Newsletter - Issue 9- May 2000
In this Issue
|Hot Air Balloon Experience over Central Australia|
|Adventure Accross Australia|
|Carnarvon Gorge - An 'Oasis' in the Aussie Outback|
|Undara Awarded Advanced Eco Accreditation|
|Update From The Top End|
|'Special Offers' extracted from AHRC database|
Well, quite a long time already since the last issue of this newsletter. Sorry about that, time was going too fast.
What's new on Aussie World?
As most of you are probably
already aware, few weeks ago we published the second Aussie World Screensaver.
Already more than 300 downloads (on Aussie World only) one month after its publication.
Soon we plan to offer more 'free stuff' such as screen backgrounds, … and some other surprises. So, if you are interested, come back from time to time to visit Aussie World home page (http://www.aussieworld.com)
We also would like to increase the exchange of information between people sharing a same passion, Australia, or simply between people looking for information and those who have the expertise to answer.
to Yahoo Clubs, Aussie World is now able to offer you such a more interactive
service. Aussie World Yahoo Club is already up and running for a while.
It is a place where you are able to share your travel experiences, to ask questions, to start a discussion on a specific Aussie related subject, to display some of your photos and of course to chat with other members ...
But the best way to discover it is probably to point your browser to http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/aussieworld I hope to see you soon as a new member ...
Hot Air Balloon Experience over Central Australia
Already a long time that
wanted to try such an experience: a flight in a Hot Air Balloon over one of
these wonderful Australian landscapes.
This time it was planned. Arrangement was taken a long time in advance to do it over The Red Centre.
4 O'clock in the morning
… Wake up and… get ready for the adventure …
Few minutes later I am leaving the campervan and I am walking to the caravan park entrance where I am supposed to wait for the bus. With only few degrees above 0°C and with some clothes not so well adapted for such a low temperature I am really freezing, and it is only a start!
4:30 - The bus is there. I am taking a seat. Still few people to pick-up before moving to our destination. Several stops on the way to check the wind direction and strength before finally arriving to the place from where the balloon will be launched. By the way, the balloon is not yet ready.
Do not think that you just have to jump in it and enjoy. No way. Everybody is requested to help to take the balloon out from the trailer and to open it. Well after a while everything is ready.
Final instructions are given and let's go! We are jumping in the basket, we are quite compressed at the beginning but after a while everybody finds its own space.
Few seconds later, without really noticing it we are already in the air and we can watch the preparation of the second balloon from another perspective.
Not so impressive after all!!!
Now the moment I am waiting is nearly there. The sun is rising over the Mac Donnell ranges. This is probably the best moment of the flight. If the landscape under the balloon is not so interesting, watching the sunrise over the ranges from this unusual perspective is really great.
I was quite surprised when
after a 20 minutes the balloon was already going down and preparing to land.
Despite the fact that I paid for an one hour flight, after half an hour we had
our first landing. (I then understood that the '1 hour flight' sold in the brochure
was in fact a '2 times half an hour flight'). It does not really matter because
landing also gives some fun.
Once in the air again, the light is sufficient now to have a look to the ground and see some afraid kangaroos jumping here and there.
After the second landing your contribution is requested again to help packing the balloon and put it again on the trailer. But it is not yet finished, before driving you back to your place, you will have your glass of champagne (even several of them if you want) with a very nice breakfast. And of course, the possibility to buy some souvenirs (T-shirt, …), and a photo of your adventure.
It is also
the time to receive your 'Flight Certificate'.
My personal conclusion of the adventure: less impressive that I was expecting but it was the first time I was doing this and I really enjoyed it. If you never did it, I can recommend the experience, specially in a place like this one.
This experience was done using the services of
Ballooning - AliceSprings
35 Kennett Court, Alice Springs
Adventure Across Australia
C2C Tours has several spare seats available for their Across Australia Adventure tours departing Brisbane and finishing in Perth later this year.
The tour takes in Australia's easternmost point, Cape Byron in northern New South Wales, and travels to the westernmost point, Steep Point on Shark Bay. On the way we cross the desolate Simpson and Gibson Deserts and have a good look at Australia's Red Centre.
