Monday, 31 October 2016

SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE: THE OPERA - three performances remaining

The world’s first large-scale, live silent opera opened in the Harbour City on Friday evening, with a spectacular new production staged on the steps of the Sydney Opera House.

I was fortunate to attend Saturdays night performance. Read my review article about it in tomorrows edition of this magazine.

Tickets are still available for one of three remaining special performances of Sydney Opera House – The Opera: the Eight Wonder.

The production shares the fascinating story behind one of Australia’s most celebrated landmarks and has been secured by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres encouraged visitors from across Australia and around the globe to experience this unique celebration of Australia’ s landscape, infrastructure, culture and creative talent.

“This Opera Australia production tells the story behind the building of this renowned Sydney landmark and is expected to contribute an estimated $2.3 million to the NSW visitor economy,” Mr Ayres said.

Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini said the show would deliver a magical experience.

“Sitting under the stars on the Forecourt, the audience will be cocooned in a world of pure sound with the stunning visuals of a brilliantly designed set spread across the steps and the magnificent Sydney Opera House as the backdrop. It doesn’t get much better than this in Sydney,” Mr Terracini said.

A huge cast, chorus and orchestra will perform the opera live, with the sound transmitted to the audience through state-of-the-art Audio Technica headphones, a feat not accomplished before with classical music on such a large scale.

Sydney Opera House – additional performances on 3, 4 and 5 November.

Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

China International Travel Mart 2016 in Shanghai

The China International Travel Mart 2016 will be held at the Shanghai New International Expo Center from November 11th to 13th.

 CITM is the largest professional travel mart in Asia, and has drawn worldwide attention from people in the tourism industry. 

The China National Tourism Administration, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government jointly organize CITM. 

Participants at CITM come from all sectors of the travel industry, including international and domestic tourist organizations, travel agencies, hotels, airlines and other related travel companies. 

We welcome you to come to Shanghai in November for CITM! Click here for complete details on the travel mart.

NSW DESTINATION AMBASSADORS PROFILE SYDNEY TO CRUISE VISITORS

The newest troop of NSW Destination Ambassadors have extended a warm welcome to thousands of cruise ship visitors at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal, marking the completion of the program’s first training round.

The NSW Destination Ambassador program has been created to improve the arrival experience of cruise ship passengers and was launched to coincide with the start of the cruise season.

Armed with local knowledge and trained by TAFE NSW, the volunteer Ambassadors provide advice to newly arrived passengers on everything the city has to offer – from world-class events and retail to restaurants, theatres, museums and much more.

So far 20 Ambassadors have completed the training, with a further 60 to graduate before the year’s end.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said the program was showcasing Sydney to thousands of international and domestic visitors.

“The NSW Destination Ambassador program has been created to improve the professionalism and presentation of the existing meet and greet service, and is all about creating a positive first impression,” Ms Chipchase said.

“From the best in art, culture, food, shopping and vibrant events to an abundance of natural wonders, our visitors can make the most of what’s on offer in Sydney and surrounding NSW regions with the latest information and local knowledge at their fingertips.

“The program is one of many activities Destination NSW is rolling out to ensure NSW remains at the top of our visitors’ travel itineraries and to entice new and return visitors.”

The Ambassador service is currently operating out of the White Bay and Overseas Passenger Terminals and has the potential to be trialled in other destinations across the State. The program is a joint initiative between Destination NSW, TAFE NSW Sydney, the Port Authority of NSW, City of Sydney and Inner West Council.

For more information, email the Destination NSW Visitor Services Team.

Photo: Destination Ambassador, Pauline Roberts, ready to greet passengers from behind new welcome desk at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Sydney.

Lonely Planet Declares The Skellig Ring on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way One of the Top Regions in the World for 2017

The Skellig Ring drive, on the southwestern tip of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way, has been named one of the top regions in the world for travellers in 2017. The region receives the accolade in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2017, the highly anticipated collection of the world's hottest trends, destinations and experiences for the year ahead. The bestselling travel yearbook from one of the world's leading travel authorities highlights the top ten countries, cities, regions and best value destinations that Lonely Planet's experts recommend travellers experience in 2017.

The Skellig Ring is a coastal drive that is an extension of the famous Ring of Kerry on the Wild Atlantic Way – described in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2017 as “perhaps Ireland's most charismatically wild and emerald stretch of coastline”.

Skellig Michael, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a “remote, wave-pounded hunk of rock rising out of the Atlantic like a giant triangle,” made the new Star Wars location list. As the book recognises, “Glimpsed at the end of The Force Awakens, Skellig Michael will play a bigger role in this year's sequel and local businesses are gearing up for the expected visitor bump”.

Also highlighted in the book is Skellig Michael's sister isle, known as Small Skellig, “an even craggier outpost that hosts a colony of 50,000 gannets.” Both are located on the Wild Atlantic Way, often referred to as the world's longest coastal touring route – a 2,500km stretch of glorious rugged coast along the west of Ireland.

The Skellig islands are located off the coast of Kerry and while the book recognises that “nothing beats actually landing on Skellig Michael and climbing the 600 treacherously steep stone steps to reach the intriguing, beehive like-chambers,” when the isles are out of bounds due to inclement weather, the string of villages from which the boats depart also offer a host of distractions – from cosy pubs and Blue Flag beaches, to historic ruins.

Lonely Planet spokesperson, Nóirín Hegarty, said, “The Skellig Ring should be on every traveller's must-see list. It's a spot of timeless beauty and now that it's coming to prominence on the silver screen, 2017 really is the year to get out there and see it for yourself.”

The Skellig Ring features tenth on the list of top regions for 2017, alongside South Australia, Taranaki in New Zealand, the Azores in Portugal, the Tuamotus in French Polynesia and Coastal Georgia in the USA. Choquequiro in Peru takes the top spot.

Lonely Planet's writers and experts spend time on the road in almost every destination on the planet and each year they report which destinations are set to take off, offering travellers the best experience available. The destinations selected for Lonely Planet's Best in Travel meet specific criteria; it could be that something special is going on in the year ahead or there's been recent development and a lot of buzz about the place, that it offers travellers new things to see or do, or that the Lonely Planet team of experts thinks it's been overlooked and underrated and suggests travellers visit before the crowds do.

Top 10 Regions in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2017

1. Choquequirao, Peru
2. Taranaki, New Zealand
3. The Azores, Portugal
4. North Wales, UK
5. South Australia
6. Aysén, Chile
7. The Tuamotus, French Polynesia
8. Coastal Georgia, USA
9. Perak, Malaysia
10. The Skellig Ring, Ireland

South Australia Receives Prestigious Travel Accolade for 2017

Travel trend setters, Lonely Planet, have awarded South Australia fifth best region on their much-anticipated Best in Travel 2017 lists - the only Australian destination to be included across the top three categories.

While Australia was listed at number six on 2016's top country list and Adelaide ranked ninth position in 2014's top city list, it is South Australia's first time to shine in the prestigious travel accolade.

Other regions listed in the 2017 list include Choquequirao, Peru at number one, followed by Taranaki, New Zealand, The Azores, Portugal and North Wales, United Kingdom. Canada features as top country while France's Bordeaux made the top city.

You get the full Australian experience all in one State when you visit South Australia. With crowd-free beaches, up close wildlife encounters, world-class food and drink, an enviable festival and event calendar and natural beauty a-plenty, it's no wonder Lonely Planet has tipped SA as one of ten hottest regions to travel to in 2017.

The 2017 book describe South Australia as:

“Its climate may be hot, but South Australia offers the coolest mix of brilliant wine country, abundant produce festivals, stark and stunning tracts of picturesque Aussie outback and crowd-free beaches that could make even the Bahamas jealous.”

