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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Travelworld Kununurra’s Anne Hobbs wins 2013 Avis Scholarship

Avis Australia today named Anne Hobbs from Travelworld Kununurra in far northern Western Australia as the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Avis Travel Agent Scholarship (www.avisscholarship.com).

Hobbs was unveiled as the 17th recipient of the annual award – and the first ever winner from Western Australia - at a ceremony at Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel attended by travel industry leaders.

The Avis Travel Agent Scholarship recognises and rewards travel agents committed to the highest standards of customer service. This year’s prize is valued at more than $40,000, with Hobbs enjoying two return Business Class tickets to New York flying Qantas, along with six nights’ luxury hotel accommodation in Manhattan and seven days’ car rental from Avis.

She will also receive:
  • Avis Scholarship Finalists 2013_3274lea first-year tourism scholarship to study at Southern Cross University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, with financial support of up to $10,000 towards the first year of a three-year Bachelor of Tourism Management course*
  • cruise training modules from the Cruise Lines International Association
  • a Polonious Resources Personal Profile, Feedback Session and on-call personal/professional coaching for 12 months
  • admission into the TIME (Travel Industry Mentor Experience) mentoring program
  • a one year honorary position on the Avis Travel Agents Advisory Board
  • a tour of Avis’ World Headquarters in New Jersey and site visits to US agencies.
Avis Travel Industry Manager Russell Butler says Hobbs, who only joined the travel industry seven years ago, impressed the judges with her ability to apply a clear and strong customer service philosophy to her day-to-day work as a frontline agent.

“Anne is a naturally warm and empathetic person who is passionate about her role and views every client as an individual with their own unique needs,” says Butler.

Scholarship Sponsors and Winner 2013_3648le“What really stands her apart is that she is constantly looking for simple but effective ways to build customer relationships, she enjoys exceeding expectations and she reacts calmly and efficiently under pressure.

“All of this is underpinned by a commitment to constantly improving her skills and product knowledge, despite the challenges of working from a remote regional location.”

The 2013 winner was chosen from four finalists, all of whom presented to members of the Avis Travel Agents Advisory Board during yesterday’s final judging session in Sydney.

This year’s finalists included:
  • Leanne Ralston, Spencer Travel (NSW)
  • Maria Pandalai, Travel Managers Townsville (QLD)
  • Kristi-Anne Butel, Complete Travel Solutions Brendale (QLD)
All will now receive a personal online behavioural profile and consultation session with a Polonious Resources business coach.

Choose Sanya Marriott & Success Will Choose You

Sanya Marriott Resort & Spa recently welcomed acclaimed golfer Lee-Ann Pace. South African born Pace was in Hainan to compete in the Sanya Ladies Open 2013.

Edmund Ko celebrating with Lee Ann Pace

The Sanya Ladies Open 2013 was held from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th October at Yalong Bay Golf Club, which is conveniently located opposite Sanya Marriott Resort & Spa.

Staying for a total of 7 nights, it was the second time that Pace had opted to stay with the popular beach resort. She chose to stay with Sanya Marriott Resort & Spa in 2011 and took first place in the Sanya Ladies Open 2011. This year she chose Marriott once again and was lucky enough to win the Sanya Ladies Open for a second time.

Winning twice, staying twice, could be more than just coincidence. Famed for its world-class service and amazing beach, Sanya Marriott Resort & Spa seems to be a lucky place to stay. Before leaving the resort a joyful Pace was photographed with Edmund Ko, the resort's General Manager commenting “I love it here. 

It's a really nice feeling to return and win here again, let’s hope the good luck continues next year, I’ll be back for sure.”

Celebrity Fans Agree with Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet has chosen the Kimberley in Western Australia's North West as one of the world's Top 10 Regions for the year ahead, in its 'Best in Travel 2014'. www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel

The Kimberley ranked second on the book's list of Top 10 Regions 2014, stating "it's one of the most sparsely populated regions on the planet and one of the most starkly beautiful," Lonely Planet says, "carved by giant gorges, dimpled with deep, cool pools, and home to a coastline that could make Australian east-coasters weep."

546933And it's not just the travel experts at Lonely Planet that think the Kimberley is extraordinary. In recent times, the region has attracted a plethora of high-profile guests including Sir Bib Geldof, Ewan McGregor, Jerry Hall, Miranda Kerr, Megan Gale, Nicole Kidman and many more - who've sung its praises to the world through traditional and social media channels.

When talk show host Elen DeGeneres asked Nicole Kidman where her favourite Australian destination was earlier this year - her answer was simple - "Kununurra".

Kidman fell in love with the Kimberley during the filming of Baz Luhrmann's Australia in 2007 and has been an advocate ever since.

Luhrmann spent almost a decade searching for the ultimate Australian landscape that would etch itself indelibly into the public imagination - he chose the Kimberley.

"What's so exciting about the landscape which is on the one hand, harsh, brutal and unforgiving - but at any given moment can become the most awesome, majestic, inspiring, poetic and lyrical place to be."
In May 2013, Sir Bob Geldof was on business in Perth when he decided he had to tick off one of his "bucket list" experiences - witnessing the awe-inspiring Bungle Bungle Range at World Heritage listed Purnululu National Park first hand.

"I absolutely love the Kimberley," said Sir Bob. "It's such a beautiful country and I got fed up not knowing this part of Western Australia," he explained.

