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Friday, August 10, 2018

Elephant torture: ‘We didn’t know’ claims Intrepid co-founder


Intrepid co-founder admits ‘we didn’t know’, trade asked to take elephant pledge

Unsuspecting tourists riding trained elephants at Ban Ta Klang Elephant Village, Thailand. (R Eime)

Intrepid Group co-founder Geoff Manchester has admitted to not knowing the dark side of elephant riding, and said that there is no excuse any longer, in a mini-documentary released for World Elephant Day.

Travel agents have been asked to pledge their support to end elephant riding and with each pledge the Intrepid Group to donate $1 to The Intrepid Foundation to support the cause, with one agent to win an Intrepid trip to Thailand to visit rehabilitated elephants.

In the documentary released today, the adventure travel company has shown graphic footage of the torture of young elephants for rides, in a plea to travellers to stop the tourist attractions for good.

“I was the first ever Intrepid leader, so I guess I was the first Intrepid leader to take travellers on elephant rides,” Manchester said.

Intrepid Group was the first travel company to ban elephant rides in 2014 following research collaboration with World Animal Protection and many in the travel industry followed suit. The confronting documentary highlights the practice of beating and starvation to make the elephants submissive for human rides.

“When we rescue elephants some of them have worked for humans for six or seven decades… More than 80% arrive with a huge mental problem. Some of them stand still like a zombie, some of them are very aggressive and angry,” Elephant Nature Park Chiang Mai founder Lek Chailert said.

“I don’t blame people because they don’t know,” Chailert added.

This is the message Intrepid is urging on World Elephant Day – you didn’t know. We didn’t know. But know that we do, we need to spread the message, with research showing that not all Australians know that elephant riding involves cruelty.

The latest research from World Animal Protection commissioned this year shows that 28% of Australians have taken an elephant ride. 40% of women think elephant rides are unacceptable, while 27% of men think the same.

Consumer sentiment and awareness is not at the level it should be, Manchester said, and on World Elephant Day Intrepid pleads with travellers to cease elephant riding for good.

“It’s just the start of something that will hopefully eventuate in elephant riding ceasing all together and that might be in 10 years or it might be in 20 years but eventually it will happen,” Manchester added.

For more:

Melbourne's new four-star winery Marnong Estate

Marnong Estate, a new four-star estate located on the fringe of Melbourne’s northern suburbs, has released discounted opening rates for the luxury homestead accommodation starting from only $295.00 per night.

Complete with a winery, restaurant and an event space to host 250 guests overlooking the Macedon Ranges, the Homestead Accommodation is only $295.00 per night including continental breakfast (Sunday – Thursday) and $395.00 per night including breakfast (Friday – Saturday) available from August 1, 2018 till 31 December 2018

* bookings are subject to availability

Located only 15 minutes from Tullamarine Airport, guests can be one of the first to stay and experience Melbourne’s newest four-star estate with this incredible offer.

The historic homestead was originally the family home of William Angliss built in 1860’s and has been restored into 4.5-star accommodation, offering guests country hospitality, coupled with contemporary and luxurious style.

Guests can choose to stay overnight in one of four twin share suites including; Garden View Suite, Victorian Suite, Blue Stone Suite and the Terrace Suite all offering the comfort and luxury of Queen Beds and full ensuite with amenities.

Marnong Estate is set to be a world-class tourism facility like no other in regional Australia. Over time the Estate will offer Day Spa, brewery and farmers market.

Situated on 1,100 acres, Marnong Estate will offer size and scope that is not found in any other hospitality and leisure destinations in regional Victoria making it Melbourne’s one-stop resort destination for local, interstate and international visitors.

Sitting high on the hills Marnong Estate offers stunning views overlooking the valley between Deep Creek through to Emu Creek and the surrounding Macedon ranges – it is the perfect location for a relaxing getaway providing visitors with an unforgettable experience at Melbourne’s newest luxurious resort.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Celebrating 25 Years of The World’s Most Exciting Day Trip

The one and only, Antarctica Flights, is celebrating 25 years of fulfilling the dreams of over 40,000 guests since their first charter in 1994. With each new season comes new sights to behold, join the privileged few to witness the desolate beauty of this untamed landscape.

