Friday, May 15, 2009

Best Western Rugs Up For Ski Season

The first snowflakes are already falling and Best Western properties in New Zealand are filling up fast for what promises to be a bumper season.

Best Western has five properties, perfectly located within 20 minutes to two hour’s of New Zealand’s best ski resorts. For those people skiing in Cardrona, The Remarkables, Coronet Peak or Treble Cone, Best Western has two properties in close proximity. The Best Western Cranbury Court Apartments (Queenstown) is located less than 20 minutes drive from The Remarkables and features large, self-contained apartments that sleep one to seven people. Each apartment features a full kitchen, internal laundry and cosy under-floor heating.

The Best Western Belvedere Luxury Apartments (Wanaka) features luxurious two-bedroom apartments with gas fire, entertainment system, saunas and ski drying rooms and a glorious mountain view. Perfectly located, the property is nestled in at the bottom of the ski fields, less than 20 minutes drive to the top.

On the North Island, the Best Western Clyde on Riccarton (Christchurch) is an easy two-hour drive to Broken River and Craigieburn Valley ski fields. The four-star-plus Qualmark-rated property features large, self-contained apartments with kitchen facilities and spa baths.

For something a little different, the Best Western Camelot Motor Inn (Christchurch) is a modern day castle, built and decorated in the style of King Arthur. The property features king-sized units ranging from studios, one and two-bedroom apartments or the huge four-bedroom lodge. Facilities include a large swimming pool, spa and DVD library.
Even in Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest ski area, Best Western has a property within close proximity. Just one hour’s drive north, the Best Western Braeside Resort (Rotorua) features a wide variety of rooms equipped with kitchenette or full kitchen. Facilities include a heated swimming pool, mini golf, spas, a games room and close proximity to geothermal spas and mud pools for warming up after a day on the slopes.
For more information or, to book accommodation at a Best Western property in New Zealand, call 131 779 (from Australia), 0800 237 893 (from New Zealand) or log on to

Qantas Frequent Flyer releases extra Classic Award seats

Qantas Frequent Flyer members can take advantage of 50 percent extra Classic Award seats on selected international Qantas flights* for travel between 1 August and 15 September 2009.

Mr Simon Hickey, Chief Executive Officer Qantas Loyalty, said Qantas Frequent Flyers will me able to access the extra seats released to Asia, New Zealand and the USA.

“Extra seats are available in both Economy and Premium cabins, all of which are available at the Classic Award seat points level,” Mr. Hickey said.

Over 850,000 additional Classic Award seats will be made available to Qantas Frequent Flyers on selected domestic flights for travel between 1 August and 15 September.#

Bookings are available until 12 June 2009 or until sold out.
*Flights to and from Noumea, Tokyo, Frankfurt and London are excluded.
# Flights to and from Darwin, Alice Springs, Ayers Rock and Broome are excluded.

TWO HOT Winter Deals……..

Stay for 3 nights or more in one of our Touch of Spice Private Villas during the month of May or June and receive your next night FREE!*

Book any Touch of Spice Villa in Queenstown or Wanaka and enjoy a private in-house ski boot fitting, a welcome dinner of fresh lasagna, salad and crusty bread and a bottle of the best local pinot noir for just $250 + GST per party**

Private Villa Collection Our Private Villa Collection has something for everyone from the privacy of your own island retreat in the North Island to a villa just a few minutes from the ski fields in the South Island. The latest Queenstown addition to the Private Villa Collection is Lakeview - a stunning split level New York style townhouse apartment located just a couple of minutes walk from the town centre. With 3 bedrooms, all with ensuites, an integrated entertainment system, private courtyard garden, pool table, garage parking and stylish interior this villa is a fabulous property for your next holiday to Queenstown.

*terms and conditions apply; direct bookings only; not valid for all Private Villa Collection properties; please contact us for confirmation

**terms and conditions apply; direct bookings only; based on 6 guests; please contact us for confirmation

Special Update - Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa

The Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa, Fiji’s premier 4.5 Star holiday destination is pleased to announce the extension of its FABULOUS STAY 6 / PAY 3 Special.

Available for Sale until 30th September 2009 with travel through until the 31 March 2010, this GREAT VALUE FOR MONEY deal is proving to be very popular amongst couples and families wishing to get the most out of their Fiji Holiday experience.

In addition to this 50% reduction in accommodation, the Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa is also offering guests the opportunity to SAVE MORE with its Meal Deal Offer priced at F$75pp whilst Kids Under 14 years STAY & EAT FREE.

At a time when the need for a great holiday getaway is often conflicting with the need to avoid spending, this Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa Offer offers every discerning traveler the opportunity to enjoy a well deserved holiday without having to bust your budget.

Sealink's Hot SUPERGOLD Car and Driver Deals

Ferry operator SeaLink has announced a further travel initiative for SuperGold cardholders this winter.

The company is offering a special fare of $99 for a car and driver when travelling to Waiheke Island during SuperGold travel times.

“Currently the SuperGold transport initiative only applies to walk-on and car passengers, not to the car and driver” said general manager Donna Gauci “however to see and do more on Waiheke seniors really need to have a car.” SeaLink recognises that not everyone wants to just come for the day and for those that want the comfort and flexibility of having their own car on the island this offer makes Waiheke very affordable. “If four people were to pool together, at $25 each it represents excellent value.”

