Saturday, 29 August 2015

Australian Stories - 27 August 2015

New visitor experience at AIS
Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has launched a new website showcasing the experiences available at their Canberra campus including guided tours, concerts, health and fitness facilities and more.
CheeseFest extends to three days
Adelaide’s CheeseFest has extended to three days from the 23 – 25 October. The annual festival will showcase over 27 cheese makers from across the country and ten South Australian winemakers.
Hellyers Road Distillery makes top ten
Tasmania’s Hellyers Road Distillery’s Single Malt Pinot Noir Finish has been ranked in the Top Ten – Value for Money whiskies in the world by London-based liquor industry publication, The Spirits Business.
New walking tour in Southern Queensland
Take an inspiring walking tour with Sharman Apununga Parsons and gain some insights into Aboriginal philosophy and the land in which it resides.
New Italian bar and eatery for Sydney
The newly opened restaurant Beccafico is tucked away in a courtyard oasis off Danks Street in Waterloo and is currently serving brunch and dinner.
Sydney icon receives green certification
The Sydney Opera House has received a 4 green star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, making it one of the few World Heritage buildings that have achieved green certification globally.
Hot 50 Restaurants for 2015
The Australian Weekend Magazine has announced their Hot 50 Restaurants for 2015. Notable winners on the list included Attica, which was named Australia’s Hottest Restaurant and Hottest Restaurant in Victoria.
Program announced for SMH Good Food Month
The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Month, held 1 – 31 October, have launched this year’s program which features over 300 tastings, masterclasses, picnic adventures and more.

Adriatic Cruise - Barossa Valley - Fiji Cruise - European Walking Tour - Rocky Mountaineer - more

Cruise Express will include complimentary shore tours in its new 16-night ‘Highlights of the Adriatic’ cruise tour in May 2016, with onboard drinks also included if you book an ocean-view cabin or above.
The package is priced from $7990 per person twin-share ex Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth, and incorporates a 12-night voyage from Venice to Rome aboard Celebrity Constellation.
The cruise will include visits to the medieval Slovenian city of Koper, Ravenna in Italy, the Croatian seaside city of Zadar, Split on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast and the fjord-lined, old-world town of Kotor in Montenegro.
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Novotel Barossa Valley Resort … refurbished spa suites with king-size beds.
Phone 1300 764 509 or visit 
Novotel Barossa Valley Resort has unveiled 24 newly refurbished studio apartments and 10 spa suites in response to the demand for premium-quality accommodation in one of the world’s most famous wine regions.
The studio apartments feature new bathrooms with large walk-in rain showers, kitchens and laundry facilities complete with state-of the-art appliances, providing long-stay guests with the convenience and comforts of apartment-style living.
The spa suites feature king-size beds and come with complimentary water, newspapers, in-house movies, wifi internet access as well as a Nespresso coffee machine and a selection of Dilmah teas.
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Pullman Danang Beach Resort … great base for exploring nearby historic cities.

Central Vietnam’s Danang combines beachside relation with the chance to do some serious cultural and culinary exploration in the nearby historic cities of Hoi An and the ancient capital of Hue.
Recent upgrades to the international airport have increased access and allowed the likes of Singapore Airlines Holidays to package deals such as seven nights in the Pullman Danang Beach Resort from $1925 per person twin-share ex Australia.
The resort, right on Bac My An Beach, features newly renovated rooms with private balconies overlooking the beach, infinity pool or tropical gardens.
Phone 1300 728 998 or visit
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 Cruising the Yasawa Islands on Blue Lagoon’s Fiji Princess.

Couples cruising around Fiji’s Yasawa Islands on Blue Lagoon’s Fiji Princess can extend their holiday with several free on-shore accommodation offers.
When two adults sharing a cabin book a seven-night cruise, for instance, they receive two free nights at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa at Denarau.
A three-night cruise for two around the Mamanuca and southern Yasawa islands comes with two free nights at Novotel Nadi Hotel.
The offer is valid for cruises taken between November 1 this year and March 31 next.
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 Brufe … one of northern Portugal’s many charming villages.

