Thursday 30 April 2009

Swine Flu Update

We continue to work with the media and government officials to communicate the facts about the swine flu situation in a measured and responsible way. The Obama Administration continues to affirm an approach that balances concern without alarm, as are the health experts closest to the challenge.

The talking points provided yesterday continue to be appropriate to guide your comments to the media. Again, we encourage you to share them with your members. now has an updated Swine Flu Resources page, which can be accessed at In addition to the Oxford Economics assessment of the impact of the SARS scare on the Asian economy in the months following the outbreak that was provided yesterday, it also now contains an update of how other countries are responding to the situation (see attachment), as well as quotes from various health experts.

Latest Information

· World Health Organization continues to advise no restriction on travel related to the swine flu, and no closing of borders, but has raised the level of flu pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5. The move signals an increased urgency for governments to implement pandemic readiness procedures.

· The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. now stands at 91, including the death of a young child in Texas, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Of the confirmed cases, a majority remain associated with one high school in New York.

What Officials Are Saying

· "The things we learned when we were little -- covering a cough, frequent hand-washing -- if people do these things it will decrease the spread."
-Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the CDC; April 29

· “To put this in perspective, on average 36,000 people die each year of the seasonal flu.”
-Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the CDC; April 29

· "The disease is not a food-borne illness."
-Rear Adm. Anne Schuchat, CDC's interim science and public health deputy director, told the Senate Homeland Security Committee, affirming the disease is not spread by eating pork; April 29, 2009

· “[The federal government] is prepared to do whatever is necessary to control the impact of this virus."
-President Barack Obama, noting he has requested $1.5 billion in emergency funding to ensure adequate supplies of vaccines; April 29, 2009

· "Border controls don't work. Screening doesn't work…It became extremely clear after SARS that the efficacy of border checks far underweighed the economic disruption…So there was much more economic disruption by these measures than there was public health benefit. In public health terms, it didn't work. So we don't want to repeat something that didn't work."
-Gregory Hartl, spokesman for the World Health Organization; April 28, 2008

Stories of Interest

· Mexico City's Economy Suffers From Swine Flu
National Public Radio

· Diseases Travel Fast, but So Do Tools To Fight Them
Washington Post

Useful Websites

· Centers for Disease Control:

· United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Emergency Response Network:

What U.S. Travel Is Doing

· Roger Dow and other travel leaders met today with Senate Democratic leaders to discuss significant travel issues, including the emerging threat of swine flu and the need for government to strike a delicate balance of accurately and adequately informing citizens of health concerns without unduly discouraging travel and other important economic activity.

· U.S. Travel has updated the Swine Flu Resources page on its website to provide valuable information and talking points to be used when communicating about the swine flu situation. It may be accessed at
The site includes:

o Talking points

o A statement from Roger Dow

o What medical experts are saying

o How other countries are responding

o Useful links to official government health websites

o SARS-related data

· U.S. Travel continues to stay in close contact with all relevant federal agencies and Congressional committees to offer our assistance in informing industry, travelers and international travel partners.

· will provide access to consumer-friendly updates and information related to the swine flu situation.

Wednesday 29 April 2009

Be dazzled by Peru's ancient wonder

Experience Peru's ancient wonder with Tauck Culturious

Peru and the Amazon feature on new South American itinerary with Tauck Culturious

Sydney, 29 April 2009 – Tauck Culturious will be offering a selection of guided tours to Peru and the Amazon this year. Travelling through jungle rivers and hidden cities tucked into clouds, guests will find themselves sipping pisco sours with local historians, scaling Andean mountains and discovering the deep mysteries surrounding Machu Picchu. As part of a new collection of culturally immersive and physically adventurous tours by Tauck World Discovery, the Tauck Culturious Peru and the Amazon tour is intimate, entertaining and culturally engaging.

Touring from Lima to Cuzco, the 12-day Peru & the Amazon tour features unique cultural and sensory experiences that transport you to the heart of all things Inca. Unlock jungle secrets by day on guided hikes, trail rides, wilderness cruises and train journeys; and relax by night in the colonial opulence of century old mansions and casitas.

The journey begins in Lima with a guided tour of the city's colonial past. Guests will participate in an open air art lesson and ramp up their knowledge of Peruvian politics at the private home of local politico.

Guests will then fly into the Amazon for a three night stay in one of the world's greatest rainforest regions. Enjoy a scenic hike through the jungle, wander about the canopied treetops or cruise up the Amazon to a lush jungle hideaway.

From the Amazon, guests will take a plane ride up to Cuzco and the Sacred Valley. Explore the Andean village of Chincero, watch a local artisan create colourful tapestry, feast on a traditional Quechan dish and explore the spiritual side of sites with native experts and a shaman. 

The tour continues in the sacred Urubamba Valley where guests will learn about some of the finest Incan ruins in all of Peru. They will don original riding gear for a trail ride on a Paso horse. A Peruvian cooking class cumulating in dinner and drinks follows.

On day eight, guests will explore the massive fortress of Ollantaytambo before boarding the Vista Dome Valley Train for a ride back in time as you delve deep into the mysteries of the ancient Incas at Machu Picchu. A day of leisure is scheduled before the tour embarks on a twilight nature hike, visiting the nocturnal residents of Aguas Calientes. Then it's back to Ollantaytambo for a wander through the colourful Cuzco markets and Incan temples. The tour ends in the majestic Andes where leisurely countryside walks, treasured museums and engaging conversations with local historians await.

Tauck Culturious' 12-day Peru & the Amazon tour is priced from US$5,490 per person twin share. This includes two internal flights, accommodation, meals, touring with an experienced Tauck Tour Director and gratuities. Departures are available from August – October 2009.

To obtain further information about Tauck or to make a booking, please contact Travel the World on 1300 766 566 or visit

TAHITI SOUNDS NICE ON HONOLULU-SYDNEY 16-NIGHT CRUISE is including three nights in Honolulu, a Pearl Harbour and Arizona Memorial Tour, and group transfers from airport to hotel to ship, as a prelude to a 16-night cruise on the 5-star Rhapsody of the Seas from Honolulu to Tahiti and Sydney in September/October of this year.

And its offering this 19-night package, that was previously-advertised with a lead-in of $4599pp twin-share, from as low as $3299pp twin-share, a saving of $2600 a couple and including one-way air from Sydney to Honolulu*.

Guests depart Sydney on September 27, have 3-nights at Honolulu's Hilton Waikiki Prince Kuhio Hotel, join Rhapsody of the Seas on September 30 for a night aboard ship, and sail late on October 1 for Papeete in Tahiti, followed by a day each in French Polynesia's Moorea, Raiatea and Bora Bora.

There are also a total ten full days cruising at sea to enjoy the many shipboard facilities that include an outdoor pool and another indoor/outdoor in a Solarium with a sliding roof, six whirlpools, a rock-climbing wall, day spa and fitness centre, and a selection of shops and boutiques.

All onboard dining and entertainment are included, together with port charges, government taxes and even onboard gratuities; *air taxes and fuel surcharges applicable at time of booking are additional.

For full details phone 1300 369 848 or go to

Tuesday 28 April 2009

No More Excuses at ZUJI As Aussies Rush To Give Themselves a Break

SYDNEY: Just two weeks into its innovative 'no more excuses' consumer marketing campaign ( ) online travel agent ZUJI Australia ( ) has recorded impressive results including a dramatic increase in short break package bookings this month, as Aussie travellers take their leave and their stimulus packages and book online and en masse. ZUJI's 'no more excuses' campaign, launched earlier this month and increased savings available through ZUJI's new TripSaver technology  are helping to fuel this ongoing trend towards short breaks and back Kevin Rudd's incentive to increase consumer spending on domestic products and travel.

