Friday, July 2, 2010

King Kong 360 3-D at Universal

The new King Kong 360 3-D experience opened yesterday at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Part of Universal’s enhanced studio tour, it is billed as “the largest most intense 3-D experience on the planet.”

“But,” says the LA Times reviewer, “having been-there, done-that, I can say it’s no exaggeration.” Created by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, the attraction
reportedly makes you feel as if you’re immersed in the middle of a dense jungle watching as the giant ape mixes it up with dinosaurs. “You can smell the earthy dampness, feel the wind, and, on more than one occasion, get wet when Kong knocks the spit out of a TRex,” says the reviewer.

Riding on trams, visitors wear 3-D glasses and enter a darkened sound stage, each side wall of which is covered with slightly curved, 187-foot-long, 40-foot-high movie screens. It takes 16 projectors working simultaneously to show the huge
images. Moreover, the screen images project at 60 frames per second (compared to 24 frames per second in the typical film) making for super high resolution. The tram sits on motion simulators, each car separately choreographed to the screen action taking place nearest it.

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Vegas in Macau?

Hong Kong listed casino operator Sands China Ltd. may team up with a Chinese airline flying to Macau to start two to four day budget package deals to Macau, boosting tourism to the world’s biggest gambling hub.

Billionaire owner of Sands, Sheldon Adelson has said he plans to recreate the Las Vegas Strip on Macau’s 1.8-mile Cotai Strip and trigger a jump in the non-gambling portion of casino operators’ earnings. About 85 percent of Sands China’s customers come from mainland China.

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Fiji Specials

Stay Pay Bounty Island – Fiji sales extended
Stay 4 Pay 2 in an air conditioned Bounty Island Resort beachfront Bure, plus kids stay, play and eat for free. Sales now to 15AUG10 for travel to 31MAR11. Closeouts
apply 24DEC10, 15JAN11. Note: Bounty Island Resort still has space available in its
Beachfront Bures for JUL and SEP/OCT school holidays. Contact your travel agent for details.

Fiji Winter Escape Special
Rydges Hideaway Resort, Fiji has released a winter escape
special with a 40% saving on its Frangipani Bures. Valid for
sales to 16JUL and travel to 30SEP10. Contact your travel agent.

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Radisson Resort Gold Coast impresses EarthCheck

Radisson Resort Gold Coast’s commitment to environmental practices has been recognised by EarthCheck, the world’s leading sustainable travel and tourism certification organisation. The resort achieved the prestigious Bronze Benchmark.

EarthCheck’s scientifically rigorous program measures key environmental indicators including energy and water consumption, waste production and community commitment.

EC3 Global Earthcheck CEO Stewart Moore says Radisson Resort Gold Coast took a holistic view of sustainable practices, identified where they were out-performing others and potential areas of improvement.

“I am delighted Radisson Resort Gold Coast achieved Bronze status,” he says. “The team recognised a maturing of the science behind climate change and environmental sustainability and applied the highest possible standard to their community. Going beyond mere tick-box action is not an easy task. It requires commitment by all staff, visitors and key stakeholders. Radisson Resort Gold Coast emerged as an example of a community organisation committed to environmentally sustainable living. The EarthCheck logo demonstrates their claims are credible,” Mr Moore says.

He says EarthCheck allows organisations to compare performance with others using more than a decade of factual operational data submitted by more than 1000 communities, government entities and businesses in 60-plus countries. “EarthCheck is used by more sustainable travel and tourism companies than any other. It helps organisations navigate the path forward with certainty while recognising the planet deserves more than half measures,” Mr Moore says.

Radisson Resort Gold Coast human resources manager Jenny Mulholland headed the resort’s environmental team. She says all team members committed to benchmarking local environmental and social issues. “This included biodiversity conservation, environmental investment and enhanced community socio-economic benefits,” Ms Mulholland says. “It involved collecting operational data for a year and submitting the information for comparison with similar communities. Radisson Resort‘s best practice achievement for energy consumption per guest night, water consumption, landfill waste and waste recycling impressed EarthCheck. The resort team is passionate about addressing environmental issues in line with EarthCheck requirements,” Ms Mulholland says.

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Mandarin Oriental to open Doha property

Luxury hotel group Mandarin Oriental has announced its second hotel in the Middle East, with the 160-room Doha property due to open in 2014.

The Mandarin Oriental Doha will join the group’s forthcoming hotel in Abu Dhabi and will be located within the 35-hectare Musheireb project close to Souk Waqif and the city’s business centre in West Bay.

There will be 160 rooms and suites, along with a further 95 serviced apartments, and facilities will include a spa with 10 treatment rooms, an indoor pool and a fitness centre, as well as “extensive banqueting and meeting facilities”, and “a variety of restaurants and bars”, including the group’s “cake shop” concept.

Qatar’s capital of Doha continues to see rapid hotel expansion, with Marriott alone due to open three properties in the West Bay are later this year (see online news May 6).

For more information visit

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AA launches mobile boarding at Heathrow

American Airlines has become one of the first airlines to offer mobile boarding passes for customers departing London Heathrow

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Aegean Airlines joins Star Alliance

The largest airline in Greece, Aegean Airlines, joined the Star Alliance yesterday as the group’s 28th member. The airline is working towards code-shares with several Star members (including Thai International and Singapore Airlines) to help it speed passengers between Greece and major overseas markets like Australia.

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From the pyramids of Mexico to a blissful spa in the Himalayas....

From snorkelling with penguins and sea lions on a Darwinian inspired cruise through the Galapagos Islands, to village trekking and spa treatments in the Himalayas and perusing the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon in Mexico. From India, the Himalayas and Latin America, this week’s top travel deals from Adventure World offer the Kiwi traveller everything from unique cultural and wildlife experiences, to true exhilaration and utter relaxation.

*Save 20% on Galapagos Islands M/V Santa Cruz*
4 Days/ 3 Nights now priced from $1913pp twin share

Follow in Darwin’s footsteps and discover the ecological wonderland that is the Galapagos Islands on-board the M/V Santa Cruz - the only vessel in the world designed exclusively for exploring these magnificent islands. Cruising for four days and three nights through one of the greatest wildlife destinations on the planet, highlights of the cruise tour include swimming and snorkelling with penguins and sea lions, dolphin and whale watching, visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station and taking in some of the archipelago’s stunning landscapes. For a limited time, Adventure World is offering a 20 per cent discount on their four day, three night ‘M/V Santa Cruz Galapagos Island’ cruise, which is now priced from just $1913pp twin share*.
* This special offer is available until sold out for selected departures. Price includes twin accommodation in a main cabin, all meals onboard, Galapagos transit control card, fuel surcharge, guided excursions and Galapagos transfers.

*Golden Triangle with Samode Palace*
6 Days/ 5 nights from $1069pp
To perfectly capture the grandeur of India, journey to the Golden Triangle - Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. See the magnificent Taj Mahal – the world’s greatest monument to love, experience the imperial elegance of New Delhi and the soak in the splendour of the desert city of Jaipur. Adventure World’s six day, five night ‘Golden Triangle with Samode Palace’ tour, which departs from Delhi, allows travellers to marvel at the many magnificent masterpieces of the Golden Triangle and is priced from just $1069pp*.
* Price includes: 5 nights accommodation including 1 night at Samode Place, selected meals, transfers and selected sightseeing including entrance fees.