Want to take a European walking tour but feel a bit navigationally challenged?
On Foot Holidays has added a service offering local guides for the first day or two of several itineraries in Portugal, England, France, Spain and Italy.
A seven-night inn-to-inn hike through the wild hill country of northern Portugal, for instance, is priced from about $1260 per person twin-share, including breakfasts, six picnics, one evening meal and transfer of luggage. Add the services of a first-day guide for about $245 regardless of group size.
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 MSC Mediterranean cruising … a good fit for European train travel.

Melbourne-based International Rail has diversified its product portfolio with the launch of International Cruise, a new cruise-booking division that will allow customers to better integrate travel arrangements.
For instance, a seven-night MSC Mediterranean cruise departing from Venice can be paired $1020 per person twin-share with a three-day-in-one-month Eurail Italy Rail Pass.
Products range from traditional ocean cruises to small-ship adventures to European river cruising.
Phone 1800 793 431 or visit
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The Rocky Mountaineer … a legendary Canadian experience.

Book by December 1 for one of’s 15-night Canadian Rockies and Alaskan Adventures packages and you’ll get a free upgrade from inside cabin to ocean-view cabin on the seven-night Alaskan cruise component aboard Holland America Lines’ Nieuw Amsterdam.
The price of from $8499 per person twin-share also includes an eight-day land component that takes in a Lake Louise tour featuring a helicopter ride, Banff tour with gondola ride, a glacier experience and a two-day journey on the legendary Rocky Mountaineer train.
Phone 1300 369 848 or visit
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The ancient city of Bukhara.

Beyond Travel’s new 17-day ‘Central Asian Odyssey’ focuses on the legendary Silk Road cities of Khiva, Samarkand and Bukhara.
The journey begins in the capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty, and is priced from $6995 per person twin-share, including daily breakfast and a large selection of other meals.
Highlights include exploring Tashkent before joining a high-speed train to the ancient city of Samarkand, an important part of the ancient traders’ route.
A four-day Turkmenistan extension, featuring the Darvaza ‘Gates of Hell’ and Ashgabat is available after the main tour.
Phone 1300 363 554 or visit
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An African highlight … Tinga Lodge in the Kruger National Park.

Get a companion-flies-free deal on APT’s 27-day ‘African Journey with East Africa’ package, which includes 10 days exploring South Africa, two days in Botswana, spotting game on the banks of the Chobe river, three days in Zambia, eight days in Tanzania and four days in Kenya.
Pay from $21,995 per person twin-share.
Includes a two-night visit to Victoria Falls, staying at the Royal Livingstone Hotel on the edge of the falls.
Book for December 30 for departures next year.
Phone 1300 196 420 or visit
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InterContinental Sydney Double Bay … family breakfast in Stockroom restaurant.

Take the family for a bayside getaway at the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay.
Pay from $350 per night, including buffet breakfast in Stockroom restaurant and valet car parking.
Bondi Beach is a 10-minute drive away and the city a short ferry ride from the wharf 200 metres from the hotel.
Valid for stays until 11 October.
Phone 02 8388 8388 or visit
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Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens … great views of the Melbourne skyline.

Save 25 per cent on a stay at Melbourne’s Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens.
Pay from $149 per room per night.
Melbourne’s oldest park is on your doorstep and the rooftop gymnasium offers great views of the city skyline.
Book and stay by 30 September.
Phone 1800 687 236 or visit
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Peppers Parehua … set among some of New Zealand’s best vineyards.

