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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Solomon Airlines to maintain Port Vila services




Honiara, Solomon Islands – Solomon Airlines has announced it will continue to operate its services into and out of Bauerfield International Airport, Port Vila, as normal.

In a statement released by the airline, General Manager Operations & Commercial, Gus Kraus said Solomon Airlines had conducted an immediate review of the airport's runway and concluded conditions were safe from a flight operational perspective.

"Passengers and crew safety remain an absolute priority for Solomon Airlines and if there was ever any doubt, we would act accordingly," Mr Kraus said.

"Hence our decision to immediately carry out our own review of the runway which in part was done in consultation with our Airbus A320 Manager International Flight Operations and  Flight Examiner when they flew through Port Vila to Nadi on Saturday afternoon and again by senior pilots returning on Sunday.

"Our conclusion is that the runway is safe and we will continue to maintain operations with our flagship Airbus A320 into and out of the airport on its normal weekly schedule.

"We are working very closely with our Melanesian aviation colleagues and codeshare partner Air Vanuatu in Port Vila and have also received information from the Director of Civil Aviation in Vila that gives us some comfort in our decision although we will continue to monitor the situation and act on any changed circumstances.

"If for any reason the situation changes, we will take appropriate action at that time.

"We urge the authorities in Port Vila to also take the necessary steps of upgrading the runway conditions to ensure all airlines resume operations for the benefit of the Vanuatu people and industry and its future tourism development."

Solomon Airlines currently operates the following services into and out of Bauerfield International Airport, Port Vila:


Saturday

Flight number IE 702   HIR 1415 - VLI 1615

Flight number IE 702   VLI 1700 -  NAN 1930


Sunday

Flight number IE 703   NAN 0900 - VLI 0930

Flight number IE 700   VLI 1015 - HIR 1215


For further information visit www.flysolomons.com or telephone the following:

Solomon Airlines Australian Office - telephone toll free on 1300 894311 or + 61 3860 5883.

Solomon Islands Travel Centre Honiara – telephone + 677 20152.


W: www.flysolomons.com  
F: www.facebook.com/flysolomons

Monday, January 25, 2016

Norfolk Island Jazz Festival


Norfolk Island Jazzes It Up - an Island Jazz Festival now with direct flights from Melbourne!

How could you pass up a jazz festival that is not only held on an island, but in magical venues including under a sprawling Banyan tree perched high on a cliff overlooking coral reef and historic buildings within a World Heritage listed area? Well, all this and more is just part of the experience at Norfolk Island’s annual jazz festival ‘Norfolk Island Jazzes It Up’.

In 2016 the festival runs from the 4th to the 8th of December making it the perfect pre-Christmas get-away. Each year the Islanders equally embrace the musicians and visitors who travel over for the week providing the perfect atmosphere to get in the groove and experience great jazz. Located mid-way between Australia and New Zealand the festival is able to attract top-liners from both destinations. In 2016 performers from Australia include Dr Don’s Double Dose, The Jazz Factory, Di Bird Quartet and Pearlnoire; while from New Zealand are The Andrew London Trio and Mike Garner’s Bay City Ramblers.

For visitors travelling ex-Melbourne, flying to Norfolk Island has just got a whole lot easier with new direct flights. For the jazz festival 7 night packages that include airfare, accommodation, car hire, ½ day island tour and much more begin at $1399 ex Melbourne, or $999 ex Brisbane, $1049 ex Sydney. Jazz packs are an additional $398 and include Gold Pass seating at 4 concerts; 2 dinners, 1 lunch; a souvenir gift bag, programme and polo shirt.

The beauty of Norfolk is renowned with tall majestic pines, high rising cliffs, green undulating valleys, lush rainforest and beautiful surrounding waters. Many visitors feel a sense of ‘coming home’ perhaps to a way of life they knew from years ago where a friendly, relaxed pace and sense of attention to life customs and community is the norm. Matching that easy pace though is a huge choice of activities and tours on offer, letting you decide how busy or relaxed you’d like your jazz week to be. History and heritage tours, swimming, snorkelling, shopping, fishing and fresh seasonal food are all there to be enjoyed.

Contact us for more information including an information pack or talk to Christan Davies at The Norfolk Island Travel Centre on freecall 1800 1400 66 or email her at christan@travelcentre.nf Further details are also on our web site atwww.norfolkislandtravelcentre.com

Friday, January 22, 2016

Australia Day in Sydney



On 26 January each year, Australians come together to celebrate our national day. And, true to tradition, Australia Day 2016 will deliver plenty of lively events and great activities to participate in and enjoy in Sydney.

If you’re thinking of what to do to mark the national holiday, here are just some of the activities taking place in Sydney on Australia Day:

Much of the action of Australia Day takes place on and around Sydney Harbour. The Wugulora Indigenous Ceremony marks the official start, with the raising of the Aboriginal and Australian flags on the Sydney Harbour Bridge from 7.30am. A short while later more than 1,000 participants will take the plunge for the final swim of the Great Australian Swim Series with events kicking off at Farm Cove near the Sydney Opera House from 8:30am

Other harbour highlights include the ever-popular Ferrython races, one of Australia’s most iconic free events. A hugely popular Australia Day tradition, watch as the ferries venture from Circular Quay to Shark Island and then back to a glorious finish the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This year you can also get a birdseye view of the race atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of a special Ferryathon Bridge Climb

Following the ferry race, from 1.00pm, Sydney's Tall Ships will lead a fleet of historic vessels from Bradley's Head to the Harbour Bridge. They will be joined by the 180th Australia Day Regatta, the world’s oldest continuously conducted annual sailing event, from 1.30pm



A highlight of the Australia Day program, the two free* Australia Day Concerts held in association with Destination NSW and catering for all ages, will again be staged at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt. Featuring The Wiggles, performing live at 10.00am, followed in the evening by Jessica Mauboy, joined by Justice Crew and Australia’s best talent on-stage from 7.30pm. Tickets for the two Australia Day Concerts is now exhausted. Visit www.australiaday.com.au to put you details on the waitlist should additional tickets become available

If it’s music you’re interested in, there’s also the popular Cruising Concerts taking place on Australia Day with two custom-built floating stages dropping into the most popular locations around the harbour from 12.15pm onwards. This year the stages will include popular crowd pleasers, The Enormous Horns and Junkyard Beats. Stops include Hickson Road Reserve, Bradfield Park, Blues Point Reserve, the Overseas Passenger Terminal, the Sydney Opera House and Barangaroo

