Tuesday 30 September 2008

Think Romance Australia, Think Byron Bay - here's why...

Byron Bay - The Destination
Bordered on one side by beautiful coastline and the other by magnificent rainforests, Byron Bay is ideally positioned as a centre for relaxation and romance. Situated at the easternmost point in Australia, this stylish coastal village enjoys a subtropical climate with clean air, crystal clear water and pristine beaches. In today's hectic world it also offers a chance to escape from the mundane and immerse yourself in wellness activities such as yoga and meditation or simply chill out on the beach.

Those wanting to experience the natural surroundings can enjoy activities such as kayaking with the dolphins, snorkelling and scuba diving or head inland to discover world heritage national parks and lush rainforests. While the adventurous can try tandem skydiving, horse riding along the beach, hang gliding or windsurfing. Surfing is also popular and the beaches in Byron Bay offer some excellent options, even for beginners.

The local cuisine is superb and cafes, bistros and award winning restaurants abound. The retail experience is uniquely Byron, with local artisans, and crafts people supported in a diverse range of outlets alongside internationally renowned brands. You can browse the local markets or visit one of the surrounding villages, such as Bangalow, which has a sophisticated yet rustic vibe.

Byron Beaches - Voted Sexy
Only one Australian beach made it on to a US travel website's list of the world's 25 sexiest beaches. Byron Bay was the sole Aussie beach to get a nod from Forbes Traveller, which compiled the list based on research by their own journalists, and other industry experts including tour planners, meteorologists, hotel owners and marine biologists. The far north coast NSW beach was lauded for its "chalky-white sands, deliciously temperate weather and occasional visits from dolphins and migrating whales". Byron Bay's cosmopolitan population, local festivals and nudist beach were also given the thumbs up.
Byron Bay ranked alongside other stunning destinations such as Eleuthera in The Bahamas, Lover's Beach on the Baja Peninsula, and Fiji's Natadola Beach.
Source Dec 22 2006

The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa
Set amongst a stunning 45 acre rainforest, moments from Tallow Beach and only a short drive or cycle to the iconic Byron Bay township, this resort is a haven for romance and love. The Resort has a wonderfully laid back atmosphere with exceptional service to complement the stylish design and architecture. This is a place to indulge, with nurturing spa treatments, daily yoga or simply relax on the wide open verandahs. With rainforest walks on endless timber boardwalks and luxuriously appointed one bedroom suites, The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa provides a unique opportunity to escape with your loved one and experience Natural Luxury. Relax by the 25m infinity pool or poolside sauna or experience the ultimate indulgence in the luxurious day spa. If you are feeling active you can play a game of tennis or work out in the fully equipped gymnasium. The resort also offers complimentary yoga each morning - the perfect way to start the day together or private classes can be arranged.

The spacious five star accommodation comprises 92 one bedroom air conditioned suites. Each suite contains separate lounge and dining area, plasma TV as well as two enclosed balconies. Luxurious bathrooms have deep free standing bathtubs big enough for two and the California king beds ensure dreamtime really does exist. Each suite has been designed to capture the essence of being nestled within the sub tropical rainforest.
Love Essential Package
The perfect escape for those looking to spend special time with their favourite person. An indulgent break which includes treats such as Bollinger champagne, a relaxing spa treatment and a candlelight dinner for two. A wonderful way to unwind together.
Package inclusions
- Five night's accommodation in a deluxe spa suite at The Byron at Byron Resort
- Bottle of chilled Bollinger Champagne and cheese platter in your room on arrival
- Two hour "Spa Elements" treatment per person in the Spa and Wellness Centre
- Enjoy a candlelit dinner for two in The Restaurant
- Full buffet breakfast daily
- Complimentary daily yoga class 8am daily
Contact: The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa
P: +61 2 6639 2000

The Byron at Byron Spa and Wellness Centre
The Byron at Byron Spa and Wellness Centre is a place of healing and wellbeing. We draw inspiration from our majestic surroundings to provide you restoration of the body's natural balance. In an atmosphere of tranquil peace, our team of highly trained professionals aim to make you feel nurtured and deeply relaxed. Supporting this commitment are some of the finest therapeutic products. The extensive Pevonia Botanica spa range offers natural ingredients while Environ facial products focus on vitamin infusion to deliver the ultimate in scientific skincare. Our six luxurious treatment rooms, spas, steam room, relaxation area and Vichy shower await your body and deserving soul.

Couples Spa Package - Spa Indulgence (3hr 30mins)
An indulgent interlude for two, our dual treatment room and private couple's courtyard allows you to step away from the world outside to an intimate spa experience. The journey begins with a gentle relaxation massage and energising facial in our dual treatment room. You will then move into the seclusion of our private spa bath courtyard, where you float in peace and together enjoy a sumptuous spa cuisine meal made from organic produce. Then return to the dual treatment room to complete your spa experience with a delicious foot therapy treatment.
Contact: Melinda Dunn - Spa Manager
P: +61 2 6639 2000

Celebrities Abound
In recent time Byron Bay has become a celebrity hot spot with many wanting to relax in the laid back lifestyle of Byron Bay. April this year saw Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban stay at The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa and enjoy beautiful Tallow Beach as well as dining in The Restaurant at The Byron at Byron. The Resort has also hosted Jessica Simpson and John Mayer and Barry Humphries and wife Lizzie are also regulars to the resort.

Cape Byron Lighthouse and Headland Reserve
The iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse has stood on the most easterly point of the Australian mainland for over a century, and today you can take a tour of the tower. The rugged headland, surrounded by sheltered rainforest gullies and subtropical waters, is a great spot for watching turtles, dolphins and humpback whales on their annual migration. The magnificent cliff-top walking track winds its way through diverse plant communities, offering panoramic views of the ocean and north coast hinterland. You can book a venue for a wedding ceremony, private or corporate lunch or a group picnic in the Lighthouse precinct or at one of the beautiful beaches fringing the Cape at The Pass, Wategos and Tallow Beach.
Contact: Sue Walker
P: +61 2 6685 8807

Horse Riding on the Beach
Can you think of a more romantic experience than a gentle horse back ride across miles of pristine beach. Feel the wind through your hair with rides across beautiful Seven Mile Beach or through the lush hinterland landscape. One to two hour ride sessions in groups or couples can be arranged. The two hour beach ride includes taking the horses into the sea and surfing the waves bareback, an amazing way to catch the waves.
Contact: Ramona Balshaw
P: +61 2 6687 1446

Byron Bay Ballooning
VIP Flights
What better way to celebrate that very special occasion than booking your own private balloon for a very romantic and intimate experience. There will be only the pilot and the two of you in the basket. Ideal for any other occasion where you want to float across Australia's Ballooning paradise on your own "magic carpet"
The VIP Package includes; Limousine pick up and return to your Byron Bay accommodation, pre flight briefing by your pilot, in flight photo, gourmet Champagne breakfast after flight, plus a commemorative flight certificate
Contact: Thomas Dattler
P: +61 2 6684 7880

Olivo Restaurant
Not only is this quaint French/Italian fusion restaurant the perfect place for a romantic candlelit dinner for two however this restaurant was also regularly frequented by Baz Luhrmann whilst he was completing the script for Australia The Movie. Located in Johnson Street the main street of Byron Bay, Olivo offers consistently great cuisine with daily chef specials.
Contact: James Lancaster
P: +61 2 6685 7950

Catch Cinema-Scale Romance And Adventure At Peppers Seven Spirit Bay

Romance and adventure, the two star qualities of much-anticipated cinematic release Australia, have always shared top billing at award-winning wilderness retreat Peppers Seven Spirit Bay.

And as the curtain prepares to lift on Baz Lurhmann’s sweeping epic showcasing our mystical Top End to audiences world-wide, travellers can capture its unique spirit first hand by escaping to Australia’s most secluded lodge.

The essence of Dreamtime and grand panoramas of an ancient land, which are soon to pan out on the silver screen, are an essential part of the real-life guest experience for visitors to Peppers Seven Spirit Bay, in the heart of Aboriginal Arnhem Land.

The area of myth and magic that Peppers Seven Spirit Bay calls home has belonged to the Aboriginal people for more than 25,000 years. Visitors are granted special permits by Tribal Elders, arranged by the lodge, which are bestowed on those individuals who recognise the calling to rediscover the spirit of the wilderness.

Just as tribal ancestors were entranced by this extraordinary land thousands of years ago, modern visitors will be mesmerised by Peppers Seven Spirit Bay’s mosaic of sandy beaches, open woodlands, coral reefs and unique rainforests.

Peppers Seven Spirit Bay is a delicious tapestry of natural beauty, unspoilt wilderness and complete isolation blended with luxurious accommodation, exceptional food, exemplary wine and the local charm for which Peppers is renowned.

Nestled amongst tropical forest, Peppers Seven Spirit Bay hovers on the edge of the Arafura Sea in Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, on the remote northern most point of the Cobourg Peninsula.

The property offers 23 habitats, six Premium Habitats and 17 Tropical Habitats where guests are privately lodged in stand alone bungalows, nestled in the natural environment with bush or water views allowing for complete retreat, comfort and relaxation.

Guests can savour award winning dining at Oasis restaurant featuring succulent seafood caught in nearby waters and nourish the mind, body and soul with the soothing treatments offered by the Wilderness Day Spa.