Peter Smith, General Manager, ZUJI Australia, commented, "Short breaks booked at short notice to domestic and Asian–international destinations have remained popular with Aussies who are continuing to travel, and book online, despite the economic downturn. In response to this ZUJI is  championing short breaks with a lighthearted look at the excuses we all make for NOT taking that short break we all need, a range of fantastic short break deals, both domestic and international, and new easy-to use booking tools on our website. The 'no more excuses' campaign is a natural extension of ZUJI's Helping Holidays Happen mantra, and has been wholeheartedly embraced by Aussie travellers."

Because ZUJI believe in 'Helping Holidays Happen' they will make one of their employees available 24/7 to fix your excuse for not taking a short break.  People can tell 'Dave' their excuse and he will fix it.  Most of the reasons people do not go on short breaks are pretty silly so his solutions can be fun, tongue in cheek and a bit silly too!

In the first 2 weeks of the campaign, the top 5 excuses submitted by Australian travellers for NOT taking that short break are:

1.      I have to work (**check out ZUJI's innovative and useful solution to this one involving a good set of speakers and a closed office door: you never know when you're going to need it!)

2.      I have to look after my dog

3.      My wife/girlfriend doesn't want to go

4.      My parrot gets lonely

5.      I have to look after the children (aged 0-4)

ZUJI's new online booking tool (DP) powered by their proprietary technology TripSaver, offers convenience and real savings when flights and hotels are booked together, without compromising travellers' options. And the top 5 short-break destinations booked on ?

Gold Coast

Peter Smith concludes, 'We are delighted at the early success of the campaign which is driving unprecedented increases in traffic to the ZUJI site, bookings and increases in average spend. We are confident these results will continue as the campaign resumes at the end of the month and deliver even more savings in flight+hotel packages to Australian travellers on".

So what's your excuse? No really, we'd like to know!  **Go to (then book your short break at

About ZUJI:

In 2005, 2006, 2007 and again in 2008, ZUJI® was recognised as Asia Pacific's 'Best Online Travel Agent', as awarded by TTG travel magazines in Asia Pacific. ZUJI was also awarded as the 'Best Online Travel Agency' in 2007 by the TravelWeekly (Asia) Industry Awards.  'Condé Nast Traveler' magazine (March 08, US-edition) announced ZUJI as the 'best travel web site for flights in Asia'.  ZUJI gives travellers in Asia Pacific online access to real-time travel bookings for thousands of hotels and hundreds of airlines, as well as bringing cruises, car hire, attraction bookings, package tours and other inspirational travel offers, products and tools online.  Each ZUJI site is unique. ZUJI has teams and operates travel websites in: Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, Korea ('Nextour'), New Zealand, and India ('Travelocity India'), as well as many 'Travel Partner Network' sites throughout Asia Pacific. ZUJI is owned by Travelocity®, an international leader in online travel. Travelocity is owned by Sabre Holdings Corporation, a world leader in travel commerce.


Lord Howe Island Cool Season Specials: Five nights for Under $700

Be spellbound by Lord Howe Island's legendary beauty for under $700 for five nights. Cool season packages for Australia's closest Pacific island paradise start at $699 for five nights in a self-contained apartment, and range across traditional guesthouses to luxury lodges, including flights and island transfers – and it's less than two hours' flight from Sydney or Brisbane.
Lord Howe is that travel cliché: a well-kept secret. World Heritage-listed, the island has a limit of just 400 visitors, and is revered as the most beautiful island in the Pacific. There are no resort complexes or nightclubs, just 11 golden sand beaches to choose from, a network of walking tracks along the cliffs and through palm and banyan forests and family-owned accommodation. Water-wise, there's kayaking, fishing and SCUBA diving or snorkelling on the pristine coral reef – the world's most southerly.
The island is also one of the world's best bird-watching destinations and the cool season is when many of the 130 resident species come home to nest.
Cool season escape packages are on sale now until May 18 for travel between May 18 and September 18, 2009. All packages include special-price air travel with QantasLink ex Sydney or Brisbane, accommodation and island transfers.
It's a little-known wonder, but those who have discovered the secret have been coming back to Lord Howe for generations.
To book now, visit .


5-star Pullman launches cooking classes

Forget watching cooking shows on TV – now you can experience your own version of culinary theatre, with the five-star Pullman at Sydney Olympic Park opening its busy kitchen for intimate cooking lessons with Executive Chef David Greenhill. Launching on Saturday 16th May and then being held the last Saturday of each month, the cooking school is the perfect Mother's Day gift and will give participants the opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a commercial kitchen while gaining useful tips to make their own cooking better at home.

Priced at just $95 it includes the opportunity to go "backstage" in a professional kitchen, with a hands-on, interactive cooking lesson that culminates in a beautiful three-course lunch in Bacar Restaurant, with wine. A sample menu might include dishes such as a gazpacho martini with spanner crab salad and avocado mousse; roasted best end of lamb with tuscan cabbage, confit tomatoes and fondant potatoes; and hot chocolate fondant with marscapone ice cream and pistachio brittle.

"This is a unique opportunity to go behind the scenes of a commercial kitchen and learn the secrets and tricks that you usually only get after years of culinary school," said Chef Greenhill. "I hope to inspire and inform participants to try new skills and ingredients in their own kitchens and to discover a real passion for cooking.

"I believe this will offer something for every cook, from the novice to the seasoned pro and that participants will have fun while learning a new appreciation for food and wine."

Born and trained in England, Chef Greenhill was part of the opening team for Sir Terence Conran's Bluebird Restaurant in London and has also worked in some of the finest restaurants around the world, including Quaglino's London, Enotica Giovanni, Italy and Chateau Restaurant Joel Robuchon, Tokyo as well as at the New York Grill at the Park Hyatt Tokyo. He has cooked for the likes of Pierce Brosnan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Three Tenors and more.

Since arriving in Australia, David has worked at the Summit Restaurant, Park Hyatt Sydney and the MCA Café. He joined the Pullman from the 3-hatted Pier Restaurant at Rose Bay.

Chef Greenhill showcases the freshest produce and focuses strongly on European traditions, the finest ingredients and Asian influences.

The Pullman at Sydney Olympic Park is also offering stay and cook packages that include overnight accommodation and full buffet breakfast plus cooking lesson for two – all for just $399.

For bookings ph (02) 8762 1700.

Monday 27 April 2009

Sunsail is Named 'Best Asia-Based Charter Company'

Sunsail Is Named 'Best Asia-Based Charter Company'

Award Announced at the 2009 Asia Boating Awards in Shanghai

Sunsail, the world's largest yacht charter and flotilla cruise company, was delighted to accept the award for 'Best Asia-Based Charter Company' at the Asia Boating Awards 2009 recently held in Shanghai.

Widely known as the region's premier event, the Awards recognise the efforts of boat builders, marinas, clubs and individuals in creating a diverse and exciting boating community in the region. Judges chose the winners from a shortlist of nominees drafted by Asia-Pacific Boating reader votes. Sunsail's commitment to the region, selection of bareboat options, training options and brand building were all cited as reasons for its selection as Best Asia-Based Charter Company.

During the event, Olivier Burlot, publisher of Asia-Pacific Boating and China Boating magazines, told the audience: 'The Asia Boating Awards are unique in that they recognize the efforts being made in this part of the world to develop the leisure marine industry, and to create a new and exciting cruising ground for the world's yachtsmen.'

'Sunsail pioneered the charter industry in this region, with our first base established in Thailand in 1991.  This stunning cruising area offers an amazing diversity of landscapes, there are incredible rainforests, mountains, beaches and rivers to explore. Sunsail is proud to offer sailors such unique destinations in our worldwide holiday offerings', said Lex Raas, Sunsail's President and Chief Executive Officer.

Sunsail has recently increased its presence in South East Asia, offering even more options to explore this unique area.  You can now depart from Koh Chang and Koh Samui in Thailand, alongside a new Phuket location as of May, and you can also cast off from Langkawi in Malaysia.  To charter a Sunsail yacht on the sailing holiday of a lifetime, call the Sunsail team on 1800 803 988 or visit  Sunsail also offers attractive yacht purchase options providing owners all the joys of yacht ownership without the usual hassles and expense of maintenance, marina fees, insurance and operating costs, call 1300 739 655 for more information.

