Saturday, 31 December 2016

Culinary delights „Made in Leipzig“

With the launch of the renowned „Guide Michelin“ for 2017 this month, the East-German city of Leipzig was awarded another Michelin star: The “Residenz im Herrenhaus Möckern”. A former mansion, Herrenhaus Möckern is set in the floodplain of the White Elster River. The manor from 1317 has undergone some extensive renovations over the last years and is home to two new restaurants since 2015. While "Die Residenz" (Residence) attracts guests with upscale delights, "Die Brennerei" (Distillery) offers traditional home cooking. Its atmospheric setting with stucco ceilings, the historic barrel-vault and two terraces for the summer months makes a visit completely distinctive. www.herrenhaus-moeckern.de

On top of it, Leipzig restaurant scene has long been crowned by the only 2-star Michelin restaurant in East Germany outside Berlin: FALCO, towering over the city on the 27th floor of the Westin Leipzig. FALCO's chef, Peter Maria Schnurr, was also awarded “Chef of the Year 2016” as well as 19 of 20 points by the prestigious “Gault Millau” restaurant guide. It is the highest award in the German catering business. In addition to the changing fresh seasonal dishes prepared by Schnurr and his team, FALCO boasts an extraordinarily broad culinary range of some 60 different cheeses und 1,200 types of wine. www.falco-leipzig.de

Leipzig is already known as a foodie destination, what with its many culinary specialties such as the Leipziger Lerche, Leipziger Allerlei and the city's coffee tradition. But whether French, exotic or regional products, gourmet cuisine or plain, traditional food – several stylish restaurants and cafés have conquered Leipzig's restaurant scene over the last few years, enhancing the city's culinary offerings. Adding to Leipzig's international flair and another hot candidate for culinary accolades is the Australian chef Paul Berry, owner of “The B10”, which opened earlier in 2015 and is located in – guess what – Beethovenstraße 10, in the heart of Leipzig's music district and near the impressive University Library. Berry, who would cook for many a star, tycoon and money-maker in the past, certainly knows how to spoil the discerning guest. His modern restaurant offers a small eclectic menu that will change constantly, as well as great wines, coffee and outdoor seating on the terrace. www.the-b10.com

For casual fine dining in the heart of the city, Planerts, opening up just outside the beautifully restored Oelssners Hof passageway, has proven to be an instant hit. Inspired by many trips to Asia, host Stefan Planert opted for a light, healthy and intelligible menu carried by Far Eastern influences. http://planerts.com

Since mid-October 2015, Leipzig is home to the new French restaurant “C'est la vie”. Owner Inga Connolly-Dahse's and her partner Deborah Connolly's mission is clear: “I cannot live without champagne. In victory, you deserve it. In defeat, you need it.” No other than Napoleon Bonaparte, who lost in the Battle of Leipzig 1813, is referred to in the restaurant's motto. Not only are there two French chefs, but an entire service team was recruited from Paris. www.cest-la-vie.restaurant

Already in December 2014, Hannes Schlegel was appointed new chef de cuisine of the gourmet restaurant “Villers” and the Vinothek “1770” of the 5-star superior hotel Fürstenhof Leipzig, and has since been creating unique sensations of taste for his guests. Leipzig is not new to the 37-year-old chef: Before exploring the international gourmet cuisine in Switzerland, Finland and the United States, he learned his craft from scratch at Restaurant “Stadtpfeiffer”, situated next to the Gewandhaus in the city centre. “Stadtpfeiffer” is one of the Michelin-starred restaurants of Leipzig, claiming its title for many years now. Today, Schlegel regales the city again with his exceptional creations, based on French cuisine combined with local produce and exotic ingredients. www.restaurant-villers.de

Transferred to a French world is the emerging feeling when entering the “petit Paris – Café Bistro Champagne”. The Bistro opened in September 2014 in the flourishing east of Leipzig, close to the city centre. And it is no surprise – the manager of the bistro, Pierre Croizeau is French and “Monsieur Pierre's daily specials” make the daily lunch a treat for the palate. Quiche Lorraine, Tarte Tartin or a glass of cider – the “petit Paris” leaves nothing to be de-sired. The bistro's name also bears a link to Goethe, who called Leipzig 'Little Paris' because he was impressed by the city's stylishness at that time. www.petit-paris-leipzig.de

The fact that Leipzig also has a lot to offer for friends of the vegan movement was recently credited by the animal rights organization PETA, honouring Leipzig as the most vegan-friendly city in Germany. The vegan supermarket “Veganz”, newly opened in the city centre in November 2014 with its own café, the restaurant "S-Kultur" in Lindenau or the "Deli" in the Südvorstadt district are just a few examples for vegan gastronomy in Leipzig.

Information, travel offers, room reservations:
Leipzig Tourismus und Marketing GmbH, Tourist-Information, Katharinenstr. 8, 04109 Leipzig, Tel.: +49 341 7104-260, info@ltm-leipzig.de, www.leipzig.travel

LOCAL RESIDENTS A KEY DRAWCARD FOR MELBOURNE VISITATION

A new research study has demonstrated the importance of local residents for the visitor economy throughout suburban Melbourne, with out-of-towners who visit friends and relatives injecting $3 billion across the city, which accounts for 22% of all visitor spend.

Commissioned by Destination Melbourne, the independent tourism organisation for Greater Melbourne, the study* found that in 2015 Melbourne attracted 9.1 milliondomestic and international visitors whose main purpose of visit was visiting friends and relatives (VFR).

The study breaks Greater Melbourne down into five regions; Inner, North, East, South-East and West**, with VFR expenditure valued between 15% and 46% of total tourist spend in each of these region. The VFR market represents 34% of all visitors to Melbourne and its neighbourhoods. In 2015 it is estimated that this market injected the following expenditure into Greater Melbourne’s five key regions:
  • Inner Region: $1.54 billion (15% of total tourist spend in this region)
  • East Region: $581 million (42%)
  • South East Region: $388.5 million (42%)
  • West Region: $342 million (46%)
  • North Region: $383 million (33%)

Importantly to note these figures do not take into account the money that a resident, or ‘host’, spends when friends and relatives come to visit.

Destination Melbourne Chief Executive, Laura Cavallo, says that these hosts will often spend as much or more than their visitors, increasing the impact of this valuable visitor segment. “If you think about the last time you had friends or family over to stay”, Ms Cavallo said, “there’s a good chance you have shouted your guests to a round of drinks or a nice dinner.

“The visiting friends and relatives market also provides a significant contribution to not just our local attractions, dining venues and local events but the VFR visitor injects dollars into local businesses including local supermarkets, chemists, retail stores and even petrol stations,” concluded Ms Cavallo.

One popular resource specifically-designed by Destination Melbourne, to inform hosts about upcoming events and local attractions is the Discover Your Own Backyard (DYOB) campaign. Targeting locals the campaign aims to keep residents informed on what is on offer in their own backyard so they can be the best VFR host possible. DYOB has its own dedicated website and social media channels which continuously inform on local happenings. This campaign is supported by 18 local councils.

Brunswick resident David Johnston recently hosted his parents for a weekend, who were visiting from Bendigo. Over the weekend David took them to two local restaurants, to retail experiences on Lygon Street and to a local second-hand market.

“You feel good about showing off your own neighbourhood to your family,” Mr Johnston said. “Sure, I could have taken my parents into the city or for a drive to the Yarra Valley, but my area has as much to see and do as anywhere else in Melbourne if you know where to look.”

Ring in 2017 With These 4 Food and Drink Crawl Routes Through San Francisco

In just 49 square miles, the City by the Bay packs a ton of great entertainment. And because it's so compact, San Francisco is eminently walkable, making it the perfect location to plan a classic New Year's bar crawl with friends. With so many bars and restaurants available, it can be hard to know where to begin. Check out these great bar crawl routes to get inspired.

Whether you're looking to sample a range of ethnic cuisine or get a taste of the good life, San Francisco's diverse and vibrant neighborhoods provide something for everyone.

Because it's so compact, San Francisco is eminently walkable, making it the perfect location to plan a classic New Year's bar crawl with friends. Many public transportation options have extended hours and reduced fares on New Year's Eve to make your celebration even more safe and convenient. For example, Muni, SamTrans and Caltrain rides are free and BART trains run until 3 a.m and taxi fares are often reduced, so you have plenty of ways to get around the city.

With so many bars and restaurants available, it can be hard to know where to begin. Check out these great bar crawl routes to get inspired.


