Thursday, June 18, 2009

Auckland Museum Embraces Cutting-Edge Technology to Explore Tales of the Mysterious Orchid

Orchids have driven rational people to crazy extremes for centuries. What makes this flower so irresistible? That’s exactly the question explored by Auckland Museum’s multi-sensory exhibition Wonderland: The Mystery of the Orchid.

Opening in the Special Exhibitions Hall on 3 July, Wonderland embraces cutting-edge technology to bring stories of the orchid to life in vivid detail. Innovations include the latest in multi-touch panels, as well as scent stations, soundscape posts and stereographic 3D goggles.

These innovations are fused with the artistic vision of leading exhibition designer Marion Lyonnais, who created the popular Secrets Revealed.

The concept development for Wonderland was a collaborative effort involving Auckland Museum’s exhibition developers and writers, botany staff and orchid experts from New Zealand and around the world. In the exhibition Susan Orleans, author of The Orchid Thief – which provided the basis for award winning film Adaptation – provides her thoughts on the lure of orchids, while local orchidophiles talk about their obsession. As well as examining the orchid’s inspiration on culture, Wonderland explores the flower’s remarkable science. There are around 22,500 species of orchid, which thrive in almost every habitat on earth.

The exhibition also features a unique retail experience that continues the storytelling and sensory journey, featuring a wide range of gifts visitor can take home.

The Mystery of the Orchid is the first chapter in a two-part exhibition exploring stories of the world’s most popular flowers. The second chapter, Wonderland: The Magic of the Rose, opens in October.

What: Wonderland: The Mystery of the Orchid

When: Opens Friday, 3 July

Where: Special Exhibitions Hall, Auckland Museum

Cost: Adults $8, Members and Concession $6, Children FREE

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2 night NZ Indulgence Heliski Package Only $3712

Combine ultimate indulgence with thrilling skiing!

The luxury Otahuna Lodge in New Zealand has released a 2 night indulgence heliski package for just $3712 per person, including all meals, wines and a thrilling day in Canterbury’s Southern Alps – among the best heliskiing in the Southern Hemisphere!

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 NZ$4 million renovation. The Lodge is just 20 minutes from Christchurch International Airport and 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.

HELiPRO-Southern Alps will take you on five thrilling runs (average 19,000 feet vertical per day!), then return you to cosy Otahuna Lodge to thaw, with its 14 open fireplaces and nightly five-course degustation après-ski dinners with matching wines and liqueurs.

The peaks of Two Thumb and Cloudy Peak ranges, near Mt Cook, allow access to long runs and fantastic snow quality. The highest peak is more than 2.5km and the longest run an awesome 3.16km. Snowfall averages an impressive 4.8m per season.

This package includes breakfasts, mountain-top lunch and ski guide, après-ski canapés and drinks, five-course dinners with wines and use of the Lodge’s heated pool and Jacuzzi. Equipment hire is not included and conditions apply.

Bookings: Phone Otahuna Lodge +64 3 329 6333 or visit

The Langham, Melbourne Enchants with Winter Hideaway Packages for 2009

Southbank’s enchanting five-star hotel, The Langham, Melbourne has created the perfect winter destination with the launch of its new Enchanted Winter Hideaway packages, designed to keep guests warm and cozy. Offered as two, three and four night package options, the hotel’s Enchanted Winter Hideaway provides guests with luxurious opportunities to escape from the cold and hideaway in an indulgent and irresistible setting.

The packages combine the finest of The Langham, Melbourne’s experiences, showcasing the hotel as the perfect winter haven. With stunning views of Melbourne’s skyline, the Yarra River and Federation Square, guests can enjoy the beauty of the vibrant city whilst staying wrapped in the warmth of their Langham blissful bed.

With beautiful breakfasts for two from the hotel’s interactive cooking stations at Melba restaurant, access to the Health Club and Wellness Centre and incredible value on rejuvenating treatments at the award-winning Chuan Spa, The Langham, Melbourne packages offer a range of enchanting experiences for guests. An added bonus for those who book their Enchanted Winter Hideaway online at is the inclusion of complimentary valet parking for the duration of their stay.

