Sunday, 4 December 2016


This Summer, holiday parks across NSW are offering some of the best waterside getaways, from the beach to the bush and beyond.

With Australia’s love for the outdoors, particularly in Summer, caravanning and camping is a perfect way to get down to the beach or river to escape the heat.

Caravan and Camping Industry Association NSW (CCIA) Chief Executive Officer Lyndel Gray said, “We are very lucky in NSW to have such an amazing array of holiday parks within easy reach of beaches and rivers and many parks also offer fantastic water facilities from pools and spas, to water parks with slides and more.

“And while many people flock to the beach for their summer escape, there are plenty of inland holiday parks located lakeside for those people interested in activities like fishing, kayaking, water skiing and swimming.

“There are still so many holiday park options on offer for those wanting to get away this Summer and the CCIA website is the perfect place to inspire and kick start your search.”

To find a perfect Summer holiday destination go to for NSW travel inspiration, holiday parks and much more.

Discover How Cities Work with Lonely Planet Kids

From the sewers to the skyscrapers – younger readers and armchair explorers will discover the secret workings of the city with the newest release from Lonely Planet Kids: How Cities Work, published this month.

Illustrated by the acclaimed James Gulliver Hancock (, How Cites Work has been created in consultation with Jill Sterrett, lecturer with the Department of Urban Planning at the University of Washington.

Lift the perforated flaps of this brilliant book to see inside buildings, and unfold the oversized gatefold pages to find out what’s going on above your head and under your feet – plus other surprising spaces.

Lonely Planet Kids: How Cities Work reveals the city as you’ve never seen it before.

About the Book
Available now. (Published November 2016)
For kids aged 5+
Lonely Planet Kids: How Cities Work
24pp, full colour, 254mm x 275mm; AU$24.99/NZ$26.99

Mandurah - Visit the Capital of Christmas Lights

The coastal city of Mandurah, only 74 km south of Perth, is often compared to a little modern Venice because of its spectacular waterways and canal living. But did you know that Mandurah turns into a little Las Vegas every year from December until mid-January?

The reason are Mandurah's famous Christmas canal lights. The Mandurah residents who live on the canals like to dress up their houses for Christmas and often spend a fortune on their Christmas lights decoration. Over 200 houses along the canals are lit up all in the spirit of Christmas.

The end result is spectacular. Thousands of Christmas fairy lights illuminate and reflect onto the water from million dollar mansions lit up with decorations, waving Santas, reindeers, Christmas trees and flashing lights. A wonderland on water.

The best way to watch this spectacle is from a boat. Hundreds of boatloads of tourists and locals cruise by the houses taking photos and listening to Christmas tunes. So get on a cruise and feel the festive spirit of the season as Christmas carols play while you glide through Mandurah's waterways and canals on dusk.

Ever popular, this delightful cruise experience becomes increasingly beautiful each year. Dress for the occasion, sing along with the Christmas carols and bring your Christmas cheer. This is a very special tour at a special time of the year.

If you hold a skipper's ticket, you can also hire your own boat for your personal Christmas Lights cruise.

Don't miss out on this spectacular event. Find out more here or watch this Youtube video.


Imagine the fun of stepping into a larger-than-life Nintendo adventure. Gigantic Piranha Plants spring to life. Question blocks, power-ups and more surround you. And Mario and all his friends are there to pull you into a brand-new world.

You will enter an entire realm filled with iconic Nintendo excitement, gameplay, heroes and villains. And it is coming to three Universal theme parks around the globe.

The creative visionaries behind Nintendo’s legendary worlds and characters are working together with the creative teams behind Universal’s blockbuster theme park attractions. Their goal: to bring the characters, action and adventure of Nintendo video games to life within Universal theme parks. And to do so in new and innovative ways that capture what makes them so special. All of the adventure, fun and whimsy you experience through a screen will now be all around you – in breathtakingly authentic ways.

