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Monday, October 19, 2015

Aussies Recognise Value of Eurail Passes

With more than 300,000 travellers using Eurail Passes each year to see Europe, Eurail has reported that Oceania make up 11.5% of the market, with Australia dominating at 10.3%.

Amongst the top ten countries travelled by Aussie travellers are Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Czech Republic and Denmark

Overall, while the four-country Select Pass has proven to be the most popular selection among travellers currently, this is closely followed by the Global Pass, which covers 28 countries across the continent.

According to Eurail, the typical Eurail Pass traveller is a non-European citizen who has very little experience with train travel, largely a non-solo traveller above 26 years of age who enjoys first class travel and a visitor of major European capitals. Also the local experience and flexibility offered by rail services play a large part in their travels. This is also fostered by a multitude of benefits that come along with the Pass, including discounts on hotels, tours and further transportation services such as and ferries and buses.

With a history of 56 years, the Eurail Pass became a symbol of European unification after WW11 and rapidly, it became synonymous with rail travel in Europe. From paper maps and tickets back in the day, smartphone apps today make it easy for travellers to freely access information including rail schedules even when offline. To date, the Railplanner App has enjoyed over 1 million downloads and continue to be used by travellers from around the world.

As 2015 comes to an end, a look-back over the year shows five major enhancements to the Eurail portfolio. They include the one country pass to the Greek Islands; 1st class travel option for youth travellers; the introduction of free travel for up to two children under the age of 12 per adult guardian; the addition of four countries to the Pass (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Poland and Croatia); and the introduction of a shorter validity for the Global Pass (five travel days within 10 days).

Moving onto 2016, more enhancements that will better cater to travellers' needs and planning are underway. These will be announced in due course.

(Four different types of passes available for travellers and they include the Eurail Global Pass (covers 28 countries with validities of five travel days within 10 days; 10 / 15 travel days within two months; and 15-21 continuous travel days within 1-3 months); the Eurail Select Pass (covers four adjoining countries with validities of 5,6,8 or 10 days within two months; the Eurail Select Two Country Pass (with validities of 4,5,6,8 or 10 travel days within a month); and the Eurail One Country Pass (validities include 3,4,5 and 8 travel days within a month and six trips for the Attica Pass). All Passes come are available in 1st or 2nd class.

While the Eurail Global Pass is valid in all 28 countries and offers access to 250,000 km of interconnected rail network, travellers unfamiliar with the Pass should note that the whole portfolio is designed to cater for all sorts of  travel plans and offers specific passes for travel in only a few countries. The one, two or four-country options allow for small and big itineraries, offering different options starting from three travel days up to three months of continuous travel).

Eurail Passes are available on

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Royal Caribbean set for biggest season yet


3: All three Royal Caribbean brands in Australia for the first time with Azamara Club Cruises' debut

2: Voyager-Class ships based in Sydney, Australia including new ship Explorer of the Seas

1: Legend of the Seas – the first Brisbane-based ship for RCI

9 October 2015: Today marks the start of RCL Cruises Australia's biggest, boldest season yet, with the arrival of Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas to Sydney – the first of seven of the biggest, youngest and most exceptional cruise ships to sail local waters this summer.

For the first time ever, all three RCL Cruises brands will be based down under, with Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and new arrival Azamara Club Cruises offering a range of 95 itineraries around Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia.

RCL will carry a quarter of a million guests over the season with almost 60,000 of them coming from overseas countries including the USA, Canada, UK and Germany.

"Today marks the start of a record-breaking season in which we will double our guest capacity, introduce a new cruise brand to the region and offer a total of seven ships – around 20 percent of RCL's global fleet," said Gavin Smith, Regional Vice President, RCL Cruises Asia-Pacific.

"For nearly a decade we have delivered the world's biggest and best ships to Australians, offering them a cutting edge cruise product and a style of holiday that they would previously have had to travel overseas to experience," Smith continued.

Already an Australian favourite, the destination-focused Azamara Club Cruises brand will sail in Australia for the very first time this summer.  Normally based in Europe and Asia, the 686-passenger Azamara Quest arrives in Darwin on 28 December as the first of three new ships to join the local fleet this season.

Sydney's biggest summer cruise line, Royal Caribbean International, will welcome Explorer of the Seas, which sets sail from Barcelona today en route to Sydney.  The 3,800-passenger megaliner will take the title of Australia's largest cruise ship from her twin sister, Voyager of the Seas, and the ships will meet in beautiful Sydney Harbour on Saturday evening on 28 November for a historic big-ship harbour rendezvous.

