Saturday, June 19, 2010

Beer Can Regatta ready to take float

The Territorian spirit will be alive and well at Darwin’s Beer Can Regatta with thousands expected to line Mindil Beach for the annual event that raises funds for the Combined Lions Clubs of Darwin. Fund-raising with a difference, the Regatta is also a recycling initiative, providing a use for all the beer cans that are emptied in Darwin during the many afternoons spent fishing, watching sunsets, or just wondering when the monsoon is going to break.

With just a few months until the first boat is launched at the event on Sunday 8 August 2010, Darwin residents and boaties from all over Australia have been collecting aluminium cans to build these unique boats to race (or sink) off the Darwin coast.Since the inaugural event in 1974, the Beer Can Regatta has been a favourite event on the Northern Territory calendar, and over the years it has developed into a major attraction with up to 65 entries, ranging in size from 1 to 12 metres.

The event also features a number of family activities such as tug-of-war, thong (flip-flop) throwing and sand castle building and the famous Mindil Beach Markets also operate on the day.Entry into the Beer Can Regatta is by gold coin donation. Food, drink and bar facilities will be available at this not-to-be-missed event.

For more information on the event, including guidelines for entries and boat construction, log onto

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Aussies head overseas and neglect holidays at home

Low airfares and the strong Australian dollar are luring Aussies overseas, leaving domestic destinations struggling to compete.

The trend is revealed in the March Quarter National Visitor Survey results compiled by Tourism Research Australia. They show that overnight domestic trips for the year ending March 2010 fell by 2.7 per cent, with visitor nights down 1.3% and spending 0.2% lower compared to the previous 12 months.

Brett Gale, executive director of the national industry body, Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) said the number of overnight domestic trips taken by Australians had fallen by 23% on a per capita basis since 1999.

The figures continued a longer-term trend, he said.

“Domestic overnight visitor numbers have fallen from 72.9 million for the year ending March 1999 to 66 million in the year ending March 2010, a drop of 9.4 per cent.

“That’s despite the Australian population growing by 3.2 million people – or 17% – over the corresponding period.

“It means Australians are effectively taking one fewer domestic holiday each year, with the number of trips per person falling from 3.9 each year to 3.

Gales said that in recent years, Australians had been travelling overseas in growing numbers, attracted by low airfares and the strong Australian dollar.

“This shows the challenge facing tourism marketing agencies which are up against competition from hundreds of international destinations, many of which are targeting Australians due to the relative strength of the national economy.

“The ongoing slide in domestic tourism clearly shows the need for the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy to be well-funded and backed by industry.

“It’s vital that it addresses supply side issues to ensure that Australia can compete with other countries for Australians’ tourism dollars, as well as attracting international visitors.

“We also need to continue to properly fund state tourism and major events organisations, which play a key role in marketing domestic tourism.”

Edited by : Peter Needham

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Has the recession negatively affected travel and holidays for you?

An almost even split of New Zealanders said the recession either has had a negative effect on their travel plans (49%), or it hasn’t (51%). Slightly more females said it has (52%), as did noticeably more people aged 45-54 years (60%).

Do you have any planned purchases in the next six months of over $2000 and if so what are they?

The main big spend items will be cars (13%), holidays (9%), and house renovations or maintenance (7%), which are similar to what has been found in the two previous surveys.

Attitude NZ, market research results - June 2010

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Auckland Museum Feeds the Kids this School Holidays

The Museum gives families the chance to celebrate Kai to Pie: Auckland on Your Plate - the tastiest place to be these July school holidays.

There’s a raft of exciting activities including the opening weekend’s Family Food Fiesta, a special Night at Auckland Museum, Encounters with Eels, a kapa haka performance to coincide with Matariki and a programme of free daily activities throughout the July 3-18 holiday period.

The opening weekend of 3 – 4 July sees a Food Fiesta, a vibrant festival of food and culture. Chef Charles Royal will demonstrate just how fun and healthy Maori cuisine can be. Kids will be able to watch live eel-feeding and sample the treats of Poppy our zany Trolley Dolly.

Every day children can grind their own flour, decide what foods to grow in a seasonal garden, enjoy storytelling sessions and make a growing gift to take away in the dedicated Family Garden Space. It’s a kids’ activity area with a difference, one that inspires children to think about what they eat and where it comes from.

On Sunday, hunt for Food Glorious Food in the oddest of places at the premiere of our all-new Night at Auckland Museum. Food Glorious Food will give children a chance to explore the new Kai to Pie exhibition after-hours, encounter a host of colourful food-related characters and enjoy fun activities. They’ll survive the castaway challenge, feed the Museum dinosaurs and finish fish hooks for a Pacific voyage and more!

Encounters with Eels takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the holidays. As well as eel-feeding, kids can learn about this amazing creature, including their migration patterns, how and where to catch them, and the best ways to eat them.

And every Saturday of the school holidays, and through until the end of October, the Museum hosts the World on Your Plate series; each week a different community group will host cooking demonstrations and tastings, as well as cultural performances from some of the 181 ethnic groups that call Auckland home.

Food Fiesta: 3 – 4 July, Free (Charges apply for Night at Auckland Museum)
Family Garden Space: Weekends during Kai to Pie and daily during the July school holidays from 3 July, 10am – noon & 1 – 3pm for craft activities, noon for storytelling sessions

Encounters with Eels: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the July school holidays, 11am. Maori Natural History Gallery (Te Ao Turoa). Free

Night at the Museum: Food glorious food: Premiere Sunday July 4, July 7, 9, 11, 13 & 16, 6pm – 8pm. Entrance is via the Atrium on the South side. For costs and bookings:

World on a Plate: Saturdays during Kai to Pie, 10am – 4pm. Live cooking sessions 11am & 2.30pm, followed by tastings (gold coin donation). Cultural performance 1 – 1.30pm. Atrium
Kapa haka performance: Sunday 4 July, 3pm. Maori Court. Free

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The 2010 Wairarapa Spring Festival

The 2010 Wairarapa Spring Festival is being held from September 11th to October 10th. A series of family events and attractions will be planned throughout the region with dozens of businesses and organisations on board offering events, discount vouchers for attractions and accommodation deals. The month long event, designed to showcase the entire region, will begin with the famous Carterton Daffodil Carnival which boasts dozens of stalls featuring local crafts and art and children’s entertainment. The event traditionally attracts thousands of people each year and also includes the time-honoured tradition of picking daffodils picking at Middle Run, an historic property at Gladstone.

Destination Wairarapa will keep you informed of other events happening in this year’s festival over the coming months via email and also via the website

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Regulators consider peanut prohibition on flights

American regulators are considering a proposal to either restrict or completely ban the serving of peanuts on commercial flights.

Approximately 1.8 million Americans suffer from peanut allergies and advocates have argued that the restrictions would significantly reduce the potential harm to these passengers.

However, peanut farmers and food packagers have hit back describing the proposal as unfair.

"The peanut is such a great snack and such an American snack," Martin Kanan, CEO of the King Nut Companies was quoted in the Belfast Telegraph. "What's next? Is it banning peanuts in ballparks?"

The proposal was listed in an 84-page document by U.S regulators that listed three peanut restriction options: banning peanuts on all planes; prohibiting peanuts only when an allergic passenger requests it in advance; or requiring an undefined "peanut-free zone" flight when a passenger asks for one.

A number of U.S airlines including Continental, United, US Airways and JetBlue have already voluntarily stopped serving packaged peanuts onboard their aircraft.
However, Delta and Southwest still serve nuts as in-flight snacks, while American Airlines offers snacks that can contain peanut ingredients.

