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Monday, November 12, 2018

Schoolies beware: risky behaviour can void travel insurance

[source]

Thousands of Year 12 graduates will travel to South-East Asia for their Schoolies trip without the protection of travel insurance, according to new research from Smartraveller and Understand Insurance.

The poll, conducted by Quantum Market Research, shows one in five young Australians head to SE Asia without insurance. And 75 per cent of young travellers engage in risky behaviours that are unlikely to be covered, even if they had insurance.

Lisa Kable, spokesperson for understandinsurance.com.au, says: “Thousands of teenagers are finishing their final exams and are on their way to popular destinations in SE Asia, including Bali and Thailand. Many will overindulge in alcohol. Some may take illicit drugs. And many will ride a motorbike or scooter or take part in an adventure sport or activity.

“The insurance industry and the Australian Government’s Smartraveller program are concerned about the number of young Australians who will be injured overseas, without the cover of insurance, during this Schoolies break.

“Teens and their families need to be aware of the importance of holidaying with the right travel insurance. The Australian Government does not pay for medical treatment or emergency flights home if something goes wrong, despite 25 per cent of travellers wrongly believing the Government will assist with medical and related costs.

“They should understand they may not be covered by their insurance if they make a claim for an event caused by alcohol, drugs, use of a motorbike or failing to declare a pre-existing medical condition.”

SE Asian destinations including Bali attracted more than 10,000 teens last year; the Indonesian island is one of the top four destinations for Australian deaths overseas.

“The right travel insurance is a necessity. Families should discuss not just the destination but the activities their teens will be engaging in on their holiday. There are hundreds of travel insurance policies on the market, so choosing a policy that covers the destinations and the activities is of utmost importance,” Ms Kable said.

Only a few insurers cover the high-risk activity of motorbike riding with strict conditions. Some insurers require a full Australian motorbike licence AND an international or local driving permit for bikes over 125cc; others require a temporary Indonesian driving permit for a motorcycle under 125cc.

How to avoid a motorbike-related travel insurance claim being declined:

· Always wear a helmet with strap done up
· Don’t consume alcohol or illegal drugs and ride
· Follow the local road rules
· Shop around and check the product disclosure statement (PDS) for the specific travel insurance conditions for motorbike riding as a driver or passenger.
· The cheapest travel insurance policy may not be the best one for your needs check exclusions. Be aware that price comparison websites list only a small number of policies and encourage purchase based on price not policy features.

The ICA and Smartraveller encourage all Schoolies and their parents to read the travel advice on Smartraveller.gov.au before they leave Australia and subscribe to receive travel updates or follow Smartraveller on social media.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Airlie Beach Festival of Music goes green from 2018.


For the first time in its six-year history, the event will be plastic bag-free, straw-free and offering re-usable bottles and cups.

Festival co-ordinator Ellie Hanlon said these initiatives were a natural progression for an event that took place in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.

"At the ticket office last year, everyone was asking for plastic bags to take their merchandise home in and I just thought, 'we can change this'," she said.

"And the amount of plastic waste from a couple of thousand people having a fresh cup with every drink of water or spirits is mammoth.

"We can't do it with beer for hygiene reasons but by offering re-usable cups for those types of drinks I'm hoping we can at least halve our waste."

Having joined the growing list of businesses signed up to the Whitsundays' 'No Straw Campaign' the festival has committed to having no plastic straws in the main tent at the Whitsunday Sailing Club and has asked each of the other 17 venues to follow suit.

"We're on the edge of the Barrier Reef – we don't get any closer than this – there's no other festival on the ocean like us so we just felt there had to be a better way," Ms Hanlon said.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler said these environmental introductions should not be underestimated.

"I think we all need to take responsibility for our footprint and if we all implement the things we can to make a difference what a difference we will make," she said.

Festival-branded Calico bags, which make a great souvenir in their own right, will be available from the ticket office and main stage merchandise stall at a cost of $5.

Re-usable cups cost $5 and branded water bottles will be available for $10.

These can be used in any of the festival venues and re-filled from two water stations in the main tent.

Full festival tickets cost $270 for a three-day pass and one-day passes are available for $130.