SeaLink is also running a winter campaign “Are you free? Because we are!” offering heavily discounted packages for anyone taking their car to the island mid-week. This offer gives two people free travel on the ferry and a third night’s accommodation free. There is also the option of paying for four nights and getting two more for free. “This offer is open to everyone” said Mrs Gauci and it also represents exceptional value to SuperGold cardholders too.”

The SuperGold cardholder special is valid for May through to August.

The “Are you Free?” deals are on sale from Monday 18th May and are valid for travel from 8th June – 26th September 2009.

The Wonderfully Warm Waters of the Whitsundays Await!

Autumn in the Whitsundays is beautiful and thanks to Sunsail Yacht Charters you could be cruising these magnificent sailing grounds for as little as AUD$71* a night.

The world’s leading sailing holiday company is offering additional free nights to entice visitors to these amazing north Queensland islands before July 3, 2009. Simply charter any Sunsail monohull or the Lagoon 380 or Sunsail 404 catamarans before this date and receive the following free extra nights deal:

* Pay for 5 nights, sail for 6 - 1 NIGHT FREE!
* Pay for 6 nights, sail for 8 - 2 NIGHTS FREE!

Previous Sunsail customers can also use this offer in conjunction with their charterer loyalty discount of up to 10 per cent.

“With this amazing offer you could be sailing the Whitsundays from as little as AUD$71* per person per night,” said Sunsail’s marketing manager Kim Lehmann.

"The Whitsundays have 74 tropical islands to explore - most of them uninhabited - with amazing coral reefs and great bushwalks through pristine forests. What better place to get away for a relaxing break this autumn than the wonderfully warm waters of the Whitsundays.”

Flights arrive every day from major cities into Hamilton Island airport in the Whitsundays. And because the Sunsail base is only three minutes away in the air-conditioned courtesy bus, you can be on board and sailing out the harbour within a couple of hours, following your safety briefing. Sunsail can even provision your boat for you.

Sunsail's fleet of high-specification luxury yachts and catamarans cater for every kind of sailing experience and holiday, and yachts can be hired with or without a skipper.

Guests' comfort is as important as the safety and performance of the yachts, which are built to Sunsail's exacting standards in conjunction with the world's top yacht designers.

For more information call 1800 803 988 or visit

*Note: Price example based on 6 passengers on a Sunsail Oceanis 361, excluding yacht damage waiver, fuel and Marine Park fees. All offers apply to new bookings only and are subject to availability.

Coral Princess’s Great Barrier Reef Cruise Giveaway

Cruising with Coral Princess has just become even better value. For new bookings made by June 30, 2009 on a range of destinations and departures, Coral Princess Cruises is offering a second cruise on the Great Barrier Reef, valued at up to AUD$4392 per couple, for free.

Book a cruise with Coral Princess to explore the Kimberley, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia or Across the Top of Australia on selected departures between September 2009 and March 2010 to receive a complimentary three- or four-night Great Barrier Reef cruise.

The second cruise can be taken at any time in the next year, or can be passed on to family members as a gift that will earn a lifetime of brownie points!

Coral Princess’s 72-berth Oceanic Discoverer is small enough to reach remote bays, islands and villages that other inaccessible to larger ships, yet large enough to offer the comfort and facilities of bigger vessels. The ship was purpose-built by Coral Princess Cruises to offer first-class, nature-based adventure cruises to some of the world’s most remote and fascinating regions including Papua New Guinea, the Kimberley coast and the isolated islands of Melanesia. Shore and boat excursions are guided by naturalists and experts who interpret the natural, cultural and historical highlights of the region.

Coral Princess Cruises pioneered the concept of small ship expedition cruising on the Great Barrier Reef over a quarter of a century ago, and has since become Australia’s most awarded small ship cruise operator. It remains wholly Australian, family-owned and staffed.

Prices start at AUD$6450 per person in a twin share cabin on the 11-night Across The Top of Australia cruise between Darwin and Cairns. The Kimberley or Papua New Guinea 10-night expeditions start from AUD$7750 per person twin share and 13-night Melanesia cruise from AUD$10500 per person twin share. Prices include accommodation, all meals, lectures and services of expedition staff on board, group transfers, activities and excursions during the cruise, and landing fees. The free Great Barrier Reef cruise offer is available on a select range of departures for each of these destinations.

For further information and reservations call 1800 079 545 or visit

Cruise Sydney’s Winter Wonderland

Witness the magical beauty of Sydney Harbour this winter on Captain Cook Cruises two nights Sydney Weekender cruise aboard the MV Captain Cook’s Explorer and bring a partner or friend for half the price. As an added surprise the cruise departing July 10th will celebrate Christmas in July.

Captain Cook’s Explorer is scheduled to sail over winter on June 12th, July 10th and August 28th, 2009 from No. 1 King Street Wharf, for a two night leisurely cruise packed full of fine food and wine, spectacular views, sightseeing, excellent service, exciting shore excursions, music, dancing and relaxation.

The harbour is picturesque in winter with the mist rising off the water and the early colourful sunsets and this unique cruise allows Sydney’s tourists and locals to see and discover Sydney like never before, her magnificent harbour, famous sights and hidden coves and beaches.

