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Monday, October 15, 2018

Soneva make luxury getaways with the whole family in mind

World-leading luxury resort Soneva has seen a 30% increase in family bookings since 2016 - this is largely due to its array of family-centred experiences and child-friendly facilities at the resorts located in the Maldives in Thailand.

The Den, Soneva's children's club, can be found at each of the resorts. Central to the Den is the philosophy of 'free play', where daily activities can be customised. This helps foster a sense of independence and caters to the curiosity of young minds. Activities include cooking classes, play time in the Lego and dress-up rooms, movie screenings, reading from the library, learning to play musical instruments, arts and crafts, learning Dhivehi or Thai (depending on the locations), and learning about nature, recycling and conservation. The roster of activities and experiences changes each week to keep the children entertained.

When it comes to activities for the whole family Soneva has a varied selection of experiences to choose from such as joint tasting evening where adults explore the wines of the world and children enjoy ice cream and chocolate pairings. Excursions to deserted islands with guided snorkelling and gourmet picnics can be arranged, while dolphin spotting cruises, the Observatory and private screenings at Soneva's al fresco Cinema Paradiso bring the entire family together.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Wickaninnish Inn #1 Resort in Canada - Conde Nast Traveler's 2018 Readers' Choice Award

Condé Nast Traveler today announced the results of its 31st annual Readers' Choice Awards with the Wickaninnish Inn recognized as the # 1 RESORT in CANADA.

"We are thrilled and honoured to be acknowledged as one of the best hotels in the world, and the top resort in Canada, among such esteemed company," said Charles McDiarmid, Managing Director at the Wickaninnish Inn. "We are proud of every award we receive, but this one feels more personal because the recognition comes directly from our guests. There's much for our team to be proud of."

Nearly half a million Condé Nast Traveler readers submitted a recording-breaking number of responses rating their travel experiences to provide a full snapshot of where and how we travel today.

Released online today, the 2018 Readers' Choice Awards provides an impressive list of illustrious locations and outstanding resorts in a variety of categories.

This is the third time the Wickaninnish Inn has received Condé Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Award, taking the number one spot in both 2013 and 2014, and the second award from Condé Nast this year. In January 2018, the Wickaninnish Inn was given the Gold List Award which highlights the editors' favourite hotels from the best across the globe.

A notable addition to the Wickaninnish Inn since last winning the top resort in Canada award is the creation of Howard's Wine Cellar. The first of its kind on the West Coast, this temperature-controlled space divided by floor-to-ceiling glass has transformed the Inn's ability to showcase its impressive wine selection, which offers hundreds of exceptional labels curated from regional vineyards and from wine producers around the world. The Wickaninnish Inn also shared the celebrated cuisine of The Pointe Restaurant with the release of their first cookbook in 2018 The Wickaninnish Cookbook: Rustic Elegance on Nature's Edge.

The Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry and are commonly known as "the best of the best of travel."

The 2018 Readers' Choice Awards are published exclusively on Condé Nast Traveler's website at and celebrated in the November issue on newsstands nationwide on October 16.

About the Wickaninnish Inn

Perched on the western edge of Vancouver Island, the Wickaninnish Inn is an iconic year-round destination. Combining elegant accommodation and refined dining in spectacular natural surroundings, the Wickaninnish Inn is a haven on Vancouver Island's wild and rugged coastline. A Relais & Châteaux property since 1997, the Wickaninnish Inn is owned and managed by the McDiarmid family of Tofino, and is exclusively located on beautiful Chesterman Beach. Each oceanfront guestroom is designed to AAA/CAA Five Diamond standards, welcoming guests with a beach or ocean viewscape, gas fireplace, soaker tub with view, local art and an individual balcony. The Pointe Restaurant boasts 240-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, and an innovative culinary program which supports local suppliers and sustainable harvesting practices. The award-winning Ancient Cedars Spa provides an exceptional menu of services to promote wellness and relaxation. For more information, please visit

Instagram: @wickinnbc Twitter: @wickinnbc  Facebook: Wickaninnish Inn #WickInn #RelaisChateaux #WickaninnishCookbook #petthebook #explorebc

Lonely Planet's "Amazing Train Journeys"

Four Australian rail trips named among the 60 showcased in Lonely Planet's Amazing Train Journeys

The golden age of railroads may be in the past, but train travel is experiencing a 21st-century renaissance. High-speed rails and new long-distance routes have put trains back on the map, and rail journeys back onto travel bucket lists.

Lonely Planet's new book Amazing Train Journeys (published this month, AU$39.99) spotlights 60 of the world's greatest, most memorable routes, as selected by its train-loving travel experts. Each trip featured includes a summary, ticket and distance information, tips, highlights, photos, an illustrated map and a timeline of stops.

"Here at Lonely Planet, we have always had a soft spot for trains," Editorial Director Tom Hall writes in his introduction to the book. "We're excited to bring our passion to the pages of Amazing Train Journeys. Whether you prefer high-speed or deliberately go-slow, we hope readers will be inspired to get out on the rails again."

From epic international routes to commuter lines to classic heritage railroad tracks, Amazing Train Journeys takes readers through mountain peaks, scenic countryside and past dramatic coastlines, beautifully illustrating the advantages and freedom unique to travelling by rail.

Australia is represented in the book by four rail trips: The Ghan, South Coast Line, West Coast Wilderness Railway and Kuranda Scenic Railway.

Other top routes showcased in the book include:

●      Johannesburg to Cape Town, South Africa
●      The Sunset Limited, USA
●      The Darjeeling Toy Train, India
●      Settle to Carlisle, UK
●      The TranzAlpine, New Zealand

Amazing Train Journeys by Lonely Planet
Foreword by Mark Smith (The Man in Seat 61)
Published October 2018 | AU$39.99 | 1st Edition
240mm x 185mm | 304 pages | Hardback | ISBN: 978-1787014305

Peru's lesser known Inca ruins in danger of overtourism, warns Peru expert

The magnificent and remote 'lost' Inca ruins of Choquequirao are on borrowed time, with plans for cable car access set to elevate one of the country's lesser-known attractions to prominence – and change forever its peaceful and quiet ambience.

Hidden Inca ruins headed for Disneyland-ish popularity, warns Peru trekking expert

The magnificent and remote 'lost' Inca ruins of Choquequirao are on borrowed time, warns Peru trekking expert, Andreas Holland, with plans for cable car access set to elevate Choquequirao's popularity – and change forever its peaceful and quiet ambience.

According to Andreas Holland, who has lived and operated treks and adventures in Peru for more than 30 years, several of Peru's attractions are on the cusp of major change.

"The Peruvian Government is moving to protect some of its attractions from overtourism," Holland said, "and the fact that more and more travellers are open to alternative treks to the well known Inca Trail means there remain plenty of destinations to experience Peru away from the crowds."

"Remoteness helps preserve harder to reach places, so trekkers have the best chance to accessing these highlights," he said.  "Choquequirao has been on World Expeditions' Peru itineraries for many years, yet it remains comparatively unknown, because of the difficulty getting there – but that is set to change."

Holland, who is well known as one of the world's most experienced Latin America experts, is World Expeditions' guest presenter at its South America Road Show, a series of free information nights, to be held around the country in October and November.

World Expeditions operates introductory cultural tours, bike excursions and exhilarating treks in South America and the Road Show will explain how it's possible to:

• Walk to Machu Picchu without a permit
• Join unique adventures in Peru's sacred mountains, including Salcantay and Humantay
• Undertake a challenging trek in the Huayhuash, Blanca & Vilcabamba Ranges
• Explore the spectacular Chimu & Moche archaeological sites in Northern Peru
• Dine out on Peru's remarkable and now world-famous cuisine
• Hike Patagonia 'W Trek' and many other walks
• Take a jungle walk in the heart of the Amazon rainforest
• Cruise the Galapagos Island for unique wildlife experiences

Register now for your place for the events to be held from 6pm in Brisbane on Wednesday, 17 Oct 2018, in Canberra on Thursday, 18 October 2018, in Adelaide on Wednesday, 24 October, in Perth on Thursday, 25 October, in Sydney on Tuesday, 30 October 2018 and Melbourne on Thursday, 1 November.