Passes can be purchased from the ticket office in the Nomad's check-in between Beaches and Paddy's Shenanigans on the Airlie Beach main street.

For the full line-up and to stay up to date with all the Airlie Beach Festival of Music news, follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Lonely Planet First-Ever Travel Atlas

*205 Maps *195 Countries *One Inspirational Planning Tool

Lonely Planet, the world's leading guidebook publisher, has released its first-ever dedicated atlas - a collection of Lonely Planet's own cartography that covers much of the world and presents thousands of sights, experiences and itineraries.

Lonely Planet's The Travel Atlas is the ultimate cartographic companion for globetrotters. Combining unparalleled destination knowledge and mapping expertise, The Travel Atlas makes it easier than ever to find and plan incredible experiences around the world.    

Organised by region, The Travel Atlas includes detailed maps to every country on Earth, with popular regions and destinations presented at greater scale. Each page of mapping is accompanied by the area's top sights and activities, as well as trip planning tools such as climate information and key transport hubs.

The book also includes:
  • City Maps - Detailed maps of 28 of the world's most popular cities complete with top sights, activities and itineraries.
  • Places of interest - Discover the best of each country and region alongside destination insight from Lonely Planet's travel experts.
  • Itineraries - Tour a region and its highlights with suggested itineraries lasting from three days to three weeks.
The Travel Atlas will inspire readers to take a journey and explore the world.

The Travel Atlas
RRP $80.00 AUD & NZD / $50 USD
448 pages
ISBN: 9781787016965

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

What's New On Queensland's Eateries


Open your heart and your palate! There's a degustation menu of new restaurants a mile long in Queensland that will put the battle back into the bulge.


Ballandean Estate launches At Our Table

Queensland's oldest family-owned and operated winery on the Granite Belt, Ballandean Estate, has launched a weekly event to celebrate family, food and wine with personal interactions with the Puglisi family.

“Our family has been making wine on our Granite Belt estate since 1932, and we saw a real opportunity to provide visitors with a complete and intimate experience of our operating vineyard and winery led by a Puglisi family member. We are the fourth generation of family working on the estate,” says Leeanne Puglisi-Gangemi, daughter of estate owners Angelo and Mary Puglisi.

Ballandean will host the vineyard tour and viticultural master class every Monday, capping off the viewing with a luscious two-course lunch paired with five of the vineyard's Strangebird wines.

At Our Table costs $90, or $80 for a designated driver (half-pours).

www.ballandeanestate.com

Ohana Cider House goes in for the Bundy Rum-ble

Bundaberg has added a new drop to its famous fluid with the launch of Queensland's first ever dedicated Cider House (plus winery). Josh Phillips and Zoe Young, the power couple behind the Cider House (and who first opened Ohana Winery & Exotic Fruit Farm in 2014 in neighbouring Childers) serve up a boutique range of tropical fruit wines, unusual liqueurs and out-of-the-box ciders like the chilli and lime cider or coffee cider. Punters can drop by the cellar door and enjoy a tipple or join the Bundy Drinks Tour and visit all four of the city's liquid assets including Bundaberg Rum, the award-winning Kalki Moon Distillery & Brewery and a local micro-brewery Bargara Brewing Company.

W: http://www.ohanawinery.com.au/

Alejandro Cancino plants Lola's Pantry

Award-winning chef Alejandro Cancino will expand Sunshine Coast taste buds with the opening of his vegan café, Lola's Pantry in late September.

On the menu is gnocchi with mushrooms and broad beans, scrambled tofu on toast and a selection of salads and savoury tarts. “We don't advertise this as plant-based or vegan, there is nothing on the sign, we just want it to be good food that happens to be vegan,” Alejandro explained.

The former executive chef of Brisbane's only three-hatted restaurant, Urbane, Alejandro relocated to the Sunshine Coast earlier this year with his wife Paola and their 13-month-old daughter, Lola, who the café is named after. The café is open for breakfast and lunch 8:30am-3:30pm, Tuesday-Saturday and Saturday nights from 5:30pm.

www.visitsunshinecoast.com

Sweet success for Metiisto Artisan Chocolate

Toowoomba artisan chocolate factory, Metiisto Artisan Chocolate, is finding sweet success having won three gold medals in the bean to bar category at the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria 2018 in July, just months after opening its doors in Toowoomba.

