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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Kakadu Bird Week 2017

Kakadu to stage Australia’s most spectacular natural expo as Bird Week takes wing - Kakadu Bird Week 2017 (1 – 7 October)

Kakadu is set to host the largest gathering of bird watchers and nature lovers for the annual Kakadu Bird Week 2017, with special birding activities, events, a new photographic competition and special sessions for children being offered from October 1st to October 7th.

Whether it is graceful sea eagles ‘fishing’ on Yellow Water Billabong, the remarkable ‘Jesus Bird’ seemingly walking on water, or local favourites such as the Jabiru and the tiny, but vividly beautiful, Kingfisher birds, Kakadu is Australia’s most spectacular location for lovers of exotic birds.

Kakadu Bird Week is the perfect time for nature lovers to discover Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. The Festival is being held from 1 – 7 October and while particularly popular with ‘twitchers’ (the technical name for a bird watcher) a special new program – The World of Birds for Kids – aims to introduce this remarkable spectacle to a new generation of nature lovers.

The region is home to over one third of Australia’s bird species and October is the peak time to see the full diversity of birds, as the wetlands retreat after six months of ‘dry’ and birds flock to the Top End in preparation for the next breeding cycle.

A prime vantage point to view Kakadu’s immensely rich and diverse bird life is on Yellow Water Billabong, at Cooinda. Yellow Water Cruises and Kakadu Tourism will be offering visitors exceptional opportunities to get close to Kakadu’s bird life during the special week.

Yellow Water Cruises will offer a series of cruises hosted by renowned naturalist, Luke ‘hawk eyes’ Paterson, from NT Bird Specialists, who will provide his expert insights on Kakadu’s birdlife during sunrise cruises on Yellow Water Billabong on 1, 4 & 7 October. The three hour cruises on Yellow Water Billabong will depart from Cooinda at 6am and include transfers and breakfast. Seats are strictly limited, and available for $120 per person. Details and bookings: or

Many activities and presentations will be free during the week. Experts will host presentations at Kakadu National Park’s Bowali Visitor Centre and at the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel and Cooinda Lodge, and there will be free daily walks at many of Kakadu’s major tourism sites, including Ubirr and Nourlangie. The full draft program and updates are available via:

Special Accommodation Rates during Kakadu Bird Week

Kakadu Bird Week is expected to attract thousands of visitors from overseas and around Australia, so accommodation is limited. Kakadu Tourism offers the widest selection of accommodation options, including Cooinda Lodge, which is located next to one of the largest bird habitats in Kakadu – Yellow Water Billabong.

Cooinda Lodge (+618 8979 1500) and the famous Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel (+618 8979 9000) are offering 15% off hotel rates during the week. Guests will need to quote “Kakadu Bird Week” to gain the discounts.

Further details: or 1800 500 401.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Chinese ultra-marathon champion to run in Blackmores Sydney Marathon

#sydney #visitnsw

Ultra-marathon champion Chen Pen Bin has been announced as the first Chinese ambassador for the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival to promote the event and encourage visitation to NSW.

China's first international ultra-marathon champion, Chen Pen Bin is famous for running 100 marathons in 100 consecutive days across nine provinces in China. He was also the first Chinese runner to compete in an ultra-marathon on all seven continents.

Secured by the NSW Government's tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, the agreement with Chen Pen Bin will see Sydney and NSW promoted in the key inbound visitor market of Mainland China.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase said "China is Sydney and NSW's largest inbound tourism market and we are delighted to see this iconic event showing our beautiful Harbour City to potential Chinese visitors.

"More than 4,000 interstate and overseas visitors will travel to Sydney to run in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival, and we expect strong visitor growth to the Festival for many more years to come," Ms Chipchase said.

Blackmores Sydney Running Festival China ambassador, Chen Pen Bin said he is excited to compete on the Sydney Marathon course.

"The Blackmores Sydney Marathon is one of the world's most scenic running events. I look forward to running across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and past Sydney's landmarks including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Darling Harbour and Centennial Park. Finishing the marathon at the Sydney Opera House will be a special moment for me and something that I will remember for many years to come.

"After the race, I'm eager to explore the Blue Mountains, Sydney Fish Markets and Taronga Zoo," Mr Chen Pen Bin said.

Race Director Wayne Larden said the number of international participants continues to rise, as Sydney cements its reputation as a major international running event.

"The Blackmores Sydney Marathon is one of the world's premier endurance events and attracts participants from all over the world. Its International Association of Athletics Federation Road Race Gold Label status places it alongside marathons such as London and New York," Mr Larden said.      

Six Chinese media including sports channel, men's lifestyle magazine Bazaar Men's Style, lifestyle website, travel channel and video streaming channels Youku and Can Video will shadow Chen Pen Bin while he travels in NSW to capture and share the beauty of the region with fellow Chinese travellers.

In the year ended March 2017, NSW welcomed 701,000 visitors from Mainland China, who spent almost $3 billion in the State[1].

Destination NSW will also host five Singaporean and four Malaysian media in Sydney and NSW to participate in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival and promote visitation to the State.

The Blackmores Sydney Running festival will be held on Sunday 17 September. More information on the event can be found at

For more information on things to see and do in Sydney visit, and in Regional NSW, go to:

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thomas Keneally to sail with Silversea on world cruise

Silversea Cruises, the world's leading luxury and expedition cruise line, is pleased to announce acclaimed Australian author Thomas Keneally as its newest guest enrichment lecturer, featuring aboard Silver Whisper as part of the incredible World Cruise 2018.

Joining for 13 days from Sydney to Bali as part of the magnificent World Cruise 2018, Keneally will deliver a range of thought-provoking enrichment lectures.  Guests will hear Keneally's unique insights into his personal stories and profound experiences, all while travelling through a variety of incredible destinations in all-inclusive, intimate luxury.

Keneally is a critically acclaimed Australian novelist, playwright, and essayist and has published more than 30 novels and screenplays during his career.  Keneally's novel, Schindler's Ark won the 1982 Man Booker Prize, and was later adapted into the Academy Award winning Spielberg classic, Schindler's List.

Amber Wilson, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Silversea Cruises said:

"We are delighted to welcome one of Australia's most distinguished novelists aboard Silver Whisper in February 2018.  Guests will have the opportunity to attend fascinating and stimulating discussions with the highly regarded author and will be thrilled with his array of riveting stories and insightful lectures."

Designed to spark the imagination of avid travellers, Silversea's World Cruise 2018 is an epic 121-day voyage from Los Angeles to Civitavecchia, Rome, on board the elegant, all-suite Silver Whisper.  This extraordinary one-of-a-kind voyage will encompass 60 unique ports in 21 countries across 5 continents.  Including numerous late-night and overnight stays, guests have ample time to take in all the amazing sights, sounds, and flavours of the beautiful cities, great wine regions, and architectural spectacles of this incredible journey.