Continuing in its investments around the world, Sunsail has recently announced yacht charter base openings in Pula, Croatia; Palermo and Tropea, Italy; Orhaniye, Turkey and an innovative environmentally-friendly location in the British Virgin Islands.

About Sunsail

In 2009 Sunsail celebrates its 35th anniversary, offering a wide choice of sailing holidays for all skill levels, with nearly 1,000 yachts in over 29 locations worldwide. In addition to bareboat and skippered yacht charter, Sunsail provides fun flotillas, sailing school courses, beach club resorts, corporate and incentive team building event.  Sunsail was founded in 1974 and is owned by TUI Travel PLC.  For yacht sales information, call 1300 739 655. For yacht charters, visit or call 1800 803 988.

Sunday 26 April 2009


BRISBANE's Travel Concepts has put together a "Girls Own" 12-night escorted sightseeing, cultural and shopping tour of Cambodia and Vietnam in November of this year.

The fifth in a series of "Women Exploring the World" tours is designed for women wanting to learn more of the these two countries, enjoy the renowned cuisines of each, and take advantage of value-priced tailoring, handbags, shoes, jewellery, linen and other Christmas gift items for family or friends.

Time to unpack the suitcase with four nights each in Siem Reap and Hoi An, a night in Hue, and three in Hanoi, with the option of an add-on stopover in Singapore as well – this city lights up with some of the best Festive displays anywhere in the world, and those who stop-over will enjoy a free Christmas Lights Tour.

Lynn Law who will escort this tour, recently returned from visiting Cambodia and this tour, that departs on November 18th, will be her sixth to Vietnam.

Prices start from $4959pp from Brisbane with best-priced air flights available from other centres to join in Brisbane. It includes twin-share 4- and 5-star accommodation, breakfasts daily, private transfers, select town and city familiarisation walks, travels into the countryside by road, river and lake, internal air travel, English speaking local guides, entry fees, a half-day at a cooking school, and gratuities to drivers and guides.

For a detailed itinerary and costs of travel from other centres to join in Brisbane, phone 1800 770 599, (07) 3368 3733 or visit   

There are visits to a floating village, ancient citadels, a dragon boat ride to the famous Thien Mu Pagoda, Hanoi's 13th century Old Quarter of 36 streets, stay at the Hanoi Opera Hilton. Optional visits to Halong Bay or Hoa Lu and Van Long and much more….

Friday 24 April 2009

Billy Connolly's Journey to the Edge of the World

Billy Connolly's Journey to the Edge of the World (Canada & The Arctic Circle) starts on Channel 7 on 25 April at 6.30pm. Don't miss this opportunity to see parts of Canada & The Arctic Circle rarely seen.

Comedian Billy Connolly embarks on a rare and remote journey through the treacherous Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific inside the Arctic Circle. Billy spends 10 weeks making the 10,000 mile trip by sea, road and air. See him come face to face with a bear, take part in a gruelling First Nations sweat lodge ritual, spot whales in Newfoundland and pan for gold in the Yukon.

He says: "I'm heading into the great unknown - where the going gets tougher. I'm going to show you places that are bleak and weird. I'll introduce you to a culture that I just love. I'm following in the footsteps of the great explorers; and I'm going to have a laugh -on my Journey to the Edge of the World."

Adventure Destinations has exciting packages featuring destinations he visits in the first episode.

Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island Tour
8 Days / 7 Nights
from Aud$1700 per person twin share

Circle Newfoundland & Labrador Tour
12 days / 11 nights
from Aud$3458
Per person twin share

Contact us for high res images on +61(03) 95704466. See our website

Mother's Day Celebrations at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney

Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney invites guests to celebrate this Mother’s Day with several special offers exclusively available on 10 May 2009. Guests can enjoy a buffet lunch, high tea amid pleasant surroundings or a well-earned overnight break from home. Designed to please mum and the whole family, all Mother’s Day treats promise something special and unforgettable.

Strawberry Lunch at Café Mix

Guests can spoil their mothers with a strawberry themed buffet lunch, accompanied with a complimentary box of handmade chocolates and a rose. With a mix of world cuisines and a dessert selection featuring free-flowing chocolate fountains, the Strawberry Lunch is the ultimate indulgence for guests with a sweet tooth. For every group of four guests, mum can also receive a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine. Mother’s Day lunch is priced at A$95 per adult and A$47.50 per child from noon to 2:30 p.m. For bookings or enquiries, please telephone (02) 9250 6206 or e-mail

High Tea at the Lobby Lounge

Guests can celebrate the ritual of high tea and all things stylish in the tranquil surroundings of the Lobby Lounge and indulge in a wide selection of desserts, warm crumbly scones and unlimited sparkling wine. High tea is priced at A$40 per person from 2 to 5 p.m. For bookings or enquiries, please telephone (02) 9250 6144 or e-mail

Celebrations Package at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney

Treat your mother and her loved one to an indulgent escape this Mothers’ Day or for a future occasion. From just A$498 per night, the Celebrations Package includes accommodation for two, breakfast at Café Mix, a food and beverage credit of A$150, a complimentary bottle of Moet & Chandon, use of the health club, overnight parking and more.

For enquiries and reservations, please contact Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney on (02) 9250 6000, e-mail or visit

Mum's the Word at Conrad Jupiters

There’s no point in “keeping mum” about how much you love her - Conrad Jupiters has a host of ready-made ways to keep your mum smiling from dusk till dawn this Mother’s Day.

Beat breakfast in bed with a full buffet breakfast and complimentary glass of sparkling wine for mum at Food Fantasy for just $24.50 for adults and half price for kids aged 5 to 12 years (from 6am to 10am).

Or head in for lunch and let the whole family over-indulge with a full buffet and complimentary glass of sparkling wine for all adults for just $36.50 for adults and $18.50 for kids aged 5 to 12 years (from 11.30am to 2.30pm).

With a wide range of hot and cold dishes and unlimited tea, coffee and juice, Food Fantasy will please everyone’s palette as well as the purse strings this Mother’s Day.

Whether it’s Italian, Chinese, a relaxed buffet or a fine-dining affair, Conrad Jupiters has Mother’s Day dinner covered too.

For the ultimate five-star dining experience, spoil mum rotten and head to Conrad Jupiters’ award-winning Charters Towers restaurant located on Level 1.

Or let our ‘Mama’ cook for your mama this Mother’s Day at Andiamo, serving the best authentic Italian food on the Gold Coast.

For a unique Mother’s Day treat, check out Conrad Jupiters’ unbeatable Rest and Rumba package for mums in need of some serious R&R.

This package will have mum’s hips shaking with two tickets to the saucy, new stage show spectacular, Lady Salsa, and one night‘s accommodation in a Superior room for just $199 per room Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays or $299 on Saturdays.

Earn yourself a big batch of brownie points and treat mum to a day she’ll never forget at Conrad Jupiters.

Bookings for Charters Towers and Andiamo are highly recommended and can be made by calling Restaurant Reservations on 5592 8443.

To book the Rest and Rumba package, call Hotel Reservations toll free on 1800 074 344.

Muster up a great holiday at Peppers Hidden Vale

Here’s a holiday idea with a difference – mustering cattle at a romantic luxury retreat. Peppers Hidden Vale, just 60 minutes south west of Brisbane, is an authentic cattle station turned elegant country retreat with roots to Queensland’s pioneering past embedded in the early 1800s.

Peppers Hidden Vale lets guests participate in a real cattle drive on horseback, taste authentic outback tucker and learn the finer points of mustering strays and cracking whips from larrikin stockman guides.

Visitors can saddle up for the Dinner Camp Muster - a full day experience from $180 per person including riding with a musterer and bringing in cattle, morning smoko of billy tea and damper, camp oven lunch and stockyard cattle activities such as whip cracking, roping and horsemanship demonstrations, bottle feeding a poddy calf and more.

