Thursday, October 30, 2014

Greetings from Grasmere Lodge NZ


At the beginning of 2015 Grasmere Lodge will celebrate 20 years of welcoming guests from all over the world. To date, more than 40,000 discerning travellers have arrived in need of a break and departed fully rejuvenated. It was on 1 January 1995 that current owner Tom Butler began his tenure at the Lodge, laying the lawn outside the lounge and bar. Since then the chalet and cottages have been built (2003) the lodge designed and constructed (2000), and Tom's lawn has been mown many, many times. We've been especially busy this year with a $250,000 lodge renovation project that includes all new tiling, fitting and fixtures. The bedrooms and public areas had a refresh too, with new carpet. Grasmere is in great shape to celebrate its 20th anniversary. We really hope you can join us.

Welcome aboard to our new chef

We are pleased and excited to welcome Jean-Michel Poulot as head chef at Grasmere Lodge.
Jean-Michel's wealth of experience includes eight years in Michelin Star restaurants in Switzerland following training in France. After moving to Ireland in 1988 he opened 'Side Door' restaurant in the Shelbourne Hotel before guiding Conrad Gallaghers restaurant 'Peacock Alley' to a Michelin star. He enjoyed great success at 'Halo' in Dublin before opening his own restaurant 'Poulot' in 2005. In 2009 Jean-Michel and wife Lorna sold up and moved to New Zealand. After a few years with Christchurch's iconic 'Saggio di vino', Jean-Michel heeded the call of Grasmere and moved to the high country, further ensuring guest dining experiences at our lodge will be consistently outstanding.

Farewell Toddy and Lass

Toddy and Lass, our beautiful golden retrievers, sadly passed after 14 years of living the dream here at Grasmere. We want you to help with the naming of our new pooch (yet to be acquired), who is destined to be best friends with Sam, our incumbent Jack Russell. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for details on how you can assist.

It's a girl!

February 2014 we welcomed Jo and Tom's baby girl Bella to the Grasmere clan – the first child to be born and raised on the property for some 50 years. At just seven months old, Bella's already familiar with the lay of the land. She walks the trails with Tom in a backpack and has developed a love for riding, thanks to Grasmere's long-serving horse lady Heather.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Emirates 100th Boeing 777-300ER

Emirates celebrated another milestone on Wednesday with the delivery of the airline’s 100th Boeing 777-300ER, the world’s largest, long-range twin engine commercial aircraft.

The Boeing 777-300ER forms the backbone of the Emirates fleet with the aircraft type currently operating to 77 destinations on the airline’s global network.

Delivery of Emirates’ first Boeing 777-300ER took place in March 2005 and with a further 52 aircraft on order, the airline is the world’s largest operator of this aircraft type - in fact one in every five 777-300ERs flying today is in Emirates’ livery.

It takes 47 days to build a 777-300ER and each aircraft is made of three million parts. If you took all of the wiring contained within Emirates’ 100 777-300ERs and placed it end-to-end it would stretch from Dubai to New York and back again.

click to enlarge infographic
Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline said, “The Boeing 777-300ER is one of the most remarkable aircraft ever built, and its combination of efficiency, range and payload is second to none. Our customers are equally excited by the aircraft and its on-board product, and to date over 108 million passengers have flown on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER.

“We have 204 more Boeing 777s on order, which supports over 400,000 jobs in the United States of America, including those from various suppliers such as General Electric which provides the GE90 engines that power all of our 777-300ERs,” added Sir Tim.

“We are proud of our long-term relationship with Emirates and for the confidence they have in Boeing’s products and services beginning with the 777 and continuing with the 777X in the years to come,” said Ray Conner, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The operating economics and long-range capability of the 777-300ER have played a prominent role in the success of Emirates’ business strategy.”

The range of the Boeing 777-300ER is 14,490 kilometres, and Emirates’ longest flight with this aircraft currently operates between Dubai and Houston which is a total distance of 13,120 kilometres.