Sydney Harbour offers over 250 kilometres of foreshore to discover. Living up to her name, the Explorer visits the most beautiful areas accessible by water; Watson’s Bay, the Rocks, Bradley’s Head, Botanical Gardens, Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers.

There is also plenty of time ashore. Stroll through the Botanic Gardens, explore the historic Rocks district and the old artillery emplacement on Bradley’s Heads and relax beachside or take a walk to the gap at Watson’s Bay. Like winter, the beauty of this cruise is you can be as lazy or as active as you want to be.

Dining on board is first class and guaranteed to warm you up with hearty buffet breakfasts, al fresco luncheons featuring fresh local seafood and the elegant Captain’s Dinner with live music and dancing with the city skyline as the perfect backdrop.

The ship has 60 cosy cabins for overnight comfort with a choice of twin or double berths all with harbour views and ensuite facilities.

Winter cruises start from AUD$470 per person twin share for the first person and from $235 per person twin share for the second person. Prices include all accommodation, meals, on-board facilities and most on shore excursions.

For reservations and enquiries please contact Captain Cook Cruises toll free on 1800 804 843, Int +61-2-9206 1111 or visit

Hilton Brisbane Unveils Striking New Deluxe Accommodation

Following a AUD$6 million refurbishment the Hilton Brisbane launched its newly refurbished Executive Plus Rooms and magnificent King Hilton Suites, cementing the hotel’s position at the cutting edge of the city’s hospitality market.

Designed by Gillian Gray of Gillian Gray Design, the seventy five light and spacious Executive Plus Rooms feature the Hilton Serenity Bed and linen collection (exclusive to Hilton), a stylish glass desk, high speed wireless Internet access, 32 inch LCD TV, a comfortable rest area with an ergonomic relaxation chair and new bathroom with a walk-in shower. Five new suites offer comfort and relaxation through distinct sleep, work and relaxation zones. Showcasing the latest in modern technology the rooms feature ambient mood lighting, LCD TV, ergonomic work zone and hydra-spa bath.

Executive Plus Rooms

The Executive Plus Rooms feature unique and luxurious furnishings including sustainable walnut veneers that are eco-friendly, combined with deep taupe giving a high gloss lacquer finish, which gives a nice reflective quality to the overall appearance of the room. Splashes of green and red throughout the rooms create a contemporary, yet warm ambience and an unusual large scale pattern woven carpet has been used to create a complete sense of luxury.

Eye-catching features in the Executive Plus rooms include the new European Arper lounge chair designed by Stylecraft (the first major installation of the chair in Australia) and the striking Herman Miller Leaf Light, a sculptural LED desk lamp, designed by Yves Behar.,

Each new room features a completely refurbished executive bathroom including a walk-in shower and ‘Raindance’ three spray function shower head.

Hilton Suites

The revitalised King Hilton Suites are some of the largest and most attractive suites available in Brisbane. Featuring designer furnishings and distinct areas for work and relaxation, the suites give guests a truly deluxe hotel experience.

The bedroom or relaxation zone features the Hilton Serenity Bed & linen collection, R. Earnshaw bedroom chaise lounge and ottoman and a Tangent Blauet lamp.

A Philipe Stark floor lamp is a focal point in the lounge and dining area and a Jardan Frank lounge with chaise provide stylish, yet deeply comfortable seating. Peacock blue accented pillows, Jardan Frank lounge chair with polished metal arms and a custom curved underside coffee table complete the lounge and dining area.

The work zone features contemporary custom furnishings that include an ergonomically designed glass and stainless steel desk with convenient power and Internet (high-speed wireless Internet is also available) ports directly adjacent to the desk. A Herman Miller Leaf Light and Knoll mesh Executive chair help to make work in the room a pleasure.
The bathroom zone offers guests a lot of space with dual sinks, walk-in shower and hydra-spa bath. The bathroom is separated from the bedroom by floor to ceiling clear glass panel allowing guests to view the panorama of Brisbane through external windows from the bath.

Guests choosing to stay in the new Executive Plus rooms or King Hilton Suites have access to the exclusive Executive Lounge on Level 25 of the hotel, serving a continental breakfast, all day refreshments and evening drinks and canapés.

Since opening its doors in 1986, the Hilton Brisbane has been regarded a true international hotel. The only hotel to be designed by award-winning Australian architect Harry Seidler, Hilton Brisbane features an eye-catching curved design and boasts the largest atrium in Australasia, stretching 83 metres in height and topped by a spectacular glass dome. All of the accommodation levels open out onto the atrium, giving the hotel a sense of spaciousness and light.

Get A Bird's-Eye View Of The World's Largest Animal

Get the ultimate view of the largest animal ever seen on Earth -or more accurately, in its oceans- on the world’s first dedicated blue whale watching helicopter flight in Victoria, Australia.

Blue whales tend to stay well offshore, so a helicopter ride provides the best opportunity to appreciate these magnificent creatures in their entirety. A world first in ecotourism, the blue whale watching heli tours on the world-famous Great Ocean Road are operated as exclusive 30-minute experiences by specialist Heli Explore.

