Friday, June 26, 2009

Winter service a welcome arrival at Queenstown Airport

Outside Sports, Queenstown’s biggest outdoor sports store, has brought skiing to Queenstown Airport with ski rentals and lift passes available to arriving visitors.

Domestic and international visitors who arrive at the airport this winter will now be able to hire skis and snowboards, book ski passes for Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, or buy their essential Icebreaker beanies and gloves in the winter-themed zone.

This is the first time the airport has opened a seasonal area next to the baggage claim, enabling airline passengers waiting for luggage to waste no time getting on the slopes, booking all their ski and snowboard necessities as soon as they land.

Outside Sports General Manager Liz Cox said she believed the airport store would put people in the mood for winter.

“Organising ski rentals, lift passes and mountain transport, and even just deciding where to ski can be stressful. Outside Sport’s rentals service at the airport now offers the perfect opportunity for arriving visitors to get this done early,” she said.

“With more options for customers, we can make their ski experience as straightforward as possible, so they can do exactly what they came here to do – head to the slopes!”

The winter zone is decorated with winter lights and features ski maps of the local mountains, creating a captivating feel for four months of winter.

Queenstown Airport Commercial Manager Simon Barr said the seasonal service was a great addition with international flights scheduled to increase from three to 15 per week with the introduction of winter schedules this weekend.

“We expect in the order of 250,000 passengers to pass through the terminal during the ski season,” he said.

“Outside Sports has been renting and selling high-quality equipment in Queenstown for more than 12 years, so it’s a superb service to be able to offer which will add convenience for travellers and reinforce the alpine ambience in our terminal.”

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009


SPECTATORS will be able to see the world’s greatest rally drivers in action for as little as $22 when Repco Rally Australia hits the road in the New South Wales Northern Rivers on 3-6 September.

Tickets for Rally Australia, round 10 of 12 in the 2009 FIA World Rally Championship, were released officially for sale through Ticketek ( today – just 72 days before competition begins with a nighttime Super Special Stage on the closed streets of Murwillumbah.

Prices, including pre-purchase discounts, range from $22 for an adult to watch the Saturday or Sunday gravel special stages to $372.50 for a Family Whole Event Super Pass with daily access to all viewing points and grandstand seating for the Tweed Super Special Stage at Murwillumbah.

An individual Whole Event Super Pass, providing access to all gravel Special Stages and all nights of the Tweed Super Special Stage, is just $99.

Citroen’s five-time World Champion driver Sebastien Loeb, his teammate Dani Sordo, Ford stars Mikko Hirvonen, Jarri-Matti Latvala, Henning Solberg, Matthew Wilson and Federico Villagra, the world’s fastest Production Rally Car drivers, finalists in the Pirelli Star Driver program and a strong contingent of Australians will form a field of up to 60 entries for the rally.

The line-up of great drivers, range of viewing opportunities and wide choice of ticket options will make Repco Rally Australia the best-value international motor sports event on the Australian calendar, says event Chairman of Directors Alan Evans.

“Repco Rally Australia is a fantastic opportunity, whether you are a family or group of friends looking for spectacular entertainment or a dyed-in-the-wool rally fan,” Mr Evans said.

“The WRC drivers and teams have a massive following in many parts of the world, but will be coming to this part of Australia for the first time hungry to fight for the newest prize in world rallying.

“Rally competition is more about car control, physical and mental toughness, teamwork and tactics than outright speed. Sebastien Loeb is an absolute master of all that and we’re truly excited that one of the world’s greatest drivers in any form of motorsport will be competing at Repco Rally Australia.

“He’s won five world championships in a row and before that been a member of the French national gymnastics team and will be amazing to watch in action on the roads of the Tweed and Kyogle shires.”

Rally Australia will cover more than 340 kilometres in competition on closed public roads between Kingscliff, on the coast, and south-west of Kyogle, around 120 kms inland.

General Admission viewing in no-alcohol areas with catering facilities will be available for 12 of the gravel Special Stages, with the timetable arranged so spectators can see the action from at least two points each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

However, the biggest crowds are expected at the Tweed Super Special Stage on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, when cars will race three at a time, pursuit-style, around two laps of a 1.2 kilometre street circuit near the centre of Murwillumbah.

