Category Archives:Latest goss

Hats Off to New Qantas Uniform

If you haven’t seen or heard about the new Qantas uniform launched yesterday, 17 April, you either didn’t login to Facebook or you slept all day.

The much talked about uniform unveiled by Aussie-superstar, Miranda Kerr, has overall been very well received – if social media is anything to go by.

Qantas' new uniform
Qantas’ new uniform

All 12,400 crew members will be wearing the uniform, designed by Australian designer Martin Grant, from early 2014.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said he was proud to launch a new

uniform design for Qantas – the first in ten years.

‘After an extensive selection and design process, Martin Grant has created a uniform that is fresh, modern and bold – a uniform that our employees are going to enjoy wearing,’ he said.

Fifte

en types of fabric and a blend of French navy suiting, white shirts and variations of the Qantas red and fuschia pink feature across the 35-garment collection.

Female employees will wear a combination of a dress, tops, a suit and a trench overcoat, accompanied by a stylish scarf and a trilby hat in a knitted fabric made from recycled bottle tops. The male suiting is neat and structured.

Are you looking forward to seeing the uniform in action?

 

Melbourne Airport Hotel Among World’s Best

When you’re flying into a new and exciting destination the last thing you want to do is sleep at the airport. Most airports are surrounded by freeways, drive-thrus and vast expanses of deserted land, which isn’t really the experience you travelled there for.

However, sometimes you have no choice but to stay at an airport hotel (other than to try catch a few winks in the departure lounge). And if it has to be done, you might as well do it right!

Melbourne’s Park Royal Hotel, situated at the Tullamarine Airport, was named Best Airport Hotel Australia/Pacific for the second year running at the 2013 World Airport Awards.

The best airport hotel award, based on nominations by 1.35 million airport hotel guests worldwide, evaluates 16 key performance indicators including comfort and cleanliness, food and beverages, and ease of transfer.

The overall winner of Best Airport came as no surprise. Singapore’s city-in-itself Changi Airport took out the top prize, followed by Incheon International Airport (last year’s winner).

For more awards visit www.worldairportawards.com – the perfect tool to help you decide where to make a stopover on your next trip!

What’s the best airport hotel you’ve ever stayed at?

Tiger Roars into Alice Springs

For many of us, Alice Springs and the surrounding area is somewhere we’d love to visit but back out when we see the flight prices. Now, budget airline Tiger Airways is hoping to once again provide a much cheaper gateway to one of the country’s most iconic regions.

One of the world's most iconic landmarks
One of the world’s most iconic landmarks

From today, Tiger Airways will resume flight into Alice Springs, with four services a week from both Sydney and Melbourne. Best of all, flights are now on sale from $59.95 each way (excluding booking fees).

NT Airports Director of Airline and Airport Services, Jim Parashos, said the return of Tiger Airways to Central Australia was exciting news for tourism operators in the region.

‘Visitors once again have that cost-effective option for exploring Alice Springs and the Red Centre,’ he said. ‘This is a development that presents huge opportunities for the local tourism industry.’

What you need to know:

–          Four weekly return services between Melbourne and Alice Springs launch today and are on sale today from midday (AEST) from $59.95 each way.

–          Flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays depart from Melbourne at around 9am and return from Alice Springs at around midday.

–          Four weekly return services between Sydney and Alice Springs launch today and are on sale from midday (AEST) today until midday tomorrow from $59.95. 

–          Flights are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and depart Sydney early in the morning (at around 6:40am) and return from Alice Springs mid -morning (around 10am).

Visit www.tigerairways.com for more information and to book.

Will this entice you to the Red Centre?

 

Barbie’s Dreamhouse search heads down under

As if her Malibu beach house wasn’t enough, the world’s most famous doll is heading down to Australia in search for a new home.

Barbie will arrive in Sydney via private jet today to take front row at CAMILLA AND MARC’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week show.

Leaving Ken behind to look after things in California, Barbie will be accompanied by model/tv presenter Rachel Finch as she spends four days touring the country.BRIDGECLIMB copy

Barbie’s personal realtor, Josh Altman (Foxtel’s Million Dollar Listing), has prepared a shortlist of new Dreamhouses in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

You can can get involved in the fun by photobombing your pics with a Barbie doll and posting it online with the hashtags #BarbieisMoving and #Australia. You can also follow Barbie’s adventures by following Tourism Australia’s social media channels.