Both Voyager Class vessels are the largest cruise ships based in the southern hemisphere and have recently emerged from a combined USD$160 million bow-to-stern facelift, equipping them with brand new features never seen before at sea in Australasia such as the FlowRider surf simulator and revolutionary Interior "Virtual" Balconies.

Finally, Royal Caribbean International will base a ship in Brisbane for the first time.  From 8 December, Queenslanders will have their very own world class ship, Legend of the Seas, when she commences sailing from Portside Wharf, Hamilton with no less than 15 itineraries.

The seven ships will make 185 port calls and 85 turnarounds in Australia this season, which is expected to inject more than $185 million into the local economy in passenger spending alone.

Key Dates
Friday 9 Oct: Radiance of the Seas: Arrives Sydney, kicks off RCL's cruise season

Wednesday 21 Oct: Celebrity Solstice: Arrives Sydney, starts Celebrity Cruises' local season

Thursday 5 Nov: Voyager of the Seas: Arrives Sydney, starts local season

Friday 13 Nov: Explorer of the Seas: Arrives in Fremantle (Perth), first ever Australian port

Tuesday 17 Nov: Explorer of the Seas: Maiden Adelaide call

Thursday 19 Nov: Explorer of the Seas: Maiden Melbourne call

Saturday 28 Nov: Sydney Harbour Rendezvous: Explorer of the Seas is welcomed to Sydney for the first time by twin sister Voyager of the Seas

Wednesday 2 Dec: Legend of the Seas: Arrives in Darwin – first Australian call for season

Tuesday 8 Dec: Legend of the Seas: Arrives in Brisbane to start maiden season and Royal Caribbean's first season sailing out of Brisbane

Monday 28 Dec: Azamara Quest: Arrives in Darwin – first ever Australian port call for Azamara Club Cruises

Monday 4 Jan: Azamara Quest: Maiden Cairns call

Tuesday 5 Jan: Azamara Quest: Departs Cairns on first ever local voyage

Monday 11 Jan: Azamara Quest: Maiden call in Brisbane

Thursday 14 Jan: Azamara Quest: Maiden arrival Sydney

Monday 18 Jan: Azamara Quest: Maiden arrival Melbourne

Wednesday 20 Jan: Azamara Quest: Maiden arrival Hobart

Saturday 13 Feb: Azamara Quest: Departs Sydney on last local sailing

Saturday 19 Mar: Explorer of the Seas: Maiden Hobart call

Tuesday 29 Mar: Celebrity Millennium: seventh and final ship of the season arrives in Sydney

Sunday 3 Apr: Radiance of the Seas: Departs Sydney, completing local season

Saturday 9 Apr: Celebrity Solstice: Departs Sydney, completing local season

Saturday 16 Apr: Voyager of the Seas: Departs Sydney, completing local season

Wednesday 20 Apr: Legend of the Seas: Departs Brisbane, completing local season

Saturday 23 Apr: Explorer of the Seas: Departs Sydney, wrapping up the 2015/16 international cruise season

For more information visit, or, call 1800 754 500 or contact your travel agent.

Sail along French and Spanish shores with Silversea

From the sun-drenched shores of Nice, to the bohemian spirit of Barcelona, sail through the Balearic Sea on a 7-day luxury cruise aboard Silver Cloud.  

Commencing on 15 April 2016, guests are first treated to an overnight stay in beautiful Nice, France, offering ample time to discover the Old World charm, admire the beauty and explore the stunning architecture of the city and its surrounds.  Continuing her journey through France, guests then travel to Saint Tropez, made famous by Brigitte Bardot, before anchoring in Marseille, home to the Notre-Dame de la Garde, a basilica boasting panoramic views of the Mediterranean and the city.  From here, Silver Cloud ports at the gateway to Montpellier, Sete, where guests can choose to visit the Château de l'Engarran, a prestigious wine estate dating back to the 18th century, or play a round of golf at the Cap d'Agde Golf Club, a championship course, as part of Silversea's optional excursions.

Beginning the Spanish portion of this journey, Silver Cloud sails south to the island of Mallorca, renowned for its coastal beauty.  Silver Cloud then sails to Valencia, where guests can enjoy a range of optional activities, from a culinary introduction to cooking Paella, to a sightseeing excursion where guests are taken underground to the cellars and caves situated beneath the Old Quarter.  To conclude this spectacular voyage, Silver Cloud docks in Barcelona overnight, offering guests the opportunity to enjoy Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia, wander down La Rambla and indulge in the regional tapas cuisine, before disembarking on 22 April 2016.  

Prices are per person starting from AU$3,650 in a Vista Suite double occupancy. Silversea fares include: one hour of complimentary WiFi for every guest per day, all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet meals with menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary wines, Champagne and spirits served throughout the ships; and all gratuities.