The Boeing 777 is manufactured in Everett, Washington. The Everett plant is so large that it requires its own fire department, security force, fully equipped medical clinic, electrical substations and water-treatment plant. The site’s main assembly building, which the Guinness Book of World Records acknowledges as the largest building in the world by volume, its footprint covers 98.3 acres (39.9 hectares)

Timeline of the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER

16th June 2003: Emirates announced an operating lease order for 26 Boeing 777-300ERs at the 2003 Paris Air Show, worth $5.6 billion.

20th July 2004: Emirates ordered 4 Boeing 777-300ERs with 9 options at the 2004 Farnborough Air Show, worth $2.96 billion.

26th March 2005: Emirates receives its first Boeing 777-300ER.

20th November 2005: At the Dubai 2005 – 9th International Aerospace Exhibition, Emirates announced an order for 24 Boeing 777-300ERs. In all, Emirates ordered 42 Boeing 777s in a deal worth $9.7 billion, the largest Boeing 777 order then in history.

11th November 2007: At the 2007 Dubai Air Show, Emirates ordered 12 Boeing 777-300ERs, worth $3.2 billion.

In 2009, Emirates became the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 777 with the delivery of its 78th B777.

19th July 2010: Emirates ordered another 30 Boeing 777-300ERs at the 2010 Farnborough Air Show, worth $9.1 billion.

13th November 2011: At the 2011 Dubai Air Show, a firm order was placed for 50 Boeing 777-300ERs with options for another 20. The deal was worth $18 billion, the largest commercial order by value in Boeing’s history.

3rd March 2012: Emirates received the 1000th Boeing 777 which was a 777-300ER variant.

17th November 2013: In the 2013 Dubai Air Show , Emirates made aviation history with a record-breaking order of 150 Boeing 777X aircraft.

29th July 2014: Boeing delivers its 500th 777-300ER to Emirates. Emirates is the only airline in the world to operate all 6 variants of the 777 family.

29th October 2014: Emirates receives its 100th Boeing 777-300ER. Emirates operates one out of every five Boeing 777-300ERs in the world.

Emirates Destinations launched using Boeing 777-300ER are:

Adelaide, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Geneva, Milan-New York JFK, Oslo, Rio De Janeiro, Seattle, Stockholm, Taipei and Tokyo (Narita)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Oman’s Frankincense Trail



For nearly 5,000 years a rather unsightly Boswellia tree, which produces a heavenly fragrance was considered to be Arabia's most precious commodity. During the height of its popularity the Boswellia – better known as the frankincense tree - rivalled gold, silk and gems in value and spawned a vital trade route that for centuries extended from Southern Arabia into West Africa and India.

In Oman's Dhofar region the Frankincense Trail created vast fortunes and frequently lured adventurers from afar including the Venetian explorer, Marco Polo and of more recent times, T. E. Lawrence – known throughout the history books as Lawrence of Arabia. So revered, it was also said that the Queen of Sheba built a palace in the ancient port of Samhuran (near present day Salalah) along the ancient trade route, where she would hoard large quantities for her own personal use.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Australian Stories - Tasmania - Restaurant Australia - Melbourne Food and Wine - Matilda The Musical

Tasmania one of World’s Top Regions to Visit in 2015
Tasmania has been named in Lonely Planet’s World’s Top Regions to Visit in 2015. Coming in at number four, the guide describes Tasmania as, ‘a gourmet’s paradise, best exemplified by the diversity of produce found in the wilds of Bruny Island. Whether it’s getting a frisky fill of oysters at Get Shucked Oyster Farm, downing a few glasses of Pinot Noir at Australia’s most southern winery, or gorging on freshly picked berries from the local berry farm, there’s no better place to taste Tassie on a plate.’ Lonely Planet also encourages travellers to discover Tasmania’s natural beauty, bushwalking experiences, and diverse, remote and wild outdoor experiences. Images courtesy of Joe Shemesh, Geoff Murray and Tourism Tasmania. 

Restaurant Australia Chef launches app
Peter Gilmore has released an intimate, digital tour of the people, places and produce behind his unique dishes. The self-titled, interactive documentary for iPad is narrated by Peter himself and draws on stunning, high-definition photography, soundscapes and video, on the journey from produce to plate. The app is a behind the scenes look at what goes into inviting the world to dinner. From the Northern New South Wales Coast to Tasmanian fishing town St Helens, food lovers, young chefs, and critics alike can now explore some of Australia’s most pristine locations and meet the growers, fishermen and graziers that call them home.