"I flew up to Kununurra for the Ord Valley Muster and was fortunate enough to visit the Bungle Bungles whilst I was there. I had heard so much about them and had seen pictures, but had to go see them for myself. It was definitely worth the effort as both were simply spectacular in asymmetrical ways," Geldof said.

In the past twelve months several high-profile advertising campaigns were shot in the Kimberley - Myer at El Questro, David Jones at Eco Beach and Megan Gale's Isola swimwear range on Broome's Cable Beach to name a few. 

The timing of the Lonely Planet announcement couldn't be better, with the Kimberley featuring in one of Tourism WA's two new Experience Extraordinary brand films.

The Kimberley ad features locations including El Questro Wilderness Park, Home Valley Station, the Bungle Bungle Range, Cable Beach and Gantheaume Point, aiming to create an emotional connection by focusing on getting away from everyday life and reconnecting with those who matter the most in an extraordinary destination such as WA.

The Lonely Plant endorsement as one of the world's top tourism destinations is a huge boost for the Kimberley's national and international profile, and will hopefully inspire a new wave of visitors to this extraordinary, unique wilderness region.

To view the extraordinary Kimberley brand film visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jsmi66JV4Ho

To find out more about Western Australia visit www.westernaustralia.com

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Novotel Sydney Parramatta unveils multi-million dollar renovation

 

 

 

It has been a huge 12 months for Novotel Sydney Parramatta following its rebrand from Sebel to Novotel in October 2012. After undergoing an extensive renovation campaign which saw guestrooms and the atrium refurbished, the hotel has unveiled the results of its multi-million dollar makeover just 12 months after joining the internationally renowned Novotel brand.

 

As part of the renovation, all of the hotel's 194 guestrooms have been tastefully decorated with new contemporary furniture, carpets and soft furnishings, while the bathrooms have received a complete makeover with rich red splashbacks a feature, new showers, vanities and mirrors.

 

The striking atrium which adorns the lobby of Novotel Sydney Parramatta has also received a fresh new look with chic furniture creating an inviting space for guests to relax in the sunlit space. The porte-cochere now boasts a fresh coat of paint, new red pot plants and lounge chairs add to the sense of arrival.

 

Newly appointed General Manager of Novotel Sydney Parramatta, Michael Daviss, said the hotel has undergone a renaissance over the past 12 months and its new look along with its new name has revitalised the hotel.

 

"The hotel has always been popular with the corporate market and it is a key conferencing and event hotel for many businesses in the area, so it is great to be able to show off our new product and finish 2013 on a high.

 

"The completion of our refurbishment could not have come at a better time, with major events such as the NRL Grand Final and upcoming Sydney Festival bringing thousands of people to the area. We've been receiving great feedback from guests on our new look rooms and lobby and it is great to see guests enjoying the full suite of benefits which come with Novotel".

 

Situated just 24km from Sydney CBD, Novotel Sydney Parramatta is Greater Western Sydney's leading conference, event and convention specialist and boasts two boardrooms and nine multi-purpose meeting rooms, including a pillarless ballroom with seating for up to 550 people. All meeting rooms feature high-speed broadband and wireless internet, state-of-the-art audio visual equipment and dedicated event personnel.

 

To celebrate the hotel's refurbishment, Novotel Sydney Parramatta is offering conference organisers 10% off the bill plus free data projector hire, free car parking, free wireless internet or  a free round of drinks at the hotel's Two Forks Bar for any event confirmed before 30 November for events held before 31 March 2014.

 

For more information, head to www.accorhotels.com

 


Exclusive charter flights showcase regional SA

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South Australia's rugged landscapes, pristine beaches and world famous wine regions will be even easier for Victorians to access with the launch of three new luxury Air Adventure Australia air safaris.

Departing from Melbourne, the new itineraries explore South Australia's famed regions including the Barossa, Clare Valley, Kangaroo Island, Limestone Coast and the Flinders Ranges.

The State Government has provided $35,000 to help get the project off the ground through its New Product Support Program for the tourism industry.

Tourism Minister, Leon Bignell, said the air safaris are an exciting addition.

"By providing direct access from Melbourne the tours will encourage Victorian visitors to experience the wonders of regional South Australia," Mr Bignell said.

"The New Product Support Program is designed to support new tourism experiences that promote a different aspect of our state.

"The introduction of Air Adventure Australia's three new luxury air safaris is a great way of discovering some of our most beautiful regions."

The eleven seat luxury aircraft takes less than 90 minutes for the journey from Melbourne to Kangaroo Island.

Air Adventure Australia Managing Director John Dyer says South Australia is an ideal destination for air safaris.

"I see South Australia as a state that has the lot, including amazing food and wine, outback landscapes and incredible coastline," Mr Dyer said.

"Our tours make the South Australian outback very accessible to both tourists using Melbourne as a gateway city and people living on the eastern seaboard."

'The Gourmet Getaway' and 'Luxury Lodges of South Australia' tours visit some of the state's iconic properties including the Prairie Hotel, the Kingsford Homestead, the Louise, Southern

Ocean Lodge, and Arkaba Station.

Visitors can also experience the exclusive Mayura Station Wagyu Masterclass in a one day tour of the Coonawarra region.

