Aussie Celebs Lead #RoadTripPledge in Support of Regional Australia

The #RoadTripPledge is an Australian regeneration promise, created by online holiday rental website Stayz. It draws our attention back to the needs of regional Australia, both directly and indirectly impacted by the summer bushfires, and more recently the COVID-19 imposed travel bans. This pledge is for families, to help them process and understand recent major Australian bushfires and health issues, and offers a way to take positive action together to revive the economy.

A number of household Aussie names have joined the campaign, with Edwina Bartholomew, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Cameron Daddo and Alison Brahe, Jamie Durie, Adam Liaw, Benji and Zoe Marshall, Cartiona Rowntree, Tom Williams and Dr. Katrina Warren, some of the first to make the pledge. Each has made their own promise to travel locally with their families across 2020 by road as a genuine way to give back to recovering regions and tourism.

The campaign was created by Stayz as a response to the devastating bushfires over the Australian Summer when thousands of properties, businesses and people were affected by bushfire and drought. Just as recovery was underway, COVID-19 left regional towns further isolated. With travel now taking off again in many places across the country, the #RoadTripPledge message is simple: Focus on reconnecting Australian families with these impacted areas, encouraging Australians to make a simple promise to take on new adventures and hit the road to rebuild tourism.

As a reminder of the incredible power of regeneration.
I stand with regional Australian towns.
I vow to explore impacted places by road.
To spend generously in towns of all sizes.
To always ask locals “are you okay”.
To value moments of connection with the people I love.
And find a renewed sense of adventure together.
Even when the headlines have stopped, and the social media has ceased.
We will not forget the reason why we made our #RoadTripPledge.

As part of the campaign kick-off, Stayz has also launched a promotion whereby people who take the #RoadTripPledge – and are one of the first 1000 bookings (for over $1000) made at Stayz.com.au – will be eligible to claim and receive a $100 VISA gift card* which can be used in the regional holiday destination, injecting much needed money back into small businesses that need it most.

“We are extremely proud, even during hard global times, to launch the #RoadTripPledge this month in support of regional tourism and ensuring this is remembered across 2020,” says Simone Scoppa, Travel Expert for Stayz.

“We have seen since travel restrictions have eased in Australia, that the demand to stay in a holiday home has increased significantly, where people are wanting to stay in a spacious whole home with their family and friends but away from other people. Stayz has always been committed to driving tourism in regional Australia but this year more than ever it is so much more important.”

New mum, Edwina Bartholomew, remarked it was “an unusual summer of highs and lows,” as she welcomed her first child. “It was hard to watch it all happen at a distance. It was both a beautiful time in our lives and a sad time for Australia with bushfires then COVID-19. I have been lucky to visit so many beautiful parts of Australia through my work and now is the time to return to those places as a family. We took the pledge, knowing that in doing so, we are helping to get businesses get back off the ground and small towns humming again.”

Family expert and child psychologist, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg agrees. “2020 hasn’t turned out to be the new decade and chapter we were all expecting. From the impact of the bushfires that led to a lost summer syndrome for so many families, to the recent health crisis that has impacted the way we socialise, greet people and holiday, it has been trying and life changing times. While we must still be careful and diligent, we need to also remember that connecting, exploring and spending time together as a family unit is now more important than ever, and doing this locally by road a safe option.”

“Travel will also have a positive impact on our kids’ minds and education. From the outset parents can give them a new sense of responsibility that they might not have on a daily basis by getting them involved in the planning of the trip and then letting them be in charge of packing for themselves. Visiting regional towns presents the opportunity for children to learn about their history, indigenous culture, nature and wildlife, inspiring curiosity beyond what they may learn in the classroom.”

Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg has created a tool kit on how to reconnect through a road trip and speak to your children about the recent challenging topics of the year. This tool kit can be found online here: www.roadtrippledge.com.au

In these challenging times, the #RoadTripPledge shines a light on something we can be hopeful about together. To join families and businesses taking the pledge around the country, go to www.roadtrippledge.com.au.

Source: Road Trip Pledge


Lions are back at Taronga Zoo Sydney as ‘Savannah’ opens

Taronga Zoo has officially opened the new state-of-the-art African Savannah precinct, connecting guests with a beautiful waterhole where Giraffe and Zebra will drink together, Fennec Foxes and Meerkats enjoy world-class facilities and the kings of the big cats, the Lions, return to Taronga for the first time in five years.

The African Savannah precinct, which is radically different to any other Australian zoo experience, takes guests on a journey to Africa while also educating them on the conservation challenges facing these iconic species and some of the solutions that are supporting communities and wildlife in Northern Kenya.

