Sunday, 31 December 2017

Your Booking Choices for New Year’s Eve at the Continent Hotel, Bangkok.


Visitors to the Mid North Coast will soon be able to catch a direct flight to Taree from Sydney, with a new service operated by FlyPelican announced this week.

The news comes off the back of Regional Express announcing last week its intention to cease operating out of Taree from Saturday, 27 January 2018. The new service removes the need to land in Newcastle and will reduce travel time on the Taree route.

FlyPelican Chief Executive Officer Paul Graham said, “FlyPelican will commence double daily return flights between Taree and Sydney from Monday, 29 January 2018. We will be pulling out all the stops to mount an operation at the end of January to provide the community with a seamless option to fly to and from Taree with optimum flight times in the morning and evening to support both the business and the leisure markets.”

“The Jetstream 32 aircraft seats 19 passengers in comfort and style, with a direct flight time of just one hour between Taree and Sydney, which in comparison to a four-hour long drive is just so convenient. There is also potential and capacity to increase the frequency of flights to bring passenger numbers back to where they were.”

Fares start from $119 one-way and are on sale now.

For more information, and for the schedule of FlyPelican flights operating from Taree Regional Airport, visit

Ring in the New Year

It's almost time to welcome in the New Year. The weather for January is shaping up to be perfect, with sandy beaches, great shopping and lots to do, especially for families. Australia Zoo entertains with a Summer Down Under Program for the holidays, and at nearby Kawana Surf Club, the kids will be excited to see 'Moana' on the big screen, a free movie under the stars January 19.

Our guests love the Ginger Flower and Food Festival every year. It's three spectacular days of food, flowers and entertainment January 19-21, there's gardening experts, live music, market stalls and more.

Book in early for Australia Day, enjoy the beach, a hit of cricket, lash out on some seafood, or take the family to Aussie World & The Ettamogah, Sealife Mooloolaba or Australia Zoo.It's not too early to book ahead for Valentine's Day.

If you are planning some beach time, contact us today. For your next getaway book online, email us or call 07 5444 0077 while apartments are still available. Don't forget to check us out on Facebook.

Save $50 per night - minimum 5 night booking
Save $35 per night - minimum 3 night booking
for stays until 28 February
* (Phone bookings only and subject to availability)

07 5444 0077

Whats On

Sparkle, glamour and thrills abound at the International spectacular Circus Rio on until January 13. It's a celebration of colour, magic and marvelling at just what the human form is capable of! See aerialists dangle from the ceiling, acrobats flip over your seats, ballet dancers gliding to brazilian rhythms, there's amazing costumes, a fiery motorbike show and afternoon and evening sessions for the whole family.

The Shed Aussie World hosts The official Blues Brothers Review January 5, there's laser lights, DJ's, rides and entertainment for the kids atRide the Night January 6, and extraordinary musicians Richie Sambora, James Reyne, Angry Andersen and Sunny boys entertain later in the month.

Make your Australia Day weekend sizzle at The Wharf Mooloolaba. They are holding the MoolaBaBQ Festival January 27 at the Wharf Precinct from 10am to 8pm.

It will incorporate a variety of cultures, styles of cooking flavours and cuts.

Turtle Hatchlings - Happy volunteers join together February 3 for a free bbq and beach clean up. They clear the beaches of small bits of plastic and other debris to help make the journey for the baby turtles less hazardous as they emerge from their nests.

It's a lovely way to give mother nature a hand. The bbq is free and there's a prize draw as well.

We look forward to seeing you.
Cas and Bear,
Resident Managers

Raffles Mooloolaba

65-69 First Avenue, Mooloolaba, Qld 4557
Phone : 07 5444 0077
Fax : 07 5444 3708


Niseko has most snowfall in five years

Niseko-based Alister Buckingham and’s Snow Reporter Rod White are both quite enthralled by the amount (and quality) of snowfalls that give this part of Hokkadio its reputation as a mecca for powder skiing and boarding.

Buckingam said:”It is definitely well ahead of the average. We’ve had more snowfall so far than we did until the start of February last year. We’ve officially had the most snowfall for this point in the season in the last five years.

“Just over the next few days were predicted to get a minimum of 50cm’s, and 77cm’s by the end of the week, which are very conservative figures. I honestly think we’ll smash through the 2014/15 season for December snowfall and head towards the record books. Only time will tell!”

Rod White said in his daily report this morning (that’s posted on’s website daily) “We haven't seen these type of big number back to back snowfalls in many years. 850cm of snow to date accumulation at mid to upper-mountain and 740cm at Hirafu base.

“Another 29-33cm of new from base to top for the 24hr period to 7 am where waist -to -chest deep bone dry Niseko Magic yesterday was the status in mid to upper mountain gullies and off groomed terrain This is as good as it gets folks.

“Upper lifts opened yesterday yet massive loading in our gated back and side country terrain still had patrol highly concerned. Fingers crossed today will see the gates open to the bliss that awaits.

“If so, equip yourself adequately with the tools and safety gear. Strong caution advised whenever stepping outside legal gate access or skinning backcountry. Extra-ordinary conditions like this can result in similar issues - Be smart - Living is good

“The outlook has periods of sunshine for today and tomorrow Sunday NYE. A handy and necessary opportunity to re-group, clear roofs of chronic amounts of snow and prepare for the next wave of fronts that the synoptic charts via the JMA have issued.”

Sway, smile and swoon your way through our delicious new production of The Merry Widow

It’s an opulent party, all glitz and glamour and Parisian charm. It’s an old-fashioned romance, flirty and funny and fabulous. It’s a Viennese waltz and you know all the steps.

The Merry Widow is a “shimmering all-singing, all dancing Broadway style show” (The Sydney Morning Herald), a frothy comedy packed with familiar waltzes and tuneful melodies.

From the sumptuous Art Deco era costumes to the stunning, geometric sets, the show is “visually stunning … sometimes you simply don’t know where to look” (The Sydney Morning Herald).

The vivacious Danielle de Niese plays the bubbly, beautiful Hanna: newly wealthy, newly widowed, and suddenly the hottest catch in town.

Graeme Murphy brings his signature brand of lively choreography and deft direction to the dance-packed score.

Let's waltz, let's sway the night away.
It's time for a little romance.
There's a fortune at stake — which match will she make?
She'll lead you a merry old dance.

Learn to waltz

Before you sway and swoon your way through The Merry Widow, you're invited to learn to waltz with our award-winning dance coach, Jason Duff. Join us on the balcony adjacent to the Southern Foyer 30 minutes before the performance begins. Regardless of your dancing ability, our lessons are sure to get you in the toe-tapping mood before the show.

