Friday, July 16, 2010


Two night accommodation and whale watching packages from $499 per couple

Grand Mercure Allegra Apartments Hervey Bay has created a two-night accommodation package for those who want to get up close and personal with its famous humpback whales during their migration along the Queensland coast taking place now through to the end of October.

The Grand Mercure package is priced from A$499 for two people and includes two-nights accommodation in a one-bedroom spa pool apartment, plus a half day whale watching tour in Hervey Bay.

Located on the esplanade of Australia’s whale watching capital Hervey Bay, Grand Mercure Allegra’s lavish self-contained apartments feature queen-sized beds, ensuites and gourmet kitchens plus and exclusive-use courtyard and spa.

The whale watching package is valid for sale and travel now until 31 October 2010. To book, call the hotel direct on 07 4194 7200 and quote ‘Whale Spa’ Package.

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Relais & Châteaux iPhone application puts travel dreams at your fingertips

Discerning travellers have been using the famous Relais & Châteaux guidebook for decades to find the most magnificent places to dine or stay around the globe. Now travellers can locate the best hotels and restaurants anywhere in the world, including Australia and New Zealand, with the new Relais & Châteaux iPhone application.

A night in the Hunter Valley, dinner at Tetsuya’s or Jacques Reymond – booking has never been easier!

Available as a free-of-charge download, the Relais & Châteaux app offers easy geolocation of member properties, booking availability, proposed itineraries with Google Maps and a telephone tab to contact a Relais & Châteaux property directly. A local property finder allows travellers and diners to find the best properties in the location they are in – whether they are in the Hunter Valley, Yarra Valley, Sydney, Melbourne or Auckland.

A simple, fun technology - Anyone wishing to plan their next charming break can search by destination. With just a few clicks guests can access the Relais & Châteaux properties in each region in the world (France, Europe, Middle East, USA, Africa...). To find the name of a property, the user simply enters the first three letters and assisted text entry then updates the list of corresponding properties.
480 properties with panoramic photos on a touchscreen. Browsing through the Relais & Châteaux Guide has its own pleasure but on-the-go travellers can now also access the personalised pages and photos of each establishment on their iPhones. Finally, an email tab can be used to forward the property details to suggest the ultimate get-away.

“Relais & Châteaux constantly adapts to the needs of its guests by offering both innovative and efficient interactive services and information. Following on from the upgrading of our central reservations and our website, the development of applications for mobile phones is the next logical step in modern communications in tune with guest expectations”, says Jaume Tàpies, the International President of Relais & Châteaux.

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Top 4 Trips in Asia for under $300

Explore the temples at Angkor, meet the locals in Mekong or sail the waters of Halong Bay by junk with Adventure World’s “Top 4 Trips in Asia” for under $300pp.

All four of these incredible (and incredibly priced) tours include accommodation, selected meals, an English speaking guide and various sightseeing and entrance fees.

These very special deals must be booked and paid for by 30 July, 2010.

Experience a Mekong Homestay from $236pp*

Experience life as the Mekong locals do on this unique two day tour. Highlights include wandering the Phu Tuc community, helping a local Mekong family prepare dinner and photo opportunities at the floating markets. A true local experience in the 'Rice Bowl' of Vietnam. Tours depart daily from Saigon.

Price Includes: Homestay accommodation, selected meals, transfers, sightseeing, entrance fees as specified and an English speaking guide.

Halong Bay by Junk Boat from $265pp*

Imagine waking up to the beautiful emerald waters of Vietnam’s Halong Bay from the comfort of your own private cabin.

Highlights of this two day tour include sailing the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay by traditional junk, enjoying delicious seafood meals onboard, visiting colourful grottoes and swimming at deserted beaches. Departs from Hanoi.

* Price Includes: Accommodation with private facilities, selected meals, transfers and sightseeing as specified, entrance fees, boat cruise and English speaking local tour guide.

Kota Kinabalu Uncovered from $285pp*

Meet some of the friendliest, warmest people in the world and explore the modern Sabah captial on this four day Kota Kinabalu Uncovered tour. Discover Buddhist temples, take a tour through the city and swim, snorkel and relax on the beautiful sandy beaches of Mamutik and Manukan Islands.

* Price includes: Accommodation, sightseeing, entrance fees, transfers and English speaking guide. Tour departs from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

Discover Angkor Express from $290pp*

Visit the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat Temples, marvel at the untouched realm of Ta Prohm and observe traditional lake living on the Tonle Sap Lake on this top selling three day tour. Tour departs from Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Price includes Accommodation, selected meals, transfers and sightseeing including entrance fees and the services of an English-speaking guide.

