Tuesday 26 July 2011

Hyatt Regency Coolum's Explore Package Offers the Perfect Spring Break

Hyatt Regency Coolum is offering a world of choice this September holiday period with its fantastic Explore Package, ideal for couples, families, friends, spa lovers, golfers and foodies alike.

Priced from $390* per night for two adults in a King Room, or from $510* per night for two adults and two children in a two-bedroom villa, the Explore Package offers great value with a Freedom of Choice voucher that can be exchanged for a variety of indulgent activities and extras.

Guests will receive one voucher per adult, per night which can be exchanged for one of the following:

- unlimited golf green fees for a day
- a 60-minute spa treatment
- a 60-minute professional golf or tennis lesson
- Camp Hyatt sessions for the kids (2 x 2.5 hrs, or 1 x 5hr session)
- a three-course à la carte dinner in a Village Square restaurant
- bike hire for the duration of your stay

- two bottles of premium wine

- a picnic hamper for two
- a Hyatt Regency Coolum golf shirt and cap
- car hire for one day (conditions apply).

The Explore Package also includes continental breakfast, weekday group golf clinics, adult entry to the Spa, tennis court hire and daily shuttle to Noosa.

Hyatt Regency Coolum is the perfect location for a holiday, set beside a pristine beach just ten minutes from the Sunshine Coast Airport and only 90 minutes from Brisbane Airport. There are countless bike tracks to explore over 150 hectares of lush surroundings, nine pools, tennis courts, the Spa, an Australian PGA Championship golf course and a range of fantastic kids’ activities at Camp Hyatt.

*Packages are subject to availability, conditions and some blackout dates apply. For full details and bookings contact Hyatt Regency Coolum on 1800 COOLUM (266 586) or visit and quote CLM027.

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Monday 25 July 2011

Emirates to Serve St Petersburg from November 2011

Emirates is to launch flights deeper into Russia by starting services to St Petersburg, which will become the most northerly point on the airline's network.

The port city, lying on the Baltic coast and sometimes referred to as Russia's 'Northern Capital,' will be served from 1st November with a daily flight from Dubai.

A combination of Airbus A340-300 and A330-200 will be deployed on the route, offering First, Business and Economy Class travel. EK flight 137 will depart Dubai at 1035hrs, arriving in St Petersburg at 1615hrs. The return flight leaves St Petersburg at 1745 and lands in Dubai at 0035hrs the next day.

The airline currently operates a double daily flight to Moscow and has been flying to the Russian capital since 2003.

"We see great potential in Russia and the success of our Moscow flights has demonstrated that there is still demand from this market," commented His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.

"We have been considering launching a non-stop service to St Petersburg for some time and we believe that the conditions are now right to do so. This is a city which attracts many tourists and cruise visitors every year because of its grand architecture, arts and culture and fascinating history," added Sheikh Ahmed.

St Petersburg is estimated to be the third largest city in Europe with a population of around 4.6 million residents. Passenger demand is expected to be mostly tourist driven, but also boosted by the oil and manufacturing sectors and from the city's significant expatriate community.

The UAE is a major destination for Russian tourists and investors and thousands have made it their home. The new St Petersburg service will further satisfy that demand, while providing better links with key markets across Asia.

As one of the few wide-body operators serving St Petersburg, Emirates SkyCargo will be able to offer increased options to the market.

A diverse range of commodities, such as pharmaceuticals, automotive parts, garments, electronics and flowers will be imported. They will arrive from markets like Japan, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, South Africa, Ethiopia and New Zealand.

Spare parts for power stations, aircraft and ships, along with tobacco products, are expected to move in the other direction - heading to destinations including Japan, India, China, Vietnam and Angola.

Picture Caption: St Petersburg, where Emirates will fly to from 1st November.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Glamping it up with Abercrombie & Kent

A new trend in Australian travel that is flourishing right now is ‘glamping’ – glamorous camping - the comfortable high-end way of experiencing the great outdoors.

“We have noticed a distinct new style of travel emerging amongst our customers which we playfully call glamping,” says A&K’s Managing Director, Sujata Raman.

“It’s what takes travellers out of their comfort zone and off the beaten track to experience beautiful landscapes and wilderness areas in an active and adventurous way. It is also about bedding down in these often-remote areas in comfort and with all the expected elements of a luxury journey with A&K. The A&K team responded accordingly by seeking out the best locations and involving our select partners to deliver this new offering – it’s camping at its classiest!”

A typical ‘glamping’ experience might feature accommodation in a spectacularly located luxury canvas tent furnished with all the essential home comforts - full sized mattresses, fine cotton sheets, plump pillows and duvets. The camp will most likely be in the midst of pristine wilderness where only the most eco-sensitive accommodation is appropriate. With just a canvas or screen to separate guests from the bush, it’s likely that they will fall asleep gazing at the stars, wake to sunrise over a billabong or take an afternoon nap with the sound of the water lapping on the sand.

Most glamping trips involve a level of outdoor activity such as hiking and kayaking but comfort at the end of a day is paramount. Every detail is carefully considered and included for the ‘glamping’ guest. Luggage is transported, expert guides carry drinking water and snacks, and quality gear is used including first aid equipment and satellite phones in remote areas. Nothing is left to chance.

Finally great food, wine and hospitality are a focus of the glamping experience. Guides and hosts amaze guests with culinary creations unexpected in remote locations. Add candlelight, good company and it becomes an experience to remember.

Here are A&K’s favourite glamping adventures:

The Maria Island Walk

For stunning scenery and an active challenge the Maria Island Walk on the east coast of Tasmania is a winner. Walking terrain covers eucalypt forest, pristine beaches and mountain trails and accommodation is in eco-sensitive wilderness camps and a heritage listed historic home.

6 days from $2,660 per person

Arkaba Wilderness Safaris

The arid Flinders Ranges of South Australia is outback wilderness at its finest. This adventure takes place on remote Arkaba Station, a 60,000 acre working sheep station with Wilpena Pound right on the property’s northern boundary. This is the pristine outback delivered in style and comfort as guests walk up to 14km each day through breathtaking landscapes and retire to luxury swags and alfresco meals under the stars each night.