Enjoy dinner before the opera at Sydney Opera House

Allow us to make your dinner reservation for you: 6pm at Maxim's de Paris in the Northern Foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre. You'll be served a themed three-course menu for just $69, including a Kir Royale on arrival. View the menu.

Simply add dinner to your cart after selecting tickets.

CONDUCTOR Vanessa Scammell
SET DESIGNER Michael Scott-Mitchell

HANNA GLAVARI Danielle de Niese (evenings) Julie Lea Goodwin(Saturday matinées)
VALENCIENNE Stacey Alleaume
NJEGUS Benjamin Rasheed
ALEXIS KROMOV Richard Anderson
SYLVIANE Jane Ede (except 5 Jan) Celeste Lazarenko (5 Jan)
OLGA KROMOV Agnes Sarkis
PRASKOVIA Dominica Matthews


Delicious Lobster is on the Menu at Elements

Niseko-based Alister Buckingham and’s Snow Reporter Rod White are both quite enthralled by the amount (and quality) of snowfalls that give this part of Hokkadio its reputation as a mecca for powder skiing and boarding.

Buckingam said:”It is definitely well ahead of the average. We’ve had more snowfall so far than we did until the start of February last year. We’ve officially had the most snowfall for this point in the season in the last five years.

“Just over the next few days were predicted to get a minimum of 50cm’s, and 77cm’s by the end of the week, which are very conservative figures. I honestly think we’ll smash through the 2014/15 season for December snowfall and head towards the record books. Only time will tell!”

Rod White said in his daily report this morning (that’s posted on’s website daily) “We haven't seen these type of big number back to back snowfalls in many years. 850cm of snow to date accumulation at mid to upper-mountain and 740cm at Hirafu base.

“Another 29-33cm of new from base to top for the 24hr period to 7 am where waist -to -chest deep bone dry Niseko Magic yesterday was the status in mid to upper mountain gullies and off groomed terrain This is as good as it gets folks.

“Upper lifts opened yesterday yet massive loading in our gated back and side country terrain still had patrol highly concerned. Fingers crossed today will see the gates open to the bliss that awaits.

“If so, equip yourself adequately with the tools and safety gear. Strong caution advised whenever stepping outside legal gate access or skinning backcountry. Extra-ordinary conditions like this can result in similar issues - Be smart - Living is good

“The outlook has periods of sunshine for today and tomorrow Sunday NYE. A handy and necessary opportunity to re-group, clear roofs of chronic amounts of snow and prepare for the next wave of fronts that the synoptic charts via the JMA have issued.”

New Years Eve in Bowral

Not sure what to do on New Year's Eve?

The Gibraltar Hotel Bowral provide the perfect one stop destination with three fabulous options:

New Year's Eve Party

$49 per person - 9pm till late
Featuring Louise Bruce and her Big Band

NYE 5 Course Degustation Dinner

$179 per person - 6pm to 9pm which includes entry into the NYE Party

NYE Sleepover Package

$890 per couple 2 nights in a Deluxe Suite, includes the dinner and party

Gibraltar Hotel Bowral

Boronia Street & Centennial Rd, Bowral NSW 2576
Phone 02 4862 8600

Shiga is the perfect place to spend the New Year in Japan!

Shiga is the perfect place to spend the New Year in Japan! Check out these temples!

The first big event for the New Year in Japan is the hatsumode first visit to the shrine.
Rather than waiting for the ball to drop at home, how about trying things in the Japanese style?

In which case...
Here are the very best shrines in Shiga to experience this Japanese custom!

1. Taga Taisha Shrine

Number of Visitors: Approx. 340,000
Paying your respects here is said to bring you long life, avoid disasters, and bring you luck in love!
The gods enshrined here, Izanagi and Izanami, are the divine brother and sister who are said to have created the goddess Amaterasu, the islands of Japan, and the other gods.
A spot also remains here with strong connections to feudal warlord Hideyoshi Toyotomi, who often visited Taga Taisha Shrine.

2. Omi Jingu Shrine

Number of Visitors: Approx. 150,000
Next on our list of introductions is Omi Jingu Shrine, also famous for the "Karuta Festival"!
The shrine is dedicated to Emperor Tenji, famous for the Taika Reforms. He is now revered for his connections to time, better fortunes, and industry, culture and academic learning.

3. Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine

Number of Visitors: Approx. 100,000
Last but not least, we come to Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine, the head shrine of approximately 3,800 Sanno shrines throughout Japan.
As one of spiritual gates supposedly used by demons to enter the old city of Kyoto, the god here is devoted to avoiding disasters. Other benefits of paying a visit include luck in love, safety for your household, and success in business.

Newcastle Shuttle Services

Newcastle shuttle services is a new company that plans to expand with the region with particular focus on providing a much needed service for Port Stephens residents, guests and holiday makers in and out of Newcastle Airport or just into town rather than waiting for scheduled bus time tables or possible unreliable Taxi bookings.

Another major focus is the demand for an easy stress free M1 shuttle to Sydney’s International and Domestic Airports including Circular Key and White Bay Cruise Terminals using our brand new 8 seater for private or large family transfers in absolute comfort with plenty of space, tunes, water and mints at your disposal whilst on route.
There are endless tailor made services we can provide, just come up with an idea and we will accommodate you. For example-

• 8 hour round trip to Dungog / Gloucester
• 4 hour sight-seeing round trip around Port Stephens
• 8 hour pub / bistro lunch round trip to Scone scenic route
• 4 hour round trip to Hawks Nest & Tea Gardens
• 8 hour round trip shopping in town with all the girls

We are fully insured, licenced, professional, friendly with a 100% clean driving record.

Why not ask Hank for a no obligation free quote for either a Sydney Shuttle, Group Hunter Valley Tours or even just Newcastle / Port Stephens Transfers for family & friends. (No individual cost for the above services, however watch this space in coming months as our business develops, we’ll be acquiring or leasing additional drivers / mini buses for standard Newcastle Airport shuttles should the demand be warranted)

We strive to provide you with a friendly, professional service at reasonable rates for all our passengers and guests. For more information go to our website

Free travel guide - Old Town Central

Sign-up for Discover Hong Kong eNews to get a free travel guide of Old Town Central, which leads you through one of the oldest neighbourhoods at the heart of Hong Kong.


UK walking holiday specialists HF Holidays and active holiday specialists, Outdoor Travel based in Bright, Victoria have jointly released a new 50-page e-brochure.

Available now & for the first time in Australia the e-brochure features hundreds of walking holidays based at the 18 different prestigious country house properties owned by HF Holidays in the UK.

