Friday, March 5, 2010


Monday March 1, 2010 - Chile suffered an 8.8 quake in the early morning hours of Saturday February
27, 2010. The cities closest to the epicenter, including Concepcion, Talcahuano and Temuco as well as a
number of small towns along Chile’s central coast were most affected by the quake.
The five different tourism regions promoted by Turismo Chile are reporting the following updates:
Desert – The north of Chile was not affected by the quake and has not reported any damage.
Easter Island – Easter Island, which lies 2,300 miles off the cost of mainland Chile, a 5.5 hour flight from
Santiago, was not affected by the quake. Initial tsunami warnings have been lifted and all operations are
Santiago and Central Region - Santiago’s airport suffered structural damage to the passenger terminal,
however no damage was reported to the runways and the airport is expected to reopen later this week.
Electricity and phone lines have been restored in Santiago and the city’s public transportation including its
metro is fully operational. Valparaiso and Viña del Mar have also reported damage. The annual Viña del
Mar International Music festival which was underway has been suspended.
Lakes and Volcanoes – The northern part of the Lakes and Volcanoes region, around the city of
Concepcion and the Bio Bio River, was most affected by the quake. Authorities are still working on
assessing the full damage. Basic essential services including water, electricity and telecommunications
are gradually being restored. The southern part of the Lakes and Volcanoes region was not affected by
the quake. Operations in popular tourist towns including Pucon, Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt are
Patagonia – The far south of the country was not affected by the quake and has not reported any
Chile is a country with a history of seismic activity. The country’s preparedness, including its strict antiseismic
building codes, the rapid emergency response from the government as well as the help from a
number of organizations can be credited for managing the situation and help minimize the damage. The
country’s tourism infrastructure has, overall, fared well, reporting little damage.
“Our thoughts and sentiments go out to the families who have lost loved ones,” said Pablo Moll, executive
director of Turismo Chile. “Chileans are a resilient people and we are hard at work to get the country back
on its feet quickly. We look forward to continuing to welcome travelers and are making every effort to
making them feel safe and secure.”
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Travellers with a passion for fine food and wine won’t want to miss Tasmania’s ‘Tastings at the Top’ gourmet extravaganza to be held over three days from 26 June to 28 June 2010, at Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania.

Now in its 16th year, the Tastings at the Top event is known as Tasmania’s premier culinary celebration and is rated as one of Australia’s finest cuisine experiences, showcasing the very best in Tasmanian produce.

Visitors can enjoy everything from degustation dinners and wine tastings to wilderness walks and decadent spa treatments at the famous Waldheim Alpine Spa. 

There will be a range of Tasmanian specialities on offer such as prime cheeses, fresh seafood, mouth-watering berries, premium beef, specialty honey, sweet treats and cool-climate wines.

Tastings at the Top has something for every palate and is the perfect escape for people interested in enjoying good food, wine and company in a stunningly picturesque setting.

For more information, booking details and flight timetables, please contact your local travel agent.
Bookmark and Share

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cheeky Lily’s Big Adventure Key Dates

A New Zealand charity dedicated to improving the lives of Kiwi kids with Down Syndrome, will hit the road this week with a unique campaign aimed at generating funds and raising awareness of its nationwide educational programme.

The UpsideDowns Education Trust has today launched Cheeky Lily’s Big Adventure – the initiative will see a 1963 VW beach buggy driven the length of the country in a bid to create national interest in the charity and the work that it does.

Established in 2002, the Trust provides specialist early education assistance to New Zealand children with Down Syndrome to improve their learning development and help them integrate more fully into the community and mainstream school system.

Down Syndrome is the most common genetic disorder in New Zealand with around one child in every 800* born with the condition.

Cheeky Lily, a bright aqua beach buggy, is the creation of Auckland man Glenn Doodes whose cousin and Cheeky Lily’s namesake Lily Mae aged 6 is a recipient of the Trust’s education programme.

Doodes will guide Cheeky Lily from Kaitaia to Bluff over a six day period stopping in towns and visiting schools and families along the way.

“Given the challenges children with Down Syndrome have, by far the most effective thing they can receive to help them live a fulfilling and meaningful life is better education. I hope Cheeky Lily’s Big Adventure will help many more children have access to this,” says Doodes.

The UpsideDowns Education Trust chairperson Melanie Brabin says while research has shown that integrating students with Down Syndrome into mainstream education does improve their cognitive skills, more needs to be done to close the gap between them and their peers.

The Trust’s education scheme goes some way to addressing this with the provision of an in-home specialist programme which includes one-on-one training from a fully qualified speech therapist, she says.

“Early education programmes such as ours which focus specifically on the visual teaching methods of reading and picture prompts can lessen the impact of verbal processing difficulties. This means we can speed up speech, language and cognitive development and even the playing field for when they hit school,” she says.

In just a few years the UpsideDowns Education Trust has offered 50 families access to the programme, but there are currently nine families on the waiting list and a further 600 that could benefit from the same opportunity.

Brabin says funds raised during Cheeky Lily’s Big Adventure will mean those children waiting for the programme may now receive it.

“We hope that by generating greater awareness of the Trust and what we do, more children with Down Syndrome will be able to benefit from the early educational opportunities we can provide them,” she says.

Brabin says the annual cost of the Trust’s early intervention education programme is around $3,200 per year, per child. The Trust covers 80% of the costs of the education.

Children from six months old can be offered the programme and Brabin says the earlier a child starts the greater the chance and range of positive impact.

