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John Rozentals’ Travel Briefs For Week Beginning 25 Feb

February 22, 2019 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

The eighth annual Bleach festival runs on the Gold Coast from April 17-28 and celebrates the area’s unique rituals and culture with a jam-packed program that spans large-scale opera, award-winning dance, eye-popping cabaret, free live music, a thought-provoking political swimming carnival and a drive-in with a difference.

Bleach 2019 offers 28 unique productions, including four world premieres, and three Queensland premieres, headlined by its centrepiece event, Verdi’s Requiem, on April 27, featuring more than 150 musicians and singers performing under the stars on a stage transformed into a fiery ceremonial sanctuary.

Townsville’ s Dancenorth will present Tectonic, a free 15-minute performance installation staged twice a night and inspired by the plight of Torres Strait communities whose island homes will be consumed by rising sea levels.

An absurd swimming carnival will be conducted over 24 hours in the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, with participants trying to swim the distance from Australia to Manus Island in a continuous relay, guided by people from the local migrant and refugee communities.


 Kafnu Alexandria … just five minutes from Sydney Airport.

The Next Story Group will debut its Kafnu brand in Australia on March 1, with the opening of Sydney’s Kafnu Alexandria in Sydney, joining Kafnu properties in Hong Kong, Taipei and Bengaluru.

Kafnu takes its name from a hamlet in Himachal Pradesh in the northern part of India, where adventurers rejuvenate, refresh and reflect before their ascent towards the Himalayan summit.

The Kafnu Alexandria is located next to The Grounds of Alexandria, within one of Sydney’s thriving new creative and industrial hubs, and just five minutes from Sydney Airport.

There are 16 furnished guest rooms for a good night’s rest and a bespoke gin bar, where members can unwind and socialise.

A virtual fitness studio ensures that members can stay on track with their fitness regimens, and as an added convenience, Kafnu membership also comes with GoGet car membership.

 Complimentary reuseable stainless-steel water bottles … provided to each Thala Beach guest.

For more than 20 years Thala Beach Nature Reserve, at Queensland’s Port Douglas, has been a champion of sustainable tourism and conscious of the impacts of tourism on the environment.

To reduce the amount of plastic going to landfill and into our oceans, Thala has officially removed all single-use plastic bottles, takeaway coffee cups and straws from across the resort.

Complimentary reuseable stainless-steel water bottles are provided to each guest, filled with filtered water from Thala’s own spring.

While guests are encouraged to refill their bottles during their stay, they are also encouraged to reduce their impact on their onward journey by taking their bottles with them to use as an alternative to buying bottled water in plastic bottles.

Thala’s stand against single-use plastics will alone prevent approximately 12,000 plastic water bottles and 30.000 plastic straws from entering the environment each year.


True North on the Kimberley Coast … it’s only an overnight cruise to the magnificent Rowleys.

Pioneering Kimberley Coast tour operator True North Adventure Cruises is preparing for its 32nd season in a north Australian region renowned for its wilderness qualities, stunning scenery, vibrant indigenous culture and, some of the best fishing action on the planet.

Its new 13-night ‘Coast and Coral’ itinerary will kick-off on the Kimberley Coast aboard the 750-tonne adventure-cruise ship True North, and guests will savour such icons as King George Falls, Mitchell Falls, Prince Regent River and Montgomery Reef.

Then it’s an overnight cruise to the magnificent Rowleys and more than 300 square kilometres of pristine coral playground.

Both destinations have been long-time favourites with both guest and crew but this is the first time that True North Adventure Cruises has offered opportunity to experience the Kimberley Coast and the Rowley Shoals in a single itinerary.


 Kichakani Serengeti Camp … a perfect location for witnessing the Great Migration.

Tanzania hosts one of the greatest wildlife experiences on Earth — the Great Migration.

Each year the seemingly endless plains of East Africa bear witness to this epic sight, as millions of wildebeest and zebra make their way over 1800 miles, around the Masai Mara and Serengeti in constant pursuit of life-giving rains and greener pastures.