Holidays include accommodation at some of the most popular walking holiday locations and National Parks in the UK:

Cornwall * Cotswolds * Derbyshire Dales * Dorset Coast * Exmoor * Isle of Wight * Lake District * Norfolk * Northumberland * North York Moors * Shropshire Hills * South Downs * Yorkshire Dales * Scotland * Wales

Tours range from 3 to 7-nights & are fully inclusive of meals, accommodation with ensuite bathrooms, comfortable ‘walkers’ public areas & lounges, drying rooms, evening activities, local transport & a choice of guided or self-guided walking each day.

There are different grades of walk on offer to suit every ability & non-walking or themed options for partners looking for something more relaxing.

Prices for a 4-day / 3-night walking holiday at lakeside Derwentwater in the English Lake District start from $623 per person twin share.

A week walking in the Cotswolds, based in the picturesque English village of Bourton-on-the-Water or in Snowdonia in Wales costs from $1337. $1481 in the Scottish Highlands based at Glencoe.

Download the brochure here:

Outdoor Travel specialises in active holidays such as walking, cycling, boating or sailing in many destinations around the world including England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland.

With over 25-years of experience this partnership gives Outdoor Travel & supporting travel agents access to the largest ranges of UK walking holidays available in Australia.

Full list of the Outdoor Travel tours for the UK & Europe on this link:

Reservation can be made by email at or call toll free 1800 331 582

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Hong Kong Hosts Ever-Astounding Musical Fireworks to Welcome 2018

  • Award-winning European Fireworks and Australian Performances to Heat up the Harbourfront

Organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and title-sponsored by the China National Travel Service Group Corporation (CTS), the CTS Hong Kong New Year Countdown Celebrations 2018 will be held on New Year’s Eve (31 December).

The Countdown Celebrations will be a finale to a series of events that HKTB organised to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

Two key highlights of this year’s Countdown Celebrations include a musical fireworks display over the Victoria Harbour, and performing arts that take place at the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier.

Presented in an unprecedented scale, the 10-minute pyrotechnic extravaganza will feature a rainbow of pyrotechnics and fireworks cascading from various heights around the Victoria Harbour.

Furthermore, fireworks of an award-winning European fireworks maker will be used for the first time to create a breathtaking visual effect, in which Hong Kong’s skyline will be illuminated by “Magical Star Dusts” to signify blessings to the city.

An Australian performing arts group “Strange Fruit” will bring revelling performances that incorporate elements from theatrical, choreographical and circus entertainments to locals and visitors.

 HKTB Chairman Dr Peter Lam said, “Over the years, Hong Kong’s New Year Countdown Celebrations have become one of the most anticipated countdown events across Asia and received impressive coverage from media worldwide.

This year, the Musical Fireworks event will be expanded in scale, exhibiting more gradation and complexity.

New effects and patterns will also be displayed with the involvement of an award-winning fireworks maker. We are also pleased to bring to the event the Australian performing arts group “Strange Fruit” for the first time and their performance for the event will be a global debut.”

The Historic Amusu Theatre and Movie Museum

Step back in time and take a tour of The Historic Amusu Theatre and Movie Museum in Manildra, 55km East of Parkes, during #parkeselvis. Open all Elvis week 11am - 3pm at Derowie Street, Manildra. Entry $5 per person.

The art deco theatre in Manildra near Orange, Central West NSW, is a rare purpose-built theatre that has been operated by the same family since it was built in 1936. Movie Theatre expert, Professor Ross Thorne, has described it as "a living icon of the importance of film and cinema in the course and pattern of NSW's cultural history".

There are only a handful of early theatres remaining in NSW and the AMUSU is an extremely rare example of one that has operated continuously. Few, if any, cinemas possess the memorabilia and moveable heritage that is found at the AMUSU. Heritage advisor for the Cabonne area, Sue Jackson, describes the collection as a "rare treasure".

She continues - "After WW1 Allan Tom bought his first truck and bought a silent projector. When talkies came in, he adapted the arc-lamp projector sound. That projector is still there. Everything he bought or adapted is still there. It is an amazing record of the development of cinematography through the 20th century".

The theatre in Manildra is now operated by a dedicated committee, including Allan Tom's daughter Lyn. It still screens all the latest release films every third Saturday night of the month at 7.30pm. including a free supper after the movie and is available to coaches, social clubs, sporting clubs, schools etc."

Special screenings for fundraisers, social outings etc. can be booked any time of the year by prior arrangement. Group bookings and concessions are available. The theatre is accessible to the disabled and is heated in the winter months.

The AMUSU Theatre still boasts the original carbon projectors, original seating including the "love seat", original flooring and curtains. Original old movie posters of yesteryear decorate the walls.

Manildra is a scenic 3.5 hr drive from Sydney over the Blue Mountains. A short 30 minute drive from Orange or Parkes.

National Treasure Matsumoto Castle Ice Sculpture Festival

This year marks the 32nd staging of the National Treasure Matsumoto Castle Ice Sculpture Festival. 

Plans were in place to draw the curtain on this national ice sculpture contest after last year's event, but thanks to an outpouring of support, we have decided to continue. 

This year's ice carving contest features a championship, bringing together top-level talent from around the country. 

We also introduce a pre-event for the next generation of young participants.

37th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2018

The Tourism and Sports Ministry will host the 37th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2018 in Chiang Mai during 22-26 January. 

The theme for ATF is, ASEAN – Sustainable Connectivity, Boundless Prosperity.The annual forum is hosted on a rotational basis by the 10-member ASEAN countries. 

High-level events include meetings of ASEAN Tourism Ministers, ASEAN national tourist organizations, and airlines. 

There are also media briefings, a tourism conference, and Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) trade fair.

First Sword-Forging Ceremony of the Year in Seki City

Watch the first sword-forging ceremony of the year, where the “toshou” master swordsmiths dawn their white robes and show their mastery of the craft. After the forging ceremony you can wander into the Seki Traditional Swordsmith Museum and learn about the history of blade forging⚔ in Japan.


When - January 2nd, 10:00am-11:30am
Where - Seki Traditional Swordsmith Museum.  A five-minute walk from Nagaragawa Railway’s Hamono Kaikan-mae Station

Notes - Arrive early for a “fukubukuro” gift bag ticket, which you can exchange later for a fukubukuro gift bag containing random Seki products (if you are lucky you could get a pocket knife or kitchen knife). The museum will be free of charge for the day in commemoration for the ceremony.

For more information read the Go Gifu blog post about last year’s ceremony:…/katana-sword-forging-in-seki/

#swordsmith #blacksmith #japanesesword #ceremony #newyears #tradition #seki#gifu #gogifu #japan


Weerasak: Villages will receive ministry help

Weerasak Kowsurat, the newly appointed tourism and sports minister, has mapped out new focus areas for tourism aimed at expanding tourism and revenue into local communities.

“One of the very first jobs I will do is extend tourism from major tourist cities into local communities in order to generate income for people in villages,” said Mr Weerasak, who is serving in the post for a second time.

