Sunday 30 November 2008

Wrotham Park Lodge best unique accommodation in Queensland

Luxury outback cattle station Voyages Wrotham Park Lodge has been named the best unique accommodation at the prestigious 2008 Queensland Tourism Awards.

The awards were presented in a gala ceremony at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Friday November 14.

Located in a spectacular setting, 300km west of Cairns in Queensland, Wrotham Park Lodge encompasses the spirit of the Australian outback combined with a unique, luxury resort experience.

At Wrotham Park Lodge, 10 luxury stockmen's 'Quarters' perch along the rim of the Mitchell River allowing guests to relax in comfort following a day's horse-riding, mustering, quad-biking or fishing - to name just a few of the activities. At the main Lodge, guests can cool off in the pool, enjoy reading about local history in the cool comforts of the library and sip on a Pinot Noir whilst dining on world-renowned '1824' premium grade beef.

A new interactive mustering tour was introduced this season, enabling guests to get a real feel for cattle station life and the rugged beauty of the Australian Outback. Encompassing 600,000 hectares of land with around 70,000 head of cattle, mustering takes place on Wrotham Park Station from mid-May to mid-September every year. Departing in the morning, guests are taken to the centre of the mustering action on the station.

Queensland Tourism Minister Desley Boyle added: "With all the comforts of a spectacular luxury resort set on a working cattle station, Voyages Wrotham Park Lodge has assured guests of a truly unique experience and is a worthy recipient of this award."

Wrotham Park Lodge will now progress to the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards to be held in Melbourne on 27 February 2009.

qualia Opens Final Stage

qualia, Australia's newest world class luxury resort on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef, is celebrating its first anniversary by announcing completion of the final stage of development.

qualia, pronounced "kwaleea" and meaning a collection of sensory experiences, previously opened 27 Windward pavilions in October of last year, each with a private plunge pool on the expansive deck.

The elegant Beach House with a full length pool, extensive entertaining area and an additional guest pavilion also opened at that time.

The final stage includes an additional 33 Leeward pavilions, bringing the total to 60 Pavilions. The Leewards all have west facing views to capture the beautiful island sunsets.

These new pavilions echo the existing and distinctively Australian style of the resort, designed by local architect Chris Beckingham, including the natural stone and timber work which has been receiving high marks from the resort's guests.

In addition the helipad has opened for guests wanting to arrive directly to the resort by air or to take advantage of the numerous pursuits developed especially for qualia guests to explore the Great Barrier Reef and, the Whitsundays from up high.

The qualia boutique also recently opened with a beautiful array of accessories and clothing featuring labels Kenzo, Just Cavalli, Marc Cain, Camilla Franks, Bali and qualia ambassador, Collette Dinnigan.

During its first year, qualia has become known for its one of a kind "Sensory Experience Weekends". This began with a Masterclass from renowned international dessert and chocolate chef, Oriol Balaguer from Spain. The tradition continued recently when the Australian Ballet staged a spectacular outdoor performance of Wa at qualia. Wa was one of the pieces featured in the 2008 BodyTorque series. Paspaley also featured as a partner for the weekend and hosted a brunch with their leading designer who showcased their new Ribbon collection.

qualia's food and beverage has been a centrepiece of the resort. Guests enjoy the degustation and a la carte dinners and seafood barbecues which take full advantage of Queensland's finest local produce. Meals are served in qualia's two restaurants, Pebble Beach, a casual beachside dining environment for lunch and the Long Pavilion, a more elegant space for breakfast and dinner. Both restaurants offer impressive Coral Sea views.

Spa qualia also opened last October and has been a huge success, with guests booking the two signature treatments, each using Anoint aromatherapy oils developed in Australia. These have been complemented by a range of organic European treatments. The spa, which has four single treatment rooms and two couples rooms including Roman baths; a Swiss shower; steam room and a yoga and meditation pavilion is located at the pinnacle of the resort. It offers guests a whole mind, body experience focused on total wellbeing and pampering.

Since opening, qualia has become a popular short break stay for Australians, many of them returning time and again to enjoy the peace and solitude offered by the world-class resort which welcomes guests 18 years and over. Only two to three hours flight time from Australia's major east coast cities, qualia is an easy to access getaway.

This has also made it a popular stopover destination for international tourists predominantly from North America and Europe who are delighted by the distinctively Australian nature of the resort and eager to visit the iconic Great Barrier Reef and nearby Whitehaven Beach.

qualia has been lauded by the Australian tourism industry for adding much needed product to the luxury accommodation market. Tourism Queensland CEO Anthony Hayes commented that "qualia has set a new benchmark in world class luxury products. The opening of the final stage of the resort is great news for Queensland and for Australia and will help us maintain this country's competitive position in the international marketplace."

In recognition of the high standards found at qualia, the resort has recently been awarded best New Tourism Development at the 2008 Whitsunday Tourism Awards, Best New Accommodation by Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine and shared a win for the "Best Resort" category at the HM Magazine Awards. It also featured in the "It List" of the 30 best new hotels around the globe in Travel and Leisure magazine, USA. Conde Nast Traveler in the UK selected qualia as the only Australian property to put on their Hot List. qualia also made the hot list for the same publication in the USA.

qualia's pavilions can be booked for a two-night minimum. The rate for the Leeward Pavilions is AUD$1450 per night and the Windward Pavilions is AUD$1700 per night twin share. The Beach House is AUD$3100 per night. These rates include all meals and non-alcoholic beverages, non-motorised watersports and the use of a private electric two seater golf buggy throughout the stay. Prices are valid until March 2009 and exclude festive seasons.

For further information:

Booking website:
Booking email:
Booking number: + 61 (0) 2 9433 3349


qualia, Australia's newest world class luxury resort on the Great Barrier Reef, is located on the secluded and breathtakingly beautiful northern-most point of Hamilton Island. qualia has 60 elegant one-bedroom pavilions and a Beach House, each set among eucalyptus trees with postcard views of the idyllic blue, green waters of the Whitsundays. Two superb restaurants and Spa qualia cater exclusively to guests of the resort. Hamilton Island can be accessed directly from all east coast international gateway cities in less than three hours. qualia is a member of Small Luxury Hotels and welcomes guests 18 years and over.

'qualia' is deliberately spelled with a lower case 'q' as it is a reflection of the relaxed, understated nature of this property.

Friday 28 November 2008


SeaDream Yacht Club is offering an exclusive 15-per cent saving for Australians and New Zealanders making new bookings in the next two months for 2009, as compensation for our weak exchange rate against the American dollar.

"Australia and New Zealand are nine per cent of our business world-wide, and growing" said President and CEO of SeaDream Yacht Club, Larry Pimentel. "We want to see the growth from your market continue, so are giving this fifteen per cent saving exclusively to new bookings made from Australia before January 31 for any of our voyages in 2009 in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

"It means that instead of buying holidays on our mega-motor-yachts SeaDream I and SeaDream II at current rates against the American dollar, you're really be buying them 15 per cent closer to the US$, which we believe is a great incentive.

"With our voyages being all-inclusive of 5-star dining, no-charge bars and wines with lunch and dinner, nightly pre-dinner cocktail parties, free use of a 50-course golf simulator, a fitness centre, and onboard gratuities, this 15-per cent saving means exceptional value for luxury, top-of-the-range holidaying."

SeaDream I and II carry just fifty-five couples each served by 95 crew and were recently named by the prestigious Berlitz Guide the world's Number One 5-star ships; they sail in the Mediterranean from May to October, and in the Caribbean from November to April, calling at many highly sought-after exotic ports and secluded islands inaccessible to larger cruise ships.

This offer applies to new bookings only received between December 1 2008 and January 31 2009. Certain restrictions apply and may not be combined with any other offer; see travel agents or check-out


Off-the-beaten track Far Horizons has two unique tours for the truly inquisitive and adventurous in 2009: 24-days exploring Turkey and the independent state of Kurdistan in Northern Iraq in April, and 21-days through Lebanon, Syria and Turkey with the highlight the annual Baalbeck Festival in July.

The rare opportunity to visit Kurdistan will bring with it such surprises as thriving cities and towns, lush mountain regions, friendly people of Indo-European origin with their own parliament, flag, language and culture. There are luxury-car showrooms, modern supermarkets and 5-star hotels in the main cities and resorts, with others under construction.

And although largely Sunni Muslim (with a scattering of Christians, Jews, Yazidis and other sects) there's a liberal attitude towards alcohol in restaurants and hotels; sightseeing includes ancient palaces, souks (markets,) and fertile farmlands, the site where Alexander the Great defeated the Persian King Darius III, and even a "get-to-know-you" picnic with local residents in a park of roses and fountains patterned after those in Geneva.

