Thursday, 30 November 2017

Pedal to Paradise

Scale mountain tops, meander through ancient forests, ride alongside lush vineyards, coastal paths and factor in some two-wheel touring for your next holiday - and you don’t even have to wear Lycra.

NSW boasts plenty of places to go cycling and mountain-biking ranging from short, easy rides suitable for the whole family, half-day and full-day rides through some of the most beautiful scenery to challenging terrain for more experienced riders.

Here is a quick tour of some of the latest and greatest destinations in NSW to explore on two wheels:

Snowy Mountains

Once the snow has melted, the Snowy Mountains becomes an ideal destination to explore dirt tracks and sealed roads for that textbook mountain bike experience. For a solid workout, test the Thredbo Valley Track (TVT). 20 km of alpine terrain that meanders through the Kosciuszko National Park past amazing mountain scenery and along the Thredbo River.

Blue Mountains

Nothing beats the adrenalin rush of careering through the cliffs, deep canyons and pristine bushland of the World Heritage listed Greater Blue Mountains area on a bike. Test your fitness on the hilly 120 km Glenbrook to Wentworth Falls or cruise downhill on the 55 km Wentworth Falls to Glenbrook route. Enjoy the cool rainforest air as the trail takes you through the southern side of the Blue Labyrinth mountain ridge. Whether you want beauty or adrenalin, you can’t beat the Blue Mountains’ bike tracks.

South Coast

Pedal the scenic 90 km from Sydney to Wollongong via the Royal National Park, across the breathtaking Sea Cliff Bridge and along the Grand Pacific Drive into the bustling coastal town of Wollongong. Other top-notch cycle-ways are through Batemans Bay and Narooma, with action-packed trails also found in Morton and Murramarang National Park. 

Hunter Valley

Explore the picturesque Hunter Valley wine region first hand and at your own pace as you use pedal power and two wheels to visit cellar doors, taste local produce or visit a local art gallery. Not for the faint of heart, the 22 km Big Yango loop trail traverses through the Yengo and Wollemi wilderness areas in Yengo National Park, with steep climbs, challenging descents and tight switchbacks. Admire the rugged landscape and keep an eye out for wombats, wallabies and goannas as you navigate this tricky trail.

Lord Howe Island

At just 12 km long, Lord Howe Island lends itself well to discovery on two wheels to visit its beaches, shops, walking tracks and restaurants. The on-road tracks wind around the island’s lush rainforests and scenic roadways. With a 25 km/h speed limit, pedal power is the favoured transport of choice for residents and visitors.

For the more athletic, NSW offers the chance to compete in a variety of cycling competitions:

L’Étape Australia by Le Tour de France, Thredbo, Perisher and Jindabyne, NSW

The perfect cycling event for amateurs held under professional race conditions including closed roads, a challenging route, a Sprint and a King of the Mountain. Riders will compete for the famous Yellow, Green, Polka Dot and White Jerseys. Endorsed by Tour de France Race Director Christian Prudhomme. Held on Saturday 2 December 2017.

But cycling competitions don’t always need to be serious. Take Gears & Beers in Wagga Wagga:

Gears & Beers, Wagga Wagga, NSW

Not just for cyclists, but for all those that enjoy cycling, beer, cider, great food and entertainment. With five different course options available, there is something for riders of all levels. Held 1 October 2017.

For more cycling ideas in Sydney and NSW go to and

Whitehaven recognised as world’s second best beach

Whitehaven Beach
Whitehaven Beach is regularly recognised as being one of the top spots in Australia but now the iconic 7km stretch of white silica sand has been named the second best beach in the world.

FlightNetwork, Canada's largest travel website, has created a list of The World’s 50 Best Beaches© after consultation with more than 600 of the world’s top travel professionals including journalists, editors, bloggers and agencies.

Whitehaven Beach, which scored 10/10 for sheer untouched beauty, remoteness and sand and water quality, was described as “heaven on earth” by judges.

“Whitehaven Beach will make you believe in love at first sight…. seeing all that untouched natural beauty will make you believe in a tropical utopia with glowing sands and crystalline beaches…this stretch of sand, backed by tree-covered mountains, is a heaven on earth which one must see to believe.”

Sharron Livingston, from The Travel Magazine, said: “Whitehaven Beach has oh-so-white sands, deepest green rainforests, and crystalline waters. It’s a wild island, part of the Great Barrier Reef, and is by far the most beautiful location to experience.”

A spokesperson for FlightNetwork said The World’s 50 Best Beaches© was the most definitive list of beaches ever assembled.

“It is a diverse collection of off-the-beaten-path slices of paradise from every hidden corner of our planet,” she said.

“By asking the top travel professionals – the people who do this for a living - to gain insight from their opinions and expertise, FlightNetwork has created the most trustworthy and accurate list out there to inspire travellers and help them choose their upcoming [Northern Hemisphere] winter holiday destinations.”

Tourism Whitsundays Sales & Marketing Manager Tash Wheeler thanked FlightNetwork for their hard work putting together the list of The World’s 50 Best Beaches© and said it was always nice to have the Whitsundays’ stunning natural assets recognised.

“Being recognised as the world’s second best beach is a reminder of just how beautiful and special Whitehaven Beach is,” she said.

“We are truly blessed in the Whitsundays with pristine islands and mainland, subtropical rainforest, crystal clear water and a warm, sunny climate. It’s no wonder holidaymakers continue to visit in droves, with Whitehaven Beach one of their “must see” attractions.”

The holder of the Best Beach title is Grace Bay, in the Turks and Caicos Islands. For the complete list of The World’s 50 Best Beaches© visit


Lights, illumination and christmas trees are set up all over Shimanose Park. Approximately 300,000 different lights will be set up and at the Kira Kira Party you can have a toast with over 5000 people. Other festivities include dancing and performances, as well as candle services.

DATE 2017/11/16 ~ 2017/12/25
ADDRESS Nagasaki Prefecture, Sasebo City, Shimanose-cho, Shimanose ParkAREANagasaki prefecture
ACCESS5 minutes by bus from JR Sasebo Station
INQUIRIES Telephone Number: 0956-24-4411
Kira Kira Festival Executive Committee


Awake from your enchanted slumber and be the first to book for our fun-for-all-the family fairy tale panto adventure, SLEEPING BEAUTY – A KNIGHT AVENGER’S TALE. Bursting into Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre for a strictly limited season from 29 June to 8 July and then landing in Sydney’s majestic State Theatre from 13 to 22 July 2018.

From the same creative that brought you THE ADVENTURES OF PETER PAN AND TINKER BELL earlier this year, be prepared to fall under the spell of Bonnie Lythgoe’s latest fairy tale classic.

By a single prick of her finger on her 18th birthday, the maleficent Fairy Carabosse curses Princess Aurora to 100 years’ slumber. Doomed by fate, only a Prince’s sweet kiss can break the spell and awaken the sleeping beauty. Can Princess Aurora’s hilarious best friend Silly Billy and faithful Nanny Tickle help save the day and who will outwit the evil Carabosse and foil her wicked plans?

Featuring dazzling costumes, stunning sets, magic, special effects, hilarious comedy and thrilling musical numbers, make sure you book your tickets now - it promises to be a ‘Beauty’!

Bonnie Lythgoe Productions is Australia’s biggest family musical pantomime producer. PETER PAN will be the fourth panto produced by Bonnie Lythgoe after the success of Snow White Winter Family Musical in 2014 followed by Aladdin and His Wondrous Lamp in 2015, Cinderella in 2016 and Peter Pan and Tinker Bell in 2017. Bonnie has been staging ‘pantos’ in the USA and UK for a number of years. Well known for her creativity and involvement in global television hits ‘American Idol’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and recently ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’, Bonnie is dedicated to bringing affordable theatre to families across Australia by presenting fun, musical theatre that the whole family from the age of 3 to 103 can enjoy.