*Kerala Experience*

8 Day/ 7 Night, priced from just $1172pp.
India’s southern state of Kerala offers an incredible combination of nature and culture. With its palm-fringed beaches, serene backwaters, scenic hill stations, green jungles, paddy fields and tea plantations, Kerala is one of India’s most beautiful regions. Experience the breathtaking beauty of Kerala and gain an insight into the lifestyle of the Keralite people on Adventure World’s eight day, seven night ‘Kerala Experience’ tour, which departs from Cochin and is priced from just $1172pp*.
* Price includes: accommodation, selected meals, transfers and selected sightseeing including entrance fees.

*Essence of Peru*
8 Days/ 7 Nights, priced from $1488pp (was $1653pp)
With a rich and ancient past, Peru is one of South America’s most popular and rewarding travel destinations. Take in the highlights that Peru has to offer with Adventure World’s brand new ‘Essence of Peru’ tour, which is now priced from $1488pp (was $1653pp)*. Departing from Lima, the capital of Peru, highlights of this spectacular new tour include a drive through the Aguada Blanca National Reserve (home to wild cameloids and a myriad of birdlife); a tour of Arequipa City including a visit to the Santa Catalina Monastery; a tour of Cuzco and the Lost City of the Incas – the ruins of Machu Picchu; and a trip to the Cruz del Condor canyon - home of the condor.
* Price includes accommodation, some meals, airfare from Arequipa/Cuzco, transfers and sightseeing.

*Captivating Chiapas*
7 Days/ 6 Nights, priced from $1228pp, twin share
Get ready to experience the real Mexico and be captivated by its charm with Adventure World’s new seven day, six night “Captivating Chiapas” tour, which is priced from $1228pp, twin share. Beginning in the bustling metropolitan city of Mexico City and ending in Villahermosa - one of the most important Mayan archaeological sites – visit some of Mexico’s most magnificent and significant archaeological monuments such as the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon; be enchanted by the native Tzotzil communities of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan; and journey through the lush rainforest of Palenque.
* Price includes accommodation, some meals, transfers through out, sightseeing and airfare Mexico City/Tuxtla Gutierrez.

*Ananda in the Himalayas*
4 Days/ 3 Nights priced from $2035pp
Prepare to relax and unwind and experience “true bliss” at one of the most incredible spa retreats in the world with Adventure World’s new four day, three night ‘Ananda in the Himalaya’s’ package. Located in the tranquil foothills of the Himalayas - the birthplace of India's ancient arts of yoga, meditation and Ayurveda - Ananda in the Himalaya’s is a luxury retreat designed to restore, renew and revitalise guests mind, body and soul as they immerse themselves in a complete rejuvenation experience. Adventure World’s new ‘Ananda in the Himalaya’s’ package is priced from $2035pp which includes all spa treatments, return transfers to Delhi, accommodation in a Deluxe Palace View Room, selected meals, daily use of the hydrotherapy facilities and opportunities to participate in scheduled spa lifestyle and wellness activities including Yoga, meditation and cooking demonstrations.

*Himalayan Village Walk*
7 Days / 6 Nights from $2217* per person
Gain an insight into the lives and daily routine of the local Himalayan Kumaoni villager - where the local religious customs and ancient traditions are very much still alive - on Adventure World’s brand new ‘Himalayan Village Walk’ tour - a truly unique tour that allows travellers to fully immerse themselves in the locals’ way of life. Beginning in Almora, the cultural heart of the Kumaoni region, the seven day, six night itinerary covers both natural and cultural aspects of the region. From architectural and natural wonders, to forests and wildlife that are yet to unfold their mysteries, travellers will spend three nights in local village houses, allowing them to experience the warmth and genuine hospitality of the Kumaoni people.
Priced from $2217pp, the tour includes return transport from Delhi to Kalmatia Sangam Resort, 3 nights accommodation at Kalmatia Sangam Resort and three nights at village houses, all meals, an English speaking guide and porters.

*Chonos Classic Route- Skorpios II*
Save $288pp NOW priced from $1408pp
For a limited time Adventure World is offering $288*pp off The Chonos Classic Route cruise. Travelling onboard the Skorpios II, this six day, five night cruise journey explores the majestic glaciers and spectacular fjords and channels of Southern Chile and is NOW priced from $1408*pp
* Price includes accommodation on Athens Deck, all meals onboard, beverages, transfers and embarkation boarding tax.

For more information on any of the above offers and more unique travel holidays, contact Adventure World on 0800 899 111 or visit

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Banyan Tree Leaf Notes - June 2010

1. Unbeatable Thailand
Banyan Tree Phuket, Banyan Tree Bangkok and the new Banyan Tree Samui offer holidaymakers to Thailand with the limited-period “Unbeatable Thailand” promotion where guests enjoy spending credits equivalent to the second night’s room rate to use to offset dining occasions, spa treatment and retail purchases at the hotel. Book two consecutive nights at Best Available Rates, starting from THB3,540++ (approximately US$110++), from now to 29 September 2010 for stays from 1 July to 30 September 2010.

2. Best Beach Getaways at Banyan Tree
From Mexico, to Seychelles, to Indonesia and China, discover the choice beach retreat for your mid year holidays.

3. Solitaire at Banyan Tree Madivaru, Maldives
For the price of a first-class air ticket, get an entire Maldivian island with Banyan Tree Madivaru’s Solitaire package. Starting from US$9,900+ per day for full-board accommodation in the island’s six Tented Pool Villas, inclusive of a dedicated villa host, a private chef, and complimentary recreational activities, guests can enjoy absolute privacy and seclusion for a fuss-free holiday.

4. Romance Getaway at Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués, Mexico
Enjoy a fuss-free and unforgettable getaway in Acapulco – priced from US$2,305++ for a two-night stay in an Oceanfront View Pool Villa – where a journey of romance awaits. Starting with airport pick-up to resort, with strawberries & champagne in the villa on arrival, to a “Dine Around the Resort” experience in the evening, 120-minute Sukhothai massage session for two, to the signature Intimate Moments set-up complete with a sensual bath with flowers and champagne in the villa.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bid for your bed: world's first bidding-booking engine launched gives consumers an upper hand when it comes to what they are willing to pay for a stay at their chosen hotel after being shown the regular online rate, and accepts any bids, with no minimum offer level pre-set.

After providing credit card details, both parties must reach an agreement within 72 hours of the first bid. The hotel is given two counter bids and consumer three, but if a rate is not agreed upon, no penalties apply to either party. However a flat AUD$5 booking fee is charged if the customer's rate is accepted and a 10 per cent deposit is instantly taken by the hotel to secure the booking.

For more information, visit

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BreakFree Rainbow Shores opening special

BreakFree is celebrating the opening of its newest property, BreakFree Rainbow Shores, by giving guests a free night when holidaying at the resort for three consecutive nights.

Guests booking in for three nights from just $140* per night in a One Bedroom Apartment will only pay for two nights when booking and travelling before the end of the year.

Situated at Rainbow Beach, the resort offers a selection of one, two and three bedroom apartments set in more than five acres of sub-tropical gardens and just footsteps away from a pristine 6km long surf beach. Twelve upmarket Surfside Villas are also just 150 metres from the beach, containing one to four bedrooms, some with roof top terraces. The resort also boasts a bevy of leisure facilities onsite such a restaurant and bar, lagoon pool and heated spa, tennis court and a nine-hole par 3 golf course.

BreakFree Rainbow Shores Resort is just a 2.5 hour drive north of Brisbane, half way between the Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay.

For bookings and more information phone 132 007 or visit

*Subject to availability. Valid for sale and travel until 16/12/10. Block out dates and minimum night stays apply.