  • Nintendo-themed areas are coming to Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.
  • These will be expansive, immersive and interactive. They will be highly themed and authentic environments filled with multiple attractions, shops and restaurants.
  • Guests will feel as if they are playing inside their favorite games – this time in real life. 
  • There will be something for everyone – regardless of their age or gaming experience level.
  • Planning and creative work on these areas is well underway; they will open separately over the next several years.

The new themed areas come as the result of a global partnership between Universal Parks & Resorts and Nintendo – two icons of the entertainment world. Universal theme parks create incredibly popular family entertainment experiences for millions of people based on compelling characters, stories and innovative technology. Nintendo creates remarkable and imaginative games filled with captivating stories and beloved characters.

Each Universal theme park will announce details of its specific Nintendo areas. The first such announcement will come soon.

About Universal Parks & Resorts

Universal Parks & Resorts, a unit of Comcast NBCUniversal, offers guests around the globe today’s most relevant and popular entertainment experiences. With three-time Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg as creative consultant, its theme parks are known for immersive experiences that feature some of the world’s most thrilling and technologically advanced film- and television-based attractions.

Comcast NBCUniversal wholly owns Universal Studios Hollywood, which includes Universal CityWalk Hollywood. It also owns Universal Orlando Resort, a destination resort with two theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure), five resort hotels, and Universal CityWalk Orlando. In addition, Comcast NBCUniversal owns a 51 percent majority interest in Universal Studios Japan, in Osaka and has a license agreement with Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore. The company has also announced plans for a theme park in Beijing.

Successful Field of Light Uluru Extended for Second Season

Internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro's immersive installation, Field of Light Uluru, is a sell-out global phenomenon, demanding the extension of the exhibition to a second season, and will now continue to delight guests until 31 March 2018. The award-winning exhibition, at Ayers Rock Resort in the spiritual heart of Australia, opened to critical acclaim in April and has exceeded all expectations, proving to be a stand-out drawcard to the destination.

“Since opening almost 100,000 guests have been deeply moved by the Field of Light, it's hard not to be. I am delighted to announce the extension as an extraordinary opportunity for guests to enjoy not only the spiritual nature of the destination, but experience it in a unique and mesmerising way,” said Voyages Executive General Manager Sales, Marketing and Distribution, Ray Stone.

The exhibition, aptly named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or 'looking at lots of beautiful lights' in local Pitjantjatjara is Munro's largest work to date, with more than 50,000 slender stems crowned with radiant frosted-glass spheres over an area the size of four football fields. It is also the artist's first work to be illuminated entirely through solar power. The spheres, connected via illuminated optical fibre, bloom as darkness falls. Pathways draw viewers into the artwork, which comes to life under a sky brilliant with stars.

“For anyone fortunate enough to have walked amongst those 50,000 magical illuminated stems, Field of Light undoubtedly qualifies as one of the most amazing exhibitions in Australia today. It's proven to be a real drawcard for domestic and international visitors, and with the extensive and deserved global exposure it's received this year, I have little doubt that a second season will be hugely successful,” said Tourism Australia's CEO John O'Sullivan.

“Field of Light was one idea that landed in my sketchbook and kept on nagging at me to be done,” said Munro. “I saw in my mind a landscape of illuminated stems that, like dormant seeds in a dry desert, quietly wait until darkness falls, under a blazing blanket of southern stars, to bloom with gentle rhythms of light,” said artist Bruce Munro.

“I am greatly moved and humbled by the enormous response to the artwork. It's obvious the combination of the exhibition and a canvas as visceral as this – flourishing from red dirt and tufts of spinifex, in the shadows of nature's biggest shape-shifter, Uluru, is immensely powerful to people,” said Bruce.

To celebrate the announcement of a second season, Voyages has released stunning Virtual Reality and 360 footage of the Field of Light, where people all over the world can be transported to the spiritual heart of Australia and into the Field of Light, all from the comfort of their own environment. Links below.

Official airline partner, the Qantas Group, transported the stems, weighing in total approximately 15 tonnes, more than 19,000 kilometers (11,800 miles) over 32 international and domestic flights to Australia, the farthest a piece of Munro's artwork has travelled to an exhibition.