“The Queen Mary 2 is putting South Australia on her travel list in 2017, choosing to dock not only in its artistic capital, Adelaide, but also taking in the rustic charms of Kangaroo Island. South Australia is a delicious feast suitable to anyone's taste.”

Thanks to their team of globe-trotters and self-professed travel nerds, each year Lonely Planet sets out to unearth the top ten regions, cities and countries to publish in their top-selling guide.

In addition, Lonely Planet has teamed up with Snapchat to create an exclusive Best in Travel 2017 live story, where users can submit their snaps from the top five regions. For the first time, Snapchat users in South Australia can share their experiences of the Best in Travel 2017 winning region with the rest of the globe.

To celebrate the momentous occasion the State Government will be holding a Block Party in Adelaide's West End on Friday, 28 October from 5-10pm. The free event will see Peel Street, Gilbert Place and Leigh Street come to life with local entertainment and a showcase of SA's best food and drink.

Head to southaustralia.com for more information on SA travel and read the top five reasons to visit SA.

2017: The Year of Oman

Its' official: next year is going to be one of the country's biggest. Lonely Planet has released its Best in Travel 2017 list and Oman has made the grade, named one of the Top 10 countries to visit in the coming 12 months.

Why? Oman is the jewel in the crown of the Arabian Peninsula; a country that combines nature and culture, adventure and luxury, history and the best of the modern world.

“Oman has been the ace in Arabia's pack for a while, but with more flights than ever before and high-end hotels popping up all over the place, the Sultanate looks ready to raise its game yet again,” says the publisher's website in its appraisal. It goes on to mention some of the new luxury hotels around the country: Anantara has two new five-star properties in the Hajar Mountains and on the beach at Salalah in Oman's southern region; Kempinski will open its beachfront hotel at Muscat's Al Mouj Marina; and Starwood will reveal the Westin Muscat in January. There is also a huge water and theme park, Majarat Oman, due to open next year. The park, designed by Australian company the Sanderson Group, is located north of Muscat at the Al Sawadi Beach Resort and is the first of its kind in Oman.

Of course, much of Oman's appeal lies not in what is new, but what is ancient. Start in Muscat, where it's possible to explore the Mutrah Souk, stroll the corniche at sunset and be awed by the immense Al Mirani Fort. Travel into the mountains, where wadis bring life to traditional villages, or to the southern coast near Salalah, where the khareef (an annual monsoon) creates a lush, subtropical playground, including seasonal waterfalls, in the desert. Then there is the Musandam Peninsula, where the rugged coastline resembles Norwegian fjords. This part of the country is best explored by dhow (traditional wooden boats), often accompanied by pods of dolphins.

Oman offers styles of travel suitable for every explorer, whether backpackers who want to camp, families looking for light adventure or couples seeking romance. Make 2017 a year of Omani discoveries.

For more information, media interviews and images, contact Mona Tannous on (02) 9286 8930 or at mona@tourismoman.com.au.

A 'Royal' Welcome for the 2017 QPAC International Series

Britain's flagship ballet company, The Royal Ballet, will perform exclusively in Brisbane for the 2017 QPAC International Series, announced today by Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones.

“The Royal Ballet, one of the greatest dance companies in the world, will perform the Australian premieres of two works, The Winter's Tale and Woolf Works, from 29 June to 9 July 2017,” the Premier said.

“Royal Ballet director Kevin O'Hare is bringing the full company to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) where they will perform these two highly-acclaimed works for the first time outside of their home at London's Covent Garden.

The Premier said the Queensland Government supported the QPAC International Series with funding from Tourism and Events Queensland.

“QPAC's signature International Series invites the world's greatest companies to perform exclusively in Brisbane and positions Queensland as a vibrant cultural tourism destination,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Ms Jones said the QPAC International Series had become a star performer on Queensland's major events calendar.

“Since 2009 the QPAC International Series has put the spotlight on Brisbane as a cultural tourism destination bringing exclusive productions like the Paris Opera Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet and most recently France's Ballet Preljocaj with Snow White to Queensland,” Ms Jones said.

“On average a third of audiences come from outside of Brisbane, delivering a valuable boost to our tourism industry and local economy,” said Ms Jones.

The Winter's Tale, choreographed by The Royal Ballet's Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon, is the first full length adaptation of a Shakespeare play by the company since Kenneth MacMillan's 1965 production of Romeo and Juliet and is Wheeldon's eighth work choreographed for the company.

The Winter's Tale features designs and costumes by Bob Crowley, score by Joby Talbot, lighting design by Natasha Katz and music direction by David Briskin.

Wayne McGregor's full-length ballet, Woolf Works, which secured the 2016 Olivier Award for best new dance production, is inspired by three of Virginia Woolf's landmark novels; Mrs Dalloway, Orlando and The Waves, as well as her autobiographical writings. In November Wayne McGregor celebrates a decade as Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet.

Set to a new score by acclaimed German-born British composer Max Richter, Woolf Works features lighting designs by Lucy Carter, film design by Ravi Deepres, and costumes by Moritz Junge with Uzma Hameed, dramaturg.

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas said the International Series engaged in a long-term international creative, cultural, educational and business exchange.

“For nearly a decade, the residency model of the QPAC International Series has seen, and will continue to see, some really important cultural exchanges from these international companies with both local artists and audiences alike,” Mr Kotzas said.

“Visiting artists become live ambassadors while they are in Queensland and, upon their return home, they become genuine advocates for QPAC, Brisbane and Queensland.

“Audiences have come on a journey with us since 2009; relishing a broad program that has seen grand balletic tradition united with innovation and bold artistry producing exceptional standards of performing arts experiences,” Mr Kotzas said.

The Royal Ballet's The Winter's Tale and Woolf Works arrive at the Lyric Theatre for an exclusive 2017 QPAC International Series season from 29 June to 9 July 2017.

Tickets are on sale from 9am, Thursday 3 November 2016 via qpac.com.au or 136 246.

QPAC presents

  • The Royal Ballet
  • Woolf Works
  • The Winter's Tale

WHEN: 29 June to 9 July 2017
WHERE: Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Cultural Centre, South Bank, Brisbane
TICKETS: Refer to qpac.com.au for current pricing
BOOKINGS: qpac.com.au or 136 246

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Sydney's 30th Norton Street Italian Festa Will Be Bigger and Better Than Ever

This year on Sunday, 30 October the main street of Leichhardt will be completely transformed by colour, sound and the cooking aromas of great Italian food, and by activities and entertainments to celebrate all things Italian at the 30th annual Norton Street Italian Festa.

More than 140,000 visitors are expected to come from far and wide to visit more than 240 produce and food stalls that will line Norton Street, and to enjoy genuine Italian food and entertainment.

Festa is one of Sydney's largest annual family events because it provides something for everyone in the family. For example, for the boys, young and old, the extensive AutoFesta display of classic brand name Italian cars and motorbikes such as Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Ducati, Maserati, Moto Guzzi and Vespa provides something to admire and fantasise about.

For the ladies there is a wide range of fashion and produce stalls, and for the youngsters there are various ride and interactive play actives. The wide variety of food and entertainment available will satisfy the tastes of all visitors.

Food has always been a central part of Festa, just as it is so central to the Italian way of life. One of the most popular aspects of Festa is the cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs and by Italian nonnas who are willing to share their traditional family recipes. In each case, those attending the cooking demonstration have an opportunity to taste the dishes the chefs and nonnas produce.

Chef Enzo Guarino winner of the pilot program of the now highly popular Australian cooking reality television show My Kitchen Rules will be the MC for the celebrity cooking stage.

The extensive line-up of celebrity chefs he has arranged will include:

Luca Ciano - His first cookbook is out now, 'Luca's Seasonal Journey The Italianos
- Luciano & Martino from My Kitchen Rules
- Francesco Spataro Celebrity Pizza Chef in Leichhardt
- Mauro head chef of Aperitivo
- Vincenzo Prosperi from Vincenzo's Plate
- Paolo Gatto from SUD
- Danny Trimarchi representing Rylstone Olive Press
- Bryan Gerlini from new Italian Restaurant Moderno Classico in Darlinghurst
and Chef Oliver Heath from The Garden, a new 'fresh produce' restaurant at the Wests Leagues Club in Ashfield, a sponsor of Festa this year.