Adult tickets to the Tweed Super Special Stage will cost from just $25 per night or $75 for three nights and provide entry to an unforgettable experience as the World Rally cars race around the course with brakes glowing-hot, exhausts spitting flame and headlights blazing.

While Repco Rally Australia is a new major event for New South Wales, it continues the tradition of Australia’s round of the World Rally Championship run out of Perth between 1988 and 2006. At Repco Rally Australia, spectators at the Tweed Super Special stage will occupy grandstands name after two former Rally Australia winners, Juha Kankkkunen (1989, 90, 91 and 93) and Colin McRae (1994, 97).

The course will be shared on Saturday and Sunday with the Speed on Tweed Festival, one of Australia’s most popular sprint events for classic and historic cars. Speed on Tweed tickets will be sold separately unless purchased with a Whole Event Super Pass.

While ticketed Special Stage spectating will be the highlight of Repco Rally Australia, the public also will have bonus free access to several activities where drivers and their cars can be seen at close quarters.

These include service parks at Kingscliff and Kyogle, a rally show, start festivities and free concert at Murwillumbah on Thursday night and the ceremonial finish at the Kingscliff service park on Sunday afternoon.

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New Caledonia's Hot Winter Deals

New Caledonia Tourism is luring Kiwis to the sun with hot holiday deals.

The Hot Winter Deals, available through House of Travel, Flight Centre and United Travel, are designed for clients who are conscious of these economic times but still want a warm winter escape or the best of French culture and cuisine - without travelling to Europe.

Consumers who book one of these deals with Aircalin can also go into the draw to win a Sony Handycam by visiting the New Caledonia Tourism website and filling out a short consumer survey.

The packages will be on sale from Sunday 21 June to 10 July – agents should see their wholesaler for details. Full package details are available on

“New Caledonia is one of our closest neighbours - just a two and a half hour flight away - but it makes the perfect destination for a winter escape” says Karen Priest, New Caledonia Tourism New Zealand Manager.

“The sunbathed beaches combined with French flair makes it a world away from New Zealand at this time of the year.”

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Stride Into the Sunshine Coast’s first Festival of the Walks

Lace up your walking boots and get ready to step out for the first Festival of the Walks on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland from August 29 to September 13.

The festival aims to encourage visitors to experience and enjoy the wide variety of walks, parks and attractions found in the picturesque Blackall Ranges.

There are walking trails in a range of locations including Montville, Maleny, Mapleton and Flaxton, Conondale and Kenilworth, with maps of the walks available for download on the new website, Maps of some of the walks will also be available from local accommodation houses and visitor information centres.

The Blackall Range walks feature a variety of settings ranging from spectacular waterfalls, rainforests, forests and palm groves. The walks are designed to suit different needs, speeds and desires, with walks starting from just 20 minutes to whole day hikes, with a few of the routes equipped with wheelchair access.

The extensive 58km Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk is one of the most widespread and scenic routes, located across the Maleny-Mapleton plateau and the Blackall Range.

During the two week festival period, visitors to the range can also expect to meet artists, see photographic displays, observe wood turners, artists, potters and other crafts people.

On the weekends, there will be free live entertainment in various locations from shopfronts to rotundas for visitors to enjoy. Several dinners featuring local produce will be held during the festival, including a degustation dinner at the Reserve Restaurant, Maleny on 30 August and a dinner at Mountain View Restaurant, Maleny on 13 September.

“Through the festival we hope to remind visitors that the walks of the Hinterland are close to home, free, good for you and open all year round” said Angus Richard, Secretary of Blackall Range Business & Tourism Association (BRBTA).

Experience more of the hinterland and extend your trip by staying at one of the cosy and fully self-contained B&B’s, cottages or motels located in the Blackall Range.

For more information visit or

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Don Burrows to Headline at 8th Annual Norfolk Island "Jazz in the Pines" Festival

Norfolk’s whispering pines will echo to the brassy tones of Australia's Living National Treasure Don Burrows when the island’s eighth annual Jazz in The Pines Festival takes place December 7-11 this year.

