Make the Most of Borders Reopening with a life ‘experience’ From BananaLab

It’s no secret that finding that elusive, perfect present for the travel and adventure seekers in your life is more often a chore than a delight. With so much choice out there, it can be hard to know which the right one is. Enter BananaLab, the solution to all your gifting woes this holiday season and beyond – especially as travel and border restrictions within Australia continue to lift.

A French expression meaning ‘smile like a banana’, BananaLab was founded by Eric Amiel and Thomas Dufraisse, both of Franco-Australian origin, in 2017 as Australia’s first range of curated, experience-focused gift boxes. Since then, this innovative, Victorian-based startup has grown to become the second biggest experience gifting platform in Australia.

Born from the realisation that there were few options for experience-based gifting in Australia, Amiel and Dufraisse, as lovers of adventure, travel, sports and the outdoors, launched BananaLab to fill a gap for those looking to gift unique and memorable moments for their loved ones in place of purposeless or unwanted, material gifts. Lately, experience gifts have seen an increase in popularity; a phenomenon that has been attributed to the re-evaluation of lifestyles and priorities during the recent prolonged lockdowns, as well as the desire to ‘get back out there’ after being cooped up for so long.

In fact, a recent Urban List study found that 55% of their audience saw themselves spending more on experiences than products in the future, while an independent BananaLab survey found that 77% of Victorians are eager to get out and undertake an experience as soon as possible.

BananaLab’s concept is simple; one gift box, thousands of hand-picked activities to choose from. Each experience gift box contains a booklet with an entire range of experiences and a pass, which can be redeemed for any one offer. BananaLab’s products are available at four price points, beginning with $99 for the ‘Her Bucket List’ and ‘His Bucket List’ boxes, which contains the broadest number of experiences ranging from indoor skydiving to winery tours, making it a great stocking filler or corporate gift.

On the other end of the spectrum, BananaLab’s ‘Unique Box’, priced at $599, could see you living out once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like soaring through the sky in an open cockpit for a bird’s eye view of The Twelve Apostles, or dog sledding on the summit of Mt. Baw Baw at sunset.

BananaLab differentiates themselves from their competitors by leaving the choice of the experience in the hands of the giftee, ensuring that there’ll never be a need for exchanges or refunds. However, unlike most experience-oriented gifts which are merely offered as paper vouchers, neither the exciting ritual of physically unwrapping a present, nor the idea of a tangible gift as a symbol of love is lost.

Moreover, with BananaLab’s availability in Coles and Woolworths nation-wide, the team have now ensured that BananaLab’s exciting experiences are available both on and offline, making it possible for last-minute shoppers to still offer their loved ones a significant, quality gift.

With over 1100 experiences available, BananaLab has made it easy to select the ideal experience for any travel and adventure lover, no matter the receiver’s age, interests, skills or location – a point that is especially pertinent for Australia’s travel and tourism industry, given the wide range of businesses and communities across the country that have been negatively affected by both the bushfires and COVID-19 lockdowns that have occurred this year.

The team have always made it a point to support local economies by prioritising partnerships with local providers offering one-of-a-kind experiences. However, now more than ever, BananaLab considers themselves as placed in a unique position to help Australians reconnect through meaningful interactions, and embrace all the extraordinary travel and adventure experiences that Australia has to offer. As Sarah Boukobza, BananaLab’s marketing manager, states “Australia has so many wonderful places to discover, and we are so proud to be able to bring these experiences that the whole world dreams of discovering, to everyday Australians”.

With their concept of remarkable experience gifting and the ease of availability in Coles and Woolworths stores nation-wide, BananaLab will both simplify your Christmas shopping and bring intrigue and excitement to those who receive a box. Whether you’re looking for an experience to make up lost time with loved ones, or know of a thrill-seeking, travel enthusiast who’s eager to return to a life of adventure, choose BananaLab and you’ll be the envy of all gift-givers and receivers this Christmas!

BananaLab is available at and in Coles and Woolworths nation-wide.

Source: BananaLab

Qantas: Sydney puts on a show for Aussie airline’s Centenary

Sydney has commemorated Qantas Airways’ 100-year anniversary by lighting up its iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge as a larger-than-life birthday cake complete with illuminated candles that were blown out by a Qantas 787 as it did a low level overfly at 1,500 feet.

More than 1,300 LED tubes, 126 LED fixtures and 38 searchlights lit up the full expanse of the world’s most famous bridge in the ultimate tribute from Sydney, the city which has been home to Qantas for more than eight decades. The projection of 60 historic images and two, 65-metre-high birthday candles onto the southern and northern pylons completed the transformation, creating a birthday moment like no other.

NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres described the bridge tribute lighting extravaganza show culminating in the flyover as fitting recognition for one of the world’s longest continuously operating airlines.

“Sydney has benefited immensely from 100 successful years of business for Qantas – from bringing visitors to the state and boosting our visitor economy to providing local jobs,” Minister Ayres said.

“What better way to mark such an important milestone for Qantas than with a celebration in the city it has chosen as its headquarters for the last 82 years involving another much-loved Sydney icon, the Harbour Bridge.”

Almost 200 passengers, including 100 Qantas staff, were on board the 100-minute flight which was a special Centenary Scenic Flight to mark the airline’s 100th year. The spectacular candle-blowing lights off moment was a surprise for not just those on the ground, but also those on board the flight which also took in showcased Sydney Harbour, HARS Aviation Museum in Shellharbour and Rose Bay – where Qantas Flying Boats were used in the 1930s and ‘40s.

Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce said Qantas was honoured to receive such a special and spectacular Centenary birthday show from Sydney”.

“Qantas aircraft have been flying over Sydney Harbour Bridge for decades, so this was a spectacular way to mark our anniversary. It’s been a tough year for tourism but as more domestic borders open up, we’re ready to put more aircraft back in the air and bring people to see all that New South Wales has to offer,” he said.

The activation, executed by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, complements a new campaign of activity designed to support the recovery of Sydney hospitality and tourism businesses.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Steve Cox said the Qantas Centenary provided an opportunity to send out a message of hope, both to Sydney businesses and to residents of Sydney and New South Wales.

“Sydney continues to shine as brightly as ever, with tourism businesses steadily reopening and operating in a COVID-safe environment, putting the wellbeing of visitors first. This stunt was just the beginning of what will be a truly amazing line-up of events coming up across the city, and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors from across Australia to Sydney this summer,” said Mr Cox.

Source: Qantas

Cape Mentelle celebrates 50 years with Aquabumps collab & ‘Explore Your Horizon’ exhibition

With a rich history of exploration, pioneering Margaret River winery Cape Mentelle celebrates its 50th anniversary this year by launching a collaborative exhibition and pop-up tasting with Aquabumps this November at the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club.

Established by winemaking legend David Hohnen in 1970, Cape Mentelle is one of the founding Margaret River wineries that today sets the region’s benchmark for quality wines.

Over the years, the award-winning winery has cultivated a sustainable winemaking philosophy driven by a thirst for experimentation and a desire to showcase the potential of the pristine Margaret River region.

To mark this momentous milestone, Cape Mentelle has crafted a unique collaboration with leading Australian lifestyle photographer Aquabumps, designed to bring to life the winery’s rich history, showcasing the people and stories throughout the last 50 years.

The Cape Mentelle x Aquabumps Explore Your Horizon interactive exhibition will pop-up at the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club in Sydney, from 28 – 29th November 2020, giving visitors the opportunity to experience their inspiring Cape Mentelle story, taste the range of exceptional Margaret River wines and enjoy a specially curated photography series captured by Aquabumps.

Commenting on the partnership, Cape Mentelle Winemaker Ben Cane says, “Not only is Eugene born and bred in Western Australia, with fond childhood memories of the Margaret River region, he shares the same dedication to his craft as the Cape Mentelle winemaking team – an unrelenting pursuit of greatness that drives us to push boundaries and achieve amazing things – whether its capturing that perfect light at sunrise or picking grapes at the perfect moment of ripeness.”

Eugene Tan adds, “I remember many surfing trips to Margaret River as a kid; it was the beginning of my connection to the ocean as well to our diverse land. I was stoked to be able to head back to Margaret River recently to capture one of the most stunning coastlines and wine regions in Australia as part of Cape Mentelle’s 50th celebration.”

Over the past two decades, Aquabumps’ Eugene Tan has become the unofficial Australian photographer of an ocean- inspired lifestyle, continuously searching for the most unique shots and angles. Admired globally for his fine-art prints of iconic Australian landscapes, Eugene is most famous for his aerial images of Bondi Beach. Eugene’s passion for photography and connection to Margaret River makes Aquabumps the ideal partner for a collaboration with Cape Mentelle, sharing an ethos of exploration and experimentation.

The Cape Mentelle x Aquabumps ‘Explore Your Horizon’ exhibition will pop-up at the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club in Bondi, Sydney from 28th – 29th November 2020 – with complimentary tickets available to the public. To book, please visit the link here. 

