Wednesday, February 24, 2010

John Dyvbig's invite to David Letterman

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Travel Channel International and SKY Television confirmed today the launch of the Travel Channel on SKY on Saturday 1 May 2010

Travel Channel, on SKY Digital channel 77, will provide viewers with quality programming on all aspects of the travel experience, from luxury getaways to backpacking adventures. The new channel will not only provide practical advice in selecting and planning real holidays but will also allow viewers to just sit back and enjoy experiencing fascinating places in the company of engaging presenters from all across the world. It is a ‘must see’ for those with a desire to venture beyond their front door.

The Travel Channel launches on SKY Digital Channel 77 Saturday 1 May 2010 at 6.00am and will be available to all SKY subscribers as part of SKY’s basic package.

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Mollies in best 101 hotels in the world


Tatler Magazine, the style bible for the thinking Brit, for an extraordinary third year running, has designated Mollies in the 101 Best Hotels in the World. Such status is granted infrequently for New Zealand accommodation, and then it is mostly given to overseas-owned hotels or super lodges. Mollies is a boutique, family-owned and operated small hotel in St Mary’s Bay in Auckland.

“Everything is beautifully done throughout, thoughtful, flamboyant, charming,” waxed the typically sceptical magazine. “It’s a seductive place that will win you over. The hotel is a love letter to guests from the owners Frances Wilson and Stephen Fitzgerald.”

The owners were surprised by the hat-trick, as the award was assessed incognito. “This is our baby,” says Frances Wilson, “and to have her yet again in the spotlight on the international stage is such a reinforcement of the personal, caring passion that we, and every staff member, bring to looking after our guests.”

Tatler noted “a super-swift talented staff gliding about with glasses of champagne” and the signature devotion to opera performance that sets the tone for every evening dining experience. The magazine’s list this year featured hotels with “old fashioned star quality” says travel editor Melissa Stevens, “cosseting, thrilling, and out of the ordinary”.

In the Tatler annual guide, other Top 101 places to stay include the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, London’s Ritz, and the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai. Huka Lodge in Taupo is also on the list and received an award for its enduring excellence.

Tourism Auckland Chief Executive, Graeme Osborne, has commended Mollies for “an outstanding accolade”.

“The lengths gone to by Mollies to present a superior quality offering with such a high class point of difference makes this award totally deserved. To be ranked in the company of some of the world’s big-name hotels is a true credit to Mollies’ enduring quality. Auckland can really be proud of this superb boutique hotel,” he says

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Karma promotion at Banyan Tree and Angsana Hotels and Resorts

Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts have just launched a special on-line promotion, Karma, which caters to the current consumer trends of short booking lead times, and demand for value-driven quality holidays,

The Karma online promotion addresses these trends by offering guests hotel credits that would motivate them to enjoy the various brand touch-points:

A delightful sense of Karma awaits at Banyan Tree and Angsana hotels and resorts – enjoy spending credits equivalent to one night’s rate for every booking of two nights and above at the best available rates at and Valued at up to US$1,860, the complimentary credits can be used to offset charges for spa treatments, dining occasions and purchases at the retail galleries.

The limited-period “Karma” online promotion is available for booking only at and from 1 to 15 March 2010, for stays between 1 April and 30 June 2010 (dates inclusive).

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Travelodge Hotels announce their 'New Kid On The Dock'

Experience the New Kid on the Dock

Sydney NSW, 17 February 2010 - Toga Hospitality is proud to announce the opening of a new hotel in Melbourne, Travelodge Docklands is welcoming guests on 22 February, 2010 with $99* celebratory opening rates.

Dubbed ‘The New Kid on The Dock’, Travelodge Docklands is a multimillion dollar new build hotel located in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct that has been over 2 years in the making. The 290 room hotel is the 16th Travelodge Hotel in the Travelodge portfolio and the 51st hotel for Toga Hospitality.

Designed to deliver exceptional value, this newly completed hotel boasts a refreshing style that offers comfortable modern furnishings with each room featuring a fresh look bathroom, climate control air conditioning, flat screen TV and radio, internet access, Foxtel and in-room movies.

Located on Aurora Lane in the Docklands waterfront precinct in Melbourne’s heart, the hotel provides an ideal base for guests to explore Melbourne’s attractions including the MCG, Crown Casino, Melbourne Aquarium, Rod Laver Arena, Etihad Stadium and the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Travelodge Docklands is also conveniently situated only 20 minutes from Melbourne’s International Airport and adjacent to the Southern Cross Station.

Rachel Argaman, CEO of Toga Hospitality said, “Travelodge Docklands is a dynamic new location to add to our Travelodge Hotel portfolio, offering a waterfront backdrop along with easy access to the city’s premier attractions. Toga Hospitality recognises the long term vision for the Docklands area and is excited to be part of this emerging precinct”.

