Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Parade of Champions at the Sydney Royal Easter Show


The young at heart are the real winners on Tuesday 31 March when Seniors Day gets underway at the Sydney Royal Easter Show (the Show).

For the first time, Seniors Card Holders can take advantage of half-price ShowLink Tickets for only $14.50 (RRP $29.50) on both Tuesday 31 March and Wednesday 1 April.

When at the Show, seniors should make their way to the Seniors Hub, which will be a hive of activity, but also provide plenty of shade and seating. The NSW Department of Family & Community Services and Telstra will host the event and provide some great new exhibitions, attractions, discounts and competitions for seniors.

Sold! Sydney Wool Auction Sale

The Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) is bringing the weekly northern wool auction to the Show for the first time in 2015, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A purpose-built sale room has been constructed inside the Sheep & Wool Pavilion to house the two-day event, with more than 12,000 bales to be shifted over the course of the Show. Sales are expected to reach $15 million over the two day event. Auctioneers will hit top gear during the sale selling 220-280 lots of wool per hour.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to drop by and witness how Australian wool is sold and traded. The action kicks off from 11am in the Sheep & Wool Pavilion.

We are the Champions

Head over to Spotless Stadium at 4.30pm today and get behind your regional exhibitors in the Parade of Champions.

The Parade recognises the contribution and dedication made by the Show’s exhibitors and contributors in bringing the country to the city. Hailing from all corners of NSW, the 15 Champions have been part of the Show community for a large part of their lives, and between all of them, have clocked up hundreds of Shows in Sydney.

The Parade of Champions is part of Excellence in Agriculture, a special day dedicated to rewarding agricultural excellence through competitions and events at the Show.

Saddle Up Sydney!

Get ready for an elegant afternoon in the saddle, watching some of the best equestrian riders in the world show off their showjumping skills. The Sydney Royal Easter Show Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) Grand Prix and World Cup qualifier for showjumping is on today in Spotless Stadium.

Round one will begin at 1:50pm where 33 riders will battle it out to make it to the top 12 for round two at 3:55pm. This year’s best riders will go on to compete in the finals in Europe and competitors that receive eight or less penalties will qualify to be selected for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

A prize pool of $18,000 is also up for grabs in the Grand Prix with a total of $60,000 available for all showjumping competitions during the two weeks of the Show.

Don’t miss one of Australia’s most prestigious showjumping events with a course designed by German Showjumping expert, Werner Deeg.

For more information, including information on ticketing and transport options, visit:
www.eastershow.com.au

Monday, 30 March 2015

The World Championship Campdraft at the Sydney Royal Easter Show


Day five of the Show is here and our judges are getting to work on our rats and mice and choosing
the best beef in the Show. The unique Aussie horse sport Campdrafting gets serious on Monday.

Oh, Rats!

For the first four days it’s been all about the sheep, cattle, and pigs. But no Show would be complete without rats and mice!

Head to the Domestic Animal Pavilion to pet and play with these furry creatures. Be sure to stick around for the crowning of Grand Champion Rat and Mouse.

With over eleven breeds judged across thirty classes, you won’t want to miss this thirteen year old competition that has a cult following at the Show.

Simply the Best – The Hordern and Urquhart Perpetual Trophies

It’s a battle of the best of the best today at the Show as some of the finest beef cattle from across the country go head to head for two of the most prestigious cattle awards in Australia. 

With a history of over 30 years, it’s no wonder the Hordern and Urquhart Perpetual Trophies are so prestigious.

Each breed puts forward its best pair (male and female grand champion for their breed) to be judged against every other breed. Judges declare the best pair the winners of the Hordern Perpetual Trophy.

The Urquhart trophy is awarded to the supreme beef exhibit (either male or female) from all the breed grand champions.

With approximately 1,100 beef cattle on grounds during judging, it’s easy to understand why cattle breeders flock to the cattle lawns to watch this spectacular show of fine beef genetics.

This year respected Canadian judge Dawn Wilson returns to the Sydney Royal to run her experienced eye over Australia’s best.

You can catch these events at the cattle judging lawn beginning at 11am for the Urquhart competition and the Hordern to follow at 1pm.

Unique Australian sport rides into the Easter Show

The World Championship Campdraft has ‘cut’ into the Royal Easter Show this year. Campdraft is the sport of ‘cutting’ or controlling a steer with outstanding horsemanship.

Campdrafting is a distinctly Australian sport that involves a horse and rider working cattle around a course at full gallop.

The top 14 participants from around Australia are competing for the prestigious award of World Champion of Campdrafting.

Gallop on down to Spotless Stadium today at 4.20pm to witness the action. The final will take place on Wednesday 1st of April at 4.30pm where the prestigious title of world champion will be awarded.

For more information, including information on ticketing and transport options, visit:
www.eastershow.com.au

Sunday, 29 March 2015

26th Annual Rural Achiever Public Speaking Showcase at the Sydney Royal Easter Show


It’s the first weekend of the Sydney Royal Easter Show (the Show) and Sydney is getting a taste of the very best the country has to offer. On day four, the next generation of aspiring agricultural leaders will take centre stage at The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl competition and Rural Achiever Public Speaking Showcase.

Inspiring young women shine at The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition

Fifteen enthusiastic ambassadors for country NSW have been selected from more than 500 young women at local zone Showgirl competitions across the state to compete in the final of The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl competition. The event will be held today in the Big Top Amphitheatre at 2pm.

The prestige and tradition of this event makes it one of the biggest and most popular at the Show. Since 1962, the Sydney Royal Showgirl competition has highlighted one young female ambassador for rural NSW and the agricultural show movement.

Contestants will be assessed on their knowledge of rural NSW, along with personality, confidence, ambition and presentation skills. Finalists must also be passionate about their local communities and demonstrate an experience of rural affairs.

Among other formal engagements in the lead up to today’s presentation, on opening day of the Show the finalists delivered showbags and spent time with children at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

They’re the voice, try and understand it!

Eight future young leaders of Australian agriculture will roll in to the Big Top Amphitheatre this afternoon at 2.45pm to kick off the 26th Annual Rural Achiever Public Speaking Showcase.

The finalists – all aged between 20 and 29 – will be given the opportunity to rivet and motivate when they speak on the topic of this year’s Showcase is: how would you market Australian agriculture to Australians?

The event is always a Show highlight given the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) Rural Achiever program’s track record of supporting future industry leaders. The winner of this year’s competition will go on to represent NSW in the National Rural Ambassador Award. So get down there and cheer on these incredible young Australians, we promise it’ll be well worth your while.

Interflora competition blooms into action

Three state titles are up for grabs today as part of the Interflora Australia State Competitions. The three major categories exhibitors will be competing in are: Florist of the Year, Florist of the Future and the Rising Star Competition.

Each entrant has worked tirelessly to showcase their best work to earn the opportunity to represent their state later in the year. The exhibition is always a crowd pleaser as it reflects industry and community trends and gives people a chance to see the best in the business.

Don’t miss these amazing displays in the Flower and Garden Pavilion from 9.30am to 3.00pm.

For more information, including information on ticketing and transport options, visit:
www.eastershow.com.au

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Sydney Royal Easter Show Grand Parade


It's the first weekend of the Sydney Royal Easter Show (the Show) and Sydney is getting a taste of the very best the country has to offer. Day Three is also the Official Opening of the Show and features the breathtaking Grand Parade.