Enchanted Winter Hideaway
Two Nights
-Two nights accommodation for two
-Breakfast for two in Melba restaurant
-20% discount on one hour Chuan Spa treatments*
-Access to the Health Club and Wellness Centre including use of the gymnasium, conservatory covered pool and Jacuzzi, saunas, signature scented colour therapy steam rooms and therapeutic rain showers*
-Complimentary valet parking **
Package price: Classic Room from AUD$485
River View Room from AUD$565
Valid: from 01 June 2009 until 31 August 2009 (subject to availability)

Three Nights
-Three nights accommodation for two
-Breakfast for two in Melba restaurant
-20% discount on one hour Chuan Spa treatments*
-Access to the Health Club and Wellness Centre including use of the gymnasium, conservatory covered pool and Jacuzzi, saunas, signature scented colour therapy steam rooms and therapeutic rain showers*
-Complimentary valet parking **
Package price: Classic Room from AUD$695
River View Room from AUD$815
Valid: from 01 June 2009 until 31 August 2009 (subject to availability)

Four Nights
-Four nights accommodation for two
-Breakfast for two in Melba restaurant
-20% discount on one hour Chuan Spa treatments*
-Access to the Health Club and Wellness Centre including use of the gymnasium, conservatory covered pool and Jacuzzi, saunas, signature scented colour therapy steam rooms and therapeutic rain showers*
-Complimentary valet parking **
Package price: Classic Room from $825
River View Room from $985
Valid: from 01 June 2009 until 31 August 2009 (subject to availability)

* No access to the pool between 13 July and 18 August 2009 due to renovations.
** Those who book their Enchanted Winter Hideaway online at will receive complimentary value parking for the duration of their stay

For all Langham experiences, packages and gifts, call 1800 858 662

For more information on Langham Enchanted Winter Hideaway packages, visit

Tasmania Celebrates 100 Years of Errol Flynn

Tasmania will honour Hollywood legend, Errol Flynn, in a week-long Centenary Celebration in Hobart this month. One of the greatest Tasmanians to grace Hollywood, Errol Flynn became famous for his swashbuckling films where his roles perfectly suited his suave, charismatic personality and attitude.

June 2009 will mark the centenary of his birth, and to celebrate his adventure-filled life, the Errol Flynn Society of Tasmania (EFST) has come together to create the Errol Flynn Centenary Celebration. The celebration will run from June 12 - June 20, and will feature a visit by his daughter Rory Flynn, and his grandson, one of the stars of hit US TV series Zoe 101, Sean Flynn.

The following are the highlights of the Errol Flynn Centenary Celebration:

Errol Flynn Centenary Display
Starting off the celebrations is an Errol Flynn Centenary Display, held at Hobart's Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. Here, visitors will find personal objects and correspondence from Tasmania's greatest star, which tell the story of 'an intelligent man who played with truth, sought solace in the arms of women and the sea, and searched, to no avail, for a deeper meaning to his life'.
When: 12 - 20 June from 10am - 5pm daily
Where: Foyer, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 40 Macquarie Street, Hobart TAS 7000
How: Admission is free

Errol Flynn Film Festival
Errol Flynn's legend will also be immortalized on the silver screen with his most exciting action films forming part of the Errol Flynn Film Festival which will run from 16 - 21 June at North Hobart's State Cinema. Fans will be thrilled by favourites such as Captain Blood, Dawn Patrol and Sea Hawk.
When: 16 - 21 June at 2:30pm and 6:30pm (Matinee and evening sessions)
Where: State Cinema, 375 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart TAS 7000
How: Tickets can be purchased from the State Cinema Ticket Office and cost AUD$15.50 (Adult), AUD$13.50 (Concession) and AUD$11.50 (Senior/Child)

Rory Flynn Book Signing
Written by Rory Flynn, Errol Flynn's daughter, The Baron of Mulholland documents her loving memory of her Father through personal pictures and letters from her private collection.
When: 15 June: 1pm - 3pm
16 June: 11am - 12:30pm
Where: 15 June: Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees, 29 Murray Street, Hobart
16 June: Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees, 23 Paterson Street, Launceston
How: A copy of The Baron of Mulholland will be sold for AUD$49.95

Other key events in the Errol Flynn Centenary Celebration include:
-The launch of the Errol Flynn Tour of Hobart brochure (17 June, 5pm at the Masterpiece@IXL Courtyard, 19 Hunter Street, Hobart)
-The unveiling of the Errol Flynn Commemorative Plaque at the State Cinema (20 June, 2pm at 375 Elizabeth Street, Hobart)
-The Errol Flynn Heart Foundation Gala Ball (20 June, 6:30pm for 7pm start; Wrest Point Casino, 410 Sandy Bay Road, Sandy Bay)

For more detailed information on the Errol Flynn Centenary Celebrations, visit

Pacific Blue to Launch New Direct Trans-Tasman Service to Dunedin

From 1 September 2009 the airline will fly direct between Brisbane and Dunedin three times per week.


