Tuesday, 21 November 2017


The city of New Orleans is famous for its
funky music clubs and unique culture.
Travelrite International presents a brand new cruise especially for music and travel lovers, led by none other than ‘Rock Brain of the Universe’, Glenn A. Baker. Music fans are invited to cruise down the Mississippi to experience some of the most influential music sights in the USA for 16 fabulous days from June 22nd to July 10th 2018. Passengers will enjoy the luxury of the largest and most opulent riverboat in the world, the American Queen, and make stops at music hot spots such as New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, and many more.

The cruise includes a visit to Elvis Presley’s Graceland, the Louisiana Delta Museum, The Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Sun Studios, Fame Studios, New Orleans Studios and the Blues Foundation’s Fall of Fame, New Orleans, and much more. Guests can also enjoy performances at venues including the Grand Ole Opry, the Ground Zero Blues Club and the famous jazz clubs of New Orleans. In each new destination, passengers will be immersed in a musical nirvana, celebrating the birthplaces and historical landmarks of Gospel, Blues, Jazz, Bluegrass, Country and Rock’n’Roll.

Experience first hand the homes, studios and stories of icons such as Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash, Harry Connick Jnr, Aretha Franklin and countless others, while experiencing the unique cultural hotspots of the Deep South.

Guests will be guided by ‘the most thorough and knowledgeable music journalist in the world today’, Glenn A. Baker. Glenn is a three-time winner of the BBC’s Rock Brain of The Universe title, label owner, acclaimed songwriter, nationally syndicated radio presenter, and an author of 17 books. Also a two-time Travel Writer of the Year recipient, Glenn has visited over 120 countries, making him the ideal guide for the American Queen’s voyage into the heart of American blues, rock and soul.

The grand American Queen will take you
through the Deep South in the utmost luxury
"I can't wait to get on board our version of ‘Proud Mary'," said Glenn A. "From a true music fan’s perspective it really doesn’t get much better than this. Not only does the cruise explore so much history, but it takes passengers to the haunts of some of the truly pivotal acts of America's musical history - to the Crossroads where the devil and the blues are supposed to have interconnected, to the recording studios where some of the greatest sounds of the twentieth century were captured. The cities we're visiting were at the centre of, and shaped the face of music for decades. On top of that, it’s going to be a huge amount of fun, with like-minded people indulging their passions and being immersed in the cultures they have long dreamed of.”

The cruise is on board the largest and most opulent steamboat in the world. The American Queen epitomises the grace and grandeur that has made river cruising a cherished American tradition for centuries. With modern amenities combined with traditional décor harking back to the Victorian era, the ship is the most elegant showplace on the river, and includes spectacular revues, cabaret, jazz and blues, as well as a six-piece orchestra. The cruise offers fine dining each night prepared with local produce by celebrated American chefs. On the American Queen, passengers are treated to breakfast every day, along with luxurious five-course dinners with included wine and beer. The ship also boasts a vast library and a two-deck-tall Grand Saloon to showcase the cruise’s Broadway-worthy entertainment.

With a low price including air fares, accommodation, food and drinks on board the ship, world-class entertainment and access to daily sightseeing attractions, the Mississippi River Boat Cruise with Glenn A. Baker is the ultimate experience for any music lover. For further info go to www.travelrite.com.au or ring 1800 630 343.

Quang Binh opens new tour through Son Doong Cave in 2018

Using a ladder to exit Son Doong Cave.
(Photo courtesy to Oxalis)
From 2018, the tour discovering the largest cave in the world – Son Doong – will be officially organised by exploiting the route through the cave after the successful pilot of passing the "Great Wall of Viet Nam" inside the cave.

The information has been announced recently by the central province of Quang Binh’s People's Committee.

Previously, the plan of overtaking the Great Wall of Viet Nam, a stalagmite wall of nearly 100m high near the end of Son Doong, and passing through the cave by the British Royal Caving Research Association, was given to Oxalis Company, the only local tour operator granted the right to offer tours to Son Doong. The plan was developed by selecting passing locations, which had little effect on stalactites and environment inside Son Doong.