All this wonderful Italian food and the Italian way is that food is to be enjoyed with something to drink! The Royal Hotel is at the heart of the Leichhardt hospitality scene. Celebrating its 130th anniversary with the opening of its new balcony dining area, The Royal will be a special gathering place on the day, adding to the selection of stall offerings on Norton Street.

Because of the rapidly growing interest in 'soccer' an exciting new attraction at this year's Festa will be the activities put on by the Canterbury & District Soccer Football Association which covers the Inner West, and Football NSW. For families interested in becoming involved in football this will be a great chance to get information and advice about starting to play football. Participation in organised football is growing very fast.

At Festa family members will be able to have fun in the football clinics program and learn about the opportunities to play football. They can also see demonstrations of NSW freestyle football demonstrations; watch bubble soccer games; and perhaps grab a selfie in some new football merchandise - perhaps with well-known player.

The 30th Norton Street Italian Festa will include a raffle with two return tickets to Italy as the prize. Tickets may be purchased now online and during Festa. The draw will be made at the close of the day.

For more information, visit www.nortonstreetfesta.com.au

www.facebook.com/NortonStreetItalianFestawww.instagram.com/nortonstitalianfesta www.twitter.com/italianfesta

Friday, 28 October 2016

November and December Events in Western Australia

November

Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Adventure Fest

November 5-6, 2016, August, Australia's South West
There's something on offer for everyone at the Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Adventure Fest. Competitors can choose from three different events for adventurers of all ages, and four different off-road disciplines, including ocean swimming and kayaking, trail running and mountain biking. Recognised as the world's biggest adventure race, the multi-race, multi-adventure weekend has something for everyone, taking place amidst the rugged landscapes of the South West.
http://rapidascent.com.au/AugustaAdventureFest/

Margaret River Gourmet Escape

November 18 – 20, 2016, Margaret River, Australia's South West
The Margaret River Gourmet Escape has an unparalleled line up of international and local food and wine celebrities, iconic and breathtaking host locations, money can't buy culinary experiences and a premium focus on 'the world's best'. World-famous television cook and food writer Nigella Lawson will be experiencing Gourmet Escape for the first time in 2016, along with an all-star line-up of international chefs, including Dominique Crenn, Janice Wong, Rick Stein, Ashley Palmer-Watts and Mauro Colagreco.
http://www.gourmetescape.com.au/

Arcadia

November 25 to 27, 2016, Elizabeth Quay, Experience Perth
A 50-tonne, fire-breathing spider will land at Perth's Elizabeth Quay this November for three exclusive shows as part of Arcadia, which will include a performance of Yallor Keeninyarra (Dance of the Wadjuk Nyungar people), lead by Noongar representative Barry McGuire. The Arcadia Spectacular is an Australian-first and will combine theatre, circus, music, aerial performance, robotics and pyrotechnics. Artists will perform in the belly of the beast, allowing audiences to stand under and around the 360-degree structure.
http://www.arcadiaaustralia.com/

December

King of the Cut

December 3-4, 2016, Mandurah, Experience Perth
Australia's premiere ocean race, King of the Cut, offers paddlers the chance to experience one of the best downwind runs in the coastal city of Mandurah. The 24 kilometre course is considered one of the finest downwind runs on the planet. The event is also the headline act of Wardan Marr Week, which combines five races in the space of a week, attracting plenty of world class ocean athletes.
http://www.supracer.com/king-of-the-cut/

Redbull Lighthouse to Leighton

December 3, 2016, Rottnest and Perth, Experience Perth
Now in its seventh year, the highly anticipated Redbull Lighthouse to Leightonkiteboard race will run on December 3, 2016. Entries are now open to experienced kiteboarders for the 19 kilometre race from Rottnest Island to Fremantle's Leighton Beach. There will be a number of international kite racers in town for the event, ready to take on the locals who have a hometown advantage knowing the wind and water conditions.
http://www.cvent.com/events/2016-red-bull-lighthouse-to-leighton/event-summary-6d155bf0ea7e4edbb0bec62f0013155c.aspx

Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival

December 9-11, 2016, Manjimup, Australia's South West
The Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival is a celebration of the cultural diversity of Manjimup, highlighting and promoting the horticultural products that are grown (particularly cherries) and the value they add to the region. The festival attracts visitors from around the State and is held during the optimum cherry season in December.
http://www.cherryfestival.com.au/

Moab's Extended Season

Winter means end of November to Presidents' Day for Moab. Often this time frame results in lower accommodation prices. The landscape is especially quiet in the desert, often has dramatic photographic settings. Days are shorter, possibly brisk, so layer up, bring along a thermos of something hot and enjoy the low angles of sunlight flooding the gorgeous vistas surrounding Moab Utah.

Go sightseeing on your own. If snow were to fall, the parks will close long enough to clear the roads then re-open. Prefer a guided trip? That can be planned with the following Moab businesses:
  • Global Endurance Horseback Riding is open all winter.
  • Moab Desert Adventures, as well as, Moab Cliffs and Canyons, will be operational during the winter. Options for climbing and canyoneering are according to weather. Staff is on hand to run a trip for winter visitors and in tune to conditions to best advise you of the right experience for the day.
  • At night, Red Rock Astronomy keeps the telescopes peering into the deep dark night skies through winter. Have to dress warmly head to toe. The full moon makes the sky too bright for the telescope to draw in those sites light years away. Schedule a telescope viewing close to new moon.
  • Hike Moab is staying open all year! Leading hikes in a myriad of places; be certain to prepare with waterproof and warm footwear.
  • Tag-A-Long Expeditions is open all year with Jeep and Hiking Tours. November 1- March 31 there will be one departure daily at 9 AM.
  • NAVTEC Expeditions will run river trips through November. NAVTEC stays open for winter providing 4x4, hiking and canyoneering trips. River sessions resume in spring.
  • Want to 4x4 on your own? In winter trails will be limited and available according to weather and conditions. Cliffhanger and Twisted Jeeps specify the appropriate trails for rental vehicle use in winter. Get a guided trail tour with Moab Tour Company or Moab Cowboy. It is possible to drive your own vehicle behind a trail leader with either Moab Tour Company or Moab Cowboy companies. And Moab Cowboy says, “Dress warm, it's the Cowboy way, YeeHaw!” Highpoint Hummer is moving into a new location. Usually open all winter, shall close December 16 – January 9 2017 this year to make the move to the corner of 300 South and Main Street.
  • Moab Golf Club never closes, but may not be open, it is weather dependent.
  • La Sal Mountain Outfitters is open all winter with hunting and fishing supplies. There is an indoor target range for archery. Call in advance 435-259-1606. Located at 3031 South Hwy 191.
  • Museum of Moab is open Monday – Saturday noon to 5 PM. Located at 118 E Center Street, Moab.

See the area from the sky:

Redtail Air Adventures will be open 8 AM – 5 PM, seven days a week at the airport on North Hwy 191. Scenic and Charter Flights will be flown. Fuel and maintenance will be provided all winter. The Downtown Retail Store will adjust hours to winter visitation, unknown, this is the first winter open.

Red Rock Express provides ground transportation with reservations between Moab and Canyonlands, Grand Junction and Salt Lake City Airports. Red Rock Express is able to provide adventure shuttles, hourly charters, and private transportation for weddings, travel groups, corporate/business events and special events within 500 miles of Moab. During winter there are discounted national park scenic tours to Arches, Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point, Mesa Verde, Capitol Reef and Monument Valley.

