YELLOWKNIFE Aurora Capital of the World SOUTH AMERICA Photo Safari in Argentina Bikepacking
ALASKA The Last Frontier
Vancouver New York Las Vegas
YOURBEST EXTRAORDINARY HOLIDAY BEGINS RIGHT HERE.
We are a proud member of the Ensemble ® Travel Group - an international network of over 850 professional travel agencies. Our combined buying power and expertise enables us to take you places beyond the boundaries of your imagination, in a style that exceeds your expectations. Choose from our Hotel & Resort Collection and relax in the lap of ultimate luxury; discover our Ensemble ® Hosted Cruises with complimentary amenities; take advantage of insider perks and crème de la crème locations with our Ensemble ® Villas & Vacation Homes ; or let us transform your holiday into an unforgettable journey with the help of our Ensemble ® On Location specialists.
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In over 50 destinations worldwide, ENSEMBLE ® VILLAS AND VACATION HOMES range from single bedroom apartments to expansive estates.
We offer a stunning HOTEL & RESORT COLLECTION providing luxury beyond your imagination along with exclusive Ensemble® offers.
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SPECIALISTS, we can transform an ordinary holiday into an unforgettable journey. Allow us to create a tailor-made travel experience especially for you.
personalised check-in, local concierge service, exclusive access to local gyms, member clubs for all guests to use during their stays in every location.
Luxury Hotels in VANCOUVER
FAIRMONT PACIFIC RIM Rated theWorld’s Best Business Hotel by Condé Nast Traveler and awarded the AAA Five Diamond Rating, Fairmont Pacific Rim features the city’s most luxurious suites and Fairmont Gold, an exclusive lifestyle hotel experience. Resort styleWillow Stream Spa includes a couples’ suite with soaker tub, outdoor terrace, experiential shower, and fitness studio. Foodies’ will enjoy three award-winning dining destinations.
ROSEWOOD HOTEL GEORGIA
Rosewood Hotel Georgia combines the grandeur of the Roaring 20’s with contemporary elegance in the heart of Vancouver. Imbued with legacy and luxury, the hotel represents Vancouver’s most stylish retreat; a magnificent historical landmark with a distinct ambiance and grace.
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Luxury Hotels - Vancouver Luxury Hotels - Australia Luxury Hotels - New Zealand Making Memories in the Mountains Aurora Capital of the World - Yellowknife The Last Frontier - Alaskan Cruise Luxury Hotels - New York If Only The Walls Could Talk - The Carlyle Hotel Luxury Hotels - Las Vegas On Shoot: Photo Safari in Argentina Bikepacking in South America Seabourn's Antarctica Culinary & Wine: Alaska and Canada e e x t r a o r d i n a r y e x p e r i e n c e s 4 7 8 11 14 16 21 22 27 29 31 32 37
If you’re anything like me, you’ll agree that some of the best moments in life happen when you’re travelling. The connections you build, the authentic encounters that come your way and the realisation of how small we are in the scheme of things, all puts day to day life into perspective. Some say travelling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. Others that we travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. Whatever your travel motivation, we’ve put together a few of our favourite extraordinary experiences - frequented by a fortunate few - to encourage your next adventure to unknown lands. Close to home, take a short break and reconnect with a romantic Wolgan Valley escape or make like a vigneron in a gorgeous private home on the Mornington Peninsula. Further afield, sit back and enjoy the beauty on the luxury train ride aboard the Rocky Mountaineer, learn how to capture the essence of South America’s Patagonia on camera and if you can, book a night to immerse yourself in the opulence and elegance of a past era in New York’s Carlyle Hotel. Specialty cruises to Alaska get you access to the most spectacular unspoilt nature, and you can immerse yourself in the untouched white desert of Antarctica just like an explorer, but in the perfect comfort of your luxury cruise liner. Remember, when it comes to designing a travel experience that is truly authentic, there is no better qualified travel network than the Ensemble group, with destination, experience and specialty experts who, through your travel agent, will help you craft an unique itinerary full of extraordinary experiences and pursuits that excite the mind and reinvigorate the spirit. And that brings me to my favourite quote: ‘Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by moments that take our breath away’ I hope you find some inspiration in this issue to start planning a trip that is nothing short of awe inspiring!
Publisher Ensemble Travel ® Group www.ensembletravel.com.au
Creative Designer Andy Thomas Turn Key Marketing Solutions INC
Editor Trish Shepherd Ensemble Travel ® Group
Production Services Jenny Blue Cose Creative
Sub Editor Samantha Hain Regional Integrated Marketing
Printer David Lee Contact Print
Trish Shepherd Editor
Ensemble Travel ® Group. All rights reserved. 2018 Ensemble Travel ® Group is a registered trademark of Ensemble Travel ® Group. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise duplicated without written permission of the publisher. Photos by iStock unless stated otherwise.
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Luxury Hotels in AUSTRALIA
EMIRATES ONE&ONLYWOLGANVALLEY Emirates One&OnlyWolgan Valley is an ultra luxury conservation based resort, located 2.5 hours’ drive from Sydney in the World Heritage listed Greater Blue Mountains region. Set on 7,000 acres of carbon-neutral conservation and wildlife reserve, the resort combines absolute luxury with a quintessentially Australian bush experience.
PARK HYATTMELBOURNE A luxurious Art Deco-inspired hotel located at the Paris end of Melbourne City, surrounded by sprawling gardens, tree lined boulevards and Victorian heritage architecture.
