26 September 2023

Margaret River, Budapest and more…

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By John Rozentals.

Dave Freeman: channels the work of Neil Diamond.

Captain Cook Cruises will again host its three-night ‘Hot August Night’ music cruise on board paddlewheeler PS Murray Princess departing August 21.

Over three nights guests will be taken on an intimate journey into the music of Neil Diamond through entertainer and storyteller, Dave Freeman.

Enjoy a welcome three-course dinner and dance to the live tunes of keyboard artist, Paul Gill.

On Saturday night get ready for a show to remember when Dave performs his ‘OMG Neil Diamond Sounds Like Me’ show including storytelling, songs, dancing and music from Neil Diamond’s famous Hot August Night Album.

On the final evening, dance the night away as Dave and Paul provide live entertainment, singing all-time favourite songs during the Captain’s Seafood Buffet Dinner and Dance.

By day, the Murray Princess will travel along the Murray River between Walker Flat and Murray Bridge visiting historic towns and attractions along the way.

The cruise departs Mannum at 4.30pm on August 21, and fares start from $931 per person twin-share.

Visit www.murrayprincess.com.au.

Spectacular at dawn: one of Australian Walking Holidays’ campsites on the Larapinta Trail.

Australian Walking Holidays has launched a seven-day Central Australian experience that combines the Larapinta Trail, Kings Canyon and Uluru in an active itinerary designed to show off what makes the area such a sought-after destination.

Professionally guided and fully supported throughout, guests will stay in eco-campsites on the Larapinta Trail near Alice Springs, and at permanent campsites at Kings Canyon Resort and Uluru.

According to Australian Walking Holidays General Manager, Michael Buggy, the new itinerary is an opportunity for those with limited time to discover the Red Centre’s dramatic and untamed landscapes.

The trip costs from $3395 per person twin-share and includes airport transfers, all meals, services of professional wilderness guide and support staff, fees to Aboriginal Traditional Owners and National Parks and all transport during the tour.

Phone 1300 767 381 or visit www.australianwalkingholidays.com.

Revitalise on the Reef: includes a customised wellness program.

Coral Expeditions has launched a seven-night ‘Revitalise on the Reef’ wellness expedition on the Outer Great Barrier Reef commencing in 2021.

Travelling onboard the small ship Coral Discoverer, the sailings feature a customised wellness program against the backdrop of the marine life and natural heritage of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest.

There will be yoga classes on the islands and cays of the Great Barrier Reef, and also qi gong classes, relaxation sessions and fitness, nutrition or wellness workshops.

The tours will provide opportunities to swim, snorkel and scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef, allowing guests to settle into the soul-enriching rhythms of the Coral Sea surrounded by solitude and seabirds.

The expeditions depart Cairns on September 15 and 22 next year and are priced from $5590 per person twin-share.

Phone 1800 079 545 or visit www.coralexpeditions.com.

Getting ready to share her passion: Kay Gibson. Image: Elements Margaret River.

More than 110 artists will throw open their studio doors 16 days this April and May to welcome art lovers and share their passion during the Margaret River Region Open Studios which will feature painters, sculptors, illustrators, jewellers, printmakers, glassblowers, ceramicists, potters, photographers, furniture makers, woodworkers, textile artists, metalworkers, mixed media artists and upcyclers.

Artists participating this year include Leon Pericles, Rachel Coad, Lauren Wilhelm, Rebecca Cool, Mary-Lynne Stratton, Patricia Negus and Christian Fletcher.

Studios are located across almost 700 square kilometres from Busselton to Dunsborough, Eagle Bay, Yallingup, Cowaramup, Margaret River and Witchcliffe.

Visit www.mrropenstudios.com.au.

Penguin Playtime: a special adventure for toddlers.

For those looking to entertain little ones Sea Life Sunshine Coast has launched ‘Penguin Playtime’, a program for toddlers and their parents from 10am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Children under three years old are invited to join a fun new experience involving story time and sand-play activities at the Mooloolaba attraction.

For older, more inquisitive explorers Sea Life Sunshine Coast has introduced the ‘Colourful Creatures’ adventure trail.