Also Boutique Air has announced the winter schedule for commercial flights into (CNY) the Canyonlands Field from Denver and Salt Lake City.http://www.boutiqueair.com

National Park Service:

Hovenweep National Monument (a day trip from Moab) visitor center will be open Thursday – Monday 9 AM – 5 PM. Closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas day and New Year's Day.

Natural Bridges National Monument (a day trip from Moab) visitor center will be open Thursday – Monday 9 AM – 5 PM. Closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas day and New Year's Day.

Arches National Park is open 24/7. The Visitor Center hours shall be 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM in November then 9 AM – 4 PM December – February 2017. And closed December 25th.

Canyonlands National Park is open 24/7. The District Visitor Center hours shall be:
  • Island in the Sky Visitor Center is open 8 AM – 5 PM in October, 9 AM – 4 PM in November and December and closes December 29 into early March 2017.
  • Needles District Visitor Center is open 8 AM – 5 PM through October, 8:30 AM – 4 PM in November and closes for the season late November through early March 2017.
  • Hans Flat in the Maze District is open year round 8 AM – 4:30 PM.

Moab Information Center is not in a National Park. It is staffed with knowledgeable people to answer questions about the nearby National Parks. Located conveniently downtown in Moab, at the corner of Main and Center Streets in Moab. It is open 9AM – 5 PM daily throughout winter and is a terrific source for all things parks, trails, maps, books, and activities stemming from Moab. Welcome to Moab in Winter!

The Langham, Melbourne Recognised with Condé Nast Traveler's 2016 Readers' Choice Award

MELBOURNE'S ONLY HOTEL TO BE NAMED IN TOP TEN HOTELS IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BY READERS OF CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER

Condé Nast Traveler has announced the results of its 29th annual Readers' Choice Awards with The Langham, Melbourne recognised as the number two hotel in Australia and New Zealand and Melbourne's only hotel to be in included in the Top Ten list.

The Langham, Melbourne's sister properties in London, Boston, Chicago, Pasadena and New York were also named in the Top Ten lists in their respective cities.

Over 300,000 dedicated readers – nearly twice as many as last year -- cast votes for 7,394 hotels, 606 cities, 500 cruise ships, and 236 islands, in an average survey time of 8.4 minutes. The result? The 1,402 best travel experiences in the world.

''This accolade firmly cements our reputation as being one of Melbourne's leading hotels. We are delighted by this award and thank our guests for taking the time to vote for The Langham, Melbourne,” commented Ben Sington, Managing Director of The Langham, Melbourne.

“In other exciting news, we are looking forward to hosting guests during the World Cup of Golf in November and taking care of opera buffs who will be attending Opera Australia's ambitious production of Wagner's Ring Cycle at the Arts Centre Melbourne in December. In addition to our proud partnership with Opera Australia we are thrilled to be the official hotel partner of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2017,” added Sington.

The Langham, Melbourne has recently welcomed to the hotel Steve Grein as Executive Chef and is hosting a spectacular event on Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday 1 November at the acclaimed Melba restaurant.

The Langham, Melbourne prides itself on delivering service with poise. Teamed with its signature service and unparalleled facilities including an expansive outdoor sundeck, pool and boasting suites with spacious outdoor terraces, there is no question, the hotel's favourite times of year are spring and summer.

The Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry and are commonly known as “the best of the best of travel.” Under Editor in Chief Pilar Guzmán, the Readers' Choice Awards have become more selective and specific to the passions that inspire today's travellers.

The Readers' Choice Awards are announced in the November issue of Condé Nast Traveler, on newsstands from October 25, 2016. The full list is published exclusively online, at www.CNTraveler.com/rca.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

TOURS, ATTRACTIONS AND ACCOMMODATION in Western Australia October 2016

Segways are rolling in Fremantle

Segway Tours have launched in Fremantle, giving visitors an opportunity to use this unique mode of transport to explore Perth's 'hipster' port city. Enthusiastic guides will retell stories of Fremantle's shipwrecks, famous pioneers, early settlers, while pointing out historic 19th century architecture and landmarks. Tour prices start from $89 per adult.

New Ngalang Wongi cultural tour in Ferguson Valley

Ngalang Wongi Aboriginal Cultural Tours is now offering Sunday tours in Ferguson Valley, located a 90-minute drive from Perth CBD. The full-day tour provides insight into traditional and cultural indigenous stories of the area, and visits significant sites and spectacular natural attractions. At lunch, tour guests have the opportunity to try some local bush tucker and indulge in some fresh WA produce.

National Anzac Centre tops TripAdvisor list

Albany's National Anzac Centre has been named Australia's number one museum by TripAdvisor users, with more than 800 positive reviews on the popular travel website. The centre has attracted more than 136,000 visitors since opening its doors in November 2014, with its unique and moving depiction of World War I through the voices of Anzac soldiers. This popular tourist attraction has scooped a number of accolades, including best new tourism business at the 2015 Perth Airport WA Tourism Awards and is ranked number 21 in Lonely Planet's top new travel experiences.

Quest East Perth now open

The newly opened Quest East Perth offers 130 stylishly appointed studios, one and two bedroom apartments. The new property features high-speed WiFi internet access, a fully equipped kitchen (kitchenette in studio rooms), work desk and Foxtel TV. The property is only a short walk from the heart of Perth's CBD and close to an exciting range of different restaurants and public transport options.

Dive into the Shark Bay World Heritage Area

Tourists can now dive around the remote coastline of the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, including Steep Point and Dirk Hartog Island. The region's aquamarine waters are full of beautiful corals and brimming with marine life, making it the perfect dive and snorkelling location. Shark Bay Dive and Marine Safaris offer dive tours as well as accredited PADI open water dive courses. Visit the website to view the selection of tours and courses on offer.

400 year journey to Dirk Hartog Island

Western Australia's remote Dirk Hartog Island has a rich Australian and Dutch history dating back 400 years, with the indigenous locals having been on the land for more than 40,000 years.

On October 25, 1616, Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog and his crew landed at Cape Inscription during his voyage on the Eendracht for the mighty Dutch East India Company. His ship ran too far east and arrived on Dirk Hartog Island while transporting gold pieces to trade for spice in Jakarta. These were the first recorded European steps on WA soil, with a pewter plate being laid to rest as a mark.

Dirk Hartog Island is part of the World Heritage listed Shark Bay area, made famous by bottlenose dolphins who regularly visit the shores of Monkey Mia to interact with humans. This region of the Coral Coast is where the rust red landscape collides with the turquoise blue Indian Ocean, coral reefs and an abundance of marine wildlife.

The island is an ark for endangered wildlife and a unique place for visitors to enjoy an island adventure. It's the most western point of Australia and a melting pot of Australian history.

Sebastian Hartog is a first generation Australian born of Dutch parents, who started to trace his family history a few years back. His father was born in Curacao in the Dutch Antilles and mother in The Hague, the Netherlands. It was in 2008 that Sebastian hatched the plan to re-trace Dirk Hartog's voyage that landed him on the shores of WA in 1616.

“I've been making plans to trace our family history to this unique part of the world for a while now, so I am stoked to be journeying to the island and celebrating where Dirk Hartog landed” Sebastian said.

This month commemorates 400 years since Dirk Hartog landed in WA. To celebrate the anniversary, the Dirk Hartog Voyage of Discovery: Shark Bay 1616 festival will be held from October 21 to 25, and will host a five-day program of arts, music, food and historical events.

This anniversary has spurred Sebastian to make homage to his heritage and embark on a journey to seek out his ancestors steps. He, along with many others, will explore and celebrate one of the more mysterious and spectacular regions of the Australian coastline.

