Saturday, 25 October 2014

Australian Quick Bites - Travel Stories

Hotel Windsor voted as Australasia’s Leading Hotel
Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor has been named as Australasia’s Leading Hotel at the 21st annual World Travel Awards in Delhi, India. The hotel, which is known for its grand Victorian architecture, will also undergo a substantial AUD$330 million redevelopment to be completed in 2018.
Kambarang – South West Aboriginal Gourmet Experience
Renowned Chef Mark Olive and Josh Whiteland from Koomal Dreaming will be teaming up to present a feast of bush flavours to Kambarang, a South West Aboriginal Gourmet Experience. The event will be held on 21 November at Margaret River’s South West Institute of Technology.
AAT Kings new tour
AAT Kings has announced new tours for 2014 and 2015 including the Mornington Peninsula tour. The tour operates three times a week visiting Seawinds and the Enchanted Adventure Gardens, Flinders township and also includes a private foodie tour of Green Olive at Red Hill.
Avenue Hotel to open in Canberra
Capital Hotel Group has announced a new addition to the Canberra hotel market. The five star Avenue Hotel is a 213 room property located on Northbourne Avenue with guests due to check in from 3 November. The hotel’s signature restaurant will be Marble and Grain, a European steakhouse.
Adelaide Festival unveils program
The program for Adelaide Festival 2015 has just been released. On the bill are 22 premieres and 26 exclusive events with theatre, music, dance, visual arts and a writer’s week. The stellar music line-up is headed up by Scottish rock band, Mogwai.
New tours for Hydeaway Bay
Hydeaway Bay is one of the Whitsundays’ best kept secret and now visitors can jump on a new bus tour with Airlie Limos to explore this hidden gem. Hydeaway Bay is situated 45min from Airlie Beach and is famous for its secluded beaches, lush green hills, and its magnificent views.
Spicers Hidden Vale reveals Homage Restaurant
Spicers Retreats announced the launch of Homage Restaurant at Spicers Hidden Vale. Headed up by one of Australia's best Regional Chefs, Ash Martin, Ash and his teams expertly craft dishes that pay homage to the land, the produce and local farmers.
Pizzaperta to open at The Star Sydney
Following the success of Osteria Balla at The Star, Stefano Manfredi and restaurateur, Julie Manfredi Hughes are adding to the world class cuisine at The Star Sydney with the opening of their Italianate pizzeria and bar, Pizzaperta on 20 November.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Africa Cruise - Germany tour - Extreme bike tours - Palaces of Rome - Sail Amsterdam - Melbourne Staycation

Aurora Expeditions’ 2015-2016 Expedition Guide features for the first time journeys across all seven continents.
It contains, for instance, a new 15-day ‘African Cruise Safari’ to some of the most concentrated wildlife regions of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Highlights include a four-day cruise on the Chobe River on board Zambezi Queen, with game viewing from special excursion crafts, as well as nights in traditional safari lodges and game drives through Chobe and Hwange National Parks.
Prices start at $7990 per person twin-share.
Phone 02 9252 1033 or visit


Lose yourself on Germany’s Romantic Road with Back-Roads Touring’s 11-day journey from Frankfurt to Vienna.
The itinerary includes the idyllic, terraced vineyards of the Wachau valley, tours through some of Europe’s most beautiful castles, and the architectural dream of Rothenberg, with its twisting cobbled streets lined with half-timbered houses.
You will also discover sweeping views of the Wipptal Valley at Munich and be enchanted by Mondsee, one of the prettiest towns in Austria.
Prices start at $4745.25 per person twin-share, including a 5 per cent earlybird saving if booked by December 14 for departures April-October next year.
Phone 1300 100 410 or visit


Get two free nights at India’s Taj Lake Palace and free return flights from Delhi to Udaipur when you book with Extreme Bike Tours on four Himalayan motorcycle tours that will take licensed riders and pillion passengers along some of the world’s highest roads.
The offer is available until December 1 on 15-day ‘Mighty Himalayas’ tours departing Delhi on June 20, July 7 and 24 and August 10 next year.
A stay in the lavish Taj Lake Palace will provide riders and pillions a luxurious ending to an adventure which will see them spend nights amongst the world’s loftiest peaks in tents, rustic guesthouses and hotels along the road.
The 1300-kilometre journey will be undertaken on classic Enfield Bullet 500 motorbikes and is priced from US$4750 per rider or US$3950 for pillion passengers sitting behind crew or in the support vehicle.


Luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent is confident enough in the Egyptian situation to resume tours to the country.
To kick off its return, A&K has launched an eight-day ‘Glimpse of Egypt’ journey, with attractions including highlights of Cairo and a four-night Nile cruise aboard Sanctuary Sun Boat IV, taking in the ancient temples, tombs and riverside life between Luxor and Aswan.
Travel before December 31 and pay $3830 per person twin-share, saving $1660 per couple.
Phone 1300 590 317 or visit


Latest luxury accommodation offering in the Blue Mountains is the totally refurbished and historic Parklands Country Gardens & Lodge at Blackheath.
Set on a 28-acre heritage property adjoining the Greater Blue Mountains World, Parklands is reminiscent of a grand European estate and sits on 28 acres of manicured grounds overlooking lush gardens lined with old pines, cypresses and Japanese maples planted more than 100 years ago.
Opening rates start from $269 per room midweek and $399 on weekends. Book two nights or more and get a 20 per cent discount.
Phone 02 4787 7211 or visit


Peter Sommer Travels’ 2015 program including its first dedicated adventure amid the ruins and palaces of Rome.
Archaeologists Paul Beston and Dr Michael Metcalfe will lead the eight-day encounter with the Eternal City, taking travellers on a journey from Rome’s humble beginnings as a small settlement on the River Tiber through its rise to an imperial power controlling the entire Mediterranean.
Highlights include the Roman Forum, the port of Ostia and Hadrian’s Palace at Tivoli.
Prices start at approximately $5330 per person twin-share.


Cruise Express is offering the chance next August to join the world’s largest nautical event, the once-every-five-years Sail Amsterdam, on board one of the world’s biggest sailing ships, the 162-metre Wind Surf.
Its 16-night package is priced from $7999 per person twin-share, including return flights from Australia to Oslo, three nights accommodation in the Norwegian capital, an eight-night voyage aboard the 310-passenger Wind Surf from Oslo to Dover, and three nights in London.
Ports of call include Kristiansand in southern Norway, Amsterdam, and the Belgian ports of Vlissingen and Zeebrugge.
Phone 1300 764 509 or visit


Wendy Wu Tours has expanded its product range in Indochina to include a fully inclusive tour that focuses on Laos and Cambodia.
The 16-day ‘Laos & Cambodia Unveiled’ itinerary next year will encompass in-depth aspects in areas not found in a traditional mainstream group tours to this region.
It is priced from $5160 per person twin-share, including return airfares, with highlights such as the vibrant Laotian capital of Vientiane, Vang Vieng, UNESCO world-heritage-listed Luang Prabang, Siem Reap and the famous temples of Angkor, Battambang, Kampong Chnang, Udong and Phnom Penh.
Phone 1300 727 998 or visit

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi

Fly to Europe and take a break in Abu Dhabi with Creative Holidays and Virgin Australia.
Pay, for instance, from $1895 per person twin-share ex Sydney or Perth, including return flights to Europe and three nights at Abu Dhabi’s Centro Yas Island Rotana.
Includes breakfast daily and a city tour.
Book by October 31 for travel February 1 to March 25.
Phone 1300 301 711 or visit


Get an early taste of the warmer weather with a ‘Spring into Summer’ deal at Melbourne’s Adina Apartment Hotel South Yarra.
Pay from $145 per night for a one-bedroom apartment.
Includes a complimentary bottle of wine, free parking and late check-out.
Book and stay before November 30.
Phone 13 8642 or visit