“hilarious, stupendous, high production values. This show ticks all of those boxes in style” Herald Sun, Melbourne (Peter Pan 2017)

Comedy Theatre, 240 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

DATES: Friday 29 June – Sunday 8 July
PRICES: VIP $89.95 / A Reserve $69.95 / B Reserve $59.95
BOOKINGS: or 1300 11 10 11

State Theatre, 49 Market Street, Sydney

DATES: Friday 13 July – Sunday 22 July
PRICES: from $52.95 to $97.95 plus Family tickets available
BOOKINGS: or 1300 139 588


The Gold Coast has been named ‘Best Destination’ at the 11th TNT Golden Backpack Awards, reaffirming the popularity of the destination amongst one of the regions fastest growing sectors.

Backpackers voted the Gold Coast a clear favourite ahead of Noosa, the Whitsundays, Cairns Melbourne and Fraser Island. Held at an evening gala on the Gold Coast, the ceremony featured alongside the Independent Travel Exchange (ITE) and the Adventure Travel and Backpacker Industry Conference (ABiC). 

Tens of thousands of backpacker votes were amassed over a 10-week national campaign that featured in TNT Magazine & TNT Downunder, online at and and via the various social media channels. 

Gold Coast Tourism Executive Director Corporate Affairs and Strategy, Dean Gould said the award win is a testament to the confidence the tourism industry has in the youth market. “There is great potential for the youth market to significantly grow the tourism pie, and accolades like this showcase our progressive tourism offering to the next generation of travellers.” 

Mr Gould says international youth visitors are a major contributor to the tourism sector. “More than 300,000 international travellers aged 15 to 29 visit the Gold Coast annually, accounting for approximately 30% of all international arrivals to the region.” 

According to the latest International Visitor Survey* figures 138,496 international backpackers headed to the Gold Coast in the past year, up 7%, with the average length of overnight visitation increasing by 10%. “International backpackers stay 13 nights on the Gold Coast, almost double the average when compared to traditional holiday makers. They not only stay longer but are actively seeking locallylead authentic immersive experiences,” said Mr Gould. 

In September, Gold Coast Tourism partnered with Hostelworld, the largest online hostel booking to create the world’s first temporary fully functional Sand Hostel in Broadbeach. Perched on the foreshore at Kurrawa Terrace, the event played out on television, radio and online globally reaching hundreds of thousands of people who were greeted with enviable coastal panoramas. 

With the youth travel category more competitive than ever, Gold Coast Tourism is dedicated to growing the market and boasts a dedicated Youth Specialist, the only such resource appointed by an Australian regional tourism organisation. “Youth travellers are tomorrow’s family and business travellers, so it’s in our interest to expose this resilient market to our destination, early on in their global travels,” added Mr Gould. 

As the only national awards for the adventure and backpacking sector, The Golden Backpack Awards recognise excellence amongst 37 dedicated categories including favourite hostel, tour operator, best travel agent, visitor attraction and indigenous experience. 

*All figures quoted are from international visitor data provided by the International Visitor Survey (IVS), for the period 12 months to June 2017, conducted by Tourism Research Australia. Youth are defined as 15-29 years. Specific youth expenditure figures for the Gold Coast are not collected. ENDS CONTACT: Dean Gould, Executive Director, Corporate Affairs

Festival bangs loud gong sound in Gia Lai Province

Gong is a distinctive feature of the Central Highlands region.
The value of gong culture, a distinctive feature of the Central Highlands region and a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritages of Humanity by UNESCO since 2005, was highlighted at a festival held in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai on November 16.

The festival was organised as part of the efforts to preserve and promote the Central Highlands gong culture.

More than 500 gong artisans from 16 art troupes in the province attended the event and delivered gong dancing, folk singing and traditional musical performances.

The Central Highlands, which comprises the five provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Lam Dong, Gia Lai and Kon Tum, is home to stunning landscapes and diverse ethnic minorities and cultures.

Gongs are not only musical instruments but also serve cultural functions for about 20 ethnic minorities in the region. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. “Cong” has a nipple and produces a single and uniform sound while “chieng” is flat and offers a wider range of notes. Different sizes are characterised by family names: mother, father, and older sister. Gongs can be played by hand or with a stick.

It is believed that every gong hides a god or goddess who grows more powerful as the gong ages. Every family possesses at least one gong, which indicates the family’s wealth, authority and prestige.


2017 AFL NAB Draft prospects
Andrew Brayshaw and Darcy Fogarty
Sydney is set for a bumper three days of AFL action, with the second annual AFL 9s Classic and the AFL Draft taking place this week.

The Classic, an exciting national event that brings together players from community football clubs to compete in the AFL’s social format, kicked off today and will run until Sunday, 26 November with more than 120 teams and 1,000 players in action.

The Draft, which gives the clubs the opportunity to sign the best young amateurs in the country, will be held tonight at the Sydney Showground.

Some of the top Draft prospects were in town ahead of tonight’s event and experienced a number of Sydney’s marquee visitor attractions, including Sydney SKYWALK, Bondi Beach and Luna Park.

The Top 10 Draft Picks will come together for a photo opportunity at Hickson Road Reserve, The Rocks, tomorrow at 9am.

Both events are supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Spotlight on Indigenous Tourism - Unkya and Wajaana Yaam sharing Gumbaynggirr language

On the mid-north coast of NSW, Unkya Cultural Eco Tours, at Scotts Head, and Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours, in Coffs Harbour, are running tours using the local Gumbaynggirr language and sharing the stories of their people.

Scotts Head and Coffs Harbour are situated in Gumbaynggirr country – Gumbaynggirr is one of 250 distinct Aboriginal language groups that have existed on the continent of Australia since time immemorial.

Both Aboriginal owned and operated, Unkya and Wajaana Yaam’s tours take place on the homelands of the Gumbaynggirr tribal nation and all guides are Gumbaynggirr people or Aboriginal people who have strong familial ties to Gumbaynggirr country.

Unkya Cultural Eco Tours

Sharing local language and the strong cultural connection to Gaagal Wanggaan National Park, Unkya Cultural Eco Tours offer two different two hour tours which share the Gumbaynggirr people’s creation stories of the how the sea was made and their traditions, customs and lore.

The local guides use the land, language and stories to take visitors on a journey as they walk on this traditional land to learn about the Gumbaynggir people and their culture, and participate in an important smoking and cleansing ceremony.

From June to November, visitors can also take part in cultural ceremonies that welcome and offer safe passage for the Humpback and Southern Right Gurruuja (Whales) as they journey through Gumbaynggirr homelands.

Wajaana Yaam Adventure Tours

Living on the coast, Gumbaynggir are saltwater people. Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours celebrates this connection to the sea with a 2.5 hour adventure paddle in Coffs Harbour’s Solitary Islands Marine Park.

The local guides, who are direct descendants of the world’s first stand up paddlers, share their connection to land and sea through stories and language, and give visitors the chance to collect and taste seasonal bush tucker.

Wajaana Yaam is a social enterprise, providing training and an employment pathway for Gumbaynggirr youth and community members through the acquisition of knowledge of language and culture. Furthermore, a proportion of the profits are invested in Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation which runs a weekly after school learning centre, cultural camps and extensive Gumbaynggirr language revitalisation initiatives.

For more Indigenous tourism experiences in NSW go to

Top 10 Places to See Autumn Colors

Sankeien Garden
Autumn is a great time of year to visit Japan since it’s one of the best places to see autumn foliage in the world. Japan is blessed with a beautifully distinct four seasons. And of the four seasons, perhaps the most popular season to visit Japan is autumn with truly beautiful red and gold colored leaves. Discover the top 10 places to see autumn colors in Yokohama, just 30 min. away from Tokyo.

