Saturday, November 21, 2009

Budget Break in Cairns - Book Now


Enjoy a family escape in Tropical North Queensland with package deals at Rydges Hotels and Resorts that won’t break the budget.

The accommodation discounts come hot on the heels of Jetstar slashing its North Queensland fares by up to 50 per cent from all capital cities with prices starting at $89 one way from Brisbane to Cairns.

Stay in the heart of Cairns city from only $153 per room per night with the Family Package available at Rydges Esplanade Resort, Rydges Tradewinds Cairns and Rydges Plaza Cairns.

The Family Package includes three nights accommodation, kids stay and eat free (0-12yrs using existing bedding, one child eats free per full paying adult, max two children), a welcome drink on arrival per person in the hotel bar/lounge and a Rydges Holiday Saving Voucher booklet with value adds and discounts worth up to $450.

At Port Douglas, pay for four nights at Rydges Sabaya Resort and get an extra night free. Prices start at $229 for a one bedroom apartment per night with kids staying and eating free (0-12yrs using existing bedding, one child eats free per full paying adult, max two children), a welcome drink on arrival per person in the hotel bar/lounge and a Rydges Holiday Saving Voucher booklet with value adds and discounts worth up to $450.

To book contact your travel agent, call the Rydges hotel of your choice direct or visit

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Cathay Pacific Celebrates New Service to Jeddah

Cathay Pacific Airways yesterday celebrated the launch of its new service to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s second major commercial city. With this four-time weekly service operating through Dubai on the way to and from Hong Kong, the airline now serves the Kingdom with a total of 11 flights each week.

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SAA launches business class companion fares

South African Airways (SAA) has released a range of competitive business-class fares from Sydney and Perth to South Africa with great value fares to other destinations in Africa.

“On sale now, the new fares offer real value for money and make travelling to South Africa in business class more affordable than ever,” Thevan Krishna, SAA’s Head of Australasia said.

“Return business class fares to Johannesburg from Sydney start at $5034 per person and $4599 from Perth (including all taxes). The airfares are valid for sale until November 14 and cover outbound travel between now and 21 January, 2010. Passengers must travel together on all booked flights. People travelling from other cities in Australia will need to connect through Sydney or Perth,” Thevan said.

“We’re seeing great interest today since we announced the fares and expect strong sales as people take advantage of this great offer. Our business class service out of Perth in particular is very well regarded and we offer our excellent award-winning flat bed seats and premium in-flight service,” Thevan said.

Other popular destinations are being offered under this great fare include:

Sydney to Cape Town and Durban from $5479
Perth to Cape Town or Durban from $5044
Sydney to Kruger Park from $5584
Perth to Kruger from $5149
Sydney to Windhoek or Victoria Falls from $5810*
Perth to Windhoek or Victoria Falls from $5363*
Sydney to Nairobi, Mauritius or Cairo from $6103*
Perth to Nairobi, Mauritius or Cairo from $5667*

“These are excellent deals offering Australians a unique range of possibilities and the chance to experience our award-winning product,” Thevan said.

*taxes vary between destinations and between dates of purchase

SAA flies non-stop from Sydney to Johannesburg six days a week and daily from Perth, with connections to the largest network in Africa. SAA is consistently voted the 'Best Airline & Cabin Crew in Africa' winning it for the 16th consecutive year in the Travel Weekly Globe Awards in London. SAA took out top honours at the recent WTA awards in London, with three awards in the Africa category. SAA is a member of STAR, the world’s largest alliance reaching 916 destinations in 160 countries. For more information on SAA flights and reservations visit

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AJ Hackett Bungy scores Golden Backpack

Queenstown’s AJ Hackett Bungy has won a coveted ‘golden backpack’ after being voted Best Tour/Activity in New Zealand.

The Golden Backpack Awards, run by leading backpacker publisher TNT Magazine, are Australia and New Zealand’s only dedicated awards for the independent travel sector.

