Tuesday, 30 April 2019

The Show Begins for Vivid Sydney Australia's Largest Event on Seven's Weekender

Interstate and intrastate travellers are being enticed to visit the Harbour City during the acclaimed Vivid Sydney festival through three weeks of features on Channel 7's Weekender travel program in Queensland, South Australia and NSW.

Starting this Saturday and continuing over an additional two weekends, viewers will go behind the scenes of Vivid Sydney with curators and artists, and explore some of the city's most popular and unexpected destinations.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said this extensive profiling of Australia's largest event would be invaluable in driving visitation to Sydney in Winter.

“Hundreds of thousands of viewers across Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales will enjoy an exclusive sneak peek at what's in store for Vivid Sydney 2019 and help them to plan their itineraries to visit during the festival,” Mr Ayres said.

“Channel 7's Weekender programs inspire avid travelers to explore new territories or reimagine favourite destinations, and for people who have visited Vivid Sydney before or are considering their first Vivid Sydney experience this three-part feature will provide invaluable intel.

“Now is the perfect time for visitors to start planning their itineraries, securing accommodation and mapping out their Vivid Sydney week or weekends.”

The first segment will focus on Vivid Light including an interview with several artists that are contributing to this year's Light Walk. Over 50 works from 100 artists/collaborators will make up the three-kilometer Light Walk.

Next up will be a tour of the city's unexpected music venues including Ziggy's Barber Salon and The Dock, and finally one of Sydney's premier precincts Barangaroo will showcase the interactive installations and food and beverage offerings that will be available to guests during Vivid Sydney.

“Vivid Sydney is the largest festival of light, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere and in 2018 the festival attracted 2.25 million attendees that generated almost $173 million in visitor spend,” Mr Ayres said.

“There is something available for people of all ages and tastes across this world-class event, and Queensland, SA and Sydney Weekender viewers will start to see that.”

Destination NSW CEO and Executive Producer – Vivid Sydney, Sandra Chipchase, said the festival was not only Australia's largest event but also a widely loved and highly anticipated festival.

“In 2018 a record number of travel packages were sold for Vivid Sydney through Destination NSW marketing initiatives including 112,753 domestic packages, which represents a 60 per cent growth on the previous year,” Ms Chipchase said.

Vivid Sydney will feature on Qld Weekender (11 May) and Sydney Weekender (12 May) on Channel 7.

Vivid Sydney will take place from Friday 24 May to Saturday 15 June in Sydney.

Website: www.destinationnsw.com.au

CAMBODIA, THAILAND JOIN RAILROAD NETWORKS, OPEN CROSS-BORDER BRIDGE

Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut
Chan-o-cha expect the connection to improve
transportation and boost trade.
Photo: KT/Khem Sovannara
Cambodian and Thailand yesterday reconnected their railroad networks after more than 40 years since they were separated, with both governments expecting it will improve transportation and boost trade.

The inauguration ceremony was presided over by both heads of state, Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha, who also attended the signing of an agreement on cross-border rail transportation.

The Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ian Friendship Bridge was also inaugurated, aiming to facilitate cargo transportation between the two countries.

“The agreement today on joint railway traffic, and the connection of our railroads again after they were separated in 1974 due to the war, will improve railroad transportation, which is an effective, cheap, and safe transportation method,” Prime Minister Hun Sen said at the ceremony.

“The connection plays an important part in the development of the economies of Cambodia and Thailand and helps improve connectivity with other Asean and Greater Mekong Subregion countries.

“The railway from Phnom Penh to Poipet has been restored by the Cambodian government. We now have a vision and a specific plan to develop the railroad network in Cambodia and to increase its popularity among Cambodians,” Mr Hun Sen said.

During yesterday’s ceremony, Thailand donated a diesel multiple units (DMU) to Cambodia. A DMU is a multiple-unit train powered by onboard diesel engines, which requires no separate locomotive. It has been manufactured by Japan’s Hitachi and comprises four carriages, each able to carry 80 passengers.

To mark the connection, the prime ministers, accompanied by high-ranking officials, boarded the train together and travelled from Klong Luek station in Thailand to Poipet across the border.

Sun Chanthol, the Minister of Public Works and Transportation, told reporters at the event that bilateral trade will increase as a result of the connection.

“I firmly expect that trade between the two countries will increase. The connection of our railroads will facilitate cargo transport and make it cheaper,” Mr Chanthol said.

Cambodia and Thailand now trade about $6 billion worth of goods a year.

According to Cambodian officials, the Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ian Friendship Bridge will be used exclusively for cargo transport.

“The opening of this new bridge marks a new page in the history of relations between Cambodia and Thailand, and will enhance cross-border trade between the two countries,” Mr Hun Sen said.

“This bridge will bring many benefits to Cambodians and Thais, facilitating transportation within the Greater Mekong Subregion, from Bangkok to Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City, for trade and tourism,” Mr Hun Sen said.

For his part, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the new bridge will boost cooperation in other sectors, including culture, education, and agriculture.

Read the full article at Khmer Times: https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50597004/cambodia-thailand-join-railroad-networks-open-cross-border-bridge/?fbclid=IwAR00b8ThyOVbttRAkOhDtQGep-rv0GyR8wNw0MVI9QP0Ok-GB6Su-I75opY

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
c/o 3rd Floor, Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 154 Rama 1 Road, National Stadium, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Web: www.mekongtourism.org
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1
Mobile: +66 8555 44234, +66 8098 95853

Dates announced for Margaret River's Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever will take over Margaret River from July 19 to 28, showcasing the region's wineries, seasonal produce and restaurants across its cosy winter months.

The 10-day festival will feature more than 30 unique events at various venues in the South West region, with a key focus on sustainability and waste-free eating. 

Guests can expect collaborations with local and national chefs, including 'Game On' - a six-course degustation series designed by award-winning Oakridge Estate Chef Matt Stone and local culinary master Aaron Carr at Yarri in Dunsborough. 

More details on the program and tickets are available online.

HCM City tourism festival generates 120 billion VND in revenues

People look for good deals at Vietravel booth (Photo: vnexpress.net)
A tourism festival in Ho Chi Minh City under the theme “Happy Summer 2019” ended on April 14 with total sales of participating travel agencies reported at 120 billion VND (nearly 5.2 million USD) after four days.

The figure represented a 45 percent increase from a similar event held last year.

An estimated 250,000 visitors arrived at the festival to look for good deals offered by more than 40 travel companies. The companies offered nearly 70,000 domestic and overseas tour packages with discounts from 20 to 50 percent.

Some airlines such as Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo Airways also offer discounted tickets for routes departing from the city.

In the framework of the festival, several events were held such as a forum on Viet Nam’s tourism human resources, a ceremony to honour 100 leading tourism brands and an exchange programme on high-tech application in tourism.

The Ho Chi Minh City tourism festival is held annually in April, creating an excellent opportunity for travel companies to promote tours among visitors in the city and neighbouring localities.

In 2018, Ho Chi Minh City welcomed 36.5 million visitors, including 7.5 million foreigners, a year-on-year rise of 17.83 percent. The city aims to serve 8.5 foreign visitors in 2019, up 14 percent against the previous year.
Source: VNA

QWEEN'S BALL ROLLS OUT ROYAL LINEUP

As part of an already stellar Vivid programme, the Qween’s Ball at Sydney Town Hall is set to sparkle, announcing a stellar line-up, comprising of some serious Australian musical royalty.

On 8 June, Sydney’s LGBTQ+ community will be taking over the iconic venue for another year with a special appearance from 2000’s songstress Vanessa Amorosi of Absolutely Everybody fame. Taking place on one of Sydney’s most grandiose stages, the inaugural event will feature queens in all their glorious forms.

Presented in partnership with Vivid Sydney, Young Henrys, Archie Rose and Sparkke, 2019’s theme for the ball is Winter Is Coming - a homage to Game of Thrones last season and all things dark winter fantasy.

Other musical royalty will include pop electronic singer and songwriter Kota Banks of Nina Las Vegas’ NLV Records, experimental pop duo Collarbones and some of Australia’s best DJs including MIMI, Mowgli May and Fur Coat.

