Wednesday, 31 August 2016

"Singin' in the Rain" - a splashing good musical!

Where do you go for some good entertainment when it is pouring with rain, or when the sun is shining? The answer - grab some of your friends and go along to see "Singin' in the Rain".

I usually go along and see live theatre productions at the start of their run. However, I have only managed to see this one near the end of its Sydney season. The wait had been worthwhile, and I am glad to have seen it before it moves on to Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. (It has already been to Melbourne).

The musical is based on the 1952 movie starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds.

It has been years since I have seen the movie "Singin' in the Rain" on TV, so I had largely forgotten what it was about. All I could remember was the song "Singin' in the Rain" and that there was a lot of dancing in the movie.

The story is set in the roaring 20's and is about the Monumental Pictures movie production company making its first "talkie" film. (Up to then movies had were silent with no talking or singing in them.) It is a love story with singing, dancing, comedy, glitz and glamour.

The two main males in "Singin' in the Rain" are Grant Almirall and Jack Chambers.  Grant plays the role of Don Lockwood, the movie star. Jack Chambers, who plays Cosmo Brown his good friend, was the very first winner of "So You Think You Can Dance" in 2008. These two men interact very well with each other on stage. They are great singers and dancers.

The two main females in "Singin' in the Rain" are wonderful. Erika Heynatzm plays the the role of the dumb blonde movie star Lina Lamont. She sparkles with her atrocious voice as the comedy element in the musical. Gretel Scarlett plays the charming stage actress Kathy Seldon. I remember her from when she played Sandy in the production a few years ago of Grease.

The ensemble is a very talented group of young dancers and singers. They bring the stage to life when they perform their very energetic dance moves.

The most enjoyable aspects of this Lunchbox, David Atkins, Michael Cassel and Teg Dainty production of "Singin' in the Rain" are the dancing, music and singing. These often replace dialogue and show the audience what is happening rather than being told.

Various styles of dancing, including tap dancing, feature. The most spectacular dance is when it is actually done with the rain pouring down on the stage. 12,000 litres of recycled water rains down and floods the stage. The dancers get drenched, so I pity the wardrobe people who have the job of drying the clothes each night. The people sitting in the very first few rows have the chance of getting splashed when the dancers do their routines on the flooded stage. (They are given waterproof ponchos to wear so they don't get wet.)

There is plenty of singing throughout the show. The two songs I recognised were the theme song "Singin' in the Rain" and "Good Morning", which my wife says was used as basis for a corn flake ad.

The orchestra was perched above the stage and could be seen at various times throughout the musical. Even though small in number, they made a perfect big band sound reminiscent of the era. It would have been nice to have seen all the band during a few of the songs they played.

The sets of "Singin' in the Rain" were rather minimalistic. It was just the one set that didn't change throughout the whole show. A rather bleak grey wall represented a street scene, the rear of theatre stage, the front of a stage, a movie studio. The middle part of this wall was changed to stage curtains or building doors depending on the scene. The occasional prop, such as a desk, or bench seating, was brought in for the differing scenes. This meant that we had to stretch our imaginations just that bit more to visualise each scene. It also meant that the singers and dances featured more as the prominent visual elements rather than the scenery.

Is "Singin' in the Rain" worth while seeing? Yes, it is a good fun musical crammed with singing and dancing. The dancing in the rain scenes are a delight to watch. Make sure you get along to see the few remaining performances in Sydney before it closes on 10 September, or in Brisbane from 22 September, in Adelaide from 1 December or in Perth from 29 December.

"Singin' in the Rain"

Now Playing at the Lyric Theatre at the Star in Sydney.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016


Love Music? Love Vivid Sydney? Then this is your chance to get involved in Vivid Music with expressions of interest now open to venues, promoters and artists, to be part of the festival in 2017.

Held as part of the annual Vivid Sydney festival, Vivid Music presented its biggest and most thrilling program to date in 2016, featuring DJ sets with international acts including Björk and Boy George and special one-offs including Sound Gardens at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and premier hip hop event One Day Sundays.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer and Vivid Sydney Executive Producer Sandra Chipchase said the festival’s music program will continue to grow in 2017 and invited the industry to share its ideas and be part of the exciting program.

“Vivid Music aims to showcase the incredible spectrum that exists within the live music scene, ranging from cutting edge emerging artists through to international acts and music legends. In 2016 Vivid Music showcased 693 musicians and more than 1,500 hours of live performance across 31 of Sydney’s leading music venues,” Ms Chipchase said.

“If you have a venue that would like to host an event, are a musician looking to perform, or an industry figure keen to participate in a Vivid Music event, this is your chance to be part of Australia’s largest festival, Vivid Sydney.”

To register your interest in being part of Vivid Music 2017 go to

Applications close at midnight AEST on Friday 14 October 2016.

First ever drone footage of Uluru released

Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia is excited to announce the release of exclusive drone footage of Uluru, offering a never before seen perspective of the 600 million year old monolith. These spectacular birds-eye views of Australia’s spiritual heart were captured by the first drone to ever operate under permit inside Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

The dramatic footage was captured in an area of great spiritual significance to the local Anangu people and approval was given by the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board and the Film and Photography Consultative Committee.

“We are delighted to present this exclusive new perspective of one of the most astonishing landscapes on earth, and we thank the Traditional Owners for their support. We hope this video encourages travellers from both Australia and all over the globe to come and experience Uluru for themselves,” said Voyages Chief Executive Officer Andrew Williams.

“While there is no replacement to enjoying firsthand the majestic beauty of Uluru, this footage gives a breathtaking insight into the majestic nature of the landscape,” he said.

Geographically, Uluru is the tip of a huge rock that continues below the ground for possibly 5-6km. The monolith is 3.6km long and 348m at its tallest point: 43m higher than Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower, 24m higher than the Eiffel Tower and just 33m lower than the Empire State BuildingThe colour changes of Uluru result from the filtering effect of the earth’s atmosphere on the sun’s rays.

View this exclusive footage at:

For more information go to: or call 1300 134 004.

Sunday, 28 August 2016


Olympic fans of all ages are invited to a special celebration to congratulate and welcome home Australia’s Olympic heroes.

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events and Minister Sport, Stuart Ayres said the 29 August event would provide an opportunity for the public to shake hands with more than 115 Olympic athletes and medallists from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“Our returning athletes have worked tirelessly throughout the 2016 Games and are an absolute inspiration to young athletes across the nation,” Mr Ayres said.

“I encourage Olympic fans to come down to the Sydney Opera House on Monday in the Aussie green and gold to celebrate the rising stars of the future and thank our retiring greats.”

Crowds will be treated to interactive live entertainment from Brazilian dance ensemble Rhythm Brazil, and – in honour of Tokyo 2020 – Japanese drumming group Toko Ton.

The event will take place on Monday 29 August from 12:30pm-1pm at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt on the Monumental Steps. Click here for further information.

Come along and congratulate our athletes on their achievements in Rio 2016 at this free public event.