Each year more than 30 companies are recognised for their outstanding customer service in both state and national categories. The awards are voted on by consumers via a national campaign in TNT Magazine and online.

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New Zealand Wins Responsible Tourism Awards – Twice!

For the second year running, New Zealand has taken the top spot at the prestigious Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards.

Whale Watch Kaikoura was named as overall winner at the awards announced yesterday at the 30th anniversary of the World Travel Market, held annually in London. They also won the marine environment category.

YHA Wellington City was also announced as winner of the best large hotel/accommodation category.

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Southern flightseeing operation spreads its wings

A new flightseeing aircraft that delivers sustainable practice innovation and increased passenger comfort is the final purchase in a six-year fleet upgrade for a one of New Zealand’s largest scenic flight airlines.

Central South Island based Air Safaris has invested $800,000 in New Zealand’s first brand new turbocharged Gippsland GA8 Airvan, an eight-seat Australian-built aircraft.

The company chose the Airvan because of its environmentally-friendly innovations and performance advances, while at the same time achieving the very highest levels of comfort and visibility for its sightseeing customers.

The inaugural commercial flight was on Monday (9 November) and the 50-minute return flight between Lake Tekapo and Franz Josef Glacier over some of the South Island’s most striking scenery drew an “Awesome!” verdict from the seven passengers on board.

Air Safaris has operated scenic flights over some of New Zealand’s most stunning scenery since 1970 and has become an industry leader in introducing new and larger aircraft such as the turboprop Pilatus Turbo Porter, the twin turboprop Nomads, the turboprop Cessna Grand Caravan and the Gippsland Airvans.

Its scenic flights have proven so popular that the company has grown from a single aircraft operation to a 10-strong fleet in the last 39 years and now has its own airports at Lake Tekapo and Franz Josef Glacier, and a base at Glentanner Park near Aoraki Mount Cook.

For more information about Air Safaris visit

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Rotorua Parasailing takes off!

Kawarau Jet Rotorua is about to launch a new adventure product "Rotorua Parasailing". The Parasailing will operate from the existing Kawarau Jet base at the Rotorua City Lakefront.

Trips will be ready to take off from Late November 2009.
Concessions will be available for two or more passengers.

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Garuda Indonesia’s celebration of 40 years flying to Australia is set to continue with the airline’s decision to extend its anniversary sale air fare.

Garuda will continue to offer up to 40 percent off normal airfare levels for flights out of Australia to Bali and Jakarta. This special 40th anniversary air fare offer is now valid for sale until December 15 (ex Sydney and Melbourne), and November 27 (ex Perth). The 40th anniversary rates are:

Economy Class

Ex Sydney to Jakarta or Bali for $849* per person inclusive of taxes
Ex Melbourne to Jakarta or Bali from $831* per person inclusive of taxes
Ex Perth to Bali from $405* per person inclusive of all taxes
Ex Perth to Jakarta from $515* per person inclusive of all taxes

*Terms and conditions: Price includes including taxes, fees and surcharges. Valid for travel ex SYD 11 Nov 09 – 15 Nov 2010; ex MEL 11 Nov 2009 – 15 Nov 2010; ex PER 11 Nov 09 – 31 Mar 2010. Seasonal surcharges & blackout periods apply apply. Ex Syd / Mel valid for sale until 15 Dec 2009, ex PER valid for sale until 27 Nov 2009. Valid only on Garuda Indonesia flights and no code share flights.

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Kids Play Free at Millbrook

Queenstown’s five-star Millbrook resort is investing in the future of young golfers throughout New Zealand by introducing a new golf programme this summer.

In a first for the luxury resort, a new ‘Kids Play Free’ programme will be available from December 1, aimed at encouraging youngsters aged 18 and under staying at Millbrook with their family to enjoy a free round on the championship 18-hole course.

Youngsters can qualify for the free round when accompanied by a paying adult, saving the normal $35 junior rate.

