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Monday, May 22, 2017

Amazing Images of Australia from Above

SkyPixel Aerial Photography Contest Showcases the Best of Australia From Above

The winning photo, Refreshing Places to Float, taken by Airloft, focuses on a person enjoying on a float in a refreshing rock pool in Wyadup Spa, Western Australia.


SkyPixel, the world's most popular aerial photography community, Friday concluded the two-month Australia from Above aerial photography contest. This was SkyPixel's first region-specific aerial photography contest that showcased the stunning natural beauty of Australia seen from above.

Run in partnership with DJI and Tourism Australia, the SkyPixel Australia from Above aerial photography contest received over 6,000 entries, including photos from the inspiring expanse of Australia's pristine white beaches to the raw power of its rich, red outback.

The winning photo, Refreshing Places to Float, taken by Airloft, focuses on a person enjoying on a float in a refreshing rock pool in Wyadup Spa, Western Australia. For his winning entry, Airloft will receive a DJI Inspire 2 Premium Combo, a SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO� MicroSD and 480GB Extreme� 500 Portable SSD, a 1-year Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (1-year membership), and 2-nights at Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island and 2-nights at Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island.

SECOND: Sea of Green: The late afternoon sun shines through a breaking wave at Secret Harbour, south of Perth.


"The amazing work from participants really shows the growing interest around this new photographic artform and the potential of aerial technology" said Danny Zheng, DJI Vice President of Marketing. "We were thrilled to see so many quality entries, from local photographers as well as those outside the country who captured Australia's extraordinary beauty in an entirely new way."

The second and third prize winners were skysnaps with a photo titled Sea of Green respectively, one showing a breaking wave at Secret Harbour, south of Perth, and Yantastic for Rigby Island, and the other a top-down shot of a boat navigating its way through Rigby Island in Victoria. These winners will take home various DJI, SanDisk, Adobe and Epson products. Separately, 10 additional entries were shortlisted by SkyPixel users and awarded with an Osmo Mobile Silver, SanDisk MicroSD and Portable SSD.

The winning photos were selected by a judging panel that included Tourism Australia's Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Ronson, Australian landscape photographer Kirk Hille, who won the Grand Prize in SkyPixel's first annual contest in 2015, Todd Kennedy, adjudged "Travel Photographer of the Year" by Australian Photography Magazine, and Tom Rex Jessett, a globetrotting New Zealand-based landscape and travel photographer.


THIRD: Top down shot of Rigby Island in Lake's Entrance, Victoria. Shot with Mavic Pro

Tourism Australia's Chief Marketing Officer, Lisa Ronson, was blown away by the quantity and the quality of entries. "There are some amazingly talented photographers out there who are using drone technology to capture some breath-taking images of Australia. Drone-facilitated photography as well as other new technologies such as VR and 360 are enabling us to tell our story in ways which were just not possible a few years ago. It's very exciting for our industry and will, I'm sure, provide inspiration to many Australian tourism operators as they look at new and engaging ways to promote their businesses," she said.

All the winning photos can be viewed here: www.skypixel.com/events/australia


Traveloscopy | 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Vivid Sydney celebrates the grit and glitter of Kings Cross

#ate17



For the first time, Kings Cross will be an exciting precinct that includes all Vivid Sydney pillars of light, music and ideas, called Vivid KX. The program will include a wonderful mix of genres, theatre, performance, story-telling and light art, and celebrate exactly what makes Kings Cross so special.

Vivid KX will explore the bohemian underworlds that gave The Cross its unique DNA through a genre-bending performance program; pop-up cinema screening the strangest, craziest and best in Australian film; and raw and riveting talks of the days of the ‘Golden Mile’.

For the first time at Kings Cross, the Coca-Cola billboard will come alive to celebrate the talent, colour, creativity and diversity of Kings Cross. Shot by portrait photographer Katherine Williams the Characters of Kings Cross series will feature moving black-and-white portraits of the individuals that make Kings Cross so special. The projected images will feature on the left-hand side of the sign, and will include familiar faces such as Kylie Kwong, along with other Kings Cross locals.