The Fireworks Route

To enjoy the iconic fireworks display over the northern waterfront, choose a route along the Embarcadero near the Ferry Building. Start early so you can be in place for the fireworks by the last stop.

1. ThirstyBear Brewing Company and Spanish Cuisine (661 Howard St.)
Just a few blocks from the Montgomery BART stop, this hip spot offers a craft brew for every palate. The tapas menu is perfect for sampling and sharing, so you have no reason to go hungry for the rest of the night. www.thirstybear.com

2. Kate O'Brien's Irish Bar (579 Howard St.)
A very short walk down the street brings you to one of San Francisco's classic Irish pubs. The vibe here is laid-back, loud and laughter-filled. Bring change for the jukebox.

3. Temple Nightclub (540 Howard St.)
For an optional dance break, cross the street and try the electronica beats at Temple. Admission varies and attire is upscale casual. If clubbing is your thing, this one's a winner.

4. Local Kitchen and Wine Merchant (330 First St.)
If you're a wine fan, turn right on First Street for the huge selection at Local Kitchen and Wine Merchant. This place has an amazing California wine list along with an Italian-inspired menu. Split a pizza if you're hungry -- it's excellent. www.sf-local.com

5. Prospect (300 Spear St.)
Head down Folsom toward the water until you hit Prospect, where you'll find a creative cocktail menu and a chic atmosphere. www.prospectsf.com

6. Americano (8 Mission St.)
You could choose any place on The Embarcadero to end your night, but this excellent restaurant at the Hotel Vitale is tops. The entire east wall is windows, so you'll have an amazing view of the fireworks. If you can't get a table inside, Americano usually hosts a New Year's party in the outdoor seating area. www.americanorestaurant.com

The Market Street Route

Travel through the heart of San Francisco and experience food and drink from around the world. Staying within walking distance of Market Street offers convenient transportation and something for every taste.

1. Cervezería de MateVeza (3801 18th St.)
A few blocks east of the Castro Street Station near Mission Dolores Park is this incredible Argentine restaurant. Start the night off right with a craft brew spiked with yerba mate.

2. The Residence (718 14th St.)
Walk back toward Market Street along Church Street and you'll reach this cozy English pub. Grab a classic cocktail and enjoy the atmosphere.

3. Espetus Churrascaria Brazilian Steak House (1686 Market St.)
If you're looking for a food break, this unique dining experience offers fine cuts of Brazilian meat and a great wine list.www.espetus.com

4. Dirty Water Restaurant and Bar (1355 Market St.)
For an upscale all-American experience, you won't do better than the craft beers, extensive wine list and posh cocktails here. Don't be surprised if you have trouble choosing. www.dirtywatersf.com

5. The Chieftain Irish Pub and Restaurant (198 Fifth St.)
A few blocks east of Market is this perfect Irish pub where you can enjoy classic pub grub. From here you can link up to the fireworks route, or head back to Market to catch a ride to the final stop. www.thechieftain.com

6. The Royal Exchange (301 Sacramento St.)
Ride to Embarcadero Station and head west to this comfortable sports bar with great food where you can sit down and rest with your last drink of the year. www.royalexchange.com

The North Beach Route

You can easily jump to this route from The Royal Exchange if you like, or start at the Montgomery Station and head north along Montgomery.

1. Irish Times (500 Sacramento St.)
There's nothing like a great Irish pub to start the night off right!

2. Li Po Cocktail Lounge (916 Grant Ave.)
Wind your way through Chinatown along Sacramento and Kearny to reach this outstanding cocktail lounge. Don't leave without trying a Mai-Tai.

3. Bask (42 Columbus Ave.)
Though there's no alcohol here, this is a great spot to pick up tapas for the road if you need a snack. www.basksf.com

4. Mr. Bing's (201 Columbus Ave.)
To see where the locals go, grab a beer at low-key Mr. Bing's, a Chinatown staple with no tourists.

5. Vesuvio Cafe (255 Columbus Ave.)
If you love Jack Kerouac, don't miss this famous beatnik hangout. The beat goes on in this hip spot.

6. The Saloon (1232 Grant Ave.)
No bar crawl is complete without a visit to one of San Francisco's oldest bars. Live music makes this spot a winner.

7. Pantarei (431 Columbus Ave.)
A low-key finish for wine and antipasti, Pantarei is also the perfect place to start a pub crawl with a great meal if you do this one backward.

The Mission Route

There's no better way to end 2016 and begin 2017 on high note then to satisfy your tastebuds through San Francisco's most delicious neighborhood.

1. Lazlo (2534 Mission St.)
Start the crawl at Foreign Cinema's sister bar, Lazlo, where cinematic and poetic history encompass the bar. Get here early to grab snag a seat at the bar and a negroni.

2. Lolinda (2518 Mission St.)
Saddle up to the bar at Lolinda, a new kind of Argentinean steakhouse that combines Latin American flavors with California sensibilities and grab some snacks like the empanadas, croquettas, yucca fries and chiles a la parrilla with your classic Fernet & Coke. www.lolindasf.com

3. The Chapel Bar (777 Valencia St.)
After filling up on Argentine appetizers, head over to the Chapel Bar and mingle with concert-goers at this former morgue turned music venue, bar and restaurant. Offerings include original and classic craft cocktails, carefully selected wines, and a great assortment of beer served on tap and individually. www.thechapelsf.com/the-chapel-bar

4. Tacolicious (741 Valencia St.)
Mix things up with Tacolicious, a cocktail-driven, non-traditional taqueria with 120 different tequilas at your disposal. Sit down to eat the Taco of the Week and share a margarita pitcher with your friends. www.tacolicious.com

5. Locanda (577 Valencia St.)
Written up by Zagat, Thrillist and the New York Times, Locanda is a bustling Roman-inspired Osteria and Bar from the minds behind the iconic Pizzeria Delfina, Craig and Annie Stroll. You don't want to miss the Jewish-Style artichoke or the simplistic, yet super yummy, tonnarelli "cacio e pepe." www.locandasf.com

6. The Hideout at Dalva (3121 16th St.)
Right before the clock strikes midnight, order at the secret bar behind Dalva, and then steal away to an almost pitch-black space upstairs to ring in 2017.

With all of these amazing options, you're sure to discover a new favorite bar (or two!) in San Francisco on New Year's Eve.

TICKETS ON SALE FOR ST.GEORGE OPEN AIR CINEMA

One of Sydney’s most sought-after Summer tickets, St.George OpenAir Cinema, will return to Mrs Macquarie’s Point on Saturday 7 January 2017 for a spectacular 39 night season.

Each evening, more than 1500 patrons gather at the event’s harbourside bar and restaurant to enjoy iconic sunset views spanning the Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and city skyline. Then, at nightfall, a massive 350 square metre cinema screen rises from the harbour, delivering audiences an unimaginable cinema experience, complete with surround sound, grandstand seating and an extraordinary backdrop.

The 2017 film program will contain more than a dozen premiere and preview screenings, the very best Christmas and New Year releases, as well as a selection of 2016’s best art-house films.

Visit www.stgeorgeopenair.com.au for the full program and to buy tickets.

Bangkok Ranked the Most Visited City in the World

The survey in the sixth annual MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index stated that Bangkok was ranked the world's most-visited city. Bangkok was also voted the Number One Holiday Destination in Asia by readers of the independent online travel magazine SmartTravelAsia.com in its "Best In Travel Poll 2016.”

According to the MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index, Bangkok is the top-ranked destination city by international overnight visitor arrivals in 2016. It also projects that 85.6 percent of the international overnight visitors to Bangkok will be for leisure and 14.4 percent for business. Peak months for visiting are April and January. In terms of spending, Bangkok is also projected to be the top-ranked city in the Asia-Pacific at 14.84 billion US dollars, but fourth on the overall ranking.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said that although the ranking was based on quantity, the news is encouraging. He said that one of the strengths of Bangkok is its location, which is suitable to serve as the hub of the ASEAN region. Moreover, Bangkok offers diverse attractions and it is also convenient to travel in the city. Food, products, and culture also make a name for Bangkok.

He sees opportunities for Thailand to achieve tourism success in terms of quality. For example, tourism destinations, products, and services in the country will be further developed to higher standards, along with emphasis on ensuring safety for tourists.

According to the SmartTravelAsia.com, Bangkok was voted Best Holiday Destination in a list that included Bali, Tokyo, Dubai, and Bhutan. This is the second year in a row that the Thai capital has topped the SmartTravelAsia.com rankings. Phuket has been placed at third while Ko Samui in Surat Thani was ranked at eighth.