Awaiting guests in the heart of African Savannah are Lwazi and Ato, two male Lions whose arrival marks the first time since 2015 that these big cats have been on display at Taronga Zoo. Importantly, this Lion habitat will also enable crucial breeding programs to support insurance populations for Lions, which are sadly now extinct in 27 African countries.

“It’s my absolute pleasure to welcome guests to Taronga’s African Savannah today,” says Cameron Kerr, CEO of Taronga. “Visitors will no doubt be surprised and delighted by the scale and authenticity of this new precinct, where African species interact as they would in the wild.”

“I am especially excited to see these big, beautiful cats back at Taronga Zoo Sydney. Our new Lion habitat utilises diverse topography to replicate the escarpments and rocky outcrops of the ‘kopje’ or high country, while also providing different areas for the Lions to socialise or withdraw depending on their choice of activity. This ensures positive animal welfare for the animals. The two viewing areas offer the chance to see the Lions in all parts of the exhibit, while the large glass windows and mesh panels allow for some amazing close encounters with the animals,” says Kerr.

Joining the Lions in the African Savannah is Taronga’s tower of Giraffe, which includes Giraffes Jimiyu and Zarafa and adorable new arrivals Kito and Ebo, a mother and calf who recently arrived from Taronga Western Plains Zoo. They can be found living alongside Zebras Kaya and Bwana in a multi-species exhibit known as The Waterhole. Nearby, guests can get up close to Taronga’s pair of Fennec Fox and mob of Meerkats who have moved into brand new exhibits.

Central to the African Savannah is the story of Taronga’s conservation partnerships in Kenya with the Northern Rangeland Trust. The precinct has been authentically designed to connect guests to communities in this country by introducing them to Taronga’s ‘Creators of Hope’ – extraordinary people at the heart of wildlife conservation in Africa.

Inspired by wildlife and these conservation crusaders, guests too can become Creators of Hope, by supporting community-driven solutions like Beads for Wildlife and purchasing beautiful, handcrafted bead products at Taronga’s retail outlets. This initiative is helping to empower women and diversify family income, which transforms lives and reduces reliance on livestock and natural resources in Northern Kenya.

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said he was pleased to see Taronga open what will be another major attraction.“The new state-of-the-art precinct will be a treat for the community which will showcase one of the best views in Australia while promoting vital conservation messages about the future of some iconic African species.”

“The Zoo has always had an ability to lift our community’s spirits and I encourage everyone to plan a visit to the new African Savannah precinct,” Mr Kean said.

Taronga’s top priority is to ensure guests are safe, and this means some changes to the usual guest experience. Following advice provided by the NSW Government, daily visitor numbers are currently limited to lower than normal capacity, and guests, including Zoo Friends, will need to register their visit online before attending the Zoo. Hygiene measures including extra sanitizing stations, signage encouraging social distancing and increased cleaning have also been put in place throughout the Zoo.

For more information about African Savannah, ticket sales and the safety measures in place, visit Taronga.org.au/africansavannah

 

Source: Taronga Zoo


Our mountains have been waiting for us: Scenic World in The Blue Mountains reopens

Scenic World in the Blue Mountains is reopening for the July school holidays and welcoming visitors to once again explore its world heritage listed landscapes and ancient rainforest via its unique cablecars, train and elevated boardwalk.

After months of being indoors, a visit to Scenic World is the perfect excuse for families and friends to put down the devices and reconnect with each other and the great outdoors. Scenic World is an action packed adventure for the whole family. From enjoying the vastness of the Scenic Walkway, which allows you to explore the Jurassic rainforest, to the thrill of riding the world’s steepest railway ride on the Scenic Railway or hopping on the Scenic Cableway, the steepest and largest aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere and be amazed by the breathtaking views overlooking Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters and Jamison Valley.

Expect to be greeted with the same friendly faces, fresh Blue Mountains air and a newly adapted experience, that meet all NSW Government COVID Safe requirements. Capacity will be strictly limited at Scenic World, offering small group sessions with a set itinerary which means no queues or crowding – always a bonus with young ones in tow. As tickets are now limited, and to ensure a contactless transaction, all tickets must be booked in advance online.

‘As a third generation family business, there is no doubt 2020 has been the toughest in our 75 year history, following both our closure to stop the spread of Covid-19 and temporary closure caused by the devastating bushfires over summer. Our team can’t wait to welcome back guests to enjoy Scenic World and to support the region’s recovery. Our enhanced cleaning, increased hygiene measures and smaller groups will deliver a Covid Safe environment, allowing all guests peace of mind so they can focus on enjoying the great outdoors!’ said Managing Director Anthea Hammon.

Scenic World will reopen to the public on Friday, 26th June with online ticketing only and timed-ticket entry for all guests on:

9am – 5pm 7 days a week from June 26 – July 19
9am-5pm Saturdays, Sundays & Mondays outside school holidays
9am-5pm 7 days a week during school holidays.