In addition to Keneally, a stimulating program of eminent lecturers, wine experts and renowned chefs will also be on offer to engage guests for the duration of World Cruise 2018 along with certified ACBL instructors, and the ever-popular L'École des Chefs by Relais & Châteaux®.

Featured voyages:

V4804 - Departing Sydney on 20 February 2018 on this 13-day voyage to Bali, Keneally will join guests on boardSilver Whisper as they journey up the beautiful coastline, experiencing the indigo waters of the Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Northern Territory's spectacular wildlife and searing sunsets before arriving into Bali on 5 March.  Fares start at AU$12,200* per person based on double occupancy in a Vista Suite.

World Cruise 2018 - Departing Los Angeles on 6 January 2018, an exclusive 121-day voyage aboard Silver Whisper, will venture to 60 ports across 21 countries.  This ultimate cruise showcases: the blue lagoons of Polynesia, the mesmerising landscapes of New Zealand, ancient wonders including Angkor Wat and the Taj Mahal, Sydney's Opera House, the Petronas Towers of Kuala Lumpur, and the soaring skylines of Singapore and Hong Kong; and much more.  Fares start at AU$96,245* per person, based on double occupancy in a Veranda Suite.

Silversea's cruise fares include: all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary on board wines, Champagne and spirits; and one hour of complimentary WiFi per day for each guest or unlimited WiFi for select suite categories, and all gratuities.

*These voyages are 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

Parrtjima expands creative program in Alice Springs

New installation, artist talks and live music added
Alice Springs: 22 September – 1 October 2017

A new installation and expanded program of events has been announced for Parrtjima – A Festival in Light, the extraordinary 10-night celebration of Central Australian art and culture illuminating Alice Springs from Friday, 22 September to Sunday, 1 October 2017.

The festival hub (Apurte-irretyeke* [Getting Together]) will come to life with a curated program of live talks, events and music by local musicians each weekend, bringing the stories, sounds and rhythms of Central Australia – home of the Arrernte of Mparntwe – to the free public event.

In addition to the breathtaking installations and illumination of the majestic MacDonnell Ranges already announced, Medicine Space (Awelya-akerte Apmere [Medicine Country]) is a new installation featuring artwork by Artists of Ampilatwatja that will transform Alice Springs Desert Park into a mesmerising outdoor gallery of light and sound.

Using state-of-the-art LED luminaires, Medicine Space projects a series of artworks by Ampilatwatja artists Michelle Pula Holmes, Julieanne Ngwarraye Morton and Kathleen Nanima Rambler onto hanging semi-transparent fabric, suspended in the desert and moving freely in the breeze, as images magically appear and disappear. 

The Artists of Ampilatwatja are famous for their unique paintings of desert landscapes, bushfoods, bush medicine, family gathering spaces and works on lore, and their distinct painting style features fine dots and bright, child-like figurative depictions.

Parrtjima curator and renowned First Nations creative director Rhoda Roberts OA, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome more senior Aboriginal artists to the Parrtjima 2017 festival program to share their unique artmaking and culture with the world.

“The addition of Medicine Space and the expanded festival knowledge program we have curated will truly deepen the visitor experience and provide another platform for the artists and respected Arrernte Elders to holistically share their art, knowledge and culture.”

Roberts worked closely with Aboriginal artists and art centres from across the desert region to develop the festival program, with endorsement from the Parrtjima Festival Reference Group and ongoing consultation with a wider network of respected Arrernte persons.

Significant Traditional Owner (Apmereke-artweye of Mparntwe), Parrtjima Festival Reference Group advisor and festival participant, Benedict Kngwarraye Stevens said: “The most important thing for us is to keep passing on our culture to the coming generations. Parrtjima helps us show the world that this is Arrernte country and how beautiful it is.

“Parrtjima shows people that the country is alive, so that visitors and all the non-Arrernte people who live here can have deeper respect for it, and start to see how much it means to us. We want people to understand that it has always been a part of us. Parrtjima helps our young people stand tall in front of the world to say, ‘This is our country, this is our art, and this is our culture – and it is good’.”

An original audio soundscape featuring voice recordings of senior Arrernte people, including Benedict Kngwarraye Stevens, Peter Peltharre Wallace and Warren H. Mpetjana Williams, will accompany the stunning illumination of the MacDonnell Ranges entitled, The Heartbeat of Elements of Country (Apmere Ahelhe Itethe [All Country is Alive]).

The audio soundtrack was recorded by Aboriginal-owned Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA), as part of a three-year agreement to deliver a fully integrated audio-visual experience at Parrtjima.

The partnership will allow local suppliers to take ownership of the spectacular installation of Grounded (Apmere Melangke [There’s No Place Like Home]); acquiring world class equipment and expertise and will see the implementation of a training program to develop a long-term crew of Aboriginal employees for the event.

Visitors are asked to register their attendance for sessions held each night between 5:00pm and 10:30pm Friday to Sunday, and one of four sessions held between 6:30pm and 10:30pm Monday to Thursday during the festival. A free park ‘n ride shuttle bus is available to and from the festival at Alice Springs Desert Park, stopping at several locations around Alice Springs.

Parrtjima (pronounced Par-CHee-ma) comes from the Arrernte group of languages, which has many dialects and ways of spelling words. In Central and Eastern Arrernte, ‘apateme’ means ‘to have trouble understanding something’ and ‘pwarrtyeme’ means ‘to shine’. The event name suggests shedding both light and understanding on a subject.

The first Aboriginal light festival of its kind in the world, Parrtjima is proudly supported by the Northern Territory Government and event partners Northern Territory Major Events Company, AGB Events, Alice Springs Desert Park, Alice Springs Town Council, Thrifty Rent-a-Car, Alice in the Territory and Diggamen Civil Contracting.

Join the conversation with #ParrtjimaAustralia. For more information and to register to attend this free event, please visit

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

New routes for Finnair


Finnair continues strong growth, opens new routes to Nanjing, Lisbon and Stuttgart, increases capacity for popular destinations in Asia, US and Europe

In line with its growth strategy, Finnair has announced a new year-round route to Nanjing, China and is adding two new European routes for its European Summer 2018 lineup including new non-stop flights to Lisbon and Stuttgart.

Finnair General Manager - Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, Geoff Stone said the airline would also be increasing capacity to Tokyo, Chicago, San Francisco, Bangkok and Delhi.