2017 Autumn Foliage Forecast in Yokohama
End of November to mid-December

1. Sankeien Garden

The vast traditional Japanese garden covering over 175,000 sqm. with historical buildings across Japan. During the autumn season, gingko and maple trees in the garden turn their colors into bright yellow and vibrant red. The area around Choshukaku tea house -built especially for viewing autumn leaves- is tinted with the deep red of maple leaves, creating a world where beautiful reds and golds can be enjoyed within the peaceful quiet of these carefully designed gardens.

Address 58-1, Honmoku Sannotani, Naka-ku, Yokohama
Area Honmoku/Motomachi/Yamate
Closest Railway Station From Negishi Station: JR Keihin Tohoku Negishi Line: Get on the municipal bus from bus stop No.1, take Route No.58,99 or 101 to bus station Honmoku, 10 min. walk to the Garden
From Yokohama Station: Get on the municipal bus from the bus stop No.2, take Route No.8 or 148 to bus station Sankeien Iriguchi, 5 min. walk to the Garden
TEL 045-621-0634
Hours 9:00-17:00 (Last entry 16:30)
Admission 500 yen (Junior high school student or above)
200 yen (Elementary School Student)

2. Yamashita Park Avenue

Located adjacent to Yamashita Park, Yokohama’s most famous park, Yamashita Park Avenue is bustling street lined by Yokohama’s most popular sightseeing sights, including Yamashita Park on the ocean side and Yokohama Marine Tower and Chinatown inland . Strolling along Yamashita Park Avenue is a special treat during the autumn season, when the paths are covering in a golden “carpet of ginkgo leaves”. Porin Bridge stretching from Yamashita Park to the Yokohama Doll Museum and the areas around the Hotel New Grand are highly recommended sites for taking photographs.
Address 279, Yamashita-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama
Area Chinatown/Kannai/Yamashita Park
Closest Railway Station Kannai Station: JR Negishi Line
Motomachi-Chukagai Station: Minato Mirai Line

3. Nihon Odori Avenue

Designed by R. H. Brunton and completed around 1870, Nihon Odori Avenue is Japan’s first western-style road. The avenue is lined with stately historical buildings such as the Kanagawa Prefectural Government’s Office and Yokohama Archives of History, and open-air cafes dotting the sidewalk are popular spots for resting and viewing the beautifully colored ginkgo leaves. The breathtaking contrast of stately buildings and colorful autumn leaves make this the perfect spot for sketching or photography.

Address Nihon Odori, Naka-ku, Yokohama
Area Chinatown/Kannai/Yamashita Park
Closest Railway Station Kannai Station: JR Negishi Line
Nihon Odori Station: Minato Mirai Line

4. Kanazawa Natural Park/Zoological Garden

Exhibiting approximately 40 species of rare herbivorous animals, this zoological park also provides animal guides and holds “animal-feeding” and other mini-events on a daily basis. More than 400 trees in the park -including ginkgo, maple, and Chinese tallow trees- change color from mid-October through until early December, enabling visitors to enjoy a relatively long autumn leaves viewing season.

Address 5-15-1, Kamariyahigashi, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama
Area Southern Yokohama
Closest Railway Station Kanazawa-Bunko Station: Keihin Kyuko Line
TEL 045-783-9100
Hours 9:30-16:30(Last Entry 16:00)
Admission (Zoo) Adult: 500 yen / High school student: 300 yen / Elementary school student / Junior high school student: 200 yen
(Park) Free Admission

5. Kodomonokuni (Children’s Land)

The 250 acre park houses a farm with animals and a plaza where visitors can enjoy barbecue. Other attractions include a 110 meter long slide, a mini steam locomotive, and an artificial river amongst other facilities. From the end of summer, the leaves of the trees throughout Kodomonokuni gradually take on their vibrant autumn colors, beginning with the yellow leaves of Katsura trees, followed by the yellow ginkgo and Japanese zelkova leaves in late October, bright red maple and deep orange Chinese pistachio in November, and yellow-orange Metasequoia and groves of yellow-orange Sawtook oak and orange-red Konara oak in December.

KODOMONOKUNI (Children’s Land)
Address 700, Nara-cho, Aoba-ku Yokohama
Area Northern Yokohama
Closest Railway Station Kodomonokuni Station: Tokyu Kodomonokuni Line
TEL 045-961-2111
Hours 9:30am to 4:30pm *Jul.,Aug. 9:30am to 5pm
Admission 600 yen (Adults), 200 yen (Jr.High School and Elementary School Students), 100 yen(aged 3 to 5)

6. Mitsuike Park

Located approximately 1.8 km northwest of Tsurumi Station, Mitsuike Park comprises three ponds. The name of “Mitsuike” came from them. It is enclosed in an abundant forest. When autumn arrives, the leaves of the Japanese maple and ginkgo trees begin to change colors, starting with tree groves, and the park is a well-known spot for viewing of the autumn leaves. Visitors can also enjoy the enchanting cosmos, cockscomb, great burnet, and other autumn flowers blooming in planters arranged around the Flower Plaza.

Address 1-1 Mitsuike Park, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama
Area Northern Yokohama
Closest Railway Station
and Bus Stop Mitsuike-Koen Kitamon (Municipal Bus Route 6 or 104) from Shin-Yokohama Station(JR)
Mitsuike-Koen Kitamon (Municipal Bus Route 6, 67, or 104) from Tsurumi Station (JR)
TEL 045-581-0287

7. Sankeien Garden

Sankeien Garden
Located on a hilltop in a quiet residential neighborhood, Nogeyama Park is a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy the peaceful greenery and wide open spaces. Opened in 1951, Nogeyama was the first zoo to be opened in Yokohama. Covering an area of 8 acres, Nogeyama is the only centrally located zoo within Yokohama, making it very convenient and easy to access. More importantly, it is free!

Address 63-10, Oimatsu-cho,Nishi-ku Yokohama
Area Minato Mirai 21/Sakuragicho
Closest Railway Station Hinodecho Station: Keihin Kyuko Line/Sakuragicho Station: JR Keihin Tohoku Negishi Line / Municipal Subway Line
Hours 9:30am to 4:30pm (Last admission 4:00pm)
Closed on Mondays (open if holiday, except May & Oct.), year end & new year holidays
Admission Free

8. Negishi Forest Park

Negishi Forest Park is something of an oasis hidden in an urban neighborhood setting. Known in Japanese as ‘Negishi Shinrin Koen’, this is one of the largest parks in Yokohama with a surface area covering over 1800 square meters. With its many trees, including Japanese zelkova and ginkgo trees, encircling gently undulating open grassed areas, Negishi Forest Park is the perfect place to enjoy the beautiful autumn scenery.

Address 1-2, Negishidai, Naka-ku, Yokohama
Area Honmoku/Motomachi/Yamate
Closest Railway Station Negishi Station / Yamate Station: JR Keihin Tohoku Negishi Line

9. Shomyoji Temple

With its vermilion‐lacquered arched bridge and flat bridge, the temple’s Jodo-style garden is breathtakingly beautiful. The area around the Agigaike Pond is dotted with grandfather trees that have stood here for more than 800 years, creating a landscape that can be enjoyed in every season. During the autumn season, these grand old trees transform as one into a golden sea of leaves.
Address 212-1, Kanazawa-cho, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama
Area Southern Yokohama
Closest Railway Station Kanazawa-Bunko Station: Keihin Kyuko Line/Uminokoen-shibaguchi Station or Uminokoen-minamiguchi Station: Sea Side Line

10. Yokohama Park (Yokohama Stadium)

 Yokohama Par
Yokohama Park is Yokohama’s second-oldest park after Yamashita Park. With the completion of Yokohama Stadium in 1978, Japanese-style gardens were constructed along with ponds, fountains, and multi-purpose open spaces. Although the park is famous for its spring tulips, during the autumn season the trees around the waterways and ponds in the Japanese-style garden are brightly painted in reds, yellows, and oranges, making the park a popular site for viewing autumn leaves.
YOKOHAMA PARK (Yokohama Stadium)
Address Yokohamakouen, Naka-ku, Yokohama
Area Chinatown/Kannai/Yamashita Park
Closest Railway Station Kannai Station: JR Negishi Line/Nihon-Odori Station: Minato Mirai Line

AIME attracts unprecedented international interest for 2018

The region’s largest and longest running business events exhibition, Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME), confirms unprecedented participation from international bureaux and organisations, as delegate registrations open today inviting industry professionals to attend the Melbourne expo, 20-21 February 2018.