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Kaotic Opera

Opera Unleashed and Cafe Kaos present Kaotic Opera ...
A night of Opera favourites and traditional and Broadway
songs, featuring the musical stylings of:
Evelyne Ann Bourton
Soprano, Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar
Emma Roxburgh - Soprano, Resident artist for NBR N.Z. Opera
Warren Kilham - Baritone
Rosemary Barnes M.N.Z.M - Internationally renowned Pianist

Venue: Cafe KAOS, 29 George Street, Tuakau
09 236 9331
Fully licensed, meals available before the show
When: 17 July 2010, 7:30pm
Cost: $25

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Malaysian's heading was "get the second ticket for free" which sounds a lot better but it's not actually true as you still need to pay the taxes.

Allow for between an extra $60 - $160 per person. They vary wildy depending on where you're going

Travel is from Auckland to all over the place... Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Phillippines, Indonesia, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan, India, Pakistan, Bangladdesh, Sri Lanka, maldines, Britain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Turkey, France, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and South Africa.
I'll be putting this on our website later today...

Return airfare. Flying from Auckland
(add-ons available from other NZ airports)

Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Penang, Langkawi, Kuantan.
$7531 (plus tax), $0 (plus tax)
Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Miri, Sibu, Sandakan, Tawau
$7531 (plus tax), $0 (plus tax)

Bangkok, Phuket, Hanoi, Manila, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh, Siem Reap, Yangon,
$7378 (plus tax), $0 (plus tax)

Denpasar, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Medan, Surabaya, Bandung
$7378 (plus tax), $0 (plus tax)

Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Kunming, Shanghai, Taipei, Xiamen
$7789 (plus tax), $0 (plus tax)

Osaka, Seoul, Tokyo
$8862 (plus tax), $0 (plus tax)

Bengalaru, Bombay, Colombo, Dhaka, Delhi, Hyderabad, Karachi, Madras, Male
$8816 (plus tax), $0 (plus tax)

Beirut, Dammam, Dubai, Jeddah
$10412 (plus tax), $0 (plus tax)

London, Amsterdam, Rome, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Paris
$12998 (plus tax), $0 (plus tax)

Cape Town, Johannesburg
$13490 (plus tax), $0 (plus tax)

Depart between 01 July 2010 and 31 March 2011. You can stay away for up to 6 months or complete your travel by 31 August 2011. You can change your dates on these tickets even after you've started travelling (as long as there are seats available in this class.)

All the major cedit cards accepted (no fees!)

This is an interesting one... you can change the name on the second ticket after it's been issued, for a fee of $100. I guess that's in case you can't decide who you want to take with you, or you find someone better after you've bought the ticket?

These fares are valid for 2 business class tickets, both passengers must travel on the same itinerary. On sale until 14th July... so call 0800 438 688 us or get a TravelQuote happening now.

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Singapore arrivals up by 30.3 % in May

Singapore welcomed 30.3 percent more visitors last month than in May 2009, or 946,000 in arrival numbers according to the latest inbound arrival statistics gathered by the Singapore Tourism Board.

The figures were the largest ever recorded for May and followed a four month record visitation growth from December, 2009 to April, 2010.

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Air travel is once again flying high to above pre-recession levels

There is no doubt that the airlines are truly back in their rightful place in the skies. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) confirmed that passenger traffic in May grew by 11.7 percent, compared to the same period in 2009. Freight demand grew to an even higher level, recording a 34.3 percent increase for the month of May by comparison to 12 months prior.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

$25 departure fee - Frequently Asked Questions:

How is the departure fee changing?
From 1 July 2010, travellers will no longer be required to pay an international departure fee at Christchurch Airport. Up to this date, travellers will pay the usual $25 international departure fee at Christchurch Airport before boarding their departing flight. From 1 July 2010, this fee will be included as part of the airfare costs, which means the departure fee no longer needs to be paid separately at the airport.
How much is the new Passenger Service Charge?
The new PSC is $12.50 including GST. This levy is payable for both departing and arriving travellers, and will be included as part of the airfare costs from 1 July 2010. On a return airfare, the total PSC would be $25. On a one-way airfare, the PSC would be $12.50. The policy of having no charge for children aged under 12 years will continue.
Why is Christchurch Airport doing this?
Having a PSC will bring Christchurch Airport into line with Auckland Airport and other international airports around the world, and will greatly improve the departure process for departing travellers. Feedback from travellers shows that the current departure fee collection process is a major inconvenience for them.
When do the changes take place?
For travels from 1 July 2010, a Passenger Service Charge (PSC) will be included in the costs of an airfare and collected by the airlines. From that date onwards, travellers will not have to pay a separate international departure fee at Christchurch Airport.
What does this mean for travellers?
It will significantly improve the traveller experience. It will improve the ease and simplicity of the departure process, and reduce traveller processing time through Customs. Airline travellers will have a much more streamlined departure process and therefore an improved travel experience.
What happens to those travelling either side of 1 July 2010?
There is no change for travellers leaving Christchurch before July 2010, and returning before 1 July 2010. They will pay the standard $25 PDC. However if a traveller leaves Christchurch before 1 July 2010, and returns to Christchurch after 1 July 2010, there is the potential for them to pay both the $25 departure charge, and the $12.50 PSC for their return flight as part of the airfare costs. To ensure this does not occur, all international travellers who leave Christchurch before 1 July 2010 will be asked for their return date when they pay their departure charge at the bank. Relevant travel documentation such as an itinerary will be required. If the return date is after 1 July 2010, they will only pay $12.50 departure charge, as the PSC for the return leg of their trip will be included in their return airfare costs.
However, Air New Zealand passengers who leave Christchurch before 1 July 2010, and return after 1 July 2010 will continue to pay the $25 PDC, as the PSC is not usually included in their airfare costs for the return leg of the trip. If you are an Air NZ passenger and you think you have been charged $12.50 on the return leg of the trip, you can request a refund from CIAL.

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Final Day for $25 departure fee marks the start of new era at Christchurch Airport

The departure of the final international passenger to pay a $25 departure fee at Christchurch Airport occurred at 3pm today, and signals the start of a new era for passengers leaving New Zealand from Christchurch.
From July1, anyone leaving New Zealand from Christchurch Airport no longer needs to pay a NZ$25 international departure fee. This is as a result of the long-awaited transition to a new departure fee collection process.
The old departure fee has been replaced by a Passenger Services Charge (PSC), consisting of $12.50 for both departing and arriving passengers, which is included in the airfare costs and collected by the airlines. No separate payment of the departure charge is necessary.
“Travellers have very clearly told us that the old departure fee process was an inconvenient extra step that did not help make an ideal final memory of New Zealand to take away with them,” said Christchurch Airport Chief Executive Jim Boult, “so we are very pleased to start a new era of simplified departure experiences for everyone.”
“Christchurch Airport is now in line with other major gateways around the world,” said Boult. “This change reduces processing time and gives travellers a much more streamlined departure. It is a continuation of our strong commitment to the New Zealand tourism industry and to the millions of passengers who travel through New Zealand’s major tourism gateway each year.”

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Peppers on the Point joins Luxury Lodge Group of New Zealand

Peppers on the Point, Rotorua has entered the hall of fame of luxury accommodation with its recent membership into the prestigious Luxury Lodge Group of New Zealand.

This stunning lodge is only one of nineteen accommodation venues in this highly regarded group of the finest five-star and exclusive luxury lodges in New Zealand.

Peppers on the Point General Manager David Smail says it is an honour to receive such a prestigious accolade. “The calibre of the properties in the Luxury Lodge Group is incredibly high and to be recognised is testament to the high standards that Peppers on the Point strives for.”

The Luxury Lodges of New Zealand is a mark of distinction available to only a select group of exclusive and luxurious properties who meet the exacting standards for membership. Staying with the Lodges of New Zealand is an experience of the absolute best of the best in New Zealand accomodation.