4 days from $2,000 per person

Bay of Fires

Another active Tasmanian adventure, which comes highly recommended, is the beautiful Bay of Fires Walk. This stretch of coastline in the east of the state is breathtaking. There are white sandy beaches, coastal forest and scrub, red lichen covered boulders and crystal clear waters. Walkers bed down in a comfortable beach camp and a cosy eco-lodge. Fine dining is an important part of the experience.

6 days from $2,775 per person

Larapinta Trail

A&K has launched a specially tailored Larapinta Trail, combining activity with comfort. Accessible from Alice Springs, the adventure includes only the most spectacular sections of the famed 233 km trail and includes private bush camping, expert guides and gourmet meals. Hours walked each day is up to five and a reasonable level of fitness is recommended. Highlights include breathtaking Serpentine Gorge, the Ochre Pits, Ormiston Gorge and Standley Chasm.

3 days from $1470 per person

Western Australian wilderness

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef is an exclusive safari camp hidden in the white sand dunes of Western Australia's Cape Range National Park. Nine spacious wilderness tents sensitively nestled in the dunes provide accommodation complete with supremely comfortable beds, 100% cotton linen (500 thread count), a choice of pillows, soft bath towels and an en suite bathroom. A team of expert hosts is on hand providing delicious meals and activities such as kayaking, snorkelling and hiking. Guests visiting between late March and late June have the opportunity to swim with the Whale Sharks at Ningaloo Reef.

Sal Salis is featured in A&K’s Pristine Waters of Ningaloo Reef.

7 days from $3,725 per person

To book or enquire further please contact Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 851 800 or

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Regional Food & Wine Tours

FoodandTravelCo have designed a number of weekends away to bring city folk to renowned regional restaurants, wineries and farmgates to share in the joys of fresh, local produce.

Each itinerary has been designed to showcase one wonderful region, with the highlight being what FoodandTravelCo consider to be the region's star restaurant.

The tours also include meeting local producers, sampling handmade cheeses, wine tastings at only the best cellar doors, staying in luxurious accommodation and dining at other award-winning restaurants.

Everything has been taken care of; just sit back, relax and enjoy the best each region has to offer.

2011/12 Touring Calendar
Click on the tours below to view the complete itineraries

Loam and a Taste of the Bellarine Peninsula
23rd-25th September, 2011

Royal Mail Hotel and a Taste of the Grampians
17th-19th February, 2012

Annie Smithers and a Taste of the Macedon Ranges
27th-29th April, 2012

Bella Vedere and a Taste of the Yarra Valley
18th-20th May, 2012

Port Phillip Estate and a Taste of the Mornington Peninsula
1st-3rd June, 2012

Included in all tours

• Fully escorted by Chef & Restaurateur guides
• All transportation, including to and from Melbourne
• 2 nights accommodation in luxury accommodation
• All meals, as listed in the full itinerary
• All activities, as listed in the full itinerary
• Intimate group size

PLEASE NOTE: A limited number of spaces are available due to the nature of these exclusive tours, early booking is advised.


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Tuesday 19 July 2011

Save 50% at The Vijitt Resort Phuket

Phukets newest all villa beachfront resort, The Vijitt has just released a 'Stay two night's Pay one night' deal for travel until 31 October 2011. This saving of 50% is valid on all room types from a Deluxe Villa to a Vijitt Pool Villa, making it the perfect time to experience 5 Star Luxury at an affordable price.

The beautifully landscaped Vijitt Resort Phuket is only 30 minutes from Patong and is set above the white sands of stunning Friendship Beach in Phuket's southern, laid back and unspoiled Rawai district.

The resort's magnificent gardens testify to its eco-friendliness and commitment to exude an essentially unique Thai atmosphere. The Vijitt Resort Phuket is exceptionally quiet, peaceful and friendly, with a wonderful local history and staff renowned for their efficient, attentive, gentle and, of course in Thailand, smiling service.

The 92 luxury, stand alone villas sit amid lush tropical trees and fauna strategically placed among the gently sloping forested land and overlooking the azure blue waters of Chalong Bay, enjoying stunning sea views and at the same time privacy.

Dining is a key part of the Vijitt experience and the two restaurants and in-villa dining offer a choice of casual and elegant dining experiences, plus relaxed bars and café-style eateries for amazing variety, indoors and out.

The V Spa, which just like the resort, aims at bringing guests back to nature, offers an extensive range of spa favourites and traditional Thai massage, body and facial treatments all designed to relax and rejuvenate. 

The Vijitt also offers a wide range of activities ranging from a romantic getaway to your own private island for a day of snorkelling and relaxing on a white sand beach, to the Beach Marine Walk, or the unique Natural Rubber Tapping tour.

Although built and designed with honeymoons and weddings in mind, The Vijitt Resort also welcomes families and the resorts large and spacious Kids Club is staffed by a special team who will ensure children left in their care will be looked after and entertained.

Prices for a two night stay in a Deluxe Villa at The Vijitt Resort Phuket starts from AUD$222 per villa including breakfast daily and is normally priced at AUD$444.00 . This rate is based on today’s exchange rate and may fluctuate.

For further information visit

Thursday 14 July 2011

Discover Darling Quarter at Darling Harbour

Sydney's vibrant new hub of café culture

A destination unlike any other in Sydney is opening on 24 September. Darling Quarter is an exciting new eating precinct with a mix of authentic cuisine from around the world. Dining and fresh takeaway options include Meno Diciotto gelataria, Stacks Taverna and Bar from Nick's of Darling Harbour and Sydney's much loved bakery Taste. Adjacent to this 14 strong dining offer is a relaxing open Community Green which will appeal to families, workers, Sydneysiders and tourists alike as well as the biggest children's playground in Sydney's CBD and a multi-purpose children's theatre.

A New Eating Destination

Darling Quarter is an exciting new eating destination offering an eclectic mix of dining and fresh takeaway options from authentic Sydney operators including Meno Diciotto gelataria from the Trovato family in Five Dock; Nok of Stir Crazy Thai introduces Nok Nok Thai Garden; Stacks Taverna and Bar, a new Mediterranean grill concept from Nick's of Darling Harbour, designed by Michael McCann who created the look and feel of Sydney restaurant Felix; Sydney veteran bakery Taste and Janus, a boutique Italian wine bar from the Bacco team. Other restaurants include Braza, a Brazilian churrascaria with traditional food and drink offering; Guylian, a chocolate experience; Box and Bowl, a hole in the wall fast fusion Asian takeaway; Umi Sushi, a Tokyo inspired urban sushi diner; gourmet sandwich creators Fat Duck and Son of Tuysuz serving traditional Turkish fare in an intimate kitchen setting. The precinct includes additional amenities such as a boutique news agency, Commonwealth Bank Australia banking facility; and a 600 bay public car par. 