More information at or call 1300 720 000.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Three new ships for Silversea Cruises

New Evolution Class adds two ultra-luxury vessels to fleet. 

Silver Origin, a 100-guest ship, will sail Galapagos Islands itineraries

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) and Silversea Cruises today announced agreements to build three new ships for Silversea Cruises, the ultra-luxury and expedition cruise brand that recently joined the RCL family.

Silversea signed a memorandum of understanding with German shipbuilder Meyer Werft to build two new vessels in a new "Evolution Class." The first Evolution-class ship is expected to deliver in 2022.

Silversea also signed a contract with Dutch shipbuilder Shipyard De Hoop to construct a new expedition vessel, named Silver Origin, that will serve the Galapagos Islands itinerary currently sailed by Silver Galapagos. The new ship is expected for delivery in March 2020.

"We are delighted to have entered into an agreement with Meyer Werft on the Silver Evolution series and De Hoop for Silver Origin," says Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, Silversea's Executive Chairman. "With our guests in mind, we are pushing the boundaries of ultra-luxury cruising, as well as expedition cruising in the Galápagos Islands and beyond, redefining the concept of immersive travel."

"We are excited to get to work helping Silversea grow and realise its ambitions," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which finalised its two-thirds acquisition of Silversea earlier this year. "There is tremendous potential in the ultra-luxury and expedition markets of the cruise industry, and we believe discerning travellers will embrace the exciting designs Silversea is imagining for them."

"We are very happy to build these new ships for Silversea Cruises. Together with Silversea we will create a new generation of environmentally friendly ships in the ultra-luxury cruise market," said Tim Meyer, Managing Director of Meyer Werft.

"We are excited and proud to receive this order," said Patrick A.B.M. Janssens MA, CEO, Shipyard De Hoop. "It is not only about building the best small expedition cruise vessel, but also about building and maintaining a high-quality partnership with Royal Caribbean and Silversea."

The agreements are subject to certain contingencies which are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Chiva-Som - Countdown to Reopening


The much-anticipated re-opening of Chiva-Som International Health Resort, Hua Hin on 1 November 2018 is on schedule with this acclaimed Thailand property nearing completion of its current refurbishment program which commenced in May for the temporary period of closure.

New and refreshed guest experiences will include the unveiling of more spacious Thai Pavilions in a contemporary Thai style and stunning new Thai Pavilion Suite accommodation featuring a glass-walled private space for around six guests, set amidst the tranquil gardens and suitable for private breakfast, lunch and dinner, meditation or just for relaxing. Glass doors, automatic blinds and insect screens in an outdoor private sala can be kept open or closed, in either case offering beautiful views of the surrounding lake and gardens.

The Emerald Room will be brighter to give a fresh and relaxing ambience inside or on the terrace for breakfast, lunch and dinner while The Orchid Lounge will offer a new layout and style that includes a juice bar and live music corner as guests enjoy an extensive choice of mocktails, teas and other refreshments.

The Fitness Centre will feature a new reception area, dedicated stretching area, new equipment and refunctional exercise studio whilst the Library and Guest Relations area are being given a new look and feel.

This expansive period of refurbishment, which continues next year with Chiva-Som again to be closed from May through October, is being overseen by Chairman and CEO of Chiva-Som International Health Resort, Mr Krip Rojanastien, who together with Designrealization Siam co. ltd, one of the world's most respected architecture forms, has developed a modern and fresh take on Asia's much-loved classic.

Chiva-Som is a popular destination for Australians offering guests a total lifestyle transformation to achieve wellness and longevity and will continue to present a full range of health and wellness Speciality Retreats, integrating naturopathic and conventional medicines, including A Taste of Chiva-Som, Art of Detox, Optimal Performance, Spa Wellbeing, Yoga for Life, Fitness, Natural Renewal, Sustainable Weight Management, Cell Vitality, Cranial Relief, Emotional Wellbeing and Tension Release.

All components are set and overseen by expert health professionals including consulting doctors, naturopaths, fitness instructors, spa therapists, nutritionists and alternative health practitioners.

Reservations are available to book throughout from 1 November 2018 to 30 April 2019 when Chiva-Som will again close temporarily for the next phase of refurbishment for re-opening 1 November 2019.

For Chiva-Som bookings in Australia contact your travel agent or a Chiva-Som Specialist on 1300 857 437.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Coral Crusaders to help Great Barrier Reef

A Coral Crusaders campaign has been launched to expand an Australian-first program on the Great Barrier Reef that helps accelerate the recovery of high-value reefs damaged by coral bleaching.

The not-for-profit Reef Restoration Foundation has established Australia's first ocean-based coral nursery and successfully completed the inaugural cycle of harvesting, growing and planting coral at Fitzroy Island near Cairns.

Chief Executive Officer Stewart Christie invited the public to join the Coral Crusaders campaign and be the first generation to adopt coral grown on the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.

"Reef Restoration has worked with scientists to establish the Fitzroy Island nursery where corals harvested from reefs that survived two years of high water temperatures are attached to underwater coral trees and grown for around eight months before being transplanted on a nearby degraded reef," he said.

"Most Australians have a deep affinity for the Great Barrier Reef and are seeking tangible actions to make a difference so the Foundation is inviting individuals, community groups and the corporate sector to adopt the coral we grow.

"Your tax deductible investment will combine with those of other Coral Crusaders to create a multiplier effect and allow ocean-based coral nurseries to be established on high-value reefs throughout the Great Barrier Reef.

"It could be $50 to Care for a Coral, $500 to Build a Branch or $10,000 to Tend a Tree, while some may consider investing in a new nursery, regenerating a reef, or making a smaller donation.

"Coral trees already have been sponsored by Oris watches, Cairns education tour company Small World Journeys, Japanese travel agency JTB and marine tourism consultant Gempearl.

"We have a small army of experienced divers who volunteer their time to care for the Fitzroy Island coral nursery, but only experienced divers can assist in this process.

"Allowing coral adoption will give more people the opportunity to be part of the generation of action and restoration on the Great Barrier Reef demonstrating that many small actions can combine to create tangible positive impacts.

"The survival and future of coral reefs are reliant on taking action to address climate change, improve water quality and to regenerate damaged reefs to give them the best chance of survival.

"Reef Restoration Foundation's goal is to grow 25,000 new corals on the Great Barrier Reef by 2021 as part of our vision to accelerate the recovery of damaged high-value reefs and strengthen the Reef's resilience."

The Coral Crusaders initiative coincides with a NAB social media brand campaign launched this week to raise awareness of how NAB is "Working with the people who make a better Australia" through their community partnerships. Reef Restoration Foundation is a proud recipient of a NAB Foundation Sustainable Regions grant and part of the social media campaign at

Become a Coral Crusader at and follow Reef Restoration Foundation on its journey at and

Monday, September 10, 2018

Dusit enters luxury villa rental market with acquisition of Elite Havens

Dusit Thani Public Company Limited (DTC), one of Thailand's foremost hotel and property development companies, has expanded into the high-end vacation rental market through the full acquisition of Elite Havens, the leading provider of high-end vacation rentals in Asia.

DTC made the acquisition through its wholly-owned Hong Kong-incorporated subsidiary, Dusit Overseas Company Limited, which has bought all shares in LVM Holdings Pte Ltd. (LVMH), a Singapore-incorporated company and the ultimate holding company of Elite Havens, for approximately USD 15,000,000 (THB 495,000,000).

Established in 1998, LVMH directly and indirectly holds shares in nine companies in Southeast Asian countries. The largest company of its kind in Asia, it performs integrated marketing, reservations, concierge and management services for luxury villas and currently maintains a network of more than 200 fully staffed properties across Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.

DTC's acquisition of Elite Havens follows the company's three-pronged strategy for sustainable and profitable growth, which includes balance, diversification, and expansion, particularly into new market segments, which will enhance DTC's capacity to provide integrated services and drive revenue growth.