Attendees for the ball are encouraged to get their best op-shop glam winter look together with a Queen of the Ball best costume winner being crowned at the close of the night. The event will be hosted by top shelf comedians Victoria Zerbst and Jenna Owen of Freudian Nip and The Feed (SBS VICELAND).

For more information on Vivid’s stellar event line-up see here.

Get Moving in Tassie

If you like your holidays high on adventure, there are plenty of ways to get your blood coursing through your veins when exploring Tasmania. Whether you're wanting to tear through the wilderness on a bike, clamber over rocks or pick up the pace on a trail, make your getaway an action-packed one.

Short Walks of the Cradle Coast
You're spoilt for choice for walks in Tasmania, particularly in the Cradle Coast. Short Walks of the Cradle Coast is a terrific resource – check out their online map which details the many tracks in the region. A 'short walk' can be up to six enjoyable hours return, so if you've got the energy to burn, choose from one of the lengthier trails like Mt Roland in Gowrie Park.

The Huon Pine Walk at Corinna only takes 20 minutes and is a breezy stroll under a canopy of conifers. Dip Falls, between Stanley and Wynyard, is also a must-see; considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Tassie. Pack a picnic and take the 2km track to Big Tree Reserve afterward to sit at the base of magnificent old growth trees.

And while thousands of hikers embark on Cradle Mountain's Overland Track every year, there are plenty of shorter trails to choose from if you're just after a day walk. There are two great options, both starting from Cradle Mountain Lodge. Knyvet Falls is a scenic 45 minute walk, while Enchanted Walk is a 20 minute boardwalk circuit with three interpretive tunnels kids will love. Head to the Interpretation Centre to do the ten minute long Pencil Pine Falls and Rainforest Walk.

If you're heading to Queenstown, don't miss Horsetail Falls Walk's scenic 1km track. Over 14,000 people have visited since the walk opened in late 2017 and it's easy to see why from the viewing platform you'll get a spectacular view of the waterfall and town.

Get on your bike
If your preferred mode of transport is wheels instead of legs, you'll be in your element biking around Tasmania. Mountain bikers are particularly well catered for, with stacks of world-class trails in some of the most picturesque parts of the state.

Derby (near Launceston) is home to one of the best mountain bike networks you'll have the pleasure of riding. With 125km of purpose-built trails, novice to pros and kid to adult riders will all find something epic. With so many trails to choose from, you may even have the track to yourself.

In Devonport, Kelcey Tiers has long been a popular mountain biking spot. It was recently updated so it now has more tracks than ever, from smooth easy rides to harder technical trails. And down south at Maydena Bike Park, an hour and a half from Hobart, you'll get incredible views over the Derwent Valley when dropping down the mountain.

Quad biking more your style? Tarkine Quad and Side by Side Adventures take quad tours through the Tarkine, Australia's largest cool temperate rainforest. There are single day, overnight and three-day rides on offer, all leaving from Lapoinya on the North West coast.

Take a hike
If you're looking for a serious challenge, the Western Arthurs Traverse in Southwest National Park will definitely give you one. The 70km circuit is no picnic – you'll be scrambling up rocks, stomping through muddy waters and battling gale force winds. Estimated to take a week to finish, the Western Arthurs Traverse is not for the faint-hearted, nor the beginner hiker. With 22 major peaks, the views for those who do tackle it make it all worthwhile.

Website: travelmedia.tourismtasmania.com.au

IHG Extends Holiday Inn Presence in Malaysia With Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Bangsar

IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the world's largest hotel companies, has signed a management agreement with City Motors Group for a new-built Holiday Inn in the affluent creative hub of Kuala Lumpur – Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Bangsar will be the fourth IHG property in the Malaysian capital.

Slated to open in 2023, the hotel will feature 220 rooms and six meeting rooms, the largest of which will hold approximately 400 people. The hotels plans to incorporate the Holiday Inn Open Lobby concept, which will combine public facilities within a single, open cohesive space, creating flexibility for guests, whether they're looking to eat, relax, work, or have fun. The hotel will also feature an outdoor swimming pool and gym.

Centrally located at Jalan Maarof and Jalan Bangsar, the hotel is but a 350m stone's throw to the Bangsar LRT station. Close to key destinations within Kuala Lumpur, including KLCC, Chinatown and Bukit Bintang, the hotel meets the needs of both business travellers and tourists. The highly fashionable Bangsar area is popular for its dining and night life experiences, cultural attractions, and for its retail outlets.

Bangsar is becoming a strong foothold for professional services, creative, and technology-focused firms are locating to the area due to competitive office spaces, a wealth of amenities, and easy access via the public transport. Bangsar is a stone's throw away from KL Sentral, connecting visitors to Kuala Lumpur International Airport and beyond through the city's Express Rail Line (ERL). The Hotel is well-positioned to capitalise on the area's interconnectivity, including to locations such as Bangsar Village, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Mid Valley Megamall, and Bangsar South.

Commenting on this landmark signing, Serena Lim, Vice President, Development South East Asia and Korea (SEAK), IHG, said: “Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Bangsar will allow visitors to witness first-hand the vibrancy and unique atmosphere the area holds. Whether staying for business or for leisure, the hotel will offer guests an unparalleled experience at the centre of one of Malaysia's most fashionable districts, just minutes from key transportation hubs. Underscoring our brand ambition, the Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Bangsar will truly champion enjoyable travel for everyone.”

The hotel will become a flagship for the Holiday Inn brand in Malaysia. With state-of-the-art facilities, the hotel will provide a genuine hospitality, where guests can relax and enjoy themselves in the surroundings of hip and vibrant Bangsar.

Dato' Dr. Foo Wan Kien, Chairman, City Motors Group said: “We saw that there were few if not no branded hotels in the Bangsar area despite it being an affluent location, and felt it was important to introduce a proper internationally branded hotel to the location. We chose Holiday Inn because of its commitment to deliver enjoyable travel for everyone – a value that we too treasure. Combined with IHG's track-record at successfully managing developments globally, we will provide guests with a memorable stay in Bangsar, and an experience visitors to the area have yet to undergo.”

IHG® has 5 hotels operating across four brands in Malaysia, including: InterContinental®, Holiday Inn®, and Holiday Inn Express®, with a further 10 in the development pipeline. Across South East Asia, there are 76 IHG properties open and an additional 75 properties due to open within the next five years.

New Discover Ipswich Magazine Out Now

With more than 100 things to see, do and eat the latest Discover Ipswich magazine has multiple curated stories showcasing the best Ipswich has to offer with Trip Advisor scores integrated.

A total of 125,000 copies of the magazine have been printed a 12 per cent increase on last year to support increased distribution into Brisbane hotels, cafes and to Ipswich residents.

The cover of the magazine showcases a stunning shot of Flinders Peak the tallest peak in the Greater Brisbane region, taller than the Glasshouse Mountains.

Emily-Ann Marskell Photography captures the gorgeous sunset image.

Features include nature based recreation, Ipswich's vibrant dining scene, heli-picnics, Ipswich's free zoo and more.

See the magazine here: https://www.discoveripswich.com.au/discover-magazine/

Hurunui Heartland Ride takes turn toward completion

The Hurunui Heartland Cycle Ride is really starting to make its mark on the district as road signage for the route appears throughout the Hurunui.

The Hurunui Heartland Cycle Ride is an on-road cycle route going all the way from Leithfield and Amberley, through our heartland countryside, to Kaikoura. It is designed to link some of our rural communities for cyclists and to provide them with a safe and scenic route through the district. It will also be the foundation leg of what will ultimately be a route going all the way from Cathedral Square the top of the South Island.

Along with the cyclist relevant safety signage that has already appeared on our roads, official signage marking the ‘Hurunui Heartland Ride’ will be installed throughout the district over the next two weeks. This signage directs cyclists onto quiet country roads that are a mix of seal, gravel, flats and hills.

The New Zealand Transport Agency covered the cost of all of the signs, which were then donated to the council for the route.

