Barefoot Luxury Yoga Retreats at Nihi-Sumba Island

Located on an untouched Indonesian enclave, Nihi-Sumba Island establishes a new benchmark for year-round wellbeing escapes with its Barefoot Luxury Yoga Retreat package. Completely off-grid, Nihi reaches beyond the treatment table with a mind-body cocktail of holistic experiences and the opportunity to incorporate a personal wellness retreat program into any Nihi-Sumba Island stay.

Nihi’s year-round Barefoot Luxury Yoga Retreats are ideal for those seeking a personalised wellness experience within their stay, something tailored to their needs and schedule, and more than group yoga. Led by Nihiwatu’s Yoga & Wellness Director, Mary Tilson, Barefoot Luxury Retreat guests will receive the very best in specialist yoga (with hatha, vinyasa, restorative, yin, aerial and alignment based styles on offer) and individualised attention for all levels. Pranayama (breathing technique) and meditation can also be added to the offer. Mary brings with her over 1,000 hours of teacher training with top yoga and wellness around the world and a passion for sharing the experience of yoga. Her training includes Hatha, Power Vinyasa, Restorative, Spine Disfunction and Anatomy and Yoga Therapy.

Access to an array of wellness activities is the perfect complement to the Barefoot Luxury Yoga Retreats. A highlight is the ‘Nihioka Spa Safari’, taking guests on a journey across Sumba island’s dramatic west coast to experience a day of locally-inspired spa treatments, healthy cuisine and yoga sessions. In a private bale (which includes personal spa therapists), any number of pre-selected treatments can be enjoyed amidst uninterrupted views of the sea and cascading rice paddy fields. These include Indonesian treatments such as the Mimpi Indah facial (with locally sourced coconut oil, red rice scrub and Rosella tea mask), as well as the Lulur – a wrap full of detoxifying herbs and spices from the rice farms of Bali which is considered traditional medicine, relieving aching joints and soothing sore muscles.

The wellness experience continues with the opportunity for guests to trek tropical jungles, learn from an ancient tribal culture and visit incredibly remote, pristine beaches. Key seasonal highlights include guided visits to the Blue Waterfall, offering a trek through the pristine Indonesia National Park forest to the blue lagoon at the base of the waterfall followed by a picnic. Guests will also have a chance to trek Nihioka Valley, through cascading rice paddy fields and offering panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.

In addition, Nutritionist/Holistic Food Chef Nathalie Larsen tailors healthy lunch and breakfast menus at NihiOka Spa Safari, with such highlights as Coconut Yogurt, Mango, Tumeris cna Coconut Chia pots, Nihi’s homemade Cacoa Nutella and more. Gluten-free and Vegan options are available on all menus troughout the resort, ensuring options for making any Nihi holidays a healthy retreat.

Included in the Barefoot Luxury Yoga Retreat package is:

– NihiOka Spa Safari, including a trek to a nearby local village, clifftop breakfast and lunch, and a choice of unlimited spa treatments from massages and reflexology, to salt scrubs and mud wraps.
– A trek to Rice Island, overlooking the farmer’s harvest, with lunch and a private spa experience
– Two private experiences, tailored to the individual needs of the guests
– Yoga instruction at either NihiOka Spa Safari, Rice Island, the hilltop yoga pavilion of in guests’ own villa

Tariff: $980.00 per package (includes up to 16 hours of personalised retreat activities/experiences)

For reservations contact Nihi -Sumba Island on T +62 361 757149 or E:

For more information visit

Source: Nihi 

What it's really like to fly on the new Qantas Dreamliner

Yes, I have experienced the delivery flight journey on the plane that will help flyers stave off the dreaded effects of jet lag. With the first Qantas Dreamliner up and running, nationally and internationally, I thought I would give you the real low-down on what it is like to take flight in one.

I was one of the lucky people on the first Qantas flight into Australia from the US – the 787-9 Dreamliner – the plane that hopes to make your flying experience the most comfortable, fuel-efficient and smoothest yet, with nowhere near as many internal, plane-type noises no matter what end of the plane you’re flying in.

Seriously, I was incredibly impressed by the whole experience. I’m not saying all this because I joined a gaggle of fellow travel and business media types on the ‘delivery’ to Australia. I say it as someone who flies a lot at all ends of the aircraft.

It’s all about the windows. They are big. The lower cabin pressure makes you feel clearer in the head once you arrive home too. The plane is sleek, understated and beautifully designed with the most extraordinary finishes by designer David Caon. Of course, Qantas’ industrial designer, Marc Newson, has had a big hand in this new incarnation, but David Caon bought it into fruition.