Athletes attending include: Shannon Parry, Sharni Williams, Nicole Beck, Emilee Cherry, Gemma Etheridge, Ellia Green, Evania Pelite, Alicia Quirk, Tom Burton, Chloe Esposito, Anna Meares, Kim Brennan, James McRae, Cameron Girdlestone, Cate Campbell , Bronte Campbell.

Plus many more!

Athletes and medalists from across Australia will be officially welcomed home by NSW Premier Mike Baird, Lord Mayor Clover Moore and AOC Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller in a celebration at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt.


To celebrate and capture the energy from Rio 2016, there will be authentic dancers and drummers performing from RHYTHM BRAZIL.

And to inspire us for Tokyo 2020, Toko-ton will perform a traditional Japanese energetic art form called ‘Wadaiko’ involving a mix of movement, rhythm and Japanese drumming.


With so many transport options available near the Sydney Opera House, the best way to get to the Olympics celebration is by public transport.

To plan your trip, visit or call 131 500.


A reserved inclusive viewing area for people with disability and mobility support requirements will be provided for this celebration at the Sydney Opera House. Additionally an AUSLAN interpreter will be provided to interpret official proceedings from 12.30pm.

Any guests requiring such considerations are encouraged to register. Please contact Paul Nunnari, Manager, Event Access and Inclusion, Department of Premier and Cabinet on (02) 9228 5667, 0477 318 481 or email to register. Meeting point details and other information will be provided at time of registration.

This event is proudly brought to you by the NSW Government and City of Sydney.

Fans can register for the event at


All roads leading into Birdsville are open and ready for the influx of travellers set to hit town for the Birdsville Races next Friday and Saturday – September 2 & 3.

Race organisers have received queries about the impact a rise in the river might have on access to the area. In response, Gary Brook, Vice President, Birdsville Race Club says, “I can confirm that all roads to Birdsville are open - and that the moderate rise in the river poses no threat at all to access to the region, or to the races. We’re looking forward to a great event.”

Now in its 134th year, the renowned Birdsville Races offer an outback experience like no other.

About the Birdsville Races 2016

The red earth of outback Queensland is set to come to life with the thundering of hooves as the annual Birdsville Races bring thousands to the bush for the race that the dust never settles on.

Set in the Simpson Desert in the small township of Birdsville - population 115, known as one of the most isolated towns in Australia, will welcome more than 7,000 race goers of all ages for the hotly contested Birdsville Races.

The two-day event consists of a 13 race program, and has a prize pool of $200,000. Taking place on a Friday and Saturday, the event offers a wide range of activities and entertainment for race-goers.

With dirt as far as the eye can see at the legendary Birdsville Race track, the only flashes of colour come race day are the wide open cornflower blue skies, the jockey silks, dessert flowers and the fashion on the fields.

Fashion on the fields offers thousands of dollars in prizes and consists of six categories for men, women and families, and this year a novelty dress competition will be a feature of the Friday race day.

The Birdsville Races proudly support the Royal Flying Doctor Service and hosts a fun run to help fundraise for this vital service in their remote region.

Also on the agenda during race week is a gala Birdsville Races Cocktail Party, a screening of ‘Last Mail from Birdsville – The Story of Tom Kruse’, a huge auction, music by Paul Costa and X Factor’s Andrew Wishart, entertainment by boxing tent showman Fred Brophy, and an educational history of the Birdsville Races and tours of the historic town.

For foodies, there’ll be a variety of food truck vendors at the races, or the option of a luxury outback dining experience in the trackside marquee for those who have purchased a hospitality package.

What to see,  film, and photograph

  • The 134th Birdsville Races
  • Historic screening of Last Mail from Birdsville – The Story of Tom Kruse (This Kruse was inspiring young Aussies long before Tom Cruise became a famous actor!
  • History of Birdsville Races at the Community Halls
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service Fun Run
  • Birdsville Races Cocktail Party
  • Fashion on the Field
  • Paul Costa Show
  • The Andrew Wishart Show
  • Brophys Boxing Troupe
  • The best desert flowers in 20 yearsTown Attractions

Town Attractions

  • Birdsville Bakery

o Home of the famous Camel Pie!
o The Birdsville Bakery will serve up a selection of Aussie classics – with their menu listing everything from a bowl of Weetbix or baked beans on toast, to wattle seed custard tarts and a pie menu that includes curried camel and kangaroo and claret.

  • The Birdsville Hotel

o A legendary hotel that has stood on the end of the Simpson desert for years. It is located next to the airstrip and offers accommodation (outside of race week), hearty meals and cold beers for a true blue Aussie outback experience.

  • The Birdsville Track

o A famous 4WD track just outside of Birdsville township

  • ‘Big Red’

o a 40 metre high sand dune on the edge of the Simpson desert that challenges locals and tourists alike to get to the top of it to watch a spectacular sunset.

  • Diamantina River

o Great for a dip or a spot of fishing

  • Burke & Wills Camp site

o Marked by a party following in the footsteps by of the famous explorers. It is marked with a prominent blazed tree ‘C76 1860’

  • The Waddi Trees

o 6km to the north of Birdsville it is the location of the largest patch of Waddi Trees (also known as Acacia Peuce) one of only three such spots in the world

Women's Sevens Heroes to Play in Sydney

Charlotte Caslick, Shannon Parry
and Emilee Cherry
The Olympic Gold Medal winning Australian Women's Sevens rugby team will play in front of a packed home crowd this Summer, with the announcement today that the Sydney 7s will include a fully accredited Women's event for the first time.

Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres said the Sydney 7s event will be the must see sporting event of 2017.

“The incredible skills of the Women's Sevens team was one of the highlights of the Rio Olympics, and it's a massive win for Sydney to play host to a full Women's tournament,” Mr Ayres said.

“This year the Sydney 7s attracted more than 10,000 domestic and international visitors to Sydney, with a total visitor spend of over $5 million with next year set to build on this economic growth.”

Australian Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer, Bill Pulver said: “The success of our Women's Sevens team in Rio captivated the nation and put the sport of Rugby Sevens on the map, both here in Australia and all over the world.

“I am incredibly excited for our Women's team to have the opportunity to play in an official tournament in front of their home fans and fans coming along to the Sydney 7s will be equally blown away by the exciting brand of Rugby they play.”

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase said the event promises to attract visitors from around Australia and the world to Sydney.

“The inaugural Sydney 7s was one of the most popular events of the year, and featured our Women's Sevens team playing a three-match series against Ireland. NSW is now to build on this for a full tournament to showcase the game's best female players,” Ms Chipchase said.

“Our Olympic Gold Medal-winning Women's Sevens team performance has seen the sport receive global recognition and will no doubt attract a packed home crowd.”

The Sydney 7s event will be held from Friday 3 to Sunday 5 February 2017 at Allianz Stadium with tickets on sale from Tuesday 11 October 2016.

Vietnamese Cuisine Festival 2016 to gather cuisine features and farm products

Vietnamese Cuisine Festival 2016, which will take place at Thanh Nien Park, Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province from August 29 to September 4, will become a place for regions nationwide to introduce their specialties.