An an evening ride on the Razor Back range offers spectacular views of the station coupled with an overnight Rustic Cabins experience from $290 per person. This includes an overnight stay in comfortable bush cabins with ring campfire for relaxing under the stars, evening entertainment listening to yarns by a bush poet and singer and hearty barbecue breakfast before bringing the cattle back to the stockyards the following morning.

Visitors can linger longer in relaxed country surrounds and lap up the luxury for which Peppers Hidden Vale is renowned with additional nights at the retreat available for the special price of $299 per night including hearty breakfast for two. Transfers from Brisbane and the Gold Coast are available for $45 per person.

For bookings please contact Peppers Hidden Vale on (+617) 5465 5900 or by emailing

About Peppers Hidden Vale:

First settled in the early 1800s, with the original homestead taking shape in the 1920s, the property is testimony to Australia's colonial past, revived with the indulgent touch of Peppers.

While maintaining the heritage and elegance of a bygone era, Peppers Hidden Vale blends a charming taste of yesteryear with a retreat experience to be savoured equally for its award winning dining and indulgent body treatments.

In true Peppers style, the retreat has a focus on first-rate food and wine experiences. The highly regarded Cotton’s Restaurant, named after one of the early pioneer families who once owned the property, won the 2008 Best Hotel Restaurant crown at the Restaurant and Catering Queensland Awards for Excellence, while the retreat itself has reached the finals at the Queensland Tourism Awards for deluxe accommodation three years in a row.

Cotton’s prides itself on using the freshest produce that South East Queensland Country is famed for in its innovative menus matched with a superb wine list. As personal as it is enticing and appealing, the restaurant offers something new and exciting for guests every time under the guidance of experienced master chefs.

Favourites including the signature Wagyu beef grown on the property and a wide choice of sumptuous, seasonal cuisine can be enjoyed in an intimate atmosphere with beautiful views over the surrounding countryside.

Accommodation choices range from a quaint one-bedroom Chinese cottage built in the late 1800s to a six-bedroom cottage formerly the home of the property’s station manager and two brand new luxury heritage suites where an old-world exterior belies a heart of stylish, contemporary fittings, plasma TVs, DVDs and other mod cons.

Thursday 23 April 2009

Only 6 Days Until A&K's Live Internet Auction! Once in a Lifetime Africa & Egypt to Feature

The excitement is building as the live launch of Abercrombie & Kent’s (A&K) innovative internet auction draws nearer. A&K would like to advise that two more ‘once in a lifetime’ itineraries are to be included in the auction: an African safari experience and a journey to ancient Egypt.

The 11 day/10 night African itinerary starts in Johannesburg, South Africa before heading to Sabi Sand Reserve and a spectacular safari adventure. Staying in the heart of the Sabi Sabi bushveld at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge, your journey then continues in Botswana with luxury accommodation at Sanctuary Lodges and Camps. Set amongst unique wilderness backdrops, guests will experience the finest in southern African hospitality. Botswana’s Okavango Delta and its network of lagoons and floodplains are not to be missed, and this trip takes in some of the most spectacular game viewing and wildlife experiences available.

This unforgettable African adventure crescendo comes with a stay at Victoria Falls, at Sussi & Chuma Lodge, located on the Zambian side of the falls. A private journey, this trip would regularly start at $12,940 per person, twin share however live auction bidders potentially have the chance to secure this once in a lifetime trip for only $5176, saving up to $7764 – up to 60% off. There is one fabulous journey on offer with a choice of three departure dates: 1 July, 7 September and 21 November, 2009 and terms and conditions apply.

Abercrombie & Kent have been specialists in Egyptian adventures for over 40 years. This ‘once in a lifetime’ 10 day/9 nights private journey takes in all of the majestic highlights of ancient Egypt. After exploring the Egyptian Museum in Cairo with your own Egyptologist, visiting the stepped pyramid at Sakkara and the breathtaking pyramids and sphinx at Giza, guests will head to Luxor. Board A&K’s own Sun Boat IV and take in the sights, sounds and historic greatness of the mighty Nile River.

From Aswan to Abu Simbel and back to Cairo for more exploration of this fascinating and diverse city, senses will be excited and overwhelmed by this perfect introduction to Egypt and her ancient culture. This trip would normally start at AUD$10,485 per person, twin share, however, this trip could be yours for only AUD$4194, saving up to AUD$6291– up to 60% off. There is one memorable journey on offer with a choice of three departure dates: 17 July, 14 August and 18 September, 2009 and terms and conditions apply.

For more information go to and get on line
and let the auction begin!

World Premiere: Bearcam Featuring the Brown Bear

Finnish online service BearCam allows you to admire Europe’s greatest carnivores, the brown bears (Ursus arctos) as they awaken from winter hibernation. Starting May 1st live videos will present the wild bears from the taiga forest in Eastern Finland, near the Russian border.

The BearCam is installed in the animal observation site of the Wild Brown Bear Company, which arranges animal watching tours. In tests last summer, the webcam system which films live feeds showed a very high probability of capturing the bears on film. Although brown bears are classed as near threatened in for example many European countries, the taiga forests of Eastern Finland are home to a large number of them.

“Bears are shy, mostly nocturnal animals and are rarely seen without hidden observation huts and the use of carcasses. However, one can see bears approximately 95 per cent of the nights between late April and August,” explains Jaana Keränen, the sales manager of Wild Taiga, a network of the region’s tourism operators.

BearCam feeds live videos in the hours between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., the time when bears are most active. Daytime visitors of the website can browse the video archive.

From April, the first to wake up from their winter’s sleep are the large males, followed later in June by the mother bears and their cubs. Obtaining good quality video material is easy during the period of the Midnight Sun when the sun doesn’t set. For darker nights in the autumn, the video camera is equipped with infrared light.

The evergreen taiga forest provides possibilities for guided wildlife observing and photographing trips. In these excursions, one can admire different rare and endangered wild mammals, in particular bears, wolves and wolverines.

Starting May 1st the BearCam can be found on the Wild Brown Bear website at

Information about operators offering wildlife observation tours can be found at Wild Taiga website

For more information about visiting Finland:

For more information on Finland visit www.visitfinland/

Visit Finland image bank

$400 Cash Back Per Couple on Norfolk Island

Many cash back deals never seem worth the effort with slow or non-appearing cheques, lengthy waiting periods - sometimes months before the offer is honoured. Now with Norfolk & Pacific Holidays there is a Norfolk Island holiday cash back where the tiresome processing has been done up front, so why not escape those winter blues and enjoy the beauty and relaxed pace of this unique South Pacific island.

Norfolk enjoys idyllic days in winter, with temperatures ranging from 12 at night to 19-21 daytime great for a stroll around Emily Bay or in the national park or a friendly round of golf at historic Kingston. Enjoy red sunsets and cocktails at Puppy's Point, then dine at one of many restaurants followed by sweet dreams under the clear Norfolk Island night skies.

Norfolk Air are offering AUD$100 per person cash back on their wholesale airfares for travel until 31st August 2009, and now Norfolk & Pacific are doubling the offer by giving a further AUD$100 cash back per passenger. That’s a whopping saving of AUD$400 per couple, and there is no waiting as the price you pay has already had the cash back applied.

Cash Back Holidays are for 7 nights duration and the lead in price is AUD$869 per person share twin ex Brisbane. This holiday package at Anson Bay Lodge is in a one bedroom self contained unit, where two nights are included free, and complimentary car hire is provided. Mid range offerings include Bounty Lodge (AUD$1059 ex Brisbane) and Crest Apartments (AUD$1089 ex Brisbane) also giving two free nights and car hire, with Bounty even throwing in FREE full breakfast every day! For all cash back holidays add another AUD$40 pp for travel ex Newcastle; AUD$66 pp for travel ex Sydney and AUD$230 pp for travel ex Melbourne.