Further west, Parramatta has in-store an action packed Australia Day line-up which kicks off early. Aerial, from 6:00am to 11:00am, is Sydney's biggest hot air balloon display, and features delicious food and roving entertainment. The Big BBQ is next on the schedule from 11:00am to 7.30pm, and is the biggest barbecue Parramatta has ever seen! With a grilling competition hosted by the Australasian Barbecue Alliance, smoked, grilled and basted delights from the barbecue pit masters; and a barbecue display

For those wanting something new to enjoy, an afternoon at Goat Island for Goat Island Sounds is just the thing, listening to sweet live shows, DJ sets and triple J's Hottest 100. There will be a picnic area featuring garden games, Newtown legends Mary's will be flipping their famous burgers and you can find Sydney's finest craft beer and cider from Young Henry's at the bar, all overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge and other Australia Day events on the harbour

For a more relaxed, but lively Australia Day experience, head to The Rocks, where the schedule includes a day of artisanal markets. Linger in the lanes and savour your surroundings as all the sounds and sensations of a great Aussie summer come together. Young and old alike can kick off their shoes and wander up the freshly Astroturfed George Street with free croquet also on offer

Venturing outside of Sydney’s CBD, check out the festival atmosphere with stalls, BBQs and events hosted at Sydney Olympic Park. With free entertainment, the Citizenship ceremony and Citizen of the Year Awards, live entertainment, kid's entertainment, roving performers, a community bazaar, face painting and craft workshops, there is something for everyone. Finish the day of celebrations off with a bang and enjoy the spectacular fireworks

The Australia Day Big Breakfast is on again at Dee Why Beach this Australia Day and is the biggest Australia Day event on the Northern Beaches, with tens of thousands of people attending every year. Commencing at 7.00am, it includes a hot breakfast, Car and Bike Show, Thong Throwing Competition, rides, entertainment and flag raising.

For more information go to www.Sydney.com

Peppers Arrives in Melbourne CBD



Peppers Docklands has opened its doors this week, heralding the arrival of the Peppers name in the MelbourneCBD. The opening reflects the continued expansion and evolution of one of Australia’s most trusted hotel brands, which today delivers contemporary, stylish accommodation for leisure and business travellers alike.

“Peppers Docklands is an unparalleled offering within the Docklands precinct, and – in response to demand from our loyal guests - represents a continuation of Mantra Group’s strategic direction to grow the Peppers brand inCBD locations.” said Kent Davidson, Executive Director – Sales, Marketing & Distribution.

The only 5-star hotel within the Dockland’s precinct, the hotel features direct access to the Etihad Stadium concourse. General Manager, Jeremy Nordkamp, believes this is what will differentiate Peppers Docklands from other CBD located properties.



“Peppers Docklands is located right on the concourse, giving our guests convenient access to the wide range of events staged at Etihad stadium throughout the year,” he said.

Named the number one new hotel opening for 2016 by Traveller.com.au, the five star, 87-room hotel is part of Capital Alliance Investment Group’s $100 million M Docklands development. The contemporary accommodation is defined by bespoke bathrooms and cutting edge interior design, with hotel facilities including the stylish MOMAMI restaurant and bar, pool, gym, 24-hour reception and concierge, plus a trendy retail and eatery enclave at ground level.

Redefining the rich heritage of the brand, Peppers Docklands joins the growing portfolio of designer Peppers branded city hotels, which includes properties in Adelaide, Canberra, and the Gold Coast. Elsewhere, construction is well progressed on Peppers Kings Square (due to open in Perth in August 2016) and plans are afoot for other Peppers city hotels in Brisbane and Sydney.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

TripAdvisor's Top Hotels in the World



Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, India Voted the Top Hotel in the World;
Tasmania’s Saffire Freycinet Selected as #1 Luxury Hotel in Australia

SYDNEY, Australia; January 21, 2016 – TripAdvisor®,  the world’s largest travel site*, today announced the winners of its Travellers’ Choice awards for Hotels. Now in its 14th year, the Travellers’ Choice awards have recognised more than 7,000 properties around the world with lists covering 97 countries and eight regions worldwide. The hallmarks of Travellers’ Choice winners are remarkable service, quality and value.

“We congratulate the properties around the world that have won Travellers’ Choice Hotel awards,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “Travellers considering their next trip can book confidently selecting from these award-winners that have already delighted millions of members of the TripAdvisor community.”

The average nightly rate of Travellers’ Choice award-winning Top Hotels on TripAdvisor is $465; Bargain is $104; B&Bs and Inns is $180; Luxury is $646; Service is $429 and Small Hotels is $429.

[see image library of all hotels]

Top 10 Travellers’ Choice Hotels across the World:


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Crystal Serenity 2017 Voyages Reposition to North and South America



Luxury line to introduce new roster of luxury itineraries for Crystal Serenity

Crystal Cruises, the world's most awarded luxury cruise line, will reposition one of its luxury ocean vessels in 2017, unveiling an entirely new lineup of itineraries.  Following the 2017 "Southern Celebración" World Cruise round-trip from Miami, Crystal Serenity will sail throughout North America for the remainder of the year, offering routes along the east and west coasts, through Alaska, New England and Eastern Canada, as well as the eastern seaboard into the Caribbean. Historically, Crystal Serenity has spent the majority of her 12 years at sea cruising the Mediterranean, Western Europe and the Black Sea but the line's tremendous expansion plans afforded an opportunity for change.

"The Mediterranean and surrounding regions have long been favourite destinations for our guests, and will continue to be, with the launch of Crystal Yacht Cruises and Crystal River Cruises," says Crystal's president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez. "These new ventures allow us to expand our offerings for our guests, so they can continue to experience their favourite Crystal holidays in new ways."

Crystal Serenity's new roster of ultra-luxury cruises includes a repositioning voyage from Miami to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal; convenient seven-day explorations of California's coastline; a 14-day intensive Mexico itinerary; a 16-day route through the Hawaiian Islands; seven-, 9- and 10-day cruises through the ports and glaciers of Alaska and British Columbia; seven- and 10-day itineraries through the charming ports of New England and Eastern Canada; and warm-weather fall and winter cruises along the Southern East Coast into the Caribbean.

Bookings for the newly unveiled 2017 Crystal Serenity voyages are now available with "Book Now" fares starting at US$2,625* per person double occupancy including all taxes through 29 February, 2016.

