Thursday, 31 August 2017

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO’S NEWEST CHINESE FOOD EMPORIUM, CHINA LIVE

If you have any connection to San Francisco, chances are you have heard about the opening of China Live. It’s San Francisco’s newest Chinese food emporium, and the opening has taken the city by storm. The operation is a huge, multi-faceted experience that people often refer to as the Chinese version of Mario Batali’s Eataly in NYC. It’s a bastion of food, fun and culture that San Franciscans have happily embraced.

What Is China Live?

A lot of big food halls get compared to Eataly. It’s the epitome of an all-in-one marketplace for fine dining, shopping and drinking. But China Live is probably the closest comparison you will find. It was developed to be an interactive culinary and cultural destination for locals and visitors in San Francisco. It provides an in-depth exploration of Chinese gastronomy, offers insight into Chinese ingredients and recipes, and education on the history and influence of Chinese culture across the world. It’s a great way to expand your horizons and go beyond the usual menu offerings.

What Can You Find at China Live?

China Live is more than just a restaurant or grocery store. It features a serious array of offerings that you can spend hours exploring. Here’s what you’ll find:

Oolong Café

The Oolong Café is a 25-seat counter service cafe with a rotating selection of superb Chinese teas, coffee and small bites. It features a gorgeous Ming Dynasty-inspired mural that highlights lots of San Francisco landmarks and is the perfect place to stop for an elegant afternoon break.

Market Restaurant

The Market Restaurant on the first floor features a seasonal menu that changes every day to reflect the available ingredients and whims of the chefs. The main dining area features chairs and tables that were all handcrafted in China. Grab a seat at the bar to get a close-up view of the chefs preparing savory dishes.

Eight Tables by George Chen

When it opens, this restaurant will offer an unparalleled San Francisco fine dining experience. Their prix-fixe eight-course tasting menu will showcase George Chen's mastery of Chinese food.

Bar Central

The bar has a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, with an awesome array of tap beers, wines by the glass and signature cocktails. They offer Malaysian style cold brew coffee and custom Marin Kombucha.

Cold Drinks Bar

This is a sleek, secret bar located on the second floor of China Live. Beverage director Duggan McDonnel created this luxuriously intimate space with a focus on Scotch whiskey. Most cocktails feature a single malt and are served to you by elegant, tuxedoed bartenders.

Marketplace

The retail area of China Live is truly something to behold. It’s a majestic collection of unique flavors and experiences that you can take into your own home. You can find spices, teas, condiments, produce, cookware and cutlery – all of the highest quality. If you’re just here to browse, ask a guide to help you explore and learn more about the products and Chinese cooking.

888 Banquet and Event Space

China Live even has a banquet and event space for guests who would like to host a party. Space can accommodate anywhere from 10 to 825 people.

Coming Soon

Are two bars not enough to fulfill your cocktail dreams? Two more bars, Gold Mountain Lounge, named after the previous dim sum restaurant that inhabited the space, and China Sky Bar will soon round out all the drinking options at this massive Chinese food (and drinking) hall. 

Menu Favorites

Head to the Bar Central for a specialty cocktail, such as the French Concession, Sichuan Smash or (Not) All the Tea in China. At Market Restaurant, people love the Xiao long bao (soup dumpling), Taiwan red braised beef and tendon noodle soup, Sichuan “working hands” wonton in mala chili broth, and minced five-spice beef cheeks in lettuce cups. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try the Chrysanthemum salad with star fruit and tea vinaigrette or the Yangtze river grass-wrapped fried cod. At the marketplace, check out the soy sauces that include organic black bean soy sauce and white soya essence. They also offer jarred pickled sea beans and whiskey barrel-aged fish sauce.

How to Get There

China Live is located in the heart of Chinatown in San Francisco. To get there, you can take a taxi directly to 644 Broadway. You can also take BART to the Montgomery Street Station and walk from there, or transfer to the #8 Muni bus and depart at Columbus Ave and Kearny Street. It’s about a 35-minute drive from San Francisco International Airport.
Nearby Attractions

While you’re in the area, there are plenty of other things you can see and do. Head toward the water to walk along the Embarcadero and see the historic Fisherman’s Wharf. You can get a great view of Coit Tower from there as well. If you have enough time, you can even hop on a boat to Alcatraz for a guided tour of the famous prison. You can head further into town to visit the Cable Car Museum or head north to visit North Beach, the historic Italian part of town that runs along the coastline. And, of course, you are in the heart of San Francisco's famed Chinatown.

Australia Showcased in Lonely Planet’s Secret Marvels of the World

  • 360 extraordinary places and how to find them.

Published this month, Lonely Planet’s Secret Marvels of the World reveals weird and wonderful sights that the crowds don’t always reach.

From eerie natural wonders to historical oddities and unusual architecture, Secret Marvels of the World is a travel companion for the incurably curious — featuring communist bunkers, burning gas craters and at least one sponge-rock fluorescent grotto built by Polish monks.

Australia is represented in the book by multiple entries, including:
  • Australian Capital Territory: Futuro House, Canberra.
  • New South Wales: Giant Pink Slugs of Mount Kaputar; SS Ayrfield; Big Golden Guitar; Big Banana; and The Big Merino.
  • Northern Territory: Devils Marbles; and Henley on Todd Regatta, Alice Springs.
  • Queensland: Big Pineapple; and Golden Gumboot.
  • South Australia: Coober Pedy's Grassless Golf Course; Whispering Wall; The Big Rocking Horse; and Big Lobster.
  • Victoria: Solar System Trail, Melbourne; Cow Up a Tree Sculpture, Melbourne; Big Pheasant; Big Ned Kelly; and Giant Koala.
  • Western Australia: Hutt River Principality; Cocos Islands Golf Club; Cape Leeuwin; Gnomesville; Gloucester Tree; Lake Ballard; and Lake Hillier.

“This book celebrates under-the-radar places, from the mysterious and the mesmerising to the downright bizarre,” Lonely Planet says. “In these pages are rainbow eucalyptus trees, a stomach-churning cocktail, ghost towns, a bridge made of trees, an underwater museum, a town called Hell and a band of Caribbean swimming pigs.”

“Because these marvels don’t pay much attention to country borders, nor have we,” Lonely Planet explains. “The places in this book are arranged not by continent or country, but loosely by their line of longitude. It’s a hat-tip to the way our planet resists attempts to impose order upon it, with the most surprising and wonderful of results.”

“In a time when technology has given us a better understanding than ever before of the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of life,” Lonely Planet adds, “these places show us we don’t know the half of it.”

LONELY PLANET’S SECRET MARVELS OF THE WORLD

320pp, full colour; H240mm x W185mm, hardcover; AUD $34.99

Airlie Beach Festival of Music, the Whitsundays, Queensland - Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 November 2017

Just over two months from now, the streets of Airlie Beach will have an electric atmosphere filled with music lovers and some of the most talented artists from Australia and abroad.

The fifth annual Airlie Beach Festival of Music will feature Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols), The Baby Animals, Sneaky Sound System, Kate Ceberano, Monsters of Rock, The Chantoozies and The Absolutely 80’s Show. Special guest Leo Sayer, from the UK, says he “can't wait” to come to Airlie Beach and experience the Whitsundays.

In all, 74 bands will play over the four-day weekend with big name acts appearing in the ‘Big Top’ marquee right on the foreshore next to the Whitsunday Sailing Club. The bars and restaurants around Airlie Beach will also feature live music, bringing a vibrant atmosphere to the streets.

Tourism Whitsundays’ sales & marketing manager Tash Wheeler said the Airlie Beach Festival of Music was a fantastic event that drew crowds from all over Australia and it was a great excuse to plan a Whitsundays getaway.