Diversified cuisine

Vietnamese Cuisine Festival 2016 is expected to advertise cuisine specialties of regions as well as of Khanh Hoa Province to tourists. This will also be an occasion to exchange cuisines among regions. According to the festival’s organization board, Northern provinces will present cha ca La Vong, bun moc, bun thang, bun oc, banh dau xanh, com rang la sen, etc. Specialties of the Central are bun bo Hue, com hen, mi quang, banh xeo, don Quang Ngai, bun ca Nha Trang, etc. The South will bring the festival hu tieu Sa Dec, bun ca Chau Doc, bun nuoc leo Soc Trang, che bot khoai, etc. In addition, there will be a lot of strange dishes of the three regions.

Nationwide fruit show

In the framework of the festival, there will be an area for rural market and fruit show. Ly Hoai Thong, the director of Expo International Trading Joint Stock Company – one of the organizers, said that, “Rural market will be a highlight help the festival more attractive. Coming to the rural market, visitors will feel close and familiar with agricultural products.”

The festival is also an occasion for the regions nationwide to introduce their kinds of fruits. Khanh Hoa Province will bring to the festival Cam Lam mangoes, Khanh Son durians, Khanh Vinh grapefruits, Ninh Da coconuts, Ninh Dong safe vegetable.

Vietnamese Cuisine Festival 2016 is expected to popularize Vietnamese special dishes from all regions of the country as well as help farmers to share experience in agriculture and find business oportunities.

Vietnamese Cuisine Festival 2016 is planned to have 400-500 booths of 350 businesses and individuals nationwide.

Father's Day Draws Biggest Ever IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship to Queensland's Sunshine Coast

  • First world championship of its kind in Southern Hemisphere is biggest ever; 3,268 athletes from 83 nations
  • Aussies lead the field of qualifiers (838 athletes), tagged by the US (647)
  • Super Dads turn out in force, including an American veteran with more than 71 IRONMAN events under his belt and an 80-year-old grandfather from New Zealand

It used to be 'the family that plays together, stays together'.

But, now, as a legion of families from all corners of the globe prepare to touch down on Queensland's Sunshine Coast for the biggest ever IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship – on Father's Day (4 September) – it's all about the family that trains and travels together to the best endurance challenges across the planet.

Staking its claim as a global adventure-endurance capital, Queensland sits high on the list; a destination where Mother Nature herself has thrown down the gauntlet, inspiring some of the world's most awesome finishing lines on land and sea. Bucket list courses that draw the best of the best.

Among them is American IRONMAN veteran, Bill Beyer, 55, who's excited about travelling to Mooloolaba to mark the 11th anniversary of the 70.3 world championship event, having competed in the inaugural challenge in Florida with his son, Bucky, in 2006.

Over nearly 20 years, Bill has clocked up more than 71 IRONMAN events around the world (including five Kona world championships in a tally of 21 full distance courses). Notably, seven of them with his children, Bucky, 30, and Penny, 27, including the 2014 IRONMAN in Melbourne.

After missing out on spending Father's Day with his children in the United States (19 June), the high-flying partner with Deloitte Consulting, based in Virginia, is looking forward to celebrating an Aussie Father's Day in the 'best way possible'. In short, lining up against 3,268 athletes from 83 nations in a sporting challenge ranked among the toughest on Earth; the 70.3 or half IRONMAN – an epic 113km test of endurance (1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run).

Better still, Bill's children – who moved to Australia six years ago, and now call Sydney home – will be there to cheer him on. For his son, Bucky, a week after being sworn in as an Australian citizen.

“We holidayed in Queensland as a family when the kids were very small… and I believe that visit and the dives on the Great Barrier Reef set a hook for them to want to live here,” says Bill. “Penny ate kangaroo meat for the first time, and cried before she tried it, then loved it!”

Although missing his children, Bill understands their love of Australia: “They both moved to pursue careers, and even more importantly to swim, bike and run in a country that breathes athletics and triathlons.

“We've been to some wonderful venues and swam, biked and run all over the world. My kids often say the times when they really needed to get 'the daddy love', they would either suggest a long bike ride or run. Now that both have Australian partners who are into the athletic lifestyle, I hope to soon have grandchildren to bike and swim with!”

Planning 'time out' with his children the one-time ballet dancer, firefighter and ice-cream maker, says there's no question mixing travel with endurance events offers the best 'break' from his busy working life.

Japan's Takashi Ohya, meanwhile, has discovered a new lease of life, post-retirement. At 73, the former exploration geophysicist, from Kyoto, has competed in triathlons for just three years.

“I do it for fun, but most importantly to meet young people,” says Takashi. “When I worked, I was almost the boss and so everyone said 'Hello Mr Ohya' and never used my first name. Now I can talk to young people very easily. I can join their party.”

While Takashi's wife and daughter do not compete in IRONMAN events, they always cheer from the sidelines.

“I'm proud to compete on Father's Day,” he says. “But what would make me very happy is if my daughter finds a nice partner in Australia… a nice Aussie.”

Also competing in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, American Steven Bonawitz, 55, a physician who specialises in plastic and reconstructive surgery in New Jersey, is proud to qualify with his 23-year-old daughter, Katie.

“My son and daughter inspired me to take up endurance sports,” says Steven, who has finished six 70.3 and three full IRONMAN events with one or both of his children. “It started three years ago when they challenged me to do a marathon... a triathlon was next and it's been non-stop since.

“It's great to be able to share experiences like this with your children. I see many people who seem to have a hard time finding common ground, so I feel very fortunate to have found an event like this we can share together.

“My wife, Cheri, is our support crew, but unfortunately, my son, Eric, can't come due to school commitments.”

For Steven, entering his first world championship event in Queensland is also particularly close to his heart. His mother, Barb, 81, was born in Townsville, moved to Brisbane to finish high school, then further afield, to America in the 1950s, earning a PhD in psychology at Michigan State University, where she met Steven's father.

“We've been to Australia twice, to Brisbane and Sydney, and saw the Lions play one of the years they won the premiership,” he says. “We have a special connection to the country, but Mum's a little old now to make it back.”

Age, however, is no barrier for the oldest competitor in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. At 80, New Zealander, Garth Barfoot, will travel to the Sunshine Coast on the back of a trip to Rio to watch the Olympics.

“Being in Rio, watching the Olympics, has given me a taste of what it means to take part in an event with athletes from all over the world,” says Garth, who started competing in IRONMAN events when he turned 60.

“I've been doing my swim training for the world champs in the luxury pool at the Sheraton in Rio. Everyone thinks I must be retired, but the truth is I work four full days a weeks and am classified by Statistics NZ as a full time worker.”

Not even close to retiring as director of New Zealand's largest privately-owned, family real estate business, Barfoot & Thompson, in Auckland, endurance events are a family affair for Garth's clan.

“My wife, Judy, is a triathlete but does very few events these days because of pain in her knees,” he says. “Our three children have all done triathlons and our two oldest grandchildren have done their first. Our son met his future wife at a triathlete's swim training squad.”

Garth is the first to recommend endurance events to others his age. As he sees it: “This is because the faculties that deteriorate with age are not an integral part of endurance racing – success is not dependent on having good eyesight, good hearing, good reaction time and good hand-eye coordination.”

