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Couple launch tagalong tours of gorgeous gorges

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Guiding visitors through one of the most spectacular locations in Australia, Caity and Christian Bom from CQ Tours are ready to share their passion, knowledge, and beautiful backyard of Nyanda Station and Carnarvon National Park with intrepid travellers

Keen to help guests gain a greater understanding of the landscape and what makes the sandstone wilderness so special, the two accredited Savannah guides launched their business in January 2022, and proudly hosted their first guided tour last week.

Offering several options from walking tours to popular sites of Carnarvon Gorge to 4×4 Tag-along tours through Nyanda Station, viewing rarely seen parts of Carnarvon National Park, along with the Nyanda Gorge Tour which includes a scenic tag-along drive through creeks and waterways before exploring the Nyanda Gorge via foot, CQ Tours can customize your experience to ensure you see and do more.

With Caity growing up on Nyanda Station, a 38,500-acre working cattle property neighbouring Carnarvon Gorge, she spent much of her childhood exploring the area with her family and discovering many hidden gems.

Its name meaning ‘the place of many waters’, Nyanda is a rugged sandstone landscape adorned with permanently flowing creeks and ancient sandstone cliffs and as Caity advocates, the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature and learn the origins of these incredible natural wonders.

“Christian and I are so excited to welcome people to our home through CQ Tours, and we can’t wait to take tours to places that have never been accessible to the public before now,” Caity said. “We both previously worked at the Capricorn Caves near Rockhampton, under the leadership of the late Ann Augusteyn, who instilled a deep passion for interpretation in both of us.”

“After marrying in 2021, Christian and I took a three-month trip around Queensland, and on returning decided that it was time to make a job out of doing what we enjoy the most,” Caity said.

Excited to be the very first guest of CQ Tours, Cathy Reade was full of commendation for the new touring business and is already planning her next visit.

“Our visit to the beautiful Nyanda Gorge with a tag along tour and walk up through the creek and gorge is something we won’t forget,” Cathy said. “We were fortunate to discover an abundance of wildlife, birdlife, wonderful ancient cycads, orchards and native trees we’ve never heard of before.”

“Caity and Christian’s deep love, respect and knowledge of this special place really helped us to appreciate the whole experience all the more,” Cathy said.

Capricorn Enterprise Marketing Manager, Krista Brown is thrilled to see CQ Tours join the existing group of top-class tourism operators based at Carnarvon Gorge in Central Queensland Highlands.

“Carnarvon Gorge is an absolute hero product for our region, and we are so fortunate to see businesses such as CQ Tours continue to invest in the tourism industry,” Krista said. “Arriving with previous experience from the iconic Capricorn Caves, we have no doubt that Caity and Christian will deliver something very special for their guests.”

CQ Tours joins Carnarvon Gorge Eco-Tours to complement and deliver a full range of tour options for all ages and abilities.

To learn more about CQ Tours, or to book a tour, visit https://www.cqtours.com.au/.

Dreamtime wakes up Central Queensland coast

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Queensland coastal destination specialists Dreamtime Resorts have made their first foray in Central Queensland, with the recent purchase of three key Capricorn Coast properties – Salt ApartmentsEchelon Apartments, and Beaches on Lammermoor

Adding to a unique collection of 16 properties along Australia’s eastern coastline including in Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, and Gold Coast, Dreamtime is one of Australia’s foremost independent resort management groups, striving to offer the best mix of quality lodgings and value for money for both leisure and business travel.

With a property also at Bargara near Bundaberg, the attainment of the three Capricorn Coast properties further enhances Dreamtime’s footprint on the Southern Great Barrier Reef destination, with Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll pleased to see this large company putting their faith in our strong economy.

“There is no greater compliment to the success and growth of our region, than trusted leisure brands such as Dreamtime investing in products and development, and in turn, assisting to increase visitation within our communities,” Mary said.

“We recently saw another national company, Breeze Holiday Parks, purchasing property in Carnarvon Gorge late last year, and prior to that, welcomed a number of national retailers to the Capricorn Coast Homemaker Centre in Yeppoon.”

Identified by the quality of Dreamtime Resort’s fully self-contained, apartment style holiday accommodation, that caters to guests who prefer “a home away from home atmosphere”, the three Capricorn Coast properties ticked all the business’ criteria boxes.

Dreamtime Resorts General Manager, Bryan Fitzpatrick said that the team was excited to join the Capricorn Coast community and were proud to include this beautiful location as part of their nationally recognised brand.

