Search All Traveloscopy Sites

Traveloscopy attending in 2018:



Friday, April 20, 2018

Tragedy strikes Solomon Islands tourism family


Solomon Islands tourism industry mourns tragic loss of SIVB Officer

- official statement -

The close-knit Solomon Islands tourism community is in shock following the tragic death yesterday of Solomon Islands Visitor Bureau (SIVB) marketing officer, Stella Lucas.

Ms Lucas and three other SIVB colleagues had been assessing a hiking program in the Mataniko River region close to Honiara when the incident occurred.

One of those, Mr Chris Nemaia is still reported missing.

A devastated SIVB chairman, Wilson Ne'e said he was unable to comment on the exact circumstances until local authorities released an official report.

In the meantime, he said the SIVB team was being provided with counselling while they try to come to terms with the tragedy and the organisation was doing everything it could to help both Mr Nemaia and Ms Lucas' families at this time.

Visit: www.visitsolomons.com.sb

Facebook: www.facebook.com/visitsolomonislands

 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tauck’s ms Treasures and ms Esprit return from Massive Reconfiguration



Tauck has officially welcomed ms Treasures and ms Esprit back into its riverboat fleet in April 2018 following a massive reconfiguration of the vessels' interior spaces that has resulted in enlarged cabins and reduced passenger count.

The Treasures and Esprit are the last of Tauck's four 110-metre ships to undergo the radical transformation.

Tauck's two other 110-metre ships, ms Sapphire and ms Emerald, were similarly reconfigured a year ago, and returned to service in time for their 2017 sailing seasons.

With the reconfigurations, Tauck continues to prioritise creating larger cabins and roomier public areas for its guests, rather than taking the more conventional approach of maximising passenger count.

The Treasures and Esprit were fully gutted in a 'down-to-the-studs' refurbishment, with the most dramatic change occurring on their Ruby (middle) Decks, where 30 14-square-metre cabins in each ship's original configuration were replaced by 20 larger cabins measuring 21 square metres.

With the total number of cabins reduced from 59 to 49, each ship's overall capacity has been reduced from 118 passengers to 98 per vessel – a 17% reduction.

The Treasures and Esprit will sail on Tauck's cruises along the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, including its popular 'Amsterdam to Budapest by Riverboat' itinerary.

With the enhanced comfort resulting from larger cabins and fewer guests, the company expects this 14-night journey (which also operates from Budapest to Amsterdam) to become even more popular.

"With this year's reconfiguration of the Treasures and Esprit – and with identical transformations last year of the Sapphire and Emerald – we've reimagined and enhanced half of our riverboat fleet," said Tauck CEO, Dan Mahar.

"Now more than ever, we believe that we have the finest, most elegant riverboats on Europe's rivers.  Yet with that being said, we continue to maintain that what truly distinguishes Tauck river cruises is our 93 years of destination expertise, and our unmatched ability to tell the cultural and historical stories of the places we visit.  The onboard experience we deliver is the perfect complement to those signature Tauck experiences our guests enjoy ashore," Mr Mahar said.

In addition to the 20 new 21-square-metre cabins, each of Tauck's 110-metre ships already boasts 14 28-square-metre suites.  As a result, cabins measuring 21 square metres or larger now account for 69% of all accommodation – the highest percentage of such cabins on any 110-metre riverboats in Europe.

Even with the lowered passenger count, Tauck continues to staff each ship with a Tauck Cruise Director and a full complement of three Tauck Directors.  By contrast, other lines often have just a single cruise director attending to the needs of up to 190 passengers.

Another significant enhancement can be found on the Treasures' and Esprit's Diamond (upper) Decks, where the ships' second dining venue, The Bistro, has been upgraded with its own dedicated kitchen and chef.

On each ship, the Bistro has been renamed Arthur's in tribute to Tauck Chairman, Arthur Tauck Jr., and its expanded menu will continue to provide more casual alternatives to the fine dining selections offered in the ships' main Compass Rose restaurants.

Tauck introduced the concept of a second riverboat dining venue in 2006 and the enhanced Arthur's restaurant is already featured on Tauck's four 135-metre ships.

Bookings are to be directed to your travel agent or Tauck Australia on 1300 732 300 or reservations@tauck.com.au


How Ecotourism Is Changing the Australian Travel Landscape



Ecotourism in Australia is now mainstream.

This is evident not just from Ecotourism Australia's strong representation at this year's Australian Tourism Exchange in Adelaide (more than 1/4 of sellers on the ATE floor are Ecotourism Australia certified) and the recent successes of certified operators at the Australian Tourism Awards, but also from the dominance of unique nature-based tourism experiences available to international visitors to Australia.

Ecotourism is now central to marketing and product development with most destinations portraying themselves through nature imagery and activities. The days of 'flop and drop' at a beach are long gone and destinations are promoting their nature and culture experiences.

With words like 'sustainable,' 'green' and 'eco' being thrown around by businesses and travel companies alike, it is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to identify genuine ecotourism operators.

More than ever, there is a need to highlight businesses and products which are backed by a strong, well managed commitment to sustainable practices and which provide high quality nature-based tourism experiences.

Ecotourism Australia's ECO Certification Program is a pioneer in the industry, first introduced in 1996 to address the need to identify genuine nature and ecotourism operators. As one of only five standards worldwide accredited by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, the Ecotourism Australia logo gives assurance to travellers that an operator is committed to:
Protecting the natural environment
Offering quality interpretation
Supporting the local community
Reducing their carbon footprint
Protecting Australia's unique wildlife
Making real contributions to conservation
Helping to preserve Australian Indigenous culture and
Providing an unforgettable quality experience

Ecotourism Australia certified operators are recognized as delivering best practice tourism by not only Australia's protected area management agencies but also by national, state and local governments.

Ecotourism Australia's growing membership encompasses close to 500 operators with more than 1,500 products across Australia and also covers Respecting our Culture (ROC) certification and Climate Action certification.

Traveloscopy | 

South Australia's Best Winery Experiences



D'ARENBERG, MCLAREN VALE

With a dedication to "the art of being different", d'Arenberg, established in 1912, is one of the most significant wineries in McLaren Vale. Today, you'll find the cellar door in a beautifully restored 19th Century homestead, overlooking the Willunga Hills and Gulf of St Vincent. Adjoined is d'Arry's Verandah Restaurant with Head Chef Peter Reschke offering guests a quintessentially Australian dining experience.

Set to open in late 2017, The space-age d'Arenberg Cube is a five storey multi-functioning wine centre featuring several bars, a restaurant run by chef Brendan Wessels and private tasting rooms. Resembling an intergalactic Rubik's Cube, it will boast views overlooking the beautiful rolling hills of Willunga, the 19th Century homestead that houses d'Arry's Verandah Restaurant and the existing d'Arenberg cellar door.