A New Community Green

Lounging will come easy to visitors of Darling Quarter's beautiful Community Green. There will be colourful, oversized picnic rugs plus director and deck chairs, all designed with eco integrity, for people to use. Board games and a table tennis set up will also feature for those taking time out and there will be a series of intimate events hosted on the green throughout the summer months.

A New Playground

The new children's playground has over 4,000 square metres of play area and has been thoughtfully designed with huge family appeal. The spectacular large-scale interactive day and night water play features are the first of their kind in Australia and are set to be a major draw card to children of all ages with water pumps, a giant scooping wheel, small water locks, switches and water jets all customised to work together. The additional features in the playground provide physically challenging and exciting interactive play including a nine metre high climbing net, a flying fox, a tandem slide, balancing beams, tunnels and sand diggers. The natural setting of the playground is enhanced with aromatic native plants and palm trees providing natural shade with a playground kiosk and shelter areas for parents and carers.

A New Children's Theatre

Darling Quarter also boasts a multi-purpose children's theatre and performance facility which will contribute to the family entertaining events of the Darling Harbour precinct.

Flanked by the impressive new Commonwealth Bank Place, headquarters to over 6,000 employees, Darling Quarter provides  a striking architectural backdrop and visitors will be awe inspired by the array of moving colour in Darling Quarter's modern lighting installation.

Located at the southern, tranquil corner of Darling Harbour, Darling Quarter is a stunning, new community precinct in the heart of Sydney's CBD. This world class development from Lend Lease is a true example of social sustainability, regenerating a local area for Sydneysiders and tourists to enjoy day and night.


CRUISE sixteen nights from Sydney to Fremantle by way of Bali aboard one of the world's most spectacular holiday liners in February of next year, and through Cruiseco the price is from an exclusive $2,655pp twin-share – with the indulgence of Balcony Staterooms starting from only $3,439 that includes a savings of up to $600pp.
And as well as the 16-night cruise with all onboard meals, nightly entertainment, gratuities and port and government taxes, these prices also include a night pre-cruise at the Sydney Hilton Hotel with breakfast included.

The 90,000 tonne, 4-star Radiance of the Seas will sail from Sydney on February the 19th 2012, visiting Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Port Douglas, Darwin, Benoa in Bali, Geraldton and Fremantle.

As well as Inside Cabins from an exclusive $2,655pp twin-share through Cruiseco, it also has large Oceanview Staterooms from only $3,315pp twin-share. Air fares are additional.

For full details and the names of Cruiseco's 200 cruise-specialist travel agencies visit

Dining aboard Radiance of the Seas can be enjoyed in a choice of venues including a traditional dining room, Italian restaurant, steakhouse and two cafés, and there's also a wide range of themed bars and lounges. The ship also has a casino, live theatre, spa, fitness centre, rock climbing wall, miniature golf course, jogging track, basketball court, golf simulator and a kids club... giving plenty to do during a total of eight full-days cruising at sea.


SEADREAM Yacht Club has a highly unusual 9-night sailing aboard the 56-stateroom mega motor-cruiser SeaDream II on May 10 2012, because this one starts 85km up Spain's Guadalquivir River in architecturally and culturally spectacular Seville.

And it will visit such small and unusual ports as Motril with its nearby 14th century fortress-palace of Alhambra in Spanish Granada, as well as Ibiza in the Balearic Islands that was the birthplace of "the rave," home to flower-power followers in the 1960s, and today is still considered Spain's "clubbing central."

This unique sailing also visits Bonifacio founded on the French island of Corsica in 828AD and dominated by a massive cliff-top citadel built in the 9th century, with other ports of call including Puerto Banus, Cartagena, Spain's Balearic Island's Palma de Mallorca and Menorca, Alghero on Sardinia (Italy) and finally Civitavecchia (the port for Rome.)

Prices start from US$6048pp twin-share including all gourmet 5-star dining, wines with lunch and dinner, drinks from the open bars, nightly cocktail receptions, power and sail watersports (in ports where permitted,) use of the 30-course golf simulator, onboard gratuities, and port charges and taxes.

The boutique SeaDream II carries a maximum of just 112-guests served by 95-crew, with many of her small and unusual ports of call on this sailing unable to be accessed by larger cruise ships.

Details from travel agents or visit; airfares are additional.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Air Tahiti Nui launches new bonus packages

Air Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Travel Connection are offering two nights' free accommodation and complimentary daily breakfasts to travellers who book a new 7 night package.

The "Tahiti Breeze" package starts at AUD$2095 per person and includes return Economy Class flights with Air Tahiti Nui ex Sydney or Melbourne, seven nights for the price of five at the Sofitel Tahiti Resort in a Superior Lagoon View Room, daily breakfasts and transfers.

The package is valid for travel until 20 December, 2011, and from 20 January to 31 March, 2012.

Prices are per person, twin share and availability is limited.  Prices are subject to change without notice. 

To book this deal contact Tahiti Travel Connection on 1300 858 305, or visit

Flights are with Air Tahiti Nui, the international airline of Tahiti and her islands. For more information about Air Tahiti Nui visit

Stay four, pay three at Best Western hotels in Fiji

Pack your bags for a tropical holiday in Fiji as Best Western properties give away the fourth night – absolutely free.

Stay four nights and pay three at any of Best Western's three properties in Fiji.

You might choose the BEST WESTERN Hexagon International Hotel; set on five and a half acres of beautiful tropical gardens and five minutes from Nadi Town. The hotel complex features three outdoor pools, restaurant and bar, tour desk and conference rooms. A complimentary Nadi airport shuttle service and babysitting makes it even easier to stay and travel in Fiji.

Also in Nadi, the BEST WESTERN Grand West's Villas offer superior accommodation for families, groups and business travellers. Spread out on large manicured grounds in beautiful, lush tropical surroundings, this resort offers a choice of deluxe hotel rooms or apartment-type large villas, offering cooking facilities, lounge area and own balconies. All units are air-conditioned and also have ceiling fans, television, stereo and housekeeping service. Within the expansive tropical grounds, guests can enjoy an outdoor swimming pool with water slide, tennis courts, garden view restaurant and bar and gift shop.