Get ready for an oinking good time

Come on down to the Pig and Goat Pavilion for one of the largest and most prestigious pig shows in Australia. The Sydney Royal Pig Show competition has been running since 1858.

New to the pig competition this year are the Commercial and Free Range classes. The big event of the day is Best Pig in Show, with competitors vying for bragging rights along with a bigger prize pool this year.

So, come on down to watch the dedicated and passionate breeders show their finest animals at the top of their game from 8.30am. Showgoers young and old can also get up close and personal at the Pat-a-Pig experience from 10am.


Splinters Fly as the Woodchopping goes World Class

With over a century of competitive woodchopping at the Sydney Royal Easter Show it is no wonder it's often called the "Wimbledon of Woodchopping‟.

This year is no exception, with the headline event of the day the Sydney Royal Woodchopping and Sawing Competition – 375mm World Championship Single Handed Sawing Final.

Amongst the fierce field of competitors fighting for the title is none other than woodchopping legend, David Foster. David has captained the Australian team for 21 years and is the first sportsperson to have 1000 championships under his belt.

Following the World Championship action will our amazing Aussie women's team take on New Zealand in the Ladies International Relay for the Woodchopping and Sawing Competition, starting at 12:50pm in the Channel 9 Woodchop Stadium.

Best in Australian Agriculture Strut their Stuff!

Step right up and watch the finest in Australian agriculture as they strut their stuff in the Sydney Royal Easter Show Grand Parade. This spectacular event pays tribute to some of Australia‟s grandest agricultural traditions, competition winners, champion animals, producers and woodchoppers.

First held in 1907, the Sydney Royal Easter Show Grand Parade is showcased in Spotless Stadium and kicks off at 5:25pm, following the Official Opening Ceremony at 5pm.

This spectacular event all takes place under the watchful eye of Official Ringmaster Bill Picken, who undertakes the enormous responsibility of choreographing hundreds of horses, cattle, goats, alpacas and pigs.

“It's just like a military operation, timing is everything,” Picken says.

For more information, including information on ticketing and transport options, visit:
www.eastershow.com.au

HATS ON SYDNEY! THE SHOW’S IN TOWN

The Sydney Royal Easter Show which celebrates agricultural excellence and the best of rural Australia is underway with a stellar line up of entertainment. Each day visitors to the show will have access to up to 12 hours of free entertainment.

A must see at the 2015 Show is Dinosaur Ice World. Showgoers will be transported back to the ice age, a fully-themed area featuring snow trees, ice rocks and falling snow, and come up-close to a life-sized woolly mammoth, rhinoceros, a penguin family and a rare glyptodont.

The Sydney Royal Woodchopping and Sawing Competition has been a feature of the Show for over a century. The World Titles attract over 220 male and female competitors from around Australia and overseas who compete in 65 different classes, this is a must not miss Show event.

Making their Show debut this year is comedy hypnotist Anthony Laffan and the Feathered Friends Bird Show. Both acts feature excellent audience interaction, whether it is the educational yet entertaining sight of free flying birds of prey or starring beside Anthony Laffan during his hilarious modern take on hypnosis.

Popular Show favourites returning in 2015 include the farmyard nursery, best in breed farm animals, the showbag hall, rodeo, carnival rides and district exhibitions.

The Sydney Royal Easter Show is supported by Destination NSW.

For more information and to plan your visit to the Sydney Royal Easter Show visit eastershow.com.au

Friday, 27 March 2015

ROWING REGATTA TO TAKE WESTERN SYDNEY BY STORM

Australia’s finest rowers will go head to head at the Sydney International Rowing Regatta at Penrith this weekend. The event, secured for Western Sydney by Destination NSW, is once again being held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre, where it is set to remain at that location for the next three years.

Australia’s best rowers will compete in prestigious races such as the King’s and Queen’s Cups Interstate Regatta, as well as the Australian National and Schools Open Championships.

It promises to be a great weekend of racing, and tickets are still available. More information on the Regatta can be found at sydney.com/events/sydney-international-rowing-regatta-world-rowing-down-under

Also coming up in Western Sydney is the Test Match Women’s Hockey series between China and Australia’s Hockeyroos. The three match series will be held at the Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre at Homebush from 2-6 April.

More information on this world-class hockey event can be found at sydney.com/events/hockeyroos-v-china-international-challenge-2015

District Exhibit displays feature at the Sydney Royal Easter Show


It’s day two of the Sydney Royal Easter Show (the Show) and there is something on offer for every Showgoer, from the awe-inspiring ANZAC themed District Exhibits, to the best of poultry and taste sensations at Talk and Taste.

Fruit will fly at the District Exhibit Awards

The awards for the prestigious and hotly contested District Exhibit displays will be announced in the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome from 10:30am. For only the third time since the inception of the exhibits in 1900, this year’s displays are themed – commemorating the 100 year anniversary of ANZAC.

More than 10,000 pieces of fresh fruit, vegetables, grain, wool and other produce have been used to create each of the massive sculptures that climb the walls of the Dome. The colourful masterpieces have been created by five districts – Northern, Southern, Central and Western NSW, and South-East QLD.

The District Exhibits Perpetual Shield and the HCM See Memorial Annual Plaque will go to the overall champion region, with the Woolworths Supermarkets Perpetual Trophy being awarded to the District with the highest number of points acquired through produce judging. The Sydney Markets People’s Choice Award – the Gordon Maitland Perpetual Trophy – will be awarded based on public votes for the most impressive display.

Wine, dine, discover at Sydney Royal Talk and Taste

Escape the crowds, soak up the atmosphere and experience a taste sensation with Sydney Royal medal winning Australian produce. This is an opportunity for Showgoers to devour medal winning produce, while discovering the stories and secrets behind the products.

This tastebud tantalising event takes place at the Daily Telegraph Park at 10.30am, 11.30am, 1pm and 3.30pm, every day of the Show. Sessions run for 45 minutes and are presented by food industry experts, including Fast Ed, Lyndey Milan and Simon Marnie.

Today’s Talk and Taste session is called ‘Caramel Cravings’ and is presented by Fast Ed from Better Homes and Gardens. It features Serendipity’s award winning ice cream deliciously topped with Salted Butter Caramel Sauce from Caramelicious.

Tickets are $15 and sessions are limited, so head online to www.eastershow.com.au/tickets/ to pre-book or make sure you head to Talk and Taste to book your place when arriving at the Showgrounds.

Hands-on fun at the Steggles Poultry Pavilion

With the professional level judging complete and the trophies awarded, exhibitors at the Steggles Poultry Pavilion are looking forward to welcoming the crowds, showcasing their beautiful birds and sharing their knowledge and experience.

Children and grown-ups alike will delight in watching baby chickens hatch, and there are plenty of stalls for poultry enthusiasts. The Wash-A-Chook demonstration and the Pat-A-Chook experience are expected to be the big crowd draw cards once again this year.

For more information, including information on ticketing and transport options, visit:
www.eastershow.com.au

LES MISÉRABLES PREMIERES IN SYDNEY

Sydney audiences were treated to the premiere of Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Les Misérables last night at the Capitol Theatre. The event was secured for Sydney by Destination NSW. The new production, set against the backdrop of a 19thcentury revolutionary France, featured glorious modernised staging, orchestrations and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said: “I’m delighted this special 30 year anniversary season of Les Misérables has officially launched in Sydney with a truly spectacular opening night.

I encourage those who are yet to purchase tickets to do so now as it is a wonderful production.”