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New talent on board at Novotel for winter menu launch

Novotel Queenstown Lakeside has launched its winter menu this week with the help of its newly welcomed and internationally-trained Food and Beverage Manager. A true Queenstown ‘local’, Nathan Thompson spent more than 12 years abroad polishing his gastronomic expertise before returning home to join the team at Queenstown’s largest hotel.

He brings with him an impressive hospitality background, most notably from Australia, the Middle East, America and Asia, where his track record includes working for reputable brands such as Shangri-La, Hyatt, Jumeirah and Starwood groups. Responsible for overseeing the operations of Elements Restaurant and Elements Café and Bar at Novotel Queenstown Lakeside, Nathan has spent the past few weeks working alongside Executive Chef Mark Glover to create the hotel’s new seasonal menu. Nathan said diners at Novotel Queenstown Lakeside could look forward to a large choice of winter-warming family favourites and Mediterranean-style dishes, as well as delicious alpine-style fondues.

“When Queenstown and the surrounding mountains are blanketed with snow, and you’ve had a fantastic day on the slopes, there’s really nothing better than tucking into good, hearty, steaming hot meal,” he said. “We’ve kept many comfort-food options on the winter menu such as traditional fish and chips, American-style pancakes, the classic club sandwich and a wide range of stone-baked pizzas. The philosophy that both Mark and I have drawn on is letting the food speak for itself. We made a conscious decision to not over-complicate anything but to simply engage tried and trusted cooking methods where the main ingredient is showcased in its own right. We then used this philosophy to create our more ‘gourmet’ options, such as the crumbed mascarpone polenta, Moroccan spiced lamb salad, grilled fillet and braised beef cheek, and warm apple and rum charlotte. And of course we still have the popular Novotel fondue, which is always a favourite with guests as it adds a real Alpine feel to your holidays and is great for sharing. Our chef Mark has devised cheese, meat and chocolate versions to suit all tastes. We believe the new menu will leave provide guests with a memorable and rewarding experience.”

General Manager Jim Moore said Nathan’s enthusiasm for the food and beverage industry and commitment to excellence was the perfect ‘fit’ with the hotel’s aspirations and reputation. “Here at Novotel we actively recruit people who are at the top of their game and can really bring something unique to the table. Nathan has an incredible industry knowledge that has seen his career path span over twenty years. His time overseas has seen his palate experience the finest food and wine first-hand, and we’ll see this influence shine through on our very own restaurant menu this winter.”

Guests at Novotel Lakeside Queenstown are perfectly situated to take full advantage of the resort town’s busy nightlife, renowned restaurants and great shopping, all literally steps away from the property.
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Night at Auckland Museum: Food Glorious Food

Kids hungry for fun and adventure will get to embark on a journey to feed their minds at the Auckland Museum next month.

Our all-new Night at Auckland Museum: Food Glorious Food will give children a chance to explore the new Kai to Pie Auckland on Your Plate exhibition after-hours and encounter a host of colourful food-related characters while they participate in fun activities.

On Sunday 4 July, the premiere of Food Glorious Food begins with a hunt for food in the oddest of places in the Auckland Museum.

Kids are given a special Night at Auckland Museum map to help them find their way around the night-time galleries and locate a colourful cast of characters. Each completed activity will earn them a single letter. Once all the letters have been collected, they will spell a secret word which will earn children a treat from Polly the Trolley Dolly (pictured below) at the end of the evening.

All the while, kids will keep an eye out for the wonderful Wonky William, the evening’s MC and helpful guide, who will take them on a trip in his non-glass elevator.

Night at Auckland Museum: Food Glorious Food provides children with an array of activities led by fun, educational characters, with each character providing an insight into different areas of food. One such character is Field Engineer Ropata, who provides a glimpse into New Zealand’s culinary history and teaches kids about earning food rations in war-time Gallipoli.

Food Glorious Food slots in with the wider Kai to Pie: Auckland on a Plate exhibition which showcases the extraordinary wealth of people and cultures, through the lens of food.

Night at the Museum: Food Glorious Food is something the whole family will love sinking their teeth into. Come along and bring your torch as it is a journey not to be missed!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Aer Lingus to temporarily suspend transatlantic routes

Irish carrier Aer Lingus will suspend its routes from Shannon to New York and Boston between January and March next year “in order to maintain the viability of our Shannon transatlantic operations throughout the remainder of the year”.

Both routes will be suspended for a period of 11 weeks between January 5, 2011 and March 27, 2011. The move will affect a total of eight flights per week – four to each US city.

Aer Lingus says the decision was made “following a detailed review of route profitability”, but added that it was “committed to the Shannon market as an important part of our network”, and would “continue to operate these services for the remaining nine months of the year”.

The carrier says that the routes have incurred “significant losses during the winter months in 14 of the past 15 years”, with a total of €163 million being lost on transatlantic flights from Shannon over the winter periods since 1995.

For more information visit

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BA rewards Asian Executive Club members with 50,000 bonus miles

British Airways’ (BA) Executive Club members can earn 50,000 bonus BA Miles when flying a Club World return flight between Hongkong and London from today, June 14 through September 30. The campaign is also being rolled out in Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Members have the chance to redeem travel between Hongkong and most Asian cities on oneworld partner airlines. They can also fly beyond the region and upgrade their travel class at no extra charge.

Here are the key benefits:

• Members can use the bonus 50,000 BA Miles to redeem tickets from Hongkong to Asian destinations, including Tokyo, Singapore, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Bali and Phuket

• Members can also choose to redeem an award flight from Hongkong to New York or Sydney through this promotion

• Frequent Club World travellers to Europe can choose to redeem a free one-way upgrade to First class, using 40,000 BA Miles.
The offer is also being launched in Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo.

The promotional offer is valid for bookings made between June 14 and September 30. This is for departures from Hongkong between June 14 and September 30, 2010. It is open only to BA Executive Club members.

To qualify for the promo, Executive Club members should first enrol at

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SIA goes daily on Manchester-Singapore route

From September 1, Singapore Airlines' existing five times a week B777-300ER service via Munich will be upgraded to a daily frequency

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Continental adds Lagos to Dreamliner network

Continental will commence flights between Houston and the Nigerian city of Lagos next year. The daily service is the second Dreamliner route announced by the carrier, joining the forthcoming Houston-Auckland service

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BA to launch Gatwick-Cancun route

British Airways is to start a twice-weekly service between London Gatwick and Cancun from this November, the only direct route between the two cities by a scheduled airline

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Free nights in paradise

Tropical North Queensland is hot value for a winter getaway with leading accommodation provider Mantra offering four nights for the price of three at all of their stunning resorts in Port Douglas, Palm Cove and Cairns.

Escape the south’s chilly days and head to Port Douglas where the weather and welcomes are always warm.

Rates at all six of Mantra’s Port Douglas resorts - Mantra Heritage, Mantra in the Village, Mantra on the Inlet, Mantra Aqueous on Port, Mantra PortSea and Mantra Links Resort - start from just $153* per room per night plus you’ll receive your fourth night free. Or, slip away to a tropical oasis at Mantra Amphora in the heart of the Palm Cove village. Also priced from just $153* per room per night for a hotel room with a spa bath, guests will enjoy Palm Cove’s cosmopolitan mix of fine dining, spa and leisure activities and receive four nights for the price of three.