“Yeppoon and the Southern Great Barrier Reef sells itself, and we remain committed to providing our guests with a memorable accommodation experience that complements their holiday and becomes part of their positive memories,” Bryan said.

“Our onsite managers for the three properties, Brigid and Tim have truly settled into the community and are thoroughly enjoying their new adventure on the Capricorn Coast.” 

In addition to providing some of Australia’s most popular holiday accommodation, Dreamtime also provide an unsurpassed support, guidance and consulting platform for investors seeking to enter the management rights industry as well as existing managers seeking the advantages that come from being part of an experienced, professional management team.

For more information, or to book your next stay on the Capricorn Coast, visit www.stayyeppoon.com.au.

Ponant Kimberley cruises to include flying boat adventures

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Commencing on 7 April 2023, PONANT ‘s programme of 26 new itineraries onboard Le Ponant for the 2023 Kimberley season covers the Northern Kimberley, Southern Kimberley, and the Rowley Shoals.

PONANT’s expertise and signature travel visions onboard Le Ponant highlight the unique mix of adventure, sustainability, and barefoot luxury. The newly refurbished yacht has been transformed to feature the latest technical innovations to reduce emissions and is equipped with state-of-the-art Zodiacs for shore landings and excursions. Having been entirely renovated with a sleek, sophisticated design by Jean-Philippe Nuel Studio, Le Ponant offers an intimate setting with only 16 staterooms for a maximum of 32 guests being looked after by 32 crew members.  An invitation to sail and experience Australia’s breathtaking Kimberley coastline on a journey that combines exploration and eco-responsibility in luxury. 

As an exclusive addition to this experience, the Northern and Southern Kimberley itineraries include an exclusive charter flight between Kununurra and Kuri Bay or Broome and Kuri Bay on board one of Australian company Paspaley’s vintage Grumman Mallard flying boats to take guests from or to their embarkation point, as well as an exclusive guided visit of Paspaley’s pearl farms in Kuri Bay.

“An Australian-first, PONANT’s Pinnacle Kimberley Experience on board Le Ponant will offer guests a truly unique experience; with a maximum of 32 guests only, Le Ponant‘s itineraries open up a mix of the iconic and lesser-known destinations along this spectacular coastline”, concludes Sarina Bratton AM, PONANT Chairman for Asia Pacific.

 “Northern Kimberley Sailing Expedition” on board Le Ponant – 9 nights or 10 nights

An immersive expedition including exploration of the spectacular 80-metre-high sandstone cliffs of the King George River Gorge and its Twin Falls, the highest in Western Australia, the chance to uncover the stories behind the enigmatic Gwion Gwion rock art and experience Prince Frederick Harbour, one of the largest and most scenic inlets of the Kimberley coast.

9-night package departs 7 April 2023, 28 April, 23 June, 18 August, and 1 October 2023.

From AUD17,370 per person in a Mistral Stateroom, including 7-night sailing expedition on board Le Ponant including all meals and accommodation and shore excursions, 1-night pre and 1-night post sailing accommodation, transfers, charter flight on board Paspaley’s flying boat, and Paspaley Pearl Farm experience at Kuri Bay. Find out more about the expedition.

10-night package departs  5 May, 19 May, 30 June, 14 July, 25 August, 12 May, 7 July 2023.

The Paspaley Flying Boat

From AUD17,470 per person in a Mistral Stateroom, including 7-night sailing expedition on board Le Ponant including all meals and accommodation and shore excursions, 1-night pre and 2-night post sailing accommodation or 2-night pre and 1-night post sailing accommodation, transfers, charter flight on board Paspaley’s flying boat, and Paspaley Pearl Farm experience at Kuri Bay. Find out more about the expedition.

“Southern Kimberley Sailing Expedition” on board Le Ponant – 9 nights or 10 nights

Discover the pristine beaches and remarkable scenery of the Buccaneer archipelago and search for iconic bird species such as White-Bellied Sea Eagles, Brahminy kites and Ospreys. Guests will be able to watch in awe as the tidal waters flow off Montgomery reef and witness the unique tidal phenomenon of the Horizontal Falls in Talbot Bay.

 9-night package departs 26 May, 21 July, 1 September 2023.

From AUD16,860 per person in a Mistral Stateroom, including 7-night sailing expedition on board Le Ponant including all meals and accommodation and shore excursions, 2 pre sailing accommodation, transfers, charter flight on board Paspaley Pearl Farm experience at Kuri Bay.