For further information or to book one of these amazing tours, contact Adventure World on 0800 899 111 or visit

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Qantas opens international to domestic transfer facility

Qantas launched a new Sydney Domestic Transfer Facility at Sydney International Airport yesterday, allowing customers to save time when transferring from international to domestic flights.

“The new transfer facility is fifty per cent larger than the current facility and includes a new spacious check-in area, six additional check-in counters and an additional bag drop area,” Qantas Group Executive Customer and Marketing, Lesley Grant said.

Additional staff and counters will be added enabling customers to quickly transfer to connecting domestic flights, according to Ms Grant.

“An express bag drop facility will provide an even quicker transfer for customers who have their onward boarding passes and bags tagged to their final destination.”

The new facility will be open for both premium and economy passengers; each with their own check-in counters, but the purpose built facility remains at the arrivals level with Qantas advising the process for customers transferring will remain the same.

Shuttle bus services will continue to operate between the two terminals at their regular intervals.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Ticket direct kiosk at Christchurch Airport

Bledisloe Cup tickets can now be bought at Christchurch Airport, following the installation of a Ticket Direct kiosk in the Domestic Terminal.

“As great supporters of Canterbury events, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for visitors to buy tickets to this un-missable rugby event,” said CIAL General Manager of Marketing and Business Development, Gareth Owen. “Having a ticket kiosk at the airport will be a major convenience for rugby fans.”

The new ticket kiosk has been welcomed by the Canterbury Rugby Union. "We are really excited about the Bledisloe Cup Test, which promises to be a real humdinger,” said Canterbury Rugby Union CEO Hamish Riach. “We look forward to welcoming Robbie Deans and his Australian team back to Christchurch for a great game. We are delighted that the Christchurch Airport is showing its support for the match through giving fans another opportunity to buy tickets.”

“We have a dedicated team of travel and tourism consultants in our terminals who promote tourism products,” explained Gareth Owen. “Selling Bledisloe tickets seemed like an obvious direction as we cater for the needs of our travelling public and local community at the airport campus.”

The Bledisloe Cup will be held on 7 August, at AMI stadium.

It’s expected that in the future, the Ticket Direct kiosk will be used to sell tickets to other Christchurch events, including sports events and concerts.

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Visitors get more options to jet in to Queenstown

The options just got even better for visitors looking to travel to Queenstown, with Australian airline Jetstar today (14 July) announcing the launch of direct international services to Queenstown.

From mid-December, Jetstar will commence twice-weekly direct flights from Melbourne and the Gold Coast (Coolangatta) and will also expand its Auckland-Queenstown services from seven to 11 times a week, bringing a total of eight new flights to Queenstown.

Air New Zealand, Qantas and Pacific Blue will also operate additional services to Queenstown this summer.

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Package includes US$ 100 spa credit and 20 per cent off Saks Fifth Avenue purchases

Enjoy the ultimate girls’ break at The Peninsula Beverly Hills, a super-chic hideaway in the heart of a city famed for shopping. The hotel has joined forces with Saks Fifth Avenue to offer the “Shop and Spa” one-night package, available until 31 December 2010 to provide guests with some R&R in between their shopping.

As part of the “Shop and Spa Experience,” The Peninsula Beverly Hills guests receive a US$100 credit on services in The Spa at the hotel, which features exclusive treatments ranging from Shiffa Gem Oil Massages and Luzern Oxygen Facials to Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation.

In addition, guests enjoy 20 per cent off purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue, with complimentary Rolls-Royce round trip transfers to and from Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as 15 per cent off all Spa beauty products, and full American Breakfast for two.

Prices start from US$555 per room, per night, based on two people sharing, subject to tax.

For more information, please visit

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£1 airport drop-off fee

As BAA continues with its plans to introduce a £1 drop off fee for people arriving by car at Edinburgh Airport, a Scottish MP has launched a petition and lodged a parliamentary motion against the decision.

The airport plans to introduce the fee in October this year, with construction on a new drop off zone due to start later this month. A £1 drop off fee, valid for 10 minutes, was introduced last week at Belfast airport. Drivers who want to avoid the charge can use the airport long stay car park, where “a short grace period” is granted. At Edinburgh a similar system will be put in place.

Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport’s managing director, defended the decision to introduce the £1 fee, saying the money raised would be reinvested in passenger facilities. Speaking to the Scotsman, he said: “From November, every man, woman and child who travels to or from Scotland will be taxed from £12 up to £170, and none of that money is reinvested in passenger facilities. We would be happy to debate our £1 charge, every penny of which is reinvested in delivering a safe, modern airport with a diverse choice of destinations.”

