Spicers Sangoma retreat: what a weekend. Love it!

There’s something truly wonderful about getting away from our ‘usual’ weekend lives and stepping into the beauty of the unknown. Well, not quite the ‘unknown’, but to an exquisite mountain escape that does, quite literally leave you refreshed, relaxed and treated so beautifully.

All of the above happened when a girlfriend and I spent a weekend at Bowen Mountain (that’s the mountain Spicers Retreats’ Sangoma Retreat is cocooned by).

In two nights we managed to completely abandon the stresses of everyday work and city life, and find serenity _ and so much more.

To read all about our amazing weekend – visit https://spicersretreats.com/spicers-blog/melissa-hoyer-experiences-bush-luxury/

Melissa was a guest of Spicers Retreat 

Daydream Island Reopens

Daydream Island has welcomed its first guests back to the resort, signalling its official come back as Australia’s most loved island resort.

Located in the heart of the Whitsundays, Daydream Island spans 1km long with coral and sand beaches lined by palm trees, a tropical rainforest and it’s own Living Reef bursting with marine life.

Evoking a sense of paradise, the resort has been transformed with new restaurants and bars, expansive suites looking out to the Whitsundays and an idyllic pool designed for that Insta-worthy photo.

Daydream Island Resort’s General Manager, Dawson Tang has led the renovation and rebuild of the resort over the past two years and is excited to welcome guests. “We’re thrilled to welcome our returning and first time guests to Daydream Island as we share with them the reimagined architecture, design and dining offerings. We have a special connection with the Great Barrier Reef through our Living Reef and can’t wait to have guests experience the marine life from our new Underwater Observatory.

The new look resort designed by architecture firm, Hunt Design, pays homeage to the beauty of the region and the heritage of the classic Queenslander. Public spaces such as the Atrium have been created to be welcoming with the outdoors sprawling in, through colonial shutters, a vibrant green wall and an alfresco area looking into the Living Reef.

The resort features 277 contemporary rooms and suites with views of either the tropical gardens, pool or out to the ocean. The rooms and suites have a modern feel with wood look, stone and marble surfaces along with soft turquoise tones creating a space for guests to relax and retreat in.

The room types include; Standard Room conveniently located near the restaurants and central building with views out to the resort, Superior Room with a private balcony overlooking the pool or ocean and Deluxe Room offering an outdoor terrace with ocean views across the Whitsunday Islands. The resort’s suites all feature expansive views of the ocean with the Serenity Suite looking out to Daydream’s famed Lover’s Cove.

Daydream Island will have three new restaurants and three new bars all defined by their own distinct design and flavour. Executive Chef, Keith Le Fevre and Food and Beverage Manager, Adrian Tyler have created menus that showcase the best seasonal produce of the region at each restaurant.

Infinity is the resort’s premium dining offering with an Asian fusion menu, with wrap around balcony and expansive views over the Whitsundays. It has a private Teppanyaki Suite offering diners an unforgettable private dining experience. Inkstone Kitchen and Bar focuses on modern Australian cuisine with local produce and Australian native flavours at the heart of the menu.

Tonic is a specialty gin bar located at the Atrium with views looking out to the Living Reef. The perfect location for a cocktail, the space features forest green subway tiles contrasted with intricate gold details.

Daydream Island will be welcoming Graze Interactive Dining, Barefoot Bar and Silica in the coming months, further expanding the variety of food and beverage options on the island.

The Living Reef is a free form coral lagoon spanning 200 metres throughout the resort and holds over 1.5 million litres of fresh water and is home to hundreds of marine fish, coral, stingrays and sharks. Led by a team of marine biologists and Head Marine Biologist and TEQ Ambassador, Johnny Gaskell, the Living Reef gives Daydream Island an authentic connection to the Great Barrier Reef and its marine life.

For the first time, guests can now explore the Living Reef up close and personal on a guided snorkel with Daydream Island’s marine biologists. A new underwater observatory also allows guests to view 4 metres below the water’s surface to watch the marine life in action. Kids will have the chance to become eco-warriors at Kids Club as they explore and learn about the Living Reef while playing and feeding the animals who call it home, amongst a range of other activities around the island.

