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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

1001 Best Things to See and Do in New Zealand


Peter Janssen

ISBN 1869711602(978-186-971160-3)
RRP $35.00 September 2009
Orion Paperback (234 x 153)

Visiting New Zealand? Embarking on a road trip? Want to know where to send the visiting rellies? 1001 BEST THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN NEW ZEALAND should be your travel bible. It includes both the obvious places to visit - from the Sky Tower to Larnach's Castle - and the not-so-well-known things to see and do - the world's largest totara tree, Foxton Windmill, Castlepoint Races. Tourists, nature lovers, history enthusiasts and even armchair travellers will discover hours of pleasurable reading in this compendium of the famous and not-so-famous. Pop a copy in your glove box.

Peter Janssen has previously authored Day Walks Of Greater Auckland with Marios Gavalas, Vineyard Visits, Excellent Short Walks in the North Island, Excellent Short Walks in the South Island, Pubs With Personality, Worth A Detour, and Touring the Natural Wonders of New Zealand.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Winners Announced In the 2009 HM Awards

The leading hotels in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific have been recognised for accommodation excellence at the 2009 HM Awards, held in front of 440 guests in Sydney on Friday night (Aug 14).

The 2009 HM Awards, presented by Sealy, awarded people, departments, properties and chains across 40 categories in front of the industry’s leading hoteliers, staff, key suppliers and dignitaries.

“Once again, the HM Awards were a fantastic showcase of the best the industry has to offer,” said James Wilkinson, Managing Editor of HM magazine – host of the seventh annual HM Awards.

“We have some of the most amazing staff and stunning hotels the world has to offer and it has once more been a privilege to recognise excellence across the entire accommodation industry here in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

“Once again, this year’s HM Awards have been the most successful ever held. Everything about the awards was bigger and better, from the record 450 guests, to the incredible amount of entries we received in 2009, which exceeded 1200 – more than double last year.

“The Awards have become the pinnacle for excellence in this part of the world and HM magazine is proud to recognize excellence in every corner – from front office managers to GMs and boutique hotels to accommodation chains,” Wilkinson said.

Simon McGrath, Accor’s Vice President – Australia took home the most prestigious award on the night, the 2009 HM Magazine Hotelier of the Year. The award was voted on by the leading regional directors of hotel chains, as were the other three top awards on the night – Hotel Brand, Overall Hotel and Accommodation Chain.

“The HM magazine Hotelier of the year recognition has become one of the most sought after awards in the Australian accommodation industry – and once again like Keith Barr in 2008 and Andrew Turner in 2007, we again had one of the finest hoteliers in this country taking out the award this year,” Wilkinson said.

InterContinental Hotels Group’s Crowne Plaza was awarded Hotel Brand of the Year, while qualia on Hamilton Island was named Hotel of the Year and Mirvac Hotels & Resorts, led by CEO Andrew Turner, took out Accommodation Chain of the Year.

Other major Awards saw Amanda Silk from Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa win the South Pacific Hotel Manager category, Holiday Inn Wellington’s Heather Idoine-Riley take out the New Zealand Hotel Manager award and Small Luxury Hotels win Hotel Brand Management Company.

Nominations in the HM Awards were open to hotel staff across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. Over 20 leading travel writers and industry leaders decided on the property categories, while a special HM magazine team decided on the people awards in conjunction with Hostec. The judging results were again audited by Ernst & Young in 2009.

HM (Hotel & Accommodation Management) Magazine is the host of the annual HM Awards, which were presented by Sealy. Co-hosts of the event in 2009 included Intrust Super and ISIS Hotel Projects.

A complete list of winners can be found below.