In Suva, experience a true Fijian welcome at the BEST WESTERN Suva Motor Inn. Situated in quiet and peaceful surroundings with picturesque views of seascapes and bushland, this Fiji hotel is an easy stroll to the heart of Suva. On the edge of the central business district, guests will be close to the waterfront, sports grounds, government buildings, the President's Residence, museums, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

The hotel complex features a tropical courtyard encompassing a two-tiered swimming pool complete with waterslide, children's pool and waterfall while adults can rejuvenate and unwind in the cave spa.

It's never been a better time to visit Fiji so visit to book. Valid until 30 September 2011.


Luxury health and wellness resort Chiva-Som has announced its Winter Wellness Specials for the lean season, ending 30 September, 2011.  Chiva-Som is the perfect winter escape, where you can indulge in the award-winning Spa cuisine whilst enjoying the secluded world of beauty and serenity that is Chiva-Som.

Widely regarded as the Best Destination Spa in the world, Chiva-Som welcomes guests to rest and rejuvenate during the winter months. Located in the Royal city of Hua Hin on the Gulf of Thailand, the resort is less than three hours by car south of Bangkok.

LEAN SEASON: JULY 2011 – 30 SEPTEMBER 2011 for a 5 nights stay from $3,650 in a Thai Pavilion Room.

No single supplement for single occupancy stay | Book twin occupancy and receive an additional cash credit of US$100 per person

LEAN SEASON: JULY 2011 – 30 SEPTEMBER 2011 for a 5 nights stay from $2,900 for an Ocean View Room.

Book 5-night twin occupancy and receive two complimentary treatments** plus cooking class for two | **Thai Boxing; Tai Chi; Thai Herbal massage; Manicure/Pedicure or Social Dance.

LEAN & HIGH SEASON: JULY 2011 – 19 DECEMBER 2011 for a 5 nights stay from $3,250 for an Ocean View Room

Minimum stay 5 nights, twin occupancy, all room types | Receive and additional cash credit of US$150 to be redeemed against treatments from Health & Wellness menu.

Each day of stay during your Winter Wellness Special also includes:
  • Three Chiva-Som spa cuisine meals
  • One 50 minutes massage of your choice
  • An individual health and wellness consultation on arrival
  • Unlimited fitness and leisure activities
  • Complimentary use of the Water Therapy Suites which include Steam, Sauna and Jacuzzi.
  • Service charges and VAT
Otherwise known as the "Haven of Life", Chiva-Som is dedicated to revitalising mind, body and spirit with extensive fitness programs, spa treatments and holistic health facilitates to help you relax, restore, rejuvenate and redirect. A complementary Health & Wellness consultation is offered upon arrival to ensure each guest receives a personalised programme, with specific treatments and plans focusing on diet, exercise, activity, rest and relaxation, physical ailments and emotional issues.

Chiva-Som offers 58 luxurious Thai Pavilions and Ocean View rooms which overlook the spectacular Gulf of Thailand. In addition to 70 treatment rooms, the resort facilities comprise a kinesis studio, gym, watsu pool, floatation pool, large outdoor swimming pool, bathing pavilion with kneipp bath, sauna, steam, jacuzzi, and indoor swimming pool.

Chiva-Som is an eco-friendly resort and this reflects in the day-to-day practices from the irrigation systems which harvest rainfall to the energy-saving technologies. The resort has 5 acres of fruit and vegetable gardens which supplies guests with organic food daily. Chiva-Som has also developed their signature skin care range which draws on the latest innovations in technology. Their beauty products exclude parabens, phenoxyethanol, petrochemicals, silicones, animal-derived ingredients, artificial colours and fragrances.

For further information about Chiva-Som or to make a booking, please contact Travel the World on 1300 950 622 or visit .

Tuesday 12 July 2011

A Luxurious Winter Escape at Wolgan Valley

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa's restored 1832 Heritage Homestead.
Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, the luxury conservation-based resort located in the Greater Blue Mountains region, has released an exclusive offer for guests seeking the ultimate winter retreat.

Valid from 1 July to 15 September, the Winter Escape offer includes two nights' accommodation in a luxury suite with double-sided fireplace and heated pool, gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, all non-alcoholic and selected alcoholic beverages with lunch and dinner, wireless internet and two nature-based experiences per person each day.

The package also includes a wine and cheese tasting experience, and evening port or hot chocolate and marshmallows for each guest.

Nestled between two National Parks and bordering the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, the international award-winning carbon-neutral resort offers luxury with a conscience.

"There is nothing better in the cool winter months than escaping the concrete jungle to retreat to the mountains. Just a three hour drive from Sydney, Wolgan Valley's location provides the perfect backdrop of the towering Blue Mountains escarpments, while the resort's understated luxury delivers to guests a truly remarkable and authentic experience," said Joost Heymeijer, General Manager, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa.

"Wolgan Valley is an extraordinary destination. With breathtaking views, world-class gourmet cuisine, crackling log fires, a range of nature-based activities, an exceptional luxury spa, and warm and refined service, guests may just want to hibernate here for the winter."

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa – Heritage Suite Living Room.
**A Winter Escape**

Embrace the warmth and indulge in ultimate luxury with the Winter Escape two-night accommodation package for $1,420* per person on a twin sharing basis.

Valid for travel from 01 July to 15 September 2011, the Winter Escape represents a saving of over $1,000 per couple and includes two nights' accommodation in a luxurious double Heritage Suite with private indoor outdoor swimming pool, gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, all non-alcoholic and selected alcoholic beverages with lunch and dinner, wireless internet and two nature-based experiences per person each day.

As part of the offer, guests are invited to enjoy a gourmet wine and cheese tasting experience and evening port or chocolate and marshmallows on turndown.

Guests booking the Winter Escape package on any two nights from Sunday to Thursday inclusive will also receive a complimentary 60-minute spa treatment per person in the resort's Timeless Spa; representing a value of $330 per couple.

To book please contact the Wolgan Valley Reservations team on 02 9290 9733 or email

*Subject to availability at time of booking. Two night minimum night stay applies. Valid for all new bookings from 01 July 2011. Valid for travel from 01 July 15 September 2011. Extra nights can also be booked at $710 per person on twin share.