"Our investment in Elite Havens marks another important milestone in our strategic journey, particularly our two-pronged plan for expansion, which includes doubling our number of hotels in operation, and providing broadened experiences for our customers." said Ms Suphajee Suthumpun, Group CEO, DTC. "Our current brand line up covers the midscale through to luxury hotel segments. Now, with the addition of Elite Havens, we are delighted to cover the luxury villa rental segment too.

"While the integrated luxury villa management business is new to us, Elite Havens has an impressive track record in this segment, successfully expanding from a small enterprise to the leading company of its kind in Asia. And we are confident that our 70 years of experience in operating upper-upscale and luxury hotels will only enhance these operations further, allowing the dynamic Elite Havens team to leverage our own capabilities to continue providing exceptional services for luxury consumers, while simultaneously expanding the brand's reach in more dream destinations throughout Asia and other key regions."

Mr Jon Stonham, CEO, Elite Havens, said, "With our strong focus on people and exceeding expectations with our services, Elite Havens shares the same values as Dusit, so there is already a strong synergy for us to build on. We look forward to a very bright future of sustainable and profitable growth as we expand our operations as part of the Dusit family."

Following its strategy for balance, diversification and expansion, DTC has been actively enhancing its operations with investments in new market segments. The company made moves into the shared economy last year with an investment in Favstay, a Thai hospitality startup offering condos and villas for rent in Thailand's top destinations, and in April this year DTC announced it would also enter the affordable lifestyle segment with the launch of ASAI Hotels.

A distinctive new brand designed to link curious, millennial-minded travellers with authentic local experiences in vibrant cities and resort destinations worldwide, ASAI Hotels now has five properties in the pipeline across Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines.

For more information, please visit

Saturday, September 8, 2018

First photos of Air Tahiti Nui Tahitian Dreamliner

Released by Boeing, the images show the striking livery being added to Air Tahiti Nui's first B787-9 aircraft.

With a design and colours inspired by the beauty and richness of the Polynesian islands, the livery features Air Tahiti Nui’s trademark tiare flower, a tattoo pattern representing a story of Tahiti and its people, and the blue hues that the islands are synonymous with.

Australians and New Zealanders are set to be among the first to be carried to their dream destination on the wings of the Tahitian Dreamliner with the new aircraft commencing service on the Auckland to Papeete route on November 8, 2018.

To coincide with Air Tahiti Nui’s 20th anniversary this year, the flag carrier for French Polynesia is phasing out its current Airbus A340-300 fleet and replacing it with four 787-9 Dreamliners including two purchased and two leased through the Air Lease Corporation.

When the airline has received all four Dreamliners by September 2019, their registration codes will join together to say ‘the warrior (TOA) going forward (MUA) in the great (NUI) canoe (VAA)’.

For more information on the Dreamliner visit

Tourism Solomons pays tribute to WWII historian John Innes

Image: ABC

Tourism Solomons board chairman, Wilson Ne'e has led the board and staff in paying tribute to WWII historian John Innes who passed away on 01 September 2018 aged 77.

Acknowledging Mr Innes as the world's foremost expert on military history in the Solomon Islands, a published author on the Guadalcanal campaign of 1942 and 'keeper' of the Guadalcanal story, Mr Ne'e said Mr Innes himself by his actions had become a treasured part of Solomon Islands history.

"Thanks to John's efforts the story of the Guadalcanal campaign and the brave men from both sides who fought and died in those terrible battles will live on forever and all of us are indebted to him for that," Mr Ne'e said.

"While John may not have been there himself during those times, his wealth of knowledge and detailing of those events even today plays a key role in letting the world remember that these Solomon Islands were the very place that freedom for the Pacific was born.

"And for that we will always be eternally grateful to John.

"May he rest in peace."

 Image: ABC

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

New coral replanted on Great Barrier Reef

Australia's first corals to be grown in an ocean-based nursery have been successfully planted on the Great Barrier Reef in a bid to help high-value coral reefs within the World Heritage area recover from recent bleaching events.

Reef Restoration Foundation Chief Executive Officer Stewart Christie said 100 corals were planted on a reef at Fitzroy Island over the weekend after the not-for-profit organisation was given Australia's first permit to take coral cuttings and grow them in an ocean-based nursery for transplanting on degraded reefs.

Mr Christie said growth rates at the Fitzroy Island nursery had exceeded expectations allowing the full cycle of collecting, growing and planting the coral to be completed in eight months.

"This 'reeforestation' process mimics nature and accelerates growth to enable reefs to recover from bleaching and cyclone damage faster," he said.

"Last December Reef Restoration's volunteer divers collected 24 corals which had survived two years of high water temperatures from a reef near Fitzroy Island and cut them into 246 pieces of coral.

"These were attached to coral tree frames in the underwater nursery and monitored weekly with many of the corals growing two and a half times their original size in just six months.

"Over the weekend Nursery Operations Director Gary McKenna and a team of divers harvested the first batch of 100 corals from the nursery to begin regenerating damaged areas of fringing reef around Fitzroy Island."

Mr McKenna said six areas, each 16 square metres in size, were marked out to give three transplant areas and three control areas with two pieces of coral attached per square metre.

"A baseline survey of the existing coral and a fish survey of the area were carried out so we can compare coral cover in the transplant and control areas," he said.

"Three species of coral, Acropora digitifera, Acropora nobilis and Acropora muricata, were attached to degraded coral using underwater glue and we will monitor both the effectiveness of this method and the placement of the coral.

"We are working to expand the program at other high-value reef sites and are looking at options for the public, community groups and businesses to be involved in helping this amazing environmental, economic and cultural asset.

"Reef Restoration Foundation's goal is to grow 25,000 new corals on the Great Barrier Reef by 2021 as part of our vision to accelerate the recovery of damaged high-value reefs and strengthen the Reef's resilience."

The Reef Restoration Foundation pilot ocean-based nursery is monitored by James Cook University's TropWATER and Reef Ecologic with the support of the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Program.

Find out more at and follow Reef Restoration Foundation on its journey at foundation

Image: A moon wrasse swims past the newly planted coral from Australia's first ocean-based coral nursery.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

InterContinental Koh Samui Air Bar flies

Koh Samui's Air Bar:  Breathtaking Sunsets, Unforgettable Moments

InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort

The Air Bar, situated on the romantic west side of Koh Samui, is the perfect destination to meet with friends, share a cocktail and relax into deep sofas to enjoy explosive orange and deep red hue sunsets across 360-degree views of the Gulf of Thailand and offshore islands. It was recently recognised in the World Travel Awards (WTA) 2018 as Asia's Most Romantic Resort, Asia's Leading Beach Resort, and Thailand's Leading Beach Resort.

It just got better: refreshed, edgy and more laid-back.  A well-crafted bar menu managed by friendly staff features international wines, beers and wicked cocktails like a Metropolitan Martini Finlandia - lime vodka, triple sec lime, cranberry juice and raspberry with a complementary second cocktail usually on offer.  The gracious hospitality complements the Resort's breathtaking views, which are ranked in the New York Times bestseller 1000 Places to See Before You Die.

But it is the sensational Air Bar where you really taste the sky.  Here, relaxing in luxury,  you can embrace panoramic sea views, the Ang Thong Marine National Park, and the sunken pool – views you won't forget for a long time.

It's little wonder the Air Bar attracts international patrons seeking a hip place on Koh Samui to unwind after a long playful day in paradise.  Evening entertainment is soft grooves - cool vibes, layback jazz, Bossa nova, Soul or R&B every day with the sunset on the horizon.

The five-star multi-award-winning InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort spans nine hectares (22 acres) with a one-hour flight from Bangkok and a 45-minute drive from the airport.  The Resort is a self-contained, easy going holiday paradise surrounded by five islands offering tranquillity and romance. It is a haven for families, couples, honeymooners as well as weddings and corporate functions.

The 79-luxury room and villa InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort nestles onto the side of a forested cliff, an architectural masterpiece featuring world-class hospitality from every room, suite, villa and restaurant. There are two restaurants, Amber and Flames serving Thai, Asian and modern European cuisine, open-air cocktail lounges Air Bar and Club InterContinental Lounge, lobby bar and café.

The InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort is the most Instgrammable location in Koh Samui. Ideal for pre-dinner drinks with small 'bites' and canapes, sunset celebrations and your special wedding reception.

The Air Bar is open from 5.00pm until midnight. For more information, please call +66 (0) 77 429 100 EXT.5503 or e-mail

Further information:

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Travel Leaders Gather to Honour Khiri Travel’s 25th Anniversary

Travel industry leaders in Thailand gathered 24 August in Bangkok to honour the 25th anniversary of Khiri Travel.

Khiri Travel was founded by Willem Niemeijer in Bangkok in 1993 to arrange travel to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia at a time when the Mekong region was opening to tourists. From a one-room office, the start-up has grown into an award-winning responsible tourism destination management company with 230 employees and 17 offices across eight Asian countries.

For the anniversary event, Khiri Travel arranged a travel leaders panel discussion entitled, "The Next 25 Years in Travel." Pacific Asia Travel Association CEO Mario Hardy told the 150 gathered travel industry leaders that the next 25 years would likely see exponential tourism growth, which must be underpinned by better tourism dispersal and more respect for host communities and the natural environment.

Randy Durband the CEO of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council told the audience that travel technology will become better and more widely applied to product information and distribution. He called for improvements to destination management. He said governments were only now awaking to the need to manage tourism better and not just apply budget to promotions.

"An increasing number of travellers will also seek less crowded and more 'authentic' places to visit – so better traveller dispersion through improved visitor management will be vital," said Mr Durband.

Co-panellist, CEO of QUO, David Keen, a tourism branding expert, said that Asia's future would "depend on sustainable policies to control mass tourism that has massively degraded some destinations and now threatens the livelihood of other resort destinations across the continent."

He said it was time for governments to stop defining tourism success by arrival numbers.

The Khiri Travel CEO Willem Niemeijer admitted to the audience that it was almost impossible to predict the next quarter century in travel due to the increasing speed of technological change.

However, Niemeijer said that tourism dispersion would remain central to Khiri Travel's product development. "Khiri Travel will continue to support the sustainable development of travel beyond Asia's hubs." He added that that values such as integrity, inclusion and respect for local culture would continue to define Khiri's commitment to responsible travel.

"As a CEO, the joy for me is when we work with local people at grass roots to help them realise their hopes for their families and communities. For me, this will not change in the next 25 years," said Niemeijer.

Khiri Travel's 25th anniversary celebration at the Glass House at Nai Lert Park Heritage Home in Bangkok featured a display of Khiri Travel images and memorabilia from the last 25 years.

The anniversary event featured a traditional Thai puppetry show. Guests were greeted by Khiri Travel staff dressed in traditional attire from Khiri's countries of operation: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

"The event was a celebration. But it also gave guests real food for thought on issues such as corporate social responsibility, overtourism and travel industry challenges ahead," said Keen.

In 2007  Niemeijer launched Khiri Reach, the charitable arm of Khiri Travel. Khiri Reach now supports 25 projects in seven countries. Khiri Travel pays all overheads. One hundred per cent of donations to Khiri Reach go to the projects.

Guests to the anniversary event were encouraged to give donations to three projects: help for the victims of the recent Lombok earthquakes, clean water wells in Myanmar, and a children's foundation in Vietnam. Khiri Travel vowed to match donations received during the event.

On Khiri Travel's future, Niemeijer said the company would expand further. "We're always looking at sustainable long-term growth for Khiri."

About Khiri Travel

Since 1993, Khiri Travel has won awards and earned a reputation as a destination management company dedicated to working with select tour operators to provide quality leisure travel experiences across Asia. With 17 offices in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Khiri Travel's entrepreneurial associates craft innovative itineraries that reflect their passion for authentic, local and sustainable experiences. Visit

Monday, August 27, 2018

Mövenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives Draws on Nature with Stunning Designs

MOTIV design studio harnesses natural materials including coconuts and bamboo to create a breathtaking private island resort, scheduled to open in November 2018

Nestled on a private island in Noonu Atoll, situated in the northern part of the Maldives, Mӧvenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives promises serene seclusion and tropical tranquillity when it opens in November 2018. The resort will also showcase a series of unique architectural features and distinctive design touches that complement the soothing natural surroundings.

The resort was designed by the acclaimed architects from the Poland based company MOTIV, who used the private, uninhabited tropical island of Kuredhivaru as a blank canvas on which to create something aesthetically appealing and truly unique. Taking inspiration from the Maldives' spectacular natural scenery, MOTIV has designed a masterpiece that weaves seamlessly into the island environment, blurring the boundaries between innovative design, Maldivian heritage and Mother Nature.

Mӧvenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives will be Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts' inaugural property in the Maldives, and the first Maldivian project for MOTIV, bringing a fresh perspective to the country's hospitality scene.

Organic shapes for the roofs in villas and restaurants make the structure blend better with the environment. Interiors were dictated by ergonomy, to give to the guest comfort to stay close to nature, nature is the biggest luxury in the Maldives and architecture should just make it more prominent.

"We wanted to make sure we did not damage the island or the marine environment, so we followed nature. Also, we did not want to build anything too contemporary; so you will find in the final design influences from the Maldives and Indonesia. Organic shapes used for the roofs in the villas and restaurants allow the structures to blend with the environment. Sustainability was always our priority and therefore I was looking for solutions that could enhance my design " explained Pawel Podwojewski, founder of MOTIV.

The 30 Beach Pool Suites and three Beach Spa Pool Residences are surrounded by native trees and mature plants, providing privacy and shade. Each room features an amazing elevated deck that "floats" three metres above the private pool, offering endless ocean views.

Guests in each of the 72 Overwater Pool Villas will discover a huge glass floor in the hallway, which frames breathtaking displays of marine life underfoot. Each villa also features a private pool and a large outdoor deck with a hammock and direct access to the shimmering sea below. The roofs, inspired by central Asian culture, provide beautiful canopies that reflect ambient light into the rooms at night.

In terms of natural materials, coconut wood has been used for the furniture, structural elements of salas and the interior mosaics were finished with handmade square shape coconut tips creating a warm and enchanting environment indoors. The resort's main restaurant, ONU, is built entirely from bamboo with a wide-open roof, including intricate geometrical shapes, while Bodumas, the seafood restaurant, boasts a roof design that 's inspired by seashells. Latitude 5.5 restaurant follows the bamboo organic design and provides a spectacular view from the edge of the infinity swimming pool.

"Conservation is a key element of the project. Every coconut palm on the island has been preserved, with a limited number being replanted. The island is also home to some traditional coral brick structures with historical and cultural significance, and these have also been preserved for guests to visit," added Pawel Podwojewski, founder MOTIV.

Guests who want to experience this new architectural wonder now have the chance to book their dream holiday at Mӧvenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives with enticing opening rates starting from just US$577 per night inclusive of breakfast and taxes.

Bookings of three nights or more will also include an array of additional benefits, including US$100 resort credit per stay (valid for food and beverage, spa treatments, water sports and diving), plus an additional 20% discount at the Diving and Water Sports Centre, and a free room upgrade (subject to availability).

This opening offer is valid for stays between 1 November and 23 December 2018. For more information and reservations, please call +960 656 3000 or email

Tauck's Authentic Small Group Travel Experiences


People choose to see the world with Tauck because they want a deeper, more authentic travel experience and many guests are drawn to the specialist operator's small group trips.

As with all Tauck experiences, these journeys are seamless and all-inclusive, with all the details taken care of and no hidden extras, so guests can relax and enjoy exclusive, extraordinary moments they can only experience through Tauck.

Tauck offers many ways to travel in in a more intimate number of between 20 and 25 guests from select departures of classic land journeys and Tauck Bridges family adventures, to trips designed expressly for small groups, including culturally immersive, hands-on journeys, popular African safaris and private groups where guests can buy out a departure of a Tauck trip and travel exclusively,

Wherever Tauck travels, guests will explore the world's treasure, discover people and cultures they may not have known even existed and experience extraordinary, life-changing moments.

