Monday, August 10, 2009

Waiheke Island Winter Blues Festival

Waiheke-based company Let Me Out is staging the island’s very first Winter Blues Festival, sponsored by Waiheke Rental Cars and scheduled for Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th August.

The festival promises “a pumping weekend with up to 12 bands playing in intimate environments where the beer flows freely and the musicians are so close you could wipe the sweat off their brows….” Musicians in the lineup include Billy TK Junior, Gael Ludlow, Katy Soljak, Aaron Carpenter, Caitlin Smith and Al Reeve.

A number of sponsorship opportunities were offered and SeaLink opted to provide their flagship vessel Seacat as the backdrop for a promotional music video featuring some of the festival’s artists. “Rising Sun Blues” also known as “The House of the Rising Sun” was chosen for the feature and is now playing on YouTube to a global audience. “This is the first time we have been involved in such a promotion,” said general manager Donna Gauci “and it was a great way for us to use social networking to market the event. We are delighted with the quality of the video and are closely monitoring the results.”

SeaLink has put together a special package price to encourage visitors to the festival. The price includes two people travelling in their car on the ferry and two tickets to the 2-day festival. Details of the deal can be found on the Hot Deals page of their website and there is a link from there to the music video on YouTube. Accommodation packages are also available.

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Packages Highlight Tassie Gems

Launceston’s Country Club Tasmania is pleased to announce the release of five fantastic new accommodation packages.

The innovative packages are designed to cater to diverse interests and showcase the very best tourism experiences Northern Tasmania has to offer.

New accommodation packages have been tailored to meet that market demand. Visitors can explore the region’s renowned wineries or challenge themselves at Barnbougle Dune’s internationally acclaimed golf course before, among other activities, returning to their four to five-star accommodation at Country Club Tasmania.

The five new packages are:

• Tee off for Two by Air – includes two nights accommodation, full buffet breakfasts, 18 holes at Country Club Tasmania and Barnbougle Dunes, and helicopter transfers to and from Barnbougle.

• Tee off for Two by Road – as per above with transfers by road.

• Fly Through the Vines – includes two nights accommodation, full buffet breakfasts, and a helicopter transfer to a winery of choice plus scenic flight over Launceston.
• Drive Through the Vines – as per above with transfers by road.

• Ultimate High Flyer Package – includes one night accommodation, full buffet breakfast, Heli Adventures Champagne Sunset flight, and a three-course meal at the multi award-winning Terrace Restaurant.

For more information on these and other accommodation packages, visit or phone 03 6335 5777.

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Sheraton Resorts In Asia Pacific Launches Free Nights Promotion

Sheraton Resorts in Asia-Pacific today announce the launch of the Sheraton “Free Nights” promotion, offering guests an additional free night stay for every 2 or 3 nights booked and 2 additional free nights for every 4 nights booked at any Sheraton resort in Asia-Pacific from 13 July until 31 October 2009.

Sheraton resorts are located in many popular travel destinations in Asia Pacific, such as Australia – Noosa, Gold Coast, Port Douglas; China – Jiuzhaigou, Haikou, Huizhou, Sanya, Dameisha; Fiji; Guam; Japan - Tokyo and Miyazaki; Malaysia – Langkawi; Maldives; Indonesia – Senggigi, and Thailand – Hua Hin, Krabi and Pattaya.

Selected room rates start from AUD$245 at Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa, Gold Coast; USD$160 at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa; and CNY1,150 at Sheraton Sanya Resort.

Sheraton Resorts “Free Nights” promotion can be reserved online at, and, or by calling the toll free numbers on . Terms and conditions apply.

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Over 50’s More Active Than Ever

Holiday choices for over 50’s are no longer limited to walking round and round the worlds’ largest cruise ship or standing in a uniform line of old timers waiting to be packed into a double-decker tour bus. 50 is the new 40 and with early retirement becoming much more common in today’s society, people are keen to use their hard-earned cash and enjoy it whilst still physically and mentally active.