The Baalbeck Festival that's the highlight of the Lebanon, Syria and Turkey tour in July is the oldest festival in the Middle East, featuring a wide program of dance, theatre, opera, jazz, modern music – and this year an Australian Ballet performance.

For fully-detailed itineraries of both these unique tours that are fully-escorted from Australia and include return air and taxes, all meals, all ground transportation and local guides, entry costs to attractions, and gratuities, phone 1800 083 141 or visit



Two full days to explore the treasures of Russia's St Petersburg are a highlight of a 24-night cruise-tour with next August that includes a luxury 10-night mega-liner cruise from Copenhagen through the Baltic States, and on return to Copenhagen 12-nights escorted coach touring through Denmark, Norway and Sweden to Stockholm.

This package for those seeking something beyond the norm, also includes two nights in Copenhagen, and an overnight in Oslo, and is priced from $11,149pp twin-share including return Early Bird air from mainland capitals, Cairns and Darwin; air taxes and fuel surcharges are additional.

After a night in Copenhagen on August 3 next year, guests sail 10-nights on the luxury 116,000 tonne Emerald Princess for Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallinn, Gdansk, Oslo and back to Copenhagen.

There's a leisure break for sightseeing back in Copenhagen, followed by a luxury coach tour from there for 12-nights to Oslo, Lofthus, Bergen, Flam, Balestrand, the Briksdal Glacier, Loen, Geiranger, Oslo and Stockholm.

Cruising aboard Emerald Princess includes dining in a choice of Traditional, Anytime, Specialty and Casual restaurants, nightly live entertainment, and facilities that include five freshwater pools, a sports court and jogging track.

The coach tour includes 11-nights hotel accommodation, an overnight on a lake ferry in an outside cabin, 17-meals, guided city tours of Copenhagen, Bergen, Oslo and Stockholm, tour escort and entry fees.

For full details phone toll-free 1300 369 848 or visit


Go Glamping!

TRAKKA Torino Offers Australia's Most Stylish Alternative to Camping

Glamorous Camping doesn't need to be an oxymoron. Motorhomes have advanced dramatically in the past decade and now offer state-of-the-art space and energy saving designs encapsulated in luxurious fit-outs. TRAKKA Torino vehicles are like having your own hotel suite whenever and wherever you want it. With room for four seated passengers and two sleeping guests it provides the perfect getaway vehicle for a romantic escape, a fun holiday with the kids or just some solitary chill-out time. No need for making reservations or struggle with tent poles - the TRAKKA Torino will allow you the freedom to just go. Simply pull up, pour a glass of champagne and admire the uninterrupted view.

The vehicle enables you to enjoy the best of a camping-style holiday without exposure to the uncomfortable elements. The TRAKKA Torino comes standard with a comfy double bed, fully equipped bathroom with hot shower, gas stove, refrigerator, state of the art power systems for remote camping and many options such as room heating, solar-charging systems and even the latest HD Digital TV/DVD

With the reputable Fiat badge, the TRAKKA Torino has a turbo diesel engine that gives car-like performance and delivers excellent fuel economy, with customers regularly recording less than 10 litres per 100 kilometres.

The TRAKKA Torino starts from AUD$90, 000.


Hawaiian Airlines has today released red hot fares to six key destinations on the US west coast- Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego.

The “Catch the Wave” fare, starting from AUD$2024 ex Sydney including taxes, will offer Australians a range of combination holiday options.

Travellers will have the opportunity to fly into one US mainland port and out of another, enabling them to hire a car and explore various cities and attractions, but all this at their own pace and convenience.

In addition to fly-drive holidays, “Catch the Wave” fares also allow passengers to make a stopover in tropical Hawaii at no additional cost.

“Passengers will have the opportunity to experience the excitement of the US mainland, as well as the relaxation and romance of tropical Hawaii,” said Sherilyn Robinson, Sales and Marketing Manager Australia for Hawaiian Airlines.

“Catch the Wave” fares are also available from a range of other Australian ports including Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Canberra from AUD$2174, Adelaide, Hobart, Launceston and Cairns from AUD$2364 and Perth from AUD$2524. Domestic travel is with Hawaiian Airlines Australian interline partner, Virgin Blue.

Taxes are correct as at 28 November 2008, and some conditions apply.

Don’t miss your chance to catch the perfect wave! This fare is only available for sale until 19 December 2008, for travel from 01 February until 31 March 2009.

To make a booking, contact your AFTA travel agent, or call Hawaiian’s toll free number on 1300 669 106. For more information about Hawaiian Airlines, visit

Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove Special Offer


2009 will see Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove celebrate its 21st Birthday and the celebrations have already begun.

Book to stay at this award winning resort from 8 December to 31 January, 2009 and celebrate Hyatt's coming of age with a special '21% off your stay' offer.

Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove is one of the Gold Coast's favourite resort hotels and is situated on the northern end of the Gold Coast in the exclusive residential community of Sanctuary Cove.  The luxurious resort hotel was named Australia's Leading Golf Resort 2007 and 2008 and is also home to the magnificent one-acre salt water beach lagoon pool which was recently listed as one of the country's best resort pools.

A stay at Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove is perfect for families wanting to holiday on the Gold Coast but not be right in the heart of Surfers Paradise.  Hyatt is only a short drive from the Gold Coast's major theme parks and adjoins The Marine Village which offers over 90 specialty tenants including restaurants, cafes, a movie theatre and boutiques.

There's no better time to stay at this resort.  The '21% off your Stay' offer is available to book from 1 December 2008 through to 24 January 2009 for stays through to 31 January 2009.  

For more information on the award-winning Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove and the '21% off your Stay' offer visit or call reservations on 13 1234.

About Global Hyatt Corporation

Global Hyatt Corporation, one of the world's premier hotel companies, offers today's travelers more than 730 hotels and resorts around the world in 45 countries. The company's affiliates own, operate, manage and franchise Hyatt-branded hotels and resorts under Park Hyatt®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt Resorts™, Hyatt®, Hyatt Place® and Hyatt Summerfield Suites® brands. In April 2007, Hyatt launched its newest global brand, Andaz™.

Global Hyatt Corporation is also the owner of Hyatt Vacation Ownership, Inc., operator of Hyatt Vacation Club® and fractional residential properties and U.S. Franchise Systems, Inc., which franchises Hawthorn Suites and Microtel Inn and Suites. Reservations for any Hyatt hotels worldwide may be obtained by calling your local Hyatt hotel, Hyatt Worldwide Reservations Centre or logging onto

APT's Australia film travel product examples

If you are looking for product examples of Kimberley experiences around the film Australia, below are details re APT which knows this country exceptionally well, having operated adventure tours there for 16 years.

APT is the only operator with access to permanent accommodation at Mitchell Falls, the biggest inland water falls in the Kimberley, where helicopter flights are part of some of APT's packages.

The region's rugged escarpments, deep gorges with their cool rock pools and waterfalls, expansive cattle land, tropical wetlands, wildlife and an association with local Aboriginal people are presented by APT, primarily through its range of small group 4WD wilderness adventures which include permanent tented wilderness camps, complete with the comforts of ensuite bathrooms and cooks on hand to dish up evening meals around the camp fire.

More than 300 departures are available for APT small group 4WD wilderness adventures – maximum 20 people -- all offering a high degree of discovery, made possible by 4WD vehicles custom-built for Kimberley terrain.

Key features of the APT holidays are Advanced EcoTourism certification for sustainable tours and camps, the 4WD vehicles, APT's own award-winning permanent, fully-hosted lodges and camps in The Kimberley and a unique partnership with the Wunan Foundation -- which represents the local indigenous people of the East Kimberley -- has allowed APT to build an exclusive lodge and network of permanent camps on remote Aboriginal land.

A good example is the 15-day Broome-Broome Kimberley Complete adventure, priced at $5495 per person twin share with departures from April 28 to October 8. Discounts of $400 per couple/$200 per person are offered on some early and late season departures.

The price includes touring, accommodation, 34 meals, cruises, sightseeing and park fees.

Included in the itinerary are Mitchell Falls, discovering Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek, Gibb River Road, hiking and swimming at Bell, Barnett River and Galvans gorges, viewing Gwion (Bradshaw) rock art, Emma Gorge at El Questro, cruising the Ord River and Lake Kununurra, the world-heritage Purnululu National Park and cruising Geikie Gorge with a Bunuba guide.

Accommodation includes Ungolan, Imintji, and Marunbabidi wilderness camps as well as the award-winning Bungle Bungle Wilderness Lodge.

