the lights is cloudy skies, and the full moon as it emits too much light making the aurora not visible to the naked eye. Inland gets a general better view.

Either country has beautiful and unique angles on the Auroras, no photos will essentially be the same. And don't let the lights be the main attraction to the trip, there are so many more activities to do in the region that the trip would be worth traveling to.

Image: CC Wiki (Fish & Wildlife Service)

Did You Know?

In Norway, There is a Wolf sanctuary that lets you enjoy the Northern lights with the comfort of a wolf at the same time! Polar Park is a wildlife sanctuary with social wolves raised with the company of humans. Visitors can get close enough to touch and even cuddle them. There is really no better setting for enjoying the Northern lights. Do not try this with a wild wolf tho.

The attraction also informs people about these splendid creatures. That these wolves are critically endangered due to careless hunting and human encroachment.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

New magazine: Blue Mountains Love



On sale Valentine's Day, Blue Mountains Love magazine – a 124-page print magazine – features an interview with local writer/activist Tara Moss, commentary from marriage equality campaigner Rodney Croome and weddings that have taken place across the Mountains. The cover features local lesbian couple Kylie Watson and Tiphanee Athans.

Actively involved in the Blue Mountains LGBTIQ community, Kylie and Tiphanee have put their marriage plans on hold until legislation is passed that gives them the same rights as heterosexual couples.

“I don’t believe the personal opinions or religious beliefs of politicians should impact the rights for adult citizens to have equal access to marriage,” said Tara Moss, who lives in the Upper Mountains village of Blackheath.

The magazine also has a strong destination flare, featuring the best of Blue Mountains accommodation, natural attractions, and has a spread on the quaint Blackheath village.

The Blue Mountains Love team includes public relations specialist Michelle Grima, artist and graphic designer Kara Cooper, and two journalist/editors with social media expertise – Jacqueline Forster and Lisa Doust.

“Blue Mountains Love is a true celebration of love, diversity and all of the clever and creative people that make up our community,” said Editor Lisa Doust. “The four of us are genuinely passionate about the region and our aim is to attract couples seeking a spectacular location in which to celebrate their union.”

Published bi-annually (Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter), Blue Mountains Love (RRP $15) will be launched on Monday 13 February at historic Everglades House & Gardens, Leura. The magazine is printed in Sydney and distributed across NSW and the ACT.

Business Class Air Package on Regent Seven Seas Cruises

To further consolidate its reputation as the most inclusive luxury experience™ , Regent Seven Seas Cruises is now offering optional Business Class Air Packages in conjunction with all voyages  departing from April 2017 onwards.




The new Business Class Air Package fares will include: an all-inclusive luxury cruise, return business class flights from all major Australian gateways with preferred airline partners Emirates, Qantas or Singapore Airlines, one night pre-cruise hotel accommodation and transfers between the airport, hotel and their chosen Regent Seven Seas cruise ship.

"Our new Business Class Air Packages are tailored specifically for Regent Seven Seas Cruises' discerning and well-travelled guests. We know the overwhelming majority of our guests fly Business Class and often require hotel accommodation the day prior to their cruise. Now they needn't worry about organising a thing. This is the ultimate way to extend the indulgent Regent experience, ensuring an elite end-to-end experience with personalised attention," said Mr Steve Odell, SVP & Managing Director Asia Pacific at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.




Once on board, RSSC's newly upgraded, opulent vessels, all guests enjoy luxurious, elegant public space and suites, as well as the industry's leading all-inclusive experience, which includes:

·         FREE unlimited shore excursions
·         FREE unlimited WIFI
·         FREE unlimited beverages (including fine wines and premium spirits)
·         FREE fine dining at specialty restaurants
·         FREE pre-paid gratuities
·         FREE open bars and lounges and in-suite mini bar replenished daily

"We pride ourselves on delivering the most luxurious all-inclusive journeys at sea, so extending this takes care of the finer details of our guests' pre and post-cruise travel as a logical step to guarantee an effortless, relaxing holiday Regent-style. Now our guests will enjoy even more value on the most luxurious cruises in the world," he added.

Business Class Air Package supplements start from AU$4,440 for Asia voyages and from AU$6,590 to Europe.

Upgrades to First Class flight are also available. 'Cruise only' options for Australian travellers who prefer to make their own travel arrangements continue to be offered.

For more specific itinerary details or for general information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises, visit www.RSSC.com, email res.apac@rssc.com , call Australia: 1300 455 200, New Zealand: 0800 625 692, or contact a professional travel agent.

 
 

Monday, 6 February 2017

New summer cruise tour to Scotland, Iceland and Norway





Includes exclusive shore tours, luxurious stay in a palace and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - August 2017

The geysers, glaciers and waterfalls of Iceland, the fjords of Norway and the castles of Scotland and The Netherlands combine as part of a new cruise tour to be hosted by Cruise Express this August.

The 19-night 'Voyage of the Kings' fly, cruise and tour itinerary includes exclusive shore tours during a two-week cruise from The Netherlands to Scotland, Iceland and Norway aboard the new 2650-passenger Holland America Line ship, ms Koningsdam, launched in 2016.

The cruise tour begins on August 3, 2017, with a flight from Australia to Amsterdam for a two-night stay at the baroque-style Engelenburg Castle, a five-star Relaix & Chateaux property surrounded by manicured gardens in the heart of The Netherlands. A visit is also included to another grand, baroque castle at Apeldorn – Paleis Het Loo, also nestled in spectacular parklands.

Cruise Express guests then board the elegant ms Koningsdam in Amsterdam for a 14-night cruise via seven ports in Scotland, Iceland and Norway, with shore tours included at each of the destinations. In Edinburgh, visits  include the Queen's official Scottish residence, the regal Holyrood Palace, and the monarch's own, one-time yacht, Royal Yacht Britannia, as well as tickets to see the world-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle. At Invergordon, Cruise Express guests will be taken on an exclusive tour into the legendary Scottish Highlands to see the fairytale, turreted castle of Cawdor and the ghostly ruins of Urquhart Castle nestled beside the mythical depths of Loch Ness.




Calls are made at three ports in Iceland – the quirky capital of Reykjavik and the towns of Isafjordur and Akureyri with included tours taking in the tiny country's mighty volcanoes and glaciers, thundering waterfalls, exploding geysers, boiling mud pits and 40-degree, geothermal pools.

The cruise then heads east to Norway for visits to the Art Nouveau town of Alesund and the colourful, wooden houses of Bergen. Cruise Express' exclusive shore tours in Norway will take guests on a cruise along the spectacular, blue-sapphire waters of Hardangerfjord – the world's third longest fjord - and also for a panoramic ride on the Rauma Railway through the alps and below Europe's tallest rock face, the 1000m-high Troll Wall.

After disembarking back in Amsterdam, a final night is spent at the deluxe Sofitel Legend The Grand Hotel with a cruise included along the famous canals.

Including return flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth and 12 full or half-day tours, the escorted, 19-night 'Voyage of the Kings' cruise tour is available from $9990 per person, twin-share.

Call Cruise Express on 1300 764 509 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au


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