Over 50’s account for 40% of average consumer spending and hold 80% of the UK’s wealth, showing that people are becoming more and more keen to spend on themselves to really enjoy life whilst they can. 85% of all travellers over 50 travel solo and find active holidays the ideal way to meet like-minded people who love to share their curiosity of the world with others.

Expert psychologist Britta van Dyk shares his opinion: “Being mentally, physically and socially stimulated has significant benefits to those getting older. One of the best ways to do this is to do something that combines these three factors – a learning holiday is the perfect answer”.

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New Monaco Grand Prix Cruise For 2010

For the first time, the 170 passenger `Star Flyer’, ( one of the world’s largest and most luxurious tall ships, will be anchored in the bay of Monaco on the day of the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix. The ship will anchor outside the harbour at Monte Carlo within easy reach by tender of all the action and will be one of the most beautiful vessels on the scene with her graceful lines, four masts and teak decking.

Grand Prix fans wanting to enjoy the luxurious sailing can join the cruise for just £765 per person, based on 2 sharing.

Star Flyer is scheduled to depart from Cannes on 22nd May 2010 for the glamorous four night jet-set itinerary, sailing along the Cote d’Azur to Monte Carlo for the day of the race, after which she sets sail for Calvi, Corsica, an historic port surrounded by craggy, pine-clad mountains, before continuing her Mediterranean voyage to Portofino, one of Italy’s most glamorous yacht harbours with some fine lunch spots and designer shopping. The jet-set break ends in Cannes on May 26.
Demand for the jet-set Grand Prix sailing is expected to be high.

Life is on board each of the three tall ships in the Star Clippers fleet is as it would be on a private yacht, with impeccable service and fine food in an informal, relaxed setting. Star Flyer has two plunge pools, the convivial deck-top Tropical Bar and a comfortable piano bar inside. Guests are free to help the crew raise the 3,365 square metres of sails – or simply to relax and soak up the sunshine.

The four night cruise Grand Prix cruise can be booked for £765 per person, based on 2 sharing a cabin, and including breakfast, lunch, dinner and four days sailing itinerary.

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Celebrities, Makeovers and Good Times at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2009

Although the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is known around the world for its competitive sailing, it’s also getting a reputation as the perfect location for top-quality onshore activities and events.

Gone are the days when the event was a boys domain – now there’s so much to do for the girls that sailors will be in trouble if they leave their wife and partner at home.

Strike a pose
For the first time ever, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week will provide a beach-chic suite at the Reef View Hotel into a pre-party haven where guests can get a professional hand at getting ready for the parties during Race Week. The ModelCo Styling Suite will be the place to be seen and be pampered all week long with ladies primped and groomed before selected events where jet-set glamour is a must. Wild Oats wine will be flowing the ModelCo makeup team will work their magic on guests – and it’s all free – but bookings must be made. The Model-Co Styling suite will operate Saturday 22 August from 3pm - 6pm (before the invitation-only Collette Dinnigan Parade), Sunday 23 August from 10am - 12 noon (before Wild Oats Lunch), Sunday 23 August from 4pm - 7pm (before the Shannon Bennett Dinner), Tuesday 25 August from 10am - 12 noon, Friday 28 August from 3pm - 7pm (before the Matt Moran Dinner) and Saturday 29 August from 3pm - 7pm (before the Presentation Dinner)

Ladies Lunch
Guaranteed for a bit of glamour and lots of giggles is the Wild Oats Ladies Lunch on Sunday August 23rd. Designed and hosted by renowned Sydney Chef and Wild Oats Wine ambassador Peter Evans (of Hugo’s Lounge, Hugos Bar Pizza, Hugos Manly fame) along with co-hosts Todd Woodbridge and Channel Ten’s Bondi Vet Dr Chris Brown, the event is the perfect way to get into the mood of the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Tickets are $110 per person for a three course meal at Romano’s Restaurant including wines to match the cuisine. All guests receive a Model Co goodie bag and surprise gifts.