Visitors can experience the timeless land at the heart of the new film Australia for themselves with packages to Peppers Seven Spirit Bay available from $2470* per person twin share including:

• 45 minute scenic flight over the Arafura Sea, skirting Melville Island
• 30 minute land transfer to Peppers Seven Spirit Bay
• Arnhem Land entry permit
• 4 nights accommodation in a Tropical Habitat
• All meals prepared by award winning chef Luke Smith
• A selection of complimentary walks and 4WD activities
• Return land transfers and flights to Darwin
The lodge also offers accommodation packages from two nights up plus a daily schedule of activities and tours for adventurers and romantics.

These include a Champagne Sunset Wildlife Safari, clifftop dinners overlooking Coral Bay, guided wetland walks, coastal exploration trips, visiting Aboriginal rock art, discovering colonial ruins in the Top End wilderness and mingling with unique wildlife such as water buffalo, wild ponies and the only wild bantang cattle herd in the world.

For reservations please contact Peppers Seven Spirit Bay on +61 8 8979 0281, by emailing or book online at
About Peppers: Peppers manages a collection of premium retreats, resorts and hotels in beautiful locations throughout Australia and New Zealand, including NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, TAS, NT and the North and South Island.

About the movie: Australia is Baz Luhrmann's first feature film since the 2001 musical success Moulin Rouge. It centres on an English aristocrat in the 1930s, played by Nicole Kidman, who comes to northern Australia to sell a cattle property the size of Belgium. After an epic journey across the country with a rough-hewn drover, Hugh Jackman, they are caught in the bombing of Darwin during World War II. Filming began late April 2007 & concluded December 19th 2007. The film is slated for a November 13 2008 release.

* Valid until 31 March 2009 subject to availability, (Property is closed 01 December 08 -14 March 09). Not valid in conjunction with any other offer. For direct bookings only.

Get More From Your Visit to Korea with a Homestay

Korea Tourism Organization is actively planning to attract more foreign visitors to experience the true nature and spirit of Korea with its online homestay program.
There could be no better way of getting to know Korea and its people than by enjoying a homestay with a Korean family.

The online homestay program has become very popular since it began earlier this year.
These days many tourists are looking for unique and memorable experiences and the program provides exactly that.

In order to register for the homestay program online, visitors must register for membership with and proceed to log in. After becoming a member you can go direct then to the Homestay reservation area to request a booking. Once a booking is made the host and guest can introduce themselves via email in advance of their visit.

There are around five thousand homes to choose from in Korea located near major tourist destinations like Seoul, the ancient city of Gyeongju and the natural paradise of Jeju Island.

The usual cost for homestay is US$40 per night plus a placement fee of US$30. The program also offers monthly rates of US$700 per month. Breakfast is included in the fee.

Become a member of today and take advantage of a fun and interesting way to get to know the country and its people better.

Friday 26 September 2008

What's new in the Hawaiian Island

Exciting new attractions in Hawai`i are making it an ever better place to shop, explore and relax.

The Royal Hawai`ian Centre in Waikiki has had a US$115 million refurbishment and is now home to 110 shops from Bulgari to Cartier, FENDI and Salvatore Ferragamo as well as 10 restaurants.

The mega shopping mall Ala Moana in Honolulu has had a major expansion with new retail and dining establishments adding to its phenomenal line up of 200 stores.

The boutique Aqua Coconut Waikiki has completed a US$2.6 million renovation. The rooms are retro style and there is a new fitness room and hip breakfast area.

The Wyland Waikiki Hotel has added the Italian-inspired Spada Bar and Restaurant and the Spa Pure, offering in-room and poolside treatments.

Waikiki Parc Hotel now offers guests the chance to zip around Oahu in a new Lotus Elise sports car. What a way to feel the Hawai`ian wind in your hair and see the sights!

The iconic Halekulani is upgrading its Hospitality Suite, business centre and fitness room and will unveil a luxurious Halekulani Signature Suite.

The new Pearl at the Ala Moana Centre in Waikiki is a new US$2.2 million superclub with three runway-style bars and tunes by hot DJ Paul Brandon.

Waikiki Nei theatre production at the Royal Hawai`ian Centre traces the evolution of Waikiki. After the show the theatre converts to Level4 nightclub and Ultra Lounge with a huge 4500sqft dance floor.

The Honolulu Symphony has announced its line-up for the Halekulani MasterWorks 2008-9 featuring guitarist Sharon Isbin, cellist Alisa Weilerstein and violinist Cho-Liang and soprano Sumi Jo.

Star of Honolulu Cruise & Events now offers the chance to see wild dolphins in their natural habitat from aboard its new ship Hoku Nai’a, with tours by the crew, who are certified naturalists!

The 14th Annual Honolulu Festival theme has been announced: "Experience the Wonder". It will showcase the Pacific’s rich culture and traditions, from March 14-16, 2008.

The annual Romance Festival in May has R&B, pop and jazz greats in Hawai`i’s most beautiful settings. Watch this space for the 2009 line-up.

The first ever Big Island Golf Season runs Sep 9 to Nov 15 on the six islands’ 80 golf courses. You can time your visit to coincide with the annual PGA Tour, Championships Tour and LPGA.

For all enquiries, visit www.Hawai` or contact Claire Davies, Hawai`i Tourism Australia, cdavies@Hawai`

Rock ‘n’ Roll Fever Grips Norfolk Island!

Dust off the blue suede shoes and rock on over to Norfolk Island for some movin’ and groovin’ at the ‘Rock Around the Rock Festival’ from February 7-14, 2009.

Now in its fourth year, the annual festival will rock your socks off with an impressive line-up of musicians and an entertaining week of themed dinners, dance nights, workshops and tours.

The rock ‘n’ roll festival will incorporate the swinging beats of well known duo Franky and Johnny, the ever famous Dance On Band, hip group The Bob Kats and Norfolk’s very own local band – Wunna Rock!

Visitors to the island during the festival can purchase special Rock Packs, which include a welcome pack, half-day island tour, traditional cliff-top fish fry BBQ dinner, a night as a convict themed dinner as well as select dance lessons, dance nights and dinners.

The Rock Packs are additional to the holiday packages and are priced at AUD$480 per person from Melbourne, AUD$520 per person ex Sydney, AUD$545 per person ex Newcastle and AUD$588 per person ex Brisbane.

The Norfolk Island Travel Centre is offering special Rock ‘n’ Roll travel packages from AUD$1143 pp ex Brisbane, AUD$1189 pp ex Sydney, AUD$1169 pp ex Newcastle and AUD$1349 pp ex Melbourne. Included are return airfares to Norfolk Island, seven nights twin share accommodation, seven-day car hire (insurance and petrol are extra and payable direct), airport meet and greet, return airport transfers on Norfolk Island, complimentary ‘A Walk in the Wild’ tour and complimentary miniature golf. For more information phone toll free 1800 1400 66 or email Departure taxes are not included.

VisitBritain's 50th Birthday


VisitBritain, the UK’s national tourism agency, is celebrating five decades of promoting Britain as a tourism destination in Australia. From The Beatles to Bond, Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter, Mary Quant to Vivienne Westwood – just a small sample of the contemporary cultural highlights from Britain that have been lauded in Australia in the last 50 years.

The first British tourism office, the British Travel Centre, was opened in Young Street, Sydney, by Lord Carrington, British High Commissioner to Australia at the time. This was a significant move in acknowledging the strong ties between Australia and Britain as the burgeoning travel boom began to take shape.

Commenting on the golden anniversary, Judy Watkins, Country Manager for Australia & New Zealand said: “This is an incredible landmark, signifying the fantastic camaraderie between these two great nations. The desire for Australians to experience a holiday in Britain is greater than ever – currently totalling 957,000 visits year annually, we are confident of breaking the one million barrier before 2012.

She continued: “What is particularly amazing about Britain is that it is a destination that is constantly evolving and surprising. Whether you are a first-timer or a repeat visitor, there is always something new and exciting to discover. We are delighted to be celebrating the rich culture, history and heritage that the country offers, but also that contemporary twist that can be found in the regenerated cities and coastal areas. As we move forward towards the Olympics in 2012, showcasing the destination to an even wider audience, we hope to inspire future generations of Australians to keep this legacy going for another 50 years and beyond.”

To recognise this milestone achievement, VisitBritain has created a dedicated area on its website:, chronicling the best of British personalities, places and tourism experiences from 1958 to present day. The site is divided into five key areas:

Sporting prowess – the birthplace of rugby, football, tennis and cricket. Relive the glory moments of football fever with a visit to the newly restored Wembley Stadium, or partake in the quintessential English delights of strawberries and cream whilst watching your favourite players perform at Wimbledon. Reminisce about the highs and lows of the ongoing battles between Britain and Australia in the sporting arena…but don’t mention the medals!

Musically minded – from Beatlemania to Brit Pop. Take a trip down memory Lane, or preferably Penny Lane, with a Magical Mystery Tour in the Beatles home city of Liverpool and see how life began back in the 60’s for the Fab Four British exports. Soak up festival fever and be inspired to experience the unique sound of Glastonbury or the Isle of Wight, for an unforgettable taste of Cool Britannia.