For more information, contact call 1300 656 985, visit or see a travel agent.

Christmas bookings spike due to squeeze on household budgets

The Australian tradition of caravan and camping holidays for families over the Christmas break is making a resurgence due to the squeeze on household budgets experienced in 2008.

Australia’s largest owner and operator of holiday parks, Discovery Holiday Parks, is already experiencing an increase in bookings for December and January across its 40 sites compared to the same time last year.

Compared to the same time in 2007, Christmas bookings for Discovery Holiday Park’s cabins are booked up by 20 per cent are full at some of the more popular parks, including South Australia’s Robe, Victoria’s Warrnambool and New South Wales, Eden and Pambula Beach.

Furthermore, not wanting to sacrifice their holidays, some families are opting to stay closer to home or for longer periods to save on associated travel costs.

Discovery Holiday Parks Chief Executive, Tim Dodds says the financial pressures due to rising interest rates, petrol and food prices is leading holidaymakers to reacquaint themselves with their own backyard.

“According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the cost of living for an average household increased by 5.7% in the last financial year – a figure which hasn’t been seen since 2001. This is having an impact on non-essential spending such as holidays,” Tim said.

“We’re finding a growing number of Australians are choosing to travel closer to home where they can still experience a relaxing and memorable holiday without the expense of traveling interstate or overseas,” he said.

A seven-night trip to Fiji for a Sydney-based family of four costs around $4,500 for flights and apartment-style accommodation. For the same family to travel to Pambula Beach and stay in a cabin at Discovery holiday Parks for seven nights, they would spend approximately $950 including petrol to and from the holiday park.

With six kilometers of white sand beaches and the spectacular beauty of the Sapphire Coast, Pambula Beach provides an equally memorable and more affordable alternative to overseas travel.

“And with value for money becoming even more paramount, self-contained holidays are the emerging winners whereby people can choose to cook for themselves and utilise the resort-style facilities at the holiday park which are all included in the overall accommodation package,” Tim said.

“We are continuously working hard to meet the demand for deluxe-style, affordable, family friendly and memorable holiday experiences for guests of all ages and interests.”

Tips for holidaying on a budget:

# Do your research – ensure you are getting the best value for money and that there are no hidden costs
# Book early to ensure you can get the accommodation you want and not be forced into paying more due to a lack of availability
# Investigate any early bird packages
# Consider your priorities when it comes to choosing a holiday destination – do you need to travel as far to have the best holiday experience possible?
# Use your shopper dockets for discount petrol and try to buy petrol on cheaper days such as Tuesdays
# Consider staying in cabins rather than the expense of towing a caravan which can prove costly in petrol
# Cook your own meals or pack a picnic rather than dining out, leaving it to special occasions only
# Keep the kids entertained on the cheap; take a footy, frisbee, cricket bat, some games

Discovery Holiday Parks are located in some of nation’s most scenic and idyllic locations, the majority of which are major tourism regions with easy access to beaches, national park or local attractions. More than 70 per cent of the parks are in premium waterfront location with a network of no less than four quality parks in each state.

For further information on Discovery Holiday Parks go to the website at

Tuesday 25 November 2008

New Sydney Cocktail Cruise

Enjoy warm summer nights on Sydney Harbour with Captain Cook Cruises new Cocktail Cruise. Perfect for Christmas get togethers or fun catch-ups with friends, the summer Cocktail Cruise departs after work at 5.30pm daily, from Jetty 6, Circular Quay.

This one and a half hour cruise onboard the prestigious Sydney 2000, is all about kicking back and relaxing, soaking up the last rays of sunshine and taking in the picturesque harbour sights, all while sipping on a cocktail or two.

The Cocktail Cruise includes a complimentary cocktail of the day or glass of wine, beer or champagne and refreshments. A licensed bar also operates onboard.

Returning to Circular Quay at 7.00pm the Cocktail Cruise is a great way to start the evening or the perfect end to a hectic day.

The Cocktail Cruise is only $37.00 for adults and $19 for children.

For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises +61-2-9206 1111, Email: or visit

Sunday 23 November 2008


A genuinely out-of-the-ordinary holiday package that includes an 8-night luxury cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore, a hotel night in Hong Kong pre-cruise and another in Singapore post-cruise, also comes with a three night luxury stay at the unique Banyan Tree Bintan Resort – yet through is selling from just $2849pp twin-share, including return air from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Adelaide*.

And that price also includes all dining and gratuities aboard the Italian-stylish Costa Allegra, return 50km ferry transfers between Singapore and Bintan, and all land transfers in Singapore and Bintan. has this 13-night package available on select dates between May 8 and October 9 2009; Costa Allegra's 8-night cruise visits Manila, Kota Kinabalu on Borneo in Malaysia, Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei and there is a night aboard ship in Singapore as well as a night in the Novotel Clarke Quay Hotel – giving two full days in the Lion City for shopping and sightseeing.

The 3-night stay at the tranquil Banyan Tree on Bintan Island overlooks the South China Sea from its rainforest location, with breakfasts included daily; the Resort has a Greg Norman-designed championship golf course, tennis, pool, its own secluded golden beach, and baby-sitting and childcare facilities.

For full details phone toll-free 1300 369 848 or visit *Air taxes applicable at time of booking are additional.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS COSTA ALLEGRA: this intimate 28,000 tonne ship carries just 800 passengers in stylishly Italian comfort, and features a unique restaurant with a totally glass wall that offers uninterrupted views of the sea and horizon from the stern.

A glass atrium three decks high has a dome that opens to provide 360-degree views of the sky by day or night, and there's a pool, jogging track, fitness centre, live stage productions, late-release movies and a casino.

Three separate dining outlets offer dining ranging from casual to the finest Italian regional cuisine, there are five bars, and also a disco.

Saturday 22 November 2008

India & The Maldives Brochure Now Available

Travel Indochina presents:Handmade Holidays: India & the Maldives

Travel Indochina is excited to announce the launch of its new Handmade Holidays: India & the Maldives brochure.

The brochure is currently being distributed to travel agencies across Australia.

The Travel Indochina Handmade Holidays range provides travellers with a specially-selected range of travel products from across India. The focus is on heritage and boutique-style accommodations and unique touring. The brochure also contains the full range of Travel Indochina's signature Small Group Journeys in India.

In India, hotels include colonial-era icons, historic merchant homes converted into charming guesthouses and spectacular palaces – some still home to the descendents of former maharajas. Our Maldives resort offerings include the new Six Senses Latitude Laamu, opening in early 2009.

Touring packages include our handy City Stays, which provide an all-inclusive itinerary in the most popular centres like Delhi and Mumbai. Standard, Superior and Deluxe options means there's something to suit every budget. There are also a good range of popular itineraries for first time visitors to India, like the 6-day 'Golden Triangle' (from $930pp twin share), which includes Delhi, the Taj Mahal and Jaipur.

Two exciting new tours will take travellers to some of the lesser-visited regions of the spectacular Indian Himalaya:

The 5-day 'Hidden Ladakh'(from $519 pp twin share) explores the dramatic high altitude landscapes and colourful Tibetan Buddhist culture of one of India's most remote and exotic regions.

On our 3-day 'Darjeeling Estate Experience' (from $811pp twin share) travellers stay on a historic tea plantation and experience estate walks, tea tastings, beautiful mountain vistas and a visit to the world's most famous tea town, nearby Darjeeling.

For wildlife enthusiasts, India remains a must-visit destination. New offerings for 2009 include:

The 4-day 'Kaziranga Rhino Safari' (from $764pp twin share), which guarantees sightings of the Indian one-horned rhino and other wildlife including deer, Asian elephant, water buffalo and with luck, a tiger.

Our 3-day 'Temples & Tigers' (from $1075pp twin share) combines the World Heritage-listed Khajuraho temples with Bandhavgarh National Park, possibly India's premier tiger-viewing habitat.

Many itinerary and hotel prices have been reduced since 2008, and so offer even better value for India travellers in the coming season.

Contact Travel Indochina on 1300 362 777 for more information on any of our India products.

Friday 21 November 2008


From TRAVEL TROLL - Travel News Clearing House

HOLIDAYMAKERS already planning on being in Britain or Europe during the 2009 Northern Summer, can include in their time there a 14-night cruise to the fascinating Baltic region and Russia's St Petersburg at a saving of over a third off the normal price if booked Early Bird through Cruiseco.

The classic 600-passenger Saga Rose that operates cruises exclusively for the over-50s, will sail from Southampton on August 25 2009, transiting the Kiel Canal, visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Karlskrona in Sweden, Stockholm, medieval Tallin in Estonia, overnight in St Petersburg, visit Helsinki, ancient Riga in Lithuania, Gdynia in Poland and transit the Kiel Canal back to Southampton.