The air tour follows these gentle giants’ course in the water, allowing passengers to see more than the small section of backbone and tail normally spotted from the deck of a sea vessel.

In particular, passengers can enjoy the captivating sight of the whales’ skin as it changes colour from a dappled grey when exposed to the air to true blue underwater - then stay well clear as these rare and endangered creatures exhale water as high as nine metres into the air!

An adult blue whale can measure up to 100 feet (30.5 metres) from head to tail and can weigh as much as 150 tons.

Although the species has been on the endangered list since the mid-1960s (having been hunted to the point of extinction in the 20th century), recovery has been slow. Nowadays there are estimated to be only 10,000 blue whales and they can be found only in five locations across the world, including western Victoria in Australia.

For more information on the blue whale watching heli-tour please visit Prices start from AU$210 (approximately £103) per person. Tours take place from November to May.

For more information on Melbourne and the Australian state of Victoria please visit

Starwood Hotels Asia/Pacific Smart Savers Promo

Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Asia-Pacific announce the launch of Smart Savers promotion. The Smart Savers Promotion reward travelers who book early ( from 7 days to 30 days in advance ) by offering them generous savings on the room rates as well as complimentary breakfast during their stay. This offer is tailored to travellers today who are booking their trips at the last minute with the anticipation of getting better rates the later they book. Smart Savers allow bookers to enjoy such savings whilst having the piece of mind of having a room booked from having planned early. Smart Savers is available from now until 31st October 2009.

Bookings can be made by contacting Starwood Customer Contact centers worldwide, the participating hotels, or by going online to,

Smart Savers promotion is now available in more than 140 hotels in Starwood Hotel & Resorts in Asia Pacific, in over 20 countries including many popular travel destinations such as China, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Participating brands include aloft, Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Four Points by Sheraton, W and Le Méridien.

Travelers can also find out more details on the promotion as well as a list of destinations and hotels at

Note: Terms and Conditions apply*.

Luxury Heliski Adventure In NZ!

The best snowfalls and the most varied terrain combine to make Canterbury’s Southern Alps among the best heliskiing in the Southern Hemisphere. Now thrill-seeking skiers and snowboarders can combine a stay in the most exquisite luxury accommodation with heliski rides in some of the country’s highest peaks, for as little as $890 a day.

A HELiPRO-Southern Alps Heli Ski day will give you five thrilling runs in the South Island’s Southern Alps Heliski Area (average 19,000 feet vertical per day!), then you will return to cosy Otahuna Lodge to thaw, with its 15 open fireplaces and nightly five-course degustation après-ski dinners with matching wines and liqueurs.

You’ll enjoy one of seven exquisite private suites – some with an open fire in the bathroom to soak sore limbs after a big day on the slopes.

The Lodge is just 20 minutes from Christchurch International Airport. A helicopter from the Lodge’s lawn can transport you to the slopes in under an hour, taking in spectacular coastlines, mountain passes, ice-blue rivers and snow-capped peaks. Otherwise, ski fields can be accessed within 2 hours by car and then board your helicopter for an amazing day heliskiing or in the Helipark.

Southern Alps Heliski terrain is in the peaks of Two Thumb and Cloudy Peak ranges, near Mt Cook, allowing access to long runs and fantastic snow quality. The highest peak is 2546m, the longest run an awesome 3.16km and the average snowfall an impressive 4.8m per season. HELiPRO-Southern Alps Heliski takes only 12 clients per day, so you get one-one-one time with guide and instructor and guaranteed clear runs.

Otahuna Lodge is one of New Zealand’s most impressive luxury venues, built in 1895 and reopened under new owners on 1 May 2007 after a huge four-month renovation of the house and 12ha gardens. UK society magazine Tatler has named it one of the World’s 101 Best Hotels.

Suites start at NZ$562.50 a night per person in winter, which includes breakfast, dinner and wines, plus use of the heated Jacuzzi, heated pool, tennis court and gym.

OTAHUNA LODGE & HELiPRO SKI 2009 PACKAGE 2 nights accommodation, 1 day helicopter transfer (2p), 1 day heliskiing for only $3712.50 pp. OR

DESIGN YOUR OWN HELISKI ADVENTURE Add another day of heliskiing with 5 runs for $890pp. Additional runs for only $99 Additional helicopter transfer from Otahuna Lodge to Mt Potts (2p) - $3395 Or charter your own helicopter for $3500/hr, including lunch and guides. *Package includes breakfast, canapés, five-course dinner with wines and mountain-top lunch and ski guide. Ski and equipment hire not included. Conditions apply.

Bookings: Phone Otahuna Lodge +64 3 329 6333 or email Visit

Huka Lodge - Autumn / Winter events 2009

A series of inspirational guest chef and winemaker’s dinners are offered for your enjoyment over the months to come, and our legendary log fires will be blazing throughout. Take the opportunity to visit Huka Lodge and to enjoy our hospitality and all the property has to offer – including the sublime new two bedroom Alan Pye Cottage.

As autumn and winter approach we are pleased to announce details of our annual presentation of events at Huka Lodge. These coincide with our most favourable mid-season rates and all events are presented at no additional cost, beyond our tariff.


Saturday 6 June 2009

Dietmar Sawyere presents a stunning Berowra Waters Inn dinner.