Golden Guide to Britain on film – from jet-setters to set-jetters, now it’s easy to be both on a visit from Australia to Britain! Start your journey on Platform 9 ¾ and aim for Alnwick Castle for a Harry Potter tour, to add a touch of magic to your British holiday. Or indulge yourself with the ultimate aspirational lifestyle and live like Bond, James Bond, with a speedboat trip on the River Thames in London, followed by a martini-making class in Dukes Hotel and learn how to shake (not stir) 007’s tipple of choice.

Fashionably wired – Carnaby Street welcomed the world with its innovative introduction of the ‘boutique’ in the 60’s and continues to do so today, maintaining its status as one of the best shopping experiences around the globe. London’s Kings Road was all about the mini’s – the clothing and the vehicles! Home to the original stores from Mary Quant and Vivienne Westwood, this part of town still keeps the fashionistas flocking.

50 years of events in Britain – Royal weddings, momentous music events such as Live Aid and the surge of new tourism product that emerged to mark the Millennium in Britain, including the infamous London Eye, have all placed Britain firmly in the global media spotlight in the last few decades. Next year will see an unprecedented celebration of Scottish culture with Homecoming 2009, which commemorates the 250th anniversary of the birth of famed Scottish poet, Robert Burns. Many verses of Auld Lang Syne are set to be sung and there will be whisky galore with a month-long programme of events dedicated to the nation’s favourite drop taking place in May.

Dreamworld’s Koala Joeys open their Eyes to a Bigger Problem in Support of Save the Koala Day

Five of Dreamworld’s cutest joey koalas today opened their eyes to a bigger problem, when they left mum’s pouch and united to support Save The Koala Day activities.

The Australian Koala Foundation kick started Save the Koala Day at Dreamworld today with the debut of the furry youngsters before unveiling an aerial map of east coast Australia that highlights a devastating drop in the koala population.

CEO of the Australian Koala Foundation Deborah Tabart OAM shared the spotlight with the joeys.

“These captive bred koalas are a symbol of hope and while they are thriving in sanctuaries like Dreamworld, their numbers in the wild are plummeting at an alarming rate. Save the Koala Day is about telling the world that we have to do something and do it fast,” Ms Tabart said.

Ms Tabart added that more than AUD$8 million has been poured into researching and documenting 1000 field sites, with habitat mapping showing there are just 100,000 koalas left in the wild.

“The Federal Government is pushing to protect national icons under its Care for Country campaign, and there is no animal more iconic than the koala. Sadly, the two year deliberation period to assess the koala’s listing as a threatened species is simply too long,” Ms Tabart said.

The koala shares its habitat with more than 1000 threatened species and Ms Tabart believes they could be afforded protection if the koala was listed as a threatened species.

“By saving the koala, we can salvage another 900 or so species that share the same biodiversity. Given that recovery plans for each species cost around $1million each, saving the koala now will have enormous benefits for other species down the track.”

September is Save the Koala Month and AKF will raise awareness about the plight of the koala by selling koala tattoos. To find out ways to help save our koalas, visit

Dreamworld is proud to be a gold sponsor of the Australian Koala Foundation, and has the second largest population of captive koalas in the world. In conjunction with the University of Queensland, Dreamworlds koala husbandry and breeding is maintained at the highest standard ensuring captive genetic diversity.

Thursday 25 September 2008

Atlantis, The Palm Now Open

Largest Water Themed Attraction in the Middle East Opens its Doors and Welcomes First Guests

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (24 September 2008) – Atlantis, The Palm, the flagship resort of the revolutionary Palm Jumeirah opened its doors today and welcomed through the first guests. The much anticipated opening of Dubai’s first integrated entertainment resort is set to enhance Dubai’s incredible tourism proposition.

“Following an intense development period of long days and nights by a team of approximately 3,000, we are proud to introduce Atlantis, The Palm to our first guests and the public. Atlantis, The Palm is an entertainment destination that is truly different than anything that currently exists in the resort category in the region. When you combine 1,539 rooms of grand proportion, high design from talents like Jeffrey Beers, David Rockwell, Adam Tihany and Wilson Associates, an incredible water adventure at Aquaventure, a marine habitat of 65,000 marine animals, a beautiful stretch of beach, luxury boutiques, and numerous dining experiences with celebrity chef restaurants, we know we are giving people unparalleled experiences new to the Middle East,” Alan Leibman, President/Managing Director, Kerzner International said.


Each of the 1,539 guestrooms and suites in the Royal Towers feature private balconies and views over the Arabian Gulf or The Palm Jumeirah. Rates start at AED 1675++ per night and guests may choose from a variety of accommodation including the indulgent:

* Imperial Club - a ‘resort within a resort’ with over 150 rooms and suites, exclusive services and private club lounge;

* Lost Chambers Suites - each three stories high with mesmerising views directly into the Ambassador Lagoon from the master bedroom, these two suites located within the Lost Chambers create an illusion of being beneath the sea whilst looking directly into the heart of Atlantis;

* Bridge Suite - spanning the Royal Towers, a private lift takes guests 22 storeys above Atlantis for heart-stopping views of The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai and The Arabian Gulf.


Water adventures, salt and fresh water attractions and an open-air marine habitat are the focal point of Atlantis, The Palm for both guests and visitors:

* AQUAVENTURE - a water playground of over 18 million litres of water, consisting of extraordinary rides with cascades, tidal waves and rapids, and the Mesopotamian-styled Ziggurat temple reaching over 30 metres into the sky and featuring seven heart-pumping water slides – two of which catapult riders through shark-filled lagoons;

* The Ambassador Lagoon – an 11 million litre OPEN-AIR marine habitat and underwater exhibit home to several hundred species of marine life, with a viewing panel looking right into the mystical ruins of Atlantis;

* The Lost Chambers - bringing the myth of Atlantis to life through a maze of underground tunnels offering underwater views into the boulevards of the ruins of Atlantis; and,

* Dolphin Bay – a 4.5 hectare state-of-the-art dolphin education and conservation centre allowing guests the opportunity to meet and interact with one of the world’s most charismatic animals in an unparalleled facility.


17 restaurants, bars and lounges suit every taste – with choices from sophisticated seafood, innovative sushi, quick bites and foods from around the world - the doors are now open to the culinary mecca from our four famed celebrity chefs:

* World-class master chef and sushi mogul Nobuyuki Matsuhisa opens Nobu with partner Robert DeNiro;

* Michelin starred chef Giorgio Locatelli, one of London’s most talked about Italian chefs, welcomes all to Ronda Locatelli;

* Parisian sensation and two star Michelin chef Michel Rostang debuts Rostang- The French Brasserie; and,

* Three star Michelin chef Santi Santamaria, known as ‘The Architect of Food,’ opens his first venture outside of Europe with Ossiano, a gourmet seafood restaurant.

The specialty restaurants are located along The Avenues - also home to Sanctuary – Atlantis, The Palm’s state-of-the art nightclub and Dubai’s newest hot-spot.


The Avenues, a sophisticated retail promenade of over two dozen shops features top names in fashion, design and local artistry. For those looking to indulge, Cartier, Paspaley, Levant, Harry Winston, Graff, Ahmed Sedeqqi and Sons, Tiffany and Company and Chopard offer the finest jewellery. The latest in fashion can be found at B More offering Roberto Cavalli, Hamac, Lacoste, Rodeo Drive, Leonard Paris, Villa Moda, and OndadeMar. Even children have luxury fashion at Angels. For those looking for cutting edge accessories, Porsche Design, Rivoli, The Counter and Faces. Finally, Bateel Dates offers an authentic taste of Arabia.


From surreal sea life to heart-pounding water slides, even the youngest guest will be able to explore Atlantis and its deep connection to water and the ocean. Specialized programmes for toddlers to teenagers feature dedicated facilities and age-appropriate activities with the interactive Atlantis Kids Club (4 to 12 years) and Club Rush, a fully supervised ‘No Adults’ private club for teenagers and pre-teens. The Zone satisfies those looking for the ultimate gaming challenge on the latest SEGA equipment.


The new two storey 1900 square metre Spa & Fitness Centre at Atlantis, The Palm will truly raise the bar among offerings in Dubai. Guests entering this haven of relaxation and well being are welcomed with earthy hues and streaming water pathways beginning their voyage to tranquillity and onto the entryway of the 27 treatment rooms where both wet and dry therapies are offered. The Royal Spa suite with exclusive entrance includes a private pedestal jetted tub, lounge area and terrace. The Spa also offers full salon services for His and Hers pampering and beautifying sessions.

Further information: visit

For reservations call: +971 4 426 1000 or email

Select Celebrates Spring with Specials Across Asia-Pacific

Luxury accommodation marketing brand, Select Hotels & Resorts International offers sensational package deals this Spring from several Member Properties across Asia-Pacific. See below for packages from a diverse range of Select experiences including the family friendly Couran Cove Island Resort, Queensland, Spring skiers choice Edgewater Resort, Lake Wanaka and Thailand jewel Mom Tri’s Villa Royale, Phuket.

Couran Cove Island Resort, Sth Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia
Couran Cove Island Resort, located just 40 minutes by ferry from the Gold Coast mainland, is an idyllic holiday destination where you can find your space… your time… to escape, explore, relax and unwind.

Select Special:
Stay for 3 nights and receive a AU$150 cash-card to spend at the resort.