Air Adventure Australia's new air safaris range from 1-6 days with each itinerary offered twice a year.

Visit www.airadventure.com.au for details


Ripley’s Aquarium Of Canada Launches In Toronto

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Toronto's newest and most highly anticipated attraction, opened its doors on 16th October 2013, locals and tourists flocking to the 12,500 square-metre ‘Dangerous Lagoon’ at the base of the CN Tower in the heart of Toronto.

Canada’s largest indoor aquarium houses more than 16,000 marine animals and 450 species, including the world’s most exciting jelly fish exhibition, Planet Jellies, and the thrilling underwater tunnel showcasing the biggest shark collection in North America, alongside sawfish, barracudas, moray eels, spadefish and green sea turtles.

Ancient lobsters, sting rays, touch pools and daily live shows will captivate visitors, while Rainbow Reef will mesmerize its audience with a kaleidoscope of colour emanating from the vibrant exhibition of tropical fish.

Expected to draw more than two million visitors per year from around the world, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is home to 20 marine biologists and aquarists responsible for the ongoing care and welfare of the animals.

RIPLEY'S AQUARIUM OF CANADA LP - Dangerous Lagoon

"The thrilling "Dangerous Lagoon" in Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is a 2.9 million litre underwater adventure filled with 17 sharks, green sea turtles, sawfish, and more, and features a 97 metre underwater tunnel with a moving sidewalk. (CNW Group/Ripley's Aquarium of Canada LP)

Q Station Wins Prestigious SKAL International Sustainable Touism Award

Q Station Manly has just won the Skål Sustainable Development in Tourism Award, 2013, in the category of Urban Accommodation.

Now in its 12th year, the Awards were presented at the Opening Ceremony of the 74th Skål World Congress, New York, in 30th September. Skål is the largest organisation of travel and tourism professionals in the world. It was established in 1934 to encourage environmental conservation and responsible and 
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sustainable tourism. Winners were awarded on their contribution to the conservation of nature and cultural heritage, community involvement, educational features, business viability and innovation.

Director of Mawland Group, Mr Max Player said, “We are proud to receive this prestigious international award.” “We recognise the valuable legacy of this harbourside site and are committed to the conservation and interpretation of the site as a place of national and international significance in the history of health and migration,” he said. The Q Station (formerly Quarantine Station) has integrated environmental management and sustainable management practices into the operation of a successful hotel. This international Award will increase awareness about this iconic Sydney site around the world. Listed on the Australian National Heritage Register, the Q Station stands alongside Sydney Harbour icons: the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is a stunningly beautiful and lovingly restored retreat, home to the story of migration to Australia and custodian of 15,000 historical items, the most significant of which are on display. Within its 30-hectare estate lie 65 buildings and almost 200 years of memories from post European arrivals. Operating within a 30 hectare estate of environmental significance involves balancing the daily logistics of transporting food and beverages, staff and supplies and around 3000 visitors per week.

As well as complying with strict State consent conditions, and operation within historic premises not purpose-built for the hospitality industry, we have achieved public, government and media approval for sustainability and investment in the natural and cultural heritage of the site.

“Our key Director’s are all Members of Skål North Sydney, and our Membership has proven to be highly valuable in not only gaining great business networking, but in exposing brilliantly Q Station to over 18,000 Skål Members worldwide. We are justifiably proud of our Skål Membership”, states Max Player.

Skål North Sydney is one of 23 Clubs within Australia. If you would like to place your networking on a long-term and trusted footing, then in the first instance contact John Spencer on 0403411800 to enquire about becoming a new Skalleague.

Spooky ships! Halloween on board MSC Cruises

Halloween is creeping (pun intended!) up on us, and MSC Cruises is celebrating the day with some rather spooky activities on board!

The ships at sea on October 31 will decorated will all things Halloween, such as witches, pumpkins and black cats, chilling drinks will be served and spooky music and sounds played. MSC Divina
Also, a whole range of entertainment has been arranged for passengers travelling with MSC Cruises this Halloween - and it’s nothing to be scared of!

Halloween Party
Get ready for the best Halloween party on the seas! The Entertainment Team will enact famous horror movie scenes, and there is a prize for the best costume on board!

Halloween Arts & Crafts
Passengers can join the MSC Cruises Entertainment team, and make Halloween accessories, like pumpkin lanterns, to give to friends.

Halloween Cocktail Demo
Passengers can learn something magical this Halloween! Enter the enchanted world of the Pumpkin Bar, where MSC’s bartenders will share the secrets of their magic potions. Every trick is a treat!

MSC Kids Halloween Parade
Calling all young witches, vampires, zombies and other scary mini monsters. Children can show off their costume in the theatre for a big parade!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Auckland one of Lonely Planet's Top 10 Cities

Auckland has been rated as one of the world’s Top 10 Cities to visit next year in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014, published today.

Auckland sits alongside cities such as Paris, Zurich, Shanghai and Vancouver in the ninth annual guide which highlights the best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences for the upcoming year.
Auckland city at nightIn addition to Auckland’s “Top 10 Cities 2014” ranking, West Coast New Zealand has also been selected as one of the “Top 10 Regions to Visit in 2014”.

Auckland is recognised for its cuisine, culture and coastal scenery with Lonely Planet saying: “Food, arts and exploring the coastal hinterland are all excellent reasons to extend your stay in New Zealand’s biggest and most cosmopolitan city.”