For sure, he says, he's proud to be competing in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship on the Sunshine Coast on Father's Day, sending the right message to his children and grandchildren.

“But, every time I hear the starters' hooter go off, I feel special. Special in that I am lucky enough to be still competing… although I've probably extended the range of what can be done on an artificial hip!”

Cheer them on: the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship is one of more than 116 of Australia's best live events in the best destinations, as showcased on the It's Live! In Queensland calendar:

Clock this! Father's Day (4 September) marks the first time the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will be staged in the Southern Hemisphere.

Top 10 nations: leading the field of 3,268 athletes, 838 Aussies have qualified, with the largest group coming from New South Wales (214), followed by Queensland (186), Victoria (153) and Western Australia (127). The United States represents the second largest group (647), followed by the United Kingdom (165); Germany (163); Canada (113); Brazil (105); France (103); New Zealand (102); South Africa (92); and Japan (68).

The athletes: 2,152 men (average age, 42) and 1,116 women (average age, 40).

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Swing into Spring: 5 Ways to Enjoy the Warmer Weather at Centennial Parklands

Centennial Parklands comes alive with a fun-filled, action-packed event calendar this spring, teeming with great ways to spend time outdoors and enjoy the change of season.

Be spooked! Celebrate Halloween with all-time family favourite, Swamp Monsters! Dress up in a favourite costume and trick-or-treat your way through five spooky activity stations in the Park setting!

Nature play (for kids) Little ones will relish the opportunity to make mud pies, build cubby houses, track animals and discover hiding places for bugs with Bush School, Kid vs Wild and CP Bush Rangers. Nature play first timers? Check the little ones into A Taste of Bush School and see what all the excitement is about!

Connect with Mother Nature (for grown-ups) Make friends with bees at Urban Beekeeping, experience mindfulness in a serene natural setting with Eco Meditation, or meet like-minded people and discuss the important conservation work being done in the area with Conservation Café.
Get active: Help the kids get moving with CP Sports Camp and Kids Big Fish, or join in on new class, Mums Group Fitness! For something relaxed, enjoy a round with Women's Social 'Hit 'n' Giggle' at Moore Park Golf.

Unleash creativity: Create beautiful evening scenescapes with your lens in Painting with Light, capture striking photos of birds in the wild with Birdlife Photography, and hone your artistic skills at Creative Conservation!



To see the Parklands full spring calendar, click here.

Vietnam’s Largest & Most Established Travel Event ITE HCMC Returns For 12th Year

The International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City 2016 (ITE HCMC), the largest and most established travel event in Vietnam, will be back for its 12th edition from September 8 to 10, 2016.

The three-day event is expected to host over 20,000 international and local trade buyers, travel professionals, and public visitors, including for the first time, a group of widely popular international bloggers in Ho Chi Minh City in less than 2 weeks time! 

Established in 2005, ITE HCMC has been regarded as Vietnam's foremost tourism trade event. ITE HCMC is an excellent platform that serves as the leading powerhouse in presenting products and services in the Mekong and wide showcases of travel products from countries and cities in the Asia Pacific and beyond. 

The exhibition is endorsed by the various tourism ministries in the Mekong region: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. ITE HCMC is an annual travel exhibition presenting the perfect platform for both local and international companies to collaborate and discuss inbound and outbound tourism in Vietnam and the Mekong Region.

The three-day event is expected to host over 30,000 international and local trade buyers, travel professionals, and public visitors, including for the first time, a group of widely popular international bloggers.
The International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City 2016 (ITE HCMC), the largest and most established travel event in Vietnam, will be back for its 12th edition from September 8 to 10, 2016.

The expo, taking place at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Center, is the prime platform for both local and international companies to collaborate and discuss inbound and outbound tourism.

Governmental Support

The ITE HCMC 2016 is endorsed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism, Vietnam, as well as the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, and supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia; Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lao PDR; Ministry of Hotels & Tourism, Myanmar; and Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Kingdom of Thailand.

ITE HCMC 2016 is organised by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism; Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism; VINEXAD – Vietnam Trade Fair & Advertising Co; and Informa Exhibitions.

ACMECS Responsible Tourism Forum

Among the highlights of the expo is the ACMECS Responsible Tourism Forum on September 7, organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam in collaboration with the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City.

ACMECS refers to the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy, a political, economic and cultural organisation whose members include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Forum aims to further promote the development of ACMECS, as well as to confirm the role, status and accountability of the tourism industry to the environment, community, society and the region.

The event is honoured to receive the participation of the Tourism Ministers of the ACMECS countries, as well as other ASEAN countries, and also representatives from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

Other Event Highlights

Apart from buyer-seller meetings, business matching service, and tourism seminars, the 8th edition of the Mekong Tourism Alliance Awards (MTAA) will also be held on September 7 at GEM Center, Ho Chi Minh City.

Proudly supported by the countries’ respective tourism ministries, the MTAA is a recognition of the excellent services in the tourism and hospitality industry in the Mekong region (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam).

Award categories include The Best Airline of the Year; The Best Outbound Travel Operator of the Year; The Best Inbound Travel Operator of the Year; The Best Five-star Hotel of the Year; The Best Resort of the Year; The Best Tourism Website of the Year*; Broadcast Excellence Award for Destination Promotion*; and The Best Festival of the Year*.

* Indicates this is the first year the award is presented.

Exhibitors & Hosted Guests

Exhibitors include airlines, hotels and resorts, tour companies and travel representatives from countries like Brunei, Cambodia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Netherlands, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam, and many more.

Participating from Vietnam are the provinces: An Giang, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Bac Lieu, Ben Tre, Binh Dinh, Ca Mau, Can Tho, Da Nang, Dong Thap, Hau Giang, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Lam Dong, Long An, Ninh Binh, Quang Nam, Tien Giang, Thua Thien Hue, Tra Vinh, and Vinh Long.

Among the trade visitors expected are 200 international Hosted Buyers from countries like Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, the UAE, the UK, and the US. There will also be a total of 100 Regional Buyers from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Joining them are the Hosted Media from prominent international lifestyle and trade print media, digital media, TV broadcast crews, and travel bloggers.

The Essence of “Vietnam – Timeless Charm”

Ms Anh Hoa, the Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, Deputy Head of ITE HCMC Organizing Committee said: “We are expecting 15% more sellers and buyers at ITE HCMC this year, so everyone from our Hosted Buyers to trade and public visitors can anticipate a bumper crop of fascinating destinations, exciting tourism activities, as well as attractive travel packages.

“Hundreds of trade professionals will be descending on our humble city; my colleagues and I, as well as residents of Ho Chi Minh City, welcome you with our warmest hospitality.”

Mr Jack Wei, the General Manager of Informa Exhibitions, added: “This year’s ITE HCMC is particularly special as we are hosting at the expo a group of outstanding and very popular travel bloggers from countries like Denmark, Finland, France, Norway and the UK. “
“They will share their experiences on their social media accounts, allowing more people in the world to understand better the extraordinary beauty of Vietnam, bringing into vivid colour the true essence of Vietnam – Timeless Charm.”