Executive Manager Qantas Freight and Qantas Catering Group, Alison Webster said Qantas has a long history of supporting the Arts and is proud to be part of this project. “We are thrilled, as Australia's national carrier, to be involved in this unique project which quite literally shines a spotlight on one of the most breathtaking and special places in the world, Uluru,” she said.

Guests can enjoy the field in a number of ways – a Field of Light Pass includes transfers, a Star Pass includes transfers as well as sparkling wine and canapes, and for those wanting a special evening under the stars there is A Night at Field of Light dining experience that includes transfers and guests can also arrive via helicopter or camel for an additional charge. Pre-booking Field of Light experiences before arrival is strongly recommended.
@ExploreUluru | #ExploreUluru

Yen Tu Festival – traditional spiritual tourist destination

Yen Tu Festival, which is held at the Yen Tu historical relic and landscape area, northern Quang Ninh province, from the tenth day of the Lunar New Year through the end of the third lunar month, has become a big spring festival for Buddhists and tourists nationwide.

Located 1,068 metres above sea levels, Yen Tu Mountain has different names such as Tuong Son (Elephant Mountain), Bach Van (White Cloud), Phu Van Son (Floating Cloud) and Linh Son (Holy Mountain).

The Yen Tu historical relic and landscape area encompasses Thuong Yen Cong Commune and Phuong Dong Ward in the north-west of Uong Bi City, Quang Ninh Province.

In the 13th century, King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong (1258-1308), the third king of the Tran dynasty (1225-1400), abdicated the throne when he was 35 and spent the rest of his life on Yen Tu Mountain, practising Buddhism.

At the end of the Ly dynasty (1009-1225) and the beginning of the Tran dynasty, Yen Tu was a Buddhist worship venue for many monks like Hien Quang, Vien Chung, Dai Dang, Tieu Dao and Hue Tue.

When Tran Nhan Tong practised Buddhism on the mountain, he founded the first Vietnamese School of Buddhism called “Thien Tong,” Viet Nam Zen Buddhism, turning the site into the capital of Vietnamese Buddhism.

During the past nearly 1,000 years, hundreds of pagodas and shrines have been built throughout the Yen Tu complex, including structures which boast thousands of prized statues and artefacts.

Yen Tu is also a museum of architecture and diverse fauna and flora. It has favourable conditions for research in history, spiritual culture, tourism potential, ecological environment, bio diversity and gene protection.

The complex is a demonstration of interactions between human beings and nature, reflecting the uninterrupted residence of people, especially Buddhists, for thousands of years.

Yen Tu also witnessed Viet Nam’s struggles against invaders from the north and the west, becoming a symbol of Viet Nam’s independence and self-mastery.

With its significant historical, cultural and natural values, Yen Tu was recognised as a Special National Relic Site in September 2012. It was also selected as one of the 10 most popular spiritual destinations in Viet Nam by the Viet Nam Records Organisation.

The website of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) included Yen Tu relic in the list of nominated heritage.

Native Bee Keeping Project at Byron Bay Awarded Major 2016 Grant by Northern Rivers Community Foundation


The Northern Rivers Community Foundation has announced its 2016 annual grants round, leading with The Katia Native Bee Youth Employment Project from Byron Bay Herb Nursery receiving $25,000 of a total $133,00.

The project aims to establish a native bee keeping business that provides employment opportunities for local indigenous youth and youth at disadvantage.

The Katia project will focus on manufacturing beehive boxes and farming native bees that can be sold or leased to the community and horticultural industry. The bees will be used for honey production as well as pollination of food crops and nut trees such as macadamias.

Participants will gain experience and skills in carpentry, native bee keeping and an understanding of the use of native bees in local indigenous cultural practices such as food and medicine production and implement making.

The Byron Bay Herb Nursery currently employs 23 people in their herb nursery, including 16 people with a disability. They also employ 4 young adults in their social enterprise area, which focuses on providing employment for youth at disadvantage through innovative projects such as composting.

The NRCF was created 12 years ago by generous individuals within the

community, and has distributed grants across 87 organisations and 211 projects meeting social, cultural and environmental need. The 2016 announcements take the total amount committed by the Foundation to the community to over one million dollars.