Bangkok stood out for having a real sense of place as well as for its people and range of experiences. It was also named as the third most popular city in Asia for business in the online magazine Smart Travel Asia.com' s "Best Cities for Business.”

The city is home to all major domestic and foreign companies as well as government ministries and most of the country’s education, sporting, and cultural facilities. Most imports and exports are transported via Bangkok, the hub of Thailand’s aviation, railroad, and communication networks.

THE AUSTRALIAN BLUES MUSIC FESTIVAL IS BACK IN 2017

Celebrating its 21st year, the Australian Blues Music Festival is on again in Goulburn this February and is set to be one of the best festivals yet. 
The annual event is held over 4 days from February 9–12, where audiences will be treated to over 70 performances across 11 free venues in Goulburn. The stellar line-up, showcasing world-class blues and roots talent, features a combination of home grown and international acts.

This year’s headline act and Australian Blues Legends, The Foreday Riders, will be celebrating their 50th year as a working band with two of its original members the King Brothers, who have been with the band since its inception in 1967.

Click here for more information.

Friday, 30 December 2016

MERCURE OPENS IN TAMWORTH

This month saw the official opening of the new Mercure Tamworth, a 4.5 star hotel in the hub of the city, with a special opening rate starting from $169 per room per night, including WiFi.

Boasting 52 meticulously designed hotel rooms, a corporate meeting room, heated pool and gymnasium, this brand new hotel is a fantastic addition to Tamworth’s accommodation offerings.

Chief Operating Officer, AccorHotels Pacific, Simon McGrath said, “After months of collaborating with Wests Entertainment Group we are delighted to open the new Mercure Tamworth. The hotel’s opening signifies AccorHotels’ confidence in Regional NSW’s bourgeoning tourism sector, by injecting much-needed new hotel supply into the country music capital.”

To book a stay at Mercure Tamworth, click here.

CHINESE WEIBO AND WECHAT INFLUENCERS TO SHOWCASE SYDNEY AND THE BLUE MOUNTAINS

Sydney and the Blue Mountains were showcased to travellers from China, when a group of seven Chinese social influencers visited the region this week.

The influencers’ visit was the first of three different familiarisation trips to occur with a range of key opinion leaders between December 2016 and June 2017. More than 24 influencers will visit Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said, “We are delighted to be providing some of China’s most famous travel bloggers with the opportunity to experience iconic Sydney and see the beautiful Blue Mountains.”

“As the group travels around Sydney, every moment of their visit will be shared on their Wechat and Weibo accounts which collectively have a daily visitor number of more than 14 million views,” Ms Chipchase said.

BridgeClimb CEO Todd Coates said, “Key Influencers play a significant role in educating and inspiring Chinese travellers on which destinations to visit and what they should do when they get there.

“Showcasing BridgeClimb’s Mandarin tour via key opinion leaders’ authentic experiences is a key element of our China strategy,” Mr Coates said.

The visit by China’s leading digital influencers was secured through a partnership with Destination NSW, BridgeClimb Sydney, Scenic World Blue Mountains, Sydney Opera House, Taronga Zoo, Westfield Sydney, Fantasea Cruises and accommodation partners; Holiday Inn Darling Harbour and Holiday Inn Potts Point.

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

Community Artist of the South Eastern Utah Group of Parks is Announced

The National Park Service Southeast Utah Group is pleased to announce Anthony Lott as the 2017 Community Artist in the Parks (CAIP). This is the first time the program will feature an artist residing in San Juan County, and focus on the southern parks of the group.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Anthony lives in Bluff and teaches drawing, painting, ceramics, and art appreciation at the Blanding Campus of Utah State University. He has recreated in Utah's national parks his whole life, calling them "touchstones" and "places were people intersect with the land and with each other." Anthony is excited to try offering a drawing workshop and doing some collaborative art projects during his term as CAIP. Most of all, he looks forward to interacting with visitors while experiencing the shared landscapes of the Southeast Utah parks.

Created in 2009, the CAIP program highlights the connection between a local artist and the surrounding landscapes, particularly Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Hovenweep and Natural Bridges national monuments.

The Community Artist creates work within the parks during a minimum 24 hours per month, April through October, and shares his or her inspiration and creative process with visitors. Pieces of the artist's work will be sold in the Canyonlands Natural History Association bookstores at Arches and Canyonlands national parks during the artist's tenure.

For more information about the program, please see the official park websites below. More information about the artist and his scheduled visits to the parks will be posted on these websites starting mid-March. Inquires may be directed to Karen Garthwait via phone at 435-719-2142 or via email. Chad Niehaus, the Community Artist in the Parks Liaison, may also be contacted for program information via email.

nps.gov/arches
nps.gov/canyonlands
nps.gov/hovenweep
nps.gov/naturalbridges

Welcome to Perth - the capital of Western Australia.

A cosmopolitan city surrounded by the natural beauty of the Swan River and Kings Park.
Perth's superb position on the banks of the Swan River and nearby hectares of natural bushland in Kings Park make for a city centred on the great outdoors. But there's more to the west coast capital than great sunshine and a sparkling river.

A new cosmopolitan perspective and economic growth has given Perth a cultural confidence which is making its mark on the city skyline and on other aspects of urban life.

THINGS TO DO IN PERTH

  • GET back to nature at Kings Park - home to Western Australian Botanic Garden.
  • VISIT Barrack Sqaure where you can see The Bell Tower
  • EXPLORE the river on a Swan River tour.
  • INDULGE in some city arts and culture at a theatre, museum or art gallery.
  • WATCH a gold pour demonstration and browse the gold shop at The Perth Mint
  • HEAD to the shopping and entertainment hot spots beyond the CBD.
  • DINE out at one of the many small bars, restaurants and cafes
  • EXPLORE the city and river by bike, kayak or Segway.
  • CATCH the city sights and attractions on a day tour
  • TAKE a free guided walking tour of the city with the i-City Volunteers
  • GO shopping at the wide range of boutique stores and international brands
  • VISIT Heirisson Island - the home of a colony of Western Grey Kangaroos.

PERTH CBD

For an upbeat tempo, head to Perth city. Skyscrapers are home to the state's movers and shakers while city laneways have given way to an explosive new dining and small bar scene. The city is lined with pedestrian malls jam-packed with a wide variety shops from inventive boutiques to national and global flagship stores where you can stock up on stylish fashions, buy some Aboriginal art or simply sit at a café and watch the parades of people passing by.

Perth is in the midst of an exciting period of expansion and new developments, with bold new design projects and redevelopments such as Perth Arena, Barrack St Jetty and Elizabeth Quay dramatically changing the face of Perth.

Elizabeth Quay features ultra trendy new cafes, bars and restaurants for those looking to get the most out of their dining experience. There's also a host of activities on offer at the Quay including cruises, gondola rides and sea plane rides.

There are many attractions to visit throughout the Perth City, including The Bell Tower, The Perth Mint, Perth Zoo, Scitech, Perth Cultural Centre and Kings Park where you'll find 400 hectares of stunning natural bushland and grand lookouts - a popular place for taking photos.

All buses in the Perth CBD are FREE too with the CAT services very popular for visitors - 4 routes visiting major attractions and dining strips. Remember to connect your mobile device to the FREE "Perth WiFi" while in the city centre also and tell your friends about our extraordinary city!

City walking trails & tours

Why not get your visit to the city off to a flying start on a city tours or on a free guided walking tour with the City of Perth i-City Volunteers. These tours depart from the Information Kiosk in Murray Street Mall.

If you prefer to follow your own path, you can pick up audio and walking trail maps from the Information Kiosk or download from the City of Perth website and carry your own personal guide in your pocket. The audio trails offer a new, fun way for visitors to experience the history and culture of Perth.
Expand al

FREE CITY HERITAGE TOURS

  • Boom or Bust Trail
  • Icons of Influence Trail
  • Art City
  • Convicts and Colonials Trail
  • Parks & Gardens Walking Trail
  • Art & Heritage Trail Northbridge

SWAN RIVER

On the doorstep of Perth lies the natural beauty of the Swan River; creating a stunning contrast against the skyline of city high rises. Dual-use paths make it possible to walk, ride or skate a circuit around the river or take a tour on a Segway. There are also many grassy areas to have a picnic, enjoy a sunset and watch the city come alive with light.

For water sports enthusiasts sailing, windsurfing and kayaking are popular choices in Perth, with hire facilities located along the foreshore. The 'bridges' walk around the river (crossing at Narrows Bridge and the Causeway) will take you approximately 2.5 hours.