Re-Discover the 'Venice of the East' With the Newly Launched Anantara Cruises, Bangkok

While most people think of Thailand's sprawling capital Bangkok as a hectic array of tuk-tuks, vendors and crowded streets, it is also a city that relies on its intricate waterways, canals and rivers thus being labeled the 'Venice of the East'. Life on the river is a unique way to explore one of the oldest capitals in the orient and seeing it at a calmer more serene pace is all part of Anantara's latest journey with the launch of Anantara Cruises.

With Anantara Cruises, guests see for themselves how Thailand's waterways are the country's lifelines, and why Bangkok's Chao Phraya River is one of the most famous and significant.  Locals living on its banks maintain an authentic lifestyle, creating vivid snapshots of a bygone age in between glittering temples like the Temple of Dawn, landmarks of regal heritage such as the Grand Palace and Royal Barges Boathouse, as well as striking bridges and monumental buildings which reflect the capital's dynamic evolution over the past 20 years.

A couple of one hundred year old rice barges "Anantara Song' and 'Anantara Dream' have been painstakingly rebuilt from teak and restored to their present splendour to cushion the appeal of a real Thai adventure.  Guests will make themselves at home on the river for overnight excursions that blend quintessential old world charm, modern comforts and truly personalised service, choosing between vessels and itineraries designed with discerning traveller needs in mind.

Guests in search of ancient wonders can join a two night, three day Ayutthaya Adventure accommodating up to four couples on the Anantara Song, or reserve this fine cruiser for private charter.  The colonial grace of this 20 metre, ultra deluxe river boat - dubbed 'The Orient Express of the River' – is evident in every exquisite detail.  Thai master craftsmen were employed for its reconstruction, with most of the work carried out in centuries old tradition – using mostly a sharp eye and patience with simple tools in very experienced hands. 

The distinctive design blends warm teak, padua and mahogany woods, complemented by custom made furniture covered with colourful Thai silks and cottons.  Oriental rugs were chosen alongside Thai and Southeast Asian art, sculptures and artifacts, while a number of accessories were sourced from artisans working along Thailand's rivers and canals, as well as from remote rural areas, resulting in a harmony of sophisticated and rustic folk accents.

Renovated to provide privacy and comfort, separate crew quarters allow guests to feel as if they have the boat all to themselves, while an onboard team, comprising of a captain, two service staff and a chef, delivers seamless cruise expertise and gracious hospitality.  Guests reside in four air conditioned staterooms filled with all the five star luxuries guest can expect from Anantara.

On the spacious upper deck, an expansive lounge and dining area with a full bar sets an idyllic scene for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, served from a well provisioned galley.  A separate sun deck invites guests to take in views of Ayutthaya's crumbling city walls and lively markets on the banks, in between stopping off to explore temples such as Wat Mongkhon Bophit, built to protect one of the country's largest bronze Buddha statues dating back to the 15th century. 

Alternatively guests can call Thailand's most luxurious cruise, the Anantara Dream, their very own river residence by reserving this magnificent vessel entirely to themselves for a two night, three day Ayutthaya Thousand Golden Temples Tour or Ang Thong Mystic River Tour.  

Offering ample living space for up to only two couples, the two staterooms (20 and 25 square metres) are fully air conditioned and feature elegantly tiled ensuite bathrooms with a full shower and a comfortable two metre square super king sized bed dressed with delicate linen, alongside a library and deluxe branded amenities.

Beyond these extra allures, Anantara Dream voyages offer luxury discovery experiences such as a private cooking class, spa, on-board yoga retreat, Thai wine tasting class, a self guided walking tour at various points of interest along the way, or learn the art of sailing the old rice barge on the renowned 'river of Kings' from the Captain himself!

Anantara Song

Two-night/three-day package:
  • Double occupancy: Baht 69,000 net per cabin
  • Private Charter: Baht 230,000 net (1-8 passengers)
Inlcudes all meals and non alcoholic beverages onboard, deluxe turndown gifts, tour programmes with an English speaking guide and admission charges, as well as private roundtrip limousine transfers.

Anantara Dream

Available for private charter only at a cost of Baht 200,000 net (for 1–4 passengers). The package price includes two nights' accommodation onboard, private round-trip limousine transfers, welcome champagne, deluxe turndown gifts, private cooking class, all meals and non alcoholic beverages onboard, full ground tours programs with an English speaking guide and admissions charges at designated places.

For enquiries and bookings, call +66 (0) 2477 0770, email or visit

Caravan and Camping- Still Defying Trends

The Penrith Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo is on again at Penrith Panthers from 9 to 11 September. Exhibitors are anticipating another successful event after record breaking crowds at last year’s Expo and record breaking sales at the recent Caravan, Camping, RV and Holiday Supershow at Rosehill Racecourse.

Whilst domestic and regional tourism has been flat for many years the caravan and camping industry has defied this trend and is in fact booming.

The caravan, motorhome and camping industry has been the fastest growing domestic tourism sector in Australia for the past 15 years. During this time Caravan and RV registrations have increased by 250%. This can be attributed to the flexibility of the industry and its ability to respond to changing consumer preferences. Caravan and holiday parks throughout NSW are enhancing the quality of their accommodation and facilities whilst caravan and RV manufacturers are accessorising their vehicles with luxury fittings.

The Australian Breuer of Statistics recorded that 51% of available paid tourism beds in NSW are spent in caravan and holiday parks and a huge 87% of Australians have staying in a park.

Organisers of the Penrith Caravan, Camping and Holiday Expo are anticipating a rise in caravan, camper trailer and motorhome sales due to the significant growth of touring holidays. Barry Baillie CEO of the Caravan and Camping Industry Association predicts that camping accessories will also be in high demand throughout the three day event “there has been a substantial increase in families camping in larger tents and luxury camping is also appealing to a broader demographic”.

In previous years the caravan and camping expo’s have typically catered for ‘middle Australia’ however a more affluent group of consumers has been evident and are upgrading to larger and more luxurious RV’s and frequenting 4 and 5 star cabin accommodation. This is why the Penrith Expo has something for every budget said Mr Baillie.