The smallest grant of $1,000 went to Northern Rivers Wildlife for training 8 volunteers to handle venomous snakes.

NRCF'S Chair John Callanan said “that between both these grant winners, another 20 projects further reflected the diversity of need within the community.”

“We have found the innovation, creativity, articulation and sheer enthusiasm shared by all applicants to be heart-warming. We are seeing a new awareness and understanding of how to progress individual causes, be they from underprivileged groups, pop-up and continual arts seeding, access to health care, educational opportunities, life skills, law, justice and community connections - including social media hubs. Scan through the successful applicants for this year, you will be astonished.”

Grantees range from a Clown Doctors Program at Lismore Hospital, a Northern Rivers Indigenous Communities suicide prevention program, a deaf dance theatre workshop - to a an E-space digital hub, and swimming lessons for former refugee children.

Details on all 2016 grants are available on NRCF's website

If you would like details on how to become involved and give to this independent philanthropic organisation go to

Britain Calling December 2016

Do you love films? Why not live them? The new edition of VisitBritain's Film is GREAT guide is filled with Britain's most iconic filming locations, used in productions such as the Harry Potter films, Paddington and Star Wars: The force Awakens. Experience life like some of our most famous characters, whether it's speeding along the river Thames like James bond or having a night out like Bridget Jones. As an extra treat the Music is GREAT content guide has been republished including more anniversaries of iconic bands and up-to-date event listings, from opera to heavy metal.

Dragons, princesses, warriors... expect its all from Wales 2017: Year of Legends.Meet the legendary characters and heroes that call Wales their home. Visitors can enjoy prehistoric architecture, action-packed activities and more. 2017 is going to be fun filled year.

Whether it's enjoying a wee tipple or tucking into a pub lunch, we love a good British pub. As the nights get longer it is the perfect excuse to snuggle up to an open fire at one of Britain's cosy pubs. Satisfy your craving for pub grub at the Michelin pub of the year, The marksman in Hackney, or Sip locally distilled Irish whiskey at The Bushmills Inn, County Antrim.

Looking forward to the new year? Watch all the fireworks in style with a perfectly our suggestion for the best British new years celebration. Visit Edinburgh Castle and see it aglow with fireworks at Hogmanay, or celebrate on the Thames with fellow firework fanatics.

Remember to share your Amazing Moments in Britain with us on social media using#OMGB.

New edition of Film is GREAT

A new edition of VisitBritain's Film is GREAT guide for international media is packed with story ideas about how visitors can experience the Britain they've seen on cinema and TV screens.

Highlights include a What's New section, a new family friendly section and plenty of King Arthur content to coincide with the big 2017 movie release, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword…

To find out more click here.

Wales 2017: Year of Legends

After celebrating its Year of Adventure during 2016, Wales is now looking ahead to its 2017 Year of Legends - a 12-month tribute to this ancient nation's epic myths and legends of the past, present and future. Dragons, princesses, warriors... and footballers! It's all waiting to be discovered in Wales.

To discover more, click here.

Get comfy at one of Britain's cosy pubs

One thing the Brits have certainly mastered is a good pub. Enjoy a day out before taking advantage of the longer winter evenings and heading to one of the establishments below – cosy up to a log fire, have a bite to eat, and enjoy a pint of beer.

For more information on where to get cosy, click here.

Music is GREAT guide refreshed for 2017

Music is GREAT, VisitBritain's content guide packed full of ideas about how visitors can experience Britain's legendary music scene, has been refreshed for 2017.

The guide now features the latest dates for major performances and music festivals, as well as details of major musical milestones for next year – including anniversaries for iconic British bands The Who and Pink Floyd.

Find out more here.

Celebrating the New Year in Britain

From piper-led parades that take fireball twirlers through the streets of Stonehaven, to plentiful pyrotechnics that light up the iconic London skyline, there's nothing quite like a New Year's Eve celebration, or Hogmanay for the Scots, in Britain. For the full experience take the plunge on New Year's Day in the icy waters of the River Forth and Saundersfoot.

