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Monday, September 24, 2018

Five of the Best Winter Wilderness Lodges in Canada


Australian travellers are making the most of early bird specials to experience Canada's untamed wilderness from December to March, when it transforms into a quintessential winter wonderland.



Read on for five of Canada's best winter lodges, offering an idyllic, immersive experience, from wildlife encounters and outdoor adventures, to log fires, charming villages and fine dining.

Blachford Lake Lodge, Northwest Territories
Fly on a bush plane – equipped with skis in winter– and land alongside Blachford Lake Lodge, an oasis of rustic luxury in the Northwest Territories' wilderness near Yellowknife. Skate on the frozen lake, mush huskies, stomp off on snowshoes or hop on a snowmobile and experience the wide-open northern backcountry. Sit down to fresh, local cuisine like bison and pike, then slip into the hot tub and watch curtains of colourful northern lights shimmer and loop across the horizon like fireworks on a cosmic scale.

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Alberta
Bedding down in a remote wilderness lodge doesn't mean you need to rough it. The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge maintains its 1920s appeal, with its cozy communal lounge area and cedar chalets, and combines it with award-winning cuisine, a luxury spa and all the trimmings you'd expect at a prestige Fairmont resort. Wrapping around the shores of pristine Lac Beauvert in Jasper National Park, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to epic winter adventures. Ice skate on the lake, go cross-country or downhill skiing, or simply stroll the snow-covered forest and say hello to the elk, goats, big-horned sheep, wolves, and moose, who call this beautiful place home.

Tagish Wilderness Lodge, Yukon Territory
 Tagish Wilderness Lodge in Yukon Territory in north-west Canada, is an authentic wilderness retreat. With no road access, you'll arrive by dog sled or ski plane and be treated to crackling campfires, howling wolves, winter adventures and, of course, the unforgettable aurora borealis. Learn how to mush your very own team of sled dogs, witness the magnificent northern lights, try your luck at ice fishing, relax in the herbal sauna, or just curl up with a book by the wood-burning stove. It's your very own magical Narnia.

Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, Manitoba
The sheer remoteness of Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge in Canada's central province of Manitoba means you'll be treated to some of the most pristine wilderness in the world. Strategically located on the Hudson Bay in close proximity to polar bear dens, and directly under the aurora oval, it's one of the only places on Earth where you can encounter polar bears and other Arctic animals by day, and unobstructed views of the shimmering northern lights at night.

Featured in the prestigious National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge serves up the ultimate winter wilderness experience, with large picture windows overlooking the coast and passing wildlife, as well as incredible food, prepared from the lodge's famous cook book series, Blueberries & Polar Bears.

Skoki Lodge, Alberta
High in the alpines of Banff National Park, at the end of an eleven-kilometre trail from Lake Louise, Skoki Lodge is the gateway to breathtaking mountain ridges, valleys and crystal lakes. This backcountry Lodge is only accessible by hiking or skiing and has a true back-to-nature mentality. Just ask Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, who stayed at the rustic lodge in 2011. Chef, Katie Mitzel, hovers over the wood-fired creating gastronomical masterpieces from local ingredients and seasonal fare. Think seafood chowder, Alberta beef, Canmore coffee, cheese and wine.

GETTING THERE

Air Canada offers daily direct flights to Vancouver from Sydney and Brisbane, with direct flights from Melbourne available three times per week. Year-round direct flights from Melbourne to Vancouver are also available, with connecting flights to the eastern provinces. Direct flights from Sydney to Vancouver are also available on Qantas.

www.keepexploring.com.au

Monday, September 17, 2018

Five Tips to Enjoying Switzerland for First Timers






In order to help first-time travellers to Switzerland make the most of their stay, Switzerland Tourism has shared five hot tips.

Use the Swiss Travel Pass

The Swiss Travel Pass gives users unlimited access on all of country's public transportation including buses, trains and boats; up to 50% off mountain rail and cable ways and free access to more than 500 museums. Also, children under 16 years of age travel for free when accompanied by an adult using the pass.

One of the most incredible experiences one can have in Switzerland is to take in the sights via a panoramic train journey. For example, the Bernina Express goes from Chur to Tirano crossing 196 bridges and through 55 tunnels; the GoldenPass Line goes from Interlaken to Montreux; the Gotthard Panoramic Express links Lucerne with Ticino via a boat and train journey; and the Glacier Express is the world's slowest express train ride between Zermatt and St Moritz. Swiss Travel Passes come as e-tickets and can be purchased from www.myswitzerland.com/rail.