For conference and meetings, Travelodge Docklands is well situated and offers meeting room facilities and two conference rooms with capacity for up to 90 people.

Whether travelling for business or leisure, Travelodge Hotels are known for their great locations, a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and provide smart travellers with great value, rest assured.

Take a fresh look at Travelodge Docklands and experience the fantastic opening special. Book online at or call 1300 886 886.

* The $99 opening special is available from 22 February to 11 April 2010 is subject to availability and excludes peak periods i.e. Grand Prix 25-28 March 2010 inclusive.


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Qualmark travel guide goes green

In an industry first, AA Guides and Qualmark released a travel guide this week listing only businesses annually assessed to meet both Qualmark quality and environmental criteria.

While the AA Qualmark Travel Guide 2010 is the second edition printed, the free guide book now includes Enviro Award logos next to businesses assessed as top performers in environmental practices.

Qualmark chief executive, Geoff Penrose, says it is the first guide book to provide assurance tourism businesses are meeting both quality and environmental standards.

“When we visit businesses, we look at their environmental practices as part of the comprehensive, on-site quality assessment. They must meet the standards before they can carry our official quality mark and over 400 Enviro Award logos, now found throughout the book, recognise excellence in this area,” says Mr Penrose.

This provides guidance for travellers wishing to limit the environmental impact of their tourism experiences and value for tourism businesses committed to caring for the environment, he says.

AA Tourism CEO, Peter Blackwell, says the second edition of the guide book is expected to be in demand from increasingly environmentally conscious travelers.

“This book is unique within the range of information we provide and a useful tool for travelling with both quality and the environment in mind,” says Mr Blackwell.

The guide book is now available free from i-SITES throughout the country.

Since August 2008, the environmental performance of all tourism businesses with a Qualmark has been assessed under Responsible Tourism Operations criteria as part of on-site quality assessments. Businesses performing well in reducing environmental impact in five key action areas (energy efficiency, waste management, water conservation, community activities and conservation initiatives) are eligible to apply for an Enviro-Gold, Enviro-Silver or Enviro-Bronze Award.

The initiative, referred to as Qualmark Green, was unveiled to the tourism industry by the Minister of Tourism on 27 May 2008. The introduction of the Responsible Tourism criteria marked a ‘world first’, with New Zealand being the first country to have a fully integrated quality and environmental performance tourism assurance system.

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HOT DEAL: $1 stopover in Tahiti

What: Stopover in Tahiti for just $1 when flying from New Zealand to Los Angeles, Paris or Tokyo on Air Tahiti Nui.*

Where: Le Meridien Resort, Tahiti.

Cost: *$1 per person, per room. First night rate only.

Travel Dates: Deal lasts for sales to 31 May for travel up to 30 Nov 2010.

Conditions: First Night Rate Only. Optional Transfers Extra. Prices are in NZD based on two people sharing a room.

Contact: For more information visit

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To encourage New Zealanders to experience Western Australia, Tourism Western Australia is running an incredible promotion to take two Kiwis across parts of the amazing region in a taxi:

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Book a Club Med Getaway Now and Save 40%

Book an Easter or school holiday getaway to one of Club Med’s most popular Asia resorts and save 40%.

“Book before 27 February 2010, for a holiday at Club Med Bali, Cherating Beach in Malaysia or Phuket in Thailand for this great deal,” says Kaarin Gaukrodger, Club Med Marketing Manager New Zealand.

The offer is valid for travel before 30 April and must be booked for a minimum 5 night stay. A 5 night all inclusive package price starts from $1,975 per adult and $1,579 per child (4 -11 years) including flights and transfers.

“Each of these Asia resorts offers a refined, relaxed and friendly atmosphere in true Club Med style, and suitable for families, extended family groups, couples and singles,” says Ms Gaukrodger.

Malaysia’s Club Med Cherating Beach is eco friendly and Green Globe accredited. It has three stunning private beaches and is nestled in the midst of a tropical rain forest with cheeky monkeys, loads of sports and a separate fine dining restaurant, which is of course included in your Club Med package price.

Phuket in Thailand is situated on the beautiful beach at Kata Bay. For shoppers and a taste of local culture there’s markets and shops on the resort’s doorstep, or the hub of Patong is only a tuk-tuk ride away. Club Med Phuket offers an expansive Kids Club, as well as Asia Pacific’s first Baby Club Med for 4 – 23 month olds.

The newly renovated Club Med Bali boasts to be the trendiest place to stay in Nusa Dua. This contemporary style resort has it all, from sports and activities, to a quiet zone and spa, two restaurants and a fantastic outdoor bar that meets between the pool and the beach.

All of these Club Med resorts offer free WIFI in the bars and public areas.

Club Med has everything you could ever want on holiday; kids clubs, international cuisine, sports and activities including golf, tennis, snorkelling, archery, flying trapeze as well as daily entertainment. All of this, plus airfares, transfers, all meals, snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and accommodation are included in Club Med’s all inclusive price.