Qantas and Airbus sign sustainable fuel agreement

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The Qantas Group and Airbus will invest up to US$200 million to accelerate the establishment of a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in Australia, in a landmark agreement.

The Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership was signed by Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce and Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury in Doha today, ahead of the IATA AGM.

Due to the lack of a local commercial-scale SAF industry, Australia is currently exporting millions of tonnes of feedstock every year, such as canola and animal tallow to be made into SAF in other countries.

The Qantas Group, which has committed to using 10 per cent SAF in its overall fuel mix by 2030, is sourcing SAF overseas. This includes 15 per cent of its fuel use out of London currently and 20 million litres each year for flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Australia from 2025.

Sustainable fuels cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 80 per cent compared to traditional kerosene and are the most significant tool airlines currently have to reduce their impact on the environment – particularly given they can be used in today’s engines with no modifications.

The Qantas and Airbus partnership will invest in locally developed and produced SAF and feedstock initiatives. Projects will have to be commercially viable and meet a strict set of criteria around environmental sustainability.

Airbus and Qantas agreed to work together on the sustainability initiative as part of the airline’s recently announced orders, including the A350-1000 to operate Project Sunrise non-stop flights from Australia to New York and London and the selection of the A220 and A321XLR under the Qantas Group’s Project Winton’ domestic fleet renewal, as well as lower emission aircraft for its subsidiary Jetstar.

The new fleet will offer a significant reduction in fuel consumption and carbon emissions of up to 25 per cent from day one and are all already certified for operation using 50 per cent SAF.

The partnership is initially for five years with options to extend the duration. Qantas’ financial contribution to the Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership includes AU$50 million previously committed to research and development of SAF in Australia.

Pratt & Whitney, whose GTF engines were recently selected by Qantas for their new A220 and A320neo family aircraft, is also contributing to the venture. The company supports greater use of cleaner, alternative fuels including SAF, while continually advancing the efficiency of aircraft propulsion technology.

Qantas has started a process of talking to its major corporate customers about their interest in accessing SAF offsets for their organisation’s flying. This input is shaping the design of a program that could also be extended to individuals in an expansion of the existing offsetting program Qantas already has in place. This new program is expected to launch later this calendar year.

Book now for a two-night winter truffle frenzy

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For two nights next month (July), the Bulletin Place laneway is being transformed into an epicurean oasis for truffle lovers. A rustic pop-up truffle garden lounge will feature exquisite truffled delicacies and drinks, masterclasses, a gourmet truffled product stall and a truffle hunt.

THE LANEWAY TRUFFLE GARDEN LOUNGE & STALL

Thu 7th and Fri 8th July 2022 – 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Bulletin Place Laneway

Access is free. Click Here: 

https://www.facebook.com/events/211654430791656/235164181774014/

The Truffle Farm Ambiance

The award-winning team of Silvester’s Restaurant and Three Bottle Man, in partnership with The Truffle Farm, will transform the laneway into a provincial garden lounge to bring the warmth and coziness of the Truffle Farm into the inner-city.

The Truffled Delicacies Station

Michelin Star-trained chef Raphael Szurek will be setting up a live laneway cooking station serving up –

  • To eat: Exquisite hot truffle delicacies including truffled chicken pâté with brioche, a hazelnut and truffle cream soup, a unique truffled crème brulée, chocolate truffles, and gourmet truffle and Monte Rosso cheese toasties.
  • To sip: Select wines from Eden Road featuring their their 2019 Vintage Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Syrah and 2021 Riesling to pair perfectly with the truffled food offering.

The Gourmet Truffle Store

The Gourmet Truffle Store will feature premium, limited-edition truffle products including truffles by the gram from The Truffle Farm, truffle salts, oils, pastes, chocolate truffles and more.

____________________________

THE TRUFFLE MASTERCLASS

Thu 7th July 2022 / 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Bulletin Place Laneway

$110.Very limited seatsEvent link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/truffle-masterclass-tickets-360227128037

The one-night-only intimate laneway truffle masterclass will be an immersive evening of where guests taste, learn, and explore all things truffle.

Learn: Authentic truffle providers will be sharing some of the most interesting things about truffles and their journey. This will be followed by a live truffle dish cooking tutorial demonstration by Raphael Szurek, who was trained under the “pope” of French cuisine, Paul Bocuse himself.