Source: Scenic World


Win a night at Australia's Luxurious Langham, Sydney, with 20 guests

The Langham, Sydney has launched their biggest competition to date, which will grant one lucky winner the staycation of a lifetime in Australia’s best luxury boutique hotel. But they won’t be alone – they can invite a generous twenty of their nearest and dearest to join them for a luxurious, indulgent and celebratory family or friends get-away.

The competition, ‘WIN Australia’s Most Luxurious Staycation’ has been put together with the art of celebrating and connecting with your family and friends in mind. The prize will give the recipient the opportunity to celebrate the one thing that everyone has missed most so far in 2020 – the simple pleasure of being around loved ones. The Langham, Sydney recognises how challenging it’s been for people around the country. Grandparents have missed out on precious moments with their grandchildren, weddings have had to be postponed, birthdays are celebrated online and hugs and laughter in person have been lost. This competition will give the winner and their chosen ones the ultimate VIP staycation in one of the best cities in the world.

Lachlan Harris, Director of Sales & Marketing for The Langham, Sydney says the prize is the perfect gift for the winner to share with their friends and family, following a very challenging six months.

“There’s no denying that 2020 has thrown a curveball at the world’s population and everything that we hold dear. In Australia, we started the year with the devastating fires that made headlines globally and that was shortly followed by a global pandemic. It’s been a tough time for so many who have missed seeing their loved ones. We’ve also missed welcoming, not only our loyal guests, but those that were planning on coming to experience The Langham, Sydney for the first time. We wanted to offer the best prize and what better way than to give the opportunity of a great reunion for twenty friends and family for a staycation of a lifetime.”

The winner will receive a one-night stay at The Langham, Sydney’s most decadent suite – The Observatory Suite PLUS:

  • 10 additional luxury accommodation rooms for family or friends with champagne on arrival (maximum 2 guests per room)
  • Complimentary use of The Day Spa by Chuan, including our famous star-lit pool, gym, tennis courts and a 60-minute relaxation massage per guest.
  • A private à la carte dinner for all guests, hosted by Executive Chef, Stephen Lech.
  • VIP access to the Observatory Bar, including a complimentary customised cocktail list and free-flowing afternoon canapés.
  • Complimentary car parking for up to ten cars.
  • Complimentary mini-bar.
  • An à la carte breakfast for all guests.
  • A dedicated The Langham, Sydney Staycation Stylist to plan and create your ultimate 24-hour getaway.

To enter, there are two stages:

STAGE ONE:

Book one of the following three staycation packages at The Langham, Sydney. Every booking will equate to one qualified entry into the competition. Bookings can be made from Wednesday 1st July until Sunday 13th December.

From $568 AUD per night

THE JUBILATION PACKAGE INCLUDES:

  • One nights’ accommodation in a Deluxe City King Bedroom
  • Complimentary upgrade to next available room category at time of booking.
  • In-room dining breakfast for two served on your outdoor terrace/dining table.
  • Access to Sydney’s most exclusive Swimming Pool and Day Spa Facilities
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
  • Complimentary valet car parking
  • 24-hour check-in / check-out

From $748 AUD per night

COUPLES RECONNECTION PACKAGE INCLUDES:

  • One nights’ accommodation in a Deluxe City KingBedroom
  • Complimentary bottle of Laurent Perrier Champagne on arrival
  • Breakfast in Bed (Room Service – Australian Breakfast for two) served on your outdoor terrace/dining table.
  • Dinner for two
  • Access to Sydney’s most exclusive Swimming Pool and Day Spa Facilities
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
  • Complimentary valet car parking
  • 24-hour check-in / check-out

From $998 AUD per night

THE REVIVAL REMEDY PACKAGE INCLUDES:

  • One nights’ accommodation in a Deluxe City Side King Bedroom
  • 60-minutes Sensory Journey Treatment (Aromatherapy Massage) in the Day Spa by Chuan
  • $100.00 Observatory Bar Credit
  • Dinner for two
  • In-room dining breakfast for two served on your outdoor terrace/dining table.
  • Access to Sydney’s most exclusive Swimming Pool and Day Spa Facilities
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
  • Complimentary valet car parking
  • 24-hour check-in / check-out

STAGE TWO:

Upon check-out, every guest will be asked to submit their #LovingLangham story. This writing competition will consist of two questions, to be answered in 500 words or less.

1)      Why are you #LovingLangham?

2)      Why should you win Australia’s Most Luxurious Staycation with twenty of your loved ones?