Mark Inglis, mountaineer, researcher, Paralympian, Motivational Speaker and also the Trails Coordinator for the Hurunui Trails Trust has been tasked to oversee arranging the signs and any legal and safety requirements for the route. He has also been responsible for engaging with local communities and will be advertising the Hurunui as a tour biking destination.

Inglis said bed and breakfasts, cafes, businesses, cycle services and more have already put their hands up to cater to cyclists as they pedal through the district. They are making use of “the opportunity to use this new 'spine' and fill it with great services and experiences the Hurunui has to offer” he said.

With the first of the signs already installed and more being installed in the coming weeks, Inglis said the celebrations can really begin. “The dancing - well actually riding - in the streets moment is here. The first stage of the Hurunui Heartland Cycle Ride is from Amberley to the Hurunui Hotel, riding through the high country that is the Waipara Gorge and across the fertile edge of the Amuri basin. It’s great to offer a taste of our back yard not seen from the state highways” he said.

Mayor Winton Dalley sees good things to come from the cycle route. “We are looking forward to welcoming touring cyclists through our uniquely beautiful district” he said. “We are also looking forward to seeing what economic prosperity it brings to the communities along the route as its popularity grows”.

The official launch date of the Hurunui Heartland Cycle Ride is expected in mid-April, 2019.

View a video demonstration of the Hurunui Heartland Cycle Ride here.

Afternoon Tea, a Dine and Stay Package, and a Mother's Day Competition Intended to Celebrate Baking and Reimagine Tradition

MOTHER'S DAY WEEKEND AFTERNOON TEA
Mother's Day has always been a grand tradition at The Windsor, with generations of ladies and their families gathering over Afternoon Tea in the historic Grand Ballroom and One Eleven Tea Lounge.

This year, The Windsor will be celebrating Mother's Day across an entire weekend (Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May), with a sumptuous Afternoon Tea buffet and free flowing French sparkling wine. Included are an array of delicate French patisserie and beautiful cakes, the ever popular milk and dark chocolate fountain, made-to-order crepes, and a cheese platter featuring Victorian and French cheeses.

The full suite of Afternoon Tea accoutrements, including petite savoury pastries, ribbon sandwiches, and scones with housemade Windsor strawberry jam and double cream, will also be served.

There will be flora set to the theme of a beautiful garden and a tin of Windsor tea for mums as a take home gift.

Dessert buffet with free flowing French sparkling wine and a take home gift of a Windsor tea tin:-
  • SATURDAY 11 MAY
Venue: One Eleven - 11.30am OR 2.00pm (2 hour reservation)
Pricing: Adults - $119 / 7 to 12 years old - $70 / 3 to 6 years old - $50
  • SUNDAY 12 MAY
Venue 1: One Eleven – 10.00am / 12.45pm / 3.30pm (2 hour reservation)
Venue 2: Grand Ballroom – 10.30am / 1.15pm / 4.00pm (2 hour reservation)
Pricing: Adults - $160 / 7 to 12 years old - $85 / 3 – 6 years old - $65

RESERVATIONS ESSENTIAL AT WWW.THEHOTELWINDSOR.COM.AU/AFTERNOONTEA, 03 9633 6004.

AFTERNOON TEA & STAY OVER
The Windsor has also put together a stay over package for those wishing to celebrate Mother's Day to its fullest. Guests dining at the hotel on Mother's Day (Sunday 12 May) are eligible to book rooms and suites at a special discounted rate to complement their Afternoon Tea experience. With a charming, classical design, and a pillow menu for a blissful night's rest, the rooms and suites are set to delight!

WINDSOR MOTHER'S DAY PACKAGE
Overnight accommodation in a room (Superior or Deluxe) or suite (Junior, Windsor or Victorian)
Valet parking
1pm late check out
Prices start from $199 for a Superior Room and $289 for a Junior Suite (not inclusive of Afternoon Tea).

T&Cs: This special price is only valid for stays on 12 May 2019, and must be accompanied by a Mother's Day (Sunday 12 May) Afternoon Tea reservation.

To book: Email reservations@thw.com.au or contact Reservations on +61 3 9633 6002.

REIMAGINGING TRADITION: A MOTHER'S DAY COMPETITION
This year, The Windsor's pastry team have also created a series of cakes inspired by one of the most nurturing displays of maternal love – baking. Each of the team's eight chefs have come up with a cake inspired by memories of their mothers, which is currently being shared on the hotel's Instagram profile @hotel_windsor. Melburnians are encouraged to share their own cake creation, alongside their story on what inspired their cake through Instagram to enter (tagging @hotel_windsor and #windsormothersday).

The idea is to keep memories and traditions alive through the generations, with the winner's cake being interpreted by the hotel's pastry team and reimagined for the Mother's Day weekend. The reimagined cake will feature on the afternoon tea buffet, with the winner and family invited to attend. The competition prize includes a table for four at The Windsor on Mother's Day with the competition closing on 30 April 2019.

THE WINDSOR
A Melbourne institution, The Windsor has been enamouring guests since its establishment in 1883. Located on Spring Street, at the top of Bourke Street, in Melbourne's vibrant East-End theatre district, the iconic, heritage-listed establishment features a grand staircase leading up to 180 timeless rooms and suites, fitted with an array of amenities and comforts befitting the Grand Dame of Melbourne.

Afternoon Tea, held in the elegant cream dining room, is Melbourne's longest-running Afternoon Tea service, where guests can enjoy a traditional three-tiered stand of ribbon sandwiches, freshly-baked scones and French patisserie. A full dessert buffet experience with classic and modern cakes is served on weekends.

The Windsor - where the grandeur of Melbourne's golden age meets modern timeliness.

Instagram: @hotel_windsor
Website: www.thehotelwindsor.com.au

Monday, 29 April 2019

The Ghan Launches Artist in Residence Program

Ten Australians hand-selected as The Ghan's inaugural artists in residence
Artworks to celebrate The Ghan and its iconic route in its 90th anniversary year
Free public art exhibition in Adelaide from June to August 2019

The Ghan has welcomed ten diverse Australian artists to take part in a special Artist in Residence program celebrating the train's 90th anniversary.

Ten South Australian and Northern Territory artists will travel onboard The Ghan throughout 2019 to create specially-commissioned works inspired by this iconic Outback journey.

The program will culminate in a free art exhibition at The Ghan's Adelaide Parklands Terminal, open to the public between June and August.

Great Southern Rail managing director Steve Kernaghan said the Artist in Residence program would be a first for the company.

"Over nine colourful decades, The Ghan has inspired pioneers, adventurers, royalty and artists alike. It has a rich Australian history and a true connection with the landscapes through which it travels.

"We've hand-selected ten artists to interpret this journey and display their work to the people who love The Ghan and the land it crosses.

"For those who have already travelled on The Ghan, this will reignite special memories. And for those who are yet to embark on the journey, we hope it will inspire them to explore more of Australia."

The Ghan has partnered with Guildhouse, a leading South Australian not for profit that champions visual artists, designers and craftspeople through industry collaborations, innovative projects and professional development.

"We are delighted to facilitate this remarkable opportunity for South Australian and Northern Territory artists to collaborate with an iconic Australian brand," Guildhouse CEO Emma Fey said.

"Each of the selected artists all bring their own unique skills and experience to the journey – we have invited painters, illustrators, ceramicists, designers and installation artists to respond to their Ghan adventure through demonstrations or the creation of a work of art."

Artist Daniel Connell is looking forward to travelling on The Ghan Expedition on 1 May.

"This opportunity is immense. I wanted to share this experience of a life time with a new migrant to Australia. He and I are incredibly excited to be able to immerse ourselves in the wilderness of Australia, meet the people of those countries and feel again, how small we are in time and space. Much of the work I do is with the Sikh community they are also a part of the cameleer's stories. I had no idea I'd be able to follow their footsteps."

Website: JOURNEYBEYOND.COM.AU

ANCIENT TOWN WOWS VISITORS WITH DIGITISED PUBLIC RESTROOMS

In a matter of seconds, Qian Yafen can easily locate the nearest vacant toilet on her cellphone.