Tauck's drivers, local experts and guides are caring, top of the line professionals and problem solvers who take care of everything, including collection and delivery of luggage throughout, so all guests have to do is sit back and enjoy an amazing, seamless and
worry-free trip.

No tours head off at the crack of dawn and there is plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast in preparation for the activity in store. Throughout the trip, guests will select all meals a la carte – no group meals.

Tauck small group trips take in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia and will again feature an array of enticing itineraries in 2019 including:


Tauck's 14-day Classic Italy, Small Groups is a grand Italian holiday, small group style. Averaging 24 Tauck guests, this intimate travel experience is an Italian best-seller at small, chic hotels in the heart of Sorrento, Rome, Venice and Florence, in the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo's vast painted drama on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, for a Tauck Exclusive, after-hours visit, along the blue expanse of the Mediterranean traversing the Amalfi Coast or Cinque Terre, in the lavish halls of the Doge's Palace in Venice, and in that city's great St. Mark's Basilica, site of another Tauck exclusive after-hours visit, at the haunting ruins of the Colosseum, in the passion of Renaissance scenes in the Uffizi, in the panorama of rolling vineyards from the heights of Orvieto, in a country village under the Tuscan sun, or at the first taste of Umbrian cuisine, unhurried and unherded.

Classic Italy, Small Groups is priced in 2019 from $11,990 per person twin share.

In 2019 Tauck is offering guests who pre-stay or arrive early in Sorrento an Optional Sightseeing Tour of the Island of Capri on Day 1 costing $360 per person including a private transfer from Tauck's hotel to the pier in Sorrento and back, transportation by hydrofoil from Sorrento to Capri and back, a tour of Capri by minibus and funicular and a full day with an English-speaking local guide, visits to the island's main towns of Anacapri and Capri, lunch and a visit to the Blue Grotto (weather permitting), or alternate sightseeing.

Tauck Exclusive Ferragamo Departures are priced from $14,090 per person twin share on selected tours in May, June and September 2019, including a special evening in Florence featuring a private Ferragamo wine reception on Day 10 in Florence. This exclusive Tauck experience will be hosted by a member of the family of fashion icon Salvatore Ferragamo and feature a visit to the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum and a tasting of locally produced Ferragamo wines.


Blessed with landscapes lush and lovely, Northern Spain entices with culinary specialities locally grown, cultural charms, unique to the region, and a history of paradors and pilgrimages continuing today.

Tauck's 14-day Paradors of Northern Spain discovers an eclectic mix of Gaudí's whimsical sites and Gothic grandeur in Barcelona, a mountain monastery in Montserrat and medieval menus in La Seu d'Urgell.

Guests will see where the bulls run in Pamplona, the surfers ride in San Sebastian and art goes wild in Balboa.

Food and wine entice in Oviedo and in Santiago de Compostela, spiritual stories are the draw.

A drive across the border to Portugal will take guests to sample port in Porto, college days in Coimbra and life in Lisbon before this two-week journey ends.

Special Tauck experiences include a choice of spa treatment or cooking demonstration at El Castell de Ciutat, a 7-course feast set within a medieval castle, a visit to the monastery atop Montserrat, a wine tasting and lunch at a Porto winery and a cruise aboard a Rabelo boat.

Paradors of Northern Spain is priced in 2019 from $8090 per person twin share.

Bookings are to be directed to your travel agent or Tauck Australia on 1300 732 300 or

Friday, August 10, 2018

Elephant torture: ‘We didn’t know’ claims Intrepid co-founder


Intrepid co-founder admits ‘we didn’t know’, trade asked to take elephant pledge

Unsuspecting tourists riding trained elephants at Ban Ta Klang Elephant Village, Thailand. (R Eime)

Intrepid Group co-founder Geoff Manchester has admitted to not knowing the dark side of elephant riding, and said that there is no excuse any longer, in a mini-documentary released for World Elephant Day.

Travel agents have been asked to pledge their support to end elephant riding and with each pledge the Intrepid Group to donate $1 to The Intrepid Foundation to support the cause, with one agent to win an Intrepid trip to Thailand to visit rehabilitated elephants.

In the documentary released today, the adventure travel company has shown graphic footage of the torture of young elephants for rides, in a plea to travellers to stop the tourist attractions for good.

“I was the first ever Intrepid leader, so I guess I was the first Intrepid leader to take travellers on elephant rides,” Manchester said.

Intrepid Group was the first travel company to ban elephant rides in 2014 following research collaboration with World Animal Protection and many in the travel industry followed suit. The confronting documentary highlights the practice of beating and starvation to make the elephants submissive for human rides.

“When we rescue elephants some of them have worked for humans for six or seven decades… More than 80% arrive with a huge mental problem. Some of them stand still like a zombie, some of them are very aggressive and angry,” Elephant Nature Park Chiang Mai founder Lek Chailert said.

“I don’t blame people because they don’t know,” Chailert added.

This is the message Intrepid is urging on World Elephant Day – you didn’t know. We didn’t know. But know that we do, we need to spread the message, with research showing that not all Australians know that elephant riding involves cruelty.

The latest research from World Animal Protection commissioned this year shows that 28% of Australians have taken an elephant ride. 40% of women think elephant rides are unacceptable, while 27% of men think the same.

Consumer sentiment and awareness is not at the level it should be, Manchester said, and on World Elephant Day Intrepid pleads with travellers to cease elephant riding for good.

“It’s just the start of something that will hopefully eventuate in elephant riding ceasing all together and that might be in 10 years or it might be in 20 years but eventually it will happen,” Manchester added.

For more:

Melbourne's new four-star winery Marnong Estate

Marnong Estate, a new four-star estate located on the fringe of Melbourne’s northern suburbs, has released discounted opening rates for the luxury homestead accommodation starting from only $295.00 per night.

Complete with a winery, restaurant and an event space to host 250 guests overlooking the Macedon Ranges, the Homestead Accommodation is only $295.00 per night including continental breakfast (Sunday – Thursday) and $395.00 per night including breakfast (Friday – Saturday) available from August 1, 2018 till 31 December 2018

* bookings are subject to availability

Located only 15 minutes from Tullamarine Airport, guests can be one of the first to stay and experience Melbourne’s newest four-star estate with this incredible offer.

The historic homestead was originally the family home of William Angliss built in 1860’s and has been restored into 4.5-star accommodation, offering guests country hospitality, coupled with contemporary and luxurious style.

Guests can choose to stay overnight in one of four twin share suites including; Garden View Suite, Victorian Suite, Blue Stone Suite and the Terrace Suite all offering the comfort and luxury of Queen Beds and full ensuite with amenities.

Marnong Estate is set to be a world-class tourism facility like no other in regional Australia. Over time the Estate will offer Day Spa, brewery and farmers market.

Situated on 1,100 acres, Marnong Estate will offer size and scope that is not found in any other hospitality and leisure destinations in regional Victoria making it Melbourne’s one-stop resort destination for local, interstate and international visitors.

Sitting high on the hills Marnong Estate offers stunning views overlooking the valley between Deep Creek through to Emu Creek and the surrounding Macedon ranges – it is the perfect location for a relaxing getaway providing visitors with an unforgettable experience at Melbourne’s newest luxurious resort.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Celebrating 25 Years of The World’s Most Exciting Day Trip

The one and only, Antarctica Flights, is celebrating 25 years of fulfilling the dreams of over 40,000 guests since their first charter in 1994. With each new season comes new sights to behold, join the privileged few to witness the desolate beauty of this untamed landscape.

The 25th season of Antarctica Flights will commence on 18 November 2018 departing from Sydney, and for the first time ever, an Antarctica Flight will be available from Hobart on 25 November 2018. The ever-popular New Year's Eve Antarctica Flight ex Melbourne will be making a return, perfectly positioning passengers over the icy continent right in time to ring in the New Year while witnessing glaciers, icebergs and lunar landscapes, as the sound of a four-piece jazz band plays live in the cabin.

