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Monday, May 30, 2016

Big hearted MTA Members reach out to Fiji

MTA – Mobile Travel Agents' co-managing directors Roy and Karen Merricks have personally delivered more than 250 kilos of clothing, toys and school materials donated by the Merricks and MTA Members to the children of Naqalimare District School in Sigatoka on Fiji's big island of Viti Levu.

The area was one of many regions of the destination severely affected by the ravages of Tropical Cyclone Winston which smashed into the Fijian archipelago with deadly effects in late February.

The Fijian people's plight was very much in focus at the recent MTA National Conference on the Gold Coast in March when high profile Fiji-based celebrity chef Lance Seeto, a close personal friend of the Merricks, addressed the members and called on them for their help.

The result, 250 kilos of clothing, toys and school materials collected at an MTA family fun-day on the Gold Coast where Chef Seeto, accompanied by MTA ambassador Jessica Watson OAM manned the BBQ for MTA Members and their families attending the 'Power of Community' national conference.

Pictured, Naqalimare District schoolchildren and just some of the 250 kilos of clothing, toys and material donated by MTA.




Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Time is Right for an Outback NSW Adventure

As the weather cools down, it's the perfect time for an Outback adventure. Award winning tour operator Tri State Safaris provides an insight into what's awaiting travellers in Far West NSW.

Driving through Cameron Corner

"It is adventure and inspiration. It is freedom and wonder. It is ours and it's just around the corner. FAR WEST NSW – this is where your next adventure begins."

The outback in your back yard.

Abounding in nature's gifts and home to beauty rich and rare – Outback NSW is the land that Australians sing of.

It is the home of far-reaching blue skies, brilliant sunsets and the countless stars that they give birth to - the land where darkness never truly falls. Here residents breathe air fresh and cool, in the quiet of nights so silent that you could hear a kangaroo's footstep. And travellers journey through landscapes of red desert sands and sprawling salt bush plains. From jump-ups and sand dunes to national parks and creek beds lined with majestic red river gums, our roads lead through country filled with an abundance of rare bird and wildlife, between townships steeped in Australian culture and history.

This stunning outback region has plenty of unique, colourful and exciting opportunities to offer travellers. Holiday-makers, families, retirees, 4WD-enthusiasts, wanderlust travellers and artists of all descriptions will all find an array of experiences to pique their curiosity and enliven their sense of adventure.

With an abundance of rain having blessed the sun-kissed soils of Outback NSW this year, residents and travellers are looking forward to a spectacular season with blankets of wild flowers, increased wild life activity and a plethora of birdlife predicted for the months ahead. Whether or not you've been here before, chances are you haven't come close to seeing it all. Now is the time to visit!

Reconnect with your Australian heritage.

Far West NSW is home to Australia's first heritage listed city, Broken Hill. Best known as the birth place of BHP Billiton, this mining community offers a dynamic art scene with multiple galleries, including that of renowned artist Pro Hart, heritage-listed buildings and old-world hospitality. It is the hub of a variety of popular tourist destinations including cinematic gem Silverton, the home of Mad Max 2 and artists John Dynon and Albert Woodroffe. A short drive from Broken Hill will find you in the wetlands of Menindee and Kinchega National Park, or the 'land of green grass and water holes' Mutawintji National Park. With a population of about 19,000 people, Broken Hill is the largest community in the Corner Country, and the perfect beginning for any outback adventure.

Discover Australian culture.

Far West NSW offers travellers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the pastoral and indigenous cultures that have shaped our modern day nation. There are multiple opportunities to visit working sheep and cattle stations on station stays, with some offering overnight accommodation in renovated and sometimes luxurious shearers' quarters.

For those wishing to take a step further back into time, the region is home to a number of Australia's most sacred indigenous sites, including one of Australia's most extensive rock art collections. Take the time to visit the popular Mutawintji National Park, an ancient meeting place for Indigenous Aboriginal tribes wishing to trade goods, exchange news or conduct religious ceremonies. Or walk amidst the lunettes of Mungo National Park, to the place where remnants of human occupation date back over 40,000 years. Get the most out of your adventure by booking on board a tour with one of the region's award-winning tour companies to gain access to restricted areas.