Package Inclusions:
3 nights accommodation in a Marine Deluxe Room
Full buffet breakfast daily
Return ferry transfers
Daily Bike Hire
AU$150 cash-card to spend

Valued from AUD$555.00 per person/twin share.

Terms and conditions:
Promo valid from 01 April - 26 December 2008 and 05 January - 31 March 2009.
Subject to availability at the time of booking.
AUD$150 cash-card is non-transferable and can not be redeemed for cash

Bookings: or

The Underwater World Unveiled On Lord Howe Island - Dive In And Make A Splash

Lord Howe Island is offering the opportunity to obtain a PADI Eco Dive Certificate, a 4-Day Lord Howe Environmental Dive Adventure.

With highly experienced local Dive Masters you achieve PADI Underwater Naturalist Speciality Dive Certification. Here you experience multiple and varied dive sites, each highlighting a different aspect of the pristine waters and unique marine life surrounding Lord Howe Island.

Thanks to the protection of marine sanctuary zones, the coral reefs surrounding Lord Howe are some of the healthiest in the world. In addition to spectacular coral reefs, Lord Howe is renowned as a major seagrass centre and during your series of Naturalist and Fish Identification dives you will experience these two quite different underwater environs.

There are over 490 different species of bony fish at Lord Howe Island; approximately 60% are tropical, 15 species are endemic to the area, and the remainder are sub-tropical and temperate species. On the two included Fish Identification Dives it is still possible that you will encounter unrecorded fish species! In the evenings return to the warmth and comfort of Arajilla Retreat.

The Lord Howe Environmental Dive Adventure for two people includes:
- 4 Underwater Naturalist Dives to varying dive sites around Lord Howe Island
- 2 Fish Identification Dives
- PADI Underwater Naturalist Speciality Diver Certification on completion of this dive programme
optional Balls Pyramid dive, both dependent on weather and diver experience
- 4 nights accommodation for two in a Kentia or Banyan Suite, with optional easy add-on nights
- All meals – gourmet breakfasts, light lunches, three course dinners with menu changing daily, plus morning and afternoon tea and selected pre-dinner drinks each evening.
- All dive equipment
- Environmental dive notes
- Bicycles and return airport transfers on the Island

Price of AUD$2,770.00 per person ($5540.00 for two) valid from 1 September until 30 November 2008 and from 1 February until 31 August 2009;
Price of AUD$3,010.00 per person valid from 1 December 2008 until 31 January 2009.

Arajilla Retreat's normal tariff applies for any additional nights’ accommodation.
Participants must have the PADI Open Water Diver Certificate or equivalent. There is a Balls Pyramid Surcharge of $120 payable at time of the dive trip. Please note that all dives are weather dependent and will be conducted only when conditions permit. Any dive cancellations due to weather will be subject to a full refund. However all accommodation amendments and cancellations are subject to our normal booking conditions.

Arajilla is open all year round.

Bookings can be made by:
telephone via freecall 1800 063 928

New Peregrine Adventures on the Oldest Continent: Africa

Peregrine has added new adventures to its Africa program to tempt travellers beyond the game
parks to experience the energy and diversity of the world’s oldest inhabited continent.

In East Africa, the company has introduced a twist on the typical safari with its new Essence of
Tanzania adventure, which combines a fully-supported mobile camp (with ensuite toilets) in the
best game parks with a unique and unforgettable cultural experience. There is game viewing:
elephants (and baobab trees) in Tarangire and tree-climbing lions in Lake Manyara, as well as
up-close encounters with the ‘big five’ in Ngorongoro Crater and the nearby private
conservation area. The Serengeti is the site of the greatest animal migration on earth, and the
flexibility of the mobile camp ensures the best possible wildlife viewing.

But perhaps the greatest highlight of the trip is spending time with the Hadzabe Bushmen,
Tanzania’s oldest tribe and nomadic hunter-gatherers thought to be related to the San people of
the Kalahari. Very few tourists have had the opportunity to visit their village and join in a hunt.
The 11-day Essence of Tanzania tour departs from Kilimanjaro Airport monthly between June
and March and costs $5335 per person, twin share, including accommodation, transport,
Peregrine leader, most meals, park entry fees and domestic flight.

In Southern Africa, Peregrine has introduced two, eight-day adventures that can be combined to
form the 15-day Botswana and Zambia Discovery tour. For wildlife enthusiasts, this is the
ultimate trip, combining private game reserves and some of Africa’s best-known game parks.
The trip starts at Victoria Falls and heads to remote Kafue National Park for two full days on the
watch for lion, leopard and antelope. The South Luangwa National Park has one of the richest
concentrations of game in Africa – including huge pods of hippos.

Heading into Botswana, first stop is Chobe National Park before the vast, arid expanse of the
Makgadikgadi salt pans (for quad bike exploring) en route for the Khwai River region, bordering
the Moremi Game Reserve – where spotting the ‘big five’ is virtually guaranteed! Botswana’s
most famous attraction is left until the end: the magnificent, tranquil waterways of the Okavango
Delta, where motorised transport is traded for the peace of a paddled canoe (mokoro).

The 15-day Botswana and Zambia Discovery tour departs Victoria Falls every three weeks
between June and October and costs $8895 per person, twin share, including all transport, entry
fees, accommodation, leader and domestic flight.

The cost of all Peregrine trips includes carbon off-setting the land and domestic air portion of
the trip. For further information call your travel agent or Peregrine Travel Centre on 1300 854
500. Download a .pdf of the new Africa brochure or watch a video of Peregrine’s African
adventures at

The Alan Pye Cottage superb new addition for Huka Lodge guests.

Within the beautifully manicured 17-acre grounds at Huka Lodge, Taupo, another wonderful new enhancement to this iconic New Zealand retreat is currently under construction.

Named after the charming Irishman who established Huka Lodge, along with its reputation for matchless hospitality, the Alan Pye Cottage will be available to receive its first guests December 2008. Designed by Virginia Fisher, the Alan Pye Cottage will build on and continue many of the themes established earlier in 2005 with the stunning Owner’s Cottage, also within the Huka Lodge grounds.

Privacy for guests staying in the Alan Pye Cottage will be paramount and to this end the property will have its own entrance and will be gated. It is sited to take every advantage of the unrivalled Huka Lodge aspect of the deep turquoise green waters of the Waikato River.

The Alan Pye Cottage is being built to exacting standards using the finest heritage materials - cedar and various heart timbers, stone and brick. It will draw on design elements from the 1920s and 1930s and will be a slightly eclectic yet very elegant retreat, with a definite English Arts and Crafts influence pervading the interior and exterior design.

The Cottage will boast two large and stylishly appointed bedrooms, with fireplaces, en suite bathrooms and generous dressing rooms. Both bedrooms will be superbly decorated and offer a highly considered level of comfort.

A generous open plan living room will feature a large brick fireplace, decadently comfortable furniture and everything guests will need to feel this is a true ‘home away from home’.

A well-equipped kitchen is set up for a personal chef – guests may choose to stay in or to wander over to the main Lodge and dine there. Guests at The Alan Pye Cottage have use of all Huka Lodge facilities and services as a matter of course.

A study is tucked away with desk, plasma flat screen television and sound system. This room also has its own complete bathroom should it be required to accommodate an accompanying party. A laundry is also available with the Cottage.

A heated infinity-style swimming pool and a separate private spa pool have been integrated into the outdoor landscape. There is also a fabulous stone outdoor pavilion within a courtyard garden.

The Alan Pye Cottage is certain to carry on the fine tradition of generous hospitality and elegant living established by Alan Pye and his wife, at Huka Lodge so long ago. A legacy that drives Huka Lodge to this day to continue to find more ways to define the experience for its guests and to make it extraordinary.

Depending on the season The Alan Pye Cottage daily rate range from NZ$3,060.00+GST – NZ$7,640.00+GST for two guests to NZD $4,595.00+GST – NZ$8,075.00+GST for four guests.

Rate includes pre-dinner drinks, a five-course dinner (menu changes daily), accommodation at
The Alan Pye Cottage and full country breakfast. Use of all Lodge facilities and Taupo Airport transfer.

• A surcharge applies on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve of NZ$400.00+GST per person.
• A minimum three-night stay is required between 20 December 2008 – 05 January 2009

Wednesday 24 September 2008

101 nights on Queen Mary 2 - You're Cruising!

If the idea of nearly a third of a year off to go cruising sounds like your sort of a holiday, consider an amazing 101-nights from New York to Sydney and back to New York aboard Cunard’s grand Queen Mary 2 in 2010.

This ultimate in special anniversary, birthday or even retirement gifts to yourself (or an employee,) will visit 32 ports in 21 countries between January 4 and April 15 2010 and is selling through at over 30-per cent below previously advertised prices.

A hotel night in New York pre-cruise, all 5-star onboard dining throughout the 101 nights cruise, a special World Cruise Celebration Dinner and complimentary World Cruise Gift, nightly Broadway-style shows and late-release movies, complimentary room service, gratuities, port charges, and transfers in New York are all included.

As well, an onboard spending credit of up to US$1000pp (depending on cabin category) is included in the price that starts from $24,999pp twin-share – a saving of $10,750pp – with free cabin upgrades on select cabin categories, and an additional 5% off for past Cunard guests.