The fully catered tour takes 21 days and is all camping with everything provided. Cost is AU$4200.00 per person. Mentioning this Newsletter will attract a 10% discount for a direct booking.
Dates available are: Depart Brisbane 10 July, 14 August and 23 October and arrive Perth 20 July, 3 September and 12 November respectively.
Full details are at http://www.c2ctours.com.au
Clint and Charleen Lovell
C2C Tours Adventures Across Australia
Gorge - An 'Oasis' in the Aussie Outback
Tucked away in the expansive 298,000 hectare Carnarvon National Park in Queensland's southern central highlands, is the 160 million year old Carnarvon Gorge. A virtual microcosm bursting with sub-tropical canopies and sheltered by towering canyons, Carnarvon Gorge's location amidst the harsh outback is perplexing.
A recognised attraction to many Queenslanders, Carnarvon Gorge's location does manage to confuse some visitors who mix it up with the seaside town of Carnarvon in Western Australia.
Confusion aside, Carnarvon National Park boasts annual visitation figures topping 40,000 and claims the title of western Queensland's second most popular tourist destination outside Longreach's Stockman's Hall of Fame.
While a number of visitors opt to camp, April ushers Carnarvon Gorge's official season for the area's only private accommodation facility, Oasis Lodge Resort.
For lovers of the bush, but not so much of camping, Oasis Lodge situated at the entrance to Carnarvon Gorge offers 30 luxurious, secluded, air-conditioned safari-style cabins that blend unobtrusively with the natural surroundings.
Cabins are fully screened and contain stylish furnishings, polished floors and ensuites. Bar fridges, and tea and coffee making facilities are concealed via timber shutters, and the cabins offer a perfect retreat to contemplate the sheer diversity the Gorge offers - over 183 species of birdlife, many native animal species including platypus colonies, and inspiring Aboriginal rock art sites dating back over 3600 years.
Each cabin has its own private deck complete with comfortable squatters chairs from which to view the wildlife, seemingly oblivious to their audience as they laze around under the shade of thousand year-old macrozamia palms.
The actual Carnarvon Gorge, just one feature of the entire national park, is over 30 kilometres long and was carved out over millions of years by the ever-persistent Carnarvon Creek. The creek eventually finds its way out to sea near Rockhampton after joining with a number of creeks and rivers along the way.
In its wake, the creek has unveiled a sub tropical wonderland. Imposing sandstone cliffs up to 200m high and ranging from 50m to 400m wide, shelter a lush undergrowth of cabbage tree palms, macrozamia palms, king ferns and wildlife.
Carnarvon Gorge has over 25 kilometres of graded walking tracks criss-crossing freshwater streams, bluffs, Aboriginal art galleries leading bushwalkers through a myriad of ecological marvels.
And for those who don't mind an early start, the most elusive of Australian marsupials, the platypus, commonly makes an appearance in the early morning or at dusk to feed. Oasis Lodge guides take guests to the spots where platypus colonies are most active.
Some of the sights guests are shown include Warrumbah Gorge, where at one point, hikers can reach out and touch both sides of the narrow canyon walls; and the Moss Gardens, a cool side gorge carpeted in moss with water gently trickling out of the porous sandstone rock.
The 'Amphitheatre' which is accessed by a ladder is a must. The acoustics are quite incredible, and one can't help but wonder whether this place was the ancient 'Carnegie Hall' for passing Aborigines.
After viewing the spectacular colour changes of the sandstone cliffs at sunset, there are a number of night time experiences offered to Oasis Lodge guests, such as treks to view nocturnal animals, film nights, sunset and sunrise treks to nearby bluffs, or just simply sitting back on the deck and listening to the sounds of the bush over a cool drink.
Guided bushwalking activities (peak season only), all meals, the use of Lodge equipment, backpacks and entertainment are included in the daily tariff and staff will pack meals for full day hikers. For the more adventurous guest, Oasis Lodge will provide camping equipment and packed meals for visitors wanting to experience a night out under the stars.
