Sunday, 31 August 2014

300 Global Luxury Travel Agents Descend on Sydney This Weekend!

This weekend over 300 luxury travel specialists will descend on Sydney to explore the latest in luxury and experiential tourism at Luxperience.

The event brings together over 300 travel agents with over 250 tourism operators from around the globe for three days of serious networking.

Luxperience has been 12 months in planning and, now in its third year, has experienced significant growth with exhibitors from as far afield as Bhutan, Mauritius, Tahiti, Dubai, Peru, India and the UK as well as increases in the Asia Pacific regions.

New Zealand has the greatest share of exhibitors, and has doubled its presence to 26 per cent of the total, closely followed by Asia, which is on a par with Australia at 25 per cent of share.

Reflecting recent trends in the luxury tourism sector, there is also an increase in the number of adventure and experiential tour companies exhibiting, as more and more operators recognise that today's high-end traveller wants a richer experience while on holiday.

“Our experiential exhibitors offer bespoke travel designers a choice of unique experiences in some of the most divine locations around the world; from ski safaris in the Swiss Alps, to trekking in the foothills of the Himalayas in Bhutan through to unique water based activities in Queenstown,” says CEO Lindy Andrews.

Buyers will be kept busy over the three-day event, with pre-scheduled appointments and access to exclusive social networking events, access to the LuxConnect Private Community and to initiatives such as the Corporate Connect Event, and 'Thought Leaders Forum '.

Luxperience will be staged at Sydney's Pier 2/3, Walsh Bay from 31 August to 3 September 2014 and other venues around Sydney. As the only bespoke travel exchange in Australasia Pacific it has become an essential forum for exhibitors, buyers and international media with an interest in luxury and experiential travel.

For further information visit: www.luxperience.com.au

Welcome to the 2014 Scone Writers Festival

Scone Literary Long Weekend – What is the future of publishing? Will the printed word become obsolete? Will paper books become dusty items relegated to antique shops? Or will digital and paper books continue to co-exist?

We have taken ‘Maintain the Page’ as our motto here in Scone where we'll be reining in a superb collection of authors to discuss their latest books.

Come up to Scone and immerse yourself in ‘the word’ - whether it be acoustic, printed or digitally enhanced.

The inaugural Scone Literary Long Weekend kicks off this year on the 3rd of October. There's a lovely program of literary events to while away the long weekend, and showcase some of the wonderful Upper Hunter region.


The festival webpage can be found at http://www.sconewritersfestival.com.au/

TASMANIAN INTERNATIONAL BEERFEST

Is Tassie top of the hops? Thousands of visitors like judging for themselves each year when the Tasmanian International Beerfest descends on Hobart's waterfront.

Attracting local, mainland and international breweries, the festival offers a friendly chance to meet the makers, taste the product, and pit Australian craft beers against the world's best.

But Beerfest doesn't stop at beer.

This year the event promises master classes, live music, a showcase of craft ciders, and a 150-metre-long waterfront beer garden.

How long? Well, according to the organisers, "You could line-up 2500 stubbies along the water's edge and still have room for a chair or two to sit on and enjoy your favourite lager!"

A palate-altering experience for craft beer lovers of all persuasions.

WHAT: Australia's biggest beer festival celebrates the best local and international craft beer
WHEN: 14–15 November 2014
WHERE: Princes Wharf No. 1, Hobart
HOW: Single-day tickets $35, two-day tickets $50, non-drinkers $10. Each ticket includes ten tasting tokens and a tasting glass.
Visit www.tasmanianbeerfest.com.au to book.

For a full and up-to-date listing of Tasmanian events, and information on travelling to Tasmania, visit the Discover Tasmania website www.discovertasmania.com.au
fb.com/discovertasmania
Twitter and Instagram @tasmania
#discovertasmania

SARAWAK REGATTA 2014

The renowned Sarawak Regatta 2014 is back in Kuching! Started from the Brooke era, the traditional longboats race aimed to stop racial wars among local tribes where headhunting was largely practiced.

The colourfully designed and decorated longboats can accommodate up to 30 paddlers on the boat.

Aside from boat races, highlights of the event include “Brooke Swim”, kayaking and duck catching competitions.

The Sarawak Regatta is a popular traditional longboats race in Kuching.

The longboats are decorated with colourful designs and can accomodate from a few and up to 30 paddlers on the boat.

The significant of regattas in Sarawak goes back to the Brooke era. It started with the intention to stop racial wars among local tribes where headhunting was largely practiced.

The Brooke has instructed all tribes to instead challenge each other by having boat races to prove their power and strength.

The call to challenge each other through the boat race rather than headhunting was successful in bringing peace to the area.

Today, longboat races or regattas are some of the major tourism events in Sarawak. The Sarawak Regatta, held at the Kuching Waterfront, has become one of the most sought after events in the tourism calendar.

Due to the significant history of the regatta, this event is normally held in conjunction with the Malaysia Day celebration.

Organiser: Resident Office Kuching Division
Date: 4 – 7 September 2014
Venue: Kuching Waterfront, Kuching, Sarawak
Contact: +6 082 507 051/ 055
Website: www.sarawaktourism.com

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Luxperience Brings High-End Consumers to Meet With High-End Travel Agents and Tourism Operators

Luxperience has added an innovative new concept to this year's tourism exchange, with the introduction of an exclusive consumer event, inviting an elite group of high-end consumers to a one-off cocktail evening where they can mingle with high-end travel agents and tourism operators.

Invitations have been sent to customers of luxury brands such as Fairline Luxury Boats, jewelers including Cerrone, as well as to the customers of Commonwealth Bank and Westpac private wealth advisors and Virgin Velocity Platinum members.

At this invitation-only event, consumers will be able to browse the stands and chat to specialist tourism operators about the latest in luxury and experiential travel and gain inspiration for their next holiday or corporate retreat.

Luxperience hopes to inspire travel aspirations and stimulate demand by inviting this elite group of consumers to engage directly with the people most passionate about their tourism operations: the owners and managers themselves.

Lindy Andrews, CEO, Luxperience says; “By introducing high-end consumers directly to tourism operators we hope to inspire them to travel more.

“Times are changing. The way people search for travel inspiration is changing with each new development in technology and communication. With the introduction of this event we are hoping to encourage our buyers and exhibitors to continue to connect with their customers on other levels and evolve their offering to customers.

“These are not consumers who book their travel online having found the best deal. These are consumers who want to find somewhere new and inspiring to travel to next. They value their leisure time and like to leave the actual travel arrangements to their travel agent.”

Adrienne Witteman, Managing Director, Trendsetter Travel & Cruise Centre, agrees.

“The opportunity for our valued clients to talk directly with hoteliers and suppliers is of enormous benefit. While I do my very best to source the best fitting products for clients it is impossible for me to have experienced them all.

“At Luxperience, suppliers can talk in detail about their hotel or company, thus reassuring the customer that this will be the right place to see, or itinerary to enjoy. And the establishment of a direct relationship makes it so much easier to ensure follow through for the client.

Refreshments at the event will be provided by award-winning and Michelin hatted restaurant, Quay, as part of another strategic partnership.

By inviting high-end consumers to this trade event, Luxperience hopes to raise awareness in the industry of the growing demand for experiential travel alongside luxury spend.

For further information on participation at Luxperience 2014, please contact:
beinspired@luxperience.com.au or visit www.luxperience.com.au

GAME ON AT THE ROCKS

Get ready to bring your A-game to The Rocks during August and September, when The Rocks Square is transformed into a giant board game paradise!

Games Central at The Rocks Square will be open for five whole weeks with a program of activities, talks and events. Visitors will be able to challenge one another to giant-sized versions of all of their childhood favourites, including Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, Ping Pong, Jenga and of course, foosball.

This comes on the back of the huge success of Arena Calcetto, the unique live installation of six timber towers housing six different foosball tables with custom-made players, which has called The Rocks its home since June.