“I downloaded an app, clicked ‘find a restroom,’ and then these just came up with pictures of nearby public restrooms, numbers of available toilets as well as maps showing how I could get there,” Qian said.

She then chose to go to the nearest restroom. After entering the bathroom, she scanned a QR code on a tissue box which dispensed toilet paper for free. “It’s brilliant! It helps avoid waste and solves my problem so quickly in a way that I’d never thought of,” she said.

Qian was visiting the Old Town of Lijiang, a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site with an 800-year history in southwest China’s Yunnan Province. It attracted more than 14 million tourists last year.

All 30 public restrooms in the Old Town are two-story buildings with traditional characteristics of the Naxi, the native ethnic group. Two LED screens hang at the entrance of each bathroom to designate both the men’s and women’s restrooms as well as a unisex room.

The screens also display the temperature in real time, humidity, and the concentration of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia gas.

Read the full article at CGTN: https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d774d7759544f33457a6333566d54/index.html

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
c/o 3rd Floor, Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 154 Rama 1 Road, National Stadium, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Web: www.mekongtourism.org
Tel: +66 2038 5071-1
Mobile: +66 8555 44234, +66 8098 95853

WHAT'S HOT IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA MAY 2019

Hollywood superstars holiday in WA
Two of Hollywood's most recognisable actors, Chris Hemsworth and Matt Damon, recently enjoyed a family holiday in WA, with Hemsworth hailing the trip one of his 'best ever'. Joined by their families, Hemsworth and Damon's WA adventure included time on the Coral Coast and Perth, including a visit to Rottnest Island. The families enjoyed safari-style accommodation, surfing, fishing and swimming during their stay at Quobba Station, located a one-hour drive north of Carnarvon; while their Rottnest visit included cycling around the island, treats from Rottnest Island Bakery and a host of #quokkaselfies. As part of the island getaway, Hemsworth and his family enjoyed a stay in an eco-glamping cabin at the recently opened Discovery – Rottnest Island. Hemsworth documented his WA trip in a video posted to his Instagram account, and actor Elsa Pataky (Hemsworth's wife), posted a series of images to her 2.8 million followers.

Truffle Kerfuffle excites with culinary line-up
The heart of truffle country, Manjimup, will host a spectacular line-up of top Australian talent at this year's Truffle Kerfuffle. Taking over Manjimup from June 21 to 23, the much-loved WA foodie festival will welcome one of Australia's most recognisable chefs, Pete Evans, alongside popular television personality and cook Poh Ling Yeow, and a stellar list of local talent, including Nic Wood (Santini Bar & Grill), Aaron Carr (Yarri), Russell Blaikie (Must), Amy Hamilton (Liberte) and Paul Iskov (Fervor). Guests can expect long table dinners, cosy brunches, masterclass sessions in the Chef's Cabin, intimate wine tastings, a lively festival village, cooking demonstrations, kids cooking school and much more. Manjimup is located in WA's Southern Forests region, a 3.5 hour drive south of Perth.

One-way car hire between Perth and Exmouth
Visitors can experience the wonders of Ningaloo and the Coral Coast at a significantly discounted rate, following the launch of one-way rentals between Perth and Exmouth with Avis Australia. Customers will now pay a $250 car relocation fee - reduced from $1000 - if hiring a car to drive from Perth to Exmouth, and $150 if hiring from Exmouth to Perth – on top of the standard daily car hire rates and conditions. The seasonal trial will run from April 1 to October 31 in 2019 and 2020, and allows visitors to spend more time enjoying local experiences, including seasonal swims with whale sharks (March to July), humpback whales (August to October) and manta rays (year-round). Exmouth is located a 13-hour drive north of Perth, with Qantas operating 12 flights per week to and from the locations.

Perth to host new ATP Cup
Perth will host some of the world's best tennis players as part of the new nation-versus-nation Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Cup teams' event. Perth is joining Sydney and Brisbane as one of three host cities, with the new competition set to take place from January 2020. RAC Arena will host the event, which will feature 12 sessions played over six days. The ATP Cup will be second only to the four Grand Slam tournaments, and will see the world's top male players compete for 750 highly coveted ATP ranking points and $A22 million in prize money. The tournament will involve players from 24 nations, with the Perth group stages featuring at least two of the top six players in the world, and four of the top 12.

Tourism festival opens in Ho Chi Minh City

Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City
The Department of Tourism of Ho Chi Minh City launched a tourism festival in the city on April 11 under the theme “Happy Summer 2019”.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Director of the department Bui Ta Hoang Vu said several promotion programmes are offered at the four-day event.

Nearly 70,000 domestic and overseas tour packages are introduced at 150 booths of more than 40 travel companies with discounts from 20 to 50 percent.

Some airlines such as Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo Airways also offer discounted tickets for routes departing from the city.

Other sidelines activities will be held at the festival such as a forum on Viet Nam’s tourism human resources, a ceremony to honour 100 leading tourism brands and an exchange programme on high-tech application in tourism.

The Ho Chi Minh City tourism festival is held annually in April, creating an excellent opportunity for travel companies to promote tours among visitors in the city and neighbouring localities.

In 2018, Ho Chi Minh City welcomed 36.5 million visitors, including 7.5 million foreigners, a year-on-year rise of 17.83 percent. The city aims to serve 8.5 foreign visitors in 2019, up 14 percent against the previous year.
Source: VNA

NATIONS LOCKED-IN FOR RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP 9s

Teams from the Pacific Islands, Europe and the Middle East will join Australia and New Zealand in the 2019 Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s, kicking off in Sydney this October.

This week, the NRL confirmed the 12 nations playing over the course of two days at the new Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta on 18 and 19 October.

The men’s tournament will feature: Australia, New Zealand, England, PNG, Tonga, Fiji, France, Samoa, Wales, Lebanon, Cook Islands and the United States, with the women’s tournament set to feature Australia, New Zealand, England and PNG.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the event represented a significant opportunity for NSW.

“This blockbuster event will showcase Western Sydney’s world-class new facility, Bankwest Stadium, and is anticipated to generate $11 million for the NSW economy courtesy of 13,000 overnight visitors,” Mr Ayres said.

Tickets will go on sale for the tournament later this year. Supporters can register via a waitlist at nrl.com/waitlist

Four Seasons Resort Orlando Walt Disney Resort ‘A Dream Come True’

An impeccably fitting slogan, my stay at the Four Seasons Orlando Walt Disney Resort® was a dream more than I could have ever imagined come true. I have had the privilege of staying at 5 star resorts around the world for reviews, so whilst I continue to appreciate each hotel for its own experience, it is rare that I am completely ‘blown away’ by absolutely everything in a resort. However from the moment I arrived in the secluded, gated residential setting within Walt Disney World Resort®, this AAA Five Diamond Resort immediately began its journey in impressing me to no end.

The grounds provide a lakeside sanctuary of gardens, pools, palm and cypress trees, all contributing to the relaxed atmosphere and feelings of seclusion. But don’t be fooled, the location of the Four Seasons Orlando is actually within Walt Disney Resort®, making it perfect for the early mornings and late nights exploring the Disney Parks, with each only a short drive/shuttle away. This also means Disney benefits such as extra magic hours and Disney Fastpass up to 60 days prior to arrival can be taken advantage of in order to make the most of your Disney vacation.

The immaculate architecture and attention to detail from the outside towers and right throughout the interior take you back to Florida’s Golden age. The Four Seasons Orlando Website states it perfectly,

“Our lakeside Resort reflects the Spanish Revival architecture of an age gone by with its terracotta-tiled rooftops, square towers, arched windows and colonnades, a style that carries into each of our guest rooms through tall ceilings, crisp white furnishings and tasteful pops of colour”.

I was immediately transported to the elegance and beauty of this era as I walked through the grand entrance and witnessed the cascading chandeliers, overlooking the staircase down to one of the pools, and the lakes and gardens beyond.

The valet and lobby staff all greeted with a warm smile and went out of their way to ensure I felt welcome and was taken care of. You can really see all staff are passionate about their work and their priority is in making your stay as pleasant and outstanding as possible.