For further details about the event visit http://www.sharkbay1616.com.au/

MIRAL TAKES ABU DHABI’S YAS ISLAND TO NEW HEIGHTS WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF ITS NEW PROJECT, CLYMB

  • CLYMB, a 100-million-dollar indoor attraction, to include world’s widest flight chamber and tallest indoor climbing wall by 2018

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – 19 October 2016: Miral announced today the next new exciting attraction CLYMB to be developed on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Miral will bring the world’s widest flight chamber and tallest indoor climbing wall to the island in 2018, complementing Yas Island’s existing array of experiences, reinforcing its status as the region’s leading leisure and entertainment destination.

Visitors to the flight chamber will be able to mimic the experience of skydiving within an unmatched width of 9.75 metres (32 feet); making it the world’s widest.

CLYMB will also feature the world’s tallest indoor climbing wall at a height of 43 meters. The climbing walls offer a challenge to beginner, intermediate and expert climbers as they will have the chance to scale 4 walls of varying difficulty. The tallest expert-level wall will tower 43 meters above the ground.

Alongside the flight chamber and climbing wall, CLYMB will include retailers, food and beverage outlets, and a space to host parties. The attraction will also be linked to the nearby Yas Mall, connecting CLYMB with even more of Yas Island’s entertainment and leisure offerings.

On this occasion, Mohammed Abdullah Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral said: “CLYMB project is an important and distinctive addition to the unique portfolio of destinations developed by Miral on Yas Island.With the world’s widest flight chamber and tallest indoor climbing wall coming to Abu Dhabi we will offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy exceptional experiences that combine excitement and adventure together.”

“This announcement endorses our continuous commitment at Miral to develop and create leading destinations with the highest global standards on Yas Island that offer unique immersive and exciting experiences to everyone, as well as contribute to the development of the tourism sector in Abu Dhabi, and the UAE as a whole”, Al Zaabi added.

Zublin Construction L.L.C has been appointed by Miral as the main contractor to carry on the construction work which has already commenced on the site. As of beginning of this month, project development progress reached 35%, and the US $100 million project is expected to open its doors on Yas Island for visitors from across the world by 2018.

The announcement of this new project follows Miral’s recent reveal of the new Yas Island vision for the year 2022, aiming to make Yas Island one of the world’s top destinations for family fun attracting 48 million visits annually. Yas Island also looks to host 100,000 corporate travellers, and is projected to have 4,000 hotel rooms catering to various guest requirements.

The Evolution of Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in the metropolis. Whether for the seasonally decorated interior, the breathtakingly beautiful illuminations, or the magnificent view over the city, tourists flock to Tokyo Tower for many reasons. Let's take a closer look at this famous landmark and its history, as well as its present state.

The construction of Tokyo Tower was completed in 1958, when the 333 meter-high broadcasting tower began transmitting TV and FM radio airwaves. It had been the highest building in Japan for 51 years until TOKYO SKYTREE(R) was built. After analog broadcasting ended in 2011, Tokyo Tower's importance as a radio tower has decreased, but its function as a distinctive symbol of Japan is as strong as ever. In addition to its observation deck, there are attractions to experience the world of the famous anime One Piece and an aquarium in the tower, making it a popular destination for families and couples!

Tokyo Tower's beautiful lights are on from sunset to midnight. Usually, the tower is dipped in a warm orange color but during certain events, Tokyo Tower might shine in rare color combinations, such as rainbow colors or bright pink. Especially around midnight, when the lights are scheduled to be turned off, you'll be able to spot many couples standing under the tower, since rumor has it that a couple who witnesses the Tokyo Tower fading into the dark night will find happiness.

Tokyo Tower has a big observation deck at around 150 meters high and another special observation deck at 250 meters high. The ascending stairs to the first deck are only open on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, so if you are confident in your stair climbing ability, we certainly challenge you to complete this climb! After savoring the view of Tokyo from the special observation deck, feeling like a cloud in the sky, enjoy some warm tea and relax in the big observation deck's café.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical dazzles in Sydney

Bobby was a famous singer, songwriter, and actor of the 1950s and 60s. Born Walden Robert Cassotto, his extraordinary life story has been brought to the stage in the fantastic "Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical".

The musical is the original concept of cousins John-Michael Howson and Frank Howson, and the current show in Sydney is its world premiere. Unfortunately, Sydney is the only city in Australia that will be presenting it on stage. It just means that people in other states will have to travel to Sydney to see it before it ends on 27th November!

It is a musical extravaganza, featuring many of his No. 1 hits such as Splish Splash, Dream Lover, Mack the Knife and Beyond the Sea. The band providing the big band sound is featured on stage throughout the whole show. Centre stage is the grand piano, played by the conductor of the 18 piece band that produces the wonderful glamour and passion of the big band era of the 50's and 60's. The brass section is a standout. 

There is no set as such, just overhead arches of light globes that change colours and patterns. At first thought this seems odd, but the lack of elaborate backdrop sets just highlights the main feature of the show - the music sung by Bobby Darin. The stage looks like one of the Las Vegas night club stages, and thats the way it should be, as that is where many of Darin's songs were sung. The musical is just like one huge non-stop concert, with only very small amounts of dialogue scattered amongst the many songs in the first and second acts.

The musical tells the life story of the legendary Bobby Darin, from his childhood where he learnt to play the piano, drums and guitar up to his death at age 37. When just a boy he was diagnosed with rheumatic fever and not expected to live for long. However, he had a dream to become a successful performer with the ultimate goal of singing at the Copacabana Nightclub in New York. He rose to fame with many No. 1 hits and sang at many of the nightclubs in Las Vegas such as The Flamingo, The Sands and The Hilton, ending with being on stage at the Copacabana. He starred in 13 movies, and had his own TV shows. He became involved with politics and campaigned on behalf of Robert F. Kennedy.

"Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical" also tells the story of the people involved in Bobby Darin's life. These include his mother, his older sister and her husband, his wife and his manager. Several family secrets kept from him until he was an adult are revealed to him as the story line of the musical progresses. I won't reveal these to you now, as they will spoil the surprise elements for you when you go along to attend the musical yourself.

The cast of "Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical" is sensational. The standout star of the show is the very talented David Campbell (Bobby Darin), who nails singing all of Bobby's songs with his powerful voice. He masters all the styles of Bobby's singing, whether it be rock and roll, pop, ballad, country or folk. He is on stage for most of the two acts, and his charm wins over the audience with his charisma.

Caroline O’Connor does a great job playing a couple of mother roles, the main being that of Bobby Darin's mother, the other Sandas Dee's mother. The superb Hannah Fredericksen plays to perfection Sandra Dee, the movie star and singer that Bobby marries. One can see in her the romance draining away when Bobby spends more and more time on stage and travelling rather than being with her. Marney McQueen is Nina, Bobby's sister who is always there for Bobby, and Bert LaBonte is Charlie, who provided simple advice for Bobby at appropriate moments. Martin Crewes is Steve Blauner, Bobby's friend and manager.  Kyle Banfield, Nicholas Cradock and Brendan Godwin take turns in playing dual roles of the younger version of Bobby, and also the role of Bobby's son.

The ensemble men and women do a fantastic job of singing and dancing in their various colorful costumes, transporting the audience to the various nightclub scenes. The energy of their dancing routines highlighted the nightclub and television dancing of the late 50's, 60's and early 70's.

Watching the audience sitting around me, it was obvious they were enjoying the show. They were tapping there feet, humming along, moving and grooving to the music of "Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical"

Listening to the comments that the audience made during interval and after the show, it was obvious they enjoyed all the singing, dancing, glitz and glamour of "Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical".  The standing ovation strongly suggests that it should move on to not only other parts of Australia, but also to Broadway and the West End.