Arena Calcetto, which loosely translates to mean ‘little football arena’ in Italian, brought hundreds of Sydney-siders out into the winter sunshine to play friendly matches of foosball and the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) plans to continue this social competition with Games Central.

“It’s very much a part of Australian culture to love a good game of sport and to relish in a little bit of friendly competition. The success of Arena Calcetto came as no surprise to us and I look forward to seeing the way that Games Central activates the space in The Rocks Square and brings out the champions in all of the visitors to The Rocks,” said Catherine Gallagher, CEO of SHFA.

Games Central will feature a special treat for soccer fans with one of the famous Matilda’s, Sevet Uzunlar, also of Sydney FC fame coming to The Rocks Square at 10:30am Wednesday September 3 to step up to the Foosball table with David Morgan, the President of Foosball Australia to give fans an opportunity to challenge them on the Foosball table.

David Morgan will also take visitors on a journey of the Australian Foosball Association, starting with their humble beginnings in a shipping container. Morgan’s talk will take place at 1pm on Wednesday September 3.

Wednesday September 3 in The Rocks Square will also feature music from the Fanny Lumsden Duo and a visit from Lucy Humphrey the designer of Arena Calcetto.

Give it your best shot and come meet, play, compete and make your first move at Games Central in The Rocks!

Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) is the custodian of historically significant foreshore land and is responsible for driving 14.4 million visitors annually into The Rocks. SHFA contributes $1.2 billion to the visitor economy (direct gross value added) each year. This includes $162.3 million in direct economic contribution from precinct events.

SUNLUX 'Golden Triangle' Collection to Launch at Luxperience 2014

Sun International's new global marketing campaign – SUNLUX Collection – will be launched to the Australian market at Luxperience 2014, positioning its luxury five-star properties under a single banner.

Sun International has three five-star establishments, situated in a 'Golden Triangle' that links Cape Town's landmark, The Table Bay Hotel, within the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront; Sun City's The Palace of the Lost City, nestled in an extinct volcanic crater surrounded by the Pilanesberg big 5 nature reserve, and Zambia's gracious The Royal Livingstone, set against the stunning backdrop of Livingstone's Victoria Falls.

Alison McKie, Group Manager Marketing at Sun International commented, “The collective term captures the essence of our luxury properties and still maintains a strong association to our Group Sun brand”.

The locations of these elite properties offer international markets unique experiences at renowned scenic wonders across sub-Saharan Africa, linked as 'Africa's Golden Triangle'. Each part of the luxury traveller's journey is set to uncover the subcontinent's 'must-see' attractions.

Ms McKie added, “From our wide portfolio of casinos, hotels and resorts, Sun International enjoys a true Golden Triangle of destinations that offer the ultimate African experience for high end visitors from across the world”.

Individually, the properties are aligned with exclusive affiliations, with The Table Bay Hotel and The Palace of the Lost City members of The Leading Hotels of the World and The Royal Livingstone, a member of Virtuoso. The properties have won numerous awards and accolades over the years. For the seventh year running, The Royal Livingstone was named Leading Hotel in Zambia in the 2013 World Travel Awards and one of the Top Lodges and Resorts in Africa and the Middle East in Travel + Leisure's 2014 World's Best Awards. The Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town was awarded 'Best Hotel in Africa' at Virgin Holidays' World Travel Market Awards in November 2013 and won The Traveller's Choice Award in February 2014.

En route along the Golden Triangle, visitors have an opportunity to stop-over at The Maslow, Sun International's premier hotel situated in the heart of Sandton City in Johannesburg, one of Africa's most popular shopping destinations and theatre districts.

SUNLUX COLLECTION BY SUN INTERNATIONAL IS PARTICIPATING IN LUXPERIENCE 2014.

VISIT ZONE 2, BOOTH 2025

www.suninternational.com

The Table Bay Hotel

The Table Bay Hotel was officially opened by President Nelson Mandela in 1997. It is located in the heart of the cosmopolitan V&A Waterfront, offers sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, Table Mountain and the city of Cape Town. The Table Bay Hotel boasts five-star luxury rooms and suites, a swimming pool, spa and fitness area. The hotel offers conference facilities, a Victorian-styled Pavilion for banquets and receptions, and the Ballroom for private functions. The Atlantic Grill is ideal for parties, launches, lunches and dinners. The new Camissa Brasserie offers a culinary journey at the water's edge.

The Palace of the Lost City
Sun City's flagship hotel, The Palace of the Lost City, takes its architectural and interior themes from a lavish lost African fantasy tribe. It has luxuriously appointed rooms and suites offering wonderful views over lush vegetation in superb landscaping that has achieved its Botanical Garden status in South Africa. This unique hotel boasts fine dining and culinary splendor and incomparable sporting and leisure activities. The Palace offers a journey like no other for the discerning guest with a taste for royalty.

The Royal Livingstone

On the forested banks of the great Zambezi River, upstream of the mighty cataract where it thunders into the Batoka Gorge, is The Royal Livingstone, the pride of Zambian hospitality. Guests will encounter sophistication and sheer opulence as well as the elegance and luxury of an earlier bygone era. Guests may pass lazy days on one of the magnificent sundecks overlooking the great Zambezi and enjoy fine dining in the restaurant or on the long veranda overlooking the gardens. In the warm smile of your personal butler, or the simple luxury of your cane chair, you will find an Africa that has all but vanished.

The Maslow

The Maslow is a welcome addition to Sun International's illustrious collection. The Maslow is a landmark property, set in an oasis of landscaped gardens in the heart of Sandton's financial district within an upmarket area, north of Johannesburg. The sophisticated Lacuna Bistro serves international cuisine 24/7 – diverse and original while The Lacuna Bar will provide a welcome respite at the end of a long day. The signature Wayfarer Lounge, a business class type lounge, enables guests waiting to check in or departing for the airport to make use of shower facilities to freshen up or enjoy a meal.

James Estate - Winestates Most Awarded winery in the Hunter Valley

Graeme Scott - Senior Winemaker
James Estate continues to be recognised while quietly going about their business. The winery’s latest success is being announced as the most awarded winery in the Hunter Valley by the prestigious WineState Magazine.

Peter Jackson from WineState Magazine had the pleasure in sharing the news to James Estate saying that “The team should be very pleased and proud with their results.” James Estate was the most awarded winery in the Hunter Valley tasting with 10 medals; 2 Gold, 5 Silver and 3 Bronze. To top this off, 4 wine have been nominated to go into the “Taste Off” for WineStates Annual “Wine of the Year Awards”.

James Estate is run by a small dedicated team and is based at Baerami 15 minutes from Denman. The winery is quite unique in the Hunter Valley as it is one of the few wineries that grow their own grapes, and not only make their own wine but also bottle it on site.

The Baerami property also boasts a scenic bushwalk as well as mountain bike trails that are open to the public 7 days a week as well as the cellar door where you are likely to be served by one of the winemaking team.

JAMES ESTATE WINES - 951 BYLONG VALLEY WAY – BAERAMI
OPEN 7 DAYS 10:00AM TILL 4:30PM – 6547 5168

MUD: Our Story of Kuala Lumpur

Witness the story of Kuala Lumpur unfold on stage as three best friends – Mamat, Meng and Muthiah head to the capital city to seek their fortune during the 1880s.

The show promises to be a colourful and entertaining multi-cultural experience for all – a lively musical showcasing the rich diversity of the people who built Kuala Lumpur. It is an inspiring tale offriendship, perseverance and finding joys in a simple cup of teh tarik.

It all began in 1880 during the mining boom. The glint of tin promised riches and attracted an influx of pioneers from across the Asian region to the muddy junction of the two rivers, Sungai Lumpur (now Sungai Gombak) and Sungai Kelang. We meet Mamat, Meng and Muthiah, three friends who came to this frontier town of Kuala Lumpur in search of opportunities and a new life.

Through their journey we encounter a host of colourful characters, each with their own enduring personalities and stories. Together these characters and stories form the cultural mosaic of what we all now know as modern Kuala Lumpur.  

