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Explore Port Arthur’s spooky penitentiary
Our roundup of the best Down Under news, views and gossip
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Fear not, Ningaloo’s whale sharks don’t have you on their menu!
GHOST BUSTING Visitors seeking the scary and surreal can now go ghost hunting at the Port Arthur Historic Site, reputedly one of the most haunted locations in Australia. Thousands have already experienced the atmospheric Port Arthur Ghost Tours – now ghost tour enthusiasts can go one step further with a new Paranormal Investigations tour. During the tour, visitors are invited to use professional test equipment to try and detect the presence of ghosts and other paranormal activity. www.portarthur.org.au
Dive with whale sharks Breaking dawnWhendawnbreaksacross Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef on 14 November this year the early bird call will be replaced by an eerie silence. The
There has never been a better time to visit Western Australia’s Ningaloo Marine Park, which was recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage list and is considered one of the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks.
From now until early August, the big friendly giants visit the Ningaloo Reef to feed before leaving for another year. Visitors can take the plunge with the world’s biggest fish and get up close as the creatures, some 16 metres in length, move through the water. Swimming and snorkelling tours start from A$375 (£248) and leave from Exmouth and Coral Bay.
temperature will drop as the moon passes across the sun, plunging the tropics into darkness.
It may only last for two minutes but 40,000 visitors are expected to flock to Queensland for this celestial experience, which begins at 6:37am in Darwin before sweeping over Port Douglas’s Oak Beach, the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea at 6:39am. A series of events are set to coincide with the eclipse, including a family-oriented event at Port Douglas. www.eclipse2012.org.au
LIONS TOUR The British and Irish Lions Tour of Australia takes place from 1 June to 6 July 2013, and more fans are expected to travel on the tour than ever before. Official ticketinclusive travel packages went on sale to the public recently, with Lions Rugby Travel, an official travel company for the event,
confirming that they have more than 26,000 intentions to travel from British and Irish rugby supporters for the nine-match rugby spectacle. Fans will have a choice of more than 80 tour itineraries as well as, for the first time, the opportunity to build their own itinerary online. The British and Irish Lions will play nine matches during their six week tour of Australia, including three Test matches and games against all five Australian Super 15 Rugby teams. Australia is a great rugby touring destination, with unique sightseeing opportunities. Fans can book travel packages with Lions Rugby Travel online at www.lionstour.com.
TAKE A DETOUR Personalised tour service, My Sydney Detour, has launched three new guided tours in and around the vibrant New South Wales capital, each travelling in a classic EH Holden vehicle. The five-hour My Hawkesbury Detour includes a two-hour cruise along the Hawkesbury River in a private vessel. The My Artisan Detour takes an insider’s look at Sydney’s artisans in their studio workshops and My Redfern Detour provides a look into one of Sydney’s most interesting suburbs. www.mysydneydetour.com
A u s t r a l i a & N Z | M a y 2 0 12
www.getmedownunder.com UPFRONT | NEWS
White Sands Estate has all the entertainment you need
East Coast hideaway
A stay at White Sands Estate on Tasmania’s gorgeous East Coast is far from boring. The picturesque holiday enclave, located between Bicheno and St Helens, boasts self-contained cabin accommodation close to the beach, as well as a boutique brewery, funky bar and bistro, a fine dining restaurant and Tasmanian produce providore.
If that’s not enough, there’s also a cinema, a heated pool, a tennis court, a canoe lake, a private beach and a boat ramp. Next year, the Estate will be expanding with 60 new hotel rooms and several luxury cabins. www.white-sands.com.au
Queensland is gearing itself up for the solar eclipse
GORGE GETAWAY Maud Creek Lodge is an exclusive new retreat offering a boutique homestead-style experience near the magnificent Nitmiluk Gorge, a maze of ancient waterways sculpted by the Katherine River in the Northern Territory. You can stay in an ensuite room in the original homestead or in a private cottage, where you can enjoy the pristine views from your lodge balcony.
A guided walk with Nitmiluk Tours will take you to lookouts at the rim of the gorge, secluded swimming holes, palm-filled valleys and rock art sites. Rates start from A$230 (£152) per night. www.maudcreeklodge.com.au
Drink in the views at Maud Creek Lodge
NEW BEACH HOUSE Beachfront property, Cassini Beach House, has opened on Kangaroo Island. Surrounded by native scrub, the supermodern house can accommodate up to 10 people and boasts stunning beach views www.southaustralia.com
MAKING A SPLASH Rainbow Springs in Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s oldest conservation parks, has opened a thrilling new family-friendly eco-experience. The Big Splash explores New Zealand’s ecological evolution and ends on a high with an adrenaline-boosting 12-metre plummet down a waterslide. The park, set in 22 acres of beautiful native trees and streams, has also added a new 384seat, free-flight bird show auditorium. rainbowsprings.co.nz
MUSICAL FUN The Australian premiere of Legally Blonde, the musical, takes place at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre on 4 October 2012. An all-star cast has been announced with Lucy Durack to play Elle Woods and Rob Mills in the role of Warner. legallyblonde.com.au
UP, UP AND AWAY
Outback Ballooning are resuming hot air balloon flights from Rawnsley Park Station in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges. Flights cost A$370 (£244) per adult and will be available until the end of October. The experience includes transfer to the launch site, a 60-minute flight above the Australian outback, and a bush breakfast. www.outbackballooning.com.au
Manly and Freshwater Beaches in New South Wales have been listed as an official World Surfing Reserve. Manly and Freshwater are regarded as the birthplace of Australian surfing, and the honours were awarded in a ceremony attended by surfing champion Kelly Slater. World Surfing Reserves (WSR) recognise and help protect the world’s finest surfing sites.
Going down Going up
NIET TO THAT!
Russia has threatened to restrict UK flights over Siberia that are bound for Australia in retaliation for the EU’s decision to start charging airlines for their carbon emissions. Russia’s deputy transport minister has spoken about limiting EU airlines’ use of the routes over Siberia and giving preference instead to carriers from Japan, China and other Asian nations. This could limit flights to Australia because it would force airlines to take a longer, more costly route.
MAJOR CASH COW
A seven-year-old steer in Queensland officially has the world’s longest long-horns, and his owners hope the prized beast could turn into a major tourism cash cow. ‘JR’ entered the Guinness Book of World Records with his massive horn-span of 2.77 metres, a whopping three times larger than your average steer. This is one bull you don’t want to grab by the horns...
A u s t r a l i a & N Z | M a y 2 0 12