Attracting leading event brands and destination bureaux from around the globe, AIME 2018 will showcase the best products, services and solutions the events industry has to offer. Confirmed international destinations include, Tourism Fiji, Japan, Abu Dhabi, Korea, Los Angeles and Tourism New Zealand.

Conventions & Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) and Tourism New Zealand will present a formidable collective on the 100% Pure New Zealand stand including, for the first time in three years, Queenstown Convention Bureau, along with New Zealand International Convention Centre, Auckland Convention Bureau, Christchurch Convention Centre, Real Journeys and the International Antarctic Centre.

Sharon Auld, Australia Manager, Conventions & Incentives New Zealand, CINZ, said AIME is a vital event for the New Zealand business events industry and is excited to immerse 100% Pure New Zealand in Manaakitanga, the traditional Māori value of welcoming guests with hospitality, kindness and generosity.

“CINZ is thrilled to showcase some of New Zealand’s greatest business event destinations at AIME 2018. Not only do we have Queenstown returning for the first time in years, but we also have some of our great hotels and destinations, making the 100% Pure New Zealand stand really focused on offering event professionals the best in New Zealand hospitality. We look forward to greeting delegates from all over the world with our unique Kiwi traditions at AIME 2018,” said Ms Auld.

Early data from the Hosted Buyers acquisition scheme reveals an expansive interest from international buyers including representatives from New Zealand, United States, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Ireland, Indonesia, China and Finland.

Angela Sciacca, Project Manager, AIME, commented on what the international interest means for exhibitors at AIME.

“The focus of AIME is to connect the business events industry with partners that inspire creativity and innovation. We are thrilled to confirm a great mix of international and local Hosted Buyers for 2018, bringing fresh eyes and unique propositions. With major international buyers from the likes of Daimler Greater China, Orbit World Travel, Retina World Congress, International Conference Services, Modern Language Association and so many more, we are confident that the relationships developed at AIME will provide real business value to the meetings and events sector.

“AIME’s show floor will showcase a diverse range of local and international suppliers, and destinations set to inspire buyers when planning their world-class events,” said Ms Sciacca.

A wide range of local Australian suppliers exhibit, including new comers QuizzaMe, an online quiz company set to transform interactive entertainment. All major Australian bureaux will return to the show floor for the third year in a row, along with Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, Northern Territory and Destination New South Wales.

AIME will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 20-21 February 2018.

Register for free:

Full field announced: six Grand Slam champions coming to Brisbane

Six Grand Slam champions will headline the 2018 Brisbane International presented by Suncorp in what’s an incredibly exciting field for the tournament’s tenth event.

Grand Slam champions Rafael Nadal (ESP), Andy Murray (GBR), Garbine Muguruza (ESP), Sloane Stephens (USA), Petra Kvitova (CZE) and Sam Stosur (Qld) lead the superstar line up set to start their summer in Brisbane.

Defending champion and ATP Finals winner, world No.3 Grigor Dimtrov (BUL), 2016 Brisbane champion [24] Milos Raonic (CAN), and last year’s finalist [22] Kei Nishikori (JPN) join Nadal and Murray in the stellar men’s field.

In the women’s draw, defending Brisbane champion and World no.4 Karolina Pliskova (CZE) joins [6] Elina Svitolina (UKR), [8] Caroline Garcia (FRA) and Wimbledon semi- finalist [9] Johanna Konta (GBR) in rounding out the top-ten contingent bound for Brisbane.

Next Gen ATP finals winner [59] Hyeon Chung (KOR) will return in 2018, while ATP Star of Tomorrow winner, emerging teen sensation [51] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) will make his debut at the January event.

Leading the charge for the Aussies is Australia’s top ranked player, Brisbane local and World no.17 Ash Barty in the women’s field, and [21] Nick Kyrgios (ACT).

“Brisbane fans are in for an incredible tournament with the field we’ve secured this year,” Brisbane International Tournament Director Geoff Quinlan said.

“The line-up also includes World no.1 Rafael Nadal, two-time champion Andy Murray, both our defending champions from this year, Grigor Dimitrov and Karolina Pliskova, six of the top 12 women as well as Next Gen players who will be fired up and full of confidence at the start of the season. We are guaranteed outstanding tennis from round one, with fans also able to support our Aussies players lead by Ash, Nick and Sam.”

Tourism programme promotes heritage sites in Viet Bac region

At the opening ceremony for the programme
‘Through Viet Bac Heritage Sites’
and Ba Be – Bac Kan tourism week
A ceremony was held at Ba Be Lake in the mountainous northern province of Bac Kan on November 18, to open the ninth tourism programme entitled ‘Through Viet Bac Heritage Sites’ and Ba Be – Bac Kan tourism week.

The annual programme aims to introduce the land, people, culture and tourism potential of six provinces in Viet Bac region, including Cao Bang, Bac Kan, Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang, Lang Son and Thai Nguyen.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Dang Thi Bich Lien said that the programme is a meaningful event to promote the values of the historical and cultural relic sites and landscapes in the region.

The event also contributes to enhancing the cooperation and exchange among the regional localities to build unique tourism products in order to attract more domestic and foreign investors and visitors, gradually turning the tourism sector into a spearhead economic sector.

The main activities during the programme and the Ba Be – Bac Kan tourism week include: cultural and arts exchange performances, a folk arts festival, a show of traditional costumes from the ethnic minority groups in the six provinces, and a photo exhibition on the tourist sites and people of Viet Bac localities. They will be held in Bo Lu village, Nam Mau commune, Ba Be district.

The programme will also feature a wide variety of other activities, including tourism activities at Ba Be Lake; a display of books, newspapers, paintings and photos of the land and people of Bac Kan provinces; screening of films on the Viet Bac region; and pavilions to introduce the typical products from the localities.

At the opening ceremony, more than 1,000 actors, actresses and artisans from six localities in Viet Bac region gave performances of folk songs and dances praising the Party and President Ho Chi Minh, as well as reproducing festivals and cultural identities of each locality in the region.


Three-time major champion and world No.2, Jordan Spieth (pictured) is in town and hunting a third Emirates Australian Open title at The Australian Golf Course.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall officially welcomed Spieth and Australia’s Jason Day to Sydney at the event launch on Tuesday.

Spieth, the 2014 and 2016 champion, is the major drawcard at this week’s event which will run until Sunday, 26 November.

Day, the 2015 PGA Championship winner, will provide stiff competition in a field that includes eight former champions.

The Emirates Australian Open is supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, and has been held in Sydney since 2004.

It provides a significant boost to the NSW visitor economy, with last year’s event attracting 4,700 overnight visitors to the Harbour City, delivering $3.8 million in visitor spend.