Celebrity Chefs on show
The celebrity chef theme continues on Sunday August 23rd when Shannon Bennett of the multi-award winning Vue Restaurant in Melbourne presents a Chefs Table Dinner at the Beach House. Tickets for the degustation dinner are $180 and include a selection of wines from Robert Oatley Vineyards.
Another Chef’s Table event will be staged on Friday August 28th. Back by popular demand is Matt Moran from Sydney’s acclaimed ARIA Restaurant. This special dining experience will feature a sumptuous degustation menu complemented by wines from Robert Oatley Vineyards. Tickets are $180 per person.

Taking a hit
A unique experience on offer for those not sailing, is a tennis clinic with one of Australia’s most successful tennis players, Todd Woodbridge. Todd is back at Race Week by popular demand and is running three clinics at the Hamilton Island Sports Club. The clinics will be held on Monday 24 August (10.30am to 12.30pm), Tuesday 25 August (9am to 11am) and Wednesday 26 August (10.30am to 12.30pm) and participation costs $50 per person.

Long luscious lunches
Lay Day on Tuesday August 25th, is the perfect excuse for a long lunch. One of the best choices for a laid-back lunch with friends is at Hamilton Island’s award winning restaurant, The Beach House, overlooking gorgeous Catseye Beach. Cost is $120 per person for a delicious four course lunch and a welcome glass of champagne.

Make up with Mojitos
New to the social schedule for the 2009 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is the ModelCo Make Up and Mojitos Evening with Shelley Barrett. This evening with a difference will be held at the Outrigger Marquee on Catseye Beach. Tickets are $60 and include mojitos and canapés as well as some great tips, pampering and makeovers. Guests will receive a sneak peak at the newest secret weapon for tanning this summer, learn some tricks of the trade to take a makeup look from day to night as well as doing the ultimate edit on handbag essentials to look effortlessly chic, any place, any time.

Something for the boys…
While the majority of social events at the 2009 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week may appeal to couples (or just the girls) – there are a couple of choices ideally for the lads…

The popular Beer, Beef and Reef dinner will be held at the Steakhouse on Wednesday August 26th and will feature an evening of great food matched with a selection of Foster’s boutique beer. Tickets are $95 and include dinner and accompanying beers.

One of the highlights on the social schedule this year is the unique ‘Deadliest Catch’ dinner themed around the hit Discovery Channel TV series The Deadliest Catch. Hosted by Captain Andy Hillstrand from the fishing boat ‘Time Bandit’, guests will enjoy a sensational seafood buffet dinner including the acclaimed Alaskan sand crabs and hear Andy’s tales of Alaskan fishing adventures. Tickets for the dinner on Monday August 24 at Sails Restaurant (formerly Toucan Tango) are $95 and include a selection of beers.

Booking forms for all events are available online at and then click on off-water events.

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Shark Attack at Sea World!

It’s the end of another sweltering summer’s day and the sun is just beginning to set. The water looks so inviting and it seems like a good idea to cool off with a swim. But there is another world which lies beneath and it’s dinner time……

Bull Sharks in our waterways are a fact of life, yet year after year we hear of another shark attack, so why is that we have not learned to live in harmony with these predators of the deep?

Sea World will answer some of these questions when it opens its newest marine animal exhibit and the world’s only dedicated Bull Shark exhibit ‘Shark Attack – Bull Sharks in our Backyard’.

Shark Attack is an interactive educational exhibit which investigates Bull Shark attacks, why they happen and how we can prevent them.

“Sharks have always been a creature of mystery and fear and Shark Attack will explore the myths surrounding Sharks while educating people on how to avoid having interactions with these remarkable animals” said Sea World Director of Marine Sciences Trevor Long.

Sea World is also working closely with Griffith University Bull Shark researcher Jonathan Werry whose findings feature in the exhibit.

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Qantas has relaunched, creating a complete one-stop travel website, with a new-look and a host of service enhancements.

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Queensland’s Outback is Blooming Beautiful!

Queensland’s Outback is literally blooming with wildflowers thanks to the floods earlier this year and a new air charter and helicopter tour is offering a close up look at the very best of nature’s own flower show.

The three-day Channel Country Wildflower Tour departs Brisbane for Birdsville on a private charter flight. Accommodation is provided at the Birdsville Caravan Park on the banks of the Diamantina River.