Mattel® Marketing Director for Australia, Amanda Allegos, said: ‘Barbie has a very hectic schedule – so for her to visit Australia is fantastic and a great reward for all the Aussie fans. We are very excited about her arrival and showing her some Aussie hospitality.’

 

Would you share your travel secrets?

Well, hundreds of Australians shared theirs with Australian Traveller magazine who have compiled a list of Australia’s 100 Best Travel Secrets.

And unlike most ‘secret’ lists, there really are lots of surprises in this one that will inspire you to stay in Australia for your holiday this year.

As well as over 1,000 nominations from the magazine’s readers, a panel of 11 travel experts, including Dr Chris Brown, Kate Ritchie and Sonya Kruger, helped decide the final list.

Among the surprises on the list were Wilpena Pond in South Australia — a near perfect oval that is large enough to fit six Ulurus, and the ‘ultimate secret treehouse’, which has been revealed in the Blue Mountains.

 The full list is available in a special collector’s edition of Australian Traveller on sale April 3, but here are the top 10 to whet your appetite:

Top 10 Best Secrets in Australia

1. White’s Beach, Byron Bay, NSW

2. Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges, SA

3. Swimming with Minke Whales, QLD

4. Baird Bay Eco Experience, SA

5. Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa, NSW

6. Cape Range National Park, WA

7. Shelly Beach near Manly, NSW

8. Karijini National Park, WA

9. Paperbark Camp, NSW

10. Secret Bush Camps of Arnhemland, NT

How many have you been to?

Airline Charges by the Kilo – and not just for luggage…

We’re used to arguing over charges for overweight luggage, but one airline now overweight passengers to cough up.

In a change that has shocked some and been praised by others, Samoa Air’s new ‘pay by weight’ booking system now requires passengers to declare their weight when booking flights.

Rates range from $1 up to $4.16 per kilogram and CEO Chris Langton said it was the concept of the future.

‘Anyone who travels at times has felt they have been paying for half of the passenger next to them,’ he said to ABC Radio.

‘The standard width and pitch of the seat are changing as people are getting a bit bigger wider and taller than they were 40-50 years ago.’

While those that sit on the heavier end of the scales might not be impressed by this method of pricing, families are praising the innovative move.

No longer are small children charged the same price for a seat as an adult – instead, their parents just have to pay for them based on weight.

It will be interesting to see if any other airlines roll this out.

Do you think this is fair?

All aboard: Would you set sail on Titanic II?

It might just be me, but if I’m going to board a cruiseship, I wouldn’t want it to have any connections with the Titanic. However, 100 years after it sank, an Australian billionaire is having a replica of the original  ship made.

The first blueprints and detailed look at what the new and improved (you’d hope so!) Titanic
II will look like are to be launched at a gala dinner in New York.

Professor Clive Palmer, chairman of Blue Star Line cruiseships said he plans to recreate the original Titanic’s maiden voyage and sail his ship from Southampton to New York – hopefully with more success this time.

“Titanic was a ship of dreams and Titanic II will be the ship where the dreams come true,” Professor Clive Palmer.

It is hoped that Titanic II will set sail in 2016.

To stay up-to-date on the project, register your interest at www.bluestarline.com.au.

titanic2

 

How to Get Cheap Flights

At least weekly I get a call or message from a family member, friend or even a friend of a friend asking how I get such cheap flights. For example, I’m flying Melbourne-Hawaii this May for $300 return (average is around $1200).

Unfortunately deals like that are pretty rare – otherwise we’d all be saying Aloha – but there are some steps that you can take to make sure you are getting the best price for your flights.

So for the sake of not having to repeat myself for the rest of the year – here is my method for cheap flights – I’ll call it ‘The Jenny Method‘ (not sure it’ll catch on….).

1. I always start by checking www.skyscanner.net. You can use this site from anywhere in the world and it brings up the best deals from all the different airlines.