“Whether it’s an idyllic island getaway, sailing the pristine waters, a fishing or diving charter on the Great Barrier Reef, taking in the beauty of Whitehaven Beach or something more fast-paced, the Whitsundays has you covered,” she said.

“Add to this experiencing 74 live bands across 18 soundstages including huge national and international acts over three-and-a-half days…what better holiday could you wish for?

“Not only do you get to see some really great live bands in a beautiful setting but there is also a fantastic atmosphere around town, with all the live music taking place in bars and restaurants, and this atmosphere is one of the reasons people love the event so much.”

The sensational line-up will be combined with emerging artists from all over the country thanks to the festival’s ‘Passport to Airlie’ Battle of the Bands competition run in 12 locations across Australia.

The dual winners from last year’s final will return to the main stage this year - Tim Griffin from Townsville and The Venom Lips (formerly InMotion) from Newcastle.

Shannon Noll has also offered his commitment as the 2017 official festival ambassador. Shannon visited Airlie Beach earlier this year with TV’s Sunrise program to debut his new single Southern Sky, which is about the amazing variety of Australian landscapes. He is considered one of the best live performers in the country and will perform on the main stage with his band.

A wide range of quality accommodation, from landscaped caravan parks and backpackers to luxury resorts, is available through the festival’s partners at airliebeachfestivalofmusic.com.au and www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au

The festival has teamed up with Mantra Club Croc, Airlie Beach, to create all-in-one accommodation and ticket packages at their newly refurbished resort, which will also be a venue during the festival. These packages include three-day general admission passes, a hot buffet breakfast daily, free transfers to make getting around town easy and even some merchandise! Email airliebeachfestivalofmusic@gmail.com for more information.

Second round ‘Early Bird’ three-day passes are available now through the Airlie Beach Festival of Music website - www.airliebeachfestivalofmusic.bigtix.com.au – or through Whitsunday Tickets at www.whitsundaytickets.com.au/airlie-beach-festival-of-music.

Prices until 1st October 2017 are: Three-day Pass $245, Day Pass $130, VIP Pass $1,000 including all refreshments and finger food in the main marquee.

Located 1,000 kilometres north of Brisbane, the Whitsundays is easily accessible via Whitsunday Coast Airport, on the mainland, with daily direct flights from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane with Tigerair, Jetstar and Virgin. Hamilton Island Airport has connecting ferry transfers to Port of Airlie.

TATs marketing plan 2018 to heighten Thailand as a preferred destination

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently held the annual TAT Action Plan for 2018 meeting, which covers both international and domestic tourism. TAT’s marketing plan 2018 has been designed to serve the purpose of generating revenue and increase visitor arrivals, promote new ideas and follow the development agenda of Thailand 4.0 using the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, as well as Inclusive Tourism that maintains a balance between the economy, society and the environment. All the strategies are in line with the 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan and 2nd National Tourism Development Plan.

H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul (centre), Minister of Tourism and Sports; Mr. Kalin Sarasin (centre, right); Chairman of the Board of TAT; and Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn (centre, left), TAT Governor, as well as TAT Executives and leading Thai tourism industry players at the press conference to announce TAT’s marketing plan 2018

As 2017 is considered as a challenging year, TAT has been putting their best efforts on tourism marketing in order to stimulate the country’s economy. Many activities; such as, Village to the World, Creative Thailand and The Link have been created to highlight the Thai Local Experience. This has proven successful as the number of potential visitors and first-time visitors has increased significantly. Therefore, TAT will keep working on this concept for its action plan in 2018.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “TAT will use tourism to promote sustainable development with the community as the ultimate beneficiary. We believe this will pave the way for Thailand to be a preferred destination among international visitors.”

To be targeted over the 12-month period of the fiscal year 2018, beginning October 2017, the niche-market customer segments were finalised at the annual TAT Action Plan meeting held between 11-14 July, 2017.

For the international marketing plan strategy, TAT has segmented target customers worldwide ranging from first-timers to repeaters, senior citizens to sports enthusiasts. TAT will also emphasise on niche markets including, Weddings and Honeymoons, and Ladies, as well as continue to create a brand image as a high-end and Luxury Travel destination.

Gastronomy Tourism will be focussed on more, which is considered as an important part of the travel through local experiences. It is also one of the tools to boost the development of the country’s economy by adding value to products and services that are based on the unique Thai culture and ways of life. Some of the highlighted activities are the opening of the Michelin Guidebook Bangkok and Thailand will host the 4th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism.

The communication strategies for the international market will continue to use “Amazing Thailand”, which has been a popular and well-recognised marketing slogan for nearly 20 years. TAT will still use “Discover Amazing Stories in Amazing Thailand”.

In 2018, TAT will change its marketing angle slightly with a new concept of “Open to the New Shades of Thailand”. The concept will deepen the Unique Thai Local Experience to a Million Shades of Thailand. This will give more depth to the presentation of Thailand’s tourism, grow the business for grassroots tourism sector players, and enhance the country’s image as a land of amazing diversity worth discovering further.

For the strategy for the domestic market, TAT will focus on increasing the travel frequency of potential groups (Silver Age, Millennials, Families, Gen-Y, Multi-Generation, and Ladies), decongest popular areas, promote travel during weekdays, strengthen society and preserve the environment.

The domestic marketing campaign in 2018, will further enhance the slogan, “Unique Thai Local Experience”. The concept will promote tourism and create value among the Thai people to persuade them to enjoy a trip in Thailand and go deeper in pursuit of unforgettable experiences.

Some examples of new initiatives for domestic marketing by TAT include creating awareness of waste management during local festivals, promoting creative gastronomy, and building tourism networks to be environmentally conscious.

Mr. Yuthasak said, “Clearly the age of mass-marketing is over. The future lies in sharply focussed marketing campaigns, which can deliver measurable results. These will help us maintain a strong brand presence, improve the efficiency of our marketing spend, address the seasonality factor, decongest popular destinations and establish closer cooperation with potential partners that include many industry businesses and local communities who can contribute to the success of our objectives.”

The number of visitors from January – June 2017, reached 17 million creating income of 876 billion Baht in which the China market was the first generator followed by Russia and Malaysia. Realising the importance that tourism has for the country’s economy, the Royal Thai Government has set a growth of not less than 8 per cent increase in tourism revenue for 2018.

More images from the press conference (for high-resolution version of these images, please contact the International Public Relations Division, Tourism Authority of Thailand via email at prdiv3@tat.org.th)

SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARK SHINES UNDER LIGHTS

Supercar night-racing at Sydney Motorsport Park could be a permanent fixture, following successful lighting tests at the Eastern Creek venue.

Sydney Motorsport Park Chief Executive Officer Glenn Matthews said positive discussions had been held with the NSW Government over the installation of permanent floodlights at the park, which would serve a host of motorsport and industry uses.

“Full-time, permanent lighting will not only add a whole new level of excitement to motorsport racing, and the spectator experience in this country, but open up a range of commercial and tourism opportunities at Sydney Motorsport Park, including driver safety programs, corporate hospitality packages, and more track access for all levels of racing,”
Mr Matthews said.

The Sydney Motorsport Park precinct is one of the busiest sites in Western Sydney, hosting more than 600 events and over 300,000 visitors annually, and is nearly fully booked a year in advance.

Hilton Auckland has announced new General Manager.

Adrian Teh
Hilton has announced the appointment of Adrian Teh as General Manager for Hilton Auckland and Hilton Lake Taupo. With a career in the hospitality industry spanning some 20 years, Adrian brings a new energy and fresh perspective on the overall operations to both North Island hotels.