This voyage is subject to availability.  Terms and conditions apply.  For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Capital City Growth for Mantra - new Canberra hotel for 2016

Mantra Group has secured the leasehold for a new Mantra branded full-service hotel in Canberra city to open late 2016.

An existing office tower, located on the corner of Northbourne and McCarthur Avenues in the inner city suburb of Turner, will be converted into a 176 room hotel, as part of a new master planned mixed-use precinct.  The development is part of the urban renewal of Canberra's key inner city suburbs by delivering an attractive mix of residential, retail and commercial uses.

The property will be known as Mantra Canberra Hotel and will offer a mix of 136 hotel rooms and 40 suites across eight accommodation levels. Careful consideration has been given to creating flexibility in bedroom configuration by cleverly using interconnecting functionality between suites and hotel rooms to allow for convenient two bedroom suite room types.

"The key appeal of this opportunity was a gain a high quality new foothold in Canberra where we currently only operate 300 rooms across three hotels.  The Capital benefits from a growing annual events calendar and continues to show improved performance across both the leisure and corporate travel market with room for a quality, well located hotel such as Mantra Canberra," said Michael Moret-Lalli, Mantra Group Director of Acquisitions.

The hotel facilities will include a restaurant and bar, conference rooms, gym, and car parking.

Mantra Group currently has a Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree hotel in Canberra which offer luxury, mid-range and economy hotel options.

James Bond 007 is back in London in SPECTRE

Bond is back in SPECTRE and VisitBritain is once again utilising 007’s iconic international profile to show the world what makes Britain GREAT.

SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond adventure from Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer-Studios, and Sony Pictures Entertainment, launches in cinemas worldwide from 26 October and in Australia on 12 November, 2015.

To leverage the global fascination with James Bond and the international exposure the film affords to potential visitors to Britain, VisitBritain is today launching a global Bond is GREAT Britain film tourism campaign in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

The Bond is GREAT campaign is kicking off across more than 60 countries to encourage 007 fans to choose Britain – the home of Bond – for their next holiday.

As the official national tourism partner for the theatrical release of SPECTRE, VisitBritain’s global campaign is using a mix of outdoor billboards, print, digital and social media. This includes exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ footage from SPECTRE through its dedicated campaign page Three new Bond is GREAT images are also being released featuring James Bond, an Aston Martin outside Blenheim Palace as well as a scene from SPECTRE with James Bond in Whitehall.

Other highlights include the release of four new 360 images of key filming locations in SPECTRE including Blenheim Palace, Camden, Westminster Bridge and City Hall to be promoted internationally through VisitBritain’s extensive social media channels. The immersive 360-degree experiences will give overseas visitors a virtual opportunity to step inside some of the iconic British locations showcased in SPECTRE with the first, of Blenheim Palace, released today on The new images build on the series of hugely popular 360 degree images of some of the UK’s best loved landscapes and historical attractions launched earlier this year by VisitBritain.

It is the third time that VisitBritain, working in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, has partnered with the Bond franchise to motivate and inspire even more international visitors to come to Britain.

Its 2012 Bond is GREAT campaign around the theatrical release of SKYFALL resulted in international promotional coverage reaching 653 million people around the world as well as £3.5 million worth of exposure for the Britain brand and partners. That campaign positively affected travel with 16% of people who recalled the Bond is GREAT campaign having booked a trip to Britain and 35% of those who recalled the advert saying they strongly intend to visit Britain in the next three years. (SKYFALL also helped boost visitor numbers to Glencoe in Scotland after being used as a filming location with visits up 41.7% on 2012.*)

VisitBritain Chief Executive Officer Sally Balcombe said:

“We know that the link between tourism and film is a potent one. Recent films have demonstrated that they deliver a real increase in visitor numbers with just under half of our potential visitors to Britain wanting to visit places they have seen featured in films or TV so we are doing everything we can to capitalise on this ‘set-jetting’ phenomenon. That’s why we are working hard to encourage and inspire more people to holiday in Britain through our ‘Bond is GREAT Britain’ campaign, leading to a measurable increase in international visitor numbers and visitor spend across the nations and regions of Britain.”

As part of this year’s Bond is GREAT campaign, 007 fans from around the world will also have the chance to enter an exclusive online competition at to live the Bond lifestyle in Britain – the prize includes a chauffeur driven Aston Martin, private visit to Madame Tussauds and a stay at one of the exclusive Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotels. There’s also a ‘Bond is GREAT’ advert featuring clips from previous Bond movies and exclusive SPECTRE footage on VisitBritain’s YouTube site and uploaded on to

Inbound tourism is worth £26.2 billion a year to Britain and our culture and heritage is one of the main attractions for global visitors. SPECTRE provides a great international showcase for some of Britain’s iconic locations. The scope of Britain’s historical and cultural tourism offer along with its film expertise including its production talent and facilities, have been drawing film-makers to Britain for years.