Organiser: Enfiniti Vision Media
Date: Ongoing
Time: Twice Daily: 3pm – 6pm and 8.30pm – 9.30pm
Venue: Panggung Bandaraya, Jalan Raja, Kuala Lumpur
Price: RM45 – RM60
Contact: +6 03 6142 9877
Website: mudkl.com 

BREATH OF FRESH AIR FILM FESTIVAL

As Sspring breezes in, Launceston's Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival (BOFA) invites artists,
musicians, filmmakers and digital storytellers to help celebrate the world's best screen-based works.

Tasmania's largest film festival is unique in scope, embracing the new ways we all discover and experience moving images—whether they're stories made for cinema, television or the internet.

Alongside a program of documentaries and feature films, the festival presents workshops, debates and the annual BOFA Devil short film award.

This year, the winning short film will be chosen by a national panel of film lovers recruited through a crowd-sourcing promotion 'You Be the Short Film Judge'.

Audiences will see the top thirty at the festival, screened across the four-day program in and around Inveresk.

WHAT: A four-day film program of fascinating stories and fresh perspectives that inspire positive social change
WHEN: 6–9 November 2014
WHERE: Inveresk Precinct, Launceston
HOW: Single and multi-pass tickets available now at www.bofa.com.au or in-store at Neil Pitt's Menswear, 76 Brisbane Street, Launceston. Opening Night film and after-party tickets $65.

For a full and up-to-date listing of Tasmanian events, and information on travelling to Tasmania, visit the Discover Tasmania website www.discovertasmania.com.au
fb.com/discovertasmania
Twitter and Instagram @tasmania
#discovertasmania

Mist in Ham Rong Mount

Ham Rong Mountain, which belongs to the majestic Hoang Lien Son Range in Sapa District, Lao Cai Province and is about 30 kilometers from Lao Cai Town, looks like a jaw of a dragon opening wide to the sky. It is an intoxicating scenery when the whole landscape is blanketed in the mist.

Tourists walk on a bamboo bridge on the way up to Ham Rong Mountain

Standing on green-mossed stone steps halfway to Ham Rong Mountain, tourists will see a fantastic world behind with an old church appearing dimly in fog, Sapa Town wrapped by endless white color of clouds and mist.

In the distance, tourists will be amazed by some houses looming illusionary and get lost by clouds covering their legs. Sometimes, they will shudder by some chilly winds through rock walls.

The mount is not too high so it does not challenge human health. However, tourists should not go there alone to indulge into the loneliness and chill but it would be perfect to go with partners or friends.

Brisbane’s South Bank leisure precinct takes out property trifecta including first ‘tourism precinct’ to win top honour

Brisbane’s largest leisure and lifestyle precinct made history at the Property Council of Australia’s 2014 Queensland Retail Property of the Year Awards. South Bank received the top honour of 2014 Retail Property of the Year, making it the first time a ‘precinct’ has won the coveted title.

It was also the first entrant to receive a perfect score as winner of the Excellence in MarketingAward for its innovative South Bank Concierge campaign and then took out the Excellence in Food Retailing Award.

The much-loved destination, which draws over 10 million visitors annually nudged out some of the State’s largest retail centres and dining districts to score its award-winning trifecta.

CEO of South Bank CorporationJeff Weigh was delighted with the three accolades and was grateful to the PCA for recognising the precinct’s overall retail offer, diverse dining options and excellence in marketing.

“Our South Bank Concierge marketing campaign scored a perfect score of 100 points from the judging panel based on our ability to tap into the 61,000-plus conference delegates visiting the destination annually.

The South Bank Concierge provides a central point of contact for conference organisers to liaise directly with South Bank Corporation for hosting conference and event-related initiatives and facilitated through a comprehensive suite of collateral including guidebooks; PCO prospectus; website; smartphone app; retailer point of sale materials and dedicated iPad pod stations set up a strategic locations including the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Luxperience Adds an Exclusive Corporate Connect Program to the Agenda This Year for Busy Corporate and MICE Trade Buyers

Emma Scott
In recognition of the fact that corporate event organisers and MICE trade buyers are extremely time-poor, Luxperience has introduced a condensed program just for them.

The Corporate Connect Program allows corporate executive assistants and personal assistants a period of time on the floor to meet with exhibitors at this exclusive, closed event.

The program commences with a hosted lunch on Wednesday where delegates will learn about the latest trends in luxury and experiential travel from keynote speakers including Emma Scott from premium lifestyle creative agency Tiny Hunter, Harris Meitanus from Apples and Pears entertainment agency and Anne Biging from Healing Hotels.

Speakers will discuss ways of creating truly unique company incentives and experience: the new luxury and understanding the luxury consumer; their needs, desires and the fears and frustrations.

Emma Scott will talk about the influence of the arts in the luxury experience and how to create bespoke experiences that open up the world of the type of creativity that evokes an emotional response.

In an era where the excesses of wealth can often be portrayed as tacky and gaudy, it may be time to look at luxury through a different lens. Anne Biging of Healing Hotels will talk about simplifying the complexities of modern life and creating time and space; the ultimate luxury.

In a world where speed rules and everyone is under pressure to go faster, where almost everyone complains about the hectic pace of their lives, Anne will share her insights on creating experiences that nurture the soul.

“This is a first for Luxperience. We have listened to our delegates needs and for the first time decided to add an exclusive event for our corporate buyers;” said Luxpereince CEO, Lindy Andrews.

“This closed event offers corporate buyers to meet with a large group of global exhibitors, most of whom do not visit Australia regularly, if ever.

“We're doing this to provide our exhibitors with even more exposure to key buyers at an intimate business exchange, and to provide our time-poor local corporate buyers a more intensive business opportunity.

“This opportunity is not made available to corporate buyers at any other tourism exchange or travel trade event. This is a first.”

For further information on participation at Luxperience 2014, please contact:
beinspired@luxperience.com.au or visit www.luxperience.com.au 

Mountain Lodges of Peru Launches a New Trek: The Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu

Mountain Lodges of Peru (MLP), well respected for their high quality hiking and horseback riding tours complemented by guest lodging in world-class mountain lodges, has announced the addition of a new hiking program along the Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu and in the Urubamba Valley, “Sacred Valley of the Incas,” with exclusive accommodations in three new lodges.

The Lares Trail, a wonderful alternative to the more heavily traveled Inca Trail, is noted for its cultural attractions, including traditional weavers attired in colorful dress, roving herds of alpacas and llamas, and a panorama of waterfalls, snow peaks, and glacial lakes. The new mountain lodges, built in the towns of Lamay and Ollantaytambo and in the rural community of Huacahuasi, serve as deluxe “base camps” for day hikes in the surrounding environs. Guests may join a fixed departure or exclusive group from Cuzco, complete with an expert guide who will be with the group for the entire journey to Machu Picchu.

An extensive network of trails throughout the region lead to traditional Andean highland communities unchanged for centuries, where guests can meet local weavers and farmers and get a glimpse of the distant past, and to spectacular Inca archaeological sites including Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, where the rebel Inca leader Manco Inca defeated the Spanish in battle. The lodge at Ollantaytambo is also an excellent gateway to visiting the spectacular site of Machu Picchu. More challenging trails bring guests to remote passes with views of Andean peaks, with the occasional condor soaring above. Two programs (7-day and 5-day) are designed to offer different hikes daily for a variety of experience and abilities.

Established in 2001, MLP began offering tourism services at destinations along the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu in 2008, and currently operates five deluxe mountain lodges primarily catering to travelers from the United States and Europe. MLP's lodges on the Lares Trail and in the Sacred Valley will be an extension of these same facilities, with architecture designed to blend into the existing landscape, reducing their visual impact to a minimum, and the use of local materials—stone, adobe, wood, and straw—that reflect the region's traditional construction. The lodges are also energy efficient, with high-performance solar and space water heaters.

Website: w

29 Year Old Wombat Virgin Helps TA Reach 6 Million Fans

A 29 year old wombat virgin has helped Tourism Australia's Facebook page reach six million fans, making it the most followed tourism body on Facebook globally.