“The show’s season is set to have a big impact on local tourism and is estimated to attract more than 91,000 visitors to Sydney, injecting around $32 million in visitor expenditure over six months,” Ms Chipchase said.

Frosty Films these Easter school holidays at Medibank Icehouse

Melbourne’s much-loved Medibank Icehouse is ‘eggcited’ to bring movies, music and games galore to the rink these Easter school holidays, with their Frosty Flicks school holiday program.

From the 28th of March to the 12th of April, Medibank Icehouse will be screening three films a day on a large inflatable screen (4m x 2.5m) each day of the Easter holiday.

Taking place on one of the two Olympic sized rinks, kids can choose to skate or munch on popcorn while watching some ice-themed favourites like Frozen, Ice Age or the Mighty Ducks.

Screen times:

Twice a day over the two weeks – 10.00AM and 1.00PM
- Feature film Disney’s Frozen
On rotation
- Ice Age 3 - Dawn of the Dinosaurs
- Ice Age 4 - Continental Drift
- Cool Running’s
- Mighty Ducks

What’s more, from 11am – 3pm daily, Plaster Fun House will be onsite with Easter and ice themed plaster moulds for kids and parents alike to paint and glitter for the cost of a gold coin donation. All proceeds taken from Good Friday to Easter Monday will be donated to The Royal Children’s Hospital.

In addition, Medibank Icehouse’s resident DJ will be around to spin some tunes, while the kids get complimentary colourful designs by our resident face painting artists, participate in ice games and take home giveaway prizes.

The Easter school holiday program will also include:
  • Holiday Skate on the Henke Rink. For those patrons who want to enjoy a leisurely skate on the Henke Rink without the temptation of the big screen. Between 11.00am – 3.00pm daily. 
  • Free Beginners Lessons – Free with entry and designed to give non skaters the skills they require to enjoy their experience. Every hour from 11.00am to 2.00pm daily as well as a 4.15pm and 7.00pm lesson. 
  • Free Lessons – How to Skate Backwards. Free with entry and designed to encourage skaters to improve their skills. Daily at 1.15pm.
  • Public skating from 9.00am to 10pm Sunday to Thursday and 9:00am to midnight Friday and Saturdays.

Entry for all day unlimited skating

  • Adult - $26 including skate hire
  • Concession - $24 including skate hire
  • Child (6 to 14) - $22 including skate hire
  • Child (3 to 5) - $13 including skate hire
  • Family (two adults and two children) - $80 including skate hire

Medibank Icehouse continues its extensive promotions and partnerships well into summer, giving visitors the best value entry fees and ancillary offers available. These offers include a partnership with Melbourne Star (Observation Wheel) where guests can enjoy a 20% discount for a flight.

Visitors also receive a 20% discount on entry when they show a valid Vline ticket.

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

AIDA SET TO IMPRESS AT TONIGHT’S OPENING OF HANDA OPERA ON SYDNEY HARBOUR

The countdown is on to tonight’s opening of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, which is set to surprise audiences with one of the world’s most spectacular outdoor opera events. Aida, a story of forbidden love between the Egyptian leader Radames and the beautiful Ethiopian princess, Aida, is an opera in four acts composed by Giuseppe Verdi in 1871.

Since 2012 Destination NSW has partnered with Opera Australia to secure Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour to produce an ‘only in Sydney’ outstanding event experience.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said the event provided a boost to the local visitor economy and has attracted more than 11,300 overseas and interstate visitors since 2012 and contributed $20 million in visitor expenditure into the NSW economy.

“Set on Sydney Harbour against the striking backdrop of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, this world-class production is a truly awesome event.

This year’s Aida will surprise audiences with its spectacular set and stage design and again provide a truly unique outdoor experience,” Ms Chipchase said.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors to Sydney for this event and I encourage everyone to take some time out to explore our buzzing nightlife, world-class restaurants and outstanding cultural attractions while they are here,” she said.

Tickets can be purchased online.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Jamie Oliver to cook up a storm at the Sydney Royal Easter Show


As dawn breaks on day one of the Sydney Royal Easter Show (the Show), the animal pavilions awake and Sydney Royal competitions hit top gear with a special focus on cattle, young auctioneers and baked goods.

Jamie Oliver to cook up a storm

Food lovers will flock to the AWW Theatre Kitchen, with special guest Jamie Oliver heating things up in the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome from 11:10-11:50am.

He will be recreating his Pan-Cooked Giant Prawns with Snow Peas and Butter Beans, one of his latest Cook & Save recipes, available at any Woolworths.

The Dome will again be brimming with new displays, new exhibitors and delicious produce to sample and purchase, ranging from oysters, wine, chocolate, nuts, bakery treats and much more.

Young Auctioneers prep their vocal chords 

The best young auctioneers from around the country will converge on the Show today to compete in the 2015 ALPA National Young Auctioneers Competition.

In its 25th year, the competition will be held at the Big Top Amphitheatre kicking off at 12pm.

This year will be the first time the competition will be live streamed. If you can’t make it to Sydney to catch the action, make sure you tune into the livestream at the following link: www.theland.com.au/pages/sydney-show.

Woolworths and private butchers from all over the state will be at the Young Auctioneers competition in the hopes of picking up some purebred, prize winning beef. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW blue ribbon hanging in a butcher shop near you in the weeks to come.

Battle of the baked goods

While some may be tempted to lick the bowl, those in the know suppress their sweet tooth at one of the most fiercely contested competitions at the Show.

The Perishable Cooking Judging takes place from 1pm in the Arts & Crafts Pavilion, and competitors know not to expect any leniency with esteemed judges at the helm.

With almost 500 entries, seasoned performers and newer bakers alike will be giving the oven mitts a good workout in preparation for the big day.

For more information, including information on ticketing and transport options, visit:
www.eastershow.com.au

Kurri Kurri Nostalgia festival

Hey who's going to this years Kurri Kurri Nostalgia festival..?

WE ARE!

The Pearl Davies Crew are stoked as to be proud sponsors of this years festival once again. Come down next weekend for some Rockabilly and Retro fun, and fun for the whole family. We'll be repping throughout the weekend and catching glimpses of the event. Will we catch you there..? Maybe, so be sure to have on your happy slacks, because slacks make us happy.


We are super proud to collaborate with local (and not so local) events, business', personalities and peoples, peoples, oh boy oh boy do we love peoples in bringing the local and not so local community, great events!

See you there yeah!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Earth Hour @ Metro Hotel on Pitt - Sat 28 March 2015

Earth Hour launched in Sydney in 2007, with 2.2 million people and 2,100 businesses participating in the ‘lights off’ event. Just one year later, Earth Hour became a global phenomenon with over 35 countries participating, and an estimated 50-100 million people.

In 2014, Earth Hour was celebrated in over 162 countries and over 7000 cities and towns worldwide. The symbolic hour has grown into the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, with beyond the hour projects and initiatives happening throughout the year.

Earth Hour is a great home-grown success story: an Aussie campaign designed to draw attention to tackling global warming and get people talking about what we can do to help.




In Australia, Earth Hour is something that really brings communities together, with 1 in every 3 Aussies taking part.

At Metro Hotel on Pitt, we are starting a corporate responsibility program that will entail us committing ourselves to being a part of the wider community in a socially or environmentally responsible way.

We will be joining in Earth Hour by getting our main lobby area as dark as can be feasibly managed. We’re inviting you to once again join in the action as we throw our support behind Aussie food and farmers.