Buy tickets here.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Destination Dining: Spotlight on Northern Rivers

Located at the top of NSW, the Northern Rivers is a food lover’s paradise. Blessed with an endless coastland flush with fresh seafood, fertile valleys and sub-tropical areas, the region provides the perfect canvas for a destination dining trail. From Yamba to the Tweed, a trip to the Northern Rivers wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of the region’s fantastic food. Here’s a list of a few “must-do” foodie experiences to get you inspired:
  • Every Thursday there’s a farmers’ market in the “Rainbow Region” from 8am-11am on Butler Street Reserve, Byron Bay, and at the Bangalow Hotel in Mullumbimby on Fridays. Try Chef Roberto Costanzo’s menu at Nomadic Kitchen; he buys his produce direct from fellow market stallholders and comes up with some really innovative dishes. 
  • It would be amiss to stop in Yamba without sampling the local prawns for which the town is famous. Located in the Clarence Valley, Yamba has an established fishing fleet that supplies the local cafes, restaurants, markets and the popular Clarence River Fishermen’s Co-operative with an abundance of fresh seafood. 
  • Harvest in Newrybar sports a verandah with views of the undulating green hills – along with a bakery, deli, kitchen garden, award winning wine-list and cooking school. Others, such as Town in the bustle of Bangalow and Fleetin the sleepy riverside town Brunswick Heads guarantee memorable dining experiences. Other sure-fire dining bets include 100 Mile Table in the Byron Arts & Industry Estate and Taverna in Kingscliff.
  • Offering a range of gourmet full day tours throughout the Tweed, Currumbin and Byron Bay, Tasting Plate Tours ensure you discover (and taste) the very best produce from the Northern Rivers. Visiting farms, providores, eateries and award winning distilleries and breweries, their small group tours will leave your taste buds delighted. 
  • Start off your day with a visit to The Farm Byron Bay at Ewingsdale – a working farm that houses a collection of micro-businesses united by their dedication to sustainable and ethical practises. Sit down for breakfast outside at Three Blue Ducks, a farm-to-table dining experience, or pick up some sensational pastries and a steaming hot coffee from The Bread Social and find somewhere nice in the surrounding fields to sit and enjoy them. There’s also a produce store, and a beautiful flower shop, Flowers at the Farm, selling fresh flowers, plants and gifts. There’s a daily farm tour, workshops and kids’ activities aplenty.
  • Mavis’ Kitchen at Uki to the south of Murwillumbah has an abundant garden that supplies some of the fresh ingredients found on the menu. Located at the foot of Mount Warning, an overnight stay in one of their cabins is the perfect way to extend your stay in the region.
  • At the finer end of the dining spectrum you are spoilt for choice: Fins at Salt Village, South Kingscliff is a long-term resident. Chef Steve Snow put sustainable seafood on the menu more than two decades ago. He likes to mix things up and the restaurant has a fun pop-up bar that changes with the season. At Paper Daisy, the pool-side restaurant at Halcyon House in Cabarita Beach, chef Ben Devlin is also expressing the terroir of the region on his menu, which means working directly with local suppliers and, like Steven Snow, fishermen.
  • Put tropical fruit to the taste test and learn to tell a jackfruit from a jaboticaba at Tropical Fruit World or take in the tranquillity of a native bush-food fingerlime orchard at Buck’s Farm at Chillingham. Go overboard with Tweed Endeavour Cruises amongst the mangroves as you hunt the famed Tweed River Mud Crab. 

For more information on food experiences in the Northern Rivers go to

Enjoy autumn at Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art

The season of autumn leaves has arrived. Please come and enjoy this seasonal beauty along with the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art exhibitions of art.

The leaves are slowly changing hue and soon the autumn colors will reach their full glory. From the museum’s Tea Room you can view the proud plumes of pampas grass. You also won’t want to miss the delicate flowers of the “Jugatsu Zakura” cherry trees that bloom twice a year in spring and autumn. 

On view in the Museum you will find a portrait of the 17th century master Rembrandt and modern Western art ranging from Impressionist works of Monet and Renoir to works by Picasso and Chagall, as well as Japanese screen paintings and works of American artists like Mark Rothko and Frank Stella from the latter half of the 20th century. We, along with these masterpieces, look forward to your visit to the museum.

For further details about the works on display, please visit the URL below.

Sunshine Coast's Noosa surf breaks declared World Surfing Reserve

A four-kilometre stretch of surf breaks at Noosa on Queensland's Sunshine Coast has officially been declared the 10th World Surfing Reserve.

The honour, awarded to the popular tourist zone by the international non-governmental organisation Save the Waves Coalition, recognises the region's environmental and cultural significance.

Noosa National Surfing Reserve committee member Phil Jarratt said being included in a global network of designated surfing reserves would protect Noosa's beaches.

"It's a tremendous honour and a great way to preserve what we have for future generations," Mr Jarratt said.

The accolade will provide management and protection for beaches and five surf breaks between Sunshine Beach and the Noosa River.

Mr Jarratt said the reserve would provide credibility to lobby and work with local and state governments for the betterment of the region.

"It gives us a seat at the table to discuss issues related to beach and coastal management," he said.

"Especially when it relates to things that might damage the surf breaks."

Mr Jarratt said it was vital that Noosa's iconic surf zones were protected for all Australians to enjoy.

"The reserve will also be a major plus for tourism [as] Noosa's is one of Australia's best international drawcards," he said.

Save the Waves Coalition executive director Nik Strong-Cvetich said Noosa exceeded the judging criteria.

"Noosa more than deserves this honour," he said.

"The combination of diverse point breaks within a protected natural area, and the importance of surfing in the cultural fabric of the town made it an outstanding candidate."

Mr Strong-Cvetich said as part of the judging, the quality and consistency of waves, environmental characteristics, local history and culture and local support and capacity were assessed.

Mr Jarratt said he hoped Noosa's inclusion in the coveted group could help other countries more vulnerable to development threats.

"Many of the other beaches selected have difficult situations regarding development prospects and environmental issues," he said.

"We're in a position where we can be exemplary of how things can be protected.

"We're known worldwide for our best practices when it comes to coastal management."

An official dedication ceremony to mark the honour and plaque will be unveiled at Noosa in March 2018.

Week highlights great national unity, Viet Nam’s cultural heritage

A highlight of the “Great National Unity – Viet Nam’s Cultural Heritage”
Week is the re-enactment of the culture of Cai Rang floating market
A week themed “Great National Unity – Viet Nam’s Cultural Heritage” kicked off at the Viet Nam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism in Ha Noi on November 18.

The annual week aims to honour cultural heritage of Viet Nam’s ethnic groups and help enhance the great national unity bloc. It marks the founding anniversary of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front (November 18, 1930) and the VietNam Cultural Heritage Day (November 23).

This year’s event draws the participation of nearly 200 people from 13 ethnic groups, namely Tay, Dao, Mong, Muong, Thai, Kho Mu, Ta Oi, Co Tu, E De, Khmer, Cham, Kinh and Raglai, along with local tourism associations and travel companies.

A highlight of the week, which lasts until November 23, is the re-enactment of the culture of Cai Rang floating market, which is part of national intangible cultural heritage. Cai Rang, one of the three biggest floating markets in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, specializes in trading fruit and specialties of the Mekong Delta region.

The re-enactment of Cai Rang market’s culture will include performances of the art of “Don ca tai tu” music and song, named in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Various activities will be held as part of the week such as ethnic groups’ exchanges, a workshop on developing the Viet Nam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism, and the inauguration of phase I of Phap An Pagoda in the village.

At the opening ceremony, Chairman of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Central Committee Tran Thanh Man said the great national unity bloc is always the most important and strongest resource for the whole Party, people and army to weather every difficulty and challenge to succeed in reform and national development.

Great unity is also one of the most precious cultural values of the Vietnamese people, he noted, calling on people from all social strata to join hands to bring into play the strength of the great national unity bloc.


Visitors to Gleniffer Reserves in Bellingen will soon be able to encounter a new digital tourism experience thanks to a funding boost from the NSW Government.