The Living Reef has a focus on education and will also feature an Exploration Centre with information on conservation and local marine life for guests to learn more about the Great Barrier Reef.The resort has a host of activities for guests to experience such as snorkeling adventures, helicopter tours exploring the island & surrounding Great Barrier Reef as well as sailboat and jetski hire.

The island will also feature an expansive revitalised pool landscape with unparalled views across the Whitsundays, coral beaches, gym facilities, unlimited access to non-motorised water activities and will launch the refurbished Outdoor Cinema in June – overlooking Sunset Beach. An exclusive adult’s only area will cater to those in search of a sanctuary and a little slice of peace and quiet.

For more information or to book, please visit daydreamisland.com or contact the reservations team at reservations@daydreamisland.com.

Source: Daydream Island

Aqua Expeditions - Set To Enter Coastal Cruise Market In 2019

Class-leading boutique luxury cruise line Aqua Expeditions is set to diversify its business operations and enter the coastal cruises market in the fourth quarter of 2019, after operating as a river cruise line for the past 12 years.

The announcement follows the successful funding in November 2018 of its growth strategy. Four months later, in March 2019, the company finalized the purchase of a long-range explorer yacht, which is currently undergoing a complete refurbishment to assume the role of a modern luxury expedition vessel catering primarily to affluent explorers.

“Even as we grow, as an owner I remain deeply involved in every aspect of the new vessels from the design details to the itineraries — the same way we started out in 2007,” said Aqua Expeditions CEO, Francesco Galli Zugaro.

“As with all Aqua Expeditions vessels, we will be partnering with a renowned designer and also a critically acclaimed chef to deliver a world-class dining experience.”

Scheduled to begin full operations from November 2019, the explorer class vessel will serve three new destinations with year-round departures. The full announcement on vessel name, facts, destinations and itinerary details will be released globally on 8 May 2019.

To give a sneak preview of the three new destinations and a glimpse of the new vessel, Aqua Expeditions produced a cinematic 1½-minute sneak preview video. The video is part of a month-long worldwide campaign featuring ‘Guess the New Destination’ sweepstakes to promote the upcoming destinations. Entrants stand to win a 7-Night cruise for two worth US$15,050 aboard Aqua Expedition’s first explorer yacht.

The 8 May 2019 global announcement will also unveil a state-of-the-art, new-build luxury river cruise vessel to consolidate Aqua Expeditions’ position as one of the leaders in the river cruise market. With this and the recently-purchased expedition vessel in operation, the cruise line will double its fleet — from two to four vessels — by mid-2020.

The move by Aqua Expeditions to expand coincides with luxury travel advisor Virtuoso naming ‘River Cruises’ as one of the 10 biggest travel trends in its 2019 Luxe Report, along with ‘Luxury Cruises’. “As travellers increasingly regard river cruises as an attractive way to travel in luxury, our move to increase our river cruising capacity takes advantage of the trend,” said Mr Galli Zugaro.

The fleet expansion and new destinations strengthens the company’s multi-dimensional brand proposition of delivering highly personalized luxury travel experiences centered around:

  • Immersive excursions into wildlife and culture of each region
  • World-class cuisine and dining experiences by renowned chefs
  • Highly tailored guest service and itineraries
  • Designer ships with elegant and contemporary aesthetics
  • A commitment to community, sustainability and preservation

Bookings for Aqua Expeditions cruises are available through your travel agent or Aqua Expeditions Australia on 1300 124 204 or reservations@aquaexpeditions.com.au or www.aquaexpeditions.com

Source: Aqua Expeditions



Wellington Presents Highball, NZ’s First Spirits and Cocktail Festival

From the team that brings you Visa Wellington On a Plate and Beervana, the Wellington Culinary Events Trust has announced the launch of New Zealand’s first dedicated spirits and cocktail festival, Highball.