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Emirates has opened an airport lounge in China for its First and Business Class passengers as well as Gold members of Skywards, at Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

Located in the international departure concourse next to gate 75, it is the first dedicated lounge in Terminal 2 and also the only one in the airport that offers an extensive menu of complimentary hot and cold gourmet dishes, as well as a full bar service. The 860sq m lounge is capable of holding 165 passengers.

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Whales Ahoy

Saturday 17 JULY marks the launch of the Hervey Bay Whale Watch Season, where it’s
possible to view the magnificent creatures frolicking in the shallow waters as they pass by between now and September.


Jervis Bay is another wonderful spot to catch a glimpse of these beauties.


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Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Fly with United Airlines across the trans-Pacific
• Fly Economy Class Sydney to Los Angeles return from $620 plus taxes of $326*
• Fly Economy Class Melbourne to Los Angeles return from $620 plus taxes of $308*
• Fly Economy Class Sydney to San Francisco return from $720 plus taxes of $326*
• Fly Economy Class Melbourne to San Francisco return from $720 plus taxes of 349*

This offer is available for ticketing until 29 July 2010 and for departures from 01 August – 31 August 2010.
* Taxes subject to change until time of booking.
Conditions: Ticketing must be completed within 72 hours after reservation when purchasing from your local AFTA travel agent, or, at time of booking via; or by 29 July 2010 whichever comes first.

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Lufthansa's Animal Lounge offers luxury travel to pets

Lufthansa Airlines offers pets and live animals the world’s ultimate in luxury travel with a dedicated Animal Lounge. Echoing the luxury of first class travel, the Animal Lounge offers state-of-the-art care, handling, feeding and shelter facilities as well as veterinary expertise ensuring all animal ‘passengers’, ranging from polar bears to tropical fish, reach their final destination safe, happy and on-time.

Located at Lufthansa’s main hub, Frankfurt am Main Airport, the Animal Lounge is the world’s most modern animal airport facility and spans approximately 4,000 square meters.

Commenting on the Animal Lounge Kai Peters, General Manager Lufthansa Australia said: “At Lufthansa we believe it is very important to try and minimise the trauma and anxiety that many pets and live animals experience while travelling. Our Animal Lounge provides individual care, professional expertise and an environment designed to ensure ultimate comfort for the 14,000 household pets and 1,500 horses and wild animals that pass through the Animal Lounge annually.”

Unlike most airports’ live animal facilities which are spread out over several terminals, the Animal Lounge is located in a single specialist facility building with distinct zones for export, import, transit, quarantine and health inspections ensuring that all animals transiting through Frankfurt have no chance of getting lost and are healthy enough to continue their journey.

All pets, including dogs and cats transported in the passenger cabin, are transferred to the Animal Lounge if a transfer or layover exceeds more than two to three hours. At the lounge there are thirty nine ‘small animal boxes’ that are climate-controlled and provide enough room for the animals to stretch their legs. Other live animals are transported in the climate-controlled and pressurised cargo hold.

Commenting further Kai Peters said: “The Animal Lounge facility came in particularly handy in October 2008, on a flight from Dubai to Frankfurt, when a passenger carried a pregnant dog onto the plane. About thirty minutes before the plane landed, the dog started giving birth to several puppies! A veterinarian from the Animal Lounge was called to the aircraft upon landing and the little puppies were safely delivered.”

Lufthansa accommodates pets worldwide on their passenger planes as well as through their cargo division, Lufthansa Cargo.

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 pet owners from Australia the most extended network of all airlines.

For more information about travelling with a pet please visit: or please contact your country’s Lufthansa Reservations Office.

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Christchurch Airport welcomes new Wanaka flights

The announcement that Air New Zealand is increasing its flights between Wanaka and Christchurch for the winter season has been welcomed by Christchurch Airport.

“The extra flights will fill a demand in the market for people who want to greater frequency of flights from Christchurch into Wanaka, as well as trans-Tasman traffic connecting through to Wanaka,” said CIAL Chief Executive Jim Boult. “The new connection times allow Australians to connect with ease through to Wanaka. It also means Christchurch residents can have a day’s skiing in Wanaka, and be back before dinner if they want.”

“Wanaka has fantastic ski-fields, with Treble Cone offering great skiing for those up for a challenge, and Cardrona offering wonderful skiing for families,” said General Manager Marketing and Business Development, Gareth Owen. “Air New Zealand’s extra flights will be a great addition to the travel options available for visitors. This has been something we’ve been working on with Air New Zealand for a number of years, and there is great potential in growing this route further. ”

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New Peppers restaurant in Hunter Valley

There's great reason to celebrate with the new Restaurant Sanctuary opening its doors at the iconic Peppers Guest House in the world famous Hunter Valley of NSW.