When you’ve searched for your chosen dates, look for the button that says ‘Flexible?’ to see how much you can save by flying a few days earlier or later; it also gives options for other airports nearby.

2. I want to reiterate the importance of checking dates around your preferred time (when possible). Sometimes just flying a day earlier or later can save you hundreds of dollars.

3. If your flight has two or more sectors, check the price of each sector to work out if it’s cheaper to buy the flights separately. I find that this is a particularly good option when flying somewhere like Europe or Asia, as internal flights are very cheap.

For example, if you want to fly to Chiang Mai, Thailand it usually works out cheaper to fly direct to Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur and then buy a cheap internal flight through Air Asia or Tiger Airways.

(My flight to Krabi from KL was just $23)

Get creative and play around with flight options.

4. Check the individual airlines websites for prices (generally they’re the same, but occassionally you’ll find a cheaper deal)

5. Don’t dismiss your travel agent. We all know they charge a commission and are trained to get as much money out of you as possible, but if you play the game right you can get the cheapest flights out there.

Flight Centre, which is a common sight in most major cities, offers a price-beat guarantee (in Australia it’s $50), which means you can take any quoted price, including online, into them and they will beat that price by $50. If they can’t – you get a voucher. So it’s a win-win situation really 🙂

And there you have it – it’s simple really! The key is to do your research before buying – always shop around so you won’t kick yourself when you find a cheaper price a week later 🙂

Record Breaking Year for Vanuatu Tourism

There’s no doubting that Vanuatu has long been one of the South Pacific’s best-kept secrets – but judging by this latest news, it looks like the secret’s out.

Vanuatu saw a 15% increase in visitors in 2012 – an increase of more than 7,000 visitors since 2011. Arriving in Vanuatu via cruise ship seems to be the hip thing to do – as there were 41% more arrivals by cruiseliners in 2012 compared to 2011. And let’s be honest – what better way to arrive on this tropical nation?!

The majority of visitors to Vanuatu come from one of its closest neighbours – Australia – but it is growing in popularity with visitors from all around the world.

Look out for a collection of in-depth Vanuatu travel guides coming to TravelGoss soon!

 

Hotel Special Offer: Go to Goa

If you haven’t set the Indian state of Goa in your sights, well, you should. With warm weather all year round, a rich history and fantastic Portugeuese-inspired cuisine and lifestyle, it’s a hidden gem for those looking for somewhere unique to visit.

Although it does attract a large amount of tourists every year, it is still relatively untouristy in comparison to places such as Phuket or Hawaii.

If you are already planning on visiting Goa before the end of May, we got our hands on a fantastic hotel deal.

Opening its doors on March 1 2013, the brand-spanking new Swissôtel Goa is offering 25% off stays of two nights or more until May 31. The deal also includes complimentary buffet breakfast and a three-course dinner each day and late check out until 4pm.

The hotel is situated in Calangute, one of the most popular tourist areas of Northern Goa – just 16km from the capital city of Panaji.

To reserve this deal, visit www.swissotel.com/hotels/goa or email [email protected]

Have you been to Goa? What are your recommendations?

Get High in Alaska

No, not that type of high. This year is the 100th celebration of the ascension of North America’s highest peak – Mount McKinley.

To celebrate, Alaskan tourism is running a wide range of events to further tempt you to visit the USA’s coldest state. And don’t worry, you don’t have to climb the peak to join in the celebrations!

Throughout 2013 there will be a variety of events, exhibitions and special tours to celebrate the stunning peak – as well as it’s surrounding 6 million acre park.

If you already have a trip booked to Alaska and you’ll be there between now and March 17, head up to Alaska’s own Christmas village – the town of North Pole – for the 2013 International Federation of Sleddog Sports Winter World Championship dog races.

For more information, visit www.sleddogsport.net (and send us some pics if you go!).

Marine Highway Ferry
Marine Highway Ferry, Alaska

Qantas Most On-time Domestic Airline

It may have had its fair share of bad headlines in the past few years, so Australia’s national airline Qantas will be happy with this more redeeming news.

The airline was named as the most punctual domestic airline for both departures and arrivals, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.

It also had the least number of cancellations.