Crystal's newest vessel, luxury yacht Crystal Esprit, as well as its upcoming five luxury river yachts, will focus primarily in the waters of the Mediterranean region nearly year-round.  Crystal Esprit will sail to and from long favoured cities such as Venice, Dubrovnik and Athens, with calls to lesser explored gems only accessible by yacht. Likewise, the river yachts will grace the waterways of Europe include the Rhine, Seine, Danube, Main, Garonne, and Dordogne Rivers, visiting charming ports throughout Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Hungary, and others.


1800 251 174 (Australia)
0800 446 376 (New Zealand)


Tassie’s air link to Singapore grows stronger

 

  
Tasmania Premier and Tourism Minister Will Hodgman today confirmed a new interline arrangement between Scoot and Virgin Australia, which will extend to all Virgin Australia flights into Hobart and Launceston.

Scoot, the low-cost, medium-haul arm of the Singapore Airlines Group, operates the world's first all 787 Dreamliner fleet to 18 destinations in eight countries/regions, including non-stop services from Singapore to Sydney, Gold Coast, Perth and Melbourne.  

Through its partnership with Virgin Australia, Scoot will now be able to connect its Singapore-Melbourne service to Virgin Australia services operating between Melbourne, Hobart and Launceston.

The interline arrangement means that guests will now be able to book flights all the way from Singapore through to Tasmania via Melbourne on a single ticket. Tasmanians and visitors leaving the state can also book flights departing Hobart or Launceston to Singapore via Melbourne on a single ticket.

The new interline arrangement enhances connectivity between Tasmania and Singapore, complementing Scoot's existing Singapore-Sydney connection to Virgin Australia's services operating between Sydney, Hobart and Launceston.

The extension of Scoot's interline partnership with Virgin Australia acknowledges Tasmania's growing popularity amongst Asian visitors, and provides a great opportunity to attract more visitors from Singapore to the state for leisure, education and business.

This arrangement will be available in industry booking systems, providing greater exposure for Tasmania in the Singapore travel distribution network.

Scoot Chief Executive Officer, Campbell Wilson said, "Since Scoot commenced flights between Singapore and Melbourne last November, the response has been amazing.  Our fantastic value airfares, plentiful choices and service with Scootitude have clearly proved a hit, so we're delighted to making them even more accessible to Tasmanians and overseas visitors though the extension of our partnership with Virgin Australia."

The Tasmanian Government has a goal of attracting 1.5 million visitors to its state every year by 2020; the Asia visitor market will play a key role in reaching this target.

The Tasmanian Government's Access 2020 Plan also shows that total air capacity will need to increase by 700,000 seats over the next five years or around 140,000 extra seats a year to achieve the 1.5 million visitor target.

The Tasmania interline connection between Virgin Australia and Scoot is very timely, and is a further sign of the confidence that international and major domestic airlines have in the future growth of Tasmania's visitor economy.

The new interline arrangement also provides an ideal opportunity for Tourism Tasmania to undertake more cooperative marketing with its air access partners for Tasmania.


Singapore Airlines to fly to Canberra




SINGAPORE AIRLINES TO MAKE HISTORY WITH NEW 'CAPITAL EXPRESS'

·         Australia and New Zealand's capitals directly connected for the first time
·         SQ291/292 to be Canberra's first regularly scheduled international service

Singapore Airlines today announced it would be the first international airline to operate regularly scheduled international flights from Australia's capital, Canberra.

The new 'Capital Express' route will provide the nation's capital with two direct international destination options with flight SQ292/291 operating Canberra-Singapore and Canberra-Wellington.

For the first time in the two countries' histories, Australia and New Zealand's capital cities will be serviced by non-stop flights four times a week beginning in September 2016 – subject to regulatory approval.

"This new service linking Singapore, Canberra and Wellington reflects the close ties between the three countries," said Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong.

"We are excited about the prospects for our new 'Capital Express' route, which we are confident will appeal to leisure, government and corporate travellers.

"We are especially pleased to be bringing more convenient travel options to customers with Canberra's first regularly scheduled international flights and the first non-stop links between the capitals of Australia and New Zealand."

Since it was purchased in 1998 the Capital Airport Group has invested more than $2 billion in facilities at Canberra Airport, investments that will have helped it make history on 21 September when it welcomes the first Singapore Airlines flight.

Canberra Airport Chairman, Mr Terry Snow AM, said the decision by Singapore Airlines to begin operations was justification of the long-term vision that Canberra Airport has had for many years.

"From day one, my family set about creating a world-class gateway for the national capital. As long-term locals committed to the prosperity of the capital region, our campaign to see Canberra become linked directly to the rest of the world has been constant," said Mr Snow.

"We have worked closely with the ACT Government and VisitCanberra, and particularly Chief Minister Andrew Barr who over many years has been unwavering in his passion and support for our quest to gain direct international flights.

"I can think of no better partner than Singapore Airlines with its reputation for quality and excellence to be the first to set Canberra Airport on this historic course."

Tickets for the new Capital Express service will be on sale from Monday 25 January with Economy Class fares starting from $650 all-inclusive for CBR-SIN return and $469 all-inclusive for CBR-WLG return. Business Class fares start from $3,166 all-inclusive for CBR-SIN return and $1,450 all-inclusive for CBR-WLG return.

Singapore Airlines' Alliance partner Virgin Australia will codeshare on flights between Canberra and Singapore, providing Virgin Australia customers with greater access to Singapore, Asia and Europe.

The new Canberra service will add to Singapore Airlines' already extensive Australian network. The Airline's Australian network currently includes flights between Singapore and Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Subsidiary SilkAir also serves Cairns and Darwin, while a wide-ranging partnership with Virgin Australia extends Singapore Airlines' Australian and South Pacific network to another 53 codeshare destinations.

Singapore Airlines' new Wellington services will complement existing services between Singapore and both Auckland and Christchurch, and come in a year in which it celebrates its 40th and 30th anniversaries serving the cities, respectively.

Singapore Airlines also has an extensive partnership with Air New Zealand.

The Capital Express service will be operated with 266-seat retrofitted Boeing 777-200 fitted with 38 Business Class seats and 228 Economy Class seats.