From now until April, underwater explorers are invited to discover the ocean and create their own adventure storybook based on their encounters and experiences as they learn about the creatures that call the Sunshine Coast aquarium home.

Visit www.sealifesunshinecoast.com.au.

Aptly named: The Forks has been a meeting place for more than 6000 years.

Manitoba’s colourful past, multicultural present and innovative future might be a lot to swallow, but Aussie travellers are increasingly using food tours and restaurant guides to learn about the rich culture and history of Canada’s central province.

It’s a delicious and educational way to explore the province’s capital city of Winnipeg and the eclectic towns that lie further afield.

Taste what it means to be Canadian on the mouth-watering ‘Made in Canada Food Tour’.

Discover The Forks, a meeting place for more than 6000 years, where First Nations peoples originally traded, followed by the French fur traders, Europeans and immigrants that came afterwards.

Chomp your way through the quintessentially Canadian flavours of The Forks Market — from artisan cheese, to hand-made sausage pizza, maple delicacies and the best ’n’ chips in Canada.

Air Canada has direct flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to Vancouver, with connecting services to Winnipeg.

Visit www.travelmanitoba.com.

A great way to start the day: miwa somen noodles in Sakurai.

Japan is regarded as a global food destination. Restaurants in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto are often top of the list, yet many travellers might not expect to discover the one-of-a-kind experiences and dishes available just a short train ride from the major cities.

Start the day, for instance, with miwa somen noodles in Sakurai.

Located just 45 minutes from Osaka via Kintetsu Railway is Sakurai, a city famous for shrines, sake and a signature way of preparing noodles.

Sakurai is the birthplace of somen, a refreshing cold noodle first produced close to 1300 years ago, at Sakurai’s Omiwa Shrine.

Traditional production methods, including using local spring water, are still used today and give the noodles their sought-after thin shape and light elasticity.

Indulge in a refreshing brunch of miwa somen on the first stop to Nagoya while exploring the beauty of Sakurai. The traditional dish can be found in restaurants throughout Sakurai, with some restaurants even serving the noodles swimming in running water.

Visit www.kintetsu.co.jp.

The Pan Pacific Toronto: 15 acres of parkland.

From Toronto to Tokyo, Pan Pacific Hotels Group is increasing its global footprint with the announcement of two new properties.

The group puts another footprint in North America with the rebranding of The Westin Prince Hotel to Pan Pacific Toronto.

The recently renovated features 409 guest rooms and suites, and has a heritage of 45 years with its 15 acres of parkland.

It is the fifth hotel for Pan Pacific Hotels Group in North America, joining Vancouver, Whistler in British Columbia and Seattle.

Visit www.panpacific.com.

Riviera’s Lord Byron in Budapest.

Until February 29, Riviera Travel River Cruises is offering an on-board spending credit of up to of 400 Euros per couple — or up to 200 Euros for solos — on bookings made on almost all its sailings across Europe this year.

The sailings cover 12 different itineraries of eight or 15 days in length featuring rivers such as the Rhine, Danube, Rhone, Seine and Moselle and the canals of Holland.

The on-board credit can be used to buy drinks, spa treatments, boutique purchases or extra optional shore excursions onboard Riviera Travel’s five-star ships.

Sailings dedicated exclusively to solo travellers are excluded from the offer.

Riviera Travel River Cruises offers five-star cruises stating at $1069 per person, twin-share or solo, for an eight-day sailing, including daily excursions and wi-fi.

Phone 1300 561 001 or visit www.rivieratravel.com.au.

SO/ Auckland hotel: a fashion experience.

SO/ Auckland has created a fashion experience for guests who want to indulge their love of shopping, spa, and gourmet culture on their next visit to New Zealand.

Situated in the heart of the city, the boutique SO/ Auckland hotel is only a short drive from some of Auckland’s best shopping spots and just steps away from Britomart — home to some of New Zealand’s most revered brands including Kiwi fashion innovator WORLD, which partnered with the hotel as its signature designer.

As part of the hotel’s new SO Fashion package guests can take a ride in SO/ Auckland’s Bentley or luxury corporate car to visit a choice of top shopping locations such as Ponsonby and Newmarket.

SO Fashion also includes a one hour facial or massage treatment.

Visit www.so-auckland.com.

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