Tuesday 31 May 2011

Hangover (Part 2) Packages at iconic lebua Bangkok

lebua Hotel brings the fans of The Hangover an opportunity to be able to live the life of the characters of the highly anticipated new movie with 2 fantastic packages

The Hangover Part II, an American comedy and the follow-up to the blockbuster movie, The Hangover, which made US$450 million at the box office, has been filmed at lebua, the all-suite Luxurious Hotel in Bangkok. With its near 360-degree views of Bangkok, lebua was instrumental in setting the stage for the panoramic scenes seen throughout the much-anticipated movie being released worldwide from 26th May, 2011.

One of the chosen sites for many of the scenes was the Tower Club at lebua, and in particular the entrance to Sirocco, the world’s highest open air rooftop restaurant on the 63rd floor. The backdrop for many of the scenes is the dramatic and amazing view of Bangkok’s skyline which can be experienced from the renowned Sky Bar and Sirocco restaurant. Additional scenes also include lebua’s famous golden Dome atop recently re launched Mezzaluna, lebua’s modern and innovative haute eatery, where a helicopter appears in an all-action packed scene. The hotel was turned into a live film set and had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of their staff to be included as extras!

Now, lebua brings the fans of The Hangover an opportunity to be able to live the life of the characters from the movie with a special two-night Hangover Part II package priced at USD$ 2,200 (AUD $2,085 - 24 May 2011). The package includes:

+ 2 nights for two people in a two bedroom suite;
+ Luxury transfers to and from the airport;
+ Complimentary Hangovertini in your suite, or at the Sky Bar;
+ 3 course chef’s menu at Mezzaluna for 2 people;
+ Access to the luxury Tower Club Lounge offering a relaxed venue for all day complimentary drinks, canapés and high tea.

Fans can also stay in the redesigned Hangover Suite, a three-bedroom luxury suite at Tower Club at lebua, which can accommodate up to six people and offers a fully stocked mini bar and ample space to party like the guys from The Hangover! Surrounding the room are prints of the cast and crew filming at the hotel for your own personal insider’s view of what it is like to be on a movie set. The suite is adorned with the best of best champagne, whisky and spirits for your luxury night on the town. The Hangover Suite package starts at US$999 per night (AUD$950 - 24 May 2011) and includes:

+ A fully stocked complimentary mini bar per day;
+ Welcome Hangovertini in suite or at the Sky Bar (one per person per stay);
+ LCD TVs in each of the bedrooms plus living room with On Demand free movies;
+ In suite internet access;
+ Luxury BVLGARI bathroom spa amenities exclusive to lebua;
+ Nespresso coffee machines in the suite;
+ Access to Tower Club’s private lounge on the 52nd floor serving continental breakfast, snacks, canapés, high tea and all beverages.

About Tower Club at lebua:

Tower Club at lebua is an all-suite, all-club hotel located on the 51st – 59th floors, where guests can enjoy such privileges as Bvlgari amenities (exclusive-to-lebua), free soft drinks in mini-bar, complimentary in-suite broadband Internet access, LCD television monitors with free video on demand, Nespresso coffee making machine and priority dining reservations at The Dome. Guests also have access to the Tower Cl

ub Lounge on the 52nd floor, where complimentary canapés and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are served daily in addition to afternoon High Tea.

lebua offers an exquisite and eclectic selection of restaurants and bars, better known as The Dome at lebua, which is a culinary dream even for connoisseurs. Be it Mediterranean at Sirocco, Modern Innovative at Mezzaluna, or Asian cuisine at Breeze, the best restaurants and bars in Bangkok congregate at lebua and provide an unmatched experience with truly personalized service.

For reservations, please email or call +66 (0) 2624 9555

The Vibe CD: The Chillout Suite

Vibe Hotels have been in bed with Sony Music, conceiving your ultimate chillout playlist

Vibe Hotels and Sony Music are singing the song of success with the launch of The Vibe CD: The Chillout Suite. The fourth album in the chart topping Vibe CD series features 40 tracks to set the mood as you check-in and chillout at Vibe Hotels.

Making a rockstar comeback after a four year hiatus (minus the rehab rumours), The Vibe CD: The Chillout Suite was created with your ultimate downtime playlist in mind, whether you’re checking out a new city location or just kicking back with a glass of wine at home.

The Vibe CD combines the best of the lounge, soul and chillout genres. It includes international headliners such as Royksopp, Mark Ronson, Florence and the Machine and Hot Chip alongside homegrown faves like Angus & Julia Stone, Washington and Sparkadia. Plus, classic hits from legends such as Jeff Buckley, Lenny Kravitz, Harry Connick Jnr and Bill Withers are wedged in between debut singles from some Aussie young guns – Gypsy and the Cat, Big Scary, Kid Mac and Georgia Fair.

Rachel Argaman, CEO of Vibe Hotels, said: “After much anticipation we are thrilled to release the next Vibe CD! At Vibe, we strive to offer more than just hotel rooms. What our guests really love is the mood and the lifestyle available to them at Vibe Hotels. The chillout tracks we have selected for the latest CD reflect the vibe of the hotels and their city locations, but most of all we wanted to create the perfect soundtrack for everyone’s downtime.”

Of course unlike a hotel room, this Chillout Suite is available to take home. The Vibe CD package includes: overnight accommodation, a complimentary copy of The Vibe CD: The Chillout Suite, buffet breakfast for two and late check-out at midday and starts from $160*. The Vibe CD can also be purchased from Reception at any Vibe Hotel or at any good music store for $30.

*Vibe CD package is subject to availability. Rate is per room, per night. Prices vary per hotel. Valid for bookings and stays from 6/6/2011 – 30/9/2011. One CD per stay.  

Monday 30 May 2011

Popular Sydney Whale Watching Cruise Back in 2011

Captain Cook Cruises is back again this whale watching season with four Whale Watching cruises operating daily until December 11th 2011. Book online at and receive 15% discount.

Whale Watching cruises takes passengers past the Sydney Opera House, Fort Denison and all the beautiful homes located in the bays of Sydney Harbour and out through the heads onto the open waters. Here the direction of the vessel is totally dependent on where the whales have been sighted – north towards Manly or south towards Coogee. Most whales are found within 2kms of shore.

The number of Humpback and Southern Right whales passing through Sydney on their annual northern migration between Antarctica and the Great Barrier Reef, is expected to reach its traditional peak around the Winter Solstice on June 21st

After calving in the northern waters between August and September, the whales will then again head south past Sydney, making their long journey back to Antarctica.

This Whale Watching season, Captain Cook Cruises is offering passengers the choice of Whale Watching vessels - smaller vessels for up to 75 guests and larger vessels for up to 260 guests. Both vessels are purpose built for Whale Watching and feature two passenger decks offering spectacular open air viewing and a comfortable inside all-weather lounge for the entire family.

Captain Cook Cruises offers a whale guarantee. If a whale is not sighted during the cruise, passengers can cruise again for free.

Whale Watching cruises depart daily from Jetty 6 Circular Quay at 9.15am, 1.15pm and 1.30pm and from Darling Harbour at 9.00am, 9.45am, 12.50pm and 1.15pm.

For those on a smaller vessel Whale Watching Cruises are priced at: adults $75, concession $65, child (0-14) $39 and family (2ad+2ch) $189. For those on a larger vessel prices are: adults $85, concession $76, child (5-14) $50, infants under 5 years free and family (2ad+2ch) $220.

For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises toll free from Australia on 1800 804 843; Int +61-2-9206 1111, Email: or visit

Saturday 28 May 2011


‘Tis just days before Yulefest and all through the towns,
Decorations from attics are being brought down,
Trees are being trimmed and menus prepared with care,
With the knowledge, visitors for Yulefest, will soon be there

Every winter season in the Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon region, visitors, locals, friends, families, social clubs and sporting groups all gather to celebrate Yulefest.

