Monday, 18 December 2017

#CadelRoadRace winners to return, as Swisse People's Ride welcomes thousands

Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb) and Annemiek van Vlueten (ORICA-SCOTT) will return to Melbourne and Victoria to defend their titles at the 2018 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb) and Annemiek van Vlueten (ORICA-SCOTT) will return to Melbourne and Victoria to defend their titles at the 2018 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

Arndt, 26, recorded his fifth professional win in the 2017 edition of the UCI WorldTour Elite Men’s Race after staging an incredible comeback.

After being distanced on the Challambra Crescent climb, Arndt said this week the stoic victory in the modern-day classic was: “The biggest win of my career”.

“It’s very physical, it’s a hard race, it’s the perfect race. I’m training hard already, preparing well and looking forward to getting the chance to defend it,” he said.

Australian cycling fans will be especially thrilled to see the German powerhouse return after his instrumental support of Australian teammate Michael Matthews to win the Green Jersey in this year’s Tour de France.

Although Arndt’s elevated reputation in peloton now attracts more attention.

“Everyone will make it a bit harder for me [at the 2018 Cadel Road Race]. Everyone knows of me more, so they will try to attack me. That’s what I expect but, so far, I’m in good shape and I will go for it,” Arndt said.

With the Deakin University Elite Women’s Race also being elevated to UCI 1.1 classification next year, the lineup in 2018 will be the best yet.

The return of the world’s fastest woman in cycling, van Vleuten, is exciting for fans and organisers alike. The Dutch star became the 2017 World Time Trial Champion in September – just 13 months after crashing heavily in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games road race.

After winning gold in Norway, the 34-year-old said: “The downs make the ups even more beautiful. [Winning the world title] after crashing in Rio makes the story really special.”

The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race also features opportunities for the whole family, with the 2018 Swisse People’s Ride returning.

Register for the 35km, 65km or 111km course to ride with Cadel Evans, Australia’s only Tour de France winner and three-time Tour de France champion, Greg LeMond.

One of the most popular aspects of the Swisse People’s Ride is starting and finishing at the same race day precinct as some of the world’s best cyclists.

After the ride, sit back and recover while watching the Deakin University Elite Women’s Race, and return the next day to see the UCI WorldTour Elite Men’s Race cap off Australia’s ultimate cycling weekend.

Every rider receives an exclusive 2018 Swisse People’s Ride Santini Jersey, valued at $A129.95.

The lightweight, breathable and antibacterial jersey is packed with the same performance technologies as those worn by the pros.

INTERNATIONAL TOURISTS BRING BILLIONS TO NSW

NSW continues to lead the nation in attracting overseas visitors and the tourist dollar, according to new figures released this week by Tourism Research Australia.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said visitor expenditure in NSW was at an all-time high with record spending fuelling the State’s visitor economy.

“A total of 4.1 million people visited NSW from overseas in the past 12 months, and they spent a record $10.4 billion during their stay,” Mr Marshall said.

“NSW is the first Australian State to ever achieve these numbers.

“Rural and regional NSW recorded significant growth in both international visitors and expenditure over the last year, with 832,000 visitors who spent $1.1 billion – a growth of 30 per cent over the last 12 months.

“More visitors to our regions means stronger local economies, and I look forward to continuing to boost our efforts to drive the dispersal of international visitors beyond the fringes of Sydney and into rural and regional areas.”

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said, “These figures confirm that NSW’s strategic marketing and travel trade partnerships, combined with our world-class tourism attractions and major events, continue to make NSW a first choice for travellers from around the world.”

Find out more.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

QT WOOS CHEF FROM NEW YORK

Diners at Gowings Bar & Grill at QT Sydney will be taken on a culinary journey this Summer with the recent appointment of guest chef, Jean-Paul Lourdes.

Fresh from New York’s Nomad restaurant, Lourdes joins Gowings Bar & Grill for the season and is inspiring the restaurant’s culinary team to create delicious plates through collaborations with some of Australia’s best provedores, in addition to the favourite dishes that have earned Gowings its excellent reputation.

BOOK HERE

Saturday, 16 December 2017

DAVIS CUP RETURNS TO BRISBANE

The highly anticipated clash between Australia and Germany in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group First Round will be held on hard court at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane, Queensland from 2 to 4 February 2018.

The blockbuster is expected to pit two of the world’s most talented young players against each other, Australia’s own Nick Kyrgios up against Germany’s Alexander Zverev, the current world No.4, as they battle it out for national glory.