In particular, the 65m section crossing the wall with vines only lays on the ground width of 0.5m and they move one by one that should have less impact on the emulsion layer on the base stone. After much consideration, Quang Binh authorities directed concerned agencies to conduct the tour according to this plan.

Survey results by Quang Binh Department of Natural Resources and Environment said that the installation of ladders in Son Doong Cave is a technical solution that can affect the geological processes, but not significantly. When erecting the ladder to cross the wall, there are three boreholes that hold the top of the ladder, including two old boreholes by the British association when discovering the cave.

The ladder’s body has only one point leaning on the wall of stalactite but is lined with rubber padding to avoid impacts on the wall. The 65m-long slope on the top of the ladder continues with rope, which is used for visitors to climb up to the top of the wall, with 23 boreholes to lock the ropes, including 15 previous boreholes by discovering teams.

According to Oxalis, the pilot tour through Son Doong lasted for four days and three nights (reducing one day and a night than the old route), conducted from May 21 to August 31, with nine tours and the number of guests at 188 people, bringing about high efficiency. Guests did not have to go back to the old road to exit the cave and make it suitable for visitors so that they feel comfortable.

The assembly of ladders for the wall has taken effect in the case of unexpected floods, as visitors can overcome the wall to escape, without waiting for a few days until the water recedes. The route also helps increase overall conservation effectiveness across the whole route, as minimising direct impact when guests do not have to return to the old road.

For the above reasons, Quang Binh allowed Oxalis Company to officially run new tours through Son Doong Cave from 2018, with a time of four days and three nights.

In 2017, 740 people registered to participate in the tours to discover Son Doong – the world's largest cave.


Laura Dundovic
AVANI Hotels & Resorts is looking for the ultimate Gold Coast insiders, willing to swap their knowledge of secret breaky spots, local boutiques and unforgettable experiences in a world-first Keys to the City experience launching in Australia & New Zealand.

Upscale lifestyle hotel brand, AVANI is making the move south and is on the hunt for Gold Coast aficionados to join the Keys to the City experience. Applicants will have insider knowledge – ready to keep guests immersed in seaside bars, quirky experiences and local culture.

The four chosen explorers will be connected with hotel guests in real time via the world’s first Keys to the City experience at AVANI Broadbeach Gold Coast Residences. Guests can use their mobile phone to scan a Facebook Messenger code on their residence key and chat to experts any time they need a city recommendation.

Successful applicants for the Keys to the City Campaign will be joining Queensland local and Gold Coast lover, Laura Dundovic. Laura first came to attention when she was crowned Miss Universe Australia in 2008, recently took part in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and was the host of Foxtel’s Dating in the Dark. The Australian model and television presenter said applicants need to meet just one criteria – they must live and breathe all things Broadbeach.

“I spend a lot of time in Brisbane and need my dose of Vitamin Sea as often as I can get it. Broadbeach is my go-to destination & I can’t wait to share it with AVANI guests. We want to find locals with just as much passion for this beautiful place. If you know where to find those hidden gems and secret spots that really make the Gold Coast special, get involved!”

Kira Klein, General Manager Marketing, AVANI Hotels & Resorts said: “We are eager to see how many self-proclaimed Broadbeach experts are keen to come on board and share their tips on the best places to eat, drink, shop and play with our guests.”

“We are all about giving guests the details that matter and with our AVANIMe initiative we successfully partnered with bloggers and experts to share their experiences of our destinations, so our guests can experience the best inside and outside our hotels. We thought we’d take it one step further for the launch of AVANI Broadbeach Residences and include local explorers too,” added Klein.

AVANI Broadbeach will open its doors on the 4th of December, a much anticipated arrival on the Gold Coast with availability for the Games. The One and Two Bedroom Suites take cool, coastal living to a new level, featuring spacious open-plan layouts, fully equipped kitchens with top-line appliances, relaxing lounge and dining areas, smart TVs, laundry facilities, private balconies and complimentary Wi-Fi.

When it comes to kicking back, chilling out or meeting up, AVANI Broadbeach offers guests with a thoughtful mix of onsite facilities, from a landscaped terrace, to a guest lounge, well-equipped gymnasium, outdoor swimming pool and sun deck.