The region can thank the Irish (to be sure) for Yulefest, an idea that originated in the Blue Mountains region some 30 years ago.

Back in 1980, a small group of Irish visitors were enjoying the crisp, clear winter climate and as they relaxed in front of a roaring log fire they commented on how the conditions and the atmosphere reminded them of their Christmas celebrations back home.

A savvy local hotel operator offered to re-create for his Irish guests, a similar festive atmosphere and meal, to make them feel even more at home.

And so preparations began, decorations were hung, the Christmas tree was brought out from storage and trimmed and a scrumptious menu was planned. Word began to spread around the region and the requests to attend were many.

Today, the tradition is known as Yulefest and it is one of the most popular events held in the Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon region.

Many hotels, restaurants, motor inns and guest houses in the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region offer a Yulefest celebration ranging from the traditional dinner of turkey and plum puddings to spatchcock and Crème Anglais, to special accommodation packages for all the family with entertainment encompassing carol singers, pipe bands and even visits from the jolly fellow dressed in red.

The Mountain Heritage Hotel and Spa Retreat, popularly regarded as the ‘home’ of Yulefest in the region, offers a five course Yulefest dinner followed by a glass of port accompanied by mince pies, a cabaret show and piano playing, a complimentary keepsake photo taken during the celebration and a visit from Santa with gifts for both the young and young at heart for $145 per adult, $65 per child (5-12 years) and $15 per infant (under $4).

Yulefest celebration dates at the Mountain Heritage are 25 June and the 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th July, 2011. Packages including accommodation and Yulefest celebrations are also available. Bookings are essential on P: 4782 2155.

The Carrington Hotel, located in Katoomba similarly offers a five course Yulefest celebration. Packages including two nights accommodation, pre dinner drinks and winter canapés, five course dinner in the Grand Dining Room complete with carollers, Santa and a continental buffet breakfast start from $525 per room. For further information and bookings call the hotel on P: 4782 1111.

The Fairmont Resort in Leura, will also be revelling in the Yulefest spirit every Friday and Saturday night in July

With a dinner and accommodation package from $379 twinshare including accommodation in a Fairmont Room (standard), plus a festive buffet dinner in Jamisons Restaurant , a visit from Santa for the kids and breakfast the following morning. Contact the hotel for information and further bookings on P: 4784 4144.

For further information on other Yulefest events and packages in the Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon region -


In a unique fare offering, Virgin Atlantic the full service airline offering a daily service from Sydney to Hong Kong is pleased to announce that for a limited time only, children 16 and under travelling with at least one adult to Hong Kong will be eligible to travel at child fares across all three cabins, Economy, Premium Economy and Upper Class.

Child discounts normally only apply to children aged between 2 and 11 years of age.

The fully inclusive lead in economy child fare of $843 is applicable for travel until November 16, 2011 which covers both July and October school holiday periods. The fare is only available for sale until June 6, 2011.

General Manager Australia for Virgin Atlantic Luke Fisher says, "Hong Kong is a great destination for families and with the strength of the Australian dollar there is no better time to take advantage of the great attractions, the shopping and the culinary delights of magical Hong Kong."

Adult fares including all applicable taxes and surcharges start from $1082 ex Sydney. Special child fares are also available on Virgin Atlantic code share flights originating from Brisbane, Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Adelaide.

For more fares and information including all terms and conditions, please contact your licensed IATA travel agent, or contact Virgin Atlantic Airways on 1300 727 340 or visit our website at

Friday 27 May 2011

Sofitel Says 'Please Don't Stop The Music'...Celebrate Fete De La Musique On June 21

Every Sofitel address across the world will serve as an ambassador of music and all things French on Tuesday the 21st of June as part of Fête de la Musique – a global appreciation of all things melodic and musical.

Fête de la Musique is an annual festival held on the same day in cities all over the world, promoting free music from local amateur artists and professional performers.

Born in France in 1982, the event and has since taken place every June 21 to coincide with the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere. It soon travelled abroad and has since become a uniting highlight, and a natural ‘link’ for Sofitel – the world only inherently French hotel brand – and its network of 120 hotels and resorts across the globe

Sofitel hotels on the five continents, from Paris to Washington, and on to Melbourne, Buenos Aires and Marrakech will be joining the party and blending French elegance with the finest features of the local culture as part of this year’s celebration.

In the Pacific, Sofitel’s hotels and resorts will interpret Fête de la Musique in their own original way with lives bands, cocktails and evening soirees.

Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach - Magnifique Moulin Rouge!
Moulin Rouge comes to Sofitel’s Room 81 bar and restaurant for an evening of dining and entertainment, Francais style. Starting at 5.30pm and priced at A$55 per person, guests will receive a glass of prosecco sparkling wine on arrival, a delicious two-course dinner with live entertainment courtesy of Former Moulin Rouge star Marissa Burgess. (See image attached)

Sofitel Brisbane Central – Burlesque and French Gypsy Jazz
Burlesque and French Gypsy jazz will set the tone at Sofitel Brisbane Central on June 1st.From 4pm Cuvee Lounge Bar and the grand Sofitel lobby will play host to a roving accordionist throughout the evening, as well as music by French inspired Gamble et’ Kitt. The fiery red head is sure to mesmerise guests with her double bass and violin performances, and will no doubt catch a few admiring eyes with her stunning burlesque charm. Guests of Sofitel’s Thyme2 Interactive Restaurant can enjoy the sounds of Paris Dreaming, a popular French Gypsy jazz duo, from 7.00pm until 9.00pm. (See image attached)

Sofitel Sydney Wentworth – So Vintage, C’est si Bon
Extending its Fête de la Musique celebration to last the entire week, Sofitel Sydney Wentworth has taken a vintage approach to this year’s event. Old black and white images will be projected around the hotel’s chic lobby lounge bar each evening from 5pm-7pm while French jazz band C’est si Bon will perform the songs of famed artists of bygone eras including Edith Piaf and Yves Montand. Sofitel’s classic signature SO French Martini will be offered at the special price of A$14. (See image attached)

Sofitel Melbourne On Collins – Retro Rhythms and Fashionable Fundraising
Fete de la Musique will coincide Sofitel’s 12th ‘Eat Street’ event this year, set to attract hundreds of people for a night of music, food and fashion. This year’s event will be themed ‘retro’ as the hotel welcomes Australia’s leading musicians, chefs, fashion designers and celebrities as they join forces for Sofitel’s annual night of giving to raise funds for the Australian Childhood Foundation.

Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa – Breeze in for ‘Fiesta de la Sofitel’
For a tropical twist, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa will hold its “Fiesta de la Sofitel” at Breeze Bar on Tuesday the 21st of June with Latin inspired music and tapas style appetizers. Fiji’s popular Cool Corners band will play acoustic music between 6 and 7pm.

Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa – Steinaway to strike a sophisticated key
An antique Steinway piano that graces the foyer of this hotel will be the centerpiece for three musical performances a day at the Sofitel in Queenstown. Located outside the hotel’s charming alpine sidewalk café Left Bank, the Steinway will send out soothing and sophisticated jazz at breakfast, lunch and dinner for a luxe sound and Fête de la Musique celebration.

Sofitel Tahiti Maeva Beach and Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort – Rock ‘n Lounge....
The Pacific will pulse with a sensational soiree from 6pm at the Sofitel in Tahiti, showcasing local rock bands including Randomize, Te Pepena, Nanovai & Paradise Plaza, and jazz group,
Rossoni. On Bora Bora, more than 15 artists will play on the resort’s pool deck including lounge music specialist, DJ “Trent Nox”.

Sneak Preview of 'Titanic Belfast'

Titanic Belfast has released the first images of what visitors can expect to see when the iconic new attraction opens in Titanic Quarter next April. State-of-the-art technology, previously unseen footage and an exhilarating shipyard ride are just some of the features on offer.