I was guided to a park view suite, featuring 1000 square feet of luxury with an impressive entrance hallway, lounge and dining room with a queen size sofa bed, kitchenette, 2 bathrooms and a master bedroom with a king bed. The décor and colour palate are extremely tasteful, providing a sense of home as well as high end luxury at once. No detail had been left untouched, with a generous walk in wardrobe, and one of the biggest bathrooms I have ever seen. A deep bathtub features on the back wall, with a double vanity and sink and even a built-in television screen on the mirror. I just knew I had to indulge in this prominent feature bath during my stay, and I was not disappointed!

A large balcony overlooking the pools, lake and gardens provides a perfect viewpoint for watching the Disney fireworks at night, or enjoying the sunshine during the day with most of the rooms and suites having a large balcony.

Outdoor activities were a no for me this time as it was raining, but with finer weather The Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando might interest you. Otherwise, Explorer Island has 5 acres of waterpark with water slides, splash zones, fountains, a lazy river, dive-in movies and pools for kids and families. For adults only, enjoy a relaxation pool Oasis while the kids join the complimentary kids club for ages 4-12.

You will be spoilt for choice and quality when it comes to dining, with world renowned Spanish steakhouse ‘Capa’, modern Italian restaurant ‘Ravello’ including Good Morning breakfasts with Goofy and his pals select mornings, a lakefront pool bar and grill ‘P B & G’, a golf clubhouse restaurant featuring American and Cuban dishes ‘Plancha’, or the lobby café for your coffee, pastry, sandwich or gelato needs ‘Lickety-Split’.
Finish your day or meet up with friends for drinks in the Lobby bar for cocktails and bar bites, or at Capa which was named one of the Best 100 Wine Restaurants in the US. I unfortunately did not have the time to experience most of these restaurants, however I was lucky enough to have dined at ‘Capa’- an experience which was so tantalising and incredible in every way it deserves to be featured on its own- watch out for the article to come!

Overall, I cannot recommend a stay at Four Seasons Orlando Walt Disney Resort enough, it truly is exceptional in every way! There is no better time to come and experience the luxury of the resort than from May-September this year, as the magic carpet is rolled out for the ‘Explore a new World’ Disney gift card package. Inspired by the release of Disney’s ‘Aladdin’, the package includes a special Aladdin themed welcome, Disney gift cards up to the value of 500USD for a suite booking, Arabian themed cocktails, dining, spa treatments and even kids club activities.

There has never been a better time to experience the complete luxury and hospitality the Four Seasons Orlando Walt Disney Resort provides. Combine the exceptionally friendly, professional staff with the lavish rooms, facilities and location and you too can have the astounding resort stay better than you could have dreamed. I look forward to returning one day to experience the rest of the activities and dining the resort has to offer and continue this ‘dream come true’.

Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort
10100 Dream Tree Blvd, Lake Buena Vista Florida U.S.A. 32836
Reservation Fax +1 (407) 313-8092
General Resort Line +1 (407) 313-7777
Room Reservations +1 (800) 267-3046
Twitter: @FSOrlando
Facebook: Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort
Pinterest: Pinterest
Instagram: Instagram

Shadow Play by Peppers, Melbourne Has Opened Its Doors

Shadow Play by Peppers
Accor has opened the doors of its newest luxury Melbourne hotel – Shadow Play by Peppers - in the city's vibrant Southbank arts and entertainment district.

Developed by luxury property developer Jonathan Hallinan of BPM and echoing Melbourne's sophistication, the 46-storey landmark hotel features an exquisite selection of spacious one and two bedroom apartments with full kitchen and laundry facilities and floor to ceiling windows for lashings of natural light and incredible city or bayside views.

In-room mini bars are stocked with locally sourced produce and, for the ultimate indulgence, guests can stay in a Two Bedroom Corner Apartment which comes complete with a private outdoor winter garden.

Avant garde design elements feature throughout the property, breaking tradition and routine hotel design with a cohesive collection of contrasts - light and dark, formal and informal, and seductive dark statement pieces contrasting with white stone and timber.

On arrival, guests are welcomed to the hotel in a beautifully appointed lobby on the ground floor, which flows into Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar.

This brand new venue is positioned to be one of Melbourne's finest food and wine experiences with its seasonally curated menu and extensive wine list, with distinct Victorian flavour, meticulously selected by the Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar's sommelier.

Shadow Play by Peppers also boasts an array of unique guest spaces including a heated pool, gymnasium, sauna and steam room, and an enclosed garden space on the 46th floor, complete with a freestanding fireplace, a lavish guest lounge and library with an adjoining patio, and commanding bayside views.

Nestled in the heart of the city and within walking distance to the Eureka Skydeck, Melbourne Arts Centre, the National Gallery of Victoria, Crown Casino, the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, and the city's finest shopping and dining precincts, Shadow Play by Peppers offers a stylish urban retreat for leisure and business travellers.

“We're excited visitors to Southbank can now experience Peppers' unique style and acclaimed hospitality. Shadow Play by Peppers has added a new level of sophistication and luxury to Melbourne's accommodation offering, which caters perfectly to an increasingly selective global market that is looking for quality, location and facilities of a world-class caliber,” Accor Chief Operating Officer Pacific, Simon McGrath said.

Shadow Play by Peppers is the brand's second Melbourne property. The first, Peppers Docklands, opened in January 2016.

Experience Shadow Play by Peppers from $199* per night in a One Bedroom Apartment including breakfast for two and Wi-Fi. To book, visit www.peppers.com.auor call 1300 737 444.

Shadow Play by Peppers
308-320 City Road
Southbank VIC
www.peppers.com.au/shadow-play
Reservations: 1300 737 444

These Pure Adventures Give You Sole, Put You Back in the Saddle, and Drop You into the Cockpit

A Croation Bay
As well as dedicated bike experiences, Pure Adventures (http://pure-adventures.com/) offers travelers a variety of hiking and multisport options (guided and self-guided) in Europe and Latin America.
“Many travelers enjoy the stable simplicity of a good, week-long hike. Others want diversity and crave the opportunity to mix it up with biking and paddling too,” notes Pure Adventures Founder and CEO Loren Siekman. “We offer a variety of activities to provide the best possible options for our clients to see the world their way.”
Pure Adventures' hiking and multisport adventures will get your soles moving down trails, experiencing a destination from the saddle of a bicycle, or paddling near sea life from the cockpit of a kayak. Some of their options include:
  • Croatia – Dalmatian Coast Hiking Tour: This self-guided hiking tour focuses on the mainland coast and many off-shore islands. The route is dotted with historical towns, cities and villages, and visiting the islands is simply a "must" when on the Dalmatian Coast. https://pure-adventures.com/show-tour/180/croatia-dalmatian-coast-hiking-tour/
  • France – Normandy Hiking Tour: This route takes you through some of Normandy's best-known sites and towns. The port of Honfleur gives way to interior lands where apples are made into cider and the famous Norman whiskey, Calvados. The hike leads to the somber landing beaches of WWII. https://pure-adventures.com/show-tour/165/france-normandy-hiking-tour/
  • Portugal – Madeira Island Hiking Tour: This great hiking tour exposes you to the stunning sceneries of this volcanic island, including its mountains, cliffs and levadas, an extensive network of small irrigation channels that make the perfect path for adventurous hikers. https://pure-adventures.com/show-tour/232/portugal-madeira-island-hiking-tour/
  • Italy – Mt. Etna & Aeolian Islands Hiking: A self-guided adventure through the Aeolian Islands, a string of seven volcanic islets that glimmer like black pearls off Sicily's Mediterranean shoreline. Experience the charming historic city of Catania, immense and impressive Mount Etna - the largest active volcano in Europe – and Taormina's spectacular Greek Theatre. https://pure-adventures.com/show-tour/220/italy-sicily-mt-etna-aeolian-islands-hiking/
  • Argentina – Multisport Adventure Tour: The cultural aspect of the trip is deep and genuine, allowing you to share time with people who work the land. This is a truly responsible trip, designed to support grassroots projects that need the income travelers can provide. Over six days, you'll explore 1,300 km via 4x4s, bikes, horses and on foot. https://pure-adventures.com/show-tour/207/argentina-multi-sport-adventure-tour/
  • Croatia – Bike & Kayak Tour: A self-guided bicycle and kayaking tour through the Dalmatian Coast and surrounding islands. You will see the Romans' influence in Split, bike the UNESCO World Heritage Site Stari Grad Plain, pass through quaint towns and fishing villages, kayak the Korcula Archipelago, then finish in Dubrovnik. https://pure-adventures.com/show-tour/206/croatia-bike-kayak-tour
For more information on all of Pure Adventures' guided, self-guided and supported, self-directed tours, call: 800-960-2221 or 480-905-1235, Email: info@pure-adventures.com, or visit online: http://pure-adventures.com.