Experience the character of the corner country.

From unique townships such as White Cliffs (where residents literally live their lives underground) to the regional community of Tibooburra known as the most remote community in NSW and often described as the hottest – travellers can partake in indigenous and river heritage at Wilcannia, try 'noodling' for opal in White Cliffs, or follow the Dingo Fence through the red sands dunes of the Corner Country to touch the famous Corner Post where the three states meet. Marvel at the conditions faced by Australia's early explorers as you follow in the footsteps of Australian explorers such as Burke and Wills, whose ill-fated expedition began at Menindee before heading north past Innamincka and then back to a fatal ending at the "Dig Tree". Or settle into the easy pace of outback living and take the time to meet the laid-back and quirky characters that call this sometimes harsh land home, exchange stories and share some laughs at a local pub.

Stunning locations.

Visit some of Australia's most iconic destinations with a number of protected National Parks on offer in the Far West Region. From the jump-ups and gibber plains of Sturt National Park, the sand dunes and lunettes of Mungo National Park, the red river gums, water holes and cultural art works of Mutawintji National Park – you'll be inspired by Australia's natural beauty and amazed at how diverse our country can be.

With plenty to see and do in the Far West NSW you'll never get bored, and with such a variety of locations and experiences to choose from, there's sure to be something to suit you. But why believe us? Go and see it for yourself! Plan your next adventure today!

Visit or for destination information and to download the Outback Visitor Information Guide.

Menindee Lake

Cameron Corner in bloom

Rock art in Mutawintji National Park

Mungo National Park

Living Desert and Sculpture Symposium, near Broken Hill

Tour group with Tri State Safaris

Monday, May 9, 2016

Sculpture at Scenic World commando Koalas

Sculpture at Scenic World boosts Blue Mountain's visitation

Australia's only sculpture exhibition held in an Australian rainforest, Sculpture at Scenic World, is estimated to have attracted an additional 22,000 visitors to the Blue Mountains over the past month.
Wrapping up yesterday, Sunday, 8 May, Sculpture at Scenic World's boost to visitor numbers supports the event's State classification as an event of regional significance as announced by Destination NSW earlier this year.
With more than 93,000 people viewing the rainforest exhibition over four weeks – a 30 % increase on last year, Scenic World's Managing Director, Anthea Hammon, said the popularity of the event with visitors from all over the world was undisputable.

With more than 4,500 votes received in the $1,000 Carrington Hotel People's Choice Award, Blue Mountains artist Ian Swift, was announced as the winner of the prize at the exhibition's closing function, held yesterday at The Carrington Hotel, Sunday, 8 May.
Ian's work, Drop Bear Training Camp, captured the public's imagination with its comic, heroic and iconic depiction of a squadron of Koalas.  
He said the People's Choice award was a special moment as visitors to the exhibition have shown an appreciation for the issues of the time, climate change and terrorism.
"Just like the conflicts of today and the issue of climate change, the koalas represent the challenge in reclaiming their lost pristine habitat," Ian said.

Information about the 2016 exhibition can be found at

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Winter ball at Hydro Majestic a majestic overture to winter season

Herald the season the Blue Mountains is most famous for, winter, with an evening of fine dining, exquisite art and music opulence at a sumptuous masquerade ball at the Hydro Majestic Hotel on June 18.

Dressed in their most elegant masquerade ball attire, guests will nibble on canapes, sip cocktails and browse exquisite artworks by Warwick Fuller as he talks about his time as official tour artist to the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to Australia in November.

The works by Fuller, who paints landscapes from life, will be part of a special exhibition on display at the Boilerhouse Cafe curated by Lost Bear Gallery in Katoomba.

All displayed artworks will be for sale and one lucky guest will take home a painting as a gift.