For more information, image and logo requests, contact:
James Wilkinson
Managing Editor
HM - Hotel & Accommodation Management
T: +61 (0)2 8586 6204
M: +61 (0)414 645 311
E: jwilkinson@intermedia.com.au
www.hmawards.com.au


2009 HM AWARDS PRESENTED BY SEALY – WINNERS LIST

PROPERTY AWARDS - AUSTRALIA

1. Serviced Apartment Property
Presented by: TravelZoo
Winner: Fraser Suites Sydney, NSW
Highly commended: Quay Grand Suites Sydney, NSW

2. Accommodation Property – 3- to 3.5-Star
Presented by: Intrust Super
Winner: Thredbo Alpine Hotel, NSW
Highly commended: Best Western Sanctuary Inn, Tamworth, NSW

3. Accommodation Property – 4- to 4.5-Star
Presented by: Sealy
Winner: The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa, NSW
Highly commended: Q Station Retreat, Manly, NSW

4. Accommodation Property – 5-Star
Presented by: Dyson Airblade
Winner: Crown Towers, Melbourne, VIC
Highly commended: The Observatory Hotel, Sydney, NSW

5. Business Hotel
Presented by: DoCoMo InterTouch
Winner: Hilton Sydney, NSW
Highly commended: Crown Towers, Melbourne, VIC

6. Resort
Presented by: Elite Resorts of Asia Pacific
Winner: qualia, QLD
Highly commended: The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa, NSW

7. Hotel Refurbishment
Presented by: ISIS Hotel Projects
Winner: InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, VIC
Highly commended: Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, NSW

8. Boutique Hotel
Presented by: Sealy
Winner: Emporium Hotel, Brisbane, QLD
Highly commended: Cape Lodge, Margaret River, WA

9. Unique Accommodation
Presented by: Sealy
Winner: Bay of Fires Lodge, Mt William National Park, TAS
Highly commended: Q Station Retreat, Manly, NSW

10. New Hotel
Presented by: Intrust Super
Winner: Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront, NT
Highly commended: Pullman Sydney Olympic Park, NSW

11. Alpine Accommodation
Presented by: Philips
Winner: Quay West Resort & Spa Falls Creek, VIC
Highly commended: Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort, NSW

12. MICE Hotel
Presented by: SPICE Magazine
Winner: Q Station Retreat, Manly, NSW
Highly commended: Hilton Sydney, NSW

13. Regional Property
Presented by: Intrust Super
Winner: Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa, NSW
Highly commended: Kim’s Beach Hideaway, Toowoon Bay, NSW

14. Hotel Day Spa
Presented by: ISIS Hotel Projects
Winner: Villa Thalgo Day Spa, The Sebel Resort & Spa Hawkesbury Valley, NSW
Highly commended: Angsana Spa, Angsana Resort & Spa Great Barrier Reef, QLD

15. Hotel Bar
Presented by: Hoshizaki Ice Makers
Winner: Zeta Bar, Hilton Sydney, NSW
Highly commended: Astral Bar, Star City, NSW

16. Hotel Restaurant
Presented by: San Pellegrino
Winner: Bilson’s, Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney, NSW
Highly commended: Altitude, Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, NSW

17. Hi-Tech Hotel
Presented by: Foxtel Business
Winner: The Westin Sydney, NSW
Highly commended: InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, VIC

PROPERTY AWARDS – NEW ZEALAND & SOUTH PACIFIC

18. New Zealand Hotel
Presented by: Vingcard Elsafe
Winner: The Westin Auckland, Lighter Quay
Highly commended: Sofitel Queenstown

19. New Zealand Regional Property
Presented by: HM Magazine
Winner: Blanket Bay, Glenorchy
Highly commended: Huka Lodge, Lake Taupo

20. Fijian Property
Presented by: ISIS Hotel Projects
Winner: Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Fiji
Highly commended: Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa, Yanuka, Fiji

21. South Pacific Property
Presented by: Elite Resorts of Asia Pacific
Winner: InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, French Polynesia
Highly commended: Bora Bora Lagoon Resort & Spa, French Polynesia

PROPERTY AWARDS – ALL COUNTRIES (AUSTRALIA, NZ & SOUTH PACIFIC)

22. Environmental Program
Presented by: AAA Tourism
Winner: Pullman Sydney Olympic Park, NSW
Highly commended: Crowne Plaza Alice Springs, NT

23. Marketing Campaign
Presented by: SPICEnews.com.au
Winner: ‘Personal mantras’, Mantra, Stella Hospitality
Highly commended: ‘100 Reasons Why’, Sofitel Luxury Hotels, Accor Hospitality

24. Service to the Community
Presented by: HM Magazine
Winner: Sydney Harbour Marriott, NSW
Highly commended: Holiday Inn Wellington, New Zealand