Air travel and taxes are additional; for full information and a detailed itinerary phone 1300 369 848 or visit

ITINERARY DETAILS: Queen Mary 2 will sail 7-nights across the Atlantic to Southampton, then Lisbon, Civitavecchia for Rome, Port Said (Cairo,) Safaga for Luxor and Karnak, Muscat, Dubai, Mumbai, Phuket, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hong Kong where she will overnight.

From Hong Kong she sails on to Shanghai, Nagasaki, Yokohama for Tokyo, Guam, Rabaul, the Whitsunday Islands, Auckland, the Bay of Islands, Sydney (overnight,) Adelaide, Perth, Port Louis in Mauritius, Durban, Cape Town (overnight,) St Helena, Rio de Janeiro, Barbados, Fort Lauderdale and New York.

Perisher Blue: Season wrap up!

Perisher Blue is cruising through its 16th week of what has been an amazing season both on and off the slopes. 17cm of snow settled in the Resort on Monday 15 September bringing the total to 28cm since the beginning of September. Amazingly, more snow is predicted for later today! These snowfalls coupled with a good base have made for great springtime skiing and snowboarding, which should remain right up until the end of the season on Monday 6 October 2008.

Perisher Blue has offered excellent riding conditions across its four resort areas for the majority of the 2008 season. To date the total accumulated snowfall for the season is 317cm, making the 2008 season the best for snowfalls since 2004. July and August were particularly great months with an accumulated 188cm of snow received during July and 87cm in August.

Due to great snowfalls, Perisher Blue was able to open its four Fusion Terrain Parks as well as Australia's biggest halfpipe, the PlayStation Superpipe by the end of July. What a massive achievement! Tube Town was also a highlight amongst families and thrill seekers and had as many as three specially designed lanes open for guests to enjoy.

Perisher Blue also hosted a number of successful events during the season including; the Coca Cola Wild Winter Weekend, the Burton Australian Open, the Salomon Rail Slide, the Boost Sno Sho, the Pub-to-Pub Classic as well as a host of Interschool competitions. These star-studded events drew a huge crowd to the Resort eager to cheer on the competitors and join in the festive atmosphere.

According to Neil Thew, Public Relations & Business Development Manager, "Overall the season offered excellent skiing and snowboarding. Due to big snowfalls in July and August we should have fantastic springtime conditions right through to the end of the season!"

The Coca-Cola Spring Carnival was a huge success amongst families and holiday-makers. The carnival offered a host of daily entertainment from Saturday 6 September until Sunday 21 September in addition to great springtime skiing and snowboarding. Entertainment for the kids included a jumping castle and appearances by Perisher Blue's mascots Professor Nugget and friends. There was also LIVE music daily outside Jax Bar & Chargrill for the adults.

It is not too late to make the most of skiing or snowboarding this winter! There is still two weeks left, why not head to the hills for one last snowy foray for the season. The conditions are great and there are still some fantastic deals on offer including:

Spring Season Pass: Enjoy the benefits of being a season pass holder for the remainder of the season.
* From $643 (Adults)
* From $354 (Children/Students)
September Season Discount: Offering 5% off the cost of a 3, 5, 6, & 7 day consecutive mountain passes. That's a saving of $77 on a 7 day consecutive pass.

For more information please contact Perisher Blue Guest Services on 1300 655 822.

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Amazing New Years Eve Two Nights Cruise

Why not sleep on Sydney Harbour this New Years Eve and be right in the middle of all the harbour action, fireworks and parties with Captain Cook Cruises special two nights New Years Eve cruise aboard the MV Captain Cook’s Explorer.

The cruise departs No.1 King St Wharf Darling Harbour on Tuesday 30 December 2008 at midday and disembarks at Midday on Thursday 01 January 2009.

Over three days the cruise travels around Sydney Harbour as far as Watson’s Bay to the upper reaches of the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers. The Captain Cook’s Explorer cruises past the Opera House, Fort Denison, Government House, Tarango Zoo, the mansions of Sydney’s rich and famous and under the Harbour Bridge, all while the on-board commentator relates the sights history and any intriguing anecdotes.

Day trips visit beachside Watson’s Bay and its historic navel establishments; the bustling restaurant and entertainment precinct, Darling Harbour and an early morning walk around Bradley’s Head offers glorious views from the headlands and visits the old artillery emplacements.

On New Years Eve, passengers will enjoy a spectacular New Year’s Eve Captain’s Dinner while being in the middle of Sydney Harbours amazing celebrations and fireworks display.

Prices for this unique two night cruise start from only $1080 per person twin share and include all accommodation, meals, day trips and on-board facilities.

Refresh your Inner Spirit with the Korean Templestay Program

Whether you’re weary of the world or just looking for a very different experience the Templestay
Korea program offers a unique environment to reinvigorate both body and soul and refresh your
inner spirit.

Templestay Korea offers a two day experience staying overnight in one of Korea’s stunning
Buddhist temples and a chance to relax and revitalize your soul and learn first-hand about a
monastic lifestyle passed down for well over 1,000 years.

The Templestay Korea program was first launched in 2002 during the FIFA World Cup with only a
few temples offering the overnight experience and it has become so successful that there are
now eighty-seven temples participating in the Templestay program.

Templestay Korea programs allow visitors to experience Korean Buddhist culture. Guests have
the chance to participate in many of the same activities as the Buddhist monks including
meditation, meal offerings and homage services. You can also learn how to make a lotus lantern,
prayer beads and make a woodblock print. Other activities include temple tours, tours to
hermitages, tea ceremonies, Buddhist martial arts and the opportunity to have a once in a
lifetime experience in a perfectly pristine natural environment.

Most temples provide a Templestay uniform for adults and visitors should bring their own towel
and travel kit. Accommodation is usually in same sex shared accommodation. During fall and
the winter warm clothing is a must. You can use public transportation to get to your selected
temple. Some temples will meet participants with reservations at the nearest train or bus station
and escort them to the temple.

The basic two day program (including an overnight stay) costs from US$50-US$80 depending on
the temple and can be extended to three or four days for a deeper experience. A half day Temple
Life program is also available for participants with little time on their hands.

Visit the Templestay Korea website homepage or for further
information or bookings email:

A full colour leaflet of the Templestay Korea program is also available by contacting the Sydney
office of Korea Tourism Organization Email: or phone 02)9252-4147/8

Sunday 21 September 2008

All New CURL Magazine Out Soon

Curl Magazine - Goes Global. Curl Magazine has just celebrated its 3rd year, going from success to success. Issue #17, which will be on shelves early October, sees the combination of CURL NZ and CURL AUSTRALIA publications into one “global” magazine simply called CURL.

This issue we focus on surfing’s ‘Silent Assassin”, Amee Donohoe this quiet achiever leave her mark on every competition with often the only sign of her heat is those she has left dead in the water - we take a chance and find out more about what makes Amee tick.

We follow the Billabong Junior Team on a training camp to Bali, getting a glimpse of what the future holds for women's surfing.

Layne Beachley’s shows us her new book, “Beneath the Waves” and get up close and very personal with free surfer/musician, Donavon Frankenreiter whilst he was in NZ.

This is 96 pages of everything from the hottest bikini’s and sunnies to hit the shelves this summer to the women taking on the surfing world, a surf magazine for women by women.

Saturday 20 September 2008


In the late 1890s, the remaining hotel on the south bank of the Pieman River poured final drinks for a thirsty pioneer. The spirit of those pioneers is honoured with the opening of the Tarkine Hotel and Tannin Restaurant at Corinna on Tasmania’s west coast some 110 years later.

Corinna, the old mining town that once boasted more people than Hobart, has undergone a transformation over the last three years. The opening of the Tarkine Hotel follows a period of refurbishment – of miner’s cottages and the famous river cruiser, Arcadia II - and the construction of 14 new luxury wilderness retreats.

Corinna is a new eco tourism destination in some of the oldest, untouched wilderness in the world. The new hotel and restaurant complete the transformation, which will see guests coming to experience the wonders of the temperate Tarkine rainforest, and the majestic rivers that flow into the Southern Ocean.

Corinna welcomes special guests for the opening on September 19. These include Kevin Hyland (Mayor Waratah Wynyard Shire); Heather Bartlett MP; Rob Purves (International WWF Board member); and the Ellis Brothers. Mort and Alec Ellis brought the Arcadia to Corinna in 1970 and built the famous Whyte River Walk.

These special guests reflect the interest in the Tarkine, the potential for sustainable eco tourism on the west coast, the amazing indigenous and pioneering history of the region, and the increasing global significance of this special part of Tasmania.

The owners recognise the support of the Tasmanian Government in assistance with the construction of the Tarkine Hotel, and the many local people that have supported the renaissance of a significant part of Tasmania’s past.

The new Tarkine Hotel and Tannin Restaurant will be important enablers in attracting interstate and international visitors to this special part of Tasmania

Corinna Wilderness Experience is fully open for business. The Managers at Corinna, Garry Sullivan and Letitia Wilkie, look forward to welcoming people interested in nature in the raw, an escape from mass tourism.