Further strengthening its solid presence in China, Finnair will open a new year-round route between Helsinki and Nanjing, China. Located along Yangtse River, Nanjing is one of the four ancient capitals of China, and a vibrant centre for culture and economy, with a population of more 8 million people. The opening of the Nanjing route will increase Finnair's growing footprint in Northeast Asia with the Finnish carrier flying to seven destinations in Greater China during the next European Summer period. Altogether Finnair will operate 38 weekly flights to Greater China with daily flights to both Beijing and Shanghai, four weekly flights to both Chongqing and Guangzhou, three weekly flights to both Nanjing and Xi'an as well as 10 weekly flights to Hong Kong. The inaugural flight to Nanjing on 13 May 2018 will be on an Airbus A330 aircraft.

Furthermore, Mr Stone said Finnair would be expanding its network of more than 100 European destinations and from 1 June will operate four weekly flights to Lisbon, Portugal on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays with an Airbus 319 aircraft offering convenient connections for customers travelling to and from Asia; and commencing a new daily service to Stuttgart, Germany from 23 April with an Embraer aircraft.

Finnair additional capacity to popular long-haul destinations during the European Summer 2018 includes:

·         Flight to Chicago daily with the addition of two new weekly flights

·         Three weekly flights to San Francisco with longer operating season, from 3 May to 27 September

·         New double daily flight to Tokyo, Narita with three new weekly flights

·         Three new weekly flights added to the Bangkok route, serving 10 weekly flights during the European Summer season and 16 flights during the Winter season

·         An additional weekly flight on the Delhi route bringing to four weekly flights during the European Summer season and six flights during the Winter season

Finnair increased flights for popular European destinations during the European Summer 2018 includes:

·         Seventeen new weekly flights to Tallinn, flying up to 10 times daily

·         An additional daily flight to Moscow, serving the Russian capital three times daily, and up to six times daily in co-operation with Aeroflot Russian Airlines. The three daily frequencies between Helsinki and St Petersburg will now be flown with an Embraer jet aircraft.

·         An additional daily flight to Gdansk, serving the Polish Baltic Sea city with two daily flights

·         Four additional weekly flights to Edinburgh

·         Four additional weekly flights to Barcelona between June and August bringing to 14 weekly flights

·         Three additional weekly flights to Madrid from June to October bringing to 10 weekly flights

·         Two additional weekly flights to Reykjavik, serving the Icelandic capital with multiple daily flights in co-operation with Icelandair

·         One additional weekly flight to Dublin, Dubrovnik, Malaga, Tel Aviv, Billund, Venice, Chania, Skiathos, Santorini, Rhodes, Heraklion, and Corfu

"Traffic between Europe and Asia continues to grow, and Finnair's expanding network now offers more choice than ever before for our customers," said Finnair Chief Commercial Officer, Juha Järvinen.

"We are also adding frequencies and capacity to popular Europeans destinations to serve the needs of our growing customer base both in Asia and Europe."

Mr Järvinen said Finnair would be increasing its total capacity for the next European Summer by 14 percent over the previous period, including the newly announced route to Nanjing.

Finnair offers excellent connections from Australia with oneworld partners and flies between Asia/North America and Europe with an emphasis on fast connections via Helsinki.

Finnair carries more than nine million passengers annually and connects 17 cities in Asia and 3 cities in North America with more than 60 destinations in Europe.  Finnair offers excellent connections from Australia with oneworld partners.

Finnair has been named Best International Airline – Offline in the prestigious 2017 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards for the fifth consecutive year.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Great shopping and festival events at the 'Korea Sale FESTA' from 28 September

One of Korea's leading festivals 'Korea Sale FESTA' is on again from the end of this month, 28th September until the 31st October, 2017. The global shopping and tourism festival features big shopping discounts as well as Korean Wave cultural events to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Super special discounts will be offered by more than twenty companies including department stores, online shopping malls and traditional markets around the country. More than 500 traditional markets throughout Korea will participate in this event.

There will also be online overseas sales targeting overseas shoppers as local Korean online stores will hold promotions and sales events on overseas online platforms.

There will be street shopping festival events in the major shopping areas of Myeongdong and Dongdaemun providing entertainment and fun as you shop.

For the whole period there will be numerous cultural events and local festivals taking place around the country.

Celebrate with Koreans one of the major holidays of the year Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) from 3-6 October or the Seoul International Fireworks Festival to be held in Seoul on 30 September.

A virtual reality experience centre will be installed in the ' Korea Sale FESTA' Promotion Hall which will be set up in Gwanghwamun Square to increase the opportunity for the general public to experience and enjoy.

The world's first virtual reality shopping mall will be opened in Korea in late September where customers will be able to experience shopping in virtual reality without visiting a department store.

There are discounts available on airline, hotel accommodation, transportation and theatre performances. To access discounts and learn more about the coming 'Korea Sale FESTA' visit the website specially set up for the event:


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Friday, August 25, 2017

Macao cleans up after devastating Typhoon Hato

The Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) is making unreserved efforts to coordinate and handle various tasks in the wake of Typhoon Hato, which took the lives of six, injured more than 150 and left the city with widespread damage.

pic: via SBS

With wind gusts of up to 240km/h compounded by severe tidal conditions, the former Portuguese enclave felt the full fury of the typhoon, the most severe storm to hit the city in more than five decades.

The high tide created massive flooding in low-lying areas, causing a city-wide blackout, water supply stoppages and telecommunication breakdowns.

The disaster relief authorities reported 290 incidents caused by the typhoon, such as falling trees, antenna cables and advertising boards.

It was the first time since 1999 that Macau had hoisted the No. 10 signal, the highest typhoon warning signal, officials said.

MGTO operates its tourist information counters at the Ritz Building, Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal, Border Gate, Macau International Airport and Taipa Ferry Terminal as usual to attend to visitors.

Due to various degrees of damage at the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal and Taipa Ferry Terminal, tour groups to Macao were affected. The MGTO is looking into their situations.

The MGTO has also approached hotel properties for further information on their situations, including their status of water and power supply as well as room reservation.

If visitors have already made their room reservation or are planning to make a reservation in Macao, they are advised to enquire with the respective hotels of their latest situations.

The MGTO has also assigned inspectors to patrol different ports of entry in Macao for prompt awareness of the latest situations.

The tourism body is currently examining and accessing the situations and conditions concerning its upcoming events. If any new arrangement arises, a public notice will be made accordingly.

MGTO advises residents and visitors to pay attention to the situations concerned.

For enquiries, please contact the 24-hour tourism hotline service at 0011 853 28333000.

Long Boat Racing Tradition to win the royal trophy from His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun of 2017


Everyone is invited to the first race of the country, along viewing beautiful royal ceremony boat parade.