This unique experience is the only way to visit Antarctica from Australia and the only 'flightseeing' tour in the world to explore the region. With Antarctica Flights, reach the continent in just four hours aboard a privately chartered Qantas 747—and be back to sleep in your own bed that same night.

No two flights are the same, with up to 19 weather dependent routes, there's no wonder this is every pilot's favourite flight to command. With up to 4 hours viewing time over the ice paired with Qantas' full international flight service, commentary from the cockpit and Antarctica experts hosting the flight, it's certainly a special treat for adventurers young and young at heart. Take in the sights as the plane descends to as low as 10,000 ft and swoops in figure 8 patterns to maximize viewing opportunities of research bases, mountainous peaks and colossal icebergs below.

"The length of time sailing rough seas and cost of a cruise to Antarctica means the closest most people will ever come to seeing the world's last great wilderness is via their TV screen. Our one-day sightseeing flights enable more people to fulfil a lifelong dream of seeing Antarctica," explained Phil Asker, Founder of Antarctica Flights.

Enjoy unparalleled bird's eye views stretching far beyond the horizon, while on-board Antarctic experts inspire guests with intrepid expedition stories and in flight documentaries about the region to complete a truly immersive experience. Normal travel rules go out the window, everyone is encouraged to rotate around the cabin to enjoy a different viewing perspective. The atmosphere on board is charged with adventure.

How often do you get the chance to tick an entire continent off your wish list – in a day? With a range of seat classes available to suit all budgets, an Antarctica experience would make the ideal special occasion gift—or treat for yourself.

To find out more and to book please visit or call 1800 633 449.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Party with 10 friends in a free private room on Sydney Harbour

Book a table for ten aboard a Captain Cook dinner cruise and save up to 40% and receive a free upgrade to a private room onboard flagship vessel MV Sydney 2000.  Prices start from as low as $65 per person and this incredible deal is valid for sale until 31 August and travel until 30 September 2018.

The MV Sydney 2000 has three dining decks, a 360-degree open top deck and two private function rooms, The Sirius Room and Endeavour Lounge. Both rooms feature private dining and balcony creating the perfect setting for a celebration or simply a great night out with friends.

This special offer is available on the Sunset Dinner, Starlight Dinner, Brilliant Dinner & Drinks and the Gold Penfolds Dinner cruises.

Departing at 5.00pm, the Sunset Dinner cruise provides the best seasonal views – witness winter city lights or spring twilight, while enjoying a delicious two course a la carte contemporary Australian menu, including a selection of sparkling and still wines, beer and coffee.

The Sunset Dinner Cruise is priced at only $65 per person, normally $99 per person, when booking for 10 or more people, including a free upgrade to a private room. The cruise departs King Street Wharf 1 at 5.00pm, returning at 6.30pm.

Enjoy a three-course Contemporary Australian menu, accompanied by the spectacular vista of Sydney by night on the Starlight Dinner and Brilliant Dinner and Drinks cruises.

The Starlight Dinner cruise is priced at only $75 per person, normally $125 per person, when booking for 10 or more people, including a free private room.

The Brilliant Dinner and Drinks cruise also includes a selection of house sparkling and still wines, beer and coffee and is priced at $99 per person, normally $154 per person when booking for 10 or more people, including an upgrade to a private room.

The five-star Gold Penfolds Dinner cruise is the ultimate six course dining experience. The Gold Dinner includes priority boarding, a welcome Captain's cocktail reception when boarding at Circular Quay, exclusive sky deck seating, sophisticated lounge entertainment and a deluxe six-course degustation menu with specially selected Penfolds wines served to complement each course plus an open bar of house spirits, beer and soft drinks.

The Gold Penfolds Dinner cruise is priced at only $195 per person, normally $259 per person, when booking for 10 or more people, including a free private room.

Dinner cruises depart Wharf 6, Circular Quay at 7.00pm returning 10.30pm Friday to Saturday and 9.30pm Sunday to Thursday. Dinner cruises also depart No.1 King Street Wharf at 7.30pm, returning 11pm Friday to Saturday and 10pm Sunday – Thursday.

For further information visit:

Monday, July 30, 2018

Eichardt's Private Hotel new luxury cruiser Pacific Jemm

Those looking for the best in luxury land and lake will now be spoilt for choice as Eichardt’s Private Hotel announces its acquisition of the region’s first premium nautical offering, the Pacific Jemm.

The 24-metre Falcon 80 S is a welcome addition to the Eichardt’s Private Hotel offering (including the country’s most exclusive accommodation The Penthouse), and will command upwards of NZD$12,500 for stays that allow adventurous travellers to see a truly unique side to Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu.

In true Eichardt’s style, the Pacific Jemm oozes old-world charm with smart teak finishes and plush in-built furnishings.

Complete with all the modern amenity one expects of the hotel experience, the lavish vessel includes four luxury suites and has at its beck and call two crew alongside Eichardt’s’ famous chef who will prepare custom menus with an emphasis on locally-sourced fare.

The acquisition is a coup for the Imperium Collection, owned by Christchurch-born businessman Andrew Cox, which has a strong-hold on the luxury boutique market of Queenstown with its two hotels, lakeside apartments, private residence and restaurants The Grille, No5 Church Lane and the revered Eichardt’s Bar.

“We are thrilled to be able to extend our luxury experiences in Queenstown onto the water. The Pacific Jemm is currently undergoing a significant upgrade to bring it to the standard that our guests expect, and will offer signature experiences akin to the standard set by The Penthouse,” says Cox.

Three expansive terraces provide the perfect vantage point to explore hidden coves, mountain vistas or insta-worthy backdrops looking back to the famous Queenstown bay.

Options for cruising include scenic daytrips to Glenorchy and a helicopter over to the West Coast for crayfish before anchoring up to cook the catch. For the truly adventurous, guests can super-charge the experience with their pick of an Aston Martin, Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, Audi R8 or Porsche 911 to race to Glenorchy before again being helicoptered over the Southern Alps, gathering West Coast delicacies and devouring the freshest Kiwi seafood aboard a cruise back to Queenstown.

Custom fireworks displays over gourmet dinners that light up The Remarkables, Cecil Peak and Walter Peak mountain ranges will set the scene for intimate wedding or milestone celebrations.

“As a luxury brand we are constantly looking for new ways to deliver incredible experiences and memories for our guests.

“The Pacific Jemm will continue this tradition, ushering in a new way of luxury travel for guests seeking to discover what makes New Zealand truly world-class,” says Cox.

With overnight stays starting from $12,500 per night for up to ten people, a stay on the Pacific Jemm is designed for ultra-high net worth individuals and families looking for a different perspective. Alternatively, day trips and private functions can accommodate up to 45 guests and will be custom built for each experience.

For further information visit

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Guests flock to Wilpena Pound while birds flock to Lake Eyre in flood.

A rare seasonal phenomenon is predicted for the South Australian outback in the coming months with Lake Eyre (officially known as Kati Thanda) set to flow with the waters from heavy monsoonal rainfall in Queensland and the Northern Territory, bringing with it flocks of unique birdlife.

Travellers can tick Lake Eyre off their list while the water levels continue to rise and enjoy a 2-night accommodation and scenic flight package with Air Wilpena from $1,165* per person per night in the stunning Ikara Safari Camp ‘glamping’ tents; or from $1,095* per person per night in a Resort Room. The package includes full buffet breakfast daily and a 4-hour scenic flight over spectacular Lake Eyre with Air Wilpena which departs from Wilpena Pound Resort’s dedicated airstrip.

Current estimates predict the lake is due for a bumper flow in 2018, providing a ‘bird’s eye’ view of an iconic Australian outback landscape from the scenic flights. When flooded, Lake Eyre supports major breeding events of the Banded stilt and Australian pelican, as well as over 1% of the world populations of Red-necked avocets, Sharp-tailed sandpipers, Red-necked stints, Silver gulls and Caspian terns.

Birds are drawn to a filled lake from southern coastal regions of Australia, and from as far afield as Papua New Guinea. During the 1989–1990 flood it was estimated that 200,000 pelicans, 80% of Australia's total population, came to feed and roost at Lake Eyre.