Dietmar Sawyere is known for his culinary talent, his drive and his vision. This is evident at his Forty One Restaurant, which has won no less than 45 Best Restaurant and Wine Awards and since late 2007, with the opening of the new Berowra Waters Inn.

Once an Australian dining legend, since Gay Bilson closed the doors in 1995, the original Glenn Murcutt designed building was on the point of collapse. Sawyere and his design team, have created a wonderful new and equally iconic Berowra Waters Inn.

For one evening only, Dietmar will present a five-course dinner featuring his signature Berowra Waters Inn dishes at Huka Lodge.


Saturday 27 June 2009

A splendid Pinot Noir dinner draws from winery’s special reserves.

In just twenty-one vintages Gibbston Valley Wines has established an outstanding reputation for producing some of New Zealand’s finest cool climate wines – in particular Pinot Noir. Winning more awards and trophies for this variety than any other.

Gibbston Valley Winemaker, Christopher Keys and Director of Sales & Export, Claudio Heye will be presenting some of their finest Pinot Noirs, including a rare selection from their reserve collection, to share with you at this unique and memorable event.

Executive Chef David Griffiths and his team will be creating a five-course dinner especially designed to complement this selection of superb wines.


Saturday 8 August 2009

Australia’s best new talent returns home, to cook at Huka Lodge.

New Zealand-born Ben Shewry is causing a sensation in Australia. Chef at Melbourne’s Attica, Ben has been responsible for a slew of accolades and awards for this restaurant recently. Ben was awarded Best Dish of The Year for his smoked trout broth, crackling basil seeds with fresh smoke. Attica was awarded The Age Good Food Guide Restaurant of The Year and also two chefs hats within the Food Guide. 2009 sees Attica amongst the 20 international stars in the prestigious Food and Wine magazine.

At just 30, Ben has already achieved enormous recognition and a reputation for originality, enthusiasm and passion. His style is uniquely his own.


Saturday 22 August 2009

Yalumba’s Robert Hill Smith hosts a 160-year anniversary dinner.

A fifth generation descendant of Samuel Smith, who founded Australia’s famous Yalumba in 1849, Robert Hill Smith will personally host this truly memorable Big Red Dinner at Huka Lodge.

In 1985 Robert was appointed Managing Director of Yalumba, following a strong family tradition and ensuring Yalumba’s continuing success.
Yalumba wines have a style all of their own and each have been influenced by a diverse range of elements.

Yalumba’s history, spirit of progress and innovation are the envy of winemakers the world over, with the wines that define this fabulous Big Red Dinner totally embodying this philosophy.


Saturday 5 September 2009

Central Otago’s finest – Mt Difficulty Wines at Huka Lodge.

Situated in Bannockburn, a unique and rare area of extremes, within the rugged South Island, Mt Difficulty has harnessed the once brutal terrain to produce premium wines at the forefront of Central Otago’s production.

All wines that carry the Mt Difficulty label are subject to a strict criteria. They have to be sourced from vineyards situated in a very specific area – Bannockburn, south of the Kawarau River, and they are to be under the umbrella of the Mt Difficulty management team. The reasons for these self-imposed constraints are that they believe this to be an area with very special qualities for growing grapes and that the management of the vineyard is reflected in the quality of the ultimate product.

Another element of particular interest is the nature of the soils. Mt Difficulty believe that diversity and complexity are essential elements that go toward the production of a well balanced wine.

To share some of Mt Difficulty’s finest wines with you, including wines from their reserve library, is host Matt Dicey, Winemaker and General Manager.
Matt who has been with the label since 1999 has a lifelong association with the wine industry, and is a fourth generation vigneron.

Executive Chef David Griffiths and his team will present a fabulous five-course dinner to accompany these very special wines.


Saturday 19 September 2009

An elegant, contemporary five-course menu accompanied by Champagne.

A fitting finalé to this year’s events season is the Champagne Bollinger Dinner. A gala event and a celebration of the new partnership between Champagne Bollinger and Huka Lodge. These exquisite five courses will be accompanied by and expertly matched to, the finest Champagne Bollinger.

The history of Bollinger, founded in 1829 in the village of Aÿ in Champagne, is the history of a family who have dedicated their lives to their passion and specialist expertise.

To guide you through the fabulous vintages that have been selected for this dinner we have Clive Weston, Managing Director of Negociants New Zealand, who have been the New Zealand importers of Bollinger Champagne for the last 25 years.


David Griffiths takes The Huka Retreats around the world.

A very busy time ahead for Executive Chef David Griffiths as he is in demand to present a series of guest chef dinners over the next few months.

First port of call is Bathers’ Pavilion Restaurant, Sydney where David will present Huka Lodge signature dishes in two menu selections, from 20 May – 23 May 2009. Diners who select this menu, accompanied by Craggy Range Wines can go into a draw for two, to fly business class Sydney – Auckland return with Emirates, and stay for two-nights at Huka Lodge.

Emirates, the multi-award winning airline is now operating the A380 super jumbo to Auckland daily. Featuring the world’s first on-board shower spas, an on-board lounge and fully flat Business Class seating with every seat having aisle access and over 1,000 channels of on demand in-flight entertainment.