We grew up with healthy, homegrown food and we all want our children to have the same opportunity. But our food is already being affected by global warming. This includes everything from the bananas we enjoy on our breakfast cereal every morning and our avocado and Vegemite on toast, to our lunchtime ham, cheese, tomato and lettuce wrap, and spaghetti bolognese - our dinnertime favourite.

Join Metro Hotel on Pitt at: https://earthhour.org.au/get-involved/event/Metro-Hotel-on-Pitt---Darkness-on-Pitt/

When: Metro Hotel on Pitt - Darkness on Pitt 28/03/2015 @ 8:30pm (AEST)
Where: 300 Pitt Street Sydney NSW Australia 2000

Metro Hotel on Pitt website: http://www.metrohotels.com.au/hotels/new-south-wales/metro-hotel-on-pitt

Local Teamwork Saving Koalas

In the You Yangs Ranges west of Melbourne, brigades of locals are out on weekends working to save koalas. On Koala Conservation Days for Locals, organised by Melbourne-based social enterprise Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours, concerned citizens can join like-minded locals to pull out weeds to create koala habitat and learn about koalas in the wild.

Recent news stories have shown how passionately Australians feel about helping koalas. Social media pages about koalas abound. Echidna Walkabout has been overwhelmed by the response to their Koala Conservation Days for Locals with every day selling out.

The koalas of the You Yangs have long been a tourist drawcard. Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours has been sharing the diverse wildlife of the You Yangs with up to 7,000 international travellers every year since 2006.

“On tours we meet lots of locals who regularly use the park, and we see the pride in their eyes as they meet tourists from all over the world who love the koalas of the You Yangs.” Says Janine Duffy, Owner Operator. “We want to share what we've learned about local koalas, and at the same time increase the koala population by creating more habitat.”

Koala Conservation Days for Locals run once a month, plus special days can be organised for school and community groups. Participation costs just $20, 100% of which goes to supporting koalas. Duffy encourages anyone who lives locally to attend - kids over 7 years old are welcome too – but book early as these days are popular!

Book here: Next date: April 11th, 2015

BACKGROUND:

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours is a mission-driven social enterprise that offers conservation programs and wildlife tours for international travellers, local volunteers and educational groups. All tours and programs contribute to koala protection, through research and habitat creation. Their “Make a Home for Koala Clancy” conservation program removes over 30,000 invasive weeds every year, and the research has shown a 370% increase in koala sightings since the beginning of the program.

Boneseed Chrysanthemoides monilifera is a Weed of National Significance. “It is regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts” (Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage.) The weed has plagued the You Yangs for 30 years, and inhibits the health of native plants and animals. It was introduced from South Africa to control erosion in the 1940's, and took over large areas of the park after the bushfire of 1985. It is estimated that boneseed infests 1300ha of the 2000ha regional park.

Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours are removing Boneseed from two large blocks of the You Yangs as part of Parks Victoria's “Adopt a Block” initiative.

More Than the Easter Bunny on Offer in Malaysia in April!

Malaysia is the ideal holiday destination at any time of the year, but April is shaping up as an exciting month to travel around the country and experience some of the many festivals taking place in the Malaysia Year of Festivals.

Share the love of the sea with Sabah's Bajaus during the colourful Regatta Lepa race. Or enjoy the traditional food, culture and history or Sawarak's Melanaus community during the Kaul Mukah Festival. There's also a silat carnival, featuring Malaysia's martial arts tradition, in Kelantan.

Or for more contemporary pursuits, there's the Penang's World Music Festival, Ironman 70.3 and shopping bargains galore to be had during the annual Malaysia1 Grand Prix sale, which all promise lots of fun.

To give you some ideas, here's a line-up of action packed events for visitors to enjoy in Malaysia.

Happy holidays!

Penang World Music Festival


The Penang World Music Festival features an amazing lineup of international acts from Spain, Germany, South Africa, India and more, all performing against the spectacular backdrop of historical Georgetown, Penang's own UNESCO Heritage City. And when you have heard your fill of musical performances, take time to experience some of the tantalizing and delicious local cuisine for which Penang is justifiably famous.

Date: 11 – 12 April 2015. Visit www.penangworldmusic.gov.my for more information.

Labuan National Water Festival

The Labuan National Water Festival is the perfect event for the lovers of all things Aquatic! Visitors can enjoy, relax, eat, play and compete in numerous water-themes activities including fishing, round-island kayaking and cross-channel swimming. Take part in beach tug-of-war, test your agility by climbing a slippery pole or take out the competition in a pillow fight – guaranteed fun no matter what your age.

Visitors can also join in the Labuan International Sea Challenge, which forms part of the annual Malaysia Water Festival, one of the biggest and popular water sports events in the country. If you like your water sports, then Labuan is the place for you.

Date: 24 – 26 April 2015. Visit www.motour-labuan.com/www.lisc.com.my for more information.

1Malaysia Grand Prix Sale

Malaysia loves a sale and the 1Malaysia Grand Prix Sale, held in conjunction with the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix, is one of the best, offering up shoppers some fabulous products at bargain prices. Visitors travelling to KL and Putrjaya to enjoy some of the world's best F1 racing action at the Petronus Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix, can also chase retail thrills off-circuit at any of the country's many shopping malls at Malaysia's most eagerly anticipated shopping extravaganza.

Date: 14 March – 5 April 2015. For more information visit www.tourismmalaysia.gov.my.

Ironman 70.3


Malaysia's Ironman event is definitely not for the faint-hearted. But if you have the will and determination to swim for 1.9 km, cycle for 90 km, and then run for a further 21.1 km, then you might just cross that finish line with bragging rights. But even if you don't, it's still great to watch the sheer physical and mental tenacity of some of the best athletes in the world – from the comfort of the sideline!

Date: 5 April 2015. For more information, visit http://www.ironman.com/.

Wings of Kuala Kubu Bharu Selangor Bird Race

The fourth Wings of Kuala Kubu Bharu event is a great opportunity for bird watchers to come together, enjoy nature and expand their knowledge of some of Malaysia's many different species of birds and their habitats. Participants travel through 10 different checkpoints, setting out from the charming town of Kuala Kubu Baru, past the Kalumpung Hot Springs and ending up at the Genting Highlands Awana Resort. The area sits within Malaysia's designated Important Bird Area and is home to rare species including the Marbled Wren Babbler, the Pygmy Wren Babbler, the Large Niltava, Silver-Breasted Broadbills and intriguingly named Rhinoceros, Great and Bushy Crested Hornbills. Experience the green side of Malaysia here at the Wings of KKB Selangor Bird Race event – truly a birdwatcher's paradise.

Date: 24 – 26 April 2015. Visit wingsofkkb.blogspot.com for more information.

Regatta Lepa Fiesta

The Regatta Lepa traditional boat race occurs annually in April and it is a vibrant and spectacular festival that pays homage to the lepa, the traditional single-mast sailing boat of the Bajau people of Semporna, Sabah. Witness a fleet of colourful lepas decorating the coast of Semporna during the annual Regatta Lepa event. Enjoy unique cultural performances, the Lepa Beauty Pageant, the Most Beautiful Lepa competition, fireworks displays and so much more!

Date: 24 – 26 April 2015. Visit www.sabahtourism.com for more information.

The Nusantara Silat Carnival

The Nusantara Silat Carnival 2015 is organised by the Kelantan Tourism Information Centre. This event attracts silat practitioners from as far away as Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei. For the uninitiated, Kelantan is the proud birthplace of silat jatuh which is a very unique form of martial arts. Visitors can learn about the unique martial art culture of silat against the spectacular backdrop of Malaysia's beautiful Kelantan State.