To apply, applicants can go to AVANI Broadbeach Residences Facebook page and share why they deserve to be a Broadbeach Keys to the City guide. The most creative answers go in to a draw to win an overseas AVANI experience. One lucky entrant will win a trip to experience AVANI in Auckland including return airfares & 4 night’s accommodation.

The Rees Hotel Queenstown Crowned Best New Zealand Ski Hotel 2017

The Rees Hotel Queenstown has been crowned Best New Zealand Ski Hotel 2017 at this year’s World Ski Awards held in Kitzbühe, Austria. The Rees was chosen from a shortlist of seven impressive properties in New Zealand, scoring the top gong for the second year in a row, marking this as an even more exceptional achievement.

Established five years ago, the World Ski Awards are ski tourism’s highest merit recognising and rewarding excellence across a spectrum of categories from departments to operators and luxury ski properties. The awards are the only worldwide initiative to celebrate ski tourism excellence as voted by both travel professionals and the public.

The Rees is centrally located to four superb ski fields; Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Treble Cone and Cardrona so skiers and boarders are spoilt for choice with a diverse range of terrain for all ability levels. Heli ski experiences and packages are also available as the ultimate way to explore the stunningly wild southern alps of New Zealand. The Rees' complimentary, all-inclusive ski concierge service can take care of the time-consuming logistical arrangements in advance. We can help arrange ski or snowboard packages, gear hire (to await you on arrival), a luxury vehicle to transport you to the ski fields, private or group lessons and one of our secure on site ski lockers. Check our website for new season ski and heli-ski packages.

Après ski is done equally well at The Rees, whether or not you braved the slopes. Warm up in front of the fireplace with your choice of wine from the award-winning Bordeau Wine Lounge or dine on locally sourced produce at True South Dining room, our multi-award-winning restaurant. Enjoy a spa treatment in the comfort of your room or simply relax and take in the stunning sunset views over Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains.

The Rees offers spacious and sophisticated luxury accommodation options perfect for families, couples and groups with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and sixty hotel rooms, all with private balconies boasting stunning lake and mountain views. Five brand new luxurious, three bedroom Rees Residences have been newly opened on the lakefront.

“This prestigious award means a great deal to The Rees and our staff", says General Manager of The Rees, Mark Rose. “It reflects and rewards the hard work we put in daily to ensure our guests have the best stay possible, with memories to last a lifetime. We strive to consistently exceed guests' expectations in all aspects of our hotel, from our ski concierge service to accommodation and fine dining. We are honoured to receive such an accolade for the second year running”.

Queenstown continues to grow as a popular winter destination for Australian skiers and boarders. With direct flights, a choice of ski fields and The Rees Hotel Queenstown's globally recognised accommodation and ski concierge at your service, it is easy to see why.


The Kroft
In the Disney animated film Frozen, Princess Anna and love interest Prince Hans sing of their quickly-progressing romance in the song “Love is an Open Door.” One piece of evidence to prove their love: they finish each other’s...sandwiches.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know that Prince Hans turns out to be a jerk. He’s using Anna to advance his royal standing. I will argue the proof was there all along. Keep away from my sandwich, Prince Hans.

Whether you’re willing to share with your one true love (I’m not), these sandwiches are fit for royalty. Grab a seat and take a bite of Anaheim’s Best Sandwiches.

The Kroft

Head to the historic citrus packing building turned hip food hall, Anaheim Packing House. There you’ll find The Kroft serving gastropub foods, like poutines and market-driven sandwiches. Try the Holiday Leftover Sandwich with all the flavors of the holidays and no awkward family conversations. 440 S Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805

Black Sheep GCB

Black Sheep GCB, or grilled cheese bar, upgrades your elementary school favorite. Also nestled within the food stalls at the Packing House, Black Sheep serves sandwiches like the #4 with fontina, bacon spread and jalapeños. Opt for a classic combo with the Just “Kraft” and tomato soup. 440 S Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805

Earl of Sandwich

John Mantagu is credited with the invention of the sandwich in 1762. It is fitting that the Downtown Disney restaurant, Earl of Sandwich, celebrates his culinary creation with the namesake offering. The Full Mantagu comes with roasted beef, turkey, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mustard sauce. 1565 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802