The images include the restored Harland & Wolff shipyard gates located in a gallery dedicated to an exploration of Boomtown Belfast of the 1900s. Visitors will pass through the gates to join a ride that will take them on a tour of the shipyard as it was in 1911.

Other pictures show some of the building’s interactive exhibitions such as a fly-through of the ship, recreations of Titanic’s sumptuous interiors and a glass floor which surveys Titanic’s wreck using never seen before images. Some of the technology used is so advanced it has been specifically adopted from complex 3D imaging tools more commonly found in the biotech industry.

Conal Harvey, Deputy Chairman of Titanic Belfast Ltd, the building’s operators, said: “The spirit that built Titanic is reborn. The dreams and ambition, ingenuity and skill, passion and energy that created the world’s greatest liner are rekindled within Titanic Belfast. We promise to deliver an exceptional experience that entertains, enriches and inspires everyone who visits Titanic Belfast.”

Titanic Belfast’s six floors will tell Titanic’s story from its conception through to its construction and launch, to its famous maiden voyage and tragic loss. The story continues to the discovery of Titanic’s wreck and an Ocean Exploration Centre with exclusive access to footage from Titanic’s final resting place, as well as live links to current marine expeditions being undertaken by Dr. Robert Ballard who discovered the ship in 1985. The building’s nine interpretative and interactive galleries will use technology never seen before in Ireland, to retell the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Titanic, as well as the City and people which made her.

Cliodhna Craig, CEO of Titanic Foundation Ltd, an independent charitable Trust which owns the building, said: “There are dozens of Titanic museums across the world, but Titanic Belfast’s position at the head of the slipway where the ship was built, combined with new archive material and unrivalled technology, makes this a unique attraction.

The attraction will also include Northern Ireland’s largest banqueting and conference facility, the 750-seat Astor Suite, designed on a theme reminiscent of the grandeur of the Titanic. The glass fronted suite located on the building’s top floor will provide stunning panoramic views across the City and Belfast Lough.

Titanic Belfast is the largest man-made tourist attraction in Northern Ireland’s history and is expected to attract around 400,000 visitors annually.

Warm Memories at the Heart of Canberra Tourism Campaign

Gallery hopping, truffle hunts, luxurious day spas and heart-warming winter festivals are just some of the reasons to visit Canberra with your significant other this winter.

Australian Capital Tourism’s Wrapt in Winter campaign has commenced, tempting winter travellers to take a short break and create special memories in the nation’s capital. The campaign specifically targets couples through a range of experiences and inviting accommodation packages.

Visitors can enjoy soft adventure experiences such as skydiving, paragliding or horse riding along the Poacher’s Way, exercise their intellect at one of the many galleries and museums or spoil themselves with a decadent high tea or spa treatment. If that’s not enough, excellent food and wine experiences abound.

Using the tagline Winter makes the warmest memories, the campaign aims to position Canberra as the ideal place to create lasting memories with loved ones.

Australian Capital Tourism General Manager, Simonne Shepherd, said “The Canberra region offers a wonderful winter escape for couples. Bright sunny days will tempt you to explore the region’s national parks while boutique wineries, enticing restaurants, unique shopping precincts and special winter events create the perfect winter getaway for couples.

“Savour superb local cuisine and award-winning Canberra district wine by a crackling fire during the Fireside Festival. Join a truffle hunt or indulge in a sumptuous truffle degustation menu at one of the many restaurants taking part in the Capital Country Truffle Festival.

“Or visit the National Museum of Australia, Australian War Memorial, National Portrait Gallery, National Archives of Australia or the National Film and Sound Archive and reflect on the incredible people and events that shaped our nation.

“Our proximity to the snow is another appealing aspect of our destination and there are plenty of inviting accommodation packages that will tempt you to plan a Canberra stopover for your next snow trip.

“So don your favourite winter woollies and escape to a weekend of pure indulgence – you’ll be wrapt in winter when you take a short break to the nation’s capital.”

To plan your Canberra winter escape visit or call 1300 889 026.


Cruiseco has the best offer yet to get involved in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand – they'll fly you free from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane and have you join luxury cruise liner Rhapsody of the Seas that as part of an 8-night cruise will be in Wellington for Quarter Finals 1 & 3 with transfers and your game entry tickets included – and with free air to come home.
And as part of a second 13-night cruise Rhapsody of the Seas will be in Auckland for Semi Finals 1 & 2 and the Final in Auckland, and in the Bay of Islands for the Bronze Final with transfers to the game (and all game entry tickets)… and again with free air to Auckland from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, with your return to Sydney aboard Rhapsody of the Seas.
The 8-night cruise will depart Auckland on October 6 2011 and is priced from just $2,399pp twin share including the free charter-flight air offer to and from Auckland; the 13-night cruise departs Auckland on October 14 2011 is priced from an unbelievably low $5,599pp twin-share including the free charter air flights to Auckland.

For full details and the names of Cruiseco's 200 cruise-specialist travel agencies Australia-wide, visit These packages need to be booked by June 4 and are available to Australian residents only.
CRUISE ITINERARIES: Rhapsody of the Sea's first cruise departs Auckland on October 6 for Napier, Wellington (Quarter Finals 1 & 3 on 8th and 9th October,) Picton, Tauranga, Bay of Islands and Auckland.
The second cruise departs Auckland on October 14 for Picton, Napier, Tauranga, Bay of Islands (with transfers to the Bronze Final,) Auckland and Sydney.
Cruiseco will have eight former Australian rugby greats and officials on board ship for an exclusive program of "Rugby-centric" entertainment exclusive to Cruiseco guests.

Thursday 26 May 2011

And the Band Played On

An incredible human story behind the sinking of the Titanic

On 14th April 1912 the Titanic struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage and sank. Fifteen hundred passengers and crew lost their lives. As the order to abandon ship was given, the orchestra took their instruments on deck and continued to play. They were still playing when the ship went down. The violinist, 21 year-old Jock Hume, knew that his fiancee, Mary was expecting their child, the author's mother. One hundred years later, Christopher Ward reveals a dramatic story of love, loss and betrayal, and the catastrophic impact of Jock's death on two very different families. He paints a vivid portrait of an age in which class determined the way we lived - and died. An outstanding piece of historical detective work, AND THE BAND PLAYED ON is also a moving account of how the author's quest to learn more about his grandfather revealed the shocking truth about a family he thought he knew, a truth that had been hidden for nearly a hundred years.

Author Biography

Christopher Ward is the grandson of Jock Hume, at 21 the youngest member of the Titanic's orchestra. Christopher joined the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle-upon-Tyne aged 17, and moved to Merseyside to become the Daily Mirror's Liverpool correspondent at the height of Beatlemania. In his early twenties, he moved to London, writing a column in the Mirror for more than ten years. At 38 he became Fleet Street's then youngest editor when he was appointed editor of the Daily Express. He left, aged 42, to co-found Redwood, Europe's first customer magazine agency, of which he is Chairman today. He lives in the Scottish Borders, seventy miles from Jock Hume's birth place in Dumfries.

288 pages, Paperback

Big Hairspray the Musical Deals in Sydney

Mantra has lifted the curtain on a range of hair-raising accommodation and show deals for the strictly limited Sydney season of Hairspray, the most critically-acclaimed Broadway musical to open in Australia in recent times.

Hairspray the Musical has had Melbourne theatre-goers singing and dancing in the aisles since October and will commence Sydney performances on June 11 at Star City’s Lyric Theatre.

As proud accommodation partners of this big production with big heart and even bigger hairstyles, Mantra is offering a range of great value Stay & See® packages.

A magic choice for musical lovers is Mantra 2 Bond Street, located in Sydney’s vibrant city centre. Stay & See® packages start from $239* per person per night twin share including a ticket to the show.

Audiences won't be able to resist being swept away to 1960's Baltimore, where they follow Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and big dreams as she sets out to dance her way onto TV's most popular dance show.

Discover if this ordinary girl can realise her dreams, inspire her mum and still have time to win the boy she loves.