Chocolate @ No 5, a café and shop dedicated entirely to chocolate, is a chocoholics dream. Milkshakes laced with melted Belgian chocolate, mocha walnut gateaux, locally made chocolates and ones imported from around the world are among the products available.

New Attractions at Dreamworld & White Water World

Roller-coast your way through a Gold Coast holiday with the perfect tonic for the times: free fun for under fours during high tea with Dorothy Dinosaur, screaming new rides and attractions, and a device that allows you to avoid the queue.

Wiggles World will explode in a rainbow of roses, tutus and tiny cups of tea mid year 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.

Prepare for the fight of your life in Dreamworld’s new immersive combat experience, AVPX. Dodge, duck and defend as you get caught in the crossfire of an eternal battle for supremacy between two interstellar movie legends, Alien and Predator. The walls are alive, laser fields lock you into the action and alien impregnation will turn your team mates against you. You are the target; your mission is to survive the seven minute laser combat. It’s Alien vs. Predator vs. You and it’s included in cost of entry.

Unleash the beast within on Australia’s first full-motion virtual V8 Supercars experience at Dreamworld. Plant your foot, harpoon the hairpins and get set to follow in the tread marks of legendary red and blue racing teams to find out who takes pole position and who eats dust in the toughest four wheel race on the planet. Strap yourself into the Champion’s seat for just $10.00 or take a passenger for $5.00 and dare to pit your skill against our high-speed virtual adventure.

Do it in the day, or do it in the dark on Friday and Saturday nights from 5.00pm until 9.00pm. Book an hour session with up to 7 others and put yourself in the RedLine driver’s seat for 30 minutes of drive time. To secure your place on the grid, visit

Dreamworld has unveiled Q4U, the virtual queuing system that reserves your spot in the queue line allowing you to get more action into your day. Mark your “virtual” spot in the queue line and use the time to try other rides or catch a show. Last season’s smash hit seller is back on sale this winter holiday, starting from $15. Devices are limited so pre-book your Q4U online at

Nickelodeon’s number one character, SpongeBob SquarePants launched his own ‘Australian first’ ride at Dreamworld in June 2008. The new SpongeBob FlyPants ride plunges guests into an imaginary deep sea world where they can soar and spin through the fantasy ‘Jellyfish Fields’ with the world’s number one cartoon character and his friendly neighbourhood invertebrates. Modelled on the visuals of the television episode, guests lie flat on their stomachs – a first for Australia - and weightlessly weave around a larger-than-life SpongeBob as he takes flight aboard a giant wild jellyfish.

Travel Solo Minus the Hefty Surcharge

Captain Cook Cruises have reduced their single surcharge to only 25% on normal twin share prices on all Fiji, Murray Princess and Sydney Harbour accommodated cruises and Fiji Sailing Safari cruises.

Traditionally singles travelling alone, pay the same cost for their accommodation as a couple, which is. effectively a 100% increase on a twin share per person price.

Small ship cruising is a great option for single travellers allowing them to easily meet other passengers. Captain Cook Cruises accommodated vessels sleep up to only 120 passengers, so cruises are very intimate and solo travellers can meet other solo travellers or groups of people and make lifelong friends.

Captain Cook Cruises offer 3, 4 and 7 night cruises in Fiji and on the Murray River and a 2 night Weekend Explorer cruise on Sydney Harbour.

Fiji cruises onboard the Reef Escape start from $1500 for sole occupancy, Murray River cruises onboard the Murray Princess start from $944 for sole occupancy and the two night Sydney Harbour cruise onboard the Captain Cook Explorer starts from $588 for sole occupancy.