2015 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival program announced
A pop-up artisan bakery rising daily in the heart of the city, serving a long lunch for 1,500 diners in Melbourne’s iconic fresh produce market, and a wine tasting with 40 of the world’s best biodynamic winemakers are just some of the unique ways Melbourne’s vibrant culinary spirit will be celebrated from 27 February to 15 March 2015. Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) presented by Bank of Melbourne will take a journey to new frontiers of flavour in some of Victoria’s most spectacular settings: from famous dining spots to unexpected venues, rooftop bars to hidden cellars, plus extraordinary locations across regional Victoria. All festival events are on sale from 21 November with the full festival program available from 18 November. 

Matilda The Musical
Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Matilda The Musical will make its Australian premiere at Sydney Lyric Theatre with performances commencing from 28 July 2015. Matilda The Musical is based on the beloved novel by best-selling author, Roald Dahl. It is the story of an extraordinary little girl who is armed with a vivid imagination, sharp mind and dares to take a stand and change her own destiny. Featuring music and lyrics by Australian comedian, musician and composer Tim Minchin, Matilda The Musical has proven an enormous success in London’s West End and on Broadway, where productions continue to play to packed houses and capture the imagination of young and old alike.

Woodford Folk Festival
Woodford Folk Festival is one of Australia's most iconic annual events and returns for its 29th year from 27 December 2014 - 1 January 2015. Held in Queensland's Sunshine Coast hinterland, Woodford Folk Festival gathers artists and musicians and explores cultural, artistic, social and food diversity. This year's festival will see over 2500 artists and presenters perform across 35 venues. The program ranges from concerts featuring national and Indigenous Australian and international contemporary artists to films, forums, visual arts, an entire children's festival and many special presentations including a spectacular fire event on New Year's Day. 

Sculpture by the Sea starts today
The 18th annual Sculpture by the Sea Bondi exhibition starts today. Scattered along the 2km Bondi to Tamarama coast walk will be over 100 sculptures by international and Australian artists, including 40 artists exhibiting for the first time. As well as amazing sculptures being showcased, Marks Park will become the mid-point of the exhibition where Grounds by the Sea, a pop up eatery by popular Sydney restaurant and café Grounds of Alexandria, will be present along with numerous deck chairs and beach umbrellas to form a chill out zone to enjoy a coffee or lunch while taking in this free exhibition. Since the starting in 1997, the exhibition has inspired over 1,000 artists to create 1,847 sculptures. Sculpture by the Sea will be on until 9 November.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stories from Great Britain 2015

Royal Braemar games, Braemar, Grampian, Scotland.

2015’s calendar is jam-packed with events, anniversaries and key dates that guarantee Britain will be on the top of holiday wish-lists next year! For media, this means lots of fantastic story ideas to keep you coming back to Britain, and here we serve up 15 stories for 2015 to get you going. We will publish dedicated story ideas with lots of information and inspiration on each of these themes, so stay tuned to

2015 will be a GREAT year to…

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Getaway this Spring in NSW |

Spring getaways in nsw

Welcome to the September issue of Escapes. Let the beautiful spring weather tempt you into Regional NSW to enjoy the fresh country air, green landscapes and leisurely pace. In this issue, find out about unique places to stay, easy scenic drives, events and indulge in great food, wine and experiences in the Hunter Valley, NSW.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jakarta Golf Holidays


Jakarta is a relatively undiscovered golf destination offering world-class courses. Whether you’re in Jakarta on business or pleasure the new Enjoy Jakarta Golf brand and initiative includes 30 golf courses in and around Indonesia’s bustling capital ready to deliver a sophisticated experience to the visiting golf traveller, which will surprise and delight you.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Australian Stories - Corroboree Sydney - Wagyu Adventure - Spectrum Now - more

Corroboree Sydney
Corroboree Sydney, held from 20-30 November, will return with over 100 artists performing during an eleven day program, inviting people of all ages and cultures to come, create and celebrate. Highlights include the Gurung Parade, marking the start of the festival with a procession of 3,000 school children and the Firelight Ceremony where Elders light a flame that burns throughout the festival. Festival favourites include the Black Arts Markets, which showcases the works of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, and Homeground, a free two-day outdoor live music event at the Sydney Opera House. The iconic Bangarra Dance Theatre will also perform their 25th anniversary show at the festival.