5 to 7 April 2015. Visit tic.kelantan.gov.my for more information.

Kaul Mukah Festival

Come and immerse yourself in the lifestyle of the indigenous Melanau community living along the coastal area of Sarawak, and help celebrate one of their highly cherished traditional festivals. The Kaul Mukah is celebrated as a religious ceremony to appease spirits of the sea, land, forest and farm, making it the most important festival in the Melanau traditional calendar.

The festival site is on the banks of the Mukah river estuary where visitors can relax, soak up Melanau culture and participate in activities and traditional games – a major highlight is the giant traditional swing called Tibow, as well sample their unique delicacies. The Kaul Mukah festival provides an amazing opportunity for visitors to experience some of Malaysia's unique cultural heritage.

Date: 25 – 26 April. Visit www.kaulmukah.com for further information.

For information about tours of Malaysia, please contact:

Tourism Malaysia
Telephone: +612 9286 3055,
Fax: +612 9283 8311,
Email: malaysia@malaysiatourism.com.au
or visit http://www.tourismmalaysia.com.au

NRMA and Sydney Royal Easter Show volunteers are here to help


The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) is pleased to announce the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA) has once again thrown their support behind the Sydney Royal Easter Show Volunteer Program for this year’s Show.

Volunteers are at the heart of the Sydney Royal Easter Show (the Show) and contribute to the successful delivery of Australia’s largest annual event.

RAS Head of Sales & Partnerships, Tim Underwood spoke of the important role volunteers play.

“The NRMA has a long and proud history of helping the people of NSW, and through our volunteer program, that help will be extended to the general public while they are at the Show,” Mr Underwood said.

“We have approximately 400 volunteers every year who greet Showgoers with a warm smile and friendly hello and they continue to be one of our most valuable assets,” he said.

NRMA Group CEO Tony Stuart said the partnership between NRMA and the Show represents one of Australia’s most iconic brands working with one of Sydney’s most iconic events.

“The Easter Show is a unique event that brings the city and the country together – that’s one of the reasons the NRMA wants to be a part of it,” Mr Stuart said.

“Over 40 per cent of NRMA Members live outside Sydney and many will be attending the Show, as will many of our city Members. By supporting the Show volunteers, the NRMA can do its part in helping families find the must see sights at this year’s event.

NRMA will feature on volunteer apparel to ensure the volunteers stand out from the crowd.

For more information, including information on ticketing and transport options, visit:
www.eastershow.com.au

The Sweet Fix: Easter School Holidays in the Whitsundays

The grass is groomed, the white sand polished and the Easter Bunny not far away. The Whitsundays is set to celebrate Easter, so don't miss out on all the family fun during April school holidays:

Get up close to the Easter Bunny at One&Only Hayman Island, hunt for Easter eggs at Daydream Island Resort and Spa and join the team at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort for a week full of great gooey chocolate fun.

For the Kids:

Got a soft centre for a really unique family holiday? Then we've got the sweetest fix of all. BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort presents Chocolate Week, choc-a-block full of wicked indulgence and great gooey all-you-can-eat fun for kids. From 11-17 April, every activity is dipped in mouth-watering fun from chocolate coin treasure hunts, chocolate cooking in Kid's Club, chocolate themed movies, chocolate crafts, and much more!

The Easter fun seems endless at One&Only Hayman Island with Easter games, arts, and even special one-hour tennis lessons with Jim Courier Tennis (JCT) pro as part of the KidsOnly Easter Tennis Clinic. While everyone curiously awaits the arrival of the Easter Bunny, guests can join an evening walk under the stars to try and spot the special guest. If you're lucky you may spot his white fur or discover one or two eggs amongst the grass or trees. On Sunday, 5 April the Easter Bunny will arrive in true One&Only style. Let your little ones scatter and search for Easter eggs with the Easter Bunny, before getting your photo taken for an Easter experience that will be memorable for the whole family.

And don't miss the family fun activities at Daydream Island Resort and Spa on Easter Sunday. The day is filled with colourful activities from meeting the Easter Bunny and an Easter Egg Hunt to Egg and Spoon races, face painting, and Twilight Mini Golf. At night time, cosy up under the stars and watch a movie at the Outdoor Cinema.

For Adventurers:

Follow in the footsteps of explorer James Cook who first sailed through the Whitsundays on Sunday, 3 June 1770. School holidays are ideal to spend some quality time with family and friends. Chart the course of your own adventure as you cruise through the Whitsunday Islands or sit back and relax with a crewed charter. Book the Mid-Season Madness with Whitsunday Rent A Yacht and save: Book 7 nights – pay for only five. There's no better excuse for a little island hopping in the Whitsundays (trust us!).

For Gourmets:

Celebrate Easter by the Coral Sea surrounded by family and indulge in delicious food and wine with a side of stunning views over the Whitsundays. Enjoy a delicious BBQ buffet at One&Only Hayman Island's Pacific including Grilled Tiger Prawns, Charcoal Grilled Baby Chicken and Champagne Cheesecake. Rejoice at One&Only Hayman Island's Aquazure with a delicious family-style Easter dinner by the Coral Sea. Indulge in an array of Spanish inspired tapas including Kingfish Ceviche, Cape Grim Striploin Tagliata, and Crème Catalan.


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.

Activities in Viet Nam International Travel Mart VITM Ha Noi 2015

The Viet Nam International Travel Mart will be officially opened from 3 – 6 April 2015 at Viet Nam Exhibition and Fair Centre (148 Giang Vo Street, Ha Noi), the 3rd Viet Nam International Travel Mart 2015 (VITM Ha Noi 2015) with the theme “Viet Nam – The country of heritage” will focus on introducing natural and cultural heritage of Viet Nam recognized by UNESCO, attractive tourist sites; at the same time promote the image of Viet Nam tourism; and create many opportunities in cooperation and investment for domestic and international enterprises.

With the participations of 44 provinces, cities nationwide and 24 countries, territories, VITM Ha Noi 2015 attracts by numerous attractive activities for sellers, buyers, international press and public visitors.

Activity schedule of VITM Ha Noi 2015
Thursday, 2 April 2015
Time
Event
Organizers
Audience
18:30 – 21:00
Opening Ceremony and Gala Dinner (Lottte Hotel, 54 Lieu Giai Str., Ba Dinh Dist., Ha Noi)
VITA and Ha Noi People’s Committee
Guests
Friday, 3 April 2015
Time
Event
Organizers
Audience
All day
Korea Tourism Presentation
KTO
Tourism enterprises and guests
10:00 – 12:00
Malaysia Tourism Presentation
Malaysia Tourism
Promotion Board
Tourism enterprises and guests
14:00 – 17:00
Seminar on “Responsible tourism and cultural heritage”
ESRT
Guests
Saturday, 4 April 2015
Time
Event
Organizers
Audience
08:30 – 10:30
Introduction of Training course for Vietnamese
Tourist Guide in Japan
VISTA
Guests
10:30 – 12:00
Vietnam Airlines presentation
Vietnam Airlines
Tourism enterprises and guests
13:30 – 15:00
Greece Tourism Presentation
Argo Travel
Tourism enterprises and guests
15:30 – 17:00
Introduction of new tourism products of France and Australia
EKA VOYAGES &E.C TRAVEL
Tourism enterprises and guests
09:00 – 12:00
Seminar on “The solutions to improve the attractiveness of Ha Noi tourism products”
Ha Noi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism
Guests
13:30 – 17:00
Discussion on “Developing Indian and Middle East Tourist Source Markets”
VNAT
Guests
09:00 – 17:00
International art performances