Location: Osborn Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171, 40 minutes' drive from Adelaide.

WIRRA WIRRA, MCLAREN VALE

McLaren Vale's Wirra Wirra is a James Halliday 5 Star Winery, famous for its Church Block Shiraz – the largest-selling red blend in its category in Australia. At the historic cellar door, a range of exclusive wines are available to taste while at the onsite providore, Harry's Deli, a menu overflowing with South Australian regional produce is available. With a philosophy revolving around fun, visitors are encouraged to declare war on their fellow wine-drinkers, hurling watermelons across a field using the winery's medieval siege machine.

Location: McMurtrie Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171, 50 minutes' drive from Adelaide.

PENFOLDS MAGILL ESTATE, ADELAIDE

Nestled among Adelaide's foothills, just 15 minutes away from the CBD, Penfolds Magill Estate is the birthplace of Australia's most prized wine, Penfolds Grange. With a rich history dating back to 1844, Penfolds Magill Estate is home to a beautiful, heritage-listed winery and a labyrinth of underground tunnels and bluestone cellars. Magill Estate is also home to a fine-dining restaurant and kitchen, serving some of South Australia's most awarded cuisine.

Location: 78 Penfold Road, Adelaide SA 5071, 15 minutes' drive from Adelaide.

THE LANE VINEYARD, ADELAIDE HILLS

Down a quiet, winding country lane, over lush green hills lies The Lane Vineyard. Personifying the beauty of the Adelaide Hills, The Lane is a state-of-the-art winery, restaurant and cellar door, just over half an hour's drive from Adelaide's CBD. As one of the newest small batch single vineyard wineries in Australia, The Lane is fast proving itself as a force to be reckoned with, combining elegant cool-climate wines with a cutting-edge menu.

Location: 5 Ravenswood Ln, Hahndorf SA 5245, just over 30 minutes' drive from Adelaide.

JACOB'S CREEK, BAROSSA

Jacob's Creek is one of the country's leading wine brands, first launched in 1976 and named after a creek that runs through the beautiful Barossa Ranges. Jacob's Creek was originally founded by Orlando Wines with origins dating back to 1847. Today, the Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre is the home of the Jacob's Creek brand and is situated in South Australia's famous Barossa wine region. Here, you can take-in beautiful regional views, dig into award-winning food and sip legendary wine or combine it all with the full Sensory Experience.

Location: 2129 Barossa Valley Way, Rowland Flat SA 5352, just over one hour's drive from Adelaide.

SEPPELTSFIELD WINES, BAROSSA

With a legacy dating back to 1851, Seppeltsfield is an Australian icon, famous for its Centennial Collection: an unbroken lineage of Tawny, spanning every vintage from 1878 to today. Located in the Barossa, the Seppeltsfield Estate combines over 420 acres of vineyard, gardens and beautiful heritage-listed architecture. The cellar door is located in the 1900-built Seppelt Bottling Hall with four circular tasting pods and VIP mezzanine lounge. 2014 saw the addition of FINO: Seppeltsfield's multi award-winning restaurant, serving beautifully-crafted food, paired with a finely-balanced wine list.

Location: Seppeltsfield Rd, Seppeltsfield SA 5355, one hour's drive from Adelaide.

ST HUGO, BAROSSA

Located in the world-renowned Barossa, St Hugo honors the visionary winemaker, Hugo Gramp and is located within the ruins of William Jacob's winery, built over 150 years ago. Enjoy guided tastings, visits to the vineyard and bespoke experiences, along with specially crafted wine flights in the luxurious lounge and superb regional cuisine in the restaurant.

Location: 2141 Barossa Valley Way, Rowland Flat SA 5352, just over an hour's drive from Adelaide.

TWO HANDS WINES, BAROSSA

Two Hands Wines was founded in 1999 with the aim to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized growing regions throughout Australia. Two Hands showcases the diversity of Australian Shiraz by highlighting regional characteristics and allowing the fruit to be the primary feature of their wines. Two Hands has grown to be a clear market leader and is now sold in over 38 countries around the world.

At the Barossa cellar door, guests can immerse themselves in unique, structured tastings. A range of tours are on offer, from luxury 4x4 expeditions to long lunches and and wine flights.

Location: 273 Neldner Road, Marananga SA 5355, one hour and 10 minutes' drive from Adelaide.

DESTINATION DINING IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Match world-famous wine with incredible dinner destinations, from pure white shores to lush fields and rich red earth. Follow your taste buds to adventure