“We have ten super value added cash back holidays to Norfolk Island’s most popular properties, and our style of cash back keeps it simple and gives something back to clients instantly” said Colin Slark, Business Development Manager at NPH. “Plus every holiday includes airport Meet & Greet; transfers where applicable; a half days touring and our exclusive Bounty card, packed with money saving deals”

The popular All Seasons Colonial Hotel goes one step further and not only includes daily breakfasts and complimentary car hire but gives your wallet a rest by including 3 lunches, 3 dinners and a bottle of wine in the room – all from AUD$1395 ex Brisbane. The 4.5 star Christians of Bucks Point is a three bedroom house oozing charm and sophistication and with the generous cash back comes at AUD$1659 per person twin share ex Brisbane.

These packages must be booked before 30 June 2009 and are valid for travel until 31 August 2009, and all pre-payable taxes and levies are included, but Norfolk’s AUD$30 departure fee is not included.

Call Norfolk & Pacific Holidays booking office on 1800 11653 or email Details are aIso available on line at the new website Travel agents can obtain flyers from your NPH sales rep or for more information contact Colin Slark or General Manager, Glen Buffett on (07) 3221 3381 or email

Spoil Your Mum This Mother’s Day with a More Indulgence @ Medina Package

Medina Apartment Hotels has launched a More Indulgence @ Medina package – it’s the perfect gift to spoil your mother with this Mother’s Day. From just AUD$160* per room per night, she can stay in a stylish one bedroom apartment, receive a gift of luxurious beauty products and a late check-out of 11am.

Medina Apartment Hotels has partnered with luxurious skin and body care brand Evodia Australia to offer you a More Indulgence @ Medina package. The package includes two nights in a stylish one bedroom apartment, a gift of Evodia Australia champagne melon moisturising body lotion and a champagne melon indulgent relaxing bath soak plus a late check-out of 11am. Your stay will leave you feeling refreshed and beautifully fragrant.

Everyone who books the More Indulgence @ Medina package will be in with a chance to win an amazing seven night holiday for two to Copenhagen. The prize includes return economy flights to Copenhagen flying Scandinavian Airlines, seven nights accommodation at Adina Apartment Hotel Copenhagen, a Copenhagen City Pass for two, and tickets to the famous Tivoli Park.

Located at one of Copenhagen’s newest Harbourside developments and just 15 minutes from the centre of Copenhagen, Adina Apartment Hotel Copenhagen offers easy access to a range of dining, shopping, theatre and entertainment options. The Opera House, National Arena and the Little Mermaid are only minutes away.

Medina Apartment Hotels provides the ideal getaway where you can enjoy more Indulgence as well as more Space, Service and Style. With 23 locations around Australia, Medina Apartment Hotels offer travellers the opportunity to experience the cosmopolitan culture unique to each Australian city, while being conveniently situated amongst theatres, restaurants and cafes making Medina an ideal choice for a city escape.

More Indulgence @ Medina packages start from….
Medina Classic Canberra AUD$160.00**
Medina Executive Sydney Central AUD$200.00**
Medina Grand Sydney AUD$240.00**
Medina on Crown (Executive) AUD$220.00**
Medina Grand Adelaide Treasury AUD$210.00**
Medina Grand Melbourne AUD$220.00**
Medina Executive Flinders Street AUD$180.00**
Medina Grand Perth AUD$240.00**
Medina Executive Brisbane AUD$170.00**
Medina Darwin Waterfront AUD$210.00**

Search, select and book online @
*Indulgence Packages are valid from now until 31 July 2009. Minimum two night stay required. One gift pack per stay. Subject to availability and exclude peak periods.
**Rates are per night, per apartment

Get Back to Nature in the Manning Valley on the Mid North Coast NSW

Pic: Blackhead Beach

Manning Valley Tourism unveils nature based campaign

Manning Valley Tourism this week unveiled the "7 Natural Wonders of the Manning Valley" marketing campaign supported by more than 20 local tourism operators offering accommodation specials, discounts on activities such as sky diving and deals at local at local eateries and wineries. (see brochure)..

"Visitors to the area say The Manning Valley, surrounding Taree on the Mid North Coast NSW, is attractive because of its natural beauty and its cultural heritage making it the perfect place to reconnect with family and friends" said Manning Valley Tourism Coordinator Kim MacDonald. "The Manning Valley offers a large variety of accommodation and attractions, convenient proximity to the Sydney, Newcastle, Hunter and New England areas without the hustle and bustle of other larger regions. This campaign is an excellent opportunity to showcase our region to a large number of potential visitors".

"We want to attract visitors to the Manning Valley to witness the unspoilt beauty that we sometimes take for granted", said tourism operator Donna Carrier, who has assisted with the co-ordination of the campaign. "Tourism operators have worked closely with Manning Valley Tourism to make visiting our region more affordable allowing visitors to discover the beauty of the region" said Ms MacDonald.

Running between 18th April and 30 June 2009, the objectives of this nature based campaign are to increase awareness and interest in the Manning Valley's natural assets, consequently increasing visitation, expenditure and length of stay in the Manning Valley. The campaign integrates television and print advertising, online marketing, trade partnerships and public relations activities in a number of destinations all within a tank of fuel from the Manning Valley.

Television advertisements will be aired on NBN Television in the Newcastle region, Prime Television in New England, and supported by a variety of print advertisements including The Newcastle Herald, Focus Magazine Armidale and The Northern Daily Leader in Tamworth. The campaign is also being promoted at both the Hunter Valley Caravan and Camping Expo in May and the NSW Caravan, Camping 4WD Supershow this week.

The campaign has been made possible due to the newly formed Tourism NSW Regional Partnership Program which has been developed to facilitate the expansion of regional tourism. Manning Valley Tourism has been successful in gaining $28,000 from Tourism NSW in the first round submissions from the program. The second round of funding is soon to be negotiated and requests will be made to the tourism industry for suggestions on possible campaigns.

The "7 Natural Wonders" campaign will be officially launched at the Manning Valley Visitors Centre on April 30th at 6pm RSVP 02 6592 5400.

"This activity/campaign was supported by the NSW Government through Tourism NSW and its Regional Tourism Partnership Funding Program".

For further information contact the Manning Valley Visitors Information Centre on 02 6592 5400

Spoil your mum this Mother's Day with a More Indulgence @ Medina Package

Spoil your mum this Mother's Day with a More Indulgence @ Medina Package

Sydney, NSW; 23 April 2009:  Medina Apartment Hotels has launched a More Indulgence @ Medina package – it's the perfect gift to spoil your mother with this Mother's Day.  From just $160* per room per night, she can stay in a stylish one bedroom apartment, receive a gift of luxurious beauty products and a late check-out of 11am.


Medina Apartment Hotels has partnered with luxurious skin and body care brand Evodia Australia to offer you a More Indulgence @ Medina package.  The package includes two nights in a stylish one bedroom apartment, a gift of Evodia Australia champagne melon moisturising body lotion and a champagne melon indulgent relaxing bath soak plus a late check-out of 11am.  Your stay will leave you feeling refreshed and beautifully fragrant.

Everyone who books the More Indulgence @ Medina package will be in with a chance to win an amazing seven night holiday for two to Copenhagen.  The prize includes return economy flights to Copenhagen flying Scandinavian Airlines, seven nights accommodation at Adina Apartment Hotel Copenhagen, a Copenhagen City Pass for two, and tickets to the famous Tivoli Park.


Located at one of Copenhagen's newest Harbourside developments and just 15 minutes from the centre of Copenhagen, Adina Apartment Hotel Copenhagen offers easy access to a range of dining, shopping, theatre and entertainment options.  The Opera House, National Arena and the Little Mermaid are only minutes away.

Medina Apartment Hotels provides the ideal getaway where you can enjoy more Indulgence as well as more Space, Service and Style. With 23 locations around Australia, Medina Apartment Hotels offer travellers the opportunity to experience the cosmopolitan culture unique to each Australian city, while being conveniently situated amongst theatres, restaurants and cafes making Medina an ideal choice for a city escape.