Kyrgios led Australia to its second Davis Cup semifinal in three years in Brisbane in April and will hope to use the home ground advantage to go one better in 2018.

Zverev, who has had his best year on tour winning 55 matches and five titles including two ATP Masters 1000 trophies, will play at Pat Rafter Arena for the first time.

Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt believes Brisbane will give the Aussies the best possible start to their 2018 campaign.

“The team always enjoys playing at Pat Rafter Arena and Australia’s had a lot of Davis Cup success there in the past,” Hewitt said.

“Both Jordan Thompson and Nick Kyrgios performed at the highest level to ensure we could get the win over the United States and move through to the semis last year.

“Our tie against Germany will be no mean feat and the boys will need to be in their very best form, potentially up against the likes of Sascha and Mischa Zverev, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Jan-Lennard Struff.”

Tennis Queensland President Mark Bloomfield is pleased the Queensland Tennis Centre has the opportunity to host another hotly contested tie.

“We are delighted Pat Rafter Arena has been chosen yet again to host a Davis Cup World Group tie,” Bloomfield said.

“We look forward to welcoming both the Aussie and German teams in February and we hope the boys can clinch the win.”

February’s tie is proudly supported by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, as part of the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

Three-day tickets go on sale Wednesday 13 December 2017 via Ticketek.

Tickets are $150 for adults, $25 for children and $325 for a family pass.

Team nominations will be announced 10 days out from the tie.

Tie fast facts
• It will be the fourth time a Davis Cup tie, the second in 12 months, will be hosted at Pat Rafter Arena
• The last time the two nations played was in 2012 when Germany won a World Group Play-off tie 3-2 in Hamburg
• Australia leads the head-to-head between the two nations 4-3
• Germany won their most important battle, the 1993 Davis Cup Final in Dusseldorf
• The winner of this tie will face the winner of Great Britain and Spain in the quarterfinals from 6 to 8 April 2018
• Australia has reached the Davis Cup semifinals in two of the last three years
• Germany are aiming to win a first round tie for just the second time since 2011.

Carnival Cruise Line backs winning talent line-up for 2018 Melbourne Cup cruise

Carnival Cruise Line is already gearing up to host its next Melbourne Cup cruise with a number of Australian racing legends confirmed to join guests onboard Carnival Spirit in 2018.

A mix of racing talent and experts will accompany cruisers onboard, hosting a range of popular events in the build-up to the Cup, including Q&As, photo opportunities with the Cup, racing trivia, fashion parades, millinery workshops and betting masterclasses.

Confirmed to board Carnival Spirit for the Melbourne Cup 2018 sailing are:
  • Former sports broadcaster and racing enthusiast, Damian Kelly, will board Carnival Spirit as the official Master of Ceremonies for 2018, hosting an array of racing events on board to ensure the cruise is a holiday to remember.
  • Darren ‘The Gauch’ Gauci, one of Australia’s most successful jockeys, with over 2500 wins to his name, will give cruisers a look behind the scenes of riding in the Melbourne Cup.Wendy Green, owner of 1999 Melbourne Cup winning horse, Rogan Josh, will board Carnival Spirit with her Melbourne Cup trophy to share her inspiring story and give racing enthusiasts the ultimate photo opportunity.
  • The “voice of Victorian Racing” for 36 years and renowned Melbourne Cup race caller, Greg Miles OAM, will make hearts gallop as he runs a Phantom Race Call featuring the legends of the last 24 Melbourne Cups. 

Additional talent will be announced in the lead-up to the cruise.

Carnival Cruise Line Vice President Australia and NZ, Jennifer Vandekreeke, said, “We’re delighted to host such a high calibre of racing legends onboard Carnival Spirit next spring, in what we’re anticipating to be our most exciting race-day cruise to date.”

In an added perk, Carnival Cruise Line will be the only cruise line to also offer guests tickets to the popular Oaks Day, ensuring the race-day fun doesn’t have to stop at Melbourne Cup.

“Carnival's Melbourne Cup cruise really is a race-lovers’ dream. It provides guests with the opportunity to get excited for the Cup through various unique racing themed events, coveted tickets to the Melbourne Cup and Oaks Day, as well as the chance to debrief on event highlights with fellow cruisers on the sail back to Sydney.”

The six-day return Melbourne Cup cruise will depart Sydney on Sunday, 4 November 2018 and sail into Melbourne on Tuesday, 6 November, providing guests with tickets to the Melbourne Cup and to Oaks Day at Flemington Race Course.