The Great Wagyu Adventure
Air Adventure has just launched an exciting new one day tour, The Great Wagyu Adventure where visitors embark on a two state adventure with three iconic Australian experiences. In only 50 minutes from takeoff in Melbourne, guests land amongst the vines of Coonawarra in South Australia and are then whisked across to Wynn’s Estate for a behind the scenes tour and the opportunity to try their hand at wine making. Next stop is the multi award winning Mayura Station in Millicent which is renowned for their premium quality Wagyu beef. Here guests enjoy a three course lunch showcasing the diversity of this premium beef product, one course includes the signature 'Brand 9+'. The return trip has a scenic orbit of the iconic 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. PR Contact: Kate Sorensen

Spectrum Now festival
The inaugural Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum Now presented by ANZ will be held from 11 March 2015. The festival, headed up by Australian actor Richard Roxburgh, will celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of music, film, books, the stage, dance, contemporary art and design, throwing open Sydney’s creative doors with over 150 exhibitions, gigs, talks, performances and events. The Domain will transform into the Spectrum Playground, the centre piece of the festival, hosting outdoor galleries, sculpture installations, bars, food stalls and live entertainment. While on the harbour foreshore, festival goers can see institutions such as the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Sydney Opera House in a new light, exploring special installations and performances. PR Contact: Sam Casey

TripAdvisor announces Top 10 Restaurants in Australia
TripAdvisor has just announced its annual Top 10 Travellers’ Choice award winners for restaurants in Australia. Perched on the 55th floor of the Rialto building in Melbourne, Shannon Bennett’s Vue De Monde polled first in the list with 735 reviews with one diner remarking that the restaurant was, "A dining experience that is as much fine theatre as gourmet eating." Vue De Monde was followed in the list by Allure on Currumbin, Muse Restaurant, Tetsuya’s, ARIA in Brisbane, Pee Wee’s at the Point, The Stunned Mullet, Flower Drum, Quay Restaurant and MoVida. Six of these restaurants also made the Top 10 Restaurants in the South Pacific list.

UK Conde Nast Traveller readers vote qualia the best resort in Australia
Hamilton Island’s luxury resort, qualia, has been named the Best Resort in Australia and came second in the Australasian & The South Pacific region in UK Conde Nast Traveller’s 17th annual Top 100 Readers' Travel Awards. UK Conde Nast Traveller asked readers to vote for the things they love about travel, from holiday hotels to destination spas, airlines to cruise lines, scoring each out of 100. The Top 100 Readers' Travel Awards pays tribute to the highest scorers, irrespective of category. A unique Australian expression of world-class luxury and a member of Relais & Châteaux, qualia tops a list that includes many of the world’s most highly recognised luxury hotel chains and iconic names. PR Contact: Gemma Christie

Monday, October 13, 2014

Are you getting the cheapest airfares online?

Do cookies affect airfares?

Trudy is keeping a watchful eye on flight prices, but she thinks that some data profiling black magic may be affecting the fares which she’s being served online.

Question by Trudy:
I’ve heard that sites which use cookies track your details in order to serve you higher prices for flights, is this true? I’ve been searching for flights to Europe and, while I’m not quite ready to book, I’m not convinced I’m getting the best price. Should I delete my browsing history or am I being paranoid?

Answer by Debbie McTaggart:
Cookies are the tracking codes which sites use to gather data on which searches you’re doing. It’s becoming big business to use such data to serve targeted ads or, in some cases, gauge what price you’re willing to pay. Also, if you’re logged into your frequent flyer account when searching airline websites, your searches can also be recorded and may also affect the prices which you see online.
Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that you may not always be receiving the best price, but rather the price that the supplier believes you will accept.