Traveloscopy | 

What's new on Queensland's Sunshine Coast


International Travel Planner 18-19 
The International Travel Planner (ITP) 2018-2019, Visit Sunshine Coast's major trade marketing collateral, will be officially launched at Australian Tourism Exchange 2018. The 52-page, A5 booklet will be available in digital download and flip-book versions. The ITP showcases the region's unique features including world-class nature, contemporary beach culture, innovative food, exhilarating events and immersive encounters. The ITP also provides detailed listing of international ready products and experience available on the Sunshine Coast for key distribution partners to consider in marketing campaigns and promotions. www.visitsunshinecoast.com/international-travel-planner
Habitat Noosa 
Revamped by The Discovery Group, new eco accommodation, Habitat Noosa will be completed by June 2018. The 65-acre site, with 500 metres of beachfront on the Noosa River will provide onsite camping, motorhome, RV sites and glamping accommodation. The eco-camp is also a dedicated facility for educational groups and conferencing for up to 100 delegates. www.habitatnoosa.com.au
Mary Valley Rattler 
The Mary Valley region of the Sunshine Coast, which is rich in produce, historic villages and adventure tourism will be opened up to an even bigger audience in 2018 when the 100-year-old Mary Valley 'Rattler' gets back on the rails and commences regular journeys between Old Gympie Station and Amamoor in the second half of 2018. The Old Gympie Station has also been fully restored, housing a museum that shares stories of the Mary Valley Railway Line and its people, along with a retail shop and café that will showcase the bountiful local produce of the Mary Valley. www.maryvalleyrattler.com.au
The Ginger Factory 
The Ginger Factory has improved its offer to better cater for International visitors, specifically Chinese visitors. A new 60 minute fully guided Taste of Sunshine Coast tour enables visitors to enjoy the best of ginger and honey on one tour. Starting in a working ginger factory to learn about ginger, visitors then move directly into the Live Bee Show, followed by tastings of ginger and honey products. New services for Chinese guests include Mandarin speaking hosts (on request), translated signage and park maps, and easy shopping with Alipay and UnionPay. Groups can enjoy a value-priced lunch of Australian fish & chips or Classic steak & chips with salad, or order directly from the Café. www.gingerfactory.com.au
Noosa Brewery Trail 
To accompany their already established tours in the Mooloolaba and Hinterland regions, Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours has recently launched their new tour of the Noosa Brewery Trail. The tour visits three unique local breweries and takes guests on a guided tour behind the scenes to see how beer is made. Taste freshly made local beer, meet the brewers and sit back and enjoy the experience with your experienced tour guide. www.sunshinecoastcraftbeertours.com.au
Cooloola Great Walk 
Tropical Treks will launch a five day guided trekking adventure in April that traverses the stunning Cooloola Great Walk. This 88 kilometre, 5-day, 4-night, fully-guided, self-sufficient hike, links the Noosa Northshore to Rainbow Beach via the 500,000-year-old Cooloola Sandmass. Overnights will be in walkers' camps offering tranquil settings with toilets and fresh-water available. Meals are provided and can be enjoyed while watching the sunset over western volcanic peaks, while the Milky Way and Southern Cross constellations provide nightly spectacles and campers will wake up to the birdsong chorus as the sun rises from the Pacific Ocean. www.tropicaltreks.com.au
New rides and tourist pub redevelopment 
Aussie World is the theme park attached to Downunder Drive, one of Australia's fastest growing tourism and entertainment precincts. In 2017, the theme park launched five (5) new exciting theme park rides and attractions which appeal to all ages. In 2018 Aussie World will launch the Southern Cross 360 ( “SX-360” ) which will be Australia's largest and fastest 360-degree swing ride. The precinct's Tourist Pub, which is one of Australia's most iconic pubs, will complete a massive redevelopment in 2018 to become more modern and Australian, whilst doubling in size. www.aussieworld.com.au
Australia Zoo's meerkats and water park feature 
Australia Zoo Australia Zoo's new meerkat section officially opened with the mob perched and ready to meet guests!  10 cheeky female meerkats and their carefully designed new home are long-awaited additions to Australia Zoo's African section, situated at the eastern end of the savannah where the giraffe herd, zebras and rhinos roam together. Additionally, Australia Zoo is proud to announce its first ever water park feature. The aboveground water adventure will be open to all guests and will include spectacular native wildlife sculptures.  It's eco-friendly with specially designed recycled water components.  These fountains of fun will be free with paid admission to Australia Zoo. www.australiazoo.com.au
Goomboorian Campdraft Ride 
Rainbow Beach Horse Rides has launched a new horse riding experience, 'The Goomboorian Campdraft Ride'. During the five-day ride, guests learn the competitive sport of campdrafting and how to work cattle. Campdrafting is iconic all-Australian horse sport that sees you cutting out a beast from the camp and freewheeling it around pegs in an arena, where it comes down to precision, speed, agility and great partnering between you and your horse. Goomoorian Campdraft Ride guests enjoy spectacular Sunshine Coast scenery, amazing horses, beautifully prepared food, large and comfortable tents, hot showers, a glowing campfire and the making of life time memories. www.rbhr.com.au
Mantra Mooloolaba Beach upgrades 
To ensure the Mantra Mooloolaba Beach property continues to meet the expectation of guests and remains competitive in the Sunshine Coast market, Mantra Group Refurbishments is planning for renovations to the existing kitchenette into a modern and practical kitchen space. The addition of a cooktop, range hood and dishwasher will provide guests with greater functionality.  The contemporary, neutral design was developed by QLD architecture firm Arkhefield to provide longevity in the competitive leisure and corporate market.  The refurbishment is intended to be installed throughout 2018 and will be carefully planned around any forecasted busy periods. www.mantramooloolababeach.com.au
Adventure hire equipment 
Sunreef Mooloolaba has added adventure hire to its scuba diving and Swim with Humpback Whales experiences. Sunreef Hire offers a range of aquatic and land adventure hire equipment including jet skis, stand up paddle boards, bicycles, kayaks, surf and body boards and fishing equipment. Whether it's the thrill and adrenaline rush of riding a jet ski or the fun of kayaking or stand up paddle boarding, Sunreef Hire has it all. www.sunreef.com

Glamping Tents on Eco Island 
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort has added two 'Glamping Tents' to what is now a 43-room Eco Resort. Situated just steps from Sunrise Beach, the glamping tents are set amongst the natural flora of the island and boast spectacular views of the lagoon. Each glamping tent accommodates up to two people, are exclusive and spacious, and are equipped with a private bathroom and secluded balcony. Built by Eco Structures Australia, the glamping tents are designed to work in harmony with the surrounding environment. They are architecturally designed and environmentally sustainable. www.ladyelliotisland.com.au
Private & Self-Drive Tours 
Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours Great Beach Drive 4WD Tours have introduced the option to book private tours, giving clients the freedom to design their own Great Beach Drive adventure. With private tours, guests can experience the exhilaration of driving on the beach with an instructed/guided self-drive option. Great Beach Drive 4WD tours capture the dramatic coastline, scenery and wildlife of the Great Beach Drive, a stretch of golden sandy coastline between Noosa and Rainbow Beach only accessible by 4WD. www.mantramooloolababeach.com.au
Transfers from Sunshine Coast to Moreton Island Sunset Safaris is now offering passenger pick-ups from the Sunshine Coast to Moreton Island for their tours on the island. Pick up locations include Maroochydore, Mooloolaba and Caloundra with one and two Moreton Island Day Tour options available. www.sunsetsafaris.com.au
Matt Golinski joins Peppers Noosa's View Restaurant 
Celebrity Chef Matt Golinski has joined the team at Peppers Noosa Resort and Villas to head up the kitchen at View Restaurant as the hotel's new Food Ambassador and Advisory Executive Chef. Adding a fresh approach to View Restaurant, Matt aspires to use more seasonal locally-sourced produce in his flavoursome new dishes planned for breakfast, lunch and dinner. www.peppers.com.au/noosa


Traveloscopy | 

Western Australia's Diverse Events Calendar #seeaustralia




Western Australia plays host to an incredible range of world-class cultural, sporting and culinary events, allowing visitors to experience the State's natural beauty, state-of-the-art venues and diverse culture.

An exciting addition to the events calendar for 2018 is the Field of Light: Avenue of Honour – an immersive art installation by UK artist Bruce Munro set to light up Albany in WA's South West. Honouring the sacrifice of the Anzacs, the art exhibition, commissioned by independent, non-profit organisation FORM, will run from October 2018 to Anzac Day in 2019.

Perth's new state-of-the-art 60,000-seat Optus Stadium opened to applause in January 2018 and has already hosted sell-out crowds. The stadium offers world-leading technology and facilities, and will host a line-up of exclusive events in the coming years including a Chelsea Football Club match in July, and in 2019, the NRL State of Origin and the Bledisloe Cup. Home to Australian Rules Football in Perth, it's a multi-purpose venue, with big name acts such as Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift among the artists to perform

Some of the key events on the annual WA calendar include:

Mastercard Hopman Cup
Tennis – Perth – January

As the International Tennis Federation's official mixed-team competition, the Hopman Cup's unique format brings together some of the world's top male and female players who represent their countries in singles and mixed doubles. Held at the state-of-the-art Perth Arena, the tournament has welcomed some of the sport's biggest names to Perth for 30 years. Roger Federer made a much-heralded return to tennis at the 2018 tournament, following recent appearances by other high-calibre players such as Serena Williams, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.