New in Tropical North Queensland

Luxurious accommodation, romantic glamping on the Great Barrier Reef and an Indigenous musical event are among the new offerings in Tropical North Queensland.

Luxury eco-lodge joins Baillie
Baillie Lodges has added Silky Oaks Lodge to its portfolio of luxury lodges. Set among the World Heritage-listed wilderness of the Daintree National Park on the banks of the Mossman River, the lodge offers river snorkelling, driving safaris, Indigenous guided walks and the Healing Waters Spa.
www.silkyoakslodge.com.au

Romance on the Reef
Couples can get cosy after dark on the Great Barrier Reef in a new deluxe two-person swag on Sunlover by Starlight. The glamping experience on the Moore Reef pontoon is popular with couples wanting to say their vows on the Great Barrier Reef and spend their wedding night under the stars.
www.sunlover.com.au

Indigenous choir joins art fair
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices will sing in their languages at Cultural Heights, a new event for the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Indigenous artists from across Queensland exhibit at the prestigious fair on July 10-14.
www.ciaf.com.au

Dine at an aquarium
Watch schools of sharks and fish swim by at the newly opened Dundee's Restaurant at the Cairns Aquarium. Dishing up Australian beef and seafood, Dundee's can be included as part of the new VIP Premium Experience, featuring a behind-the-scenes tour and feeding of a cownose ray.
www.cairnsaquarium.com.au

Room upgrade for Shangri-La
Cool neutral tones with a splash of nautical blue set the scene for a relaxed stay at the Shangri-La Hotel, at The Marina Cairns. The hotel has recently completed a refurbishment of its spacious rooms. The waterfront bar and restaurant has also been revamped and named The Backyard.
shangri-la.com

Celebrate craft beer
The inaugural Cairns Craft Beer Festival will bring five local breweries together on May 11 at Hemingway's Brewery on the Cairns wharf. More than 20 craft beers and a special collaboration brew will be served along with local food and music.
www.hemingwaysbrewery.com

Discover the rainforest
Dare to stand on a transparent boardwalk 160 metres above the Barron Gorge at The Edge Lookout for an unimpeded panoramic view of the Barron Falls, north of Cairns. It is one of three lookouts at Skyrail Rainforest Cableway's Barron Falls Station, where you can also visit the Rainforest Interpretation Centre.
www.skyrail.com.au

Master Reef Guides
The first official interpreters for the Great Barrier Reef have graduated and are armed with stories and facts to give visitors the best possible reef experience. The Master Reef Guides can introduce you to a citizen science project or explain the intricacies of life on the world's largest coral reef ecosystem.
www.gbrmpa.gov.au/our-partners/master-reef-guides

Feed a barramundi
Hand feed giant barramundi and visit a fish hatchery at the Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre, a spectacular interpretive centre in Karumba, the outback town by the sea. The centre showcases the local wetlands and mangroves, birdlife and flora of the southern Gulf of Carpentaria.
www.barracentre.com.au

Reef Feast
Fresh local produce will be dished up beachside at Palm Cove, north of Cairns, when Reef Feast returns in October 2019. The village's relaxed lifestyle is livened up with a weekend of music, beautiful food, fine wine, vibrant entertainment and a craft beer competition.
www.reeffeast.com.au

Soothe away the jetlag
Reset that feeling of right place/wrong time with the Touchdown Jet-Lag Remedy at Cairns' newest day spa, Eléme in Riley on the Cairns Esplanade. Part of the Crystalbrook Collection, Riley is the first of three new hotels to open in Cairns city.
crystalbrookcollection.com

Luxury in the outback
Degustation dining and gourmet picnics in the outback are on the menu at Mount Mulligan, a luxurious boutique lodge alongside an 18-kilometre sandstone ridge. Explore the cattle property with an all-terrain vehicle and tour the historic mine and township.
www.mountmulligan.com

World's top rafters compete
White water speed demons will try to tame the Tully River in May 2019 when the World Rafting Championships are held for the first time in the world's oldest rainforest. Teams from 50 countries will descend on the Cassowary Coast for the eight-day event.
www.wrc2019.com

Tuck in at a sports bar
Burgers made with local meat and teamed with craft beers from the Barrier Reef Brewing Co have been a winning combination at n17 Burger Co in Port Douglas. A sports bar has recently been added to the restaurant so you can catch your favourite game.
n17.com.au

Fly to an island
Bedarra Island Resort now has scenic flights from Mission Beach over the Great Barrier Reef and its islands with Island Reef Helicopters. The private tropical haven offers secluded barefoot luxury in just 10 villas hidden in 45 hectares of tropical rainforest.
www.bedarra.com.au

Website: www.tropicalnorthqueensland.org.au

Record-breaking visitor numbers at Akaroa Museum

A Photographers Eye - Donald McKay's 1950s:
buying fish at Akaroa wharf 1950
This summer season has been a record-breaker for Akaroa Museum. Visitor numbers for the months of October to February have surpassed last year’s by up to 60%. Just on 7,000 visitors passed through the doors of the Museum in January, and 5,750 in February. Akaroa Museum is one of the main land-based visitor attractions in Akaroa and one of the few wet-weather venues.

Although certainly boosted by the passengers off the cruise ships, which are arriving in Akaroa Harbour in increasing numbers, there has been a growth in other visitor markets as well. By year end, 40,000 visitors to Akaroa will have passed through the Museum’s door.

Visitors to Akaroa Museum have been entranced by the current exhibition of photographs, taken by Donald McKay in the 1950s. Titled A Photographers Eye – Donald McKay’s 1950s, the exhibition includes 24 evocative black and white images of life on Banks Peninsula in the 1950s.

People who grew up on the Peninsula but have now moved away are especially moved by the photographs which document a past way of life, now just on the edges of living memory. One visitor, who was brought up in Le Bons Bay, said “The exhibition was very emotional for me, seeing the very essence of people that I adored, distilled into a single image. Don clearly is a master at telling a story with a photograph.”

The images chosen by curator Dan Smith to represent Don’s work from the 1950s include weddings, social events, farm life and family groups. Dan says the collection of 40,000 negatives is “an extremely rich historical record” and that “Don’s photographs will become what we think of when we look back at Banks Peninsula in that period. We will see the past through his photographic eye.”

The exhibition runs until after Easter 2019 – it’s worth a trip to Akaroa to see!

Save When You Stay With Seashells to Do and See More!

Holidaymakers can now afford to make the most of Western Australia's attractions, lively events, and arts and culture scene thanks to the return of Seashells Hospitality Group's Double Your Stay offer.

Stay and pay for two nights or more at any of Seashells' stunning properties and the length of your stay will be doubled for free. Pay for three nights and they'll make it six. Pay for four nights and they'll make it eight!

With Seashells' properties located in great locations in Broome, Scarborough, Mandurah, Yallingup and Fremantle, guests can use their extra savings enjoying the offerings of each lively location.

Splurge on a show at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, or indulge in the new bar and food offerings at the new Scarborough foreshore redevelopment. Explore a Pearl Farm or enjoy a sunset camel trek with your extra coin from booking at Seashells Broome. Treat yourself at the wineries and art galleries of the Margaret River Region from Seashells Yallingup, or jump into the festivities of Fremantle's lively events program from your base at Seashells Fremantle.