In Cairns, rates start from just $153* per room per night for a one bedroom apartment with ocean views at Mantra Esplanade and are from $162* per room per night at Mantra Trilogy, plus you’ll also receive one night free of charge when booking four consecutive nights. With a sophisticated city vibe, a stunning waterfront esplanade and a range of cafes, restaurants and bars, Cairns is a great base from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef, World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest and more.

For more information and bookings phone 13 15 17 or visit

*Subject to availability. Block-out dates and minimum night stays apply. Valid for sale and travel until 24 December, 2010.

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Adventure World Releases Travel Specials

From experiencing the delights of Portugal by foot to discovering the mysteries of Myanmar, leading specialist travel company, Adventure World, has just released a number of special deals and travel packages to a wide range of destinations including China, Turkey and Portugal that are sure to inspire Kiwi travellers.

Special travel offers just released by Adventure World include:

Adventure World Shanghai World Expo packages from $435
Adventure World is inviting Kiwis to be a part of the action and see the world showcased at this year’s World Expo in China, by combining one of their top selling China tours with their 4 day, 3 night “Shanghai World Expo” package, which is priced from only $435pp.
Adventure World’s “Shanghai World Expo” package includes 3 nights accommodation in a 4 star hotel with breakfast, one day VIP express entry to the Shanghai Expo, return expo transfers and return airport transfers.

Adventure World’s top selling China tours include:
The China Adventure - 5 stars
8 Days / 7 Nights from $2595pp, twin share
The perfect introduction to the Middle Kingdom, this tour accentuates Chinas truly amazing achievements. From the ancient structures of Beijing, to the incredible craft that went into the Terracotta Warriors of Xian and the contrasting boom-city of Shanghai.
Price includes: 7 nights accommodation in 5 star hotels, economy class airfares Beijing/Xian and Xian/Shanghai, some meals, transfers and sightseeing as specified and English speaking local tour guides.

Flavours of China - 4 Stars
8 Days / 7 Nights from $2415pp, twin share
Meals in China represent more than just food on a plate - it is the cornerstone of all social interaction. The cuisine is divided into different regions and flavours and this tour offers an opportunity to sample the diversity of tastes throughout.
Price includes: Soft berth sleeper overnight train Beijing/Xian, economy class airfares Xian/Guilin, accommodation in 4 star hotels, some meals, transfers, sightseeing, all entrance fees and English speaking local tour guides.

Get your walking shoes on and discover the true culture of Portugal with Headwater’s new “Contrasts of Portugal” walking tour
If glistening inland lakes, picture-perfect villages, wild deserted beaches, medieval castles and some of the best bird watching in the world sounds like your kind of thing, then a holiday to Portugal’s stunning Alentejo region should be top of your travel to do list.
Leading walking and cycling tour provider, Headwater, has just released a new walking holiday package to the region, which promises to take travellers off-the-beaten track allowing them to discover the true culture and atmosphere of Portugal by foot.
Staying in some of the most intimate, boutique hotels the region has to offer, Headwater’s new “Contrasts of Portugal Walk” lasts for 8 days and 7 nights and is priced from just $2526pp twin share.

The package includes 7 night’s boutique hotel accommodation, continental breakfast and dinner daily, and 6 picnic lunches. This walking tour is intended to charm, allowing passengers to wander amongst the juxtaposing landscapes of Portugal’s Alentejo region.

“Glories of Turkey” tour on special from just $1745
Turkey is an astounding country, steeped in a rich and diverse history. At every turn, the archaeological sights, incredible landscapes, pristine Mediterranean coastlines, stunning architecture and warmth of the locals surpasses expectations.
With so much on offer, Turkey is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination amongst New Zealanders.
Now Kiwis have even more reason to visit this exotic country with Adventure World’s top selling “Glories of Turkey” tour, which was priced at $2014pp, now on special for just $1745pp twin share*
Walking in the footsteps of the ancients, travellers on the 14 day, 13 night “Glories of Turkey” tour will take a step back in time, visiting opulent palaces of the sultans, museums that are filled with priceless relics and underground churches that are carved out of volcanic stone.
Highlights of the tour include:
- Visiting the fascinating historical buildings of Istanbul
- Learning the ANZAC war history at Gallipoli
- Visiting the calcium cliffs at Pamukkale
- Taking in the spectacular Mediterranean scenery at Antalya
- Seeing the mind-blowing rock formations surrounding Cappadocia
Price includes accommodation, selected meals, transfers and sightseeing, porterage and local English speaking guides.
* Conditions: To take advantage of this special offer, travellers must book and pay for the “Glories of Turkey” tour by 16 August, 2010. This special offer is valid for departures from 1 October, 2010 to 31 March, 2011. This offer is based on twin share and doesn't include international airfares.

ANZAC Day Special 2011 – 7 day tour priced from $1322
Pay your respects to the fallen ANZAC’s and those that fought in the trenches by taking part in Adventure World’s just released “ANZAC Day Special 2011” tour.
Beginning in Istanbul on 20 April 2011, prices on the 7 day, 6 night tour start from just $1322pp twin share which includes accommodation at 5 star hotels, some meals, guides throughout, private air-conditioned transport, licensed guides throughout Turkey, luggage handling, local taxes and service charges, arrival and departure transfers on arrival & departure days only.
Highlights of the tour include:
- Full day tour in Istanbul
- Troy
- Anzac Cove
- Dawn service at Gallipoli.

Mysterious Myanmar Escorted Tour – 22 day, 21 night all inclusive package from $6767
Places on Adventure World’s “Mysterious Myanmar” escorted tour are selling fast. And with good reason.
Because the tour is escorted and all-inclusive, there’s less hassle for travellers and no nasty surprises when it comes to expenses.
Guiding passengers through the most amazing sights of this unique country, Adventure World’s 22 day, 21 night “Mysterious Myanmar” tour departs on 26 October 2010, and is priced from $6767 twin share.
Price includes airfares, sightseeing, entertainment, transport, entrance fees to sights and parks and a professional New Zealand tour manager.

For more information on any of the above offers, contact Adventure World on 0800 889 111 or visit

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Travel taxes threaten NZ tourism industry recovery

Moves by cash-strapped governments to raise money by taxing international air travellers are worrying New Zealand’s tourism industry.

The German Government has recently announced plans to impose a departure tax on all travellers leaving German airports. This follows increases to the British Air Passenger Duty (APD) levied on passengers departing UK airports. The new British Government has pledged to replace the APD but it will impose a per-plane duty instead.

The Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) and the Inbound Tour Operators Council (ITOC) fear other countries may also start taxing travellers, increasing ticket costs and delaying the recovery of the tourism industry.

“These governments are taking the easy way out by taxing travellers, who are seen as easy targets. Although both the German and British governments have claimed the taxes are to combat climate change, there is no evidence to show the money will go into environmental projects,” TIA Chief Executive Tim Cossar says.

“We agree with International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani who described the German proposal as ‘a cash-grab by a cash-strapped government’.”

ITOC Chief Executive Paul Yeo says the taxes are a kneejerk reaction to European economic difficulties.

“Airfare increases will leave travellers with less money in their pockets when they arrive in New Zealand. Germany visitor numbers to New Zealand have grown nearly 4% in the last year and they are among our biggest spending markets, adding $269 million to our economy a year. We don’t want to see barriers placed in their way,” Mr Yeo says.

“Of real concern is the possibility that other governments around the world, especially in our major Asian markets, may follow suit, increasing the cost of travelling to New Zealand for their citizens.”

