Sunday, August 23, 2015

The people you meet: Old Bus Depot Markets, Canberra

Annie Storey - Ornamental Coppersmith
Matthew Judd - 213 Art

Dawn Hayter - Urban Providore
John Wall - La Pizza Cucina

The Old Bus Depot Markets in Canberra is a kaleidoscope of foodie flavours and colour. A great way to spend a Sunday - rain or shine.

The Old Bus Depot Markets in Canberra

Norfolk Island's Big Family Secret

Can you keep a secret? Norfolk Island has managed to keep a big one for a long time now - however your kids will be the ones to spill the beans within hours of arriving on the Island. And if you want a big hint (or the answer really!), it’s that Norfolk Island is a brilliant family holiday destination! It has all the elements to keep everyone entertained and at the same time able to kick back, re-connect and enjoy being a family on holiday together.

Perhaps one of the best times for a family visit is January, especially after the chaos of Christmas and New Year when everyone is in need of having their batteries re-charged. The crystal clear waters of Emily Bay become the hub of the island during these warm summer days.  From an early morning swim on a near deserted beach; through energetic mid-morning leaps off the raft (conveniently moored mid-Bay); snorkelling past multi-coloured fish and coral in the afternoon; and finally grabbing a tasty burger from Se Moosa Bus (a takeaway van translated from the local Norf’k language as “I’ve eaten enough to bust”), and eaten with a picture-perfect-sunset as the evening’s feature film.

In truth for parents, Norfolk Island is just plain easy. On your journey down to Emily Bay (or anywhere on the island) you won’t find traffic (or even traffic lights!), nor queue’s, nor parking problems. Here, you pull up across the road from the beach and can even pass on locking the car; such is the safe nature of the island. Often visiting kids end up playing with the local, friendly kids.  The choice of non-beach activities are excellent including kids sheets at the museums, mini-golf, fishing (off the pier or boat fishing charter), kayak tours, horse & carriage rides, rainforest walks in the National Park’s, glass bottom boat rides, guided reef walks, and, for the more adventurous a tour to nearby Philip Island. Playing with the ducks and chooks that wander freely in many areas and exploring the green, green valleys of the island’s interior may also make you think you’re on a rural escape.

Norfolk Island has a pristine environment including the freshest of fresh clean air that at night becomes totally star-filled. Most city kids won’t have seen anything quite like it and will get a quiet buzz from learning how to pick out the constellations and spot the dot of satellites moving evenly across the sky. With all produce locally grown the idea of food miles is converted into food meters and tired taste buds literally come to life eating fresh, tasty produce. Buy your fish right off the jetty as the boats come in or from Saturday’s market where most of the fruit and veg were picked that morning. There is something deeply pleasing about feeding your family genuinely fresh seasonal produce that tastes like food used to taste before cold-storage was invented! Norfolk cafés and restaurants creatively use seasonal produce to make delicious meals for everyday and also special dinner occasions. All clubs and many restaurants have kid’s menus.

The chance for a family to wind-down and re-connect seems to come naturally on Norfolk Island. This is a friendly, laid-back place where the cows have right of way on the roads and drivers wave to each other as they pass. Norfolk’s magic inevitably weaves its spell on all, from pre-schoolers to sceptical teens and weary mums and dads. It offers the chance to do a lot, or not much at all - but especially to just enjoy being on holiday together.

The secret of Norfolk Island is out - kids love this place – just as much as their parents!

Take advantage of a special Kids Stay Free Deal! From 10 December 2015 to 16 January 2016 January a great family special is available for 2 adults and 2 children where the kid’s accommodation is free. This special is for accommodation at Aloha Apartments, featuring self-contained apartments and a pool. Packages start at $1189 per adult and $560 per child. Prices include: Return ‘seat and bag’ airfare to Norfolk Island, pre-paid airline taxes & meet and greet at Norfolk Island Airport, 7 nights quad share accommodation, 7 days car hire including surcharge (petrol is extra and payable whilst on the island), half day Island tour, discount shopping car with free gift, complimentary mini-golf and Walk in The Wild’.  Prices current at time of printing, subject to availability & change without notice. Conditions apply. Travel insurance is strongly recommended.

For details on this special and all holiday packages contact free call us on 1800 1400 66 or visit our website at

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Africa's Great Migration - One of the world's natural wonders

The Masai Mara and Serengeti are two of the most famous national parks in Africa, best known for offering up ringside seats to the Great Migration – which makes them both extremely popular destinations for luxury safaris.

The Great Migration is undoubtedly one of Nature's most unforgettable spectacles: 1.5 million wildebeest accompanied by 200,000 or so zebras are engaged in a never-ending journey, following the rains in a circular 1,200-mile route, through a wilderness that takes in the Serengeti National Park and Kenya's Masai Mara Game Reserve.

The annual migration actually begins deep in the south of Tanzania's Serengeti National Park, where an estimated half a million wildebeest are born between January and March each year. But when the rains trickle to a halt in May the land dries out, forcing the grazing animals to move on and head for their dry season habitat – the Masai Mara region in neighbouring Kenya.