About Canberra Airport

The Capital Airport Group, led by Chairman Terry Snow and Managing Director Stephen Byron, has invested almost $2 billion in facilities at Canberra Airport since purchasing it from the Commonwealth in 1998. An exciting and elegant new Canberra Airport terminal enhances the tourism promise of the Capital region. Designed and built by local companies, and featuring inviting spaces punctuated with world-class artwork, the Airport reflects the style and originality of contemporary Canberra. Just eight minutes' drive from iconic national cultural institutions including the Australian War Memorial, hip hotels and restaurants, and two hours from some of Australia's best natural experiences, from the ocean to the snow to the outback, Canberra Airport is an integral gateway for the region's ambitions to grow and globalise.

Canberra Airport offers frequent and direct services to Australia's major cities, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Gold Coast and Newcastle, and an upgraded runway is able to accommodate larger jets including the Boeing 747 and Boeing 777, as well as the Airbus A380. Canberra Airport enjoys a unique position as the only 747-capable, curfew-free airport between Brisbane and Melbourne. Catering to a population of almost one million people within two hours' drive, Canberra Airport lives up to its vision of becoming the world's best small airport and sets the tone for what to expect from one of the world's best-planned and most liveable cities and its dynamic and enticing region.

 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Eureka Skydeck celebrates Chinese New Year

Good View, Good Fortune at Eureka Skydeck 88 this Chinese New Year.

Eureka Skydeck 88 will once again embrace Melbourne’s rich Chinese culture and international visitors from 6-12 February, honouring the 2016 Year of the Monkey with Chinese New Year theming, giveaways and a lucky 88 display.

Situated on the 88th floor of Eureka Tower, the Skydeck can be considered a lucky place to celebrate the New Year with the number 8 considered an attractive symbol of luck and prosperity in Chinese culture.

The Eureka Skydeck 88 entry will be glowing red throughout Chinese New Year with its sea of beautiful red lanterns, while visitors seize the opportunity to discover their Chinese zodiac sign and New Year fortune.

From 6 – 21 February, Australia’s largest illuminated Dragon Head will also visit Eureka Skydeck. Sitting at almost five metres high, two metres wide and seven and a half metres long, the Chinese New Year dragon’s head will be situated in the plaza just out the front of Eureka Skydeck for all visitors to see.

The Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform is the place to be until 10pm daily (last entry 9.30pm) when the city lights up for Chinese New Year. Visitors will also get the chance to find their luck at Eureka Skydeck 88 with fortune cookies containing prizes to be given away.

During Chinese New Year, bi-lingual information boards will be on display at Eureka Skydeck with social and historical information and images to educate and enlighten visitors about Chinese culture.

Since its opening in 2007, Eureka Skydeck has welcomed an increasing number of Chinese visitors, both international and domestic, and China is now considered Eureka Skydeck’s top international market. Those who visit the observation deck are offered visitor guides in simplified and traditional Chinese and directional signage in Mandarin.

With a presence on Chinese social media sites Wechat, Sina Weibo and Youku, Eureka Skydeck strives to communicate with its ever-growing Chinese fan base across all multimedia platforms.

Guests visiting Eureka Skydeck during Chinese New Year can book using an online booking system and can conveniently have their tickets emailed straight to their inbox.


Eureka Skydeck
7 Riverside Quay Southbank Melbourne Vic 3006
www.eurekaskydeck.melbourne
03 9693 8888

Best Western global loyalty program upgrade - no points expiry



Loyalty first: Best Western Rewards® introduces global program upgrade
New membership tiers and lifetime loyalty points for Best Western Rewards members


Best Western Rewards, the award-winning loyalty program for Best Western Hotels & Resorts (BW), has introduced two new membership tiers and removed points expiry, becoming the only major hotel chain to offer points with a lifetime spend.

Steve Richards, Best Western Australasia's Head of Commercial said the changes are part of Best Western's commitment to introducing a better service and more recognition for its most valued guests.

"Best Western Rewards is a truly global rewards program offering more benefits than ever before. The fact that points no longer expire is a big deal for guests, regardless of whether they've stayed at a Best Western hotel within 12 months or two years. What this means is Best Western Rewards members can now keep all their accumulated points and redeem these for holidays or gift cards whenever they want," Mr Richards said.

With 25 million members worldwide, Best Western Rewards now has five membership tiers: Blue, the standard entry tier; the new Gold status, for guests who stay with Best Western at least 10 nights a year; Platinum, for members who stay 15 nights a year; Diamond, for members who stay 30 nights a year, and the new Diamond Select for 50+ nights a year.

Guests who achieve Diamond Select status, now the top tier in the Best Western Rewards program, will receive a 50 per cent point bonus, room upgrades and a welcome gift on check-in.

"We see Diamond Select status being most lucrative for our business travellers. These are guests who are staying frequently at Best Western hotels and rapidly accumulating points as part of their working week," Mr Richards continued.

Best Western Rewards points can be earned from stays across Best Western's six brands: Best Western, Best Western PLUS, Best Western PLUS Executive Residency, Best Western PREMIER, the BW Premier Collection and GLō.
"All Platinum, Diamond and Diamond Select members receive a welcome gift on check-in at any of Best Western's 4,000 hotels worldwide. This is part of an ongoing strategy to introduce more member benefits so our most loyal guests can earn rewards faster than before," Mr Richards said.

In 2014 and 2015, Best Western Rewards was named the top loyalty program by Loyalty360, one of the top three hotel loyalty programs by U.S. News & World Report, and received the American Express Loyalty Award. It was also awarded the Asia Pacific region's up and coming loyalty program in the 2015 Freddie Awards.

Joining Best Western Rewards is free: go to www.bestwestern.com/rewards to sign up to the program.

About Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Best Western Hotels & Resorts is headquartered in Phoenix Arizona, U.S., with over 4,000 hotels in 100 countries worldwide. Best Western Australasia is a third-party organisation and licensee of Best Western Hotels & Resorts, with 160 independently owned and managed Best Western hotels across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. Best Western's family of brands caters for all travel styles with Best Western, Best Western PLUS, Best Western PLUS Executive Residency, Best Western PREMIER, the BW Premier Collection and GLō. More than 25 million travellers are members of the award-winning loyalty program, Best Western Rewards®.

On 30 September 2015, Best Western Hotels & Resorts announced a global brand transformation. Visit www.bestwestern.com.au to learn more or find Best Western Australasia on Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

MTA’s Sue Basedow comes in out of the Arctic cold


Pictured hitching herself to a reindeer lookout post in Luosto in Finnish Lapland, MTA – Mobile Travel Agents' Sue Basedow described her recent visit to the Arctic Circle as one of the 'best ever experiences in more than 30 years of travel."