For those who have already purchased their tickets for Hairspray the Musical and are looking for somewhere close and convenient to relax before and after the show, Mantra has a great range of accommodation on offer in Sydney.

For bookings phone 1300 658 103 or visit

*Subject to availability.

Big, brash, brilliant - Herald Sun.

Big costumes, bigger performances and even bigger hair... you're in for a huge night out - The Australian.

Pure, unbridled energy - The Daily Telegraph.

The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride

The Mighty Murray and the Goldfields
Saturday 26 November - Sunday 4 December 2011

Transport yourself into a week in another world on one of the world’s best bike rides: The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride.

Vincent Ciardulli, Bicycle Victoria's Event General Manager, said: “The RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride is an extraordinary event. Ask someone who has been on the ride, they will tell you that it's a holiday you'll remember all your life”.

Organised by Bicycle Victoria, the 2011 bike riding starts in Swan Hill with a loop ride before meandering the Murray River for three days to Echuca.

After a rest day in Echuca enjoying its paddle steamers and boating history, the ride will continue through historic gold towns, before riding triumphantly into Castlemaine.

The 590 kilometre bike riding escape is perfect for people who love exploring, like to have fun, meet people and get fit at the same time.

In 2011 there are a range of options to suit all bike riders.
· 9 day RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride from Swan Hill to Castlemaine (590kms)
· 3 day Mighty Murray Ride from Swan Hill to Barham. 26 – 28 Nov (200kms)
· 3 day Goldfields Ride from Boort to Castlemaine. 2 – 4 Dec (180kms)
· 1 day Great Vic Loop, Swan Hill. 26 Nov (54kms)
· 1 day Great Vic Finale from Maryborough to Castlemaine, 4 Dec (53kms)

“With the Murray River and the Goldfields as a backdrop the route will include some quiet country backroads that make bike riding the best way to have a holiday,” said Mr Ciardulli.

"For many the bike riding plays a secondary role to being in a unique space. It's no surprise that the atmosphere is incredibly social. By the end of the week you will feel invigorated in mind, body and spirit" Mr Ciardulli added.

Ride Facts:
· The nine-day ride is a fully catered, tent-based holiday. There is extensive back up including luggage transport, a licensed cafe under canvas, massage, full medical team, and bicycle repair facilities.
· The Entry fee for the 9 day ride is $835 for adults, $599 for children under 18, $299 for under 13 years and free for 5 and under. After 29 July prices rise $100.
· The Entry fee for the 3 day (Mighty Murray and Goldfields) ride is $425 for adults, $299 for children under 18, $149 for under 13 years and free for 5 and under. After 29 July prices rise $50.

Public inquiries: People wanting more information can visit

Ecotourism Australia Welcomes Queensland Government Tourism In Protected Areas Initiative

Ecotourism Australia has warmly welcomed the Tourism in Protected Area initiative announced by the Queensland Government.

“We believe that tourism can play an important role in educating the public on the importance of preserving and protecting our unique environment,” Ecotourism Australia CEO, Ms Kym Cheatham said.

“Many protected area managers around Australia and the world are recognising that helping the wider population understand how special these places are, is integral to their conservation. The more people know, the more they are likely to want to protect these areas for generations to come.”

“However, it is important to ensure the successful tourism operators have the credentials in nature based tourism and environmental sustainability to behave responsibly in these significant environmental locations” Ms Cheatham said.

“Ensuring the tourism operators are certified ecotourism operators is absolutely essential in the credibility of Queensland as a tourism destination that really values its environmental assets.”

“It is also essential in these disrupted times, that tourism operators who invest in developing, delivering and marketing their eco experiences, have the certainty of business that longer permits give them”, Ms Cheatham said.

“Ecotourism Australia looks forward to working with the Queensland Government to help build Queensland’s sustainable tourism reputation.”

A Champagne Affair at A Taste of Coolum

Hyatt Regency Coolum has created the ultimate escape for Champagne lovers, combining luxury accommodation with a decadent five-course dinner hosted by Australia’s Champagne supremo Bernadette O’Shea.

One of the highlights of the resort’s annual gourmet celebration A Taste of Coolum, the ‘Bountiful Brilliant Bubbles’ dinner on Friday June 24 will offer a sparkling line-up from some of the greatest Champagne houses in France.

Vintages from Ruinart, Mumm, Louis Roederer, Billecart-Salmon and Philipponnat will be matched to a five-course degustation dinner created by Chef de Cuisine Gareth Collins at the resort’s signature restaurant Eliza’s.

The dinner costs $295 per person including five courses and Champagnes. Accommodation options include:

- King Rooms from $225 per night for two people, including continental breakfast and entry to The Spa.

- Ambassador Villas from $705 per night for up to four people in two bedrooms, including continental breakfast, private tennis court, pool, entry to The Spa and a copy of Bernadette O’Shea’s book Champagne and Chandeliers.

Held each year at Hyatt Regency Coolum, A Taste of Coolum attracts dozens of the country’s top winemakers and hundreds of food and wine lovers for a succession of culinary events.

This year’s Taste - from Friday June 24 to Sunday June 26 – will include A Night in Italy in the resort’s village square, a Tri-Nations Dinner hosted by winemaker Geoff Merrill, and the annual Chefs Alfresco wine-tasting afternoon involving more than 40 Australian producers.

Bernadette O’Shea is a Brisbane-based author, educator and Champagne consultant celebrated for her exceptional palate and knowledge. She holds the prestigious medal Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole awarded by the French Government for services to the Champagne industry, along with numerous other French and Australian honours.

For full details and bookings contact Hyatt Regency Coolum on 07 5449 3430. See also

Popular Sydney Whale Watching Cruise Back in 2011

Captain Cook Cruises is back again this Whale watching season with four Whale Watching cruises operating daily until December 11th 2011. Book online at and receive 15% discount.

Whale Watching cruises takes passengers past the Sydney Opera House, Fort Denison and all the beautiful homes located in the bays of Sydney Harbour and out through the heads onto the open waters. Here the direction of the vessel is totally dependent on where the whales have been sighted – north towards Manly or south towards Coogee. Most whales are found within 2kms of shore.

The number of Humpback and Southern Right whales passing through Sydney on their annual northern migration between Antarctica and the Great Barrier Reef, is expected to reach its traditional peak around the Winter Solstice on June 21st 

After calving in the northern waters between August and September, the whales will then again head south past Sydney, making their long journey back to Antarctica.

This Whale Watching season, Captain Cook Cruises is offering passengers the choice of Whale Watching vessels - smaller vessels for up to 75 guests and larger vessels for up to 260 guests. Both vessels are purpose built for Whale Watching and feature two passenger decks offering spectacular open air viewing and a comfortable inside all-weather lounge for the entire family.

Captain Cook Cruises offers a whale guarantee. If a whale is not sighted during the cruise, passengers can cruise again for free.

Whale Watching cruises depart daily from Jetty 6 Circular Quay at 9.15am, 1.15pm and 1.30pm and from Darling Harbour at 9.00am, 9.45am, 12.50pm and 1.15pm.

For those on a smaller vessel Whale Watching Cruises are priced at: adults $75, concession $65, child (0-14) $39 and family (2ad+2ch) $189. For those on a larger vessel prices are: adults $85, concession $76, child (5-14) $50, infants under 5 years free and family (2ad+2ch) $220.

For further information and bookings, please contact Captain Cook Cruises toll free from Australia on 1800 804 843; Int +61-2-9206 1111, Email: or visit


Wednesday 25 May 2011

Byron at Byron Winter Embrace Special for $285 a night


Warm up this winter with the limited Winter Embrace Special at The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa. Byron Bay is lovely in the cooler months with an average top temperature of 22 degrees. It's the perfect excuse to enjoy fine food and wine, an indulgent spa treatment and all that Byron Bay has to offer, without the crowds. Plan your winter escape now! 