The famous Coca-Cola LED billboard will for the first time in 40 years transform into a continuous light show of vibrant colours and special effects for the entire 23 nights of Vivid Sydney. Read more

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Accommodation boom across New South Wales


The State Government’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW has said growth in overnight visitation to NSW is stimulating an accommodation boom across the State.

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour opening 2017 (source: Accor)

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said this week’s Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) was a great opportunity to showcase both new and refurbished hotels.

“According to the International and National Visitor Surveys for the year ending December 2016, there were more than 33 million overnight visitors who stayed more than 183 million nights in NSW over the past 12 months,” Ms Chipchase said.

“New and refurbished hotels by the harbour, and luxury makeovers and quality boutique offerings are giving visitors to Sydney and regional NSW just what they want – accommodation in desirable locations, with a choice of styles and price points.

“Sky-high confidence in the visitor economy is driving the hotel boom with 7,800 new and refurbished hotel rooms under construction or approved for development and open for business by 2022.

“Our State is undergoing a major transformation to meet the growing demands from international markets, providing NSW hotels and operators with more opportunities than ever before to attract visitors.

“With occupancy rates rising from 75 per cent in to 76.3 per cent in the December quarter 2016, driven primarily by occupancy rate increases in regional NSW (66.4 per cent, up from 62.6 per cent), our State is leading the country when it comes to accommodation supply, demand and revenue takings.

“From Sydney to the Blue Mountains, the South Coast to up North, and out to Country NSW, we are seeing major refurbishments of heritage sites, to brand new beachfront pavilions and self-catering options as part of this hotel boom, and we look forward to highlighting the best of these exciting developments during ATE,” she said.

On top of the accommodation boom, other major infrastructure projects are underway including the harbourside development at Barangaroo, the Western Sydney Airport, significant upgrades to Sydney Airport and the planned regeneration of The Bays Precinct, a waterfront space in the inner west.

Click here to download the latest ‘Hotel News in Sydney and NSW’ Fact Sheet.

For more information on attractions and experiences in NSW, visit www.visitnsw.com and www.sydney.com.



Traveloscopy | 

Showcase NSW best food and wine




Some of the State’s finest produce will be showcased to travel buyers from across the globe tonight, as part of the 2017 Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE).

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said 1,300 domestic and international delegates will gather at a special harbourside location for the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency’s showcase event.

“From artisan smoked Bangalow ham, South Coast cheese, Pinot Noir from Orange, saltbush lamb from Wagga Wagga, and an eight metre long ice bar filled with NSW’s freshest and finest seafood, tonight’s event will take people on an incredible NSW food journey,” Ms Chipchase said.

“More and more visitors from across Australia and the world are learning about our State’s great local wines and fresh produce, with a desire to visit Sydney and regional NSW for a first-hand experience.

“NSW is home to fourteen wine regions, renowned fruit, beef, pork and truffle farms, and over 2,000 kilometres of coastline bursting with fresh seafood and local produce, some of which our guests will be able to enjoy and savour tonight.

“With such amazing produce and so many wonderful dining experiences to be had, it’s little wonder so many visitors are choosing to experience our thriving culinary hotspots and award-winning restaurants throughout NSW.”



Whether it’s a Hunter Semillon or a cool-climate Tempranillo, visitors can find plenty of scope for exploration and experimentation in each of the State’s fourteen wine regions.

In the year ended December 2016, there were almost two million domestic and international visitors who had been to a NSW winery. These visitors stayed 13.8 million nights and spent $2.2 billion in the State.

The latest International Visitor Survey results show that NSW received nearly 213,000 international wine travellers with Sydney, the Hunter, North Coast, Blue Mountains and South Coast as the most visited regions by international wine travellers.

“There’s a real movement around where and how our food is grown, sourced and prepared, and NSW’s pristine environment and varied typography is creating some of the finest produce in Australia for visitors to enjoy.

“We look forward to welcoming more international visitors to our State as a result of tonight’s special Destination NSW event and continuing to place NSW firmly on the global foodie-map,” Ms Chipchase said.

Download the latest ‘Food and Wine in Sydney and NSW’ Fact Sheet.