Cruiseco's Early Bird prices for bookings made before February 26 2009 include all onboard fine dining, entertainment, onboard gratuities, and such diversions as traditional daily English afternoon teas, ballroom dancing to a full orchestra, classical concerts, lessons in the onboard Computer Learning Centre, and guest speakers covering a diversity of subjects.

Early Bird cruise-only prices from Southampton begin from $5395pp twin-share for the full 14-nights including gratuities and port charges; for full details phone 1800 225 656 or visit for the name of your nearest Cruiseco cruise specialist Australia-wide.

Taiwan - an economic and exciting Island

A series of retailer functions sponsored by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau were held recently in Newcastle, Sydney, Brisbane, Wollongong and Auckland giving agents the opportunity to discover why Taiwan is the Treasure Island.

Taiwan is a highly cost effective destination offering value for money every step of the way - from food, accommodation, local travel, shopping and entertainment, all wrapped up in a unique but familiar Asian culture.

Taiwan also offers the added advantage of direct flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Taipei and beyond to Europe and the Americas, making it a perfect stopover location. Both China Airlines and EVA Air fly direct to Taiwan regularly with a comfortable nine hour flight to Taipei.

Unlike many travel markets – travel to Taiwan is showing growth - and this market holds a very healthy share increase of 37% from the same period last year.

For Australians travelers who enjoy Asian culture, Taiwan offers a smorgasbord of delights; vibrant cities and historic towns, fresh and varied cuisines to tempt the taste buds, lush forests and clean city streets.

In Taipei, visit Taipei 101, currently the world's tallest building; National Palace Museum with more than 620,000 relics dating back over 5,000 years, temples, night life, performing arts, shopping malls and night markets. Or perhaps a day trip to Yangmingshan for nature walks, Yeliu to view the rocks eroded by the sea and wind, old gold mining town of Jiufen; wood carving capital Sanyi or Yingge for ceramics. Serene Sun Moon Lake; the zig zag Alishan railway and Taroko Gorge with cliffs of marble are an easy short trip from Taipei.

Major events to be held in Taiwan in 2009 include the Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival; International Orchid Show; Cherry Blossom Festival and sporting events - World Games and the Deaflympics.

Join the growing numbers of travelers who are discovering Asia's best kept secret - Taiwan, the Treasure Island.

For further information go to

Thursday 20 November 2008

Peregrine Brings Together the Best Culture & Wildlife Adventures Worldwide

From Traveloscopy travelblog: stories, tales and yarns from the world of travel
Peregrine has drawn together the best cultural and wildlife adventures from around the world into its annual collection, with trips as diverse as trekking to see the mountain gorillas of Rwanda or the pandas in China; exploring the pink city of Petra in Jordan or the 'Lost City' of Machu Picchu in Peru.

Adventure travellers can book confidently knowing no currency surcharges will be added to any Peregrine trips worldwide, departing through until 31 August 2009, following Peregrine's recent announcement guaranteeing the current pricing of its new Cultural and Wildlife brochure.

The 10-day Vietnam Culinary Journey combines culinary and cultural experiences, tantalising the taste buds with diverse regional cuisine, under the tutelage of local experts. The trip starts in Hanoi with a cooking class at KOTO restaurant, a community project that supports underprivileged young people. There is a cruise among the 2000 limestone islands of World Heritage-listed Halong Bay aboard a traditional junk, and in Hue, the last imperial capital of Vietnam, a visit to the mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc and the ruins of the Purple Forbidden City. There is a full-day cooking tour in Hoi An, meeting with local farmers in the fields and markets, gathering spices and other fresh ingredients to use in a cooking class at the Red Bridge cooking school. A highlight of the trip is a cooking lesson with the TV celebrity chef, author and restaurant owner, Ms Dzoan at her French villa in Saigon.

The Vietnam Culinary Journey costs $1885 per person, twin share, including a local flight, transport, accommodation and most meals. Departures are scheduled each month from January 2009 to July 2010.

The 15-day Galapagos with Cusco & the Sacred Valley adventure combines two of Latin America's most remarkable experiences. Ecuador's remote Galapagos Islands – explored from aboard the 16-berth Peregrine Endeavour - are home to one of the planet's most bizarre and prolific collections of wildlife, as well as dramatic volcanic landscapes and lush cloud forests. While science can explain the provenance of the Galapagos's uniqueness, mystery still surrounds the history of the Incan empire in Peru. The remains of the ancient civilisation radiate from Cusco, the one-time Incan capital, where meticulous Incan masonry forms the foundation of many public buildings. Further out, in the Sacred Valley, is the colourful market town of Pisac and the imposing fortress ruins of Ollantaytambo. The final highlight is a trip by train to the 'Lost City of Machu Picchu', perched on a mountain saddle overlooking the Urubamba River.

Prices for the Galapagos with Cusco & the Sacred Valley adventure start from $4515 per person, including local internal flight, experienced English-speaking naturalist on the three-night cruise; Peregrine tour leader in Peru, accommodation, most meals, transport, sightseeing and entrance fees. There are six departures from July to December 2009 and seven departures from March to July 2010.

For more information contact your travel agent or Peregrine Adventures on 1300 854 500 or visit

Aussie Dollar Remain Great Value For Australian Travellers to Korea

Despite the plunge in the Australian dollar against the US and other major currencies the dollar remains high against the Korean Won. On the 18 July this year the Australian dollar was worth 1,000 Korean won at a record high, but today it still remains at around 930 Korean Won (as at 19/11/2008) offering great value to Australian travellers to the country.

Korea is coming into winter and its ski resorts will soon be luring many visitors for the Christmas/New Year holiday periods. If you are looking for a different kind of Christmas celebration and plenty of snow as well as some ski practice then Korea offers a lot of fun over this coming holiday season. Seoul city is abuzz with the Hi-Seoul Winter Festival with beautiful Christmas lights and entertainment during the lead-up to Christmas and most of Korea's ski resorts open in early December.

Some of the best ski resorts are on the east coast of Korea in the province known as Gangwon-do. The region has the highest mountains and best ski runs in the country.

Resorts such as Phoenix Park have night skiing until 5am in the morning, so here you can ski all day and all night if you want. The resort has 12 internationally rated ski slopes, five restaurants, a swimming pool, bowling centre, karaoke, health centre and cafes, bars and nightlife,.

Another popular resort for Australians is Yongpyong Resort known as Dragon Valley which hosts a great Fun Ski Festival which includes competitions, performances and entertainment. Yongpyong Resort has Asia's longest gondola ride and successfully hosted the World Cup Ski Competition in 1998 and 2000 and Winter Asian Games in 1999. Yongpyong has twenty seven slopes and an average of 250cm of snow every winter makes Yongpyong one of the best ski resorts in the world.

Korea will host of the 2009 FIS Snowboard World Championships from 14-24 January with over 1,200 participants from fifty countries. The main venue for the championships is the Hyundai Sungwoo Resort. The main events – Parallel Giant Slalom, Parallel Slalom, Halfpipe and Snowboard Cross will be held here. Organisers are promising a 'Festival of World Cultures' for the many people who will compete and watch the events.

For those not interested in skiing Seoul city is a great place to be with the Christmas celebrations. A massive ice-skating rink appears in the City Hall Square each December along with some of the most beautiful Christmas decorations anywhere in the world. The Hi Seoul Winter Light Festival will be held from 15 December for one month with the spectacular 'Lumiere' Christmas lights display all over Seoul. Seoul also comes alive on New Year's Eve with a massive fireworks display over the Han River.

Winter is a great time to rug up with a scarf and gloves and take a walk around the city's beautiful royal palaces – Seoul has five stunning royal palaces which are even more spectacular when covered with a fresh snowfall. For families with children the ice-skating rink at Lotte World and its attached theme park offers great indoor fun on extremely cold days.

The best way to warm up in Seoul is by trying some of the super hot street food like the spicy rice cakes (Tteokbokki) if you can't say it, just point, they are the round tubes floating in the very hot looking sauce. Try some spicy sausages or fiery chicken at the street stalls which are set up all over the city.

And after the Christmas period come the winter sales like in any city around the world.

Bargains abound at all the major department stores at greatly reduced prices at this time of year. Seoul city is a shopper's paradise at anytime of the year but particularly during the winter sales the variety of goods and prices are most favourable.