Dreamliners already exist on a fleet of other airlines – Air New Zealand, United, Qatar, Etihad, Nippon, and Air India to name a few –  but the idea is for Qantas to ultimately phase out their jumbos, by bringing the Dreamliners into Australia. Sure, we all like to complain about flights and their pros and cons but on my Dreamliner flight, the consensus was incredibly positive.

In fact, the delivery of the brand new aircraft is like nothing I have ever experienced, it’s understated and chic. It’s as simple as that. On a 10 hour flight home, I slept like a baby and it was a seriously good sleep. I’m putting that down to all the research conducted by the Charles Perkins Centre, who worked for a number of years on the correlation between circadian rhythms, sleep patterns and eating the appropriate mile-high food. They really got it right.

Dreamliners are pressurised at 6000 feet as opposed to 8000 feet, which is a height a bit like the altitude of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Here are just some of the advantages of flying the new Dreamliner.

Windows on the 787 are 65 per cent larger than comparable aircrafts and customers can adjust the amount of light that comes through with electronic control. Which is unreal – you can actually see a much bigger picture view of your departure and arrival destination.

Responsive cabin lighting is another positive, meaning the lighting in the Dreamliner will be adjustable to the time of day and activity of service and includes a simulated sunrise to gently wake flyers on morning lights. That was a lifesaver on the 10 hour flight home from Honolulu.

The Dreamliner is an efficient airplane using up to 20 per cent less fuel than other aircraft of its size and has lower CO2 and NOx emissions. Carbon dioxide is produced as a result of fuel consumption and the reduced fuel consumption means fewer CO2 emissions. The state of the art engines in the Qantas Dreamliner also reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 20 per cent.

Smoother ride technology ensures the Dreamliners are equipped with a system that senses turbulence and commands wing control surfaces to counter it, smoothing out the ride so customers can enjoy a more comfortable flight. There is also quite a holistic approach to cabin noise quality, with multiple solutions throughout the aircraft addressing the cause of annoying noise and vibrations.

It seems so compact as opposed to the enormity of a plane like the A380, but the cabin ceilings are higher, there is a better air filtration system, the seats are bigger – economy seats have been given an extra 1 inch – and the windows are larger, giving you a nearly panoramic view from the seat you are sitting in.

There is also no need to worry if you miss out on a window seat, there is enough window depth for you to be able to see what’s going on up in the clouds from the middle.

While the 787 is not the mega A380, I found it ridiculously comfortable, simply because of its compact size. I still love the A380, but this just seems like a more intimate flying experience. And the best news, we’ll be seeing more of them as the years go on. While we’ve all flown a number of airlines, this new plane in QF fleet is one I would highly recommend.

Melissa Hoyer was a guest on the inaugural Dreamliner trip to Australia.

This article was originally posted on

Qantas introduces ‘Quokka’ to promote the best of WA

Qantas’ third Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will be named after one of Australia’s cutest native animals, the quokka.

Unique to Australia and largely found on Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth, quokkas are described as the happiest animal on Earth and are even known to enjoy a selfie with tourists.

Quokka was among the most popular suggestions in a national poll of more than 60,000 entries to name the airline’s fleet of eight Dreamliners.

Qantas International CEO Alison Webster said the quokka and the Flying Kangaroo would make a great team to help entice international visitors to Western Australia, especially as Perth and London will be linked non-stop for the first time.

“Our direct flights between Europe and Australia start in March, so naming our third Dreamliner after a native animal unique to WA seems very fitting,” she said.

“There may be some head scratching moments when people see the name of this aircraft at airports around the world, but a quick internet search will make them immediate quokka converts, and might even encourage them to take a trip,” said Ms Webster.

West Australian Tourism Minister Paul Papalia welcomed the announcement.

“The Quokka, known as the world’s happiest animal, is truly unique to Western Australia,” he said.

“Our pristine Rottnest Island, just a 30-minute ferry ride from Perth, is the only place on the planet where people can mingle with the beloved marsupial. And now the name fittingly sits on the side of a Qantas Dreamliner bringing tourists to our great State.

“We can’t wait to welcome new visitors to Perth, and I know the quokkas will be ready to star in any holiday snaps,” he said.

Quokka, which has the official registration of VH-ZNC, will operate the new Perth to London route as well as other Dreamliner routes to the United States. It is currently undergoing final delivery in Seattle and is expected to land in Australia in late January. Quokka will also be joined by a Dreamliner called Skippy later this year.

