Wednesday, August 26, 2015
In a World First Tourism New Zealand Embraces New Colouring-in Trend: Tourism New Zealand is giving travellers the opportunity to 'colour their journey' with a series of adult colouring-in sketches available to download from newzealand.com. Colouring-in is believed to have the same effect on the brain as meditation has on the mind. Considering these benefits, Tourism New Zealand has created four sketches of iconic New Zealand locations from the new 100% Pure brand campaign...
Monday, August 24, 2015
Guest blogger Lyndsay Scott shares her local knowledge.
Truth is, Northern Ireland is charismatic, spirited and with a rugged and varied landscape including dramatic mountain ranges sweeping right down to the sea, she is also breathtakingly beautiful. Given the unique political situation here, it's a place of fascinating contrasts, where you'll pay for your Guinness with British currency. So if you want to discover the undiscovered, get the full picture and see Ireland from a different vantage point - make sure you head north to unearth the hidden gem of the Emerald Isle.
Here's a local's low-down on the top five things to experience in Northern Ireland:
1. Take in Belfast's street murals
The Northern Irish have a reputation for being a feisty bunch, and it has long been tradition to take to the streets to proclaim political allegiances, mark territories and vent frustrations. As a result, Belfast's troublesome history is literally etched on the walls of its grey, inner-city architecture in a fascinating display of colourful and subversive graffiti.For an evocative experience, visit the unionist/loyalist areas and gaze up at images of masked gunman swearing allegiance to the British rule. Enter a nationalist/republican part however, and you will see heroes of the resistance movement immortalised on the concrete facades.
But it's not all politics, and recently, murals have appeared in vibrant tribute to some of Belfast's achievements, such as former Manchester United soccer player George Best and the Titanic, which was built in Belfast. To see all the best spots, take a black cab tour with commentary from a knowledgeable local.
2. Hit the coast
While you may not get the ideal beach weather - no matter which way you leave Belfast, you will, at least, be greeted with a coastline to rival the best of them. Head east into County Down and within 30 minutes, you'll get to the seaside resort town of Bangor, and the charming villages of Groomsport and Donaghadee where you can explore sandy beaches and sleepy harbour fronts lined with traditional bars, restaurants and handicraft shops. Award winning pub-restaurant Pier 36 in Donaghadee serves up some cracking seafood. Head west into County Antrim and you'll eventually hit the "North Coast", a celebrated, scenic route through many of the region's top tourist attractions.
3.Walk in the footsteps of giants at Giant's Causeway
Set against a rugged backdrop of the wild North Atlantic Ocean and imposing cliff faces, it's not surprising that this surreal spectacle of towering, hexagonal stone columns rising out of sea is the stuff of legends. As the story goes, mythical giants carved this UNESCO World Heritage site in an attempt to bridge the gap between Northern Ireland and Scotland. The other explanation is that it was formed by an ancient volcanic eruption - but I know which story I prefer. Visiting this geological, natural wonder is free of charge, but you pay to use the car park and the Giant's Causeway Visitor Experience.
4. Discover Belfast's nautical past at Titanic Belfast
Brought back from rack and ruin, Belfast's former dilapidated industrial heartland has recently had a multi-million dollar facelift, and central to the shiny new "Titanic Quarter" is Titantic Belfast, one of Belfast's premier visitor attractions and a nod to the city's maritime and industrial heritage.
Located on the very slipway where the RMS Titanic was built in the former Harland & Wolff shipyard, the glimmering, aluminium edifice is reminiscent of the world's most famous ocean liner's main prow - or is it an iceberg!?The world's largest Titanic visitor attraction will take you on a state-of-the-art experience with clever and lively exhibits charting the history of Belfast and the ill-fated ship, which sunk on her maiden voyage. But rather than considering it a maritime disaster, Belfast has began to take pride in the engineering triumph, and it is long running joke in Belfast that "it [the Titanic] was fine when it left us!" For tickets, opening hours and prices visit the website.