Millbrook Director of Sales and Marketing Kim Carpenter said the programme was part of a move by the resort to focus on offering activities with an emphasis on ‘family togetherness’, as well as encouraging young golfers to take up the game and get out and play

“Visiting families from around New Zealand and overseas love to come to Millbrook to enjoy some relaxing family time, going for walks on our new trails, getting out on bikes or having a swim in our pool, as well as taking part in some of the activities for which Queenstown is renowned.

“With the new programme, we wanted to remove any barriers there might be to young people enjoying our championship course, which of course will include the brand new Coronet Nine from January next year.

“Golf is a fun and active sport that gets youngsters out into the fresh air while encouraging a healthy sense of competition, especially when they might be playing against Mum or Dad!”

The ‘Kids Play Free’ programme will run from December 1 2009 to April 11 2010 and families must be resort guests to qualify.

Earlier this month Millbrook launched its new Millbrook Driving Range, where Millbrook members and visiting golfers can test their driving skills and techniques. The new range is housed in a restored original high country woolshed near the entrance to the resort and is a unique place to learn, practice and improve in a stunning environment.

The range features a coaching clinic classroom for a new golf academy that features technological teaching equipment including a Vector Launch Monitor, SAM Putt Lab, video analysis equipment, automated ball dispenser and infrared heaters. The equipment is the same as that used by many top golf equipment manufacturers and PGA TOUR professionals.

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A two hour, brand new and unique adventure activity action opens next month as Ziptrek Ecotours launches its flying fox operation from Skyline on Bob’s Peak overlooking Queenstown.

Ziptrek was founded in Whistler, Canada, where it is a must-do, award-winning adventure ecotourism business famed for delivering an awareness and appreciation of the natural environment along with a good dollop of adrenaline.

The company has been planning its Queenstown launch on iconic reserve land on Bob’s Peak for over four years and is now completing the low impact specialist infrastructure required to send guests soaring between the trees high above Queenstown.

The Queenstown operation opens in December from treetop platforms carefully constructed in the forest canopy. Guests will enjoy an interpretative, fully guided tour that begins and ends at the top of the Skyline Gondola. The tour is suitable for families, corporate groups, individuals and anyone who wants to enjoy the forest and its sensitive development.

“Our tours are adventure but not high adrenaline. We like to refer to ourselves as an all weather, all abilities, all year operation offering eco exhilaration. It’s great for families, particularly those with teenage kids (how easy is it to find something that both age groups will enjoy?), and fantastic for companies as a team building activity.”

Guests will be able to book at Ziptrek’s Shotover Street office in downtown Queenstown or can make their way up the gondola or Ti Ki walking track to book at the Ziptrek tree hut just 100 metres to the left of the gondola top station.

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An Evening with Robert F Kennedy Jnr, 16 December, Hyatt Regency Auckland

A special charity dinner in Auckland to raise money for a very worthy cause.

During Mike Moore’s three year tenure as Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, one of the most moving speeches he witnessed was by Robert Kennedy Jnr who will now be the first Kennedy to speak publicly in New Zealand.

At “An Evening with Robert F Kennedy Jnr” you will be challenged, inspired and uplifted by one of Time Magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet” who will bring all his Kennedy charisma, style and passion as an advocate for the environment.

Event highlights include:

• Live keynote speech by Robert F. Kennedy Jnr including Q&A with the audience
• Pre-dinner drinks followed by a three course gala dinner with fine wines and beers
• Live entertainment by Dave Dobbyn and backing musicians
• Master of Ceremonies Simon Dallow from TV One News
• An outstanding live charity auction including lunch with Robert F Kennedy Jnr on 17th December at Mercury Island hosted by Sir Michael Fay, a luxury 2 week holiday in South Africa including lunch with Nobel Prize winner and former President Klerk, a trip to Marlborough on Barry Colman’s private jet, a signed copy of President Barack Obama’s book and a guitar signed by Bob Dylan.

Net proceeds of the evening will benefit “School Aid: Global Partnerships through Schools,” established by Mike Moore to help school children both in New Zealand and developing countries.