TIA, ITOC and other industry representatives have met with government officials to discuss the potential actions New Zealand can take to minimise the impact these air taxes will have on the travelling public. TIA and ITOC are also working closely with their industry counterparts in Australia on the issue.
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iphone App Aussie Holiday Planner

Savvy travellers can take advantage of Tourism Australia’s latest holiday planning technology – The OZ Planner iphone application.

The free application uses mapping technology to give users direct access to more than 20,000 tourism products and services in Australia such as accommodation, car hire and tour providers.

Tourism Australia New Zealand Regional Manager, Jenny Aitken says “Kiwis already have a huge appetite for Australia and this new technology will assist travellers in accessing new and exciting experiences right around Australia”.

Users of the application can browse 16 suggested Australian itineraries to see highlights, images and recommended activities.

Detailed holiday plans can be stored in the phone making access to them easy when the traveller arrives in Australia. The application works with GPS technology and enables travellers to orientate themselves to nearby product during their travels.

“It’s like having local knowledge in the palm of your hand” says Aitken.

You can use the application to search the area you are in for a certain type of restaurant or a great attraction, activity and then get directions to it”.

The OZ Planner iphone application is an extension of Tourism Australia’s online holiday planning tool

Tourism Australia hopes to benefit from the application by gaining further insight into mobile user preferences to better market to this audience.

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Whether traveling for business or pleasure, there are super deals available with Accor hotels throughout Thailand where guests will receive “cash back” incentives during their stay. This enables guests to spend their “cash back” credits on services within the hotel such as in the restaurants or bars or on treatments in the spa.

“Accor is coordinating this campaign to help give tourism a helping hand,” says Oswald Pichler – Accor’s Vice President of Operations for Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. “As the country regains stability, tourists will be looking to take advantage of deals for travel to locations such as Bangkok, Phuket, Samui, Chiang Mai and beyond. With hotels and resorts in all key city and leisure locations, the Accor network when combined with these ‘cash back’ incentives provides a very strong proposition.”

Available until September 30, 2010, guests staying at participating Pullman, MGallery, Grand Mercure, Novotel, Mercure, all seasons or ibis hotels throughout Thailand will receive:

• THB500 at any Pullman, MGallery and Novotel per room per night to spend in the hotel
• THB250 at any Grand Mercure and Mercure per room per night to spend in the hotel
• THB150 at any ibis and all seasons per room per night to spend in the hotel

Participating hotel list:

Pullman Bangkok King Power
Pullman Khon Kaen Raja Orchid
Pullman Pattaya Aisawan
VIE Hotel Bangkok
Grand Mercure Bangkok Asoke Residence
Grand Mercure Park Avenue
Grand Mercure Fortune Bangkok
Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square
Novotel Bangkok Bangna
Novotel Phuket Beach Resort Panwa
Novotel Chumphon Beach Resort & Golf
Novotel Phuket Resort
Novotel Rayong Rim Pae
Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
Mercure Chiang Mai
Mercure Patong Phuket
Mercure Pattaya
Mercure Samui Buri Resort
Mercure Samui Fenix Resort
Château de Bangkok Managed by Accor
All seasons Bangkok Siam
All seasons Bangkok Huamark
All seasons Gold Orchid Bangkok
All seasons Naiharn Phuket
All seasons Pattaya
All seasons Sathorn Bangkok
Ibis Bangkok Nana
Ibis Bophut Samui
Ibis Patong Phuket
Ibis Pattaya
Ibis Phuket Kata
Ibis Sathorn Bangkok
Bangkok Hotel Lotus Sukhumvit
Grand Sukhumvit Hotel Bangkok
Le Fenix Sukhumvit
V Villas Hua Hin

For reservations, visit

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Book and review your last minute accommodation on-line and support a charity of your choice while you’re doing it

This is the latest initiative from, New Zealand’s own last minute accommodation website.

“We pride ourselves on being owned by Kiwis and dedicated to Kiwis, and what better way to demonstrate this than by supporting some of New Zealand’s best-loved charities,” says Patrick Dyzell, Director of

In a world-first for the travel industry, travellers can opt for 50% of their booking fee to go to a charity such as Plunket, Women’s Refuge, SPCA, City Mission or Koru Care.

“One of ShortRate’s points of difference is we have credible accommodation reviews posted on our website, and the idea with this initiative is that when you post a review, you can click a button to request that 50% of your booking fee goes to x, y or z charity,” explains Dyzell.

At a time when many charities are struggling financially, Dyzell says there has been tremendous enthusiasm from charities for the scheme.

“In the current economic climate, it’s hard for charities; they’re really struggling, so it’s great to be able to help them in whatever way we can.”

Dyzell says social responsibility is high on ShortRate’s agenda and it’s something consumers are increasingly demanding of businesses.

“Buying something in 2010 isn’t just about getting a good deal; it’s about doing good as well.” knows all about good deals as well as doing good, says Dyzell. For the past five years, they have helped Kiwis find discount accommodation at short notice. “Our customers enjoy discounts of up to 60% on bookings.

“We’re the home of last minute cheap hotel rates!”

Being locally owned makes it easy for to work with hotels and other accommodation providers to get travellers the best last minute rates and to help boost their occupancy.

ShortRate’s client based is split 50/50 between corporate and private travellers who are looking to take advantage of last-minute deals (between two and 28 days out) on accommodation in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and other centres in New Zealand, from the Bay of Islands to the Deep South.

“Unlike other last-minute accommodation websites, who ask for full payment up front, we require only a 10% deposit at the time of booking,” explains Dyzell, “This is another compelling reason why travellers chose us.”

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View the UK Charter Flagship at Sunseeker's Open Weekend

Take the opportunity to view 'High Energy', Sunseeker 88 Yacht – the largest, most luxurious and prestigious charter vessel in the UK – at the upcoming Sunseeker Open Weekend in Poole, UK. Taking place on Friday 25th, Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th June 2010 in association with MTU UK Ltd, this event is the perfect opportunity to see a selection of Sunseeker motoryachts and other attractions such as prestige cars and motorbikes.

The immaculately presented 'High Energy', which is worth £4.5million, will be available for viewings by prior appointment. During the tour you will have the chance to speak with the captain and to find out more about tailor-made itineraries. This stunning flybridge motoryacht is available for day charters in the Solent as well as longer, overnight charters to the West Country, Isles of Scilly and northern France. Evening events, such as cocktail parties, can be hosted on board for up to 35 guests.

'High Energy' has been designed with charter in mind. Twelve guests can dine in comfort on the aft deck; the bar provides a convivial focus for entertaining on the spacious flybridge (with your own 'cocktail mixologist' as a further option); and the foredeck offers a relaxed socialising and sunbathing area.
Inside, an elegant saloon provides comfort and opulence, as well as dining for up to eight. Four beautifully appointed en suite cabins – complete with air-conditioning, heated bathroom floors and LCD TVs – make it a pleasure to stay on board. A fully equipped galley provides the perfect arena for our chefs to prepare a variety of catering options, including Michelin starred cuisine.

For more information about the Sunseeker Open Weekend or chartering 'High Energy', please contact our team on +44 (0)1202 682890 or

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International arrivals to Asia Pacific surged 10% in the first quarter of 2010

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) announced the international visitor arrivals results for the first quarter of 2010 today. Travel demand in Asia Pacific* picked up strongly in the first quarter of the year, registering a 10% increase from the same quarter in 2009.

International visitor arrivals to South Asia grew by 17% year-on-year in the first quarter. All the destinations in the sub-region rebounded strongly from the relatively poor first quarter of 2009, which, in the cases of India and Sri Lanka, were severely impacted by the lingering effects of the Mumbai attacks and the civil war, respectively. Arrivals growth was also very strong for Nepal (+30%), the Maldives (+21%) and Bhutan (+57%) during the first three months of this year.