More Indulgence @ Medina packages start from….

Medina Classic Canberra


Medina Executive Sydney Central


Medina Grand Sydney


Medina on Crown (Executive)


Medina Grand Adelaide Treasury


Medina Grand Melbourne


Medina Executive Flinders Street


Medina Grand Perth


Medina Executive Brisbane


Medina Darwin Waterfront


Search, select and book online @

*Indulgence Packages are valid from now until 31 July 2009. Minimum two night stay required. One gift pack per stay.  Subject to availability and exclude peak periods.

**Rates are per night, per apartment


Wednesday 22 April 2009

Experience the Mystique of Sea Turtles in Celebration of World Ocean Day

Imagine a close-up and personal encounter with one of the world’s most mystical and prehistoric creatures. That is what engagement with sea turtles is all about. Communities around the world will celebrate World Ocean Day on June 8, and the occasion presents many opportunities to see these endangered gentle giants in person and participate in conservation efforts that are underway to protect them. SEE Turtles ( is offering a free volunteer placement service that matches interested volunteers with sea turtle conservation projects in Mexico, Costa Rica, Tobago, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

Watching a green sea turtle gracefully meander through the water or witnessing a horde of leatherback sea turtle hatchlings scramble to the ocean may be one of the most joyful experiences in life. Sea turtles are among the earth’s most ancient and fascinating animals: they have been a mainstay in six of the world’s seven oceans for millions of years, can travel thousands of miles, and can live to be 80 years old. While they live most of their lives at sea, they come to shore for nesting rituals that date back to prehistoric times, creating unforgettable and intimate opportunities to interact with them.

All seven species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered, and three, the Leatherback, Kemp’s Ridley, and Hawksbill are listed as critically endangered. The Leatherback population in the Pacific Ocean was once the world’s largest, but has declined dramatically primarily due to human exploitation, commercial fisheries, and loss of nesting habitat.

The SEE Turtles volunteer program creates opportunities for interested parties to engage with sea turtles, and participate in turtle conservation efforts right alongside expert biologists and sea turtle researchers. Volunteering on a sea turtle conservation project generally involves tracking and tagging turtles, night patrols of the nesting beaches, and helping researchers collect data. Many projects also include shifts in the egg hatcheries where the eggs are protected from poachers and animals. In addition to meaningful project work, volunteers will have time to explore the rainforest, visit local towns, or simply enjoy a refreshing ocean swim and relaxation on the beach.

For more information and to apply, visit and click on the link to the volunteer matching form. Applicants will be asked to submit their preferred destinations, dates of travel, budget requirements, desired accommodations, and other criteria. SEE Turtles will then match volunteers to partner organizations and projects that best fit their preferences. No prior experience working with sea turtles is necessary and volunteers do not need to be able to speak Spanish. Volunteers should be in reasonable physical condition and are asked to contribute at least a week of their time.

About SEE Turtles
Going beyond the ecotourism mantra of "leave only footprints", SEE Turtles ( suggests that tourists should make a positive impact through conservation tourism. Conservation tourism supports communities protecting sea turtles by increasing the income needed for local conservation efforts, providing economic alternatives to end threats to sea turtles and inspiring travelers to take a more active role in protecting sea turtles. SEE Turtles is an Ocean Revolution conservation tourism project that links people with sea turtle sites in ways that directly support efforts to protect sea turtles, while increasing resources in communities to help residents thrive and value sea turtles in their environment. Ocean Revolution is a project of The Ocean Foundation.

George’s, a Perfect Culinary Experience!

George’s on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula offers a unique travel experience, combining luxury accommodation with onsite professional cooking courses.

Seated atop Arthur’s Seat with sweeping views overlooking magnificent Port Phillip Bay, George’s was created on the concept of the famous international live-in cooking schools of Italy & South of France. This stylish B&B offers quality accommodation and hands on cooking classes for Australia’s growing culinary market.

George’s is the brainchild of Peter Schofield, who noticed there were few ‘live in’ culinary retreats in Australia. Peter believed the concept would be attractive with the increasingly food-savvy Australian market, and by locating his facility in a major tourism region, there was also scope to maintain high occupancy rates between the themed food courses.

‘I believe it’s a unique product in Australia, and having done close to 20 cooking courses now proves the formula is working…..guests thoroughly enjoyed the cooking course with upmarket accommodation. We’ve found that private groups work best, as then they get to choose one of 8 cuisine themes - Classic French; Flavours of SE Asia; Are You Game; Patisserie; Fresh Ocean Produce; Health Conscious; Americas; Mediterranean Escape’ Peter said.

George's 2 and 3 day culinary courses with Executive Chef, Duncan White-Robertson are purposely limited to 8 participants to give each ‘foodie’ an equal opportunity to finetune their cooking skills and learn kitchen techniques from sharpening knifes through to hygeniene procedures and the use of fresh herbs in food dishes, etc.

Duncan White-Robertson is a star chef on the rise. Tagged by media as Australia’s answer to Jamie Oliver, George’s is thrilled to have him as Executive Chef. Feedback from class participants already confirms Duncan as the perfect instructor. His immense global cuisine experience over 20 years, extensive teaching in the field of culinary arts and training as an actor have all contributed to his persona.

George’s culinary courses include everything gastronomic. The 3 day cooking course comprises of: 2 nights lavish accommodation in a designer suite with private balcony; ‘hands on’ cooking lessons with Chef* * all meals & beverages ; cooking equipment; worksheets; recipes; pre-dinner wine tasting with Sommelier; 4 course degustation dinner with matching wines presented by Chef; 30 minute natural spa at Peninsula Hot Springs; local produce & winery tour; transfers to & from local activities; insurance cover; and a gift pack!

Priced at AUD$850 per person for a 2 day course or AUD$1,300pp for 3 days (maximum/minimum 8 participants). George’s next 3 day culinary course is 16th, 17th & 18th June 09.

When participants arrive, they welcomed with a kit comprising of the program, along with a complimentary bottle of Mornington Peninsula wine and other freebies. After ‘donning’ the aprons by the Chef, they are then escorted into a state-of-the art stainless steel commercial kitchen to commence the ‘cooking program’ under his supervision.

In essence, the food cooked on Day 1 morning creates a casual lunch, and the food cooked that afternoon forms a fine dining degustation dinner menu. Upon arrival, they are greeted by a Sommelier from Elgee Park Wines (local winery) for a wine tasting…..then seated for a more formal 5 course degustation dinner with matching wines, the food dishes presented by the Chef. The following day includes a cooked breakfast, followed by cooking classes to form another casual lunch. A host is also included in the program to meet’n’greet guests, offer tea/coffee, serve the food dishes and wines for each meal and virtually to spoil each individual!

‘I’m always so impressed with each retreat, especially when I serve the guest food dishes for the degustation dinner matched with matching wines…and to see the looks on their faces, at just how good it is. It’s wonderful being a cooking teacher, I love to fill people with joy’ Duncan said.

If you book a culinary course by the end of June 09, then participants receive AUD$150 gift voucher which can be redeemed at George’s towards accommodation or a cooking course. Live the cuisine dream!

Less than an hour from Melbourne, George’s is just minutes away from Mornington Peninsula’s premier attractions. Leading wineries are literally around the corner, and golf courses, markets, Safety Beach Marina and the Peninsula Hot Springs are only a stone’s throw away.

Families take centre stage on new Carnival Dream

The ultimate family holiday awaits on board Carnival Dream

Sydney, 22 April 2009 – Families will take centre stage this September when Carnival Cruise Lines debuts its newest ship, Carnival Dream in Rome. With more than 19,000 square feet of space catering to children, Carnival Dream will transform the way families holiday on the high seas with its spectacular offering of modern facilities, generous play areas, family friendly accommodations and tailored menus for kids.