The jetties at Barrack Square are the departure point for river cruises to Fremantle, Swan Valley Wine Region and Rottnest Island, as well as ferries to South Perth and Perth Zoo. The vibrant riverside location features public art, cafes, restaurants and a lively bar.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Perth is alive with an annual program of music, theatre, dance and visual art. It is particularly rich during the Perth International Arts Festival held every February and March. During this time the city welcomes local and international artists to participate in a riot of shows across the region.

Northbridge is home to the Perth Cultural Centre which houses the Western Australian Museum - Perth, Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Art Gallery of WA, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, the Blue Room Theatre, and the State Theatre of Western Australia and The Nostalgia Box - Australia's first interactive video game console museum!

Be sure to catch a performance of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra - the state's largest performing arts company and West Australian Opera - WA's only full-time, professional opera company. Theatres too are plentiful from grand stages like the 103-year-old His Majesty's Theatre and Perth Concert Hall to intimate, out-of-the-way stages offering alternative and avant-garde shows.

Why not check out what's on at the Perth Arena while you're here? The Perth Arena is Western Australia's landmark home of live entertainment, music and sports attracting some of the world's top touring artists such as Ed Sheeran, KISS, Katy Perry and P!NK.

BEYOND THE CBD

To discover some more cultural encounters and funky neighborhoods, look beyond the Perth CBD to the shopping, dining and entertainment hotpots of Northbridge, East Perth, Leederville, West Perth, Subiaco, Mount Lawley, Highgate, North Perth, Gosnells, Mount Hawthorn, Victoria Park and South Perth. Here you'll find bohemian quarters, leafy village streets, boutique shopping, multi-ethnic flavours and a cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

CELEBRATE AUSTRALIA DAY ON SYDNEY HARBOUR

For the first time this Australia Day, visitors to Sydney will have the chance to partake in the famous Ferrython, by booking a place as a passenger on one of the competing ferries. 

Priced at $120, ticketholders can enjoy morning tea on arrival, wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks, a premium lunch box and the chance to take out the title. 

Ticketholders must arrive at Wharf 4, Circular Quay at 9.30am on 26 January and will arrive back to the Quay at 1pm. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

VENUE: SYDNEY HARBOUR, CIRCULAR QUAY,  SYDNEY 2000

WHEN: 26 JANUARY
FERRY PASSENGERS FROM 9.30AM
SPECTATORS FROM 10.45AM
DURATION: RACE SPECTATORS: 30 MINS, RACE PASSENGERS: 3.5 HOURS
TICKETS: FREE FOR SPECTATORS, $120 + BOOKING FEE FOR PASSENGER TICKETS

China to Become Asia Pacific’s Largest Cruise Tourism Market

China will soon be the largest cruise tourism market in the Asia Pacific region as marine tourism gains in popularity among domestic travellers. 

China’s cruise ports reported 629 cruise ships leaving for trips in 2015, up 35 percent over the previous year, with cross-border cruise travellers up 44 percent over the same period in the prior year, according to the China National Tourism Administration. 

The world’s top five cruise companies are now participating in the Chinese market, helping to facilitate growth. 

South China’s largest cruise port, Prince Bay in Shenzhen, had a successful opening in November. 

TINA ARENA AND GUY SEBASTIAN TO STAR IN 2017 AUSTRALIA DAY CONCERT

Tina Arena 
Australian superstars Tina Arena and Guy Sebastian are set to star at the free annual concert, Australia Day 2017 – Live at Sydney Opera House.

Music and performances on the steps of the iconic Sydney Opera House will pay tribute to Australia in an incredible display of talent curated by Australia Day creative director John Foreman.

John Foreman said, “I’m delighted to once again be bringing you Australia Day 2017 – Live at Opera House. It’s a truly spectacular concert for the whole family and we’ve secured some amazing acts that will light up the stage against the beautiful backdrop of Sydney Harbour. "

Tina Arena is one of Australia’s most accomplished performers, with a career spanning several decades and including seven top 10 albums. Based in France, the singer-songwriter is looking forward to returning home and celebrating with the nation.

Supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, tickets for the event will be released on January 16, via the website www.australiaday.com.au.

Australia Day 2017 – Live at Sydney Opera House will air Thursday, 26 January at 7.30pm on TEN and across the WIN Network.


Ho Chi Minh City welcomes its 5 millionth foreign tourist

The three lucky tourist receive
gifts from the city authorities
The red carpet was all set and ready to welcome the lucky tourist and other passengers from his flight.

Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday marked the arrival of the 5 millionth foreign tourist with a red carpet ceremony and gifts for passengers of the lucky VN10 flight from France.

The lucky visitor received a free Vietnam Airlines business class ticket from France to Vietnam; the carrier's one year gold membership; two nights at a five star hotel; and a city tour, among other services.

Two visitors that arrived right before and immediately after the 5 millionth visitor were also surprised to receive travel and accommodation vouchers. Meanwhile, all passengers on the VN10 flight got a conical hat and a guidebook.

Ho Chi Minh City is looking to diversify its tourism services to attract both local and long-haul travellers.

Under the plan, the city is seeking to promote performing arts festivals, sporting events and waterway tourism services, among others, while focusing on high-end leisure travel.

Ho Chi Minh City is expecting to receive 5.2 million foreign tourists this year, a 10 percent increase from last year, according to the municipal tourism department.

The number of local arrivals has also jumped 10 percent to 21.8 million. Tourism remains a key revenue stream for the city and is forecast to generate VND103 trillion ($4.5 billion) this year, up 9 percent year-on-year.

2016 is already a record breaking year for Vietnam's international tourist arrivals. As many as 10 million have been welcomed so far this year.

Blockbuster Movie, Sing, Comes to Life at the Langham, Melbourne This School Holidays

This summer's animated blockbuster, SING, will be brought to life at Aria Bar & Lounge at The Langham, Melbourne for one month from Wednesday 28 December until Tuesday 31 January.

Following the runaway success of Minions, now the second-highest grossing animated movie in history, comes SING, from producers, Illumination, the creators of such loved movies as Despicable Me, Dr Seuss' The Lorax and Despicable Me 2.

The movie is about a shining star that lives inside all of us and includes a star-studded cast including Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane and Scarlett Johannson. The movie features no less than 85 hit songs and features an entirely animal cast from a dapper koala, a mouse, an elephant, a pig, a gangster gorilla and a punk porcupine.

Aria Bar & Lounge at The Langham, Melbourne has a reputation for creating themed high teas for children. During the summer holidays, the Sing-inspired high tea will feature Buster Moon Cupcakes (named after the lead character, Buster Moon, a koala, whose voice is played by Matthew McConaughey), Rosita macaron (adorable pink macarons inspired by Reese Witherspoon's character's litter of 25 piglets), Eddie muffins shaped like sheep, Microphone cone, “Drum Roll, Please” cookie, healthy rabbit-shaped watermelon, Sing mini-cheeseburger as well as The Langham, Melbourne's signature favourites, cucumber ribbon sandwiches, fairy bread, freshly baked scones served with fresh cream and jam, hot chocolate and red cordial.

Children are $35.00 each. Adults may enjoy The Langham Melbourne's Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood for $55.00 each. Sing high tea takes place every week day at 10am until 11.30am and 12.30pm until 2pm.

Bookings may be made by via ariabar.com.au or by calling 1800 641107.

Children are encouraged to dress up as their favourite animal to celebrate the launch of what promises to be everyone's favourite new animated film this summer. 

Sing will be released by Universal Pictures. For more information about Sing, please visit singmovie.com.au

melbourne.langhamhotels.com.au/

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

SYDNEY SHOWCASED TO MORE THAN 25 MILLION DURING MASTERCHEF INDIA SEMI-FINALS BROADCAST

Sydney’s culinary credentials, spectacular Harbour and city icons were showcased to an audience of more than 25 million in India, South East Asia, Europe and the United States as two semi-final episodes of MasterChef India Season 5 shot in Sydney were aired on the Star Plus Network.

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said supporting international broadcasters to film in Sydney and Regional NSW, provides a unique opportunity to reach a mass international audience.

“NSW has a thriving and multicultural food and wine scene, which is an important motivator for travellers when choosing their preferred destination. We look forward to welcoming MasterChef India fans looking to replicate some of the great experiences that were showcased through the semi-final episodes, as well as Indian travellers looking for a great holiday experience, to NSW.”

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said, “Sydney was the perfect destination to host MasterChef India. Securing this exclusive broadcast is a huge coup as it provides a unique chance to showcase our city’s culinary prowess to one of the top 10 source markets of visitors to NSW.”