TAT invites tourists to experience the Long Boat Racing Tradition for the first race of the country to win the royal trophy from His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkul this September 2017.

The event will be held along with the viewing of the beautiful royal ceremony boat parade, with variety of foods from One Tambon One Product, and the light and sound from the concert on 2nd – 3rd September at Nan River, Wat Tha Luang Royal Monastery, Pichit Province.

This event will be followed by the cultural heritage of the river; the event of Long Boat Racing Tradition to win the royal trophy from His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. There will be a cheering contest for the royal trophy from HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. In second race field, there will be five types of boat races - big boats, medium boats, small boats, tiny boats, and united local people boats, including the ceremony of making merit on boats. The event will be held on 16th – 17th September in Phitsanulok Province.

Moreover, TAT also attracts the tourists who are passionate about Thai tradition to be prepared to travel at the ceremony of Akha Swing Tradition in gratitude for Um Sa Yae Goddess who gives moist and abundance for crops and plants at Akha village, Chiang Rai Province. The tourists are welcomed to see the tradition and observe the simple way of life from early August until the end of September. Or if you are interested in the night view of the Northeast, you would enjoy the event of Marvelous Shrimp Marching (Viewing Nam Yuen shrimps and visiting Phu Jong). In this event, ten thousands of shrimps will appear at night at Kaeng Lamduan, Nam Yuen District, Ubon Ratchathani Province. The event will be held from August to September. For those who are fond of golf, do not miss the event of Cha-Am / Hua Hin Golf Festival 2017, offering the best promotion of playing 9 fields in one price. Show your swing on the international standard field at an economical price from August to September at the golf course in Cha Am District, Phetchaburi Province and Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. In addition, the bikers should be ready to firm your body for attending the 16th International Mountain Bike Competition at Bhumibol Dam to win the trophy of honor with a lot of prizes. This event will be held on 26th – 27th August at Bhumibol Dam, Sam Ngao District, Tak Province.

For those who love shopping, be prepared to grab the bags and not miss the program of the 21st Travel around Thailand and around the World. Meet discounted airfares and quality promotions which are guaranteed cheap prices from around the world. The event will be held on 10th – 13th August at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. This will be followed by the activity of Mother's Day to celebrate HM the Queen's Birthday. We will light the candles for celebration altogether on 12th August in Bangkok and around the country. Enjoy your shopping trip again before the end of August in the event of the 44th Thailand International TravelFair offering the packages of traveling in Thailand in economic prices. The event will be held from 31st August to 3rd September at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. Travel to the south of Northeastern region to watch the procession of offerings to the great ancestors in the event of Commemoration to Phraya Krai Phakdi, San Doanta Tradition, venerates the city pillar shrine, and banana show festival. The event will be held on 16th September at Khukhan District, Srisaket Province. Pay respect to the Lord Buddha at the Um Pra Dam Nam Festival. The event will be held on 19th – 23rd September at Petchabura Buddhist Garden, Wat Bote Chana Mara, Petchabun Province. TAT would like to invite tourists to the south for the Tenth Month Merit Making Ceremony of Nakhon(donation of food or charitable donations). This event will be held on 16th – 25th September at Srinagarindra Gardens, Thung Tha Lat, Nakhon Si Thammarat City Hall. And the end of September, attend the event of Narathiwat Ko Lae Boats, Long Boats, and Yor Kong Boats Race to win the royal trophy in front of the Palace. The event will be held on 21st – 25th September at the Royal 50th Anniversary Celebration Throne at the side of Tha Phraya Sai Dam, Narathiwat City Municipality.

For more information at Call Center 1672 and

Walt Disney World Resort in Florida's new Toy Story adventure

In the US Summer of 2018, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida will introduce the newest addition to the Disney Parks family: Toy Story Land, a magical new land located in the larger-then-life setting of Andy's backyard.  Located within Disney's Hollywood Studios, guests will think they've been shrunk to the size of Woody and Buzz as they are surrounded by oversized toys from the blockbuster movie Toy Story.

David Clark, Head of Travel and Business Development AU/NZ at The Walt Disney Company, said,

"We're very excited to share our plans for the launch of Toy Story Land next year at Walt Disney World Resort.  This will be a must-see for anyone who is new or who has visited our parks previously.  Guests will be able to step in to discover an amazingly playful way to join their favourite Toy Story characters for fun that never ends!  The new land features two new attractions and also expands on the park's iconic Toy Story Mania attraction, providing guests with more Pixar magic for everyone to enjoy."

The 11-acre new land features two news attractions alongside giant building blocks, game board pieces and the toys and characters of the beloved Toy Story movies.

Two new attractions:

Slinky Dog Dash will be a family coaster attraction that zips, dodges and dashes guests around many turns and drops, stretching Slinky's coils to their limits.

Alien Swirling Saucers is designed to look like a play set Andy received from Pizza Planet.  The famous little green Aliens from the movie will fly around in their flying saucers and try to capture guest's rocket vehicle with the 'claw'.

To book a magical Disney holiday, please contact your local travel agent.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Taste Norfolk Island Food Festival 2017


The Taste Norfolk Island Food Festival will be served up again at the popular Australian holiday destination in 2017 with appetites at the ready for the fourth hosting of this fun event on the culinary calendar.

Taste Norfolk Island is on from 27 November to 1 December again showcasing the best of talented local chefs, cooks, eateries, artisans and primary producers in a host of stunning settings.

Norfolk Island has grown to be a food-lover's destination with fresh fish, succulent beef and pork, fruit and vegetables picked daily, boutique products including artisan cheese, honey, handmade chocolates and a winery plus more on the island's doorstep to offer a true paddock to plate experience.

The local community, which brings forth generations of passion and resourcefulness, will present menus representing an amazing blend of cultures and pass on some of their tips and secrets on the creation of the many and varied dishes to be enjoyed throughout the week-long event.

Festival guests will also sit down to a spectacular Thanksgiving Day Feast celebrating the tradition passed down over generations by the island's Pitcairn and American Whaler ancestors.

Burnt Pine Travel is offering a Taste Norfolk Island Food Festival package featuring a bonus two additional Festival options and a VIP gift bag offering locally produced presents and souvenirs.