Perth Festival

Culture – Perth – February-March

The hugely popular Perth Festival brings some of the best art and cultural acts in the world to WA for three weeks of ground-breaking and energetic music, film, theatre, visual arts and free community events. Originating in 1953, it's the oldest multi-arts festival in the southern hemisphere and continues to attract world attention through events such as 2016's The Giants, in which 1.4 million people were thrilled by huge marionettes walking through Perth's city centre; 2017's Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak, which illuminated Kings Park with breathtaking multi-media projections; and 2018's Siren Song, which heard female voices descend from the sky signalling the arrival and departure of the light each day.

FRINGE World Festival
Culture – Perth – January-February

Expect the unexpected when the world's third-largest fringe festival delivers a weird and wonderful program of comedy, circus, family fun, theatre, visual arts, music, dance and cabaret. Local artists mingle with international performers at Fringe World venues in Northbridge, Elizabeth Quay and other Perth metropolitan locations. Box office sales in 2017 topped a staggering $10 million from an attendance of 750,000 people over the month-long extravaganza.

World Super 6 Perth

Golf – Perth – February

Golfing history was made in Perth in 2017 when the picturesque Lake Karrinyup Country Club hosted a world-first faster format tournament, ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth. Some of the sport's biggest names joined fans, media and one or two kangaroos on the course at the tri-sanctioned tournament. The successful format involves 54 holes of traditional stroke play followed by an exciting knock-out format in the final round, with the option of a purpose-built shootout hole.

Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe

Culture – Perth – March

For a fortnight each year, Perth's Cottesloe Beach transforms into a giant outdoor gallery to host the immensely popular Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. The free event showcases around 70 massive and magnificent installations by top local and international artists, set against the backdrop of one of the city's most iconic beaches.

Margaret River Pro
Surfing – South West – April

With more than 75 major surfing breaks, Margaret River's reputation as one of the world's most consistent big wave destinations comes to life at the Margaret River Pro in WA's South West. One of only 11 events on the World Championship Tour, the Pro attracts surfing's top 36 male and top 18 female ranked competitors – plus thousands of spectators – to the beautiful coastline each year.

Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley MusterCulture, music, food – Kimberley – May

The Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster celebrates the culture and extraordinary natural landscapes of the East Kimberley region in WA's North West. The festival prides itself on embracing the local community to present an impressive line-up of events including comedy nights, a street party and the Waringarri Corroboree. The muster's major drawcard, the Kimberley Moon Experience, is held on the banks of the Ord River and provides an idyllic setting to enjoy a stellar line-up of national and local musical acts under an immense Kimberley night sky.

Shinju Matsuri

Festival – Kimberley – September

Japanese for 'festival of the pearl', Broome's annual Shinju Matsuri is a vibrant celebration of the town's unique multicultural and pearling history. Since the late 1800s, Broome's prized South Sea pearls have brought together local Aboriginal people with Japanese, Chinese, Malay, Koepanger, Filipino and European workers. This cultural fusion continues to flourish in present-day Broome, where Shinju Matsuri's 10-day whirlwind of colour, sound, taste and smell showcase the region's natural beauty and unique history.

Margaret River Gourmet Escape

Food and wine – South West – November
Nigella Lawson, Heston Blumenthal, Curtis Stone, Rick Stein, Alex Atala, Marco Pierre White and Rene Redzepi are some of the international names who have appeared at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape, in the famed South West wine region. The ultimate culinary adventure brings together the world's best food and wine experts for a weekend of satellite and fringe events including beach barbecues, long-table lunches, sundowners and Q&A sessions. At the Gourmet Village festival hub, in the beautiful surrounds of Leeuwin Estate, consumers can indulge in local produce, wines, cooking demonstrations and master classes with some of the visiting stars.

For a full list of WA events visit westernaustralia.com/events.

Traveloscopy | 

There's an Event for All Occasions in the Northern Territory

As we head into the back half of the year, it’s time to tick off some iconic Aussie bucket list events including Darwin Harbour’s Beer Can Regatta or the infamous Henley on Todd, Australia’s only land-based boat race, that are on offer in the NT. From thrill-seeking to sporting and outdoor events and everything in between, if you’re looking for a reason to head to the Top End or Red Centre, the Northern Territory has you covered.
Alice Springs Beanie Festival (Alice Springs, 29 June-2 July)Beanie there, done that? We doubt it. Hats off to Alice Springs, the Beanie Capital of the World. And we have the festival to prove it. Now in its 21st year, this eclectic event brings together more than 6,500 handmade beanies from around the world, in the Weaving the Magic exhibition which encourages you to try and buy. But there’s more than just beanies. This wacky weekend includes art exhibitions, textile workshops, live entertainment, homemade food and local Aboriginal culture. Head to Beanie Central for cultural and creative workshops, or for some kangaroo tail roasted on the campfire.

Walking with Spirits (Katherine & surrounds, 1 July TBC)Regarded as one of the country’s most spiritually spectacular Aboriginal cultural festivals, Walking with Spirits is a must-do for visitors looking to experience the heart and soul of the Northern Territory. Witness a traditional Corroboree, in partnership with the Australian Shakespeare Company, and share in ancient ceremonies and vibrant culture on a land where it is said that the shadows of  song men flicker in the firelight. Family-friendly activities including didgeridoo and weaving workshops and local food and art stalls will be open for visitors to explore in the lead up to the event’s main concert.
Territory Day – 40 Years of Self Government (Territory-wide, 1 July)Life begins at 40! The Northern Territory celebrates four decades of self-government on 1 July with a host of events from Darwin, to Katherine, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs and beyond. And it has many reasons to celebrate. Measuring a massive 1,349,129 square kilometres, the Northern Territory accounts for 17.5 per cent of Australia’s total land mass and the ‘Top End’ boasts a coastline that extends more than 13,500 kilometres. Flock to Darwin on Territory Day and witness the colourful capital burst into light in a rainbow of rockets, bangers and Roman candles. Watch fireworks explode over the Timor Sea from Mindil Beach, home to the best beach markets in the country, and see what makes the Territory so damn fine.
Darwin Fringe Festival (Darwin and surrounds, 6-15 July)
It’s no secret - Territorians like to live on the fringe, just look at our geography. We’re home to the smallest Australian capital city which is closer on the world map to Bali than to Canberra. And we’re edgy and eclectic, not to mention culturally diverse, with more than 50 nationalities including the area’s traditional Aboriginal landowners making up Darwin’s population. Blend all this together and you get the Darwin Fringe Festival, a vibrant ten-day event which celebrates creativity and diversity of the capital’s artistic community. Expect music, theatre, dance, comedy and visual arts. Organisers say it celebrates every genre you can think of (and a few that might be made up) which makes this community arts festival the hottest on the calendar, in the middle of our deliciously dry winter weather.
Apex Camel Cup (Alice Springs, 14 July)
Discover all the dromedary delights of the Apex Camel Cup, which was first staged in 1970 along the dry Todd River bed as a bet between two mates. These days, it’s become so popular, it has its own home at the Noel Fullerton Camel Racing Arena at Blatherskite Park. You’ll encounter plenty of camels and characters at this one-day event, including cameleer Neil Waters, who first rode in the cup in 1978 and is still going strong 40 years later, winning numerous races along the way. Neil loves these ships of the desert so much, he now owns Camels Australia, a camel farm 90-kilometres south of Alice Springs which offers two, three and five-day safaris as well as half and full-day excursions. Just don’t be surprised if he makes you a cuppa and asks whether you take it with one hump or two. 