The 25th season of Antarctica Flights will commence on 18 November 2018 departing from Sydney, and for the first time ever, an Antarctica Flight will be available from Hobart on 25 November 2018. The ever-popular New Year's Eve Antarctica Flight ex Melbourne will be making a return, perfectly positioning passengers over the icy continent right in time to ring in the New Year while witnessing glaciers, icebergs and lunar landscapes, as the sound of a four-piece jazz band plays live in the cabin.

This unique experience is the only way to visit Antarctica from Australia and the only 'flightseeing' tour in the world to explore the region. With Antarctica Flights, reach the continent in just four hours aboard a privately chartered Qantas 747—and be back to sleep in your own bed that same night.

No two flights are the same, with up to 19 weather dependent routes, there's no wonder this is every pilot's favourite flight to command. With up to 4 hours viewing time over the ice paired with Qantas' full international flight service, commentary from the cockpit and Antarctica experts hosting the flight, it's certainly a special treat for adventurers young and young at heart. Take in the sights as the plane descends to as low as 10,000 ft and swoops in figure 8 patterns to maximize viewing opportunities of research bases, mountainous peaks and colossal icebergs below.

"The length of time sailing rough seas and cost of a cruise to Antarctica means the closest most people will ever come to seeing the world's last great wilderness is via their TV screen. Our one-day sightseeing flights enable more people to fulfil a lifelong dream of seeing Antarctica," explained Phil Asker, Founder of Antarctica Flights.

Enjoy unparalleled bird's eye views stretching far beyond the horizon, while on-board Antarctic experts inspire guests with intrepid expedition stories and in flight documentaries about the region to complete a truly immersive experience. Normal travel rules go out the window, everyone is encouraged to rotate around the cabin to enjoy a different viewing perspective. The atmosphere on board is charged with adventure.

How often do you get the chance to tick an entire continent off your wish list – in a day? With a range of seat classes available to suit all budgets, an Antarctica experience would make the ideal special occasion gift—or treat for yourself.

To find out more and to book please visit or call 1800 633 449.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Party with 10 friends in a free private room on Sydney Harbour

Book a table for ten aboard a Captain Cook dinner cruise and save up to 40% and receive a free upgrade to a private room onboard flagship vessel MV Sydney 2000.  Prices start from as low as $65 per person and this incredible deal is valid for sale until 31 August and travel until 30 September 2018.

The MV Sydney 2000 has three dining decks, a 360-degree open top deck and two private function rooms, The Sirius Room and Endeavour Lounge. Both rooms feature private dining and balcony creating the perfect setting for a celebration or simply a great night out with friends.

This special offer is available on the Sunset Dinner, Starlight Dinner, Brilliant Dinner & Drinks and the Gold Penfolds Dinner cruises.

Departing at 5.00pm, the Sunset Dinner cruise provides the best seasonal views – witness winter city lights or spring twilight, while enjoying a delicious two course a la carte contemporary Australian menu, including a selection of sparkling and still wines, beer and coffee.

The Sunset Dinner Cruise is priced at only $65 per person, normally $99 per person, when booking for 10 or more people, including a free upgrade to a private room. The cruise departs King Street Wharf 1 at 5.00pm, returning at 6.30pm.

Enjoy a three-course Contemporary Australian menu, accompanied by the spectacular vista of Sydney by night on the Starlight Dinner and Brilliant Dinner and Drinks cruises.

The Starlight Dinner cruise is priced at only $75 per person, normally $125 per person, when booking for 10 or more people, including a free private room.

The Brilliant Dinner and Drinks cruise also includes a selection of house sparkling and still wines, beer and coffee and is priced at $99 per person, normally $154 per person when booking for 10 or more people, including an upgrade to a private room.

The five-star Gold Penfolds Dinner cruise is the ultimate six course dining experience. The Gold Dinner includes priority boarding, a welcome Captain's cocktail reception when boarding at Circular Quay, exclusive sky deck seating, sophisticated lounge entertainment and a deluxe six-course degustation menu with specially selected Penfolds wines served to complement each course plus an open bar of house spirits, beer and soft drinks.

The Gold Penfolds Dinner cruise is priced at only $195 per person, normally $259 per person, when booking for 10 or more people, including a free private room.