The 7-night package is priced per person twin share from $1845 ex-Sydney and $1810 ex-Brisbane and includes:

§  Twin share accommodation
§  Return economy airfare with Air New Zealand including taxes
§  Return airport transfers on island
§  Car hire throughout stay including insurance
§  Welcome cocktail evening
§  Taste Norfolk's Bounty Festival night
§  Thanksgiving Day lunch
§  Sunset Cinema and Little Eat Street
§  VIP gift bag
§  Choice of two of the following complimentary Festival options

-          Norfolk Blue & 100 acre farm walking tour
-          Blue Kingfisher cooking with fresh fish and produce
-          Seriously Chocolate fun chocolate-making class
-          Norfolk Blue gourmet sausage-making class
-          Pods Pickle Factor tour of island home and tasting of local delicacies
-          Culinary Journey cooking in a traditional underground oven
-          The Barn tour of market and kitchen gardens with food tasting

For bookings, contact Burnt Pine Travel on Toll Free 1800 501 128 or

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

Friday, August 18, 2017

Is this for you? The Most Instagrammable Job in the World

What if your job title was "The Most Instagrammable Job in the World"? Sounds like a dream? is making this possible for its next travel specialist. The successful applicant will travel for one year and work in four postcard worthy locations: Iceland, Nepal, Peru, and Italy.

Imagine ticking the Northern Lights, Mount Everest, Machu Picchu and Cinque Terre off your bucket list in 12 months, all whilst being paid.

The exciting role includes developing travel itineraries, creating travel content, recruiting local experts, partnering with local businesses and helping millions of people achieve unforgettable travel experiences. The applicant will also be expected to immerse themselves in the culture and live like a local in the four locations to truly discover what they have to offer, living up to the kimkim ethos.

Those who believe this is the answer to their wanderlust can complete an application form online. Applications close 4th September 2017. is a new marketplace of travel specialists based in destinations all over the world, creating bespoke travel itineraries for travellers who want to explore off the beaten track.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Double Win For Silversea At Virtuoso(R) Awards

Most Innovative Itinerary And Cruise Ambassador Of The Year

Luxury cruise specialist Silversea has been recognised by international luxury travel network Virtuoso®, receiving two awards at the 29th annual Virtuoso Travel Week Conference, which honours the achievements of the network's travel advisor members, agencies and preferred partners. Among Virtuoso's preferred partners, Silversea took the top spot for Most Innovative Itinerary - Cruise, while Mark Conroy, Silversea's Managing Director for the Americas, was awarded Virtuoso Cruise Ambassador of the Year.

"Both Virtuoso and Silversea are committed to excellence in travel," said Conroy. "While I'm personally honoured to be recognized as this year's Virtuoso Cruise Ambassador, it is especially gratifying for our company to receive the award for Most Innovative Itinerary, a testament to Silverseas' focus on delivering outstanding luxury cruise experiences."

The Virtuoso Awards allow travel industry peers to recognise each other's accomplishments. The network's travel providers place votes for agencies and advisors, while agency members vote for their preferred suppliers.

"Silversea demonstrates a superior commitment to product excellence, expert knowledge and outstanding client service, all qualities highly valued by this network," said Albert Herrera, Senior Vice President of global product partnerships for Virtuoso. "These awards place Silversea in a very exclusive category, as Virtuoso's most celebrated partners are recognised as leaders within the industry. Our partners' contributions and close relationships with our advisors enable Virtuoso to maintain its status as the world's most exceptional luxury and experiential travel network."

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Lonely Planet new Mobile Self-Publishing Content Platform - Trips

#lonelyplanet #travel

Interactive app offers a reimagined way to discover and create travel content

Leading global travel media company Lonely Planet has today announced the launch of Trips by Lonely Planet, a self-publishing content platform offering the modern traveller an enjoyable, easy way to discover and share their experiences. Leveraging its expansive and reliable travel expertise, Lonely Planet has developed a highly immersive mobile platform designed to help adventurous spirits instantly navigate a wealth of curated travel content with an expert lens. Trips is now available free on iOS and will be available on Android later this year.

Trips enables anyone to seamlessly upload photos and videos directly from their phone's photo library and craft stories illustrating each trip. The platform's simple and modern design features the ability to "like" trips, follow others, save favorite stories to one's profile and discover new trips by location or theme, such as wildlife and nature, adventure travel and road trips. In addition, Lonely Planet's team of expert writers and editors frequently curates top recommendations to inspire people's next trip.

"At Lonely Planet, we are proud of our long history of offering the world's best travel content in a variety of ways," said Daniel Houghton, CEO of Lonely Planet. "We understand what the modern traveller wants and have delivered an interactive digital platform that offers an effortless, mobile-first way to document, share and discover remarkable experiences. Trips is simply the next step in growing Lonely Planet as we continue to pioneer the future of travel."

A recent Skift report indicates that 63 percent of consumers look to social channels before booking a vacation. Lonely Planet envisioned a way to leverage its robust catalogue of independent travel content to create a standalone platform that meets the expectations of socially connected travellers. As people continue turn to social media first for recommendations, Trips provides access to the best shared travel experiences anytime, anywhere.

"I have been waiting for a platform that gives me the formatting options and tools I need to accurately express my travel experiences. Trips helps me do this and is now my go-to app for creating high quality content on the move," said Ed Norton, Lonely Planet contributor and professional photographer. "I recommend searching the Discover section, which is a great place to find inspiration as well as themes and ideas for your own stories. Plus, published stories on Trips may be chosen by Lonely Planet's destination experts as featured posts, which is perfect for increasing views of a person's unforgettable travels."

For more 44 years, Lonely Planet has been the leading independent travel content provider. Founded as a guidebook publisher, the company pioneered bringing travel content online by launching as one of the first travel websites. Today, Trips joins a series of digital innovations from Lonely Planet, including a new video platform launched in April (, the redesign of and the Guides app (

For more information on Trips by Lonely Planet, visit
( and Snapchat (@lonely.planet).

Friday, August 4, 2017

New Travelodge 209-room hotel soon for Sydney Airport

Travelodge Hotels is set to open a new 209-room hotel at Sydney Airport with all-day dining and a late night bar, as well as an 800-bay car park, offering the perfect layover for the no-nonsense traveller seeking comfort and convenience at Australia’s busiest airport. TFE Hotels will manage the new hotel, which is being developed by Andary Group and located on O’Riordan Street and King Street in Mascot, only 500m from the terminal entrance. The hotel forms part of the ongoing transformation of Mascot, which is host to a series of new developments, including serviced holiday units and trendy inner city apartment blocks.

Travelodge Hotel Sydney Airport will be the eighteenth hotel under the brand banner in Australia and New Zealand, sharing its Refreshingly Simple promise, offering guests “more of what you want and less of what you don’t”. In convenient locations with smart design, Travelodge Hotels have a down to earth attitude and an honest sense of humour - they are all about the simple pleasures.

In keeping with this brand promise, the new hotel will have comfortable beds, a stylish open lobby and contemporary décor, free Wi-Fi, hearty breakfasts and standard 11am check-out, as well as 24-hour room service and all day dining and a late night bar at T’s Bar & Bistro, ideal for those flying in or out on later flights or adjusting to different time zones. The menus will be prepared with freshness in mind – something sure to appeal to those coming from a long plane journey. Coupled with the outdoor dining space, guests will feel revived in no time. Interconnecting rooms make it a great option for family or group stays.