Traveloscopy | 

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Puffing Billy Railway is Australia's favourite train



The world famous steam train, The Puffing Billy Railway, is Australia's favourite train and one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world.

The railway which commenced operation in Australia on December 18, 1900 and operates every day except Christmas Day, is a genuine relic of our more leisurely days.

An historic steam train which runs regularly in the Victorian mountain district, it was built to serve at the turn of the century, and was used to transport goods and passengers throughout the district.

The line was opened by the Victorian Railways in 1900 between Upper Ferntree Gully and Gembrook, however, there was a struggle to keep the railway alive. From the early 1930s the railway earned the reputation for being a financial liability on the Victorian Railways and due to a landslide in 1953, a subsequent decision was made to close the line in 1954.

It was during a series of farewell trips in 1955 that led to the Puffing Billy Preservation Society being established - to keep the train running, and it has been a success with figures of over ten million passengers now carried on the historic railway since re-opening in 1962.

Tourist services resumed between Belgrave and Menzies Creek in 1962, and were progressively extended to Emerald in 1965, Lakeside in 1975 and Gembrook in 1998.

The railway travels 25kms through the forests and fern gullies of the magnificent Dandenong Ranges to Emerald Lake Park and Gembrook- -the original terminus of the line- - and is one of two survivors of five experimental narrow gauge lines used to develop rural area in Victoria during the early 1900s.

Trains depart from Belgrave which is only 40kms or one hour east of Melbourne by car or coach. Easy access is also available by electric train from Melbourne in around one hour with a short walk from the electric train station to the Puffing Billy station.


Together with the traditional train journeys, Puffing Billy also offers a range of unique “First Class” travel and dining experiences in up to four luxurious, fully enclosed, heritage carriages, each seating up to 20 passengers. Choose from Lunch, which is available seven days a week or Dinner, on selected Friday and Saturday evenings. Other evenings are available for groups of 60-80 passengers.

Group bookings on all scheduled trains may be made and special charter trains for groups of up to 250 are available. “Special Interest” groups can also be catered for with escorted tours.

Annual patronage to the railway is fast approaching 350,000 people and in addition to the well-known excursion train services, its unique products include:

- The Dinner & Dance Train – selected Friday & Saturday evening

- The Steam & Cuisine Luncheon Train– daily first class service

- Days out with Thomas the Tank Engine

- Other activities such as Murder Mystery Trains, Jazz Trains and

- Drive an Engine experiences.

- External contracting in niche markets (e.g. steam locomotive overhaul and repair, timber bridge maintenance)

The Railway recently received a Certificate of Excellence 2015 from TripAdvisor which was a direct result from the consistently great reviews given by TripAdvisor travellers.

For further information please visit: www.puffingbilly.com.au

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Monday, May 8, 2017

True or False? More than 90 percent of travellers rely on online reviews.


This interesting infographic supplied by TravelCarma which they claim illustrates the "Global State of Online Travel". Presented as is.

Scenic launches South America program for 2018






Scenic has launched its South America program for 2018 which features a brand-new 12/29 day tour, Icons of South & Central America. With its rich, colourful history, this Scenic-exclusive tour combines the very best of South America, from the history-steeped Havana and Trinidad to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu and Cuzco.  

There's a new Scenic Enrich experience, a horse-and-carriage ride and dinner in Cartagena, as well as a host of new Scenic Freechoice options: think Cuzco cooking classes, off-road adventures in Los Glaciares National Park and a Classic Havana tour.

Also new for 2018 is a Belmond Andean Explorer two-day luxurious rail journey across the awe-inspiring Andes to Lake Titicaca on Scenic's 16 day Peru Discovery tour, where guests will delve into Peru's Sacred Valley and visit the World Heritage site of Machu Picchu.

Scenic is offering brilliant Earlybird offers on 2018 journeys. Book by 31 October 2017 and fly to South America from $995 when you book a journey of 20 days or longer – a saving of up to $2,330 per couple; or fly from $1,295 on journeys of 11 to 19 days.

For more information call Scenic on 138 128 or visit scenic.com.au


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