For further information phone 0800 258 263 or click on to

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Internationally recognised wine and spirit course welcomed at Queenstown Resort College

Leading education institution Queenstown Resort College is broadening its range of courses to offer Wine and Spirit Education Trust Intermediate courses -- the first courses of their kind to be taught in the Otago and Southland regions.

The Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is the foremost international body in the field of wine and spirits education, and completion of the courses results in formal qualifications recognised throughout the world.

The QRC WSET courses will be led by Paul Tudgay, sommelier and tutor at the award-winning college, with the first to be held from April 6 - 8.

Mr Tudgay is confident they will appeal to a wide range of wine enthusiasts from around the region and expects they will become a popular fixture in hospitality education.

“The courses cater for everyone; from those working in hotels and restaurants to cellar door and winery workers, viticulturists and wine aficionados who simply want to broaden their horizons,” he said.

Master of Wine Jane Skilton will visit the college in March and will host an open forum for those interested in enrolling.

“Jane’s knowledge of wine began with WSET and has taken her all the way to being a Master of Wine. She now writes for several national food and wine publications in addition to being a respected judge at many national and international wine shows,” said Mr Tudgay.

“We’re thrilled to have her supporting our newest venture.”

QRC is celebrating the unveiling of WSET with a six-week series of winemakers’ tastings and presentations from late February and throughout March.

“It’s the perfect way to grow your wine knowledge, taste some iconic New Zealand wines and meet the winemakers behind them,” said Mr Tudgay.

The first workshop of the series begins on Tuesday 23rd February with Mr Tudgay introducing a ‘crash course’ of wine tasting designed to leave attendees swirling, spitting and pondering like a pro.

Throughout the series there will be presentations from some of the country’s top winemakers including Brent Marris of Marisco, Ben Glover of Wither Hills and Grant Taylor from Valli Wines.

Now taught in 39 countries worldwide to both the trade and interested consumers, the WSET was originally founded in 1969 to provide high quality wine education to the UK trade.

The intermediate WSET course will cost $795 including text books. The course will be held over two days plus a morning for a written examination.

The tastings will be $10 per head or $50 for the series of six.

For more information on WSET, Vine Share or the Winemakers Series, or to make a booking, contact Paul Tudgay or 03 409 0500.

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Lufthansa introduces world first social media technology

Letting the world know where you are

Globe-trotting is now more social than ever with Lufthansa’s introduction of MySkyStatus – the brand new technology which automatically updates departure, location and arrival information on Facebook and Twitter status update feeds while you're in the air. Also new from Lufthansa is the Navigator – an innovative iPhone application that guides users from their current position to their desired destination at the airport.

MySkyStatus sends updates about passengers’ flights through Facebook and Twitter. On long haul flights, the functionality posts 10 or more updates about the flight’s altitude and location, pulling the figures from a database of flight information. Flying on, Singapore, Thai or United Airlines, MySkyStatus is easy to set up and works with every Star Alliance partner and also on partner airlines like Qantas and Virgin Atlantic.

This social gadget is not the only new development at Lufthansa. The Lufthansa Navigator, a new application that runs on an iPhone, makes navigating around an airport easy. Structured like a navigation system, the Navigator is designed to guide users reliably from their current position to their desired destination at the airport. For example, travellers can choose whether they want to go to check-in, to a lounge or directly to their gate. The iPhone app (version OS 3.0 or higher) also enables passengers to call up scheduled and expected departure times for individual flights and also allows customers to book flights or check in online via

Kai Peters, General Manager Lufthansa Australia said; “As the first airline to offer this technology, Lufthansa is making it easier for people on the move to stay in touch with their family and friends. Through MySkyStatus and the Lufthansa Navigator, people left at home will never need to worry about where their loved ones are in the air.”

MySkyStatus is already up and running and available in both English and German and can be accessed under With MySkyStatus and Lufthansa Navigator Lufthansa reconfirms its technical expertise and adds two innovative products to the list ‘made in Germany’.

The Lufthansa Navigator is currently being tested by passengers at Frankfurt airport and can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store. The test phase will last several months and whether the application will be offered in future as a standard service and extended to other airports depends on a number of factors, including the test results and customer feedback.

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A special Long Lunch

A special Long Lunch will be the highlight of a new fundraising campaign to raise $300,000 to further re-establish kiwi and other native birds at the National Wildlife Centre, Pukaha Mount Bruce.

On Sunday April 11th a five course feast catering for more than 400 people will be held in a marquee at the Copthorne Resort Solway Park in Masterton. The special event will bring together supporters of the fundraising campaign dubbed “Flight of the Kiwi” as they dine on dishes made from fresh local produce and drink specially matched Wairarapa wines. There will also be live entertainment, a special guest and a charity auction. The Long Lunch will live up to its name, beginning at 12.30pm and winding up at 5.00pm.