India is the ninth largest source market of visitors to NSW with more than 120,800 overnight visitors travelling to NSW from India in the year ending September 2016. These visitors stayed 4.81 million nights in NSW providing a $293 million boost to the local economy.

The episodes will be broadcast and syndicated to over 105 countries including India, the US and UK. The initiative was supported by the State’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

EVENTS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA - JANUARY, FEBRUARY, MARCH 2017

January

Hopman Cup

January 1-7, 2017, Perth, Experience Perth
Mastercard Hopman Cup is the official mixed teams' competition of the International Tennis Federation. Set at the spectacular Perth Arena, the event attracts some of the world's best tennis players as they prepare for the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open. The Cup's all-star line-up includes Roger Federer, Andrea Petkovic, Nick Kyrgios, Jack Sock and more. The Hopman Cup is the exciting launch to the Australian Summer of Tennis.

Mount Barker Co-operative Grapes and Gallops Festival

January 22, 2017, Mount Barker, Australia's South West
Locals and visitors to the area can enjoy a day of great food and wine, fashion and horse racing at the Mount Barker Co-operative Grapes and Gallops Festival. Throughout the day there will be ten horse races plus local wineries showing their award winning wines and regional food, plus there will be a range of activities on offer for the whole family.

Western Australian Circus Festival

January 27-29, 2017, Karridale, Experience Perth
Western Australian Circus Festival is a three day event with shows running from midday to midnight. On show are circus, comedy and cabaret performances with acts from around the world. There is a dedicated kid's big top with workshops all day as well as great music, market stalls, camping and Australia's longest high wire walk.

February

Perth International Arts Festival

February 10 – March 5, 2017, Perth, Experience Perth
The Perth International Arts Festival is a feast of joyous, cutting-edge performances and activities for all ages. Experience some of the world's best international and contemporary theatre, dance, music, film, visual arts and literature. This international festival is a wonderful display of creativity and talent providing amazing entertainment for all.

SunSmart Busselton Jetty Swim

February 11-12, 2017, Busselton, Australia's South West
The SunSmart Busselton Jetty Swim event will be held over two days, with activities and family entertainment for everyone. The event is regarded as one of the South West's premier sporting events. The course will take participants out and around the 3.6 kilometres of Busselton's iconic Jetty, in the tranquil waters of Geographe Bay.

Boyup Brook Country Music Festival

February 16-19, 2017, Boyup Brook, Australia's South West
The Boyup Brook Country Music Festival is the State's premier country music event. The event showcases WA talent at the music awards on the Friday night. Saturday kicks off with a free Street Carnival, full of captivating buskers, charming stalls and delicious food. Before heading down to the festival for a full 12 hours of boot-scooting and singing along to premium country music artists.

March

Sculpture by the Sea

March 3-20, 2017, Cottesloe, Experience Perth
One of Perth's largest free public events, Sculpture by the Sea, sees Cottesloe Beach transform into a sculpture park with more than 70 sculptures on display from artists across Australia and the world. Enjoy exhibits from some of the world's top sculptors against a backdrop of one of the city's most popular beaches.

GAMEX Fishing Tournament

March 17-25, 2017, Exmouth, Australia's Coral Coast
The GAME Fishing Tournament is a six-day event held at the tip of Ningaloo Reef off WA's Norwest Cape. The event incorporates social evenings, scientific studies, educational sessions and product information. There are ladies' functions, children's fishing clinics and celebrity chef cooking demonstrations to entertain the whole family.

Channel Seven Mandurah Crab Fest

March 18-19, 2017, Mandurah, Experience Perth
The Channel Seven Mandurah Crab Fest is Mandurah's premier annual event which is enjoyed by more than 100,000 locals and visitors. The jam packed weekend festival features a plethora of fun and activities including live performances, cooking displays, and free family entertainment.

Tourism Injects $940 Million into the Noosa Economy

Finishing a great year for Noosa, the latest visitor statistics from Tourism Research Australia for the year ending September 2016 reveal an all-time high for Noosa with numbers and nights on the increase and visitor spend up by an unparalleled 36.3% to reach $940 million.

Tourism Noosa CEO Damien Massingham said the domestic figures showed incredible growth for Noosa, particularly from interstate markets, and reflect the positive growth from international markets for the same quarter.

“Interstate visitors were up 50.4% to 355,000, with nights up 49% to 2,061million and importantly, spend up 76.7% to $470million”.

“And we have seen record overall numbers in total domestic spend, nights and visitors with spend increasing by 26% to $679.1million, nights up 16% to 3,459,000 and a record number of visitors reaching over 800,000 for the first time at 838,000, up 13.4%”

“These results are incredibly positive for Noosa and this is the sixth consecutive quarter of growth in domestic numbers and nights”.

“Looking at both domestic and international visitors for the last quarter, we are not only up in visitor numbers, an increase of 17.5% to 2.36 million and nights increasing 14% to 4.38 million, the total spend has grown by an incredible 36.3% to reach $940 million”.

“At the same time, total spend for Queensland increased 5.2% and for the Sunshine Coast it was 17.8%. Total visitor numbers to Queensland increased 7.6% and to the Sunshine Coast the increase was 12.6%.”

“The Tourism Noosa team has delivered comprehensive campaigns into key interstate and international markets in 2015/2016 across a range of marketing activity and this has clearly delivered results for the Noosa region”.

“We're also fortunate to have a strong and supportive tourism industry in Noosa that constantly delivers exceptional service and incredibly high quality experiences. So many businesses have also reinvested in their product in the last 24 months which gives us new ways to promote the Noosa holiday offering.”

“Tourism is the largest economic contributor for the Noosa region, injecting $940 million into the Noosa economy over the last year which has helped retain and create jobs. With a bumper summer season ahead and exciting marketing announcements in the new year, the tourism industry and broader Noosa community can feel confident that Noosa is in a strong position leading into 2017.” said Mr Massingham.

SOURCE: Tourism Research Australia, International and Domestic Visitor Surveys, Year Ending Sept 2016

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Tasmania Roars in Oscar-Tipped Movie Lion

IT'S HITTING SCREENS ACROSS THE GLOBE AND SHOWCASING A LITTLE ISLAND AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD - AUSTRALIA'S ISLAND STATE - TASMANIA.

Sharing airtime with Hollywood superstars in the slightly mythical true journey of Saroo Brierley, Tasmania the actress provides seductive glimpses of her pristine coastlines, uncrowded beaches, and untouched wilderness on the world stage. Premiering at the Toronto Film Festival to a standing ovation, the film is expected to collect a swag of Oscar nominations and has been nominated for four Golden Globes (Best Film, Best Supporting Actress – Nicole Kidman, Best Supporting Actor - Dev Patel, Best Original Score - Dustin O'Halloran and Hauschka).

In Lion, based on the bestselling book by Saroo Brierley A Long Way Home, Tasmania's landscapes perform as the backdrop for Saroo's extraordinary story of survival and unwavering determination. As the story unfolds, keep an eye on the rugged splendour of this relatively unknown actress. She's dramatic, providing colour and life without words. She needs no script.

Tasmania has long been known for her pristine wilderness, bountiful produce and inspired cultural offerings, but there's far more to her. She's not predicable. She has a trove of enchanting stories to be uncovered. Delve a touch deeper.

She's due to open MACq 01, a storytelling hotel on the Hobart waterfront that is going to reveal all sides of her - each room offering insight to Tasmania's current and former characters. She has also just laid a path touted as Australia's finest coastal walk, the Three Capes Track. Keep an eye on Lion's silent actress and you'll see one of those capes playing her role.

This supporting actress is no stranger to the stage. Travel + Leisure in recent years has named Tasmania amongst the world's top ten islands. Lonely Planet sang her international praises, naming her the hottest destination on the planet a few years back and one of the world's top 10 regions to visit last year. Her other accolades include world's best whisky and best golf links course, along with the revered Saffire Freycinet, picking up best boutique hotel in the world.

Not that she likes to boast. But Tasmania is also home to that highly acclaimed private art gallery known as Mona and arguably the cleanest air on the planet, just for good measure. When you visit her, be sure to bring your appetite. Tasmania is bursting with passionate artisans producing organic, heirloom produce and locally distilled and brewed drink.

WANT TO KNOW HER BETTER?

kunanyi/Mt Wellington

This beauty is featured when Dev Patel and Rooney Mara sit atop the mighty peak, taking in Hobart city below. It's a local fave, ever-watching over the city. Just 25 minutes from the CBD and one can watch the sun sink or rise, with the city and River Derwent sparkling below. Create your own mountain story with walking trails that range from short hikes under the Organ Pipes to more challenging climbs including Cathedral Rock. Stop for a coffee at the Springs or pack a picnic for the summit.