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said the company was incredibly proud of their performance and said they had put a lot of time and resources into it.

“Qantas makes a significant investment in improving our punctuality and the effort our crews put in during 2012 is clear to see,” Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO.

So despite it generally being the most expensive domestic airline to fly – you can’t put a price on getting to where you want to go, when you want to be there!

 

Australia’s Best Health Retreats

Whatever your health issues, whether its stress, weight loss or you simply need to cleanse your mind– sometimes the best medicine is to get away. Below we shall look at four of Australia’s best health retreat destinations for uninterrupted, healing bliss.

Golden Door Retreats – Hunter Valley and Queensland

Golden Door has two health retreats and three spas across Queensland and New South Wales.

Enjoy at treatment at the Gold Door Retreat
Enjoy a relaxing treatment at the Gold Door Retreat

Situated in the picturesque Hunter Valley is The Golden Door – Elysia, one of Australia’s best health retreats. The retreat runs a range of relaxing health and wellness programs to unveil “a healthier, happier and motivated you.” There are weekend, 3-day, 5-day and 7-day packages to choose from as well as single treatments.

The Golden Door Health Retreat Queensland boasts an unrivalled location in the heart of the state’s Hinterland, just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Surfer’s Paradise.  Spoil yourself with their exquisite menu of spa treatments such as a Hawaiian lomi lomi massage, reiki, herbal volcanic heat wrap and organic body revitaliser.

Links:

Samadhi Spa and Wellness Retreat – Daylesford, Victoria

Regularly listed in the top 10 Australian health retreats, Samadhi Spa and Wellness Retreat offer the ultimate relaxation and indulgence experience.

Samadhi Retreat is situated just outside of the picture-perfect town of Daylesford in Country Victoria. You can choose to visit for as little as a half or full day with packages such as: ‘Half Day Balanced Lifestyle Retreat’, which includes guided meditation, therapeutic massage, use of the spa and more; or try the ‘Full Day Rejuvenation Retreat’ and spoil yourself with an invigorating head and scalp massage, oriental butterfly eye treatment and more.

Samadhi Retreat: Life doesn't get much better than this!
Samadhi Retreat: Life doesn’t get much better than this!

For longer stays, accommodation is everything and more that you’d expect from this world-class retreat. Think peaceful, tranquil and simple décor in amongst quaint lush gardens.

Gaia Retreat – Byron Bay, NSW

Where better place to go to de-stress than the beautiful Byron Bay? As one of the most relaxed regions in Australia, it seems fitting to have one of the best health retreats there.

Gaia Retreat is co-owned by Australian icon – Olivia Newton John – and its isolated location in the stunning hinterland is ideal for helping you achieve all of your health and wellbeing goals.

There are both day spa and longer packages available at Gaia Retreat. The staff can create a personalised program for you depending on your goals – be it to get fit, lose weight or detoxify yourself.

Let your worries melt away in the salt water pool or spa while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you, or wake up to morning yoga, Pilates or meditation class.

Ki Health Retreat – Kangaroo Island, SA

The final top Australian destination on our list is Ki Health Retreat, situated on the idyllic Kangaroo Island off the south coast of South Australia.

Ki Health Retreat is more about healing and less about pampering than many of the other health retreats in Australia. You’ll be expected to follow strict regimes, but can expect outstanding results by the end of your program.

All programs last for 6 nights and you can choose from either a Dynamic or Moderate Detox program. Private rooms with views of Emu Bay are included as well as a range of fitness classes, meditation sessions, cooking classes, a deep tissue massage and more.

You’ll have to book flights to Kangaroo Island to get to the retreat, so ensure you plan ahead.

Family friendly holidays in America

North America is such a wonderfully huge and diverse part of the world that you’re almost too spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a holiday destination for you and your family. No matter what time of year you visit you’ll find world-class beaches, ski slopes, theme parks and more – making North America the perfect choice for your next family holiday. We take a look at our top five child-friendly destinations in North America.

Orlando, Florida

Orlando Florida is every kid’s dream holiday destination. Home to some of the world’s biggest and most exciting theme parks – a trip to Orlando is a sure fire way of winning over some brownie points from your kids.