Originally from Malaysia, Adrian began his hospitality career with Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Perth within Concierge and then Front Office. Upon completion of his business degree, Adrian relocated to Sydney and from there his career saw him work in various Australian cities including, Adelaide, Newcastle, Darwin and the Gold Coast.
During 2010, Adrian took on the challenge of opening Chifley Wollongong as General Manager, staying there for four years and accomplishing numerous awards for the hotel.

In 2014, Adrian joined Hilton as Director of Operations for Hilton Brisbane where he propelled the successful delivery of the G20 Brisbane summit. Soon after, Adrian moved to Hilton’s flagship Australian hotel, Hilton Sydney, as Director of Operations.

Email: sales.auckland@hilton.com
Phone: 029 978 2015

New technology supporting Australia’s emergency management training and response

Australia’s leading emergency management conference, AFAC17 powered by INTERSCHUTZ, will showcase new technologies and demonstrate live rescue techniques; while expert local and international speakers will present the latest emergency management research at the International Convention Centre Sydney from 4-7 September 2017.

Embracing the benefits of collaboration, this year’s conference will see emergency management leaders converge to learn about the latest technology, research, and techniques, as well as view live demonstrations of road crash rescues and virtual reality training.

The FLAIM Trainer (TM), a virtual reality (VR) firefighter training simulator created by Deakin University, combines industry standard equipment with innovative technology to create a realistic training scenario for future firefighters. The training experience utilises the patented haptics (touch technology) feedback system in a lifelike emergency situation, combined with the reality of the heavy-weight uniform including the breathing apparatus and personal protective clothing with heat generation components.

James Mullins, Associate Professor of Defence Robotics, Deakin University, commented on this revolutionary training tool for firefighters.

“It’s vital we use next generation technologies to solve real world problems. The FLAIM Trainer enables us to replicate real emergency situations and scenarios in a safer and more cost effective way than traditional training techniques.

“Exploring new applications of technology is vital to ensure firefighters across Australia continue to have the highest standards of education, training and knowledge to safely assist during times of emergency,” said Assoc. Prof Mullins.

Attendees will have the opportunity to witness multiple live demonstrations. The Australasian Road Rescue Organisation (ARRO), road crash rescue experts, will demonstrate a new rescue technique to release legs trapped by compression, it was developed in New Zealand, and is showcasing in Australia for the first time.

Safety is paramount for fire and emergency service workers and the rise in residential solar power to over 1.6 million homes in Australia presents a new risk for responders. Solar panels when exposed to light continue to produce potentially hazardous amounts of DC electricity – creating a ‘DC Danger Zone’ for firefighters. AFAC17 will feature a live demonstration from PVStop, an innovative fire retardant solution that drops solar panels voltage to zero and removes the risk of solar panel explosions, maintaining the safety of emergency responders.

Also on show will be a new DSPA Fire Suppression Aerosol, an underwater fire suppression unit primarily used for marine fires. Even when fully submerged in water, the DSPA Aerosol is able to put out a fire safely. The fixed system is a safe solution designed for engine bays on all commercial vehicles, including cab and sleeper units, mining, forestry machinery, long haul freightliners and large buses.

AFAC17 powered by INTERSCHUTZ, brings together fire and emergency management personnel from Australia and around the world to witness the latest safety techniques and equipment during live demonstrations at the International Convention Centre Sydney, Darling Harbour. Live demonstrations will be on Tuesday 5 September (8:00am-5:00pm) and Wednesday 6 September 2017 (8:00am-3.30pm).

www.afacconference.com.au

Ho Chi Minh City hosts Five Continents Food Festival

The Five Continents Food Festival – World Food 2017 event will take place at Hoa Lu Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 from October 5 to 8.

The festival will feature more than 300 food stalls from 170 companies from around the world, including Viet Nam. Visitors will have a chance to experience different cuisines, while businesses can access networking opportunities.

The festival also includes a cooking show, street-food magic show, bartenders, musical performances and a “Food for the Less Fortunate” section, as well as seminars and conferences for businesses.

Firms can sign up to exhibit items such as vegetables and seafood, beverages, food ingredients, processed food, and cooking equipment and utensils.

This event is organised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Industry and Trade Information Centre and YAH Solution Co.

TARONGA WELCOMES TWO BABY GIRAFFES AND OPENS NEW TIGER ENCLOSURE

 new tiger enclosure
Animal lovers are in for a treat with two exciting new attractions at Taronga Zoo Sydney and at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo has welcomed two adorable additions to the giraffe herd, born within one week of each other, and Taronga Zoo Sydney has opened a new tiger enclosure.

The long-awaited Tiger Trek, is the first exhibit of its kind, combining the excitement of seeing four endangered big cats with an educational program about the threat of palm oil production on the species.

The arrival of the newborn male giraffe calves in Dubbo marks an exciting development for the Zoo’s giraffe breeding program, which has an 11-strong breeding herd of the gentle giants.

There is also a third calf on the way with another giraffe, Ntombi, confirmed pregnant and expecting soon!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

COSTA MESA

South Coast Plaza
Known as the “city of the arts,” Costa Mesa offers visitors the best of all worlds: a cultural haven at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts campus, a shopper’s paradise at the internationally renowned South Coast Plaza mall and an effortlessly cool independent spirit in the form of cocktail lounges and restaurants at The LAB. Get to know the city located just 13.9 miles from the Anaheim Resort District by exploring Costa Mesa’s must-visit dining, drinking and entertainment hubs that help forge the city’s creative identity.

South Coast Plaza

3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Not only is South Coast Plaza the largest mall on the West Coast, but it also boasts the highest concentration of designer boutiques in the U.S. Featuring more than 250 stores and 30 critically acclaimed restaurants, South Coast Plaza features top brands including Saint Laurent and Oscar de la Renta.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts

600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Nearly every artistic genre has representation at the multi-venue creative campus: Catch a touring production of a Broadway show like “Hamilton,” be mesmerized as an international dance company flies across the stage or enjoy special musical showcases from award-winning symphony orchestras.

The Camp

The Camp

2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Taking a focus on health and wellness, the charming outdoor plaza is home to more than 20 storefronts that range from trendy dining venues to salons and boutiques. Sample vegan cuisine at Native Foods Cafe and organic wines at the Wine Lab, or peruse purposeful shopping outposts like SEED People’s Market, which offers a selection of handcrafted and recycled items.

The LAB

2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Hailed the “anti-mall” of Orange County, The LAB has an eclectic, artistic vibe that’s infused into every corner of the space. Communal tables and swinging chairs are the perfect places to enjoy gelato on a stick from Popbar or a cup of coffee from Gypsy Den in between window-shopping at nearly eight independent boutiques.

The Triangle

1870 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Serving as an anchor for downtown Costa Mesa, The Triangle provides a delightful mash-up of entertainment and dining for a night on the town. Aim for a lucky strike at the modern sports bar and bowling alley Tavern + Bowl before tempting the taste buds at one of the many restaurants like Black Knight Gastro Lounge and La Vida Cantina. Night owls can kick up their heels on the dance floor of TIME Nightclub, a state-of-the-art venue that draws top DJ talent.

SOCO and The OC Mix

SOCO and The OC Mix

3313 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626
The sprawling design center is home to some of Orange County’s top purveyors of desserts, cheeses and fresh-roasted coffee. From vendors inside The OC Mix food hall selling artisanal goods to wood-fired dishes at ARC and Restaurant Marin, there are plenty of ways to indulge the palate.

Celebrate the Winter Season in Colorado with New Events

Wolfpack Ninja Tour
Colorado is heading into a winter filled with new offerings for visitors. From soaring down the mountain year-round on four new mountain coasters, skiing 468 acres of new terrain at Arapahoe Basin and celebrating Snowmass’ 50th anniversary, to exciting hotel and restaurant openings and unique packages and experiences, Colorado is filled with winter fun just waiting to be explored. Following is a sampling of what’s new for the winter season in Colorado. For more information on Colorado, visit www.COLORADO.com.