PEOPLE AWARDS

25. Concierge
Presented by: Time Out Sydney
Winner: Chris Traill, Park Hyatt Sydney, NSW
Highly commended: Glenn Lacey, The Langham Melbourne, VIC

26. Hotel Executive Chef
Presented by: Robert Oatley Wines
Winner: Glenn Bacon, Hayman, QLD
Highly commended: Hugh Whitehouse, Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa, NSW

27. Hotel Bartender
Presented by: timeout.com/sydney
Winner: Lucy George, Emporium Hotel, Brisbane, QLD
Highly commended: Stuart Reeves, Park Hyatt Sydney, NSW

28. Human Resources Department Member
Presented by: Hostec
Winner: Jayne Webb, Brisbane Marriott, QLD
Highly commended: Chantal Jackson, Hilton Sydney, NSW

29. Sales & Marketing Department Member
Presented by: Intrust Super
Winner: Chriscelle Capito, The Observatory Hotel Sydney, NSW
Highly commended: Tomoko Sakurai, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, NSW

30. PR/Communications Department Member
Presented by: Travmedia.com
Winner: Gaynor Reid, Accor Hospitality
Highly commended: Jill Collins, Hamilton Island, QLD (representation)

31. Front Office Department Member
Presented by: ISIS Hotel Projects
Winner: Simon Ruri, Peppers Clearwater Resort, Christchurch, New Zealand
Highly commended: Jamila El Allam, The Langham Melbourne, VIC

32. Rooms Division Department Member
Presented by: Sealy
Winner: Donna Gribble, Novotel Barossa Valley, SA
Highly commended: Grace Esogon, Sydney Harbour Marriott, NSW

MAJOR AWARDS

33. South Pacific Hotel Manager
Presented by: HM Magazine
Winner: Amanda Silk, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, Fiji
Highly commended: Greg Stanaway, Pacific Resort Rarotonga, Cook Islands

34. New Zealand Hotel Manager
Presented by: HM Magazine
Winner: Heather Idoine-Riley, Holiday Inn Wellington
Highly commended: Victoria Shaw, Eichardt’s Private Hotel Queenstown

35. Australian Hotel Manager
Presented by: ISIS Hotel Projects
Winner: Richard Munro, Star City, Sydney, NSW
Highly commended: Peter Savoff, Emporium Hotel, Brisbane, QLD

36. Hotel Brand Management Company
Presented by: Sealy
Winner: Small Luxury Hotels of the World
Highly commended: The Leading Hotels of the World

37. Hotel Brand
Presented by: Sealy
Winner: Crowne Plaza, InterContinental Hotels Group
Highly commended: Diamant, Eight Hotels Australia

38. Accommodation Chain
Presented by: Intrust Super
Winner: Mirvac Hotels & Resorts
Highly commended: InterContinental Hotels Group

39. Hotel of the Year
Presented by: Sealy
Winner: qualia, Hamilton Island, QLD
Highly commended: The Observatory Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Highly commended: Park Hyatt Melbourne, VIC

40. HM Magazine Hotelier of the Year
Presented by: HM Magazine
Winner: Simon McGrath, Accor Hospitality

Also: Hall of Fame inaugural inductees
David Baffsky AO, Accor Hospitality
Patrick Griffin OAM, Orient-Express Hotels

The 2009 HM Awards judging results were officially audited by Ernst & Young.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Recently sealed Bogong High Plains Rd a huge boost to building non winter visitation


On Friday April 24 history will be created (almost 45 years since the road was opened beyond Falls Creek by Ron White, (former Principal Hydro Engineer with the SEC) when the Hon Gavin Jennings MP Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Innovation proclaims the Bogong High Plains Rd officially open.

Ron White (who resides in Mt Beauty) was a key person in the development of the Kiewa Hydro Power Scheme which was the catalyst for the road from Mt Beauty to Falls Creek to be upgraded from a track formerly used by mountain cattlemen and bush rangers, to one capable of handling the heavy machinery required to build power stations and Rocky Valley Reservoir, which is brimming with wild bred trout.

Ron said:”I had the best job in the State Electricity Commission (SEC) which built the Kiewa Hydro Power Scheme (the largest hydro electric scheme in Victoria) and managed the land where Falls Creek is today.”