Tourism New Zealand General Manager Tim Burgess says the accolade from the world’s number one independent guidebook is well-deserved.

“Auckland is not only the largest Polynesian city in the world but a combination of magnificent natural scenery and a vibrant city lifestyle,” Mr Burgess said.

Auckland is praised in ‘Best in Travel’ for its newly revitalised waterfront districts like Wynyard Quarter, and shopping and dining precincts like Britomart.

The region’s west coast beaches, canyoning and abseiling in the Waitakere Ranges and the Hauraki Gulf and islands, including Waiheke Island’s vineyards are also singled out.

Auckland’s many festivals and events, its vibrant Māori and Pacific culture and impressive line up of major sporting events also received special mention.

ATEED (Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development) Chief Executive, Brett O’Riley says this accolade adds weight to Auckland’s marketing efforts to attract domestic and international visitors to the region.

“Third party endorsements like this provide an outstanding independent platform for us to showcase all that is so special about Auckland to a global audience,” Mr O’Riley said.

The Top 10 Cities were independently nominated by more than 500 Lonely Planet authors and staff and selected based on topicality, excitement and that special x-factor.

Asian fusion inspired restaurant officially launches at Niramaya Villas and Spa

Southeast Asian inspired Rasa Restaurant and Lounge is holding an official launch event on Friday 8 November from 6pm, before opening to the public the following day.

Niramaya recently appointed Andrew Saville, Jared Jones and Louise St George as operators of the resort’s onsite restaurant and they will have the keys handed to them on 5 November.
Restaurant.LR.RGBRasa Restaurant and Lounge manager Andrew Saville says the concept of Rasa is to inspire people through food, wine and cocktails.

“Our vision is to provide an engaging establishment that our local community and visitors to the region can all be captivated by,” Mr Saville says.

“We aim to create more than just another restaurant, but an environment where guests can enjoy contemporary dining, relaxing at the bar or by the pool with cocktails and new foods.

“We have moved away from traditional dining courses and will offer plates designed to share so groups can experience and abundance of flavours and textures in the one sitting.”

Mr Saville says their meals will provide guests with a refined dining experience inspired by authentic Asian dishes from the likes of Thailand, Bali, Malaysia, China and Japan.

“The Asian fusion inspired dishes will be composed through and refining authenticity and street flavours, executed through east and west techniques,” Mr Saville says.

“We’ll be dabbling with the chemistry of foods, deconstructing classic dishes and applying modern techniques to heighten the senses of taste, smell, colour and texture.”

Mr Saville says they are bringing a unique fusion of flavours to the region and thus anticipate the official launch to be a memorable event.

“Guests to this exclusive preopening event will be treated to drinks and canapés upon arrival followed by a degustation dinner and a live acoustic musician,” Mr Saville says.

“Jared will be doing a molecular gastronomy demonstration and the state’s Bacardi cocktail brand ambassador Sean Foresyth is flying up from Brisbane for a cocktail flaring display.”

Mr Saville and his partners are collaborating their combined years experience in all areas of hospitality, from the kitchen and customer service to function and event management.

Tickets for this exclusive event are $99 per person. You must RSVP by 4 November to reservations@niramaya.com.au or by calling 07 4099 1855.

Rasa Restaurant and Lounge will be open to locals for lunch from 11-5pm and for dinner from 6-9pm from Saturday 9 November.

For more information visit www.niramaya.com.au

Novotel Sydney Parramatta unveils multi-million dollar renovation

It has been a huge 12 months for Novotel Sydney Parramatta following its rebrand from Sebel to Novotel in October 2012. After undergoing an extensive renovation campaign which saw guestrooms and the atrium refurbished, the hotel has unveiled the results of its multi-million dollar makeover just 12 months after joining the internationally renowned Novotel brand.

As part of the renovation, all of the hotel’s 194 guestrooms have been tastefully decorated with new contemporary furniture, carpets and soft furnishings, while the bathrooms have received a complete makeover with rich red splashbacks a feature, new showers, vanities and mirrors.

The striking atrium which adorns the lobby of Novotel Sydney Parramatta has also received a fresh new look with chic furniture creating an inviting space for guests to relax in the sunlit space. The porte-cochere now boasts a fresh coat of paint, new red pot plants and lounge chairs add to the sense of arrival. Novotel Sydney Parramatta - atrium
Newly appointed General Manager of Novotel Sydney Parramatta, Michael Daviss, said the hotel has undergone a renaissance over the past 12 months and its new look along with its new name has revitalised the hotel.

“The hotel has always been popular with the corporate market and it is a key conferencing and event hotel for many businesses in the area, so it is great to be able to show off our new product and finish 2013 on a high.

“The completion of our refurbishment could not have come at a better time, with major events such as the NRL image010 (1)Grand Final and upcoming Sydney Festival bringing thousands of people to the area. We’ve been receiving great feedback from guests on our new look rooms and lobby and it is great to see guests enjoying the full suite of benefits which come with Novotel”.

Situated just 24km from Sydney CBD, Novotel Sydney Parramatta is Greater Western Sydney’s leading conference, event and convention specialist and boasts two boardrooms and nine multi-purpose meeting rooms, including a pillarless ballroom with seating for up to 550 people. All meeting rooms feature high-speed broadband and wireless internet, state-of-the-art audio visual equipment and dedicated event personnel.