Exciting New Events, Festivals & Anniversaries:

Colorado Welcomes Winter Olympic Experiences: 

Colorado welcomes the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics with several Olympic experiences. Attend ski and snowboard Olympic qualifiers at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge (December 14-17, 2017) and the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain (December 6-10, 2017) and Aspen (January 10-14, 2018), visit the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, train where Olympians train at Woodward at Copper, experience Steamboat's 2018 Olympic Send-Off Celebration (January 27, 2018) and more.

Wolfpack Ninja Tour LLC Comes to Colorado, November 3-5, 2017: 

The Wolfpack Ninja Tour will be a large-scale competition in which competitors from across the world will compete on a professional obstacle course for over $50,000 in cash prizes at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. This tour will be a family-fun showcase operated by the Wolfpack Ninjas, a group of all-star athletes featured on NBC’s hit TV show series American Ninja Warrior. Loveland is the home of the new Wolfpack Ninja gym, owned and operated by American Ninja Warrior top-ranking competitors Noah Kaufman and Ian Dory.

The Brown Palace’s 125th Anniversary Champagne Cascade, November 19, 2017: 

Denver’s elegant welcome to the holiday season, features a master swordsman who uses a Napoleonic saber to sever the bottlenecks of Moet & Chandon Champagne bottles at the historic Brown Palace Hotel. The Champagne is then poured into the uppermost glass of a two-story, 6,000-glass pyramid, overflowing to the glasses below, creating a dazzling display. The 2017 Cascade will honor the hotel’s 125th anniversary.

Snowmass Ski Area Celebrates 50 Years: 

This winter season marks the 50th anniversary of the Snowmass Ski Area. The season-long celebration includes vintage, 1967 lift ticket pricing of $6.50 on Friday, December 15 as well as a festive weekend of anniversary activities December 15-17 such as a retro party at Elk Camp restaurant, fireworks display, the return of Banana Days, an on-mountain celebration at Spider Sabich Picnic arena and more. Additionally, throughout the season, the celebration continues with new gold signs that mark the original ski trails, monthly fireworks display over Fanny Hill, a new mural in Base Village commemorating the history of Snowmass and more.

New Kidtopia Signature Event Series at Keystone Resort: 

New for 2017-18, the Kidtopia Signature Event Series will feature three distinct events throughout the winter to complement the family experience at Keystone. Events include the Kidtopia Spectacular, a holiday mountaintop celebration from December 15-24; the first-ever Kidtopia Culinary Festival, a celebrity chef event catering to the youngest of foodies from February 9-17; and the Kidtopia Music Experience, rock’n’roll parties, dance parties and more to kick off spring skiing from March 2-10.

Cooper Celebrates 75th Anniversary, December 31, 2017: 

Cooper, a gem resort just outside of Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the U.S., turns 75 this year. In honor of the anniversary, Cooper will hold a 75th birthday party and New Year’s Eve celebration with cake, balloons, a torchlight parade and more.

Loveland Launches Winter Wonderlights, November 25, 2017 - January 14, 2018: 

The magic of the holidays can be found at Loveland’s Winter Wonderlights, a new walkable holiday lighting attraction situated in the award-winning Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra. From November 25 until January 14, guests will be mesmerized as they stroll through the north end of the Sculpture Park. Holiday string lights, twinkling bulbs, lit trees, holiday characters and illuminated African stone sculptures only found in Loveland will transform a special section of this 26-acre outdoor park into a winter wonderland.

Outdoor Retailer Makes the Big Move to Denver, January 25 - 28, 2018: 

Denver recently announced the city was selected to host the prestigious Outdoor Retailer trade shows for the next five years, which represents a dawning for a galvanized, energized recreation community that will grow from Colorado, fomenting support for public lands, environmental health and the outdoor recreation industry. The first winter market show will take place in conjunction with the Snow Show.

2018 Olympic Send-Off Celebration in Steamboat, January 27, 2018: 

Steamboat is known for having produced more winter Olympians than any other town in the United States. The community celebrates that heritage and prepares to root for the next generation of Olympic athletes at the 2018 Olympic Send-off Celebration. Almost 90 athletes with ties to Steamboat have competed in the winter games and many of these former athletes will gather with 2018 team hopefuls during an evening with athlete autographs, fireworks, interviews and more.

Degas: A Passion for Perfection, February 11 - May 20, 2018: 

Appearing for the only time in the United States at Denver Art Museum, Degas: A Passion for Perfection will showcase prolific French artist Edgar Degas’ works from 1855 to 1906. More than 100 works consisting of paintings, drawings, pastels, etchings, monotypes, and sculptures in bronze will be on view. The exhibition will focus on the most prominent and recurring themes throughout Degas’ 60-year career. These include his interest in learning from the art of the past and from that of his contemporaries, a lifelong fascination with the nude, a passion for horses, and his strong interest in opera and dance.

Lonely Planet Explores the World’s Most Thrilling Road Trips with Epic Drives of the World

  • Six Australian Road Trips Showcased
  • 50 Classic Driving Routes 
  • Six Continents 
  • 200 Ideas for Great Drives

Buckle up for a lifetime of memorable road trips this August, with the publication of Lonely Planet’s Epic Drives of the World.

This beautifully illustrated hardcover book is the second instalment in Lonely Planet’s Epic series (following last year’s best-selling Epic Bike Rides of the World). It features 50 classic driving routes across the world (from Argentina to Zambia), and 200 ideas for great drives - ranging from easy-going cruises to back-country adventures.

Australia is represented by six driving routes highlighted in the chapters “The Great Ocean Road”, “A Short Hop from Hobart to Queenstown”, “Across The Kimberley: The Gibb River Road”, “Following the Captain Cook Highway”, “The Great Alpine Road”, and “The Track: Alice Springs to Darwin”.

“This book is intended to offer fresh inspiration for your next road trip,” Lonely Planet says. “We have routes written and ridden by motorcyclists and even a tour of Northern California by electric vehicle. A few of these drives take a day but others can be enjoyed over a weekend, a week or more.”

“What they have in common,” Lonely Planet continues, “is that the road tripper is always independent. Want to take a detour (and we suggest some gems) or stay an extra day? Go right ahead. It’s all about the journey. Driving a car need not be a mode of transport that insulates you from your surroundings: if you stop regularly, explore, encounter local people and their culture, you’ll have as rich and rewarding an experience as you could hope for.”


How to Use Lonely Planet’s Epic Drives of the World

The main stories in each regional chapter feature first-hand accounts of fantastic drives in that continent. Each includes a fact-box to start the planning of a trip – when is the best time of year, how to get there, where to stay. But beyond that, these stories should spark other ideas. We’ve started that process with the ‘more like this’ section following each story, which offers other ideas along a similar theme, not necessarily on the same continent. Drives are colour coded according to difficulty, which takes into account not just how long, remote and challenging they are but the logistics and local conditions. The index collects different types of drive for a variety of interests.

LONELY PLANET’S EPIC DRIVES OF THE WORLD

Published 3 August 2017 / 328pp, full colour, H260mm x W200mm, hardcover / RRP: $44.99

Spectacular free event Cherophobia

3 September - At Antidote

Noëmi Lakmaier will attempt to lift her body off using 20,000 party balloons in this unbelievable free event.

See the stunning Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House in a whole new light as Cherophobia connects people through a shared experience of suspense, anticipation, and unexpected beauty.

Pop by for a moment or join for the full duration – just make sure you register so you don’t miss out!