Take a Hike!
The Swiss love their nature surrounds and all sorts of outdoor activities, especially hiking. On any given day, be it spring, summer, autumn or winter, there will be locals hiking along the endless trails around the mountains, lakes, hills and pastures. To really get a sense of this local hobby and appreciate the natural assets of the country, a hike or walk will expose first time visitors to some of the most spectacular sights of the country that may otherwise be missed. There is more than 65,000 kilometres of waymarked trails across the country catering to all levels waiting to be explored.

Visit a Museum
In a country two-thirds the size of Tasmania (yes, Switzerland is pretty small), it's home to more than 900 museums! That's one museum per every 7,500 inhabitants. Luckily for Swiss Travel Pass holders, more than half of these museums are free to enter. Unlike many museums around the world, most of the Swiss museums are interactive, featuring the latest high-tech innovations that help to better engage with and educate their visitors. From art, history and textiles to sports, transportation and technology, there is a museum for everything. The most visited museum in the country is the Swiss Museum of Transport located on the shores of Lake Lucerne. Castles can also be accessed using the Swiss Travel Pass.

Keep it Local
Switzerland has four distinct languages regions serving up equally distinct flavours - Swiss German, French, Italian and Romansch; and even within these regions, dishes will vary between towns, cities and villages. That goes for cheeses and wines, too. The Emmental and Gruyeres cheeses, for example, come from two different language regions and feature very different textures and flavours. As with wines, most cantons produce their own wines, so accompanying any local traditional dish with some local drops will give one the full experience. Apart from these top restaurant picks, Taste my Swiss City, a series of foodie trails designed by locals, is the latest initiative that will suit the urban explorer.

Know When to Visit a Mountain
Visiting a mountain peak might be a must-do, but knowing when to go is key. The best time to ascend any mountain is early in the day preferably by mid-morning, before clouds form obstructing the views.

The highest mountain railway in Europe is the Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe at 3,454m asl, accessible via Interlaken and Kleine Scheidegg. Mt Titlis, home to Europe's longest suspension bridge and the country's largest igloo village (only available in winter) sits at 3,062m asl and is accessible via Lucerne and Engelberg on the world's first rotating cable car, the Titlis Rotair. And over in Zermatt, getting up to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise which is home to Europe's highest cable car station at 3,883m asl takes 45mins in the cable car.

For more information on Switzerland, visit www.myswitzerland





Sunday, September 2, 2018

English Earl wrote off six Jaguars






David Ellis

CLASSIC car buffs in the UK are eagerly waiting to see what will be paid for an "ultra-rare" 1966 Jaguar E-type when it goes to auction in mid-October.

Because it is one of just three E-types to feature a unique "quad headlamp, shark gill bonnet" created by Abbey Panels that specialises in premium car body re-panelling for well-heeled bespoke customers, plus it also has a competition-capability engine and racing wheels as well.

And more bizarrely, it is the only remaining E-type of no fewer than seven owned by the Sixth Earl of Cawdor, who unbelievably crashed and wrote-off every one of the other six.

Which was such a good effort that His Lordship's daughter, Lady Liza Campbell wrote of it in her autobiography 'A Charmed Life: Growing up in Macbeth's Castle,' a book in which she told of living with her father in Scotland's Cawdor Castle, the centuries-old family seat of the Campbell's and which featured in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

And of how her father "fuelled by drink, drugs and extramarital affairs after being overwhelmed by the enormous responsibilities associated with owning and running Cawdor Castle," managed to write-off those six Jaguars - and yet miraculously survive all half-dozen prangs.

"Pa typically crashed at night, after dinner," she wrote. "His philosophy being that obeying a red light after midnight was a waste of precious time.

"And instead of spotting any correlation between drinking and the crashes, my father came to an altogether different conclusion: That E-types were rubbish. and after the seventh crash he took to driving Ferraris."

His family had that last E-type repaired after his death in 1992, and eventually sold it in 2003.

Now those circa-2003 buyers are putting it to sale again on October 17 through H&H Classics Auctions, with expectations that with its colourful history, it could fetch up to 50,000 British pounds (around AU$88,000.)

PHOTO CAPTION:

[] THE only remaining Jaguar E-Type of no fewer than seven owned by the late Sixth Earl of Cawdor - who crashed and wrote-off all other six - will go to auction on October 17. (Image: H&H Classic Auctions)
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