Bellingen Shire Council has secured $50,000 from Destination NSW’s Regional Tourism Fund.

The funding will pay for interpretive signage aimed at improving the visitor experience.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said the Regional Tourism Fund is part of the Government’s strategy to turbocharge tourism across the State.

“Driving tourism in rural and regional NSW is a top priority, and we are committing record funding to allow this industry to grow and grow,” Mr Marshall said.

Find out more about the Regional Tourism Fund.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Sydney's Top Five Scenic Runs

Spring is a great time to enjoy Sydney’s iconic running tracks. Here are five scenic running routes to get you moving.

1. The Bay Run: 

This seven-kilometre loop around the shores of Iron Cove Bay links Sydney’s inner west suburbs of Leichhardt, Haberfield, Drummoyne and Russell Lea. It is one of the most popular harbourside running tracks in Sydney, following the entire natural course of the cove and never deviating more than 20 metres from the water. A flat, well-maintained track makes it popular with cyclists, pram pushers and dog walkers, with lanes for walkers and cyclists clearly marked.

2. The Coastal Run: Bondi to Coogee: 

This 14-kilometre coastal run starts at the southern end of Bondi Beach and heads along the coastal path to Coogee via Tamarama and Bronte. On the way, runners will pass some of Sydney’s most popular bays and beaches including Clovelly and Gordon’s Bay.

3. Manly to North Head: 

Taking in Manly Beach and Shelly Beach, before heading uphill to North Head, this running route is picturesque and rewarding. The route includes Fairfax Lookout, where runners can enjoy postcard views across the Harbour.

4. The Pool to Pool Run - North Sydney:

Starting at North Sydney Pool at Milsons’ Point, this run goes over the Harbour Bridge, along the Cahill Expressway passing Circular Quay, and on to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair and Andrew Boy Charlton Pool. This run finishes with the reward of a swim in a stunning outdoor pool.

5. The Five Ponds Run - Centennial Park Run: 

A five-kilometre loop around five of the park’s ponds is popular with locals. The Centennial Parklands is home to 15,000 trees, wildlife, ponds, as well as cafés and restaurants to refuel at afterwards.

Still looking for a running challenge? Head to the Carcoar Cup Running Festival on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 November. The Carcoar Cup Running Festival has been described as one of the toughest and most beautiful in Australia. It is the ultimate family running event for all abilities and ages. Entrants will race on bitumen and dirt, through the towns of Neville, Mount Macquarie and Carcoar. The festival will include a 60-kilometre ultra-marathon, a 42-kilometre marathon, a half marathon and a new 10-kilometre race.

Enjoy a walk in the Sankyo warehouses and colourful trees

Fall is a season where you can enjoy a walk while the refreshing wind from the Japan sea blows. 

The dark color warehouses and the colorful leaves of the Zelkova trees contrast greatly from the end of October to the beginning of November. During this season the Sankyo warehouse(山居倉庫) are most prominent. 

While they were built in 1893, it's hard to believe when looking at the beautiful craftsmanship of the architecture. The Sankyo warehouse were also featured on the NHK morning drama "Oshin".

The more than 150-year-old 36 Zelkova trees attract people from all over to see their beautiful leaves. You can also feel the vitality from the beautiful light shining through the trees!

Address: 1 Chome-1-20 Sankyomachi, Sakata City
Holidays: January 1st
Access: From JR Sakata Station, 5 minutes by car
From the Nihon-Kai Tohoku Expressway, 15 minutes by car from the Sakata IC exit.
#dnjapan #dj_tohoku #yamagata #sankyosoko #sakata

Recovery of the mountain pygmy-possum on Mt Buller

Mt Buller’s mascot Barry would be happy to know his mates are in safe hands. A team of researchers from the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, cesar, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management, and the University of New South Wales have used genetic rescue, a novel breeding technique, to bring the mountain pygmy-possum population back from the brink of extinction.

Published Friday 20 October in the international journal Nature Communications is the story of the recovery. Small numbers of male mountain pygmy-possums sourced from a healthy population nearby Mt Hotham were released into the Mt Buller population between 2011 and 2014.

Successful breeding between Mt Hotham and Mt Buller possums has injected diversity into the gene-pool, overcoming years of inbreeding and lack of genetic variation. Increased genetic diversity is important for overcoming disease and creating a more robust population, allowing the possums to flourish and increase their breeding rate.

Dr Andrew Weeks from the University of Melbourne, who led the project, said that since the genetic rescue program began in 2011, the possum population has gone through rapid growth and is now larger than when the population was first discovered in 1996.

“Now, Mt Buller females from the genetic rescue are bigger and have more offspring that survive longer than the progeny of pygmy possums born outside the program. We now estimate the population to be over 200 possums.”

Co-author Dr Ian Mansergh from La Trobe University said the study’s findings mark an important development in conservation management.

“Our study confirms genetic rescue as a successful conservation technique, especially when used for small, isolated populations of threatened species,” Dr Mansergh said.

The genetic rescue compliments years of habitat restoration, predator control and environmental protection works led by the environmental team from Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management.

Niseko opening with some of the best early season snowfalls in almost 10 years's Niseko-based snow reporter has declared the interconnected Niseko ski areas are opening with some of the best early season snowfalls in almost 10 years.

Rod White said:"Amazing scenes across the Hokkaido Alps.In fact yesterday's opening at Hirafu was the closest to what occurred in 2008.

"Around our local area, we have other resorts opening, with Annupuri and Rusutsu tomorrow then Niseko Village on December 1 and Hanazono December 2. Teine, Kokusai and Nakayamatoge are already open and would expect Moiwa bull wheels to spin any day now. Night skiing at Hirafu is scheduled to begin on December 9."

Niseko United added Winter 2012/13 was the last time Niseko Grand Hirafu opened on schedule It was also the largest snowfall year in the past five years with a cumulative total snowfall of more than 14metres at village level, and more than that on the mountain. Hopes are high the bumper early season will also translate into another record season.

Increasing the profile in Korea

Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) has rolled out a range of marketing initiatives designed to attract the emerging Korean traveller market.

Working in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ); a workshop for Korean travel agencies was held last week working with 10 major partners including Hana Tour, Mode Tour and Interpark. The aim was to showcase the diversity of Sunshine Coast tourism products and develop new and exciting itineraries, increase Korean trade partners’ knowledge of tourism experiences and ultimately encourage Korean travellers to visit the region.

Further to this, packages created and leveraging Korean Air have been promoted and sold at the Mode Tour Travel Show over the past days (16-19 November). There was a growing interest from Koreans in the Sunshine Coast with the show attended by over 70,000 high value consumers with propensity to travel.

VSC CEO, Simon Latchford recognises the opportunity to tap into the new and emerging market of South Korea for the Sunshine Coast, also one of the fastest growing markets for Queensland.

“International market growth can only be achieved through collaboration with our partners at TEQ, Sunshine Coast Council (SCC), travel and trade agents, airlines and our tourism operators.

“The recent trade workshops and Mode Travel Show follow a range of activity staged throughout the year including the airing of two episodes of travel program ‘The Travels of Nearly Everywhere’ reaching 1.2 million viewers and supported by SCC, welcoming producers of guidebook ‘Dawn Sense’ to produce content, hosting five VIP Korean buyers following Australian Tourism Exchange in May and a further eight agents to experience the region first-hand following TEQ Queensland on Stage workshops in October.

“Access is very important for visitors. Korean Air currently offers direct Seoul to Brisbane flights four times per week with daily flights during the peak season of December to February. There is also the indirect services of Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Singapore Airlines.

“We know the Sunshine Coast can provide a nature and beach experience to complement a Brisbane city visit for Koreans. These activities are lining up with our strategy to develop new off-shore markets and in addition assist our mission to build capacity and demand for the new international Sunshine Coast Airport, due to be completed in 2020,” added Mr Latchford.