Celebrate a special anniversary or enjoy a second honeymoon at the 4.5-star Seahaven Noosa, one of the Sunshine Coast’s premier beachfront resorts.
Pay from $1599 for three nights in a one-bedroom rooftop penthouse, including a hamper with wine, cheese and chocolates, and noon checkout.
Features direct beach access to Laguna Bay.
Phone 07 5447 3422 or visit


Celebrate Sofitel’s 50th anniversary worldwide with a champagne-and-oysters package at Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach.
Pay from $650 per couple per night, including accommodation in a Luxury Ocean Spa room, valet parking, breakfast and a champagne-and-oysters dinner in Sofitel’s restaurant, Room 81.
Features lobby exhibition of Iconic Paris, evocative images of Paris by Jon Rendell.
On sale until October 31 for stays until November 9.
Phone 1800 074 465 or visit

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Australian Quick Bites - Pei Modern - Craft Beer Week - Food Safari - New Look Watermark - Bluesfest

Pei Modern opens in Sydney
Pei Modern is now open at Four Seasons Hotel Sydney. Pei Modern is headed up by Matt Germanchis, who has worked alongside Mark Best at Pei Modern in Melbourne and is joined by restaurant manager Tara Sullivan as well as award-winning sommelier Annette Lacey.
Sydney Craft Beer Week
Sydney Craft Beer Week begins this Friday, 17 October. The event runs for nine days and features over 100 events including various beer experiences such as beergustations, beer high teas and the chance to sample beers from all over Australia and the world.
Sacred Earth Safaris new tour
Sacred Earth Safaris have introduced an exciting new adventure through the remote South Australian outback. The 10 day Legendary Outback Tracks 4WD Safari is for those who wish to combine cultural Indigenous and European history with landscapes and native wildlife.
Food Safari hits Perth's streets
Leederville Food Safari is a food adventure that takes guests on a three hour culinary journey. The tour begins at Ria Malay Kitchen for entrées and drinks, a rickshaw then escorts guests to Kitsch Bar Asia for the main event, and finally to Foam Coffee Bar for sweet delights.
New look Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast
This summer, the Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast will transform with the addition of a multimillion dollar, architecturally inspired precinct. The hotel is set to make an impact on the Gold Coast with its design innovation and dining experience.
2014 Tissot Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix
The 2014 Tissot Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix starts this weekend on 17–19 October at Phillip Island, Victoria. Jack Miller and Dani Pedrosa took their motorcycles for a spin along the banks of Melbourne’s iconic Yarra River yesterday. Watch the video here.
Second Bluesfest announcement
Bluesfest has just released its second lineup announcement that includes Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals, Paolo Nutini, David Gray, Ben Howard, Counting Crows, Jimmy Cliff and Sheppard joining the bill. The festival will be held at Byron Bay from 2-6 April 2015.
Mystery Box Rally
Starting on 22 August 2015 in Townsville and 28 November 2015 in Sydney, Mystery Box Rally is for those that crave adventure as you take to the roads with your route shrouded in mystery. 75 cars take part in each rally over 5 days. The only obligation is raising much-needed funds for cancer research.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Danube Cruise - 4WD Safari - Turkey - Mantra Brisbane - Ambassador Hotel Waikiki - Frankfurt

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Nature lovers can now bring their tents and swags to a new camping ground next to the platypus-viewing area at Broken River in Eungella National Park, 80 kilometres west of Mackay.
The new grounds include 10 bush camping sites suitable for family-sized groups and two campsites to accommodate larger groups and vehicles.
Rates are $5.75 per person per night or $23 per family group per night. Bookings are essential.

Take an eight-day Travelmarvel ‘Delightful Danube’ river cruise sailing between Budapest and Vilshofen on April 20 or 27 and you’ll pay $1995 per person twin-share if you book by November 30, saving $1500 per person.
Cruise highlights include a private ‘Oktoberfest’ with the locals in Vilshofen; the chance to explore Vienna; a guided tour of Melk Abbey; and a traditional Slovak folklore demonstration in Bratislava.
Phone 1300 196 420 or visit

Sacred Earth Safaris if offering a small-group 4WD safari through the South Australian outback.
Its 10-day Legendary Outback Tracks combines cultural Indigenous and European history with stunning landscapes and native wildlife in iconic locations such as Cooper Pedy, Lake Eyre, Innamincka and the Flinders Ranges.