Chocolatiers Magdalena, a native Swede, and Trevor Smith moved their successful chocolate factory from Sweden to Toowoomba in May 2018. Using cocoa beans sourced from the Solomon Island, Metiisto make bars and sell direct to public from their Harristown factory on Saturdays from 9am – noon. Bars are also available at select venues around Toowoomba including Cobb & Co Museum, Vacy Hall Boutique Hotel, Wendland Olives and Emeraude Bistro, Hampton.

W: www.metiistochocolate.com/

Somethings fishy at the Boathouse Airlie Beach

Fish and chips have gone upmarket with the launch of The Boathouse Fish Bar at The Port of Airlie – Whitsundays. Inspired by the tutu blue waters that roll out before it, the new restaurant – which comes with comfy lounges and heavenly cocktails serves up Seafood Platters, Salmon Poke Bowls, Whitsunday Salt & Pepper Prawns, Seafood Pie or Barramundi Fish & chips, using only seafood fresh on daily basis.

Mira Ambrosia is a mirage no more

The battle of the Coral Sea continues when east meets west over a wide variety of dishes served up at the new Mira Ambrosia restaurant at the Mirage Whitsundays. Nestled on the second floor of a three-story shrine to cuisine (the ground floor is the Mira Café by the lagoon pool, the top floor is a private dining room), Mira Ambrosia offers postcard-perfect views over the Whitsunday Passage and The Coral Sea.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, Mira Restaurant dishes range from Miso crusted cod to Shanghai Chicken.

www.miragewhitsundays.com.au

Noosa's best camp CootharaBAR none

The bar is open! Habitat Noosa Everglades Ecocamp opened its doors (or, is that tent flaps) recently to CootharaBAR, a flagship bar and bistro set to perk up any camper's day. Overlooking a 500-metre private beach, CootharaBAR serves up coffee from local Noosa roaster First Batch Coffee Roaster Company and eases into locally crafted beers. Think well-balanced bitter ales with a touch of mango and passionfruit sweetness – a perfect post-hike potion. A full bistro menu is available.

Since taking over the site last year, The Discovery Group owners brothers Wade and Paul Batty have transformed the camp's original footprint into a world-class eco-tourism destination with a range of accommodation from affordable powered and unpowered sites through to Wilderness glamping tents with shared facilities and luxury 'Paperbark' glamping tents with private ensuites. As expected from a just minutes from the Noosa UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, there's also a handful of nature-based tours on offer.

W: https://www.habitatnoosa.com.au

A new brew beyond the black stump!

No need to kill for a good cuppa in the Outback. Gidgees Bush Camp in the tiny town of Morven, 90 kilometres east of Charleville and 665 km west of Brisbane, has blended the perfect potion by adding a drive-up coffee cart to its $5.00 a night camping ground. Called “Kill for a Good Cuppa”, bean surgery happens between 9.00am to noon Monday to Friday and adds city sophistication to a no-frills camping ground located on 180 acres of stud goat and sheep farm.

In addition to coffee, artists at heart can sign up for the monthly on-site craft workshops like Unwind with Wire and Soap Making Classes or pop back to Charleville and visit the Cosmos Centre and the Bilby Centre. Gidgees Camping is open from April until September each year.

w: www.gidgeesbushcamp.com.au/

Making milestones at Bert's

Named after Australia's greatest aviator and local Bundaberg boy, Bert Hinkler, (incidentally the only person to honor the humble ibis a.k.a the 'bin chicken' for its graceful aerodynamic lines) Bert's is a swanky, moody new wine bar and restaurant that opened this month. The brainchild of Tracey and Michael McPhee, owners of Alowishus Delicious and recent winners of the Countrywide Café of the Year, Bert's celebrates achievements and milestones and serves up worldly cuisine that comes from places as far flung as the aviator himself: funghi arancini, pork belly bao, and Hervey Bay Scallops, to name a few.