To book a staycation package and enter the competition, go to: www.langhamhotels.com/en/the-langham/sydney/offers/room-offers/win-australias-most-luxurious-staycation/

The winner will be announced and contacted on Thursday 17th December 2020. Redemption of the prize is valid for 12 months and subject to the hotel’s availability. Some black-out dates will apply. *For full competition Terms & Conditions, please go to www.langhamhotels.com/en/the-langham/sydney/offers/room-offers/win-australias-most-luxurious-staycation/

Source: The Langham


Thredbo launches australia's only alpine gondola

Thredbo Resort, operated by EVENT Hospitality and Entertainment Ltd, has announced the completion of several developments. This includes the launch of the Merritts Gondola, the only alpine gondola in Australia. In addition, EVENT has also invested in a new car park, improvements to Dream Run including snowmaking, an expanded grooming fleet, and has continued to introduce new sustainability measures all of which contribute to delivering an enhanced experience for visitors to Thredbo.

Thredbo is Australia’s premier alpine resort and has been voted Australia’s Best Ski Resort in the World Ski Awards for three consecutive years. The Gondola investment will further enhance this position, replacing the Merritts double chairlift and quadrupling capacity. The cabin-style lift is similar to those found in Europe and North America and represents the culmination of two years of planning and development, delivering a new crucial inter-mountain link.

Stuart Diver, General Manager of Thredbo Resort today said: “The investment being made in Thredbo is really exciting to see, and I have no doubt Thredbo customers will agree. The launch of the Gondola is a huge event for Thredbo and the entire community who have worked so hard to make this happen. It is a remarkable engineering achievement thanks to the tenacity and depth of knowledge and expertise at Doppelmayr, the world’s leading manufacturer of ski lifts. The completion of this phase of our development plan will enhance the customer experience and continue to ensure we remain Australia’s premier resort.”

“Snow lovers will be thrilled with easier access to the Cruiser area and the Friday Flat beginners’ area, and with the improvements we have made to the popular Dream Run, including a new automated snowmaking system.”

“We care deeply about our responsibility of operating in a unique natural environment, which is why being Australia’s first ski resort to be powered exclusively by clean, renewable energy was also an important milestone.”

Shaun Turner, General Manager of Doppelmayr Australia said, “Doppelmayr is proud to be delivering Merritts Gondola to Thredbo on time for the 2020 winter snow season. Merritts is the first eight-passenger gondola in the Australian snowfields and offers world leading European quality, safety and green technology.”

“Thredbo’s new gondola is driven by a massive slow turning motor which is super quiet and more efficient than a conventional gondola. We would like to commend Thredbo for demonstrating their commitment to sustainability and the environment with the uptake of this innovative technology.”

The winter stage is set with additional snowmaking, car park expansions and continued commitment from Thredbo Resort to power all its major resort operations with 100% renewable energy:

Snowmaking on ‘Dream Run’. This aptly named popular intermediate to advanced run will have its own automated snowmaking system. This will become a link run allowing better access to Friday Flat and the Mid-Station of the new Merritts Gondola.

Additional car parking at Friday Flat with 75 additional spaces available.

Pistenbully snow groomer. A brand new Pistenbully PB600 Polar Free Grooming Cat has been added to Thredbo’s extensive fleet of snow groomers. The Euro V compliant motor sees increased power over its predecessor, while significantly reducing particulate and nitrogen emission. It’s designed to cover large areas quickly and efficiently whilst delivering the best quality groomed runs for our guests.

SNOWsat snow depth technology. Thredbo has invested in new SNOWsat technology to more accurately measure snow depth across the resort. Developed by the snow groomer machine manufacturer Kassbohrer, the technology involves sensors being placed on the grooming machines that relay snow depth measurements via satellite to our server and provides a detailed snow depth map. The snow depth map will deliver efficiencies in both snow grooming and snow making to further enhance the skiing and snowboarding experience.

Renamed trail ‘Frank’s Face’. One of Thredbo’s iconic trails is being renamed after the incredible Frank Prihoda, Australia’s oldest Olympian and Thredbo local who turns 99 on 8 July 2020. The blue (intermediate) trail runs from the top of Karel’s T-bar from Australia’s highest lifted point of 2037 metres to Basin T-bar.

Environmental initiatives. Together with Red Energy and Snowy Hydro, Thredbo continues to lead the industry as Australia’s first snow resort to have all major resort operations powered by 100% renewable energy. New environmental initiatives for 2020 include sugarcane pulp food packaging (certified compostable and sustainable) and a closed loop organics recycling machine, doubling Thredbo’s food waste recycling capacity. In addition, Thredbo has undertaken an extensive rehabilitation native planting project and used repurposed materials in the construction of the new Friday Flat car park retaining walls.

The official Opening of the Merritts Gondola will take place in Thredbo on Saturday 20 June 2020 with key representatives from EVENT, Government tourism and industry organisations invited to the limited capacity event, in keeping with the current COVID-19 restrictions on gathering sizes.

Source: Thredbo