To make a donation or to find out when Cheeky Lily will be in your town visit

Cheeky Lily’s Big Adventure Key Dates

Day 1               Sun 28 Feb                   Kaitaia - Auckland
Day 2               Mon 1 Mar                    Auckland - Hamilton - Rotorua
Day 3               Tue 2 Mar                      Rotorua - Paraparaumu
Day 4               Wed 3 Mar                    Paraparaumu - Wellington - Picton - Christchurch
Day 5               Thu 4 Mar                      Christchurch - Dunedin
Day 6               Fri 5 Mar                       Dunedin – Bluff
Bookmark and Share

Travelodge Melbourne

Travelodge Docklands opened on 22nd February and is a multimillion dollar new build hotel 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.

Bookmark and Share

Banyan Tree Promotions

Banyan Tree Bangkok – “Perks” promotion to launch 48 new club rooms; valid from 17 March to 30 June 2010
Starting at THB6,480++ (approximately US $195++ per night, with savings of up to 50% the exclusive Perks promotion includes accommodation in a Banyan Tree Club Room, daily breakfast for two, as well as a choice of one of the five following experiences:
· One-way limousine transfer to Bangkok International Airport, valued at THB 3,700 (approximately US $82)
· A 90-minute massage session worth THB 3,200 (approximately US $96) at the award-winning Banyan Tree Spa, including choice of Balinese, Asian Blend, Lomi Lomi, and more
· A THB 2,300 (approximately US $70) Banyan Tree Gallery gift voucher for retail purchases, such as a Banyan Tree oil burner and essential oil, spa and toiletries gift sets, and handmade village crafts
· A glass of cognac and cigar, valued at THB 1,760 (approximately US $53) to enjoy at the open-air, 61st storey Moon Bar lounge for a truly priceless experience as one takes in the panoramic bird’s eye view of the city
· One of four Movie Packages worth THB 1,804 (approximately US $55) for in-room theatre entertainment
In addition: The first 50 guests to book Perks will receive a one night complimentary stay certificate at Banyan Tree Samui (slated to soft open around June).
Apart from enjoying Club benefits, guests can also enjoy gourmet delights at one of twelve world-class outlets, pampering rejuvenation at the award-winning Banyan Tree Spa, and customised services such as Shopping Companion and 24-hour online troubleshooting ROM service.

Banyan Tree Phuket – Launch of new Deluxe Two Bedroom Pool Villas and “Family Occasions” package
We are adding 22 new Deluxe Two Bedroom Pool Villas at Banyan Tree Phuket, which will be launched using the “Family Occasions” package that is valid for booking from 1 March on, for stays from 15 April to 31 October 2010. Rates start from THB 29,500+++ per night, and the three-night Family Occasions package offers families meal waiver for children below 12 years old, while adults enjoy US$ 100 food credit per villa per day (with daily breakfast for six people included).
To further enhance the experience of families at Banyan Tree Phuket, the resort has introduced a new Banyan Tree Rangers programme to engage children aged five to 10 in the five natural senses.

Bookmark and Share

Hot deal for Sydney easter show

Travelodge Hotels Launch An Egg-Citing Easter Show Package

Hop over to Sydney for the Easter Show and team it up with a great accommodation deal on offer at Travelodge Hotels.

Stay at a Sydney Travelodge Hotel and save with an egg-citing Easter Show package starting from AUD$146*, a saving of up to 15 per cent.

The Travelodge Easter Show package includes overnight accommodation at a participating Sydney Travelodge Hotel and two adult ShowLink tickets to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, complete with public transport to and from the event. The show is on from 1-14 April.

Designed to suit the needs of Easter travellers, the participating Sydney Travelodge Hotels are conveniently located in the Sydney CBD and in suburbs with close proximity to the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Prices and participating Travelodge Hotels include:

Travelodge Wynyard
From AUD$180*

Travelodge Blacktown
From AUD$155*

Travelodge Bankstown
From AUD$166*

Travelodge Macquarie North Ryde
From AUD$146*

For great value this Easter, hop to it and secure the Travelodge Easter Show deal by calling

0800-101-100 and quoting “Easter Show”.

For further information, please visit

Bookmark and Share

Get another $50 off a P&O Cruise

P&O have been thrashing their New Zealand's Biggest Cruise Sale and TRAVEL CAFE decided to make it even bigger (well, cheaper anyway.)

Book any P&O cruise with TRAVEL CAFE and they''ll knock another $50 off the cruise booking.

When you combine this with the Cruise Sale it get's pretty cheap.

Here are the key points:

Book by 31 March
You don't need to pay in full, just pay a $99 deposit to secure your cabin.
Take $50 off the P&O price you see (per booking, not per person) and that's the TravelCafe price.
Fiji Wonders Cruise works for the April School Holidays!

Click HERE to see Full brochure

Then call 0800 438 688 or click here for a travel quote:

Bookmark and Share

Louis Vuitton Cup Opening day Cruise

Don’t miss this fantastic Day Cruise on the opening day of the Louis Vuitton Cup

See the world’s top sailors compete

Full Day cruise 10am - 6pm

Tuesday 9th of March

Cruise includes BBQ Lunch, morning and afternoon tea

$125.00 per person

Limited ticket sales


Limited special for early group bookings of ten or more persons

Fully licensed onboard bar open throughout the cruise.

“Olympic Spirit” includes large viewing screens on each level and Sky

Bookmark and Share