He said the government will use tourism to power local economies because the tourism sector involves a lot of people, making it ideal for locals to benefit from tourism.

By increasing tourism income in local areas, the ministry will continue to promote secondary and third-tier destinations across the country to attract visitors in order to improve local people’s quality of life.

This year, Thailand is expected to welcome 34-35 million international visitors. China will be the source of the most, with an estimated 10 million visitors, while 190 million domestic tourists are forecast.

Total revenue from international and domestic is predicted at 2.7 trillion baht or nearly 20% of country’s GDP. Mr Weerasak said he will work on the existing Tourism Clinic, established years ago, to help improve damaged attractions or build more magnets to draw visitors.

“Tourism experts will be assigned to help local people develop unique products and resolve damaged tourism places,” he said. “These will be key tools for sustainable growth.”

Before his reappointment as tourism and sports minister, Mr Weerasak was active in tourism and related businesses, including as chairman of the Designed Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration, chairman of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, chairman of Tourism Authority of Thailand and chairman of Sports Authority of Thailand.

Gordon Aeria, general manager of Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, said Mr Weerasak has been working in the tourism industry for years and his expertise will help strengthen the sector.

Read full article at Bangkok Post:


The International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) this week celebrated its first anniversary, marking one year since the venue officially opened to the public.

NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Victor Dominello said, “ICC Sydney is not just an iconic destination that our beautiful, international city requires, it is also a flagship of the NSW Government to deliver world class events to our great city. The ICC Sydney team have done an outstanding job in delivering a high number of first class events in such a short period of time.”

Since opening in December 2016, ICC Sydney has delivered 700 events, grown its team to 1,700 employees and welcomed 1.25 million delegates and visitors.

ICC Sydney Chief Executive Officer Geoff Donaghy said, “With 1,200 events secured until 2026, including the likes of major national and international symposiums such as Sibos 2018 in October, the 2018 World Congress of Accountants in November, COSPAR 2020 - dubbed the space Olympics - and the 18th World Congress on Medical and Health Informatics (MedInfo 2021), the future for Sydney is looking bright."

Friday, 29 December 2017


Under Decision 1861/QĐ-TTg, the VND30 trillion (US$1.32 billion) program will focus on building and upgrading tourism and transport infrastructure at provinces with key tourist destinations listed in the “Strategy on Vietnam’s tourism development until 2020, vision to 2030” approved by the Government.

The program will give priority to poor provinces, whose budget cannot afford the investment.

The program will also strive to have the infrastructure of three to five national tourist areas to be perfected by 2020, contributing to creating favorable conditions for tourists as well as attracting domestic and foreign investment.

Under the “Strategy on Vietnam’s tourism development until 2020, vision to 2030”, Vietnam will develop tourism to be a key economic industry with high professionalism, modern and fairly synchronously-developed tourist infrastructure; high quality, competitive and diversified tourist products imprinted with unique traditional cultural characteristics.

Specifically, by 2020, Vietnam tourism sets the targets to receive 10-10.5 million international arrivals and 47-48 million domestic tourists, with total revenue of US$18-19 billion accounting for 6.5-7 percent of GDP; have 580,000 rooms including 35-40 percent of 3-5 stars; create 3 million jobs including 870,000 direct labors.

By 2030, total tourism revenue is expected to double that of 2020 to US$36-38 billion.

To meet the targets, the strategy also mentions to the development of infrastructure and technical facilities for tourism.

According to the strategy, the planning and investment in infrastructure development will include transport, information and communications, energy, water supply and drainage, environment and related fields to ensure a uniform system for tourism development; modernizing the public transport network; planning public spaces;

It will also upgrade and develop social infrastructure of culture, health, and education, especially museums, theaters, clinics, training and educational establishments, with sufficient conveniences and facilities for tourists;

The strategy emphasizes on the need of developing the technical infrastructure system that ensures quality, modern, convenient and uniform tourism services and facilities, to meet the needs of tourists. Such a system includes tourist attractions, accommodations, restaurants, information service, travel advice, booking and reservation service, travel agents, tour operators, tour guides, vehicles and transport service establishments for tourists, service facilities for sightseeing, leisure, entertainment, sports, conference and other purposes.

Under the strategy, the State will offer preferential policies to support investments in tourism infrastructure, human resource training, tourism promotion and brand development; link and mobilize resources for capacity building and quality improvement of tourism service providers, forming tourism centers of regional and international standards.

The investment priority lies in the development of national tourism centers, attractions, and urban areas, as well as tourism routes and destinations in remote areas or regions of socio-economic difficulties which have potential to develop tourism;

The Government will implement sustainable development policies and design preferential policies for the development of eco-tourism, green tourism, community tourism, and responsible tourism.

Read full article at VietNameNet:


Child cycling at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo.
Credit: Zoe Marsh
Out & About with Kids’ magazine has announced its 2017 Best of Family Travel Awards, and NSW is a big winner.

Dubbo has taken out the top gong for Best Regional Holiday Destination and the Vivid Sydney Festival and Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks both tied for Best Family Event. Sydney was voted the Best City in Australia and Thredbo in the NSW Snowy Mountains was voted the Best Family Ski Resort in Australia.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said the accolades show that NSW is a firm favourite for families.

“NSW is full of wonderful experiences for families to discover and enjoy together, whether visitors are after a beach, bush, snow, city or Outback experience – we have it all – together with an amazing calendar of family friendly events,” Ms Chipchase said.

Comprising 20 categories, the 2017 Best of Family Travel Awards were voted for by more than 40,000 readers across Out & About with Kids’ print and online audience, including digital subscribers and Facebook friends and followers.

Thursday, 28 December 2017


The Permanent Secretary for Tourism and Sports, Pongpanu Svetarundra, said arrivals to Thailand generated tourism revenue of more than 2.1 trillion baht during the first 10 months of 2017.

Mr Pongpanu said international tourist arrivals stood at over two million in October, up 20.92 percent from a year ago.

Last month, most foreign tourist arrivals were from East Asia, followed by visitors from Europe, South Asia, and North and South Americas respectively.

The Chinese remained the largest group, followed by the Malaysians and the Laotians, while the largest spenders were the Chinese, Russians and Malaysians, respectively.

From January to September this year, local tourists generated revenue of 695.2 billion baht, up 7.34 percent from the same period of 2016.

The expected rise results from an improved outlook for global tourism as well as Thailand’s investment in infrastructure, Deputy Prime Minister Thanasak Patimaprakorn told reporters.

Read full article at Thailand Business News:


Taronga Zoo Sydney has welcomed the birth of an endangered species - a male Australian sea-lion pup named Moby, who has made his debut splash at Taronga’s Seal Cove.