Visiting Estonia, Finland and Sweden as part of a 50 Degrees North, Finnair and Consolidated Travel Group 'High Achievers' study tour, itinerary highlights included the Northern Lights, a personal reindeer sleigh ride, a snow mobile tour, an overnight stay in a glass igloo and even a visit to meet Santa Claus at his village.

Sue's program also included a Stockholm - Helsinki cruise on the recently renovated Ms Silja Serenade and a flight on Finnair's new A350 on the Helsinki-Shanghai route.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Solomon Airlines temporary suspension of Sydney - Honiara service




Solomon Airlines has announced the temporary suspension of its Sydney - Honiara service from 22 February – 25 April 2016 while the carrier's flagship Airbus A-320 undergoes maintenance in Singapore.

All passengers affected by the suspension will be flown between Brisbane and Honiara via the airline's four direct services which the airline will operate using a Boeing B737-800 aircraft leased from codeshare partner Qantas Airways.

Apologising for any inconvenience caused to passengers, Solomon Airlines General Manager Operations & Commercial, Gus Kraus said the airline was "extremely grateful" to Qantas for stepping in to assist the airline in maintaining the core of its Australian schedule.

"All passengers holding confirmed tickets will re-routed ex-Sydney to Brisbane to connect with either the airline's Monday or Wednesday services," he said.

"Passengers holding confirmed tickets ex-Honiara to Sydney will be similarly accommodated."

During the maintenance period Solomon Airlines will operate a same day return service between Brisbane and Honiara on Mondays.

Additional direct services ex-Brisbane to Honiara will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays as per normal scheduling.

Additional direct services ex-Honiara to Brisbane will operate every Thursday, Friday and Sunday as per normal scheduling.

Solomon Airlines' services to Nadi and Port Vila will not be affected by the schedule change.

The Airbus A-320 is expected to return to full operation on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 when it will recommence the scheduled Sydney-Honiara service.

For further information visit www.flysolomons.com.

Solomon Airlines Australian Office - telephone toll free on 1300 894311 or + 61 3860 5883.

Solomon Islands Travel Centre Honiara – telephone + 677 20152.

 


 

Soft Opening of Dorsett Putrajaya - The Latest Gem in the Federal Territory of Putrajaya



Dorsett Putrajaya, managed by Dorsett Hospitality International soft launched today, 16th of January 2016. This urban midscale hotel with 218 rooms is conveniently located in the heart of Malaysia's federal administrative capital in Precinct 3;  within walking distance to key Malaysian government offices such as Perbadanan Putrajaya, National Registration Department, Customs Department, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Entrepreneurship and the Federal Court of Malaysia to name a few.

For leisure travellers, the hotel is close to several places of interest; Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque, Perdana Putra, Putrajaya Maritime Centre, Putrajaya Lake Club, Taman Pancarona, Taman Seri Empangan and adjacent to the soon-to-open Palladium Mall offering a host of retailing and dining options.

The all-day restaurant of the hotel - The View overlooks the scenic Putrajaya Lake. The gorgeous view enhances the gourmet experience by specialty chef, Shamsul Rizal. The Dorsett Cafe, on the other hand, is a casual deli with ready-to-go snacks and beverages while the rooftop bar – The Atrium Bar overlooks the unique Putrajaya city skyline.

For midscale meeting and conferences as well as special occasions or even social events, the hotel features a stylishly designed pillar-less ballroom with a capacity of up to three hundred people and five meeting rooms of various sizes.  The ballroom can be divided into two separate meeting space while the five meeting rooms can be combined as one large meeting venue.

Putrajaya's latest gem also houses Putrajaya's first rooftop infinity pool, a comprehensively equipped gymnasium and a multi-award winning spa which will offer guests a rejuvenating experience after a long day at work or sightseeing.  The recreational facilities are conveniently located at the rooftop of the hotel at Level 9.

With the Putrajaya ERL Station just a mere 10-minute drive away and only 30-minute drive to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Dorsett Putrajaya is the ideal address for leisure, business and conferences.

Discover the latest gem of Putrajaya today.  A special introductory rate of RM 255 nett per room per night in a Dorsett room inclusive of two daily buffet breakfasts at Dorsett Cafe is available from now till 31st March 2016 with limited facilities during this soft launch period.

Other inclusions are:

~       Welcome fruits

~       One welcome drink at Hotel's food and beverage outlet

~       Complimentary minibar (selected items)

~       Complimentary in-room WiFi

The introductory rate is valid till 31st March 2016.  For reservations, email to: reservations.putrajaya@dorsetthotels.com

To find out more about Dorsett Putrajaya, log onto to www.dorsetthotels.com

To find out more about Putrajaya and places of interest, log onto: http://www.dorsetthotels.com/malaysia/putrajaya/travel-guide.php

Special room and dining privileges are accorded to CIMB cardholders.  For further information, log onto: http://www.dorsetthotels.com/malaysia/putrajaya/rooms-promotions.php


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sydney Precincts - A Curated Guide to the City's Best Shops, Eateries, Bars and Other Hangouts

SYDNEY PRECINCTS: A Curated Guide to the City's Best Shops, Eateries, Bars and Other Hangouts - Beautiful New Guidebook Released January 2016

One look at glamorous, glitzy and grand Sydney – and you'll fall in love. One read of SYDNEY PRECINCTS by stylist and blogger Chris Carroll, and you'll know just which shops, cafes, restaurants and bars to visit to turn this into a more lasting love affair.

Sydney locals already know the whereabouts of their treasured hotspots, cool zones and tucked-away-little-gems, and often keep their secrets closely guarded. Luckily Chris Carroll is here to help you look past the beaches and discover the best of Sydney: from the intimate cafe hidden at the end of a wharf in Kirribilli to the gaudy and lauded restaurants of Sydney's CBD, from the cute stationery shops of the Northern Beaches to the famous bakeries of the Inner West.

Join Chris on his perfect Sydney day, as he takes you to beachside brekky in Bondi, indulgent interiors shopping in Rosebery, the freshest fish & chips on a rooftop in The Rocks, followed by a spot of culture, Sydney-style, at the MCA and a couple of glamorous cocktails at the Opera House. Dinner might be Nepalese in the eclectic Surry Hills, followed by dancing 'til dawn in the hotspots of Glebe. What's not to love?