The group travels by coach down the Birdsville Track where they are collected by helicopter and flown to an exclusive location north of Goyder’s Lagoon for a day amongst the wildflowers on the 3500 square kilometre Alton Downs Station.

The return trip to Brisbane includes a stop at Charleville to check out the Cosmos Centre before flying on to Brisbane. Tours depart 30 August and 13 September and cost $2850 per person twin share. Groups of 10 can arrange further tours from mid-September. For more details visit

If you can’t make this tour but are interested in other Queensland Outback wildflower/garden experiences check out the Aussie Outback Tours’ Outback Gardens tour which showcases some amazing Outback gardens. Tours for 2009 are now completed but watch for details of tours in 2010.

Another little botanical gem is the Myall Park Botanic Garden near Condamine, around four hours’ drive west of Brisbane. Created in the 1940s, the garden is home to one of Australia’s oldest collections of arid and semi-arid native plants and the web site also has a “what’s flowering” guide for the year so you can see beforehand what to expect.

If you are making the journey to Myall Park in September or just happen to be passing through the region, make sure you check out the country around nearby Miles on the Warrego Highway. This is the centre of a native wildflower region extending north to the Great Divide and if there has been rain the showing is truly spectacular. Visit

For more information about Queensland’s Outback visit

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Rotorua Airport takes off for Trans Tasman flights

More than 40 years after it first opened, Rotorua Airport is about to become an international airport, with the news that Air New Zealand will commence twice-weekly Trans Tasman flights to Sydney from December 12.

Air New Zealand will fly A320 aircrafts from Sydney to Rotorua and return twice a week, operating on a Saturday-Monday service initially, moving to a Saturday-Tuesday service from February.

In the past two years, the Airport has seen a number of upgrades, including the development of a new international arrival and departure lounge, a resurfaced and lengthened runway (which is nearing completion), expanded and resealed carparks, border control offices and gateways and a cafe. These developments were made both to achieve Trans Tasman capability, but also to meet changing requirements for the Airport's domestic operation.

This development obviously offers significant benefits for Rotorua, but it will also have significant flow-on effects for the wider Central North Island, including Tauranga, Whakatane, Taupo, Hawkes Bay and others. Rotorua Airport will be the gateway to the Central North Island.

Australia is Rotorua's largest source of international visitor arrivals, with more than 205,700 Australians visiting Rotorua in 2007. By the end of 2014, it is forecast that this number will be up to nearly 269,000.

Bookings for the first Trans Tasman flights are already open.

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Truffle Dinner Series

The "white diamond" will dazzle dinner guests during a series of four dinners at Otahuna Lodge in August. The Bianchetto truffle (Tuber borchii) – locally sourced at Borchii Park – will provide the inspiration for a five-course menu devised by executive chef Jimmy McIntyre.

The aphrodisiac appears on the table courtesy of Borchii Park's truffle dog Hugo, a German Short-Haired Pointer with a sense of smell strong enough to detect the elusive truffle up to 15 centimetres underground.

Otahuna Lodge's truffle dinners are designed for two or more guests and each course is paired with New Zealand wines. The menu includes such delights as truffled egg custard with Nashi pear or truffle and Otahuna porcini mushroom ravioli with parmesan cream.

The Lodge has garnered a reputation for exciting and inspired menus as featured in recent issues of Cuisine and Australian Gourmet Traveller. The menu changes daily according to the seasonal offerings from its own one-hectare, organic potager garden and orchard on the estate. Last year Otahuna's grounds produced more than 130 different kinds of vegetable, fruits, nuts, herbs and mushrooms.

The truffle dinners are offered on August 21 and 22 and August 28 and 29 for $190 per person including wines matched with each course as well as pre-dinner drinks with canapes. Suites are available for guests who wish to spend the night for an additional $600 per room including full breakfast and GST.

For further information or to make a reservation for one of the dinners please contact Otahuna Lodge on 03 329 6333 or

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Ships ahoy for the Henley-on-Todd!

It’s quite possibly the only Regatta that’s ever been cancelled because there was too much water around.