Yesterday morning, Tourism Australia's social media team posted a birthday greeting and photo of 'Patrick the Wombat' from Ballarat Wildlife Park on its popular Facebook page.

Within just 24 hours, Patrick - believed to be the largest and oldest living common wombat in the world - received 258k 'likes', helping Tourism Australia's social media page reach six million Facebook fans.

Tourism Australia's head of social media, Jesse Desjardins, said the giant 38kg wombat had helped provide the 'big push' they needed to hit six million fans.

“Australia's native animals are a massively popular feature of our Facebook page so it's very fitting that one of our most popular has helped us achieve this latest social media milestone. Patrick may not have found his life partner just yet but he has won the hearts of millions of our fans from around the world.”

The post generated 30k shares and 8k comments, including several from people who have met Patrick over the years.

In one comment, Amy Robinson wrote: “OMG!!! I met him approx. 25 years ago! Happy Birthday sweet little man. You are the reason I have loved wombats for all these years. Big kisses to you!!!!”.

Ballarat Wildlife Park's Social Media Manager Lauren Rix said, “We always knew that Patrick was a very special wombat, but the huge social media response that he has received this week is incredible”.

“Since Tourism Australia posted about Patrick yesterday, his Facebook page has grown by over 4.5k new followers and he has attracted the attention of television news media. It's safe to say that his birthday this year will be extended into a week of celebrations here at Ballarat Wildlife Park.”

Patrick was hand raised by the owner of the Ballarat Wildlife Park after being orphaned as a tiny baby. The team tried releasing Patrick back into the wild a couple of times, however he couldn't defend himself against other wombats which is why he become a special member of the Ballarat Wildlife Team.

In his younger days, Patrick was very much front of house, greeting the park's visitors in the car park in his wheelbarrow, but he's now given up his working duties and enjoying his retirement and carrots from well-wishers.

Tourism Australia receives over 1,000 photos per day from fans and tourism operators like Ballarat Wildlife Park. This collaboration has helped Tourism Australia maintain its leadership position as the most followed tourism body on Facebook, Instagram and Google+.

ITE HCMC 2014 will once again take place at SECC HCMC on Thursday 11th September

ITE HCMC 2014 is the place to grow your business in the meetings, events, conference, incentives and business travel industry. Through highly-targeted introductions, ITE HCMC brings you face-to-face with the right people in the right organizations, to build relations, develop your business and expand your knowledge. Enter the largest and most established travel business platform and join over with international industry professionals this September in Ho Chi Minh City at ITE HCMC 2014

It is not just business as usual, it is REAL BUSINESS DONE! ITE HCMC is where inbound and outbound international, regional and local buyers and sellers annually meet from MICE, Leisure and Corporate Travel segments.

All sorts of exhibitors will be there, including tour operators, coach companies, tourist boards, hotels, tourist attractions, historic venues, cruise lines, – and much more. Whether you’re after ideas and deals for group trips and holidays, or are a supplier, attraction or operator interesting in generating some seriously lucrative group business – take note of the date and venue, but more importantly get in touch with us to find out more.

See more at: www.itehcmc.com 

Top 10 Fun Family Activities in the Whitsundays

School holidays are just around the corner and it is time to slow down, reconnect with your loved ones and enjoy a fun family getaway in the Whitsundays!

Your kids will be wide-eyed with wonder - bright colours, fun places to stay and a huge range of things to do will keep your family busy and entertained while at the same time relaxed and happy.

Here are our Top 10 fun family activities this school holidays:

1. Meet Pancake and Pikelet, the resident stingrays at Daydream Island's Living Reef and give their baby stingrays a pet!

2. Stroll over one of the region's farmers markets and indulge in fresh, local produce. Did you know that if you eat a tomato in winter, it most likely comes from Bowen in the Whitsundays?

3. Go croc spotting on the Proserpine River and learn more about the Goorganga wetlands with Whitsunday Crocodile Safari.

4. Swim, play or barbecue at the Airlie Beach lagoon. The green parklands, playground and refreshing pool are the ideal hangout during the day.

5. Enjoy breakfast with the koalas at WILD LIFE Hamilton Island Park Cafe. Bacon, eggs and hash browns taste much better when eaten up close and personal to these furry Aussie friends!

6. Snorkel, swim and splash amidst thousands of colourful coral and fish at a day out on the Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays.

7. Play beach games, mini tennis, feed the many fish or get the ultimate sweet fix at the famous Chocolate Room (yum!) at One&Only Hayman Island.

8. Slip down the water slide at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort, hop on the giant jumping pillow or make new friends at the Kids Club. Make sure you check out the weekly activity guide when you plan your trip.

9. Feel the rush of Formula 1 go-cart action in Hamilton Island's Palm Valley. Take the wheel on the exhilarating outdoor track, reaching speeds of up to 45 kilometres per hour.

10. Spot a whale with playful whales a common sight around the Whitsunday Island from June to October.

If you're planning a holiday, visit www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au for accommodation, tours and visitor information or contact our friendly staff at the Whitsunday Region Information Centre on (07) 4945 3967.

THE WHITSUNDAYS

The 74 islands of the Whitsundays lay in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, cradled by the tropical waters of the Coral Sea, a truly remarkable icon of beauty. The Whitsundays is an invitation into a world of tropical wonder. The vibrant colours of the magnificent Great Barrier Reef and tropical rainforest provide plenty of scope for activity and adventure. Easily accessible by air or road, the Whitsundays are located on the central eastern coast of Queensland in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. The area is characterised by world class resort facilities blending harmoniously with the pristine natural attributes of the area. Sail, Explore, Dive, Dine, Play, Relax, Enjoy. The opportunities are endless… which is why there is no better place to take a well-deserved holiday than the Whitsundays.

MALAYSIAN HANDICRAFT GOES GLOBAL

Malaysian handicraft store Karyaneka has just launched its very first online portal and mobile application, which allows customers from around the world to purchase Malaysian-made handicrafts of outstanding craftsmanship. This is also to keep up with the trend of online shopping, while simultaneously promoting Malaysia as a tourist destination and increasing the country’s tourism revenue.

Karyaneka teamed up with two leading local e-commerce portals, FashionValet.com and Groupon.com to offer some of its products to consumers through these online portals. The full catalogue of its products, which includes pewter, woodcarving, silver brassware, Malaysian fabrics like songket and batik, and many more can be found in its existing digital portfolio, which comprises of its websites www.karyaneka.my and www.karyanekastore.my.

This initiative was made possible through its partnership with Tukul Cipta Industri Sdn Bhd (TCI), which has helped expand Karyaneka’s consumer accessibility via various offline marketing initiatives. Executive Director of TCI Abdul Munaf Dr. Sultan believes that this new venture will help the globalisation of the local arts and crafts industry.

“I believe the idea of bringing Karyaneka and its merchandise to be marketed virtually and thus internationally, will be a catalyst to boost demand for Malaysian handicrafts and merchandise,” Abdul Munaf said. “The virtual market makes for a greater global market outreach and will create a new demand curve for the industry,” he added.

TCI will also introduce Karyaneka through various platforms such as online sales, vending machines at strategic tourist spots and kiosks, online and offline catalogue-based sales as well as boutiques in major cities around the world. Currently, the catalogues are available at all hotel rooms in the Klang Valley to enable customers and tourists to order and shop from the convenience of their hotel rooms.

Not to forget is the Karyaneka mobile app which features the ‘Celebrity Star Pick’ section where Malaysian personalities and celebrities select and recommend certain Karyaneka products. This feature is expected to boost sales and promote Karyaneka’s products among the domestic market.
“Customers can now gain access to Karyaneka’s merchandise online from their personal computers, laptops, and other devices such as smartphones and tablets. The popularity of these devices has gone into the millions, and this will allow Karyaneka’s online portals to reach out to potential, as well as returning customers, at any time and from anywhere in the world,” explained Abdul Munaf.