Cruise prices include all meals, guided tours, onboard entertainment and use of the ship's facilities.

For reservations and enquiries please contact Captain Cook Cruises toll free on 1800 804 843, Int +612-9206 1111 or visit

New ‘James Bond’ scooter dive experience

Experienced divers can now bring out their inner James Bond and speed through Icelandic waters with an underwater Torpedo 3500 DPV scooter.

The new experience is offered by Icelandic operator Iceland Excursions and includes two different dives within Thingvellir National Park.

The first dive uses the Torpedo 3500 DPV scooters, made famous in the underwater fight sequence in the Bond film ‘Thunderball’, to reach David’s Ravine located at the bottom of Iceland’s largest lake, Lake Thingvellir.

The second dive explores the Silfra Rift, a crack between the Eurasian and the American tectonic plates that are gradually moving apart by 2cm each year. The crystal-clear blue water has visibility of over 100m making Silfra one of the best dive sites in the world.

The scooter tours costs £185 per person and includes two guided dives with certified PADI instructors, all equipment, warm drinks and snacks between the dives, pick up from Reykjavik hotels and high resolution pictures of the dive on CD.

For more information visit

Crown Hotel Napier - SPECIALS

June and July weekend specials ...

Book any night in a one bedroom, or one bedroom premium, suite during June or July and the hotel will treat you to a $30 credit at the popular Italian-inspired Milk & Honey restaurant.

Reservations must be made by 26th June with the hotel's reception team.

Winter Warmer Sale
The hotel is offering a further 25% discount off some of their already specially priced packages during the winter months, including the popular Church Road Collection and Romantic Wine & Dine.

Visit website for more details :

Welcome to the exclusive world of Sunseeker Charters

The Sunseeker Charters fleet spans more global destinations than ever before, including Singapore, Thailand, the Seychelles, Mexico and a host of Mediterranean locations. While the French Riviera continues to be popular, there is an increasing interest in cruising in alternative waters and experiencing different cuisines, cultures and seascapes.

Below is a sample of some of the international options Sunseeker Charters has to offer:

AUSTRALIA :: 'Alani' – Sunseeker 82 Yacht
Based at Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays, 'Alani' is perfectly placed to explore this magnificent archipelago of 74 islands. Even in Australia's winter months the average daily temperatures are around 23°C. Whether you want to relax at anchor or to snorkel in the clear azure waters, the Whitsundays provides a halcyon setting for a Sunseeker charter.

NEW ENGLAND, USA :: 'Demolition' – Predator 108
Itineraries around this area of the US encompass beautiful beaches, attractive islands, colonial architecture, vineyards and upmarket boutiques and restaurants. Berthed in Sag Harbor for the coming months only, 'Demolition' is in the heart of the Hamptons.

RED SEA :: 'Nero' – Manhattan 60
Renowned for its beautiful waters and abundant sealife – perfect for diving and snorkelling – the Red Sea is an idyllic location for a waterborne escape. Boasting a range of water sports equipment and luxurious accommodation, 'Nero' provides a perfect environment for couples or families to make the most of this wonderful destination.

NAPLES, ITALY :: 'Raoul W' – Manhattan 60
Boarding your Sunseeker motoryacht in Naples, you are but a short cruise to the picturesque and romantic islands of Capri and Ischia as well as the neighbouring Amalfi Coast. Extend your charter and you have the opportunity to explore further – to the gastronomes' favourite, Sicily, and the volcanic Aeolian Isles.

Jetstar daily from Perth–Bali

Jetstar will increase frequencies on its Perth to Bali route from four times weekly to daily from August 13.

Hot deal - Intercontinental Resort & Spa – Moorea

Moorea Madness

Intercontinental Resort & Spas in association with Our Pacific have an exclusive pay 5 nights stay 7 package just waiting for you!!!.

5 nights staying in a Lanai Room at the Intercontinental Resort & Spa Moorea plus a bonus of 2 nights free in a Standard Room at the Intercontinental Papeete. $2199 pp twin/share. Pay for 5 nights stay 7!!! Includes all return coach and ferry transfers Papeete / Moorea. Plus Moorea Madness discount card to use in Moorea.