For more excitement click here.

JETGO Now Offers Melburnians Holiday Fun in Port Macquarie, NSW

For the first-time Melburnian's can now fly direct with JETGO to Port Macquarie, a beautiful region on the Mid-North Coast of NSW.

With a flight time of just one hour and 45 minutes, it is perfect for a romantic short-break or family holiday by the beach, and flights start at just $186 one-way.

Port Macquarie is one of the best walking towns in Australia with the river and beaches, hip cafes and a variety of attractions all within walking distance of your accommodation. Must-dos include The Koala Hospital, Billabong Zoo, Ricardoes Tomatoes, Timbertown, Bago Maze and cruises along the Hastings River. Or, simply loll about at one of 17 beautiful beaches and learn to surf!

“Victorian's will love the relaxed, friendly vibe of Port Macquarie where you can go from flip-flops by day to heels at night, with some groovy new wine bars and award-winning restaurants overlooking the ocean,” said Liesa Davies, Acting Director, Community & Economic Growth at Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.

“Foodies will be in gourmet heaven with over 80 producers growing oysters, macadamia nuts, strawberries, cheese, avocados, pork and beef. There are seven wineries and three boutique breweries.” added Liesa.

Port Macquarie is one of the most popular holidays destinations in NSW with around 700,000 visitors annually. Accommodation varies from camping to 4.5-star hotels including the Observatory, Rydges and Macquarie Waters. Just 20 minutes away the Wauchope hinterland offers lush valleys and rainforests or the Camden Haven offers tranquil respite with fishing villages and river-walks.

The best way to soak up the local culture is to attend an event. Coming up a few events include the Golden Lure Tournament (6-14 Jan 2017), Meals in the Fields (15 January 2017), Port Macquarie Beatles Festival (9-12 February 2017), IRONMAN Australia (7 May 2017), and regular art and cultural shows at the Glasshouse.

JETGO's flights depart on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from Melbourne's Essendon Airport. Once you arrive in Port Macquarie, the town centre and all its attractions are just 10 minutes away. JETGO is a regional jet aircraft provider and flights will be on a 37-seat Embraer ERJ-135LR and the 44-seat Embraer ERJ-135KL jet aircraft.

For more information on Port Macquarie go on-line at and for JETGO go to

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Exhibitions & Trade Fairs scores a triple-win at EEAA Awards

Anne-Marie Mina, ETF and
James Kennedy, Exhibit Systems
Concluding a year of strong growth and development, Exhibitions & Trade Fairs (ETF), a major producer of conferences and exhibitions, won three awards at the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) Awards for Excellence last night.

The National 4×4 Outdoors Show, Fishing & Boating Expo was awarded Best Consumer Show Over 10,000m2, 2016 Irrigation Australia International Conference and Exhibition was awarded Best Show Team and Anne-Marie Mina, Events Executive was presented the Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award.

Gary Daly, Managing Director, ETF, commented on the momentous achievement.

“Over the past year we have delivered numerous outstanding shows, and we were extremely proud to be shortlisted in four categories, but to take out the titles of Best Show Team and Best Consumer Show, and then have Anne-Marie recognised as a young star amongst our industry peers is simply fantastic. It has been a year of strong growth and major achievement for ETF and the show teams have worked tirelessly to ensure we deliver great events.

“We’re delighted to mark the achievements of all of our shortlisted shows and we thank EEAA for these awards. Winning three major categories is a testament to the hard work of all of our teams,” said Mr Daly.

The triple win comes following a period of evolution for ETF. The company has introduced four new shows to the ETF portfolio in the past 18 months, all taking place around Australia. ETF will deliver the Austmine Conference and Exhibition next year in Perth, The Travel Industry Show in Melbourne, AgriTech Australia and Renewable Cities Forum which both compliment and co-locate with existing ETF shows.

Exhibitions and Trade Fairs (ETF) is a full service organiser with over thirty years’ experience in conferences, trade and consumer exhibitions. For further information on Exhibitions and Trade Fairs go to