Friday, June 5, 2009

Best Western Property Lands at Auckland Airport

Best Western has opened an outstanding new property in New Zealand, perfectly located only three minutes from Auckland Airport.

The Best Western BKs Pioneer Motor Lodge is the only Qualmark four-star plus rated motel at Auckland Airport. The property features 37 stunning rooms (studios, one- and two-bedroom suites and family suites) featuring a lounge room and large reclining chairs and kitchenette with microwave or full cooking facilities.

Ideal for guests travelling to or from Auckland, the property supplies a 24-hour courtesy airport shuttle service, free high-speed internet, 24-hour reception and free long-term car parking.

Book three nights at the Best Western BKs Pioneer Motor Inn and you receive a free upgrade to the next level of room. Stay one night and receive three days of complimentary car parking. Check the property website for a range of special deals and promotions.

This opening makes Best Westerns fourth property in Auckland and the 12th property in New Zealand.

+64 9 275 7752

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bumper beginning to ski season in Queenstown, NZ

Heavy snow falls throughout May and early June combined with consistent cold temperatures mean the Southern skifields are in superb shape for the start of the 2009 winter season.

More snow is forecast to fall this later this week and Queenstown’s closest skifield Coronet Peak is scheduled to open this Saturday (6th June). The Remarkables, Cardona Alpine Resort and Treble Cone are all planning to open later in the month.

Destination Queenstown CEO Stephen Pahl said it was a fantastic start to the season, the best in many years, and the combination of several very positive factors pointed to a bumper winter.

Visitors from Australia can take advantage of 15 trans-Tasman flights from Air New Zealand and Qantas flying direct into the resort each week, and domestic connections from Air New Zealand and Jetstar.

For Australians on holiday there is so much to do in Queenstown. It’s not just about skiing and mountains although its fantastic to take advantage of having six skifields within an hour and a halfs drive. There’s also a huge range of activities and an ambience that’s best enjoyed over a hot chocolate or glass of wine.

The 35th birthday of the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival promises an extraordinary celebration of winter between 26th June and 5th July with a range of events staged at Coronet Peak and in town. In late August (21st to 30th) the inaugural Winter Games NZ begins – the only event of its kind outside the Winter Olympics.

Sale on Pacific Blue’s new Hamilton-Australia direct flights

Pacific Blue announced that it will operate direct flights from Hamilton to Australia starting September with a two week sale on fares starting today.

The carrier will offer six direct flights from Hamilton comprising of three to Sydney and three to Brisbane.

Online promotional fares for Hamilton-Sydney flights are $169 one-way and $199 one-way for Hamilton-Brisbane flights.

Regular lead-in one-way fares will start from $199 for Hamilton-Sydney and from $299 for Hamilton-Brisbane.

Fares are subject to availability and will be on sale from today until June 2009, for travel from 1 September 2009 until 10 December 2009.

Fares will cost $15 more if purchased by phone and there is a $4 credit/debit card fee per flight. Flights are subject to regulatory approval.

Virgin Blue Group CEO Brett Godfrey said the new direct flights were in line with the carrier’s strategy to look for “under-served” markets.

“As Hamilton currently has no international services in place, it was an obvious opportunity for us”

Pacific Blue said it will redeploy some of its current trans-Tasman capacity to the Waikato city to serve the direct flights.

The Best of the Whitsundays in One Amazing Holiday

Summer never really ends in the Whitsundays, and the region is currently enjoying the best sail & cruise season of the year. Now is the perfect time to go explore this magical island group and its abundant nature on a sea based getaway onboard the 20-meter luxury cruiser DescaradA. To get the full feel of the great many things that the area has to offer, why not combine a range of experiences with your exclusive cruise and discover the best of the Whitsundays all in one holiday.

The island escape may start from Airlie Beach which is considered the mainland gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. You can stay in a pleasant, fully serviced hotel conveniently close to the town centre or one of the luxurious holiday apartments that offer great views from the hillside over the ocean, before heading for your DescaradA cruise the next day.