Peppers on the Point offers guests a beautiful intimate retreat location with world-class cuisine to compliment exceptional hospitality all within an outstanding location. Just five minutes from the heart of Rotorua City, Peppers on the Point is surrounded by the sparkling waters of Lake Rotorua and features spectacular views to the historic Mokoia Island.

For information on packages and facilities, please visit

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American Express Queenstown Winter Festival update

Queenstown’s biggest and best free street party turned on the magic last night (Tues June 29) as thousands turned out to celebrate the Air New Zealand holidays Mardi Gras and were treated to a line-up of stellar entertainers.

It was yet another success for the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest winter party -- the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival – which has delivered a week of fabulous fun for all, with sold-out events and huge crowds enjoying the winter action.

With a big focus on community events this year, there have been plenty of free festival festivities downtown including the American Express Opening Party and Fireworks, the colourful Oaks Hotels & Resorts Festival Parade and Family Fun Day, and all the craziness that is the MoreFM Day on the Bay.

Highlights of the Mardi Gras included I Am Giant and headline act Dragon, and the fun continued well into the night with two stages, great food stalls and lots of mulled wine. A feature of the event was the second stage where bands from Wakatipu High School impressed the crowd which was also entertained with a special appearance by Jason Kerrison of OpShop fame.

Festival manager Simon Green said the only disappointment with the Mardi Gras was that a street parade which has featured in recent years was not on the calendar for 2010.

“We all love the Mardi Gras parade and it was part of our planning for this year, but at a very late stage we were unexpectedly denied funding to cover the time and expenses associated with it. We share the disappointment of those who were expecting it and will again strive to secure the funding needed for next year.”

Highlights of down-town events to date include the glamorous Lindauer Masquerade Ball where revelers danced into the small hours, followed by the action-packed Thriller in the Chiller with special guest boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard. Comedy featured at the Canadian Club Comedy Gala at Memorial Hall, Late Night Laughs at the American Express Ice Box and the Lindauer Ladies Fashion Afternoon, highlighting the transformation of 12 lovely local ladies into catwalk models for the day.

All the madness continues up at Coronet Peak this weekend with the ever-popular grabaseat Mountain Mayhem Day, Budget Mountain Bikes on Snow and the Closing Party (featuring dDub) on Sunday July 4.

The American Express Queenstown Winter Festival runs from 25 June to 4 July 2010. For more information or for a programme please phone 0800 FESTIVAL (03 441 2453) or visit the Festival website

Photo: Dragon performing at the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival

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HOT DEALS - Ocean Princess Asia

Princess Cruises have fantastic fares for those wishing to cruise the orient. A 12-night China and Japan Explorer Cruise is only $2,480 pp, twin share.

The cruise departs from Osaka and includes highlights of Hiroshima, Russia, South Korea and the Forbidden City and Great Wall of China.

A 16-night South China Sea cruise is available from only $2,944 pp, twin share and offers an exceptional Asian experience.

Departing from Singapore the South China Sea Cruise sails to Shanghai via Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the southern Japanese islands of Okinawa.

These deals can be booked through most travel agents.

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Own your own home away from home…

Turners largest Campervan Auction ever!

Kiwis looking for an affordable ‘home away from home’ are about to get the chance to drive away one of 60 quality ex-rental campervans when they go under the hammer on behalf of Jucy Rentals at Turners Auctions in July.

Jonathan Sergel, from Turners Auctions, says this is a rare opportunity to buy a quality mobile holiday home at a rock bottom price.

‘Never before have we had such a large quantity of campers to auction in one go – it’s a fantastic opportunity if you’ve been wanting to buy a motorhome but have been holding back due to cost. We’ve even got two going at no reserve – someone is going to drive away an absolute bargain,’ says Sergel.

Dan Alpe, Managing Director of Jucy Rentals New Zealand agrees; “The campers still have plenty of life left in them and are by far the cheapest available on the market. Brand new they can go for $65,000.”

Already interest is mounting from a wide range of potential bidders, including surfers, snowboarders, campers and trampers, backpackers, the retired, and even people keen to tour New Zealand during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

There are two different types of camper up for auction; the Toyota Hiace 2000 Sleeper Van, which sleeps 2, and the 3-berth Toyota Dyna 2000 Deluxe Campervan. The campers are being sold by Jucy Rentals to make space for a new model they are releasing in September.

The 40 Sleeper Van models, which are expected to sell for between $13,000 and $15,000, are perfect for the surfer, tramper or backpacker as a vehicle they can bed down in overnight. They contain two bench seats and a table which convert into a double bed, as well as a stove, fridge and even a microwave and heated towel rail!

The 20 Deluxe Campervan models, expected to sell for between $35,000 and $40,000 are an extremely popular campervan for tourists wanting to explore New Zealand in style. These purpose built motor homes, designed and built in New Zealand, feature all the comforts of home including a double and single bed, kitchen, bathroom and shower, a flat screen DVD player, wardrobe and electric safe.

Alpe says these sharply priced campervans are a good entry into the motor homing world of New Zealand.

“We regularly service our campervans every 15,000kms so they have been extremely well maintained. You won’t find a campervan like these ones for a better price, they are a steal!”

The campers will be sold in two separate auctions, one in Auckland and one in Christchurch, with 30 campers in each auction. The Auckland auction will be held at Turners Auctions Penrose, Building A, corner of Leonard and Penrose Roads, Penrose, at 12.30pm Saturday, July 3. The Christchurch auction will be held at Turners Auctions, 1 Detroit Place (off Moorhouse Ave), Christchurch at 12pm Saturday, July 10. Interested parties elsewhere in the country are able to bid remotely by phone bid, or using the Turners Live online bidding system.

A full list of the campervans, including photos, is available via the online catalogue at

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Fiji’s National carrier, Air Pacific, is making it possible for New Zealanders to fly directly from Auckland to Suva from this week, with a new service commencing on Friday (2 July).

Regional General Manager for Air Pacific in New Zealand, George Dyer, says the new jet-operated international service into Suva’s Nausori Airport offers Kiwi travellers an important alternative to Nadi.

“This service will be popular for business travel, as well as people wanting to visit friends and relatives near Suva, and for families looking for an alternative entry point into Fiji for their holiday. We’re thrilled to be able to offer this service once again after several years of flying into Nadi only,” says Mr Dyer.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Fiji Islands (CAAFI) approved the new service after Airports Fiji Limited (AFL) completed necessary work to upgrade the Suva airfield and airport to allow Air Pacific 737-700 aircraft to operate into the airport.

The Auckland-Suva service will initially resume with a weekly Friday flight, and the airline will add a second weekly flight at the same scheduled time on Mondays beginning on 2 August. The confirmed schedule will be as follows:

Fridays (and Mondays beginning on 2 August)
FJ430 AKL-SUV Departs 8:00am Arrives 11:05am
FJ431 SUV-AKL Departs 12:15pm Arrives 3:20pm

Air Pacific will operate with a Boeing 737-700 aircraft with eight seats in Tabua/Business Class and 110 in Pacific Voyager/Economy Class. The new Suva service will complement Air Pacific’s existing Nadi-Auckland schedule of up to 13 weekly flights, in addition to the weekly Nadi-Christchurch flight.

Bookings are available via or by calling your travel agent.

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Biggest Lufthansa lounge at Frankfurt Airport

First dedicated lounge area for children / Summer special for frequent flyers
Sydney, Australia, 29 June 2010: Spacious with even more room and variety – all that and more add to the attraction of the Lufthansa Business Lounge in Departure Area B at Frankfurt Airport after extensive renovation. Newly reopened right on time as the holiday season gets underway, the lounge will spring a surprise on passengers at the Terminal in the shape of a very special innovation: On an area of close to 1,400 square metres, the lounge offers a first-ever “Jet Friends” lounge for children alongside the customary comfort, bistro and work areas.