The initiative aims to bring Malaysia’s heritage to greater heights internationally, even to London, Paris and New York City via the Karyaneka International boutique cafés, which will create a positive impact on Malaysia’s arts and crafts industry.

For more information, visit Karyaneka’s website at www.karyaneka.my and www.karyanekastore.my.

About Karyaneka
Karyaneka is the brand name of Syarikat Pemasaran Karyaneka Sdn. Bhd. a Malaysian registered company which is wholly owned by the Perbadanan Kraftangan Malaysia or the Malaysian Handicraft Corporation (www.kraftangan.gov.my), which is an agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia (www.motac.gov.my). Karyaneka is the one-stop brand for all Malaysian premium gifts, souvenirs and handicrafts. Since 1982, Karyaneka has represented the best of Malaysian handicraft products from the best Malaysian craftsman and artisans. For over the last 30 years, Karyaneka has been mandated to develop and expand the handicrafts industry through the expansion of effective local and global marketing and sales channels, via the synergistic executions of events and promotions, and via other initiatives for the purpose of marketing and selling Malaysian handicrafts to the world.

Get Out on the Highway and Live Your Harley-Davidson Dream

EagleRider Australia, launched in December 2013, is proud to announce their first series of guided tours for both resident and visiting riders.

Drawing on more than 20 years of experience gained in the USA with the original EagleRider Harley-Davidson rental concept, the new Australian operation is following the well-rehearsed format of multi-day guided tours for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Three tours are offered, one from each of the EagleRider locations: Sydney, Brisbane and Mackay.

The first Sydney tour departs from EagleRider Sydney at Burwood on December 10 and cruises for 1069kms over 7 days and 6 nights into the glorious NSW countryside as far as Dunedoo, Dubbo and Parkes. Daily activities include museum, winery and national park visits with accommodation, fuel, guide and support vehicle. From $2591 pp

Brisbane kicks off on November 21 with a taste of coastal and the captivating Queensland inland. Touring as far as Yeppoon, Emerald and Roma for 10 days and 2300kms. Highlights include stops at Agnes Water, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay. From $3832 pp

Mackay departure is scheduled for October 19, taking the coastal route to Port Douglas and back via Mareeba and the Atherton Tablelands for a relaxing 1250kms. This 'Reef to Rainforest Tour' indulges all the delights of the Great Barrier Reef with opportunities for snorkelling as well as forest hikes. From $4351 pp

All tours include hire of a late model Harley-Davidson motorcycle with unlimited kilometres, fuel, hotel accommodation, welcome dinner, park and attraction entry as well as helmets.

Tours currently run approximately once per month until April 2015 in Sydney and Brisbane and year-round from Mackay.

For further details and bookings, call toll-free 1800 213 643
For media enquiries, contact Santina Keith
Phone: +61 2 8011 3463
Email: info@eaglerider.com.au
Web: www.eaglerider.com.au

Visit Scotland: A reel holiday to remember

National tourism organisation VisitScotland has teamed up with Lionsgate UK to promote the country with a new comedy starring Billy Connolly and David Tennant.

The Scottish comedy legend and former Doctor Who star play a father and son in the aptly titled What we did on our Holiday, a film VisitScotland says is a perfect advert for the country’s stunning scenery and sense of fun.

Written and directed by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, the duo behind smash hit BBC comedy Outnumbered, the film sees Doug (Tennant) travel to the Highlands with his wife Abi (Rosamund Pike) and their three children to attend the birthday party of Doug’s father, Gordie (Connolly), where it’s soon clear that when it comes to keeping secrets under wraps, their children are their biggest liability.

Filmed in locations such as Gairloch and Loch Katrine, Callander, What we did on our Holiday hits UK cinema screens on 26 September.

The partnership between VisitScotland and Lionsgate UK will involve joint marketing and PR activity designed to showcase Scotland to the family market, and will include a social media campaign encouraging people to share “what they did on their holiday” in Scotland.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “The production crew of What we did on our Holiday have done an amazing job of capturing the unique peace, tranquility and breathtaking landscapes of Scotland. Our partnership with Lionsgate UK gives us an excellent platform to make the most of this excellent opportunity. Scotland never fails to look stunning on the big screen, and I’m sure this feel-good film will encourage more cinema goers to come and explore this wonderful country for themselves.”

Ross Cunningham, Head of Marketing at Lionsgate UK, said: “We are delighted to partner with VisitScotland for the launch of What we did on our Holiday. The film is a truly fantastic, comedic heart-warmer, and really shows Scotland at its stunning best, with beautifully lavish landscapes that are breathtakingly unique to Scotland.”

VisitScotland research has shown that a fifth of visitors to Scotland are inspired to come here after seeing the country on film or on television.

18th St Heliers Heavy Horse Fields Days resounding success

What a great August weekend for this years events - tremendous weather with 85 horses in competition. The weekend kicked off Thursday night (2 days before the event started), with 21 horses already on the ground. By Friday night 65 camped over. Others arrived on Saturday morning for the 8:30am start with very large classes of Clydesdales, Draught, Percherons, other breeds and Shires on show and in competition.

Delivery, Heritage and Show vehicles attracted a lot of competitors as well as the ploughing/harrowing classes. The day rolled on smoothly into Sunday.

The workday challenge always prove to be a crowd winner as spectators love to watch these Heavy Horses work. The riding classes attracted a lot of competitors of all ages and interest. Our new event for 2014 the Heavy Horse Barrel Race proved not only a winner for the competitors (who gave it their all) but with the spectators as well.

This year saw an increase in the number of Stall holders, who were supported by all in attendance. There was a wide variety of goods to purchase as well as food and drinks.

Over 2000 spectators attended the weekend and complimented on both days events - all good!

A reminder this happens all again in 2015 and we look forward to seeing you there.

For more information visit www.stheliersheavyhorse.org.au.

John Sercombe
President

Asian travelers are more engaged on wireless devices on trips

The global travel industry is getting reformed every day as wireless devices like smartphones and tablets keep travelers engaged even when they are on vacations. Hotels.com conducted a survey and named it the Global Disconnect Survey over 28 countries to have an overview of traveler behaviour when they are holidaying, the results were quite intriguing.

The Asian countries have climbed the list of travelers who are most unwilling to ditch their wireless devices while traveling. The top six countries in a poll showing not everyone appreciates work-life balance when travelling are from Asia.

Almost 85% of travelers in Thailand think that they cannot think of a holiday without their smartphones or tablets. South Korea (78%), Japan (67%), Singapore (60%) and Taiwan (53%) follow the trend. However, UK and US are ranked at number 15 and 17 with 35% and 33% respectively.

India with the second highest population in the world and the most quickly growing smartphone user base came at the last position with only 205 of the travelers not willing to shun their wireless devices. However, travel booking and planning through smartphones and tablets are on a roll in India.

The survey also looked into a special trait of global travelers and called it as exaggerating vacation experience. Quite interestingly, the Asian countries took the top spots with China leading the way with 67% of travelers who admit over-cooking their experience.

The first ten spots in this rank are Asian countries. The list goes like: China (67%), Germany (64%), Korea (48%), Spain (47%), Thailand (46%), Taiwan (44%), India (40%), Russia (37%), Netherlands (36%), Japan (36%), and Singapore (35%).

Another interesting part of the survey dealt with the most important things to carry on a trip. Smartphone came as the second most important object after passport. Travel insurance and travel guide came to the last two spots which also indicate the lack of organic travel planning.

Below you will find the complete infographic of the survey made by Hotels.com.

TASMANIAN CRAFT FAIR

It's all hands on deck in Deloraine each Spring when the picturesque town plays host to the largest working craft fair in the southern hemisphere.

Thousands of visitors watch, wander and even taste their way through more than 220 stalls, as artisans and producers demonstrate their handiwork—from aluminium moulding, wood-turning and black-smithing to fudge-making, pickling and preserving.

