Are You Ready To Experience Australia Like Never Before?

The VIP Sydney have collaborated with Southern Crossings, a leading luxury travel specialist with over 30-years experience in high-end travel throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, to create the first in a series of prestige, local experiences and escapes, in time for the ease of the Covid-19 lockdown. International travel may be on hold but local luxury experiences are certainly not.

Private Tour & Dinner with Aussie Legend Michael Clarke at The SCG – A private tour and dinner at Sydney Cricket Ground hosted by cricket Legend, Michael Clarke, plus signed cricket memorabilia for up to 14 guests.

The Ultimate Palm Beach Getaway – The ultimate Palm Beach escape including a 2 night stay in a luxe waterfront property, seaplane travel to and from the city, a stocked pantry of local gourmet produce, private chef, full use of a Range Rover Vogue, lunch at Jonah’s Whale Beach and much more.

Beauty Masterclass with Celebrity Make-Up Artist, Michael Brown – A 2-hour makeup masterclass at a private residence of your choice with celebrity artist Michael Brown, hors d’oeuvres, free-flowing Champagne, personalised makeup kit, followed by a dinner reservation at an exclusive Sydney venue.

A Days Escape to the Wine Country – A private helicopter charter for 6 guests to the Hunter Valley’s acclaimed Chardonnay producer, Winmark Estate. Including a gourmet lunch within the vines, private tour with head winemaker John Samway, tasting and selection of premium wines to take home.

Source: The VIP Sydney

Socially Distant, yet wildly connected - Forward Plan a Nihi Sumba stay with Australian residents offer

Socially distant, yet wildly connected – this is Nihi Sumba; Now is the time to forward plan an escape to the edge of wildness, as Nihi Sumba announces a special “One to One” rate, exclusive to Australian residents, matching Australian dollars to US dollars and valid from July 1, 2020 until December 2021.

For example, Nihi’s entry level accommodation rate, normally USD $895.00 per villa per night, will be adjusted for Australian guests to AUS $895.00. In addition, all Australian bookings will be given a USD $200.00 resort credit per room per night to be applied to a range of unique Nihi experiences, from spa safaris to fishing expeditions and more.

Nihi is beyond an escape from everyday life, it is a return to a life well lived. Voted #1 Hotel in the World two years running by Travel + Leisure (USA) magazine, Nihi Sumba is a place to truly connect with something larger than oneself. Nihi guests enjoy “freedom to thrive”. It is travel with purpose.

Located on the remote Indonesian island of Sumba and with just 28 villas set over 576 acres, Nihi is just a short 50 minute flight from Bali. Nihi provides a haven for the endlessly passionate and curious, the adventurer and the wanderer. Ancient tribal culture and unspoiled natural beauty form the perfect backdrop for boundless experiences.

From swimming with horses at sunset, surfing the world’s most coveted wave, enjoying long walks on an unspoiled and often deserted beach to being pampered at the Spa Safari, Nihi is the place to build a highly personal, dream itinerary.

Staying in villas that transport to a new way of relaxed living, and enjoying sunset cocktails at the iconic Boathouse and dining in open air, sand under feet restaurants, Nihi offers experiences that are truly memorable and like no other.

Those who arrive with an open heart leave changed forever. This very special Australian residents offer includes:

• 3 Daily meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner and all non-alcoholic drinks
• Mini Bar (1 full re-stock per day, including beer and spirits)
• Tour of the Sumba Foundation Projects
• Sea Activities: stand-up paddle boarding and snorkeling around Nihiwatu beach (when weather conditions permit).
• Participation in our group yoga & meditation classes at the Yoga Pavilion twice a day

• Valid until Dec 2021
• This offer is not available for group bookings
• Cannot be combined with any other promotions
• Rate is exclusive of 11% government tax and 10% service charge
• Applicable to Australian residents only (proof of address must be presented upon booking and at check in time. Should the guests fail to provide a valid proof of identification / residency in Australia, the rack rate at time of stay will be charged

Source:  Nihi Sumba

Qantas group outlines customer and employee impact of coronavirus-related network cuts

The Qantas Group has outlined the customer and employee impact of a huge drop in travel demand triggered by the public health response to the Coronavirus crisis.