Besides a spacious comfort area equipped with leather armchairs and TVs, the bistro in the completely refurbished lounge serves hot and cold drinks, snacks, fruit and meals in a menu that varies with the time of day. In a separate rest room, guests can unwind and relax in peace and quiet or get some work finished in preparation for a business appointment at their destination. They can also freshen up in one of the five shower rooms in the bathroom area.

Fun and games in the first “JetFriends” children’s lounge
The biggest Lufthansa lounge in the airline’s global route network has a surprise in store for children on the move: The youngest among its clientele now have their own dedicated area to romp about in and play. A kids’ corner and playpen will keep the very young quietly occupied, while drawing tables, bean bags, a PC with Internet access and game consoles are available for the older children. For their entertainment, the lounge also has a children’s cinema with comfortable leather benches.

Summer special for frequent travellers
Frequent flyers can also make use of a very special offer at the start of the holiday season: Between 24 June and 31 August, they will have the chance of taking their family with them into Lufthansa Business Lounges for a fee of 40 Euros (56 AUS dollars) and make their journey that much more pleasant and relaxed. The offer is valid for spouses or partners and children up the age of 18 in all Lufthansa Business Lounges in Germany and the USA.

Lufthansa lounges, worldwide
The Lufthansa lounge world encompasses around 60 lounges, worldwide, with total floor space of more than 28,000 square metres. Depending on their booking class and customer status, Lufthansa passengers can spend time prior to their flight, unwind, freshen up or work in four different lounge types – First Class, Senator and Business lounges or the Welcome Lounge in Frankfurt. Together with more than 800 lounges made available to Lufthansa passengers by Star Alliance and cooperation partners, Lufthansa offers premium customers a lounge network that ranks among the biggest in the world. To expand and enhance that offer, the airline is investing around 150 million Euros up to 2013 in the construction of new lounges or lounge refurbishment.

Currently, Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines operate flights via 12 getaways from five origins in Australia. Within Europe, the Group’s airlines fly to over 150 destinations, offering Australia traveller the most extended network of all airlines.

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Obese should pay double: survey

The majority of Australian travellers believe obese people should have to purchase two economy class seats when travelling on a flight, according to a survey. Seven out of 10 travellers agreed that larger people should buy two seats, compared to just 53% two years ago.

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British hotel prices chill as summer temperatures start to sizzle

Accor hotels in UK & Ireland offer rooms from just £28

As British temperatures climb to over 30C in the current heat-wave, Accor’s hotel prices in the UK and Ireland are cooling down. For the 12 week holiday period from 28 June to 6 September, is offering massive discounts at more than 130 hotels throughout the UK and Ireland as part of its Crazy Prices summer sale, with rooms from as little as £28, including breakfast.

All hotels in Accor’s Novotel, Mercure, ibis, all seasons and Etap Hotel chains are offering reduced rates during the promotional period, offering excellent value for all customers whether seeking a 4-star experience or a low-cost stay. Budget hotel brand Etap Hotel even has some rooms available at a recession-busting £18 per night, including breakfast.

Members of A|Club, Accor’s worldwide, multi-brand loyalty programme will also benefit from five times the standard number of A|Club points for bookings made during the summer sale.

Full details of the Crazy Prices offer, including participating hotels, are available at

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Warm up the winter blues in Hanmer Springs with Maui ShortBreaks

Following the success of Maui Weekend ShortBreaks in 2009, Maui Motorhomes is making domestic holidays affordable again in 2010, Kiwis can now take advantage of this superb deal to Hanmer Springs for a relaxing and invigorating weekend getaway.

Hanmer Springs offers the renowned thermal pools, where you can relax in the heat of the natural hot springs and take in the views of majestic snow peaked mountains while the snow falls around you. For those wanting a little more action in their weekend trip, walk up Conical Hill and wander through its many scenic trails.

Angela Taylor, Brand Manager for Maui says, “We know that many Kiwis can be reluctant to commit to a long holiday or to book too far in advance. The Maui and Hanmer Springs Weekend ShortBreak can be booked spontaneously - simply check out the weather, book for the weekend and head off! It actually costs less for an entire weekend away than for one night at some hotels. First-timers and motorhome enthusiasts alike can take time out in Hanmer Springs and enjoy everything it has to offer.”

Starting from only $360, this easy-go price includes campervan hire, full cover insurance, entry for four to the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools, plus two nights at a powered site at Hanmer Springs Top 10 Holiday Park. All you need to do is collect your camper and hit the road for a well-deserved escape that won’t break the bank.

Maui has a range of ShortBreak deals starting from $270. To see which campervan suits, travellers can take a virtual tour of all Maui Motorhomes online at

Every Maui Motorhome has an excellent kitchen, which includes a fridge, microwave and gas stove, meaning holiday makers can enjoy the flexibility of not having to dine out every night and can stock up on all their favourite foods.

The Maui and Hanmer Springs ShortBreak offer is available from the Christchurch branch with a return to the same location. Customers can collect their motorhome anytime after midday on Friday, and return on Sunday. ShortBreaks are now open for bookings with travel till 30 September 2010.

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Teen ‘stars in the making’ sought for Queenstown study scholarship

A nationwide search is on for future hospitality and adventure tourism stars keen to win a $25,000 scholarship and the chance to study in Queenstown.

Queenstown Resort College is calling for Year 13 high school students from around New Zealand to apply for either a Diploma of Hospitality Management Scholarship or a Diploma of Adventure Tourism Management Scholarship. Two $25,000 scholarships, one for each diploma, will be awarded to the most promising young students and will cover full tuition fees for the duration of each two-year programme.

Applicants will undergo a rigorous selection process which will result in the five most outstanding students in each category coming to Queenstown for a final assessment. Part of the assessment will include a 40-minute panel interview with QRC’s Head of School and two industry representatives.

QRC CEO Charlie Phillips says the college is looking for teenagers who demonstrate excellent leadership skills, a strong academic background, professional attitude and who are committed to furthering their careers in their chosen industry. “We launched our hospitality and adventure tourism scholarships in 2006 and have been absolutely delighted so far with the calibre of students who have applied. The aim of our scholarships is to identify Kiwi teenagers who deserve the opportunity of a world-class education and who will become outstanding ambassadors for the college. Our scholarship graduates are living proof of what we’re trying to achieve with our scholarships – they are now either rising stars in their chosen industry or have gone on to complete their degree.”

Applications for the two scholarships close on Friday 27 August and the winners will be announced on Monday 4 October.

For more information visit

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Just call it Gatwick

London Gatwick Airport is to be known simply as Gatwick Airport and will undergo a £1 billion facelift. The decision to drop London from the airport’s title kicks off
a two-year investment programme which will result in “improvements to almost every part of the airport”, says its new owner Global Infrastructure Partners, which also owns London City Airport.

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Qantas changes to point expiry

Qantas is reminding customers that there are several changes to the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program that will take effect on 01JUL10. These were announced in DEC09 by Qantas Frequent Flyer and communicated to Members via mail and email.

• From 01JUL10, Qantas Frequent Flyer points will expire if a Member does not earn or redeem points at least once every 18 months.
• Currently, Frequent Flyer points expire after 36 months of no eligible activity.
• Any points a Member has in their account as at 30JUN10 will not expire any earlier as a result of this change.
• From 01JUL10, Family transfers will no longer be considered as eligible account activity
• For Members who earn or use their points through their Qantas Frequent Flyer account at least once every 18 months, their points will not expire.