"Families today are looking for a holiday that provides children of all ages with a wide variety of fun-filled activities, all at outstanding value. We've taken everything we've learned over the years and incorporated it into the design of Carnival Dream whose unmatched combination of spacious facilities, unique outdoor features and enthusiastic staff makes it the ultimate family holiday," said Roberta Jacoby, Carnival's senior vice president of hotel operations.

The 130,000-ton Carnival Dream will offer expansive indoor and outdoor play areas, including a sprawling aqua park housing the cruise industry's longest water slide and the cruise line's first 18-hole miniature golf course. Carnival Dream will also offer supervised kids club programs for three age groups – Camp Carnival (ages 2-11), Circle "C" (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17) – each boasting a full schedule of morning-til-night activities organised by highly trained staff.

Carnival Dream's family friendly features even extend to the ship's accommodations, which include spacious deluxe ocean view staterooms with a dual bathroom configuration. Select rooms can also hold up to five guests – a rarity in new ship construction and perfect for families.

With dining such an important part of any cruise, Carnival Dream will offer the widest variety of kid-friendly culinary choices at sea. In addition to a grille serving hamburgers and hot dogs, The Gathering casual poolside restaurant will offer 24-hour pizza and ice cream. Extensive children's menus and daily 'junior' specials will also be available in the main dining rooms.

On 15 October 2009, Carnival Dream will sail a 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruise from Rome. The round-trip will include the following ports of call: Naples, Livorno and Venice, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Messina, Sicily; Monaco; and Barcelona, Spain. Prices start at $2,259 per person twin share, which includes accommodation, meals and entertainment as well as taxes and NCFs.

On 27 October 2009, Carnival Dream will embark on a 16-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Rome (Civitavecchia) to New York, via such ports as Barcelona, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Las Palmas, Canary Island; and King's Wharf, Bermuda. Prices start at $1,955 per person twin share.

Carnival Dream will then launch year-round 7-day Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral on 12 December 2009, offering weeklong voyages to the eastern and western Caribbean. With Port Canaveral's close proximity to Orlando, home to numerous theme parks and attractions, these cruises are expected to hold particular appeal to families. Fares start from $1,132 per person twin share.

For booking enquiries, please contact Travel the World on 1300 766 566 or visit

Interlude tours "Highlights of India"

Small group tour company Interlude has released a 18 day  "India Highlights" package departing  Sydney on 02 November 2009.
The tour includes World Heritage Sites - Humanyun's tomb and Qutab Minar in Delhi, Taj Mahal Red Fort and Fatehpur Sikri in Agra , plus a country stay in Ramarthra Fort - A luxury camp within a classic Rajput fort City,  Ranthambore National Park- India's premier Tiger reserve, Jaipur, the pink city of palaces and magnificently monuments,  Udaipur old market and bazaar, the wonderful beaches of Mararikulam , Alleppey for a traditional Rice boat cruise through the backwaters of Kerala.
Package includes economy International Air travel with Singapore airlines, travelling with the Australian tour principal, English speaking guides throughout the tour plus daylight scenic train journeys and three internal flights, all breakfasts, other meals as per itinerary and entry to major attractions.
 $ 12550.00 per person twin share quality accommodation with private facililties 
Interlude tours has been successfully conducting small group tours for Australians for 30 years .
For further information and bookings contact :Jeanette Savage at Interlude Tours on 94052218, OR  Sue Tate at Myall Travel 0249970580     


Mr & Mrs Smith

Proper Noun

1. The world's leading boutique accommodation experts.  
2. A common pseudonym often used by couples checking into a hotel for a romantic (and sometimes clandestine) weekend away.

No, not Brad and Angelina.  

We're talking about Mr & Mrs Smith, the world's leading boutique hotel experts, who'll be bringing their irresistible cocktail of style-spotting and service to would-be-Mr & Mrs Smiths across Australia, New Zealand and Asia from April 2009.

Part travel-guide, part holiday-booking-service, part travel-club for those in the know, Mr & Mrs Smith is all about making sure every weekend (or week) away is an unforgettable experience.  

The website,, offers the discerning traveller more than 500 recommendations for smaller, sexier hotels and properties from Australia and around the world that stuffy luxury guides and run-of-the-mill directory sites so often overlook.  

Every boutique hotel in the Mr & Mrs Smith collection has been hand-picked by the Mr & Mrs Smith team and anonymously reviewed by a handful of "tastemakers" from the worlds of music, fashion, theatre, publishing, architecture, food and wine who's brief is to provide you with the low-down on each property's perks and quirks, Including Insider tips on the best rooms in the house.

Designer Stella McCartney, chef Raymond Blanc and burlesque artist Dita Von Teese are among Mr & Mrs Smith's existing reviewers, and they'll be joined by local tastemakers such as actress Sigrid Thornton, TV personality Chris Brown, celebrity restaurateur Christine Manfield and others soon to be revealed when Mr & Mrs Smith opens for business on this side of the world later in 2009.

The Mr & Mrs Smith concept was born in the UK in 2003 when founders James Lohan and Tamara Heber-Percy had the unfortunate experience of staying in a bad hotel. Determined that no-one should ever have to share their bad luck they launched the first Mr & Mrs Smith Guide, a beautiful book of boutique properties guaranteed to provide their guests with a memorable stay, this time for all the right reasons.

The Smiths went online in 2005 and is now one of the most trafficked boutique hotel sites in Europe, with more than 250,000 visitors each month. Sassy destination profiles supplement hotel information with insider tips on places to eat (including the best tables), drink, dance, shop and get active nearby.  

The Asia-Pacific arm of Mr & Mrs Smith (which includes Australia and New Zealand) is being established in partnership with Simon Westcott, former  

Global Publisher of Lonely Planet, regular travel writer and blogger and a boutique hotel connoisseur in his own right.

Simon and his crack local team are working hard to expand Mr & Mrs Smith's Asia-Pacific collection online to include an unrivalled selection of up to 200 boutique hotels in Australia and abroad by the end of the year.  

A brand new Mr & Mrs Smith Australia and New Zealand book is also planned to hit the shelves in October 2009, with a Mr & Mrs Smith Asia planned to follow in March 2010.

But Mr & Mrs Smith is about more than just hot tips for great weekends away.  Mr & Mrs Smith offers a premium travel booking service and can arrange everything for the boutique traveller either online, or through our local travel team who can be contacted anytime via a  free local call.   

All Smith customers are guaranteed the best available rates, but it's Mr & Mrs Smith members who really get to feel special.  Every hotel has an exclusive Smith member offer redeemable during the stay – a free bottle of bubbles, a complimentary massage, a bespoke gift – and five per cent of the value of every stay is locked away in the Mr &Mrs Smith Vault for members to use against later bookings or on a range of boutique and luxury products and services from Mr & Mrs Smith partners.   

Membership is available in three tiers – BlackSmith, SilverSmith and GoldSmith – and the benefits vary accordingly, from access to exclusive content and promotions at BlackSmith level through to complimentary airline lounge membership and travel concierge for GoldSmiths.

It's a big year ahead and Mr & Mrs Smith are looking forward to getting to know you. Here's a taste of what's in store in 2009:   

    * Mr & Mrs Smith (Asia Pacific) will launch in Australia in April 2009 and will include a 24-hour telephone booking service, available via a free 1800 number.
    * The website will be fully customised, with prices quoted in local currencies, a regional home page and other exclusive content for Australian and other regional customers  
    * The Mr & Mrs Smith European Cities Guide will be on sale in selected Australian book stores from mid-April 2009.
    * Mr & Mrs Smith will be partnering with appropriate local and regional boutique travel  and lifestyle brands
    * Mr & Mrs Smith founders James Lohan and Tamara Heber-Percy will visit Australia in April 2009 and will be available for interview

Tuesday 21 April 2009

Travel to the End of the earth with Trafalgar… well Almost

Since ancient times, England has been one of the most significant countries in the world for myths and magic. Learn of the mysterious legends and stories that surround southern England on Trafalgar’s five-day First Class Best of Devon and Cornwall.

