25 September 2023

Cape Town, Africa and more…

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By John Rozentals.

A plus for Perth … the city’s first Art Series hotel.

Accor will open its first Art Series hotel — a 27-storey building in Hay St — in Perth’s CBD in October, the brand’s ninth Australian property.

Dedicated to Australia’s contemporary artists, the fundamental design concept of the 250-room hotel will draw inspiration from its namesake artist, with custom contemporary furnishings and original artworks and prints adorning the walls and halls of the hotel.

It will also be home to a new food-and-beverage destination serving Mediterranean cuisine and centred on the hotel’s pool area on level one, directly above Hay St.

The name of the hotel’s namesake artist will be released shortly.

Visit artserieshotels.com.au.

Getting into the Indigenous spirit … the Barunga Festival. Image: Dave Preston

The Barunga Festival will return from June 7-9 to 80 kilometers south-east of the Northern Territory town of Katherine, maintaining its long and proud position as one of Australia’s most important cultural events, and celebrating the best of Indigenous art, sport, cultural activities, and contemporary and traditional music from remote locations.

This year will welcome three generations of Gumbaynggirr musicians, with the quickly rising star Tasman Keith, reuniting with his legendary father Wire MC and distinguished grandfather Billy Jack.

This year, the people of Barunga will also welcome singer Sang Mei-Chuan from the Taiwanese Paiwan tribe.

Sang is the youngest child of her family, and due to the senior age of her parents only spoke in her native tongue until schooling age where the government enforced a policy forbidding her to speak in her mother language.

Now, she works from her studio in Chingshan village teaching children the traditional songs of the Paiwan people and will bring the story of that unique experience to Barunga.

Visit www.barungafestival.com.au.

CQUniversity Village Festival … perhaps the Capricorn region’s premier music, arts and cultural celebration.

Each year the diversity of events in the region that straddles the Tropic of Capricorn, provides a wonderful platform for highlighting what Capricorn has to offer.”

Highlights this year will include the Rockhampton River Festival (July 12-14), the Yeppoon Triathlon Festival (July 20-21) and the CQUniversity Village Festival (August 2-11).

Perhaps the region’s premier music, arts and cultural celebration is the CQUniversity Village Festival in Yeppoon.

The event provides a vibrant mix of music, performing and visual arts, children’s festival, street theatre, workshops, and food and market stalls.

The Capricorn region is easily accessible by road, rail and coach, and it’s a one-hour flight from Brisbane to Rockhampton, the region’s central hub.

Voco Kirkton Park Hunter Valley … renowned as one of the Hunter Valley’s most prestigious estates.

Voco Kirkton Park Hunter Valley has reopened its doors following the completion of a refresh and rebrand to IHG’s newest upscale brand.

Renowned as one of the Hunter Valley’s most prestigious estates, the 70-room property now embodies the bold characteristics of Voco, with features ranging from its bright yellow accents to onsite beehives.

The estate is located on 70 acres of rolling countryside with outstanding mountain views.

The hotel’s voguishly appointed rooms include touches such as Aveda accessories, high-speed wi-fi and cosy bedding.

Locavore Dining and Epoche Lounge Bar provide lunch and dinner, while The Conservatory is home to the iconic high tea experience overlooking the rose garden.

The interactive vegetable garden is utilised daily and celebrates the connection between farmer, gardener and chef, with several beehives also onsite to produce honey for various uses in the restaurant and bar.

Visit www.ihg.com/voco/kirktonpark.

Pretty Valley … offering a five-night school-holiday package.

Pretty Valley, a family-friendly Falls Creek ski lodge, is offering a five-night school-holiday package from June 30 from $1450 per adult and from $1087.50 for a child under 14 years.

Extras include free ski/snowboard hire and complimentary suitable snow clothing (pants and jacket) whilst guests are staying at the lodge, a saving of about $300 for each adult.

Additional benefits include well-maintained skis and ski boots.

Pretty Valley Ski Lodge a ski-in-ski-out property that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, morning and afternoon tea, coffee, pastries, a 17-meter outdoor heated pool and four spas, in-house 22 seat cinema, children’s dinner followed by supervised entertainment programs, kids games room, guest lounge, bar and lounge with an open fire, free wireless internet, plus free transfer of guest luggage from the resort’s car park between 8am-4.30pm.

Phone (03) 5758 3210 or visit www.prettyvalley.com.