Sunday, 5 April 2015
Time
Event
Organizers
Audience
08:30 – 12:00
Training course on the criteria of Green Lotus Label
VNAT
Guests
13:30 – 15:30
River cruise tourism products presentation
Focus travel
Tourism enterprises and guests
09:00 – 12:00
Seminar on “Tourism Stimulus Program” and “The implementation of the Resolution No.92 of the Government on the solutions to develop tourism”
VNAT
Guests
13:30 – 16:30
Discussion on “Modification of the Viet Nam Tourism overseas promotion”
VNAT
Guests
18:00 – 21:00
Introduction of new tourism products of Philippines
Phillippines Department of Tourism
Guests
09:00 – 17:00
International art performances


Monday, 6 April 2015
Time
Event
Organizers
Audience
09:00 – 12:00
Discussion on “Developing England and German Tourist Source Markets”
VNAT and VITA
Guests
16:00 – 17:30
Closing ceremony
Organization Board
Guests, representatives of units attending the mart
09:00 – 17:00
International art performances



KTO: Korea Tourism Organization
VNAT: Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism 
VITA: Viet Nam Tourism Association
VISTA: Viet Nam Society of Travel Agents

ESRT: Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme – Funded by the EU

POP-UP HOLIDAY PARK BRINGS LEISURELY PACE TO SYDNEY

A campaign to promote caravan and camping holidays across Regional NSW took place in Sydney CBD’s Wynyard Park this week. The pop-up holiday park gave visitors the opportunity to inspect the latest caravan and camping products and experiences whilst giving Sydneysiders a taste of the upcoming Camping and Holiday Supershow which will run from 11 until 19 April at Rosehill Racecourse.

The initiative was part of a joint campaign between Destination NSW and the Caravan and Camping Industry Association NSW (CCIA).

CCIA NSW Chief Executive Officer Lyndel Gray said this was the second year the organisation has worked with Destination NSW to create a pop up caravan park in the CBD.

“The caravan and camping industry is continually innovating and we now have motorhomes and caravans with all the latest facilities you’d expect, tents that pop open with the flick of a wrist and all the new accessories that make camping life more convenient and comfortable than ever,” Ms Gray said.

For more information on caravan and camping destinations and products, helpful hints and tips to plan a holiday in NSW, go to visitnsw.com andcaravan-camping.com.au

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

TFE Hotels to Cement the Next-Generation of Vibe Hotels in North Sydney

TFE (Toga Far East) Hotels is completing a management agreement to establish a new-build, next-generation Vibe hotel as part of Cromwell Property Group's redevelopment of Northpoint Tower, addressing demand for much-needed hotel accommodation in North Sydney's CBD.

Due for completion in early 2017, the 188-room hotel will become one of the next generation of Vibe Hotels, joining the newly-opened Vibe Hotel Marysville in Victoria and Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport, another new-build hotel due to open in quarter four 2015.

TFE Hotels' agreement with Cromwell Property Group to establish a next-generation Vibe Hotel as part of its Northpoint development follows confirmation of the closure of Vibe North Sydney in Milsons Point, which was sold to Cbus Property in 2014 and is set to close its doors on 31 March 2015.

“We are delighted to have had 10 wonderful years with this renowned Vibe Hotel in its stunning location right beside Milsons Point; and the hotel has consistently delivered solid financial returns. This new next generation hotel will ensure Vibe Hotels remains in North Sydney, continuing to support the large corporate community in this part of Australia's largest city. North Sydney will follow the opening of our first next generation Vibe Hotel in Canberra and the new Vibe Hotel Marysville, designed with features to connect you to the locale and enabling our guests to experience the best of the local area" said TFE Hotels CEO, Rachel Argaman.

These brand signatures will be the hallmark of Vibe Hotels' next generation hotels:

  • Rooms that Inspire – Guest's rooms are a haven in which to relax and feel inspired, with modern and stylish finishes, art and home-grown delicacies in the mini bar reflecting the locale.
  • A Vibe Lifestyle – Comfortable lounges and bars enhance social and collective experience with strategically placed power points and USB plugs to help guests stay connectedandcommunal Hubs to mingle, eat, work and drink.
  • Vibe Connected– Stay connected to your family, friends or work where ever you are. Free Wi-Fi lets you do what you want, where you want. Vibe Community Connection is an initiative to help support the local community surrounding each Vibe Hotel. As part of this program each Vibe Hotel will support local charities.
  • Vibe Discovery – Vibe Hotels are close to everything you need to immerse yourself in the locale. Team members play host to our guests - as they welcome you to their “home” and we like to share local knowledge and educational information with our guests, to keep them in the know on what to eat, see and do.
  • Vibe Fit – Fit Food menu options, local running track maps, an in-room yoga channel or to enjoy a work out with fellow guests; Vibe Hotels have everything you need to stay fit and healthy while travelling.
  • Creative Conferencing – Vibe meetings are spaces to think, inspire and spur creativity with casual seating and creative breakout areas, note pads filled with inspirational quotes, customised lighting and music, regionally inspired menus, state of the art multimedia and high speed internet.

"This new hotel will feature all the hallmarks of our next-generation Vibe hotels, including inspiring guestrooms and public spaces, free WiFi and our Vibe Fit program for active travellers. We'll also be addressing demand among local corporates for more dedicated event and meeting space in North Sydney with a 300-capacity MICE facility within the hotel, supported by our new Creative Conferencing products and services.

"We're excited to be working with Cromwell Property Group to create another next-generation Vibe Hotel and a fresh option for places to stay and meet in North Sydney," Argaman said.

North Sydney's Northpoint Tower is a 44-storey landmark, currently comprising office and retail space. Its redevelopment will include a complete overhaul of the existing retail offering and construction of a new generation Vibe Hotel on the northern edge of the site. TFE Hotels is currently in discussions to run the hotel under a management agreement with Cromwell Property Group.

"TFE Hotels is our partner of choice for this development. We've seen how consistently successful the company has been, driving sustainable occupancy and rate with its Vibe hotel in Milsons Point and we're impressed with how closely their commitment to ROI aligns with our own goals for Northpoint," said Rob Percy, Associate Director of Cromwell Property Group.

"There's a noticeable gap between supply and demand for quality hotel accommodation and meeting facilities in North Sydney. The redevelopment of the Northpoint Tower site is an excellent opportunity to address that gap and diversify the asset. TFE Hotels and the Vibe Hotels brand will help us make the most of that opportunity."

TFE Hotels

A joint venture between Toga Group and Far East Hospitality Holdings, TFE Hotels (Toga Far East Hotels) is a leading hotel operator across Australia, NZ and Europe.

Combining the strength of two international hospitality businesses, TFE Hotels currently operates 70 strategically located hotels across Australia, New Zealand and Europe. TFE Hotels' brands include: Adina Apartment Hotels, Medina Serviced Apartments, Rendezvous Hotels, Vibe Hotels, Travelodge Hotels and Hotel Kurrajong Canberra.

These brands represent over 10,000 apartments and hotel rooms which vary in price, location and design to meet a range of different accommodation needs. For more information, visit: tfehotels.com

• Adina Apartment Hotels in 26 locations (Australia and Europe). Other locations coming soon include Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney Airport (2015), Adina Apartment Hotel Royal Randwick Racecourse (2016) and Adina Apartment Hotel Frankfurt Messe (2016).