It’s good practice to clear your cookies regularly as not only will this ensure that you’re receiving the best search options, it also reduces the data which any company holds on you. And you should always be aware of the cookie policy which any site you visit applies. This can usually be found under the ‘about us’ section.

One other way to avoid detection is by activating private browsing in your internet browser which can ensure you receive the best price.

Safari – left-click the cog icon located in the top-right-hand-side of your screen and from the drop-down menu left-click ‘Private Browsing’. ?

Firefox – left-click the hamburger icon (the menu drop-down) located in the top-right-hand-side of your screen and from the drop-down menu left-click ‘New Private Window’.?

Internet Explorer – left-click the cog icon located in the top-right-hand-side of your screen and from the drop-down menu scroll over ‘Safety’ and click ‘InPrivate Browsing’.

Chrome – left-click the hamburger icon (the menu drop-down) located in the top-right-hand-side of your screen and from the drop-down menu left-click ‘New incognito window’.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Solo Traveller

Australians travel alone for many different reasons; their partner isn’t keen on travelling, they don’t have anyone with whom to travel, or they simply love their own company. We have listed sites which will help you find a travel buddy before you go, those which arrange group travel so don’t charge single supplements and allow you to register your travel plans for additional peace of mind.

Top 10 solo travel websites

Opening up Asia to the solo traveller
A small group journey is a clever way for single travellers to experience Asia, whether you’re venturing to the region for the first time or are a return visitor. With groups averaging only 12 travellers and made up of couples, friends and singles, you don’t need to feel the odd one out.

Meet new friends before you travel
Planned trips allow you the luxury of choosing where you want to go in advance and there is the opportunity to meet your fellow travellers at pre-arranged get-togethers. Avoid single supplements by finding someone through the network with whom you would be comfortable sharing accommodation.

Tours for singles?
Whether you’re single and looking for love or just trying to find a group of like-minded single travellers, singles only tours offer the chance for both. Travel with others in your age group or interest base to ensure an enjoyable holiday.

On the road for one
For those who enjoy jumping in their motorhome alone, whenever the fancy takes them, the chance to catch up and meet other travellers along the way can be appealing. Or meet other travellers who perhaps want to hit the road but don’t want to go it alone. Consider joining the Solo Traveller Network as part of the Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia.

Log your travel plans
Travelling alone can be perfectly safe but you may wish to consider a few extra safeguards. Find out the most up-to-date information on the areas to which you plan to travel, tips for those travelling alone and log your travel plans just in case you come across some difficulties on your trip.

Not just for the young
If you want to recapture your youth or never managed to do the backpack travel when you were younger, youth hostels offer a great way to meet interesting people along the way and they won’t cost you a fortune in single supplements. More people are taking to backpacking in their later years so it’s not just teenagers taking a gap year that you’ll meet.

Find a cruising partner
Holland America offers a roommate-matching service that ensures you will only pay the standard double occupancy rate (per traveller) even if a partner of the same sex can’t be found. If you don’t wish to share a room, you can book a double room for single occupancy at 150 per cent of the double occupancy per person rate.

Search for a travel buddy
If you’re planning to travel the world or just take a trip interstate, and wish to find a travel buddy to share the trip, posting your details on YOURLifeChoices Personals Page could help you make a friend for life.

Tips for solo female travellers
Females travelling alone need to be prepared and a little more careful than their male counterparts. Find details of travel guides for countries around the world and some useful tips for women travelling alone.

Specialising in solo travellers
Enjoy group tours to suit all budgets and interests, with single supplements kept at reasonable prices. Offering singles holidays, cruises for singles, adventure travel for single people and singles accommodation, there are plenty of options available for those travelling alone.


Motorhome holidays in Australia - Top 10 reasons


1. It’s an Australian tradition

Almost everyone has a road trip holiday story from their youth – now it’s your family’s turn to create some new family traditions.

2. Save your dollars

One cost and your travel, accommodation, dining plans and entertainment is all taken care of. Compare this with flights, taxi transfers, hotels, hire car and restaurant meals…it won’t take long before your pockets are bulging with extra cash to splash on a great holiday memento.