The destinations of Southeast Asia also reported strong growth with a collective gain of 16% year-on-year in the first quarter. This was boosted by double-digit growth in international arrivals to Cambodia (+10%), Indonesia (+15%), Myanmar (+39%), Singapore (+20%), Thailand (+28%) and Vietnam (+36%). Thailand recorded a 28% gain in arrivals January to March however it is expected that this early recovery will be severely impacted by the tensions and unrest in April and May, especially in Bangkok and it’ s immediate surrounds.

Within Northeast Asia, China (PRC) reported a 4% increase in international arrivals in the first quarter of 2010 with the sub-region as a whole, growing by 8% year-on-year for the period. This strong sub-regional performance was also supported by the SARs of Hong Kong (+17%) and Macau (+12%), Chinese Taipei (+28%) and Japan (+29%). The turn-around for Japan was particularly solid given that it came from a 19% slump in calendar year 2009. Korea (ROK), on the other hand, recorded a 1% decline in arrivals in the first quarter of the year, reversing the positive trends seen in 2009.

International arrivals to the Pacific grew by 6% during the first quarter of 2010, dominated by a 6% increase in visitor numbers to the higher volume destinations of Australia and New Zealand. A number of the smaller Pacific island destinations also recorded improvements in arrivals numbers, notably Niue (+79%), Fiji (+26%), Papua New Guinea (+22%), Tuvalu (+7%), Palau (+6%) and Northern Marianas (+2%).

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Expect amazing exhibits

If the first day is any indication of the week to come, the New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays is shaping up to be a cracker. The exhibitors at this year’s agribusiness event are taking more space at the venue as they understand the benefit of being part of the largest ag exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere. To get the most out of exhibiting, companies enhance their sites in ways they feel will attract the public.

An exhibit with a point of difference is the AgResearch site PF15-16, exhibiting in the Premier Feature area of the Mystery Creek Pavilion. AgResearch has undertaken a vast amount of investigations in the agricultural industry and have had a recent GE breakthrough. The advancement could lead to lowering methane emissions while at the same time giving the stock higher intakes of protein. The emissions released by cows are illustrated on their site, with 25kgs of cow dung; the amount one cow produces daily. Take time at the

AgResearch site to check out the other facts on cow emissions and productive farming solutions.

Another company attracting buyers in a unique way is Alltech. The global animal and nutrition company invites visitors to ‘dig for gold’ in a pit of Yea-Sacc feed. According to the business, the Yea-Sacc feed is the gold. The product is a completely natural yeast based animal feed used for efficiency in farming. The company also specialise in other yeast products all of which result from extensive yeast fermentation technology. So come inside the Mystery Creek Pavilion to dig for some gold for your chance to win some awesome prizes at the Alltech PD33-34.

While at Fieldays you must visit the Walker Mowers site F95 on F Street. Their unique mowers are extremely manoeuvrable with an O turn, allowing the machine to pirouette on the spot. The mowers are also excellent at climbing steep surfaces and hills. The most impressive feature is the deck on the front of the machine, usually located under the drivers seat. The Walker Mower range is particularly easy to use and to prove this, they have women demonstrating the machine. Check out the extensive range of multi deck mowers which can catch, mulch and side throw grass at the Walker Mowers site on F Street.

New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays are held 16 to 19 June, 2010 at Mystery Creek Events Centre, ten minutes south of Hamilton. Fieldays is proudly supported by strategic partners; The National Bank and the University of Waikato.

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New Zealand Dinners with Gordon Ramsay Postponed

Dinners with Gordon Ramsay in Auckland and Wellington have been postponed due to Ramsay’s mother suffering a heart attack, but Chris Hutcheson CEO of Gordon Ramsay Holdings has confirmed the events will proceed as planned within coming months.

Ramsay’s agent notified local organisers Duco Events today of the situation and committed to confirming the new event dates within two weeks time.

A statement provided by Ramsay’s office said: “With great reluctance, Gordon has had to postpone his trip to New Zealand with the news of his mother’s heart attack. He is so sorry to disappoint his fans on this occasion but hopes that everyone will understand. Gordon will be rescheduling his trip and hopes to be able to announce a new date very shortly.”

Duco directors David Higgins and John McRae have put out a joint statement to say “Our hearts go out to Mr Ramsay and his family and we wish his mother a speedy recovery. To ticket buyers, rest assured the events will still proceed as planned and we apologise for any inconvenience. We thank customers for their patience as we work towards confirming the new dates for what will be two fantastic events. The fact there has been a waiting list for the Auckland event for the past three weeks is testimony to Gordon Ramsay’s huge popularity in New Zealand.”

Catherine Collins, spokesperson for naming sponsor Whitcoulls, said “Like all New Zealand book lovers Whitcoulls was saddened to hear of Gordon’s mother’s heart attack. We understand and support Gordon’s decision to postpone his trip and appreciate his commitment to reschedule. We send Gordon and his family our best wishes.”

Duco Events will advise the new dates once receiving guidance from Ramsay’s office.
Ticket holders will be notified by email of the new dates.

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Flights begin from Air Tahiti Nui

Air Tahiti Nui has commenced a limited number of flights to help passengers stranded by the strike in Papeete (Travel Today, yesterday).

The airline secured approval from the Government of French Polynesia to begin
moving stranded passengers. Full schedules are currently being restored. Around 1600
passengers were moved into and out of Papeete last night.

Passengers travelling from Papeete to New Zealand and Australia on TN 101 will
depart Tahiti early Wednesday (local time), and arrive in Sydney at 8.55am tomorrow. Flight TN 102 is set to depart Auckland at 2.05pm on Thursday, bound for Papeete.

Meanwhile, Qantas is offering a waiver for passengers travelling to Tahiti on or before June 17. Passengers can defer travel, return to their point of origin or bypass Tahiti as a stopover point, all without penalty.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The Board of the Holiday Accommodation Parks Assn of New Zealand (HAPNZ) has selected the Breast Cancer Research Trust as its charity of choice to help it reach its goal of finding a cure for breast cancer by 2018.

Tony Moffatt, CEO of Breast Cancer Research Trust says, “We have a great fit with HAPNZ and Holiday Parks as families are critical to us all, suffering the true impact when breast cancer strikes.

“We have spent more than $7 million to date on groundbreaking and world-leading research in this country,” he continues. “However, in order to meet our goal, more funds are required with a real sense of urgency.“

The lives of over 660 New Zealand women of all ages are being lost every year and over 2,600 women are diagnosed each year with the disease. This number is increasing, and New Zealand has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the world, so a cure has never been needed more.

Over 300 Holiday Parks nationwide will take up the Breast Cancer Research Trust’s $1,000 Challenge to join the fight to find a cure.

Fergus Brown, CEO of HAPNZ says, “We were particularly impressed with the Trust’s ambitious goal to find a cure by 2018, and the $1000 Challenge is a great way for each Holiday Park to significantly contribute to that goal.”

With each Park aiming to raise at least $1,000, HAPNZ are hoping to reach over $300,000 to assist in the funding of critical research. In 2009 over 6.4 million guest nights were spent in Holiday Parks, and they will invite these guests to join the fight and help meet the target.

Newly appointed Breast Cancer Research Trust ambassador and TV celebrity Jaquie Brown comments, “I am so thrilled to be part of the Holiday Parks $1000 Challenge. It will be a huge help with our fundraising efforts, getting us one step closer to finding a cure.”