Moby was born in October to mother Lexie and father Charlie, and has gradually built his swimming confidence, graduating to a larger pool where visitors can now watch him diving and playing.

The sea-lion pup joins a host of baby animals born at Taronga Zoo Sydney this year. Visitors can see Mwamba the baby western lowland gorilla, spot a new tiny baby chimp carried by mother Ceres, keep a lookout for a koala joey and watch the cute Asian elephant calf Jai Dee splash and play in the pools of the elephant paddock.

Also new to Taronga this year is the immersive Tiger Trek experience, featuring four Sumatran big cats, which is free with zoo entry.

Taronga Zoo Sydney is open every day of the year, New Year’s Day.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017


A grandstand finish is looming as the two leading contenders for line honours in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race do battle off the east coast of Tasmania.

And, the signs are that the yacht that leads the fleet of 102 to the finish line on the Derwent River might lop an amazing four hours or more off the current record time.

The mark of 1 day, 13 hours 31 minutes for the 628 nautical mile course was set last year by Perpetual Loyal, which is racing this year as Infotrack under the ownership of Christian Beck.

It is suggested that the first yacht could arrive as early as 8pm tonight. But that time will only be seen if the current strong north east to easterly wind prevails over the final 44 nautical miles across Storm Bay and up the Derwent to Hobart.

This morning the crew of Jim Cooney’s race leader, the supermaxi Comanche, saw their advantage over eight-time line honours winner, Wild Oats XI, whittled away to little more than 10 nautical miles. Both yachts had exited Bass Strait and were charging down the east coast of Tasmania at around 25 knots.

Wild Oats XI had managed to close the gap despite ripping the top out of the headsail most suited to the existing conditions. Skipper Mark Richards reported that the yacht had sailed “bare-headed” – mainsail only – for some time while the remnants of the damaged sail were recovered and a new sail set.

Late this morning there were signs that the wind on the race course might be turning against Comanche. The direction of the wind appeared to switching more to the east. If so, this would cause Comanche to adopt a course away from the coast while Wild Oats XI could sail a more direct passage towards Tasman Island, at the entrance to Storm Bay.

All positions and information relating to the race, including the yacht tracker, can be found at


Food has become a draw for travellers to Thailand.
Globetrotting gourmands have named Bangkok and Taipei the top destinations for street food, and cities like Rome, Dubai, Paris, and Sao Paulo the top spots for fine dining in a new global survey which found that food will play a bigger role in our 2018 travel plans than before.

According to the results of a survey, which polled more than 18,500 respondents from 26 countries, 41 per cent of travellers said they plan to seek out new food and drink experiences during their travels in 2018.

That compares to 29 per cent in 2017.

The biggest food priority? More than two-thirds (64 per cent) said they’ll be seeking out the flavours of a destination’s local cuisine in 2018.

Likewise, 22 per cent of travellers said their travel choices next year will be based on the destination’s food offerings alone, while a quarter of respondents agreed that they actively avoid destinations with poor dining options, or “foodie scenes.”

The definition of eating well, however, differs among travellers.

Half of the respondents said their food priority in 2018 will be to visit street markets and eat like the locals. The top choices for street food? The Thai capital of Bangkok, along with Taipei, Hanoi, Istanbul and George Town, Malaysia.

For one in five respondents, however, their definition of eating well is to sit down in a Michelin-starred restaurant. The top destinations endorsed for being fine dining hotspots include Rome, Dubai, Paris, Sao Paulo and London.

Read full article at themalaymailonline:


World-class surfing will return to Manly Beach this summer, with Member for Manly James Griffin announcing that a brand new event, the Vissla Sydney Pro, will debut in February 2018.

The event, which will combine a men’s and women’s World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 6,000 with a WSL Pro Junior event, was secured by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

“I’m proud to welcome the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro event to Manly, it will be a fantastic event and I’m delighted that our community will continue to enjoy pro surfing,” Mr Griffin said.

“Importantly, not only will the event bring the best international surfers to Manly, but our local junior talent will have an opportunity to shine. I look forward to working with the WSL, Surfing NSW, Destination NSW and Northern Beaches Council to ensure we develop a sustainable event.”

The Vissla Sydney Pro will be held at Manly Beach from 24 February – 4 March, 2018.

For more information click here.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017


The final countdown to the Parkes Elvis Festival is on, with less than one month to go until fans groove into town, with this year’s festival theme celebrating the King’s legendary 1968 comeback.

Beginning as a small gathering of fans in 1993, the Parkes Elvis Festival has grown to become one of the world’s largest Elvis Presley tribute events.

Taking place from 10 to 14 January, festival goers can expect a jam-packed program of non-stop entertainment, competitions and dancing, with highlights including multi-award winning UK Elvis tribute artist Ben Thompson showcasing the King’s greatest hits.

This year, visitors can choose from two special Elvis-themed train services to Parkes from Sydney.

In addition to the Elvis Express offered by NSW TrainLink, Lachlan Valley Rail will be operating the Blue Suede Express, with travel on the luxury heritage passenger train, the Blue Zephyr. With full bar service in air-conditioned cars and onboard entertainment, the $329 return journey from Sydney to Parkes promises to be an experience like no other.

Both services depart Sydney Central station on Thursday, 11 January, and return from Parkes on Monday, 15 January.

The 2018 Parkes Elvis Festival is supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, and is expected to attract more than 14,000 overnight visitors and generate around $10 million in overnight visitor expenditure for the NSW economy.

Wild Oats XI and supermaxi rivals set for a record run in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race

The four supermaxis racing for line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race, which starts today, are destined to enjoy a belated Christmas present – a sleigh ride to Hobart, and probably a race record time for the first yacht to finish.

Australia’s internationally recognised yachting meteorologist, Roger Badham, says that if the current outlook remains stable then the first yacht could reach the finish line, on Hobart’s Derwent River, in around one day, nine hours,more than four hours inside the record time set by Perpetual Loyal last year.

Ironically, when that amazing time was set, it was tipped by race experts to stand unbroken for many years to come. Perpetual Loyal averaged 16.7 knots over the distance.

But the forecast for this year’s race is even better than what was experienced last year. The supermaxis are destined to achieve speeds of up to 35 knots as they are sailed south, across Bass Strait and down the east coast of Tasmania. They will be driven all the way by a following north-north easterly wind gusting to more than 30 knots.

Mark Richards, skipper of the Oatley family’s famous supermaxi, Wild Oats XI, said that there could not be a better forecast for a race record.

“Right now it’s a given that the record will be broken. The only unknown is by how much,” Richards said.

Wild Oats XI has been first to finish in the Hobart Race on eight occasions and broken the race record twice.

Legendary American ocean racing navigator, Stan Honey, who will be aboard line honours favourite, LDV Comanche, said, on seeing the latest forecast, “If you had this forecast every year there would be 1000 yachts racing to Hobart.