All funds raised will be used to support the ongoing restoration of the Pukaha forest, the unfenced home to some of New Zealand’s most endangered birds. The funds will also assist with the translocation of up to 30 kiwi from Little Barrier Island to the Pukaha forest in May this year and a major upgrade of the kiwi nocturnal house.

For more information on this event or any other events happening in the Wairarapa visit

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i-SITE Visitor Centre to Launch On Board Interislander Ferry

Travellers will soon be able to make holiday plans and bookings on the Interislander’s Kaitaki ferry, with a new satellite i-SITE planned to open on the vessel in March.

The new initiative means over 400,000 travellers per year - 40% international visitors - will have the opportunity to make accommodation and activity bookings and seek expert advice while crossing the Cook Strait on Interislander’s largest ferry.

“We see this as an excellent way to expand the passenger services available on board,” comments Thomas Davis, Interislander’s General Manager. “The established network and resources makes i-SITE an ideal partner for Interislander, two iconic travel industry brands.”

The Kaitaki i-SITE will be run as a joint venture between Positively Wellington Tourism and Destination Marlborough. The centre – scheduled to open on March 15 – will be managed out of Wellington and be open on the vessel daily from 7.45am-4.35pm.

Positively Wellington Tourism Chief Executive David Perks says the centre will focus on selling accommodation and activities in the two gateway regions, while also helping visitors plan travels further afield.

“This is going to be a fantastic service for Kaitaki passengers, at the same time giving us the opportunity to make sure they know how much there is to do in Wellington and Marlborough; and that they stick around and do it,” Mr Perks says.

“The timing couldn’t be better to expand our consumer arm, providing even more services to visitors and delivering more business to our operators. With the Wellington On a Plate festival evolving this year and Rugby World Cup next year we’re expecting to see a lot more traffic into the region; having an i-SITE on the Kaitaki means we can help those visitors make the most of their time here.”

Destination Marlborough General Manager Tracy Johnston is thrilled visitors will have access to great information and advice when heading into the region.

“Having i-SITE staff onboard who know Marlborough well and can tell travellers what they can see and do is going to be great for us. Many visitors get their first impression of the region as they cruise through the Marlborough Sounds, now they will have access to information and a booking service to inspire them to spend quality time here before heading south.”

Provision of an on-board service is a new and exciting departure for the country’s official visitor information network, says i-SITE Executive Manager David Wilks.

“The Interislander i-SITE Visitor Centre will bring our 90th centre. It will be a great boost for the i-SITE network and a great resource for visitors planning the next leg of their trip.”

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Gordon Ramsay appoints NZ born chef to Melbourne restaurant

Gordon Ramsay has confirmed the appointment of Josh Emett as Chef de Cuisine of his first two Australian restaurants, maze and maze Grill.

Both restaurants will be located at Crown Metropol, Crown’s newest and third hotel, which is scheduled to open in early 2010. Josh Emett will also oversee the hotel’s in-room dining as well as the hotel’s spa cuisine. The urban spa treat, Isika, located on level 27 of the hotel will offer guests the choice of specially created spa menus for both day visitors and guests in residence alike.

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Cathay Pacific Airways has announced plans to fly to Moscow, capital of the Russian Federation. The airline is in the process of applying to the relevant authorities and looks forward to finalising flight details as soon as the regulatory approvals are in place.

Subject to regulatory approval, Cathay Pacific plans to operate a thrice-weekly service to Moscow with Airbus A340-300 aircraft in a two-class configuration featuring Cathay Pacific’s acclaimed long-haul Business Class product. The intended new service is planned to begin during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer.

Cathay Pacific New Zealand Country Manager, David Figgins, said the introduction of flights to Moscow via Hong Kong meant Cathay Pacific would offer New Zealand passengers one of the quickest and most convenient services to the region.

Cathay Pacific currently has a code share arrangement with the Russian national carrier Aeroflot on the Hong Kong-Moscow route.

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Holidays with a purpose – in Fiji

Sun, sand, surf, tropical sunsets, friendly smiles... That’s what a holiday in Fiji is about for most New Zealanders.

But now there’s the chance to mix up the traditional holiday with some learning thanks to a range of courses available at Daku Resort which is located overlooking Savusavu Bay on a Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu.

Daku has been presenting courses on a range of subjects, from yoga to writing, art to music, since 2004 and is this year inviting New Zealanders to sign up for a holiday with a purpose.

A number of Kiwi teachers will present courses in the 2010 programme (see below), in addition to Australian and international presenters.

Courses at Daku are usually one week long and presented by teachers well-respected in their fields. They all aim to inspire guests afresh, showing new ways to look at old techniques or learn new ones.