Corinna website:

Contact: Phone: 03 64461170


* Corinna is an old mining town which boasted more people than Hobart during the gold rush of the 1880’s. From 1901 until 2005, only one person or family had stewardship of the town
* Australia’s first feature film, “Jewelled Nights” written by Marie Bjelke Petersen, was filmed at Corinna and Savage River in 1925
* Corinna is part of the Arthur Pieman Conservation area at the southern gateway to the Tarkine. The new owner, Tarkine Wilderness, has leased the town from Parks and Wildlife, Tasmania since 2005
* Over the last 3 years the town has been transformed from a run-down settlement, to an eco tourism destination that is poised to become an icon. Corinna Wilderness experience has a zero footprint, using solar power, rainwater, and removal of all waste from the site. It is mobile phone, television and plastic free.
* Corinna is set in 60 million year old temperate rainforest, untouched since dinosaurs roamed. The majestic rivers, myrtle forests, button grass plains and the wild Southern Ocean offer a unique combination of natural assets like nowhere else on earth.
* Tarkine Wilderness believes that the way to attract people to this globally significant area is by offering holidays and responsible access. Corinna is a comfortable oasis in the remote west coast wilderness.
* The opening of the Tarkine Hotel and Tannin Restaurant will encourage tourists to break their journey between Strahan and Cradle Mountain. It also enables targeted marketing to interstate and international guests for an unforgettable nature based and learning experience.
* Corinna has 20 wilderness retreats and the capacity to sleep 50 people. There are three wilderness walks that start and finish at Corinna, daily cruises on the Pieman River aboard the Arcadia II, together with canoeing, guided activities and exploring.
* Wilderness retreats are available at $175 (one bedroom) and $225 (two bedroom). Pieman River return cruises to Pieman Head are $79 each
* Corinna offers accessible remoteness. It lies on the banks of the Pieman River, about 3.5 hours drive from Launceston Airport or 2.7 hours from the Spirit of Tasmania dock at Devonport. Corinna is about 60 km north of Strahan and 70 km west of Cradle Mountain, as the sea eagle flies

Friday 19 September 2008

Six Weeks Cruising Sydney to Asia and Dubai

An extraordinary 44-nights aboard Cunard’s grand Queen Victoria from Sydney to Asia and Dubai in 2010 has been described as “the embodiment of the good life, the splendour and romance of a bygone era with modern-day luxuries, an endless round of dinners and elegant soirees, and five-star pampering in the finest British traditions…”

Queen Victoria will sail from Sydney on February 20 2010 for Melbourne, Adelaide, Albany, Fremantle (for Perth,) Exmouth, Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, Hong Kong for two days, Shanghai, Halong Bay and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Bangkok, Ko Samui, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket, Cochin and Mumbai in India, Muscat and Dubai where there is an overnight aboard.

This spectacular six-weeks-plus includes all 5-star dining, an onboard spending credit of up to US$500pp depending on cabin category, world class showroom entertainment, endless onboard sporting and recreational facilities, and one-way air back from Dubai to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Adelaide; air taxes applicable at time of booking are additional.

Prices start from AUD$13,049pp twin-share, and if booked through also include ship-to-hotel transfers in Dubai for 2-nights there at the Shangri-La Hotel – and a spectacular Dinner in the Dunes.

For full details phone 1300 369 848 or check-out ; ask also about free upgrades with select cabin categories and 5% discounts for past Cunard guests.

ADDITIONAL SHIPBOARD INFORMATION: While Queen Victoria offers the finest of Cunard White Star service in a vast range of elegant restaurants, bars and lounges, there’s equal opportunity to enjoy more casual dining and social pursuits in places like the Lido or Carinthia Cafés and The Golden Lion, a replica English pub with a range of drinks and pub-style food.

There’s also a casino, Health Club and Spa, and for younger guests The Play Zone for 2-7 year olds and The Zone for 8-12 years.

Cruise the Bay of Islands with Coral Princess and Save 20 Per Cent

Coral Princess Cruises is offering a get-in-early special for the Christmas holidays, with 20 per cent savings available on Auckland to Bay of Islands expedition cruises for departures between December and February.

The five-night Bay of Islands cruise aboard Coral Princess’s purpose-built luxury expedition vessel, Oceanic Discoverer, departs from either Auckland or Paihia, exploring the hidden coves and spectacular coastline of the far north-eastern tip of New Zealand’s North Island.

Cruising through the Bay of Islands reveals the many natural attractions that have long amazed explorers, yachtsmen and tourists, such as the Hole in the Rock – a rock ‘tunnel’ etched by wind and waves; Deep Water Cove; Roberton Island and Urupukapuka – the largest island in the Bay of Islands.

Carrying a maximum of just 72 guests, Oceanic Discoverer provides all the comforts and facilities of larger cruise ships. But unlike the big cruise ships, Oceanic Discoverer is small enough to access remote sites such as beautiful Whangaroa Harbour – where she was the first cruise ship ever to visit.

Oceanic Discoverer travels with a purpose-built excursion vessel, Xplorer, and a fleet of inflatable Zodiacs to allow passengers to intimately explore the secluded bays and inlets of this remarkable destination. On-board naturalists and experts interpret the natural surroundings, both on the ship and when guests disembark to swim in the clear waters and on guided bushwalks.

With savings of up to $1,420 per stateroom, prices start at $2,392 per person twin share with the 20 per cent discount applied. This includes accommodation, all meals, activities and excursions during the cruise, lectures and services of expedition staff on board, group transfers (one-way between Auckland and Paihia) and landing fees. There are departures from both Auckland and Paihia between December 24, 2008 and February 5, 2009.

For further information and reservations contact 1800 079 545 or visit

Gecko’s Releases the ‘Bible’ of Budget Adventure Travel with 10 Per Cent Off

Covering the globe from the heights of the Himalaya to the depths of the Red Sea, from the Western Desert to the Far East, the new 2009-2010 Gecko’s Worldwide adventure brochure is the budget traveller’s ‘Bible’.

To celebrate a year full of adventures, Gecko’s is offering 10 per cent off all new bookings (excluding Antarctica voyages) that are booked and deposited between September 1 and October 31, 2008. The range of grass-roots adventures is designed to get 18 to 40 year olds ‘under the skin’ of a destination, using local transport and accommodation, and guided by local leaders.

The new Moroccan Mosaic adventure begins in Marrakech, amid the fire-eaters, fortune-tellers and food stalls of the famous Jemaa el Fna. It then heads east towards Ait Bennaddou, travelling the ‘Route of 1000 Kasbahs’ to the Todra Gorge, for a night spent deep among the towering cliffs. In contrast to the ensuing days, a camel trip into the Sahara and bedding down in a simple desert camp after a fiery desert sunset conjures the solitude and quiet of the Bedouin lifestyle.

Fes’s souk (market) is said to have 9,000 alleyways – a maze of jostling people, donkeys, food and rug shops - and fascinating glimpses into hidden courtyards. After the sensory overload, the blue and white-painted mountain town of Chefchaouen – where Spanish is the mother tongue – is an idyllic retreat.

The 13-day Moroccan Mosaic adventure also visits the World Heritage Roman ruins of Volubilis and ends in Casablanca. It has monthly departures from Marrakech, year round and costs $1390 (or an unbeatable $1251 with discount) plus a EUR250 local payment. Prices are land only and include accommodation, some meals, Gecko’s local leader and transport.

The 14-day Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego adventure starts with a flight from Buenos Aires, south to the rugged beauty of Patagonia. With El Chalten as a base, the trip ventures into the glaciated expanse of Parque Nacional Los Glacieres, where two, full-day hikes reach the Laguna de los Tres and the base camp at Rio Blanco, from where there are breathtaking views of the towering granite spires of Cerro Torre and the Fitz Roy Massif. The group then heads to the Perito Moreno Glacier, where huge chunks of ice can be seen calving into the lake. Crossing the border into Chilean Patagonia, there are two days trekking in the spectacular wilderness of Torres de Paine National Park.

The trip begins in Buenos Aires and ends in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego. There are monthly departures between September and April and it costs $2295 (or $2066 with discount), land only, plus $355 for a local flight and US$300 local payment.

The 10 per cent discount is for new bookings made and deposited between September 1 and October 31, 2008 for travel departing by March 31, 2009.

For further information or to download a pdf version of the brochure, visit or call 1300 854 500.

Malaysia Introduces New Turtle Adoption Program

Malaysia has recently introduced a new program to add on to its wildlife conservation portfolio – turtle adoption.

This program, run by a local travel agent in conjunction with the Sarawak Tourism Board, is aimed at increasing the public’s awareness of the country’s unique wildlife, while encouraging the growth of ecotourism in the region.

Director of Tourism Malaysia Sydney, Mr Shahrin Mokhtar, says one of the most spectacular features of East Malaysia is its abundance of wildlife.

“Malaysian Borneo is a biodiversity hotspot, where environmental and eco responsibilities heavily influence the way the tourism industry operates there,” says Shahrin.

“Numerous programs have been set up by the Malaysian Government to help conserve the country’s natural heritage, including volunteer programs with orang utans and community projects, and now for the very first time, there is a dedicated volunteer program for turtles.

“This program is tailored to educate nature and animal lovers about the different endangered turtle species in Malaysia, what can and needs to be done to help protect the turtles; as well as giving volunteers the opportunity of a lifetime to be 100% hands-on with the conservation exercise.”

The turtle adoption program not only allows volunteers to get “up close and personal” to watch turtles lay their hundreds of eggs, but also allows them to get involved with the process of collecting eggs and measuring them, as well as tagging and releasing baby turtles into the ocean. The less glamorous duties of beach cleaning and patrolling are also an integral part of the program.