Dinner cruises depart Wharf 6, Circular Quay at 7.00pm returning 10.30pm Friday to Saturday and 9.30pm Sunday to Thursday. Dinner cruises also depart No.1 King Street Wharf at 7.30pm, returning 11pm Friday to Saturday and 10pm Sunday – Thursday.

For further information visit:

Monday, July 30, 2018

Eichardt's Private Hotel new luxury cruiser Pacific Jemm

Those looking for the best in luxury land and lake will now be spoilt for choice as Eichardt’s Private Hotel announces its acquisition of the region’s first premium nautical offering, the Pacific Jemm.

The 24-metre Falcon 80 S is a welcome addition to the Eichardt’s Private Hotel offering (including the country’s most exclusive accommodation The Penthouse), and will command upwards of NZD$12,500 for stays that allow adventurous travellers to see a truly unique side to Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu.

In true Eichardt’s style, the Pacific Jemm oozes old-world charm with smart teak finishes and plush in-built furnishings.

Complete with all the modern amenity one expects of the hotel experience, the lavish vessel includes four luxury suites and has at its beck and call two crew alongside Eichardt’s’ famous chef who will prepare custom menus with an emphasis on locally-sourced fare.

The acquisition is a coup for the Imperium Collection, owned by Christchurch-born businessman Andrew Cox, which has a strong-hold on the luxury boutique market of Queenstown with its two hotels, lakeside apartments, private residence and restaurants The Grille, No5 Church Lane and the revered Eichardt’s Bar.

“We are thrilled to be able to extend our luxury experiences in Queenstown onto the water. The Pacific Jemm is currently undergoing a significant upgrade to bring it to the standard that our guests expect, and will offer signature experiences akin to the standard set by The Penthouse,” says Cox.

Three expansive terraces provide the perfect vantage point to explore hidden coves, mountain vistas or insta-worthy backdrops looking back to the famous Queenstown bay.

Options for cruising include scenic daytrips to Glenorchy and a helicopter over to the West Coast for crayfish before anchoring up to cook the catch. For the truly adventurous, guests can super-charge the experience with their pick of an Aston Martin, Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, Audi R8 or Porsche 911 to race to Glenorchy before again being helicoptered over the Southern Alps, gathering West Coast delicacies and devouring the freshest Kiwi seafood aboard a cruise back to Queenstown.

Custom fireworks displays over gourmet dinners that light up The Remarkables, Cecil Peak and Walter Peak mountain ranges will set the scene for intimate wedding or milestone celebrations.

“As a luxury brand we are constantly looking for new ways to deliver incredible experiences and memories for our guests.

“The Pacific Jemm will continue this tradition, ushering in a new way of luxury travel for guests seeking to discover what makes New Zealand truly world-class,” says Cox.

With overnight stays starting from $12,500 per night for up to ten people, a stay on the Pacific Jemm is designed for ultra-high net worth individuals and families looking for a different perspective. Alternatively, day trips and private functions can accommodate up to 45 guests and will be custom built for each experience.

For further information visit

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Guests flock to Wilpena Pound while birds flock to Lake Eyre in flood.

A rare seasonal phenomenon is predicted for the South Australian outback in the coming months with Lake Eyre (officially known as Kati Thanda) set to flow with the waters from heavy monsoonal rainfall in Queensland and the Northern Territory, bringing with it flocks of unique birdlife.

Travellers can tick Lake Eyre off their list while the water levels continue to rise and enjoy a 2-night accommodation and scenic flight package with Air Wilpena from $1,165* per person per night in the stunning Ikara Safari Camp ‘glamping’ tents; or from $1,095* per person per night in a Resort Room. The package includes full buffet breakfast daily and a 4-hour scenic flight over spectacular Lake Eyre with Air Wilpena which departs from Wilpena Pound Resort’s dedicated airstrip.

Current estimates predict the lake is due for a bumper flow in 2018, providing a ‘bird’s eye’ view of an iconic Australian outback landscape from the scenic flights. When flooded, Lake Eyre supports major breeding events of the Banded stilt and Australian pelican, as well as over 1% of the world populations of Red-necked avocets, Sharp-tailed sandpipers, Red-necked stints, Silver gulls and Caspian terns.