Darwin Lions’ Beer Can Regatta (Darwin, 22 July)
Drink or sink. We love a brew or two up here, and are fond of a tinnie, both in the drinking and boating sense. Therefore, it would be remiss of us not to combine these passions to deliver one of Australia’s weirdest water events. Enter the Darwin Lion’s Beer Can Regatta, a flashy, splashy event where contestants float and flounder off Mindil Beach in boats made from beer cans, plastic bottles and even the odd carton. Launched in 1974, this regatta has swelled into a major event, with nautical but nice entries ranging from one metres to a massive 12 metres. First floated in a bid to clean up rubbish around Darwin, these days it raises money for a good cause, with more than $150,000 donated to the Combined Lions Clubs of Darwin.

Australian Outback Marathon (Uluru & surrounds, 28 July)
We reckon it’s Australia’s most scenic marathon and when you consider runners are treated to incredible views of both Uluru and Kata Tjuta, it’s pretty hard to argue. Staged smack bang in the middle of the cool, dry season, there’s several courses including the full and half marathon, plus an 11-kilometre and 6-kilometre fun run. Apart from the stunning scenery, one of the race highlights is that the course is relatively flat, with only a couple of small dunes and plenty of that rich, red Outback soil for which this region is renowned. Spectators are invited to line the course and cheer on the runners (when not taking selfies with two of the Territory’s prettiest icons) and there may even be a wine or two at the end. Visitors to Uluru may be surprised to learn that almost everyone walks around our famous rock anti-clockwise and no one knows why. 

Desert Harmony Festival (Tennant Creek & surrounds, 3-7 August)
If you’ve ever dreamed of “going walkabout”, this is the event for you. Arguably Australia’s most remote festival, head to Tennant Creek for five fab days of red dirt, blankets of stars, and divine desert culture. Hosted by Barkly Regional Arts and held on the lands of the Warumungu people, this year’s 29th festival focuses on a “Place and Belonging” and attracts visitors from interstate as well as Aboriginal people who’ve travelled across this amazingly arid landscape. It invites them to immerse in music, dance, art, film, food, theatre, workshops, adventure tours, sports and cultural activities. Visitors can also apply to “Go Walkabout” and volunteer their time in return for an experience of a lifetime.
Carlton Mid Darwin Cup (Darwin, 6 August)
Cheer until you're hoarse with 20,000 other racing fans as your horse nears the finish on the enduring dirt track of Darwin's Fannie Bay Racecourse. The pinnacle of Top End racing, the Carlton Mid Darwin Cup, takes a little over two minutes to run and a dedicated team a year to plan what is the crescendo of a stunning eight-day Carnival. The iconic Cup is truly the largest sporting and social event in the Northern Territory, broadcast to over 40 nations and hosting a crowd of 20,000 revellers at Fannie Bay for a day of fashion, entertainment, and unsurpassed hospitality. Billed as the ‘Carnival of Colour’, this year’s event will see Darwin City awash in vivid bright tones when Carnival fever grips.
Darwin Festival (Darwin & surrounds, 9-26 August) 
The caravan is called Tracy and it’s plonked in the centre of the Darwin CBD weeks leading up to the Darwin Festival in order to sell tickets. Need proof we can laugh at ourselves up here? Tracy was one of the original caravans used to house residents after Cyclone Tracy struck the city on Christmas morning in 1974. Enter the Darwin Festival, an 18-day celebration of music, theatre, visual art, dance, cabaret. Flock to the Festival Lounge or encounter bamboo food stalls and pop-up bars around our truly tropical city. Feast with locals and visitors along long communal tables in Festival Park, indulging in Asian cuisine at one of the many outdoor events.

The 12th Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (Darwin, 10-12 August)
From the territory which gave the world Australia’s most acclaimed Aboriginal artists such as Albert Namatjira, Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula and Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, the 12th Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair provides a rare opportunity for visitors to purchase art directly from more than 60 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned and incorporated Art Centres. The Darwin Convention Centre hosts this fair which collectively represents more than 2,000 emerging and established artists in what is believed to be the biggest event of its kind in Australia. Visitors are presented with the chance to ethically purchase art including paintings on canvas and bark, works on paper including limited-edition prints, sculptures, didgeridoos, fibre art and other cultural regalia. Traditional dance and free artist workshops add the final flourishes to this fair.  

National Indigenous Music Awards (Darwin, 11 August) 
These awards are deadly. Head to Darwin’s historic Amphitheatre for a nefarious night celebrating the stars, under the stars. Part of the Darwin Festival, the National Indigenous Music Awards are lauded as one of one of Australia’s most prominent awards which recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musical talent. And they boast a long line of previous winners including Yothu Yindi, Gurrumul, The Tableland Drivers, Warren H Williams and Arnhem Land rock stars Saltwater Band. With a new wave of Aboriginal singers including Jessica Mauboy and Kasey Chambers sweeping the charts, expect this event to explode at this amazing outdoor venue.

Run Larapinta Stage Race 2018 (Alice Springs & surrounds, 17-20 August)
Why walk when you can run along one of the country’s best and most popular tracks? The Larapinta Trail, which snakes for 223 kilometres along the Tjoritja/West MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia, arguably serves up the best of Australian outback scenery. Run Larapinta snatches the highlights and funnels them into a four-day, four-stage race, serving up boundless beauty and breathless exuberance along the way. There’s two options from which to choose, The Malbunka (long course), in which runners complete between 20 and 45 kilometres each day; or The Namatjira (short course), whose daily stages are slightly smaller at between 10 and 30 kilometres. (Just quietly, we know which one we’ll be doing). Regardless of distance, all competitors will be treated to stunning sights including Standley Chasm, Ormiston Gorge, and Glen Helen.