Brisbane’s new Mantra on Edward is a fully serviced apartment hotel that boasts some of the city’s largest rooms, due to its original design as the residential Observatory Tower.
Rates start from $189 per night for a one-bedroom apartment.
Facilities include balconies with city views, a large lap pool that overlooks the streetscape below, a fully equipped gymnasium, spa and sauna.
Turkey; Istanbul; Topkapi Palace

Abercrombie & Kent has launched a new, hosted small-group journey in November next year to Turkey, led by Kenneth Park, an accomplished curator, lecturer and arts consultant.
Major highlights include the important attractions of western and central Turkey, from Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace to the rock-cut churches of Cappadocia and the extraordinary exhibits of Ankara’s Museum of Anatolian Civilisations.
Prices start at $9695 per person twin-share.
Phone 1300 590 317 or visit

Stay at the Ambassador Hotel Waikiki, in Honolulu, before December 3 and pay from $130 per room per night, a saving of up to 35 per cent.
It’s just a short stroll from one of the world’s most famous beaches, and features include an outdoor swimming pool, full kitchenette, flat-screen TV and free wifi.
Phone 1800 687 236 or visit

Worldwide Cruise Centres 54-day ‘Tahitian Palms and Hawaiian Charms’ next April combines three ocean voyages so that guests can travel to and from Sydney without any flights.
The itinerary begins with a Radiance of the Seas cruise to Hawaii, followed by a Pride of America cruise around Hawaii and a Legend of the Seas cruise back to Australia.
Prices start at $7699 (valid till end of November), including 10 nights in Honolulu.

Walking Tasmania’s iconic Wineglass Bay is one thing, but retiring at night to the exclusive 23-metre luxury yacht Lady Eugenie makes it quite a different journey.
The Tasmania Walking Co is offering a new Wineglass Bay Sail Walk over four or six days, with luxuriously sleeping and eating on board while exploring the bay, Maria Island and Tasman Island.
Prices start at $2990 per person twin-share.

Save up to 15 per cent with Auto Europe car and motorhome rentals in the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Switzerland next year.
Other earlybird enticements include free ferry crossings from Dover and Calais return, free European insurance cover, and free GPS.
Book by February 28 for vehicle collection between April 1 next year and March 31 2016.
Phone 1300 656 601 or visit

Get package deal through Direct Flights to historic Frankfurt, Germany’s financial centre.
Pay from $2250 per person twin-share ($2233 ex Melbourne, $2239 ex Adelaide, $2232 ex Perth, $2251 ex Brisbane, $2244 ex Darwin), including flights with Singapore Airlines and five nights in the three-star Holiday Inn Express.
Includes a daylong castle tour which takes in spectacular Heidelberg Castle.
Book by November 17 for travel June 8 to September 30 next year.
Phone 1300 234 909 or visit

Save up to 25 per cent with an earlybird booking for an apartment in Japan’s Niseko skifields.
Pay, for instance, from $688 per person quad-share at Yotei Cottage (one bedroom plus loft), including six-day, all-mountain lift passes, return airport transfers and airport meet-and-greet.
Get free equipment rental for kids aged 2-14 when each parent rents skis or snowboard.
Book by October 30 for travel December 1-12 and March 1 to April 24.
Phone 1300 137 411 or visit

Save nearly $6000 per person with and experience Quantum of the Seas, the latest addition to the Royal Caribbean fleet.
Pay from $9599 per person twin-share, instead of $15,459 for a 30-night cruise from Barcelona to Singapore.
Onboard attractions include the North Star, a jewel-shaped capsule which ascends more than 300 feet above sea level and offers 360-degree views of the ocean.
Book by December 2 for a May 10 sailing.
Phone 1300 369 848 or visit