Interestingly, the chance exists for a Wild Oats double in the year’s race. The Oatley family has also entered the 66-footer, Wild Oats X. The current forecast certainly gives that yacht a strong chance for winning on corrected time. It will be skippered by Troy Tindill and crewed by a highly experienced team of sailors.

The fleet for this year’s race stands at 103. The race will start on Sydney Harbour at 1pm AEDT. It will be telecast live on Channel 7 from 12.30pm AEDT.


A campaign to promote Organic Tourism across Thailand and the Greater Mekong Subregion has taken a major step forward with the convening of the first multi-sectoral workshop designed to brainstorm ideas and forge new partnerships to advance the cause.

The campaign is aimed at motivating hotels, restaurants, catering companies, supermarkets and other food outlets to wean farmers away from unhealthy and environmentally destructive pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. After taking root in Thailand, it is slated for expansion across Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Guangxi and Yunnan provinces of Southern China.

Over 40 participants including hoteliers, tour operators, academics, environmentalists, NGO and media representatives attended the Dec 12 workshop organised by Sampran Riverside and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), backed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Sustainable Food Lab Thailand, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Destination Mekong.

Held at the The Athenee Hotel Bangkok, the workshop was also designed as a brainstorming session for the first Mekong Trends Symposium on Organic Tourism to be held in Bangkok alongside the 4th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism between 30 May-1 June 2018.

In his opening presentation, TAT Governor Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn said Organic Tourism fitted in perfectly with the TAT’s marketing campaign to promote Gastronomy Tourism. It is also in accordance with His Majesty the late King Bhumibhol’s “Sufficiency Economy” philosophy and the 17-point global agenda known as the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

He noted that the Royal Thai Government is also promoting stronger linkages between its two bedrock economic pillars, agriculture and tourism, as part of its national 2017-2012 development strategy known as Thailand 4.0.

Mr. Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director, MTCO, said, “We are excited to introduce the Organic Tourism concept to the Mekong Subregion with Thailand as the lead country. Strong tourist growth is coupled with a shift of consumers looking for clean and healthy food. Thus, the industry has to adopt and prepare for sustainable living practices. Aligned to the GMS Tourism Sector Strategy 2016-2025, Organic Tourism can be an important social movement in that regard, combining the two most important economic sectors in the region.”

Mr. Arrut Navaraj, Managing Director, Sampran Riverside, said, “Organic Tourism is a social movement based on an inclusive business model and Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. Led by the private sector, the movement aims to build a more sustainable food system. It strives to empower everyone in the organic value chain to become collective leaders for change. Organic Tourism is far more than just tourists visiting organic farms. It involves hotels, restaurants, and supermarkets, buying organic produce from local farmers and communicating to their customers its importance and benefits. Farm visits can be considered as additional activities to help guests better understand the farming experience.”

Mr. Arrut said the movement in Thailand is being coordinated by Sustainable Food Lab (Thailand), a social enterprise which assumes the role as backbone organisation. Funding support is being extended by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, the Sookjai Foundation and the TAT. The intention is to extend the movement to other countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

Ms. Georginia Nepomuceno, Regional Cooperation Specialist under the ADB-administered GMS Core Agriculture Support Program (CASP) said, “Organic Tourism could be a powerful tool for sustainable development — improving farmer livelihoods, people’s health and the environment.”

She said the plan to expand the Organic Tourism agenda was formed at the sidelines of the Second GMS Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-2) in September 2017 in Siem Reap. Both the MTCO and Sampran Riverside were speakers at the AMM-2 policy forum.

“The AMM-2 endorsed the Strategy for Promoting Safe and Environment-Friendly Agro-based Value Chains in the GMS and Siem Reap Action Plan 2018-2022. It aims to strengthen commitment to food security and safety, increase market access for small producers, and promote cross-sectoral collaboration between agriculture, tourism, environment, health, among others.”

Over the next few months, a number of activities will be rolled out, starting with the 4th Sookjai Organic Festival at Sampran Riverside between 15-17 December 2017 and the 1st Organic Tourism Social Lab between 18-20 January 2018 followed by a second one in February 2018.

The campaign will also be publicised at various travel trade events such as the Mekong Tourism Forum in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand on June 27-29 and ITB Asia in October 2018.

The MTCO plans to publish a Mekong Trends Snapshot Report on Organic Tourism, with key insights from the meetings, as well as case studies. It is projected for release at the UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism.

For further information, please contact:

Sampran Riverside: Mr. Chorthip Kanoeythong, Phone: +66 (0)3432 2544
E-mail:, Web:

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO): Mr. Nattakorn Asunee Na Ayudhaya, Phone: +66 (0)80 989 5853, E-mail: Web:

Sustainable Food Lab (Thailand): Dr Udom Hongchatikul, Managing Director, E-mail:

*Press Release was contributed by Mr. Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor of Travel Impact Newswire.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Night Before Christmas in Aussie land

'Twas the night before Christmas; there wasn't a sound.
Not a possum was stirring; no-one was around. 
We'd left on the table some tucker and beer,
Hoping that Santa Claus soon would be here;
We children were snuggled up safe in our beds,
While dreams of pavlova danced 'round in our heads; 
And Mum in her nightie, and Dad in his shorts,
Had just settled down to watch TV sports.
When outside the house a mad ruckus arose;
Loud squeaking and banging woke us from our doze.
We ran to the screen door, peeked cautiously out,
snuck onto the deck, then let out a shout.
Guess what had woken us up from our snooze,
But a rusty old Ute pulled by eight mighty 'roos.
The cheerful man driving was giggling with glee,
And we both knew at once who this plump bloke must be.
Now, I'm telling the truth it's all dinki-di,
Those eight kangaroos fairly soared through the sky. 
Santa leaned out the window to pull at the reins,
And encouraged the 'roos, by calling their names.
'Now, Kylie! Now, Kirsty! Now, Shazza and Shane!
On Kipper! On, Skipper! On, Bazza and Wayne!
Park up on that water tank. Grab a quick drink,
I'll scoot down the gum tree. Be back in a wink!'
So up to the tank those eight kangaroos flew,
With the Ute full of toys, and Santa Claus too.
He slid down the gum tree and jumped to the ground,
Then in through the window he sprang with a bound.
He had bright sunburned cheeks and a milky white beard.
A jolly old joker was how he appeared.
He wore red stubby shorts and old thongs on his feet,
And a hat of deep crimson as shade from the heat.
His eyes - bright as opals - Oh! How they twinkled!
And, like a goanna, his skin was quite wrinkled!
His shirt was stretched over a round bulging belly
Which shook when he moved, like a plate full of jelly.
A fat stack of prezzies he flung from his back,
And he looked like a swaggie unfastening his pack.
He spoke not a word, but bent down on one knee,
To position our goodies beneath the yule tree.
Surfboard and footy-ball shapes for us two.
And for Dad, tongs to use on the new barbeque.
A mysterious package he left for our Mum,
Then he turned and he winked and he held up his thumb;

He strolled out on deck and his 'roos came on cue;
Flung his sack in the back and prepared to shoot through.
He bellowed out loud as they swooped past the gates-
MERRY CHRISTMAS to all, and goodonya, MATES!'