Rotary Henley on Todd Regatta (Alice Springs, 18 August)
It’s kinda like a pub with no beer, but this is a boat regatta without water. Want the wackiest of races? Alice Springs is home to the world’s only land regatta and Australia’s oldest regatta, staging the Henley on Todd since 1962. Think of it like a medley of land-based boat races, attracting everything from homemade dinghys to pirate ships, as they compete along the bone-dry Todd River bed. But the fun doesn’t end in the, err, water. On the banks of the river expect Budgie-Smuggler Races; Anchor the Boat Tug-of-Wars; and of course, The Battle of the Boats. Makes you thirsty just thinking about it. If you do happen to be looking for a beach, Alice Springs is actually the closest Australian town to every single beach in Australia. The only problem, the nearest one away is in Darwin, a mere 1,500 kilometres away. Better grab your boat.

Lasseters Classic Outback Trial (Alice Springs & surrounds, 18-25 August)
Australia’s only week-long special stage rally, this car race attracts competitors from all over the country and takes them through some of the Northern Territory’s most spectacular sights with the Tjoritja / MacDonnell Ranges as its backdrop. Picture the golden era of motorsports with the likes of Ford Escorts and Datsuns competing in the Classic Outback Trial for historic and classic cars dating to 1988 and before. The Classic Outback Modern is aimed at modern rally cars from 1986 and upwards; while the Classic Outback Tagalong Tour invites four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and SUV drivers. While each competition awards its own winner, there is no overall victor, with the Northern Territory Outback the real champion here.

The Redback (Alice Springs & surrounds, 23-26 August)
Turns out it’s not just a poisonous Australian spider that can kill you, but a mountain bike race which will probably not kill you, but may hurt a little. The Redback is a four-day, six-stage race through the Red Centre starting at Alice Springs which boasts kilometres of hand-built single tracks designed specifically for mountain bikers. Framed by the magnificent Tjoritja / MacDonnell Ranges, Stage One is the Desert Technologies 39-kilometre Cross Country Race. Stage Two is the Rapid Ascent 300 metre Anzac Hill Climb; Stage Three the Schwalbe 22-kilometre Individual Time Trial; Stage Four the Tourism NT 22-kilometre Night Race; Stage Five the Lasseters Hotel 50-kilometre Cross Country Race; and Stage Six the Mercure Alice Springs Resort 45-kilometre Cross Country Race. Sounds like the kind of stuff superheroes are made of. 

Freedom Day Festival (Katherine, 24-26 August)
This is not just a festival, but a significant step back into Aboriginal history. Fifty-two years ago, the Gurindji elders staged a walk off from Lord Vestey’s Wave Hill cattle station in a move which would spark the Aboriginal land rights movement. Known as the Wave Hill Walk-off, elders wandered into the unknown without ever looking back. In 2016, the Wave Hill Walk Off track was revitalised and is now a Heritage-listed site with interpretative signing and rest areas. In 2017, the Australian Institute of Architects awarded three bough shelters along the track for their innovative design. Each year, the Daguragu and Kalkaringi community leaders invite visitors to commemorate this significant action at the Freedom Day Festival, a three-day event which starts with a Freedom Day March and includes art, sport, music and guided walks of the track. 

Red CentreNATS (Alice Springs, 31 August-2 September)
Love your wheels? You’ll adore this festival. Hailed as one of Australia’s most-loved automotive lifestyle festivals, car enthusiasts from around the country travel to Alice Springs for this revved-up program and on and off-track competitions. And there’s something special for street cruisers with a special temporary permit granted to drive your beast on the open roads of Alice Springs, making this festival the only place in Australia where this can be done. Indulge in street machines, elite show cars and hobby vehicles and witness three days of colourful competition with drag racing and show ‘n shine. Plenty of diesel, plenty of dust, just how we like it.

Jabiru Mahbilil Festival (Kakadu, 1 September TBC)The annual Mahbilil Festival, a family-friendly event, celebrates Kakadu’s traditional and contemporary culture. Crammed with activities, workshops for kids, displays, Indigenous art exhibitions and demonstrations of weaving, painting and other crafts, there is truly something for everyone. Culture enthusiasts will enjoy art from across Arnhem Land and performances from local traditional dance groups including the Jabiru Bininj Gunborrk dancers, as well as an evening program of projections, light-shows, music till late. Food lovers can experience a raft of bushfood tastings, with large earth ovens cooking buffalo, barramundi and the speciality of the region, magpie goose. Join in the fun with spear throwing, and activities and entertainment aimed at young kids, youth and the older folks.
Mayali Mulil Festival – Kakadu on Country (Kakadu, 7-9 September)
Kakadu National Park is home to the Mayali Mulil Festival, a three-day event which offers a genuine cultural experience with traditional song and dance, set against Mother Nature. Staged on Murumburr Umbukarla Country, and hosted by Kakadu Billabong Safari Camp, it connects and celebrates the diversity of Aboriginal cultures and supports and promotes local and regional Aboriginal enterprises. Visitors are treated to a true-blue welcome to country with more than 10 cultural activities and workshops; bushwalks and talks; spear throwing competitions; kids activities; water games; and string making. With concerts, food and drink stalls, camping and safari accommodation, this is classic Kakadu, at its finest. 
Desert Song Festival (Alice Springs and surrounds, 7-16 September) 
The ancient Aboriginal songlines run deep through the heart of the Red Centre making Alice Springs the ideal destination in which to stage the Desert Song Festival. And this year’s event, themed “What a Wonderful World! – celebrating global heritage”, pushes the boundaries even further, marrying musical traditions from India, Africa, the Americas and Central Australia for the first time. And that’s not the only first, with film also being added to the festival program with the screening of the documentary “The Song Keepers”, a story about the Central Aboriginal Women’s Choir. Visitors will be treated to concerts, workshops, masterclasses, choirs, vocal ensembles, musicians and solo performers, aimed at celebrating cultural diversity and showcasing Central Australia. With the launch and finish events being staged in the Tjoritja / West MacDonnell Ranges, this is one festival to sing about.

Desert Mob (Alice Springs, 8 September)Desert Mob is one of the most anticipated and important Aboriginal art and cultural events in the nation, bringing together Desart-member art centres from across vast regions of the Northern Territory, South Australia, and Western Australia. The event is a unique annual gathering of artists, artworks and audiences in the heart of Central Australia. Desert Mob continues to be a bold and exhilarating statement of Aboriginal art and its dynamism, and over its 27-year history has remained the most immediate interface between Aboriginal art-making in remote desert communities and the wider world. Desert Mob 2018 will include an exhibition, symposium and marketplace presenting the latest developments in contemporary Aboriginal art, and invites visitors to meet the artists, listen to their stories, and share their culture in the heart of the country.