Qantas’ first two Dreamliner aircraft have been named Great Southern Land and Waltzing Matilda. Each name is painted beneath cockpit window. The sequencing of the remaining names will be revealed as the aircraft are delivered.

For more information on Qantas’ history of naming aircraft visit the Qantas blog Roo Tales here

Source: Qantas

‘I am sick to death of people jumping onto a plane looking like they are heading to a pool’

SERIOUSLY, this absolutely riles me up.

I am sick to death of seeing people jumping onto a plane looking like they are heading to a local pool.

Last week, Qantas refused lounge entry to Joanne Catherall, a vocalist for English pop band Human League (a band I love, but that’s beside the point) all because she was wearing Ugg boots into the airline’s business class lounge.

Some viewed the ban as a national disgrace but you know what? I am absolutely, totally and fully with the airline.

Plane travel used to be glamorous. Yes, it was travel where you felt like you wanted to look the part and, more importantly, wanted to have respect for fellow travellers. (Those filthy, bitten-down toenails, slid into rubber-thin thongs I once sat next to still make me want to be sick.)

Too often plane travel has turned into something akin to jumping on a bus and heading to the beach. Basically our flying sartorial style is simply atrocious. And I reckon airlines have every right to set a style standard.

What always stumps me is the extent to which some travellers’ mile-high clothing, quite frankly, stinks.

I’m all for comfy in-flight clothing but can someone tell me how a pair of rubber thongs, sleepwear (leave it until you get onto the place, at least), a party dress, sweaty gymwear and blokes in too-hugging shorts, even vaguely constitutes comfy plane attire?

How would you ever expect to be considered for an upgrade (okay, that hardly happens anyway) if your plastic flip-flops are so worn down at the heel you may as well have gone barefoot?

It’s no wonder ground staff and flight attendants treat some passengers with slight disdain. Checking in a gang of baby boomers reeking of booze as they parade their stubbies, singlets, thongs and muffin-front bellies can’t be that pretty for any airline staffer.

Just a few years ago Qantas issued a fashion decree; the what-to and what-not-to-wear into their business class lounges.

Before you start throwing your macadamia cookies at me, let me reiterate: it is into their business-class lounges.

“These guidelines are intended to create an environment that everyone can enjoy and we look forward to welcoming you into our lounges soon,” goes the airline’s speil.

It wasn’t and isn’t a universal flying fashion rule but doesn’t the fact they even had to do it make you feel like you want to feel a little special when you jump on a plane? And that’s whether you’re zipping on an interstate business trip or a holiday.

Can’t we give plane travel some sense of occasion? Some sense of dignity? Make it special, or an experience?

No, you don’t have to be up the smartypants end of the plane, nor do you have to wear your sky-high heels and best dress. But come on, how difficult is it just to wear something ‘smart’ that also happens to be comfortable?

A post shared by Melissa Hoyer (@melissahoyer) on

So next time you’re thinking about pulling an airline apart over their dress rules, think about the things you’ve seen that are best left for other parts of the day.

Perhaps airlines should forgo the white chocolate cookie and supply eye-masks, travel-sized deodorant and scent samplers.

That way, while we might not always arrive with our luggage, but at least we’d land with our olfactory and visual senses intact.

This article was originally posted on

Walk Japan's Spring-Summer 2018 Tours

This coming Northern Hemisphere spring/summer is the perfect time to escape the Australian winter and head off on a Walk Japan tour, exploring the many distinct and fascinating sides of the ancient country. Walk Japan is the pioneering operator of small group walking tours in Japan, guiding seasoned travellers and newcomers alike with tours crafted for people who not only like to walk but who also love to discover, understand and appreciate unique landscapes and cultures – stretching across
the entire archipelago.

The customs, traditions and scenery of the lesser-known rural areas of Japan are enjoyed at a comfortable pace, taking the time to see sides of the country that are not often explored by tourists. With 19 different tours available, all ranging in length and difficulty, there is a walk suitable for every traveller. And many have been curated to guide travellers through the pristine countryside and picturesque rural regions of Japan.

An experience with Walk Japan is like no other, with tour sizes kept to a maximum of 12 people led by an informed and enthusiastic guide. Allowing for a deeper connection to Japan than an ordinary tour provides, travellers walk at an easy pace and retire each night in charming traditional Japanese inns, or ryokans, scattered throughout local villages, where they enjoy authentic and superb regional cuisine and indulge in the famous onsen hot springs baths.