Or, simply stash away your savings and relax in Seashells' spacious, self-contained apartments with everything at your fingertips.

Take up this Double your Stay offer and prices start from $115 per room per night for a four-night midweek stay at Seashells Fremantle.

The Double your Stay offer is valid for stays until 20 December 2019 at Seashells Mandurah, Seashells Scarborough and Seashells Yallingup, for stays all year round at Seashells Fremantle, and between 13 October 2019 to 31 May 2020 at Seashells Broome.

There's no time to hesitate as bookings must be made between Friday 3 May and by Sunday 26 May 2019 and are subject to availability. Minimum stay is four nights (2 paid and 2 free) and they must be consecutive. This offer is only valid for new bookings, cannot be used with any other offer, dates are non-transferrable, and bookings made on this offer are not refundable. Payment is required at the time of booking.

Seashells Hospitality Group is one of Western Australia's leading hospitality management companies and has won many awards for the quality, service and style of its 4 and 4.5-star modern family-friendly accommodation.

To book call 1800 800 850, email reservations@seashells.com.au or book online and receive the best rates and immediate confirmation - www.seashells.com.au.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

SeaLink Launches Amazing New South Australian Short Break Packages

Explore the very best of South Australia – its most loved wine regions, bustling city, rugged Flinders Ranges and Australia's unspoilt treasure – Kangaroo Island, with SeaLink's new short break holiday packages. Ranging from three to eight days and with packages starting from only $314 per person, there is something for everyone.

SeaLink's exciting new South Australian Short-Break packages include the three-day Adelaide and Kangaroo Island, three-day Adelaide and Barossa, four-day Adelaide, Barossa and Kangaroo Island, five-day Food, Wine and Natural Wonders of South Australia, and the seven-day Flinders Ranges & Barossa Experiencepackages.

The three-day Adelaide and Barossa includes a full day Barossa Food & Wine Experience tour, the chance to discover Adelaide, and two night's accommodation at Stamford Plaza Adelaide or Majestic Roof Garden Hotel with full buffet breakfast each morning.

Sample some of the Barossa's finest wines and gourmet food on the full day, Barossa Valley Food and Wine Experience.

Visit cellar doors including the intimate TeAro Estate, Williamstown and the award winning Pindarie Cellar Door, Gomersal. Be treated to a mouth-watering two-course lunch at Lambert Estate, Angaston before taking in the views from the lookout at Mengler Hill. Then stop in at Maggie Beer's Farm Shop for a tour and tastings of her delicious food products.

Then take some time to discover the vibrant city of Adelaide. Stop by some of its main attractions like Adelaide's university and art gallery or St Peter's Cathedral. Sport lovers can visit the famous Adelaide Oval or simply spend the day at Adelaide Zoo, the shopping precedent of Rundle Mall or even the seaside town of Glenelg.

The three-day Adelaide and Barossa starts from $314 per person, twin share.

The Adelaide and Kangaroo Island Package includes a full day Kangaroo Island Experience, the opportunity to explore vibrant Adelaide and two night's accommodation at Stamford Plaza Adelaide or Majestic Roof Garden Hotel with full buffet breakfast each morning.

See all of Kangaroo Island's incredible highlights on the One Day Kangaroo Island Experience Tour. Visit Seal Bay Conservation Park, Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Flinders Chase National Park to see nature's breath-taking Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch. The tour also includes a hearty two-course lunch at Vivonne Bay Lodge Bistro, return scenic SeaLink coach transfers to Cape Jervis and return SeaLink ferry crossing from the mainland to Penneshaw.

The three-day Adelaide and Kangaroo Island Package is priced from $448 per person, twin share.

The four-day Adelaide, Barossa and Kangaroo Island Package starts from $675 per person, twin share and includes three night's accommodation at Stamford Plaza Adelaide or Majestic Roof Garden Hotel with full buffet breakfast each morning, full day Barossa Food & Wine Experience tour and the full day Kangaroo Island Experience.

The five-day Food, Wine and Natural Wonders of South Australia Package includes the full day Barossa Food & Wine Experience tour, the 2 Day Food, Wine and Natural Wonders of Kangaroo Island tour and three night's accommodation at Stamford Plaza Adelaide or Majestic Roof Garden Hotel with full buffet breakfast each morning.

Spoil your senses, indulge your taste buds and explore some of the islands' famous natural attractions on SeaLink's fully inclusive two-day Food, Wine & Natural Wonders of Kangaroo Island Tour, including accommodation at the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat.

Visit Dudley Wines, Island Beehive, Kangaroo Island Spirits, Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks, Kelly Hill Conservation Park and Raptor Domain.

Enjoy canapes and champagne as the sun sets at Remarkable Rocks and gourmet meals at the Zone Restaurant, Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat, Sunset Food & Wine and a two-course gourmet picnic lunch.

The five-day Food, Wine and Natural Wonders of South Australia Package starts from $1182.50 per person, twin share

The seven-day Flinders Ranges & Barossa Day Tour Experience Package includes the Flinders Ranges Odysseys four-day all-inclusive Flinders Ranges Outback Tour, the Barossa Food & Wine Experience tour and three night's accommodation at the Majestic Roof Garden Hotel Adelaide with full buffet breakfast daily.

Discover the spectacular scenery of Wilpena Pound and the magnificent Flinders Ranges, the largest mountain range in South Australia, in style, on the four-day Flinders Ranges Outback Tour.

Explore the Flinders Ranges in luxury air-conditioned Mercedes Benz vehicles, in small groups of up to only eight people, accompanied by a personal local tour guide.

The tour visits Kanyaka Station Homestead Ruins, Rawnsley Bluff, Wilpena Pound, the Southern Flinders Ranges, the copper mining town of Blinman, Nilpena Station Ediacaran Experience, Quorn and Clare Valley.

Memorable dining experiences include, The Woolshed Restaurant and a four-course Lamb Tasting food experience with matching wines.

Enjoy accommodation at the award-winning Rawnsley Park Station and the famous Prairie Hotel at Parachilna.

The seven-day Flinders Ranges & Barossa Day Tour Experience starts from $3345 per person, twin share.

For further information and bookings contact SeaLink Holidays on T: 1300 559 820 or visit: https://www.sealink.com.au/saholidaybreaks

Sydney Fires Up For Winter

VIVID Sydney
Sydney's reputation as a Summer hot-spot is rightly deserved, but Winter gives you the chance to experience another side of the city. From the magic of Vivid Sydney, to spotting humpback whales on their annual migration and checking out some of its secret underground bars, Sydney has many unique events and activities that make it a top destination for travellers during the cooler months.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said “Sydney has so much to offer year round courtesy of an extensive events calendar, well-known driving routes into region and all-weather activities for all ages. The Harbour City really comes to life in Winter when Vivid Sydney – the largest festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere – kicks off from May 24 to June 15.”

“Sydney is an amazing Winter destination with a vast array of cultural, nature-based and sporting offerings. Now is the perfect time for visitors to begin planning their itineraries, securing flights and accommodation and mapping out their Sydney Winter activities,” said Sandra Chipchase, Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer.

Turn up the lights
Have you even 'done' Sydney if you haven't visited the city during Vivid Sydney? Now in its 11th year, this 23-day intersection of art, technology and commerce has become an unmissable event on the city's cultural calendar. So much more than the famous Light Walk, which curates more than 50 radiant works into the largest gallery of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, the festival's program also includes three weeks of game changing ideas and seminars along with amazing music throughout the city and surrounds. Highlights this year include everything from an audience with US director Spike Lee to The Cure at the Sydney Opera House, as well as Qweens Ball, Sydney's biggest queer op shop dress up spectacular.

Watch out for whales
Sydney's coastline offers a unique vantage point to spot whales making their annual migration from the cold Southern ocean to the warmer Pacific for breeding season. You can go on a whale watching tour, or grab a take-away fish and chips and perch on a headland along the coastline (such as the Bondi-to-Bronte walk) and look out for them as they pass.