On to Accoutrement Sydney’s best cook school in nearby Mosman, where David is to present a cooking demonstration featuring Huka Lodge cuisine, the following week on 26 May 2009.

01 – 14 July 2009, Ciel Bleu Restaurant, renowned for its fine dining, at Hotel Okura Amsterdam will present a degustation menu featuring Huka Lodge cuisine and award-winning wines from The Huka Retreats sister property Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate in South Africa and Craggy Range Wines from Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.

Every year, Ciel Bleu presents an event focusing on Dutch citizens who are prominent in the international culinary scene. This year the honour of this event at Hotel Okura Amsterdam has been accorded to Alex van Heeren.


Alan Pye Cottage guests enjoy superb enhancement to property.

Named after the charming Irishman who founded Huka Lodge in the 1920s, this new two-bedroom Cottage is a fitting companion to the fabulous four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage.
Both these exclusive cottages offer the ultimate hospitality experience; with privacy and seclusion, a highly considered level of comfort and amenity, personal chef and butler service and unrivalled magical riverside locations.

The Alan Pye Cottage is certain to carry on the fine tradition of generous hospitality and elegant living established by Alan Pye so long ago. A legacy that drives Huka Lodge to this day to continue to find more ways to define the experience for its guests – and to make it extraordinary.


From 01 May – 30 September 2009 the Huka Lodge tariff is from NZ$730.00 + gst per person, per night (double/twin occupancy), for a Lodge Room. The Owner’s Cottage and Alan Pye Cottage range from NZ$3,060.00 + gst per couple, per night (double/twin occupancy). A minimum two-night stay is required for both of the Cottages.

Rates are inclusive of accommodation, pre-dinner drinks, superb five-course dinner, country breakfast, use of all Lodge facilities, and Taupo Airport transfers if required.

While every endeavour will be made to follow this programme of ‘Events’ in the order and form in which it is currently published, there could be last-minute changes due to circumstances beyond our control.

Huka Lodge
P O Box 95
Taupo 3351 New Zealand
T+64 7 378 5791 F+64 7 378 0427

Grande Provence
P O Box 102
Franschhoek 7690 South Africa
T+27 21 876 8600 F+27 21 876 8601

Dolphin Island
P O Box 95 Taupo 3351 New Zealand
T+64 7 378 5791 F+64 7 378 0427

AirAsia's First Direct Connection Between Bali, Indonesia and Perth, Australia

AirAsia today reveals its new international route from Perth to Bali.

This is a genuine sale with free flights for just $77 taxes Perth – Bali and $10 taxes Bali – Perth.

Booking period is only from 5-10 May 09 for travel between 17 July 09 – 31st Jan 2010.

Promotional seats are limited and available on first-come, first-served basis.

* Fare quoted is for one way travel only


Flights From Departure / Arrival Flight No Frequency Aircraft
Denpasar-Perth 0:30am / 4:10 am QZ 8620 Daily A320
Perth-Denpasar 4:50am / 8:30 am QZ 8621 Daily A320

A Remarkable Retreat | Celebrate the cool season on Kangaroo Island at Southern Ocean Lodge

Southern Ocean Lodge celebrates the Kangaroo Island cool season with the Remarkable Retreat bonus package, including local epicurean delights, Southern Spa treatments and one complimentary night’s accommodation when staying four.

The cool season sees Kangaroo Island at its wild, wintry best; the island comes alive as the Southern Ocean is first heaving, twisted by fierce storms with stories of ships dashed against rocks by night; then glassy calm, cobalt blue against the chalk white limestone cliffs as a Southern Right Whale might slip by, tipping a fin in salute en route to the Great Australian Bight to calve.

It’s the scene of a winter’s tale – full of adventure and folklore, and of quiet contemplation of wilderness at its most pure. It’s a green season; rivers rush, rich pastures grow to tickle the sheep’s tummies, an abundance of native wildlife emerges from the shelter of the shade so precious in summer to roam freely, to the delight of all. Kangaroo and koala joeys venture from their mothers’ pouches, and the female echidna heads a train of up to eight keen male contenders, who’ll follow her till the prickly end!

Arrive to the luxe base camp from which to both retreat and experience it all - Southern Ocean Lodge, by an eerie cathedral pathway of dense, ghostly white Mallee. A haven of relaxed luxury and welcoming sophistication, floor to ceiling windows in the Great Room open to the grand sweep of untouched horizons of sea and land. It’s the perfect season for eating and drinking well - guests experience a wealth of fine local cuisine; free farmed lamb, beef, chicken and eggs, sheeps milk yoghurts and cheeses and organic greens, or enjoy a smooth SA red in the warm glow of the suspended fireplace. Contemporary suites styled with local limestone and custom furnishings invite time spent relaxing with a book or the company of a loved one, with the spectacular Southern Ocean beyond.

Stay four nights on the Remarkable Retreat from just $2,700 per person, including one night’s accommodation with our compliments, and save up to $3,600 in the super luxe Osprey Pavilion. Guests can retreat to a treatment at the secluded Southern Spa with two $50 spa treatment vouchers and take home a hamper of KI epicurean delights for a lasting gastronomic memory of their very own winter’s tale. Valid May 1 – August 31, 2009.