The Penrith Caravan, Camping and Holiday Expo has great entertainment to keep the young and the young at heart entertained for hours, whilst FREE admission and FREE parking allow visitors to come back for a second and even third day to browse over 150 displays of caravans, motorhomes, camper trailers, campervans, 5th wheelers, camping equipment, tents and 4WD products and accessories.

Everyone deserves a holiday and the Penrith Caravan, Camping and Holiday Expo is the best place to grab those pre-summer sale bargains.

For more information visit

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Monday 11 July 2011

Sensis Connects Aussie Travellers with its Latest iPhone app - Sock Assist

Sensis has made travel that little bit easier for Australians with the launch of its new iPhone app: ‘Sock Assist’, fronted by the cheeky green Sock puppet.

A virtual personal assistant, Sock Assist is one of the first apps in Australia which gives all iPhone users access to a world leading voice concierge information service and need-to-know content, an instant information source that will aid Aussie travellers.

Imagine with just two taps of an iPhone screen having access to the number for a local taxi, a recommended local hotel or restaurant, or directions to a tourist attraction when travelling in a foreign city.

This is the power of ‘Sock Assist’, and to celebrate its launch, Sensis has commissioned a survey of 500 people revealing some statistics around the complex way people interact with business and each other when on the move.

‘Sock Assist’ has been developed to take away some of that complexity and the survey results have uncovered some interesting habits of Australians and how they source information.

We all know that Aussies love to travel, but are we all that adventurous? The data says not, with 72 per cent of respondents claiming they would need to have everything booked ahead of time and only eight per cent happy to just ‘wing it’1. We are a resourceful bunch though, with 53 per cent of respondents saying they would book everything for a trip themselves, rather than use a travel agent1.

Rooney Thodey, Group Manager of Sensis’ Voice portfolio, said “Sock Assist is like a personal assistant. In simply two taps of your iPhone screen, you will be in touch with someone who can search for the information you’re looking for – whether it be a venue you’re trying to find, movie times, weather, directions and more.

“Once Sock Assist has helped you find what you’re looking for, our operators can then connect your call through to the business.” Ms Thodey said.

When you connect to Sock Assist, you will speak to an operator who will be able to search for the information you need and send it back to you in the app. Depending on the nature of your request, Sensis may also provide you with other helpful content and functionality including phone numbers with a tap to call functionality, call connection, embedded maps and contact details of all your favourite places that can be saved into your address book for future reference.

The Sock Assist app is free to download from iTunes (visit: and comes with three free calls (mobile charges apply). You can then purchase call credits from as little as $3.99 for three calls. Call credits are payment for making information requests to the Sock Assist service. Additional call charges and data charges may be imposed by your telecommunications provider for accessing the service from your mobile.

Sock Assist is available to all iPhone users, across all telecommunications providers. For more information, visit

Warm Up This Winter With Spicers

ESCAPE the chill in a sophisticated inner city hotel or a charming country cottage with special Winter Warmer Packages now on offer within the Spicers Retreats, Hotels and Lodges group.

Stay two nights at Spicers Balfour Hotel in New Farm in inner Brisbane in an Executive Room from $399* per couple per night, Friday to Sunday. (Monday – Thursday rate is $429* per couple per night). The package includestwo tickets to the Surrealism Exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art, a two course dinner for two at The Continental restaurant (winter menu) on one night, canapés each evening in the rooftop bar, a fully cooked breakfast each morning and complimentary bubbles on arrival.

Spicers Balfour Hotel offers a restful and sophisticated escape in New Farm, just three kilometres from Brisbane’s CBD. Recently nationally commended for it architectural design the hotel features nine spacious rooms with individual elegance and charm and all the comforts and attention to detail expected from a leading hotel.

Or escape winter in the country at Spicers Hidden Vale in Grandchester, less than an hour from Brisbane. Enjoy two nights in a Heritage Suite, a three course dinner for two in Cotton's Restaurant on one night, spa treatments to the value of $200 in the on-site day spa Spa Anise, gourmet picnic hamper on one day and a fresh country breakfast each morning from $470* per couple per night, Sunday – Thursday. (Friday – Saturday rate is $670* per couple per night).

Set on a 12,000 acre country farm, Spicers Hidden Vale offers authentic country hospitality, cosy cottage-style accommodation, hearty fireside meals and a long list of fun activities including horse-riding, archery, clay pigeon shooting and mountain bike riding.

For booking details visit

*Minimum 2 night stay and valid for check-ins before 30 September 2011. Subject to availability.

Shake It Up For a Hot Mystery Deal In Noosa

Shake it up and try something different for a winter break in Noosa this month with the new Mystery Deals by Noosa campaign, offering great deals on accommodation around the region.

Now in its final month, the Fiesta by Noosa campaign has saved the best till last with plenty of hot deals to warm up your winter days at one of Australia’s favourite seaside destinations.

Noosa’s new iPhone application and the website have just released a range of Mystery Deal offers in all the key precincts – Coolum, Hastings Street, Noosa Sound, Noosaville, Sunshine Beach and Noosa Hinterland. With excellent offers from accommodation properties ranging from 3-star to 4½ stars, you can choose to stay beachfront overlooking Noosa’s Main Beach; in the middle of the river and restaurant precinct in Noosaville; overlooking the ocean at Coolum; relax in quiet, luxurious accommodation with spectacular views of Sunshine Beach; or enjoy your favorite glass of red with a wonderfully warm hinterland escape.

To help you make up your mind, download the Noosa iPhone app from the iTunes store, give your phone a shake and it will randomly suggest a great Noosa mystery holiday deal.

Selected accommodation properties also have special late check-outs during July so you can enjoy your Noosa break even longer and take the stress out of getting back home.

The Mystery Deals by Noosa offer is just another part of Fiesta by Noosa which brings together diverse events and great deals on accommodation, dining, tours, spa offers and retail, right through till the end of July.

With events such as the Noosa Food and Wine Festival and Noosa Longweekend already breaking attendance and ticket sale records, Noosa is ready to welcome visitors with plenty more great things to see, do and taste. From celebrity chefs to theatre, grueling sporting events, author presentations, comedy, magic and music for many tastes, Fiesta by Noosa in July is your chance to let the good times roll.

Coming up this month is the Eumundi Fringe Street Circus; Reality Writes Readers and Writers Weekend; heart-warming theatre; vibrant food, flower, art and craft markets; and music including Irish jam sessions, free outdoor concerts, jazz, Mental as Anything, Clare Bowditch and Old Man River.