Set amongst spectacular island scenery, the finger-snapping, feel-good week of swing, funk and blues will also see Melbourne group the Syncopators deliver the class that won them this year’s classic jazz award at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.

Also performing will be former Norfolk Islander Rick Robertson and the Eon Beats with sassy vocalist Evelyn Duprai and the Kevin Hunt Trio with crooner Johnny Nicol, giving the line-up the pick of Australia’s East Coast jazz and blues talent.

An added bonus will see a “Stop, Look and Listen” exhibition of photographs taken by the multi-talented Mr Burrows AO, MBE over a lifetime of travel and jazz playing.

“Jazz fans have been coming to Norfolk Island for the past seven years to enjoy this world-class music festival, and they could not be picking a better time to be here with an outstanding festival line-up and great holiday deals on offer,” said Norfolk Island Tourism General Manager Terry Watson.

“Our famous pine trees and Kingston’s Georgian architecture provide a wonderful setting for musical events, and jazz lovers can look forward to mix world-standard entertainment with a range of fun activities on our small slice of Pacific paradise.”

For further information about Norfolk Island visit

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The Westin Melbourne Opens the Gates to Heaven

The Westin’s commitment to wellness and a good night’s sleep is as strong today as it was 10 years ago when Westin launched the Heavenly® Bed. As part of its Heavenly celebrations, The Westin Melbourne is giving all diners who make an online reservation at Allegro Restaurant the opportunity to win a complete Heavenly® Bed package.

The plush package, valued at over $4000AUD includes Westin’s signature Heavenly® Bed featuring the exclusive pillow top mattress and base, two luxurious feather pillows, a comforting queen size doona and crisp white Heavenly linen including two pillow cases, queen size sheet set and doona cover.

In order to be in the running to win this luxurious prize, simply make a lunch or dinner reservation at Allegro Restaurant via the website on The Westin Melbourne’s award winning restaurant offers informal yet stylish dining. Featuring open kitchens, a highlight of Allegro is dining alfresco on the terrace amongst the tree tops of cosmopolitan Collins Street. The hotel’s Executive Chef regularly changes menus to showcase the best of fresh, local produce all matched with an extensive wine list. Allegro’s signature “Platter Dining” has ensured the restaurant is popular for corporate lunches and pre-theatre dining.

*Terms and conditions apply. Please see the website for more details.

The Westin Melbourne has become the most decorated Westin property in the world, receiving dozens of international, national and state accolades. Most recently the hotel has been voted ‘best location’ and ‘best service in the business category’ by Qantas Frequent Flyer members,recognised as Victoria’s ‘best luxury hotel’ at the Victorian Tourism Awards for three years running and won the ‘best luxury hotel – south pacific’ category in the TripAdvisor Travelers
Choice Awards.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Blue Lagoon offers 30 per cent discount on four-day/three-night Yasawa ‘Club’ cruises

Fiji’s iconic Blue Lagoon Cruises is offering a 30 per cent discount on all four-day/three-night Yasawa Island ‘Club’ cruises from now until 31 August 2009.

Pricing for the special starts from AUD1209* per person twin share in a ‘Hibiscus’ class cabin with travel valid until 31 March 2010.

All Blue Lagoon cruises programs include all meals and cruise activities ranging fromdaily shore excursions and snorkeling safaris to fish feeding, fishing and glass bottom boating.

Cultural experiences include a ‘Lovo’ feast, visits to remote villages, Kava ceremonies and a day spent at Blue Lagoon Cruises’ private island of Nanuya Lailai.

*Conditions apply. Please note cruise prices do not include international airfares or beverages (other than tea and coffee). A daily fuel surcharge of FJD25 per person also applies.

See for full itineraries.
For cruise reservations telephone Blue Lagoon Cruises in Lautoka, Fiji, on +67 9 666 1622, via email on

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Buy Tiger Airways fares ‘for the price of a couple of movie tickets’

Tiger Airways is making good on its promise to bring Australia the lowest airfares with its newly launched ‘Pay Only Taxes and Charges’ sale.