Get special midweek rates at Peppers Parehua, set among the rolling green hills of New Zealand’s Martinborough region.
Pay from $139 per night for a Winemakers Cottage or from $189 per night for a Garden Cottage.
Located an hour from Wellington among some of New Zealand’s best vineyards.
Valid Sunday to Thursday nights until 30 October.
Phone 1300 987 600 or visit

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Australian Quick Bites - 20 August 2015

We Will Rock You returns to Australia in 2016
We Will Rock You, will return to Australia for a national tour in 2016. The futurist comedy by Ben Elton features more than 24 of Queen’s biggest hit songs. Join the waitlist for priority bookings.
New hotel in Canberra opening soon
Little National is opening on 1 September in Canberra’s historic suburb of Barton. Featuring 120 rooms, the hotel is targeting business travellers who stay in Canberra for a few days at a time.
Rockpool Sydney wins restaurant of the year
Rockpool Sydney has won restaurant of the year at the Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards. Other winners on the night included Chef of the year Dan Hunter from Brae and new restaurant of the year Bennelong. For a full list of winners visit here.
New suites for Rydges Tradewinds Cairns
Rydges Tradewinds Cairns’ seafront resort has transformed its top floor to provide six spacious new suites. Each suite features a king bed, two king singles, generous bathroom and living space as well as a large furnished balcony.
MCG Open Day
The MCG Open Day will be held on 4 October, the day after the 2015 AFL Grand Final. This free event allows visitors rare access to the turf, player change rooms and the MCC Library. Register your interest here.
Hemingway’s Brewery to open in Port Douglas
Providing a fitting end to a day on the Great Barrier Reef, Hemingway’s Brewery, a new waterfront microbrewery, bar and restaurant will open in May 2016. The microbrewery is part of The Reef Marina’s multimillion-dollar expansion.
Boomerang Festival joins Bluesfest
Bluesfest 2016 welcomes back the cultural and Indigenous event, The Boomerang Festival. The interactive festival will include a diverse program of dance, language, story, talks & ideas, carving, weaving and traditional healing programs.
Open House unlocks the city of Gold Coast
On the 17 October, the City of Gold Coast Open House will unlock the doors of around 20 quirky and significant buildings that are not typically available for public access.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Australian Travel Briefs - 13 August 2015

AJ Hackett attempts Guinness World Record
On Saturday 29 August from 8am to 12am, AJ Hackett Cairns will attempt to break their own Guinness World Record of most people bungy jumping in 24 hours in celebration of 25 years of operation. The Rainforest Bungy and Swing site at Smithfield will be transformed into a family friendly festival with live local bands, food stalls and more.

Tickets on sale for wine event in Perth
Australia’s First Families of Wine are heading to Perth on the 27 – 28 August for the unique wine tasting event UNLOCKED and UNLEASHED. Taste wine by 12 of Australia’s wine icons such as d’Arenberg, De Bortoli Wines and Tahbilk at UNLOCKED or attend UNLEASHED and learn more about the next generation of wine makers.
New Tasmania golf course opens in October
Located on Tasmania’s King Island, Cape Wickham Links Golf Course will open on 30 October 2015. This unique course features 18 holes with eight of them located on the coastline, offering spectacular views of Bass Strait.

New boutique hotel in Perth
Featuring 74 rooms, Alex Hotel is centrally located between the city centre of Perth and Northbridge. The boutique hotel features a roof top garden terrace with spectacular views of Perth’s city skyline.
Wine Island on Sydney Harbour this November
From 13 – 15 November, three day festival Wine Island takes over Clark Island on Sydney Harbour. The festival features cellar door experiences, gourmet food huts, a VIP Island Bar and complimentary master classes hosted by Wine Australia. Tickets on sale from 1 September.

New exhibition at National Museum of Australia
The Kaninjaku: Stories from the Canning Stock Route exhibition is now on at the National Museum of Australia. The exhibition explores the history of the West Australian droving road, Canning Stock Route, the route’s impact on Aboriginal people and the importance of the Country surrounding it.

National Science Week this month
The Australian National Maritime Museum invites you to celebrate National Science Week from 18 – 23 August with a week of activities exploring the science of underwater survival for humans and ocean life.