Join in or stand back and watch all the action at the Pomona King of the Mountain Festival, and a must for brides looking for something special on their wedding day and honeymoon is the “It’s My Wedding Noosa Bridal Expo at Noosa Springs Resort. Sweet-tooths can visit our region’s newest attraction, Panny’s Chocolate Factory at The Ginger Factory or coffee connoisseurs can try the latest coffee craze at Belmondos Fresh Food Market.

With our beautiful Sunshine Coast winter weather, there are plenty of outdoor activities to help you discover some of the region’s natural attractions.

Explore the Everglades by kayak or on a boat tour, frolic on Fraser Island or head out for a beach safari, abseil down Mt Tinbeerwah, go horse-riding on Noosa North Shore, hire a bike or go fishing, take a thrilling ocean ride, watch the whales, try skydiving, take a river cruise or guided walk, or learn a new hobby such as stand-up paddling or surfing in our safe waters.

Then pamper yourself at a luxurious day spa or indulge in a little retail therapy at some of the eclectic shops in Hastings Street, Noosaville, The Junction, Coolum and Eumundi, before relaxing with a sunset cocktail or refueling at the many restaurants, bars and outdoor cafes.

The lush Noosa hinterland is also a great destination for a wondrous winter warmer retreat,only 15 minutes from Noosa and five minutes from Peregian Beach. Cosy B&Bs and self-contained cottages are surrounded by tranquil lakes, lush forest and amazing mountain views – relax by a log fire with red wine and a gourmet dinner as you enjoy country hospitality. The hinterland towns of Eumundi, Cooroy, Pomona, Kin Kin and Cooran are home to quaint shops and coffee houses, diverse art galleries, markets and natural wonders to explore.

So don’t siesta this winter, book your Noosa holiday NOW and put the “fiesta” back in your life. To see the full range of events and some great holiday deals in the Noosa region, see or phone 13000 Noosa (66672).

Mystery Deals by Noosa - Book now on 13000 NOOSA (66672)

Mystery Deal Hastings Street
We can’t say exactly where in Hastings Street your accommodation will be, but we can tell you this popular 4½-star resort is right on beautiful Main Beach, in the heart of Noosa. Stay 3 nights in a 1-bedroom beachfront suite with breathtaking views of Laguna Bay and pay for only 2, or stay 5 nights and pay for only 3. Step out for a surf, soak up some winter sun or head along Hastings Street for some retail therapy. Then set out for a meal or cocktail at one of the great restaurants and bars.
Stay 3 nights in a 1-bedroom beachfront suite and pay a total of $313 per night ($940), or stay 5 nights and pay a total of $282 per night ($1410)

Mystery Deal Noosaville
Want to hear a secret? You can have views of the beautiful Noosa River in a 1-bedroom apartment, right in the middle of the river and restaurant precinct in Noosaville for $150/night. As a bonus, relax at Sirocco Noosa with breakfast to the value of $40 on one morning. Step out and walk to fantastic restaurants and cafes, or catch the Noosa Ferry at T Boats, directly opposite for a relaxing trip along the river to Hastings Street or Noosa Marina.
Stay 3 nights, with river views for $150/night, incl $40 Sirocco breakfast voucher one morning

Mystery Deal Noosa Sound
Where can it be now? This 2-bedroom villa is in a perfect position to enjoy your Noosa holiday. It’s just a few minutes easy, flat walk to Noosa's famous Main Beach and a great range of restaurants, boutiques and gift shops in Hastings Street. There’s plenty of room to unwind in this spacious, two-storey villa with a fully equipped kitchen. Relax in the heated pool set in tropical gardens. The mystery is – how do they do it for such a great price?
2 nights in a 2-bedroom villa at $95 per night

Mystery Deal Coolum
Where will you spend your next break? How about an ocean-view apartment, right in the heart of beautiful Coolum Beach village? This resort has a heated outdoor swimming pool, spas, sauna, games room, and is directly across from Coolum Beach. Why not stay 2 nights – or longer – in a 1-bedroom ocean-view apartment and pay just $140 per night? The apartment has a balcony with ocean views – you may even spot a whale or two!
2 nights in a 1-bedroom ocean-view apartment for $140/night – normally $175/night – save $70

Mystery Deal Sunshine Beach
Who am I? My 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartments have uninterrupted ocean views, with a beautiful beach right in front. Leave the car at home and walk to seven nearby restaurants, great coffee and gift shops, and the Headland walking track in Noosa National Park. My 4½-star, luxurious, self-contained apartments are in a quiet village location, yet not far from the bustle of Hastings Street. Book me now to find out.
Stay 2 nights in an ocean-view deluxe apartment in late July for just $185/night, (normally valued at $245/night).

Mystery Deal Noosa Hinterland
One of Noosa’s best-kept secrets ... This luxury B&B in the glorious Noosa Hinterland is amazingly just 10 minutes from Hastings Street and Noosa’s Main Beach, and within easy reach of Noosa River with its riverfront restaurant precinct – but it’s the peace and tranquillity of this hinterland gem that you’ll love. What better way to warm up your winter than curling up by the huge, open fire with a glass of your favourite red? Just the tonic for a romantic escape or winter wind-down, surrounded by lush rainforest, natural gardens and wonderful wildlife.
Stay 3 nights & pay for 2: Azure Kingfisher room $265/night Friday and Saturday or $245 Sun-Thurs; Forest Kingfisher room $245/night Friday and Saturday or $210 Sun-Thurs; Paradise Kingfisher room $210/night Friday and Saturday or $195/night Sun-Thurs. Tariff includes daily breakfast.

Thursday 7 July 2011

Hawaii: Romance Aloha Style

Hawai'i Tourism Oceania produces "Romantic Celebrations Hawai'i" Guide

Everyone loves a TV wedding and with the romantic Hawaiian wedding of characters Indi and Romeo going to  air last week on popular soapie Home and Away, there is no better time to announce that Hawai'i Tourism has released a new Romantic Celebrations Guide!