Some of the tours available throughout the northern spring and summer months include:


Oita Hot Spring Trail
A 6-day walk from hot spring to hot spring, this tour explores Oita Prefecture, an area of Japan particularly rich in the beauty of its countryside, high quality and varied food, ancient culture, enlightened history, and relaxed, friendly people. To its list of attractions, Oita also adds onsen, hot spring baths fed by waters derived from volcanic activity deep below the earth’s surface.

Onsen are an incredible feature found throughout the breadth of Japan, with Oita boasting the largest concentration of hot springs in the country. This tour is a mecca for anyone who adores indulging in the soothing waters of hot springs, and also enjoys the distinctive and gracious Japanese culture associated with bathing.

Prices: From JPY316,000 (AUD$3718) per person.
Spring 2018 dates: February 18-23; May 26-31.

Kunisaki Trek
A 10-day exploration of the Kunisaki Peninsula, one of Japan’s hidden gems showcasing exceptional walks along ridge trails that delight in atmospheric inns, ample and delicious cuisine, and onsen hot spring baths. Beginning in Fukuoka and finishing in Yufuin, the trek follows the trail once used by Buddhist monks in meditation throughout the beautiful and remote countryside for more than a thousand years.

The ancient trails provide outstanding experiences walking through sleepy hamlets, verdant forests, and over towering cliffs. Beautiful vistas throughout the walk include stone Buddha statues, as well as the caves where monks once found shelter.

Prices: From JPY428,000 (AUD$5036) per person.
Spring 2018 dates: April 11-20; May 2-11; 23-June 1.

Basho Tour: Narrow Road to the North
A 9-day tour through Tohoku in northern Japan to the rugged Sea of Japan coast, this walk is based upon Japan’s greatest poet Matsuo Basho’s travelogue, Narrow Road to the North. For the literary lover and culture seeker alike, any traveller will be truly immersed in the splendour of strikingly quiet country lanes, forest trails, and mountain footpaths.

Aside from the amazing scenery and haiku poetry of Basho, walkers will also learn of the tumultuous history that both devastated and nurtured the
tough spirit of the people of Japan’s northerly regions.

Prices: From JPY454,000 (AUD$5238) per person.
Spring 2018 dates: May 6-14; 13-21; 20-28; 27-June 4.


Yaeyama: Okinawa Voyage
A 7-day land and waterborne summer adventure to Japan’s most southerly reaches, the Okinawa Voyage includes walking, kayaking, sea paddling, and snorkelling. The tour takes travellers to Yaeyama, a group of islands at the further, southern reaches of both the Okinawa chain of islands and Japan itself. Amid a laidback atmosphere and emerald seas, Yaeyama is a hidden gem with unique historical and cultural roots, as well as distinct flora and fauna from the rest of Japan.

Unlike other Walk Japan tours, the majority of the tour takes travellers near, on, and in the water, as much of the beautiful environments explored are only accessible by kayak and snorkelling.

Prices: From JPY342,000 (AUD$4024) per person.
Summer 2018 dates: June 18-24.

Kunisaki Retreat
A 7-day tour starting at Hakata Station and finishing at Usa Station on the Kunisaki Peninsula, this retreat takes travellers to the lovely countryside of Kyusha, Japan’s most westerly main island.

Little developed, Kunisaki is dotted with sleepy hamlets, covered in verdant forests and paddy fields interspersed with craggy ridges and mountains. On the Kunisaki Retreat, travellers will immerse themselves in Japanese culture of the past and present, enjoy Japanese farmhouse cooking at its best, luxuriate in onsen thermal hot springs, and simply gaze at the beautiful scenery.

Prices: From JPY346,000 (AUD$4071) per person.
Summer 2018 dates: June 4-10.

Hokkaido Hike
On a 10-day tour, travellers will explore the wild side of Japan on the sparsely populated, northerly island of the Japanese archipelago. Embarking on this hike in the summer months is bliss, with comfortable weather and some of the best hiking in all of Japan.

The Hokkaido Hike takes walkers through Japan’s largest wilderness, passing through lush forests, across wetlands, up spectacular volcanoes, past steaming vents, and onto high plateaux. Panoramic views, which stretch for tens of kilometres across this beautiful land, are a reward when reaching the high peaks of the Hokkaido mountains.

Prices: From JPY496,000 (AUD$5836) per person.
Summer 2018 dates: July 5-14; 19-28.

Each walking tour varies in location, theme, and also level of activity; beginning with the easiest at Level 1 (walkers must be able to handle their own luggage, climb a few flights of stairs and walk less than 5km a day) to the most challenging Level 6 (in which there could be up to eight hours of activity per day over varied, mountainous terrain).

For more information, visit

Source: Walk Japan