Darwin International Film Festival (Darwin, 13-23 September)
Film buffs looking for the best flicks in the Asia-Pacific are cordially invited to Darwin to walk the red carpet in September when the International Film Festival graces the big screens. And if sitting outside under the tropical stars in canvas chair while watching a movie is more your thing, we have the Deckchair Cinema, one of the world’s most retro outdoor cinemas too. This 10-day program not only highlights the best of Northern Australia and Northern Territory film, showcasing Indigenous stories and film makers, but draws on the close geographical and cultural connection with south-east Asia. Flock to this film festival to witness almost 40 films from around the world or attend a workshop or exhibition. There’s plenty of stars up here, and they’re not all in our night sky.
Parrtjima – A Festival in Light (Alice Springs & surrounds, 23 September-7 October)
This fab festival shines the spotlight on the MacDonnell Ranges with Australia’s biggest light show installation which pans over 2.5 kilometres. Hailed as the first authentic Aboriginal festival of its kind, Parrtjima – a Festival in Light – is a 10-day event which uses cutting-edge technology to showcase the oldest continuous culture on earth.
Aboriginal artists are invited to participate in this event which involves music, live painting, workshops, talks and stories. The local Arrernte elders selected the festival name, which comes from a group of languages, and means shedding both light and understanding on a subject. We’re confident you’ll leave with a gorgeous glow.
Million Dollar Fish (Darwin, Kakadu, Katherine, Tiwi Islands, Arnhem Land, (Oct 2018-Feb 2019)The NT is the world’s best play, stay and fishing destination, and with season four of Million Dollar Fish - the Territory’s largest fishing competition - running from October until late February next year, there’s no better time to plan a trip to the Top End. Fishos from across the country will head to Darwin, Kakadu, Katherine, the Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land for the chance to reel in a prized barramundi. You could be lucky enough to catch one of 101 tagged barramundi, bagging yourself a $10,000 cash prize or the ultimate $1 million jackpot! So, grab your mates and plan your trip up north. What better time to escape the East Coast winter and head on up to the tropical Top End?
Jump onto northernterritory.com and plan an NT getaway, with a side order of events and festivals, today.


Traveloscopy | 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Mary Poppins Festival



A special treat awaits visitors to the Mary Poppins Festival this year with the doors to a new Story Bank at the birthplace of author P.L. Travers to be thrown open for the first time.

Festival goers will get a sneak peek at the interpretive centre in historic Maryborough, three hours' drive north of Brisbane, ahead of its official opening later in the year.
People will be able to discover the art of storytelling through displays, activities and exhibitions in the heritage-listed building.

The author was born in the former Australian Joint Stock Bank in the Heritage City's central business district in 1899.

The stately building was purchased by Fraser Coast Regional Council in 2015 and is undergoing a $1.5 million refurbishment with grant funds from the Australian Government's Community Development Grants Program, the Queensland Government's Building Our Regions Funding and council.

Its link to the author is already highlighted by pedestrian lights featuring fun silhouettes of the world's most famous fictional nanny just outside along with a bronze statue of the beloved character and metal cut-outs of the iconic carpet bag and brolly for people to pose with in photos.

Organiser of the Mary Poppins Festival Robyn Peach, of Fraser Coast Tourism and Events, said the first look inside the Story Bank would be a highlight of the lively festival which runs from June 29 until July 8.

She said another exciting addition to this year's event would be the ultimate kids' party hosted by comedian and actor Sean Murphy.

“He'll take children and adults on a hilarious journey to create their own excitement, without screen time,” Mrs Peach said.

Other highlights of Queensland's most whimsical event are readings, workshops and book signings by Justin D'Ath, author of the Extreme Adventure series, and an exhibition by Kate Knapp, author of the Ruby Red Shoes children's book series.

“A chalk artist will fill the imaginations of all ages in Maryborough Parklands and children's workshops and activities will be aplenty,” Mrs Peach said.

“The historic Portside precinct transforms into the scenes of Cherry Tree Lane during the festival's major celebration A Day in the Park on July 7.

“Magic will fill the air as the novel comes alive. Admiral Boom will fire his time cannon throughout the day and that's just the beginning of the charming fun.

“Festival goers can watch or join in the grand parade, chimney sweep challenge and nanny race.

“There will also be art on the footpath, street theatre, fun workshops and more.”
For more details about what's brewing, visit marypoppinsfestival.com.au.

Traveloscopy | 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

[watch] Welcome to WA's Coral Coast




Australia's Coral Coast is one of Western Australia's premier holiday destinations.

Take a journey through 45,000 years of history and 1,100 kilometres of stunning coastline. Discover uninterrupted stretches of white sandy beaches, untouched coral reefs just metres from the shore, breathtaking gorges and brilliant carpets of colourful wildflowers.




Along the way, you'll also find some of the best known and loved holiday destinations and attractions on Western Australia's Coral Coast. From the Pinnacles, Kalbarri National Park and Shark Bay World Heritage Area to the dolphins of Monkey Mia and the incredible Ningaloo Reef, where you can swim with the world's largest fish – the whale shark.

Dotted along 1,100 kilometres of pristine coastline are family favourites and exciting new hotspots, from Jurien Bay to Coral Bay.

Western Australia's Coral Coast has a Mediterranean climate in the south bordering on sub tropical in the north.

Dazzling wildflowers, unique wildlife and coral reefs teeming with marine life, Western Australia's Coral Coast is a nature lover's delight.

This ancient land has been home to Indigenous people for over 45,000 years and also boasts a fascinating, often brutal maritime history.
Traveloscopy | 

Fiji Airways Opens Premier Lounge in Nadi International Airport



The Fiji Airways Premier Lounge is the latest enhancement in customer experience for airline guests

Fiji Airways, Fiji's National Airline, revealed their brand new state-of-the-art business class lounge at Nadi International Airport. Following 12 months of design and development, the Fiji Airways Premier Lounge is a first-of-its-kind for the region complete with a number of special features including chef-inspired menus, baristas, luxury spa, nanny service and the exclusive 'Fiji Bean Cart'.

The 200-seat lounge offers a world class lounge experience along with a dedicated family area, a Quiet Zone and a Media Room which doubles as a private meeting space. It is one of the first lounges in the Australasian region to have a designated children's room called Lailai Land, which comes complete with a fully qualified Fijian Nanny – an offering Fiji resorts are famous for. With a nanny on offer to look after the kids, parents can relax in the lounge with the glass-panelled children's playroom visible from the family area.

For food and refreshments, the lounge includes a full service kitchen and a buffet offering local and international cuisine, plus a dining area, barista and bar.

The barista will offer guests freshly made coffee in the morning, and the exclusive Fiji Airways' Signature Cocktails will be available in the evening. The self-service bar, with a selection of award-winning wines, local and international beers and soft drinks, is available throughout the day.