After a two-course dinner created by award-winning chefs and featuring regional produce, the largest gathering of professional classical musicians ever in the Blue Mountains will deliver the second ever performance of Australian composer Sean O'Boyle's new rhapsody on a theme of Mendelssohn which will premiere just the week before.

The audience will also hear one of the most demanding solo works written for the French horn, Strauss' Horn Concerto no 1 with TMO's own Michael Wray as soloist.

Under the baton of TMO artistic director and chief conductor Sarah-Grace Williams, more than 50 musicians will perform Beethoven's arousing Coriolan Overture and Mendelssohn's Symphony no 4 to nurture the cosy Italian atmosphere of the evening devoted to the colours of Europe.

The concert program will be accompanied by a lavish cocktail and dining package.

Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: ``The first Majestic Concert received fantastic feedback from guests and professional reviewers who were impressed with the diverse experience and the excellent food as well as the quality performance of course.

``We know the food, the dramatic venue and the entertainment rivals the grand concert halls of Europe so we want people to really dress up in their most elegant best for the Winter Ball to ensure this concert becomes an occasion on a majestic scale.''

The Metropolitan Orchestra comprises Sydney's most dynamic musicians and is recognised as one of the country's most versatile orchestras delivering accessible, first-class and vibrant concert experiences.

The orchestra's seven-year history features a star-studded array of highlight concerts and album performances; special events; world premieres by several Australian composers; and new works workshops.

The final concert in the Majestic Concert Series will be Symphony Under the Stars on November 19 featuring Mendelsson's A Midsummer Night's Dream: Overture, Kats-Chernin's Ornamental Air (for basset clarinet and orchestra) and Symphony no 7 by Beethoven. Guests will also indulge in a sultry evening of canapes and cocktails followed by a two-course dinner.

The Majestic Winter Ball will be held at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath, beginning with cocktails and canapes at 5.30pm on Saturday, June 18. Cost: $145pp includes 4-hour cocktails and canapes package. Bookings and details: for more dining, event and accommodation details and bookings.

ACI’s Andrew Chan named Recruitment International – Australia ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’

Capping off an amazing 10 month period for ACI HR Solutions,  CEO & Founder, Andrew Chan has been named 'Entrepreneur of the Year' at the Recruitment International – Australia 2016 Awards.

This latest accolade follow hot on the heels of the company's success last month in Singapore when it picked up three trophies at the Human Resources Asia Recruitment Awards 2016.

This included a gold in the prestigious 'Best Recruitment Innovation by a Recruitment Agency' category in recognition of ACI's 'Get Da Job' mobile device app designed to help candidates prepare for the job interview process.

In August last year, ACI was named 'Best Newcomer' at the 2015 Recruitment International – Asia 2015' awards.

Mr Chan said it was "truly an honour" to be recognised by HR industry peers and "validates" the hard work and passion the entire ACI team has put in since the company launched in 2012.

"But we're not resting on our laurels," Mr Chan said.

"Continuous improvement is a journey and plans are already in place for new technology, development and expansion for ACI going forward.

"More importantly though, we are proud to be representing the travel and hospitality sector and hopefully our recent success will play a role in some way in drawing attention from talents in other industries across to ours."

Pictured from left to right) -  ACI Executive Consultant (Australia), Kathy Fatseas and ACI CEO & Founder, Andrew Chan with the Recruitment International – Australia 2016 'Entrepreneur of the Year' award.

For more information, please contact Andrew Chan directly via email at

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Announces Cuba by Land and Sea

Cultural Heritage and Natural Wonders a Curated People-to-People Program

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has announced Cuba by Land and Sea: Cultural Heritage and Natural Wonders, a 10-night people-to-people program that combines extraordinary people-to-people visits that capture the country's vibrant cultures and political history, with exploring Cuba's remarkable natural history and pristine marine habitats. The first program departs December 7, 2016, with 16 consecutive departures through March 2017.