To celebrate the hotel’s refurbishment, Novotel Sydney Parramatta is offering conference organisers 10% off the bill plus free data projector hire, free car parking, free wireless internet or  a free round of drinks at the hotel’s Two Forks Bar for any event confirmed before 30 November for events held before 31 March 2014. 

For more information, head to www.accorhotels.com

Monday, October 28, 2013

One Direction Wax Figures Arrive at Madame Tussauds Sydney

546017Madame Tussauds Sydney revealed the global sensation and much anticipated One Direction wax figures down under. The boy band has been top of the list for Madame Tussauds Sydney's most requested since opening in 2012 and now, the devoted Directioner's prayers have been answered.

Die-hard fans dressed in One Direction memorabilia, eagerly lined up to be among the first to see the life-like figures of Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan at Madame Tussauds Sydney. Among the mass excitement, it was Chloe Boyling, a dedicated fan who started the long line, arriving at 6am in the morning! Chloe was lucky enough to attend the One Direction concert last night in Sydney but it was only this morning that she had the chance to see the One Direction band up-close, in all their glory.

As the attraction opened, fans flooded the entrance to get the once-in-a-lifetime chance to get up close to the boys, with no ropes.

Directioners aren't the only ones that have been impressed by the wax figures. The One Direction boys were utterly stunned and amazed by how lifelike their wax figures are. Their reactions included:

546020
Harry: "This is weird!! Thank you so much, it's amazing and such an honour."
Liam: "This is absolutely nuts - mine can stand in for me 100% - it's like I'm stood here!! He's got my tattoos, my birthmark. Imagine looking at another you, smirking back at you. This is definitely a privilege, getting a wax figure - my mum loves it. Good job to the team."
Niall: "It's really good, isn't it?! This is WEIRD. He's wearing my actual shoes! Sick. How amazing are Madame Tussauds?!"
Louis: "Just wow. Zayn looks crazy good! This is weird. I can't wait for the fans to see them."
546026Zayn: "It's weird; he's even got my tattoos! They look wicked, they're bang on. Niall's is scary, it's like I'm looking at actual Niall! I just hope the fans like them."
The figures are styled in their signature smart-casual, colour-coordinated stage fashions, with outfits donated by the band members themselves. Madame Tussauds worked in close collaboration with the boys ensuring the wax figures are as lifelike as possible with each member participating in two sittings for the measurements, poses and styling.

Located in the Music Zone of Madame Tussauds Sydney, the One Direction wax figures will be on show until January, 28 where they continue their tour to Tokyo.
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"This is a great moment for us. The One Direction wax figures have been a requested favourite since the opening so we are very excited to finally see them take pride of place at Madame Tussauds Sydney. With the overwhelming response received today, we anticipate the figures to be among the most popular at the attraction," commented Quinn Clarke, General Manager, Madame Tussauds Sydney.

Propelled to international success by their great musical talent and the power of their devoted fans, One Direction has truly made their mark on the international music scene. The figures have joined the ranks of over 70 wax figures at Madame Tussauds Sydney and visitors now have the extraordinary opportunity to strike a pose and have pictures taken alongside the much loved One Direction group.

Adrenaline junkies’ chance to win the adventure holiday of a lifetime to Queenstown

The Ledge Bungy, with views over QueenstownSome of Queenstown’s best known adventure tourism companies are joining together to offer thrill seekers the chance to win the ultimate adrenaline junkies’ holiday to Queenstown, the birthplace of adventure tourism.

The spectacular adventure prize includes return flights from Australia or New Zealand courtesy of Air New Zealand, accommodation at the picturesque Crowne Plaza Queenstown in a Lakeview room, dinner at the famous Fergburger and a night out with Big Night Out Pub Crawl –all for two people.

It wouldn’t be an adrenaline junkies’ dream trip without a Bungy, so the winners will have the opportunity to experience as many of AJ Hackett Bungy Kawarau Bridge Bungy, the home of BungyQueenstown’s experiences as they can handle including: the Kawarau Bridge Bungy, Kawarau Zipride, Ledge Bungy, Ledge Swing, Nevis Bungy and Nevis Swing.

The Nevis Bungy, New Zealand’s tallest Bungy_mediaIf that’s not enough to whet people’s appetite the prize also includes a wide range of other exhilarating adventure activities including; a thrilling Jet boat ride with KJet, Go-Karting at Highland Motorsport Park in Cromwell, and a ride up the Skyline Gondola with four Luge rides at the top.

The adventure weekend will be held to coincide with the 25th Birthday celebrations for AJ Hackett Bungy, widely known as the pioneers of adventure tourism in New Zealand.

The winners will also attend the ‘not-to-be-missed’, invite-only VIP AJ Hackett Bungy 25th Birthday party on November 12 2013.

Entrants should submit a one-minute video or a 150 word blog outlining what they would do to win the ‘Ultimate Queenstown Getaway’.

The entry must be submitted via the competition app on AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand’s Facebook page at https://ajhackettbungynz.pgtb.me/MHsrvQ You can also find the entry form on the AJ Hackett Bungy website at http://www.bungy.co.nz/25yearsofbungy.