Wilpena Pound Resort is a haven of warm outback hospitality in the Ikara - Flinders Ranges National Park, 430km north of Adelaide. The resort blends beautifully into the landscape and provides a comfortable accommodation base from which to explore the Flinders Ranges. 

Book by 31 July 2018, valid for stays until 31 March 2019*. For bookings and further information visit, or phone 1800 805 802, or email

For information on scenic flights over Lake Eyre with Air Wilpena visit


It contains the lowest natural point in Australia, at approximately 15m (49 ft) below sea level (AHD), and, on the rare occasions that it fills, is the largest lake in Australia covering 9,500 km2

It has its own yacht club! Regattas for the Lake Eyre Yacht Club are few and far between however – the most recent being 2010

When the lake is full, a notable phenomenon is that the flat surface then reflects the sky in a way that leaves both the horizon and water surface virtually impossible to see. The commodore of the Lake Eyre Yacht Club has stated that sailing during this time has the appearance of sailing in the sky.

It turns pink: As the lake dries up and the water evaporates, its salinity increases and it often appears to turn 'pink'. This is caused by a pigment found within an algae species that lives in the lake.

The lake was named in honour of Edward John Eyre, who was the first European to see it, in 1840. The lake's official name was changed in December 2012 to combine the name "Lake Eyre" with the indigenous name, Kati Thanda. The native title over the lake and surrounding region is held by the Arabana people.

*Conditions apply. Valid for stays until 31/03/2019. A 2-night minimum stay applies. Consecutive night stays only. Block out dates may apply. Rates subject to change

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Taste Norfolk Island Food Festival 2018

The Taste Norfolk Island Food Festival is back from 26 – 30 November 2018 and once again will be showcasing magnificent locally grown, fresh, organic produce presented by a talented line-up of Chefs.

Norfolk Island is a food lover's destination boasting 20 plus eating out places presenting the freshest of fish, succulent beef and pork, a selection of in-season fruit and vegetables picked daily and boutique products including artisan cheese and honey, and many more paddock to plate experiences.

Thanksgiving Day activities are also being held over from the week prior's official day so it can be celebrated during this popular annual Festival. Norfolk Island remains one of the few places outside the US to mark this special day, which dates back to when American whalers were living on the island.

Oxley Travel has announced a 7-night Taste Norfolk Island package priced from:

$2079 per person twin share ex-Sydney (23 – 30 Nov, 25 Nov – 2 Dec or 26 Nov – 3 Dec)
$2039 per person twin share ex-Brisbane (24 Nov – 1 Dec)

Package inclusions are:
  • Return flights with Air New Zealand
  • Return island airport transfers
  • 7 nights' accommodation at Poinciana Cottages
  • 7 days' car hire including insurance
  • Half day island tour
  • Refreshments at Norfolk Island Airport on departure
  • Mon 26 Nov – Welcome Cocktail Party: 4.30pm – 7.30pm
  • Tue 27 Nov– Taste Norfolk's Bounty Festival Night: 5.30pm – 11.30pm
  • Wed 28 Nov – Thanksgiving Day Luncheon: 12.30pm
  • Thu 29 Nov – Celebration Dinner: 5.30pm
  • Taste Norfolk Island Gift Pack
2 x complimentary Festival options (Slick & Sons Sausage Making, The Forager Sour Dough Workshop, Culinary Journey, Blue Kingfisher, The Barn or Death By Chocolate
(Additional options can be purchased at $95 per person per tour)

For bookings, contact Oxley Travel on Toll Free 1800 671 546 or  or

Norfolk Island is long-regarded as a wonderful place to holiday with family and friends or escape with a loved one. In addition to fabulous culinary experiences, countless activities include swimming, fishing, snorkelling, kayaking, surfing, cycling and bushwalking. There are glass bottom boat tours and ocean trips to Phillip Island, and attractions including Fletcher's Mutiny Cyclorama. A further attraction of historical significance is the World Heritage listed Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area, the oldest of the eleven Australian penal colonies.

Lake Macquarie new Creative LAKE outdoor art exhibition

Lake Macquarie residents and visitors alike can now enjoy the newest addition to the region's burgeoning art scene, Creative LAKE, an eagerly anticipated public art and sculpture experience situated along the beautiful foreshore of Lake Macquarie.

Creative LAKE unvieled several unique artworks this July including a bronze sky pig, a young monk, a dingy, a granite hibiscus and 3D graffiti murals. Each of the artworks can be discovered in popular locations along the Warners Bay, Eleebana, Toronto and Belmont foreshores.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Ancient and modern history enriches travel to Korea #visitkorea

Korea has over 5,500 years of both ancient and modern history which visitors can see in the varying architecture, and encounter in unique experiences. With four distinct seasons, magnificent landscapes, and more, there is an abundance of adventures that will suit each and every one.

There are officially twelve UNESCO cultural heritage sites and one natural heritage site that can be explored. Ancient palaces that have stood over six centuries reside next to tall skyscrapers, and tombs of past kings lay in 18 locations. Escape from the modern world by participating in a temple stay. One can meditate alongside monks at 'Woljeongsa' Temple and lose themselves in the scents and smells of the natural forest at 'Bulguksa' Temple. If a lover of the arts there are numerous theatres in Korea that perform traditional dances, and performances from the age of kings.

Korean cuisine comprises itself of seasonal ingredients, traditional fermented foods and the ideal of healthy eating. Visitors to Korea can enjoy Michelin starred restaurants such as 'Seokparang' where guests can indulge in royal cuisine of the Joseon dynasty or 'Kwon Sook Soo' with modern interpretations of Korean food cooked with rare ingredients from all over the country. There are also Michelin star restaurants that serve Halal foods and for vegetarian's temple foods that are full of health benefits.

Wellness tourism has grown in popularity amongst many tourists and Korea does not disappoint with leading medical, and beauty facilities as well as spiritual retreats. For example, deep in the mountains of Gangwon-Do Province exists the 'Healience Seonmaeul' where guests can relax and learn more about the essentials for a healthy life, all whilst surrounded completely by nature. If wanting to stay in the city and indulge on top herbal, high-quality beauty products one can visit the 'Sulhwasoo' Flagship Store with state-of-the-art spa facilities and holistic therapies.

There are two types of unique and high-quality accommodation that guests can stay in when they visit. For something more historically and culturally inspired but does not sacrifice modern comforts there are beautiful 'hanoks' or traditional Korean houses. These homes are only found in Korea and can be centuries years old with beautifully crafted, restored wooden architecture. They also offer cultural programs, meals and other entertainment to those who stay there.

Several five-star hotels and resorts are sprinkled around the country where guests can surround themselves with beautiful décor, breathtaking views and stunning artworks.

A country of tradition, culture, modernity, and more, Korea is a destination that inspires the imagination and offers unforgettable experiences to all those who enter its gates.  


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Car rental or car leasing? What's best for your Europe self-drive holiday?

As holidaymakers plan to drive Europe this northern summer the most-commonly asked question is "What is best, Car Leasing or Car Rental?"

Car Leasing is available through manufacturers such as France's Peugeot and worth considering by non-European Union residents who are over 18 years of age, plan to stay in Europe no longer than 6 months, and would like a car for over 17 days (with leasing becoming most cost-effective after around 30 days.)

Car Rental is provided through companies such as Europcar, Avis, Hertz and Enterprise, with rentals available from as little as one day.

"The main driver of the purchase decision is price," says Chris Hamill, CEO of DriveAway Holidays, Australia's largest self-drive holiday business. "Car Leasing gives a brand new vehicle direct from the factory for collection at a large number of centres within France, and various other European cities as well – with low delivery fees at these other cities." Mr Hamill says. "The all-inclusive price has no hidden extras and includes insurance with no excess in the event of accident or theft, no extra fees for airport collection or return, no additional-drivers' surcharges, no additional taxes, and there is no limit to the number of kilometres you can drive.

