26 September 2023

Canada, Tokyo and more…

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By John Rozentals.

Inn Express Sydney Airport: features aeronautically themed motifs throughout.

IHG Hotels & Resort’s® fastest-growing hotel brand, Holiday Inn Express, has opened its first airport hotel in Australia: Holiday Inn Express Sydney Airport.

Opened in partnership with Pro-invest Group, the new-build 247-room, eight-storey hotel is located on the doorstep of Sydney’s domestic airport terminal and minutes away from the international terminal.

It features aeronautically themed motifs throughout, starting with two large vintage propellers displayed in the lobby entrance.

Each room features power showerheads, a choice of pillows, black-out blinds and high quality bedding and free uncapped wifi.

Room rates start from $137.

Visit https://www.ihg.com.

Larapinta Trail: highlights include cooling off in a year-round waterhole.

Save 15 per cent on Intrepid Travel’s five-day ‘Larapinta Trek’ adventure for bookings made until 10 December.

Swap the city for the rugged landscape of one of Australia’s greatest multi-day walks along the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory.

On this trip, travellers will experience the challenges and rewards of undertaking an active adventure while hiking, swimming and sitting around the campfire.

Highlights include exploring one of the most spectacular chasms in the West MacDonnell Ranges, the Ormiston Gorge, cooling off in a year-round waterhole, enjoying the view at the summit of Mt Sonder, and enjoying a unique experience of camping under the star-filled desert skies.

Visit www.intrepidtravel.com.

Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium: private dining with a difference.

What is thought to be Melbourne’s only underwater dining experience has reopened and is – for the first time ever – taking private lunch bookings.

Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium’s private-dining packages include a self-guided tour of the entire aquarium, a three-course dinner and a two-hour beverage package for 10 people.

Guests can choose from one of seven settings, including the Mermaid Garden with panoramic views of the aquarium’s largest fish, the new Ocean Invaders exhibit teeming with various species of gently pulsing jellyfish, or among the playful penguins in the Antarctica zone.

There is also the option to dine outdoors overlooking the Yarra River and the Southbank skyline.

Groups can book out one of the private spaces for an intimate lunch or dinner for 10 people for a minimum spend of $2000.

Visit www.melbourneaquarium.com.au.

The Rideau Canal: the largest naturally frozen ice rink in the world.

The Rideau Canal in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa is celebrating 50 years of winding its way through the city.

Recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest naturally frozen ice rink in the world, the Rideau Canal is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on which you can cruise in summer and skate in winter, taking in spectacular cityscapes of the Parliament buildings and majestic Fairmont Château Laurier along the way.

The Rideau Canal is more than just a waterway through a huge chunk of Ontario. Though central in location, what’s more central is its role in the city’s vibrancy throughout each and every season.

The 7.8-kilometre skateway first opened during the 1970/71 season, occupying a section of the Rideau Canal that stretches all the way from Ottawa to Kingston. The winter skateway goes hand-in-hand with Winterlude, Ottawa’s annual winter festival taking place each February, featuring ice sculptures, cultural and culinary events, and Snowflake Kingdom for the kids.

The canal offers a myriad of routes for kayakers, canoeists and stand-up-paddleboarders of all ability levels, traversing the 202 kilometres between Kingston and Ottawa, with the option to camp or stay in charming cottages, B&Bs and inns throughout the journey.

Visit www.keepexploring.com.au.

Rikugien Garden: possibly Tokyo’s leading spot to view autumn leaves at night.

The splendour of Japan’s springtime cherry blossom season is no secret, and if the magic of nature is your thing a visit during the spectacular autumn foliage season is not to be missed.

Longer lasting than the brief blooms of the cherry trees the colours of autumn foliage are a delight to behold. Tokyo offers a multitude of viewing locations day and night throughout autumn peaking in late November.

Choosing to travel to Tokyo in the Japanese autumn and winter can have added advantages too, the weather is stable and agreeable, there are less crowds, meaning better availability and rates in the city’s hotels. And the autumn cuisine is superb too!

The first colouring of the foliage starts in October and the colours reach their peak mid-to-late-November, with some excamples extending all the way until mid-December.

The vivid colours of the leaves can be enjoyed by day and by night as many locations also set-up night viewing light-ups.

Many parks and gardens offer a spectacular natural show of quintessentially Japanese scenery at its finest.

Rikugien Garden, for instance, is one of the two great Edo gardens and possibly Tokyo’s leading spot to view autumn leaves at night with a special light-up.

Over 500 trees make this a very special viewing place.

Expect to queue to in evenings (last admission 8.30pm) but the views are truly breathtaking. Entrance fee applies.

Visit www.japan-guide.com.

A highlight of Japan: Mt Fuji.

Still in that part of the world, Wendy Wu Tours is including free return flights to Japan on some of its best-selling tours including ‘Japan Uncovered’.

The tours cover departures from September 2021 to April 2022 for bookings made by 13 November this year and include the popular autumn leaves and cherry blossom seasons with savings of $1000 per person.

Also included are eight dedicated departures for solo travellers.

Solo travellers will travel with a like-minded group and enjoy the comfort of their own room and no single supplement to pay.

Some of the best-selling tours included in the fly-free-to-Japan offer include the 12-day ‘Jewels of Japan’ adventure which is priced from $8690.

Tour highlights include strolling through the Imperial Palace East Gardens, visit the Meiji Shrine, ascending 2000 metres to Mt Fuji’s 5th station, exploring Japan’s spiritual heart in Kyoto, learning how to make buckwheat soba noodles, trying origami, and a visit to the Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Visit www.wendywutours.com.au.

NOTE: Potential travellers should check the status of individual events and establishments with regard to the coronavirus outbreak.

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