"Dream Lover - The Bobby Darin Musical"



  • NOW PLAYING UNTIL 27 NOVEMBER
  • ONLY IN SYDNEY 
  • SYDNEY LYRIC THEATRE, PIRRAMA RD, SYDNEY, NSW · VIEW MAP
  • SHOW TIMES: TUE 1PM, WED 1PM & 7:30PM, THURS 7:30PM, FRI 8PM, SAT 2PM & 8PM, SUN 3PM
  • TICKETS FROM $69.90
  • Running time 2.5 hours including interval
    Website: http://dreamlover.com.au/
  • Tickets: http://www.ticketmaster.com.au

Qantas Unveils New Brisbane International Lounge

Qantas customers travelling from Brisbane now have a stylish new space to relax, work and dine before their overseas flight, with the Qantas Brisbane International Lounge unveiled.

Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans said the international lounge was the first of several new facilities the national carrier would open in the coming months at Brisbane Airport as part of a multi-million dollar upgrade.

“This stylish and modern lounge is the perfect space for our customers to relax before their flight,” said Mr Evans.

“It reflects the natural beauty of the Queensland landscape through natural light, furniture and design, offering a new standard in premium travel from Queensland's capital.

“This lounge marks our continued investment in the entire customer journey. We've almost finished the refurbishment of our A330 fleet at the Brisbane Maintenance Facility, added new services to Japan and New Zealand, and the domestic terminal lounges are set for a complete redesign in coming months.

“Queensland is one of our most important markets with almost 60 direct international flights departing Brisbane every week. Queensland is where it started for Qantas and we are proud to maintain such a strong presence after 95 years of flying.”

The Brisbane International Lounge is based on the award winning Hong Kong and Singapore Lounge concept, with the food and interior design taking inspiration from the local region.

The lounge – split across two levels – offers nearly 30 per cent more space than the previous lounges, with interiors reflecting the Queensland landscape. The furniture is inspired by a relaxed approach to living in the tropical north with timber café seating and low slung lounges, and inset rugs bring colour and texture reminiscent of the reef, sandbars and waterways of Queensland's coast and inlets.

Seasonal menus are designed by Qantas Creative Director of Food, Beverage & Service Neil Perry with a focus on working with local food producers. A new signature breakfast hatch on the mezzanine level will see chefs serving Rockpool-designed breakfast dishes to order such as healthy breakfast bowls, bircher muesli and French toast. The lounge will also offer a premium hot and cold buffet.

A new lounge concept – Quench – will focus on hydrating customers before they fly and serve a range of non-alcoholic beverages including syrups from Bickfords and Buderim Ginger and a signature tisane blend designed by Rockpool. The hydration station will be rolled out across future Qantas lounge developments.

The lounge will also feature a bar serving craft beer, premium wine, and all-day barista coffee by Vittoria.

A key feature of the lounge is a bespoke glass and light art installation called The Pulse of Our Ancient Land created by artist Jenna Lee from Indigenous design agency Gilimbaa, based in Brisbane. Inlaid into the glass is an abstract interpretation of the land of the QLD region as viewed from above, brought to life through glass, watercolour and lights.

The artwork depicts the lands of the Jagerra, Yuggera, Turrbal, Quandamooka, Nunnukal, Goenpul, Ngugi, Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi and Yugambeh people, and was inspired by the stories shared by a specially formed group of respected Elders of each of the language groups of South East Queensland. Working with cultural consultant and community leader, Shannon Ruska, the Elders provided the core vision for the work, entrusting Gilimbaa and Jenna with their stories and transforming their knowledge into a contemporary interactive art installation.

The lounge also features a business centre, Wi-Fi, TVs with Foxtel, shower suites with ASPAR by Aurora skincare products and a Sofitel service experience.

Following the unveil of the international lounge, Qantas will open a new domestic lounge precinct with a new Business Lounge and refreshed Qantas Club – including a new Valet experience – from early 2017.

Qantas' operates 57 direct weekly international services from Brisbane to Auckland, Christchurch^, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Noumea, Port Moresby*, Singapore and Tokyo.

The Qantas Brisbane International Lounge will open to Qantas customers travelling in Business, eligible Frequent Flyers and oneworld members on Thursday 20 October.

^Brisbane to Christchurch increases from 3 per week to daily from 30 October 2016

*Brisbane to Port Moresby flights commence 30 October 2016

Grand Hyatt Melbourne Awarded Australia's Leading Business Hotel For Third Consecutive Year

Grand Hyatt Melbourne has been acknowledged as Australia's Leading Business Hotel for the third consecutive year at the 23rd Annual World Travel Awards, held yesterday in Da Nang, Vietnam.

The annual awards are voted by travel and tourism professionals worldwide, recognising the commitment to excellence in providing a premier business events destination during the last twelve months. Grand Hyatt Melbourne has demonstrated a strong focus on delivering an exceptional business traveller experience and offers a variety of services specifically catering to these guests.

“At Grand Hyatt Melbourne we pride ourselves on our dedication to providing world class service for our business guests, ensuring a seamless travel experience throughout their entire stay, from their initial booking to check-out,” says Ilan Weill, Grand Hyatt Melbourne General Manager.

“Our colleagues are at the pinnacle of our success as a business, with their commitment to the Hyatt purpose of caring for people so they can be their best. We are honoured to be recognised for our dedication with this award for the third year in a row.”

Positioned in one of the most premium locations in the central business district, the hotel has cemented itself as a leading business hotel, renowned for 5-star initiatives including complimentary Wi-Fi, web check-in and check-out service, and concierge via the Hyatt International App to ensure an efficient and convenient travelling experience.

Further standout corporate facilities include the Grand Club Lounge, enabling guests to enjoy 180 degree panoramic views of the Melbourne metropolis complete with a dedicated Concierge service, complimentary continental breakfast, all day refreshments and evening drinks with canapés, as well as boardroom facilities, all to meet the business traveller's everyday needs.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne is perfectly appointed for corporate meetings and events featuring 16 unique event rooms equipped with the latest facilities and technology. The hotel's flexible event spaces can be easily configured to accommodate all types of events, from a private seminar for ten people to a cocktail-style reception for 1,500 guests or conferencing for up to 700 delegates.

Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Grand Hyatt Melbourne is the city's centre of luxury, perfectly poised on Collins Street in the heart of the CBD amongst Melbourne's bustling shopping, dining and theatre scene. The hotel offers an unrivalled experience and includes 550 guest rooms, spectacular upper and lower lobbies, the exclusive Grand Club Lounge, Collins Kitchen restaurant, Ru-Co Bar, City Club – Australia's largest hotel gym and an innovative premium events venue – the residence. Grand Hyatt Melbourne continues to be recognised as one of the city's most superior five star hotels, an iconic Melbourne property and a world-class hospitality provider.

www.melbourne.grand.hyatt.com

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

DUNGOG FESTIVAL NEXT WEEKEND

The birthplace of Australian cinematic history will come alive during the Dungog Festival, which is set against the backdrop of the picturesque Hunter region at the foot of the Barrington Tops.

Tickets are still available for the 27-30 October event, which will highlight an exciting program of film, culinary events and workshops, and showcase the short film competition finalists.

Events on the program include a magical Long Table Dinner under the stars, the Settlers Gig featuring 80s synth superstars Pseudo Echo, and a Wine Matching Lunch with Christine Manfield.

The Dungog Festival is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

Click here to purchase tickets and see the full program.

Noosa Triathlon - a New Level of World Class

The 2016 Noosa Triathlon will be aiming to again be recognised as the world's largest mass participation triathlon, following achieving this for the first time last year.

Established in 1983 and hosted in Noosa, last year's Olympic distance (1500m swim, 40km ride and 10km run) triathlon, saw over 8000 participants cross the finish line, enough to knock the London triathlon off top spot.

In 2015 Noosa was followed by the London, Hamburg and Chicago Triathlons respectively.

Tourism Noosa CEO Damien Massingham said the Noosa Tri is the most iconic triathlon in Australia and is now the largest in the world showcasing Noosa's key assets and arguably one of the best coastal and aquatic experiences in Australia.