Traditionally run on the dry bed of the Todd River in the Northern Territory’s Alice Springs, the Henley-on-Todd was cancelled in 1993 due to the uncharacteristic flooding of the river.

But it will be business as usual at this year’s event on Saturday, 22 August, when residents and visitors alike congregate for the quirky race.

Taking place a mere 1500km from the nearest significant body of water, the Henley-on-Todd Regatta transforms average citizens into ruthless pirates determined to cruise their homemade vessels to victory.

The only prerequisite is that their boats are in no way, shape or form seaworthy.

Teams get together in the lead up to the event to design their crafty vessels, and unwilling to rely on speed alone, the ‘shipwrights’ have been known to arm their boats with a diverse range of weapons.

The teams bring everything from assorted ‘mortars’ to high pressure water cannons into play to thwart their opponents at every turn and aid their own charge towards the finish line.

Visitors to the town who don’t have time to build their own vessel can choose their event and register on the day using a provided competition boat.

However, many travellers prefer to get their own boats up and running, according to promotions and marketing manager, Merrilyn McIver.

“A lot of tourists get involved, particularly the backpackers, and a lot of our grey nomads come in either as participants or spectators,” she said.

“When it comes to making your own boat, the whole criteria is to be lightweight, to look like a boat and to remain intact for the duration of the race. Some people go all out – I’ve seen boats made out of beer cartons, flags and balloons.”

Mrs McIver has been the promotions and marketing manager of the event for three years, but has been involved in the event since she moved to town 39 years ago.

“It’s just one of those fantastic events that everyone gets enthusiastic about and wants to play a part in. Once you have paid your entry at the gate all the events are free to enter, so people get in and have a go at as much as possible.”

Events include the main race for those who’ve brought along their own boats, the Oxford Tubs event, which sees competitors ‘paddle’ canoes along rails with sand shovels; the Boogey Board event, which sees five crew members tow a sixth either standing, kneeling or sitting on a boogey board, and the Bath Tub Derby.

The day begins at 11am with a parade down the Todd Mall, and races commence at 11.45am.

Travellers can book through Territory Discoveries for a hot deal to get them to Alice Springs in time for the Regatta. The package includes three nights in 3.5-star accommodation and three days car hire with unlimited kilometres from just $268 per person, twin share.

Visit website

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Mackenzie hot spots ‘key links’ in New Zealand tourism chain

Rapid tourism growth in the Mt Cook Mackenzie region has resulted in better access to tourism information in two of the region’s iconic hot spots.

The Mackenzie Tourism & Development Trust has announced that it will take on the management of visitor information sites in Lake Tekapo and Twizel in line with its regional tourism marketing strategy. Twizel’s existing information centre, located next to the Events Centre, is already operating under the new management structure and its extensive renovations will be complete by early September.

A new official i-SITE will open in Lake Tekapo later this year, joining the nationwide network of visitor centres which offer impartial advice, information and bookings for activities, accommodation and transport. The i-SITE will be in a prime location next to the Godley Hotel on the main state highway which registers more than 1.4 million vehicle movements a year.

The two visitor centres will complement the existing Lake Pukaki information centre which the Mackenzie Tourism & Development Trust has been managing for the past year. All three centres will be run by the Trust on behalf of the Mackenzie District Council.

David Wilks, Executive Manager i-SITE New Zealand, says: "i-SITE centres become a beacon for visitors as they pass through the country. We know that as the volume of visitors to a region grows so too does the expectation for comprehensive and easily accessible information and consistently excellent service. That's exactly what i-SITEs deliver."

The new Tekapo centre will be open 364 days a year and will extend its hours to cater for the increasing amount of visitors coming into the region.

All staff will undergo ATTTO tourism training to provide international-standard service.

For more information about the Mackenzie region visit

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Langham Hotels International (LHI) has doubled its footprint in Thailand to four
properties following the signing of a deal with Bangkok Mass Transit System Public
Company Limited (BTSC) to manage two new five-star properties in the country’s

The occasion marks the first time LHI’s two distinctive brands – The Langham and
Langham Place - will be introduced simultaneously in one city when they open in 2012.
Dr K.S Lo, Chairman of Langham Hotels International said: “These new hotels will represent the best of our two brands when they open in 2012, as we distill our brand essence from the last 144 years into these distinctive new establishments.”