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Ride the Longest Outdoor Covered Escalator System in the World!

Experience something new on your Hong Kong trip and check out the longest outdoor escalator system in the world, located in the Central district!

This is a unique collection of escalators and walkways through Hong Kong's Central district on Hong Kong Island. The Mid-Levels Escalator is the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world!

The system, covers over 800-metres in distance, and elevates 135-metres through the streets of a steep hillside, providing a better commute by linking nearby hilly areas within Central District.

Officially opened on 15 October 1993, the system is not a single continuous escalator, rather a series of 20 escalators and 3 inclined moving walkways connected in places by footbridges.

Image source: Wikipedia

With 14 entrances and exits, it links Queen’s Road Central with Conduit Road, passing through narrow streets and carries more than 85,000 people on a daily basis.

To ride the complete length of the escalator system one-way takes about 20-25 minutes.

Click here to try a sample itinerary to walk around Central in Hong Kong, including a ride on the Mid-Levels-Escalator.

Or read this CNN article “See Hilly Hong Kong on Escalator that Sets Records” . Don’t forget to watch the video to experience it yourself before you ride the real thing next time in Hong Kong.


The final countdown to the Parkes Elvis Festival is on, with the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest and best tribute to the King grooving into Parkes from Wednesday 10 – Sunday 14 January 2018.

Expect a program full to the brim of non-stop entertainment, competitions, dancing and loads of black leather for this year’s festival theme ’68 Comeback Special, in celebration of 50 years since the King appeared on television in a special unplugged style performance that helped re-launch him back into the music industry.

Highlights include:
  • There’s no mystery that this year’s new train service, the Blue Suede Express, will join the Elvis Express train and make the journey into the festival an experience for the ages with colourful characters and plenty of on-board entertainment. (Thursday 11 January 2018).
  • The 2018 Feature Concert Series will feature for the first time in Australia, multi-award winning UK Elvis tribute artist Ben Thompson, showcasing the King’s greatest hits. (Thursday 11 January – Sunday 14 January 2018).
  • The 2018 Miss Priscilla Dinner will feature a special performance by Parkes 2016 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist winner Jack Gatto, and will see the crowning of the 2018 Miss Priscilla. (Thursday 11 January 2018).
  • Stay up late for the Midnight Show at Parkes Leagues Club. Tribute Artist Nic ‘the King’ Nicolas promises an action packed show with precision moves, amazing vocal ability and charisma, to ensure festival-goers are rockin’ round the clock ‘til the early morning. (Friday 12 January 2018).
  • Don’t miss all the action happening in 2018’s Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest! The heats will go down on the Friday with the top eight continuing to the finals. The winner will go on to represent Parkes in the semi-final round of the 2018 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist in Memphis during Elvis Week, August 2018. (Heats: Friday 12 January 2018 – Finals: Saturday 13 January 2018).
  • Join a panel of Elvis-experts including Elvis Tribute Artist Mark Andrew, esteemed musical journalist Glenn A. Baker and Louisiana native, Bernard Pearce for the Festivals inaugural Music Symposium: The Musical Landscape That Inspired a Young Elvis. (Saturday, 13 January 2018 at 4-5pm).
  • The Northparkes Mines Street Parade will host a parade full of Elvis-themed floats, Elvis and Priscilla look-a-likes, vintage and classic cars and motorbikes and marching bands, a highlight every year for the Parkes Elvis Festival (Saturday 13 January 2018).
  • Sunday in the park is jam packed with entertainment, with the Elvis Gospel Service a celebration of all gospel music beloved by the King first up, followed by a Renewal of Vows Ceremony where you’ll witness couples rekindle their love before an Elvis celebrant (Sunday 14 January 2018).

With a program that has something for everyone, the 2018 Parkes Elvis Festival is one internationally renowned phenomenon not to be missed.

For all programming and ticketing information, visit

The Parkes Elvis Festival is supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

EVENT NAME: Parkes Elvis Festival
DATES: 10-14 January 2018
THEME: The ’68 Comeback Special

Friday, 22 December 2017

Gumbuya World officially opened to the public just in time for Summer holiday fun!


Victoria’s newest theme park, Gumbuya World is open just in time for Summer holiday fun! Located in Melbourne’s South-East, phase one unveiled the highly anticipated Oasis Springs water park, Wildlife Trail and the Oz Adventure and Outback Explorer worlds, with further phases to open throughout 2018 and beyond.


Dive into Australia’s newest waterpark, OASIS SPRINGS. What’s your pace? Experiencing sheer drops and thrills on the TAIPAN and Boomerango, ride the waves at Surfs UP or just soak up the rays on the LAZY RIVER.


Enjoy Close encounters with furry friends on the WILDLIFE TRAIL. Explore the CRITTER CAVE, or have that perfect snap taken with our lovable KOALAS, DINGOES and other amazing animals. WANDER the beautiful bushland setting spending time with our 52 species of mostly Australian animals and don’t forget the Petting Zoo for all that is cute and cuddly.


Time to dry off and take a spin at OZ ADVENTURE. Hold on tight as you ride the MINING RACE COASTER, or buckle up as you are launched into the air on RUSH HOUR then strap in to be swung high and fast on the giant TREE SWING.


Let’s not forget the not so big ones. The OUTBACK EXPLORERS theme park will feature a host of rides including the Berry Twirl and the Outback Pirate Ship.

Acquired in September 2016, Gumbuya World is the vision of a group of Victorian entrepreneurs consisting of Gerry Ryan, Wal Pisciotta, Adam Campbell, Brett Murray, Ray and Ron Weinzierl to reimagine a place that they enjoyed with their families when they were younger and to leave a legacy for future generations.

Gumbuya World is committed to driving the growth of Melbourne’s South-East with the support of the Cardinia Shire Council and Government. The theme park will be a leading local and tourist destination and will continue to evolve through future phases to attract visitors to the South-East from Victoria, Australia and around the World.

Gumbuya World will see a significant rise in employment, with a focus on offering roles to residents in the South-East area and those left affected by the decline in the automotive industry. Gumbuya World plans to grow this to approximately 150 at the time of opening in December 2017 with a target of over 500 employees within 5 years.