Cortina’s Italian Market

Cortina’s Italian Market sells a variety of Italian specialties from cheeses to sweets. In addition to the market, locals will direct you to the pizzeria. Call ahead for a made-to-order Cortina’s Special with Italian cold cuts capicolla, mortadella, cotto salami, dry salami and provolone cheese. If you’ve got a little more time to spare, cozy up with cold cuts in the dining room. 2175 W Orange Ave, Anaheim, CA 92804

Tony’s Original Deli and Bottle Shop

Tony’s Original Deli has been a part of Anaheim since 1972. Now part of the Roscoe’s Deli and Heroes Bar & Grill family, Tony’s continues to order hand carved meats and veggies piled high in their sandwiches. Try the Anaheim Sub with honey roasted ham, Italian dry salami, bologna, lettuce, onion, tomato, and Provolone cheese with Italian dressing on a French roll. 613 S Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805

Mead’s Green Door Cafe

Mead’s Green Door Cafe
Not so far away, in Old Town Orange vegetarians and vegans rejoice at Mead’s Green Door Cafe. But the yummy sandwiches, like the hummus and avocado Green Door Habit, appeal to anyone wanting a greener meal in an environment full of good vibes. 642 W Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92868

There so many crave-able and carvable sandwiches offered in Anaheim for both lunch and dinner. So, you may even want to share on social media. But they’re all so tasty you definitely won’t want to share them. Tell Prince Hans and the like, we finish our own sandwiches in Anaheim.

Viet Nam named Asia-Pacific’s best golf destination in 2017

Viet Nam has been selected as the best golf destination in the Asia-Pacific region in the 2017 Asia Golf Awards on-line poll conducted by the Asia Golf Magazine.

Viet Nam created good impression on regional and international golfers, thus received the largest number of votes to become the most favourable golf destination in the region, said Mike Sebastian, CEO of the Asia Pacific Golf Group (APGG) – the governing body of the Asia Golf Magazine.

The result was spurred by Viet Nam’s meticulous investment in golf tourism. The country is currently home to 40 operating golf courses while other courses which are under construction will be put into use in 2018.

The courses are of top-notch quality as they have been developed by the world’s leading golf course designers. Notably, Nicklaus Design, the renowned golf course design firm with more than 400 golf courses in 43 countries and 39 in the US, has become a strategic and exclusive partner of BRG Group, Viet Nam’s most dynamic operator of world-class golf courses. They have joined hands to build a solid future for golf in Viet Nam.

According to the Asia Golf Magazine, Viet Nam will be a magnet for golf tourism as along with 30,000-35,000 domestic golfers, the country has been a hot spot for those from Japan, the Republic of Korea, the US, France and the UK.

The country’s golf tourism will develop further especially when the country is honoured as the best golf destination in the region. Viet Nam will receive the award at a ceremony held in Da Nang city on November 11.

In the three-month poll ending on June 30, Viet Nam received 104,000 votes from golfers worldwide.


NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin this week revealed the final designs for the expansion of the Art Gallery of NSW.

The $344-million Sydney Modern Project, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects SANAA, will be a significant expansion of the floor space in the current gallery.

Key features will include no artificial light directed into the night sky, rainwater harvesting, solar roof panels, minimal car-parking and low-energy air-conditioning.

Mr Harwin said the plans, which went on public exhibition this week, show the blueprint for what will be one of the world’s great art museums.

“An expanded Art Gallery of NSW will deliver significant benefits to all of NSW by injecting more than $1 billion into the NSW economy over 25 years and creating more than 240 fulltime jobs,” Mr Harwin said.

View the plans here.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Maryborough Markets Still Going Strong After 30 Years

Street markets have been part of Maryborough's central business district for three decades and only Mary River flooding and Christmas Day falling on a Thursday have stopped them occurring in all that time.

This remarkable resilience is due to stallholders, the customers who support them and the many people involved in organising the markets.

Veteran town crier and former markets co-ordinator Ken Ashford is one of those. He said the policy was to run the markets “rain, hail or shine” and people knew they could count on them being open.

The markets were launched in November 1987 by the Maryborough Promotions Bureau in response to the opening of the air-conditioned shopping centre at the corner of Alice and Bazaar streets.