TFE Hotels CEO Rachel Argaman said the new hotel would aptly meet the increasing volume of business and leisure guests coming in and out of Sydney.

“This exciting new addition to the Sydney hotel scene is part of the broader transformation of airport accommodation in Australia, which is turning airport hotels into appealing and desirable places to spend time as part of any holiday or business journey,” Ms Argaman said. “Travelodge Hotels has a down to earth attitude and an honest sense of humour.

These hotels offer great accommodation in central and convenient locations with a relaxed feel and all the essential comforts that travellers seek today. It makes them ideal places to stay before or after any flight.” 

Richard Andary, Managing Director of Andary Group said the new hotel would immediately ease increased demand for quality accommodation at Sydney’s busy international airport, offering travellers a new option.

“We’re delighted to work with TFE Hotels on this exciting new development which will provide an alternative, quality hotel right on Mascot’s doorstep,” he said.

The hotel has an opening offer of 25% off the fully flexible rate including one buffet breakfast daily for fully pre-paid bookings (non-refundable) for stays between 1 September and 31 October, subject to availability. To book* visit

*Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

First is Flying with British Airways

Since The First Wing opened on 5 April , the new exclusive check-in area for British Airways' First, Gold Executive Club and oneworld Emerald customers at London Heathrow Terminal 5 has welcomed nearly 200,000* travellers through the dedicated security channel leading directly into the Galleries First lounge and Concorde Room.

That's around 1,800 customers a day transferring through The First Wing from check-in to the lounge. The smoothness and convenience of the innovation has resulted in great customer feedback and has also reduced the number of customers travelling through the normal security search areas, delivering a benefit for all fliers.

Click here to take a tour of the new First Wing:

British Airways is continuing to invest in other improvements to First, including a refresh of its flagship Concorde Room at London Heathrow Terminal 5 to be unveiled in October 2017. The lounge, which is exclusively for First customers will receive an updated look and feel, as well as improvements to the terrace area.

Additionally new Liberty London amenity kits will take to the skies at the end of July. The kits feature prints from Liberty's vintage textile archive. The ladies' version features an eye-catching print called 'Indiana' flower pattern in a range of blues, while the male amenity kits showcases a more understated black and grey paisley design called 'Arundel'.

The gentlemen's amenity kits features Refinery's revitalizing moisturizer, lip balm, deodorant stick and shave gel as well as a razor, brush and comb, toothbrush/toothpaste, eye mask, socks, ear plugs and pen. The ladies' kit includes Aromatherapy Associates triple rose renewing moisturiser, hydrating hand lotion, renewing cleanser and deodorant stick, along with a lip balm, cotton wool pads, toothbrush/toothpaste, hairbrush and pen.

Alex Cruz, British Airways' chairman and CEO, said: "We know that our First customers are used to the very best in life and have very exacting standards. They rightly expect every part of their journey with us to cater to their needs, so we've focused on areas that we know matter to them. First Wing enables them to maximise their time, whisking them from kerb to lounge through the fast track security channel. And we've paid attention to the details that make a difference on board too, through elements such as the updated Liberty amenity kits and the ability to pre-order a preferred meal.

"From the feedback we've received from our First fliers, these changes are making a real difference to their experience, driving great customer reaction and there's more to come with the revamped Concorde Room at London Heathrow Terminal 5, due to be unveiled this October." Cruz added.

For further information on First customers can visit

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Vibrant and Chic ibis styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai adds colour to the city’s Old Quarter

Vibrant and Chic ibis styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai adds colour to the city's Old Quarter

Combining vintage design with creative elements of the ibis Styles brand spirit

Travellers visiting Bangkok's postcard-perfect old city, will be delighted that ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai has come to Rambuttri Road, it was easily accessible by foot or bicycle in the old days.

The original Viengtai Hotel opened its doors in 1953 and was the first hotel in the Banglampu-Khaosan area which then became the start of a rich hospitality district that prevails to this day. The aim of the hotel then was to create a home-away-from-home for tourists visiting the capital as modern accommodations catering to the travellers were scarce. The hotel has since been refurbished and underwent a rebranding facelift under ibis Styles.

"Khaosan Road is a strategic area in Bangkok best known as a centre of backpacking travellers," says Patrick Basset, Chief Operating Officer of AccorHotels, Upper Southeast and Northeast Asia. "Packed along this long road are countless budget guesthouses and mid-range hotels – and we are pleased that ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai is the first international hotel in the area. As a flagship ibis Styles hotel, the property offers travellers an all-inclusive bed and breakfast with spaciousness and comfort."

With a unique blend of vintage charm that intertwines Bangkok's rich historical heritage, the hotel features 215 contemporary guest rooms that are furnished with the innovative and revolutionary Sweet BedTM concept by ibis that align density points of the body with plumped fluffy pillows and super-comfy duvet for a restful night's sleep.

Foodies staying at the hotel can relish in a selection of local and international menu choices at Streats Café or enjoy freshly made French pastries at Streats Bakery. A selection of meat skewers and ala minute dishes are available at Streats Bar, an open concept grill-bar that also serves a range of signature cocktails and house-pours.

Outdoor facilities include a pool, kids club, and bike rentals. For social events and business meetings, the hotel has two meeting rooms that can cater up to 200 guests.

General Manager Pierre-Yves Viou said, "Located in the heart of the capital's cultural old town, ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai offers travellers a home-away-from-home in the quaint and vibrant district of Khaosan.  Featuring some of the best bars, clubs and eats in town, Khaosan offers a welcome respite for travellers looking for a quick weekend getaway."

Enjoy a weekend stay at THB 2,530 nett per night with breakfast for two when you book from now until 31 Oct 2017.

For reservations, please email or call 66 2 2805434. For more information, please visit |

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Luxperience: Meet 2017 Thought Leaders and Speakers

Leaders and visionaries within the premium business events market are getting ready to meet in Sydney, Australia this September for Luxperience, the only trade event in the Southern Hemisphere dedicated to high-end travel experiences for leisure and premium business events. This year we are looking forward to welcoming a number of exciting new exhibitors and highly qualified buyers who recognise the opportunity to meet in one of the world’s most desirable and dynamic destinations.