Receive: Guests will be the first to taste the signature truffle risotto as well as try our one-of-a-kind truffle cocktails. At the end of the masterclass, attendees will also receive chocolate truffles, a DYI truffle dish package which they can make at home, as well as a commemorative ‘Master of Truffle’ certificate.

 Win: Attendees will go into a draw to win an exclusive visit to a surprise destination.

 ____________________________________

DETAILS SUMMARY

Location: Bulletin Pl laneway, Sydney NSW 2000

The Truffle Garden Lounge & Stall:

Thu 7th and Fri 8th July 2022 – 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/211654430791656/235164181774014/

Open to public.

Rustic pop-up laneway takeover featuring:

  • A thematic provincial garden lounge
  • A live truffle cooking station featuring truffle delicacies
  • Limited-edition hot truffle-infused drinks and cocktails
  • A gourmet truffle product and ingredient stall
  • A truffle hunt with secret prizes

The Truffle Masterclass:

Date: Thu 7th July 2021; 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/951981178902182/

Ticket link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/truffle-masterclass-tickets-360227128037

Price: $110

Attendees will:

  1. Learn the most interesting things about truffles and their journey
  2. View a gourmet truffle risotto making tutorial
  3. Taste the delicious truffle dish
  4. Try our one-of-a-kind truffled cocktails
  5. Receive a DIY truffle recipe-at-home pack incl. ingredients
  6. Receive chocolate truffles
  7. Earn a commemorative Master of Truffle certificate

South Pacific bargains … if you’re quick

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If you are over the post-covid blues and need a South Pacific break, Spacifica Travel has have four terrific deals that will save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars. But hurry you only have a couple of weeks to make your booking.

Nautilus Resort

Nautilus Resort is an eco-friendly, boutique beachfront resort featuring a stunning mountain backdrop, dreamy infinity pool and crystal clear lagoon views. Save $585 per couple.

Spacifica Travel has a great deal for you including:

  • Airport meet and greet including flower and reusable water bottle,
  • Return seat in coach airport transfers,
  • 5 nights accommodation staying at Nautilus Resort in a Garden Are
  • Full breakfast daily, fruit platter and chilled bottle of wine on arrival
  • internet access
  • water-sports equipment and resort activities and concierge service to explore the island of Rarotonga
  • 2 nights accommodation (1 pre and 1 post) at Heartland Hotel in Auckland.

This amazing value package is only $2,299 per person twin share land only. Valid for sales to July 15,2022 and valid for travel 01 July 2022 to 31 March 2023.

Call Spacifica Travel on 1800 800 722 and quote 23463.

Kokomo Island

Indulge in a whole new level of all-inclusive luxury at Kokomo Island where everything is taken care of the moment you set foot in Fiji. Reduced rates and  discount equal savings of $4995 per couple!

Spacifica Travel has a great deal for you including:

  • Return air transfers from Nadi airport to Kokomo Private Island,
  • 7 nights accommodation staying in a One Bedroom Sunrise Villa,
  • breakfast, lunch and dinner daily,
  • all non-alcoholic beverages,
  • 1 x 45 minute introductory Spa Treatment per adult, per stay OR 1 x tank scuba dive per adult, per stay,
  • use of all non-motorised water sports as well as selected motorised water sports, se of resort facilities and land based activities
  • laundry and pressing services.

This luxurious package is only $10,299 per person twin share land only. Valid for sales to July 15, 2022 and valid for travel 01 August to 31 March 20233.

Call Spacifica Travel on 1800 800 722 and quote 234643.

Islands of Tahiti

Take a cruise around the Islands of Tahiti but with a difference! See the Islands of Tahiti from a different view with a cruise onboard Aranui 5, the original cruise company of French Polynesia.

As described in detail in this feature, the Aranui 5 supplies the local population with food, medication, various materials, and plays an essential role in the Marquesans’ life.

Bask in the family-friendly atmosphere of the ship, witness the unloading of supplies; and during the organized stopovers, you will meet the local population and visit incredible places, steeped in history.

Take in the culture and have an adventure on this trip of a lifetime!

Spacifica Travel has a great deal for you including: 11 nights’ accommodation onboard Aranui 5 in a Stateroom, 3 meals per day including 1 x bottle of house wine per four passengers, scheduled shore excursions at every port with English speaking guides and fuel surcharge, port charges and tax.