Limited time bonus: reserve a retreat before May 31, 2009 and receive a complimentary upgrade to the next superior suite – be quick to stay and save in style!

Reservations | T (61) 2 9918 4355 | E
Media Enquiries | E | W

New Menus Mean More Choice for Passengers

P&O Cruises has completed a major revamp of its menus focusing on fresh, local produce and flavourful combinations that Australians love.

The new menus, which mark the completion of a nine-month program to enhance the dining experience across P&O Cruises’ fleet, have been designed in response to passenger requests to keep their favourite dishes available throughout their holiday.

Highlights of the new food offering include:
· A new lunch menu that includes almost 50 different contemporary offerings such as poached Tasmanian salmon, lime and pepper calamari, Thai chicken and lychee salad and traditional Vietnamese chicken pho
· An a la carte dinner menu featuring about 20 of passengers’ most-loved dishes, alongside a five-course extravaganza that changes daily
· A range of signature dishes created by P&O Cruises’ award-winning chefs, including spiced duck with peach and sweet chilli compote and seared fillet of coral trout with Sapphire Bay prawn ragout
· A simplified breakfast menu in the main dining room that allows passengers to mix-and-match ingredients to create their own meals.

The new dishes were created to complement the all-Australian and New Zealand wine list now available onboard Pacific Sun and Pacific Dawn.

P&O Cruises Vice President of Hotel Operations, Sture Myrmell, said the changes were designed to reflect the rapidly growing interest in food and wine among Australians.

“Australians are creative and have high expectations when it comes to dining and we want to exceed those expectations,” Mr Myrmell said.

“We are taking the onboard culinary experience to a different level with our fresh new dishes which reflect what our passengers want.”

Both the Sydney-based Pacific Dawn and the Brisbane-based Pacific Sun will feature the new menus from this week.

Pacific Dawn, which will be based in Brisbane from December, features 11 decks with two swimming pools, a choice of five evening dining areas, nine bars and lounges, “The Dome” entertainment area, a two-storey show lounge and fitness centre.

Australia’s favourite ship, Pacific Sun, now features a new child-free Oasis spa retreat, ocean-view gym and coffee bar, as well as five restaurants and cafes, multiple bars and lounges and two pools.

Meanwhile, P&O Cruises latest ship, Pacific Jewel, which will sail from Sydney from December, offers a range of extra features from private balcony cabins through to a large onboard spa facility with ocean-view treatment rooms, a child-free oasis and a circus show with a high-wire act.

For more information about P&O Cruises call 13 24 69 or visit

Total Eclipse Of Your Heart – Tahiti 2010

This will not be an eclipse viewing for the masses, but a unique experience for a lucky few.

Explorers Tours earlier this week has announced a spectacular set of itineraries for the 2010 eclipse in Tahiti. Located in the middle of the south Pacific 3,000 miles from the nearest major land-mass, those lucky enough to book the expedition will observe over 3 ½ minutes of darkness from a tiny atoll which is home to just 1,500 inhabitants.

The 2010 eclipse is remarkable due to the unique nature of the very few available observation points. From where the moon’s shadow first touches the earth’s surface in the South Pacific Ocean, some 1,000 miles north east of New Zealand, to where it ends in Patagonia, the path of totality only makes landfall in three places; the Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island. All are exceptionally remote and very small islands – journey times are long, transport links are limited and infrastructure on the ground is basic. This will not be an eclipse viewing for the masses, but a unique experience for a lucky few.

The expedition will be led by eminent astronomer Dr John Mason MBE. The total solar eclipse will be being observed from the tiny atoll of Hao in the Tuamotu Islands some 500 miles from Tahiti. Hao is 500 miles from the nearest international airport and 3,000 miles from the nearest major land-mass. Guests will be spending two nights on this tiny atoll.

Three itineraries are available follows:
o Standard 10 day itinerary taking in Tahiti and the Tuamotu Islands – 10 day tour, 7-16 July, £3,999
o Tahiti and Easter Island – taking in Tahiti, the eclipse and a three day tour of Easter Island, before a day exploring Santiago, Chile. 15 day tour, 5-20 July £4,999
o Tahiti, The Tuamotus and California – observe the eclipse in Tahiti before enjoying a classic road-trip from LA to San Francisco – 15 day tour, 7-22 July, £4,999.

Would the Island Caretaker Need a Boat?

The lucky ‘Island Caretaker’ is finally here and will soon be exploring the fantastic scenery of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef indulging in the great many things that this stunning region has to offer. The World’s Best Job comes with some serious responsibilities like performing highly skilled holiday-making and loving every second of it.

It all starts in the Whitsundays; the place of abundant sea life, magnificent landscape and the Best Boating in the World! What better way to explore the coral blue waters and sunny beaches than going out for a few days of cruising in exclusive service onboard luxury yacht DescaradA.

Perfect as a getaway cruise for couples (or an exhausted Island Caretaker), DescaradA’s prescheduled two and three day tours enable anyone to experience the thrill of luxury boating. Or for the ultimate in private travel, simply hire the entire vessel with close relatives and friends for a special occasion.