This year's feature exhibits include an installation by conceptual artist and Tasmanian Senior Australian of the Year Christina Henri, who will draw from her collection of over 23 000 convict bonnets to tell stories from Tassie's colonial past.

Meanwhile, local acoustic timbers will be put to fascinating use (as ukuleles, lap-steel guitars and bouzoukis) in a showcase of the state's best instrument makers.

A four-day event, the fair comes to life across 12 venues in Deloraine, giving craft fans plenty of time to explore, and enjoy some gourmet pit stops along the way.

WHAT: Australia's largest showcase of hand-produced arts and crafts
WHEN: 31 October to 3 November 2014
WHERE: Twelve venues across Deloraine
HOW: Tickets from $10 for adults and $7 for children, available at any one of the gates during the event. A free shuttle bus departs each venue every half hour. Full program and map will be available at www.tascraftfair.com.au closer to the event.

For a full and up-to-date listing of Tasmanian events, and information on travelling to Tasmania, visit the Discover Tasmania website www.discovertasmania.com.au
fb.com/discovertasmania
Twitter and Instagram @tasmania
#discovertasmania

Eating “Ca Xiu” in Ha Tien town

In the journey of discovering Ha Tien town and Hai Tac Islands in Kien Giang, apart from being impressed with the breath-taking landscape, I also got wowed by the first time eating the traditional Ca Xiu dish. The dish is exclusive only in Ha Tien Town.

Not only me, but also other journalists were a bit shocked when looking at the dish. Ca Xiu is a type of fish, with the appearance of an insect with real long antennas. After seeing my local friend eating and praising the taste of Ca Xiu, I finally had gut to try the first bite, and surprisingly it was very delicious. Perhaps the quirky name “Ca Xiu” was named after the strange shape of this fish.

Ca Xiu normally live in river environments, estuaries, brackish water, particularly in the area Dong Ho of Ha Tien Town. Just like shellfish, Ca Xiu inhabit in water floors below the mud surface, hence they are equipped with long tentacles or tails to stick to the ground and aid them in their search for food.

Between June and August each year is the Ca Xiu season. Fishermen will catch Ca Xiu (just like how they would catch shellfish), clean them off the surrounding mud, and keep the tail to make salted Ca Xiu (Mam Ca Xiu). The recipe is one layer of Ca Xiu for a layer of salt. Depending on their preferences, people can choose to salt Ca Xiu in two ways, either using salted water or grain of salt. They also can add sugar to speed up the souring process of Ca Xiu. This process requires the maker to be skillful and experienced. The quality of salted Ca Xiu heavily depends on this salting process (if too bland the Ca Xiu will go bad and if too salty the Ca Xiu will blacken and also go bad).

Ca Xiu salted in the morning would be ready right away in the afternoon, it is however could be kept in a jar and would last years. According to some women at the fish market, back then, fishermen always packed with them a jar of salted Ca Xiu to be eaten with steamed rice while they were away on fishing trips. Slowly, this traditional food becomes a specialty in the area of Ha Tien.

Ca Xiu is best served when it is salted in the morning and stir-fried in the afternoon because at that moment the saltiness still hasn’t infused deeply into the meat. The ideal cooking method is to stir-fry garlic before adding Ca Xiu, stir them together constantly so that all the flavors are finely mixed together. Adding some peppers and sugar will give a better taste.

When eating Ca Xiu, remove the outer shells and only consume the inner meat. The best and most nutritious part of Ca Xiu is their tail (which is said to benefit male’s vitality). The tail is slightly chewy which fit really well to men’s appetite. Place Ca Xiu into a small plate and enjoy along with white rice, a very special taste you should always try if you ever travel to Ha Tien.

INAUGURAL SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARK 400

Western Sydney locals and V8 Supercar champions Mark Winterbottom, Holden, and James Courtney, Ford, will be hoping for some kind of home advantage in The Sydney Motorsport Park 400, to be held for the first time at Eastern Creek this weekend.

Winterbottom who hails from Doonside and Courtney of Penrith will be out to show up current championship leader Jamie Whincup, Redbull, who stole the advantage from Winterbottom last round.

The return of V8 Supercars to Sydney Motorsport Park will be a weekend to remember with a jam packed schedule, first class facilities and a host of entertainment.

More than 15,000 V8 motorsport fans from all over the country and within NSW are expected to visit Western Sydney to experience the thrill of seeing Australia’s best V8 drivers navigate through two 100 kilometre races on Saturday and a 200 kilometre on Sunday in a SuperSprint format.

In 2013 the NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, secured this additional round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series for 2014, in addition to the Sydney 500 held at Sydney Olympic Park in December.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said Sydney and NSW has the most impressive line-up of motorsport events in the country.

“We have worked with V8 Supercars to ensure that Sydney and NSW is the centre of the V8 Supercar Championship calendar, hosting more rounds than any other State,” Ms Chipchase said.

“The Sydney 400, as well as the Sydney 500 and the V8 Supercar Test Day at Motorsport Park, both secured until 2016, together with Bathurst 1000 will continue to provide a multitude of motorsports fans with a wonderful experience.”

For more information please visit www.v8supercars.com.au.

Kids under 14 receive free general admission entry with a paying adult.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Win a trip to New Zealand - Contest to find the world’s most dedicated Hobbit fans begins‏

Sir Peter Jackson
The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest, the ultimate contest to find the world’s most ardent fans of The Hobbit Trilogy, is underway with the first of a series of challenges unveiled in Australia today and across the world over the next few days.

Fans can now send a postcard to director Sir Peter Jackson detailing why they should be part of a global fellowship of fans as part of their quest to journey to New Zealand, the cinematic Middle-earth, for a world-first private screening of Sir Peter’s final film in the trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies, in his hometown of Wellington.

‘Postcard to Peter’ is the first of four challenges created for The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest, which will invite up to 75 of the film trilogy's most ardent fans from around the world to travel to New Zealand for the journey of a lifetime.

The fans, along with a friend, will fly to New Zealand with Air New Zealand, the official airline to Middle-earth, arriving in early November.

Once on the ground, they’ll be hosted by Tourism New Zealand – the country’s tourism authority – and taken on a five-day journey through the locations and landscapes made famous by The Hobbit Trilogy.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says he is looking forward to welcoming The Hobbit Fan Fellowship fans to New Zealand, home of Middle-earth.

“We look forward to welcoming the lucky winners to Middle-earth, New Zealand and showing them that here, every day is a different journey, and one they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says this competition is an exciting opportunity for Hobbit fans as well as New Zealand’s tourism industry.

“Air New Zealand has invested heavily in recent years in campaigns to market The Hobbit films and we have seen interest in New Zealand as a destination grow as a result. We hope this competition will further build on that work and encourage more people to consider a trip to the cinematic Middle-earth,” says Mr Luxon.

Fans will discover that the fantasy Middle-earth landscapes from The Hobbit Trilogy are real locations with an abundance of activities and experiences to be enjoyed.

Fans will experience a Maori cultural performance and a traditional hangi – a meal cooked underground followed by a feast fit for a dwarf the following night at Hobbiton Movie Set – a picturesque private farm and the big-screen home of the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

No journey to Middle-earth would be complete without a visit to Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital and the scene of countless battle scenes from The Hobbit Trilogy. Fans will get to walk in the footsteps of their

heroes through Paradise, visiting the site of the Pillar of Kings, home of the Kawarau Bungy and relaxing over a coffee under the Misty Mountains at Wanaka.

Supporting the fans’ journey are New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, which will handle the worldwide theatrical distribution of The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies later this year, along with MGM in select territories.

Pier One Sydney Harbour Set to Showcase Innovative Concepts in Hotel Design

Pier One Sydney Harbour, Sydney's chic urban waterfront hotel, epitomises luxurious lifestyle travel, exclusively set against one of the most scenically beautiful waterways in the world. Combining a balance of calm from the water with the natural interiors with the excitement of exploring Sydney's vibrant modern streets alongside our historic rocks convict past, and the majesty of the Sydney Harbour Bridge ensures Pier One is 'exactly like nothing else'.