The DescaradA crew take guests around the amazing island areas on scheduled two-day and three-day tours as well as extended stays on private charter. The cruises take in some of the most beautiful areas of the Whitsundays, such as Nara Inlet with its extraordinary rock faces, pure white silica sands of Whitehaven Beach, stunning scenery of Hill Inlet from Tongue Point lookout and fabulous snorkelling spots off northern Hook Island. While basking in the breathtaking beauty of the Whitsundays the guests are treated to wonderful service with fine food, fun activities and moments of sweet relaxation.

Speed boat trips to beaches, walks in the nature, snorkelling, jet skiing and kayaking are all included activities within the DescaradA cruise package. On request, scenic flights over the marvellous Great Barrier Reef can be organised directly from the vessel with the thrilling seaplane landing as part of the fun. Guests get the best views of the reef area high from the sky on an hour’s flight, and then return back to their private ocean oasis on DescaradA.

Once the vessel returns to the marina and the unforgettable cruise comes to an end, your holiday can still continue with a relaxing stay in one of the exquisite Whitsunday Island resorts. Whether you want to experience something private, secluded and romantic or something social, fun and active, you can always find the right island to suit your preferences. Poolside daydreaming, rejuvenating spa treatments, candle lit dinners, and waking up in fresh ocean air that one more last time really do seem like the best ways to take your Whitsundays holiday to an end.

Airlie Beach is the departure and arrival point of all scheduled DescaradA cruises. Proserpine airport is only 25km away and has daily flight connections from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Hamilton Island Airport has daily direct flights from Sydney and Brisbane and regular flights from Cairns and Melbourne. There is a convenient ferry connection from Hamilton Island to Airlie Beach several times a day. DescaradA Charters organise transfers from local accommodation to the vessel and private charter pick ups directly from island resorts. Contact the DescaradA team for great Whitsunday package ideas and start dreaming of the perfect island escape in one of the renown boating destinations of the world.

Fuel Surcharge Lifted on Cruises

Captain Cook Cruises has removed all fuel surcharges on its accommodated cruises in Fiji, the Murray River and Sydney Harbour

For all 3, 4 and 7 night Fijian cruises the FJ$15 per person per night fuel charge payable onboard the vessel will be removed from 2nd June 2009.

On all 3, 4 and 7 night Murray River cruises and on the two night Weekend Explorer cruise on Sydney Harbour, the AUD$10 per person fuel charge payable onboard the vessel will be removed from 8th May 2009.

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

Free Fun for Under Fours as Dreamworld Launches Dorothy Day of Activi-Tea

Three Week Season Only Starts June 27 – July 17

Wiggles World will explode in a rainbow of roses, tutus and tiny cups of tea these school holidays when Dorothy the Dinosaur and her dearest friends take to the stage in a brand new show choreographed by The Wiggles exclusively for Dreamworld.

Starting June 27 for three weeks only, The Dorothy the Dinosaur Show will be included in Dreamworld’s general admission fee along with a free garden tea party and a special edition of Dorothy’s Dreamworld DVD Sampler featuring six Wiggles songs and Wiggles World footage. Entry to Dreamworld for kids under four is free.

Children will enjoy meeting old friends and making new ones as they sing, dance, watch, listen and learn with Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, Captain Feathersword and Fairy Clare. Little girls can don their tiaras and tuille and tippy toe their way through enchanting melodies while tiny tykes will romp bomp-a-stomp to Dorothy’s favourite hit songs.

After stopping to smell the roses in Dreamworld’s own blooming garden, Fairy Larissa will host an outdoor garden Tea Party, flickering from one teeny table to the next and pouring delicious cups of rosy tea.

Dreamworld CEO Noel Dempsey said this will be the first time that children will have access to an extended Dorothy experience at Dreamworld.

“Dorothy is a huge drawcard for Dreamworld and an immensely popular icon for the whole family. We’ve worked with The Wiggles to create a new show and combine it with a garden tea party complete with fairies and miniature tables and chairs. It’s every kids dream and the only place in Australia where toddlers can live out one of their favourite television experiences while immersing themselves in Wiggles World.”

To complete the Dorothy the Dinosaur Day of Activi-tea, a host of rosy treats will also be available for purchase including The Wiggles show bags, healthy snack packs and photo opportunities with The Wiggles friends

The Dorothy the Dinosaur Show runs daily at 11:00, 12:30 and 1:30 from June 27 until July 17. All three elements, including the show, a garden tea party and the Dorothy’s Dreamworld DVD Sampler are included in the general admission. Entry to Dreamworld for children under four years is free.