From $285* per night in a Standard Suite includes our complimentary yoga class daily

SAVE 25%

Book Now

Email or call 1300 554 362

* Conditions: Subject to availability, valid for sale & travel until 11/09/2011,
valid for 2 adults in a Standard Suite, extra persons charged at $50 per night.

Aurora Expeditions Begin Voyages to Where Few Have Ever Been - The Russian Arctic and Russian Far East

Aurora Expeditions is once again pushing the boundaries of expedition travel with voyages to the Russian Arctic and Russian Far East; a land of complex history, unique cultures, inspiring landscapes and astounding wildlife.

Aurora Expeditions ‘Voyage to the End of the Earth’ is a 14-day adventure to the Russian Arctic departing Murmansk. Prices start from US$8,080 per person.

Discover a region so remote and wild, that few have ever been. The 191 pristine islands that make up Franz Josef Land were the planets last major landmass to be discovered. Uninhabited, minus a few Russian border guards, this is the realm of the polar bear, walrus, seals and the elusive beluga whale. Only accessible by sea, the region has been open to foreigners since 1991. This geological wonder really is the world’s last frontier, virtually untouched and waiting to be explored.

Last Minute offer – Aurora Expeditions are offering 15% off "Voyage to the End of the Earth"

‘The Ring Of Fire’, our Russian Far East voyage, will unlock the mysteries of the Kuril Islands, taking you deep into a wildlife and geological wonderland. Departing Petropavlovsk-Kamchatasky, this 13-day voyage will showcase the lush valleys, lakes and rivers, and snow capped volcanoes of Kamchatka’s east coast. Brown bears feast on berries and salmon. Our fleet of Zodiacs will carry you to intimate viewings of spectacular seabird, Stellar sea lions, whales and otters and seal colonies. Prices start from US$7,250 per person.

Special offer – Aurora Expeditions are offering 10% off the Ring of Fire voyage!

Both voyages will set sail on Aurora Expeditions brand new ship, Akademik Shokalskiy. This ice-strengthened research ship was built in Finland in 1982. Fully refurbished in 2008, the ship provides accommodation for a maximum of 54 passengers as well as two dining rooms, lounge bar, lecture theatre, sauna and an ‘Open Bridge’ policy.

Aurora Expeditions’ Russian Coastline voyages are staffed by premium expedition leaders, naturalists, historians and geologists and the Russian crew are keen to show off their country’s natural beauty – delivering some of the finest expedition cruises in Russia.

Deeply committed to education and preservation of the environment, Aurora Expeditions' philosophy is to respectfully visit these wilderness areas, in turn creating ambassadors for their protection.

To view the full Russian Coast program visit

Contact our Expedition Experts at or call +61 2 9252 1033.

Aurora Expeditions is an Australian-owned adventure company specialising in small group voyages to the Polar Regions and other wild, remote destinations. A world leader in expedition cruising, we offer passengers the chance to have an intimate experience of the destination, with the support of expert staff and flexible, innovative itineraries.

Trek in the Himalayas for Kids Cancer Research

Adventure Travel for Kids Cancer Research

A group of people from across Australia will be taking part in a trek through the incredible Nepalese Himalayas, taking in Nepal’s sights, sounds, people and culture. Participants are raising money for The Oncology Children's Foundation's research into cures for childhood cancers. The trek starts on 2nd September.

The Nepal Trek/Himalayan Adventure is an Oncology Children’s Foundation (OCF) challenge run by Inspired Adventures. This adventure of a lifetime includes trekking the Nepalese Himalayas with an inspiring group of people, taking in Nepal’s sights, sounds, people and culture. Some of the highlights are walking through bamboo forests and pasture at Tikedungha before crossing the Bhurungdi Khola and climbing the step stone staircase to the Magar village of Ulleri. Included also is a project visit in Kathmandu where you have the opportunity to spend the day visiting sick kids , helping them with English lessons and some art and craft activities.

The money raised for OCF will provide essential funding for research into childhood cancers with the lowest survival rates.

There are still spots available on this trek, and on other OCF adventures.

Winter Sailing Shines on Sunshine Coast

Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast next month hosts the first event on the winter sailing calendar as part of the Season of Sailing. Here’s some of the best ways to stay, play and eat by the water.

The sparkling blue waters of Mooloolaba Bay will be the setting for spectacular racing action from June 4 to 12, kicking off with Queensland’s newest regatta, Sail Mooloolaba, and culminating with the 15th Musto Etchells Australasian Winter Championship from June 9 to 12.

Now’s the time to book your oceanfront apartment – or beachside restaurant and watch Olympians, America’s Cup and World Championship winning sailors competing in these two major sailing events held over the first two weekends of June. In the week between these two events visitors can enjoy watching up close and personal racing in competitive radio control yachts and one-on-one match racing on Mooloolaba harbour.

The five-star Oceans Mooloolaba is offering a special Stay 4, Pay 3 Season of Sailing package including four nights accommodation in a two-bedroom apartment from $1,650. The resort’s huge balconies are an ideal spot from which to catch the racing action with 180 degree views acrossMooloolabaBay.

Other facilities include a heated outdoor pool, children’s wading pool, spa, steam room and gymnasium while the two and three-bedroom suites and penthouses feature stylish natural finishes and wireless internet. This deal, and a host of others, is available on the Season of Sailing website, with most packages valid throughout the year.

If you’d like to learn to sail during your SunshineCoastholiday, Sunshine Sailing Australia, with international ocean racer John Bankart at the helm, offers a range of courses for novices through to experienced sailors keen to improve their skills. Based at Mooloolaba Wharf, you can choose from sailing lessons for the kids through to easy sailing skippered yacht charters.

The Mooloolaba Yacht Club also warmly welcomes visitors joining the club members for an afternoon of sailing around the Mooloolaba Bay. Fun sails are held every Wednesday and Sunday. Meet on canal side of The Wharf Tavern at The Mooloolaba Wharf Complex, at midday and 11am respectively.

Getting out on the water is an adventure with Liquid Getaway’s range of boat tours including scenic rides, surfing, snorkeling safaris and whale watching tours. Based at Mooloolaba Wharf, Liquid Getaway’s custom designed 12 seat boat provides a thrilling way to get close to marine life, including a pod of resident dolphins, turtles, rays and other wildlife during the ride. Tour options include a two hour snorkeling trip, with masks, fins and snorkels provided as well as light refreshments. There’s also a two hour surf safari, with the Liquid Getaway boat dropping surfers at a top “local’s spot”, off Mudjimba Island.

For those still looking for more adrenalin there are surf skis and kayaks to hire from the Hire Hut and diving expeditions to ex-HMAS Brisbane with Scuba World. Other more leisurely choices of water activities at The Wharf Mooloolaba include game fishing, Mooloolaba Canal Cruise’s seafood lunch cruise cruising the canals on the classic Mudjimba Canal Boat.

You can climb aboard a classic wooden powerboat and cruise the NoosaRiverwith Noosa Dreamboats. The tours are for private groups of up to five people, onboard a craft built in the USA in the style of the 1940s and 50s American powerboats.

While the SunshineCoastis renowned for its cuisine and dining options, a “local’s secret” can be found at the Noosa Yacht & Rowing Club. Located at Gympie Terrace, Noosaville, the club is open lunch and dinner daily and breakfast on Sundays only. Normal club rules apply, but don’t miss this great spot for a hearty bistro-style meal overlooking the Noosa River.

Now in its second year, the Season of Sailing aims to attract visitors to sailing events being held from now until September along theQueenslandcoastline.
The Season of Sailing website, offers a whole range of getaways where you can enjoy being part of these famous events including the world famous Hamilton Island Race Week. Learn to sail or “drop anchor” at a waterfront resort.