For more information about Carnival Cruise Line’s Melbourne Cup cruise and to book please visit your travel agent, carnival.com.au or call 13 31 94.

ICC PILOTS REMOTE AIRLINE CHECK-IN

The International Convention Centre Sydney
The International Convention Centre Sydney has become the first venue of its kind in Australia to pilot a mobile airline check-in and baggage drop service, offering conference delegates from around the world the ultimate in flexibility and convenience.

Delivered in partnership with Off Airport Check In Solutions, the trial took place at the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia conference – the largest pension fund event in the world, which saw nearly 2,000 delegates descend on the International Convention Centre Sydney last week.

Friday, 15 December 2017

WHITE NIGHT 2018: Alight, alive and shining more brightly under the cover of dark

Liquid Sky will capture the attention of more
than 100,000 people at Federation Square
Alight, alive and shining more brightly under the cover of dark, White Night Melbourneand Ballarat will be back in 2018 and bigger than ever.

Visit Victoria is proud to be delivering Victoria’s flagship overnight event and invites you to enjoy these cities as you’ve never see them before.

White Night is a real celebration of Melbourne’s true 24/7 culture, a city known for our exciting live music, food and drink, entertainment and creative cultural experiences that never stop.

The programs for White Night Melbourne and Ballarat were today launched with the promise of showcasing the very best on offer at all hours of the night.

Melbourne’s theme is designed to make you question, to make you dream and to ask What if?

A huge video mapping installation will transform the Royal Exhibition Building, complementing the many installations splashed across the iconic city façade.

Fresh from the Burning Man festival in Nevada, Serpent Mother will create a world of magic and chaos, as Neon Dogs frolic and projections light up the State Library.

The five-metre high White Knight Messenger will be back again, with tidings of love and peace, while Little Bourke Street is covered in snow to the backdrop of a first-ever 12-hour music marathon. White Night Melbourne is truly an event not to be missed.

The weird, the wonderful, the eccentric Australian Bush will feature in Ballarat with works like the Ghosts of Eureka street art, Dreamscape, Techtonic Grounds, the Magic Lantern Tree, Blink and Post-Colonial Women in the Landscape.

Skyline drone imaging will be used to create Ballarat from Above and of course the Town Hall and Craigs Hotel projections will create masterful displays of colour.

Visit Victoria Chief Executive Officer Peter Bingeman welcomed the launch of this auspicious program, which further cements Victoria’s position as the leading major events location in Australia.

“We’re turning up the notch for White Night 2018 with an incredible array of the weird and wonderful to delight and amaze locals and visitors alike. We want to show the world the best of everything we have to offer in Australia’s city that doesn’t sleep, and White Night is a fantastic opportunity to do just that.

“Our regional White Night offerings, including Ballarat, are the perfect opportunity for Melbournians and surrounds to get out of town and into the regions for a truly unique and wonderful experience,” Mr Bingeman said.

The benefits of Major Events to Victoria’s regions are priceless, with City of Ballarat Mayor, Samantha McIntosh affirming the importance of such a high-profile event.

“Knowing the benefits of what a truly successful event like White Night can provide for the region, we’re thrilled to see the White Night Ballarat program extended in 2018.

“The 2018 program of reimagined installations and performances looks set to once again reveal the city’s creative industries, which are fast-becoming the pillar of Ballarat’s arts culture. This is also a great opportunity for the number of local artists who are contributing to our reputation as a City of the Arts and growing local arts ecology,” said Ms McIntosh.

While speaking about the projections planned for White Night Melbourne, White Night Artistic Director and Executive Producer David Atkins commented that the Royal Exhibition Building “ will be the fourth year White Night has featured a projection mapping of this spectacular building. It has been an audience favourite every year and attendance in this precinct has increased dramatically each year as a result.”

“It’s our objective to raise the bar with each successive year and work and this year will be no different. For the first time we have undertaken the work of building a full 3D model of the façade.

“This will be a first for this building and our digital content creators Limelight who specialise in this unique art form. We will be able to take the Royal Exhibition Building to another level as a result – I can’t wait to see it,” Mr Atkins said.

Six years since its inception, White Night is now a synonymous fixture of Melbourne’s cultural calendar.

Projections on the Ballarat Town Hall will tell
the story of the Gold Rush to present day
Capturing the imagination of 600,000 people across 12 continuous hours of art installations, exhibitions, films, lighting, projection, music and performance, White Night provides an ongoing adventure from dusk to dawn that transforms the city through its artists, its landscapes and its architecture.