About The Dorothy the Dinosaur Show
Children will be engaged, enchanted and entertained by Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus, Captain Feathersword, Fairy Clare and Fairy Larissa’s adventures. The show features a simple story line twinned with beautiful music and dancing, with songs including I’m Dorothy the Dinosaur; Come On Let’s Jump! Dr Knickerbocker, I am a Dancer; We’re Dancing with Wags the Dog; Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star! Quack Quack; Romp Bomp A Stomp; and Let’s have a Party..

The Sunlander's Premium Service - Queenslander Class

Traveltrain Holidays’ premium Queenslander Class on The Sunlander rail journey, named one of the ‘World’s Top 25 Trains’ and ‘Australia’s Best Rail Journey’ by the Society of International Railway Travellers is sparking a renaissance in rail travel.

The Sunlander was selected for its exceptional service and accommodation standards, providing travellers with a unique holiday experience, being the only provider of a premium overnight rail experience in Queensland.
Executive General Manager QR Passenger Services Paul Scurrah said not only does the journey pass through some of Queensland’s most spectacular coastal scenery, Queenslander Class is an indulgent rail journey, from five star wining and dining to premium accommodation – it’s a complete travelling experience.”

Passengers travelling Queenslander Class enjoy first class accommodation, fine dining in an exclusive restaurant car, entertainment and commentary, and a host of special touches such as bathrobes and slippers.

The dining experience is a highlight onboard Queenslander Class, with all passengers enjoying sumptuous three-course meals featuring the freshest local produce. The seafood platter served between Townsville and Cairns is undoubtedly the culinary highpoint of the journey.

Mr Scurrah said travelling from Brisbane to Cairns twice weekly in Queenslander Class against the moving backdrop of 1681km of spectacular Queensland coastal scenery, creates the perfect atmosphere to relax in an environment conducive to making new friends both on and off the train.

“The Sunlander is the gateway to some amazing eco-friendly Queensland tourism destinations and provides access to World Heritage-listed destinations such as Fraser Island, the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest.”

“Tourism is one of our greatest environmental ambassadors as it provides people from all over the world with the opportunity to see first-hand some of our most valuable natural areas.”

“There is real potential for Traveltrain Holidays to capitalise on the growing climate change movement by promoting the environmental benefits of travelling by rail over other methods such as driving or flying.”

For more information on your Queenslander Class on The Sunlander rail experience, visit

Historic Bathhouse & Spa Reopens after $13m Redevelopment

The Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa is again the centrepiece of Australia’s premier spa destination Daylesford/Hepburn Springs, after a recent 13 million dollar makeover, heralding a new era in the timeless art of bathing.

Recognised as one of regional Victoria’s most popular attractions, the original Edwardian Bathhouse (circa 1895) now boasts a stunning contemporary architectural design with over 30 wet and dry treatment rooms, making it one of the largest and most spectacular spas in the country.

The stunning new building sympathetically brings the original Bathhouse into the twenty-first century, while retaining its heritage charm. The sleek new interiors are awash with natural light with plenty of glass windows to take full advantage of the lush green natural surrounds of the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve.

“Taking the waters” is the real attraction here, and the new Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa entices with such indulgent offerings as large mineral springs pools and private mineral baths, thermal steam rooms, relaxation rooms, and more, all incorporated within the building’s Bathhouse and Spa wings.

The Bathhouse & Sanctuary
Throughout history, baths have been popular gathering places for social activity and healthy exercise, and the Bathhouse and Sanctuary facilities provides varied opportunity for luxuriating in the communal shared rituals of traditional bathing in the regions’ prized mineral waters.

The curative effects of mineral water, salt water and steam combine in the exclusive Sanctuary wing, which also includes an Aroma Steam room, Salt Therapy Pool, Mineral Pools, Spa Couches submerged in therapeutic mineral water, and extensive outdoor Relaxation Decks.

Entry to the Bathhouse is available for as little as $15 for two hours, providing a range of relaxing and restorative activities to ensure a fabulous bathing experience. Those wanting the more exclusive and enhanced offerings of the Sanctuary experience will opt for the Sanctuary pass, where two hours of soaking and indulgence starts from just $50.