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Qantas revamps Points + Pay

Qantas has revamped its Points + Pay^ booking option for Qantas flights booked on, lowering the minimum points required to 5000. Qantas Frequent Flyer Chief Executive Simon Hickey said Points + Pay offers Qantas Frequent Flyer members the ability to reduce the amount of money paid for most flights booked on by making a booking using a combination of money and points.

“With a minimum of just 5000 points Frequent Flyers can choose how much money they would like to pay, by using points as well as money, for both domestic and international flights,” Mr Hickey said. “Members can use a sliding scale on the booking engine to choose the number of points they redeem and pay an amount on their credit card to obtain their Award Flight – the more points used, the less money needed.”

Points + Pay can be accessed on through Flight Bookings. Frequent Flyer members must login to their account before starting to make a flight booking with Qantas. Once flights have been selected, a ‘Use Points + Pay’ option will be available on the Review page if the member has enough points in their account.

^ Visit for more info and full
terms and conditions.

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Guinness announces second ‘Arthur’s Day’

The owners of Guinness® have announced its second Arthur’s Day™ celebration to be held on Thursday 23SEP10. Celebrations will take place across the globe, with people coming together to raise a glass to Arthur Guinness at events and festivities across Ireland, Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and the Caribbean.

Arthur’s Day honours the remarkable legacy of Arthur Guinness, the pioneer and philanthropist, who signed the 9,000 year lease on the St. James’s Gate Brewery in 1759 and introduced the stout brand to the world. The worldwide toast will begin at 17:59 (GMT) in Ireland on 23SEP with major nationwide live music performances taking place simultaneously in the Guinness Brewery at St. James’s Gate and in pubs and venues throughout Dublin, Cork and Galway. Among the many internationally renowned acts performing will be Snow Patrol, Jay Sean and Paolo Nutini.

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Regatta Vava’u

Plans for the second annual Regatta Vava’u & Festival have been unveiled.

To be staged 22-28SEP10, the seven day festival of sailing will feature
racing events, a food, craft and cultural fair, the best Full Moon Party in the South Pacific, engaging children’s activities, and opportunities to win prizes donated by a multitude of local and international businesses.

Yachts pre-registering and arriving in advance of the regatta week will have the opportunity to take part in the island scavenger hunt. Regatta Vava’u participants will experience firsthand the wonders of the area’s eco-system and the warmth of the Tongan people. Regatta goers will not be the only ones flocking to Vava’u’s tropical waters in September. They will share the waterways and harbours with
humpback whales, which migrate to the islands to breed from June through November, offering a rare and close-up viewing opportunity.

Vava’u’s reefs, teeming with vibrant fish, make for world-class snorkeling and the dramatic dives are a scuba diver’s dream. Vava’u also offers plenty of interest off the water.

Yachties can register for free and participants can view the Regatta’s entire schedule of events at:

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Rarotonga international airport has now officially opened its new $8.5 million terminal buildings

Rarotonga international airport has now officially opened its new $8.5 million terminal buildings, although travellers have been using the terminals since April.

The Air New Zealand Board meeting in Rarotonga coincided with the opening and CEO Rob Fyfe, is quoted by CINews Online as saying that the airport was the standout among those that Air New Zealand operates to in the Pacific Islands.

Deputy prime minister and the minister responsible for the Airport Authority Robert
Wigmore recalled when the airport was officially opened on January 29, 1974. “The new terminals then handled just over 8000 visitors that year. At the moment our total arriving passengers are around 100,000 a year and if current trends continue we could see up to 200,000 by the year 2025.”

And to the future – Wigmore says that the second phase of the airport reconstruction
will be to duplicate the new departures building and replace the existing structure that is the arrivals lounge.

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Salmon World opens in Rakaia

A 4-D educational entertainment centre celebrating salmon has been built in Rakaia, New Zealand’s salmon capital. Salmon World has just opened its doors to the public,
transforming the Salmon Tales complex, beneath the township’s landmark leaping salmon sculpture in the centre of the Canterbury township, into a top-class comprehensive visitor attraction.

An all-new aquarium and 4-D movie experience adjoin the existing Salmon Tales cafe and restaurant. The aquarium focuses on the life-cycle of Rakaia salmon, while
the leading-edge 4-D movie provides an up close and personal experience of Mid Canterbury’s rivers, complete with bumpy ride, wind (and soon a spray of river water). The experience is so real that patrons will be strapped into their seats. The 13- minute 4-D movie also features jet-boating, a helicopter ride, skiing and snowboarding, and hot-air ballooning.

Centerpiece of the aquarium is a 30,000-litre salmon tank housing large salmon and trout specimens alongside a smaller multi-pool system that displays brown and rainbow trout, eels and whitebait. Information panels and videos will ensure that visitors gain a good appreciation of the life cycle of the salmon, fish and river conservation efforts and, of course, salmon fishing.

A retail outlet offering a range of fresh and processed salmon products as well as other premium New Zealand food and beverage items will complete the visitor
experience and the site continues to accommodate the Rakaia Information Centre.

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Wairarapa Spring Festival

Following on from the success of last year’s inaugural Wairarapa Spring Festival, RTO Destination Wairarapa has confirmed dates for this year’s event.

The 2010 Wairarapa Spring Festival is being held from 11SEP-10OCT, with a series of family events and attractions throughout the region and dozens of businesses and organisations offering events, discount vouchers for attractions and accommodation deals. The Festival begins with the Carterton Daffodil Carnival which traditionally attracts thousands of people each year and includes the tradition of picking daffodils at Middle Run, an historic property at Gladstone.

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Air India to fly to MEL

India is to have direct flights to and from Australia following news that Air India is to commence daily direct services between Delhi and Melbourne from 01NOV. Victoria’s significant Indian community is the fastest growing of any Indian community across Australia over the last decade, and MEL Airport says there was a 34% increase in visitors from India to Victoria.

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Security flaw in self-check system

TV3’s Campbell Live programme has exposed what is being viewed as a serious flaw in airport security. A reporter for the show was able to check in at an Air New Zealand
self-service kiosk using the name of the Trade Minister Tim Groser. The minister himself later checked in for the same flight without it raising any warning flags.

According to an NZPA story posted on Stuff, the reporter and her cameraman were also able to both check in on flights run by Jetstar, Pacific Blue and Air New
Zealand using just one name. Finally, the reporter was able to check in extra luggage under Transport Minister Steven Joyce’s name without his knowledge, after
he had passed through security.

While misuse of someone’s identity was not seen as a domestic travel security threat, the ability to check in a bag without travelling on the plane was considered a security issue and the Civil Aviation Authority has asked airlines to investigate and report back within days. Mr Joyce said the loophole had to be fixed right away.

Air New Zealand spokeswoman Tracy Mills said the carrier was working swiftly to remedy the flaws.

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Al Maktoum International opens

The first test flight from what will be the world’s largest airport landed last Sunday at Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International airport, and the new facility opens for business this Sunday.

The airport is part of a $33 billion Dubai World Central (DWC) project that will take Dubai’s reputation for a transport hub to a whole different level. The master plan includes six interrelated developments; the world’s largest airport, Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai Logistics City, DWC Aviation City, DWC
Residential City, DWC Commercial City and DWC Golf City.

The combined developments are designed to serve the city’s aviation, tourism, commercial and logistics requirements up to 2050 and beyond. The first phase of the airport will feature one A380 capable runway, 64 remote stands, one cargo terminal with annual capacity for 250,000 tonnes of cargo and a passenger terminal building designed to accommodate five million passengers per year.

