Want to see whales? Here’s your chance

whale swimming

In response to the growing demand for wellness experiences among travellers, Majestic Whale Encounters is offering several unique whale-swimming tours with a wellness twist to cater to this emerging travel trend. Wellness tourism has rapidly become one of the fastest-growing segments in the tourism industry, now valued at £506 billion globally according to the Global Wellness Institute. This surge in popularity mirrors a global shift towards prioritising health, well-being, and experiential travel, with travellers increasingly seeking wellness experiences. Located in the picturesque tropical islands of Tonga, Majestic Whale Encounters offers numerous wellness and off-the-grid tours that enable guests to slow down and connect with their inner selves amidst Tonga’s tranquil scenery. Whales and Wellness Tours Majestic’s Whales and Wellness tours offer an immersive escape to a secluded eco-retreat on the scenic island of U’oleva in Tonga. Set along the eastern barrier reef of Ha’apai, guests embark on a remarkable journey, spending five days swimming alongside majestic humpback whales while relishing moments of relaxation and wellness onshore. When not exploring the underwater world, guests can engage in yoga sessions and moments of quiet reflection to disconnect from the hectic pace of daily life, fostering a profound connection with themselves and the surrounding nature. For those seeking a bit more activity, kayaking, paddle boarding, and snorkelling are also available. Female-only Whales and Wellness tours are an option as well. Tours run during September and October. Off-The-Grid Tours Majestic Whale Encounters’ Off-The-Grid tours offer a week-long retreat on the remote Tongan island of U’oleva, providing a unique opportunity… Read More

A holiday with Renaissance Tours

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Renaissance Tours are Australia’s leading provider of special interest and cultural excursions, you know the kind; they build trips around ancient things. And this year, they’re delighted to announce a winter and spring tours program, offering unprecedented access to some of the world’s most inaccessible and cherished destinations. With a focus on unique encounters and expert insights, travellers will have the opportunity to explore vibrant cultures, stunning landscapes, and historic sites across both domestic and international tours. Among the highlights is the “Lands of the Saltwater People” tour led by the esteemed Bundjalung curator, artist, and activist Djon Mundine OAM. This August, participants will be immersed in the rich art and culture of Australia’s Top End, enjoying exclusive access to events such as the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and the Yirrkala in northeast Arnhem Land. For those intrigued by ancient civilizations and landscapes, September brings “A Road Less Travelled” with archaeologist Iain Shearer. This expansive 19-day adventure through Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan will uncover the region’s breathtaking scenery, historic religious art, and groundbreaking archaeological sites. Adventurers can also look forward to exploring Oman’s scenic beauty and historical depth on “The Frankincense Route” tour this November, led by renowned scholar Dr. Alex McKay. From Muscat’s vibrant capital to the serene desert of Wahiba Sands and beyond, this 15-day tour promises an unforgettable blend of art, architecture, and heritage. Additional exciting opportunities include traversing the ancient and sacred landscapes of Mungo and Mutawintji National Parks, experiencing the tranquil gardens of Japan from Hokkaido to northern Honshu, and… Read More

Last minute Easter travel ideas

Cairns beach Australia

With the Easter break upon us, many are scrambling for that perfect last-minute getaway. Thankfully, Skyscanner has curated a list of idyllic destinations across Australia that promise a memorable escape without the need for extensive planning or travel. Whether you’re seeking a serene countryside retreat, a beachside paradise, or a gourmet haven, Skyscanner has you covered with affordable flights and unique accommodation options. For those in New South Wales, the charming town of Orange beckons. A mere 3-hour drive from Sydney, Orange offers an oasis of tranquility with its vast vineyards, local delicacies, and stunning landscapes. Stay at the Duntryleague Guesthouse for a touch of elegance or venture to the breathtaking Printhie Wines for a tasting. Skyscanner flights from Brisbane are as low as $393 for the Easter weekend, making it an attractive option for interstate travellers. Queensland residents can discover the natural beauty of Moreton Island, easily accessible by a short ferry ride from Brisbane. This island paradise offers everything from sandy beaches and wildlife encounters to thrill-seeking activities like sandboarding and snorkeling around the Tangalooma Wrecks. Experience a unique stay with a glamping experience at Castaways Moreton Island, with flights from Melbourne priced as low as $158. For those in Victoria, the Milawa and King Valley regions await. Just a 3-hour drive from Melbourne, these destinations are a food and wine lover’s dream. Cycle between local producers, enjoy fine dining, and immerse yourself in Italian heritage. The Lancemore Milawa offers gorgeous boutique accommodations, and Brisbane residents can find Skyscanner flights for just $151…. Read More