The Day Spa
Those who prefer a private spa experience or want to continue the journey after spending time in the Bathhouse or Sanctuary will retreat to The Spa, where they can chose from an array of treatments including private mineral baths, therapeutic and relaxing massage, facials, and a selection of indulgent spa rituals.

Unique to the Hepburn Springs Spa region, the private mineral water baths offer a holistic bathing experience for one or two persons. Spa guests opting for Indulgent Bathing enter their own private room where a 100% Mineral Bath awaits, with body scrub to apply before the bath, and a moisturiser for afterwards. This experience is for one ($75) or two persons ($115). After a half hour healing bath, the body is in an ideal condition to indulge in a massage, body treatment, or facial, all of offer within The Spa.

Within The Spa, guests may opt for one of the water therapies which all incorporate the element of water and are formulated to nourish, replenish and soothe the skin. Water therapies include Crystal Rain and Cocoon, a 60-minute treatment including a full body mask, an aromatic scalp mask, infused steam and a Vichy shower to gently cleanse before your beautifully polished skin is deeply nourished with our signature body balm.

The Spa also offers indulgent Spa Rituals which combine private bathing with the body masks & wraps, facial therapies, massages and hand and foot treatments. Expectant mothers are catered for with the Mothers-to-Be ritual which combines a private bath with a soothing back massage and mini facial to restore radiance.

The Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa provides enough choices for relaxing and indulging to allow guests to relax for a couple of hours in the Bathhouse or to spend an entire day or weekend of pampering, incorporating the many rituals and experiences on offer.

And in between spa experiences, communal areas such as the Spa Relaxation Room, an open and airy space with a prevailing sense of calm, are ideal for enjoying a warming herbal tea and a browse over the latest magazines while contemplating the next spa experience. In warmer months, the outdoor decks overlooking the natural mineral reserve are popular gathering spots.

A team of knowledgeable staff ensure a guests’ spa experience is personal and seamless. A “concierge desk” just inside the main entrance provides the perfect welcome and a chance to plan and select the perfect journey at the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa.

Some of the world’s best spa products have been sourced for use in the Spa including La Gaia, Sodashi, Thalgo, along with a special Hepburn Collection range which has been specifically designed for Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa.

The combined spa and mineral springs experience offered at the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa is unique in Australia making it a Mecca for spa enthusiasts both here and abroad.

The Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa is open 7 days a week. For bookings and enquires phone (03) 5321 6000 or visit

Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa – Mineral Springs Reserve Road, Hepburn Springs, Victoria

Australian Muster Experience Officially Opens Thursday 28 May

Stunt riding and an Australian BBQ add to the true-blue flavour of the $10 million tourism venture opening near Port Douglas on Thursday (May 28).

Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism Steve Wettenhall and Member for Cook Jason O’Brien will officially open the spectacular show to a select audience of 180 VIPs.

The Australian Muster experience will provide its visitors with an up close and personal view of daily life on a cattle station – enjoying spectacular entertainment from the sidelines as stockmen deftly muster cattle and brave bucking bulls.

Owned and managed by Mossman-based cattleman Gordon Pringle and marketed by Parker Travel Collection, the Australian Muster Experience is staged at a purpose-built facility backing on to the beautiful rainforest of Daintree National Park at Miallo, a short drive north of Port Douglas.

With seating for 400 people, the $10 million tourist venture is also targeting the lucrative business events tourism market with its unique outback dining experience within easy reach of Cairns and Port Douglas.

“An authentic Australian outback experience on a cattle station is a must on many travel itineraries following the interest generated by the movie Australia,” said Mr Pringle, who runs cattle on several nearby properties.

“The Australian Muster Experience allows visitors to experience the excitement of life on a working cattle station while visiting the twin World Heritage areas of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest in Tropical North Queensland.”

The Stockman’s Lunch Muster and the Grand Outback Experience for dinner operate Wednesdays to Fridays at the 19th century inspired outback cattle station, uniquely framed by rainforest and with spectacular views to Port Douglas.

The Australian Muster Experience is also part of Port Douglas Carnivale with extreme bull riding and some of the best bucking bulls in the country featuring on the Saturday night program (May 30).