Details on Carnarvon Gorges as well as photos and travel logs can be found on this site:
Roads are suitable for standard vehicles, with approximately 30km of unsealed road from Wyesby to Oasis Lodge. Driving time from the Queensland capital of Brisbane to Carnarvon Gorge is approximately 9 hours north west of Brisbane. Overseas residents can book their Carnarvon trip by phoning their nearest Australian Tourist Commission:
Two hour direct flights run twice weekly between the Queensland capital of Brisbane and Carnarvon Gorge. Three, four and seven night flight and accommodation packages are available and can be booked by contacting the Queensland Travel Centre on 13 180. For callers outside Australia contact your Australian Tourist Commission office on the numbers listed overleaf.
London -- Ph: 44 181 780 2229
Los Angeles -- Ph: 1 310 229 4870
Frankfurt -- Ph: 49 69 274 0060
Sydney -- Ph: 02 9360 1111
Canada -- please contact the Los Angeles office
By emailing Fortland Direct through internet: http://www.fortland.com.au
Oasis Lodge Direct Bookings:
Direct - 1800 644 150 (callers within Australia) or +61 7 4984 4503 for international callers.
This article was provided by:
Marketing and Promotions Executive Fortland Hotels and Resorts
GPO Box 1150 - Brisbane Qld 4001 - Australia
Tel: +61 7 32219199 - Fax: +61 7 32293142
Undara Awarded Advanced Eco Accreditation
The 'Undara Exprerience' was already presented in a previous issue of the newsletter (issue 5 - October 98) as well as in the Photos and Travel Logs section. As you will read in the below article the Undara Experience is now gaining recognition in Eco Tourism.
Undara Experience has been acclaimed one of the country’s top ecotourism ventures, gaining advanced accreditation under a national scheme to rate ecotourism product.
The National Ecotourism Accreditation Program, the first of its kind in the world, is an industry based program which awards ecotourism accreditation and advanced accreditation to help consumers recognise quality product.
Undara has been awarded advanced accreditation for the Undara Lava Lodge, both the two hour and half day lava tube tours and the sunset tour, which are conducted by Savannah Guides.
Managing director of Undara Experience, Mr Gerry Collins, said that the awards had been designed "to give consumers confidence in the integrity of ecotourism products. We are proud to have the highest endorsement from the National Ecotourism Accreditation Program and hope consumers will look and ask for accredited products."
Undara Experience was developed by Gerry Collins, whose family were the area’s earliest white settlers and six generations have lived and run cattle on the land since the 1860s. The whole of the Undara National Park is on land previously owned by the Collins family.
The Undara Lava Lodge which was opened in 1990, gives tourists the opportunity to explore the Undara Lava Tubes, identified in the 1960s as the world’s longest lava flow from a single volcanic crater, and experience the Australian outback.
The lodge is a three and a half hour drive from Cairns on the eastern edge of the ruggedly beautiful Gulf Savannah. It provides accommodation for visitors to the lava tubes in specially restored railway carriages and there is also a Swags Tent Village, conference centre and a licensed bistro.
Guests enjoy bush breakfasts, dinners under the stars and campfire sing-a-longs. Savannah guides take tours of the lava tubes offering an insight into the geology, ecology, local history and bush craft of the region.
Undara Experience also won the 1999 Tropical North Queensland (Cairns) Tourism Award for Unique Accommodation and the 1999 Tropical North Queensland (Townsville) Tourism Award for Major Tourist Attraction
"The primary focus of the Undara's activities is to enable guests to enjoy the special beauty of the Undara Lava Tubes and the Savannah in a way which is ecologically sustainable and contributes to the conservation of this special place," said Mr Collins.
This article was provided by: Kaye Bishop
More information on Undara Adventure can be found at:
From The Top End
Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory has been changing rapidly since the situation that arose in Timor mid 1999. No longer is there a low season during the wetter months of December through to April. The town has been jumping with nationalities from all over the world, bought to Darwin by or though their involvement with the United Nations.
You can walk down the mall and see Fijian's soldiers and police in their sulus and sandals rubbing shoulders
with young troops from the Philippines or Thailand. Tall stately Africans, in their colourful garments are commonplace along with the blue berets and arm-bands of the current UN forces back for some R&R.