Phase two of the park is planned to open in mid-2018 and will include an Indigenous cultural centre, Walking with Dinosaurs exhibit, a 400-seat auditorium and a host of new rides and attractions and will also offer special

events, corporate conference facilities and educational programs. Gumbuya World is investing in state-of-the-art equipment, training and safety to provide an exceptional guest experience.

Future stages of the development will include attractions such as a retail village, Eco Bush Resort, chocolate factory and a microbrewery.

Whether it’s spending endless hours in the water park, getting up-close and personal with wildlife or enjoying the rides and attractions, Gumbuya World has something for everyone.

Plan your day of Summer Fun or Give the Gift of Gumbuya online at

Indonesia to be Largest ASEAN Country for Internet Usage

6 ASEAN countries will have approximately 483 million internet users by 2020. Indonesia ranked top with 215 million users, followed by the Philippines (93 million), Vietnam (82 million), Thailand (59 million), Malaysia (28 million) and Singapore (6 million).

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort wins 2017 Best Australian Holiday Park

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort has been voted the Best Australian Holiday Park in the Out & About With Kids 2017 Best of Family Travel Awards.

This is the 7th Annual Best of Family Travel Awards where the popular family magazine asks their readers what their preferences are in family holiday destinations and experiences in Australia and overseas. Owner and publisher Elisa Elwin said, “We are thrilled to announce the winners and finalists…and the well-deserved recognition to those tourism operators who go above and beyond to ensure family holidays are a pure pleasure”.

More than 40,000 votes were cast in 20 key family holiday categories across Out & About with Kids' vast print and online audience, including digital subscribers and Facebook friends and followers. Owner of BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort, Greg McKinnon said, “this is just the icing on the cake for us after winning the Queensland Tourism Award and going in their Hall of Fame for winning three years in a row. All I can say is thank you to all our guests who voted for us and we invite all Aussie families to experience a wonderful and memorable Whitsunday holiday at our resort.”

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort has always been a perennial family favourite however the addition this year of the big, huge, mega Waterslide Park has taken the resort to a whole new level of family entertainment. Geared for children up to 12 years of age, the area of the Waterslide Park is equivalent to an Olympic swimming pool and features vibrant slides in a rainbow of red, blue, yellow, orange and green colours. A massive tipping bucket sits at one end of the pool and there are fun smaller features for toddlers in the shape of a frog and octopus.

Besides the brand new 13 slide Waterslide Park, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort offers a wide range of activities the whole family can enjoy. Facilities also include a 32-metre lagoon style pool with two water slides and fountains, two giant jumping pillows, 18-hole mini golf, outdoor cinema, tennis court, pedal carts and an Animal Park. Special themed activities and social events throughout the year, a weekly activity schedule, Kid’s Club and a full-time activity co-ordinator ensure that there is plenty of choices for all guests.

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort has become synonymous with offering the very best Australian holiday experience. Loved by return guests for the consistently friendly service, concerted customer focus, outstanding facilities and commitment to continual improvement and innovation, the resort is the first choice for a traditional Queensland family holiday.

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort offers a relaxed, family friendly environment with an extensive range of quality facilities and services, gorgeous cabins and happy, helpful staff. Set amongst 10 hectares of beautifully landscaped tropical gardens, the resort caters for a variety of budgets with a wide range of accommodation options from camping and caravanning sites to luxury, three-bedroom condos. The resort is located in Airlie Beach and has easy access to the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven Beach, the Whitsunday Islands and a vast array of trips, water activities and truly memorable Australian holiday adventures.

Enjoy cycling around the poetic little countryside town of Iinan, Shimane!

Iinan Town nestles among the Chugoku Mountains that lie between Shimane and Hiroshima Prefecture.

The Youtube video was taken by drone in October ~ November 2017 when all town is covered with colourful autumn leaves.

The town having only 11 traffic lights and low traffic volume, cyclists can enjoy their rides easily and comfortably while admiring the fresh air and magnificent scenic view. Some accommodation has rooms that guests can bring their bicycles inside. You can also rent a road bike at Michino-eki Agagi Kogen.

So why don’t you have a look and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Iinan Town?

■Youtube video

■Iinan Tourism Association (English brochure)

■Iinan Tourism Association (Japanese site)

Parkes Elvis Festival

On the third day of Elvis my true love gave to me Phil Emmanuel, Miss Priscilla Dinner and Dean Rias At The Movies...

Come on, sing along with us!

Friday 12th January, 2pm, Parkes Little Theatre, $35

#FivedaysofElvis #Thirdday #parkeselvis #68comeback


During the festive season, Hong Kong’s skyline shines with more glamour than usual as buildings get dressed up for the special occasion. The holiday season will be unforgettable, so shop, eat, drink and be merry with this sample list of exciting things to see and see.

Hong Kong Pulse Light Show – Winter Edition

Enjoy an exhilarating multimedia light show with spectacular lighting effects, 3D projection mapping, music and sound effects.

Date: 1–28 December 2017
Time: 8:20pm/8:40pm/9:00pm/9:20pm/9:40pm nightly (about eight minutes per session)
Location: Open Piazza, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Take in the festive lights

Shopping centres, hotels, plazas and more light up the city with extravagant displays and holiday cheer.

Date: 1–31 December 2017
Places to see the lights:

• Statue Square Christmas Tree – Des Voeux Rd Central, Central
• Harbour City – 3–27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
• Pacific Place – 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong
• Times Square – 1 Matheson St, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Theme Park Magic

Hong Kong’s popular theme parks are a magical place to be during the festive season, definitely worth the trip to explore for yourself.

• Disneyland Christmas Celebration
Date: 16 November 2017 – 1 January 2018
Highlights –
Join Mickey and Friends at their Christmastime Ball
Evening Magical Twilight Snowfall
Festive Stay at the Hotels
Meet Santa Goofy
• Ocean Park Christmas Sensation
Date: Mid-December to early January
Highlights –
World-class live Christmas-themed entertainment
Santa feeding the fish at the Grand Aquarium
Christmas Menus, snacks, cakes
70-foot Christmas tree at Waterfront Plaza

Hong Kong Philharmonic Christmas Special

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra presents a special family Christmas special, playing a selection of classic Christmas carols and more.

Saturday 23 December 8:00pm
Sunday 24 December 3:00pm

For more details click here

Ice Fun for All

If you’re looking for something fun and festive, take your pick of Hong Kong’s indoor ice rinks.
Ice Palace, 1/F, Cityplaza, 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Taikoo Shing (9:30am – 10:00pm daily)
Mega Ice, MegaBox, 38 Wang Chiu Road, Kowloon Bay, (opening hours vary)
The Rink, G/F, Elements, No. 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon (hours vary)
Glacier, Shop UG-21, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Ave, Kowloon Tong (10:30am – 9:30pm daily)