This amazing value land only package is only $7,299 per person twin share, valid for sales to July 15, 2022 and valid for travel on set sailing dates – 05 November 2022, 19 November 2022, December03, 2022 and December 17, 2022.

Call Spacifica Travel on 1800 800 722 and quote 233840

Norfolk Island

Full of history and exciting stories, Norfolk Island is perfect for history buffs. Discover this exciting island with 7 nights’ accommodation, breakfast daily, car hire, Colleen McCullough tour, 1856 The Untold Story, two dinners and  8 bonus inclusions. SAVE $317!

Norfolk Island is packed with history. On this week-long holiday discover World Heritage Listed Kingston and  Arthur’s Vale, visit the home of Colleen McCullough, experience the 1856 The Untold Story, dress as a convict and join the Commandant for an evening of dinner and dance, and experience home cooked cuisine and the lovely Norfolk island hospitality during a progressive dinner to Norfolk Island family homes.

Stay at Governor’s Lodge in a stand-alone cabin and enjoy the freedom of your own car, so you can explore the island and at your own pace. Plus there’s 8 bonus inclusions!

Spacifica Travel has a great deal for you including:

  • Return airport transfers,
  • 7 nights’ accommodation at Governor’s Lodge in a One Bedroom Cabin with Balcony,
  • Breakfast daily,
  • 7 days car hire,
  • Colleen McCullough tour,
  • 1856 The Untold Story,
  • Progressive Dinner,
  • Night as a Convict,
  • Island Concierge Service,
  • Island Orientation Coach Tour,
  • History in the Making Tour,
  • World Heritage Norfolk History Tour,
  • Six DIY Tours,
  • Norf’k Laengwij Class,
  • The World of Norfolk Exhibit
  • Bounty Pass.

This amazing value package is only $1,699 per person, twin share, land only, valid for sale until July 31, 2022 and valid for travel July 18 to December 31 2022.

Call Spacifica Travel on 1800 800 722 and quote 234772.

For any or all of these deals visit www.spacificatravel.com.

Save $1000 on an NZ rail, sail and drive tour

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Save $1000 per person on an amazing rail, sail and drive tour of New Zealand. Was $4499 per person, now pay from $3499 per person as you celebrate the beauty of the South and North Islands in this extraordinary New Zealand holiday!

Fly to picturesque Queenstown, famously known as the adventure capital of New Zealand. Then drive to Milford Sound for the most spectacular way to explore the stunning region – overnighting aboard the Fiordland Navigator.

Cruise to the open sea with the nature guide and friendly crew, before anchoring for the night in sheltered Harrison Cove. Wildlife viewing opportunities and a special dinner are all part of the unforgettable experience.

Jump back in the car and head to Franz Josef Glacier where you have two nights to explore the lively town in the heart of the West Coast. Of course, the unmissable attraction is to get a good view of the famous 12km long glacier.

Next is another spellbinding highlight aboard one of the world’s great train journeys, the TranzAlpine Scenic Train. Travel across the South Island, from west to east, through Arthur’s Pass National Park and descend to the Canterbury Plains before arriving in Christchurch.

After time to explore the southern capital, it’s another thrilling journey, this time aboard the Coastal Pacific Train and interisland ferry from Christchurch to Wellington.

Travelling between Christchurch and Picton, the Coastal Pacific meanders breathtakingly close to the sea, where the roaring Pacific Ocean meets the rising Kaikōura mountains.

The Coastal Pacific isn’t just a scenic activity, combined with the Interislander Ferry it is the perfect way to connect between the South and North islands.

Enjoy two nights discover the highlights of Wellington, the Harbour Capital and board the Northern Explorer train bound for Auckland. Experience the extremes of New Zealand’s scenery, from the fertile farmlands of Waikato to the volcanic peaks of the Central Plateau and the sparkling Kapiti coast.

A three-night stay in Auckland caps off this breathtaking journey perfectly before it’s time to say Mā te wā Aotearoa – see you next time New Zealand!

Why you’ll love this trip:

  • Explore Milford Sound on the Fiordland Navigator, nothing compares to a night on the fjord
  • Stay 3 nights in Queenstown and 2 nights in Franz Josef and Christchurch
  • Enjoy the convenience of car hire to see more of the South Island
  • Travel on the world-famous TranzAlpine Scenic Train
  • Take an amazing ride on the heritage trams around Christchurch’s city loop
  • The Coastal Pacific and Interisland ferry connect the South and North islands
  • Discover the delights of Wellington and Auckland with extended stays & bus tours
  • Flights from Australia are included on this worry-free holiday!