Source: Cape Mentelle

Sydneysiders are booking yachts instead of restaurants

While 2020 has been tough for the events industry, boat and yacht rental company, Flotespace, has experienced an incredible 400% growth in just three months, thanks to the rising number of Australians choosing to hold private events on its network of boats, yachts and catamarans.

The specialist online boat hire platform is thriving in what has been a difficult environment for many event-based businesses, thanks to its innovative model which provides boat owners with the opportunity to rent out their investment and making it easy for consumers to find Australia’s best boats for hire.

With many Australians forced to change the way they socialise due to restrictions brought on by COVID-19, an impressive 90% of Flotespace’s recent bookings have been made for private events, as boat-based gatherings can provide more space and flexibility.

What’s more, as Australia’s appetite for water-based events grows, customers are willing to spend big, with Flotespace seeing a 40% uplift in bookings for luxury boats, as well as the average daily booking price increasing by 39%.

The impressive growth rate is just the start. Flotespace Co-CEOs Hugh Treseder and Mike McKiernan have also raised $400,000 through private investors, with ambitious plans to continue to solidify its position as the number one boat booking site in Australia, with international expansion also on the horizon.

Hugh Treseder, Co-CEO of Flotespace, says, “Hiring a private boat is a great way to restore and reconnect in times of uncertainty. We’ve experienced a huge surge in bookings over the past few months as Australians look to come together, yet the social restrictions in place due to COVID-19 mean that it’s harder to organise a group event at an indoor venue, restaurant or bar.”

He continues, “That’s where we come in to play – people are realising that hiring a boat, catamaran or yacht is a more flexible option for group gatherings, as due to the size it’s often possible to accommodate more guests. Currently, the demand is outstripping the supply, as we constantly add new boats to the platform. It’s a really positive position to be in.”

Flotespace Co-CEO, Mike McKiernan, says that boat owners are also seizing the opportunity to join the platform. “We’re seeing savvy owners jump on the chance to maximise their investments by renting their boats on Flotespace. They remain in control of their prices, schedule and availability, and we take care of the rest, so it’s a reciprocal partnership that works both ways.”

For Sydney-based boat owner Todd Page, Flotespace has been a game-changer for his business. Since joining the marketplace, he has seen a 20% increase in sales for his luxury split level catamaran, Adelina, which holds up to 47 people.

He says, “Flotespace has been an incredible way to help grow my business, in what we were expecting to be a tougher year in terms of bookings. It couldn’t be further from that – sales for our luxury sailing catamaran Adelina have increased by a fifth so far this year, with many customers hiring specifically to host events such as wedding parties, corporate events, birthdays and group gatherings.”

Source: Flotespace

Qantas unveils exclusive new leisure wear range by Martin Grant

Leading Australian fashion designer, Martin Grant has released a limited-edition athleisure-wear collection, showcasing a mix of the airline’s vintage logos to mark the flying kangaroo’s centenary year.

Inspired by Qantas’ iconic trademarks throughout history, Grant set out to design a classic range of wardrobe staples for everyday wear.

Including cashmere sweaters, a hoodie, sweatshirts, t-shirts and a beach tote, Grant’s designs have fused Qantas’ iconic red and navy palette with a vivid wattle yellow to represent Australia’s native floral emblem.

“This collection is all about classic shapes, comfortable styles and materials that are kind on the environment. But the hero of the designs are the iconic logos that evoke so many fond memories for Australians,” said Martin Grant.

“The Qantas brand is embedded in the history of our country. I wanted this collection to be a nod to the past but also be a treasured piece for the future.”

Martin’s designs are showcased around the world on runways and Hollywood royalty. His reputation for simplicity and timeless silhouettes have also seen him design uniforms for Qantas’ pilots, cabin crew and ground staff as well as pyjamas and amenity kits for the airline’s First Class customers.

Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said the merchandise designed by the internationally recognised designer would be incredibly popular with customers.

“Qantas Frequent Flyers have a great fondness for our brand and heritage. Having our iconic logos appear in such a beautifully designed collection will make this range much sought after for people with a passion for both aviation and fashion.”

Cashmere Sweater RRP $425 / 73,910 Qantas Points

Hoodie RRP $275 / 47,820 Qantas Points

Sweatshirt RRP $250 / 43,470 Qantas Points

T-shirt RRP $150 / 26,080 Qantas Points

Beach Tote RRP $350 / 60,860 Qantas Points

The collection is available for purchase exclusively from the Qantas Rewards Store until sold out.

Source: Qantas