Qantas returns flying to the Whitsunday's

In a major show of Aussie aviation confidence and in Queensland's tourism mega industry, the Whitsundays welcomed its the first passengers travelling on Qantas’ new Hamilton Island service.

The launch of the service also coincided with the opening of a new luxury resort in the islands, One&Only Hayman Island.

Visitor spending in the region grew by 14 per cent to $706 million last year and Acting Minister for Tourism Tracy Davis said the Whitsundays’ future was looking even brighter thanks to the latest investments in its thriving tourism sector: "Qantas’ decision to commence three return weekly services (in peak time) between Sydney and Hamilton Island will open the skies to more than 10,000 additional visitors a year,” Ms Davis said.

“Both Qantas and resort operator One&Only clearly believe the future’s bright for tourism in Queensland and I certainly agree with them.

“The Queensland Government’s 20-year plan for tourism, Destination Success, outlines the need to deliver quality experiences that delight customers – and that’s exactly what’s happening today in the Whitsundays.

“We have a strong plan for a brighter future and we’re working hard to achieve our goal of doubling annual overnight visitor expenditure to $30 billion by 2020.”

Local Member Jason Costigan said the Whitsundays was experiencing a tourism revival with visitor numbers increasing seven per cent to 687,000 last year.

Qantas Domestic CEO Lyell Strambi said Qantas and Queensland shared a close relationship which was strengthened by the plane's arrival.

The combination of the private island in the Great Barrier Reef, the significant investment of, gulp, $80 million made by Mulpha Australia and the One&Only team say they are dedicated to providing guests with amazing travel experiences through their upmarket service.

Ten years have passed since Qantas last flew into the Whitsundays and will fly Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday during peak season (July and September through to January) and bi-weekly services on Wednesday and Sunday off peak.

Qantas dumped its services to Hamilton Island in 2005 when the market dictated it would be best serviced by the airline's (cheaper) subsidiary, Jetstar. 

But with more upmarket resorts having opened, like the new Hayman and Quaila on Hamilton a island, a premium airline product needed to be back on board.

With a 14 per cent rise in tourism in Queensland - to $706million - Qantas Domestic CEO Lyell Strambi said the airline is hopeful of bringing something like 10,000 visitors to this region per year.

"And that is certainly not insignificant in terms of leisure tourism," Mr Strambi said.

Mr Strambi and Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan were the first people off the Boeing 737-800, ironically named the 'Cook' ( it was Captain Cook who discovered the Whitsunday's passage) when it landed at Hamilton Island yesterday.

Qantas will join both Virgin and Jetstar who will continue flying to the region.

The airline recently flew the cast and crew of top rating TV program Modern Family to the region as part of a two-week filming stint in Australia to promote iconic tourist destinations. 

Mr Strambi said 100million viewers fell in love with the Whitsundays as a result and year round fares begin at $189 one way. 

Melissa Hoyer was a guest if Qantas on the inaugural flight


Original Love Boat captain to romance cruising Australians

Love Boat Captain, actor Gavin MacLeod, shares tips for romance before he arrives in Australia

As the countdown to Valentine’s Day gets underway, one of the best known Captains of Romance, the Love Boat’s Captain Merrill Stubing, is dusting off his famous uniform to bring his unique brand of 'love' Down Under.

In a YouTube video that combines the spirit of the iconic 70s show with sage 21st century advice, Captain Stubing - aka actor Gavin MacLeod - can be seen sporting a rose between his teeth for a romantic selfie as he shares his personal tips to help couples of all ages chart their way through the sea of love. View the video here

The launch of the video coincides with the announcement that the 82-year-old Love Boat Captain will be making a special visit to Australia this week, from February 7-8 to oversee a romantic vow renewal ceremony on a Princess Cruises’ Love Boat, Sun Princess, before setting sail to New Zealand to preside over another ceremony in Auckland on February 12.

Gavin, a veteran actor who just received the Golden Palm Star at The Palm Springs Walk of Stars, has starred with scores of beautiful Hollywood womenduring his career.

But according to Gavin, the most beautiful woman he’s ever come across is his wife Patti:

“She’s so beautiful I married her twice." he says.

While Gavin concedes there are many different views on lovetoday, heoffers advice from someone who’s “been there - and done that” with tips to keep the love alive in 2014 and beyond, including

*the risk that mobile phones present to romance

*the lure of a good dance move to shimmy your way into someone’s heart

*the charm of a man who’s manly enough to embraceChick Lit” 

*the magnetism of a man who can handle a beater to whip up some cookies sprinkled with love.

The show’s stories centred on the ship’s crew, led by 'Captain' with celebrities playing guest roles and Princess Cruises’ passengers cast as extras.

Stars who appeared on the show include Joan Collins, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Michael J Fox, Joan Rivers and The Village People.

Gavin’s visit Down Under will only be his second visit to Australia and New Zealand since the LoveBoat recorded a special two-hour episode in Sydney in 1981.