With hot tips and insider interviews with the faces behind the places that make Sydney tick, SYDNEY PRECINCTS is your perfect tour guide. Beautifully produced in hardback, with stunning design and full colour photography and mapping,SYDNEY PRECINCTS reflects the vibrancy and energy of this amazing city. You'll never want to leave.

'Sydney is sure to put on a good show! It's all big lights and loads of razzle dazzle, but underpinning that is a laid-back beach culture with a lot of history waiting to be uncovered. You just have to look for it.'

Chris Carroll

AUTHOR DETAILS

Chris Carroll lived in and around Sydney for over 10 years but, like any true Sydneysider, didn't venture out of his burrow until he started his blog, The Life Creative, three years ago. The blog paved the way for Chris to start exploring the city more, uncovering a host of creativity along the way – and resulting in this book! Find out more about Chris at www.thelifecreativeblog.com

SYDNEY PRECINCTS

A curated guide to the city's best shops, eateries, bars and other hangouts

Published by Hardie Grant Publishing in January, RRP $39.95 hardback.



Traveloscopy | 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Emirates Melbourne Airport Lounge



Emirates has unveiled its new Melbourne Airport lounge, revealing a contemporary and fresh look, based on the new design of Emirates lounges worldwide.

At 1,268sqm in size, the Melbourne lounge is one of the biggest outstation lounges for the airline in the world and caters to up to 241 passengers.

With a view of the airfield, passengers will enjoy first class facilities and amenities including LED TV's, leather armchairs, a dining area, prayer room with ablution areas, shower facilities and a business centre.

In addition, passengers will be able to choose from a selection of hot and cold dishes from the gourmet buffet, as well as extensive beverage services. Some of the dishes on offer include: waffles and French toast for breakfast; teriyaki salmon, chicken satay and traditional fish and chips for snacks; and lamb cutlets, prawn salads, curries and chicken Schnitzel for dinner, as well as the finest selection of champagne, wines and spirits.

The new Melbourne lounge forms part of a continuous global effort by the airline to upgrade its lounge offering for its passengers. In the last few months, Emirates has also updated its lounges at London Heathrow Airport and Perth International Airport, to further enhance the passenger experience when flying through these ports.

"Our worldwide lounges ensure passengers are able to enjoy Emirates' world-class experience from the moment they arrive at the airport," said Barry Brown, Emirates' Divisional Vice President for Australasia.

"The new and expanded Melbourne lounge will also help cater for additional capacity from March when we up-gauge and replace the existing Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on one of our daily flights with an A380," he added.

From the 1st of March 2016, EK404 and EK405 will be operated by the Emirates flagship A380 aircraft, providing more customer options as well as additional seat capacity on the route. With this up-gauge, Melbourne will be served twice daily with an Emirates A380.

Emirates currently operates three daily flights to Dubai from Melbourne including a direct daily A380 service, one service which operates via Singapore and a third which operates via Kuala Lumpur. In addition Emirates offers daily flights between Melbourne and Auckland on its flagship A380 aircraft.

The Emirates Lounge at Melbourne Airport is located on Level 3 of the International Terminal (entrance is located adjacent to gate 10 on the departures level).

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Thailand Tourism News - the latest news and deals from Thailand



Destination Thailand News - Bringing you the latest news and deals from Thailand

Be the first to read today's online edition:CLICK HERE

Thailand expects a bumper tourism year in 2016 Despite a few setbacks last year, Thailand faces a bumper tourism year in 2016, with record numbers of international visitors expected to visit the country’s many attractions. Continue reading »

BBC says Thailand among the best countries for retirement abroad The BBC reports that Thailand is among the best countries for retirement. Continue reading »

Zeid urges Thailand to fully investigate enforced disappearances The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Wednesday urged the Thai Government to take decisive and sustained efforts to investigate the whereabouts of at least 82 people listed as disappeared, including respected lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit who went missing nearly 12 years ago. Continue reading »

PM invites tourists to Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem market Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha is inviting all tourists to the “The river market of Thainess” at Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem which will be held un til January 26th. Continue reading »

Local & foreign visitors enjoy sea fog in Yala A large number of tourists have visited the southernmost province of Yala to catch a glimpse of sea fog in Aiyoeweng subdistrict. Continue reading »

Monday, January 11, 2016

Relais & Châteaux presents Taste of Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific - A new guide to excellent hospitality and fine food and wine in this diverse region

Relais & Châteaux presents Taste of Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific - A new guide to excellent hospitality and fine food and wine in this diverse region

Relais & Châteaux presents Taste of Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific - A new guide to excellent hospitality and fine food and wine in this diverse region

For over 60 years Relais & Châteaux has cultivated excellence in hospitality around the globe, exalting the uniqueness of each regional destination while preserving local food traditions. Now the Association's Oceania delegation of members announces the publication of Taste of Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific, the guide to travel culinary excellence across this diverse region.

Cultural and culinary diversity are at the heart of every Relais & Châteaux restaurant and hotel and this is no more evident than with a journey through Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.  From the mountains to the beaches, the vibrant cities to the expansive vineyards, there is something common across this part of the world - a connection to the land and its local terroir.  From the warm welcome of the Pacific Islands to the wonderful creative food made with the freshest of ingredients by inspiring and passionate chefs, this land is vast beyond dreaming, a place of infinite surprises, ready to be explored.

These 12 Relais & Châteaux member properties offer a window onto the authentic face of their respective regions – all are very different, but are united in their commitment to sharing the Art de Vivre with their guests:


AUSTRALIA

§  Tetsuya's Restaurant
§  Guillaume Restaurant
§  Jonah's Restaurant & Boutique Hotel
§  Hentley Farm Restaurant
§  The Louise Barossa Valley & Appellation


NEW ZEALAND

§  The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs
§  Huka Lodge
§  The Farm at Cape Kidnappers
§  Otahuna Lodge
§  Matakauri Lodge


FIJI

§  Dolphin Island


TAHITI

§  Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa


Commenting on the publication of this new guide, Relais & Châteaux delegate for the region, Mr Jim Carreker, owner of The Louise Barossa Valley observed, "It seems that a tour 'down under' is on every traveller's wish list.  Whether to explore the lively cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland, to bask in the warm Southern Hemisphere sun, to drink deeply of the pinnacle of new world wines, to snorkel in pristine waters, to golf sea-cliff fairways, to fish for trout in a rushing stream, there's a reason for every guest to love the locales of the Relais and Châteaux members across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.  And, unifying each of these very special restaurants and hotels is an extraordinary dining experience.