The new restaurant opening marks an old friend and a familiar face teaming up to bring tantalising new tastes to food lovers in the Hunter Valley.

The award-winning* Chez Pok restaurant at Peppers Guest House, much like an old friend to many regular visitors and locals, has been reborn as the new Restaurant Sanctuary, and welcomes the overseas return of a familiar face to its kitchen, executive chef Michael Bolam.

Commencing his career at Peppers under the careful eye of highly regarded Jamie Hartcher, Michael Bolam toured the world to hone his skills at such establishments as Brett Graham’s legendary three star Michelin Star Ledbury Hotel in London, before returning to Peppers and his favourite part of Australia, renowned for its fine quality of food and wine.

“It is so fantastic and exciting for me to come home to work in the Hunter,” says Michael.

“Having grown up here, I already know that the local produce is so rich in both the quality and diversity available – and anyone who is food savvy will sing the praises of freshness, flavour and quality of produce straight from the farms. There’s nothing like it.”

Michael is looking forward to taking full advantage of the wealth of flavours available for the new menu.

“I mean, just some of these include the quality beef, venison and seafood, the wonderful free range eggs and fresh poultry, the beautiful fruit and vegetables, the olives and oils, cheese – and of course the wines!” says Michael.

“Restaurant Sanctuary is about delivering a whole dining experience – from top quality local produce with simple defined flavours whilst making the most of seasonality.

“These ingredients combined with the friendly and professional Peppers service combine for a memorable visit.”

Diners will no doubt melt at some of the new offerings on the table, including the Restaurant Sanctuary signature dish of Roast Partridge with Marsala poached Date and Foie Gras, Confit Legs and Pomme Puree, which Michael has designed to exemplify the theme of local produce and quality ingredients.

And wine connoisseurs haven't been forgotten of course, with an extensive wine list offering the best examples of local varieties, such as De Julius Reserve Shiraz and Broken Wood ILR Semillon, but also new world wines such as Belabula Temparillo and Margan Barbera.

The theme of the list is consistent with the restaurant food philosophy and seeks out the best example of each variety and vintage to enhance the overall dining experience.

Michael expects a most popular option to be the Restaurant Sanctuary Degustation Menu, delivering five different courses all perfectly matched to five wines.

The launch of Restaurant Sanctuary is also timed with a comprehensive refurbishment, using well regarded interior designer Chris Cole Clark.

Chris has created 'a contemporary and refined, warm and relaxed atmosphere with a touch of art nouveau romance'.

“Black baroque furniture is complemented by engraved glass mirrors and flamboyant lighting throughout - the restaurant exudes the atmosphere of Peppers,” Chris says of the stylish project.

The new spectacular dining experience to be discovered at Restaurant Sanctuary is expected to truly enhance visits for new and returning guests, and locals alike, at Peppers Guest House.

Nestled in the heart of New South Wales wine country and surrounded by beautiful gardens and vineyards, Peppers Guest House is one of the Hunter Valley's best loved retreats, where comfortable, elegant accommodation is matched with a reputation for exceptional food and wine experiences.

For information or to make a booking please contact Peppers Guest House on +6 2 4993 8999

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Broadway-hit musical and hotel accommodation packages in Sydney

Broadway’s smash hit musical, JERSEY BOYS – The Story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons is set to take Sydney by storm, opening at the Theatre Royal on September 18, 2010.

To celebrate, the musical’s Official Hotel Sponsor Sofitel Sydney Wentworth is offering a luxury package which includes two Premium tickets to experience JERSEY BOYS and overnight hotel accommodation. The Sofitel package is priced from AU$282 per person per night (twin share)*.

To book a Sofitel Sydney Wentworth JERSEY BOYS ‘Stay and See’® package, call 1300 JERSEY (or 1300 537 739) or visit

JERSEY BOYS is the story of how four blue collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the biggest American pop sensations of all time. Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi joined forces to become The Four Seasons, writing their own hits and developing the unique sound to sell over 175 million records before they were 30!

The winner of four Tony Awards® including Best Musical, Jersey Boys features 20 Four Seasons hit songs including “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Rag Doll”, “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”.

Just 10 minutes walk from the Theatre Royale in the CBD, Sydney's time honoured Sofitel Sydney Wentworth has a solid reputation for being a welcoming and memorable luxury hotel.

Emerging form a $10 million enhancement program, this iconic Sydney hotel ensures that the most modern facilities are offered whilst retaining the charm and character for which The Wentworth has long been renowned. Sofitel Sydney Wentworth's unique design allows most rooms to overlook the central Garden Courtyard.

For more visit

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