“The swim leg was moved to Noosa Main Beach last year which excited both participants and spectators and this will happen again in 2016. This evolution and the continuation of Noosa being the largest triathlon in the world will help further cement Noosa's reputation as one of Australia's leading regional events destinations” said Mr Massingham.

Event organisers, IRONMAN Oceania, Managing Director David Beeche is keen to do everything possible to make sure the Noosa Triathlon holds onto the title of the world's biggest.

“Last year's accolade was an important acknowledgement for the Noosa Triathlon recognising it as a leader of the sport and the world-class events that are hosted in Queensland.” Mr Beeche said.

“Noosa Triathlon embraces an exclusive experience and atmosphere, something which I encourage everyone to participant in at least once”.

“Noosa is not only the home of the great triathlon but a base for some of the world's best athletes as it offers a perfect climate and unique lifestyle which celebrates health, fitness and the outdoors.”

Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival is a five-day hallmark event (26 October – 30 October) and includes a stacked line-up of events for all ages and abilities. The schedule includes the Noosa Legends Triathlon, Subaru Noosa Australian Open Criterium and Noosa Asics Bolt which attract premium fields and sporting legends.

For more information visit www.noosatri.com.au and for all accommodation needs visit www.visitnoosa.com.au.

Guangzhou - an ancient but dynamic city in China

Guangzhou is located in southern China in the middle of Guangdong Province where it is the capital city. The city also has proximity to the South China Sea, Hong Kong, and Macau. Because of its convenient geographical location, Guangzhou has been called ‘China’s Southern Gateway’ Guangzhou is the center of the Guangdong Province’s politics, economy, science, and education. It is also southern China’s key transportation hub and trading port.

Home to more than 12 million people, the city’s humid subtropical climate is greatly influenced by the Asian monsoon. With year-round flowers and evergreen plants, Guangzhou has been affectionately called the ‘Flower City’ since ancient times.

With an over 2,200-year history, Guangzhou is rich in antiquity, unique customs and deep cultural deposits. Historically, it is both the start of the Maritime Silk Road and the center of Lingnan Culture.

An ancient but dynamic city, Guangzhou impresses visitors with both its vivid modern ambience and unique indigenous culture. Reflecting the charm of a multicultural metropolis, the city’s cultural influences can be seen in all aspects of its social life, including diet, lifestyle, architecture, commerce, language, music, art, customs and entertainment.

LIFESTYLE AND CULTURE in Western Australia October 2016

A year of new horizons for Black Swan in 2017

Black Swan Theatre Company has released its much anticipated 2017 program. Highlights include Michael Gow's heartfelt Once in Royal David's City and Joanna Murray-Smith's thriller Switzerland, to be held in the iconic Heath Ledger Theatre and Studio Underground. The exciting season of performance will also celebrate WA artists and playwrights, including Will O'Mahony and Hellie Turner.

Bernard Fanning to headline Leeuwin Estate's Family Concert

One of Australia's most loved musicians, Bernard Fanning, will return to Leeuwin Estate for the winery's annual Family Concert on January 7, 2017. Since 1985, Leeuwin Estate has seen families bring a picnic and enjoy a casual evening of summertime alfresco music on the estate's manicured lawns. On sale now, general admission tickets are $95 per adult and $30 per child.

Islands of Australia explores WA's natural assets

Some of WA's most fascinating and historic islands and coastlines have been showcased to audiences worldwide in a new, three-part television series, Islands of Australia. Program host, Martin Clunes (Men Behaving Badly, Doc Martin), explored WA's most scenic islands and coastal regions, including Rottnest Island, Ningaloo, Abrolhos Islands and Carnac Islands. Martin remarked that “by far, the most surreal and exciting experience when filming Islands of Oz was swimming with whale sharks near Exmouth.” Australian viewers can watch Islands of Australia online at this link.

DISCOVER SRI LANKA’S COLONIAL AND NATURAL TREASURES FROM LUXURIOUS COASTAL SECLUSION

Anantara Kalutara Resort is a peacefully secluded coastal hideaway, connecting travellers to Sri Lanka’s colonial charms and sacred heritage, the vibrancy of island life and wild nature.

Only ten minutes from the town of Kalutara and an hour from the buzz of the capital Colombo, Anantara Kalutara is set along Sri Lanka’s ruggedly beautiful southwest coast. The unique setting between the Indian Ocean and Kalu River boasts coastal, river and lagoon frontage, providing a tranquil retreat in between the array of enriching nearby adventures.

Originally designed by Sri Lanka’s most famous architect – Geoffrey Bawa

The resort was originally designed by Sri Lanka’s most notable architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa, and is inspired by his vision of simplistic elegance and great craftsmanship, whilst showcasing the Kalu River and Indian Ocean. Blending effortlessly with the island’s tropical beauty and rich culture, the resort fuses natural luxury with colonial and Sri Lankan artistry. The main building has a Dutch colonial style, with a soaring gable roof. The reception’s free-flowing space ushers in the coastal breeze and overlooks the lagoon of the Kalu River estuary, creating a sense of destination on arrival.

141 guest rooms, suites and pool villas immerse guests in stunning views, with private balconies and terraces overlooking lush gardens, the ocean or lagoon. Guests return from exploring the area to relax in the comfort of their rooms, perhaps soaking in the bathtub with a bottle selected from the wine humidor. Extending the benefits are options for interconnecting, disabled and poolside guest rooms. Suites are set apart by an elegant lounge and the one-of-a-kind One Bedroom Presidential Suite boasts a private plunge pool and sundeck. Suites and villa guests can listen to music on the Bose Bluetooth speaker, and special requests are seamlessly taken care of by the Villa Host. One and Two Bedroom Villas feature an enclosed garden terrace offering seclusion whilst swimming in the private pool, sunbathing on the deck and dining al fresco. For holidays with family and friends, some of the One Bedroom Garden Pool Villas feature interconnecting gardens.

Resort experiences that inspire and indulge

Leisure facilities coax relaxation and renew energy, whether for romance or quality family time. The Watersports Centre offers jet skiing, water skiing and banana ride thrills for all. Guests can work out in the gym whilst taking in the river view, or raise their game with a personal trainer. The ocean view pool offers a tranquil escape, while the lagoon-side pool with its Jacuzzi jets and children’s section is ideal for families. Dedicated to Geoffrey Bawa, the library is a quiet retreat showcasing drawings from his archive and some of his favourite designs in Batik.

Anantara Spa is a serene double storey sanctuary, surrounded by a lotus pond. Ten luxurious treatment rooms include six for individuals and four for couples, including the option for Ayurvedic therapies. Soothing spa journeys draw on holistic Asian traditions and rejuvenating western spa wisdom, with an additional pavilion for yoga and meditation sessions.

Family-friendly services begin on arrival with children receiving special treats. Adventurer Club engages youngsters in cultural activities, outdoor games and action-packed excursions. Relaxation is a pampering delight with special family spa experiences. Little ones enjoy a range of fun treats, such as a delicious chocolate oil massage and hair braiding. Teen girls can refresh their look with facials, manicures and pedicures, and teen boys are expertly groomed. Dedicated packages for ‘Mum & Me’ and ‘Dad & Me’ let parents share unique spa time with their children. When the time comes to leave the resort, a teddy bear departure gift offers a cuddly keepsake for children.

A choice of three restaurants invites travellers to choose their dining pleasure – from international classics and spicy Sri Lanka specialties, to refined Italian tastes and the exotic diversity of Thai, Indian and Chinese cuisines. Spice Spoons cooking school ignites culinary passions with a glimpse into market life and a cooking class with master chef tips. The Upper Deck Bar is a haven to relax over refreshments and light bites. Tailoring the ultimate in romance, Dining by Design offers a collection of connoisseur menus with a personal chef and butler, in intimate settings.