The prize will be won by the person who submits the most ‘original’ entry and the winner will be announced on November 5 2013.

Queenstown’s Mediterranean Market celebrates 10 successful years in business

The Mediterranean Market, Queenstown’s favourite food institution, celebrates 10 successful years in business next month (November 18) and will mark the occasion with a 10-day long celebration of all things foodie.

Festivities get underway on November 11 when Market customers will be greeted by a ten-tier, one metre-high 10thBirthday cake, lovingly crafted by the Market’s long-term baker, Jenny Lamond.
Mediterranean Market owners Nathan and Angela Imlach with the infamous in-store Queen painting_media
Mediterranean Market owners Nathan and Angela Imlach with the infamous in-store Queen painting_media
The fabulous birthday cake will be ceremoniously cut by owners Angela and Nathan Imlach in-store at 10am on Monday November 11 along with the obligatory celebratory bubbles provided by local Central Otago winery Quartz Reef.

One of the cake’s tiers will then be cut every day for the 10 days of celebrations and all customers will enjoy a slice of birthday cake and a glass of bubbles as they arrive in store.
The ten-day celebration will provide locals with free tastings each day and suppliers from all over New Zealand will offer exclusive insights into their products, divulging secret recipes and educating customers about good food.

Speaking on behalf of the Mediterranean Market owners and team, Angela Imlach said the 10th Birthday milestone enabled them to thank everyone who’d been a “part of the business” for the last ten years.

“Some of our staff and many of our suppliers have stood alongside us throughout this ten year journey,” said Mrs Imlach.

Owners Nathan and Angela get ready for the 10th Birthday celebrations_media
Owners Nathan and Angela get ready for the 10th Birthday celebrations_media
“In fact most of our supplier relationships span right back almost 19 years when we first started the wholesale part of the business.”

“The daily tastings will give our loyal customers a unique opportunity to sample the amazing products we have in-store, while also interacting with the suppliers.”

“People will be able to get invaluable tips from the people who know these products inside out.”

Some of the suppliers on display include Leelands Lamb, Shingle Creek Chevon Goat, fruit and veg from Goodies on the Gorge, Stir Tea, Cairnmuir Olive Oil, Kohi Road Ice Cream and Prenzel.

On Sunday November 17, there will be a barbeque in the main car park offering complimentary pulled pork rolls from Havoc Pork and throughout the week there will be tastings from Canter Valley Turkey.

“November is a perfect time to start thinking about the traditional Christmas roast dinner with turkey, ham and all the trimmings. People will be able to enjoy tastings then pre-order their turkey and ham in time for Christmas,” said Mrs Imlach.

Queenstown food institution ‘Med Market’ celebrates 10 successful years in business_media
Queenstown food institution ‘Med Market’ celebrates 10 successful years in business_media
The Mediterranean Market’s long-serving baker Jenny will also be doing tastings of her Christmas cake which can be pre-ordered in time for Christmas.

There will also be in-store wine tastings each day, showcasing some of New Zealand’s best wines including Mt Edward, Amisfield, Peregrine, Mondillo and Hawkeshead.

Mrs Imlach said they were “extremely grateful” for all the support they’d had in a decade of business.

“From our loyal customers to suppliers, family and staff, we simply wouldn’t be here today without them.”

The Mediterranean Market, Queenstown's food institution_media
The Mediterranean Market, Queenstown's food institution_media
“We wanted to celebrate our birthday by showing our appreciation to all those who’ve supported us over the last 10 years and longer.

“We look forward to seeing all our regulars during the festivities and welcoming some new faces as well.”

“Some of our staff have been with us for many years, so we’ll of course be saying thanks to them by holding a staff party as well.”

Created in 2003 to meet demand from the local market, The Mediterranean Market is a specialist food store that now incorporates a delicatessen offering freshly-made food using the finest local and imported ingredients, a popular café, an extensive imported Italian food range, and a home wares department.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Accor partners with Sydney Festival 2014

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Mercure Sydney Parramatta

 

Accor is proud to announce it is the Distinguished Partner of Sydney Festival 2014 and will be accommodating hundreds of performers and crew over the duration of the festival, while Accor's hotels around Sydney city and Parramatta will be offering exclusive accommodation experiences to festival revellers.

Sydney Festival, which runs from 9-26 January 2014 will play host to one of the biggest international line-ups yet, with stars such as Grammy-winner Chaka Khan, R.E.M's Mike Mills, and Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller coming to town. The famous five-storey high yellow Rubber Duck is set to grace the waters of the Parramatta River – marking Parramatta's foray into the Sydney Festival program.

This is the first year Accor has been a Distinguished Partner of Sydney Festival and General Manager for Accor NSW/ACT, Scott Boyes, said the group was thrilled to be on board with such a fantastic event.

"Our hotels in NSW are committed to supporting tourism in Sydney over the summer period and coupled with Accor's alignment with the arts, cultural and sporting industries it made perfect sense to partner with Sydney Festival 2014 and we look forward to welcoming festival goers in January.

"With 14 hotels across Sydney city and two in the heart of Parramatta, Accor is well placed to accommodate the large number of guests expected to attend next year's event and with the support of Destination NSW, Sydney Festival 2014 is shaping up to be one of the best the city has seen. We commend the work of the NSW Government and DNSW and their continued focus on driving events in NSW which is resulting in positive economic impacts for the hotel industry".