Carmel Murdoch, who dresses in period costume to play the character “Mary Heritage” at the markets and fires the cannon with the town crier to signal the end of the markets at 1pm, remembers the time well.

“People left the central business district in droves to go and shop in the one, big shopping centre and people who worked in the CBD were concerned they were going to lose their jobs,” she said.

Business woman Loretta Bertoldo-Hyne is credited with being the first person to suggest setting up markets to draw people into the CBD so the shops would remain viable.

Thursday was chosen because it was the quietest day of the week for businesses and also it didn't clash with the Sunshine Coast's Eumundi Markets held on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Mrs Murdoch said some people didn't believe it would work but it was decided to run a trial with the help of council funding.

This month, proving the naysayers wrong, the 30th anniversary of the markets will be celebrated on November 30 with a pearl and heritage theme.

A nine-carat gold, diamond and pearl earring and pendant set, valued at $500 and donated by Myatt Jewellers, will be raffled, a morning tea will be held for invited guests and there will be enough birthday cake for everyone.

Mrs Murdoch worked in a pharmacy in the CBD when the markets first began and became involved with the “Mary Heritage” character in 1998.

She recalled some funny times, once when the original town crier, the late Reg Layde, was in the throes of doing a cry and his false teeth fell out.

Changes to the markets over the years included a move from Adelaide and Kent streets to Adelaide and Ellena streets 11 years after they started and a temporary move to the McDowell car park on the corner of Kent and Lennox streets in 2015 while Adelaide St was being refurbished.

The markets were run by the council for many years and transferred to Fraser Coast Tourism and Events in 2013.

Mr Ashford said the event used to have an annual Mary Poppins-themed market day which was so big one year that stalls wound around city hall and into Adelaide St.

“As it got bigger and bigger, it grew into the Mary Poppins Festival,” he said.

Another big occasion was the World Town Crier Championships held in Maryborough in 2005. So many people packed the CBD on market day from the shopfronts to the middle of the street that he had to clear a path for the town criers to parade down the centre.

“That is the largest crowd I've ever seen in town,” he said. “It was an incredible spectacle.”

Mrs Murdoch said initially the markets ran all day and until 9pm but that was too tiring for stallholders so the finishing time had gradually been brought back to 1pm.

“It was always a quality market, there was never anything second-hand allowed into it,” she said.

Mrs Murdoch said she had encountered people on holidays from around the world at the markets, some off yachts which sailed up the river and others who had seen a sign on the highway advertising the markets and driven in for a look.

Mr Ashford said market days were a social highlight for locals who came to the city centre to catch up with friends. And if you stood still on a corner for long enough, “the whole world goes past”.

“Someone from just about every part of the world has been through the markets,” he said.

Mrs Murdoch said the markets provided an economic boost because people from out of town “shop at the markets, they shop at the shops, they buy a meal, they meet their friends, they have a coffee, they do their grocery shopping, they fill their cars with fuel, they buy their kids' school books, their kids' clothes and their kids' shoes”.

She said as well as the regulars, well-known people sometimes strolled through the precinct including Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and federal Opposition leader Bill Shorten this month during the State election campaign.

Mr Ashford said the markets were very much a fixture in Maryborough.

“The fact they've been going for 30 years means they've got a lot going for them, a lot of people support them,” she said.

Website: www.visitfrasercoast.com.au
Email: marketing@fcte.com.au

Sa Pa to plant 3,000 cherry trees in tourism push

Sa Pa district in northern Lao Cai Province will plant 3,000 cherry trees late this year and early next year in a bid to attract more tourists to the region, said local officials.

The district People’s Committee authorized the youth union to root 1,000 trees this year and 2,000 others next year in Sa Pa town and several villages.

In recent years, the cherry blossoms of Sa Pa’s town centre have become an attraction in their own right, luring many visitors to the beautiful land. Thus, local authorities hope that the planting will enhance the natural beauty of the region, helping to develop tourism in the area.


The achievements of museums and galleries across the State have been recognised at the 2017 IMAGinE Awards.

Accolades were awarded for exhibition projects, visitor engagement programs, capacity building and individual achievement.

Among the winners were the Museum of the Riverina for Talking Machine; and Bathurst Regional Art Gallery for Generation Art.