Register Now

Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW 2000
sydneyoperahouse.com.au

Mt Buller to become Official Winter Olympic Training Centre

Olympic Gold medallist Lydia Lassila training
at Mt Buller on the existing Aerial site
Mt Buller announced that it will host an official Olympic Training Centre, making Mt Buller Victoria’s home for the development of future Olympic and World Champions in Aerial and Mogul Skiing.

Following several months of planning and negotiations, a landmark partnership has been reached between the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, Ski & Snowboard Australia, Buller Ski Lifts, and the Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Board.

The partnership will see Mt Buller athlete training programs recognised by the Australian Olympic Committee as an official Olympic Training Centre, and the only resort in Australia where Olympic athletes can live on mountain and train both day and night.

Formal contracts will be finalised in the coming months, and the Centre is expected to be up and running in time for Winter 2018. It will include on-mountain accommodation for 20 athletes, an indoor acrobatic facility, upgraded aerials site, dedicated moguls course, additional snow making, and lights so athletes can train into the night.

Geoffrey Henke AO, Chair, Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, said “Winter sports have had remarkable success over the past decade, and now sit only behind Swimming and Sailing on current Olympic Sport high performance rankings. We are delighted to announce this partnership with Mt Buller to help more Australians reach the pinnacle of winter sport success for years to come”.

Dean Gosper, Chair, Ski & Snowboard Australia said “Mt Buller has always been an important partner for our sport and in particular Aerial Skiing. We are delighted to partner with the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia and Mt Buller to extend their athlete training programs. We also welcome the long term vision of Mt Buller in supporting winter sport and are pleased to be extending the rights to host the Victorian Interschools at Mt Buller”.

Rino Grollo, Chair, Grollo Group explained “Diana and our family have been partners with the Winter Olympic movement since Lillehammer in 1994. Buller Ski Lifts has been a partner of the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia since its inception in 1997, and we are very proud of the success that our winter athletes have enjoyed in the past and look forward to sharing the future successes that this new partnership will enable”.

Laurie Blampied, General Manager, Buller Ski Lifts added “As part of this historic agreement, Buller Ski Lifts will be upgrading the snowmaking facilities on the Chamois Run and installing lights so that athletes can train day and night. We’re also extending our arrangement to keep the tremendously successful Victorian Interschools Snowsports Championships at Mt Buller for at least another five years”.

Andy Evans, Director, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Board said “This is wonderful news for athletes, parents, children and visitors to Mt Buller. Young skiers will be able to watch their heroes train right beside the Village Square, then follow their dreams from ski school to the Victorian Interschools, involvement in Mt Buller Sports Clubs, and then on to an elite training program – all right here at Mt Buller. And the FIS dual moguls course will also be open to all skiers when it’s not required for training”.

Producing more Australian Olympic, World Championship, and World Cup Champions than any other resort, Mt Buller has a long and proud history with Aerial and Mogul Skiing. Mt Buller has been the base for the Australian Aerial Skiing team since1995, placed athletes on the National Moguls team for 25 years, and successfully hosted 40 World Cup competitions from 1997 – 2006.

The Olympic Training Centre will cement Mt Buller as the Victorian home of Aerial and Mogul Skiing for the next 20 years.

Thailand Live Gastronomy festival organises to boost culinary tourism in the Kingdom

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is organising the ‘Thailand Live Gastronomy’ festival as part of the strategies to put greater emphasis on Gastronomy Tourism, which is considered as an important part of the travel through unique Thai local experiences.

(From left) Mrs. Thaniwan Kulmongkol President of Thai Restaurant Association ,Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn TAT Governor ,Associate Professor Wisanu Subsompon, Ph.D. Vice President for Property and Innovation Management, Chulakorn University ,Chef Natthapol Pavapaiboon Thai Celebrity Chef

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “Gastronomy Tourism is one of the key highlights in the TAT’s marketing plan 2018 to heighten Thailand as a preferred destination. We aim to leverage the uniqueness of Thai food to motivate tourists and foodies to embark on a culinary journey to taste signature dishes in renowned towns and cities across the country as a way of exploring unique Thai culture and ways of life.”

The Thailand Live Gastronomy, which will be presented with a tagline ‘Flavours to the World’, is scheduled to take place next week, from 25 to 27 August, at one of Bangkok’s famous shopping and dining venues, Siam Square.

The event will be showcasing must-try signature local dishes from around the country in the ‘Original’ section, special menus from seven famous Street Food areas of Bangkok, and fresh seafood from fisherman villages in the Southern Region. Thailand’s signature dishes including Tom Yum Kung. Phat Thai, Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad), Massaman Curry, and Green Curry – voted among the World’s 50 Best Foods by CNN Travel readers – will also be available for visitors to enjoy. In addition, four of Thailand’s famous tuk-tuks or three-wheeled auto rickshaws will also be converted into local food trucks.

There will be a ‘Gastronomy Innovation’ section where talented Thai and foreign chefs will be showcasing innovative ways of cooking Thai food in a specially-designed kitchen. Local and international visitors will also have the chance to try and buy some rare tropical fruits from local orchards. In addition, organic food will be available while Thai rice, the staple food of Thailand, will be presented in an exhibition as well as in the forms of many different dishes.

The three-day food festival will be entertaining visitors with traditional performances including Thai kick-boxing or Muay Thai, mini concerts by Thai pop singers, cultural shows and traditional Thai music produced by Thai musical instruments.

Mr. Yuthasak added, “We hope that after having the chance to taste the many signature dishes on offer at the Thailand Live Gastronomy, local and international visitors will be inspired and motivated to visit many parts of Thailand to taste local dishes in their destinations of origin.”

Some of the other highlighted activities in the TAT’s Gastronomy Tourism initiative are the launch of the Michelin Guide Bangkok at the end of this year, and the hosting of the 4th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in Bangkok next year.

McCULLY'S GAP FAMILY DANCE

SATURDAY NIGHT - 2nd SEPTEMBER 2017

JOIN US FOR A OLD TIME FAMILY DANCE 

WITH LIVE BAND
"The Ray Boys"

7.30PM FOR 8PM DANCE TILL LATE.

Bring a basket supper to share. Drinks available from the canteen. 
IF YOU CAN'T DANCE - DON'T WORRY JOIN US FOR A SOCIAL NIGHT OUT & ENJOY THE MUSIC & MEET NEW FRIENDS
TICKETS AT THE DOOR 
Adults $10 - Family $25
Stick Lotto - Tickets sold on the night.
Family Atmosphere - Alcohol Free Area
McCully's Gap Hall is 10km along the Sandy Creek Road. (Sealed Road). 
Near Muswellbrook NSW Australia
See you at the Hall.

MCA AND SYDNEY AIRPORT TO SHOWCASE NEW CONTEMPORARY ART

International visitors to NSW will have another opportunity to depart Australia with a lasting impression of their journey, thanks to a bold new partnership between the Museum of Contemporary Art and Sydney Airport.

The landmark initiative will see the arrival of a large-scale contemporary Australian art commission for the T1 International Terminal Marketplace, located in the airport departures area.

More than 42 million passengers travel through Sydney Airport annually, with about 15 million of those travelling through the T1 International Terminal.

The commissioned artwork will aim to capture the imagination of passengers as they prepare for their flight, providing a lasting impression ahead of their trip.

The successful Australian artist will be announced later this year, with the installation to be completed in 2018.

Flame Tree Catering and Venues A Karaka of a Day

Karaka Pavilion, an iconic venue available for your wedding, event or conference. With a grand entrance, acres of manicured gardens and plenty of parking, your guests will be wowed by the rural setting that is Karaka Pavilion.