Two people can experience the Australian Muster Experience for the price of one as an opening special until the end of June. For more information go to

New ‘Look’ For Tropical North Queensland’s Key Celebration

This year Festival Cairns begins a new chapter in its 47 year history. For the first time in many years it will be managed and directed by its founding organisation, Cairns Regional Council; who have unveiled details of its vision to deliver a reinvigorated, brighter and bolder event program.

Taking its cue from this year’s theme, “Telling Our Stories”, Festival Cairns’ will start with a bang and end on a high – rolling out over 16, action-packed days from Friday 21 August to Sunday 6 September 2009.
Festival Cairns top five highlights will be its Grand Parade and Tropic Wave Festival with special guest headliner, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (one of the largest regional indigenous art fairs in Australia), Cairns Amateurs Racing Carnival, Reggaetown and Father’s Day favourite, Carnival on Collins.

A stylised sun inspired by the licuala palm of Cairns Regional Council’s logo is the basis for this year’s ‘look’. A bright palette of colour gives life and movement to this graphic device while relating to the sensory feel of Festival Cairns.

“Our new identity has been chosen to be a fun and fresh representation, symbolising the revitalisation of Festival Cairns and the vibrant new programming our in-house ‘Festival’ team is creating. While at the same time, being respectful to the city’s event tradition - dating right back to the original grand parade and Fun In the Sun,” said Councillor Schier, Mayor of Cairns Regional Council.

According to Festival Cairns Coordinator, Belinda Griffin this year’s ‘look’ and ‘theme’, have evolved from community engagement undertaken last year as part of Cairns’ new Regional Cultural Plan. “Over 1000 members of the community gave us a good dose of local perspective on their thoughts about many issues, including Festival Cairns – and this reinvention is our response to that feedback,” said Mrs Griffin.

The opening of a new Green Island jetty on 26 May, 1962 was established as the first annual Cairns Tourist Festival, and renamed ‘Fun In The Sun’ the following year. Since then Tropical North Queensland’s most significant annual celebration, now in its 47th year, has experienced a number of changes including its re-launch in the early nineties as ‘Reef Festival’ before its dynamic incarnation in 2002 as ‘Festival Cairns’.

Weigh-Cations Prove A Hit With Brits Battling The Bulge

Women head for the hills as UK weight-loss holidays surge.

Forget the vacation, forget the staycation, the hottest trend in summer holidays is the ‘weigh-cation’.

The obesity epidemic has become such a problem that bulging Brits are spending their summer break fighting the flab.

That’s according to FitFarms, the award-winning sports science fitness and weight-loss camp exclusively for women.

“We are seeing more and more women taking the plunge and doing something about their weight,” says Stephen Cole, MD of “Groups of friends or mums and daughters often book together and make it a real week of girl power.

“We also have return guests who‘ve had such an amazing experience they’ve given up their summer holiday for a repeat week at FitFarms.”

Sharon Endersby, 50 from Ashford, Surrey, is going back to FitFarms for the second time this summer.

“The first time I went I was looking to improve my fitness levels and kick-start my exercise regime,” says Endersby. “I lost a great deal of fat as well and went home with a really healthy glow.”

“The calibre of instructors is just so high, they inspire you to change your whole relationship with exercise. And the food is delicious, I asked for some recipes to take home.”

Unlike military-style boot camps, FitFarms focuses on nutrition, exercise, psychology and healthy activities like Tai Chi.

FitFarms’ Fitness Fancies – a selection box of trial exercise classes - lets women try out everything from hiking to line-dancing, to see which workout routine is best for them.

“We believe in combining exercise with fun,” says Cole. “If something isn’t enjoyable you’re less likely to maintain it, so finding an activity you like is crucial.”

The average weight loss during seven-day FitFarms retreat is 8lb and 3oz but the record stands at 19lb 7oz.

The Sunday Times voted FitFarms the UK’s number one weight-loss camp. Courses run throughout the year in the Peak District and Exmoor. Private or shared rooms are available.