While yoga enthusiasts may well have greeted the dawn with a salutation to the sun, the day for most course participants starts with breakfast beside the pool before their morning workshop. Afternoons and evenings are free for the more usual holiday pursuits of total rest and relaxation – either by the resort pool or on a remote beach – swimming, snorkelling, or exploring the tropical rainforest or the township of Savusavu, which calls itself the hidden paradise.

A scenic 50 minute flight from Nadi, Savusavu has been drawing repeat visitors for years, some of whom have become full or part-time residents with their own slice of paradise.

Among the New Zealanders presenting courses at Daku Resort this year are the celebrated a capella singer and teacher, Tony Backhouse. He will lead a gospel singing workshop November 13-20. He recently returned to live in New Zealand after making his mark in Sydney and has presented sell-out courses at Daku Resort in the last couple of years. November’s course includes visiting some of the local villages to experience the rich tradition of church choirs in Fiji and sing with them.

For further details about the 2010 range of courses at Daku Resort, Fiji, visit

Kiwi presenters at Daku in the coming months are:

In tune – singing and yoga

Both singing and yoga centre on nourishing yourself with breath – a singer must harness the breath, and a yoga practitioner must use the breath to control the vital energy flowing through the body. From March 20-27 Clare Martin and Amanda Prasow, both of Auckland, will teach workshop participants key yoga and singing techniques, leaving them with an enhanced feeling of harmony and well-being, perfect for a retreat from a busy world.

Clare Martin began her singing training in her native New Zealand before being awarded scholarships to study at the Royal Northern School of Music in the United Kingdom where she went on to sing professionally and teach for 10 years. She is now based in Auckland working with all levels of singers including beginners, rock and classical performers.

Amanda Prasow is a certified Sivananda Yoga teacher and an ayurvedic nutrition therapist, as well as being a professional actor. She finds yoga is essential to releasing emotional and physical blocks in the body and voice, creating a vital, open instrument for performance.

Learning to draw – from scratch!

Husband and wife artists Richard and Diana Moore, who hail from the Bay of Islands, will be teaching guests how to draw (March 28-April 4). The Moores have developed a programme that works quickly and efficiently with those who feel they have no natural talent, taking them only a few lessons to see that anyone can draw if they have the correct tuition. They have already inspired over 2,000 students with their teaching skills.

Or go green with botanical art

Two of New Zealand’s internationally respected botanical artists presenting back-to-back courses in April. Guests can sign up for both at discounted rates or simply select one course.

Susan Worthington, based in Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast, is New Zealand’s most acclaimed botanical artist and presents April 18-25. She recently earned the extraordinary distinction of having three of her paintings selected for inclusion in the Prince of Wales’ internationally acclaimed Highgrove Florilegium, a set of two books of exquisite botanical art.

Terrie Reddish, who lives in the Hawke’s Bay, presents April 24-May 1 and has established a reputation for her rich and beautifully realised colour pencil drawings. Her course covers key aspects of pencil drawing and techniques – choosing colours, shading, layering, producing highlights and textures

Achieving pure balance

Deidre-Lee Allen, creator of the Pure Balance blend of yoga and pilates, presents a course May 30-June 6. She has designed Pure Balance to provide strength, tone, flexibility and absolute relaxation. Workshop participants will benefit from her easy communication style, her background in dance and choreography and knowledge as a registered natural therapist. Deidre-Lee was the aerobics instructor who put together the Les Mills Step programme, which is now taught around the world. She presents Pure Balance on TVNZ’s Good Morning Show and at her studio in Plimmerton, north of Wellington.

Find your voice

Have you ever been convinced that you know the way to do something, but you just can’t get people to listen to you? Or wanted to speak out against something but found your own words just sounded lame? If the answer is yes or even maybe, the Voice of Leadership workshop presented by life skills expert Sally Mabelle July 10-17 is for you. Through Sally, who is based in Auckland, participants will learn how to find their true voice as a leader and learn to project that voice with authority, passion, and vision.

They pay you to do what?

From August 7-14 workshop participants will learn travel writing from Heather Hapeta, setting themselves up to get paid to travel. Known in New Zealand and internationally for her travel stories and blogs, Christchurch based Heather will teach research and writing techniques, as well as providing guidance on how to pitch and sell stories and accompanying photographs. The same skills can be used for creating a setting in a novel, or short story, and to greatly improve your blogs, letters and emails.

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Girls can have fun at Warbirds Over Wanaka

Death defying aerobatics, historic machinery and the sound of a deep, throaty engine may not be every girl’s idea of the perfect day out – but premium hospitality company Good Group Ltd has come up with the ideal solution for those visitors to this year’s iconic Warbirds over Wanaka International airshow.

While no-one could fail to be impressed with the outstanding display of pyrotechnics, aerial dogfight recreations and military displays on offer at the three-day airshow, they tend to get the heart rate of your average male beating faster than some of their partners.