In this month’s issue of Events by LuxNews we introduce you to some of our Thought Leaders who will be presenting during our opening Forum on Sunday 17th September or our Business Sessions taking place during the exhibition. We are looking forward to enriching our community’s efforts to be creative; on trend and educated on how to take their business to the next level with inspiring meaningful connections.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

[watch] Hilarious new British Airways safety video with famous movie stars

A team of top celebrities including Gordon Ramsay, Rob Brydon, Sir Ian McKellen and Thandie Newton make appearances in British Airways’ entertaining new pre-flight safety video, which launches in September.

The new film features some of Britain’s best-loved personalities and has been designed to help customers absorb important safety messages, while boosting fund-raising for ‘Flying Start’, the global charity partnership between British Airways and Comic Relief.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chairman and CEO, said: “It’s extremely important to us that customers engage with our safety video, and involving some of the nation’s most well-known personalities has given us the chance to create something fun that we hope people will watch from start to finish - and remember.

“We’ve worked with Comic Relief since 2010 and our customers have already helped us generate £16.5 million for great causes. We hope the new video will enable us to exceed our goal of raising £20 million by 2020.”

Ten celebrities are seen auditioning in humorous sketches in front of comedian Asim Chaudhry, as his People Just Do Nothing character Chabuddy G, for a coveted part in the safety video, while simultaneously demonstrating the safety features and procedures on the aircraft.

Veriu Broadway - Sydney's newest hotel

Sydney’s newest hotel brand – Veriu Hotels– was officially launched last night at the group’s newly opened hotel, Veriu Broadway. Veriu owners, Rhys Williams and Alex Thorpe, highlighted the group’s commitment to providing guests with the opportunity to feel genuinely connected to their city as they prepare to open a number of hotels across Sydney’s inner city precincts.

“The vision for Veriu started way before any bricks and mortar were laid - It started with an idea to create a hotel brand committed to providing guests with an authentic experience of a local urban precinct that we felt passionate about and we wanted to do it in a way that a big hotel brand simply can’t,” said Rhys Williams.

“Living local is very much part of the brand’s DNA and we have incorporated elements into the guest experience to ensure they have every opportunity to experience Sydney’s diverse locations. When we consider giving a visitor the keys to our city we get very excited about putting them in places that we know will deliver.”

Veriu Broadway guests have an array of experiences on offer – all easily explored using the complimentary Dutch style retro bicycles from Sydney brand Lekker bikes (available at all Veriu hotels). From eating dumplings in Spice Alley, to enjoying fine dining at the Tramsheds or taking a walk around Darling Harbour. Active guests can swim at Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre or gourmets can stock up on fresh local produce at the Fish Markets and prepare a feast in their self-contained apartment.

To further enhance the guest’s connection to the city, Veriu have also tapped guests into their network of hotels in the city through their unique concept called ‘Veriu Connect.’

“Veriu Connect gives any of our guests the opportunity to explore the rest of Sydney by visiting any hotel in our network. They simply show their room key and they will be welcomed by our trained area guide with a drink and given a variety of tips of the best places to eat, drink and explore.”

By the end of 2019 Veriu will have hotels in Camperdown, Randwick, Broadway, Central, Surry Hills, Elizabeth Bay and Green Square, bringing the city to life for any guest with the desire to explore a local area. Using Veriu Connect, a guest can drop into a different Veriu hotel on every day of the week for an entire week and have a totally unique local experience each day.

Complementing the ‘living local’ guest experience and ‘Veriu Connect’, Veriu hotels passionately support the local community, showcasing works from local Sydney and Australian artists in keeping with the surrounding location, and sourcing food and beverage items from locally based suppliers. Furnishings and décor are also produced to create a bespoke environment with no hotel room the same and each hotel reflecting the history of the building and surrounding suburb.

Veriu Broadway’s conversion from the former leather factory warehouse combines both industrial and contemporary style. Rooms on the first three floors have exposed beam high ceilings and polished concrete floors while rooms on higher levels offer fresh modern décor and amazing views of the CBD. Sydney based artist Simon Lovelace has provided art pieces for rooms reminiscent of Ultimo and vintage Sydney streets, while Melbourne based stencil art aficionado Logan Moody has provided the stunning mural in the foyer. A custom made zinc roof –the largest of this style dome in Australia – completes the hotel’s unique look.

Coinciding with the Veriu Broadway opening was the rebrand of two properties - Veriu Camperdown and Veriu Randwick - following extensive refurbishments to bring them up to Veriu standard. More hotels are scheduled to open near Sydney’s Central Station, Surry Hills and Elizabeth Bay over the next year and at Green Square in 2019 in partnership with property fund managers, Folkestone.

Visit for further information about Sydney’s newest hotel brand.

Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport now open

The new Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport was officially opened today (19 July) by New South Wales Minister for Tourism and Major Events, the Honourable Adam Marshall MP, to help serve the 42 million passengers who travel through Sydney Airport each year, as well the thousands of visitors and staff who visit the airport precinct daily.

Mantra Group Chief Executive Officer Bob East said the new 136-room property provides much-needed hotel capacity to support the growth of aviation and tourism in the Sydney basin.

“Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport addresses the demand for contemporary airport accommodation with vibrant, dynamic facilities and a slick service culture,” said Mr East.

“We're thrilled to partner with Sydney Airport on this project, which is a win for the economic growth of Sydney.”

The eight-storey landmark building is the newest hotel at Sydney Airport and Sydney's third on-airport hotel.

Sydney Airport Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kerrie Mather said the opening of the new hotel so close to terminals would further improve the customer experience for airport visitors.

“We're delighted to celebrate the opening of this fantastic hotel, providing even more value and choice for our customers – whether they want a convenient place to stay close to the airport or an easy commute to the CBD,” said Ms Mather.

“Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport helps meet the need for additional hotel accommodation as we continue to experience strong passenger growth.”

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall congratulated Mantra Group on today's hotel opening and their commitment and contribution to the State's multi-billion dollar tourism economy.

“With record numbers flying into Sydney, new hotel openings such as the Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport provide visitors to NSW with greater choices in accommodation location, style and price point,” said Mr Marshall.

“New hotels in key precincts play a critical role in promoting a vibrant visitor economy while meeting the needs of growing visitor numbers to Sydney, attracting first-time and returning domestic and international travellers.

“I also know that this hotel will be warmly welcomed by people living in rural and regional areas who are often after a nearby quality hotel to stopover for a night before having to fly out again the next day.”

Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport is ideally suited for business and leisure travellers looking for conveniently-located accommodation close to the airport and terminals, while still only being 8km from the CBD.

The striking new-build hotel features 136 modern studio rooms, with many overlooking Sydney Airport's runways, an integrated reception and lobby with a 24/7 atmosphere and service, express check-out, internet kiosk and relaxed dining with a bold provincial menu of the finest regional NSW beef and sustainably-sourced local seafood, served with local draught beer, wines and handcrafted cocktails.

Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport is located at 3 Ross Smith Avenue, just a short distance from Sydney Airport's T2 and T3 domestic terminals.

There is an opening special of $159* per night in a Studio King room including 1GB of internet access daily, a welcome drink voucher on arrival and room upgrade (subject to availability).

For bookings or further information, visit or call 1300 987 603.

Traveloscopy | 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Islands of Tahiti receives first UNESCO World Heritage listing


Just when you think The Islands of Tahiti couldn't possibly get any more special, that's precisely what happens. After a long and committed campaign, the Taputapuatea marae (sacred site) on the island of Raiatea was officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site earlier this month*.  

World Heritage Sites are those places deemed to be of special cultural or physical significance, and the Taputapuatea marae is most certainly both. An ancient sacred site where traditional ceremonies were performed, the site features hundreds of stones arranged by Polynesian ancestors – stones that are believed to hold Mana, a source of power and spiritual strength. The marae also marks the first cultural site to be recognized by UNESCO within French Polynesia.

The home of the marae, Raiatea, is just a 45-minute flight from Papeete, Raiatea is the second largest economic centre of The Islands of Tahiti and an important nautical base. The island is expected to benefit from the World Heritage listing through attracting additional visitors looking for travel opportunities that offer authentic historical and cultural experiences. A destination known for its idyllic landscapes, warm and welcoming people, and a vibrant culture, Raiatea is also already a favoured destination for hikers in particular. With a rugged coastline and mountains reaching as high as 1000 metres, the island's scenic hiking trails offer an abundance of opportunity to discover the island's incredible ancient civilization - which now includes a site of recognized international significance.

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Intrepid Travel Doubles Environmental Contribution on U.S. tours in Response to Paris Accord


In the wake of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, Intrepid Travel, one of the largest carbon neutral travel companies in the world, has announced it will double its carbon offset contribution this year on all tours run in the United States. The global tour operator has cited that travel companies, especially those operating in the U.S., must still have a stated commitment to doing right by the environment despite the lack of government intervention.

Doubling their commitment means Intrepid will offset approximately 3,000 additional tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2017. This is on behalf of over 2,500 travellers from Australia, Canada, the UK and beyond travelling across 68 tours operating in the United States. These investments will go towards global energy projects as well VCS accredited renewable projects in the U.S. such as the Dempsey Ridge Wind Farm project in Oklahoma.

“We can no longer wait for our Government leaders to take action on climate change,” says Brett Mitchell, Regional Director - Asia Pacific at Intrepid Travel. “As an Aussie company operating in 120 countries across the world, we have a responsibility to actively seek out ways to minimise our environmental footprint. Offsetting allows us to make a postivie contribution while working towards long-term emission reduction strategies.”

As a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), Intrepid Travel has also released its UNGC report for 2016. The report highlights Intrepid Travel's commitment to support public accountability in environmental stewardship and highlights how it has reached the following milestones:
  • Carbon neutral since 2010
  • 42,000+ tonnes of carbon offset globally in 2016
  • $1.1 million USD invested into renewable energy projects since 2010
  • 50,000 trees planted in Australia, Kenya & Thailand
To learn about Intrepid’s environmental policy visit

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Whales welcomed at North Stradbroke Island


Whales 'blow' tourism numbers skywards as North Stradbroke Island prepares for its biggest-ever "Welcome the Whales" festival – 29/30 July

 North Stradbroke Island – in Brisbane's Moreton Bay area – is looking to its best-ever winter season on the back of an early surge in the migration of humpback whales up the Queensland coast. The migration has gained world attention for the return of all-white humpback whale, Migaloo, this season.

North Straddie – as the island is known locally – is one of the premier locations to experience the whale migration, as they pass very close to the island and can be viewed easily from Point Lookout, along with dolphins riding the waves, and turtles and manta rays cruising through the waters.

The importance of whales to Indigenous Australians is recognised in the annual Quandamooka Festival, with this year's Yura Yalingbila (Welcome the Whales) comprising a weekend of traditional ceremonies, music, dance, interpretive tours – and the first ever Quandamooka Festival Gala Dinner.

The Yura Yalingbila weekend will be held on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July, starting with the official welcoming ceremony and festival on Saturday 29 July (11am – 3pm) at Headland Park at Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island.

The Festival is free to enter and will include traditional dance, arts, weaving, workshops, kids activities, food stalls, sand art and live music by Neil Murray (co-composer of My Island Home) and local female duo Blacksalt.

This year, for the first time, the Yura Yalingbila weekend will include the first-ever Quandamooka Festival Gala Dinner. A pop-up dining venue will be established for all-day dining on Saturday 29 July in a breathtaking cliff-top position at Point Lookout where fine dining will be complemented by views of humpbacks breaching and passing by the headland.

Breakfast and lunch will be served, with the award-winning team from Whales Way Restaurant providing the on-site catering.

The bookings-only Gala Dinner will begin at five to watch the whales as the sun sets, with sparkling wine and canapés served on arrival and on sunset there will be a performance of traditional dances of the land, sea and ancient Quandamooka Aboriginal culture on the cliff top stage. A string quartet will entertain as diners enjoy a three course Australian traditional bush food inspired meal accompanied by quality wines. Limited places at the Gala Dinner are available for $120 a head.

Whale Watch Cultural Tours will offer whale watch tours like no other. Experienced Quandamooka tour guide Matt Burns (aka 'Quandamooka Man') will conduct tours throughout the whale season to give visitors to North Straddie a unique insight into the local history and science of whales passing up the Quandamooka Coast during guided walks. Along the way, Matt gives an Indigenous interpretation of the whale migration, as well as insights into the local area, its history, and the bush tucker and medicine plants that grow naturally.  

The whale focus continues with the 'Marine Mammal Forum: Sharing Scientific and Traditional Knowledge' on Monday 31 July organised by the University of Queensland at the Moreton Bay Research Station at Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island. The free open forum between 9am – 3pm will consist of  talks from both researchers and traditional owners over three sessions covering Whales, Dolphins and Dugongs.

Quandamooka Festival curator Avril Quaill said the weekend would celebrate everything that made the Quandamooka Coast region such a remarkable destination: "Yura Yalingbilla is a key event of the festival. We come together with the broader community to share culture and celebrate the majestic creatures that inhabit Quandamooka waters," she said.


A full range of accommodation options – camping, 'Flash Camping' and cabins – at a range of sires around North Stradbroke Island are available through Straddie Camping -

Full details and updates are available at and

Quandamooka Festival Indigenous / Aboriginal Culture ...
Yura! Welcome to the Quandamooka Festival 2017. The Quandamooka Festival – celebrating culture, country & people – is an annual three month calendar of events ...

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