The elusive leopard … Abercrombie & Kent’s Patrick Clementson is better qualified than most at spotting them.

With 30-something trips to southern Africa under his belt, Abercrombie & Kent’s Patrick Clementson is better qualified than most at spotting good leopard country.

Of course, the Masai Mara comes near the top of his list but there are a couple of lesser known areas on that list, too.

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, one of Africa’s conservation success stories, is right next to the Mara, and home to all of Africa’s iconic species, including both black and white rhino, and cheetah.

The area is also one of the few places in Kenya where you can see the northern specialty species: the reticulated giraffe, the somali ostrich, the beisa oryx, the gerenuk and the grevy’s zebra.

In Zambia, Clementson nominates South Luangwa as having very high densities of leopard.

“The fact night drives are allowed within the park vastly increases the chances of viewing these famously secretive cats,” he said.

It’s the place where walking safaris were first pioneered, and is also one of the best parks in which to see huge pods of hippo, especially during the height of the dry season when real estate in the ebbing South Luangwa River is at a premium.

Visit www.abercrombiekent.com.au.

On the Kumano Kodo route … the Hongu Taisha shrine gate.

World Expeditions reports surging interest in its range of Japanese pilgrim trail walks, such as the Kumano Kodo route.

Like the well-known Spanish Camino de Santiago, the Kumano Kodo is an ancient pilgrim route that offers walkers opportunities to walk historic trails — in scenically stunning surrounds — at their own pace.

The company’s CEO, Sue Badyari, said the Japanese trails are rapidly gaining in popularity, with confident trekkers attracted by the historical and cultural significance of the trails, the delicious food, polite and friendly locals, as well as opportunities to stay in traditional ryokans along the way.

The connection between the Camino and the Kumano has been recognised through the Dual Pilgrim program, which was set up to recognise the achievements of people who have walked both.

World Expeditions offers a range of guided and self-guided Kumano Kodo walking holidays that qualify for the Dual Pilgrim program.

Phone 1300 720 000 or visit www.worldexpeditions.com.

Farm to fork … it’s the way that Sacramento has always lived.

Farm-to-fork isn’t a passing fad or a marketing slogan in California’s Sacramento region and the inhabitants reckon it’s the way they have always lived.

Their region has been an agricultural powerhouse for centuries, boasting a year-round growing season, ideal climate and a mouth-watering bounty of crops.

In 2012, Josh Nelson of the Selland Family Restaurants approached Visit Sacramento with the idea that the region should shine a light on its amazing food and agriculture and share it with the rest of the country.

Soon after, former Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson declared the region America’s farm-to-fork capital, and the rest is history.

Today, the Sacramento region’s Farm-to-Fork Program serves as a year-round platform to highlight the farms, restaurants, organizations and individuals that contribute to the local culinary and agricultural landscapes.

The program is housed within Visit Sacramento and works to increase awareness of the region’s unmatched prowess when it comes to fresh food.

Cruising Europe with Scenic … on the Douro River.

For its 2020 program of European river cruising, Scenic is offering free flights to Europe on all cruises of 11 days or longer.

Guests can also select from a range of new Scenic Freechoice options and Scenic Enrich experiences, including: a choir performance in the magnificent Temple Crypt of the St Sava Cathedral in Belgrade; a tour of the Palais Garnier in the heart of Paris; a tour of Château Malmaison in Conflans, the former residence of Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine; and meeting the locals in Miltenberg, Germany.

The company’s 15-day ‘Jewels of Europe’ itinerary between Amsterdam and Budapest, for instance, is priced from $6695 per person twin-share.

Phone 138 128 or visit www.scenic.com.au.

The Table Bay in Cape Town … the signature drink for Australians is an extreme lager named Slow Beer.

The Table Bay in Cape Town reckons it has become the first five-star hotel in South Africa to develop its own craft beer.

The signature drink for Australians at this holiday destination is an lager named Slow Beer, which is complemented by an ever-growing range, including Silver Back, Rogue Pony, Gypsy Mask, Thunder Bird, Sungazer, Black Mist and Bone Crusher.

The hotel loves guests to explore the authentic, unique, experiential activities that allow them to gather a touch of Cape Town and make good memories.

In the heart of Cape Town’s creative hub of Woodstock, beer explorers can visit a co-op where 16 enthusiastic, talented brewers all brew under one roof.

Phone (02) 9211 6590 or visit www.uniquetourism.com.

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