Event Details

Date : 8 - 9 September 2016 (Trade Visitors)
10 September 2016 (Trade and Public Visitors)
Time : 9am – 5pm
Venue: Saigon Exhibition & Convention Centre (SECC), 799 Nguyen Van Linh, Dist.7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Find out more here!

Shoutout to ITE HCMC 2016 Opening in 14 days! 

Friday, 26 August 2016


The Whitsundays is the second most instagrammable holiday destination in the world, according to the UK’s edition of renowned fashion magazine, Cosmopolitan.

The magazine showcased the Whitsundays in an online article (posted on 3 August) that listed 18 of the most instagrammable destinations in the world, with Greece’s Mykonos at the top of the list.

The article features an instagram image of Whitsunday Island’s Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach – the Whitsundays’ iconic landmark that boasts beautiful clear aqua waters and long stretches of brilliant white sand.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO, Craig Turner, said the article was a simple example of the growing international interest in the Whitsundays and the international marketing campaigns we (Tourism Whitsundays), together with our industry partners, have implemented over recent months.

“With so many unique holiday experiences on offer, across the mainland and our 74 islands, it’s not surprising that the Whitsundays is considered to be one of the top holiday destinations in the world.

“Each year, the Whitsundays hosts more than 220,000 international visitors (2016

International Visitor Survey, Tourism Research Australia), and digital marketing is just one of the mediums we use , so we’re thrilled to see the Whitsundays recognised as the second most instagrammable destination in the world,” Mr Turner said.

“I’d encourage all of our Whitsunday partners to employ digital marketing in their campaigns to further promote the Whitsundays as a holiday destination to potential visitors.”

To find out more about the Whitsundays and to book your instagrammable escape, visit

Stunning new space gets the thumbs up.

A new space at the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre has been met with positive feedback from Auckland Conventions Venues & Events’ clients and stakeholders. The Rakino Room was officially opened on 7 July this year to meet demand for more intimate functions within the city.

“We have had a great deal of interest in our new space since it opened and clients have said they are delighted with the flexibility the new room offers. It can be used as anything from a media networking and meeting room, to a great break-out room for larger conventions, through to hosting Christmas events and cocktail parties,” says Auckland Conventions Director Mohamed Mansour.

“We have also received a lot of positive feedback about the stunning view.” As part of an opening special, Auckland Conventions will donate 20% of the room hire to Starship Children’s Hospital. “It is wonderful having the opportunity to ‘give back’ and to share in our success,” says Mr Mansour.

The unique space can cater for theatre (120), classroom (100), banquet (100) and cocktail (120) events. Auckland Conventions international hospitality provider EPICURE will cater for these events, with menus and dishes created by award-winning international Executive Chef Andrew Mccrea and his team.

If you haven’t already secured a venue for your Christmas party then inquire about one of our 7 spaces at ANZ Viaduct Events Centre today.

Contact Details
Phone: 0800 549 898

Enrich your Korean Experience by staying in a traditional Korean Hanok

Planning on visiting Korea and immersing yourself in the culture and history of the country there could be no better choice than to experience life in a traditional Korean house (hanok). Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) have released a very useful Hanok Stay guide which details hanoks and hanok villages around the country selected and certified by KTO as outstanding accommodations where visitors can have a truly authentic Korean experience.

Hanoks are available all over the country and provide a very budget friendly way to experience the real Korea and meet the locals. One of the best places to do this is in a Hanok village which gives you a better understanding of the lifestyle of Korean ancestors who valued their sense of community. Some of these living villages are a wonderful place to spend a few days to understand and enjoy Korea in a true sense.

Hanoks offer a variety of hands-on cultural programs for visitors to truly experience Korean life as it used to be in the past. Depending on the hanok, visitors can enjoy traditional food experiences, tea ceremony, traditional cultural experiences like trying on hanbok (traditional Korean dress), making arts and crafts, calligraphy, playing traditional music and games and more.

Many of Korea's historic villages are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites like Andong Hahoe Folk Village, Gyeongju Yangdong Village and the beautiful Jeonju Hanok Village. In Seoul itself there is the Bukchon Hanok Village which is an area of traditional hanok in the northern part of the city.

Several of the hanok villages are located in beautiful natural scenery where you can commune with nature - take walks in the surrounding forest, go biking or just relax and enjoy the fresh country air. A hanok is known for their embrace of nature, bringing the outdoors in and some even making their own kimchi and storing in large ceramic pots in their backyard.

Next time you are travelling in Korea, have a true Korean experience and enjoy a hanok stay, yes you will sleep on a quilt on the floor, but most hanoks have underfloor heating so in cooler months you have your own electric blanket underneath. Many serve breakfast for their guests and some meals as well, it depends on the individual hanok.

Get your free copy of the Hanok Stay brochure now to plan an exciting stay on your next trip to Korea. The brochure contains websites of all the Hanok Villages as well as other Hanok all over the country. 

Email for a copy of Hanok Stay to visit

Spring into action these School Holidays at Eureka Skydeck!

Make Eureka Skydeck your go-to destination for the September school holidays with daily activities for kids and thrilling views.

From September 24th – October 9th between 11am – 3pm, all Eureka Skydeck Explorers will receive a FREE Skydeck Scratchy

Quiz. Our friends at Crayola have a Colour Alive pack for every lucky quiz winner to continue the school holiday fun at home.

For those who dare, the world’s only Edge experience is also available at Eureka Skydeck. Guests will be suspended 285m above ground in a 3m by 3m transparent glass cube, sliding out of the building to give a 360 degree view of Melbourne and beyond.

Those looking for the ultimate virtual experience can take part in Eureka Skydeck’s current green screen activation, The Walk Experience. The specially constructed green screen allows guests to imagine what it’s like to tightrope walk from one point of Eureka Tower to the other as they cross a simulated tightrope – suspended high above the city of Melbourne.

Patrons can get creative and capture their own unique The Walk Experience photo. A 9” x 6” photograph, including a digital copy, will ensure each guests’ attempt to capture the most realistic and compelling shot of their daring feat is ready to share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Located beside the Yarra River in Southbank and open from 10am – 10pm daily, Eureka Skydeck is one of Melbourne’s most spectacular tourist destinations and a top spot to take the family to during the school holidays.

The Walk and Edge experience will cost patrons between $8 - $15, plus entry to Eureka Skydeck.

Eureka Skydeck:

Eureka Skydeck is the highest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere. Located on the 88th floor of Eureka Tower, the observation deck provides patrons with 360 degree floor-to-ceiling views of Melbourne and beyond. During the school holidays guests will also be able to take full advantage of:
  • The Outdoor Terrace - Enclosed by a wire grid, the Outdoor Terrace exposes guests to the elements on Level 88. The Terrace is right next to the Edge, so family and friends can view those inside.

For further information about Eureka Skydeck, visit or call 03 9693 8888.



NYC Broadway Week 2-for-1 tickets are officially on sale!

NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organization, is encouraging theatergoers to purchase two-for-one tickets for the next iteration of its biannual program NYC Broadway Week. Tickets will go on sale to 19 of Broadway’s top shows starting at 10:30am today at for performances taking place from September 5 to 18. 

