26 January- Australia Day commemorates the landing of Captain Arthur Phillip and his fleet of 11 British ships in Sydney Cove in 1788, and the proclamation of the first European settlement.
Australia Day is celebrated by Australians all over the world, but nowhere is the party bigger than in Australia itself. This Wednesday have a happy Australia Day!
Queensland: Update – We would like to stress that the vast majority of Queensland’s tourism destinations such as the Gold Coast, the Whitsundays and Cairns are still operating normally and are totally accessible to tourists. There is no need to cancel holidays to the state and we have very few reports of any passenger cancellations – the UK travellers are still travelling, albeit with slightly amended itineraries. International flights are still arriving at both Brisbane and Cairns airports and at this point all Queensland airports are open, except for Rockhampton. What’s more, the highways are reopening so it is easier to travel between popular tourist hotspots, such as the route between Brisbane and Gladstone, which is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Heron Island. As the situation is changing on a very regular basis, Tourism Queensland is recommending that all passengers check with their travel agent or airline prior to travel and that they can find up-to-date information on travel conditions atwww.qld.gov.au/floods and at www.experiencequeensland.com.
MONA opens to the public, Tasmania
The £100 million Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) opened on 21 January. Australia’s largest private museum, which promises to put Hobart on the world map, is David Walsh’s ‘subversive adult Disneyland’. Visitors to the free entry museum can also stay overnight at the MONA Pavillions, located on the edge of the Derwent River, just 15 minutes’ drive from Hobart, on the edge of the Moorilla Estate vineyard. In addition, Hobart has launched free ArtBikes, in key locations around the city, to explore the cultural scene, and a new map of the arts hot spots and galleries in Tasmania has been launched online, smARTmap Tasmania. MONA Pavillion rates from A$490 to A$950 per night (approx £300 - £600). www.moorilla.com.au / www.mona.net.au / www.artbikes.com.au / www.smartmaptas.com.au
Outback Lodge moves from Queensland to Kakadu, Northern Territory
Wildman Wilderness Lodge will open in April in Kakadu National Park. The outback resort was formerly Wrotham Park Lodge located in the far north of Queensland and was transported 2,800km to be reassembled, alongside additional accommodation. The property now has 15 eco cabins and 10 safari tents and proposes to be a fully recycled resort. Bookings are being taken. Located in the Mary River wetlands in Kakadu National Park, the Lodge is an ideal spot to explore the area and take in the varied wildlife, from birds to buffalo. Double Tents from A$430 (approx £270) based on two people sharing, including two-course dinner and breakfast. www.wildmanwildernesslodge.com.au
The RockBare Retreat opens in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia
The RockBare Retreat is a secluded, three-bedroom property behind RockBare Cellar Door in the Adelaide Hills. Ideal as a short stay retreat the house comes with a private premium cellar featuring local wines from the region – the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley. Situated in the heart of the Adelaide Hills, The RockBare Retreat is a short distance from the quaint Hahndorf Township as well as other vineyards, such as Shaw & Smith and The Lane Vineyard. The RockBare Retreat is available at A$520 (approx £320) per night and sleeps six.
Iconic Sydney Art Deco hotel has a facelift, New South Wales
THE iconic Grace Hotel in Sydney has extensively refurbished ten of its rooms, each with a unique style. The ‘10Rooms’ occupy the 9th, 10th and 11th floors of the 1930s Art Deco Sydney property. Guests staying in 10Rooms are able to select their favoured decor, furnishing arrangements and other amenities. No two rooms are alike, with the 10Rooms concept taking in the Art Deco theme with furnishings and allowing guests to choose, pre-check in, favourite flavours and colours for a treat on arrival. The Grace Hotel is centrally located in Sydney city, just a 10 minute walk from the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Rates from A$350 (approx £200). www.10rooms.com.au
New kayak adventures in Monkey Mia, Western Australia
Aboriginal operator, Wula Guda Nyinda, has a new 'Saltwater Dreaming' tour, a kayak trip around Monkey Mia and Shark Bay. The three hour kayak tour through crystal clear waters allows visitors to see Gutharraguda from the inside and get a taste of the Nhanda and Malgana people's deep spiritual connection to this Saltwater Country. The tour also includes hunting for fresh oysters and a lunch of freshly caught seafood on the beach. Wula Guda Nyinda also runs mediation and camp fire storytelling experiences. The Saltwater Dreaming Kayak Adventure is fully catered. Adults cost A$90; children A$50 (approx £55 or £30). www.wulaguda.com.au
Wilderness retreat opens in ancient Tarkine Rainforest, Tasmania
The Tarkine Rainforest Retreat is a secluded wilderness standing camp established by Tarkine Trails giving guests the opportunity to experience the ancient rainforest from a comfortable base camp. The Tarkine Longhouse features an open design allowing guests to connect to the surrounding forests on three sides and a cantilevered veranda extending into the lush canopy. Simply furnished to complement the ancient rainforest's natural surrounds, the Tarkine Longhouse and Rainforest Retreat offers the opportunity to experience the stunning wilderness without sacrificing the comforts of everyday life. Tours from three to six days inclusive of accommodation. www.tarkinetrails.com.au
Get cycling along the Munda Biddi Trail, Western Australia
The Munda Biddi Trail has already been named by National Geographic as one of the world’s top ten cycle routes despite being only half open. The long distance cycling trail currently runs 500km from Mundaring, in the Perth Hills, to Nannup east of Margaret River. The next section of the track will link Nannup to Manjimup, and the last of the trail will open in 2012 and will link Perth with Albany on the southern coast. The Munda Biddi Trail Foundation runs a number of guided tours and events on along the route throughout the year. www.mundabiddi.org.au
Kitchen goddess to attend Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Victoria
Nigella Lawson, the famed kitchen goddess, is attending this years’ Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. She will take part in the Langham’s Melbourne MasterClass series on 12 and 13 March 2011. Building on a 19-year history of delivering the globe’s culinary crème de la crème, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival will celebrate three central themes as part of its 2011 Chef MasterClass programme: ‘Women of the Kitchen’, ‘The Lost Arts’ and ‘Stars of Spice’, each inspired by heritage and tradition. There will also be more than 200 gourmet events with free tastings, cooking masterclasses and the World’s Longest Lunch held at a mighty 400-metre long table. www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au
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