A gateway to historic treasures and wild adventures

Sri Lanka’s glorious wild nature and deep ocean beckon exploration, from vast ancient caves and lush virgin rainforest, to up close wildlife encounters on a national park safari and breathtaking dolphin and whale watching boat trips. A tranquil picnic beside a waterfall, a stroll through spice gardens, river fishing with a local guide and a sunset river cruise provide leisure trips immersed in spectacular scenery. Charming tours of tea plantations, the Dutch fort UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle and the architectural splendour of Richmond Castle relive colonial times. Impressive sacred treasures include a temple housing the world’s tallest sitting Buddha statue and the world’s only hollow Buddhist shrine.

Easing travel, an SUV limousine service is available for journeys between the resort and Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport, an hour and a half drive, and also Kalutara South Station just five minutes away, allowing guests to experience Sri Lanka’s scenic railways.

Anantara Kalutara Resort is the brand’s second property in Sri Lanka, with the first, Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, setting the benchmark for luxury resorts in Sri Lanka following its opening in January 2016.

Sheraton Melbourne Hotel Cements its Position as a Culinary Powerhouse with the Opening of The Crux & Co Patisserie

Following their hugely successful opening in June, The Crux & Co is set to open their new city Patisserie Shop on October 19 which will be the fourth dining haunt to paint its name at Sheraton Melbourne Hotel.

The Crux & Co Patisserie will offer guests a dynamic range of coffees, including brews from Five Senses Coffee and other local roasters. The culinary focus of the new patisserie will be on coffee and sweets treats including macarons, varrine, petit gateau and pastries such as the renowned croissant bagel 'crogle'. Head pastry Chef Louise MK Lee is especially proud to treat customers to a range of specialty éclairs and macarons. The Crux & Co is open Monday – Friday, 7am – 4pm.

Since its induction into the Melbourne foodie scene in March of 2014, Sheraton Melbourne Hotel has continued to set new standards and raise the bar for Melbourne 5-star hotels with each of its three premier dining hangouts excelling in their own niche markets.

Terrace Bar on level three of the hotel was recently awarded Hotel Bar of the Yearat the 2016 TAA (Vic) Awards for Excellence and offers an exquisite and contemporary designed outdoor setting with views overlooking Little Collins Street. To celebrate its most recent accolade, Terrace Bar has partnered with Champagne Bollinger to bring forward a new high-end menu featuring its signature dish ofSautéed Scallops on a Seaweed and Citrus Salad paired with Bollinger special cuvée NV. Terrace Bar is open Tuesday to Saturday from 4pm.

EAST Bar & Restaurant is a contemporary wine bar and tapas sharing-style restaurant located on the ground floor at Sheraton Melbourne Hotel. Brought to you by the team behind the cult Hutong Dumpling Bar, East offers Melbourne's most innovative interpretation of traditional Chinese flavours with a wine and cocktail list to match. EAST is open Monday – Sunday for lunch and dinner.

Little Collins St Kitchen is a bistro-style restaurant designed by Melbourne-based design studio Hecker Guthrie. The signature restaurant pays homage to the grand European architecture and high-end retail outlets of neighbouring Collins Street whilst presenting an area that feels comfortable, welcoming and ultimately homely. Design elements have been chosen to create a contemporary and domestic dining experience while American oak furniture is complemented with striking brass detailing, white tiles, Italian marble and dove grey accents.

Executive Chef Achim Herterich is inspired by the kitchen and the food that can be masterfully produced within it. At the age of five he would sit under his mother's kitchen table creating imaginary masterpieces, by nine he was baking fresh bread and by twelve he was cooking meals for his family. Now in his third decade of his career, he is creating culinary works of art from Preserved lemon and herb infused ricotta gnocchi on a fricassées of Moreton Bay bugs, prawns and parmesan shavings to Chocolate parfait with caramelized popcorn candied hazelnut and chocolate ice cream (pictured) which feature on the spring menu. Little Collins St Kitchen Is open Monday – Sunday from 6:30am – 10:30pm. The Signature Sheraton Seafood Buffet can be enjoyed from Wedesday – Saturday for dinner and Sunday Brunch.

Sheraton Melbourne Hotel is the most recent international 5-star hotel to open in the Melbourne CBD. Located at the fashionable 'Paris end' of Collins Street and housed in the 31-story 'wavilinear' building, Sheraton Melbourne Hotel features 174 guest rooms, including 11 Terrace Suites. The hotel is ideally located within walking distance of major corporations and is just moments away from the city's finest dining, shopping, theatres, nightlife and sporting venues.

For more information visit www.sheratonmelbourne.com

The Rees Hotel Queenstown Launches Exclusive Ultimate Heli Wine-Tasting Experience

The latest exclusive wine initiative to be launched by The Rees Hotel Queenstown is the Ultimate Heli Wine Tasting Experience to be hosted by the General Manager, Mark Rose. Guests will enjoy 180-degree panoramic views of Queenstown from a six-seater helicopter, a gourmet lunch and sample a variety of award-winning wines from local regions. This bucket-list experience is for either two or four discerning people, includes accommodation at The Rees Hotel and is a rare opportunity to literally heighten all the senses in a spectacular series of locations.

The Heli Wine Tasting Experience includes a glass of champagne and a luxury transfer from The Rees Hotel to Queenstown International Airport from where a six seater helicopter from the Helicopter Line will provide breathtaking views of the renowned Gibbston Valley and Kawarau Gorge on the way to your first tasting and lunch at Mt Difficulty Winery. Onward and upward to spectacular views of Lake Wanaka and the world renowned Rippon Vineyard to taste some of the best organic wines from this award-winning winery before a last stop (and drink) at the historic Cardrona Pub from where you will return to Queenstown. Package offerings are for either 2 or 4 people and include two night’s luxurious accommodation at The Rees Hotel.

Mr Rose, a passionate wine expert with extensive knowledge of wines both locally and globally, has successfully nurtured the strong wine and culinary programme at the Hotel. The property is now well established as having one of the best wine cellars in New Zealand and offers a prized collection of Bordeaux and Central Otago wines and a wine list globally recognised in the annual Wine Spectator Awards since 2012.

The Ultimate Heli Wine Tasting Experience package for two includes:

  • 2 night’s accommodation in an Executive Lake View One Bedroom Apartment
  • Cooked breakfasts daily
  • Complimentary late check out until 12noon
  • Complimentary fruit bowl on arrival
  • Complimentary car parking and wifi
  • Inclusive of all car and heli transfers
  • Inclusive of lunch at Mt Difficulty Winery
  • Inclusive of all selected wines/beverages at each Winery and the Cardrona Pub

Terms & Conditions:

  • Package designed for a minimum of 2 people and includes a Wine Director
  • $2,479 NZD per person
  • BOOKINGS: reservations@therees.co.nz and quote UQHW3The Ultimate Heli Wine Tasting 

Experience Package for four includes:

  • Accommodation in an Executive Lake View Two Bedroom (2 bathroom) Apartment
  • inclusions as above
  • $1276.50 NZD per person
  • BOOKINGS: reservations@therees.co.nz and quote UQHW4

The Rees Hotel Queenstown blends chic five star accommodation with all the comforts of home and the service and facilities of an elite international hotel. Situated on the absolute lakefront, The Rees’ terraced construction delivers complete privacy and showcases panoramic views overlooking Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables Mountains in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Its landmark restaurant is the True South Dining Room.

For Hotel bookings and enquiries phone:

+64 3 450 1100
Or email: reservations@therees.co.nz
http://www.therees.co.nz 
http://www.facebook.com/therees
http://twitter.com/thereeshotel
http://www.facebook.com/truesouthdining
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thereeshotel
http://www.youtube.com/TheReesHotel
http://thereeshotel.blogspot.com
http://thereeshotelconcierge.blogspot.com

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