“We are thrilled NYC Broadway Week returns to give theater fans the chance to see the world’s best talent at an amazing value,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company. “This year, we have brand-new shows and long-standing favorites participating in the program, so there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy the popular theater promotion.” 

“Broadway Week is a wonderful time for both New Yorkers and visitors to take a break from the summer sun to sit in a cool theatre to enjoy some of our hottest shows,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “Thanks to NYC & Company’s innovative 2-for-1 ticket offer, two people can see a Broadway show for the price of one, so savvy theatre fans who love plays and musicals can see twice as many!”

For shows starting: 5 September. Shows participating in NYC Broadway Week:
  • Aladdin
  • An American in Paris
  • Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
  • Cats
  • Chicago The Musical
  • Cirque du Soleil Paramour
  • The Color Purple
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • Holiday Inn 
  • The Humans
  • Jersey Boys
  • Kinky Boots
  • The Lion King
  • Matilda the Musical
  • On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • School of Rock
  • Something Rotten!
  • Wicked


The Hills adds ten acres to the park on Governors Island and is home to 41,000 new shrubs and more than 860 new trees. Opened to the public in 2014.
The Trust for Governors Island is the nonprofit corporation created by the City of New York that is responsible for the redevelopment and operation of 150 acres of Governors Island. The Trust's mission is to transform Governors Island into a vibrant resource for New York City, making this island at the center of New York Harbor a destination with extraordinary public open space, as well as educational, not-for-profit and commercial facilities.


While there might not be palm trees, New York City’s Staten Island offers many possibilities for fun in the sun with a side of history and culture. With its miles of sandy beaches and nature trails, free summer concerts on the beach and beautiful historic homes, the borough is New York City’s hidden secret waiting to be explored. See attached list of things to do, see, stay and where to eat.


If you're wondering how a 630-foot observation wheel is built, New York Wheel CEO Rich Marin has provided the Advance with a step-by-step description of how Staten Island's biggest tourist attraction will take shape.

Construction of the $580 million, 60-story New York Wheel located adjacent to the Richmond Country Bank Ballpark and Empire Outlets began in May 2015.


The United States Tennis Association announced a series of physical improvements, fan and player upgrades, and new sponsor activations which will be unveiled at the 2016 US Open. The main draw of the tournament begins on Monday, August 29, and concludes on Sunday, September 11. The US Open Qualifying Tournament, which is free and open to the public, begins on Tuesday, August 23, and concludes on Friday, August 26.


The FIDE World Chess Championship Match 2016 is to take place at the Seaport District in Manhattan, New York. The three week long Championship Match, to be held from November 11 - 30, will be contested by 25-year-old reigning champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and his challenger, 26-year-old Sergey Karjakin of Russia.

The Match arena will be built within the Fulton Market Building, a five minute walk from Wall Street, and will also feature dedicated spectator and VIP lounges with panoramic views of the Brooklyn Bridge as well as retail space, a restaurant, TV studios and much more. 

Snow much fun at Mt Buller this spring – fun, fashion, sport and savings

Mt Buller is turning up the fun this September celebrating spring with plenty of great value deals and a colourful line up of events.

September is known for iconic spring events including the ABOM Mogul Challenge, and the retro fun of ‘80s Day, as well as the spectacular Corona Extra Pond Skim National Championships on Bourke Street.

Spring is a fantastic time to visit Mt Buller, and visitors enjoy heavily discounted accommodation with up to 50% off the peak season rates at many properties across the mountain, free overnight parking and up to 30% off lift passes. 2017 Early Bird Season Memberships are on sale from September 1st, offering skiers unlimited lift access for the remainder of the 2016 season.

Events and activities are:
Tuesday 30 August – Saturday 3 September – 2016 Australian Snow Uni Games
Saturday 3 September - legendary annual ABOM Mogul Challenge
Saturday 10 September - Mt Buller the annual ‘80s Day celebrations
Saturday 17 September - The 3rd Annual Corona Extra Pond Skim National Championships

The first weekend of September is set to be an eventful one, as Mt Buller hosts the 2016 Australian Snow Uni Games and the annual ABOM Mogul Challenge. From 30 August - 3 September, hundreds of university students from across the country will gather at Mt Buller for the 2016 Australian Snow Uni Games. Returning to Victoria this winter, Mt Buller is proud to host students competing in a range of disciplines from cross country, snowboarder cross, to the new and exciting Slopestyle discipline across 4 days.

Mt Buller welcomes a world-class line up of freestylers and mogul enthusiasts for the legendary annual ABOM Mogul Challenge on September 3. This event has an esteemed list of mogul champions from around the globe including many Aussie Olympians who will be in the hunt for a podium this September. Take in the show on Chamois and see the mogul skiers fly!

On Saturday 10 September, Mt Buller will revisit the neon-coloured glory days of the 1980s, when the annual ‘80s Day celebrations hit the mountain. Festivities will be held across the resort, complete with an air-guitar competition and DJ at Koflers Hutte and an 80s inspired dance troupe performing on the Village Stage. From 3pm, the party rolls on with the annual 80s après party at The Birdcage, where there'll be a DJ, prizes for the best dressed and more.

The 3rd Annual Corona Extra Pond Skim National Championships hits Bourke Street on Saturday 17 September.

Spectators will enjoy seeing participants dressed in crazy costumes skim across a temporary dam on Bourke Street, taking on silly stunts to get from one side of the dam to the other. Celebrations continue with après in the Corona Beer Garden on Bourke Street, and then into the night at Moosehead Bar.

Group Manager of Marketing, Sales and Events for Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management, Gillian Dobson, said spring is a fantastic time to enjoy a snowy break. “There is so much happening at Mt Buller in spring! With great deals on accommodation, parking and lift tickets, plus fun and exciting events and entertainment, visitors will be spoilt for choice. And with some sunny days and mild temperatures thrown in, we really will be on top of the world here at Mt Buller.

We’ve had such a fantastic season here at Mt Buller in 2016 and there’s still plenty of time this season to hit the slopes. We’re excited to bring on a sensational spring!”

For further information on Mt Buller, including accommodation deals, lift tickets and the events calendar, visit

Thursday, 25 August 2016


The magic of the outer Great Barrier Reef is within reach of visitors on a tight schedule with two half day tour options now available from Port Douglas.

Launching this month is Tropical Journeys Calypso Reef Cruises new half day tour, with two departures daily.

It joins Reef Sprinter as the only other operator to provide this shortened outer reef option.

Calypso’s director Graham Jones said it was exciting to be able to offer something for everyone when it came to reef tours from Port Douglas.

“Not everyone wants a full-day tour and many visitors have been asking at the tour shops in town for a half-day outer reef experience,” Mr Jones said.

The arrival of Calypso’s smaller capacity, custom-built vessel for its popular half-day Low Isles tours has allowed the larger Calypso Blue, which can carry up to 50 passengers, for the new half-day outer reef tour.

Calypso will also still operate three full day outer reef tour options as well as a full day Low Isles package.

He hoped the new tours would only enhance what has already been a good year so far for the Port Douglas owned business.