Malcolm Moir, Head of Development for Sydney Festival said, "We are delighted to welcome Accor as a Distinguished Partner of Sydney Festival. Accor's impressive range of hotels will house many national and international artists as well as visitors to the Sydney Festival over summer. We look forward to developing this partnership." 

Sydney Festival 2014 will comprise 104 events, 21 will be free. With 372 performances across 33 indoor and outdoor venues, Sydney Festival 2014 will feature 722 artists from 80 companies across 17 countries. With 10 world premiers, 4 Australian premieres and 13 Australian exclusives, Sydney Festival 2014 is not to be missed.

 

www.accorhotels.com


NSW Government Launches Major Summer Tourism Campaign

Scenic World, Katoomba NSW
The NSW Government is investing almost $2 million in a concerted campaign to promote tourism throughout the State over summer, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, announced today.

“In light of the devastation from bushfires in some of the State’s finest tourism regions, the Government is also keen to help the tourism industry in those communities in particular, recover.

“Tourism is a critical part of many of these communities. Once the fires have been controlled, the Government’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, will work with local operators and community leaders to prioritise where help is needed the most.

“Support will include ensuring in the lead up to a busy summer holiday period, that visitors know the regions are ‘open for business.

“Sydney and regional NSW’s best tourism experiences, attractions and events will be showcased in a number of campaigns, including a new interactive digital magazine for iPad with video content and simple ‘click to book’ event tickets directly online.”

Unveiling highlights of the campaigns, entitled ‘Love Every Second’ and ‘It’s ON’, which begin this Sunday (27 October), Mr Souris said they showcase NSW’s best food and wine, shopping, entertainment, family fun, nature and outdoor experiences.

“They also feature our world-class calendar of ‘only in Sydney’ and Regional NSW events, which Destination NSW estimates will inject more than $225 million into the NSW economy from overseas, interstate and intrastate visitor expenditure.

“The campaigns will appear across print, outdoor and digital media, including the 40-page, full colour magazine called Love Every Second in Sydney and NSW, inserted into 1.9 million newspapers across Australia and New Zealand. The magazine also features two competitions. The first offers winners a ‘money can’t buy’ VIP event experience to enjoy Sydney’s ‘Best Seats in the House’ and the second a VIP experience at CMC Rocks the Hunter.

“In a NSW Government first, the Love Every Second in Sydney and NSW magazine is also available in a digital format that can be downloaded from the Apple Newsstand, allowing visitors from around the world to interact with the campaign from their iPad.”

There are 96,564 businesses in NSW involved in tourism which directly and indirectly employs 257,000 people.

As at Year End June 2013, Sydney received 29.2 million visitors, who stayed 79.9 million nights and spent $13.5billion. In the same period, Regional NSW received 51.3 million visitors who stayed 73.9 million nights and spend $13.1billion.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase, said this season’s campaigns reinforce Sydney and regional NSW as exciting, energetic and unique short break destinations during summer.

“Once again we will have a strong presence in major interstate markets like Melbourne and Brisbane, including outdoor advertising in key CBD locations including the Young and Jackson intersection adjacent to Federation Square and Flinders Street Station in Melbourne, and Brisbane’s shopping hub on Queen Street,” Ms Chipchase said.

“TV advertising will also feature with the new ‘It’s ON!’ TVC presenting the huge range of events on in Sydney and Regional NSW featuring a new music track recorded with talented NSW singers Carmen Smith and Fergus Brown.”

Destination NSW is working with a number of key industry partners such as hotels and airlines who will be involved across the summer campaign including Qantas Airways, Tiger Airways, Air New Zealand, Wotif, Lastminute, Webjet, Zuji, Jetset Travelworld Group and the Accor Hotel Group.

Friday, October 25, 2013

All smiles as AAT Kings brings Australia and New Zealand to life

UntitledCelebrating the laid-back nature of Australasia and the cheeky personalities of the AAT Kings Tour Directors and Driver Guides who share their destination knowledge and local expertise on every AAT Kings holiday, are the core elements behind the iconic travel brand’s relaunch unveiled yesterday.

Simultaneously revealed at industry events in Auckland and Sydney yesterday, the new look AAT Kings branding; ‘Bringing Australia and New Zealand to Life’ tagline; signature smile, staff uniforms and new coach livery were all on show as the future for a company with a proud history that dates back to showing guests around Australia since 1925.

AAT Kings Global Managing Director, Anthony Hayes, says the new direction better reflects the travel experiences guests enjoy as part of their Guided Holiday, Short Break or Day Tour in Australia and New Zealand when travelling with AAT Kings.

“When guests travel with us, it is the characters that they meet along the way including our Tour Directors, Aboriginal and Maori Guides and Local Staff that they remember as part of their holiday memories. These personalities are the key to showing our guests the culture, heritage and landscapes of both Australia and New Zealand, sharing their stories, experiences and simply having a good laugh with our guests, which make their holiday with us so enjoyable,” he says.

The relaunch is backed up with an $21 million investment in a new coach fleet across Australia and New Zealand and new in-house staff training initiatives across the business. As well as better tailoring its products for AAT Kings’ traditional western markets, the company has created an Asia Sales Manager role to boost tourism into both Australia and New Zealand from the region and China in particular.