So close to the city, yet so peaceful and private, Karaka Pavilion is a mere 35-minute drive from Auckland’s CBD.

Email: enquiries@karakapavilion.co.nz
Phone: 021 346 874
Website: www.karakapavilion.co.nz

Local News Hue plans to open pedestrian square on Truong Tien Bridge

Hue City is working on a pilot plan to ban vehicle traffic on the Truong Tien Bridge over the Huong (Perfume) River on weekends and make the bridge a pedestrian-only area, local media reports.

This plan would be implemented when the renovation of the bridge is complete late this year.

The landmark bridge would be closed on Saturday and Sunday nights to create an area for residents and visitors to walk and admire the beauty of the romantic Huong River at night.

Constructed in 1897 and finished two years later during the reign of King Thanh Thai, the 400-meter bridge was designed by French architect Gustave Eiffel. It is considered a symbol of the former imperial capital.

The city is making effort to lure more international visitors. It has recently approved a plan to turn the backpacker quarter surrounded by Pham Ngu Lao, Chu Van An and Vo Thi Sau streets in Phu Hoi Ward into a pedestrian-only area on weekend nights, Vnexpress reports.

Meanwhile, the Hue Imperial Citadel, one of seven leading tourist destinations of Viet Nam in 2017, is open to the public from 7p.m. to 10p.m. daily from late April to September 20.

RECORD ATTENDANCE AT VIVID SYDNEY 2017

Vivid Sydney 2017
Vivid Sydney 2017 has set a new record with 2.33 million people attending this year’s festival and contributing over $143 million to the State’s economy.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said the festival’s value didn’t stop in Sydney, with rural and regional NSW also benefiting from the record numbers.

“We’ve also seen a record 38,000 visitors travel beyond the fringes of Sydney, staying more than 94,000 nights and injecting over $16 million into rural and regional local economies,” Mr Marshall said.

“Sydney is not only the gateway to Australia, it is the gateway to rural and regional NSW, and I am thrilled that the whole state is reaping the benefits of the NSW Government’s significant investment in tourism and major events.”

Go to Destination NSW for more on the Vivid Sydney 2017 results.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

8 ICONIC SAN FRANCISCO EATS (AND DRINKS) THAT EVERY VISITOR NEEDS TO TRY

Buena Vista Cafe
As the song goes, "If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair." We're going to amend that statement to say that you should also be sure to bring some stretchy pants. That's because San Francisco is a culinary mecca on par with some of the greatest cities in the world. From San Francisco sourdough to the original Mission burrito, the City by the Bay offers a bevy of famous eats that you can't experience anywhere else.

Anchor Steam Beer

America's first craft brewery was born during the Gold Rush. Founded in 1896, this Fog City staple has been around for almost as long as the city itself. The name harkens back to a time when brewers worked in primitive conditions, using the cool climate of San Francisco's rooftops in lieu of ice to cool the wort. The warm liquid would steam when exposed to the night air, and the name stuck. Today, visitors can tour the brewery and enjoy tastings of this iconic San Francisco beverage.

Irish Coffee from Buena Vista Cafe

Ironically, the Irish coffee was not popularized on the Emerald Isle. It was commercialized in San Francisco, where Buena Vista cafe co-owner Jack Koeppler challenged international travel writer Stanton Delaplane to help him re-create a highly touted "Irish Coffee" served at an airport in Ireland. The two experimented, ultimately crafting the perfect combination of hot coffee, Irish whiskey and whipped cream. Nowadays, the Buena Vista Cafe on Hyde Street reportedly serves up to 2,000 Irish coffees a day!

Sourdough Bread from Boudin Sourdough

No trip is complete without a bread bowl full of chowder from the Boudin factory. The Original San Francisco Sourdough (as Boudin calls itself) is the longest continually operating business in the city, having baked bread since Isidore Boudin perfected the recipe in 1849. The flagship factory on Fisherman's Wharf serves not only bread bowls but also animal-shaped loaves for the little ones.

Mission Burrito in the Mission District

The Mission-style burrito originated in San Francisco's Mission District, a neighborhood traditionally dominated by Central American culture. Noted for its jumbo proportion, the Mission burrito includes extra rice and other goodies, such as sour cream, guacamole and salsa. Hundreds of taquerias serve San Francisco-style burritos in the city. Try El Farolito or Taqueria La Cumbre for a true San Francisco burrito experience.

Secret Breakfast from Humphry Slocombe

A wildly popular ice cream joint, Humphry Slocombe has become a San Francisco icon since it started scooping in 2008. Although the menu routes regularly to accommodate fresh seasonal ingredients and off-the-wall flavor combinations, such as Candy Cap-mushroom and peanut-butter curry, they're known for innovative staples like their Secret Breakfast Ice Cream, a unique combination of bourbon and cornflakes. This boozy treat is a hot seller, so get there early in case it sells out.

Seafood at Fisherman's Wharf

Seafood at Fisherman's Wharf

Traditionally the working place of Chinese and Italian immigrants, Fisherman's Wharf is a seafood lover's paradise that reflects its multicultural history. Cioppino, an Italian-American seafood stew, was invented to use up leftover seafood. It soon began cropping up on restaurant menus at places like Alioto's. Today, it's a widely popular dish. San Francisco is also famous for Dungeness Crab when it's in season each winter, as well as oysters. Be sure to try the oysters at Fog Harbor Fish House while you're on Fisherman's Wharf. Most restaurants still source their fish and crab from the boats of local fisherman.

Dim Sum in Chinatown

From takeaway spots like Golden Gate Bakery to sit-down restaurants like Lai Hong Lounge, the bustling streets of Chinatown are the best spot for dim sum. Traditionally eaten for breakfast, dim sum is an assortment of bite-sized pastries, steamed dumplings and vegetable-based dishes. Nicer sit-down places serve tea with the food, while the waiters make rounds between the crowded tables with pre-cooked selections. You can also order fresh dishes from the menu.

Martini in North Beach

The martini was actually invented at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco. However, the hotel was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and subsequent fire, so the next best place to have a martini is in North Beach, a bastion for Italian food with a lively bar scene. Have a hearty dinner at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana or Original Joe's before downing a classic San Francisco cocktail. This northern neighborhood overlooks the birthplace of the Martinez cocktail, the eponymous city just visible far across the bay. Eventually, the Martinez — a combination of gin, vermouth and maraschino liqueur — dropped the liqueur, and the modern martini was born.

Espresso at Caffe Trieste

While we're on the topic of North Beach, you can't miss a quintessential beatnik experience. North Beach was a hub for the Beat movementin the 1950s, and Caffe Trieste on Vallejo Street was a favorite gathering place of figures like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. The coffee shop walls are also lined with photographs of its Hollywood connections. A number of actors have been known to frequent Caffe Trieste, and Francis Ford Coppola supposedly wrote much of "The Godfather" script there.

Ghirardelli

Chocolate at Ghirardelli Square

In the 1850s, Italian immigrant Domenico “Domingo” Ghirardelli started his chocolate-making company at the old Pioneer Woolen Mills. After the factory was moved to San Leandro in the 1960s, a group of San Franciscans purchased the property, fearing the iconic factory would be demolished and turned it into the small retail plaza it is today. Visitors can still view the original chocolate manufacturing equipment while sampling gooey hot fudge sundaes and delicious squares of Ghirardelli milk chocolate.

Win a 2-week volunteer experience on the global wildlife or conservation project of your choice.

Do you want to make a difference on your next trip?

Our friends at IVHQ are giving you the opportunity to win a 2-week volunteer experience on the global wildlife or conservation project of your choice. To help you on your way, you’ll also receive travel insurance and a $1000 AUD flight voucher from World Nomads.