Birds are drawn to a filled lake from southern coastal regions of Australia, and from as far afield as Papua New Guinea. During the 1989–1990 flood it was estimated that 200,000 pelicans, 80% of Australia's total population, came to feed and roost at Lake Eyre.

Wilpena Pound Resort is a haven of warm outback hospitality in the Ikara - Flinders Ranges National Park, 430km north of Adelaide. The resort blends beautifully into the landscape and provides a comfortable accommodation base from which to explore the Flinders Ranges. 

Book by 31 July 2018, valid for stays until 31 March 2019*. For bookings and further information visit, or phone 1800 805 802, or email

For information on scenic flights over Lake Eyre with Air Wilpena visit


It contains the lowest natural point in Australia, at approximately 15m (49 ft) below sea level (AHD), and, on the rare occasions that it fills, is the largest lake in Australia covering 9,500 km2

It has its own yacht club! Regattas for the Lake Eyre Yacht Club are few and far between however – the most recent being 2010

When the lake is full, a notable phenomenon is that the flat surface then reflects the sky in a way that leaves both the horizon and water surface virtually impossible to see. The commodore of the Lake Eyre Yacht Club has stated that sailing during this time has the appearance of sailing in the sky.

It turns pink: As the lake dries up and the water evaporates, its salinity increases and it often appears to turn 'pink'. This is caused by a pigment found within an algae species that lives in the lake.

The lake was named in honour of Edward John Eyre, who was the first European to see it, in 1840. The lake's official name was changed in December 2012 to combine the name "Lake Eyre" with the indigenous name, Kati Thanda. The native title over the lake and surrounding region is held by the Arabana people.

*Conditions apply. Valid for stays until 31/03/2019. A 2-night minimum stay applies. Consecutive night stays only. Block out dates may apply. Rates subject to change

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Taste Norfolk Island Food Festival 2018

The Taste Norfolk Island Food Festival is back from 26 – 30 November 2018 and once again will be showcasing magnificent locally grown, fresh, organic produce presented by a talented line-up of Chefs.

Norfolk Island is a food lover's destination boasting 20 plus eating out places presenting the freshest of fish, succulent beef and pork, a selection of in-season fruit and vegetables picked daily and boutique products including artisan cheese and honey, and many more paddock to plate experiences.

Thanksgiving Day activities are also being held over from the week prior's official day so it can be celebrated during this popular annual Festival. Norfolk Island remains one of the few places outside the US to mark this special day, which dates back to when American whalers were living on the island.

Oxley Travel has announced a 7-night Taste Norfolk Island package priced from:

$2079 per person twin share ex-Sydney (23 – 30 Nov, 25 Nov – 2 Dec or 26 Nov – 3 Dec)
$2039 per person twin share ex-Brisbane (24 Nov – 1 Dec)

Package inclusions are:
  • Return flights with Air New Zealand
  • Return island airport transfers
  • 7 nights' accommodation at Poinciana Cottages
  • 7 days' car hire including insurance
  • Half day island tour
  • Refreshments at Norfolk Island Airport on departure
  • Mon 26 Nov – Welcome Cocktail Party: 4.30pm – 7.30pm
  • Tue 27 Nov– Taste Norfolk's Bounty Festival Night: 5.30pm – 11.30pm
  • Wed 28 Nov – Thanksgiving Day Luncheon: 12.30pm
  • Thu 29 Nov – Celebration Dinner: 5.30pm
  • Taste Norfolk Island Gift Pack
2 x complimentary Festival options (Slick & Sons Sausage Making, The Forager Sour Dough Workshop, Culinary Journey, Blue Kingfisher, The Barn or Death By Chocolate
(Additional options can be purchased at $95 per person per tour)

For bookings, contact Oxley Travel on Toll Free 1800 671 546 or  or

Norfolk Island is long-regarded as a wonderful place to holiday with family and friends or escape with a loved one. In addition to fabulous culinary experiences, countless activities include swimming, fishing, snorkelling, kayaking, surfing, cycling and bushwalking. There are glass bottom boat tours and ocean trips to Phillip Island, and attractions including Fletcher's Mutiny Cyclorama. A further attraction of historical significance is the World Heritage listed Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area, the oldest of the eleven Australian penal colonies.

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