Reward yourself, clients and friends this Christmas by hosting your own table at An Evening with Robert F. Kennedy Jnr, presented by AUT University.

Previous audiences have declared Kennedy an “outstanding”, “electrifying” and “inspiring” speaker. We hope you can join us for what will be a fantastic evening!

Book now at:

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One year on from opening, Auckland’s four star all-suite serviced apartments, Chifley Suites Auckland has been voted Best Serviced Apartment at the annual Corporate Events Guide People’s Choice Awards held at Ellerslie Events Centre.

The Corporate Events Guide People’s Choice Awards have been running for four years. These awards honour New Zealand companies that have excelled in their field of expertise over the past twelve months. The Awards are voted by the New Zealand public throughout the year on the Corporate Events Guide website and directly relate to the quality of service that companies are offering across New Zealand. Over 2000 companies were nominated across the 37 categories. or call 09 916 1888

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A Top Quality Hat-Trick

InterContinental Wellington Hotel has been named both New Zealand’s Leading Business Hotel and New Zealand’s Leading Hotel in the 16th annual World Travel Awards, announced in London< Friday night.
This is the third year InterContinental Wellington has been recognised in the Awards, being voted Australasia’s leading Business Hotel in 2008 and 2007.

The Quadrant Hotel Auckland, first city hotel in NZ to offer FREE WI-FI INTERNET

Believe it or not, FREE Wi-Fi internet has never been taken on by a New Zealand city Hotel before and The
Quadrant Hotel Auckland is proudly pushing the boundaries within the hotel industry again by offering FREE
Wi-Fi to all guests.
Travellers to Auckland will be thrilled to hear the announcement that Auckland’s hippest Hotel – The
Quadrant is offering FREE Wi-Fi internet connection throughout the hotel.
From the 1st December 2009 all guests will benefit from this offer by enjoying FREE Wi-Fi internet.
There’s no long paragraph of restrictions for this amazing deal. Simple is always best and with 10 gig
downloads per day –- every guest can easily logged-on wherever they want to – be it room, Bar or even in
the Gym!
All guests travelling with their own laptop will be provided with a personal internet code on arrival and they
will be able to easily and instantly connect to the wireless connection. Guests not travelling with their own
laptop will not be disadvantaged, as they have the ability to rent one of the many Quadrant laptops for a
small overnight charge.
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ACC levy increases threaten tourism industry recovery

Tourism operators will face substantial levy increases of between 30% and more than 100% if proposed changes to ACC go ahead, putting significant strain on an industry already trading through difficult times, says Tourism Industry Association Chief Executive Tim Cossar.

In its submission to ACC on its proposed levy increases, TIA has asked for a staged introduction to give tourism businesses more time to manage and adjust to the higher levies.

As an example of the impact the proposed changes will have on the industry, Mr Cossar points to a ski company employing more than 100 staff which will be faced with levy increases in excess of $300,000 annually. He says a snapshot of the industry reveals that sport and physical recreation, amusement and outdoor guiding businesses will face levy increases of around 100%, accommodation, cafes and restaurants more than 80%, and bus transport 63%.

TIA understands the financial difficulties ACC is facing with very high liabilities, but operators need time to adjust to the levy rises, explains Mr Cossar.
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Auckland Museum is free for Aucklanders all summer

For the first time in 10 years, Auckland Museum will not be asking for an admission contribution from Auckland region's residents from 4 December.  This gesture is part of the on-going celebrations of the building's 80th birthday and makes the Museum the best value destination for Aucklanders this summer.

Enjoying the Museum this summer will be as simple as bringing along proof of residency (rates bill, utility bill, library card, or mail indicating residential address) plus one form of ID (eg valid credit card, drivers’ licence, birth certificate, Seniors Card). To ensure this initiative has no impact on the rates levy, the Museum will continue to charge entry fees to special exhibitions and will increase the suggested donation to $10.00 for non-Aucklanders.

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