Earlier this week, cuts to 90 per cent of international flying and about 60 per cent of domestic flying were announced by Qantas and Jetstar. With the Federal Government now recommending against all overseas travel from Australia, regularly scheduled international flights will continue until late March to assist with repatriation and will then be suspended until at least the end of May 2020. As the national carrier, Qantas is in ongoing discussions with the Federal Government about continuation of some strategic links.

More than 150 aircraft will be temporarily grounded, including all of Qantas’ A380s, 747s and B787-9s and Jetstar’s B787-8s.  Discussions are progressing with airports and government about parking for these aircraft.

Essential domestic, regional and freight connections will be maintained as much as possible.

Qantas’ fleet of freighters will continue to be fully utilised. Some domestic passenger aircraft will also be used for freight-only flights to replace lost capacity from regular scheduled services. There is no impact on Qantas Loyalty’s operations.

  • All regularly scheduled Qantas and Jetstar international flights from Australia will be suspended from end March until at least end May 2020. Some flights may continue in order to maintain key links, based on ongoing discussions with the Federal Government.
  • Jetstar Asia (Singapore) will suspend all flights from 23 March to at least 15 April 2020.
  • Jetstar Japan has suspended international flights and cut domestic flying.
  • Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam) has suspended international flights and will significantly cut domestic flying.

The Group will maintain connectivity to almost all Australian domestic and regional destinations that Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar currently operate to. The 60 per cent reduction in capacity will come mostly from a significant reduction in flight frequency, but also route suspensions and postponing a number of new route launches.

Comments from Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce:

“The efforts to contain the spread of Coronavirus have led to a huge drop in travel demand, the likes of which we have never seen before. This is having a devastating impact on all airlines.

“We’re in a strong financial position right now, but our wages bill is more than $4 billion a year. With the huge drop in revenue we’re facing, we have to make difficult decisions to guarantee the future of the national carrier.

“The reality is we’ll have 150 aircraft on the ground and sadly there’s no work for most of our people. Rather than lose these highly skilled employees who we’ll need when this crisis passes, we are instead standing down two-thirds of our 30,000 employees until at least the end of May.”

“Most of our people will be using various types of paid leave during this time, and we’ll have a number of support options in place. We’re also talking to our partners like Woolworths about temporary job opportunities for our people.”

Source: Qantas

Qantas unveils new safety video and centenary exhibition

Qantas has unveiled a new safety video featuring ‘80s mullets and ‘70s moustaches right through to 1940s flying boats and 1920s propeller aircraft to celebrate 100 years of the national carrier’s history.

The safety briefing is delivered by current Qantas crew in carefully recreated historical settings, including onboard aircraft and in airport terminals.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said safety videos are an important tool to communicate vital safety messages to the 55 million people who travel with Qantas every year – and that making it interesting helps keep their attention even after they’ve seen it multiple times.

“This safety video is a look back at the different styles of aircraft, service and uniforms that have been part of our long history. And it calls out the contribution Qantas and its people have made to aviation, like the invention of the slide raft, as well as the national carrier’s role in connecting Australia to the world,” said Mr Joyce.

“It’s really a tribute to a century of our people, the changing styles, and our innovation. The one thing that has never changed is our commitment to safety.”

The video features iconic aircraft, fashion and aviation milestones to create a 100-year time lapse from the 1920s to present day. Some of the scenes were recreated in real life, others such as the original Avro 504 and the 1930s De Havilland 86, were bought back to life using computer generated imagery.

The production team spent months researching information from the national archives, aviation museums. They also used photographs and artefacts from the extensive Qantas Heritage collection to perfect the details of each scene, from original life jackets to the wall panels from retired aircraft that were retrieved from the Mojave Desert.