Traveloscopy | 

World first for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia

Sydney will be the global destination for the fashion industry's first Fashion Week dedicated to showcasing Resort Collections, with a new strategic vision for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) announced today, that sees the event shift to May in 2016.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, has worked closely with IMG, owner and promoter of Australia's premier fashion trade event, to deliver the new strategy which further reinforces Sydney as a global fashion capital.

"Sydney will become the first international market and the only dedicated Fashion Week to showcase Resort Collections to worldwide audiences. Securing the Resort Collections category presents a significant opportunity for NSW, with global retailers allocating a reported 60 per cent of budgets to Resort," Mr Ayres said.

Fashion is an important industry for NSW, employing around 66,000 people on average over 2014-15 across design, manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing, and generating retail sales of around $8 billion.

"The world's most influential buyers and media travel to Sydney for Fashion Week Australia and the event promotes both the NSW fashion industry and our harbour city to audiences worldwide. It is a boon for both trade and tourism," Mr Ayres added.

"I am delighted to announce that this global exposure will continue with the NSW Government securing Sydney as the home of Fashion Week Australia for a further three years from 2016-2018."

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase, said Sydney is the perfect location for this global first.

"Sydney's high energy, glamour and diversity combined with our coastal lifestyle resonate with Resort style so there's no better place to showcase these world-first collections," Ms Chipchase said.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia will be held from 15-21 May 2016 at Sydney's Carriageworks.

Photo attached: L-R: Model wearing We Are Handsome, Katinka and Jeremy Somers (We Are Handsome), Eva Galambos (Parlour X), NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres, Model wearing Bianca Spender, Bianca Spender, Emily Weight (IMG), Johnny Schembri (By Johnny), model wearing By Johnny, model wearing Macgraw, Beth Macgraw and Tessa Macgraw (Macgraw).

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Solomon Islands arrivals increases again

Honiara, Solomon Islands – International visitation to Solomon Islands in May 2015 has once again exceeded all expectations with numbers for the month increasing by close on 15 per cent.

Figures released this week by the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau show arrivals for May 2015 reached 1681, an increase of 14.9 per cent over the 1462 total achieved for the same period in 2014.

SIVB CEO, Josefa 'Jo' Tuamoto said the May increase was a major "thumbs up" for the combined effort the NTO, national airline and local tourism industry have gone to in the last two years to push the Solomon Islands well into the international travel spotlight.

The May figures follow what he described as an amazing result in April when 1750 international visitors were recorded for the month, a 15.5 per cent increase over the 1514 tally recorded for April last year.

Australian arrivals continuing to dominate the statistics, contributing close on 47 per cent of all visitation followed by Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the US and New Zealand.

The SIVB CEO said the strong April and May results could directly attributed to a strong marketing effort initiated into the last quarter of 2014 and across the first three months of 2015.

This, he said, had been followed up in May and June with road shows in both Australia and New Zealand in combination with Solomon Airlines and local industry representatives.

"2014 proved a tough year for the Solomon Islands – the Honiara floods in April followed by the prolonged Fiji-Solomon Islands air impasse had a major effect on our visitation," Mr Tuamoto said.

"But it also gave us the opportunity to consolidate our position, look at where we wanted to go and start building the platform we needed to build in order to begin boosting the country's tourism fortunes.

"We hope to emulate the April/May performance in coming months, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, on the back of the road shows and supportive promotional activity.

"The reality is we need to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground - key to everything is looking at the ways the Solomon Islands combined tourism industry, with continued government support, can continue to improve and build upon these solid results."



News bites from Business Events Australia - October 2015

The Old Clare Hotel

Old meets new at the recently opened The Old Clare Hotel. Located in Sydney, city, The Old Clare Hotel is the first Australian hotel from the ‘Unlisted Collection’. Bringing together two iconic heritage-listed buildings, the property offers 62 boutique rooms in 26 different layouts, a 14-metre pool and deck bar, a lounge bar and surrounded by new restaurants including three new dining options within the hotel: Silvereye, Automata and Kensington St Social (due to open in November 2015 by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton). This inner city hotel is conveniently located for incentive groups, click here to find out more.