If you have a passion for protecting our natural environment, this is your chance to have a hands-on impact.

Apply now

Applications close Sep 13 2017 at 7:00pm PST.

Gansu, China is Lonely Planet’s Best Place to Visit in Asia for 2017

Global travel authority Lonely Planet has today revealed its 2017 Best in Asia list – an agenda-setting collection of the continent’s 10 best destinations to visit in the year ahead.

For this second-annual Best in Asia list, Lonely Planet’s in-house Asia experts have named “blissfully well-connected” yet “underrated and relatively crowd-free” Gansu, China as the number-one destination; while the urban scene South of Tokyo, Japan is in second place; and Northern Kerala, India, “emerging slowly like a butterfly from a chrysalis”, comes in at number three.

“Asia is such a vast and diverse continent for anyone dreaming of an escape,” Lonely Planet’s Asia-Pacific Media Spokesperson Chris Zeiher says. “Our experts have combed through thousands of recommendations to pick the best destinations to visit over the next 12 months.”

“From Astana in Kazakhstan, to Xi’an in China,” Chris says, “this is a line-up to inspire a multitude of travellers – whether they’re based in Asia, or maybe they’ve already visited some of the region’s heavy-hitting destinations.”

Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia 2017 is available online, with accompanying articles to each destination, at lonelyplanet.com/best-in-asia.

Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia 2017

1. Gansu, China
“Blissfully well-connected thanks to high-speed rail services and upgraded highways, and a new metro will ease traffic in provincial capital, Lanzhou, when it opens this year … Gansu’s crown jewel and world-class Buddhist art site, the Mogao Grottoes, received a huge upgrade in 2015, but – just like the entire region – remains underrated and relatively crowd-free.”

2. South of Tokyo, Japan
With Japan currently on many travellers’ bucket lists, “two cities south of Tokyo are well worth making time for. Yokohama … is just a 20-minute train journey from the capital and packs considerable appeal with its bayside location, eclectic architecture, microbreweries and tasty cuisine…Less than an hour from Tokyo, classy seaside town Kamakura is known for its surfing scene, but also offers a tempting selection of relaxed cafes and restaurants ...”

3. Northern Kerala, India
“Northern Kerala has long been the underrated half of the state, concealing its backwater charms and emerging slowly like a butterfly from a chrysalis. 2017 marks India’s 70th year of independence and the opening of a new international airport in Kannur – Kerala’s largest – which will provide an easy introduction to the north. The beaches around Kannur, Thottada and Bekal are pristine…”

4. Keong Saik Road, Singapore
“Once a crime-riddled red-light district, Keong Saik Road has reinvented itself to become the poster-child for hip ‘New Singapore’. Behind the beautiful colonial and art-deco buildings you’ll discover the best of Singapore’s famed dining scene … fabulous rooftop views and super-slick cocktail bars … draw a trendy crowd, and you can sleep it all off in a boutique hotel room…”

5. Astana, Kazakhstan
“From mid-June to mid-September 2017, Astana will host the World Expo on the subject of sustainable energy. And as of 2017, citizens of 45 countries may visit Kazakhstan without a visa for up to 30 days. Furthermore, the introduction of LTR (light rail transit) and improvements to the existing bus network are making a visit to this modern, cosmopolitan city even easier.”

6. Takayama, Japan
“The time to treasure Takayama is now … Secluded in the mountainous Hida region of central Japan, Takayama is a place where Japanese history and tradition flourish in the 21st century ...The Hida region has … come into the spotlight anew following the success of the 2016 blockbuster film Your Name (Kimi no Na Wa) – history's highest grossing anime feature – as devoted fans have made the Hida region a pilgrimage destination for location spotting.”

7. Xi’an, China
“Xi’an’s diverse heritage is supreme … And then there’s the biggie: the Army of Terracotta Warriors, celebrating 30 years as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017. Xi’an is vast, but a relaxed tempo reigns and recent openings have boosted an already superb accommodation market; throw in a crop of new bars and cafes plus the 72-hour visa-free policy and there’s never been a better time to visit.”

8. Sri Lanka’s Hill Country
Sri Lanka may be “so hot right now”, but Lonely Planet recommends getting ahead of (and away from) the pack by taking “a scenic train to Sri Lanka's idyllic Hill Country for a wonderfully temperate escape from the nation's humid coasts …This tropical isle is endowed with a mountainous interior that is every bit as scenic as the coast, blessed by pleasantly cool temperatures that rarely tip 21ºC.”

9. Melaka City, Malaysia
“Boat rides along the meandering Melaka River are popular and soon water taxis will connect Melaka Sentral bus station with downtown. Check out the waterfront gallery space Zheng He Duo Yun Zuan … or rummage for souvenirs at the Trash & Treasure flea market … Then head to the Shore Shopping Gallery … where the rooftop Sky Tower provides panoramic views across this alluring metropolis.”

10. Raja Ampat, Indonesia
“Packed with white-sand beaches, lush jungle and unusual mushroom-shaped islets, Raja Ampat is a biological hotspot … home to some of the richest, most diverse coral reefs on the planet – over 200 diving spots are still pristine – and this, paired with a growing ecotourism offering, means Raja Ampat will no doubt remain king of the islands.”

Staging Connections creates a magical Emerald City for Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust Gala Ball

The Brisbane City Lord Mayor’s exclusive annual Charitable Trust Gala Ball has once again delivered a magical experience for guests, surpassing fundraising expectations.

Over 460 attendees gathered at the impressive Brisbane City Hall to raise funds and awareness for the Lord Mayor’s grants programs, providing much-needed assistance to deserving charities across the city.

As onsite staging provider at Brisbane City Hall with EPICURE, Staging Connections created a glittering evening for the Office of the Lord Mayor, a valued client of over four years. Building upon the incredible efforts of 2016, the team executed innovative and breathtaking custom designed technical displays to bring to life this year’s whimsical vision, ‘There’s No Place Like Oz’.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and Lady Mayoress and Chairperson of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust, Mrs Anne Quirk, hosted Councillors, business leaders, corporate stakeholders, sponsors and other guests to enjoy a fanciful and fun evening of entertainment, dinner, silent auctions, raffles and more, to raise money for the worthy cause.

The Staging Connections team relished in the Lady Mayoress’ vision of a Wizard of Oz theme, enveloping guests with a complete multi-sensory experience from the moment they clicked their heels and followed the yellow brick road into the City Hall.

The auditorium entrance was brought to life as Kansas; the team imaginatively recreating Dorothy’s House and iconic ruby slippers, accompanied by a simulated hurricane using dramatic lighting and sound effects, to the delight of all attendees.

The cutting edge multimedia and design continued inside with four separate spaces all linked to the enchanting Emerald City story – the Wicked Forest, Cornfield, Munchkinland, and Poppyfield. Impeccable detail in the styling and décor complemented the areas beautifully, injecting glamour and panache to the black-tie gala.

Staging Connections Southeast Queensland team executed its largest projection mapping activation to date, to great success: the projection mapping on the walls displayed iconic scenes from The Wizard of Oz movie, mesmerising guests for the entire evening.

Further immersive technical theatrics rendered the space unrecognisable, including vivid balcony lighting, segmented silent auction spaces, and an animated projection of ‘The Wizard’ onto the City Hall’s grand organ, creating a virtual ‘MC’ who interacted with the live presenters.

MC for the evening was radio legend, Ian Skippen and first-class entertainment, directed by the amazing Robert Clark, featured performances from stars of the Wicked! musical stage production and Dansing Academy. Guests then danced the night away to the tunes of cover band Savvy.

Susan Hamilton, Sales Manager, Staging Connections, Southeast Queensland, commented on the delivery of the highly creative and challenging event.