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A super-chic new hangout at The Peninsula Shanghai is seducing locals and hotel guests alike. Tucked away downstairs in the basement is Salon De Ning, where jazz bar meets speakeasy with live music, dancing and late night decadence.

With dramatic interiors inspired by the elegance of a drawing room in a private Shanghai residence in the 1930’s, Salon de Ning is the ideal place to sink into a sofa with a late-night cocktail or disappear into one of four semi-private alcoves - Azure, Indian, L’Atelier or Cinema - and be seduced by the extravagance of an era when glamour was all that mattered. Accommodating just 43 guests, the lounge bar offers a range of delicious cocktails including the renowned Salon de Ning Rosé Champagne and light snacks including its signature purple and pink chocolates.

Salon de Ning at The Peninsula Shanghai is the third in a series inspired by the fictional Madame Ning, a Shanghai socialite, world traveller and international hostess who presided over salons in her stylish residences around the world and was a tireless collector of objets sourced during her travels. Sister lounges are located in The Peninsula New York and The Peninsula Hong Kong.

Salon de Ning’s jaw-dropping interiors were designed by Henry Leung, the Hong Kong based Design Director of Chhada, Siembieda, Leung Limited. Leung has worked on a number of Chinese heritage-themed projects for The Peninsula Hotels, including Salon de Ning in The Peninsula Hong Kong; Huang Ting Chinese restaurant in The Peninsula Beijing; Hei Fung Terrace Chinese restaurant in The Peninsula Tokyo; Salon de Ning in The Peninsula New York, and Yi Long Court Chinese restaurant in The Peninsula Shanghai.

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Dining Options Revealed for the New Queen Elizabeth

Cunard has revealed details of the dining options onboard its latest liner Queen Elizabeth, which will expand upon the successes of her sister ships, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.

The Ocean liner will be launched in the UK in October this year and will visit Australia and New Zealand next February on her maiden world voyage.

“In planning for the dining and bar options to be offered on board Queen Elizabeth, we looked for inspiration in all the venues that Cunard has created during its history and built upon the best of its offerings,” said Cunard Line President, Peter Shanks.

“With the debut of Queen Elizabeth, Cunard will become one of the oldest names in ocean travel, sailing the industry's youngest fleet, so it is natural for us to recognize our past while always innovating for the future needs of today’s discerning traveller.”

The multi-layered culinary program will be headed by Cunard’s renowned Global Culinary Ambassador Jean-Marie Zimmermann and will incorporate:

The Verandah –The Verandah Grills on Queen Mary and the original Queen Elizabeth were perhaps the most exclusive dining rooms at sea. In keeping with this tradition, The Verandah restaurant on the new Queen Elizabeth will offer an experience that encompasses exquisite cuisine, contemporary design and impeccable service.

With menus created by Chef Zimmermann, The Verandah, located on Deck 2 with views of the ocean and the Grand Lobby, will be a celebration of fine French cuisine. The anticipated alternative restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner for a small surcharge.

The Grills –The restaurants will follow a similar pattern to the award-winning Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, with the Line’s celebrated five-star Queens Grill and Princess Grill being offered to guests in Grills suites. Both the Queens Grill and Princess Grill will be located on top of the ship (Deck 11), enclosed by gently curving panoramic glass walls on the seaboard sides. French-style doors will open from each Grills restaurant onto the Courtyard, an exclusive patio area, where al fresco dining will be offered.

Britannia Restaurant –The main dining room, the two-tiered Britannia Restaurant, spans Decks 2 and 3 at the stern of the vessel. A sweeping staircase, and a backlit decorative ceiling are among the Art Deco focal points. Breakfast and lunch will be served by open seating and guests have the option of either early or late sitting for dinner.

Britannia Club –Like Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth will offer the Britannia Club, where guests travelling in AA category staterooms will enjoy single-seating dining at a time of their choosing. New for Queen Elizabeth is that this is a separate dining room, which will be rich with art deco flourishes and feature panoramic windows for sea views.

Lido Restaurants -Open 24 hours a day, The Lido Restaurants on Deck 9 will be light, spacious, casual areas with sea views. The Cunard culinary team will present a range of global dishes from the exotic locations visited during World Voyages. Breakfast and lunch will be served buffet style and in the evenings, the dining experience will be elevated when one of three regional cuisines is highlighted and waiter table service becomes available. These will include South American, Mexican and pan-Asian cuisine.

Queen Elizabeth will also feature a range of venues for cocktails and light bites, including The Garden Lounge on Deck 9, which will offer occasional evening “Supper Clubs”.

The Ship will also have its very own nautically themed Yacht Club, named after the lively aft lounge on Queen Elizabeth 2, as well as Midships Bar on Deck 3, which will house memorabilia from the original Queen Elizabeth.

Also on offer will be Commodore Club, Café Carinthia and The Golden Lion Pub, as well as Cunard’s traditional afternoon tea in the Queens Room Ballroom.

Launching in October this year, Queen Elizabeth will visit both New Zealand and Australia on her maiden world voyage in February 2011, with a Royal Rendezvous planned for Sydney when she meets her “big sister” Queen Mary 2 on February 22. Fares on Queen Elizabeth’s 25-night journey from Sydney to Singapore departing February 23 start from $6,599* per person, double occupancy.

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Exciting culinary competition on menu for Central Otago

Trainee and experienced chefs, bakers, baristas and waiters from around New Zealand are invited to test their skills and culinary capabilities at the prestigious Southern Lights Salon Culinaire competition in Cromwell this July.

Entries are now open for the 13th annual Southern Lights Salon Culinaire which will be hosted this year by Otago Polytechnic in conjunction with the Otago Southland Chefs Association. The competition will be held on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 July at Otago Polytechnic’s Cromwell Campus.

Considered one of the South Island’s premier culinary and service industry competitions, the Salon Culinaire gives entrants the chance to compete in any of the 30 live, static and Restaurant of the Year categories as well as the highly competitive classes for Commis Chef and Open Chef of the Region. Events include everything from Imaginative Table Setting and Classic and Freestyle Cocktail Making to the best Cervena venison, chicken, salmon, lamb and pasta dishes.

The competition also welcomes entries from budding young chefs at high school for the High Tea, Fruit Flan, Quiche or Open Pie, Presentation Cheese Board and Brunch Interschool classes.

The “Salon” (Otago Polytechnic’s Molyneux Restaurant training facility) is open to the public from 8.30am on both days and spectators are welcome to come and enjoy the energy, inspiration and passion of the competitors as they showcase their talent through a variety of skills and techniques.

The judges are all industry professionals from throughout Otago and Southland.

All competition rules, judging and award criteria are in line with New Zealand Culinary Fare standards. Competitors will be marked against strict criteria such as preparation, hygiene, presentation, taste, service, recipe development, correct terminology on written menus and adhering to time restrictions.

The Central Otago Hospitality Department is delighted to host this year’s event with valuable support from sponsors.

“The Southern Lights Salon Culinaire is a fantastic event for both competitors and spectators and is becoming a major drawcard on the South Island’s culinary calendar. It’s always an exciting and entertaining couple of days with plenty of passion and innovation as well as blood, sweat and tears. The aim of the competition is to promote excellence within the industry so we’re hoping for plenty of entries from trainees and experienced restaurateurs this year,” says Programme Manager Jo Brun.