Lizard Island reopens

The $45 million renovation and rebuild of all accommodation and facilities at the beautiful Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef have been unveiled. Some new features include The Villa – a two bedroom accommodation option set at the top of a ridge, all new motorised dinghies for guests to explore the 24 powdery white beaches, and the new Lizard Island Wine and Cheese room. Lizard Island is a member of Luxury Lodges of Australia and can offer bespoke luxury experiences for incentive groups of up to 80 guests in their 40 rooms and suites, click here for more information.

Sunlover by Starlight

A new experience is available on the Great Barrier Reef, with Sunlover Reef Cruises now offering guests an overnight reef stay. In a new and unique way to experience one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, “Sunlover by Starlight” offers a glamping experience for small groups of up to 18 people on a stable 45 metre long and 12 metre wide pontoon. Click here for more information.

Redevelopment of Four Points by Sheraton Sydney

The Four Points by Sheraton Sydney has embarked on a $200 million investment, creating a new landmark accommodation tower and contributing to the revitalisation of Darling Harbour as a premier Sydney destination. The redevelopment will deliver a brand new dining precinct, over 4,800m2 meeting and event facilities and an additional 222 stylish guest rooms, taking the total number of rooms up to 905. Watch a short three minute video of the completed hotel and event space here, and click here for more information.

Sea World Resort’s new Conference Centre

The new Conference Centre at Sea World Resort in the Gold Coast has opened. The new facility can cater to up to 1,000 delegates and features the latest audio‐visual equipment, as well as a large verandah available for coffee breaks, lunches, cocktail receptions and trade exhibitions. Sea World Resort also features free Wi-Fi access throughout the venue, four restaurants, two bar areas and 400 rooms and suites allowing delegates to stay on site. Click here for more information.

New hotel open in Canberra

The new five-star Little National Hotel, opened in Canberra’s parliamentary triangle in September 2015. The hotel has 120 hotel rooms, with 5 star hotel amenities including a super-king size bed, wall-to-wall windows, bathroom with rain shower, large HD Smart televisions, in-room safe, and free high-speed Wi-Fi. The hotel also features a hotel library and lounge suited to the business traveller and will have views of the city and Parliament House.

The Yarra Valley welcomes a new tourism experience

The first 18 of a planned 27 holes of The Eastern Golf Club designed by Greg Norman has opened in its new location, Yering, in Melbourne’s Yarra Valley. The remaining nine holes together with a nine hole par three course are currently under construction and scheduled for completion in April / May 2016. The Club is located within 45 minutes of the city and has six dedicated function rooms with views of the Yarra Valley and capacity for up to 220 guests. The Eastern Golf Club also provides outdoor teambuilding experiences for corporate groups including bushwalking, mountain biking, fishing and Segway’s all available within the Club’s 120 acre nature reserve, home to eastern grey kangaroos, deer, platypus, echidnas, wombats and over 200 species of native bird life. The official opening of The Eastern Golf Club will take place in mid-October, 2015. For more information, please visit

Art deco restored in new venue

Golden Age Cinema & Bar, originally built in 1940 as the screening room for Paramount Pictures, has been brought back to life by a team of talented architects and designers, dedicated to keeping the character of the art deco building. It's an operating cinema Tuesday to Sunday nights and can be hired as an event space during the day or on Monday evenings. It's perfect for seminars, meetings, product launches or media launches and they have a few other secret venues too.

Behind the scenes at ICC Sydney

Go behind the scenes at ICC Sydney. The $1.5 billion development, due to open in December 2016, forms a part of the wider revitalisation of the Darling Harbour precinct. Click here to experience a virtual tour of ICC Sydney. This new venue will adjoin a new 35 storey, 600 room luxury hotel to be designed and constructed by property and infrastructure group Lendlease. The property is due to open in 2017 as a Sofitel hotel under the management of Accor Hotels. Click here to find out more.

Upgrades at Historic Peppers Manor House

A $3.5 million upgrade has commenced at the 137 year old Peppers Manor House located in the Southern Highlands in New South Wales. The upgrade will mean a refurbishment of all 43 guest rooms as well as brand new indoor/ outdoor conferencing and event spaces for up to 200 guests, complementing the existing four venues on the estate. Click here for more information.

Traveloscopy | 

New Vibe Hotel slated for Hobart CBD

TFE Hotels secures operating agreement for new-build hotel opposite Royal Hobart Hospital

Toga Far East (TFE) Hotels has secured the operating agreement for a new Vibe Hotel as part of a mixed-use development in the Hobart CBD in Tasmania, due for completion in 2017.