So this year Good Group Ltd (GGL) is introducing the ‘Veuve Cliquot Club’, a female-friendly lawn alongside its Heineken Hotel, another GGL initiative for the 2010 airshow.

“While the boys watch the aircraft and wander around the exhibits, their partners can relax and enjoy a glass of good champagne or wine while still being in a premium spot to catch the best of the action,” said Good Group Sales and Service Development Manager Sarah Stacey.

“From there they can visit the Regional Food and Wine Expo, which is also being held for the first time, and the Market Stall hangar.

“The expo will feature 25 stalls inside Hangar 6, showcasing some of the best food and wine from the region. There’ll be a selection of mouth-watering morsels from Botswana Butchery and will exhibit its own wine and water range including Mount Charlotte and Wild Fire wines and Rockpool waters.”

Queenstown-based GGL owns bars, restaurants and liquor stores throughout New Zealand and is a major sponsor of the biennial Warbirds over Wanaka (WOW) for 2010 and 2012. It is providing an innovative range of mobile hospitality venues at the event, held over Easter from April 2-4.

GGL has secured exclusive beverage pourage rights for the event and has introduced the ultimate hospitality package in the Travelling Goodbars Marquee, a 300-seat private marquee in a prime area of the venue.

Open daily from 8am to 5pm on each of the three days of the airshow, a daily package includes entry to the event, a Warbirds Over Wanaka programme, a complimentary drink on arrival, guaranteed seating within the marquee, which also has a fantastic outdoor viewing area, and tasty barbeque lunch and afternoon tea provided by Otago’s premier dining venue Botswana Butchery.

A cash bar is available throughout the day and there will be a VIP host and entertainment daily. Tickets on Friday April 2 are $125pp or $1125 for a table of ten, or $150pp and $1350 per table on Saturday and Sunday April 3 and 4. Tickets are available through Ticket Direct on

“A visit to this year’s airshow promises to be a fantastic day out for everyone,” said Ms Stacey. “Traditionally it attracts around 100,000 people through the gates over the three days so people will have to be quick if they want to secure a spot in the marquee.”

Betty’s Liquorstores, also owned by the company, will be operating five kiosks around the site to ensure guests have easy access to food and a full range of beverages, including non-alcoholic drinks, beer and wine as well as fast food and confectionary.

General admission to the airshow is $70 for adults and $10 for children. Bus transport will be provided from the airshow back into Wanaka at the end of each day.

For more information visit

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Cathay Pacific has released a range of Earlybird fares to Asia and to UK/Europe, which include return economy class fares of $1675 to Ho Chi Minh and $2149 to Rome and Milan.

The Earlybird fares are available to 39 destinations across Asia and China, and also to more than 60 destinations across Europe.

Tickets to Asia and China, using the services of Cathay Pacific and sister airline, Dragonair, must be purchased by March 3 and all travel must commence by June 30, 2010. These Asia fares are available for travel departing from Auckland and include all taxes and fuel surcharges.

Asia and China Fares range from in NZ$:
Hong Kong 1775 5485
Beijing 1720 5519
Shanghai 1720 5519
Seoul 1689 5530
Manila 1655 5499
Ho Chi Minh 1675 5519

Passengers travelling on the UK/Europe Earlybird fares must purchase tickets by March 3 and depart New Zealand before November 30, 2010. These fares also include all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges.

UK/Europe Earlybird Fares include the following destinations:
London 2289 8299
Rome 2149 8049
Paris 2209 8109
Milan 2149 8049
Amsterdam 2179 8079
Frankfurt 2179 8079

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Rotorua resort voted top South Pacific spa

Travellers have voted a spa resort in Rotorua as one of the best places to relax in the South Pacific.

Clarion Collection Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort, a new addition to the Choice Hotels Australasia portfolio in New Zealand, made the top 10 list of Best Relaxation/ Spas Resorts in the South Pacific in the annual Travelers’ Choice Awards on leading travel website TripAdvisor.

The 4 ½ star resort was the only New Zealand hotel to make the Relaxation/ Spas category, which was a new addition to the awards this year. The 719 winners were based on travellers’ reviews and opinions posted on the TripAdvisor website.

Clarion Collection Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort offers 30 luxury rooms, including 10 superior suites, a-la-carte dining, multiple options for rest and relaxation and direct access to Lake Rotorua

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Summer Arrivals Get a Kick-Start

The summer peak season has kicked off better than expected for the tourism industry, with international visitor arrivals showing strong signs of recovery.

Figures released by Statistics New Zealand show visitor arrivals were up 5.9 per cent (or 19,130 total visitors) in December 2009, compared with the same month last year.

Overall, visitor arrivals held their own for the 2009 calendar year, with only 120 fewer international visitors than in 2008.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler said the record month for arrivals reflected some economic recovery in a number of New Zealand’s key tourism markets.