Recherche Bay & Cockle Creek

There's a taste of South West Tasmania in Lion that is unmistakable. As the film ventures down to South West National Park and Cockle Creek, the farthest point south one can drive in Australia, note the ruggedness of the landscape. Explore by foot from Cockle Creek, or take to the air with Par Avion for far-reaching views of this vast wilderness.

The Candlestick and Cape Hauy

You can't miss this towering spire and accompanying cape in the film - the dramatic manner it stands narrow and tall, defiant across a swirling Tasman Sea. Build your own story on the Tasman Peninsula, just 90 minutes from Hobart, by taking a four-day trek along the Three Capes Track or see the Candlestick from water level on a Pennicott Wilderness Journeys Cruise. There's plenty of shorter walks on the peninsula, part of the 60 Great Short Walks series, including a return day walk to Cape Hauy.

The Bruny Island Neck

There's a glorious isthmus in Lion. The isthmus joins North Bruny and South Bruny – the north has open pastures and is drier while the south is home to thick rainforest and South Bruny National Park. See The Neck for yourself on a day trip to Bruny, just 40 minutes south of Hobart, and be sure to climb the stairs - every single one is worth it for the 360 degree views. Take a guided tour, fly over The Neck or visit at dusk for a parade of Little Penguins.

Marion Bay

This stunning, uncrowded bay, with Cape Hauy as its backdrop is a visual stunner in Lion. Come New Year's Eve, it's not so quiet at Marion Bay, on the Tasman Peninsula when folk descend for the Falls Music and Arts Festival. Pack your tent for tunes, or visit at a quiet time of year - its only 90 minutes from Hobart CBD. The surf is great, as are the nearby vineyards and the turquoise waters and pristine beaches.

Sailing and fishing around the Tasman Peninsula

There are scenes of Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and David Wenham sailing and dropping a line in and around the Tasman Peninsula. Tasmania's waterways range from calm channels and clear highland lakes to one of the world's deepest harbours - our maritime history runs deep. Exploring the Lion's waterways might include diving, a fishing charter, high-speed cruise or boarding a former Sydney to Hobart yacht ready to set sail on a day trip or overnighter.

WANT TO MEET TASMANIA?

The story of Saroo is undoubtedly touching and resilient, already touted as an international screen triumph. Although Tasmania may be in a support role, her presence offers a theatrical landscape for the story to unfold. And she wouldn't mind meeting you.

She understands that her island, no bigger than West Virginia, is at the other end of the world. But that's what adds to her intrigue.

If you ever wanted to meet a star in person, your search is over. Delve curiously when you're here, and get to know her. Versatile and instinctive, yet unpredictable and fiery. The next moment, friendly and generous. She'll draw you in, make you at home and show you who she is.

She's waiting… And she's ready to star in your next memorable story.

TRAVEL TO TASMANIA

Travellers can fly to Tasmania from the mainland on Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Qantas, Qantaslink, Tigerair, Sharp Airlines or Rex Airlines, or take the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Port Melbourne (VIC) to Devonport (TAS).

BACKGROUND NOTES: 

Tourism Tasmania is the Tasmanian Government's tourism marketing agency. Its main purpose is to connect people to Tasmania through domestic and international marketing programs that create demand for Tasmanian holidays and attract more visitors to the state.

Red Dog: True Blue Puts the Spotlight on the Ancient Pilbara Region

Australia's favourite dog will return to the big screen when Red Dog: True Blue premieres to audiences across the country on December 26, 2016.

Viewers are invited to explore Western Australia's extraordinary red dirt landscapes in the sequel, which sees the country's most beloved kelpie adventuring through the State's epic Pilbara region.

Red Dog: True Blue tells the story of family, friendship and adventure between a young boy and a scrappy one-of-a-kind dog that would grow up to become an Australian legend. It is the prequel to one of Australia's most successful films, Red Dog (2011), recounting the story of Red Dog's origins.

Located in Australia's North West, the Pilbara has some of the world's most ancient landscapes, dating back two billion years and stretching more than 400,000 square kilometres. It's here, travellers will find deep rocky canyons, hundreds of islands with dazzling white beaches and untouched coral gardens, incredible Aboriginal art and culture and a massive mining industry.

Ready to hit the road like Red Dog? Here are our top ten ways to experience the Pilbara like the original wanderer…
  • Snap a selfie at the Red Dog statue in Dampier. Be sure to stop and snap a selfie at this popular tourist spot, located at the entrance to the town of Dampier. Featured in the books and movie, this statue was erected in Red Dog's memory “by his many friends made during his travel.”
  • Discover Red Dog's top spots in Dampier. Dampier is the largest tonnage shipping port in Australia and houses massive export facilities. With a Red Dog signposted in the works, take a short tour around town to get a feel for the place where Red Dog spent much of his lifetime.
  • Explore the gateway to the Pilbara, Karratha. Located 20km east of Dampier, Karratha is the fastest growing town in the Pilbara. Here, visitors can walk heritage trails, visit ancient Aboriginal sites and take a dip at a number of refreshing beaches. It's also a great starting point for visits to the historic towns of Cossack and Roebourne, and the beach lovers' paradise of Point Samson.
  • Visit the working harbour of Port Hedland. This Pilbara town was visited by Red Dog on many occasions. While here, you can take a local history and town tour, see the natural phenomenon that is Staircase to the Moon, witness a multitude of native wildflowers in the winter months, and see artworks from talented local Aboriginal artists.
  • Stay on a working cattle station. Step into the station life at one of the region's working cattle stations, including Cheela Plains and Pardoo Station. It's a great chance for visitors to stay and explore the Pilbara's wild side.
  • Explore epic landscapes, gorges and natural swimming pools. Two hours south of Karratha lies Millstream Chichester National Park, home to rolling hills, spectacular escarpments, tree-lined watercourses and hidden rock pools. Further inland, Karijini National Park, often referred to as the 'jewel of the Pilbara', is home to deep gorges and emerald coloured rock pools. Get adventurous with walking trails and guided tours that take you paddling, abseiling and swimming through the park. 
  • Quench your thirst at a historic hotel. Located between Roebourne and Port Hedland is the Whim Creek Hotel, a popular stop for hungry and thirsty travellers. Established in 1872, the hotel is the only remaining building from the settlement which was built around a copper mine.
  • Take a mining tour. The Pilbara is also known as the engine room of Australia - home to a massive mining industry in crude oil, salt, natural gas and iron ore. There are plenty of opportunities to witness the mining in action, including a Point-to-Point Tour which can be booked at Roebourne Visitor Centre and Port Hedland's Port Interpretative Walk.
  • See if you can count the iron ore trucks on the Pilbara Rail train. Red Dog was famous for travelling by whatever means he could, including on the iron ore trains. The Pilbara rail network is the largest privately owned and operated rail network in Australia, so it's pretty common to come across 3km long trains on your own Pilbara adventure.
  • See Salt or Sea Salt? The Pilbara produces a whopping 10 million tonnes of salt each year! The salt industry has been a part of the fabric of the region for many years. Port Hedland's Redbank Bridge Lookout offers great views of towering piles of salt. Further south, salt evaporation ponds covering almost 90 square kilometres can be seen while driving into Onslow.

Watch the trailer to catch a sneak peak of Red Dog: True Blue:

YouTube - https://youtu.be/tl3sTpmEKIs

Download - https://www.hightail.com/download/cUJWSmIxeWFmVGI0WjlVag

Monday, 26 December 2016

REGIONAL NSW A HOLIDAY HOT SPOT IN 2016

More Aussies are choosing to holiday in NSW than ever before, with more than 20 million visitors flocking to Regional NSW, spending close to $10 billion in the 12 months to September 2016.

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said National Visitor Survey data released by Tourism Research Australia shows efforts to drive tourism growth to regions across our State are working.

“This year domestic holiday visitors to Regional NSW grew by 10 per cent with holiday interstate visitors up by 17.3 per cent, the majority of growth from Queensland,” Mr Ayres said.

“This is fantastic news for our regional hotels, restaurants and businesses. Importantly this growth in tourism means more jobs for Regional NSW, and with Summer here, and more regional events to come, these results are expected to continue.

“In total, more than 29 million domestic visitors travelled to NSW, staying 94 million nights and spending $16.5 billion.”