The well-curated people-to-people exploration begins with a three-night stay at the historic Hotel Nacional, a Havana landmark on the waterfront. Guests will have a rich menu of options to see, do learn and engage, meeting Cubans and exploring the many cultural experiences—history, art, architecture, music, dance, and even the iconic cigar and car subcultures—this great capital has to offer.

The people-to-people program will then take to the sea for a seven-night voyage that will combine cultural exchanges with natural history as it explores Cuba's southern coast aboard Panorama ll, the gracious 44-guest sail cruiser.

Cuba's unspoiled reefs and marine life have been little explored, and remain in an excellent state of preservation. Along the way, guests will learn about these pristine places from the Cuban conservationists who have made studying them their life's work.

Highlights of the people-to-people land and sea program include:
Gain an understanding of Cuba's history and present through extensive people-to-people visits in the great cities of Havana, Trinidad, and Cienfuegos, and explore the treasure trove that is Cuba's colonial architecture.
Explore Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) Marine Park*, a place of incredible importance to the marine ecology of Cuba and the world, in the company of the researchers working to protect them. Go snorkeling, or opt to scuba dive (additional cost) to encounter some of the greatest diversity of intact corals, fish and other creatures found anywhere. (See Sven Lindblad's video of his dive there.) Hike on the islands to look for ospreys, frigate birds, spoonbills, pelicans, and more.
Discuss conservation efforts and spot rich birdlife, such as the Cuban trogon and the bee hummingbird (the smallest bird in the world), with local naturalists at the Zapata Swamp National Park. Cross to the Cuban Keys to meet with researchers at a sea turtle breeding center and endangered species protection program at Cayo Largo del Sur.
Visit the Bay of Pigs*, where exiles landed in 1961 in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government, and meet with Cuban nationals who will discuss what transpired and its meaning to Cubans.
Experience Cuba's celebrated music tradition including a musical outing in Havana with a chance to meet with locals; a people-to-people visit with musicians and singers, young and old, in Cienfuegos; and a presentation and exchange with the internationally known, award-winning Cienfuegos Choir.
Enjoy several meals in some of Havana's best paladares, or privately owned restaurants, which have developed a deserved reputation for innovative cuisine.

*Note: our visits to the Gardens of the Queen and the Bay of Pigs are pending permission from Cuban officials.

In addition to our extensive people-to-people program, guests will learn from Lindblad's expert onboard team of naturalists, cultural specialists and a Lindblad-National Geographic certified Photo Instructor – all dedicated to sharing their passion and knowledge.

Rates begin at AUD $11,880 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin. For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyages to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth, visit, call 1300 361 012 (AU), 0800 444 462 (NZ) or contact your travel agent.

Traveloscopy | 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

National Geographic ‘Solomon Islands’ special to be broadcast throughout May

In what represents the Solomon islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB) biggest ever TV promotion, a dedicated Solomon Islands travelogue will be broadcast on National Geographic's 'World traveller' program  across Australia, New Zealand and Asia throughout May.

Reaching an estimated 24 million National Geographic channel subscribers, the five-minute program is the result of a visit by a National Geographic crew last November filming in and around Honiara, Gizo, Munda, Tetepare Conservation Island and Ugele Village on Rendova Island.

The travelogue focuses on the country's unique culture, WWII history, natural environment, diving, surfing, flora and fauna including a glimpse into turtle wrangling on the eco-oriented Tetepare Island.

Describing the event as a "beyond major" opportunity for the country's tourism industry, SIVB CEO, Josefa 'Jo' Tuamoto said the travelogue was exactly the right vehicle to firmly propel the Solomon Islands into the full glare of the tourism spotlight in Australia, New Zealand and trans-Asia.

"National Geographic's reach is incredible and the potential this vehicle has to showcase our tourism potential is enormous," Mr Tuamoto said.

"We know we will be reaching directly into the hearts and homes of literally millions of people across the Asia-Pacific."

The five minute travelogue can be viewed on this link:

[image] – The National Geographic film crew on location in Honiara, Solomon Islands.