Built over 100 years ago as a working cargo wharf and passenger transit point the hotel is rich in character where the historic details of the past have been intricately transformed into a modern contemporary property. Now in the finals stages of its beautification under the Autograph Collection, Pier One is embracing contemporary hotel design as it enters a new and exciting stage, one of true innovation, embracing sustainability, clever use of space and paddock to plate produce.

“Pier One, with its rich history, is a hotel like no other on Sydney Harbour with an instant connection to the water as soon as you walk through the lobby,” General Manager Kim Mahaffy says.

“We are taking the property in a direction that will introduce a distinctly different hotel experience, exquisitely presented with a focus on global trends and designs whilst staying focused on our local message. Our beautification upgrades will ensure Pier One is considered the only place to stay in Sydney for those that expect the unexpected” says Kim.

The new brand transition and current beautification will encompass a distinctive and tranquil reception, lobby, restaurant and outdoor pier experience, creating a place where time seems suspended. The restaurant, helmed by highly anticipated celebrity chef, will showcase innovative cuisine, artful unique ambience and exceptional experiences ahead of global trends.

“With every decision we respect Pier One's historical core and loyal customer base, so our priority moving forward is to increase visibility of the hotels brand. Through innovative food and beverage concepts in line with international market demand, matched effortlessly with impeccable service for which we are known globally, and crafted artesian cultural opportunities in Sydney, we can offer our guests an individual Sydney experience.”

Upcoming events at Pier One Sydney Harbour include:
- Good Food Month - BBQ Madness on the Pier
- Good Food Month - Supper Club
- Melbourne Cup
- Sunrise to Sunset Package - Morning Tai Chi and Afternoon Sundowners
- Summer Starts & Walsh Bar Arts Festival
- New Years Eve

Pier One Sydney Harbour

Pier One Sydney Harbour, Autograph Collection offers an exclusive waterfront experience in the heart of one of the world's most glamorous destinations. The hotel is located within easy access to the historic Rocks precinct, Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House and stylish shopping of Castlereagh St. The hotel's Front Restaurant & Bar offers alfresco dining on the Pier with the added element that guests can arrive in style by water taxi or by private yacht using the hotel's private pontoon. Travel by water also provides direct access to additional cultural attractions including the Botanic Gardens, King St Wharf, Darling Harbour, Lady Macquarie Steps, Manly and Watson's Bay. Pier One Sydney Harbour is steeped in history, being transformed from a working wharf to a cargo and passenger transit point to its stunning transformation into a hotel, where the historic details of its past have been intricately included into the modern and contemporary design that is Pier One Sydney Harbour today.

For more information please visit: http://www.pieronesydneyharbour.com.au, or explore our social media channel:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PierOneSydneyHarbour
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Autograph
Tumblr: http://autographcollectionhotels.tumblr.com/

Luxe Asian Grand Tour Box to Be Released Autumn 2014 - Luxe City Guides Collaborates with Shanghai Tang to Create the Brand New Asian Grand Tour Box in Time for Christmas

What do you get when you team the world's most renowned Chinese fashion and lifestyle brand with the snappiest and sauciest travel biz in the game? The answer is: this season's most coveted holiday accessory, the limited edition Shanghai Tang x LUXE City Guides Asian Grand Tour Box.

With more than three decades between them as passionate, China-born brands, both Shanghai Tang and LUXE advocate and embody sophistication, cultural inspiration, impeccable craftsmanship and consummate style – qualities reflected in the vibrant and fresh Asian Grand Tour Box design.

The Chinese zodiac's most revered creature, the dragon, swirls dramatically around the box in a bright neon lime hue, while a black and gold geometric background and embossed logo create texture and definition. Within the Asian Grand Tour Box, you'll find 8 guides to LUXE's favourite Asian cities – Bangkok, Beijing, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and, for the first time, the brand new LUXE Kuala Lumpur guide.

Buy the box from September 2014 exclusively at www.luxecityguides.com or www.shanghaitang.com, and at the Shanghai Tang flagship boutique.

It's all the LUXE savvy you know and crave, gussied up in glam Shanghai Tang style... what's not to love?

LUXE City Guides:

Famous for their super-svelte format and snappy reviews, LUXE City Guides are free from unnecessary padding, photos and graphics, leaving you with curated, highly opinionated quickfire speed reads from resident editors and contributors who REALLY know their city, so you can spend time enjoying your trip, not buried in a book. Packed from concertina cover to cover with snazz, snark and snap, if it's in LUXE, it's IN. 

HEAD UP NORTH FOR FUN, FASHION & RACING IN TROPICAL CAIRNS

With low cost airfares still up for grabs, now is the time to plan a trip north to experience magnificent spring weather and all the fun, fashion and racing of Carlton Mid Cairns Amateurs Carnival that takes
place over three action packed days from Thursday 11 to Saturday, 13 September, 2014.

This year the Carton Mid Cairns Amateurs Carnival has teamed up with Flight Centre to offer a number of value added event packages including accommodation, transfers and tickets to a choice of events including the Vodka Cruiser Lawn Party, Cairns Amateurs Garden Party and Yellowglen
House.

For information and bookings visit your local Flight Centre, Escape Travel or Student Flights store.

For information on Cairns Amateurs spring racing carnival, please visit www.cairnsamateurs.org.au or Telephone: +61 7 4033 1135 email:cairns@cairnsamateurs.org.au

Carlton Mid Cairns Amateurs Carnival

The Far North Queensland Amateur Turf Club (Club) was founded in 1959 ago as a coastal version of the historical Oak Park races and as a way of bringing city and country together. The brainchild of the late Sir Sydney Williams OBE and Les Gallagher, the first Cairns Amateurs carnival was held on 18th and 19th September 1959.

The mission of the Club is to operate a sustainable and accessible annual race carnival, which showcases the social, cultural and commercial attributes of Cairns and the tropical north.

Now in its 56th year the Carlton Mid Cairns Amateurs Carnival is one of regional Australia’s most vibrant and fastest growing social events that is a major contributor to the Far North, with last year’s event generating 15,137 visitor nights and over $13.9 million into the local economy.

Carlton Mid Cairns Amateurs Carnival is proudly supported by Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland, Carlton Mid, Cairns Regional Council, Cairns Airport, The Reef Hotel Casino Cairns, ANZ, Treasury Wine Estates and media partners, The Cairns Post and Zinc 102.7.

This year’s three day Carlton Mid Cairns Amateurs Carnival is being held 11-13 September, 2014. Highlights include Ladies Fashion High Tea, President’s Welcome Cocktail Party, Cairns Amateurs Ball and two days of racing with a selection of tickets and packages available.

General admission is just $30 or a discounted $25 when purchased online. For information on all associated events, membership prices, tickets and packages available, visit  www.cairnsamateurs.org.au or Telephone: 07 40331135
email: cairns@cairnsamateurs.org.au

MSC CRUISES’ “MARATHON” GRAND VOYAGE FROM EUROPE TO SOUTH AMERICA

Fit MSC Cruises passengers who book the 20-night Grand Voyage of MSC Magnifica from Hamburg to Buenos Aires on November 8, 2014 will have the chance to lace up the running shoes and compete in the inaugural Tenerife Marathon in the Canary Islands.

The cruise ship’s timely visit to Santa Cruz de Tenerife on November 16 means budding athletes will be able to stretch the legs in the first ever held event.

On leaving the German port, passengers will benefit from 12 relaxing days at sea as well as calls in eight diverse destinations. The ship will call in at Le Havre, in France, and Southampton, in the UK, and gateways to Paris and London respectively. Her next port of call will be Lisbon, the beautiful capital city of Portugal, where guests will be able to explore the quaint city streets.

MSC Magnifica will then set sail for the Canary Islands, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife in particular before heading towards Brazil where she will call at Recife, Salvador de Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. Her final destination will be the harbour on the River Plate and Argentinean capital, Buenos Aires.