With the beginning of the short rains in late October, the migration makes its way back into the Serengeti – which makes it the perfect time of year to be anywhere in the northern part of the National Park. By December, having emerged from the northern woodlands, the herds then return to their calving grounds in the south once again and the circle is complete.

Best time to go?

Of course, rain is the greatest motivator underpinning the annual migration and largely dictates where the herds can be found at any given time. For example from July to October is generally the optimal time to catch it in Kenya, although unusually dry conditions in the southern Serengeti have encouraged the animals to head north far earlier than usual this year, with hundreds of thousands of wildebeest arriving in the central areas of the Serengeti from as early as March.

The rainy season runs from October to May and typically begins with the short rains – a period of gloriously hot sunny days punctuated by brief torrential thunderstorms, before peaking with the long rains of April – a month to avoid when most camps close and the plains become quagmires.

When the rains end in May wildebeest normally head for the Masai Mara, navigating their way past hungry Serengeti lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and crocodiles.

This year was a little different, the significant lack of rain having forced herds to leave their breeding grounds much earlier than usual. Lying in wait for them – the notorious Grumeti River crocodiles, which exacted a high toll as wildebeest traversed the river's still high waters.

Zebras are often the first animals to arrive in Kenya, grazing on the tall grasses, with wildebeest not far behind them. Here they remain from July to October – the main tourist season –when visitors flock to watch dramatic river crossings.

But as soon as the rains return the wildebeest head back to the Serengeti, drawn towards their calving grounds in the south of the Park. In the dry season there are few animals to be found here, but between January and March during calving season, surely nowhere in Africa feels so alive.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Britain Calling newsletter - August 2015


August 2015
Welcome to the August issue of BritainCalling; this month we bring you the new edition of our Shopping is GREAT guide, packed with story ideas that will inspire you to explore shopping in Britain. We also look at the new destinations that will be playing in the Barclays Premier League next season; where London's Night Tube will take you when it launches this September; how Wales is celebrating Roald Dahl's centenary in 2016; and what you'll see when you buy tickets for the new Borders Railway in Scotland! 
Shopping is GREAT – updated guide

A new edition of Shopping is GREAT guide has been put together for international media. Now in its fourth edition, it has grown to 112 pages of new and updated story ideas and information designed to inspire you to explore, and write about, shopping in Britain. Some of the new highlights include: Clothes with a conscience - follow our guide to British stores and brands selling covetable clothing that makes the world a better place; Kings and Queens of cool - Britain's trendiest streets and neighbourhoods; the unique, unusual, quirky: where to find specialist shops in Britain; and Make it, then take it home - there are many places to buy a gift to take home for loved ones, but why not go that one step further and make your own?
Download these stories, and much much more, here
Barclays Premier League kicks off 
on 8 August
We’re looking forward to the kick off of the new Barclays Premier League season next month; as well as the opportunity to watch the crème de la crème of English and Welsh football (Scotland has its own league), the new season is also the perfect chance to visit the clubs' destinations. Reaching from the far north-east of England (Newcastle) to the south of Wales (Swansea), over to London and across to the hip cities of north-west England (Manchester and Liverpool), following Barclays Premier League football also means discovering some of Britain's most exciting cities. Each season the Barclays Premier League welcomes three newly promoted clubs to its ranks and joining the 2015/16 season are Watford, Norwich City and AFC Bournemouth. Find out more about these destinations here.
Late-night London comes to life
From 12 September travellers in central and greater London will be able to travel across the city on five of the major underground Tube lines 24 hours a day from 5am Friday till midnight on Sunday from 12 September. Find out here which lines will be operating and read more here about the capital's late-night dining, drinking, clubbing and hot-spots from north to south, east to west of the capital. Discover more here about where to go for 24-hour dining if you’re hungry after a night out!
Wales unveils programme for Roald Dahl’s centenary in 2016
Wales has announced its programme of events to celebrate the centenary of Welsh-born author and one of the world's number one storytellers, Roald Dahl, in 2016. The Welsh Government, National Theatre Wales, Wales Millennium Centre and Literature Wales have announced the Wales programme of events to celebrate the centenary. The announcement was made at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff, where Roald Dahl was baptised and which always remained close to the author's heart. Read more on how to celebrate here.
Tickets for Scotland's Borders Railway on sale
If you want to know more about Scotland's newest scenic railway, the Borders Railway, which will take passengers on picturesque journeys into one of Europe's most unspoilt regions from 6 September 2015, read on here. A big draw for visitors will be the attractions and landscapes associated with novelist Sir Walter Scott and his writings. Delving deep into ‘Scott country', visitors can start their journey at the Sir Walter Scott monument in Edinburgh and then travel the 30-mile route of the Borders Railway, taking in the scenery that inspired Scott's greatest poems and novels, ending at Tweedbank, just a short distance from his beloved Abbotsford House.
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