To plan your winter holiday in Korea contact Korea Tourism Organization for the new 'Winter in Gangwon-do' brochure as well as the general 230 page full colour Korea guidebook available free on request by email: or phone: 02)9252-4147/8

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney erupts with an exclusive $AU150,000 BIG BANG New Years Eve Package

Imagine occupying the entire top level of the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney during the 2008/2009 New Years Eve celebrations: overlooking the city's iconic Harbour Bridge from your front row suites as it erupts into a myriad of colourful fireworks with panoramic uninterrupted views.

For $AU150,000, the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney's BIG BANG New Years Eve package will provide one party of sixteen an experience to remember with exclusive access to Level 34 for seven consecutive nights over the New Years Eve period.

This exclusive privilege comes with its own select privileges including Limousine Airport Transfers, a private Chef's Table dinner for up to sixteen guests, signature Sodashi spa treatment for each adult guest, accommodation throughout the hotel's top suites including three Executive Suites, two Royal Suites, one Deluxe Royal Suite and the hotel's premier Presidential Suite.

This year's celebrations promise to be more spectacular than ever with festivities commencing at the stroke of 9pm when the Harbour is lit by the magical Family Fireworks show consisting of six firing barges strategically placed throughout the Harbour. Elevate your bird's eye viewing experience even higher by listening to the specially synchronised fireworks soundtrack which can be tuned through the in-room entertainment systems.

Immediately following the 9pm fireworks over 50 illuminated vessels will make a majestic passage of the Harbour, glittering with emblems displaying the evening's mystery theme. All will then be revealed as the Harbour Bridge takes centre stage at the stroke of midnight, exploding with a big bang to mark the start of the New Year in a spectacular fireworks display.

Not only will you be welcoming in a New Year, you will also be one of the first to stay in the hotel's recently updated top suites. In 2008, the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney will replace all carpeting, wall coverings and loose furniture to reveal a contemporary residential decor, fitted with modern and timeless fixtures set amongst a rich & textural colour scheme.

Package inclusions:

• Seven nights accommodation in the hotel's top suites including the premier Presidential Suite
• Exclusive access to the hotel's top floor, Level 34
• Limousine Airport Transfers on arrival and departure
• Access to Executive Club, with breakfast daily, coffee & tea service throughout the day, cocktails and canapés during the early evening
• Go behind the scenes for a unique Chef's Table culinary experience. Located amidst the organised chaos of a working kitchen, the stainless steel Garde Manger work surface will be transformed into a dining table for up to 16 guests. Dinner includes five courses with paired wines
• Ninety-minute spa treatment for each adult guest

To book the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney BIG BANG New Years Eve Package please call +61 2 9250 3100 or visit Terms and Conditions apply.

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney is conveniently located in The Rocks at 199 George Street, Sydney. For general enquiries ph. +61 2 9250 3100 or visit

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Nicole and Hugh were great...but the Kimberley stole the show

Under a blanket of Kimberley stars last night, Tuesday 18 November, the Kununurra community watched their home star alongside some of Australia’s biggest names, at the world premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s epic Australia.

Held at the Kununurra Picture Gardens, in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia, the premiere was a thank you to the community members who contributed to the film, including more than 100 members of the local Miriuwung Gajerrong people, the traditional owners of the land.

Everyone there had a story to tell, like Teddy Carlton who was born on Carlton Hill Station (the location of Lady Sarah Ashley’s Faraway Downs homestead) and Frauke Bolten-Boshammer who had Baz Luhrmann stay in her home whilst filming in the Kimberley.

All 250 audience members shared a sense of pride and excitement to see their own backyard showcased to the world in such a beautiful way, capturing the magic of the Kimberley that they know so well.

The crowd cheered and whistled every time the Kimberley came on screen, with the Cockburn Range, the Bungle Bungle Range, the King George Falls, El Questro Wilderness Park, the Pentecost River and Carlton Hill Station (the location of Lady Sarah Ashley’s Faraway Downs Homestead) all having starring roles.

Kimberley local, eleven year old Brandon Walters, was outstanding in his role as Nullah – a local Indigenous boy who is central to the storyline of Australia.

Local musical act, The Pigrim Brothers from Broome, treated the crowd to some fantastic pre-screening entertainment before featuring on the sound track to the film alongside music master Elton John.

Australia will be released in Australia and the US on November 26, then to more than 60 countries globally.

To find out more about Australia the movie or the Kimberley as a holiday destination go to:

Fly Viva Macau from Syd, Stay at Venetian, Watch ZAiA by Cirque du Soleil from only USD855

Viva Macau Airlines, Macau's only international low-fares airline joined hands with Asia's largest integrated resort Venetian Macao Resort and world-famous Cirque du Soleil to launch attractive air-hotel-show packages for Australian travelers.

From now until 15th January, 2009, the special VIVA/Venetian/ZAiA packages are available at Macau's only travel portal Four packages are offered from 2-nights-3-days to 5-nights-6-days for travel period between 1st February and 30th June, 2009. Each package includes:
  • Roundtrip airfares, inclusive of airport taxes and surcharges, between Sydney and Macau on Economy Class with Viva Macau Airlines
  • Accommodation at The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, with choice of Royale Suite or Bella Suite
  • ZAiA by Cirque du Soleil B Reserve ticket with an option to upgrade to A reserve for an additional MOP200 (approximately AUD38)
  • Package rate starts from USD855 (approximately AUD1,356) per person
Viva Macau's Australian CEO Con Korfiatis said, "We are excited about these packages that offer a brand new experience for Australians to visit the new Macau, Asia's newest and most exciting destination for leisure, entertainment, cultural experience, shopping, and international shows and events."

"Travelers on these packages are going to experience the best in Asia by staying in a five-star suite at Asia's largest integrated resort The Venetian Macao and watching the world famous and newest Cirque du Soleil show in its first permanent 1800-seat showroom created only for Macau. Combined with the comfort and friendly service of Viva Macau Airlines, Macau's only international low fares airline offering the only direct flights between Sydney and Macau, this is an incomparable travel experience and incredible value," Korfiatis added.

For package details and reservations, customers should visit Customers may also visit for information on Viva Macau Airlines, for information on The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel and for information on ZAiA by Cirque du Soleil.

About Viva Macau Airlines

Viva Macau Airlines, awarded CAPA New Airline of The Year 2007 and voted Top 10 Low Cost Airlines in Asia by, is Asia's newest, low-fare international airline covering both regional and long haul routes. It focuses on providing a network of air services from its home base, Macau — the Las Vegas of the East — and the booming Pearl River Delta of Southern China. The airline operates a fleet of wide bodied Boeing 767s and operates non-stop service to several points in Asia and beyond. The airline has a two-class cabin service — Premium and Economy Class. It employs cabin and cockpit crew and ground staff from 28 different nationalities and has a management team with more than 200 years combined airline experience. Viva Macau is a privately owned company whose shareholders including Macau prominent businessman and Viva Macau's Chairman Mr. Ngan In Leng and MKW Capital, an international venture capital firm with a series of equity investments across a diverse portfolio of businesses in Macau. Viva Macau is innovative and fun, a flying experience that is 'simply different'.

Saturday 15 November 2008

As the Kimberley gets ready to shine - you should get ready to win!

As the Kimberley gets ready to shine - You should get ready to win!

Final preparations are being made in Kununurra, Western Australia, for the premiere of the highly-anticipated Baz Luhrmann epic Australia, on Tuesday 18 November.

Recognizing the integral role that the Kimberley plays in Australia - both its land and its people – the 20th Century Fox event will allow the community, including the local Elders and Traditional Owners, to be among the first in the world to see the film.

There is a sense of pride and excitement in the air as the local community braces itself for world-wide exposure as Australia is released in Australia and the US on November 26, then to more than 60 countries globally.

In celebration of movie's release, Tourism Western Australia is giving one lucky member of the Australian media (and the travel companion of their choice) the chance to win an Australia inspired holiday to the spectacular Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The lucky winner and a partner will retrace the steps of Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman's epic outback adventure – with a five day trip to the value of AUD$5,000 to the Kimberley destination of their choice.

To be in the running to win, all you need to do is answer in 50 words of less why you'd love to experience this amazing area of Australia. Entries must be emailed to by Australia Day, 26 January 2009.

Inspired by the magnificent colour palette and breath-taking landscape of the Kimberley, Baz Luhrmann took more than 400 cast and crew to the region in August and September 2007 to film pivotal scenes of this epic romantic adventure.

The key Kimberley film locations include the Cockburn Range, El Questro Wilderness Park, Purnululu National Park, Digger's Rest Station, Home Valley Station, the King George River and Falls and Carlton Hill Station – the location chosen as the home for Lady Sarah Ashley's (Nicole Kidman's character) Faraway Downs Homestead.