“The season so far has been excellent and hopefully will continue. Forward bookings are looking promising,” he added.

Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree executive officer Tara Bennett welcomed the news, which reinforced the region’s reputation as a premier reef tour destination.

“Both tours offer a marvelous opportunity for people who are short on time or who do not wish to spend a whole day out on the water,” Ms Bennett said.

She said there was a lot to talk about as operators continued to invest in their products.

“Reef Sprinter has invested in a new vessel, which arrived this month, and the iconic 45 metre Quicksilver VIII is back in the water after a million-dollar refurbishment.

“The beautiful Chinese junk Shaolin also returned to Port earlier this year as a reef tour vessel offering trips to Low Isles as well as sunset tours and private charters.”

Reef Sprinter owner Steve Sherwell said its new upgraded vessel, which was only broken in last week, boasted 350 horse power super charged outboards.

“We can travel to the outer reef in just 40 minutes. It is a fast, fun exciting boat ride, cruising at about 40 knots.”

The speed boat was built locally by Far North Fabrication in record time of just four months.

“This boat is built more for open water and gives us the flexibility of now offering two outer reef tours on the same day,” he added.

Published This Month: Lonely Planet’s Epic Bike Rides of the World

Explore the planet’s most thrilling cycling routes

Published this month, Lonely Planet’s Epic Bike Rides of the World will inspire two-wheeled travel all over the globe.

This beautifully illustrated book features tales of 50 cycling routes in 30 countries (from Australia to Bhutan), as well as 200 ideas for bike rides - ranging from family-friendly jaunts, to backcountry expeditions, via city tours, classic circuits and meandering adventures.

“Everybody has their personal interpretation of ‘epic’,” Lonely Planet says. “You can have an epic adventure straight from your front door and be back in time for tea. Or you can follow in the tyre tracks of adventurer Alastair Humphreys and pedal around the world.”

“This book attempts to reflect that diversity and those varying levels of commitment,” Lonely Planet adds. “We’ve sought out some of the most entertaining experiences you can have on a bicycle, whether you’re a casual rider or a cyclist with a stable of carbon-fibre machines. The settings of these experiences range from some of the world’s most remote places – Mongolia, Bhutan and the Outer Hebrides – to its hippest cities and dreamiest islands. Some of these rides take just a couple of hours, others a day or two, a week, or more than a month.”

Lonely Planet has partnered with G Adventures to exclusively offer Dymocks customers the chance to win an epic bike-riding trip for two to Vietnam valued at over $6,000. Purchase any Lonely Planet book* from Dymocks between now and 3 October 2016 & enter for your chance to win.

*While stocks last. T&Cs apply.


Available now / 328pp, full colour, H260mm x W200mm / hardcover / RRP: AUD $44.99

Seeking to Reward Young and Talented People in Australian Tourism

2015 national award winner Megan Swords
and Carolyn Childs of
  • Regional tourism award seeks applications from rising stars under 30 years old in Australia’s tourism industry
Young people seeking to get ahead in the tourism industry in Australia are being encouraged to enter the Australian Regional Tourism Network Young Tourism Professional Awards 2016.

Nominations are open until 31 August only. There will be eight finalists, one from each state as well as the option for representatives of national organizations with a passion for regional tourism. They will attend the ARTN annual convention in Roma, Queensland, 25-27 October. All will be awarded. One of them will become the national winner.

The aim of the awards is to further ARTN’s goals of building a sustainable tourism industry by recognising excellence in regional tourism, incentivising best practice, and encouraging young professionals to remain in the tourism industry.

“Around half the expenditure in Australia’s $107.1bn tourism industry is in regional areas,” said David Sheldon, Chair of ARTN. “The engagement of young people is vital to make sure we can continue to deliver to the rising expectations of visitors. Our partnership with enables us to showcase the amazing job young regional tourism professionals are doing.”

Nominees are considered as emerging leaders in Australian tourism. They must be under 30 and already contributing to tourism in local government, regional tourism organizations, state tourism bodies, private operators, or as a student or researcher. Prizes include full registration to attend the Australian Regional Tourism Convention, in Roma, Queensland, accommodation to travel to the convention sponsored by the state tourism body, 12 months membership of (worth $497), participation in a mentoring program sponsored by, and a certificate.

At the convention all applicants will make a presentation. will support them in developing it. Judges will pick one young person to be the winner based on that presentation, observation at the conference, and supporting arguments. The title is currently held by Megan Swords from Maranoa in Queensland.

The 2016 winner will receive mentoring from, a $2,000 bursary for professional development, and the chance to sit at the table as an ex-officio member of the ARTN Board.

Carolyn Childs, Co-Founder of said: “Over the three years we have been involved with the programme we have met some amazing young people and have been privileged to help support the next generation of leaders through the professional development and mentoring we provide. It’s also a major win for their organisation – providing both a great motivational tool and a major showcase for them.”

An introduction to the scope of the awards is available here. Full details and information on how to be nominated is available here.

The closing date for initial nominations is 31 August 2016.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016


Parramatta will be the new home of Tropfest, the world’s largest short film festival, cementing Western Sydney’s growing reputation as a thriving arts and cultural destination.

NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage Mark Speakman said the move to Parramatta will allow the 25-year-old festival to expand and attract a new and broader audience.

“Parramatta Park is an impressive world-class heritage venue that will create an exciting new home for the festival, and the decision to hold Tropfest for the first time on a Saturday night will also allow more Sydneysiders to enjoy the show,” Mr Speakman said.

“Greater Western Sydney, now home to more than two million people, has seen extraordinary growth in recent years and is still growing – Parramatta is a great place for a major event like Tropfest.”

The popular event, which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year, will be hosted at Parramatta Park on 11 February 2017.

Entries for Tropfest open in September.

China Eastern Offers Supreme Travel Experience With ArrivalGuides Destination Content

China Eastern is yet another global airline using ArrivalGudies destination content to offer their passenger an excellent aviation service.

China Eastern serves nearly 80 million travelers annually and is one of the world's top 5 airlines in terms of passenger transportation volume, with daily flights to 1000 cities in 187 countries.

With the integration of a new ArrivalGuides widget, their concept of “World-class hospitality with Eastern charm” will create an outstanding travel and customer experience.

Coffs Harbour Running Festival -September 4th 2016

Hundreds of race-goers of all ages and abilities will descend on the NSW North Coast next month for the Coffs Harbour Running Festival.

The picturesque track hugs the beautiful Coffs Creek and passes through areas of natural beauty and popular attractions such as Dolphin Marine Magic, Regional Botanic Garden and Park Beach.

Entrants can choose from a range distances from three kilometres to a half marathon.


7.30am: Key Employment Half Marathon (min. age 18 as at 04/09/16)
7.00am: Coastal Works 10km Fun Run: (min. age 14 as at 04/09/16)
9.30am: Beachside Radiology 5km Fun Run/Walk All Ages
10.20am: The Athletes Foot 3km Family Fun Run/Walk All Ages


Half Marathon $50 $60
10km $40 $50
5km $30 $40
3km $15 $25

Online Entries close Friday, September 2nd at 5.00pm
Click here to register for the 4 September event.