For competition details, times, locations, entry fees and requirements please contact Otago Polytechnic Cromwell Campus on 0800 765 9276 or visit

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The “Transcalédonienne”, New Caledonia’s mythical adventure race

Held for the 19th time from 3rd to 4th July 2010

A bit of history

After the “Raid Gauloises” event in New Caledonia in 1991, two friends, Joan HOSKEN and Jean-Paul GRANGEON decided to organise a sporting event in the Territory to promote health through sport, without being sponsored by companies marketing toxic products. They created the “Transcalédonienne” which has become one of the annual meetings of Caledonian adventure racers and other racers. This popular event as Christian Perez, President of the Association Défi Santé (Health Challenge), organiser of the race today, likes to call it, is THE “sport-health-discovery” adventure race reference in the Pacific.

A hike to explore the unexplored “customary paths”

For 19 years, the Transcalédonienne has traced its route with the help of the tribes and brought the old customary paths back to life. In 2008, 233 teams, nearly 700 runners including 38 non-Caledonian ones took part in this Caledonian adventure race.
Forest and rocky trails, mountain ridges and crossing creeks, the Transcalédonienne 2010 will be held in the Southern Province on 3rd and 4th July 2010. For this 19th run, it will go through the Caledonian towns of Moindou, Sarramea, Farino and the Parc des Grandes Fougères (Big Ferns National Park) before arriving at La Foa.

The Transcalédonienne is also an opportunity to meet the mountain tribes and share some truly happy moments with these men and women.

This two day hike, through the Caledonian mountain chain is a sports event that offers participants the opportunity to discover not only the lifestyle of the more remote Melanesian tribes but also the unique flora and fauna of New-Caledonia, its beautiful lagoon listed on the World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

From trails to creeks with often major changes in altitude, the Transcalédonienne proves to be a selective and intense race but always coped with in good humour.

The Transcalédonienne, well rehearsed logistics

To handle the logistics, the Défi-Santé (Health Challenge) race includes:

130 volunteers for organisation and security (first-aid station every 5kms)
2 Helicopters
9 Doctors
1 cardiologist
1 Podiatrist
2 Physiotherapists
16 “RED-CROSS” safety Specialists
20 Students from the

Institute of Training for Health and Social Professions (Masseurs)
1 radio network
An ambulance
Support from the local police stations and medical staff (health centre).
Who is this race for?

Those who love hiking, accomplished sports people and courageous ordinary walkers wishing to explore the real New-Caledonia in a team, this hike is for you!

Mixed team of 3 people
Two day event on 3rd and 4th July 2010
Minimum age: 16

Team composed of three people of the same sex
Two day event on 3rd and 4th July 2010
Different ranking than the above category
Minimum age: 16

Trans-Discovery Mixed team
One day event on 4th July
Approximately 25 km
Minimum age: 16

Trans-Discovery- Unisex
Team composed of three people of the same sex
One day event on 4th July 2010
Approximately 25 km
Minimum age: 16

All participants are asked to provide: A medical certificate Proof of personal insurance Equipment consisting of a tent for camping and an individual emergency kit. A registration form is available on the Transcalédonienne website - registration fees for each participant will be mentioned.

Because sport and health is everybody's concern and after an initial successful experience in 2009, the Transcalédonienne made a point of honour of being open to people with disabilities throughout the country, belonging to an association or being under the auspices of supervision. For this category, teams will consist of three contestants and two accompanying personnel.

The route

On July 3, 2010, the real sports people of the Transcalédonienne registered in a mixed or unisex team will take the start from the Katrikoin tribe for a race of more than 35 km. After a well deserved night in a “one star” camp site but “under the stars”, the athletes joined by the teams from the Trans-discovery, will leave the Grand Coulis tribe for a final finish in La Foa on July 4, 2010 at the end of day.

The Red Cross will be in charge of safety with a first-aid station every 5 km.

In recent years the Transcalédonnienne has welcomed enthusiasts and nature lovers from the Pacific with Tahitians, New Zealanders and Australians, from the Indian Ocean with our friends from La Reunion, who also love hiking and adventure races, from Asia with our Japanese friends who are more and more numerous and of course racers from France.

They are all very welcome to share the adventure and beauty of New Caledonia.
Advice and information is also available to prospective future participants on the website.

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Grab a terrific deal to Thailand

With travel restrictions lifted, now is the perfect time to visit Thailand, with its irresistible combination of breathtaking beauty, relaxing beaches, renowned hospitality, inspiring temples and delicious cuisine.

Best Western Thailand offers spectacular hotel accommodation deals, giving you incredible value for money. Best Western’s ASIA Best Deal offers special room rates in Thailand from as little as US$39 per night.

Stay at the Best Western Mayfair Suites in Bangkok in the heart of Bangkok’s commercial and entertainment district. The hotel boasts an on-site restaurant, complimentary full breakfast, spa and massage services, fully equipped gym, business centre and late check-out, where available.

In the seaside town of Pattaya, stay at the Best Western Premier Signature Pattaya Hotel which offers free accommodation for children under twelve years of age. The hotel offers superb accommodation with an on-site restaurant, complimentary breakfast, outdoor pool, massage services and late check-out, subject to availability.

Best Western Rewards members can earn points on this great deal, earning 10 points for every US$1 spent.

Valid until December 31, 2010.

For more great international accommodation specials, see or

**Minimum 2 nights stay is required. This offer is bookable via Central Reservations Office on 131 779 (from Australia) or 0800 237 893 (from New Zealand) or

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tropicana Las Vegas OFFERS summer in paradise EXPERIENCE

$49 Package With $300 Worth of Value

With summer in Vegas in full swing, there’s no better place for a getaway. The great weather combined with Tropicana Las Vegas’ new, tropical pool and their Summer in Paradise Experience is the perfect excuse for a vacation. The experience, starting at $49 and valued at $300 is available at Tropicana through August 31, 2010.

“We’re kicking off the summer season with our Summer in Paradise Experience,” said Arik Knowles, Vice President of Hotel Operations. “Starting at only $49, it’s a perfect blend of perks at an incredible value.”

The Summer in Paradise Experience, available between June 2 and August 31, 2010 has many fun choices for guests to enjoy, including:

· Complimentary upgrade to a new, best-in-class room that features a fresh, airy, island vibe and 42” high definition plasma TV
· 2-for-1 tickets to Las Vegas’ newest comedy show, “Paul Rodriguez and The Whole Enchilada” and “Hypnosis Unleashed”
· Early check-in and late check out
· VIP check-in
· Two guaranteed lounge chairs at the new tropical pool
· $10 in Free Slot Play and a chance to win up to $10,000 dollars

And, if that isn’t enough, Tropicana is giving a third night free when two or more nights are booked.

With its Phase 1 $165 million transformation, Tropicana Las Vegas is changing everything, from a wide variety of dining options to new nightlife and entertainment to a new casino complete with a state-of-the-art race and sports book. The transformation gives guests the chance to see, feel and be part of the glamour, style and rhythm of a hot Havana night while enjoying all the action of The Las Vegas Strip.

For more information go to

About Tropicana Las Vegas:

In the heart of the famed Las Vegas Strip, the resort is redefining the expectations of today’s global travelers with a major transformation scheduled for completion in 2010. The South Beach inspired changes include a fresh redesign of every hotel room and suite, the casino, the conference center and exhibition hall, the legendary pool area, several new restaurants, bars, a new poker room, and a state-of-the-art race and sports book.

In addition to this transformation, the world’s largest Nikki Beach will debut in spring 2011 making it the city’s hottest destination. Nikki Beach at Tropicana Las Vegas will be the ultimate entertainment experience as the ultra lounge and nightclub flows into the four-acre beach club.