2011Queensland’s Season of Sailing events:

Etchells Australasian Winter Championships (Sunshine Coast) – June 9–12
Brisbane to Keppel Tropical Yacht Race - August 5-8
Airlie Beach Race Week - August 12-18
Hamilton Island Race Week - August 19-27
Magnetic Island Race Week - September 1-6

Saturday 21 May 2011


GUADALCANAL, the resting place of HMAS Canberra sunk during the battle of Savo Island, some of the bloodiest battlefields in the Pacific War, the base at which Lieutenant John F. Kennedy was stationed with his famed PT109… these are just some highlights this August of a Guadalcanal Anniversary Tour.

And rather than former wartime sites now rehabilitated to their pre-war status, participants will find themselves amongst a living museum of the 1940s, one of beached and sunken warships, amphibious landing craft and wrecked planes, hillside foxholes and barbed-wire entanglements, gun emplacements, old aircraft control towers, an underground radio communications centre….

Put together by leading Australian war historian Mat McLachlan and guided by historian and enthusiast John Innes who has lived on Guadalcanal for fifteen years and has led prime ministers and presidents around these battlefields, the 7-night tour begins on August 5 to be in Guadalcanal on August 7 – the 69th anniversary of the day American forces attacked the Japanese occupying Guadalcanal, and marking America's entry into the war in the Pacific.

Price starts from $3197pp twin-share including first-class hotel, excursions, entry fees, breakfast and lunch daily, two dinners, tips and site educational pamphlets; air travel is addtional. Details 1300 880 340 or

HIGHLIGHTS include Alligator Creek, Bloody Ridge, Henderson Field, Mt Austen and Tulagi battlefields, Iron Bottom Sound, a memorial service and wreath-laying over the sunken HMAS Canberra on which 193 Australian servicemen died, entry to the Dedication of a new Coastwatchers Memorial, the Vilu Outdoor War Museum's war planes, guns and other relics, and Kamimbo Bay from where the Japanese fled Guadalcanal in February 1943.

Thursday 12 May 2011

THAI's May Celebration with Great Savings Across the Network...

THAI logo Sas vert.jpg 

There's something for everyone in THAI's latest range of special fare offers now in the market place...

The first Sale is the 51st Anniversary Sale : book/ticket/travel by 30 Jun '11 with economy class fares from $855 return to Bangkok (from the east coast) and from $859 return to Phuket; ex Perth from $780 return - fares include all taxes.  Fares are also available to Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Vientiane and Myanmar), Europe, Johannesburg and Los Angeles.

There are 2 bonus offers also available with these fares - child discounts up the 15 years (usually 2-11 years) and a bonus domestic side-trip in Thailand for tickets to Europe, Johannesburg or Los Angeles.

Fares to Europe (with a choice of 13 major cities) start from $2,032 return including taxes.

There are 3 booking classes available - 'W' class has to be ticketed within 3 days of confirmation, 'V' class at a $100 surcharge and ticketing within 7 days - or 'Q' class for an additional $200 surcharge with ticketing within 14 days and frequent flyer points accrual.

As an extra bonus, free 'Happy Holiday' mobile phone SIM cards are included for any travellers including a Royal Orchid Stopover of 2 nights or more with their air ticket.... stopovers in Bangkok start from just $19 per person per night (based on the Maxx Hotel) for accommodation only or from $63 per person for an overnight stay including breakfast and transfers.

For travellers planning a holiday beyond 30 Jun '11, THAI's May Celebration Sale Fares are also available.  Book and ticket by 30 Jun '11, travel up until 30 Nov '11.   Fares to Bangkok start from $1,089 return including taxes or to London from $2,069 return.

Contact travel agents for details of all the fares now available for travel on THAI and the full list of destinations on sale.....or visit to download more information, sign up for THAI's monthly e-newsletter or read THAI's 'Travellers Tales' Blog....

Contact THAI reservations in Australia on 1300 651 960.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Get your Billy Cart Ready

The Annual Bangalow Billy Cart Derby gets rolling Sunday 15th May 2011, when theMain Street of the Northern Riversvillage ofBangalow becomes a Race Track, for kids of all ages to have fun on Bangalow’s big day. This annual event is celebrated by the locals, as a showcase of good old fashioned outdoors fun in which everyone can take part, individuals, families, workgroups. The BBCD will continue this year with the ‘Schools Challenge Races’ with $1,500 prize money to the winning Schools P & C.

From 9-00am the Children’s junior races commence with categories for Traditional and Home-Grown Carts for Kids in age groups: 5-7, 8-11, 12-15.

At Lunch-time it is the Grand Parade, led this year led by the local Emergency Services Groups, a collaboration of Police, Ambulance, Fire Brigades and Rescue Team. This is followed by The Pipe Band, Vintage Cars, Motor Bikes, Samba Band, Schools, Scouts, Celebrities, Dancing Classes, Sports Groups and local heroes. After Lunch comes the serious stuff, with the Professional, Tag – Team, Mothers and Celebrity Races.

Safety Information: All drivers and passengers must wear safety helmets, protective clothing is recommended.

Register at the Bangalow Hotel from 7:15am. Carts need to be inspected before registering (next to Fish Heads restaurant )

Volunteers: We always need Volunteers to make this event work. We need to unload Hay Bales in the main street around 6-30 a.m. Cart inspection and Entry Registration 7.00 – 9-00a.m. We then pick up Hay Bales and Clean-up from 3-30 p.m.

Winter Fun Extends Far Beyond North Lake Tahoe's Slopes

(NORTH LAKE TAHOE, California/Nevada) – Believe it or not, black diamond runs and wide-open bowls aren’t the only thing North Lake Tahoe has to offer winter travelers. Whether guests want to enjoy cool, crisp winter air or find cozy refuge indoors, the region’s opportunities for recreation and respite are as abundant as ski lifts.

Visitors can still explore the snow-covered countryside without special gear or strapping on special boots. Bands of Siberian huskies pull guests of all ages and abilities through the backcountry on hand-made sleds. The excursions, which give an exhilarating rush, depart out of Sugar Bowl Ski Resort and the Resort at Squaw Creek.

The Tahoe Cross-Country Center is the ideal place for first-time cross-country skiers, offering free weekly beginning cross-country and skate ski lessons and intermediate skating improvement classes. Located in Tahoe City, the center encompasses 19 trails and more than 65 kilometers with stunning views of the lake, two warming huts and café. Just west of Truckee, the Royal Gorge Cross-Country Ski Resort boasts the largest groomed track system in North America and is home to overnight lodges, eight warming huts and three trailside cafes. Tahoe Donner Cross-Country Center offers 62 miles and 51 trails, with a few designated specifically for those donning snowshoes.

Granlibakken Resort in Tahoe City sits adjacent to a number of popular cross-country and snowshoe trailheads. Snowshoers can also head to Northstar, Squaw Valley, Spooner Lake, North Tahoe Regional Park in Tahoe Vista and Sugar Pine Point State Park on the West Shore for exceptional areas for snowshoeing. Local rental shops give great advice and trail maps for those venturing away from groomed trails.

The advent of pedestrian villages and destination resorts in recent years has brought numerous activities. The Village at Squaw offers wine tasting at Uncorked, candle-making at Waxen Moon, indoor climbing at Headwall Climbing Wall and a Sky Jump Trampoline right smack in the middle of the Village. For a complete mental escape, there’s Trilogy Spa, pampering those taking a break from the slopes with Polynesian-inspired treatments and soothing massages.

The Village at Northstar keeps guests busy with jewelry design at the Farrah Rale Bead Design Studio, candle making at the Villager Candle Shop and the new All Fired Up Pottery Painting Place, where you can choose from 500 pieces of pottery to paint. Balance Holistic Health offers Tai Chi, Pilates, yoga (for kids, too) and numerous classes (nutrition, essential oils, crystals and sound bowl meditation), as well as massage, acupuncture, manicures and facials. Two new movie theaters, called The Village Cinemas, recently opened in the Village at Northstar on the lower level.