3. The fun starts now

The minute you’re on the road your adventure has begun. Kids will think they’re in a travelling cubby house!

4. You make the itinerary

Forget costly ticket changes - there’s no restrictions on how long you stay in each place – and you’re free to move along when you’ve been there and done it all.

5. Opportunity to catch up with friends and family

Spend the night with friends and family far and wide – but avoid sleeping on their couch.

6. See the country in a different way

Tiny seats and airplane food can’t compare to stretching out on the wide open road and stopping wherever and whenever you want, especially when you have little ones on the journey.

7. Create the ultimate playlist

Apollo’s newest motorhomes offer ipod docking stations – so you can sing as loudly as want, all the way down the highway. Sure, families might need to include some of Playschool’s Best Hits but it’s all part of the fun.

8. Quality Time

Travelling with your family has to rank amongst the most memorable holidays, but sometimes too much of a good thing is just…too much. Tired of playing I-spy? Apollo’s motorhomes have built DVD players which work while driving so kids will stay entertained.

9. Avoid the tourist traps

We all love our big capital cities, but a motorhome gives you complete flexibility to go to those really out there places like…well just hit the maps and pick a spot.

10. Make some memories

In unofficial research, a road trip is officially one of the most memorable holidays of all time – we’re sure the kids will agree.


Monday, October 6, 2014

History of the Lions Road

Source: - (offline)

The Lions Road is an initiative of the Kyogle Lions Club. The Lions road forms a scenic link between Queensland and NSW, passing through the exquisite Border Ranges National Park, and skirting the historic Spiral Loop railway line (see below in photograph).

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Motorcycle touring around NSW - get out on the highway

'MILD HOGS' travel writers Simon Mallender, Roderick Eime,
Keith Austin and Will Keith at Cliff Drive,
Katoomba during their 3-day ride. (Deb Dickson-Smith)
WILL and guest outside their Sydney store:
have bikes, will travel. (Roderick Eime)
KEITH Austin (foreground) and Roderick Eime shooting the breeze.
(Deb Dickson-Smith)
FIRST Harley-Davidson, a motorised bicycle so weak it
couldn't go uphill – until Ole Evinrude came along.
(Harley-Davidson Motor Company)
EARLY Harleys were nicknamed Hogs after their winning riders
would do a victory lap with this pet hog.
(Harley-Davidson Motor Company)


David Ellis with Roderick Eime

TRAVEL writing colleagues have told us of some pretty bizarre things they've got up to in that search for the Holy Grail of travel stories, and we sometimes look back in wonderment at the more stupid we've done too – from bungy-jumping at 66 years of age and with a dodgy ticker, to shuffling with crook knees and hips with a couple of unleashed lions on a bush track in Zimbabwe at even greater dotage.

But when fellow scribe Roderick Eime mentioned recently he'd teamed-up with some other writing mates to rent themselves a small fleet of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and take to the open road, we thought he – and his colleagues – had finally lost it and crossed to the other side.

But all returned unscathed after three days and around 700kms shooting the breeze on their Harleys from Sydney to Goulburn, Bathurst, Katoomba, Windsor and back to Sydney. And while they could say they went the whole HOG (the name of the Harley Owners Group that has 8000 members in Australia alone, and a million-plus world-wide,) colleagues quickly dubbed this group of media oldies 'The Mild Hogs.'

Interestingly the name HOG that's become synonymous with the throaty Harley-Davidson actually goes back a long time before the Harley Owners Group was even thought of: a team of Harley motorbike racers in Kansas in the 1920s were dubbed 'The Wrecking Crew' (because of their demolition of opponents) and would do victory laps after each win with their team mascot, a pet pig (in America a hog) happily standing in safety harness on their lead bike's petrol tank.

Thus Harley-Davidsons were quickly nicknamed 'Hogs.'

Today the Harley-Davidson is the bike of choice of some folk unlikely to list knitting or bird-watching amongst their hobbies, just about every State police force in America, and groups and individuals from Australia to Zimbabwe who simply love their bikes and the wide outdoors.