This current activity will be followed up with a significant digital campaign in Korea by partners Korea Air, TEQ, VSC and Korean travel agencies. This is scheduled to commence December 2017 and run through to March 2018. VSC will also continue to nurture relationships with Australian based Korean Inbound Tour Operator partners.

Fast Facts

South Korean visitation to Queensland has grown strongly with expenditure up 13% and visitation up 14% in the three years ending June 2017.
• $226.7 million spend up 5.6% year on year
• 75,000 visitors up 18.3% year on year
• 85% of trips are for leisure.

Da Lat Flower Festival to be organised from December 23-27

The seventh Da Lat Flower Festival, themed “Flowers of Da Lat – Miracle from the good earth”, will be held in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong from December 23-27, with the opening ceremony on December 23 to be broadcast live on VTV1.

The information was announced by Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Phan Van Da at a press conference on November 17.

The festival will include 16 main programmes and more than 30 auxiliary events, to be held in Da Lat City, Bao Loc City, and several localities in Lam Dong Province.

This year’s event will promote the branding of flowers and tourism in Da Lat and also introduce traditional tea and silk products of the province.

A new feature of the festival is that the Lam Dong Tea Week will become a part of the Da Lat Flower Festival after previously being held separately.

The five-day festival will feature a fashion week of silk and “ao dai” (traditional Vietnamese gown) and art performances.

A series of workshops will be held within the event to promote investment in Lam Dong, to discuss Da Lat’s development planning and to develop local tea and silk.

The Da Lat Flower Festival is held biennially. After six editions, the province’s flower growing area increased from 800ha in 2005 to 8,400ha in 2017 with output up fivefold.


Premier Gladys Berejiklian today announced Allianz and ANZ stadiums will be rebuilt and transformed into world-class facilities, keeping NRL Grand Finals in Sydney for at least the next 25 years.

Ms Berejiklian said the investment would ensure NSW remains the number one destination for major sporting and entertainment events.

“We want the world’s biggest sporting clubs and artists to choose NSW as their preferred destination to showcase their events,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The investment will fund a new 45,000-seat stadium to replace Allianz at Moore Park with construction to start in 2018 and open in 2021; and a new 75,000-seat rectangular stadium to replace ANZ at Sydney Olympic Park, construction to start in 2019 and open in 2022.

An artist's impression of the new facilities can be found here.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Spring on the Coffs Coast

Between the mountains and the ocean, the Coffs Coast offers quaint villages, World Heritage rainforests and waterfalls, islands and marine reserves. With the arrival of Spring, it’s also the perfect time to enjoy the region’s many beaches and coastal attractions.

Whatever takes you to the coast, whale watching, surfing, sailing, birdwatching, fishing, snorkelling, jet skiing or long, idle strolls with the sand between your toes, the Coffs Coast is a perfect fit.

Destination NSW suggests the following activities for your Coffs Coast Spring getaway.
Whale Watching: During the whale-watching season, between June and November, the 10-metre catamaran Pacific Explorer makes daily whale-watching trips to the nearby Solitary Islands Marine Park, where humpback whales converge during their annual migration to and from Antarctic waters. Rocky headlands along the Coffs Coast provide excellent vantage points for whale-watching on shore. Take your pick from Sawtell, Emerald Beach and Woolgoolga Beach or head to the viewing platforms overlooking the ocean on Muttonbird Island.

Birdwatching: Between September and April thousands of muttonbirds nest at the Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve, spending their days at sea and returning to their burrows in the evening – a fascinating sight at sundown. A bridge connects Muttonbird Island with the marina at Coffs Harbour.

Diving and snorkelling: The third largest marine park in Australia, Solitary Islands Marine Park is a paradise for scuba divers and snorkellers. More than 500 fish species have been recorded here, many of them tropical, along with sea turtles, manta rays and corals. Dive operators in Coffs Harbour offer boat trips to the islands, and swimmers can also have an experience every bit as thrilling - all that’s required is basic swimming ability.

Waterside walks: The scenic Solitary Islands Coastal Walk in Moonee Beach Nature Reserve is a 60-kilometre walking trail linking beaches and rainforests, and is great for whale watching, birdwatching, swimming and other water sports. Running from Sawtell in the south to Red Rock, the four-day walk can be broken into shorter strolls of just a couple of hours.
For more information on the Coffs Coast go to

Dak Lak museum provides hand-on experiments with traditional handicraft

Dak Lak museum attracts 300,000 visitors a year, all coming to see the historical and cultural exhibits of Dak Lak Province and the Central Highlands as a whole.

There, artisans are also demonstrating their traditional handicraft and introducing their products as a way to promote the province’s ethnic cultures.

Artisan Y Mip Ayun of the E De ethnic minority group, 75, can competently build and play musical instruments. The man from Ko Sier hamlet, Buon Ma Thuot City, briskly cuts and shapes bamboo tubes into flutes. He enthusiastically shows visitors to Dak Lak museum how to make the instrument if they would love to do so by themselves.

Y Mip Ayun said “It makes me hugely happy when visitors want to learn about our ethnic culture. While making the instruments, I really miss my old friends, some of whom passed away already, and the moments we made and blew the flutes together. They inspire me to create new melodies simultaneously on my flute”.

H Djuih Eban is proud to introduce her E De group’s brocade weaving to visitors. During her demonstration sessions, Eban also responds to visitors’ queries about materials to weave brocades, the combination of colors and patterns, the amount of time needed to complete the clothes for festivals, and the importance of brocade weaving to the E De ethnic minority people.

She told VOV “Visitors can make beautiful brocade clothes with me. Through demonstration of weaving, I have a chance to promote and preserve the traditional customs of my E De group.”

The demonstration of traditional handicraft also enables visitors to better understand the nature and people of the Central Highlands. It helps to inspire the love and pride of artisans of their cultural values. The activity has received a positive response from visitors.

Huynh Van Thong from Dong Thap Province said “Each traditional handicraft has a long history with the development of each ethnic group. The handicraft products need to be promoted and modified to match with modern tastes, which will help to better popularize the Central Highlands people”.

As the number of artisans and the funding winds down, the museum has called for investment to hold demonstrations each month or every quarter.

There are more interactive activities during festivals at the Dak Lak museum, which is becoming an attractive tourist destination.

Talking Machines gives a voice to dormant farm machinery

Talking Machines reaches across generations to give a voice to dormant farm machinery and capture the story of Australia's industrial past. 43 videos capture the machines that transformed Australia's agricultural production across the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries.

See long-retired machines at work digging, cutting, shearing, sorting, harvesting and more. Hear from people who still remember using them, as they recount how Riverina's unforgiving landscape was turned into a food bowl.

11 Museums across the Riverina region of NSW contributed their machines and knowledge to the project, which was coordinated by the Museum of the Riverina, in Wagga Wagga.

Accompanying the films are education resources targeted at Year 9/10 (Stage 5) history students. The resources tie in with the Australian National Curriculum, and are a unique look at how the Industrial revolution played out within Australia.

Specialist resources have also been prepared to complement the Stage 1 and 2 History and Geography NSW Syllabuses for the Australian Curriculum.

Watch the videos

Education Resources

Talking Machines is a partnership between The Museum of the Riverina, The Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Museums & Galleries of NSW, the Wiradjuri Language & Cultural Heritage Recovery Program (Charles Sturt University), Oral History NSW, award-winning local filmmaker, John Riddell, regional cultural and educational consultants and 11 community museums across Eastern & Western Riverina.