“Volunteer programs are fantastic educational tools to get both locals and travellers involved in new and existing conservation projects around the country.

“It’s a win-win situation where tourists gain a better understanding of the places they have visited in East Malaysia, while actively contributing directly to the protection of the country’s much treasured wildlife. Most of all, it is an amazing and memorable experience,” says Shahrin.

The inaugural program has run for 2008, with the next program scheduled from May – September 2009.

Peregrine Inaugural New Zealand Adventures on Sale

Peregrine is offering a free night’s post-tour accommodation on two inaugural departures of its New Zealand adventures.

The South Island Cycle adventure tours the back roads of the Southern Alps, between Christchurch and Milford Sound. There are challenging climbs (or vehicle transfers) and exhilarating downhills, taking in Mt Cook, the Cardronna Hotel, Wanaka, Queenstown and Te Anau. There’s an overnight cruise of Milford Sound ahead of a pedal to Lake Wakatipu, where the group boards the historic SS Earnshaw to cross the lake to Queenstown.

The nine-day trip departs on November 22 and costs $3170, per person, twin share, land-only, and Peregrine is adding an additional night’s free accommodation in Queenstown.

The nine-day Mountains and Milford trek follows the famous trails of Fiordland National Park, including the Kepler and Hump Ridge Tracks. There’s kayaking on Milford Sound (as well as an overnight cruise) and further kayaking opportunities off Stewart Island – New Zealand’s newest national park – where the group has two days to observe the island’s abundant wildlife and explore its wild landscape.

The first departure of the Mountains and Milford adventure is on December 6 and costs $3151 per person, twin share, including the local flight. For this first departure, Peregrine is offering one night’s free accommodation, post-tour, in Queenstown.

For details, call your travel agent or Peregrine Travel Centre on 1300 854 500 or visit

Join Dr Karl In Antarctica

Science guru and media personality Dr Karl Kruszelnicki will be one of the special guest lecturers on board Aurora Expeditions’ ‘Icebergs and Emperors’ voyage to Commonwealth Bay Antarctica, departing Hobart on 12 December 2008.

Dr Karl is best known for his ability to make science accessible to everyone. His enthusiasm for his subject is infectious and his weekly radio program is one of the most popular in Australia.

Also on board this special voyage will be Emma McEwin - great granddaughter of explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. The voyage plans to visit Mawson’s historic hut, the isolated base camp of the 1911 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, and the site of one of the greatest survival stories of the 20th century. Emma’s unique insight into the life of this Australian legend will be the subject of her onboard lectures.

Greg Mortimer, AO, mountaineer and veteran of more than 100 Antarctic voyages will lead the expedition. A limited number of places are still available on the 27-day voyage, travelling on the ice-strengthened vessel, Marina Svetaeva. A fleet of inflatable Zodiacs and two on-board helicopters will allow travellers to access some of the most remote regions of the frozen continent. Prices start from US$12,290pp.

Qantas Ready ToTake Delivery of First A380

Qantas confirmed today that its first Airbus A380 aircraft would arrive in Sydney at 9:00am on Sunday 21 September.

The Executive General Manager of Qantas, Mr John Borghetti, said the aircraft would be formally delivered to the airline at a special ceremony at Airbus’ headquarters in Toulouse, France tonight, Friday 19 September, local time.

“The Qantas A380 will redefine the long haul air travel experience and offer passengers greater levels of space, comfort, innovation and style,” Mr Borghetti said.

“Working with Qantas Creative Director Marc Newson, we have reinvented our international flying product – from spacious suites in First Class and a new, fully flat Skybed in Business, to a brand new Premium Economy cabin and the use of the latest technology in the manufacture of an all-new Economy Class seat.”

The Qantas A380 will be configured with 450 seats in four cabins – 14 in First Class, 72 in Business Class, 32 in Premium Economy and 332 in Economy Class.

On arrival in Sydney, the aircraft will be officially welcomed into the airline’s fleet in front of 3,000 Qantas employees and their families.

It will then undergo a program of flight training and ground activities ahead of its first commercial services – from Melbourne to Los Angeles on Monday 20 October, and from Sydney to Los Angeles on Friday 24 October.

Note: Prior to touching down at Sydney Airport on Sunday, the Qantas A380 will fly over Sydney Harbour between 8:15am and 8:50am. The flight path will depend on prevailing weather conditions.

Qantas Launches Contemporary Morrissey Designs for Cabin Crew Uniforms

Qantas has announced the launch of an all-new modern version of its cabin crew uniforms to coincide with the commencement of its A380 flights in October.

Qantas Group General Manager Customer Product and Services, Ms Lesley Grant, said that the redesigned uniforms had been created by designer, Peter Morrissey.

“Qantas launched its current Morrissey designed uniforms in 2003,” she said.

“While the uniforms remain stylish and distinctive and are popular with both our crew members and customers, the time is right to introduce a new colour palette, in keeping with our increasing focus on contemporary design and to coincide with the arrival of the new generation A380.”

>Ms Grant said the Australian designer used the textile design Wirriyarra from the Balarinji Design Studio to create the airlines uniforms.

“Australian wool suits in black are combined with Wirriyarra scarves or ties in a new ‘dusk’ print - characterised by silver and blue tones - and a dusk print dress has been created for female flight attendants,” she said.

“Qantas Customer Service Managers will also wear new ties and scarves, including‘platinum’ box weave silver for men and platinum silver for women.

“Qantas cabin crew are the face of our airline and this updated uniform is fresh, contemporary and reflects our premium style.”

In 1938, Qantas’ first male cabin crew dressed in white waiters’ jackets when serving dinner to passengers.

In 1947, female crew joined Qantas and wore a military style uniform. Qantas’ cabin crew uniform has been re-designed nine times since – in 1959, 1964, 1969, 1971, 1974, 1985 (pic right), 1993, 2003 and 2008 – created by leading designers such as Emilio Pucci, Yves Saint Laurent and George Gross and Harry Who.

Travel Today

Among today's top stories on Travel Today

Pacific Blue confirms Bali plan
Pacific Blue will commence 11 direct flights between Australia and Bali from December

Sydney tables grand plan
Sydney airport has released a preliminary draft copy of its Master Plan for 2009, outlining the airport’s expansion plans over the next 20 years. more...

Qantas A380 bound for Sydney
Qantas will take delivery of its new Airbus A380 at a ceremony in Toulouse today. The superjumbo will then fly to Sydney, where it is scheduled to land around 8.30am on Sunday morning.

19_09_2008.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Stamford Grand Adelaide wins award for Best Hotel

Stamford Grand Adelaide was awarded The Best Hotel in Adelaide, at the prestigious Hotel Club South Pacific Awards.

A ranking in the top three is the highest accolade in the annual poll with over 120,000 votes from 120 countries for the Pacific Region and 300 finalists from Australia, South Pacific and New Zealand.

Voters were asked to rate hotels on ambience, rooms, cleanliness, location, service, family friendliness, business facilities, restaurant and bar facilities, and value for money.

The following finalists from Stamford Hotels and Resorts represent the top 5% of Hotels in the Industry:

Stamford Plaza Auckland - Best Hotel In NZ - North Island
Stamford Plaza Brisbane - Best Hotel in Brisbane
Stamford Plaza Double Bay - Best Hotel in NSW
Stamford Plaza Melbourne - Best Hotel in Victoria
Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport - Best Hotel in NSW
Stamford Plaza Circular Quay - Best Hotel in NSW

Editor’s Note: Stamford Hotels and Resorts offer you an ideal hotel accommodation solution. Luxury, comfort, security, and award winning hotel service. With our nine locations across Australia and New Zealand, we are sure that you will find the hotel accommodation you are seeking at one of our city hotel locations. Whether you are travelling for business, with your family, or having a romantic weekend getaway, our luxury hotels offer the perfect environment for your next escape.

Preferred Hotel Group partners with

Strengthening online presence and direct web distribution with strategic partners

HONG KONG - September 2008 - Preferred Hotel Group partners with one of Asia Pacific's leading travel meta-search engines,, to further extend its reach to travelers booking hotels online. Through this partnership, will drive online bookers directly to Preferred Hotel Group's brand websites including,,, and

Wego searches across 100+ travel websites in the time that it normally takes to search just one. This partnership will enable Preferred Hotel Group to promote its global portfolio of over 650 independent hotels and resorts to online visitors using Consumers will see the latest pricing and room availabilities for Preferred Hotel Group member properties.

"We recognize the importance of partnerships with vertical search engines as a cost-effective channel to increase our online distribution, as well as promoting brand awareness directly to potential guests. There is no doubt that Wego will assist in significantly increasing our online market share through rate transparency," commented Mark Wong, Vice President, Marketing and Development - Asia Pacific.

Wego Founder & Chief Commercial Officer Craig Hewett said, "We are delighted to be working with Preferred Hotel Group as their portfolio offers our users a selection of the finest independent hotel and resort properties worldwide. This year is set to be a year of great growth for Wego, in terms of new product features and increasing user traffic, all of which are sure to benefit partners like Preferred Hotel Group."