“The opportunity to develop a much-beloved, nostalgic movie property into a full-blown, spectacular production using our state of the art technology and talented specialists was incredible. Feedback on the night was so positive – and all for a worthy cause!” commented Ms Hamilton.

TAT Governor welcomes Thailands Number One Golf Ambassador Thongchai Jaidee

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn (left), Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), today extended a warm welcome to Mr. Thongchai Jaidee (right), Thailand’s number one Golf Ambassador who has been helping to promote international awareness of the Kingdom as a world-class golf destination.

Currently ranked 107th in the world, Mr Thongchai is considered by many as Thailand’s most successful professional golfer. He has been helping to promote the ‘Amazing Thailand’ brand through his participation at many of the world’s golf tournaments.

He is one of Thailand’s Golf Ambassadors, an initiative under the TAT’s Thailand Golf Paradise marketing strategy that puts an emphasis on promoting golf tourism in the Kingdom through famous professional golfers.

WATER PARK FUN IN JAMBEROO

The Perfect Storm
Jamberoo Action Park will re-open for the season on Saturday 23 September, with more thrills, adventure and excitement for the whole family.

The Park is set amongst 40 hectares of amazing aqua play fun and is a perfect place to kick back and relax or join the kids on a vast range of water rides, slides and attractions.

Experience The Perfect Storm! The Tallest, Longest, most exciting water ride, built of its kind, in the world…

As dark thunderclouds form and swirl, wind speeds increase relentlessly whirling about ugly columns of dust and debris… The Perfect Storm is approaching Jamberoo Action Park! NOT 1 … NOT 2 … BUT 3 tornados twisting and rotating around each other will combine to create The Perfect Storm.

You and 3 friends will experience thrills as you head towards the first mini vortex before breaking out excitedly into the bright light then re-entering the darkness making your way to the second vortex where you lose all sense of direction before reaching the gigantic Twister, that's picking up sheds, trackers, trucks and everything caught up in its path.

Hold on and prepare for the adventure of a life time as you experience moments of Zero-Gravity, in complete darkness, twisting up and down, back and forth inside the vortex of The Perfect Storm.

As the storm passes, calm returns as you emerge into the splash out pool, free at last…

Add a touch of elegance to your next occasion with Auckland Museum’s newest venue -– Tamaki Paenga Hira

Positioned in the heart of the Museum and above the Grand Foyer, the Champagne Mezzanine is the Museum’s latest addition to the suite of exceptional spaces for hire.

Celebrate with champagne here before dinner in the Grand Foyer, or choose to use the space exclusively.

You and your guests can also explore the Museum after hours, with private tours of the galleries or a performance from our Māori cultural performers. Unique gifts for your guests are available from the Museum Store.

Email: myevent@aucklandmuseum.com
Phone: 09 302 9765

HCM City’s 1st river bus begins operation

Thuong Nhat Co. Ltd. on Monday started the first public river bus route in HCM City.

The 10.8km Bach Dang - Linh Dong route starts at Bach Dang Wharf in District 1, goes through Sai Gon Pearl in Binh Thanh District, Binh An and Thao Dien in District 2, Tam Vu and Thanh Da in Binh Thanh District, and Binh Trieu, Hiep Binh Chanh and Linh Dong in Thu Duc District with 12 stops en route.

Five 80-seat boats have been deployed on the route, which takes around half an hour to cover compared to 45 minutes by road.

The public-private operation is in test mode and would become official in October, Nguyen Kim Toan, director of the company, said.

The fare is VND 15,000 (US$0.7).

Three more stops would be added later in Thu Thiem in District 2, Tan Cang in Binh Thanh and Truong Tho in Thu Duc, Toan said.

Early next year Thuong Nhat will begin a second route from Bach Dang to Lo Gom Port.

The 10.3km route will go through Ben Nghe Canal, and Tau Hu Canal before reaching the port in District 6.

“The low rate of use of public transport is the biggest challenge to public water transport,” Toan said.

Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the Department of Transport, said the city has yet to explore public water transport despite having more than 1,000km of canals and rivers.

Taxis account for a lion’s share of public transport and buses for only 10 per cent, he said.

The boat service is expected to ease the pressure on road transport, he added.

NSW TO BOOST JAPANESE TOURIST NUMBERS: GLOBAL LAUNCH FOR VIVID 2018 DATES

Premier Berejiklian with Destination NSW's Country
Manager Japan, Haruhiko Niihori, at the global launch
of the Vivid 2018 dates in Tokyo.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has invited the largest ever Japanese travel trade delegation to visit Vivid Sydney 2018, in a bid to build on the record number of tourists who took part in this year’s festival.

Ms Berejiklian made the announcement in Tokyo this week at the global launch of the Vivid Sydney 2018 dates.

“We are seeing a resurgence of Japanese visitors to our shores and we want to see that grow even further,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Not only is this great for forging closer ties with Japan but more tourists coming to NSW is vitally important for our local economy.”

Vivid Sydney 2018 will be held from
25 May to 16 June.

Monday, 28 August 2017

DESSERTING A DIFFERENT WAY IN ANAHEIM

Creme & Sugar
If you’re visiting Anaheim, be sure to pack your sweet tooth. A town full of entertainment and fun is topped off with some seriously delicious dessert offerings. While it’s true you’ll still find plenty of pies and a bajillion baked goods - we dessert a little differently in Anaheim! 

Anaheim offers everything from premium, handmade desserts to over-the-top sugar rushes. Each is totally shareable, but perhaps only on social media.

I Am Smoothie Shop and Shaved Snow

Looking for a seriously cool treat? Head over to the Anaheim Packing House for a Snowball -- a rice puff dipped in liquid nitrogen. Share one with a friend, but not before you get a get a selfie blowing out frosty smoke.

Creme & Sugar

Creme and Sugar takes the milkshake over the top. Over the top of the glass, that is. These elaborate concoctions blend ice cream treats and load them up with themed toppings. Famous for their unicorn milkshakes with edible glitter, multi-colored marshmallows and sprinkle blend, these shakes will have you racing over rainbows to get to the Anaheim Hills location.

Popbar

The Popbar serves handcrafted gelato on a stick, perfect for strolling around the Anaheim Packing House. Before you head off to explore the renovated citrus packing plant turned food hall, you can dip your Popbar any way you like it. Try the Green Tea dipped in white chocolate and crushed waffle cones.

Marceline’s Confectionery

Mickey and Minnie have been busy whipping up treats for guests at the Downtown Disney district. Themed Disneyland treats like character marshmallow pops and ginormous cupcakes are offered alongside delicious handmade fudge. Part of the fun is watching candy apples being dipped and decorated from outside the large windows.

MINI Monster

Instagram worthy and so much fun. Served in a light bulb shaped bottle, these teas and boba treats would be incredible on their own, but the drinks, like Honey Milk Tea, come topped with cotton candy. Bring your take-home bottle back for a refill anytime you want to “eat dessert, be a monster.”

Sweet Cup

Taco Tuesday has never been sweeter. Rolled ice cream tacos from Sweet Cup showcase the fun we can have when we play with our food. Premium ice cream is rolled and stuffed in a waffle taco shell. Try the Rainbow Road topped with fruity cereal, sprinkles, and even more rainbow candy. 

Nitrolado

Nitrolado

Think science fair for foodies when you think of Nitrolado in Little Saigon. This liquid nitrogen ice cream comes in 21 delicious flavors and makes for some serious fun. Homemade churro bowls top your ice cream while another cup below is filled with dry ice and hot water, creating a vaping effect escaping from your dessert.

When visiting Anaheim, make sure you save room for dessert. We’ve got you covered from cinnamon sweets to marvelous milkshakes. How will you dessert a little differently?