Where to go this Easter 2024

Cairns beach Australia

With Easter fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about making the long weekend extra special. Whether you’re looking forward to some quiet relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of the city or seeking unique Easter events and attractions, StayWell’s properties have got you covered. Located within a few hours’ drive from Sydney, these accommodations in Bowral, Pokolbin, and Leura offer a splendid blend of comfort and adventure. And for those with a taste for international travel, the serene beauty of New Caledonia awaits, merely a short flight away. Here’s a guide to making the most of your Easter long weekend with StayWell, where luxury meets the charm of local festivities and natural wonders. Park Proxi Gibraltar Bowral  Discover the allure of Australia’s first Park Proxi hotel, Park Proxi Gibraltar Bowral, nestled in the picturesque town of Bowral in the Southern Highlands, just a scenic 90-minute drive south of Sydney. Boasting spacious rooms, spa facilities, a fitness centre, and an eighteen-hole golf course, this accommodation promises a perfect Easter long weekend getaway. During the Easter long weekend, enjoy the variety of local events from the Good Friday market and family fun day at Moss Vale, the Burrawung Easter markets and the Easter Sunday Funday in Bowral. Bowral is also home to an incredible range of restaurants and bars, from the modern Observatory restaurant and Harvey’s Bar at Park Proxi Gibraltar Bowral to the innovative Thai cuisine at Paste in Mittagong and fine Italian fare at Onesta Cucina. Leisure Inn Pokolbin Hill Nestled… Read More

Best train journeys for your next trip

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Are you ready to venture into a world where the rhythmic chug of a locomotive becomes the soundtrack to your most extraordinary adventures? Lonely Planet’s latest masterpiece, “Amazing Train Journeys,” opens the door to 60 of the most breathtaking train expeditions on the planet, including the iconic The Ghan and the enchanting Kuranda Scenic Railway in Australia. This captivating new release invites you to explore a diverse tapestry of railway odysseys, from timeless cross-country voyages to hidden gems nestled within everyday commuting lines. In an era where travelers seek a slower, more environmentally conscious mode of exploration, “Amazing Train Journeys” stands as a beacon, heralding the 21st-century renaissance of train travel. It celebrates the allure of steel rails and spinning wheels, beckoning readers to savor leisurely days aboard classic railway marvels, high-speed trains, and urban lines, offering a distinctive and picturesque passage from point A to B. Uncover legendary routes like Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer and Australia’s The Ghan, alongside hidden treasures such as the scenic railway from Belgrade to Bar winding through Montenegro’s mountains, The California Zephyr’s renowned Amtrak route across the USA, the Mombasa to Nairobi service in Kenya, and the bewitching Swiss Alpine journey aboard the Bernina Express. Each journey profile within the book presents a comprehensive depiction of the entire expedition, encompassing practical details like ticket recommendations, key stops, and the optimal time to embark on these awe-inspiring trips. Delve into the intricacies of ‘life on board,’ ‘riding the rails,’ and learn how to ‘make it happen.’ While high-speed lines bask in… Read More

Why Tasmania this 2024

Tasmania Cradle Mountain

Exceptional news for Tasmania! Making an appearance in the coveted ’52 Best Places to Visit in 2024′ list published by The New York Times, Tasmania shines bright in the global travel scene. Compiled by discerning travel editors and experts, this list serves as the gold standard in travel destinations, eagerly awaited by explorers worldwide, looking for their next great adventure. This year, the spotlight falls on Tasmania, admired for its rich indigenous culture, natural splendours, and elevated dining experiences. Several Tasmanian operators have been earmarked for offering unique experiences that contribute to the rich Tasmanian tapestry. As Nora Walsh, a contributor to The New York Times suggests, adventure awaits around every corner in Tasmania. From the Tasmanian Walking Company’s guided walks across rugged Bruny Island to the immersive indigenous experiences offered by local Palawa community members. Foodies will be delighted to forage for native ingredients with Palawa Kipli, an Indigenous-owned company, culminating in a tantalising tasting menu. Sarah Clark, CEO, Tourism Tasmania, says, “Being included in The New York Times Best Places to Visit list is an honour, and we are excited to showcase our unique experiences. Tasmania has been a favourite among Australian travellers, and now, we are thrilled to charm international visitors as well.” Tasmania has something for everyone – stunning natural beauty, world-class gastronomy, a vibrant creative community, and a rich cultural heritage. Above all, its warm hospitality stands out, making it a must-visit destination. Tasmania’s recognition in this prestigious list positions it alongside the likes of Brisbane, Grenada in The Caribbean,… Read More

2024 travel predictions: unveiling the latest trends in travel

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Get ready for an exciting year of travel in 2024! As we look ahead, has unveiled its travel predictions that will shape the way we explore the world. From matchmaking holidays to mindful aesthetics, here are some trends to watch out for. As we embark on a new year of travel, these trends will shape our experiences and inspire us to explore the world in different ways. To learn more about’s 2024 Travel Predictions and discover the full report, visit here. Book your next adventure and embrace these exciting travel trends. Start planning now and make 2024 a year to remember!