Held over two days on 11-12 May 2019 at Wellington’s historic Embassy Theatre, Highball is an immersive celebration of cocktails and spirits, where people can explore fine distills, rare exports and other libations, presented by local and international distilleries, as well as the best of Wellington’s cocktail bars and talent.

Highball is partnering with Liquorland to showcase 16 regional and international distilleries, including House of Angostura, Glenfiddich and Johnnie Walker, as well as Kiwi craft spirits producers, like Reid & Reid, Denzien Urban Gin Distillery, Thomson Whisky and Sacred Spring.

Festival goers can learn directly from 14 local and international cocktail and spirits experts at the Highball Seminar Series on topics such as the history of cocktails, Tiki culture and the many different ways spirits can be used as ingredients to enhance your beverage of choice.

In true Wellington style there will gastronomic delights from some of Wellington’s best restaurants and local live musical acts for all to enjoy.

Sarah Meikle, Wellington Culinary Trust Chief Executive, says Wellington is the perfect home to New Zealand’s first cocktail festival. “What better city to host New Zealand’s first cocktail and spirits festival than Wellington? We’re gaining an international reputation as one of the world’s great culinary cities and established two very successful annual food and beer festivals,” she says.

“We thought it was high time we added cocktails and spirits to this line-up. It’s the perfect way to recognise and celebrate the cocktail and spirits industry, the talent within it, and also offer something new and exciting for the public to get behind.”

The festival launches with the inaugural New Zealand Spirits Awards on the Friday of Highball weekend (10 May) and is followed by the first annual Wellington Cocktail Week, showcasing the capital’s rich and colourful cocktail scene with a series of events, special menus and masterclasses in restaurants, bars and cafes.

Robert Brewer, Chief Executive of industry body and Highball supporting partner, Spirits New Zealand, says Highball is a wonderful opportunity to bring the best of New Zealand’s spirit producers and talent together with its international counterparts to consumers.

“We’re also pleased to see there is a strong component of spirits education; using spirits as an ingredient in an informed way and enjoying spirits in a socially responsible manner.”

Tickets for Highball go on sale on 25 March at www.highball.co.nz.

Source: Highball

Norfolk Island - Bounty Day Celebrations 2019

Join the Norfolk Island community on their National Day celebrating the 1856 arrival of the Pitcairn Islanders to begin a new life on Norfolk.

As the descendants of Fletcher Christian and the mutineers of the Mutiny on the Bounty, they invite you to be part of the Bounty Day activities centred around a community re-enactment and picnic.

Special activities during the celebrations will include the Bounty Day parade on 10 June (delayed from actual date of 8 June due to Saturday religious observances) where you will see locals dressed in their Bounty clothes walking from Kingston Pier to the Norfolk Island cemetery. You can also pre-book for a fabulous luncheon to be held afterwards with entertainment located alongside the community picnic.

During your stay you may also like to hit out on the world-heritage listed golf course in the Castaway Bounty Golf Competition or tread the boards with ballroom dancing for all ages from small children to adults and visitors welcome to join the non-competitive dancing section.

The Norfolk Island Travel Centre is offering 7-night Bounty Day Norfolk Island packages including:

  • 7 nights’ twin share at Seaview Norfolk Island which offers beautiful views out to neighbouring Phillip Island and is centrally located, a short, flat, walk to the Burnt Pine shopping area with restaurants, cafes, services, and bars
  • Return ‘seat and bag’ economy flights with Air New Zealand
  • All pre-paid airline taxes
  • Meet and Greet at Norfolk Island Airport
  • Airport-hotel return transfers
  • Daily Continental breakfast
  • 7 days’ car hire – petrol additional
  • Half day Island Tour
  • Complimentary ‘Mini Golf’ and ‘A Walk in the Wild’ and free bonus gift redeemable at The Bounty Centre
  • Bonus Norfolk Island discount shopping card

The Bounty Day Norfolk Island package is priced from:

  • $1099 per person twin share Brisbane to Norfolk Island return from 8 – 15 June 2019
  • $1249 per person twin share Sydney to Norfolk Island return 7 – 14 June 2019

An additional $350 per person applies for single traveller packages.