When completed, Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International will be the largest airport in the world with five runways, four terminal buildings and capacity for 160
million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo. The facility opens initially for cargo carriers, with passenger operations currently slated to start up at the end
of March 2011.

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Full rail service to Machu Picchu re-opens

Subsequent to flood damage in April, a truncated train service to Machu Picchu has been operating from a provisional station in the small village of Piscacucho in the Sacred Valley, while main restoration works progressed on the stretch between Piscacucho and Cusco. World Journeys now reports that repairs to the railway to Machu Picchu will be completely finished by today 25JUN. Accordingly, Peru Rail (the rail operator) has announced that once appropriate operational tests have been successfully completed, they will restore full train services from Cusco to Machu Picchu on 01JUL.

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Te Manava extends Stay / Pay

Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa, Rarotonga is extending the sales period on the current Stay 5 / Pay 4 special to 30JUN10. The Stay/Pay special includes a complimentary bottle of wine on arrival and is valid for all villa categories at this award winning villa complex - ‘Australasia’s Leading Villas’ (2009 World Travel Awards). Travel is to 31MAR11 with blackouts 01JUL-31JUL10/26DEC10-08JAN11.

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New adrenaline rush for Rotorua

A new adrenaline experience, Raceline Karting, is opening next month at the Rotorua International Kartsport Raceway, New Zealand’s newest and longest A-rated outdoor
kartsport circuit.

Raceline Karting will offer its customers – individuals and groups – the chance to drive 4-stroke, 390cc Sodi Karts, imported from France exclusively for Off Road NZ.

These state-of-the-art karts are capable of speeds of 100km/h. Off Road NZ has also been busy building offices and base, 1km from the existing operation plus a new Monster 4X4 Thrill Ride track set in native bush and offering challenges such as the ‘Loggers Long Drop’ and the ‘Widow Maker’.

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Fujifilm Finepix Z700EXR – A Touch of Class Right at your Fingertips

Fujifilm’s new Z700EXR combines style, award-winning technology and a gorgeous LCD touch screen – features which prove that this smart camera is in a class of its own.

The ground-breaking Z700EXR proves that buttons are so 2009, combining advanced features including an 5x zoom lens, 12 megapixel resolution and 720p HD image capture for pictures that are just as magnificent as the camera itself.

The 3.5 inch touch screen not only lets you take and view photos at the touch of a finger, but also provides a large, bright screen to compose and admire your photos - perfect for sharing them with friends.

Oozing luxury and sophistication, the Z700EXR is available in both Black and Red and features a slim metal body. Its pocket-sized dimensions mean you can take it anywhere so you’re always ready to capture that once in a lifetime moment.

The Z700EXR also incorporates Fujifilm’s award-winning Super CCD EXR sensor, prized for bringing a new level of image quality to the market. EXR has the unique ability to automatically switch its behaviour dependent on the shooting conditions or can be manually adjusted, perfect for both amateur and expert photographers.

Tired of trying to capture the perfect shot? With the Z700EXR, you can finally say goodbye to fuzzy edges thanks to the innovative Dual Image Stabilisation feature which minimises blurring while the Pro Low-light Mode ensures great photos, even in poor light.

For every social networking fan there’s even the added bonus of the Facebook/YouTube Easy Upload mode. This convenient feature makes it quick and easy to post photos and videos online. The one-touch easy web upload button on the Z700EXR allows you to select and mark movies and pictures to post online, which upload directly to your favourite site once the camera is connected to your PC.

Keeping with the latest trends in technology, the Z700EXR also features high definition image and movie capture so you can re-live every moment on your HD television and new Face Recognition Technology which recognizes up to pre-programmed 8 people! What more can you ask for?

Key features at a glance

12 Megapixel Super CCD EXR sensor
Fujinon 5x zoom lens (36-180mm equivalent)
3.5 inch wide 460K dot touch screen LCD
Dual Image Stabilisation – CCD shift
720p HD capture for stills and movies
ISO sensitivity to 3200
EXR Auto
Up to 400% expanded dynamic range
NEW Easy Web Upload function
NEW Face Recognition
NEW Pet Detection
NEW Image Search
NEW Dual Direction GUI and Dual Image Display
Pro Low-light Mode
Face Detection
Natural Light with Flash
Auto Picture Rotate

The Fujifilm FinexPix Z700EXR is available from electronic and photographic stores nationwide. (RRP $499.99)

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Award Winners at Holiday Parks Conference

North South Holiday Park in Christchurch is the winner of the industry’s premier award, the AA Spirit of Hospitality Award. This award recognises excellence in customer service and reflects the importance that the holiday park sector places on manaakitanga and looking after their guests.

Finalists for the AA Spirit of Hospitality Award were All Seasons Holiday Park – Christchurch, Bowentown Beach Holiday Park – Waihi, Hot Water Beach Holiday Park – Coromandel Peninsula, Smiths Farm Holiday Park – Marlborough Sounds and Whananaki Holiday Park in Northland.

The Jasons SMART Business Award was won by Fox Glacier Holiday Park, recognising the effort that Linda and Adrian Pine have put into developing the range of walking products that encourage their visitors to stay longer.

A new award acknowledging Outstanding Service to the holiday park sector was presented to Peter Blackwell from AA Tourism. This new award was sponsored by the TOP 10 Group and was presented by TOP 10 Holiday Parks Group General Manager John McCann. In presenting the award, John paid tribute to Peter’s enthusiasm, energy and empathy with the holiday park sector and his continued commitment to domestic tourism.

The Reserve Group Innovation Award went to Tahuna Beach Holiday Park for their development of heat pump water heating systems resulting in both energy savings and a reduction in emissions. The heat pump systems were supplied by Quantum Eco Hot Water.

Highly commended certificates in the innovation category were presented to Papamoa Beach TOP 10 Holiday Resort, Waihi Beach Holiday Park and Enform Web Solutions for their web based park management system and Franz Josef TOP 10 Holiday Park for their online activity reservation system.

The Qualmark & THL Award for the holiday park which showed the most improvement in their Qualmark assessments went to Orere Point TOP 10 Holiday Parkoliday Park.

Qualmark and THL also presented a free Qualmark licence to Waikouaiti Beach Camping Ground in Dunedin.

Four special park sector people were recognised with Dot and George Parsons from Cambridge Motor Park and Lindsay and Margaret McLeod from Aaron Lodge TOP 10 Holiday Park in Dunedin being appointed Honorary Members of the Association in recognition of their services to the industry over many years.

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Canterbury’s top three championship golf courses have joined forces to promote the best of golf in the region to international visitors, with a unique opportunity to play and experience three 18-hole resort courses for a fantastic price.

Normally valued at $500.00, for a limited time only the Canterbury Resort Golf Pass will provide international visitors with the opportunity to play three leading courses – Pegasus Golf Course, Terrace Downs Resort and Clearwater - for the bargain price of just $299.00.

The Canterbury Resort Golf Pass can be purchased from any one of the three courses’ pro shops, or by contacting any of the courses directly via phone or email. The pass is valid from 1 July through to 31 March 2011.

Pegasus Golf Course, home of the 2010 Pegasus NZ Women’s Open, is a par 72 international standard, 18-hole parklands style golf course located at the new town of Pegasus, 25 kms north of Christchurch and three minutes drive from the beach. Shaped by 11 feature lakes, maturing trees and wetlands and framed by views of the Port Hills, Mount Grey and the Pacific Coast, the course reflects a modern take on classic golf course design and provides players of all abilities with a choice on the degree of risk and reward.