Experience the New Era of Luxury at Hotel Sorrento

Hotel Sorrento room

Beginning December 2023, a new chapter unfolds in the rich history of the iconic Hotel Sorrento. Unveiling its most significant transformation yet, the hotel is set to amaze with a host of luxurious features, making it the must-visit destination on the Mornington Peninsula. The third-generation family business, run by the Pitt family, has always been a welcoming beacon for visitors, and this expansion is no different. After more than 150 years of service, Hotel Sorrento will soon feature a breathtaking 30-metre pool, terrace, thirteen brand new luxury accommodation suites, a day spa, and wellness facilities. This development is the realisation of the Pitt family’s vision, marking a crucial milestone in the hotel’s illustrious journey. Designed by Six Degrees Architecture and landscaped by Jack Merlo, the new additions to the hotel draw inspiration from the ocean and peninsula landscape, honouring the building’s natural and architectural beauty. The result? A guest experience reminiscent of a Mediterranean holiday, a mere 90-minute drive from Melbourne. Starting at $550 per night, the 13 new Sunset Suites are a testament to luxury. Inspired by the hotel’s natural surroundings, the suites integrate raw materials like limestone, travertine, and timber. Expansive windows in each suite afford stunning views of the landscape, immersing guests in tranquillity and nature. The suites feature custom-designed Jardan furniture and Hunter Lab amenities, creating a warm, welcoming space for guests. Relax and unwind in outdoor marble baths, the perfect way to end a busy day. The new suites beautifully complement the recently refurbished rooms, all boasting Jardan furniture and… Read More

Need a hotel? Leisure Inn Penny Royal just upgraded

Hotel room bed

Get ready to experience the charm of yesteryears coupled with the comfort of the present at the historically significant and heritage-listed Leisure Inn Penny Royal in Launceston. The hotel, a part of the StayWell Holdings property portfolio, proudly introduces an array of exciting upgrades aimed at creating a rejuvenating and enhanced guest experience. Leisure Inn Penny Royal holds the exclusive distinction of being the only hotel in Launceston to offer a 4-bedroom apartment. The spacious lodgings are perfect for families and groups seeking the comfort of ample space. As part of the recent refresh, guests can now luxuriate in beautifully redesigned lounges equipped with contemporary furnishings and state-of-the-art smart TVs. The modern kitchen spaces have also been refreshed, offering guests the convenience of self-catering, replicating the comfort of their own homes. The hotel has further amplified the guest experience by installing new carpets throughout, replacing bathroom shower screens, and incorporating noise-cancelling windows in all apartments and hotel rooms. In addition, there’s a new lift coming up near the reception area by mid-September, enhancing the ease and convenience for guests. Starting its journey as a corn mill in 1840, the hotel is filled with a rich history and undeniable charm. Nestled beside the Tamar River, Leisure Inn Penny Royal strikes a harmonious balance between its alluring heritage and modern amenities. These upgrades are a part of StayWell’s progressive development plan, reflecting steady growth and performance year on year. Over the next two years, more Group hotels will be upgraded, including Leisure Inn Pokolbin Hill. Also, new… Read More

Oaks Hotels officially a Habit for Humanity

Oaks Hotel Castlereagh

If you’re planning a trip to Australia or New Zealand and are looking for a hotel chain that is dedicated to giving back to the community, then Oaks Hotels, Resorts and Suites might just be the perfect choice for you. As part of their Oaks Giving Tree program, this hotel chain has partnered with Mount Franklin and Habitat for Humanity to help build homes for disadvantaged families in Australia and New Zealand. Guests staying at any Oaks property can now contribute to this worthy cause by purchasing Mount Franklin water during their stay. For every bottle sold, one dollar is donated to Habitat for Humanity Australia and Habitat for Humanity New Zealand. These funds will go towards building safe and secure homes for vulnerable people in our communities, including those impacted by natural disasters, people with disabilities and their carers, indigenous Australians and those fleeing family violence. Each bottle of Mount Franklin water features a branded neck tag, so you can easily identify them at the hotel. This initiative is called Hydrate for Humanity, and it’s a fantastic way to stay hydrated while helping those in need. According to Craig Hooley, Chief Operating Officer for Minor Hotels Australia and New Zealand, “Our Hydrate for Humanity activity with Mount Franklin and Habitat for Humanity further elevates our work as part of the Oaks Giving Tree Program, in providing support to low-income families facing adverse circumstances.” In addition to this fantastic initiative, Oaks Hotels is also involved with Habitat for Humanity on another level. The hotel chain… Read More