The new Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe, located mid-mountain at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, offers decadent diversions at its 17,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, which opened December 2009. Towering pines and its own private beach surround Stillwater Spa at the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village, and boasts furnishing that are a reflection of Lake Tahoe’s natural environment. Guests choose from more than a dozen treatments rooms, including couples sanctuaries. Those eager for a workout before a massage can use the resort’s snowshoes to trek along the lake.

Both Squaw and Northstar are also home to ice skating rinks. Squaw’s year-round Olympic Ice Pavilion sits amidst the mountain peaks at High Camp (elevation 8,200 feet) along with the Swimming Lagoon and Spa, which opens in early spring. Northstar’s seasonal ice rink (open for roller skaters in the summer and taking on a retro music vibe) sits in the center of the Village and has $5 rentals. The Resort at Squaw Creek’s exhibition ice rink is nestled in the heart of Olympic Valley and is open to the public. The resort also offers cross-country skiing and sleigh rides.

Non-skiers can still fly through the backcountry on one of many snowmobiling tours. The excursions showcase panoramic lake views and give glimpses of popular peaks and hidden meadows. Rental and tour companies can be found in Truckee, Kings Beach and Tahoe City.
North Lake Tahoe is a 45-minute drive from the Reno Tahoe International Airport, two hours from Sacramento International Airport and just over three hours from San Francisco International Airport. Visitor information centers are located at 380 North Lake Boulevard in Tahoe City and 969 Tahoe Boulevard in Incline Village. The North Lake Tahoe Visitors Bureaus, Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, work together to promote North Lake Tahoe as a premier, year-round destination.

From London to Las Vegas; Grand Canyon to Disney World, delivers worldwide savings on all things travel related

DURANGO, CO – There have never been more ways to save money while traveling on business or pleasure. In fact, the landscape is so cluttered, it’s difficult to navigate. But are these new tools and new ways to save really a savings?, a free travel savings website offering worldwide discounts and savings coupons for travel, is set apart by what is missing from the website: no shopping cart. The coupons are completely free. No credit card is required and, while membership is available to receive the company’s monthly hot deals, it’s not required to print a coupon.

Save eighty bucks on a Vegas show? Print the coupon. Meetings end early in New York City? Take a Circle Line Statue of Liberty Harbor Tour and save 50%. Looking for a great deal on a Las Vegas hotel? A tour of Yosemite? A coupon for the Miami Seaquarium or Jungle Island? Great Turkish entertainment at the Orient House in Istanbul? Skip the lines for the Vatican Walking Tour? Vacation planners simply peruse the offers and print a coupon for savings of generally more than 15% and sometimes as high as 60%, or in some cases, access a ticket which is not available anywhere else online.

The twelve year-old online travel company offers more than 70,000 exclusive coupons or discounts for attractions, dining, shopping, shows, museums, attractions and sightseeing services, in addition to the best possible hotel and car rental rates in 7,000 worldwide destinations.

This amount of volume provides exclusive arrangements for even greater savings, promoted by a monthly email to more than 100,000 budget-minded and travel savvy users of the site. The site connects travelers directly with show box offices, major international hotel chains such as Intercontinental, Marriott and Hilton, and car rental companies like Budget, Avis, Enterprise, making it convenient to book travel arrangements, while also checking out deals in that city.

Along with the monthly hot deals, deals are posted daily and many are exclusive to The website is a valuable tool when planning to visit a major city and seeing a few of the major highlights. While some pass programs bundle the best of a city for a significant discount for a week’s vacation, for shorter stays, live theatre, hotel rooms and car rental along with sightseeing, delivers individual deals. And unlike social media sites
requiring a cash commitment in advance or to get to a certain number of participants, accepts no payments. In fact, the company points out that other sites actually cost travelers money when they leave their paid voucher for a sightseeing tour at home, forget to show up on the only day the voucher is valid, or run out of time with unused attractions on the electronic card. Coupons printed on are handed directly to the ticket or box office for savings, with no service fees added at the transaction point.

This month’s Hot Deals are just in time for summer travel:

2 for 1 Air Tours of the Grand Canyon
$45.50 off Tickets to Mamma Mia! On Broadway!
2 for 1 Las Vegas Show Tickets – some of Las Vegas’ most popular musicals, variety shows and adult comedy theater.
2 for 1 Admission at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas or in Washington D.C. – Meet all 44 Presidents.
Exclusive Savings with Sixt Rental Car – Save AN ADDITIONAL 10% off Sixt’s lowest rates

For a traveler headed to a specific destination with a set itinerary or a planner looking for inspiration, is like having a friend in every major city willing to recommend a show, do the city’s tour, and get the local’s deal at the theatre.

About is the free website offering worldwide discounts for hotels, car rentals, restaurants, shopping, activities, theatre, sightseeing and more through an ala carte, one-click coupon access. handles no transactions and offers a monthly Hot Deals newsletter. Follow the company on Facebook at, and on Twitter at @destcoupons.

Upgraded Online Booking System for Tickets to Machu Picchu

Tourists can now book and pay for tickets to visit Peru’s leading attraction, Machu Picchu, from anywhere in the world thanks to an upgraded online booking system.

From the end of April tourists can now simply go to, reserve tickets, pay by VISA, print out tickets and go directly to the Historic Sanctuary.

Peru’s Tourism Board coordinator for Asia Pacific, Rosana Guinea comments: “Having an online booking portal where tourists anywhere in the world can plan trips to Machu Picchu does make it a lot easier. It also allows us to understand the visitor profile to Machu Picchu as we capture information such as nationality, age and gender.

We also plan to develop this site further with more information and have other cultural tours and activities available to book.”

Machu Picchu is on everyone’s wish list when booking a trip to Peru and 2011 is a very important year as it marks 100 years since the American explorer and politician, Hiram Bingham, rediscovered this lost city of the Incas for the world to see.

The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu remains Peru’s top tourist attraction and the first quarter of 2011 saw visits to Machu Picchu increase by 33,000 people compared to the first quarter of 2009 to 127,963 visitors (figures are compared to 2009 and 2010 as the citadel was closed between January and April 2010 due to heavy rain and mudslides).

Online booking site:

For more information on Peru, please visit

A Bear in Pyjamas and a Blissful Bed to Snuggle Up in at The Langham, Melbourne

Southbank’s elegant five-star hotel, The Langham, Melbourne is offering guests an enchanting haven this winter with the launch of its new Teddy Bear Package, available until 28 September 2011.

Just like a fairytale, guests can fall asleep in a warm and luxurious Langham Blissful Bed with a beautiful Langham Teddy Bear in pink pyjamas, enjoy a delectable full buffet breakfast in Melba Restaurant, sip on a warming hot chocolate in ARIA Bar & Lounge, and have access to the Health Club and Wellness Centre. The Langham’s Teddy Bear Package is not too hard, not too soft, but just right for guests who want to experience a five-star fairytale escape this winter.

The Teddy Bear Package has been created to showcase The Langham, Melbourne as the most desirable haven to relax and indulge this winter. With five-star service, captivating location, fine décor and innovative hospitality, The Langham, Melbourne is where dreams come true.

By booking the Teddy Bear Package guests will be supporting the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre Appeal.

The Langham’s Teddy Bear Package
“Wake in the deepest dark of the night and hear the driving rain. Reach out and take a paw, and go to sleep again” – Charlotte Gray

v Overnight accommodation for two
v Full buffet breakfast for two in Melba Restaurant
v Two hot chocolate beverages served in ARIA Bar & Lounge
v Access to the Health Club and Wellness Centre including use of the gymnasium, conservatory covered pool and Jacuzzi, sauna, signature scented colour therapy steam rooms and therapeutic rain showers
v A Langham teddy bear, Grace and other bear surprises to be delivered to your room
v Late checkout of 2pm
v Valet parking

Package price: From $385 in a Classic Room.