Your Holiday Includes:

  • Flights – Return economy airfare to Queenstown & from Auckland
    • Fly from Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane (ask for other cities)
  • Car hire – 6 days Economy, automatic vehicle
    • Unlimited kilometres
    • Pick up Queenstown Airport, drop off Greymouth Rail Terminal
  • Accommodation – 12 nights in standard rooms, twin share
    • 3 nights Queenstown – Quest Hotel, Ramada Suites or Holiday Inn
    • 2 nights Franz Josef – Punga View or Glacier View Motel
    • 2 nights Christchurch – Quest on Manchester or Ramada Suites
    • 2 nights Wellington – Mercure Hotel or similar
    • 3 nights Auckland – Grand Central Serviced Apartments or similar
  • Cruise – 1 night aboard Fiordland Navigator, private cabin, twin share
    • 3-course dinner & cooked breakfast prepared by the onboard chef
    • Kayaking & tender boat activities (weather dependent)
  • Trains – TranzAlpine Scenic Train, one-way from Greymouth t0 Christchurch
    • Coastal Pacific Train, one-way from Christchurch to Picton
    • Northern Explorer Train, one-way from Wellington to Auckland
  • Ferry – Interislander Ferry connects with the Coastal Pacific, from Picton to Wellington
  • Sightseeing – Christchurch Hop On Hop Off Tram Tour
    • Wellington Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour
    • Auckland Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour

Departure Dates:

Departs Australia on Tuesdays, between the following dates:

2022 – 21 September to 31 December
2023 – 01 January to 11 May

High season surcharge of $300 per person applies from 10 December to 31 January and 1 to 25 April each year.

Contact: Australia & New Zealand Travel Company. Phone 1300 68910.  www.anztravelco.com.au

Singapore: You don’t have to be crazy … or rich

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It’s been four years since the movie Crazy Rich Asians took the world by storm but in the interim we’ve had two waves of covid during which travel to, through and from the smal, vibrant island nation came to a crashing halt, write Sue Williams.

The US$30 million movie centred around an ultra-lavish wedding and the razzle-dazzle flashiness that can be Singapore was beautifully showcased, from the party atop the landmark 57-level towers of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel to the helicopter sweep over the glistening modern city, from the stunning shopping malls to the elegance of Raffles Hotel.

It came too just as Singapore was proclaimed the most expensive city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2018 – and for the fifth year running.

And now that we can even think about visiting again, while it would be delightful to be crazy rich in Singapore, you didn’t need then to be wealthy to enjoy it as a tourist, and you still don’t. For the island nation feels strangely bi-polar and while maybe it’s still not the place for the crazy poor, the crazy not-so-rich can definitely have a brilliant time. 

And for seasoned travellers it has one thing going for it – it may rightly feel like you are truly in Asia but it is so indisputably clean and safe that you can totally relax.

Take the food, for example. The fine dining is very fine indeed, but the reason that many people very rarely eat at home is that eating out generally is so incredibly cheap.
Street food at any of the 100-plus hawker centres around the city, like the Chinatown Complex Food Centre with its 260 food stalls, the Maxwell Food Centre and Boon Tat Street aka ‘Satay Street’, is very good … and very, very cheap.

Singapore even has two food stalls with Michelin star ratings. Chicken rice – roasted chicken and white rice and pickles – at Hong Kong Soya Sauce starts at just A$3, and is billed as the cheapest Michelin-starred meal in the world.

Then there’s the accommodation. The top hotels are often better-priced than their equivalents around the world, like, for example, the stunning new Six Senses Duxton boutique hotel, with its Anouska Hempel-designed gold and black interiors, but at the other end of the scale, there’s also a wide choice. Dormitory accommodation starts at A$20 a night, and a 2.5-star hotel room at A$50.

Shopping too can be luxe – as in The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands or on the Orchard Road boulevard, considered Asia’s version of New York’s Fifth Avenue – but at lower-cost centres like the Chinatown Complex, you can pick up cotton shirts from A$3.50, wrap skirts from A$4.50 and all manner of bargain basement souvenirs.

Transport, in addition, is surprisingly well-priced. The trains are very, very cheap and even the taxis have fares probably a fifth of what you’d pay for a similar distance ride in Sydney or Melbourne.     

And then there’s what to see and do, and Singapore has more freebies here than almost any city I know.