Developer, Raadas Property has obtained Development Approval for a 15-storey redevelopment of 36 Argyle Street, which is currently an open air carpark opposite Royal Hobart Hospital and Hobart Private Hospital.  The proposed development incorporates a ground floor of retail and hospitality space, four floors dedicated to commercial offices and ten floors for approximately 120 rooms and suites, facilities and conferencing.

Raadas has appointed TFE Hotels to operate the hotel under its Vibe Hotels brand and consult with Hobart-based Xsquared Architects on design.  Construction is expected to commence in 2016.

In creating a 4.5-star hotel on the central CBD site, Raadas Property is looking to capitalise on the Tasmanian Government's push to attract more tourism to the State.  Raadas Property Managing Director Richard Doedens said he is delighted to have TFE Hotels on board with the development.

"It is pleasing to say this project is one step closer to commencing construction now that we have appointed TFE Hotels," said Mr Doedens.

"TFE Hotels is an owner and builder of hotels, as well as a hotel management company on behalf of owners, so they know better than anyone what's required to make a development like this work".

"The Vibe Hotels lifestyle brand is an excellent choice for this location and the style of hotel we want to create.  It is an exciting and progressive hotel concept that will connect guests to the local surroundings and add to the revitalisation of Hobart's CBD," Mr Doedens added.

TFE Hotels' agreement with Raadas Property will result in its first Vibe hotel for Tasmania and its third hotel in the State capital, joining Travelodge Hobart and Travelodge Hobart Airport.  It is also within a short walk of retail and café precincts, the Hobart waterfront, the state and federal government departments and some of Hobart's largest corporate premises, in addition to being directly opposite Hobart's main public and private hospitals.

"We are delighted to have been chosen to operate our beautiful next generation Vibe brand in Hobart.  We know that our guests value local experiences, connection, community and shared inspirational social hubs and that is exactly what Vibe Hotel Hobart will deliver.  This city is the perfect place for us to establish the Vibe brand, with international tourism increasing dramatically, domestic travel also on the increase, with a particular focus on the authentic and natural experiences that Tasmania is renowned for" said TFE Hotels CEO, Rachel Argaman.

"We have a real opportunity with Vibe Hotels to deliver an experience that encourages a deeper connection with the destination and travellers to make unique discoveries, complementing the City of Hobart's efforts to attract business and leisure tourism to the city.

"As designs continue to take shape, we're excited at this project's potential and are looking forward to a development that fully capitalises on this unique CBD location."

Incorporated in the Argyle Street development are four floors of commercial office space, which is being marketed by Knight Frank in Hobart.

CEO of Knight Frank Scott Newton said the office space is in a prime location and would be highly desirable for a variety of professional and business tenants including medical practitioners and medical related businesses.

"Given the proximity to the Royal Hobart Hospital and Hobart Private Hospital, the commercial floors would be ideal for medical professionals associated with the hospitals and patients," said Mr Newton.

"Several floors have been designed to accommodate consulting rooms as well as the option for a day surgery facility."

Monday, October 5, 2015

Elizabeth Taylor Trust exhibition in London

Getty Images Gallery has announced its latest exhibition titled Grit and Glamour’, in association with The Elizabeth Taylor Trust and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF). The major photographic exhibition marks 30 years since the iconic actress first began her pioneering role in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

A timeless figure of the stage and screen, Elizabeth Taylor possessed a rare and multi-faceted fame – a fame that spoke of her talent, beauty and tireless activism. The actress channeled her celebrity status into the humanitarian work to which she remained resolutely committed throughout her life. In the exhibition, the public can witness the journey of a life lived remarkably and the complexity that drives such unimaginable success.

Photographs on display and for sale will include never-before-seen images of the actress that span the decades of her legendary career, as well as a behind-the-scenes look into the life of one of the most photographed women of all time. With exquisite studio portraits, contact sheets and unguarded backstage shots, the exhibition is a photographic exploration of one of the most extraordinary women of our age.

Louise Garczewska, Director of Getty Images Gallery said: “We are delighted to partner with The Elizabeth Taylor Trust and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation on this ground-breaking exhibition. Many of the images will not have been seen before and provide fascinating insight into an incredible woman. We hope the exhibition will raise much-needed funds for HIV/AIDS projects and ensure Elizabeth Taylor’s legacy continues.”

“It has been very special for me to look through these photographs spanning decades of my mother’s life,” said Ms. Taylor’s son, Christopher Wilding. “They remind me how special and unique it was growing up around her; life often took on the magical atmosphere of the traveling circus. But mom never ‘played’ the celebrity; she lived life on her own terms and was always true to herself. She had a keen sense of fairness, and she always sided with the underdog. She stood up for what she believed in.”