White was the person who declared open the Bogong High Plains Rd beyond Rocky Valley to Basalt Hill in 1965. It was closed the following day because of heavy snow and didn't reopen until the following summer.

"Back then there was a 20 mile an hour speed limit and there wasn't one fatality up until we handed it (the Bogong High Plains Rd) back to the Country Roads Board who built the original road between Mt Beauty and Falls Creek in the late 1930's,” said White.

“I spent 29 years working in numerous roles with the SEC. The Bogong High Plains Rd was designed to build a hydro scheme and take heavy machinery, so it isn't as windy as the road between Harrietville and Hotham."

Reflecting on the road's historical significance it is interesting to note the first users (of a much different road that what exists today) were mountain cattlemen, who travelled up a bush track to Falls Creek and the Bogong High Plains, mining prospectors and bush rangers.

The original name for Falls Creek was Horse Shoe Creek because it was often boggy and their horses frequently lost their shoes. It was renamed Falls Creek in 1939 by a supervisor working for the Country Roads Board (CRB).

Some of the names guests travelling up the road today will notice names such as the Cranky Charlie roundabout (named after one of the original pioneering farming families in the Kiewa Valley), Lyre Bird Creek (named by the SEC in 1958 after workers watched a Lyre Bird build a nest and raise a chick about 15 metres from the road) and Howman's Gap (named after Fred Howman another early settler in the picture-postcard Kiewa Valley) which will be recognised by a series of interpretive signs erected next summer.

Mt Beauty has evolved into a tourist-orientated town as the hydro-scheme workers moved on and a younger generation has taken their place to moved in work at Falls Creek and the numerous tourism-related ventures in the Kiewa Valley.

Bogong Village, originally the field headquarters of the Kiewa Hydro Power Scheme, has also had an injection of 'new blood' with private owners acquiring about 30 of the houses originally built to accommodate the workers.

The entire network of hydro-power stations and related facilities is now owned by AGL who purchased it from Southern Hydro (who acquired it from the SEC) for $1.4 Billion Dollars .

A dramatic flow of visitors occurred some years age when the final link in the Great Alpine Road was sealed. A similar scenario is anticipated (next summer) by the Falls Creek, Mt Beauty and Bogong Village tourism-related businesses.

It will become one of the most popular tourist drives in Victoria and a Mecca for motor and road cyclists seeking a new, interesting touring route.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cheap Airfares Give Rise to Impulse Travel

ONE in four Australians who've taken or booked an overseas trip this year, did so on impulse, according to full service travel agency, travel.com.au.

Travel.com.au General Manager – Brand, Lisa Ferrari said the finding came from a survey that asked 250 customers whether they'd been planning to travel overseas in 2009, and if not, what had caused their change of mind.

"Twenty-five percent of respondents said they'd made an impulse decision to travel as a result of cheaper than expected international airfares."

Ferrari said: "Fares have hit a historic low and they're unlikely to return to these levels once the economy recovers."

"Subsequently 2009 has been a great year for opportunistic travellers, rewarding those people who remained flexible with the choice of destination and their travel dates."

Ferrari added that the booking habits of Aussies travellers had differed greatly to those of previous years.

"In 2008 we saw travellers booking their travel four to six months prior to departure. In contrast, this year travellers are booking two to three months before they leave," Ferrari said.

"Travellers who weren't planning on travelling this year and considered moving their plans forward have really benefited on the impulse choice to travel."

Top 5 impulse destinations on travel.com.au
1. London
2. Bangkok
3. Los Angeles
4. Hong Kong
5. Fiji

ABOUT TRAVEL.COM.AU
Travel.com.au was established in September 1997 and is a one-stop-shop travel agency. Offering international and domestic flights, holiday packages, hotel accommodation, travel insurance and car hire, we also cater for travellers who are interested in ski, cruise, corporate, family and adventure travel.
We offer online and offline services. Our online service allows you to control your travel plans while our offline service allows our customers to seek professional and personalised advice from our Travel Experts. At travel.com.au we provide convenience, choice and value for money with any travel product purchased. With over 75, 000 airfares to more than 118 countries and a choice of 70 international and domestic airlines, travel.com.au is the essential tool for travellers. Booking fees may apply to products purchased on travel.com.au.


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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places