A focus on AAT Kings’ trade relationships is also key to the relaunch, says Hayes.

“Ultimately our guests are their customers too so we are actively re-establishing our relationships with our travel agencies and our other partners in selling Australia and New Zealand.”

He says the relaunch is designed to stimulate greater consumer interest in guided holidays, making it easier for agents to grow their domestic and trans-Tasman business.

“We are seeing strong growth in the guided holidays market, so we believe this is the perfect time to get right on the front foot with our new brand. Our holidays are all about inspiring our guests, giving them the kind of experience they can’t possibly have if they try to organise it all themselves – and we’ll do all the driving for them. We offer outstanding Guided Holidays, Short Breaks and Day Tours throughout every state of Australia, and Guided Holidays and Short Breaks in both the North and South islands of New Zealand.

“A key partnership opportunity for us is to grow the short breaks market. Australians and New Zealanders are busy, but we all have a week here and a couple of weeks there. Working with trade, AAT Kings can play a key part in changing the holiday patterns of busy Aussies and Kiwis who still want a rewarding break.”

To this end, AAT Kings has simplified its brand story and terminology to make it simpler for trade partners and guests to understand the various holiday options available.

“We offer something for everyone in each destination, whether that be our AAT Kings Inspiring Journeys premium small group experiences; our signature AAT Kings Guided Holidays, Short Breaks and Day Tours; or our affordable, easy going small group AAT Kings Aussie Adventures,” adds Hayes.

Glimpse Campbelltown’s Days as a Colonial Town

Glenalvon House 2To celebrate Macarthur’s biggest annual event – the Festival of Fisher’s Ghost from November 1-10 - one of NSW’s finest Georgian mansion, the 1840-built Glenalvon, will offer four, free open days in November.

Built from sandstone, the two-storey colonial house provides a glimpse into Campbelltown’s days early in the 19th century as a small farming community accessed only by horse and cart from the fledging colony of Sydney.

Glenalvon features a period garden, a sandstone coach house and stables. Boasting smooth, golden stonework, the property is home to the Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society and visitors can inspect items from the Macarthur region’s colonial and farming history.

To mark the Festival of Fisher’s Ghost, which surrounds the murder of an emancipated convict in 1826, Glenalvon will hold four free open days on Saturday November 2, Monday November 4, Saturday November 9 and Monday November 18, 2013.

The house is nestled in the heart of Campbelltown in the Macarthur region, 45 minutes south-west of the Sydney CBD.

Open Days:   Saturday, November 2: 10am-4pm
Monday November 4: 10am-1pm
Saturday, November 9: 10am-3pm
Monday November 18: 10am-1pm
Where:           Lithgow St, Campbelltown, in the Macarthur region. 
Cost:               Free entry.
Info:                4625 1822 or www. macarthur.com.au

The Chedi Chiang Mai Wins Asia’s Best Resort in Readers’ Choice Awards 2013

A GHM property overlooking the scenic Mae Ping River in Northern Thailand is Asia's top resort, according to the latest worldwide survey by Condé Nast Traveler magazine.

The Chedi Chiang Mai emerged as the new favourite among thousands of Asian resorts in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers' Choice Awards 2013, announced Oct. 15 in New York. 

A former British consulate anchors The Chedi Chiang Mai
A former British consulate anchors The Chedi Chiang Mai
“That the readers of Condé Nast Traveler have recognised our property as the top resort in all Asia is immensely gratifying,” said Andy Kunz, general manager of The Chedi Chiang Mai. “In the coming year, as we refine a remarkable, new culinary concept, we believe we’ll be cultivating grounds for a whole new layer of appeal.” 

The work of renowned architect Kerry Hill, the 84-room resort nestles along the tranquil banks of the Mae Ping River, encompassing the original site and structure of the British Consulate during the 1920s. 

Participants in the 26th annual Readers' Choice Awards gave the No. 1 ranked property in Asia a ranking of 97.4, with perfect scores in the criteria of dining and rooms. The Chedi Chiang Mai earned the 18th spot on Condé Nast Traveler’s list of the top 100 hotels around the globe.

Aside from The Chedi Chiang Mai, voters singled out another GHM property for recognition as one of the 10 best resorts on the continent:The Nam Hai in Hoi An rose from 14th place among Asia’s top resorts in 2012 to the 10th spot in the same category this year.

The Nam Hai's villas are modern interpretations of traditional Vietnamese garden homes
The Nam Hai's villas are modern interpretations of traditional Vietnamese garden homes
Hotels operated by Singapore-based management group GHM also earned high marks from voters across the Atlantic in the Readers' Travel Awards 2013, published in this month’s issue of Condé Nast Traveller.

Readers of the UK edition ranked The Nam Hai as one of the world’s top three overseas spa hotels, while The Chedi Muscat claimed the 11th spot in the Best Overseas Hotels category for the Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean region.

Some 79,268 participants cast 1.3 million votes for 16,000 properties nominated in this year's Readers' Choice Awards.

The survey was first launched in 1988 by Condé Nast, one of the world's most prestigious magazine publishers.

This year’s voting was conducted through a secure website, with responses tabulated by Equation Research. Readers evaluated candidates on a set of criteria using a standard five-point scale. Properties must receive a required minimum number of responses to be eligible for an award.

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