Availability: from 1 May 20101 until 28 September 2011

For more information on Langham’s enchanting offerings for winter 2011, visit

For bookings call 1800 858 662 or email

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Sailing Season Commences on Niue

'The Biggest Little Yacht Club in the World' on Niue Island is gearing up for the island's peak sailing season which begins this month.

New developments include the deployment of 20 new moorings in Alofi Bay and a new premise at Niue Backpackers where yacht crews can relax and enjoy the use of free Wi-Fi.

The Niue Yacht Club is the only club in the world which has no yachts and nobody on the management committee has ever sailed. However, Niue's increasing reputation as a 'must do' for keen sailors sees the island's mooring field in Alofi Bay fill with boats during the peak season.
Niue Island has a number of features which attract sailors including; unique geology, fantastic diving and a very welcoming community. Since the island has started taking accurate records of arrivals since 2004, 28 per cent of all arriving visitors have been yacht crews.

Commodore of Niue Yacht Club Keith Vial says "We go out of our way to help cruisers when they come ashore. We assist with refueling and point out where other facilities are but most importantly of all we try to ensure that cruisers arrive as visitors and leave as friends."

The Niue yacht Club is run by a very small group of volunteers as a not-for-profit organisation.

Niue is one of only twenty SailMail stations around the world which allows sailors to use email communication via radio frequencies and the closer they are to Niue the stronger the signal gets. Niue Yacht Club uses SailMail to offer a unique service that provides important information to potential visitors such as mooring availability.

"We may be small but we are organised" says Vial.

Niue's sailing season coincides with the whale season which beings in June. The humpback whales are a major attraction for boaties as they are often right in the mooring field. Boaties are treated to amazing sights such as mothers basking on the surface with their calves and can drift off to sleep listening to the whales sing to each other in the bay.

Many of the boating visitors to Niue are also divers who are amazed by Niue's incredible visibility and rich marine life.

Yachties who are interested in visiting Niue Island can find a wealth of information at the Niue Yacht Club's website –



AN extraordinary 20-night fly, cruise and stay package down the west coast of South America from Valparaiso in Chile next February, goes through the Chilean Fjords and the Strait of Magellan, around Cape Horn and up the east coast to Buenos Aires in Argentina.

This sensational South American adventure is selling through Cruiseco from $6495pp twin-share – a saving of $500 per person if booked by May 31 this year.

The all-inclusive package includes return international Economy Class airfare from Sydney, two nights pre-cruise stay with breakfast daily in Santiago plus a half-day sightseeing tour of downtown Santiago with Wine Tasting, 14-nights aboard Celebrity Cruises' Infinity, Return Economy Class airfare from Buenos Aires to Iguazu, two nights post-cruise stay at Iguazu Falls with breakfast daily and a full-day touring the Brazilian and Argentinean sides of the Falls. A further two nights stay in Buenos Aires with breakfasts daily and a half-day city sightseeing, transfers between airport, hotel and ship, port charges and on board ship gratuities, hotel and air taxes, offers outstanding value.

Ports of call for the 90,000 tonne Infinity include Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas in Chile, Ushuaia and Puerto Madryn in Argentina, Punta Del Este and Montevideo in Uruguay, and there is a night aboard ship on arrival in Buenos Aires.

Guests will depart Australia on February 10 2012; for a full itinerary and the names of Cruiseco's 200 cruise-specialist travel agencies Australia-wide, visit 

Monday 9 May 2011


Couples visiting Fiji for a romantic interlude can now enjoy a peaceful and leisurely breakfast – sans children – at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa's beachside restaurant, Salt.

The resort's Food & Beverage Manager Alfredo Denage says, "Fiji appeals to families and couples alike, and this is reflected in the clientele we have at the hotel. With that in mind we identified a need to offer a more tailored and exclusive experience catering to couples only, which is where our 'adults only' breakfast concept comes in."

Salt is the perfect location for lovers; situated between the ocean and the resort's long lagoon pool, Sofitel's 'adults only' breakfast is available each day from 08.00am to 10.00am, with limited seating and reservations essential. Sofitel's à la carte couple's breakfast at Salt complements the resort's buffet breakfast with sparkling wine option which is available each day at Lagoon restaurant.

In addition to its romantic 'Magnifique' breakfasts, Salt also offers a romantic candle-lit dinner on the beach under the stars.

'Salt Sensations' is a romantic concept that allows for a more private experience, complete beautifully decorated tables to two located beachside for the sounds of the ocean lapping the shore and feeling of sand beneath your feet.

Available between 6pm and 10pm each evening the 'Salt Sensations' menu offers three courses priced from $145 with wine, or from $180 per person served with additional Moet et Chandon Champagne.

Food is specially prepared by award-wining Salt Restaurant's chef team, headed by the resort's Executive Chef Brendon Coffey, and includes choices such as Kokoda salad with fresh marinated fish and coconut, coriander and bush lemon; pure Angus Beef rib eye brushed with grain mustard and pepper; and decadent desserts including Salt's famous Kaffir lime semifreddo, blackberry sorbet and lemon coconut syrup. For more information or to make a reservation contact the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa on +679 675 1111 or visit


The Vijitt Resort - New Treatments at the V Spa

The extravagant V Spa at The Vijitt Resort, Phukets newest five star luxurious property, has just released three new beauty treatments so guests can be totally pampered in natural yet luxurious surrounds and escape to complete peace and serenity.  

The V Spa, which just like the resort, aims at bringing guests back to nature has been built in the shape of a traditional village with stunning small straw roofed Salas blending totally with the natural beauty of the jungle.

Each lavish Sala has been designed with nature at heart. The four exclusive treatment huts equipped with double beds are mainly used for Body Treatments and Facial Treatments. An imposing open-air four Salas standing around the small valley and canal is home to the Thai traditional massage whilst nearby is the indoor Steam & Jacuzzi bath is available for you to take a dip so as to refresh and cleanse your body before your selected massage treatment.

The Spa's name 'V' has been derived from the Roman numeral meaning of five representing the five senses appealed to in a Spa treatment - sight, taste, smell, sound and touch. These new indulgent Day Spa packages are designed around these senses and the body's well-being and include V Tonifying Treatment with Celestial Spheres, V Relaxing Treatment with Royal Bamboo and V Detoxifying Treatment with Exotic Wood Stones.

V Tonifying Treatment with Celestial Spheres is a true energizing gift from the heavens! It combines two sets of spheres with iridescent spangles that glitter with life and joy. The warmth radiated by the intense orange color of the sun sphere melts away the tension buried in the heart of the muscles fibres. The moon sphere, a deep Indigo blue, provides the relief that allows inner peace. The alliance between the Sun and the Moon symbolically unifies the male principles of power and strength with the female virtues of softness and reflection, revealed within each one of us.

In Asia, the Bamboo tree symbolizes strength and flexibility since it can grow up to 10 meters a month! The V Relaxing Treatment with Royal Bamboo uses the round, smooth and firm texture of the bamboo as an original massage tool, which is rich in different sensations. The three sizes that are used in the treatment perfectly fit the body contours and provide a deep and revitalizing relaxation. Its mineralizing, restructuring and soothing ingredients are well-known in dermo-cosmetics and phytotherapy.

The V Detoxifying Treatment with Exotic Wood Stones uses the Wacapou wood, a noble, solid wood from the heart of Guiana and with a unique pigmentation to provide a massage treatment. This enveloping treatment, rich in variations, goes from sensorial to more intense movements to redefine the body contours using sculpting techniques, frictions, darting strokes, the "thousand and one" facets of the hands and the perfect curves of the wood stones to obtain a slimmer silhouette, a thinner waist, slender thighs, firmer hips and gluteus, toned up arms.

The V Spa offers a range of other treatments from massages, body scrubs and wraps, slimming care packages, facials, steam and Jacuzzi packages to waxing and The V Slaon for all guests hairdressing needs.
For booking and enquiries please contact: Tess Willcox on P: 07 5524 5222 Email:


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