During filming the small outback town of Kununurra, which means 'big water' in the local Aboriginal language and is the gateway to the east Kimberley, was the base for many cast and crew who had an adventure of their own each day, travelling by four wheel drive through red earth country and boab tree forests to reach the set at

Carlton Hill Station, about a 50 minute drive out of town.

After filming, stars took time out to explore the region taking scenic flights over the amazing domed rock formations of the Bungle Bungle Range in the World Heritage listed Purnululu National Park, cruising along the Ord River to Lake Argyle which is around 20 times larger than Sydney Harbour and home to amazing bird and animal life, cooling off under waterfalls and sharing stories with the local characters of the region.

In addition to choosing the Kimberley as the location for many Australia scenes, Baz Luhrmann returned to the area to film the new 'Come Walkabout' advertisements for Tourism Australia.

The two ninety-second mini movies demonstrate the transforming nature of the Kimberley region, allowing people to get back to basics and be inspired by this ancient, magical part of Australia.

Starring in the commercial and the movie Australia (as young Aboriginal boy Nullah) is Brandon Walters. A first time actor, Brandon hails from Broome in the west Kimberley.

To find out more about Australia the movie or the Kimberley as a holiday destination go to:

Thursday 13 November 2008

Travelzoo Share Top 10 Secrets To Getting The Best Holiday Deal

Times are lean and Australians want to ensure that they get the best deal for their holiday dollar. The news is good, there has been no better time to find truly amazing offers at home and abroad.

Travelzoo (NASDAQ: TZOO), a global Internet media company, today released their “Top 10 Secrets to getting the Best Holiday Deal. Put together by experts whose job it is to find the best deals available every week, these tips highlight the 10 most important factors in finding and securing the best real holiday offers available in the marketplace.

1. Make a hit-list of ideal destinations, shop around and make your final decision on where to go based on best deals available.

2. When travelling overseas, airfare and accommodation packaged together is often cheaper than buying the same product individually and can include great value adds.

3. Look for value as well as price and factor in cost saving free inclusions such as breakfast, parking, vouchers, internet access, activities and transfers.

4. Ensure you’re comparing apples with apples, hidden extras can add up so look for things like taxes and surcharges and be sure to check for airport transfers, minimum night stay and paying for luggage etc.

5. Be as flexible as possible on dates and travel times. Great deals can be offered for mid week stays and very often the time that is most expensive to have a beach holiday is the best time to book an inland getaway such as a mountain retreat.

6. For short getaways remember Sunday night is very often the cheapest night, so instead of taking leave on Friday take it on Monday.

7. Consider a city break during school holidays, CBD hotels are often at low occupancy and are more inclined to offer great deals.

8. Start researching as early as possible so you don’t miss out on early-bird deals or special offers – remember though there are lots of last minute deals, many accommodation offers for peak times such as events and school holidays need to be booked 90 days in advance.

9. On arrival check the cost of an upgrade, if the rooms are available you may get an upgrade for minimum extra spend.

10. Subscribe to the Travelzoo Top 20. Travelzoo’s producers will do the work for you and email you the Top 20 best travel deals available every week. Recent deals have included $20 domestic flights, 5 Star Accommodation for $75 a night and 4 night Asia packages – flights included for $474. Visit

About the Australian Travelzoo Top 20™
The Top 20 is a definitive list of the very best travel deals on the web. It is published in Australia at 11am every Wednesday and sent in an email newsletter to 100,000 Australian Travelzoo subscribers. Each deal is researched for its true value, competitiveness and availability. Travelzoo publishes the best offers available in the marketplace. Travelzoo's deal experts review offers to find the best travel deals and confirm their true value and only the best offers are published.

About Travelzoo
Travelzoo is a global Internet media company. Travelzoo's media properties, which reach more than 14 million travel enthusiasts in the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Spain, Taiwan and the UK, include the Travelzoo® website (, the Top 20® e-mail newsletter, the Newsflash™ e-mail alert service and SuperSearch™, a travel search engine.

Silversea's Silver Cloud to sail Atlantic Canada and New England in Fall 2009

Experienced cruise travellers are always looking for colourful new destinations and itineraries.

With this in mind, the ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises has introduced some new itineraries for the 2009 northern autumn season aboard the newly refurbished Silver Cloud. Sailing from London (UK) to ports in Iceland, Greenland and Nova Scotia, Silver Cloud will also visit the Atlantic provinces of Canada and America's New England, during the colourful fall season.

The ship will offer two new itineraries extending from London via Scotland, the Orkney and Shetland Islands, Denmark, Iceland, Greenland and Canadian ports to Montreal (20 days) or an extension to New York, via Quebec, the St Lawrence River, Nova Scotia, Maine and Newport to New York (total 30 days)

North-East Canada and USA are at their colourful best during the fall season and the stylishly refurbished Silver Cloud, with its all ocean view and verandah suite accommodation, provides a great platform for viewing the changing colours. The intimate, all suite Silversea ship accommodates just 298 guests and now comes complete with a new ocean view spa, Observation Lounge and eight new suites.

The new Silver Cloud itineraries start with an overnight moored near Tower Bridge in London 19 September 2009, prior to the 20 day cruise visiting Rosyth, Invergordon, Kirkwall, Lerwick (UK) and Thorshavn, Denmark before crossing the Atlantic to Reykjavik, Iceland. North American ports of call include Narsarssuak, L'Anse aux Meadows, St. John's Newfoundland, St. Pierre et Miquelon, Corner Brook and Quebec City, cruising the St. Lawrence and Saguenay rivers. Advance Payment Bonus cruise only fares start from US $10,702 per person, double occupancy.

The addition of a further 10 days cruising to the colourful ports between Montreal and New York makes for a 30 day cruise. Historic ports of call include Quebec City, Gaspe, Sydney, Halifax, Bar Harbor, Boston and Newport. Silver Cloud overnights in Montreal, navigates the St. Lawrence River and sails through the Cape Cod Canal. Advance Payment Bonus fares for this 30 day option start at US $15,258 per person double occupancy.

All suites have ocean views, 80 percent with private verandas. Silversea cruise fares include all gourmet dining, fines wines, champagnes and spirits, entertainment, enrichment lectures, gratuities and a daily program of activities to interest all guests. Port charges are additional.

For more information please contact Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or toll free 1300 306 872 (Australia) or 0800 701 427 (New Zealand), or visit

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard four intimate vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, and Silver Whisper, all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the addition of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II in 2008, the company's itineraries encompass all seven continents. Silversea has for the past four consecutive years been named Best Cruise Line by readers of Australia's Luxury Travel and Style magazine. For nine consecutive years, Silversea has been named "Number One Small Ship Line" in the Readers' Choice survey conducted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine in the USA and in 2007 was the only cruise line named in the UK edition of Condé Nast Traveller's "Top 100 Luxury Travel Experiences" at the same time topping the Small Cruise Line award for the eighth time. Silversea has been selected as "World's Best Small Ship Line" in the US Travel + Leisure readers' poll for the past eight years.

Luxury by Design Hotels: Seasonal Spaces+ winter promotion


Berlin, 12 November 2008 – What is luxury? Having more time in a tightly scheduled life? Sure! Relaxing in a spacious room from a busy day at work? Exactly! With its winter promotion „Seasonal Spaces+" Design Hotels™ offers two components of the new luxury movement: more time and more space.

The programme is valid for arrivals from 29 November 2008 through 29 March 2009. It allows travellers to upgrade to the most spacious and exceptionally designed rooms and suites in 46 participating hotels in Europe and Asia (Seasonal Spaces+ MORE SPACE). Alternatively, for travellers who would rather extend their stay, Design Hotels™ offers three overnight stays for the price of two (Seasonal Spaces+ MORE TIME).

From business-hubs like Beijing or London to holiday destinations in Thailand or Bali – each hotel offers one-of-a-kind design and architecture for an exciting experience. Travellers may choose from some of the most unusual hotel concepts in the world such as "Alila Jakarta" in the Indonesian capital or „The Dominican", a contemporary grand hotel built on the grounds of a former abbey in the heart of Brussels.

All participating hotels are listed at:


For arrivals: 29 November 2008 through 29 March 2009




Valid for arrivals from 29 November 2008 through 29 March 2009, the Seasonal Spaces+ MORE SPACE promotion requires a minimum two-night stay whereas Seasonal Spaces+ MORE TIME requires at least three room nights. Both offers are based upon availability. Hotels offering both promotions offer MORE SPACE for a two night stay and MORE TIME for a stay of three or more nights. All prices include breakfast.