Our chefs have always naturally sourced locally and evolved their menus to highlight ingredients at the peak of seasonal freshness.  Whether it's seafood from the crystal clear Southern Ocean, vegetables straight from the on-site kitchen garden or beef, fowl and game from a nearby paddock, our restaurants exemplify the vision of Relais and Châteaux to make the world a better place through cuisine and hospitality.

This is a land where casual luxury is amplified in nights with starry skies, mighty vistas and service characterised by charming local knowledge.  We welcome you to explore the world of Relais and Châteaux in our corner of the globe."

Publication of the new 52 page guide is the result of a collaboration among the region's members, the Paris-based head office of Relais & Châteaux, and international luxury partner brands Blancpain, BMW, Silversea, Taittinger and Hertz.

Individual copies of the new publication are available by contacting Relais & Châteaux directly on: email: rc-australia@relaischateaux.com or calling in Australia 1300 121 341 +61 or 0800 540 008 from New Zealand.

Or follow this link to the online flipbook version

www.relaischateaux.com

MTA Member goes hard putting on the Ritz


When any MTA – Mobile Travel Agent embarks on a hotel inspection, they never do things by halves as evidenced by hard-hat wearing Belinda Manning (pictured) who donned the protective gear as part of 'behind the scenes' inspection of the famous Ritz Hotel in Paris.

The MTA Member was in France as part of a Leading Hotels of the World 'Paris & French Riviera' study tour which also encompassed Nice, Cannes and Provence.

W: www.mtatravel.com.au

F:   www.facebook.com/mobiletravelagents    

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Tamworth Toyota Country Music Festival

Tamworth, the home of country music in Australia will come alive for the annual Toyota Country Music Festival from 15 – 24 January 2016.



With over 700 performers and 2,800 shows taking place across 120 different venues, the largest country music festival in the southern hemisphere will feature performances from some of the biggest names in country music including Kasey Chambers, Shannon Noll and Brothers 3.

Named as the “perfect country town” by Australian Traveller Magazine, laidback Tamworth in Regional NSW is the perfect destination for a short break with the family during the Festival.

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said: “The Tamworth Country Musical Festival is recognised world-wide and we look forward to welcoming the many performers and visitors to Tamworth this January for a spectacular event and a wonderful NSW country experience.”

Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase said, “With a ten-day program of family street music, dedicated children’s concerts, carnival rides and more, the Festival environment is perfect for the entire family.

“The festival is considered one of the top ten country music festivals in the world and offers a great experience for families to enjoy some of Australia’s best musical talent and a taste of good old fashioned country life.”

Destination NSW suggests the following five reasons for families to visit Tamworth during the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth:

1. With trail maps available from the Tamworth Visitors Information Centre, take a trip through country music history. Our picks are the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame with 40 exhibits of memorabilia from country music greats, the Gallery of Stars Wax Museum and the perfect selfie stop in front of the Big Golden Guitar

2. While visiting the region, you may want to take a peek into the world of sporting horses at Tamworth’s Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre. The state of the arts events centre draws competitors and spectators from all around Australia where you can see some of the best sport horses and riders in the country

3. If it’s a native animal experience you’re after, Tamworth’s Marsupial Park offers an experience unlike any other in NSW. The park is run by volunteers and houses kangaroos, peacocks, cockatoos and emus. Children can get close to the animals and play in the newly established Adventure Playground

4. If you’re looking for an introduction to fishing with your children, why not try trout fishing at a specialist trout farm located within an hour of Tamworth’s CBD. Arc-en-Ciel Trout Farm nestled in the hills of Hanging Rock near the historic gold mining village of Nundle is the perfect location for a day of fishing fun with the family

5. For the adventurous, the Tamworth Mountain Bike Park offers a range of riding tracks for all levels of experience. If you’re keen to stay outdoors but don’t have a bike, Thorny’s Putt Putt at the Longyard Golf Course features two 18 hole courses, including the ‘Dragon’ for beginners and the ‘Devil’ for those who like a challenge.

For more information on Tamworth and the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth please go to www.visitnsw.com

For more information on Tamworth during the festival, visit the Festival HQ pop up at 437 Peel Street for destination ideas, regional food and wine tastings and an artist’s guitar feature wall.

Traveloscopy | 

Australia's crankiest croc Elvis turns 50



Known as Australia’s crankiest crocodile and famous for attacking a keeper’s lawnmower in 2011, Elvis the resident saltwater crocodile at The Australian Reptile Park is turning 50.

To celebrate, the 500 kilo crocodilian was given his annual gift comprising of half an animal carcass, likely to be a cow, in which dragged into the water and death roll.

The superior hunter and predator possesses larger than average size teeth and a jaw capable of crushing the bones of large prey, which General Manager, Tim Faulkner, said “the bone crunching sound makes my bones shudder”.

Commenting on the extremely dangerous feeding procedure, Billy Collett, Head of Reptiles at Australian Reptile Park said, “Elvis is one cranky crocodile, a wound inflicted by this guy would be extremely severe and this typical opportunistic predator is infamous for attacks on humans.

“Elvis came to us from the Northern Territory where he was causing havoc to fisherman’s boats. He has even gone for me a few times when feeding, so the process of giving him such a large carcass needs to be cautiously thought out.

“Today I had General Manager Tim Faulkner, Operations Manager Mike Drinkwater and Ranger Mick in the enclosure as back up support. We lured him out of the water with the carcass, and held onto a rope attached to the cow to demonstrate his pulling ability during the death roll.

“Once Elvis grabbed the carcass there was no letting go until he got a mouthful of food. If he ate the whole carcass at once it would have him in a hibernation state from food for at least eight weeks, which is not good for his feeding routine.”