The Langham, Sukhumvit, Bangkok will enjoy prime position in the city’s central commercial district on Sukhumvit Road and offer a luxury heritage that befits one of Bangkok’s most prestigious addresses. Built in the tradition of Europe’s first grand hotel, the property will feature 230 spacious guestrooms and suites as well as 80 Langham Residences. Complementing the luxury accommodation will be a complete array of services and facilities that embody the elegance and timeless spirit of The Langham.

These will include the sister of The Langham Hong Kong’s two Michelin Star Cantonese restaurant – T’ang Court, a second fine-dining restaurant, the Traditional Chinese Medicine-inspired Chuan Spa, swimming pool and fitness centre, as well as a grand ballroom and extensive meeting facilities designed to create a Bangkok’s most luxurious hotel.

The 400-room Langham Place, Phayathai, Bangkok, close to the city’s premier shopping location at Siam Centre is just 14 minutes from Suwannabhumi Airport thanks to the new Airport Rail link. The property captures the other side of the city’s vibrant nature with an emphasis on sparkling service that reflects the guests’ fun loving and sociable approach to life. The hotel combines modern living by including visually-pleasing yet functional design elements as well as the latest technology to seamlessly meet the needs of early adopters to entertain, stay connected or increase productivity.

In addition to the most modern rooms in the city, the property will feature a DJ in the lobby to set the mood, easing you into a vibrant haven in the city. Facilities also include the award-winning Chuan Spa, a fitness centre and swimming pool as well as the unique hybrid bar and business lounge concept of Portal – Work & Play – which recognises that today’s independent travellers often multi-task, work and play within the same space. Two new restaurants will also be introduced which will touch all the senses to truly capture the spirit of the stimulating hospitality.

Extensive meetings and banquet facilities complete the range of services at this
centrally located property.

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New Bay of Islands overnight small cruise ship in the water

Ed's Note: Let's Travel will be onboard in the next couple of weeks ... check the printed mag for full coverage!

Fullers GreatSights Bay of Islands’ latest vessel, Ipipiri, is now afloat in waters near Hobart with the final stages of construction will be completed by the middle of August. New Zealand’s newest overnight cruise ship will then set sail to her new home in the pristine waters of Opua in the Bay of Islands.

The 46 metre Ipipiri is due to arrive by the end of August. So far, the vessel has taken more than 50,000 man hours to complete and contains more than 75 tonnes of aluminium in its structure alone.

Ipipiri displaces approximately 319 tonnes when it has a full load of fuel, fresh water, stores, and a weight allowance for 60 passengers and nine crew.

Charles Parker, General Manager Bay of Islands at InterCity Group (NZ) Ltd, the company who commissioned the vessel, has said that Ipipiri’s arrival is the cause of great excitement locally.

“The team is very excited about clapping eyes on Ipipiri and putting on the final touches as it’s been a project that’s been in the making for four years. We’re even more excited about hosting local and international tourists for an experience that showcases much of what the Bay of Islands has to offer in a new and special way.”

Ipipiri will feature a spacious sundeck, a 70 seat indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar area capable of hosting up to 110 people for cocktail functions or presentations. The lower decks will house 30 deluxe cabins, each with a king sized bed, a private ensuite and unobstructed panoramic sea views.

Full of history and natural beauty, the Bay of Islands is the perfect destination to enjoy an indulgent weekend escape, and with the arrival of Ipipiri, passengers can spend a special night on its sheltered waters, starting from October 2009.

As well as being a fantastic tourist venture, Ipipiri will also be available to hire exclusively for events, conferences and weddings.

“Ipipiri will offer a unique alternative for conferences, board meetings or product launches,” explains Parker. “Ipipiri will be ideal for an unforgettable incentive activity, stimulating team building challenge, or an exclusive venue to host an event.”