For reservations, please visit the website: or telephone the appropriate Design Hotels™ toll-free number:


Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK: 00 800 37 46 83 57

Belgium: 000 800 37 46 83 57

Finland: 990 800 37 46 83 57

Hungary: 06 800 1 22 36

Russia: 810 800 20 74 10 49


Australia: 0011 800 37 46 83 57

China, New Zealand: 00 800 37 46 83 57

Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand: 001 800 37 46 83 57

Japan: 0041 800 37 46 83 57


South Africa: 09 800 37 46 83 57


Design Hotels™ represents and markets a hand-picked collection of more than 170 hotels in over 40 countries across the globe. Established in 1993, as the first of its kind, the company offers unparalleled specialist knowledge from conceptual branding through to market trend consultancy and international representation.

The member hotels are independently owned but united by a commitment to individuality, progressive design and cultural authenticity. Design Hotels™ embody the most advanced ideas in the hospitality industry and offer cosmopolitan travellers new options for both travel and inspiration.

The company has its headquarters in Berlin and branches in London, Barcelona, New York, Singapore, Bali, Tokyo and Perth.

Crown Welcomes Gordon Ramsay’s Maze To The World Of Entertainment

Crown is excited to announce that Gordon Ramsay’s Maze restaurant will open in Australia’s newest and most exciting hotel in February 2010. An agreement has been reached with Gordon Ramsay Holdings International to open Maze, one of London’s most popular and successful restaurant concepts, within Crown’s new, third hotel in early 2010.

Crown’s Chief Executive Officer Mr David Courtney, who made the announcement, said: "We’re thrilled to announce the exciting news that Gordon Ramsay will open a Maze restaurant at Crown. Gordon Ramsay and Maze fit extremely well within the positioning of our new hotel as Maze has become renowned for being stylish, contemporary and providing an innovative food offer. Maze will be hugely popular and will be a major drawcard for local, interstate and international visitors. Bringing Gordon Ramsay and Maze to Melbourne further cements our strategy of bringing some of the world’s best dining experiences to Crown and Melbourne.”

Mr Gordon Ramsay said: “This is our first step in bringing the Gordon Ramsay brand to Australia and after having seen the way Crown operates feel that this is an exciting and challenging opportunity.”

While based on French cuisine, Maze's food has Asian influences and offers small tasting plates. Guests are encouraged to order individually or sample many dishes. Maze London, New York and Prague menus, for example, feature dishes such as bouillabaisse of red mullet with fennel puree and halibut ravioli with braised carrots, gremolata and veal vinaigrette. Maze has been awarded a Michelin star and won an unprecedented number of awards during its first year of operation and most recently was named Best Breakthrough Restaurant at the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant Awards.

Crown’s Third Hotel Tower (Yet to be named)
Located on Clarendon Street, adjacent to the Crown Entertainment Complex, the new hotel will have a total of 658 rooms, bringing the total number of hotel rooms available at the Crown Entertainment Complex to more than 1600 rooms. The architecturally striking design includes a stunning, futuristic podium entry as well as a day spa located on the top floors of the hotel, a lounge, bar and retail precinct. Early projections estimate the hotel will accommodate approximately 340,000 guests, including 100,000 from overseas every year.

The development of the new hotel continues Crown’s commitment to excellence in design and style and will be an invaluable addition to Melbourne’s tourism infrastructure.

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Top Five Reasons to Visit Finland in Winter

There are, of course, all sorts of reasons for choosing winter holiday destination. VisitFinland has put together the top five reasons to inspire you to visit Finland this winter!

1. Christmas and Santa Claus

Everyone! knows that Santa Claus lives at the Article Circle in Finnish Lapland. You have the opportunity to visit him, even at his busiest time of year as he prepares sacks full of toys for children across the world. Imagine the magic as you and your children find Santa’s home amid the silent snowfall and winter twilight! Smiles and laughter linger over a festive banquet, and you’re likely to stare wide-eyed in amazement at the sheer variety of tasty treats that make up a traditional Finnish Christmas dinner. Carols and Christmas songs sung around the lively fire will complete the picture of a perfect winter family break.

2. Ski centres

If you’re looking for an entirely different kind of winter holiday, Finland’s ski resorts are sure to offer exactly what you’re looking for. With snow guarantees throughout the winter in the north, you’ll find a wide variety of slopes to suit all standards of skier, as well as brilliant opportunities to try something different (for example, what about a telemark lesson, or some freestyle skiing, or a day of snowboarding?).

Skiing in Finland is great value for money. Lift queues are just about unheard of (even in the peak holiday seasons), many slopes are floodlit to ensure you can ski even during the darker times of midwinter, and drink/snack prices at the slopeside restaurants are typically lower than you’ll find on some of the mountains of the Alps. Choose from ski centres right across the country. Some appeal to the adventurous individual, others offer the perfect fit for a dream family holiday.

3. Adventures beyond the ski slope

A winter adventure in Finland means much more than a ski holiday. The variety of activities is truly amazing. For example, climb aboard your very own snowmobile for an electrifying adrenaline-filled experience. Take the fast track across a frozen lake, or negotiate your way skilfully through the bumps and twists of a forest track groomed especially for snowmobiles.

Imagine a ride through silent, snow-covered wilds on a husky sled. Kitted out in thermal suit and footwear, you can spend an hour or longer with a husky team. You’ll be amazed at the endurance and speed the team of dogs can manage.

But that’s not all. How about a cruise on an ice-breaking ship in the northern Gulf of Bothnia? Or a skating party, reindeer ride, or kick-sledding expedition? You can choose a snow-shoeing journey across the deep, crunchy snow or drill a hole in the ice and dip your fishing lure below to see if you can catch your supper.

4. Nature’s spectacle

The beauty of the Finnish nature is all around you to behold. Now look up and – if you’re in luck – you may catch a glimpse of Mother Nature’s very own firework display in the Northern skies above your head. A sighting of the Aurora Borealis – or Northern Lights – is believed by some to bring good fortune and blessing. The Finns have a beautiful name for this phenomenen: ‘revontulet’ literally means ‘fox fire’. And if you are fortunate enough to catch a glimpse, then it’s easy to imagine the tail of a fox sweeping at speed through the heavens.

5. Cool hotel, warm welcome

In some resorts and towns of northern Finland, you’ll have the opportunity to spend the night in an igloo or snow hotel. Each winter these creations offer the perfect setting for a romantic night, even if the temperature is around 4 degrees below! There are plenty of ways to keep the cold out, though! Reindeer skins provide highly efficient insulation, and maybe a shared tot of vodka to make the experience that bit more memorable, too

Book your winter break with your Australian tour specialist to Finnish Lapland now and save dollars. Various magical and exciting Christmas and winter tours to Finnish Lapland are now available please check details

For more information on Winter and Christmas tours to Finland please visit

A door in The Rocks leads to Australias best-kept wine secrets

Walk through the Heritage doors of Wine Odyssey Australia in The Rocks, Sydney and you embark on a true wine adventure – a sensuous exploration of some of Australia’s most highly regarded independent wineries, joined by some of its secret gems.

The launch of Wine Odyssey Australia (Tuesday 11th November) represents a landmark moment for Australian winemakers and consumers alike. The passionate conception of three successful businesswomen, Wine Odyssey Australia was created to provide a new way to go to market for Australia’s independent winemakers and help them to be appropriately rewarded for their world-class product.

Burgeoning wine lovers will discover a richer dimension in their wine experience - through a Wine Bar, Aroma Room and Tasting Theatre. Wine Odyssey Australia aims to introduce them to the rarely tasted treasures of Australian wine and the distinctive winemakers behind them, broadening wine awareness, expanding wine vocabulary, and ultimately deepening appreciation of and desire for premium Australian wine.

In the Wine Journey Room, you’ll unearth fifty exceptional Australian wines you’re unlikely to find outside of the cellar door - and can choose to experience them by serving yourself via a state of the art Enomatic pouring system to a tasting glass, half-glass or glass. Wine Journey cards (e.g. take a Chardonnay Journey, a Margaret River Journey) help you navigate your way around the wines.

The first list of fifty, which will be refreshed during the seasons, will include top names like Grange, Domaine A, Mount Mary, Bass Phillip and Moss Wood, interspersed with some of Australia’s best kept secrets such as Lamonts, Mayfield and Panorama.

Then there’s the Wine List of 200 premium Australian wines by the bottle. The wines have been expertly chosen by Sommelier Donna Freemen, who over the last ten years has worked with some of Sydney’s best restaurants (Pier, Aqua Dining, Prime, Flying Fish) including being a One Glass winner in this years Gourmet Traveller Wine List of the Year for her work at The Boathouse.