At Marina Bay Sands, there’s the nightly outdoor light and water shows, while Supertree Grove next door, with their giant tree-like vertical gardens can be explored by day or by night when they’re lit up by their studding of thousands of photo-voltaic cells. Drone sweeps over the structures are product placement in Crazy Rich Asians, bar none

For kids, there’s also the free children’s garden with water play features, interactive games and educational programs in a lush green setting.

As far as culture goes, there’s free entry to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, a Tang-styled Chinese Buddhist temple built in 2007, with awe-inspiring art and cultural exhibits. One of Singapore’s oldest temples also offers free admission, the Hindu Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, dedicated to the goddess and destroyer of evil, Kali.

The iconic 70-tonne, 8.6-metre-high Merlion statue is another memorable sight, with water pouring from its mouth on the waterfront promenade, while on the other side of the water Helix Bridge, a curved bridge designed to resemble a DNA ladder, offers panoramic views of the city.

There’s so much both commercial and residential architecture to admire too, including the complete greenery-wrapped new 27-level Oasia Hotel Downtown and the 19th Century neoclassical former Catholic convent, with lawns, courtyards and marble fountains, which features in the movie as its wedding chapel.

The incredible gardens of Singapore always leave visitors awestruck. Gardens by the Bay, reclaimed land from the sea for a 101-hectare green oasis in the heart of the city, includes two massive, free-standing domes: the Flower Dome – the largest glass greenhouse in the world – and the Cloud Forest. While admission to the gardens is free, tickets to the two domes are just A$28 per adult.

In addition, the Singapore Botanic Gardens are free to visit and were recently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, with its 13 hectares of virgin rainforest, overgrown plantations, and National Orchid Garden. There’s also a treetop walk at the MacRitchie Reservoir, a free-standing, 250-metre-long suspension bridge 25 metres up from the forest floor.

There are always lots of free events as well. On Sundays, there’s a showcase of local musicians at the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, and Singapore has free festivals all year around, like the Hindu Deepavali from September to November 25, and events for Christmas which starts in mid-November.

One of the things I loved most about Singapore, and which won’t have changed, is wandering around the different neighbourhoods and people-watching.

Chinatown is a fabulous cultural enclave with a bustling, colourful mix of old and new, including night markets, spas, bakeries, bars and restaurants. Kampong Glam is the Malay-Arab quarter and has the old Royal Palace, the Sultan Mosque and the Tombs of the Malayan Princes.

Close by is Little India, a showcase of Indian heritage, food and clothing, while Koon Seng Road, Joo Chiat, is one of Singapore’s most historic areas and the preserve of its unique Peranakan culture, and is lined with colourful pre-war shophouses with ornate facades.

Finally, there are some lovely beaches. Sentosa Island has a number of the best, including Palawan, Siloso and Tanjong.

The latter was the scenic setting a friend’s real wedding, where she married her fiancé on the sand beneath a make-shift wooden arch decorated with flowers. It was nowhere near  a fraction of the cost of the Crazy Rich Asians’ wedding, but absolutely beautiful in its simplicity.

“You see,” she said to me the day after the ceremony as we went to eat some hawker food in Chinatown. “To have a good time in Singapore, you don’t have to be crazy rich. Of course, it would always help, but it can be just as beautiful on a budget.” I couldn’t help but agree.

  • Sue Williams stayed in Singapore as a guest of Six Senses Duxton, Singapore

TRIPNOTES

Covid: Having endured its own lockdowns, in recent months Singapore has transitioned to a new Vaccinated Travel Framework. If you’re fully vaccinated and haven’t visited a ‘Restricted Category’ destination, you can enter Singapore quarantine free. You no longer need a pre-departure test before travelling to Singapore. You’ll need to complete a Singapore Arrival Card. If you’re not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have received prior approval to enter Singapore, you’ll need travel insurance with a minimum coverage of SGD$30,000. You don’t need a pre-departure test to transit through Singapore. This information is subject to change but is valid as at June 24, 2022.

Fly: Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Scoot and Emirates are among the airlines flying regularly direct from Australian cities to Singapore

Stay: Six Senses Duxton, 83 Duxton Road, Singapore,  a new boutique heritage hotel in Chinatown. Phone (+65) 6914 1428. See sixsenses.com/hotels/duxton/destination

More Information: visitsingapore.com; traveller.com.au/singapore

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Kids stay for free in the NSW Outback these winter school holidays

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Two of the top accommodation parks in the NSW Outback are offering free camping or caravanning for kids these winter school holidays.