Journey through this historic region riddled with tales of another time. See the ruined castle of Tintagel, linked to the legend of King Arthur, the tomb at the Abbey ruins where he now lays, the Roman Baths and mystical Stonehenge.

This tour also includes a Cornish excursion where passengers can enjoy a scenic drive along the rugged coastline of Cornwall, past Smugglers’ Cove and quaint fishing villages to Land’s End, the most westerly point of the British mainland. Continue to St Ives to see the famous artist colony before travelling to St Michael’s Mont.

Some of the highlights of this tour include:
• Runnymede: See the Magna Carta Memorial
• Bideford: Visit the ancient seaport
• Clovelly: Wander through the picturesque village
• Boscastle: See the pretty resort and enjoy a Devonshire cream tea
• Tintagel: Explore the ancient castle
• Glastonbury: Visit the abbey and tomb of King Arthur
• Salisbury: Marvel at the amazing Cathedral
• Stonehenge: Learn of the legend of this ancient stone circle
• Plymouth: See the Mayflower Steps and the Hoe
• Bath: Explore the Roman Baths and admire the Georgian architecture.

Trafalgar’s first class Best of Devon and Cornwall is priced from $1245 per person, twin share (land only) and includes first-class hotel accommodation, touring by luxury air conditioned coach, sightseeing, the services of a professional multi-lingual tour director, breakfast daily, most dinners including farewell dinner with wine in Bristol and airport transfers. Departures are available from 21 April to 13 October, 2009.

With more than 60 years experience, Trafalgar has the knowledge and expertise to design unforgettable touring holidays. Travellers can choose from more than 150 perfectly planned itineraries across eight touring styles. Whether travel is by road, rail, river or sea, with Trafalgar guests are assured of unrivalled quality, service and reliability. Trafalgar’s guests stay in carefully selected first class hotels which are located close to the most important sights. Europe’s finest tour directors enrich the experience by bringing each destination to life. All this, at savings of up to 40 per cent compared to travelling independently.

For more information visit, email or see your local travel agent.

About Trafalgar: Trafalgar is the world’s leading escorted tour company offering exceptional quality and value tours to a range of exciting destinations. Established in 1947, Trafalgar draws on over 60 years experience in providing unforgettable, seamless holidays to the United Kingdom, Europe and Eastern Mediterranean, USA and Canada and South America.

Trafalgar offers a wide range of holiday experiences designed to suit all ages, tastes and budgets. Choose from more than 200 itineraries from short breaks of four days to extended holidays of up to 31 days in length.

Experience the 'Rhythm of Rarotonga' with free nights and bonuses

Toberua Island Resort is an enchanting place that has been offering guests an exquisite haven away from the regular tourist track for over 40 years including the famous Sir Edmund Hillary, Ringo Starr and Caroline Kennedy. Stepping onto the white sandy beach you will immediately find yourself embarking on a unique Fijian experience.

The owners of Toberua Island Resort would like to celebrate the new ‘Toberua Island Resort’ and the recent resort upgrades by offering guests all MEALS FREE for travel before 31 March 2010. The meal plan is valued at F$122 per adult per day, so based on a 5 nights stay couples will be SAVING F$1220 per Bure, and Families with 2 adults plus 2 kids under 12 years will be SAVING F$1710 per Bure!

Toberua Island Resort is a unique and exclusive island paradise located off the eastern tip of Fiji’s Viti Levu north of Suva City, with seamless transfer access available 24 hours a day. This boutique resort offers a peaceful haven for those seeking to relax and revitalise, suiting both families and couples. With just 15 Oceanfront Bures nestled on the water’s edge among lush tropical gardens, all include a unique open-air private bathroom. The tranquillity offered at Toberua is enhanced by limiting the number Bures, preserving the natural beauty of this unique piece of Fijian paradise. All Bures are an authentic Fijian style, with comfortable contemporary furnishings to compliment the peaceful setting.

Toberua Island Resort, where the God of relaxation placed his last handful of sand.....

To take advantage, of this special offer contact your local travel agent or visit

Anantara Phuket Resort & Spa and Anantara Desert Islands resort & Spa Amongst World’s Hottest Hotels

- Both Properties included in the Conde Nast Traveller 2009 Hot List -

Anantara Phuket Resort & Spa in Thailand and Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa in Abu Dhabi have been named amongst the world’s hottest hotels in the annual Conde Nast Traveller 2009 Hot List.

The Conde Nast Traveller Hot List is a definitive guide to the hottest new hotels in the world. Thousands of hotels are checked out by Conde Nast Traveller correspondents from round the globe but just 70 hotels make it onto the final list.

Anantara Phuket Resort & Spa, Thailand (

Anantara Phuket Resort & Spa is situated in the serenity of Mai Khao Beach and features just 83 individual villas each with its own private pool. Each villa boasts colourful silks, prized Thai furniture and a beautiful bathroom featuring an Anantara signature outdoor ‘made for two’ terrazzo tub.

Anantara Phuket offers a choice of stylish, high concept dining areas including La Sala which features Sicilian specialities, The Tree House which offers Thai fusion tapas and Sea.Fire.Salt which serves exquisite fish and meat dishes.

The acclaimed Anantara Spa at Anantara Phuket is the perfect sanctuary for a journey to inner harmony. This unique spa is defined by the beauty and symbolism of the lotus flower and a range of unique treatments have been devised to reflect the influence of the lotus theme.

Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa, Abu Dhabi

Anantara Desert Islands Resort and Spa lies on the exclusive Sir Bani Yas Island, just 150 miles southwest of Abu Dhabi. Originally the private island retreat and Royal nature reserve of Sheikh Zayed, the late ruler and founder of the United Arab Emirates, Sir Bani Yas is one of eight natural islands which collectively form the Desert Islands and is the first one open to the public.

Spanning over 87 square kilometres, Sir Bani Yas is one of the largest nature reserves in Arabia and thanks to over two decades of intensive conservation work and ecological investment, is now home to over 2.5 million trees and plants. The island’s game park houses thousands of free-roaming animals including hyena, giraffe, cheetah and Arabian Oryx, which are sadly now extinct in the wild, whilst the bird sanctuary boasts everything from ostriches and emus to pink flamingos. The waters surrounding the island are equally rich and are frequented by dolphins and sea turtles.

The five-star Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa is the perfect hideaway for those seeking adventure and nature based experiences combined with sheer luxury and pampering. The resort’s 64 luxuriously designed bedrooms suites with living quarters are decked out with state-of-the-art amenities and are enriched by greenery and Arabian touches including marble bath fixtures.

For those wishing to venture out to explore the natural wonders of Sir Ban Yas Island, a number of activities such as adventure safaris, bird watching, mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, diving and snorkelling are available from the resort.

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For hundreds of years throughout Thailand, people would leave a jar of water outside their house to provide refreshment and extend a welcome to the passing traveller. Anantara is taken from an ancient Sanskrit word that means 'without end', which symbolizes this sharing of water and heartfelt hospitality is at the core of the Anantara experience.

Anantara Resorts are currently located in the seaside town of Hua Hin and on Koh Samui, in the Gulf of Thailand, and in the Golden Triangle in the country’s north. In the world-renowned destination of the Maldives, Anantara Dhigu and Anantara Veli are a 30-minute boat ride from the capital Male. Anantara Seminyak debuted in April 2008 in the most fashionable district of Bali – the Island of the Gods. October 2008 saw the opening of Anantara Phuket, which is situated in the serenity of Mai Khao Beach, Thailand, and Desert Islands Resort & Spa on Sir Bani Yas Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi. The newest member of the Anantara family opened its doors in December 2008, Anantara Si Kao lies on the secluded Changlang Beach area south of Krabi, Thailand.

Anantara is a member of Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel groups. GHA partner hotels are renowned for reflecting and respecting local traditions and culture through the their products and services

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