Having witnessed a significant increase in consumer enquiries relating to weddings and honeymoons in Hawai'i, Hawai'i Tourism Oceania decided it was time to create a new publication "Romantic Celebrations Hawai'i". The guide focuses primarily on weddings and honeymoons, with a secondary focus on couple holidays, anniversaries and vow renewals, and offers one central resource containing the important information required when planning a romantic escape to Hawai'i.

Imagine exchanging vows at sunset along a serene Kauai beach or with dolphins swimming offshore in Hulopoe Bay on Lanai.  Say "I do" overlooking the Waikiki shoreline on Oahu or at the edge of a 610-metre sea cliff on Molokai. Share the day with family inside a charming, wood-framed chapel in Upcountry Maui or beside a rushing waterfall on Hawaii's Big Island. It's no wonder Hawaii is one of the most popular wedding and honeymoon destinations in the world.  It is a  destination enriched with the spirit of Aloha and special local traditions, offering an array of relaxing pampering services, exceptional cuisine and diverse venues that are perfect for a romantic celebration.

Helen Williams Country Manager from Hawai'i Tourism Oceania said "Romance travellers seek a memorable or even once-in-a-lifetime travel experience and Hawai'i can definitely offer this.  They tend to develop a lifelong affinity with the place where their special event takes place, often returning a number of times for anniversaries or other events  with their  families in the years ahead". continued Williams.

The guide can be downloaded from the Hawai'i Tourism Oceania website, or by contacting the HTO office at

For the Australian home of all things Hawai'i join

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Tuesday 5 July 2011

Free Whale Watching in the Whitsundays

Tours in the Whitsundays are already enjoying the added bonus of whale watching as they go about their daily trips to the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven Beach and around the Whitsunday Islands. The protected waters of the Whitsundays are a favourite for mummy humpbacks to shelter in and give birth to their young ones. Visitors on charter boats, private boats, scenic flights, and guests on the islands and mainland have been treated to plenty of spectacular shows of breaching, and keeping a close and hopeful eye open for the return of the infamous ‘Migaloo’ rare albino whale. There’s plenty of whale action ahead throughout July – September, and while there’s no formal whale watching tours in the Whitsundays, it’s a just a free bonus on any of the tours around the region for the next 3 months.

There’s never been a better time to holiday in the Whitsundays, with our Winter minimum temperatures most major cities' maximums....
Go to

Clicquot in the Snow for 2011



AUGUST 1 – 7 2011 
Veuve Clicquot returns to Thredbo this winter season for Clicquot in the Snow 2011, a celebration of two of life's great pleasures, Veuve Clicquot and après ski.  

Clicquot in the Snow is the highlight of the Thredbo winter season. Starting on Monday 1 August, a week-long festival with a Clicquot twist.  The village will turn "Clicquot yellow", with bars and clubs decked out in exclusive Clicquot décor and hosting week long Veuve Clicquot inspired events for guests to participate in.   

Clicquot in the Snow kicks off each day with delicious Clicquot On Piste Brunch Sessions on the mountain at the legendary Kareela Hűtte. What better way to start the day than with Eggs Benedict with a glass of Veuve Clicquot ($46). And after the day's skiing, you can come off the mountain and spend the afternoon sipping on Veuve Clicquot at the Clicquot Après-Ski Sessions at the Thredbo Alpine Hotel. Chill to the snow sounds from DJ Beth Yen, wearing your chic Clicquot sunnies (available when you purchase a flute of Clicquot). 

The high point of this year's calendar will undoubtedly be the inaugural Veuve Clicquot Tube-a-Thon on Friday afternoon. Recently launched in Vail with Abbie Cornish as its host, the Veuve Clicquot snow Tube-a-Thon was an instant hit. In Thredbo, guests can enjoy a chilled flute at the pop-up Clicquot Snow Bar on Friday Flat as they cheer on celebrities competing on their limited-edition Veuve Clicquot snow tubes.  

For those with a culinary bent, there are delicious Clicquot Degustation Dinners and the Clicquot In The Snow Picnic, a gourmet picnic hosted by The Denman Hotel & Spa ($120 per person) on Saturday, set amidst the breathtaking Alpine scenery at Dead Horse Gap. Imagine sitting on your custom-made Clicquot picnic rug on the side of a snow-covered mountain with a flute of Clicquot in one hand and a marron and truffle canapé in the other, and you're halfway there. The week will conclude with the Clicquot Classic Ski Race, a downhill race for enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders (registration atClicquot Après-Ski Sessions) with plenty of off-piste action for the Clicquot enthusiasts as well.   

Clicquot in the Snow began in Aspen in 2007 and has grown in popularity, with the best bars, clubs and restaurants joining in this fabulous celebration of the winter season. For the second year, Veuve Clicquot will partner with the Thredbo Alpine Hotel and The Denman Hotel & Spa to ensure that the event is the highlight of the ski season with seven fun-packed, luxurious days. For luxury accommodation packages, please contact: 

Thredbo Alpine Hotel 

Thredbo Village Resort, Thredbo NSW 2625 
P +61 2 6459 4200 

The Denman Hotel and Spa

Diggings Terrace 
Thredbo Village, NSW 2625 
P +61 2 6457 6222 F +61 2 6457 6461 

To purchase tickets to any of the Clicquot in the Snow 2011 experiences please visit

Sunday 3 July 2011

CASA suspends Tiger Airways

Tiger Airways domestic flights suspended for one week
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has ordered Tiger Airways to cease
operating all Australian domestic services until next Saturday 09 Jul,
while it "conducts further investigations into two recent operational

Passengers with domestic bookings between now and 0600 on Sat 09 Jul are
being told not to go to the airport, and will be offered a full refund or
credit for deferred travel, the carrier said.

Tiger said its services to and from Singapore are not affected and
continue to normally.

"Tiger Airways continues to cooperate fully with the industry regulator
and safety underpins our operations at all times," the carrier insisted.

The airline apologised for the inconvenience caused to its passengers,
saying it was committed to resolving the issue, assisting CASA and to
resuming services as soon as possible.

More details in Monday's Travel Daily.

Friday 1 July 2011

World Bodypainting Festival 2011

Created in 1998, the World Body Painting Festival in Pörtschach am Wörthersee, Austria is held for 7 days with the first 4 days consisting of 30 workshops and the last 3 days being the actual festival which is open to the public. The artists do not just paint bodies but they create entire sceneries using the body that incorporates brush, sponge, airbrush and special UV effects.

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