Love Boat fans can follow news of Gavin’s visit Down Under via Princess Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/PrincessCruises and on Twitter @princesscruises using the #loveboatdownunder

Gavin’s video can be found http://tinyurl.com/lqxm4pa

 


Broome gears up for Pinctada Cable Beach Polo festival. Chukkas!

Now this is sounding good as bikinis, board shorts and barefoot elegance is the dress code for Australia’s only beach polo event.
The Pinctada Cable Beach Polo 2013 will be played on the sands of iconic Cable Beach in Broome, Western Australia. Happening on May 18-19 the beach polo matches will also include an international clash being played during the weekend tournament.

The cornerstone of the Pinctada Cable Beach Polo Festival, the beach polo action is free to watch picnic-style from the beach or tickets can be purchased to the VIP marquee.

Festival Director Marilynne Paspaley is encouraging all spectators to dress for the occasion and participate in the ‘between chukkas’ fashion events on each day of the tournament.
Sand Chic will be held during Saturday’s beach polo action while Style on the Sand will be featured on Sunday with each day’s fashion event open to all spectators, whether they are enjoying the beach polo action picnic-style on the sand or from the VIP marquee.


“Pinctada Cable Beach Polo is an inclusive event and Sand Chic and Style on the Sand have been introduced to reflect this – these events are designed to involve spectators in the beach polo tournament and the emphasis will be on fun as well as fashion,” Marilynne says.

“The judges will also be looking for innovative styles that reflect the unique nature of Australia’s only beach polo event and its location. Pinctada Cable Beach Polo 2013 is played on the pristine sands of Cable Beach flanked by the azure waters of the Indian Ocean and the Kimberley’s distinctive red pindan earth – we are sure this landscape will inspire some stunning and stylish beach chic creations.”

A panel of judges, including fashion leaders and polo players, will determine the daily winners in the ‘fashion stakes’.
The female winner of Saturday’s Sand Chic will receive a Paspaley yellow gold necklace while Sunday’s Style on the Sand female winner will take home a Paspaley Australian South Sea pearl necklace. The male winners of Sand Chic and Style on the Sand will each receive a limited edition 6-litre bottle of Bunnamagoo 1827 Cabernet Sauvignon, produced from the vines of historic Bunnamagoo Estate, one of the Paspaley family's vineyards in central NSW.

Visit www.cablebeachpolo.com.au and www.pinctadacablebeach.com.au


Broome gears up for Pinctada Cable Beach Polo festival. Chukkas!

Now this is sounding good as bikinis, board shorts and barefoot elegance is the dress code for Australia’s only beach polo event.
The Pinctada Cable Beach Polo 2013 will be played on the sands of iconic Cable Beach in Broome, Western Australia. Happening on May 18-19 the beach polo matches will also include an international clash being played during the weekend tournament.

The cornerstone of the Pinctada Cable Beach Polo Festival, the beach polo action is free to watch picnic-style from the beach or tickets can be purchased to the VIP marquee.

Festival Director Marilynne Paspaley is encouraging all spectators to dress for the occasion and participate in the ‘between chukkas’ fashion events on each day of the tournament.
Sand Chic will be held during Saturday’s beach polo action while Style on the Sand will be featured on Sunday with each day’s fashion event open to all spectators, whether they are enjoying the beach polo action picnic-style on the sand or from the VIP marquee.


“Pinctada Cable Beach Polo is an inclusive event and Sand Chic and Style on the Sand have been introduced to reflect this – these events are designed to involve spectators in the beach polo tournament and the emphasis will be on fun as well as fashion,” Marilynne says.

“The judges will also be looking for innovative styles that reflect the unique nature of Australia’s only beach polo event and its location. Pinctada Cable Beach Polo 2013 is played on the pristine sands of Cable Beach flanked by the azure waters of the Indian Ocean and the Kimberley’s distinctive red pindan earth – we are sure this landscape will inspire some stunning and stylish beach chic creations.”

A panel of judges, including fashion leaders and polo players, will determine the daily winners in the ‘fashion stakes’.
The female winner of Saturday’s Sand Chic will receive a Paspaley yellow gold necklace while Sunday’s Style on the Sand female winner will take home a Paspaley Australian South Sea pearl necklace. The male winners of Sand Chic and Style on the Sand will each receive a limited edition 6-litre bottle of Bunnamagoo 1827 Cabernet Sauvignon, produced from the vines of historic Bunnamagoo Estate, one of the Paspaley family's vineyards in central NSW.

Visit www.cablebeachpolo.com.au and www.pinctadacablebeach.com.au


A fabulous 'throw' from Ellie Aitken . . . Prue & Trude would be proud . . .

Just how chic is this? Like the luxe designer Ellie Aitken, everyone would pretty much like seeing their luxurious 80% Cashmere and 20% Merino 'throw' featured in the current issue of Belle magazine.

Ellie says it is the perfect wedding present, Christmas or birthday gift or just a great addition to throw ofver your legs as you watch the tele or read a bok!

Go to www.ellieaitken.com to purchase one for yourself . . . Smart indeed . . .

(image courtesy of Belle magazine)