The participating museums are:
  • Batlow Museum
  • Cootamundra Heritage Centre
  • Greens Gunyah in Lockhart
  • Junee Broadway Museum
  • Museum of the Riverina, Wagga Wagga
  • Pioneer Women's Hut in Tumbarumba
  • Temora Rural Museum
  • Tumut Museum
  • Weethalle Whistle-stop Arts Centre & Museum
  • Wyalong Museum
  • The Up-to-Date Store, Coolamon.

Talking Machines is supported by Regional Partnerships Funding from Arts NSW.

Top 6 Hidden Famous Yet Souvenirs with a Twist

Corn Mousse Sandwich
When choosing a souvenir or present, you probably want to find something that will make the receiver happy or surprised, correct? However, many people still end up going for the same old thing. This article introduces souvenirs that are a little different than usual for those kinds of people. They are exquisite items with a twist that will make you say, “I had no idea this thing existed!”

1) A Confectionery with a New Texture Created by a Genius Chef (Tokyo)

Corn Mousse Sandwich from AU GAMIN DE TOKIO
AU GAMIN DE TOKIO is a shop with 7 branches in Tokyo that is led by its chef, Takemasa Kinoshita. It is a boutique shop that specializes in selling the sweets created by Kinoshita, who has captured the hearts of many gourmets and foodies all over Japan. This shop’s famous signature dish is the Tomorokoshi no Mousse Sand (Corn Mousse Sandwich) (1,300 JPY (excl. tax) for 4 pieces and 1,800 JPY (excl. tax) for 6 pieces). The mousse in the sandwich uses generous amounts of thick mascarpone cheese. The cookie dough incorporates crushed cornflakes to make it rich in texture and flavor. This product is sold frozen, but you can enjoy it either frozen or thawed. If you have it frozen, the crunchy cookie and the soft, sweet mousse will melt together to create a confectionery with an exquisite balance in texture. It goes well with alcoholic drinks, and is perfect as a souvenir, too.

Phone: 03-6380-0045
Hours: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
(Saturdays, Sundays, Public Holidays) 8:00 AM - 9:30 PM

2) Chinatown Senbei That Can Serve as an Appetizer or Snack (Yokohama)

Kurogoma Senbei from Jukei-Hanten Daiichi Baiten at Yokohama Chinatown
This is the Kurogoma Senbei (rice crackers with black sesame seeds) (500 JPY) from Jukei-Hanten Daiichi Baiten at Yokohama Chinatown. Having a rare salty taste in the sea of sweet Chinese snacks – such as those that have Chinese red bean paste – it is a senbei (rice cracker) that is like a snack. It comes in bite-sized pieces, and you will surely be hooked onto its crunchy texture. This is a simple product that is made by frying dough in rapeseed oil until it is crunchy and aromatic. Black sesame seeds are kneaded into wheat flour to create the dough. This is a refresh of Jukei-Hanten’s old-fashioned Kurogoma Senbei. Sales were resumed from 2016.

■ Jukei-Hanten Daiichi Baiten at Yokohama Chinatown
Phone: 045-641-6874
Hours: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
(Fridays, Saturdays) 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
(Sundays, Public Holidays) 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Closed: None

3) Hit Dairy Product that Gets Sold Out by Night (Hokkaido)

Takahashi Dairy Farm Niseko Nomu Yogurt 500 from HUG Mart
HUG Mart is a supermarket that sources its ingredients directly from around 100 contract farmers in Hokkaido. While there are many vegetables and fruits sold here, there is a souvenir that is worth a look amid all the produce – the Takahashi Dairy Farm Niseko Nomu Yogurt (Drinkable Yogurt by Takahashi Dairy Farm) (500ml, priced at 400 JPY per piece). This yogurt won a gold medal at the Gotochi Yogurt Grand Prix (Local Yogurt Grand Prix) that was held at FOODEX JAPAN 2014. It is so famous that they virtually fly off the racks by dusk! This yogurt is made by Takahashi Dairy Farm in Niseko Town. It was apparently created when the farm decided to make processed milk products to let people taste the delicious milk that comes from their high-quality feed. This safe, drinkable yogurt does not use any flavorings, acidifiers, or stabilizers.

■HUG Mart
Phone: 011-242-8989
Hours: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Closed: None

4) Sweet and Salty! Miso Roll Cake (Nagoya)

Nagoya Roll from Café Gentiane
Café Gentiane is marked by a red signboard and can be found by the central ticket gate of JR Nagoya Station. It is an incredibly famous spot for souvenirs. All the cakes are carefully created by its female pastry chef. The Nagoya Roll (1,029 JPY for a whole roll, 463 JPY per slice) is a Japanese-style roll cake that is made by fusing hatcho miso (a kind of dark miso) with fresh cream, sprinkling black soybeans onto the mixture, and then wrapping it in caramel-flavored dough. It has a refined sweetness that comes from the combination of miso and fresh cream, making it the perfect accompaniment to coffee, as well as Japanese tea. The moment you take a bite, your mouth will be filled with sweetness and saltiness at the same time. You can buy just a slice, or one whole roll cake!

■ Café Gentiane
Phone: 052-533-6001
Hours: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM (last order at 9:30 PM)
Closed: None
Seating capacity: 40 seats
※Separate areas for smokers and non-smokers

5) A Japanese Sweet that Highlights the Sensibility of a Graphic Designer (Kyoto)

Ochobo from UCHU wagashi
UCHU wagashi was opened in 2010 under the concept of “bringing excitement and happiness to people through Japanese sweets” by its owner, who hails from Kyoto. This is a new spot that focuses on the playful Japanese sweet, rakugan (a dry confection made by pressing starch and sugar). The Ochobo (1,080 JPY for 20 pieces) was born from the desire to go around temples, shrines, and other famous Kyoto spots while eating Japanese sweets. Matcha, hojicha (roasted green tea), and jasmine leaves are finely ground, and then mixed with wasanbon (refined Japanese sugar) to give flavor to the mixture. The main appeal of this confectionery is how they use the ingredients as they are. In order to prevent the tea leaves from losing flavor or causing damage to the sweets, they carefully hand wrap each piece in soft washi (Japanese paper).

■UCHU wagashi
Phone: 075-754-8538
Hours: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Closed: Mondays (shop will be open if Monday is a public holiday, and will close the following Tuesday)

6) Manju with Yamecha’s Gyokuro Tea Leaf Paste (Fukuoka)

Hakata Gyokuro Manju from Meigetsudo Hakata Station MING No. 1 Shop
Meigetsudo is famous for sweets named after Fukuoka and Hakata, such as the Hakata Jiman, Hakozaki Poppo, and Nishinakasu Kihinkan Romance. However, the product that has the most impactful appearance is the Hakata Gyokuro Manju (steamed yeast bun with tea leaf paste filling) (1,080 JPY for 6 pieces, up to 3,240 JPY for 18 pieces). Yamecha is a specialty tea of Fukuoka that has a rich distinctive sweetness and less bitterness. This is a luxurious dessert that is made by pounding fresh gyokuro (high-quality green tea) leaves into a paste, and then generously mixing it with bean paste to create the manju’s filling. This is made even more delicious by adding fresh cream to expand upon the deep sweetness of the gyokuro tea. Finally, it is wrapped in matcha dough to create a perfect balance in flavors. Take a bite and your mouth will be flooded with the refreshing flavor of tea and the light sweetness of the paste filling that has fresh cream! This confectionery goes great with green tea, black tea, and coffee.

■ Meigetsudo Hakata Station MING No. 1 Shop
Phone: 092-441-6445
Hours: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Closed: None (according to the schedule of Hakata Station MING)

If you want to surprise someone by giving them an extraordinary souvenir, then the items showcased in this souvenir will prove useful. They not only taste great, but they also look unique! Giving any of these away might just capture the heart of the recipient. If you’re planning to travel to places where these items are sold, check them out!

[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 10.11.2017]