“It was positive to end the year on a high, with December recording New Zealand’s highest ever visitor arrivals for a calendar month,” he said.

“Returning economic stability is leading to a rebound in some of our main visitor markets, providing some light at the end of the tunnel for many tourism operators after what was a difficult year in 2009.”

Australia continued to bolster growth, with the number of visitors from across the Tasman increasing by 106,000 (or 10.9 per cent) in the year ending December 2009. Holiday arrivals were up by almost 20 per cent to 457,000 visitors.

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In 2010 the Melbourne International Jazz Festival presents a huge international program exploring the common chord of jazz

From May 1 to 8 May, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF) - one of Australia’s hallmark music events - showcases the creativity and diversity of jazz as an art form, across the mediums of music, literature, film and visual art. The rich program of more than 100 events features leading international and Australian jazz artists, with an unprecedented number of Australian premieres and Festival-exclusive performances.

The Festival program has something for everyone; including headline concerts by some of the modern masters of jazz at venues including the Melbourne Recital Centre, Hamer Hall, Melbourne Town Hall, and the Forum. A series of intimate concerts and master classes will be presented at BMW Edge, the Forum Upstairs, the CUB Malthouse, and the much-loved Bennetts Lane Jazz Club. MIJF will continue its exploration of jazz and the arts with the return of ACMI Jazz on Film and Jazz at the NGV as well as introducing major public art installations, a whole new Jazz For Kids program and daily free concerts at Federation Square that the entire family can enjoy.

For musicians, avid jazz fans, families and absolutely all lovers of music, this is a time to be entertained, to discover, to be inspired and most importantly, to participate.


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Castlepoint Racing Club secretary Jo Blyth said favourable beach conditions meant the races, planned for March 20, would most likely go ahead.  The races have been held only twice in the past seven years  - the last time in 2007 - after storms swept away sand, leaving rocks exposed.
"2010 is looking very promising,” said Mrs Blyth. “The beach is looking fabulous and there is more optimism than there has been for many years.”
The historic beach races date back to 1872 when local station hands competing on farm hacks would compete for bottles of rum and any stray coins. However in recent times the races have progressed into a unique family day out with the emphasis on entertainment and picnicking. Thoroughbreds have replaced farm hacks and it’s not unusual to see the usually quiet sea side settlement bustling with people  carrying umbrellas, picnic hampers, deck chairs and  chilly-bins all enjoying the day and the spectacular vista which includes the Castlepoint lighthouse. “This is one of the most unique races in the country where the sea wall becomes the guard rail and the horses’ rail is the waters edge,” said Mrs Blyth. There’s a quaint laid back atmosphere reminiscent of the old days and old fashioned games like a tug of war and three legged races for the kids.”

Betting is allowed at the event but conducted as an equalisator, under which punters are allocated horses at random and tickets are purchased for $2.
A special feature of this year’s event will be the opportunity to purchase a NZ Post postage stamp that features an image of the popular beach horse races. The private-issue commemorative stamps, printed by NZ Post through its Personalised Stamps project, feature the lighthouse and race official Charles White in the midst of the 2007 races.
Mrs Blyth said money raised from the stamps would bolster funds for the racing club. The Castlepoint beach horse races will be held on March 20, 2010. For more information on this and any other events happening in the Wairarapa, visit

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Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show

The leaves may be changing and beginning to fall in March, but at the Carlton Gardens, things will be flourishing as the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show (MIFGS) moves in for its stellar fifteenth year.

Held at the heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens from 24th – 28th March, MIFGS 2010 is expected to attract more than 100,000 local and international visitors who will marvel at the floral carnival inside the Great Hall of Flowers and draw inspiration from the landscaped gardens outdoors.

MIFGS is the largest and most successful horticulture event in the southern hemisphere, attracting garden enthusiasts, trade professionals and those who just want to see a truly spectacular world-class show.

With the event staged inside and outdoors at the magnificent 128-year-old Royal Exhibition Building and surrounding lush Carlton Gardens, MIFGS is also sure to be a hit with tourists and individuals who revel in the beautiful surrounds.

MIFGS Event Manager, Kathleen Rushford, is delighted with the number of exhibitors planning to display innovative products and services in 2010. The 500-plus exhibitors range from suppliers of floral and garden products and services to outdoor living and design sustainability.

“The show continues to improve every year, with more and more quality exhibitors coming on board to deliver a truly spectacular event.

There’s no better way to experience the world of outdoor living and design than at MIFGS. With hundreds of square meters of gardens, visitors won’t even notice the change of season. Things are always in full bloom at the show.”



Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show. The largest horticultural event in the Southern Hemisphere showcasing stunning floral displays and inspirational ideas for around the garden.


Wednesday 24th March – Sunday 28th March 2010.