With a soundtrack featuring Australian jazz legend James Morrison playing numerous brass instruments, the video is set to instrumental versions of the iconic Peter Allen anthem I Still Call Australia Home and tailored to the musical style of each era.

Current Qantas staff appear in historical versions of their present-day roles with Alastair Fysh, the grandson of Qantas co-founder Sir Hudson Fysh, also making a cameo appearance.

Various crew uniforms from throughout the decades were sourced from Qantas’s own collection and retired Qantas crew. The clothing for extras came from a combination of personal wardrobes and op shops in regional communities.

The new safety video will screen onboard all Qantas international and domestic flights from 1 March 2020.

Source: Qantas

AAT Kings Launches Bushfire Relief consumer bus trips including #emptyesky

In collaboration with the #EmptyEsky movement and regional tourism businesses, AAT Kings welcome travellers and the wider community to join them on one of their newly launched not-for-profit Bushfire Relief Giveback Experiences – a selection of Day Tours and Short Breaks across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Designed to help provide immediate support directly to tourism communities that have been affected by this season’s devastating bushfires.

Experiences have been developed respectfully and in conjunction with local communities, and while onboard AAT Kings will transport you and your empty esky, to visit local markets, cafes and stores, where you’ll have free time to wander through the town, spend with the local shopkeepers and fill your esky or reusable bag with locally made products.

To enrich the experience, guests will also meet some of the locals who will tell stories of recovery and share firsthand how best to help these destinations.

Matthew Cameron-Smith, Managing Director for AAT Kings, stated: “Having worked with Australian tourism operators for over 100 years, AAT Kings live and breathe these communities, and they need us now more than ever. We’ve worked with local businesses to bring much-needed benefit through the tourism economy directly back to restaurants, cafes, farmers markets and local stores, to help start providing immediate support to the regions that need it the most.”

Erin Boutros, Co-founder of Empty Esky, commented: “We are so excited to be partnering with AAT Kings to offer our community the opportunity to put their pledges into action and visit fire affected towns. Since the Empty Esky campaign launched, we have witnessed first-hand how powerful the Australian spirit is. The ‘Empty Esky’ trips will lead the way in effectively supporting bushfire affected towns as they recover.”

All Bushfire Recovery Giveback trips are 100% not-for-profit for AAT Kings, and have been designed in collaboration with the local community to inject funds into small businesses and support farmers.

Cameron-Smith concludes, “Our nation and the world have been deeply affected as we watched parts of our country and wildlife ravaged by the fires, we are so privileged to be able to take advantage of our experience and network, to facilitate bringing as many visitors as we can back to our most affected townships. Working in partnership is the best way that we know how to help, and we invite the industry to join us in supporting our fellow Australians to get back on their feet for the long-term.”

Bushfire Recovery Giveback Experience: #EmptyEsky to Shoalhaven Ex-Sydney ($110, $56 child)
Journey to Kangaroo Valley and take in morning tea at a local café, before heading to Nowra Farmers Market. The market is jam packed with local farmers produce for you to taste and buy and fill up your #emptyesky, knowing every cent goes directly to the growers. You’ll then have the opportunity to meet up with some of the community who have been affected by the bushfires, as they share stories of recovery over a sumptuous, locally sourced lunch sharing stories with locals at Bangalay Dining.

Bushfire Recovery Giveback Trip: #EmptyEsky 4 day Short Break, NSW South Coast (prices start at $700; $420 child) Head to the south coast region of NSW, an area which has been one of the country’s most bushfire affected – support local communities by visiting charming riverside towns and beachside gems, wander through local markets and cafes to fill your #emptyesky with local produce.

On this trip you’ll head to Cobargo and meet local farmers, hear their stories and have the opportunity to volunteer and rebuild fences for their farms. You’ll be shown the best way to help, and work with a local to make this happen. After a rewarding and hard-working day, relax in Cobargo Pub and enjoy a quiet drink, with dinner included, also includes the coastal town of Batemans Bay, before returning to Sydney.

To make a booking – go to, call 1300 228 546, or visit your local travel agent.

Source: AAT Kings