Outback NSW, Snowy Mountains and North Coast regions recorded strong increases in visitation and expenditure for the year, with visitors up by 28 per cent, 16 per cent and 11 per cent respectively. Visitor growth and spend was fuelled by holiday travellers.

Other regions reporting strong visitation growth included New England North West (+15 per cent), the Blue Mountains (+14 per cent) and the Hunter (+9 per cent). Riverina also achieved substantial growth of 37 per cent in visitor expenditure for the year.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase welcomed the strong growth which points to an even stronger year ahead for regional tourism.

“The industry is booming here in NSW and we want to ensure every region across the State benefits from targeted efforts, including our marketing campaigns which are working to increase visitation right across Regional NSW,” Ms Chipchase said.

SeaLink South Australia Launch Chinese Website

SeaLink South Australia has launched a new website in Chinese, http://sealinkaustralia.cn/ after identifying China as one of the key growth markets for the South Australian Tourism Industry.

The Chinese website provides consumers with information on what SeaLink South Australia is offering the China market including accommodation options and day and overnight tours in Adelaide or on Kangaroo Island.

Day tours in Adelaide include the Barossa Valley Food and Wine Experience, Victor Harbor and McLaren Vale Highlights tour, Adelaide Sightseeing Tour and Adelaide Hills and Hahndorf tour, to name a few.

Kangaroo Island one, two and three-day tour options include Kangaroo Island Odyssey's luxury 4WD tours, Kangaroo Island Adventure Tours and a range of SeaLink Coach tours.

The website also features information on three, four and seven night Murray River cruises on-board the PS Murray Princess.

The SeaLink South Australia Chinese website provides a direct booking link to SeaLink's official booking website or visitors can send a request in Chinese to SeaLink's Mandarin speaking operations team.

According to SeaLink's Head of Sales and Marketing, Richard Doyle, “with China a key market for our South Australian transport and tourism operations, we are confident that providing our Chinese website will help the Chinese market understand our products and with the increase of direct flights to Adelaide from China Southern, we envisage visitor numbers will grow further resulting in increased direct bookings from our Chinese consumers. “

“The website will expand the national SeaLink Travel Group brand within the China market and help achieve on-going long term growth for all our businesses.” Continues Mr Doyle.

For information and bookings visit: http://sealinkaustralia.cn/

Ask a Local for a Great WA Holiday

People travelling within WA will be encouraged to start their holiday by dropping into their nearest Accredited Visitor Centre as part of a new marketing campaign.

Starting from tomorrow, travellers hitting the road for their summer drive holidays will hear radio advertisements as they leave Perth promoting the value of stopping at a local Accredited Visitor Centre, where they can receive the best local knowledge on where to stay, what to do and where to eat.

The radio ads will be followed by television commercials screened in regional WA throughout January on the GWN7 network.

“By dropping into an Accredited Visitor Centre during their WA holiday, travellers can really make the most of their trip and have a great experience,” said Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall.

Accredited Visitor Centres can be identified by the “Golden i” logo, which is an italic and gold i on a blue background. “Visitor Centres are a fantastic source of local knowledge, with friendly and welcoming staff who can provide all the local secrets you might not find anywhere else,” Mr Hall said.

“Whether you're travelling with the kids or a group of friends, or embarking on the great grey nomad adventure, Visitor Centres are a fantastic place to start to get all the information you need.

“Research shows that 97 per cent of Visitor Centre users found their visit to the Centre valuable – an overwhelmingly positive endorsement of the local service on offer.”

Only Visitor Centres which have reached a certain standard can become accredited through Tourism Council WA and display the “Golden i” logo.

“When you stop into a Visitor Centre displaying the Golden i, you can be assured you will receive expert local advice on attractions, events, retail outlets, local services, accommodation and tours,” Mr Hall said.

“You'll also be able to access information on road conditions and transport options, get maps and visitor safety information, and access services including toilets and local merchandise.”

To find Accredited Visitor Centres, visit www.visitorcentreswa.com.au. The Visitor Centres WA television advert can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aM8cfO5cgi4&feature=youtu.be

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

A very merry Christmas to all the readers, contributors and supporters of The Holiday and Travel Magazine.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Take a Punt with SeaLink for the Kangaroo Island Cup

South Australia's must-do three-day event, the SeaLink Kangaroo Island Cup Carnival, from Thursday 16th - Saturday 18th February, 2017 at Cygnet River Racecourse, is a celebration of racing, entertainment, food, wine and fun. New naming right sponsor, SeaLink, is offering punters a range of travel package options including a day package to the main Kangaroo Island Cup Day event.

The not to be missed SeaLink Kangaroo Island Cup Carnival features two race days, the first on Thursday February 16th followed by the main race day (KI Cup Day) on Saturday February 18th.

According to SeaLink's Marketing Manager Julie-Anne Briscoe, “SeaLink is thrilled to be naming right sponsor of this great island carnival that just keeps getting bigger and better each year. The carnival brings with it a real party and racing atmosphere with the hotly contested fashions on the field competition and the fully-inclusive KI Cup Long Lunch Trackside Marquee.”

SeaLink is offering a Kangaroo Island Cup Day package departing from Adelaide, Cape Jervis, Penneshaw and American River on Saturday February 18th.

The Cup Day Package includes morning coach pick-up and evening set down at selected Adelaide hotels; return SeaLink ferry, return transfers to the Cygnet River Racetrack, Kingscote and a general admission ticket. The package is priced at $173 per person

For those travelling from Cape Jervis the Full Day Race package is priced at $129 per person and includes return SeaLink ferry, transfers to the Racetrack and a general admission ticket.

For locals or those holidaying on Kangaroo Island the Cup Day Package includes return race day transfers and a general admission ticket and is priced at $51 per adult from Penneshaw and $47 per adult from American River.

The Cup Day Race Package with Long Lunch is the perfect way to celebrate the SeaLink Kangaroo Island Cup day in style. Upgrade the Cup Day Package for only an extra $199 per person and spend the day enjoying a superb four-course lunch prepared by Sue Pearson of 2 Birds & A Squid Food Co, a selection of local Dudley Wines, beers and soft drinks. The Long Lunch Package also includes a racebook and the marquee will offer private betting facilities and screens.

For the best Kangaroo Island Cup experience an extended stay on the island before or after the carnival is the only way to see Kangaroo Islands fascinating wildlife, spectacular coastal scenery and landscapes, pristine beaches, unique local wines and produce and breathtaking attractions like Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch.

SeaLink offer a range of self-drive packages so guests can take their time and explore the island at their own pace. From two to five nights to making your own self-drive package, there is something for everyone. SeaLink Self-Drive packages can also easily be combined with Cup Day Packages for the ultimate holiday adventure.

For further information and bookings visit www.sealink.com.au

Discover Seoul's Best Dining Experiences With the First MICHELIN Guide to the City

For food lovers travelling to Korea the first ever edition of the MICHELIN Guide to Seoul has been released. It would be a useful tool for visitors looking at dining options whilst in Seoul. Seoul is nowadays known for its eclectic dining scene ranging from royal cuisine restaurants and fine dining establishments to its many specialty Korean one dish restaurants and its popular street food.

The new guide brings together a selection of the best of all cuisines with every establishment chosen first and foremost for the quality of cooking. Two restaurants awarded three stars are Korean cuisine restaurants Gaon and La Yeon. La Yeon on the 23rd floor of Shilla Hotel was named in the Best 50 Restaurants in Asia in 2016.

Other contemporary Korean restaurants in Seoul like Jungsik and Mingles are well known for their innovative cuisine and the blending of traditional Korean ingredients into modern contemporary dishes with unique Korean flavours.

Jungsik also made it on to the Best 50 Restaurants in Asia list in 2016 and Executive Chef Jungsik Yim also has a restaurant in New York. Mingles Executive Chef Mingoo Kang trained under Martin Berasetegui in San Sebastian, Spain and later enjoyed stints at Nobu in Miami and the Bahamas.

Korea is a hot food destination these days for food lovers not only for fine dining but for all the variety of street food that is so popular with locals and visitors alike. Specialty one dish restaurants serving Samgyetang (whole baby chicken stuffed with ginseng and glutinous rice simmered slowly for hours) and Mandu (Korean style dumplings served with kimchi) abound.

Get your Michelin Guide to Seoul now from the Korea Tourism Organization Sydney office, email visitkorea@knto.org.au for your free copy.