When William Harley and his mate Arthur Davidson (later joined by Arthur's brothers Walter and William) constructed their first motorised-bicycle in a 3m X 4.5m shed in 1903 and found that its engine they'd built themselves was too weak to go uphill, they called on a friend to help beef it up – Ole Evinrude, who went on to build the world's first marine outboard motor.

The rest, as they say, is history and they'd hardly have envisaged that their little shed would grow to an empire employing 6000 workers producing 261,000 motorbikes annually by the year 2013.

But back to Rod and his mates. Having ridden motorbikes since he was ten years of age, but never a Harley, he says that when he went into the Burwood (Sydney) store of EagleRider Motorcycles he must have looked like an awestruck kid in a very expensive toy shop. But he says EagleRider's owners, Will and Santina Keith who are both factory trained by Harley-Davidson in America, quickly assured him that while the big steel and chrome Harley was a heavy machine, it was superbly balanced and easy to ride.

Roderick signed off on the rent of a 1200cc Sportser® and nervously headed into chaotic Parramatta Road traffic – and next day, stout of heart, for a 200km return spin up to the Hawkesbury River. "I was exhilarated and in surprisingly good shape for an older bloke with a dodgy back," he now says.

And then two weeks later with Will Keith and media mates he was off on that 3-day triangular sweep south-west, north and back east. And he found just how popular motorcycle touring is becoming in this country, including the vast Best Western motel group developing a rider-friendly program – at their first overnight, at Goulburn, the Best Western there offering them as EagleRider customers a 10 per cent discount, upgrade, late check-out and even a wipe-down towel to clean the Hog…

EagleRider was launched in America in 1992 and here 12 months ago. It has a range of fully-guided 6- to 12-night rides out of its bases in Sydney, Brisbane and Mackay (with more planned,) with motorcycle hire, accommodation and most meals included in prices that start from $2591.

For more details on EagleRider motorcycle rentals and tours; Best Western's rider-friendly properties; and for other motorcycle tour options, see Ride the World

Ultimate in honeymoon ideas - SeaDream in the Mediterranean


IF you've decided your honeymoon in 2015 is going to be in Europe, think about going a step further with the ultimate in honeymoon ideas… adding a romantic sailing in the Mediterranean aboard either of the boutique mega motor-cruisers SeaDream I or SeaDream II that are rated #2 and  #3 of the world's Top 3 Boutique vessels*.

SeaDream's Honeymooners' package is complimentary and includes a private dinner one night on deck with your own personal wait staff and a guitarist's visit for a special serenade, dinner with the captain another night, your bed strewn with rose petals and with centre-piece towels shaped like swans another, and on yet another night sleeping on deck under the stars on a rose petal strewn SeaDream Balinese Dreambed.

You'll also enjoy chocolate-coated strawberries at turndown one evening, a special "Lovers Surprise" dessert at one night's dinner, and an alfresco breakfast for two in a secluded deck location one morning.

SeaDream Yacht Club, whose 112-guest SeaDream I and II will sail in the Mediterranean from May to October 2015 (and then in the Caribbean to April 2016,) also has a special program that enables honeymooners to sail free.

For instance book six staterooms for family or friends to sail with you for 6-nights from Piraeus (Athens) to Civitavecchia (Rome) on October 17 2015 from US$4266pp twin share, and you'll get a seventh honeymoon stateroom for yourselves for free.

For full details see travel agents or visit

SeaDream's prices are inclusive of award-winning cuisine, premium lunch and dinner wines, bar drinks, power and sail water-sports, and onboard gratuities.

(A Californian honeymoon couple wrote to SeaDream Yacht Club on their return home: "The food, staff, services, quarters, destinations, everything was remarkable. Every newlywed deserves a Honeymoon on SeaDream!")

*#1 was Hanseatic, whose predominantly onboard language is German.



[] THIS couple got married on SeaDream and then stayed aboard for their honeymoon with 100 guests through the Caribbean.

[] PARTYING into the night after their onboard wedding.

[] COMPLIMENTARY Honeymooners' package on SeaDream includes a night  on deck under the stars on a DreamBed strewn with roses.

[] "EVERY newly-wed deserves a Honeymoon on SeaDream" – Californian Honeymooners' note to SeaDream Yacht Club on their return home.


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