Become One Of The Few To Experience A Total Solar Eclipse In Exotic French Polynesia

Become one of the remarkable few likely to experience the July 2010 solar eclipse in the South Pacific by sailing to the remote French Polynesian islands of Tuamotus onboard Aranui 3, the ‘freighter to paradise’. Total eclipses often occur in some of the most isolated places on earth and this is no exception, the track barely touches land while it crosses the remote Southern Pacific Ocean from north east of New Zealand. And, by the time it reaches South America, the totally eclipsed sun will be setting fast.

Operating in French Polynesia with regular three weekly sailings from Papeete harbour to the Marquesas archipelago (around 900 miles northeast of Tahiti) the Aranui 3 – a cargo filled ship complete with cruise comforts – will be in the right place at the right time for the solar eclipse.

On the 29 June 2010 departure, having delivered supplies to the residents of the isolated Marquesas and before returning to Papeete, the Aranui 3 will visit the chain of tropical and sparsely inhabited atolls known as the Tuamotus. These islands have been identified as the prime location in French Polynesia to experience the solar eclipse and the Captain will ensure the ship is positioned for the best sighting.

Although the solar eclipse is a highlight of the cruise, guests will also enjoy eight adventure-filled days in the Marquesas Islands. A lifeline to the islands’ residents, the Aranui 3 delivers everything from four-wheel drive cars and cement to schoolbooks and livestock. While the ship loads and unloads, passengers will be taken ashore onboard a fleet of whaleboats to experience the islands’ local culture and to explore the unspoilt nature. The black sand beaches and steep volcanic peaks blanketed with thick forests are a stark contrast to the more traditional French Polynesian palm fringed atolls they will see whilst eclipse watching in the Tuamotus Islands.

The Solar Eclipse voyage departs from Papeete on Tuesday 29 June 2010 and returns on Monday 12 July 2010. The Aranui 3 operates a regular schedule to the Marquesas Islands, sailing every three weeks throughout the year.

Starting and ending in Tahiti, the 14-day Solar Eclipse adventure cruise costs Euros 3730 per person sharing a standard twin-bedded outside cabin with private facilities, including all taxes. Dormitory style accommodation with upper and lower berths and shared facilities is Euros 2144 per person. Flights to/from Tahiti are not included in these prices.

Aranui 3 - Purpose built in 2003 Aranui 3 is uniquely designed for its dual role as a freighter and passenger ship, carrying up to 2000 tons of cargo and 180 passengers. There are 86 fully air conditioned cabins ranging from top of the range suites with balconies to deluxe and twin-bedded cabins, with well-priced dormitory style accommodation on a lower deck. There are two comfortable lounges, a swimming pool and gym and a full program of lectures on the solar eclipse as well as Marquesan history, culture and art. English is widely spoken onboard.

Jazz in the Pines Festival - December 2009

Bookings are now open for the December 2009 Jazz in the Pines Festival on Norfolk Island. Great choice of packages available.

Festival date: 7 - 11 December 2009
Location: Norfolk Island
Artists featured: Don Burrows, The Syncopators, Rick Robertson Quartet, Kevin Hunt Trio, John Nicol and Eon Beats.

Norfolk Island Turns It On for Fun-lovin' Red Hatters

Semi-retired mums or grans who like to kick up their heels are invited to visit Norfolk Island for the island’s annual Red Hat Society Fun Week from June 20-27.

Red Hat Society members are usually 50s-something women who meet for parties and outings wearing a frivolous red hat and purple attire.

The society was founded by Californian artist Sue Ellen Cooper as a social networking group just 11 years ago but already numbers more than 1.5m members in 30 countries, including Australia and New Zealand.

Women younger than 50 are also welcome, but they must don pink hats with lavender attire and possess a fun-loving streak. Look-at-me accessories like a red feather boa are encouraged.

The leader of the local Red Hat chapter is known as the Queen, and members refer to each other as Red Hatters.

A champagne beach party, themed dinner, night as a convict, Harley Davidson ride and much more have been planned by the Norfolk Island Fun Week hosts, with local Queen Shirley Henderson promising some absolutely zany and hilarious activities entirely in keeping with the Red Hat charter.

“Our main focus is to have fun and enjoy ourselves, or in the words of our society theme song: “All my life, I’ve done for you. Now it’s my turn to do for me’,” Ms Henderson said.

“Laughter is the best medicine, and what better way to brush away the recession blues. Non-members are also welcome, because it costs nothing to join and there are no rules!”