Since taste is inextricably linked to smell, upstairs in the unique Aroma Room you’ll experience fifty wine aromas that can help you give voice to the extraordinary flavours you’re experiencing. Then in a dimmed Tasting Theatre, you’re taken on a sensory journey through six of Australia’s very finest niche wineries – tasting their exquisite wines as, on screen, the great characters who made those wines share their passion, their stories and their secrets. The first six Wine Odyssey film partners are Lamont’s WA, Witchmount VIC, Pooles Rock NSW, Mayfield NSW, Brian Barry Wines SA and Panorama Vineyards TAS.

Rounding out the epicurean adventure, you can enjoy Wine Odyssey’s Food & Wine Flights – complementary combinations of small plate seasonal food and wine specially selected by the Wine Odyssey Chef Mark Beattie (formerly of the Royal Mirage, Dubai and The Green House, London). All food is selected to follow the principles of freshness and sustainability; 100% Australian and where possible using free range, GMO free, organic or biodynamic products. The restaurant will also provide for those with diet-related health conditions - gluten/wheat-free, dairy-free, and low sulphite wine choices.

The journey needn’t end there. Continue your explorations by selecting from more than 500 premium Australian wines in the Wine Store and on the Wine Odyssey Australia website.

Wine Odyssey Australia offers a revelatory voyage of discovery for wine lovers and when Wine Odyssey Australia reaches Toronto, New York and London, it will help share the extraordinary treasures of Australia’s most innovative winemakers with the wine lovers of the world.

Summer holiday value on Hamilton Island

Forget about paying top-price for a fantastic summer holiday. Hamilton Island in the magnificent Whitsundays is offering a top-value package with two free room nights plus free meals and accommodation for children under the age of 14.

The Pay for 5 Nights, Stay for 7 package includes two free nights for every five paid consecutive nights when staying in one of Hamilton Island's Palm Bungalows, Whitsunday Holiday Apartments or Reef View Hotel rooms.

Guests will also enjoy unlimited use of catamarans, paddle skis, windsurfers and snorkelling equipment plus free use of the island shuttle service and return airport / marina - resort transfers.

As a special bonus to families, children under the age of 14 can stay for free when staying with parents and using existing bedding.

They can also eat for free as part of Hamilton Island's 'Kids Stay and Eat Free' program when dining with their parents and selecting from a special kids menu that is on offer at approximately half of Hamilton Island's restaurants.

Hamilton Island is perfectly situated on The Great Barrier Reef, amongst the 74 Whitsunday Islands and offers Australia's most diverse island-holiday experience. The island features a choice of six different resorts, ten restaurants as well as shopping, essential services (such as a medical centre, post office, bank etc) and an endless array of tours and activities.

Jetstar, Virginblue and Qantaslink flights arrive and depart from Hamilton Island's airport every day from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns while the Hamilton Island Marina provides a convenient gateway to the mainland and other Whitsunday Islands.

A seven night package starts from just $737.50* per person twin share. Bookings can be made by calling Hamilton Island on 13 REEF (13 7333) or

*Subject to availability. Offer valid for travel 18 January 2009 – 31 March 2009.

Tuesday 11 November 2008

Licence to thrill - enjoy the ultimate Bond lifestyle in Britain

From Britain with love: to celebrate the imminent release of the 22nd James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, the UK’s national tourism agency, VisitBritain, has created a dedicated website to inspire Australians to live like Bond and recreate the ultimate 007 lifestyle of the most famous British Secret Service agent on the planet.

For your eyes only, at discover 007 heaven with an exclusive selection of ideas and indulgences – enabling you to get the ‘Bond look’, enjoy extreme activities - Bond-style, savour some lavish Bond experiences or prove that you’re a true Bond fanatic.

If you like to be shaken, not stirred, head to Dukes Hotel in London, for a Martini Master Class and to sip a Vesper Martini. Bond author, Ian Fleming, was a regular at Dukes and the infamous phrase was inspired by a barman there, who once served him. A Bond About Town package is currently available, which includes a Miss Moneypenny Manicure for the wannabe Bond girls! Bond cocktails – Goldfinger and Strictly Bond - are on offer at Brown’s Hotel, as part of the Ian Fleming Centenary package the hotel has devised. Grooming packages are also part of the deal – how about a Moonraker massage, or a Diamonds Are Forever facial?

Fleming’s centenary is additionally celebrated at the Imperial War Museum in London, where For Your Eyes Only, the first major exhibition devoted to his life and work, is running until March 2009. Exhibits such as Bond manuscripts and props from a number of the films are on display – the overcoat worn by Sean Connery in Dr No, Daniel Craig’s blood-stained shirt from Quantum of Solace and Halle Berry’s orange bikini from Die Another Day, amongst many other items of prized memorabilia.

Love the Bond look? How about a trip to Truefitt & Hill, the oldest barber’s shop in the world and holder of the Royal Warrant. Continue on to Floris, to pick-up the No 89 scent for men, which was mentioned in Bond books Diamonds Are Forever, Dr No and Moonraker. And finally put yourself in Bond’s shoes, literally, with a visit to Church’s English Shoemakers, favoured by Bond actors over the years and featured in several films.

If you’re ready for some action, take the ultimate James Bond adventure – a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) voyage on the River Thames and re-live the infamous boat chase from The World Is Not Enough. The exhilaration of speeding along the water at up to 35knots is sure to make you feel like you can shake off any Bond baddie! Enjoy the spectacular views of the capital’s legendary landmarks and don’t forget to look out for Bond’s office – the distinctive MI6 building.

You could always push the boat out and charter a yacht from Sunseeker, in Dorset. With its award-winning beaches and excellent restaurants and bars, Poole is known as the St Tropez of the South Coast – a befitting analogy for anyone wishing to emulate Bond’s exotic existence. If you are not feeling flush enough for a gold-fingered yachting experience, then head to Harrods for a bit of window-shopping – and admire the 1960’s Sunseeker Motor Yacht driven by Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace, which forms part of a series of James Bond window displays, in place until December 24.

Landlubbers have plenty of options too for taking-in the fast-paced world of our favourite spy. Bealieu, in the heart of the picturesque New Forest, was the headquarters of MI6 during WWII. It now houses a selection of authentic vehicles used in Bond films – the Lotus Submarine car used in The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, the Aston Martin Volante used in the 1987 film, The Living Daylights and the Jaguar XKR Roadster used in Die Another Day, in 2002, are some of the amazing, but lethal, weapons in the James Bond Experience.

Though he rarely relaxes, the perfect place for Bond to do so would be his homeland. With its wealth of offerings – from coast to countryside - it's no wonder Britain is his first choice for a bit of pampering when he's not busy saving the world. Golf is certainly enjoyed by 007 and where better to try it than in the birthplace of the sport, in Scotland. Gleneagles, St Andrew’s, or the home of the 2009 Open Championships, Turnberry, are among the finest courses around. Similarly, Celtic Manor in Wales, host to the 2010 Ryder Cup, boasts a great course.

Even secret agents need to sleep, so if you are feeling the need to lavish the luxury on yourself to ensure a good night’s rest after a long, hard day of being Bond, maybe try The Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel. This prestigious property, suitably located on Park Lane, is frequented by royalty, celebrities and quite possibly members of Her Majesty's Secret Service.

With sample itineraries featured at and Virgin Atlantic offering earlybird return flights to London for a mere $2050 (inc taxes)*, there’s every reason to never say never again to visiting the home of Bond!

• VisitBritain is responsible for promoting Britain as a world class tourist destination and for developing England’s visitor economy. It has representatives in 36 countries around the world and, in the last three years, has expanded into China, throughout Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, and increased its presence in India with representatives in Bangalore and Mumbai.
• Provisional figures for 2007 indicate there were 32.6 million visits to Britain, -0.5% down on 2006. They spent £16.0 billion in the UK: a -0.3% decrease on 2006.
• VisitBritain’s international website,, was awarded World’s Leading Tourism Authority Internet Site for the fourth year in a row at the 2007 World Travel Awards by more than 200,000 travel and tourism professionals. With information provided in 26 different languages, every year over 12 million visits are made by international consumers to the 46 websites that make up

• VisitBritain has a website tailored to the needs of the Australian traveller at and for the media at
• Quantum of Solace, the 22nd film in the Bond franchise, is on general release in Australia from November 19, 2008 – see
• *Virgin Atlantic is offering economy earlybird return fares to London from $2050, inclusive of taxes and surcharges (subject to change), for flights booked by December 19, 2008. Terms and conditions apply. This $2050 price is based on travel between October 4 – November 11, 2009. For further information on Virgin Atlantic and pricing details, see

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