• Medina Serviced Apartments in five locations (Australia).

• Vibe Hotels in 7 locations (Australia). Other locations coming soon include Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport (2015)

• Travelodge Hotels in 17 locations (Australia & New Zealand) Soon to be 18 with the opening of Travelodge Sydney Airport (2016)

• Rendezvous Hotels in 11 locations (Australia & New Zealand)

• Hotel Kurrajong Canberra (Australia) re-opened in December 2014

EASTER SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

With Easter school holidays approaching it’s time to think about how best to keep the kids entertained. Merlin Entertainments Group has a host of new ideas and attractions just in time for the break.

Discover the bright and vibrant underwater world of the Octonauts in an all-new experience at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium opening at Easter. It features completely new aquatic animals in dynamic displays, 3D talking Octonauts crew members, activities and more.

Kids can interact with their favourite Octonauts crew members as they embark on a new mission to protect the wonderful creatures they discover in the new Octonauts World. Visitors can dive into action and talk to Captain Barnacles, help with a search for hidden treasure and watch a thrilling encounter with a great white shark.

Meanwhile Madame Tussauds Sydney features something for everyone. Rub shoulders with Ryan Gosling or Brad Pitt or take a call with your feet up on the oval office desk next to Barack Obama. Mini superheroes in waiting can power up next to Ironman or become Wolverine’s sidekick for a day.

Kids visiting Illawarra Fly over the Easter school holidays will be given an adventure passport. The passport features exciting trail of questions that will have them learning about the region’s diverse flora and fauna, as well as cool facts about Illawarra Fly. The award-winning Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures is one of Australia’s premier treetop walk and zipline experiences. With stunning views, guided tours, a visitor centre and cafe, the Fly is a great place for a day out for families.

Finally, set sail to Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary for the all-new Shipwreck Shores play zone experience where kids can learn about conservation through imagination, play and discovery.

While scuttling through the hull of a sunken ship into a soft play place filled with slides, climbing obstacles and tunnels, children can encounter fun activities and may even see a few undersea creatures along the way. The new Shipwreck Shores play zone also boasts a kid-friendly splash play area and imagination zone.

For more information visit merlinattractions.com.au

SUPERCROSS EVENT SET TO ROAR

An exciting new event will take place in Western Sydney, the supercross motorbike AUS-X Open. The event will be the biggest action sports competition in the Southern Hemisphere, combining an international supercross racing event with a freestyle motorcross (FMX) ‘best trick’ competition.

It will also feature pyrotechnics, light and sound, and a line-up of the world’s best supercross and FMX riders.

Set to contribute $1.8 million to the NSW economy in visitor expenditure, the AUS-X Open will be broadcast to 139 countries around the world. Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said the event is one-of-a-kind for both NSW and Australia.

“The Australian Open of supercross brings spectacular action-sport to Sydney, combining world-class supercross racing with the awe-inspiring tricks and stunts of freestyle motocross competition. It will have something for motorsport lovers of all types and ages, and I encourage everyone to make the trip to Sydney in November to be a part of the action,” she said.

Tickets will be available through Ticketek in May, with international rider announcements and further information to follow in April.

The AUS-X Open will be held at AllPhones Arena at Sydney Olympic Park on 28 November.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Les Miserables - Experience the Musical Phenomenon in Sydney!

Les Misérables has arrived in Sydney!

After incredible seasons in Melbourne and Perth, Cameron Mackintosh's acclaimed new production is now playing at the Capitol Theatre for a limited season. Seen by over 70 million people and winner of over 100 awards, now it is your turn to see, or see again, the musical experience of a lifetime.

Completely re-imagined with incredible new designs and an outstanding cast – this is Les Mis like you have never seen it before.

Purchase your tickets now for new performances from 30 June - 12 July before they go on sale to the general public. Hurry, pre-sale ends Thursday 11pm!


PRE-SALE ON NOW


One way to stay warm this winter: HUGS!

Dolly
Dolly is an immense, 3 metre tall light-up doll made entirely from crochet. It's the one light installation that is custom made for cuddling!

She is out of her normal context and out of scale, creating an unusual addition to the urban landscape around Circular Quay in Sydney, Australia.

Dolly was designed and handmade by local Sydney artist Tina Fox as a response to childhood memories of night-lights, bedtime dolls and soft teddies. The doll’s extra long arms and huggable body beg to be embraced by both children and adults.

A UK-trained architect and artist, Fox enjoys pushing the limits of craft and sculpture to soften modern technologies and is always looking for new ways to create craft on an architectural scale and to drag it out of its innocuous domestic milieu. The artist aims to smash assumptions about handcrafting and to raise awareness of its potential in art.

Dolly is crocheted from 6-mm cotton rope using an extra large hook and is internally illuminated with metres of IP65 LED strip-lights, which cast a dim light through the woven structure. She looks beautiful in the daytime, concealing all trace of electronics and gadgetry, and then softly glows at night to draw attention from passers-by. She also provides the perfect photo opportunity – who could miss the chance to snap that all-important selfie with a giant Dolly?

THIS EVENT HAPPENS IN CAMPBELL'S COVE

A small bay on the eastern shore of Sydney Cove, Campbell’s Cove is named after Robert Campbell, a Scottish merchant who arrived in Sydney in the late 1790s and established a highly successful import/export business operated out of storehouses and a jetty on its shores. See what else is happening in Campbell's Cove

When: 22 May - 08 Jun, 06:00 pm - Midnight
Price: FREE
Artist: Tina Fox
Country: Australia

Artistic photos on central Quang Nam province on display

Hoi An ancient town
As many of 50 artistic photos by 27 photographers are on display at an exhibition titled “Quang Nam – Colour of the homeland” which is being held at the provincial Association of Literature and Arts in Vietnam.

The photos were selected from among hundreds by photographers who are members of the Viet Nam Photographers’ Association in Quang Nam province. They reflect love for the homeland, pride in the changes and development of the homeland.

The activity is being held by Quang Nam Provincial Association of Literature and Arts to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Quang Nam’s liberation, Party Congress at different levels towards the 12th National Party Congress and the 62nd anniversary of Viet Nam Photography Day.

The photos will be also be on exhibit at the statue of Viet Nam heroic mothers on March 23rd and 24th, 2015 on the occasion of the statue’s inauguration.

NEW SYDNEY & NSW IN WINTER AND VIVID SYDNEY GUIDES RELEASED THIS WEEKEND

Almost three million people across Australia and New Zealand will be encouraged to take a Winter break in New South Wales, as the wonders of the State are showcased this weekend in a 40-page Love Every Second of Sydney & NSW in Winter guide.

The guide, available through publications including Sunday Telegraph in Sydney, the Sunday Herald Sun in Melbourne, the Brisbane Sunday Mail, the Perth Sunday Times, the Adelaide Sunday Mail, the Canberra Times, as well as various titles across Regional NSW and North East Victoria, is published by Destination NSW.

For the first time it will also be accompanied by a bonus souvenir Vivid Sydney guide, which will provide readers with all the details of this year’s festival, from 22 May to 8 June.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said that the publications highlight some of the best things to see, do and experience in NSW this Winter.

“NSW turns up the heat in the cooler months, with a bumper line-up of events and festivals right across the State, with something for all ages and tastes,” Ms Chipchase said.