Late Entries will be accepted on availability, Saturday 3rd September from 2.00pm-4.00pm at the Coffs Harbour Showground and will incur a $10 late fee per person. No late entries accepted on race day

Doctor on Duty Schools Challenge

The Doctor on Duty Schools Challenge is a new incentive to encourage participation from school students. There are cash prizes on offer for schools with the largest numbers of participants to spend on sporting equipment. Click here for more information.

San Francisco Zoo & Gardens Announces Animal Birth

The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is happy to announce the arrival of an infant guanaco, born Saturday, August 20 at about 2:00 pm in the Puente al Sur exhibit. Both mother, “Milagro”, and her female chulengo (young guanaco) are in excellent condition. She took her first steps about one hour after birth and is nursing and bonding with her mother.

“Animal births are always exciting, but this one is extra special because it’s the first guanaco birth at SF Zoo,” said Tanya M. Peterson, President of the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. “2016 has been an abundant year and we are so fortunate to have yet another healthy mother and infant.”

In recent months, SF Zoo welcomed a giraffe calf, anteater, and howler and patas monkeys.

The chulengo, not yet named, weighs between 15 and 30 pounds. Her father “Cusco” is three years old and mother “Milagro” is eight years old. Both guanacos are first-time parents.

Mother and infant are being given privacy to bond in area that is not publicly visible, but “Cusco” is in the main exhibit yard. The animal care team will determine in a number of weeks when the new mother and chulengo will rejoin the other animals.

Guanacos are a member of the Camelid family, along with camels, llamas, alpacas and vicunas. They are native to South America, where they are the largest wild mammal. Gestation periods are 11.5 months and most chulengos stay with their mother for about one year.

Video of her first steps

San Francisco Zoo

Established in 1929, San Francisco Zoo & Gardens connects people to wildlife, inspires caring for nature and advances conservation action. An urban oasis, the Zoo & Gardens is home to more than 2,000 exotic, endangered and rescued animals representing more than 250 species as well as seven distinct gardens full of native and unusual plants. Located at the edge of the Pacific Ocean where the Great Highway meets Sloat Boulevard, the Zoo is open 365 days a year from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (summer hours) and is accessible by San Francisco MUNI "L" Taraval Line.

Melbourne Abuzz With Spring Events

Melbourne's events calendar never rests. As the weather warms up, the city gets set to welcome a bevy of world class events. From fashion to theatre, sport to pop icons, dance, circus and more, there is something for fashion fiends, culture vultures and sports enthusiasts alike. Here are some of the highlights:

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week

Emerging and established designers, retailers and brands unite at the annual Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (MSFW, 26 August – 2 September 2016). New season styles are presented at a variety of runway shows with designers from Melbourne and Victoria at the fore, comprising 85 per cent of the content. For the first time ever, MSFW extends to regional Victoria with a series of events set to take place in Ballarat (2–4 September 2016) showcasing collections created by designers from the region, and a wool industry retrospective as well as MSFW highlights.

Spring Racing Carnival

Fillies, fashion and fanfare combine to create the iconic Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival (1 September – 27 November 2016). This 64-day string of must-attend events brings together the world's best thoroughbreds with the world's most stylish spectators. Race-goers flock from far and wide to get up close to the action during the Group One Races. Must-attend events include the BMW Caulfield Cup (17 October 2016), the William Hill Cox Plate (22 October 2016), Country Cups and of course 'the race that stops the nation', the Emirates Melbourne Cup (1 November 2016).

Melbourne Fringe Festival

This year's Melbourne Fringe Festival (15 September – 2 October 2016) is set to be the biggest ever, with 463 events taking place all over Melbourne. Performances by emerging and established artists from a diverse array of disciplines will entertain audiences of all ages. In addition to traditional performance spaces, the festival will transform two Melbourne restaurants into Fringe venues - Belleville Melbourne will host acts such as The Improv Conspiracy, and Fancy Hank's will host comedy acts.

Royal Melbourne Show

Established in 1848, the Royal Melbourne Show (17–27 September 2016) is a long-time tradition, attracting more than 450,000 visitors annually. Carnival rides, showbags, live music and family entertainment are among the most popular activities. In keeping with its rural roots, the real focus is on the thousands of animals that take centre stage at an array of events and pavilions. Those more interested in arts and craft are also well catered for with more than 4000 exhibits featuring everything from photography to biscuits.

Kylie On Stage

Kylie On Stage (late September 2016 – 22 January 2017) presents a range of Kylie Minogue's costumes and offers an insight into the design process. Celebrating the pop icon's highly successful concert tours, this free exhibition is drawn from Kylie's spectacular stage wardrobe and features costumes from tours dating back to 1989 alongside those worn during more recent tours. The world-first exhibition will showcase designs from the likes of Dolce and Gabbana, John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld and John Paul Gaultier.


MPavilion is back for summer 2016 (5 October 2016 – 18 February 2017). This time, the temporary structure is designed by renowned Indian architect Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai and is 12 metres high, made of bamboo with a roof encased in earth representing the Australian landscape. Located in Melbourne's Queen Victoria Gardens, MPavilion acts as a design and cultural hub, and plays host to a series of talks, workshops, performances and installations.

Melbourne Festival

Over 18 days, Melbourne Festival (6–23 October 2016) serves up 62 events and 207 performances by some of the world's greatest theatre makers. 
With 10 world premieres, 18 Australian premieres, and events exclusive to Melbourne, the 2016 program features a spectacular line-up of dance, theatre, circus, contemporary and classical music, visual arts and free events - all curated for the first time by Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway. Events to watch out for include Lady Eats Apple, Startrek: The Ultimate Voyage, Vertical Influences, Haircuts by Children, The Dark Chorus and David Bowie Nothing Has Changed - a tribute performance by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra - as well as plenty of free outdoor family events and Melbourne Art Trams.

Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) presents the fashion world of two design greats in Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists (21 October 2016 – 26 February 2017). The exhibition showcases the Dutch duo's 20-year career, featuring some of their most innovative work including more than 35 haute couture pieces, some of their earlier designs and a selection of work-in-progress. Developed in close collaboration with Viktor&Rolf and international guest curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot (of blockbuster exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier) this is the first time the exhibition is displayed in the Southern Hemisphere.

Kinky Boots

The feel-good, multi award-winning musical Kinky Boots makes its Australian debut at Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne (from 23 October 2016). Featuring music and lyrics by pop icon Cyndi Lauper, and directed and choreographed by two-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots is renowned for having audiences dancing in the aisles by the end of the show. The production has been embraced worldwide since its official launch on Broadway in April 2013, winning six Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

A sensational sports line-up

The Australian Football League finals series (2 September – 1 October 2016) and Spring Racing Carnival (1 September–27 November 2016) is joined by some action-packed new additions to the sporting calendar in the latter half of 2016, including: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier – Australia v Japan (11 October 2016), Fast5 World Series (29–30 October 2016), Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (21–23 October 2016), World Cup of Golf (24–27 November 2016), International Hockey Festival Melbourne (23–27 November 2016).

For more ideas and information, see