5. Grab a pint of the black stuff at a traditional bar
Just like their Southern counterparts, Northern Irish people love nothing more than a "wee drink" [read: a lot of alcohol] and "good craic" [read : good fun]. No trip to Northern Ireland is complete without a trip to the bar for a pint of Guinness - and of course, there are a lot to choose from. The Duke of York pub is tucked down a cobbled alleyway right in the heart of Belfast's historic and quirky cathedral quarter. Step into the warmth of the bar and feel your eyes adjust to the dark-wood interior while you gaze up a vast array of enamel signposts and antique mirrors decorating the walls. Irish traditional music makes for a fun and lively atmosphere at weekends.For a blast from the opulent past, head to the stunning Crown Liquor Saloon on Great Victoria Street, one of Northern Ireland's best known pubs and one of the finest examples of a former Victorian Gin Palace. Grab a booth, and watch the light flood in through the stained glass windows to illuminate the entrancing mosaic of tiles adorning the grand interior.
For more information on visiting Northern Ireland, contact Discover Northern Ireland on +44 (0)28 9023 1221 or visit the website.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Hidden gem hotel in Cremorne Point, Sydney
By Guest Blogger Sarah Green
Sydney is one of the most active cities in the world. From the annual Sydney to Surf Marathon to Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, cricket & footie games, entertainment at the Sydney Opera House and Fashion Week, the city is buzzing all year around.For overseas or native visitors coming to Sydney, the costs add up for a weekend or full holiday trip, especially during these highly popular event days when the city is swarming and hotel prices increase.
The beauty of Sydney lies within the nearby harbour peninsula regions. An eight minute scenic ferry ride from Circular Quay will take you to Cremorne Point - a harbour precinct that offers one of the best views of the Opera House and city skyline.
As locals are aware, Cremorne Point is home to grand mansions that date Federation times. There are stunning views of the boats sailing along the water and in the midst of this quiet area is Cremorne Point Manor.The Manor has operated since the late nineteenth century and as a quaint yet modern Sydney boutique guest house, this gem of a building is one of the oldest operating hotels in Sydney. It’s claimed to have been built in the late 1880’s during the discovery of a coal seam in the area. The mining of the seam was halted, thanks to locals who opposed this intrusion, and the hotel remained intact.
The hotel owner, Jean-Claude Branch traced the hotel’s history and discovered it was built as a guest house in 1911 and has remained such ever since. The name was originally called ‘Redcourt,’ to reflect the clay tennis courts to the left of the hotel. To this day, it’s the only commercial building in the area.
Operating as a guest house for around a few decades as a heritage listed federation building, Cremorne Point Manor is so close to Taronga Zoo (4.7km) that hotel guests can hear the sound of the monkeys squawking and lions roaring during the evening. There are only 29 bedrooms of varying size and this adds a homey feel to the environment, which brings back repeat business visitors and tourists.
Cremorne Point Manor boasts a string of impressive credentials including a AAA and Four Star Rating and the past three years has received a continuous ‘Certificate of Excellence’ from Tripadvisor. The hotel rates are reasonable and highly competitive with the city hotels. The Double en Suites range around $175 AUD, Family Suite at $319, King Harbour View at $259, King Spa Suite at $259, Queen en Suite at $195, Single Shared shower room at $95 and Double Shared Shower at $119. Continental breakfasts are $7 per guest.The hotel is extremely active all year around and can reach 100% occupancy during peak event seasons. These include New Year’s and Christmas, the Sydney Marathon, Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day. As Jean-Claude confirms “The hotel is so close to the Opera House yet provides a tranquil setting away from the noise in the city, so Cremorne Point gives visitors the best of the Sydney experience.” He continues, “The views from Cremorne Point are sensational and for New Year’s, guests can see the fireworks without fighting the crowds. This is what makes the area and our hotel so special and a historic Sydney gem.”
For more information, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cremorne Point Manor,
6 Cremorne Road, Cremorne Point, Sydney NSW 2090,
P: +61 2 9953 7899
F: + 61 29904 1265
Get Up & Go Goes Cruising!: This new, bumper edition of Get Up & Go magazine heads out to sea and along rivers to show you what's happening on the water now. Greece, India, Australia, Austria, PNG and Cambodia are visited by ships – big and small. We talk to Dame Judi Dench – the best Bond girl ever and reminisce about The Sound of Music...