The Norfolk Island Travel Centre is offering a special package for Australians wanting to take part in Red Hatter Fun Week. Costs are from AUD$1119 per person ex Brisbane and AUD$1139pp ex Sydney and include return airfares, taxes (Norfolk Island departure fee extra), seven nights twin share accommodation in the All Seasons Colonial Hotel, seven days car hire (insurance, petrol extra), meet and greet at Norfolk Island Airport and a half-day island tour. A registration fee of AUD$195 includes a special Red Hatters welcome bag and entry to the welcome dinner and champagne beach party, a night as a convict and lots of extra.

For information or to book freecall 1800 140 066 or email

Sea World Launches 2009 Whale Watching Season!

The first of thousands of Humpback Whales will be travelling past the Gold Coast as Sea World Whale Watch officially launches its 2009 season this Monday 1st June.

The Gold Coast whale watching season will run from June to November during the annual Humpback Whale migration and Sea World Whale Watch will again offer the ultimate whale watching experience.

Sea World Whale Watch will run tours daily (weather permitting) throughout the season, departing at 11am and returning at approximately 1.30pm.

Sea World Director of Marine Sciences Trevor Long said that Sea World’s custom designed catamaran and advanced educational facilities enhanced the amazing experience of getting up close to the whales.

“Whale watching is a truly wonderful experience and it’s something that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime.”

“The Humpback Whale population that migrates along our east coast is growing by between 8 and 13 percent annually, and we are expecting to see about 12,000 whales pass the Gold Coast in 2009”, he said.

Sea World Whale Watch experienced a fantastic inaugural season in 2008, with 100% whale sightings and thousands of happy whale watchers. The Sea World Whale Watch crew is also looking forward to assisting with whale rescues in 2009, after their 2008 experience where the crew spotted and followed an entangled whale until the Sea World Research and Rescue team arrived to assist.

Sea World Whale Watch tickets cost $88 for Adults and $66 for Children and Pensioners. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase their Whale Watching ticket as part of a combo deal which will include entry into Sea World with-in two days. Combo tickets cost $99 Adults, $77 Children and Pensioners.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Langham, Auckland salutes its British cousin with special events for June

Salute to The Langham, London :: June menu at The Langham, Auckland

SBF Brasserie

British Roast Special
Slices of the finest New Zealand Black Angus roast beef, served with potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, a red onion roasted with garlic butter and brussel sprouts with almonds. Served with beef jus and/or horseradish cream and accompanied by a Boddingtons Pub Ale Draught.
Available daily for lunch and dinner.

Sunday Brunch Buffet Roast
Slices of New Zealand Black Angus roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, cauliflower mornay, horseradish cream and hearty gravy
$37.oo for the full Sunday Brunch Buffet menu including roast beef option.

Please note that for the month of June download a ‘Better Half Dines Free’ voucher at to dine for half price at SBF Brasserie’s Buffet. Please not this does not include a’la carte menu items or beverages.

The Winery
Hats Off To London - Tasting Plate
- Black pudding with apple compote and handmade potato crisp
- Cod roe dip served with toasts
- Isle of Mull cheddar fritter

A classic Scottish dessert layered with delicious raspberries, whipped cream, Manuka honey, oatmeal and whisky.

Cheese Plate
Shropshire Blue, Quickes English Cheddar and Red Double Gloucester served with quince paste, grapes and oat cakes.

Pimms with Poise
A fruity blend of traditional Pimms with Cointreau, mixed with apple and pineapple juice and with a slight hint of lime and mint.

The Langham, Auckland will salute the re-launch of its British cousin, The Langham, London with a series of special events in June starting with a ‘Hats Off to London’ afternoon tea party.

The flagship UK property of Langham Hotels International (LHI) is due to officially re-open on 10 June after an 80 million pound refurbishment and extensive five year renovation project. The five-star London hotel has continued to operate throughout but has now been returned to its full glory with a significant restoration and sumptuous new interior design.

Jeffrey van Vorsselen, Managing Director of The Langham, Auckland says that LHI as a group is very excited about London’s re-launch, and that with the many links between New Zealand and the United Kingdom, the Auckland hotel wanted to especially acknowledge this event.