Actress Elizabeth Taylor poses for a portrait on the set of the
movie 'Giant' which was released on November 24, 1956.
The images form a special limited edition and are available to purchase in a variety of sizes, framed or unframed. A percentage of the proceeds from each sale will benefit ETAF.

Joel Goldman, Managing Director of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation said: “Ms. Taylor set up her estate so that 100 per cent of ETAF’s operating costs would be covered by her Trust allowing all donations to go directly to helping people living with HIV and AIDS. ETAF has awarded grants to nearly 700 organizations in 37 countries around the globe, including the Terrance Higgins Trust in London.”

The 50-piece exhibition is scheduled to tour various venues after London including New York, Los Angeles, South Africa and France. Click here to see a preview of some of the images that will be on display.

The exhibition runs from 9 October to 7 November 2015 and admission is free. Getty Images Gallery is situated in central London, close to Oxford Circus. Opening hours are from 10.00am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday and 12.00 to 5.30pm Saturday. For further information on Getty Images Gallery, visit:

Traveloscopy | 

Palm Cove dishes up Reef Feast

Tasting plates featuring the likes of Atherton Tableland orange and finger lime arancini balls for just $5 or $10, home brewers battling for beer awards and an array of entertainment will be served up at Palm Cove's Reef Feast on October 8-11.

Tourism Palm Cove President Francetta Bridle said the annual Reef Feast held alongside Palm Cove's palm-fringed beach would celebrate Tropical North Queensland's lifestyle and unique regional produce with nine events over four days encompassing food, wine, beer, fashion, art and music.

"New to Reef Feast this year is an emphasis on the local farmers who supply incredibly diverse produce to Palm Cove's 30 restaurants for their chefs to transform into tropical dishes and drinks to be enjoyed beside the Coral Sea," she said.

"Cairns Airport is presenting Reef Feast in 2015 as part of the Tropical Queensland Export Exchange, an initiative of the Airport, in collaboration with Cairns Regional Council and Trade and Investment Queensland, to grow the profile of Tropical North Queensland's produce and create international trade opportunities.

"The Exchange involves 50 visiting media from the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists who will attend Reef Feast which we hope will result in an international profile next year."

Mrs Bridle said Reef Feast had become a much anticipated event on the Tropical North Queensland events calendar with more than 11,000 people attending last year.

"Our opening event, Cocktails and Coconuts on Thursday, October 8 will set the tone for four days and three nights of fun with a fire show, coconut dancers and canapes.

"Prawns and Jazz at the Jetty on Friday, October 9 will be a great family evening overlooking the Coral Sea as the sun goes down with buckets of prawns, jazz and entertainment for the kids.

"On Saturday, October 10 the third TNQ Beer Awards will be hotly contested by some remarkably talented home brewers and Taste of Palm Cove under the Stars will have tasting stalls operated by Palm Cove's restaurants as well as music and entertainment.

"The Reef Feast Palm Cove Market Day on Sunday, October 11 will feature farmer's produce markets alongside stalls with tasting plates, arts and crafts.

"In between there will be events for those who enjoy sparkling wine and fine dining, a golf day, a Kashmiri feast and Feast for the Eyes celebrating fashion, hair and makeup."

Reef Feast will give away The Ultimate Palm Cove Weekend for two adults with flights, accommodation, dinners, a spa treatment and tours. Collect your entry when you buy a tasting plate. For more information on the events go to

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IMAGE: Palm Cove dishes up Reef Feast on October 8-11 celebrating food, wine, beer, fashion, art and music in the tropics.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Explorer of the Seas is on her way!

She's on her way!! Explorer of the Seas, soon to be crowned largest ship to sail local waters, has begun the long voyage to our shores.

Twin sister to Aussie favourite Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas is today departing Southampton and will sail for 42 days through Europe and via Dubai, India and Asia before arriving in Perth - her first Aussie port – on 13 November.

The action packed megaliner will then depart Perth on a 16-night tour around the bottom end of Australia and New Zealand, before arriving to her new home, Sydney, on 28 November. Sydney-siders will be in for a treat on the 28th as Explorer of the Seas' twin sister (and second largest cruise ship based in Australia) Voyager of the Seas will welcome her big sister home – with both ships meeting in a historic Sydney Harbour rendezvous.

Explorer of the Seas arrives for her maiden Australian season fresh from a multimillion dollar makeover in April this year. She is now jam-packed with a host of new features to match her popular twin sister Voyager of the Seas, including a FlowRider surf machine, three new specialty restaurants, two new bars, new stateroom categories including industry-first interior Virtual Balcony staterooms with real time sights of the sea and new Panoramic staterooms with floor-to-ceiling wrap-around windows, as well as a complete refresh of all the public spaces and staterooms onboard.

Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas both also boast signature Royal Caribbean features including the iconic ice-skating rink, rock climbing wall, a full-size basketball and sports court, and the Royal Promenade – an interior boulevard that runs nearly the length of the ship flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques where spectacular parades and evening dance parties are held.

Below is a shot of Explorer of the Seas meeting Anthem of the Seas (and an Isle of White ferry) in Southampton

Thursday, October 1, 2015

This Halloween visit the spookiest tourist destinations in NSW


From haunted gaols to eerie caves, New South Wales provides plenty of scary stories and spooky sites to discover this Halloween.

New South Wales, the birthplace of the nation, is filled with unnerving stories of the bygone days and provides plenty of spooky places to explore this Halloween.

From Monte Cristo Homestead, the nation's most haunted house, to the dark silent chambers of the Jenolan Caves, the State is home to some outright 'ghostly' destinations that will have thrill-seekers sleeping with the light on this Halloween.

Destination NSW suggest booking a spine-tingling short break or terrifying tour this Halloween.

Choose from:

● Sydney's Q Station is located on the spectacular North Head near Manly within 30 acres of Sydney Harbour National Park. Despite its tranquil location, Q Station has a dark past entrenched in isolation, suffering and disease from its days as an operational quarantine post. Today, the property offers visitors the combination of fascinating heritage sites and stylish accommodation with some of the city's most spectacular views. Visitors can take part in a range of history, education, ghost and paranormal tours with an option of staying overnight in historic cottages with incredible views. According to the site's resident medium, there are at least fifty spirits wandering the hospital, dining halls, shower block, and morgue, where an ominous mannequin lies under a white sheet to awaken the imagination

● Walking through the cobbled laneways of The Rocks offers a true sense of Sydney's past with sandstone terraces, convict cottages and some of the country's oldest pubs lining the streets of this historic precinct. Despite standing in the centre of modern-day Sydney, visitors to the area feel they have stepped back through time to the 1800s when The Rocks was a raucous settlement of convicts, soldiers, sailors and street gangs. The Rocks Ghost Tours offer eerie night-time explorations of the area transporting visitors back to this convict colony with local folklore, ghostly tales and haunted sites. Guests will be led through the narrow alleyways and dark courtyards of The Rocks to uncover the area's fascinating and sinister past. Make a weekend of it and stay at one of the area's many hotels such as the Russell Hotel, a charming guesthouse steeped in history that is believed to be haunted by the spirit of a sailor

● The Jenolan Caves are Australia's most impressive limestone caves and one of the largest cave systems in the world. Situated in the Blue Mountains, 11 show caves are open to the public to explore the dark chambers, underground rivers and awe-inspiring cave formations. The local Gundungurra people know Jenolan as 'Binoomea' which means 'the dark place' and a number of ghostly tales have emerged over the years mostly connected to James Wiburd, Jenolan's third caretaker from 1903. It is believed that Wiburd so loved the place that he chose never to leave, lingering to keep an eye on things. Visitors to the caves can partake in guided tours and adventure caving. Those staying the night can lodge at Caves House to enjoy warm country hospitality, cosy log fires and a lantern-lit ghost tour of the complex cave system

Monte Cristo Homestead in the town of Junee in South West New South Wales, holds the reputation as Australia's most haunted house. This beautifully renovated and decorated colonial mansion bears a dark history of murder, torture and insanity. It is said to be haunted by at least ten ghostly entities who all met untimely ends on the site. The current owner, Olive Ryan, runs ghost tours through the mansion and happily shares the homestead's fascinating and frightening past with anyone game enough to listen. Limited accommodation is available at the homestead which offers six comfortable and spacious guest rooms that can be booked via email

Maitland Gaol in New South Wales' Hunter region has an intriguing history as a maximum security prison that housed some of Australia's most hardened and notorious criminals. Operating for 150 years, the gaol was closed in 1998 and has since become one of the State's premier heritage listed sites. Visitors to Maitland Gaol are offered the opportunity to venture inside the facility which remains genuine to the day the gates were shut. Guests can choose to take a self-guided audio tour or a themed guided tour by day or night. For groups who want to experience the gaol at night, a group sleepover in the cells can be arranged but be warned, this tour is not for the faint of heart. Those too scared to sleep in one of the cells can find charming bed & breakfasts, budget hostel rooms, self-contained apartments and quality hotels locally in Maitland or in Newcastle, just a 30 minute drive away. Interstate visitors can fly directly into Newcastle Airport.

For more information on Sydney and NSW, visit or

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places