Disney World, Florida - every kids dream!
Disney World, Florida – every kids dream!

There are dozens of hotels and resorts to choose from – specifically catering for families – including resorts within the theme parks themselves for the ultimate child-friendly getaway.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

What child (or adult) wouldn’t love to visit a town that is entirely based around chocolate? You may think it sounds like something out of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – but it is indeed a reality in the small town of Hershey in Pennsylvania, where even the lampposts are in the shape of Hershey’s popular ‘Kisses’.

Hershey Chocolate World is a chocolate lovers dream come true – a theme park based around the famous American chocolate brand. Take a ride on the log flume ride and grab a free Hershey chocolate bar for you and your kids at the end.

British Columbia, Canada

If you want to take your children on their first trip to the slopes, then the beautiful region of British Columbia in Canada has a wonderful range of child-friendly options.

One of the best for young children is Big White ski resort, which includes a highly recommended ‘Tot Town Day Care’ for children who are too young to ski as well as a Kids’ Centre for kids over the age of four years. So you can rest assured that even if you’re hitting the slopes – the kids will still be kept entertained.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

No matter what age you are – the Grand Canyon is a spectacular site to see. There aren’t many historical sites that will leave your children speechless, but the Grand Canyon is one of them.

The Grand Canyon is amazing no matter how old you are
The Grand Canyon is amazing no matter how old you are

One of the best places to stay while exploring the Grand Canyon region is Flagstaff – a small historic town that will make you feel like you’ve just stepped onto the set of a Hollywood western movie. From there it is just a short two-hour drive to the Canyon where you can either enjoy the view from the top or take a walk or donkey ride down to the bottom.

San Diego, California

If the bright lights and crazy lifestyle of Los Angeles is all too much for you and your kids, then San Diego is a perfect alternative. A much more child-friendly Californian destination, San Diego has some of the USA’s top family tourist attractions.

San Diego Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in the world. Home to thousands of different animals the zoo is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. Take your kids to the popular Children’s Zoo where they can get hands-on with a range of exciting animals such as spider monkeys and watch animal feedings.

Other popular attractions in San Diego include Legoland, Sea World, San Diego Wild Animal Park and more.

Yosemite National Park, Utah

For families who are looking for some natural excitement from their holiday – Yosemite National Park will provide you with an unforgettable experience. The park is the third most visited in the USA with over 4 million visitors every year – a large number of which are families.

You’ll find a good selection of outdoor activities to take part in such as horseback riding or rock climbing – or simply put on your walking shoes and take in the dramatic scenery. Although many of the walks and trails may not be very suitable for young children – it is a good choice for adventurous older children.

 

 

 

Travel Asia with Kids

When you’re heading overseas with your children you want to make sure they will both be safe and have a great time. Asia is a beautiful region of the world and a great way for your kids to experience a different culture. Check out our top five for inspiration.

Phuket, Thailand

One of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, the southern Thailand island of Phuket has something to offer every visitor. Not only does it boast some of the most beautiful beaches in the world but there are endless activities and sites to see.

You and the kids will love exploring the coastline in a traditional Long-tail boat
You and the kids will love exploring the Phuket coastline in a traditional Long-tail boat

Whatever age your kids are there is little chance of them getting bored in Phuket. Although you should always take precautions wherever you travel to, Phuket is considered to be very safe for young visitors.

There are hundreds of resorts to choose from on Phuket island, many of which are specifically designed with kids in mind. Some of the activities they can get involved in include: elephant rides, boat cruises, banana boat rides, snorkeling, swimming and more.

Bali, Indonesia

In a similar way to Phuket, Bali is a destination for everyone. Hundreds of thousands of Australians head to the Indonesian island of Bali each year and despite the cultural differences it caters perfectly for families and other foreign visitors.

Activities are wide ranging and include visits to monkey sanctuaries, cultural sites, beaches, watersports and more. Bali is the perfect way to introduce your children to the traditional Indonesian culture while still giving them access to the modern amenities they are used to.