Tanzania’s beautiful Serengeti National Park offers ringside seats to the famous spectacle and Sanctuary’s Kichakani Serengeti Camp provides a perfect location.

An elegant and contemporary take on the classic camp style, its 10 luxury tents have all been designed to be perfectly portable.

Each tent has a personal attendant and a private wooden deck on which to enjoy a just-brewed cup of Tanzania’s finest coffee, while en-suite bathrooms feature authentic bucket showers.

The camp’s three set locations throughout the year are based on the migration path.

Prices are from US$670 per person per night twin-share for one-to-three nights, with discounts for stays of three nights or more with Sanctuary.

Banyan Tree Phuket … quality family time.

Make this Easter unforgettable by spending quality family time surrounded by a saltwater lagoon at one of Banyan Tree’s beachfront resorts on the shores of Thailand’s Phuket.

Activities include private island excursions, kayaking, cycling, tennis and boat trips.

Banyan Tree’s Ranger’s kids club is also available on site, providing a program which immerses children in an educational adventure, enhancing their overall development and communication skills while boosting their love for the environment.

For something a little more traditional, involve the whole family in an authentic Thai cooking class and learn how to make gourmet Thai cuisine from local experts.

Or just spend the day by the resort pool or step out to Bangtao Beach, the perfect setting for a sunset stroll before dinner at one of Banyan Tree Phuket’s signature restaurants.


 Immerse your self in the culture of Japan.

Discover rural and modern Japan on two wheels and save $410 on Exodus Travels’ 14-day ‘Cycling in Japan’ adventure in you can depart on March 31.

The tour price of from $8405 per person twin-share includes all accommodation, all transport and activities, all breakfasts and five dinners, and local bike hire.

Pedal the rugged seascapes and wild beaches of the Noto Peninsula to picturesque farmlands and remote mountainous regions of Takayama and UNESCO Shirakawa-go, where you can immerse yourself in the customs of the Japanese countryside.

From temples, shrines and market visits through to hot springs and overnight ryokans — this trip is for the adventure traveller who loves to dive into new cultures and rich history.


 Macao Fireworks Display Contest … lighting up the city for its thirtieth year.

Macao is gearing up for a busy 2019 with the calendar filled with festivals and events to commemorate the Asian centre’s twentieth anniversary as a special administrative region of The People’s Republic of China.

Much of the limelight will be on Macao’s billing as a member of the elite global list of ‘UNESCO Creative Cities for Gastronomy’, but also of great interest will be the thirtieth Macao Fireworks Display Contest from September 7 to October 5, with an additional day bringing together a record 12 countries.

Food for thought for later in the year is the Macau Food Festival, with the overwhelming aroma of dishes enough to wake the taste buds as guests wander the lakeside street stalls from November 8-24.


Machu Picchu … famed lost city of the Incas.

Australians can experience an authentic South American Easter this April — complete with colourful processions, folk dances and cultural ceremonies — on a new six-night tour to Peru’s Cuzco, and also taking in visit to the famed Machu Picchu and the country’s lively capital city, Lima.

‘Easter week at Cuzco’ is an itinerary designed to focus on authentic cultural experiences, particularly the spectacular religious celebrations which grace the city each Easter.

On Palm Sunday, for instance, guests may encounter folkloric dancers beginning the celebrations, and on Monday will watch the procession of the Señor de Los Temblores (Lord of the Tremors), a statue of Christ which is said to have miraculously stopped an earthquake in 1650.

Prices are from $2259 per person twin-share, with flights from Australia extra.

Phone 1300 135 391 or visit

 The Britannia Mine Museum … shows how mining used to be.

Do you know that the largest copper mine in the former British Empire can be found in the Canadian city of Vancouver?

Now a National Historic Site selected by the Canadian Tourism Commission as a Canadian Signature Experience, the century-old Britannia Mine Museum offers visitors a rare glimpse into the life of a copper miner.

An underground tour takes visitors on a ride aboard the mine train into the cool bowels deep beneath the earth, akin to what miners did in 1914.

Tour guides regale visitors with tales of how early mining efforts were conducted — complete with actual working equipment.


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