Tiger Airways Australia, Commercial Director, Steve Burns, says the ‘Pay Only Taxes and Charges’ seat sale is a fantastic opportunity to bag-a-bargain airfare with Australia’s true low-cost carrier.

“For the price of a couple of movie tickets or a few beers you can travel some of Tiger Airway’s most popular routes mid-week and take advantage of our consistently low fares.

“While everyone’s tightening their belts in the current economic climate, it’s nice to know you can still take a short break away or get that work-life balance back on track with incredible deals like these.

“Tiger Airways is helping Australians move through the recession with fares starting from just $22.36* in our ‘Pay Only Taxes and Charges’ sale, but you will need to get in quick to avoid disappointment,” he says.

The limited time sale is available for purchase from now through to midnight 25 June 2009 (or until seats are sold out).

The “Just Pay Taxes and Charges” deal is for travel extending from 4 August 2009 – 24 March 2010 on selected travel routes and is valid for travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the travel period.*

Visit for price information, booking details and full terms and conditions.

*Black- out periods apply (15 December 2009 – 27 January 2010 and 9 to 10 March 2010). Excludes Melbourne – Perth and Melbourne – Alice Springs, with travel on all other routes across the Tiger Airways network on sale until sold out. Taxes and charges fares range from AUD $22.36- AUD $39.18.

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Top 10 Interesting Facts of Galapagos

1. Remoteness. There are almost no other islands off the western coast of South America and no easy means of rapid communication with the outside world.

2. Strong currents. Many underpowered ships were carried from the central or South American coastal waters to the Galapagos

3. Inaccessibility. Despite the natural tendency of a boat to drift in the direction of the Galapagos, access to the islands has been for the most part tricky due to their remote location.

4. Tactical location. The Galapagos Islands are an ideally located supply port and lie directly in the entrance path of the Panama Canal. These facts were not lost on the major international powers

5. Dry conditions. Many visitors arrived in search of water. Most of the early arrivals failed in this quest. A seemingly disproportionate number came to Floreana Island, due to the known water supply.

6. Safe Haven. The Galapagos was thought of and used as a haven by many. Most were disappointed with the reality of the harsh life.

7. Exploitation. The influence of man has brought several wildlife species, notably the giant tortoise, sperm whale, and fur seal, to the point of extinction.

8. Unprofitability. Repeated attempts at commercial use of the islands have met with failure. Tourism and modern day commercial fishing are proving to be the sole exceptions.

9. Surrealistic image. The islands have always been perceived as a blend of the angelic and demonic. Before the tourism industry referred to Las Islas Encantadas “The Enchanted Islands”, the correct translation and initial use of the expression meant “The Bewitched Islands”

10. The Galapagos Islands are often referred to as Darwin’s “living laboratory of evolution.”

NZ thanks Aussies with a millionaire's holiday

Tourism New Zealand launched a ‘Thanks a Million’ promotion earlier this week to celebrate over one million arrivals from Australia into the country.

‘Thanks a Million’ will allow Australians to go in a draw to win a millionaires holiday in New Zealand.

Winners will fly return business class on Air New Zealand whilst Navigate Oceania will arrange the nights in the lodges which include Treetops Lodge, The Boatshed in Waiheke Island and the Remarkables Lodge in Queenstown.

The competition is now live on the New Zealand’s i-SITE information network and will run for two weeks.

To enter the competition or for more information visit

MOOREA - Legends Resort Moorea - Relax in your Private Fully Self Contained Villa from $2315

The newly opened Legends Resort Moorea in association with House of Travel is offering a deal that will keep those winter blues at bay.

Stay 3 nights at Legends Resort Moorea in a 2 brm unserviced Garden Villa, 1 night pre and post Moorea at the Manava Resort Tahiti. Includes all transfers in Papeete and Moorea and return ferry transfers.

BONUS: Free daily cultural activities programme & an early morning Lagoon Discovery for 2 during your stay at Legends Resort Moorea

Ø Travel must be completed between 01/06/2009 and 02/12/2009

Ø Ask for special offer TNPPTMAR09-3Y7

For further information and packages email or call 0800 838 747