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Rembrandt Recognised For Best Restaurants in Thailand

Rang Mahal & Mexicano win prestigious Tatler Best Restaurant 2016 Awards

The luxury 407-room Rembrandt Hotel, located in the heart of Bangkok, has added to its global reputation with inclusion of its Rang Mahal, and Mexicano restaurants in the prestigious Thailand Tatler’s Best Restaurants 2016 list.

Rang Mahal, a multi award-winning authentic Indian restaurant spanning two decades, is located on the 26th floor of the Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok looking out over panoramic views of Bangkok’s skyline. The acclaimed restaurant features chefs from mainland India, each a specialist in traditional Indian cuisine including hand-made gourmet deserts and creamy rich lassies.

Mexicano, the freshly rebranded authentic Mexican restaurant is a leader in food quality, atmosphere and service – recognized as Bangkok’s best. Under the direction of Master Chef, Mr Carlos Bravo, original Mexican dishes are served using garden-fresh local seafood, beef, pork, chicken, salads and vegetarian cuisine. They are complemented with hand-shaken margaritas and 60 premium tequilas.

The awards were announced recently at a special event hosted at Zen Event Gallery at Central World in Bangkok.

The reputation of the Rembrandt as a leading Bangkok luxury hotel was strengthened recently when it won a ‘2015 Best of +VIP Access Hotel’ award from as well as ‘Best Hotel – Far East & Africa 2015’ from Virgin Holidays UK, and an ‘Outstanding Performance 2015’ from global reservation network provider,

About Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok

Rembrandt Hotel is centrally located in the heart of Bangkok off of Sukhumvit Road. Guests may access our hotel either from Sukhumvit Soi 18 or Sukhumvit Soi 20 as our property extends the length of the block. We offer luxury, outstanding services, and facilities to satisfy all travelers to Bangkok, Thailand. The property is conveniently located near the central business district as well as shopping attractions, city landmarks and vibrant nightlife. Our guests also have the benefit of all major public transportation stations in Bangkok as both skytrain (BTS Asoke Station) and metro (MRT Sukhumvit Station) are just a short 5-minute walk from the hotel or guests may ride on a complimentary 24-hour "tuk tuk" shuttle service to the main road. This quality hotel is a great location for both tourists and business travelers, who will find easy access to Sukhumvit and the Bangkok CBD.

For reservation, please contact 02-261-7100 or book via or please visit

Monday, May 2, 2016

Feel at Home in Tahiti in Rental Property Accommodation

As home-sharing becomes increasingly popular for travellers worldwide, Tahiti Tourisme has highlighted the destination's rental home offering as an alternative way for Australian holidaymakers to enjoy a homely stay on the islands.

Ranging from resort studio units for two to beachfront holiday homes and 12-bedroom luxury villas, rental homes are available across the Society Islands including Moorea and Tahiti, as well as the Tuamotus.

Tahiti Tourisme Director Australia Robert Thompson said rental homes offered a great value option for groups or couples wanting to enjoy the Islands of Tahiti in their own comfort and space.

"While Tahiti is best known for its overwater bungalows and luxury resorts, there is a whole other side to the destination for those who want more flexible arrangements, especially families, friends and groups who are holidaying together," Mr Thompson said.

"Whether guests want a rustic beach house where the lagoon is never more than a few paces away, or a high level of service with a fully-staffed property, there is a rental home to suit. Most properties have a private pool and a semi-private beach as well as great cooking facilities, while rental cars and activities can be arranged through a remote concierge service."

A one-bedroom apartment in the Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort starts from as little as $779* per week including access to all the hotel's facilities. Meanwhile the three-bedroom Te Tavake villa on Tahiti's west coast is priced from $3694* per week and the five-bedroom beach front Villa Manou in Moorea starts from $6483* per week. See a clip of Villa Manou here.

For more information or to book visit

Follow Tahiti Tourisme on Twitter


and Facebook or visit

* Terms and conditions apply, subject to availability.

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places