W: http://discoverberts.com.au/


Traveloscopy |

Thursday, November 1, 2018

World Expeditions launches two 'Off the Grid' Farmstay Experiences with Jon and Suzy Muir


Adventure and sustainability collided in the life of Jon Muir, one of Australia's greatest living adventurers, leading him from his incredible, self-sufficient expeditions to a sustainable lifestyle in rural Victoria and a new World Expeditions' farmstay experience offers a unique opportunity to share his unique, "off the grid" lifestyle.

World Expeditions has launched a new five day 'Off the Grid' Farmstay Experience at the home of Jon and his wife, Suzy, near Victoria's beautiful Grampians National Park.

The "off-the-grid" farmstay is a chance to learn about organic farming and sustainable living, through hands-on workshops run by Jon and Suzy, which will cover recycling, aquaculture systems, organic food growing and energy harvesting techniques.

The trips are timed to coincide with Kooyan, the local indigenous word for the March harvest, and Petyan, the November harvest, offering plenty of opportunities to harvest, produce, prepare and share organic food from Jon and Suzy's garden.

There'll also be plenty of opportunities to hear some of Jon's legendary stories about his adventures across the globe, from becoming the first man to walk unsupported across Australia to his expeditions to the highest point on earth as well as the North and South Poles.

The 5 day "Off the Grid" with Jon and Suzy Muir departs 16 March and 2 November 2019  and costs $2,390 per person, including all meals and four nights camping/rustic accommodation.

To celebrate the launch of the farmstay experiences, World Expeditions is presenting a national speaking tour:  'Off the Grid: A Night with Jon Muir' will be held on Wed 7 Nov in Sydney; Thu 8 Nov in Brisbane; Mon 12 Nov in Melbourne and on Tuesday, 13 Nov in Perth. Tickets are $25 per person.  Book now at https://worldexpeditions.com/Info-nights-events



Jon on his North Pole Trek

About Jon Muir:

Jon Muir's expeditions have spanned decades; he is a legend in the global adventure community, renowned for his trail-blazing philosophy which he applies to real life, tackling everyday obstacles with the same gusto and resilience that he brings to his expeditions.

From making the first unsupported ascent of Everest in 1988 to his trek to the North Pole in 2000, to his 6,000km ocean traverse by sea kayak, Jon is arguably one of the most experienced adventurers in Australian history.

He holds several world records, including for the first solo traverse on foot of Australia's largest salt lakes.

In 2001, Jon made history by becoming the first person to walk – unsupported – across Australia from Port Augusta to Burketown.  This expedition covered 2,500 km over 128 days.

In 2007, Jon trekked 1,700 km – unassisted, from the Spencer Gulf in SA, to the geographic Centre of Australia, Jon has received many accolades, including the Order of Australia, the Centenary Medal for contributions made to Australian society and the Australian Geographic Society Lifetime of Adventure Award.

More information at www.worldexpeditions.com or phone 1300 720 000.




Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Canada: New Hotels and Wilderness Lodges for 2019

From the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world, , to remote wilderness lodges, travellers to Canada can choose the ideal unique property to complement and enhance their unforgettable Canadian adventure.