Website: www.visitkorea.org.au
Like us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SeeKorea
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ktosydney

Total NYC Visitors Surpasses 60 Million for First Time

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and NYC & Company today announced that the City will welcome an all-time record 60.3 million visitors by year's end, surpassing the 60 million visitor milestone for the first time ever, and representing the seventh consecutive year of travel and tourism growth for the City. The new figure is 600,000 visitors higher than the original forecast of 59.7 million announced earlier this year, and 1.8 million more visitors than last year's revised year-end figure of 58.5 million. Travel and tourism now sustains more than 375,000 jobs in New York City, representing a gain of 15,000 jobs over the last year.

“Not only has 2016 brought the largest number of visitors in New York City history, but it also caps off seven years of strong tourism growth and 15,000 more jobs for New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “More tourism means we have more people investing in New York City and are able to create more sustainable jobs for more people. New York is a culturally rich and diverse city, with so much to offer those who visit. I look forward to continue promoting this beautiful city and welcoming all those who visit in the future.”‎

“We are the safest, most culturally rich, most exciting city in the country. Every time visitors come, they can experience something new,” said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. “We are focused on making sure the benefits of tourism stretch into every borough and every community."

“We are very excited to host a record high number of visitors who are interested in learning about the vibrant culture of our wonderful city,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Visiting New York City can mean the trip of a lifetime, and we want to offer everyone the opportunity to truly have the full experience. I look forward to working with the Mayor and NYC & Company to continue fostering the growth of New York City's important tourism industry.”

“We are proud to exceed our forecast this year and welcome an all-time record 60.3 million visitors, achieving a new tourism milestone for New York City,” said Fred Dixon, NYC & Company's President and CEO. “The appeal of the 'New' New York alongside our classic attractions continue to draw travelers from every corner of the globe. We invite visitors and locals to take advantage of all the nonstop and affordable NYC experiences on offer this winter as well as the opportunities to discover our City's multicultural neighborhoods in all five boroughs.”

“We are very fortunate this year to surpass 60 million visitors, New York City's latest travel and tourism achievement,” said Emily Rafferty, NYC & Company Board Chairman and President Emeritus of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “From our reputation as the safest large city in America to our world-class hotels, attractions, cultural organizations, restaurants, shops and more, there's no better place than the five boroughs to enjoy the best of everything in one single destination.”

To continue welcoming record visitation and boost winter travel in 2017, NYC & Company today unveiled a new “Nonstop NYC” program comprising its popular vibrancy programs NYC Restaurant Week®, NYC Broadway WeekSM, NYC Off-Broadway WeekSM and an all-new NYC Attractions Week. The organization is also expanding its “See Your City,” “See it for Yourself” and Official NYC Family Ambassador campaigns to further encourage travel during the first quarter and beyond.

This year, visitors from the United States will represent a forecasted 47.6 million visitors while travelers from international markets will comprise an estimated 12.65 million international visitors, both all-time highs. Among all visitors, meetings delegates will comprise 6.15 million people. In 2017, NYC & Company is forecasting the City will welcome approximately 61.8 million visitors with 48.7 million domestic travelers and 13.1 million international visitors.

Hotel demand in the five boroughs has grown this year by 1.2 million, generating 34.9 million hotel room nights sold by year's end, an all-time record. Home to more than 111,000 hotel rooms, the City is also expected to add 24,000 new hotel rooms by the end of 2019, reflecting the nation's most robust hotel development pipeline. A significant contribution to the City's economy, hotel and sales taxes are estimated to contribute over $1 billion in revenues this year.

Just in time for winter visitor arrivals, NYC & Company's celebrated consumer programs will return in early 2017 with NYC Restaurant Week (Jan. 23-Feb.10), NYC Broadway Week (Jan. 17-Feb. 5) and NYC Off-Broadway Week (Feb. 27-Mar. 12). On the heels of the success of these programs, NYC & Company is proud to announce the first-ever NYC Attractions Week. From January 17-February 5, 2017, visitors and locals can receive two-for-one admission for tours, culture and performing arts at over 70 participants, including Big Bus Tours, Brooklyn Museum, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, Gray Line City Sightseeing New York Bus Tours, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Madame Tussauds New York, Museum of Modern Art – MoMA, New York Water Taxi, On Location Tours, One World Observatory and many more.

These four vibrancy programs alongside the best hotel rates of the year will be promoted under a new winter campaign titled “Nonstop NYC.” With the addition of NYC Attractions Week to NYC & Company's signature dining and theater promotions, winter 2017 will be the most affordable value period ever in New York City. More information on “Nonstop NYC” can be found at nycgo.com/nonstop.

For NYC travel inspiration this winter, NYC & Company's popular “See Your City” campaign will expand with the launch of 13 new custom videos along with neighborhood tips on nycgo.com, the City's official tourism website. In partnership with NYC & Company's long-standing corporate sponsor American Express®, the videos will spotlight diverse and inspirational itinerary content for locals and visitors throughout the five boroughs to drive visitation into the neighborhoods. Featured neighborhoods in the videos include: Manhattan's Harlem, Lower East Side, and Lower Manhattan; Brooklyn's Sunset Park, Cobble Hill, and Crown Heights; The Bronx's Belmont and Fordham; Queens' Corona, Flushing, and Long Island City; and Staten Island's Randall Manor and St. George. Consumers will be asked to use the hashtag #SeeYourCity when visiting the neighborhoods.

In addition, NYC & Company and American Express® will publish five new “See Your City” neighborhood guides to spotlight these chosen destinations with helpful visitor tips to be distributed citywide. 150,000 copies will be available for locals and visitors to collect among transportation hubs, hotels and more. For more information and to view the new videos, go to nycgo.com/seeyourcity.

To capitalize on the growing family travel segment, NYC & Company will continue into 2017 its Official NYC Family Ambassador program featuring Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A new iteration has launched with winter-themed creative artwork promoting family travel to New York City. The campaign includes outdoor media in Chicago and Boston as well as advertising in 23 malls across the country. For family-friendly content, visit nycgo.com/family.

Abroad, NYC & Company is also expanding its “See it for Yourself” campaign this winter through its outdoor media partner JCDecaux to drive international visitation. The global marketing effort will include a presence across eight international markets including the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil and Mexico. As part of the campaign, airlines and tour operators will offer various travel packages. For example, in the UK, the City's number one overseas market, NYC & Company has partnered with British Airways for a 14-week long partnership through February 26 that includes an outdoor media campaign and collaborative content to amplify the campaign's reach.

TOURS, ATTRACTIONS AND ACCOMMODATION IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Treetop walk

Treetop walk celebrates 20 year anniversary

The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, is celebrating its 20 year anniversary this month. Located in the Southern Forest town of Walpole, the treetop walk gives tourists a bird's-eye-view of some of the tallest timber giants on earth - the majestic tingle trees. Taking visitors 40-metres above ground, the Treetop Walk has welcomed more than 3.4 million visitors since opening to the public in 1996.

Bremer Bay orca tours kick-off in January

Naturalist Charters will commence its Bremer Canyon Expeditions in late-January 2017, taking guests 60 kilometres off the South West coast to Bremer Canyon – a remote habitat abundant with marine life, including whaler sharks, giant squid, sperm whales, masses of sea birds and the largest known group of killer whales in the Southern Hemisphere. Tours will run until April, giving guests the opportunity to witness this unique phenomenon by joining a research expedition that departs daily from Bremer Bay Marina. Day trip transfers are available from Albany, while larger Bremer Bay sightseeing tours can be booked with Busy Blue Bus.

Billabong Backpackers Resort awarded best backpackers in Australia

Billabong Backpackers Resort has taken out best accommodation at the TNT Golden Backpack awards. The property combines resort style facilities, including a pool surrounded by sun lounges, with a fun and friendly social atmosphere, offering visitors the ultimate backpacking experience in Northbridge. All rooms come with an en-suite bathroom and balcony as standard, along with free parking, wifi and breakfast. This month they have opened nine professional artist studios on site, in partnership with Art Source, providing affordable spaces for local artists.

William Bay National Park to undergo an upgrade

A major redevelopment of the popular William Bay National Park lining the Denmark coast in the South West was announced last month, with works set to include new trails, sealed roads, car parks, public art and lookouts. Facilities will be completely upgraded at the Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks area, Mazzoletti and Waterfall beaches, and Madfish Bay. The two year project will commence in 2017.

Sal Salis features in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel list

Sal Salis has been named one of the best places in the world to stay by travel publisher, Lonely Planet. The prestigious accolade is listed in the publication's annual Best in Travel 2017 edition, which identifies the best trends, destinations, and experiences for the year ahead.

www.westernaustralia.com