Elvis the crocodile is a fine ambassador for his species. Saltwater crocodiles were once hunted to the brink of extinction in Australia, but following their status to be legally protected in QLD, NT and WA, their numbers have made a full recovery and they are now listed as least concern by the
International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Australian Reptile Park & Devil Ark
www.reptilepark.com.au

Traveloscopy | 

Bored and Broke? Here's 15 Fabulous Freebies For The Summer Holidays


Christmas can pack a punch when it comes to the purse strings, so we've hit the streets and come up with fifteen fun family freebies in South East Queensland. Trust us, these activities won't hurt your wallet as you head towards the tail end of the summer holidays. 
  1. How well do you really know Brisbane? When it comes to street art, Brisbane has some serious swagger, so book in a free walking tour with the eclectic bunch from Brisbane Greeters. All you need to do is BYO a water bottle, a hat and your selfie stick to record your adventures. #thisisqueensland.
  1. Moreton Bay shines in the summer months, so head to Manly for aWednesday Afternoon Go Sailing (WAGS) adventure with the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. There's no such thing as a free ride though, so come prepared to learn the ropes and hit the decks running as part of the crew.  You must be over 18 to participate.
  1. The Gallery of Modern Art is air-conditioned and gorgeously situated on the Brisbane River, but best of all, they run a free children's art centre… who knows, you might just unearth the next Archibald winner.
  1. Pack a picnic, some snags and your utensils and head to the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, New Farm Park or one of a hundred other choice spots around the state and take advantage of the free council BBQs.  You've got to plan this one well in advance to get the choicest spot!
  1. Did somebody say road trip? We're blessed with great national parks, bushlands and swimming holes in south east Queensland, so hit the road and take the family.  Coomba Falls at Maidenwell, Girraween National Park at Ballandean and Lake Leslie at Warwick are just three of spots you could pick.
  1. Head to Brisbane's Powerhouse for their knock-off Fridays free comedy sessions.  Just check in first to make sure they're family friendly.
  1. Slip into farm life at Maleny Dairies. Did you know they run a tour of their farm and factory that's perfect for kids?  Cue the cuteness.
  1. For the adventurers amongst us, get up with the sparrows and climb to the top of Mount Coolum to catch the sunrise – it's worth the climb!
  1. It's free to enter the Yandina Ginger Factory on the Sunshine Coast and to visit their annual Ginger Flower and Food Festival which runs from January 18-20.  Once inside, jump aboard 'Moreton' the ginger train for a puff around the gardens.  
  1. Head to the fabulous beaches in and along the Noosa Heads Coastal Trackand keep your eyes peeled for koalas in the treetops above the trail.
  1. Grab your stand-up paddleboards and take to any of the sheltered waterways in the Great South East.
  1. Go for a Sunday Drive any day of the week – after all you're on holidays! Wind your way up Mount Tamborine, along the coast at Rainbow Beach (and catch a sunset at Carlo Sand Blow) or take to the hills in theSunshine hinterland.
  1. Queensland's full of BIG things… plan a road trip and tick a few off your bucket list including these: The Big Cow, Nambour; The Big Hard Rock Guitar, Surfers Paradise; The Big Macadamia Nut, Nambour;  The Big Pelican, Noosaville; The Big Pie, Yatala; and The Big Pyramid, Stanthorpe.
  1. Streets Beach in Southbank Parklands is a popular watering hole in summer… but there are also some pretty cool pockets of parkland on the river that are perfect for relaxing.  Go early to get your pick of the bunch.
  1. Brisbane's City Hall Tours are free-of-charge - the 120-year-old pipe organ alone is worth a gander!




Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Putting The Great In 'The Great Barrier Reef'



Forget Beiber, Attenborough fever is about to hit our shores as the veteran broadcaster's eagerly-anticipated Great Barrier Reef documentary series makes its small screen debut in the UK on the BBC this December 30.

What began sixty years ago, with rather rudimentary SCUBA and camera equipment, came full circle last year when Sir David one again dived the reef… this time in a state-of-the-art submersible, with the latest scientific thinking and super high-tech cameras, macro lenses and satellite scanners.  The rest, as they say, will go down in the annals of modern documentary history and Australians will be in the box seat, with the show set to screen locally early in the New Year.
In an interview with UK press, Sir David described the reef as: “the most magical thing you ever saw in your life.” He went on to describe the first time he dived beneath the surface and saw the diverse range of multi-coloured species that call the reef home.  In his words, it had “astounding and unforgettable beauty.”
The Great Barrier Reef is dynamic, diverse and ever-changing and it is one of Australia's strongest tourism drawcards, attracting almost two million visitors a year.  As anticipation for Attenborough's series starts to build, we've unveiled six super sexy must-dos that help put the 'Great' in The Great Barrier Reef.
Reef Sleep: Cruise Whitsundays' Two Day, One Night Reefsleep adventure accesses our underwater world and provides the best place to rest your sleepy, salt-water head – in overnight swags under the stars on a reef pontoon. Gourmet meals give you the energy to keep jumping, diving, and lazing until day's end.http://www.cruisewhitsundays.com/gbra-reefsleep.aspx
When Time Is A Factor: Reef Sprinter snorkelling adventures have guests on the reef just 15 minutes after leaving Port Douglas. Reef Sprinter take smaller group tours – up to 14 guests – out to experience the vast coral gardens and abundant fish life of the Low Isles. They even include a glass-bottom boat trip.  Getting there is half the fun aboard the 600 horsepower sprinter reaching speeds of more than 40 knots. Reef Sprinter tours operate daily from the Port Douglas Slipway.www.reefsprinter.com.au
See Creatures Without Getting Wet: Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville is the world's largest living coral reef aquarium and comes complete with a marine turtle hospital and all manner of exhibits and hands-on displays that showcase the rare and rather wonderful creatures found on the reef.  www.reefhq.com.au
Close Encounters: Stunning Lady Elliot Island, on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, is known as the home of the Manta Rays, who are present all year around, but more abundant in the cooler months. Also in the stunning southern reef section, Heron Island is a haven for turtle hatchlings and a great place to freestyle with these flippered favourites while Lady Musgrave Island's natural lagoon is like swimming in a giant aquarium.  http://www.southerngreatbarrierreef.com.au/         
Licensed To Dive: Yongala wreck off Townsville is hailed as one of the top dive sites in the world… so trust us, when we say it's good!  The SS Yongala was wrecked during a cyclone in the early 1900s, but like the proverbial phoenix, has risen in popularity as divers around the globe converge for world-class diving.  On a clear day, you can dive with manta and eagle rays, bull sharks, turtles, barracudas and a number of large pelagics. Whale sharks have even been reported to pass by at certain times of the year.  http://www.yongaladive.com.au/
Take A Sea Plane Trip Over The Reef: Experience the sparkling expanse of the Great Barrier Reef from above. Air Whitsundays was the original sea plane operator to fly over the famous Heart Reef and continues its tradition of dropping guests off for a beach picnic at Whitehaven Beach. Tours depart from Airlie Beach. www.airwhitsundays.com.au


Traveloscopy | 

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