Opening Times

Wed, Thurs and Sun – 9am-5pm.
Fri and Sat – 9am-6pm.


Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, Carlton.


Buy at the gate or book through
or call RACV HolidayLine on 13 13 29.


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Spectacular iceberg action creates ‘splash’ at Aoraki Mount Cook

Passengers aboard two Glacier Explorers boats at Aoraki Mount Cook last weekend were treated to a real show-stopper when the largest iceberg in the Tasman Glacier terminal lake rolled over and split in two right before their eyes. 

Dubbed ‘Taniwha’, the 400m long by 300m wide by 100m high iceberg calved off the Tasman Glacier last summer and has been sitting high in the lake ever since.  However as it slowly melted it became top heavy, causing it to roll and split.

Glacier Explorers Operations Manager Bede Ward, whose company takes visitors on boat trips near the icebergs on the Tasman Glacier terminal lake, says it was an unforgettable experience for both tourists and guides.

“We knew it was likely to happen for about a week prior and extended our safety zone accordingly, but everyone was just blown away to actually see it – it was absolutely amazing.

“It’s hard to comprehend that the iceberg you see above the water is only 10 percent of what’s actually underneath the water and to see it rear up in all its glory is phenomenal.”

Glacier Explorers’ three hour Tasman Glacier terminal lake boat cruises (90 minutes on the lake) are fast becoming a must-do activity for those who visit Aoraki Mount Cook.  Passengers not only get to cruise the icebergs but also receive spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and some of the best photographic opportunities in the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park and World Heritage Area.

Mr Ward says Glacier Explorers has already taken a record numbers of visitors on its cruises this season and believes reports of the two million year old, 27km long Tasman Glacier retreating have been a real drawcard.

“People want to see New Zealand’s longest glacier while they can and Glacier Explorers provides an awesome, up close experience.

“Since the Terminal Lake began forming in the 1970s, the Tasman Glacier’s retreat has been increasing at a faster rate and the process of water lapping on the icebergs is exacerbating its retreat.  This is leaving an iceberg phenomenon in its wake - to see it is a once in a lifetime experience for most people.”

For footage of the iceberg calving please visit:
For more information about Glacier Explorers visit

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Kelly Tarlton’s launches Marine Wildlife Trust

After quarter of a century as one of the staunchest guardians of our oceans and their inhabitants, Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter & Underwater World is proudly formalising their role as marine protectors and launching the Kelly Tarlton’s Marine Wildlife Trust.

Animal rescue and rehabilitation is a lengthy and expensive exercise. It can cost up to $10,000 to successfully rehabilitate a sick or injured turtle  – and every year we typically have six turtles that need our help. Funds raised by the Trust will support rehabilitation programmes and also enable valuable, but currently cost-prohibitive, scientific study to go ahead – for example, attaching satellite tracking devices to animals when they are released.

The Trust’s second core objective will be educating the general public (and in particular primary, secondary and tertiary students) about the importance of caring for our marine environment and helping them get to know the fascinating creatures who live in our waters a little better.

The Trust will be financed via donations secured through fundraising efforts and contributions from Kelly Tarlton’s who is currently pledging to donate $125,000 to support Trust initiatives over the next five years. 
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Pelicans in Paradise Adventure Park


When it comes to family fun, Paradise Palms Resort and Country Club is in a world of its own, recently opening "Pelicans in Paradise"; an all-new adventure playground, mini-golf and swimming facility that offers all the fun of the fair to guests and visitors of all ages.

Located between Paradise Palms’ new resort accommodation and main clubhouse, Pelicans in Paradise  is situated over 4,000sqm to offer a range of activities suitable for toddlers through to early teens. Recreation facilities include an 18-hole mini-golf course, 25 metre lap pool and an adventure playground with expansive lawned area for ball sports.

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New era in UK regional air travel

Varsity Express made its commercial debut as a new, full service regional airline operator on 1 March, 2010, offering Monday to Friday flights between London Oxford and Edinburgh Airports.  Services will be operated by 18-seat British Aerospace Jetstream 31 aircraft and promotional fares on every seat  go on sale today at £49 one way, including taxes and charges, through to 12 March.  Thereafter, lead in fares are available from £49 and flexible fares from £149.  
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Leading accommodation provider Mantra Group has expanded its presence in New Zealand with the launch of a luxury apartment complex in the adventure capital of Queenstown.

Mantra Marina Resort marks the first foray into New Zealand for the group’s premier Mantra brand.

Located on Frankton Road, just four minutes drive from Queenstown central and the airport, Mantra Marina Resort comprises 52 keys made of hotel rooms plus one, two and three bedroom apartments. Featuring the breathtaking Remarkables mountain range as a backdrop and boasting immediate lake frontage, Mantra Marina Resort offers spacious and private light-filled apartments with king beds, luxurious soft furnishings, quality linen and personal amenities.

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