Read on for the top six new Canadian properties for 2019.
  1. Hotel Birks, Montreal
Surrounded by Montreal's finest restaurants and designer boutiques, the historical Birks jewelry building has been restored to its original magnificence and tastefully redesigned to encompass an enchanting old-meets-new style, with its imposing 19th Century columns and intricate ceiling moldings. Hotel Birks is located in the downtown core on St Catherine Street. 
  1. Gray Ridge Lodge, Yukon Territory
Disconnect from the world at the beautiful Gray Ridge wilderness lodge in Yukon Territory, 45 minutes from Whitehorse, off the Klondike Highway. Who needs WIFI when you've got lake and mountain views from every window, the shimmering northern lights dancing overhead, and outdoor adventures in every season.
  1. Hyatt House, Winnipeg
Opening in summer 2019, Hyatt House Winnipeg Southwest will offer guests the convenience of hotel living with the comforts of home. The new property is a short drive from the International Airport and the globally acclaimed Assiniboine Park Zoo, boasting the most comprehensive northern species sanctuary in the world, home to polar bears, muskoxen, Arctic fox, wolves and more.
  1. The Josie, British Columbia
The first true ski-in, ski-out hotel to open in Canada in more than a decade, the luxury Josie Hotel at Red Mountain in Rossland, British Columbia, will be open for the 2018/19 ski season. This independently-owned, luxury boutique hotel right at the base of Red Mountain offers 106 stylishly appointed guest rooms, studio suites and one-bedroom suites looking out to catch-your-breath vistas of Canada's winter wonderland.
  1. Nobu Residences, Toronto
Located on dynamic Mercer Street in Toronto, Ontario, Nobu Residences is the brain child of Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, who has extended the elegant Nobu brand far beyond its culinary roots. Academy Award-winning actor, Robert De Niro, invited this illustrious chef to establish a restaurant in NYC over 20 years ago, the eponymous Nobu. By establishing Nobu Residences Toronto just steps from the Toronto International Film Festival, Robert De Niro will be right at home.
  1. Broadleaf Guest Ranch, New Brunswick
Broadleaf Ranch is an 800-acre, family-owned and operated adventure business found deep in the heart of the Bay of Fundy, in the eastern Maritime province of New Brunswick, home to the highest tides in the world. Guests can immerse themselves in the stunning surrounds with horse-back riding, canoeing, biking, hiking, and sleigh rides in the winter months.  
GETTING THERE
Air Canada offers daily direct flights to Vancouver from Sydney and Brisbane, with year-round direct flights from Melbourne available four times per week from 1st December to 4th February, plus connecting flights to the eastern provinces. Direct flights from Sydney to Vancouver are also available on Qantas.



Traveloscopy | 

Pitcairn Islands New Shipping Service



A new era for Pitcairn Islands Tourism is set to begin in March 2019 with the launch of a new shipping service to one of the world's most remote tourism destinations.

From 2019, Pitcairn Island will see an amazing 75% increase in available capacity via the introduction of a new service being delivered by MV Bravo Supporter, under charter to the Pitcairn Islands Government.

The new schedule will see 21 passenger sailings to the island per annum, up from 12, together with increased opportunities for special interest cruises and charters.

Making the announcement, Pitcairn Travel Coordinator, Heather Menzies said, "The new service brings a modern vessel with 6 twin berth passenger cabins complete with en-suites, meaning that passengers will travel in comfort and style. And the 75% increase in available voyages each year will increase our attractiveness as a destination because tourists will at last be able to choose dates that work for them."

"MV Bravo Supporter will be based in Pitcairn waters enabling us to facilitate charters and develop new itineraries that include the rest of our beautiful island group. We expect strong interest in itineraries that include World Heritage site Henderson Island as part of a Pitcairn Islands package, and discerning tourists will also welcome the opportunity to explore beautiful Oeno Island and the unique underwater experiences available at Ducie Island."

"To complement the new service, we are launching a range of new initiatives and these will be announced over the coming weeks" Menzies added.

Located halfway between New Zealand and Peru, Pitcairn has been home to the descendants of the HMAV Bounty mutineers since 1790 and remains one of the most remote and undiscovered tourism destinations in the world. The new shipping service will provide visitors with increased options to visit this fascinating and remote destination.

Access to Pitcairn's shipping service is via Mangareva in French Polynesia, a 4-hour flight from the capital, Papeete.  The services are timed to meet the weekly Tuesday flight at Mangareva.

For more information on the new shipping schedule visit www.visitpitcairn.pn

The Pitcairn Islands are a group of four islands in the southern Pacific Ocean that comprise the last remaining British Overseas Territory in the Pacific. Only Pitcairn Island, the second largest, is inhabited. Located halfway between New Zealand and Peru, with a lush and fertile climate, Pitcairn has a colourful history. In 1789 Fletcher Christian led a mutiny on the English vessel, HMAV Bounty and, several months later, together with 8 fellow mutineers and 19 Polynesians, sailed the ship to Pitcairn Island, one of the most remote and isolated islands in the world. By 1808, when the tiny colony was rediscovered, all but one of the mutineers and all the Polynesian men had died. The surviving mutineer, John Adams, eleven Polynesian women and twenty-five children remained. Today, almost all of the 50 or so inhabitants of Pitcairn are direct descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Polynesian consorts.

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