Disneyland, Hong Kong

Every kid dreams of going on holiday to Disneyland – and they’ll be thanking you forever if you take them there. One of the world’s newest Disneyland theme parks opened in 2005 in Hong Kong. Built on the stunning Lantau Island, Disneyland Hong Kong has a similar layout to other parks around the world – with four different areas: Main St. USA, Tomorrowland, Adventureland and Fantasyland.

Disneyland, Hong Kong
Disneyland, Hong Kong

Although it can be somewhat pricey, you can treat the family to a stay in one of the two resorts that are situated inside the theme park: Disney’s Hollywood Hotel and Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. The theme park is so huge that you can spend several days there before the kids will even begin to get bored. You can then treat yourself to a day of shopping and pampering in the cosmopolitan city of Hong Kong!

Beijing, China

Beijing is one of the oldest cities in the world – but that doesn’t mean it’s only full of cultural and historical activities that the kids will probably not enjoy. China’s capital is one of the world’s most modern and cosmopolitan cities – particularly since the Olympics.

Beijing has a huge range of world-class activities that the kids will love. Take them to Fundazzle – an indoor playground that will keep younger children entertained for hours; or spend the day at Beijing’s largest amusement park – Shijingsham Amuerment Park.

Other great activities for the kids include: Milu Park (a wildlife sanctuary); Le Cool (indoor ice-skating rink); and Splash Recreation Club (indoor and outdoor swimming pools).

Taiwan

Taiwan is a little discussed place when it comes to family holidays – with most people travelling to its much

Enjoy the colourful Dragonboat Festival in Taiwan
Enjoy the colourful Dragonboat Festival in Taiwan

larger neighbour, China. However, Taiwan is full of surprises and offers you all the exotic offerings of popular Asian tourist resorts with less crowds and cheaper prices.

Taiwan is a very picturesque country with a wonderful range of wildlife and cultural activities that children of all ages will enjoy. The country is also renowned for being one of the safest destinations in Asia – which is very important when choosing a holiday destination for your family.

5 Shocking Eco-UNfriendly Holidays

In the past couple of decades we have become increasingly concerned about how our actions are affecting the Earth both for us and for future generations. Eco-tourism is a hot topic at the moment, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the most shocking eco-unfriendly holidays.

Four-Wheel Driving Holidays

Many people who head overseas like to hire a big 4-wheel drive vehicle for taking them around the sites. While they may be very practical, they are causing tremendous damage to the environment. Sometimes 4-wheel drive vehicles are necessary to be able to see some of the most isolated regions of the world, so it can be a difficult decision. These types of vehicles use up huge amounts of gas – so if you have to use one you should find a model that is as fuel efficient as possible.

Don’t drive 4-wheel drives when it’s unnecessary – such as around the streets of a city – swap them for a smaller, more fuel-efficient car or even a hybrid.

4x4 driving
4×4 driving is not Mother Nature’s best friend

Arriving by Plane

By far the most eco-unfriendly way to travel is by plane. The carbon footprint you leave after even a short flight is immense, however unfortunately it is often the only way we can get to many destinations. Why not try taking a holiday somewhere closer to home where you can drive or catch a train to? The Earth will thank you.

Skydiving Holidays

Skydiving may seem like a harmless adventure activity, but every time a plane takes a new person up it is using large amounts of fuel that are undoubtedly damaging to the environment. For a more eco-friendly thrill, try Base jumping.

Ski Resort Holidays

Recent studies have shown that many of the world’s ski resorts are causing huge damage to the surrounding environments. Although ski resorts are starting to respond to the concern of their patrons, most still have a long way to go.

Skiing is damaging to wildlife – as it disturbs their natural habitat. Additionally, the way that ski resorts flatten the ski runs changes the way vegetation grows and also involves chopping down trees.

It looks beautiful now...
It looks beautiful now…

Before booking a ski holiday, make sure your resort is making changes to ensure it is causing minimal damage to the environment.

Space Shuttle Flights

While this may not be an issue right now – it may certainly cause concern in the near future. As the launch (excuse the pun) of space shuttle flights for tourists is fast approaching, environmentalists are becoming increasingly worried about the effects it will have on the Earth. The main damage is done during the launch – which requires millions of gallons of fuel to get the rocket off the ground; imagine this on a regular basis.