The look and feel of the new Tropicana is vibrant and exciting, filled with the sultry rhythm of a hot Havana night. Tropicana Las Vegas is not affiliated with any other Tropicana property or brand. For additional information on events, amenities, or availability call 702-739-2222 or visit Stay up-to-date on the latest Tropicana Las Vegas happenings by finding us on Facebook or following along on Twitter.

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Dawn Princess Passengers See the World - and the World Cup

Passengers on Dawn Princess’ world cruise will be able to enjoy a truly international holiday, with the superliner featuring the 2010 FIFA World Cup on its giant poolside movie screen as the ship travels the globe.

Princess Cruises plans to broadcast 20 World Cup matches on a selection of its ships - including the Australian-based Dawn Princess and Sun Princess - after securing the rights to show the Cup.

With both superliners offering giant seven-metre by four-metre LED screens with 60,000-watt sound systems on their top decks, passengers will feel like they are part of the action, enjoying superb resolution images and great sound as they take in the football games day and night.

The World Cup began on June 11 with Dawn Princess off the coast of India during her present 104-night world cruise. The Cup concludes on July 11 when the ship will be en-route to Paris from Gibraltar.

Meanwhile, Sun Princess will be sailing a series of Asian cruises from Fremantle during the World Cup month.

The broadcasts on both superliners will include nine first round games featuring Australia, New Zealand and England, as well as all quarter-final matches, both semi-finals, the runner-up game and the World Cup Final.

The games will be shown in a range of venues throughout the ships, including on their signature Movies Under the Stars screens.

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Luxury Holiday for Budget Price

GO Holidays currently have an amazing package deal to Malaysia staying at a chic, new hotel - Hard Rock Penang.

The package includes return flights on Malaysia Airlines from Auckland to Penang via Kuala Lumpur and seven nights in a Deluxe Hillview room with breakfast daily for only $1,859 per person twin share. Singles can take advantage of this great deal for only $2,394.

This is also a great deal for families as a child can be taken for only $950 which includes free daily entrance to the Lil Rock Club for 2-12 year olds.

Travel from Wellington or Christchurch is available at a surcharge of $138 and $158 respectively.

This incredible deal is only available through GO Holidays and bookings must be completed before the 30th of June.

Penang is a unique and exciting holiday destination with a rich multicultural history. Visitors can enjoy beaches, a national park, temples, buzzing markets, and the colonial architecture of Georgetown.

Hard Rock Penang is a newly opened hotel located at the famous Batu Ferringhi beach. The Hotel boasts 250 fully equipped, chic rooms and suites with unprecedented views of the sea. Hard Rock Penang is modern in its design with classic Hard Rock style including rock star memorabilia from all over the world. The hotel has a wide selection of facilities including the Rock Spa, Lil’ Rock Kids Club, Teens Club, a fully equipped gym and the largest swimming pool in Penang.

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Monday, June 14, 2010


THE best line up of High Season parties that the ‘Island of the Gods’ has ever witnessed is set to arrive at the coolest cocktail bar and restaurant in South East Asia.

This stunning Bali beach-side destination that is KU DE TA, is determined to celebrate their 10th Birthday in the grandest of styles, bringing together a stellar selection of International DJ’s and live bands for their worldrenowned, iconic High Season parties.

The Day Party, Birthday Party and White Party will chart new territory with magnificently decorated themes, performers and playtime peeps, than ever before. Arthur Chondros, founder and ongoing vision behind KU DE TA, has successfully redefined cool and continually hones his vision for this beautiful setting where hospitality knows no bounds, employing over 400 staff and catering to an incredible 3000 people daily in High Season.

“I believe that we have created an exceptional party program filled with love and spectacle. We want to share that love as we commemorate what we have achieved at KU DE TA in the past ten years. We invite our cherished customers to join our KU DE TA family to celebrate the first trailblazing decade with us”.

The sparkling will first flow at the ‘I’m An Angel’ Charity Gala Dinner that promises to dazzle on Saturday 31 July with a special live dinner performance, direct from Bombay, Ash Chandler. An elegant and epicurean affair, meals will be prepared by KU DE TA’s Miele Award Winning Executive Chef, Phillip Davenport. He will be joined by the host of Australia’s much loved ‘My Kitchen Rules’, Manu Feildel. The Bali Peace Dancers will make a special moving performance followed by Dutch DJ Jeroenski who will take party in the wee hours of the morning.

‘I’m An Angel’ makes a substantial contribution to the Balinese community and this annual event has raised in excess of USD $500,000 in the past through this very special event.

August will then arrive with the wickedly fun and famous KU DE TA Day Party, where a bikini is de rigueur and the extroverted and (somewhat) well-heeled will get down to the sounds of the Godfather of House, Frankie Knuckles and a live performance from Heather Small (M People) on Sunday 8 August. Hailing from the deep sound of Chicago, Frankie Knuckles is associated with the very beginning of house music and created the 4 x 4 beat phenomena that rules the decks and fills the airwaves with contemporary house tunes. Canadian born, Italian based fashion duo Dan and Dean Caten from dsquared will be presenting their dsquared swimwear collection as further eye candy to delight and indulge in on the day.

Wait for the crescendo. Start swinging at the KU DE TA Birthday Party on Saturday 14 August when Arthur Chondros brings out international band and dance sensation of the decade, The Brand New Heavies for a once-only performance, in Seminyak Bali! Best known for their hit songs, ‘Never Stop’ and ‘Dream on Dreamer’, The Brand New Heavies are a seasoned international act and delighted to be playing at the KU DE TA 10th Birthday Party. Replicating an Alice in Wonderland theme, patrons will be invited to fall down the rabbit hole and take a trip into a magical world of new dimensions, sounds and experiences. The entire KU DE TA venue will transform into a surreal Lewis Carol fantasy land with surprise appearances by the Mad Hatter, the smokin caterpillar’ and Alice herself!

The international invasion of performers at KU DE TA continues with the KU DE TA White Party – Cleopatra Queen of the Nile theme the following weekend on Saturday 21 August. Taking a cue from the ancient Pharaohs, Creative Director Donni 1 asks you to wear white and walk like an Egyptian as KU DE TA takes a ride down the Nile in style. Look out for resident DJ Billy The Kid (BtK) and a guest showing by the Queen of Nightlife, Cleopatra herself. UK based DJ and record producer, Dave Seaman who has spearheaded the Renaissance dance music label, will be headlining this historic evening. Dave Seaman enjoys a cult following of dance enthusiasts from around the world and has gained extra kudos for producing for the Pet Shop Boys and Kylie Minoque.

The finale of the High Season dance party series is a performance by the Australian acclaimed world music band, Tijuana Cartel on Saturday 28 August. Tijuana Cartel is all about rhythm and KU DE TA invites you to explore the compelling sounds of world percussion inspired by Flamenco, Reggae and Hip Hop.

To purchase tickets please visit the Guest Relations Desk at KU DE TA or email Ticket prices are listed below. I n keeping with KU DE TA’s ethical commitment and Environmental Plan, in 2010 all High Season tickets can be purchased with a ‘Green Levy’ ** whereby rp 50,000 will be donated to the ‘Clean Seminyak Program’ and will be matched ‘dollar for dollar’ by KU DE TA. For more information on KU DE TA’s Environmental Plan please email

With such a stellar event calendar, KU DE TA is the destination for discerning international revellers. During the 2010 High Season, this magical Bali playground will musically transport guests from Cuba to New York to London and Chicago, to the ultimate tropical beachside spot, Seminyak, overlooking the Bali Strait.

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