Beaches now more accessible
More people will be able to enjoy the Sunshine Coast's coastline thanks to the roll-out of accessible matting and beach wheelchairs at three popular Sunshine Coast beaches. Accessible matting, which makes it easier for people with disabilities, parents with prams and seniors to navigate to the firm sand, is now being provided at Kings, Coolum and Mooloolaba beaches.
Beach wheelchairs will also be available at all three locations. The matting and wheelchairs will be available during patrolled hours on weekends from September through until May and will be managed by volunteer lifeguards.
Whole lotta shakin in Parkes
More than 27,000 fans are expected to swamp Parkes from January 8-12 for the NSW Central West town's twenty-eighth annual Elvis festival which will run along the theme of the 1966 Elvis film Frankie and Johnny.
This was a classic Elvis hit where The King played a Mississippi riverboat performer with a weakness for gambling.
The program will feature concerts, Elvis tribute competitions, kid's workshops, markets and plenty else, so lace up those blue suede shoes and get ready for some hip-swiveling fun for the biggest tribute to The King in the Southern Hemisphere. Returning favourites include the street parade, a renewal-of-vows ceremony, the Miss Priscilla dinner, free Cooke Park mainstage entertainment and the Elvis gospel service.
Californian Elvis Tribute Artist Dean Z will perform each day of the festival with the impressive TIC Band, and Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, the preliminary round of the international Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, returns in 2020, with leading Elvis tribute artists from Australia and abroad battling it out at Parkes Leagues Club.
And the best way to arrive in style for the festival are the Elvis Express and Blue Suede Express regional train services. You can also fly on the Regional Express Hound Dog Express where you can enjoy drinks and Elvis-style entertainment in the Rex Lounge at Sydney Airport.
Savings on outback accommodation
Explore the big horizons and character-filled towns of outback NSW before the end of spring and save 10 per cent on accommodation when staying at two or more properties owned by Out of the Ordinary Outback.
The offer is valid for stays until November 30 at seven properties - the brand-new Broken Hill Outback Resort as well as that city's Argent Motel and Tourist Lodge, the Copper City Motel/Hotel in Cobar, Warrawong on the Darling at Wilcannia, the Ivanhoe Hotel Motel, and the famous White Cliffs Underground Motel, thought to be Australia's largest underground accommodation.
Including the 10 per cent discount, nightly rates start from just $89 at Copper City Motel/Hotel, $108 at the Argent Motel in Broken Hill, $122 in the billabong-side cabins at Warrawong on the Darling at Wilcannia, $140 for a subterranean room in the iconic White Cliffs Underground Motel and $149 in a deluxe-king-spa apartment overlooking the desert at the new Broken Hill Outback Resort which opened last year.
Phone 1300 688 225 or visit www.outoftheordinaryoutback.com.au.
Aviation action on the South Island
The romance of aviation is brought to life by famous Warbirds joining forces with classic aircraft and modern jets to showcase a feast of aviation action on New Zealand's South Island next April.
Grand Pacific Tours offers a range of itineraries to this famous event, with a choice including the eight-day 'South Island Escape', the 13-day 'South Island Getaway', the sold-out 11-day 'Ultimate Warbirds over Wanaka Tour' and the 15-day 'Warbirds over Wanaka Tour'.
All options include a three-day Gold Pass to 'Warbirds over Wanaka', giving guests the best seats at the air show in a grandstand situated directly in front of the runway, with all seats elevated for unobstructed viewing of the entire show.
Travellers will have exclusive access into the marquee where closed-circuit TV will be available. Celebrity pilots will also be mingling, and travellers will have the opportunity to walk down the aircraft flight line.
Also included is a souvenir pack containing a gold cap and badge, collector's program, voucher for entry to the Warbirds & Wheels Museum, and a complimentary drink voucher. Prices start from $4084 per person twin share.
Phone 1800 622 768 or visit www.gptnz.com.
Discounts for rail travel in Europe
Rail savings across Europe are now available through Australian-owned International Rail, which has just released tickets under Eurail's Golden Autumn/Winter promotion, including a 10 per cent discount on global passes when booked by October 10.
The offer applies to all Global Flexi and Consecutive Passes in both first- and second- class for adult, youth and Saver categories.
The Eurail Global Flexi Pass (also known as Eurorail) allows five or seven days travel over a one month period or 10 or 15 days of travel to use over a two-month period for travel through 31 countries in Europe, including France, Italy and Germany.
Save up to $180 per couple on a pass that incorporates 10 days travel over a two-month period and now is priced from $803 per person. Rail travel must be completed by December 15 this year.
Phone 1300 387 245 or visit www.internationalrail.com.au.
Retreat supports healthcare outreach
Hand in hand with the growth of tourism has come an unprecedented level of interest in responsible travel and a rise in philanthropic programs, with travellers increasingly seeking to give back to the communities they visit.
Sanctuary Retreats has been committed to conservation and responsible tourism since opening its first camp in the Masai Mara in 1999. One program of which the company is particularly proud, is its work with the Bwindi Nursing School and Community Hospital, located on the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.
The hospital boasts 112 beds and provides a healthcare outreach program to some 100,000 locals in the surrounding area, treating a wide range of conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, dental treatments, HIV and malaria.
With the support of Sanctuary Retreats and Sanctuary Retreats Gorilla Forest Camp guests, the lack of trained nurses and a highly transient workforce are both problems that have been tackled head-on. The School currently has 402 students, 305 of whom are women.