“I am delighted to start June with an afternoon tea party at The Langham, Auckland whereby all invited guests will be asked to don a hat for the event and make a 20 cent donation. In 1865 when The Langham was the first hotel in London to host afternoon tea, the tariff was one shilling and sixpence, so we will be turning back the clock to 1865 with our price for afternoon tea on that day,” says Mr van Vorsselen.

The Langham, Auckland will be the first hotel to start the global Langham tea party on 10 June, whereby all Langham hotels around the world will pay homage to the original grand hotel with one of the most British traditions – afternoon tea. Langham hotels from around the world, will ‘doff’ their hat as a mark of respect to The Langham, London.

“In addition to this event, our signature eateries at the hotel will feature UK inspired cuisine and beverages which will be served in SBF Brasserie and The Winery. A hearty roast beef meal complete with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings will be served with a Boddingtons Pub Ale for $31.o0 per person and will no doubt prove popular winter fare,” says Mr van Vorsselen.

“Our elegant Winery lobby bar will feature a Pimms cocktail for the month of June and other options such as a Hats Off To London tasting plate of black pudding served with apple compote and handmade potato crisp, cod roe dip with toasts and an Isle of Mull cheddar fritter. Our chefs have also looked north of the border and have a delectable Scottish inspired Cranachan on offer for dessert. Our signature Langham afternoon tea will of course continue to be served daily from noon – 4pm,” says Mr van Vorsselen.

“It is with great pleasure that I announce this month long promotion as we support The Langham, London and acknowledge the significance of the London hotel as the source of our brand heritage,” concludes Mr van Vorsselen.

Celebrate Maori New Year at the Stardome

Matariki, or Maori New Year, is the time when whanau and friends gather, trees are planted, food is collected for the winter, and a beautiful group of blue stars rise in the east just before dawn.

This year Matariki takes place on 24 June, and Stardome Observatory is offering everyone the opportunity to learn about the significance of these stars over the month of June at 9.00pm.

The planetarium show Matariki Dawn looks at cultural and astronomical aspects of this group of spectacular stars.

The show includes Maori myths and stories about the formation of the Earth, the Moon, and Maori New Year. Using the Stardome’s 360 degree image projection system, visitors can also see the stars of Matariki close up in the planetarium, and find out why they appear at certain times of the year and not at others.

Anyone interested in Maori culture and astronomy will enjoy learning about “te whakanui i a Matariki” – celebrating Matariki.

For the full Matariki experience, Stardome is hosting a Matariki Breakfast on Saturday 20 June at 5.30am, starting with a pre dawn walk up to the top of Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill), escorted by astronomy experts who will talk about Matariki as the stars rise. Star viewing is followed by a breakfast back at Stardome Observatory and the planetarium show, Matariki Dawn.

Matariki Dawn: Tuesdays to Sundays in June, 9.00pm at Stardome Observatory, One Tree Hill. Adults $16, children $8. Programme includes planetarium show, a presentation about a hot topic in astronomy and courtyard telescope viewing. Telescope viewing subject to weather conditions - a raincheck is provided if viewing is not possible. Bookings are essential. See for details.

Matariki Breakfast: Saturday 20 June at 5.30am. Adults $35, children $25. Includes seeing the rising of Matariki from the top of Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) (weather permitting), breakfast, and 45 minute planetarium show, Matariki Dawn. Bookings are essential and places are limited. See or phone (09) 624 1246 for details.

If you require an image, please contact Barbara Leyland at Stardome Observatory.

Jill Jessop Stardome
Evening Manager Ph 624 1246
Stardome Observatory
Ph 021 442 884

ABOUT STARDOME OBSERVATORY AND PLANETARIUM Stardome Observatory and Planetarium has created an environment that brings together astronomers and enthusiasts and inspires a love of the sky and the science behind it. Every year the organisation uses a blend of education and entertainment to share its passion with almost 60,000 visitors.

The observatory’s facilities include an amazing 360° digital dome planetarium, the 0.5m Edith Winstone Blackwell Zeiss Telescope, and the Nustrini research telescope.

Situated in Auckland’s One Tree Hill Domain, Stardome is New Zealand’s leading astronomical attraction and invites you to enjoy the view.

A full list of public show times is available at

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