Tourism Australia’s Ten Top Things newsletter contains information about what’s new, different or of interest Down Under this month. This month’s guide contains, among other things, information about a new walking tour in Sydney, new winery accommodation in Victoria as well as details of celebrity spots on Hamilton Island!
Crimes and Passions – New tour hits Sydney’s streets, New South Wales
Bounce Walking Tours in Sydney has launched the Crimes & Passions Walking Tour, the first walking tour of Kings Cross to explore the colourful history and modern events shaping the area. The 2.5 hour guided tour provides informative entertainment for all ages and fitness levels from $35 (approx £14) per person. Bounce Walking Tours has also added the Twilight Sights Walking Tour to its summer schedule – providing a fascinating guided walk through Sydney Cove at sunset from only $25 (approx £10) per person. http://www.bouncewalkingtours.com/
Chinchilla Melon Festival, 10 – 18 February, Queensland
Bigger, brighter and better than ever, this year’s Melon Festival will have countless ‘melon events’, including Melon Bungy, Melon Bullseye and the hilarious Melon Skiing! The traditional Big Melon Weigh-In will see growers competing to beat the current record of over 83 kilograms for the heaviest melon. A world record attempt of splitting watermelons with your head will be adjudicated by Mr Chris Sheedy from Guinness World Records. Visit this link.
Fillmore’s Lombardy on Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Fillmore’s Lombardy is a beautifully appointed villa offering luxurious hosted bed and breakfast accommodation on Kangaroo Island’s sheltered North Coast. Fillmore’s Lombardy closely resembles a Tuscan Villa and boasts two suites with ocean and garden views. The 1.5 acres of native and exotic gardens and surrounds attract a wide variety of birds all year round. Guests can often see native wildlife including fairy penguins on the beach, just 750 meters from the villa. www.fillmores.com.au
New winery accommodation in the Yarra Valley, Victoria
Fergusson Winery opened 22 new vineyard studios in December 2006. Situated 50km from Melbourne at Dixon’s Creek, the trip to Fergusson Winery through the beautiful Yarra Valley is a sightseeing tour in itself. The elegant rooms, nestled amongst the vines, feature private verandas with breathtaking vineyard views and spa baths in some suites. www.fergussonwinery.com.au
Put ‘Bothfeet’ forward on a guided gourmet walk around Spa Country, Victoria
Walk from the cratered surrounds of Mount Franklin to the therapeutic waters of the natural mineral springs of Hepburn on this four day/three night tour with walking tour company, Bothfeet. Covering about 10km a day, your guide will tell tales of the wealth of years gone by as you trace the route cut by gold miners over a century ago. Open your eyes to a vivid array of flora and fauna; set your taste buds soaring and sample fresh regional cuisine; and each night return to the exclusive Peppers Springs Retreat. At the end of the journey be spoilt at the Springs Retreat Mineral Spa with a leg and foot massage to revive those tired toes! www.bothfeet.com.au
New luxury hotel to open in national capital, Australian Capital Territory
A spectacular 81room luxury hotel, positioned by Lake Burley Griffin, is set to open in Canberra in October 2007. Located within the original Hotel Acton building, this historical and heritage listed site will be transformed into the Diamant, creating Canberra’s first luxury boutique hotel. www.diamant.com.au
Take some time away from city life and recharge your soul with Blue Spirit Surf and Adventure Retreats. Based in Margaret River, the retreats combine adventurous holiday activities such as surfing lessons, sea kayaking and abseiling with more relaxing experiences including yoga, massage and meditation. Blue Spirit runs weekend, five-day mixed, five-day women’s, private group, family and corporate retreats. www.bluespiritretreats.com.au
Star spots on Hamilton Island, Queensland
It’s always hot at this time of the year on Hamilton Island, but things have got a bit steamier in the past couple of days since the arrival of some of Hollywood’s A-list on the Great Barrier Reef Island. Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson and Donald Sutherland are all on Hamilton Island this week shooting a new Warner Bros movie, Fools Gold. In between takes, the trio are enjoying the magnificent weather and the laid-back atmosphere on Hamilton Island. Matthew McConaughey has been spotted taking daily jogs around the island and regularly driving around in a golf buggy. Meanwhile Kate was spotted shopping in Foot’s Artwork, a gallery owned by ex-pat American sculptor, Foot Young. www.hamiltonisland.com.au
Gourmet Wanderer Tour, Tasmania
Australian Pacific Touring (APT) has recently launched a tour coupling two of the best things about Tasmania – its amazing scenery and food. Join a small group on a leisurely trip around some of Tasmania’s best walking spots. Immerse yourself in gourmet dining experiences, tasting the freshest oysters, crayfish and salmon, farmhouse cheeses and flavoursome beers. Traverse one of the last great wilderness areas on earth, including Cradle Mountain and Gordon River. The tour includes accommodation at some of the most luxurious places in Tasmania such as the award-winning Freycinet Lodge and, exclusive to APT, Harbour View Deluxe Rooms at Strahan. Visit this link.
From 1st April 2007 a new 2.5 hour dinner cruise will operate on board the Robert Lee, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy Katherine Gorge at sunset. The cruise will depart daily at 5.30pm from the Nitmiluk Visitors Centre and passengers will receive a complimentary glass of wine as the ship enters the first gorge. Hot and cold dining options will be available and guests may choose from a selection of black Russian beef roast with Idaho potatoes, the more local option of barramundi with rice, or a cold buffet of prawns, roasted leg of ham and seasonal salad dishes. The tour will cost $105 (approx £42) for adults and $86.50 (approx £34) for children. www.nitmiluktours.com.au
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