To celebrate Ipipiri’s arrival, Fullers GreatSights Bay of Islands is offering a special launch rate of $199 per person, twin share, for people who book before 25 November for travel prior to the 20 of December.

“The Bay of Islands is a stunning place to visit and the best way to see the area is by water,” says Parker. “It’s only a three hour drive or 40 minute flight from Auckland.” A coach/cruise/coach tour option is also available ex-Auckland with

Fullers GreatSights Bay of Islands offers the most comprehensive range of marine and land experiences within Northland, with a large fleet of modern vessels and coaches for hire.

For more information, please visit or

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Updated Swine Flu Advice for Travellers

The Ministry of Health recently released an updated 'Question and Answer' fact sheet for travellers on Influenza A (H1N1), also known as Swine Flu.

The fact sheet includes information about seeking advice before travel and how to get help if travellers fall ill while in New Zealand.

Download the factsheet

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10,000 Kiwis Invite Friends and Family to Visit NZ

Already 30,000 curious Kiwis have visited the website for 'The Great Kiwi Invite', a new tourism campaign launched by the Prime Minister on Friday.

‘The Great Kiwi Invite’ campaign calls on all New Zealanders to support the tourism industry and become ambassadors for their country. The campaign is a Tourism New Zealand initiative encouraging New Zealanders to get in touch with friends and family overseas and invite them over for a visit, with an added incentive of the chance to win return Air New Zealand flights

Kiwis have been quick to sign-in to the website and send invitations. By Monday evening - only three days after the campaign website went live - 10,000 Kiwis had registered to send invites to their friends and family and 3,500 of these invitations had been accepted.

"This campaign is about using one of our best assets, good old fashioned Kiwi hospitality, to help New Zealand’s economy in these tougher times," says George Hickton, Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive.

Read more about 'The Great Kiwi Invite' campaign ... and start inviting your friends and family - they could fly to New Zealand for free! Sign-up online at

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Powderhorn Chateau - Four Stars!

The Powderhorn Chateau underwent a major refurbishment last year, and in March 2009 received a four-star Qualmark rating. Throughout the hotel guests will find plush new carpets, new-look soft furnishings and luxurious leather sofas and armchairs, all of which have enhanced the feeling of comfort and style.

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Qualmark Celebrates First Green Birthday

New Zealand’s world-leading environmental accreditation system for tourism businesses – Qualmark Green - is one year old today.

It’s not easy being green, but over 200 tourism businesses have shown it can be done by achieving Qualmark Green enviro-ratings within 12 months of the programme’s launch.

Of those, 50 have immediately reached Enviro-Gold standard - the highest ranking available under the system.

“We are delighted that we’ve got 200 accredited businesses and 50 who went straight to Enviro-Gold. The Qualmark enviro-rating system is demanding and thorough so that’s quite an achievement in just 12 months,” says Qualmark Chief Executive Geoff Penrose.

Qualmark is New Zealand tourism’s official quality accreditation programme. The launch of Qualmark Green enviro-ratings last year made Qualmark the world’s first fully-integrated environmental and quality accreditation programme for tourism.

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Monaco Classic Week 2009

From 16th to 20th September 2009, the world’s most beautiful classic yachts will be moored along the quays of Port Hercule, scene of the great 20th century innovations, to celebrate the 100 years of Tuiga, the flagship of the Yacht Club de Monaco.

For the occasion, the Yacht Club de Monaco in collaboration with its official timekeeper Hublot, and the participation of Moët Hennessy, Credit Suisse and Lancia, plans to turn back the clock and recreate the atmosphere on Quai Antoine 1er as it was 100 years ago in 1909.

This is an invitation to travel through time and discover the maritime history of the Principality between 1909 and 2009.

It will be one of the biggest events ever organised in the name of classic yachting. Participants are asked to wear traditional uniforms and there will be displays of classic cars and a number of surprises are planned!

The CAPTAIN will be at the helm of the SY'ARIES', a 115' Camper & Nicholsons with her keel laid in 1939. She is currently being restored for this event at the Cantiere di San Remo under The CAPTAIN's supervision.

Please go to the Yacht Club's website for more info

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