White Night Melbourne will take place from 7.00pm on Saturday 17 February 2018 and Ballarat will follow on Saturday 17 March 2018.

Visit www.whitenight.com.au to learn more.

NEW AIRLINES, PREDOMINANTLY CHINESE, SET TO LAND IN CAMBODIA

A string of new airlines is set to fly to Cambodia in the near future, paving the way for more regional traffic, particularly Chinese, in the destination.

At the inaugural Cambodia Travel Mart in Siem Reap, Nuno Costa, marketing and sales director for Cambodia Airports, said Chinese airline Ruili Airlines will soon announce that it will be landing in Phnom Penh in the coming weeks.

Malaysian airline Malindo Air, and two Chinese airlines Sichuan Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines, are also expected to launch by the beginning of next year. This comes off the back of JC International Airlines and Lanmei Airlines starting operations in Cambodia earlier this year.

In addition, Lithuanian-based Small Planet Airlines was recently issued an air operator’s certificate, with KC International Airline, Air Siem Reap, Prince International Airlines and Cambodia Airways also applying for licences.

Costa said: “We will finalise some deals with other airlines next year, so there will not be a lack of airlines in Cambodia; the market here is really booming.”

Ton Phearom, Charming Cambodia Tours’ inbound tour operator, welcomed the move.

She said: “Increased connectivity is good for Cambodia’s tourism industry. It makes it easier for visitors to get to the country and makes it more competitive.”

However, Coralie Romano, EXO Cambodia’s product manager, said many of the ventures are targeted at the Chinese – a market Cambodia has firmly set its sights on, with the goal of attracting two million Chinese by 2020.

Read full article at TTG ASIA: https://www.ttgasia.com/2017/11/21/new-airlines-predominantly-chinese-set-to-land-in-cambodia/

New Queensland hot spot

Brisbane
While beach breaks are probably the first place you think of when imagining a summer holiday, Brisbane has emerged as this summer's holiday hot spot. 

According to travel website Wotif.com, Brisbane is now the most popular place for a Christmas vacation.

Full story

Kaikōura seafood vendor Nins Bin makes a comeback

Nins Bin opened in 1977 and is named
after a lady who used to work there
Kaikōura's much-loved crayfish caravan Nins Bin is making a comeback just in time for summer.

The well-photographed seafood vendor has been a favourite stop along the Kaikōura coastline for generations.

Nins Bin closed after a major earthquake cut off access to State Highway 1 north of Kaikōura in November 2016. Nins Bin has sold locally-caught crayfish on the roadside since 1977

Now, the blue and white roadside caravan is getting a spruce up ahead of its planned reopening on December 15 – the same day SH1 reopens for daylight travel.

“She’s all the same – just looking one million times better,” says Nins Bin co-owner Johnny Clark. "She got neglected for a while.

"She’s got a new paint job, new cooker, lino, carpet – just a big freshen up. We’ve got a new kitchen going in.”

Nins Bin has been owned and operated by the Clark family since the 1977, when Johnny’s grandfather set it up. The caravan is named after a lady who used to work there.

Johnny, 23, has helped his father Rodney with the business for nine years – a lengthy apprenticeship. Now it’s his time to shine.

“He said, ‘It’s about time’. He reckons I’m ready. ”State Highway 1 north of Kaikōura is reopening for daylight travel on December 15

The caravan will be in the same location as before – 20 kilometres up the coast from Kaikōura – but there’s a lot more beachfront now.

Johnny says the land lifted 3.5 metres in the quake.

"We won’t have to worry about the sea hitting the shop anymore. The sea used to come up every couple of years and smash into the shop. It nearly washed the shop away one year.”

The menu will include mussels from the Hairy Mussel Co in Marlborough, whitebait and crayfish straight from the sea.

“We’re still going to have garlic butter crays and all the mussels are cooked in white wine and stuff,” Johnny says. “We’re going to do some fresh fish too – fish and chips.”

Catching the crays will be “just me and my deckhand Big Fletch”, Johnny says.

“[We’ll] be catching them the day before to make them nice and fresh for customers.” Nins Bin opened in 1977 and is named after a lady who used to work there

Johnny shared the news of Nins Bin's reopening on Facebook this week and the post received congratulations from as far away as Texas.

“If you sell beautiful food, everyone talks,” Johnny says.

“It’s our 40th anniversary this year. We were always going to get it back open.”

The opening hours will mimic the opening hours of SH1 – check here for updates.

Kaikōura means “to eat crayfish” in Maori (kai – eat/food, koura – crayfish).