The billabong-fringing Warrawong on the Darling outback retreat near Wilcannia and the dune-nestled Broken Hill Outback Resort – both owned by Out of the Ordinary Outback – are extending the special offer to families keen to take their clan on a roadtripping caravan or camping safari through the easily accessible and close-to-home NSW Outback these winter school holidays in July. 

Winter is the perfect time to explore the outback of NSW, with mild sunny days enhancing the region’s far horizons, open, rugged spaces and big skies.

Including the free rates for kids, a family of four can camp or stay in their caravan these winter school holidays from $40 per night per for an unpowered site and $50 per night for a powered site at the Warrawong on the Darling retreat and at the Broken Hill Outback Resort.

Also – Special Offer to Stay Underground in the Outback

In addition, Out of the Ordinary Outback’s world-renowned White Cliffs Underground Motel – Australia’s largest underground accommodation – has a half-price offer for stays this June and July. Stay for one night for $190 per couple (including continental buffet breakfast) and stay a second night for half price while you explore the wild cowboy-like opal mining hamlet of White Cliffs. Enjoy the daily specials at the motel’s own restaurant, buy a bottle of wine and toast the sunset and the starry skies from the motel’s earthy roof elevated above the town.  For stays this June and July.

Book direct through Out of the Ordinary Outback on 1300 679 688 or visit www.outoftheordinaryoutback.com.au

Out of the Ordinary Outback owns seven properties in far west NSW – Broken Hill Outback Resort as well as The Argent Motel and The Tourist Lodge – both in Broken Hill, and the Copper City Motel/Hotel in Cobar, Warrawong on the Darling at Wilcannia, the Ivanhoe Hotel Motel and the famous White Cliffs Underground Motel.

www.outoftheordinaryoutback.com.au

Norwegian Cruise Line sails back to Asia

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SYDNEY (24 June 2022)Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the self-styled innovator in global cruise travel with a 55-year history of breaking boundaries, will return to Asia for the 2023-2024 cruise season, featuring 12 immersive and port-rich sailings ranging from 10- to 12-days on board Norwegian Jewel as well as a 16-day Extraordinary Journey from Seattle, Washington (U.S.) to Tokyo, Japan.

The extensive season will operate from October 2023 to March 2024 and will see a vast choice of departure ports including Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan; Taipei (Keelung); Singapore; Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Malaysia; Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Thailand; Benoa, Bali; and Seoul (Incheon), South Korea.

In addition, the Company will make “Brand first” visits to four ports in the region including Puerto Princesa, Boracay, Salomague and Hualien, where travellers will explore the natural beauty and rich culture of the Philippines and Taiwan.

Norwegian Jewel returns to Asia for her second successful season in the region following a 16-day repositioning cruise from Seattle, Washington (U.S.)  to Tokyo, Japan via the wilds of Alaska. Her port-intensive Asia itineraries mostly include less than two sea-days per cruise as well as multiple late-night departures and overnight calls on select itineraries in Osaka, Japan; Singapore; and Phuket, Thailand.

Almost all cruises are open-jaw, allowing travellers to bookend their voyage with land explorations in different exotic destinations.

“We’re thrilled to return to Asia and to reaffirm our commitment to one of the most sought-after cruise destinations around the world,” said Harry Sommer, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We couldn’t be more pleased to make our long-awaited return to this uniquely diverse and culturally rich region with Norwegian Jewel, a ship we already know is incredibly popular in Asia.”

Asia’s energetic cities, lush green landscapes and idyllic tropical islands are best explored by sea. Whether guests are seeking to couple the culinary delights of Japan with the bright lights of Taipei, or an island-exploration of Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, visiting jewels such as Langkawi, Lombok and Phuket, NCL’s Asia program on board Norwegian Jewel offers travellers diverse itineraries together with the freedom to fully immerse themselves in the destination.

On board Norwegian Jewel, guests can enjoy numerous amenities including action-packed activities at the outdoor Sports Complex, high energy Zumba® and Flywheel Sports® classes, and multiple uniquely themed bars and lounges, including Bliss Ultra Lounge where guests can dance the night away.

Norwegian Jewel, with a guest capacity of 2,376, also offers some of the largest suites at sea with staterooms that accommodate every style and budget. The ship also offers a Haven Deluxe Owner’s Suite that features the most luxurious, well-appointed accommodations on board, including a 24-hour butler service.