About Preferred Hotel Group
Celebrating 40 years of excellence, Preferred Hotel Group is a global leader in the hospitality industry, delivering high-performance sales, marketing, and technology solutions to more than 650 independent hotels and resorts in over 75 countries. Its family of brands represents a collection of the finest hotels in the world and include: Preferred Hotels® & Resorts (, Preferred Boutique? (, Summit Hotels & Resorts? (, Sterling Hotels? ( and Historic Hotels of America? ( For more information, please visit

In September 2007, the company entered the luxury real estate market with the launch of Preferred Residences? - a membership and exchange program for luxury shared ownership resorts that provides an exceptional level of service and amenities. Properties are held to exacting standards derived from the same Preferred Global Standards of Excellence? on which the company has built its 40-year heritage in the hospitality industry. For more information, please visit

About (formerly allows travelers to search for flights, hotels, travel deals and travel research across 100+ travel websites in the time that it normally takes to search just one. Wego searches travel websites in real-time so that the latest pricing and availability are shown. Travelers are then linked through to partner websites to book. was founded in 2005 by former executives from Intercontinental Hotels Group, Yahoo!, Priceline and ZUJI. News Digital Media, the Australian digital arm of News Limited and part of News Corp (NYSE: NWS), is an investor. In 2007, Business 2.0 magazine named Bezurk as one of "31 of the world's hottest international web startups." For more information, please visit

Thursday 18 September 2008

WRD appointed as new representatives for Toberua Island Resort, Fiji

World Resorts of Distinction are pleased to announce their appointment as the representatives of the unique boutique property, Toberua Island Resort in Fiji. Toberua is an enchanting place that has been offering guests an exquisite haven away from the regular tourist track for over 40 years. WRD is very excited to be representing this established resort, in both the Australian & New Zealand travel markets. []

Melbourne's Hotel Windsor: Perfect Venue and Menu for Festive Season Celebration

Melbourne's Hotel Windsor has put grand traditional Christmas fare on the menu for the forthcoming festive season.

The landmark hotel has a range of options available for businesses and organizations looking for a special venue for year-end celebrations. The majestic Grand Ballroom, renowned as one of Melbourne's premier function venues, can cater for up to 200 people for a seated meal; the new 1 Bourke Street can seat 230 people for a banquet or cater to cocktail receptions for 400 guests; and the smaller Canberra Room and Winston Room are ideal for intimate business or social dinners.

But it's the festive season menu, available for events and functions from November 13 to December 30, which will elevate any Christmas corporate party or social gathering to a fine dining experience. Developed under the guidance of new executive chef Jérôme Trémoulet, formerly the acclaimed head chef at multi-award winning Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant in Adelaide, the menu features dishes such as lobster and crab timbale, smoked salmon roulade and Ballotine of turkey with sautéed chestnuts and cranberry pudding.

A selection of two or three courses is available for $65 and $85 per person respectively.

"Melbourne's Hotel Windsor is a renowned landmark that is ideal for all year-end corporate celebrations," Hotel Windsor CEO and general manager David Perry observed. "Our outstanding festive season menu, premium wine list and dedicated service and event staff combine to ensure every Christmas celebration will be truly memorable."

For full details of the range of venues and menu choices, or to make a booking, visit, email or call The Hotel Windsor on (03)
9633 6162.

Cook Islands

The Cook Islands is being discovered by a new generation of Australians as an affordable holiday destination with a range of new accommodation, ranging from luxurious, intimate resorts to stylish self-catered villas for families or couples wanting the comforts of home.

This unspoilt paradise in the Pacific boasts stunning geographic beauty, combined with a welcome from friendly, warm locals, all with sophisticated infrastructure but without the usual trappings of the tourism industry.

There is even a progressive dinner party in which visitors dine on delicious, authentic Polynesian cuisine prepared by locals in their own homes throughout the evening, something unheard of in most tourist regions.

Speaking at the launch of the marketing campaign in Australia, the CEO of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, John Dean, outlined the reasons why this destination is capturing so much attention.

“While always considered one of the most romantic destinations in the world, the Cook Islands have now been transformed by a new range of upscale accommodation having opened in the last two years, as well as a range of existing resorts already popular with Australians.”

“The good news for Australians is that not only are these places offering exceptional service and locations, but they also compare favourably pricewise to anything remotely similar in the region, with something to offer everyone – from great cuisine, wine and coffee to world-class diving in our lagoons,” John said.

The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation has developed a marketing campaign which highlights the strongest elements of the region:-

* Romance
* Secluded Escape
* Gentle Immersion
* My Family
* History and Legends
* Connection to the Environment
* Adventure

Over the course of the campaign, the CITC will focus on each of these attractions, hoping to appeal to various sectors of the market depending on their specific interests. They expect that the region’s pristine environment will serve as a huge drawcard for visitors, who are increasingly seeking out places that have remained unspoilt by tourism.




Virgin Blue Group of Airlines has reinforced its commitment to its New World Carrier strategy, today unveiling a suite of new product enhancements for the business market including its lie flat International Business Class beds and snazzy in-flight “V Bars” for V Australia and a new “The Lounge” facility at Sydney T2 domestic terminal.

New South Wales Premier, The Hon. Morris Iemma, attended the opening of “The Lounge” facility and also used the opportunity to join with Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, to announce the establishment of a Virgin Blue jet crew base in Sydney. The creation of the base will generate up to 1000 aviation jobs on top of the 1000 jobs announced earlier this year with the opening of V Australia’s operational base in Sydney.

The establishment of the base will include a Cabin Crew and Flight Crew training facility for V Australia and Virgin Blue Sydney-based crew. Virgin Blue intends to have 450 team members working from the base by the end of the year, including Cabin Crew, Pilots and Licensed Engineers. Projected growth figures have that number almost doubling to approximately 1000 Virgin Blue team members within five years. They will be based at Virgin Blue/V Australia’s new training centre at Botany.

Virgin Blue recently opened its B777-300ER simulator at Silverwater in Sydney for training V Australia pilots. The airline has confirmed it will further invest in Sydney-based cabin crew training infrastructure, with the inclusion of Boeing 737-800 and EMBRAER crew training devices at the Botany base.

The jet crew base represents a significant expansion for Virgin Blue operations in Sydney and comes off the back of the recent launch of new regional flights from Sydney to Port Macquarie and Albury, as well as the launch of Capital Jet services on the Sydney-Canberra route.

The airline Group is also investing in product enhancements and infrastructure for the benefit of Guests, throwing a “Lounge warming” party today for its bigger and better The Lounge at Sydney T2 domestic terminal, after it outgrew the previous facility which had a maximum capacity of 140 Guests.

In a multi-million dollar refurbishment, Virgin Blue has taken over 1815 square metres of the former Ansett Golden Wing Lounge. The space has been transformed into Virgin Blue’s flagship Australian The Lounge in the country, with comfortable capacity for 400 Guests.

Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “Virgin Blue is serious about being a viable business travel option for Australia’s corporate sector and this is demonstrated in our ongoing efforts to pre-empt the “highly desirables” for this market. We anticipated we would outgrow our smaller The Lounge facility and have had a long term plan to build Virgin Blue’s state-of-the-art flagship lounge at our busiest airport in the country.”

Since the launch of its New World Carrier strategy three years ago, Virgin Blue has progressively expanded its suite of business-friendly products and services, including the recent introduction of Premium Economy seating.

Brett Godfrey continued, “Our new Lounge is a bolder version and reflects the evolution of Virgin Blue as we continuously grow our product to better service the corporate market. It has more meeting rooms, a larger business zone as well as a larger bar area and more seating areas.”

Guests will be able to access The Lounge from the departure/arrivals concourse via lift, escalator and stairs.

Virgin Blue offers The Lounge facilities in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney and is currently reviewing opportunities to open new The Lounge facilities in other Virgin Blue ports across Australia.

During The Lounge warming party, Virgin Blue also unveiled demonstration models of V Australia’s lie flat seats which will offer a comfortable lie flat bed, complete with cosy in-flight “sleep suit”. The airline also showed off the in-flight “V Bar”, which will feature in both International Business and International Premium Economy cabins.

Brett Godfrey said, “V Australia is a contemporary and premium quality three class long haul airline and we developed the product specifically to provide an edgy trans-Pacific travel option. V Australia will offer lie-flat beds on the trans-Pacific route and two in-flight bars for Guests to mingle.”

V Australia remains on track for the scheduled December take-off of its first Sydney-Los Angeles flight*, with crew training underway, the first 777-300ER aircraft nearly complete at Boeing’s Seattle manufacturing facility and construction work starting shortly at Los Angeles International Airport.

Brett Godfrey added, “These are both challenging and exciting times for the Virgin Blue Group as we prepare to launch Australia’s newest international airline, expand our Virgin Blue domestic route network and provide a high quality, fiercely competitive and affordable airline to Australian and US travellers. Aviation is without doubt a volatile industry but as Virgin Blue has proven, it is also one that presents a great opportunity to revolutionise and revitalise travel and we relish the opportunity to do it all over again with V Australia.”

Multi award winning airline Virgin Blue and international carriers Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue currently operate a fleet of 72 modern Boeing 737 and Embraer E-Jet aircraft flying to 25 Australian and eight international destinations including New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands. Virgin Blue Group has also announced plans to launch Australia's newest international airline, V Australia, set to commence flights between Australia and the USA from December 2008.

* V Australia flights are subject to regulatory approval

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