Award winning restaurants
like Pee Wee's at the Point, Gold Plate winner in 1999 for best NT Restaurant
said they have had their best season ever. A very popular venue right on the
waterfront overlooking the lights of Darwin city has superb food created by
Master Chef Anthony Long. Australian Gourmet Traveller says Pee Wee's has the
best value wine list in Australia. Airconditioned since November 1999, it is
certainly the most popular place for good but not expensive dining. Maitre D
Juanita, says it is now usual to hear language from all over the world in the
restaurant. French, American and German accents predominate. NO cover charge
so you can call in for a coffee. They are open every night at 6pm and it is
wise to book if you can on 89816868.
A new online reservation and information service, Northern Territory Visitors Centre (www.northernterritory.com) has now been running for 9 months. Based in downtown Darwin, the flow of enquires and business has been streaming in from all over the world. People from places as far apart as Iceland and Saudi Arabia are making holiday bookings in the Northern Territory. Staff say that the
questions people ask are very interesting and many show a high level of knowledge of what they want to see and where they want to go. Naturally Kakadu National Park and Uluru (Ayers Rock) are very popular.
The new www.westaustralia.com
site will be running from the same office in the next few weeks. The combination
of the Kimberley region and the National Parks of the Northern Territory is
proving to be irresistible for many travellers.
A very exciting destination is now available with a weekly flight (Friday night) that now operates between Darwin and Timika in Irian Jaya. One hour and fifty minutes in a chartered Qantas BAe146 can take you from cosmopolitan Darwin into the stone age of Indonesia's easternmost province. The towering 15,000 foot
Jayawijaya Mountains with their tropical glacier is home to one of the world largest copper gold mines.
Facilities in the town range from the wonderful five star comfort of the Sheraton Timika, and an 18 hole golf course designed by Ben Crenshaw, to the downtown Komoro Tame Hotel and Resort. Two star with a push, but aircon, pool and good cold bintang beer and giant TV with all the latest football keep all the guests very happy. More information on www.timikacharters.com.au for flights and prices, packages and information.
Those who are looking for touring in comfort and style around Darwin and to places like Kakadu National Park should check out the website of Acacia Luxury Transport. www.acacialimousines.com.au. This new website offers some good ideas and specials with touring and transfers combined. They also offer access to some of the top ends great fishing and relaxing spots. Transfers are available to Crab Claw Island Fishing Resort, Lodge of Dundee, Wildman River or Lake Bennett Wilderness Resorts to name a few. There are the places the locals go. Prices are affordable, clean and comfortable and all within a couple of hours drive from Darwin. They can also combine with Arafura Boat Charters for some great full day blue water fishing. Charter cost with skipper, boat, fuel, bait and ice on a 27 foot Seaprobe Power cat is only $800 and the boats
are surveyed for up to 8 passengers plus skipper. You can also email direct on firstname.lastname@example.org and Penni or Rick will be pleased to tell you all about the fish they catch (and release mostly)
Northern Gateway Group of Companies
GPO Box 2541
Darwin NT 0801 Australia
Ph 61 (08) 89411394 Fax 61 (08) 89412815
Queensland Police Headquarters Tour
If you are in Brisbane for few days and if you want to do something 'different' you could be interested to spend few hours in the Police Headquarters. Few months ago the Queensland Police Service has commenced free public tours of the Police Headquarters at 100 Roma Street, Brisbane.
Specialised areas never before seen by the public form much of the tour's content, including the Fingerprint Bureau, Scientific Section, Computer Facial Identification Technology, Police Communications Centre and Photographics Section.
Police Commissioner Jim O'Sullivan believes the public tours will highlight the Service's significant advances in technology and continual evolution of operational procedures and staff attitudes toward their role and community co-operation.
"By taking part in the Police Headquarters tour, you will be introduced to our developments which make the Service technically and scientifically advanced, and aimed at being a professional Police Service, dedicated to excellence and committed to working in partnership with the people of Queensland to enhance the safety and security of our community," Commissioner O'Sullivan said.
The guided tours will become a regular feature in headquarters. Bookings are essential. For further information and booking inquiries, please call +61.7.3364 6256.
Combined with this headquarters tour you can also visit the Police Museum which has some interesting displays. You can do it by yourself or by joining one of the guided tours. For more info, please call +61.7.3364 6425 or +61.7.3364 4013.
Current promotions proposed
by the AHRC (Australia Holiday Resources Centre)
members are available via the notice
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