“This Grand Voyage, priced from $A1819pp, twin share ($NZ2229pp, twin share) will offer a unique opportunity for passengers to put on the running shoes and take part in the very first Tenerife Marathon when MSC Magnifica calls in Santa Cruz de Tenerife,” said Lynne Clarke, managing director of MSC Cruises Australia and New Zealand. “There will be three running options available at varying levels of difficulty,” she said.

Among them will be the 8 km course an urban route which offers runners a perfect opportunity to see the city on the move, the starting line a stone’s throw from the ship. The second option will be the half marathon, a 21km course around the town of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and along the coastal road overlooking the ocean.

For the truly dedicated runners among MSC Magnifica guests is the full marathon, a 42km route that starts at the harbour of Santa Cruz, then cuts through the city centre towards the coastal road. Application deadline for participating is October 25, 2014 www.maratondetenerife.com/ingles

For those who choose not to run, Santa Cruz, which sits at the crossroads between Europe and Africa, has bustling markets, a vibrant culture, mouth watering seafood and breathtaking views. A full program of excursions will be available on the day, so that runners and non-runners alike can make the most of the island’s highlights, including day trips marked by great shopping and beach opportunities in buzzing tourist towns, and memorable encounters with nature at its best.

As the ship makes its way between its various enchanting ports of call, an entertaining enrichment program will be available to MSC guests. Lectures about the ports of destinations and related themes – Canary Islands, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador de Bahia, the great navigators in history, etc. – various arts and crafts workshops, light-hearted games and different classes (tai chi, dance, etc.). Our MSC chefs will also make guests’ mouths water with the finger-licking food served 20 hours a day on the ship, including a wide range of local delicacies according to the ports of call.

Following the race, MSC Magnifica will set sail to South America, including Brazil. After a few days at sea, during which tired runners will be able to rest and recover, passengers will discover the captivating landscapes and warm cultures of Brazil, from palm-fringed beaches, tropical islands and forests, to captivating metropolises with colourful neighbourhoods in one of the world’s most fascinating regions.

The final destination, Argentina, will be reached on November 28. Travellers will bask in the springtime warmth of Buenos Aires, birthplace of the Tango. The sights and sounds of La Boca and San Telmo can be visited before or after savouring the delicious fresh produce that defines Argentinean cuisine in the Palermo neighbourhood.

“An MSC Grand Voyage is truly a journey of a lifetime, where you can discover the world and amazing destinations from the comfort of an MSC Cruises ship, and in the knowledge that you will be looked after with the greatest of Mediterranean care,” said Lynne.

More information can be found on www.msccruises.com.au 

Thala Beach Lodge

Thala Beach Lodge sits on 58 hectares of beachfront native forest 15 minutes south of Port Douglas, 45 minutes north of Cairns. Access is via the scenic coastal drive along Captain Cook Highway, considered one of Australia's 'great drives'.

Sitting atop a headland with stunning vistas across the Coral Sea, Thala Beach Lodge has proudly achieved the highest accreditation of eco-certification through sustainable practice and environmental sensitivity. Ancient littoral rainforest, casuarinas and mangroves lap the beach while eucalypt woodlands and a coconut plantation occupy inland creeks and higher ground. The eco resort is surrounded by World Heritage coastline and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park on the seaward side.

Boutique timber bungalows are built high on stilts within the forest canopy providing private immersion within nature. All bungalows enjoy ocean, mountain or forest views. Two lagoon pools are designed to blend in with the natural vegetation, plus there's 1.5 km of unspoilt Oak Beach. Ospreys Restaurant has developed a reputation for serving world class modern Australian cuisine in a glorious open sided pavilion overlooking the forest canopy and Coral Sea beyond. Ranger guided nature tours add to the overall guest experience where nature takes centre stage.

Website:  www.thalabeach.com.au

Centara opens first 5-star villa resort in Bali

Centara Grand Villas Nusa Dua Bali, the first five-star villa resort to be operated in Bali by Thailand’s Centara Hotels & Resorts, will open on 21 August 2014.

The resort also includes two signature restaurants, a bar, a swimming pool, the executive club lounge, spa and fitness centre, meeting rooms, and a Chrysler limousine service.

Located at Nusa Dua, on the southern tip of Bali, the resort is within the ocean resort complex established by the Bali Tourism Development Corporation.

Centara’s first resort in Bali was Centra Taum Seminyak Bali, which is part of the company’s Centra value brand and opened in 2012, while the recently announced Centara Crystal On The Bay Nusa Dua, which is part of the core four-star brand, is due to open in December of this year.

“We are very proud indeed to be announcing the opening of Centara Grand Villas Nusa Dua Bali, which is designed as a very exclusive and secluded resort, while at the same time being in a prime location for all the attractions of Nusa Dua,” says Thirayuth Chirathivat, chief executive officer of Centara Hotels & Resorts.

“Bali holds enormous potential for Centara, and is a great strategic destination for us to continue our path of overseas expansion.”

There are 14 independent pool villas offering a choice of one, two or three bedrooms and set in an extensive garden area that provides privacy for guests.

The villas are designed in Peranakan style with spacious interiors, marble floors, and the rich tones of teak and rosewood furnishings, and each has its own private swimming pool complete with large sundeck, loungers and a pool shower.

Each of the One-Bedroom Luxury Pool Villas has a total space of 225 square metres, with an airy living and dining area flanked by an expansive garden with private pool and outdoor shower.

The Two-Bedroom Luxury Pool Villas can accommodate families and groups of up to four adults and three children in a minimum of 350 square metres of total space. Each villa features two spacious bedrooms, and two bathrooms with a shower and freestanding bathtub or Jacuzzi. The living and dining areas open onto a private garden with pool.

The Three-Bedroom Luxury Pool Villa provides over 680 square metres of total living space and is suitable for up to six adults and two children. The 75 square metre private pool is set in an expansive garden that also has an outdoor gazebo fitted out for massages and yoga lessons. The villa has three bathrooms, each with freestanding bathtub and separate shower.

All villas are Club class, which includes access to the Club Lounge with its complimentary servings, and an around-the-clock villa host service to ensure each guest will enjoy life in Nusa Dua to the full.

“With three properties on the island, offering three very separate and distinct Balinese experiences, we are in a very strong marketing position,” says Chris Bailey, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Centara Hotels & Resorts.

“Our initial property, Centra Taum Seminyak Bali, has proved to be an outstanding success in the brief time it has been open, and we are very confident indeed that Centara Grand Villas Nusa Dua Bali will attract the high end of the market and further enhance our profile amongst international travellers.”

The resort's all-day restaurant is The Long Table, open 24 hours a day and designed around a traditional long table, with chefs preparing Western and Asian cuisines at an open kitchen.

Ru Yi is for fine Chinese dining, preparing recipes from mainland China and Hong Kong, served in an opulent indoor environment or by the terrace with the resort’s main pool as a backdrop.

The bar is named 8 Degree Bar, designed in a British vintage style and serving cocktails together with a large selection of fine wines.

Traditional Thai and Balinese healing therapies that use local ingredients have inspired Spa Cenvaree’s extensive menu of treatments, while the adjacent fitness centre is open 24 hours a day.

A complimentary shuttle takes guests to Nusa Dua Beach, a few minutes away, where the resort has its own Beach Club, Taman Bhagawan, a collection of traditional Javanese timber buildings set in gardens and serving drinks and meals along with arranging beach activities, water sports, and excursions.

Despite its seclusion, the resort is within walking distance of Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre, while the island’s airport is only a 15-minute drive away.

Centara Hotels & Resorts is Thailand’s leading operator of hotels, with 47 deluxe and first-class properties covering all the major tourist destinations in the Kingdom. A further 21 resorts in Maldives, Vietnam, Bali, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Ethiopia, Qatar, Laos and Oman brings the present total to 68 properties. Brands and properties within Centara ensure that specific categories such as couples, families, individuals, and meetings and incentives groups will all find a hotel or resort that is appropriate to their needs.