Fiji Airways is also offering a unique Fijian twist on the trend of food trucks with the Fiji Bean Cart situated in the lounge. Fiji Bean Carts are an iconic part of Fijian life, selling savoury and sweet snacks at markets and bus terminals in every town in the country. The Fiji Bean Cart at the lounge will give guests the chance to sample an array of local delicacies.

The Fiji Airways Premier Lounge will also feature a Business Centre, along with a number of charging stations and data ports throughout the 887 sq. metre space.

Ahead of its public opening on Tuesday December 19th, the Fiji Airways Premier Lounge was revealed last night at a special preview held by Fiji Airways' Managing Director and CEO, Andre Viljoen and the Fijian Attorney-General and Minister responsible for Civil Aviation, the Honourable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Mr. Viljoen said: "We're delighted to unveil the Fiji Airways Premier Lounge, a world class lounge experience right here in Nadi. We're proud to be able to offer this product to our Business Class guests, Tabua Club members, guests of our partner airlines as well as pay-for-use customers."

Other notable elements of the lounge include a live greenery wall and a constellation of stars on the ceiling representing the Fijian summer and winter skies.

A pay-for-use spa is also available to all guests offering express treatments to guests looking to get a last touch of luxury on their trip. The spa service will also be open to non-lounge guests via an external entrance.

The Fiji Airways Premier Lounge will be open for all Business Class guests and the airline's Tabua Club members travelling on Fiji Airways international flights from Nadi International Airport. Economy Class and other airline passengers can also access the lounge for a small fee of FJD 99 or USD 49.

Fiji Airways flies twice daily from Sydney, daily from Brisbane, twice weekly from Adelaide and five times a week from Melbourne, with onward connections to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Honolulu. The airline also codeshares with Qantas for passengers wishing to travel from other Australian airports. Earlier this month, the airline announced a new direct service between Fiji and Japan.


Saturday, March 24, 2018

Whale Sharks' Arrival Sparks Excitement for 2018 Season

image taken in March 2018 by Michael Wigram at Ningaloo Discovery, a rare sighting of two whale sharks circling each other.



Western Australia is preparing for another successful whale shark season, following sightings of the world's largest fish at Ningaloo Reef in the State's Coral Coast in early March.

More than 29,197 people visited the World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef in 2017 to swim with the gentle giants of the sea, who migrate to WA shores between March and July each year to feed on plankton and krill.

Adding to the record-breaking year, 2017 saw a total of 1,742 tours take place across the season, with a whale shark sighting success of 94 per cent.

Whale shark swim tours have begun operating from Coral Bay and Exmouth, and will continue through until late June (in Coral Bay) and late July (in Exmouth), allowing visitors the opportunity to have a face-to-fin encounter with the friendly giants – which are around six to 11 metres in length.

Ningaloo Marine Park's nutrient rich waters are considered one of the best places to swim with whale sharks due to reliability of numbers and accessibility to interact with them.

At 300 kilometres long, World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef is the world's largest fringing reef. Visitors can walk straight off the beach and snorkel in the underwater wonderland teeming with brilliant coloured coral, manta rays, sea turtles and more than 500 species of tropical fish.

The Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area covers more than 600,000 hectares, with scenic stretches of coastline with towering cliffs, beautiful beaches and plenty of wildlife; and includes the rugged canyons and gorges of the Cape Range National Park to explore.

Exmouth, the northern gateway to Ningaloo, is located 1,250 kilometres north of Perth. Qantas operates direct daily flights from Perth (just under two hours), or visitors can self-drive over two to three days and explore other highlights of WA's Coral Coast such and Geraldton, Kalbarri and Coral Bay.

Exmouth also plays host the annual Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival, which celebrates the season with a family festival day, gala cocktail evening, movies under the stars and live music from May 25 to 27, 2018.

Helloworld Travel are currently offering special deals on whale shark tour, accommodation and holiday packages for Ningaloo, available until March 31, 2018.

For further information on swimming with whale sharks and booking a trip to the Ningaloo coast visit www.westernaustralia.com, or read first-hand about the experience from local operator Sarah Ellis from Ningaloo Discovery.

Note: lead image taken in March 2018 by Michael Wigram at Ningaloo Discovery, a rare sighting of two whale sharks circling each other.

Traveloscopy | 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sydney number one in 2018 Travellers’ Choice® awards for destinations for Australia



Sydney Is #1 in Australia Two Years Running; Gold Coast Jumps Up List to #2

Paris #1 in the World


TripAdvisor®, the travel planning and booking site, today announced Sydney as the number one winner of its 2018 Travellers’ Choice® awards for destinations for Australia, as well as the South Pacific, while Paris clinched the top spot globally.

For the second year running, Sydney is #1 in Australia with the Gold Coast coming in second and Melbourne earning the #3 spot. Queensland destinations of Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns, Port Douglas and Noosa made up half of the top 10 whilst newcomers Hobart and Adelaide rounded out the list. Also making the top of the South Pacific list, Sydney is joined by the Gold Coast and New Zealand’s Auckland at second and third place.

“The Travellers’ Choice Destinations reveal the favourites among the global and local travel community. With the upcoming Easter break Australians should consider some of these award-winning destinations.” said Grant Colquhoun, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “Congratulations to Sydney for winning the top spot for the second consecutive year – the city’s spectacular harbour, stunning beaches, unique festivals, & evolving food scene clearly strike a chord with travellers around the world.”

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said that for all travellers – whether visiting for the first time or returning after discovering something special – Sydney never fails to impress.

“Sydney’s natural beauty, iconic attractions, festivals and events and excellent shopping and dining options continue to amaze visitors from across the globe all year-round,” he said. “And with the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas; Vivid Sydney kicking off in May, now is the perfect time to plan your trip to our incredible Harbour City.”

Gold Coast, which ranked #4 in 2017, climbed two spots to take second place in Australia for Travellers’ Choice Destination 2018.

Jan Hutton, Chief Marketing Officer of Destination Gold Coast, recognised the importance of user-generated ‘word of mouth’ content which can inspire and attract travellers to the destination.

“At the core of our new marketing strategy is the winning aspiration to become Australia’s Most Recommended Destination. The number one trend in travel is to experience a destination like a local and we capitalise on this by elevating the voice of residents and visitors to humanise our “We Are Gold Coast” destination brand and to tell our story effectively.

“The Gold Coast welcomes more than 13 million visitors each year and we look forward to welcoming more to our winning destination in 2018.”

The Gold Coast’s Surfer’s Paradise Beach also just won #2 on TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Beaches in February, making this the second significant destination win for 2018.

TripAdvisor has also identified top-rated hotels and attractions to visit, offering travellers insights about great things to discover in these destinations.

Book Your Travel with Wego









The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places