Ice skate at the beach
Think Bondi, think surfers but in Winter there's a very different beachside activity happening. The Bondi Winter Magic Festival in June includes an ice rink at Bondi Pavilion. Where else in the world can you go ice skating just metres away from surfers?

Catch a flick or three
The Sydney Film Festival, from June 5-16, showcases the best films from around the world. Make the most of the offering, from family-friendly flicks to indie movies to award-winning films, with discounted Flexipasses of 10-30 tickets which can be shared between friends.

Mingle with the style set
Although MBFWA is predominantly a trade-only event, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Weekend Edition on 17 - 18 May, gives the general public a chance to view the new season trends. Guests can take part in a series of Style Session Seminars hosted by fashion industry leaders and editors, enjoy a drink and bite to eat in the MBFWE Hub, and even grab a front-row seat at the Closing Night Showcase presented by chic streetwear label, P.E. Nation.

Sing along to your favourite score
If you love your musicals, Sydney is the place to be this winter. Coming off the spectacular season end of West Side Story as part of Handa Opera on the Harbour, Sydney is playing host to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Capitol Theatre until June 23 then Chicago, starring Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Casey Donovan, from August 20. Two beloved movies, Saturday Night Fever and Muriel's Wedding have had stage adaptions and are playing at the Sydney Lyric Theatre, the first closes June 2 and the second starts June 28.

Find out your Star Wars Identity

STAR WARS™ Identities is on until June 10 and showcases 200 original objects used in the making of the blockbuster Star Wars movies. Visitors can discover the force that shapes them by creating their own bespoke Star Wars character as they journey through the exhibition.

Be an Iceberg for a day
The iconic Bondi Icebergs pool at the south end of the beach can be seen on Instagram feeds the world over. But did you know how it gets its name? The Bondi Icebergs is a Winter swimming club that race on Sundays between May and September. No wetsuits allowed. So take a dip and see if you've got what it takes to join the club.

Warm up at a whisky den
Sydney is home to some seriously good bars that know their whisky, so what better way to warm up than with a dram or three. Underground whisky lairs include The Baxter Inn, The Doss House, Mjolner and Ramblin' Rascal Tavern, you'll find Irish whisky galore at The Wild Rover and for Japanese whisky try Tokyo Bird.

Cheer on the Swannies
AFL is a uniquely Australian sport and seeing the Sydney Swans in full flight at the SCG is something to behold. Even if you're not big on sport, the electric atmosphere at the stadium will ensure you get into the spirit of the game.

Support the Blues
It's one of Australian sport's biggest rivalries and it's a chance to show your true colours. The State of Origin is a three-game grudge match that pits the best NSW players against the brightest that Queensland has to offer. We know it's not really a question of who will triumph, but getting behind the Blues is a question of state pride. The third, and usually most thrilling, match is at ANZ Stadium, Sydney on July 10.

Share your favourite Sydney and NSW holidays on social media by using the hashtag #IloveSydney or #NewSouthWales.

For more information on Winter events in New South Wales go to www.visitnsw.com or sydney.com

First Regular Steam Train Service in Modern History from London Waterloo to Windsor

This summer, The Steam Dreams Rail Co. is launching The Royal Windsor Steam Express, the first regular steam train service in modern history from London Waterloo to Windsor. The company is also launching the The Sunset Steam Express, a sunset dining experience through the picturesque Surrey Hills. Both trips will run from 4th June to 3rd September 2019.

Windsor by Luxury Steam Train
The Royal Windsor Steam Express will leave Waterloo at 08.02, 11.10 and 14.10 every Tuesday. This is the first time in modern history a regular steam service has operated between London Waterloo station and Royal Windsor. There will be three classes of travel including elegant 1950's Pullman Style Dining carriages as well as comfortable First Class Restaurant Cars.

The journey will follow the same route of the earlier Royal Trains that would transport members of the Royal Family, such as Meghan and Harry, from London to their castle in Windsor. First built in the 11th century, it is the largest continuously occupied castle in the world and home to English Kings and Queens from William the Conqueror to the present Elizabeth II.

Tickets start at £35 (approx. AUS $64/NZ $68) up to £85 (approx. AUS $156/NZ $166) per person for the Pullman Style Dining experience with Champagne brunch. Table service for snacks and drinks will be available throughout the rest of the train and picnics welcome. Tickets can be purchased online or at the station on the day.
www.royalwindsorsteamexpress.co.uk

Sunset Dining – Pullman Style
The Sunset Steam Express will leave London's Waterloo Station at 18:00 for a four hour round trip through the Surrey Hills – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Dinner will be served en route in the elegant 1950's Pullman Style Dining carriages.

The train will head south across the suburbs of London, pass through the historic Cathedral town of Guildford and take the steep climb through the Surrey Hills before descending the Vale of Holmesdale and back to Waterloo via the market towns of Dorking and Reigate.

Prices from £99 (approx. AUS $182/NZ $194) per person in Premier Dining up to £129 (approx. AUS $237/NZ $253) per person travelling Pullman Style Dining; a private compartment for four with dinner will cost £449 (approx. AUS $826/NZ $879). A standard ticket at £49 (approx. AUS $90/NZ $95) offers seating at tables where snacks can be purchased and picnics are welcome.
www.sunsetsteamexpress.co.uk

Both trains on these experiences will usually be pulled by a B1 Class Locomotive - 'Mayflower' - built in 1948 and sporting its original British Rail apple green livery.

High resolution video and interior and exterior shots available on request.

To book please call + 44 (0)1483 209888 between 9.00am – 5.30pm on weekdays.

Let Us Guide You - Top Tours in Tassie

Want to access some of Tassie's best-kept secrets? You don't have to go it alone - we've got local guides and tour groups on standby to help you access places and experiences you wouldn't be able to otherwise.

If you want to really explore that connection of paddock to plate, or on this island ocean to plate, then start with a food tour. Tarkine Fresh Oysters at Smithton on the North West coast offer a behind the scenes look at their oyster farm including tastings of their freshly shucked and delicately cooked oysters.

Exploring kunanyi/Mt Wellington should be on every visitor to Hobart's list and Walk On kunanyi will show you a different side of this incredible natural playground. If time isn't an issue and you're up for a challenge their Iconic Ascent is a full day walk that starts at the Derwent Estuary and ends at the 1271m later at the pinnacle of kunanyi/Mt Wellington. The Spring to the Summit and Mountain Gems walks will also give you spectacular views but can be done in less time and are a little easier on the quads.

Still down South, there's a lot to take in on Bruny Island and you can make the most of it with the Overnight Explorer tour. Run across two days, the tour heads out sightseeing across the island while stopping to taste all of its delicacies (it's heaven for cheese lovers for a start!). If you've got more time up your sleeve and want to book a longer tour, the three day Bruny Island Walk will get your legs moving all over the island. Group numbers are capped at eight, creating a group dynamic where you won't have to struggle to get the guide's attention or jostle for the best photo position.

Add water into the mix on an adrenaline-filled river adventure with River Sledding Tasmania such as The Mighty Meander River experience, which will send you downstream in a raft, soaking up the sights while tackling the rapids. You don't need to be a pro at whitewater rafting to give it a go. The rapids are grade one and grade two, fine for novices, and you'll be guided throughout the four-hour tour. Another rafting option is Tassie Bound Adventure's Kayak Tour, starting from Truffle Lodge in the Derwent Valley. The three-hour tour takes place on the picturesque Derwent River – and if you're lucky, you may even spot a platypus or two.

A drier way to feel the wind in your hair is being chauffeured around the northwest coast in a sidecar. Sidecar Tours Tasmania, based in Sheffield, offer specialty trips such as a produce tour and a winery tour. The sidecar has room for two, so snuggle in with your love (or your mate!) to keep warm now the cooler months are here. For a bigger set of wheels, try Roam Wild's Mountain Heights 4x4 adventure departing from Queenstown on Tasmania's wild west coast. It's an easy drive up the mountain, with amazing views of Cradle Mountain and the Franklin/Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.