DescaradA is at berth 6A in the Hamilton Marina 6th – 10th May to allow for visitors to take a look at the vessel and have a chat with the crew. The DescaradA team want to welcome all boating lovers to come for a visit – As we see it; even the island caretaker will surely realise that you need a stunning boat in order to discover the secrets of this true paradise destination that is called ‘The Whitsundays’.

For Media Information:

Jaana Kervinen
+61 (2) 9699 2214

Warm Up for Winter with The Langham, Melbourne’s seasonal offerings at the Chocolate Wonderland Afternoon Teas

Afternoon Tea at The Langham, Melbourne’s ARIA Bar & Lounge is warming up for winter with a number of mouth-watering hot chocolate additions to the signature Chocolate Indulgence and Chocolate Bar Afternoon Teas for the cooler months ahead.

Throughout May and June, guests are invited to escape the cold weather and cozy up with the deliciously decadent new winter afternoon treats. From Monday – Friday, guests can indulge on warm Valrhona chocolate chip pudding and hot chocolate and passion fruit soufflés as part of the Chocolate Indulgence Afternoon Tea. The warm Valrhona chocolate chip puddings have also been added to The Chocolate Bar buffet on Saturdays and Sundays, along with a warm chocolate crepe stand where delicious fresh crepes are made to order by one of the hotel’s chocolate maestros.

The dark and decadent offerings will be served in addition to The Langham, Melbourne’s Chocolate Afternoon favourites including brandy chocolate bon bons topped with fresh raspberries, flourless chocolate cup cakes topped with Costa Rican ganache and stunning Lady Mogador Mousse Cake. Of course, no high tea would be complete without hot fluffy scones with jam and cream, or a stand of elegant savouries such as classic smoked salmon and cucumber finger sandwiches, open face sandwiches topped with King Island brie and smoked ham, or classic chicken and avocado.

The Langham, Melbourne’s head pastry chef Markus Bohm together with Executive Chef Anthony Ross has searched the globe for the finest cocoas to create a unique high-tea chocolate journey. All of the chocolate featured at ARIA’s chocolate wonderland afternoon teas has been blended and processed by the world’s finest chocolate houses. ARIA Bar & Lounge’s luscious chocolate line-up includes products from Lindt & Sprungli, Callebaut, Belcolade, Valrhona, Cacao Berry, DGF Royal and Australia’s very own Haigh’s

Chocolate Wonderland at ARIA Bar & Lounge:
Chocolate Indulgence: Available Monday to Friday, 10:30 – 4:30pm. $35 per person includes tea, coffee, hot chocolate and a range of chocolate and traditional afternoon tea treats served on a three-tiered silver platter.

Chocolate Bar: Available at two sittings, every Saturday and Sunday afternoon (1:00pm – 3:00pm & 3:30pm – 5:30pm. $55 for adults and $27.50 for children includes tea, coffee, hot chocolate and unlimited visits to the irresistible Chocolate Bar buffet.

For more information and for online reservations visit

18-35s Weigh in on What Tips the Scales for Achieving Work-Life Balance

They want it and they want it now! No, it’s not chocolate that Gen Y are craving, it’s work-life balance, according to new research.

The findings were released by Contiki Holidays as part of its annual Travel Trends Research Report, carried out by Galaxy Research. This year’s report, The Skilled Set, is a comprehensive snapshot into the aspirations of young Australians and how they go about getting, and balancing, it all.

Gen Y has long been heralded as the generation that want it all – from hitting the books to hitting the bars, scaling the globe to climbing the career ladder and life experiences to lifestyle. But with so much to juggle, it’s no surprise that achieving a work-life balance was of upmost importance to most 18-35s year olds (92 per cent of full time and 89 per cent of part time). But which balls are they dropping, and which keep on rolling?

With travel identified as the number one aspiration for young people, being able to slot in frequent slices of travel took the cake with 71 per cent believing being able to take short breaks and get away from it all is important for achieving a work-life balance and 66 per cent giving a nod to being able to look forward to holidays.

Young Australians are also counting on being happy campers at work, with 78 per cent identifying good working conditions as most important to achieving work-life balance, but you can forget about working beyond the 9 to 5 grind, 76 per cent rated reasonable working hours as most important.

18-35s are also swapping Facebook for face time, with 73 per cent recognising spending time with family and friends as important to perfecting the balancing act.

While much has been written about the goldfish-style attention spans and lack of loyalty from Gen Y in the workplace, their apparent job-hopping habits rated low on the list, with only 17 per cent indicating that being able to change jobs regularly was important.

With Contiki, full-time, part-time, or non-working 18-35s can tailor make their holiday to achieve an ideal mix of fun, cultural insights and life-enriching experiences that will help them go straight from backpack to boardroom and beyond.
The stats – a snapshot:
• 92% of full-time workers aged 18-35 feel achieving a work-life balance is important compared to 89% of part time workers
• The top five elements identified in achieving a good work-life balance include: good working conditions (78%) and working hours (76%), spending time with family and friends (73%), the ability to take short breaks (71%) and being able to look forward to holidays (66%)
• Only 17% of 18-35s think being able to change jobs regularly helps achieve a good work-life balance.

Providing the latest trends and insights in youth travel, Contiki’s The Skilled Set offers a comprehensive overview of the Australian youth tourism market. The complete report is available for download at