· Valid for travel 01/11/2009 and 01/12/2009
· Sale ends 30th June 09

For further information and packages email call 0800 955 655 in NZ

UN chief says flu must not cause travel bans

According to Reuters UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday that Reactions to the World Health Organization's declaration of a flu pandemic must be grounded in science and avoid arbitrary limits on trade and travel,.

He said, "We must guard against rash and discriminatory actions such as travel bans or trade restrictions," adding, "Our response to any pandemic must be grounded in science."

The WHO declared the first flu pandemic of the 21st century on Thursday, urging countries to shore up defences against the virus which is "not stoppable" but has proved mainly mild so far.

Ban stressed the declaration was a formal statement about the geographic spread of disease, adding: "It is not in itself a cause for alarm."

He said while the virus had so far proved not as severe as feared, the world must be watchful, particularly as it spreads to poorer countries with less developed health systems and as the southern hemisphere enters the flu season.

"We will ... work with national governments and the World Health Organization to ensure that our response is as well-coordinated and as effective as possible," he said.

He called for global solidarity, adding that virus samples and other information about the disease must be widely and openly shared.

Ban said he would convene a meeting of his Influenza Steering Committee on Monday to map out the next steps. launches the big Queensland holiday sale

The big Queensland Holiday Sale is now on at Discover Queensland, allowing visitors to warm up through winter and save with a relaxing getaway to Queensland’s famous glitter strip.

Deals start from $96 per night (based on a 6-night stay) at the premium 4 ½ star Swell resort at Burleigh to 5 nights at the iconic, five-star Q1 Resort and Spa in the heart of Surfers for $177 per night. These deals provide a saving of $355 and $388 respectively.

Discover Queensland is a premium online travel booking website, catering for everything from planning to booking your next Queensland holiday. From Tropical North Queensland right through to the South East, the website is a complete reference tool for holiday makers wishing to visit the sunshine state, handling everything from flights, transfers, car hire, attractions and seasonal events to accommodation.

Prices are per apartment, subject to availability.

Browns Ski Shop launches Platinum Mobile Service

Queenstown’s famed Browns Ski Shop has launched New Zealand’s first dedicated mobile fitting service for ski and snowboard equipment.

The Browns Ski Shop Platinum Mobile Service enables members of the Browns team to visit customers in their holiday accommodation and fit them out with the most suitable equipment for their needs, using a mobile van especially kitted out for the job.

Established in 1980, and renowned for its high quality equipment, staff expertise and international experience, Browns believes the mobile service will mean more customers can be fitted away from the shop and at their leisure, leaving in-store staff to assist walk-in customers.

This will ultimately provide a quicker service at times most convenient to customers, both remotely and in-store.

“For the past eight years we’ve been doing remote fittings for groups and conferences, but this will really be the first dedicated service of its kind available to all Queenstown holidaymakers. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s a logical progression for Browns,” said Browns co-owner Kris Vermeir. “We developed the idea as a result of customer feedback and demand that indicated they would really welcome this service. People can arrive in Queenstown, and once they’ve settled in and are enjoying their first glass of pinot overlooking the mountains, we’ll go to them to sort out their friends or family with everything they need.

“Ultimately it leaves them with more time to enjoy what they’ve come here to do, which is get up on the slopes.”

The new Mobile Service is a natural extension of a service Browns launched last season, a ‘remote fitting station’ at its Auckland shop in the heart of Newmarket.

The Auckland shop, established in 2007, has ‘one of everything’, meaning customers can come in and try out exactly the same gear that’s available in Queenstown. Snowsports lovers and their families can get fitted out at a time to suit them, and then pick up the equipment in the resort.

The Auckland service dovetails nicely with another service innovation – ‘one-stop-shopping’ at the Queenstown store which is operating an NZSKI point of sale system for lift passes and lesson tickets.

Once equipment has been correctly fitted, it’s recorded on the rental computer system in both Auckland and Queenstown, so repeat customers can order the same boots or skis from one season to the next.

Earlier this month, Browns Ski Shop announced its sponsorship of the Winter Games NZ, to be held in Otago from August 21 to 30, reinforcing its dedication to winter sports and prominent reputation within the ski industry.

Brown’s Platinum Mobile Service operates between 4 and 8pm daily by appointment only. There is an additional fee for the service, so please call 03 441 8929 for more information. The service is expected to be extremely popular, so reservations are recommended.