"The only extra costs are fuel and tolls, and being brand new you receive the precise model you want with diesel models guaranteed if requested and being cheaper to run. The Lease vehicle can also be driven throughout all of Western Europe, and much of Eastern Europe as well at no extra charge"

"Car Rental on the other hand allows a lot more flexibility with a wider spread of collection and return locations throughout Europe, and cars can be rented for just one day or more," says Mr Hamill.  "Generally rental cars are 6-8 months old, a large variety of models and makes are available, and rentals can be arranged very quickly.

"However with Car Rental an insurance excess applies in the event of an accident, there are charges for additional drivers, and restrictions do apply to driving into Eastern European countries.

"There is no right or wrong" says Chris Hamill.  "The majority of our clients rent, as they tend to need the car for 10-12 days only. But as every holidaymaker has different requirements we recommend talking to travel agents or a self-drive specialist to discuss your best option."

DriveAway Holidays can also be contacted direct on 1300 723 972 or

Monday, July 9, 2018

Discover safari luxury in the Barossa

Getaways to Australia's most famous wine region are about to reach a new level of eco-luxe, with the launch of luxury glamping tents at Discovery Parks – Barossa.
Exterior of a new luxury Safari Tent at Discovery Parks – Barossa

Nestled within a private area of the park, the 12 eco-friendly safari tents are majestically set amongst native gums, with vineyard views as far as the eye can see.

With the tents sharing a private swimming pool with heated spa, and a premium BBQ and lounge area, they are the ultimate place to unwind and embrace lavish comfort, while being close to nature.

Each tent has been meticulously designed to be environmentally sustainable and features a private 3m deck, ensuite bathroom, kitchenette, and spacious bedroom configured with either a king-sized bed or two twins.

Bookings are now open ahead of the official launch in August, with the Safari Tents priced at $250 per tent, per night.

Being less than an hour and a half from Adelaide, Discovery Parks - Barossa is the closest glamping experience to the city; perfect for romantic weekends away and special events like birthday celebrations and hen's weekends.

Discovery Parks Chief Commercial Officer Darren Peisley said the Barossa glamping experience has been modelled on the success of Discovery's Byron Bay safari tents.

"Two years ago, we launched a glamping experience in Byron Bay. The experience quickly elevated the park to one of the hottest properties in the area, attracting visitors who are after unique luxury experiences while still being in touch with nature," said Darren.

"Increasingly, people are seeking holiday experiences that are more genuine than can be found from the confines of a hotel room. They are embracing ways to enjoy the environment sustainably - and there is no better part of the world to enjoy nature than in one of the world's best wine regions, with cellar doors at your doorstep!"

"We will soon be launching a similar experience on Rottnest Island in Western Australia, and look forward to welcoming guests from across Australia and the world to our safari tent experiences", said Darren.

The safari tents are an award-winning design by EcoStructures Australia and are made from the highest-grade canvas available. They are wind tolerant up to Category 5 cyclones and 100% waterproof, with superior features that are complemented by a modern eco-friendly design.

For more information on Discovery Parks, please visit:

NYC Restaurant Week Reservations Open #VisitUSA #NYCRestaurantWeek

  • NYC & Company's Signature Dining Program Returns
  • July 23–August 17 Across All Five Boroughs
  • New USD$26 Two-Course Prix-Fixe Lunch Designed to boost Daytime Dining
NYC & Company, the City's official destination marketing organisation, today announced details for NYC Restaurant Week summer 2018, now in its 26th year, and opened reservations for booking on Also announced was a new prix-fixe lunch offer with a two-course (appetizer and entrée) menu priced at USD$26. Waiving the mandatory third dessert course from the previous lunch offer, diners will now save time, and demand for restaurant daytime dining is expected to rise. Full program details are:
  • Dine over 23 days between July 23 through August 17, 2018*
  • Enjoy the option of more than 380 participating restaurants
  • Receive two-course prix-fixe lunches for USD$26 and three-course prix-fixe dinners (with dessert) for USD$42**
  • Explore restaurants among 42 distinct neighbourhoods, across all five boroughs
  • Discover 33 individual cuisines
View a full list of participants, browse menus and book tables now at

*Saturdays excluded; Sundays optional
**Beverages, gratuities and taxes not included; Prices in USD

"There is no better way to celebrate the diversity of New York City's unmatched culinary scene—the true dining capital of the world—than by experiencing a great meal (or two) among restaurants of 33 distinct cuisines participating in NYC Restaurant Week this summer," said Fred Dixon. "We look forward to welcoming visitors, meetings delegates, and residents to enjoy new dining experiences in neighborhoods across all five boroughs this season."

The summer 2018 season features 24 new restaurant participants: Baar Baar, Barano, Boucherie Park Avenue South, Cleo, DaDong, Empellón, Fish Cheeks, Gloria, Greenwich Steakhouse, Harvey, La Sirena, Lugo Cucina Italiana, Mifune New York, Naoki Takahashi, Nix, Quality Eats – Nomad, Royal 35 Steakhouse, Scampi NYC, Talde, The Musket Room, The Sea Fire Grill, The Whitby Bar & Restaurant, Trattoria Italienne, and Tudor City Steakhouse.

Diners seeking inspiration for where to dine this summer can turn to for curated restaurant collections themed to unique dining experiences. Included among the eight collections, all available now, are: "NYC Classics," "Squad Goals" (group dining), "Swipe Right" (date-friendly establishments), and ideal for summer, "BYO SPF" (alfresco dining), among others. Over the course of NYC Restaurant Week, continue to browse for additional editorial content set to debut over the first three weeks of the program, including neighborhood itineraries for dining near Grand Central, NoHo and SoHo.

American Express is proud once again to sponsor NYC Restaurant Week this summer. In 2017, over 9,700 more restaurant locations in the New York area started accepting American Express® Cards. So now, more places than ever welcome your Card.

Additional brand partners include booking partner OpenTable and culinary arts organization James Beard Foundation.

Diners can follow @nycgo and @nycrestaurantweek on Instagram and @nycgo on Facebook and Twitter for NYC Restaurant Week content. Furthermore, an Instagram photo contest will award four weekly winners (one each week of the program) with USD$300 in gift cards from participating restaurants by using the program hashtag #NYCRestaurantWeek.

Lastly, New Yorkers and visitors looking for additional value this summer and fall can seek out two additional NYC & Company signature programs. NYC Broadway WeekSM returns September 3—16 (tickets on sale August 15), and NYC Off-Broadway WeekSM returns September 24—October 7 (tickets on sale September 10), both offering 2-for-1 tickets to some of the best live shows in New York City. Visit and for more.

To view a full list of participants, make reservations, browse menus and more, visit

Friday, June 29, 2018

New South Wales road trippers encouraged to get off the beaten track


A new $2 million NSW road trips campaign is now underway, designed to entice more travellers off the major highways and experience some of the State's inviting rural and regional towns.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall joined Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson in Tamworth today highlighting one of the iconic NSW inland drives, Fossickers Way.

"While the State continues to attract visitors in record numbers, we've upped the ante with the new marketing program which will provide an even bigger boost to rural and regional NSW economies," Mr Marshall said.

"For the first time, we've teamed up with global music service, Spotify, to provide listeners with personalised playlists matched to their own road trip itinerary.

"Along with an aggressive marketing campaign, we're designing an online interactive trip planner with curated itineraries and maps to allow more people to select a journey based on the kind of NSW experience they're looking for.

"Whether it's food and wine trails, coastal scenic routes or outback adventures, the road trip itineraries and maps can be accessed from any mobile device and shared amongst family and friends."

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the drive itineraries would enable smaller towns, such as Nundle, Manilla, Barraba and Werris Creek to get benefit from more tourist dollars in the town.

"More than 150 rural and regional towns will be promoted through this program, helping to boost local economies by inspiring people to visit, eat, play and stay in Australia's number one State," Mr Anderson said.

"Each NSW region has an incredible story to tell and I encourage Aussies and international visitors to discover more of Australia's most geographically diverse State by car," Mr Anderson concluded.

For more information on how to plan your NSW road trip, go to

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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places