“Vivid Sydney continues to be the centrepiece Winter event, and it will be bigger and better than ever this year, with light, music and ideas shining brightly across the city. Last year it was named Australia’s Best Tourism Event and attracted 1.43 million people from across Australia and around the World.

“The Love Every Second of Sydney & NSW in Winter magazine will also highlight the blockbuster calendar of events – many of which are NSW exclusives – over the coming months, including the premiere of Tim Minchin’s Matilda: The Musical, the visit of Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur, the first game of the State of Origin series, the Touch Football World Cup in Coffs Harbour, the Netball World Cup and the Bledisloe Cup.

The guides will also appear in newspapers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in New Zealand.

“These publications have a total readership of 2.78 million people, and the guides provide all the essential information and inside tips about making a trip to Sydney and NSW unforgettable,” Ms Chipchase said.

For more information on the Vivid Sydney festival, visit Vividsydney.com. More information on NSW and Sydney can be found at sydney.com and visitnsw.com.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

ACQUATIC WONDERLAND IN CHATSWOOD

Vivid Sydney will transform the busy food and retail hub of Chatswood into a flowing light walk journey with mesmerising immersive light experiences.Stepping off the train at the Chatswood Interchange, you’ll enter an evocative underwater fantasy with floating water creatures and pulsing colours. From here, Chatswood Mall becomes an immersive, light-filled ‘river’ where glowing creatures are brought to life with lighting and projections. LED technology will create cascading waves of colour before an animated aquarium appears in front of you. Further along, at The Concourse - Chatswood’s cultural centre - an Aquatic Wonderland reveals itself and a giant bedtime story screens across the sails of the building. Stay a while longer and enjoy the many restaurants and shopping at Chatswood Interchange, Chatswood Chase and Westfield Chatswood.

THIS EVENT HAPPENS IN CHATSWOOD

Vivid Sydney will transform the busy food and retail hub of Chatswood into a flowing light walk journey with mesmerising immersive light experiences.Stepping off the train at the Chatswood Interchange, you’ll enter an evocative underwater fantasy with floating water creatures and pulsing colours. From here, Chatswood Mall becomes an immersive, light-filled ‘river’ where glowing creatures are brought to life with lighting and projections. LED technology will create cascading waves of colour before an animated aquarium appears in front of you. Further along, at The Concourse - Chatswood’s cultural centre - an Aquatic Wonderland reveals itself and a giant bedtime story screens across the sails of the building. Stay a while longer and enjoy the many restaurants and shopping at Chatswood Interchange, Chatswood Chase and Westfield Chatswood. See what else is happening in Chatswood

11 Clever Tips for Bagging a Hotel Bargain

Accommodation is one of the principal costs travellers face and there are countless strategies that can be used in order to cut costs and find the cheapest hotel room available. Whether it's telling the reception clerk that it's your honeymoon, or waiting until the very last minute to book, we've all tried one way or another to reduce the cost.

It's a time-consuming project and no matter what budget you are travelling on, finding the ideal lodging at the best price can be a challenge.

To help travellers save money on their hotel booking, HotelsCombined has released a clever list of booking tips and tricks:
  • Be flexible. Flexibility with your travel dates will allow you to take advantage of fluctuations in room prices. Rates change and you may find that it's cheaper to stay at a hotel from Saturday to Tuesday than from Wednesday to Friday.
  • Book via mobile. Try booking using your mobile phone or app – some hotels offer “mobile only” rates. By using the HotelsCombined mobile app to compare your hotel options,  you just might find a cheaper price.
  • Who doesn't love a free extra?Keep an eye out for hotels offering complimentary breakfast, WIFI or cancellation. These added elements will save you a few dollars when it comes to settling the bill. 
  • Book the Standard. Standard rooms are generally the most affordable hotel rooms.
  • Think independent. Look beyond the big hotel chains. Independent hotels can offer excellent rates and services and are often up to 50 per cent cheaper than major chains.
  • Show you are loyal. Joining Hotel Loyalty programs or membership clubs can be your ticket to discounted rates or upgrade offers. These programs are usually free to join and you'll be able to take advantage of the benefits (better room placement or amenities, discount codes and sales) for your next stay.
  • Check your rate. Make sure the rate you are being offered includes taxes and additional fees. The prices listed on HotelsCombined include all of these fees so you know what you are in for, upfront.
  • Know your seasons. Understand the peak seasons and the low seasons, and the events that will be occurring in the city you are travelling to at that time. These factors will affect the rate and availability of hotel rooms. 
  • Plan in advance.  Booking at least 30 days in advance will ensure you get the pick of the widest range of hotel room options. Not only can room prices can jump in the lead up to a particular date, but the availability and room choice will be limited.
  • Extend your stay. While it's not necessarily cheaper to book more than one night at a time, occasionally hotels do offer a fourth or a fifth night free.
  • Shop around online. Research is the key and you should be sure to check out as many options as possible. There are hundreds of sites out there that offering different rates and options. HotelsCombined compares them all, simply and efficiently. You'll find the best room rate every time, guaranteed.

For travellers planning on booking their accommodation soon, Global PR Manager at HotelsCombined, Alycia Simons, says that thinking outside the square will often help to save money.

“Accommodation can be an expensive element of a holiday. While it is easy to book the first hotel available, travellers that shop around and compare their options will find they can save up to eighty per cent on the cost of the accommodation,” she said.

“Some users have told us they search for accommodation using our map function, which allows them to find hotels that are nearby but not located in the city centre. These are generally cheaper and just as easy to get to. Other users travelled just outside of peak season. There are plenty of ways to save and ensure you have made the best possible accommodation decision,” Ms Simons finished.

Avid Australian traveller, Caitlin Robinson, says that when travelling around Malaysia in 2014 she was keenly aware of how accommodation ate into her budget.

“As a way of cutting back on how much I spend on hotels when I travel, I look for smaller boutique-type hotels that are a little outside of the city centre. The service is as good as the larger chains and can be considerably more affordable. Often these places will offer a fantastic breakfast to start the day and friendly, personalised service – I've had some great experiences,” Ms Robinson said.

Heading towards the 55th anniversary of Viet Nam tourism industry

In 2015, Viet Nam tourism industry will celebrate the 55th anniversary (July 9, 1960-2015). This event remains an important marker of the industry’s development process, especially in the period of international integration of the country.

The plan for the 55th anniversary of Viet Nam tourism industry promulgated by Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) sets goals: raising the public’s awareness of the tourism industry’s importance and contribution to the national socio-economic development; maintaining the tourism’s role; upholding the pride of the people working in tourism of the glorious tradition during the past 55 years; heightening responsibility in developing tourism; and encouraging the whole industry to improve quality of products and services, fulfil the objectives of receiving tourists and total revenue.

According to the plan, activities directed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and implemented by VNAT include: organizing the 55th anniversary celebration of Viet Nam tourism industry; honouring leading tourism businesses and awarding medal “For the cause of Culture, Sports and Tourism” to individuals who have significantly contributed to the tourism industry’s development; hosting national seminar on innovative solutions to develop Viet Nam tourism in the new period; propagating Viet Nam tourism’s 55 years of development in VITM Ha Noi 2015; and other communication activities.

On this occasion, VNAT also asked Departments of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Tourism Departments of the provinces, cities and tourism businesses to actively participate in activities heading towards the 55th anniversary of Viet Nam tourism industry: developing new tourism products, focusing on environmental protection and improving image of safe and friendly destinations…