Jenny Lake, Business Development Manager of Pegasus Golf Course, said she was excited to offer this initiative for the overseas golfer. “With its opening in December 2009, Pegasus is the newest course to open in New Zealand, and having these three magnificent courses in Christchurch and Canterbury makes the South Island an extremely attractive golfing destination,” said Ms Lake.

Clearwater’s par 72 championship course is home to the NZ PGA Championship. Designed by John Darby in consultation with New Zealand golfing legend, Sir Bob Charles, the course combines elements of links golf – inspired by the great Scottish courses - with parkland golf, more reminiscent of Florida. Playable year-round, the course meanders around a succession of spring-fed lakes and trout-filled streams, with uninterrupted views of the spectacular Southern Alps. There are five tee positions to suit players of all abilities.

Clearwater General Manager Steven Power said Clearwater has established itself as New Zealand’s premier lifestyle resort. “We are pleased to be offering golfers the opportunity to experience Clearwater while also partaking in rounds at Terrace Downs and Pegasus. The aim of the offer is to entice golfers and their partners to Canterbury to sample the best of the region,” Mr Power said.

Terrace Downs Resort makes for the ultimate year-round golfing and leisure destination. The Resort’s par 72, 18-hole championship golf course is rated as one of the top courses in New Zealand. Based at the foothills of the Southern Alps, just a 50 minute drive from Christchurch international airport, there are very few scenic alpine courses like it.

Jon Doherty, Director of Sales and Marketing for Terrace Downs Resort said it was great to be working with both Clearwater and Pegasus to jointly entice international visitors to stay and play in Canterbury more than they may have otherwise. “It’s a great initiative as everybody wins, and it will hopefully create some offshore buzz for golf in Canterbury,” Mr Doherty said.

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Kiwi Brings Classic Car Culture to China

Rolls Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini, MG, Jaguar … a line-up of classic cars that would make any classic car enthusiast go weak at the knees.

And that’s exactly what classic car enthusiasts can look forward to in Beijing on 16 September when 160 cars line up at the start of China’s inaugural Classic Auto Rally, an 8000 kilometre-long voyage of discovery that will take drivers and their passengers through seven Chinese provinces, over 30 exciting days.

A first for China, the rally has been organised by the Chinese government under their Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and China Association for Advancement of International Friendship programmes. Their vision is to introduce the classic car culture to China – and they want as many Kiwi classic car enthusiasts as possible to share in the experience.

“Most Chinese people have never seen a classic car,” explains organiser Joe Zhou, a classic car collector who shares his time between China and New Zealand. “It wasn’t until the early nineties when the country opened its door to the world that there were even any classic cars in China.” Zhou has been importing vintage Rolls Royce and Bentleys to China since 1995, and has been instrumental in establishing a classic car museum in Shanghai and China’s first classic car club.

Fellow enthusiast Charles Chelliah, owner of one of Australasia’s largest classic car showrooms and the rally’s Australian coordinator, sums up the appeal of these cars, which hail from an era when craftsmanship was highly valued. "They’re works of art.” One of over 60 Australians heading to China for the rally, Chelliah says there has been a lot of interest in the event from all over Australia. “We have 36 cars booked so far. Some have even booked already for next year.”

A vintage Lamborghini Chelliah will be driving, along with Rolls Royces and Bentleys, a number of MGs, some old Jags and three Mercedes Benz, are set to make their way to China for the rally, which Chelliah predicts will be “a wonderful spectacle”.

As well as classic car enthusiasts from Australasia, South Africa, England and the US, a number of Chinese dignitaries and businesspeople will participate in the rally, some driving cars belonging to Zhou. “Many classic car owners are successful businesspeople and the rally will provide them with an opportunity to explore business opportunities in China as well as meet other classic car enthusiasts,” says Zhou.

The rally, described by Zhou as a “luxurious event”, is non-competitive and will coincide with the 12th Beijing International Tourism Festival. The cars will travel from Beijing to Beihan and introduce the classic car culture to over 300 million Chinese people. New Zealand registration closes 30 July. “Time is running out,” says Zhou. “But there’s still time to sign up to join in this great event.”


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SeaLink’s new winter campaign is in full swing and will run until Sunday 26th September, givingpeople a great reason to take a short break.

SeaLink is giving away two free passenger tickets on their ferries to Waiheke and Great Barrier and a third night’s accommodation free when a two night mid-week package is booked. The package represents excellent value for people who want to take their car to either island for a quick getaway.

“Just because its winter is no reason to stay at home” says general manager Donna Gauci “savings start at $75 per person and for a property such as Earthsong on Great Barrier Island, savings of just over $500 per person can be made. These prices represent excellent value for money.”

The company has had a fantastic response from its accommodation suppliers and included in the campaign are the 5-star property Te Whau Lodge on Waiheke Island as well as most of the company’s other contracted accommodation providers. “There is truly something for everyone in this initiative” said Mrs Gauci.

5-day options for Great Barrier Island and a 6-day option for Waiheke are also available. The company is promoting these offers through various media including online, radio and TV. “We know these are great deals and we use the winter period to continue our year-round support for the islands and the accommodation providers that provide rates for our packages.”

SeaLink’s “Are you free?” deals are on sale and are valid until 26th September 2010.

Sealink Website

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Melbourne Spring Fashion Week 2010 announces a finer fashion program

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (MSFW) 2010 will burst onto city streets from Monday 30 August until Sunday 5 September, launching seven days of spring/summer trends, cultural events and engaging fashion-inspired activity.

New for 2010:
The Lunch Series @ City Square: MSFW will take over City Square offering a string of free fashion and beauty activities including creatively themed free lunch-hour fashion soirées. Explore the enchanting world of fashion with the new Lunch Series, 30 August – 3 September.

The City Series: The MSFW retail program unites Melbourne’s hottest shopping destinations and will be revitalised offering exclusive fashion related events and opportunities. In addition, and in true Melbourne style, MSFW will exhibit spontaneous pop ups of surprise fashion throughout central Melbourne, delighting fashion aficionados with theatrical treats.

Hitting the runway:
The Designer Series: The spotlight will fall on the iconic Melbourne Town Hall as leading Melbourne and Australian labels take centre stage, presenting vibrant spring/summer looks in four intimate runways. A true consumer event, fashion fanatics can experience the collections before purchasing pieces right off the rack in store. MSFW Designer Series will host two shows per night from 31 August - 3 September at 6:30pm and 8:30pm.

An industry advantage:
Breakfast Series: The Breakfast Series is back, delving into the intricacies of the fashion and retail industries. Industry specialists will share their insights and experiences for retailers, designers and marketers to be informed and inspired. MSFW Breakfast Series will run from 31 August - 3 September, beginning at 7.30am.

RMIT School of Architecture and Design:
Nurturing emerging creatives, MSFW will present an innovative runway for Australia’s rising fashion talent. Fashion students will not only have the opportunity to showcase their collections at the RMIT parade on Saturday 4 September, but also exhibit their work on a grand scale throughout the week.

The 2010 MSFW program will boast over 100 dynamic and mostly free activities fusing fashion, performance, film, music and food. The event will immerse young and old in fashion, as collections of spring sweep the city streets.

What: Melbourne Spring Fashion Week 2010
When: From Monday, 30 August to Sunday, 5 September.
All day fashion celebrations - Breakfast Series from 7.30am, Lunch Series 9am til late, Designer Series at 6.30pm and 8.30pm (Tue – Fri), RMIT Student Series exhibition daily and parades 6.30pm and 9pm (Sat) as well as a selection of animated and colourful impromptu fashions events.
Where: Events will be hosted across Melbourne’s central business district, including iconic Melbourne venues,
hidden laneways and spaces. The Designer Series and RMIT parade will run at Melbourne Town Hall.

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