INTERCONTINENTAL HAYMAN ISLAND RESORT Surrounded by verdant cliffs, crescent shaped white beach and celestial blue sea, the reimagined InterContinental Hayman Island Resort will immerse you in a world of five star luxury and island wonders beyond your imagination.
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Luxury Hotels in NEW ZEALAND
HOTEL STMORITZ Defined by a warm spirit and distinctive style that embodies the spirit of Queenstown, Hotel St Moritz is a blend of understated luxury, stylish design and genuine hospitality. This five star lodge style hotel is superbly located in town to maximise panoramic lake and mountain views, yet retain a sense of retreat and privacy.
SOFITELWELLINGTON Surrounded by lush botanicals and ideally positioned in the heart of Wellington, this boutique hotel blends the French ‘art de vivre’ with the pure beauty of New Zealand’s capital. Sofitel Wellington offers a unique approach to culinary experiences with a mix of fresh local cuisine and fine French culinary techniques.
SOFITELAUCKLAND Experience a new calibre of serene luxury at the Sofitel Auckland where the resplendent design lends itself to a spectacular modernity and the surrounding sparkling marina perfectly harmonises with the central location. French essence is captured through refined and delectable gastronomy, allowing guests to savour an infinite palate of delights.
SOMEWHERE INSPIRING, AT EVERY GIVEN MOMENT.
A journey onboard RockyMountaineer is muchmore than just a train ride through the Canadian Rockies. It’s the key to unlocking a hidden world of shifting landscapes and unparalleled beauty. Indulge all of your senses as you wind through awe-inspiring scenery, complemented by gourmet cuisine, vibrant storytelling, and impeccable service. Journey to a place that’s truly above and beyond extraordinary.
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO LEARN ABOUT ROCKY MOUNTAINEER’S CURRENT PROMOTIONAL OFFER, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL ENSEMBLE ACCREDITED TRAVEL AGENT.
MAKING MEMORIES IN THE MOUNTAINS By Christalee Froese
You never know what you'll see or who you'll meet while travelling onboard Canada's Rocky Mountaineer, but you can bet that whatever fate or Mother Nature has in store, the journey will be nothing short of life-changing.
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As happens when you travel, it’s a wonderful respite just to stop every once and a while, to savour the setting and restore the body. That’s the beauty of the Rocky Mountaineer luxury passenger train. Once on board, our travel weary minds begin to melt into the heated leather seats, with nothing better to do than sip champagne and watch the outstanding scenery of British Columbia and Alberta sail by – without moving a muscle. Just a few hours in and we’ve already been provided with glimpses of a seal bobbing in the river, a nesting Osprey perched right above our glass-domed train car and two mountain sheep peeking down at us from the top of a ragged cliff. I pop outside to the open air part of the train and soak up the invigorating fragrance of the pine forest. Our first overnight stop of Kamloops was highlighted by sweeping scenes of forested beauty and by decadent meals of salmon benedict, Asian prawns and beef short ribs. The food on board the train is nothing short of spectacular. The team of award- winning Chefs have created sophisticated and diverse menus with the finest, locally sourced ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. There’s not a drop of Maple Syrup in sight!
The quaint city of Kamloops opened its arms as we were set free to explore the shores of the Thompson River, overnight at the Sandman Signature hotel and ready ourselves for an early morning train departure to Banff. The next day we move snake like through the middle of forests, over rivers, through mountains via tunnel and smack dab in the middle of the home of elk, eagles, osprey, mountain goats…and grizzly bears. The Purcell and Rocky Mountains began to rise up as we journey through Mt. Revelstoke National Park, over Rogers Pass and through Glacier National Park onto Golden, British Columbia.
Crossing over the border into Alberta, we made our way rhythmically and smoothly into Banff, knowing when we exited the train that we would be bidding farewell to our great crew, who in just 48 hours had become like family. I’ll certainly miss Adam, who greeted me daily with my usual orange juice, kept my mid morning Bailey’s fresh and my afternoon wine and cheese coming throughout the trip. Banff presented equally majestic sights and gastronomical delights. And as we departed for the Calgary airport, I reflected on the history of our route that is celebrated as the first passage connecting Canada from East to West. We travelled
through the legendary Spiral Tunnels and pass by Craigellachie, the spot where the last spike on the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven. And whilst the pioneers of the time would have been as overawed at the breathtaking landscape as much as we, there was truly nothing more decadent that taking it all in from the Rocky Mountaineer passenger train.
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AURORA CAPITAL OF THE WORLD By Trish Shepherd YELLOWKNIFE Known as the land of the midnight sun, Yellowknife, Canada is a small but diverse city famous for its spectacular wilderness. Sitting on the edge of the Arctic Circle, the city enjoys summer days with nearly 24 hours of sunlight, but we were here in winter to see the dark skies lit up by aurora borealis. Once a gold rush town and now a diamond mining town, Yellowknife is the hub of Arctic activities, including snow shoeing, dog sledding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
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We kicked off the action with a helicopter ride which was a great way to get our bearings of the remoteness of Yellowknife and how stunning the wilderness is that surrounds the city. Positioned just south of the arctic circle – around 450 KM, Aurora Village - our site for viewing aurora borealis is one of the best placed on the planet, with some months of the year enjoying 100% successful aurora borealis viewing. This purpose built village for tourists has a fireplace in every tepee, but my favourite was the custom made, heated outdoor viewing seat that swivelled 360 degrees, so you can catch every angle of the aurora borealis. Lots of fun! And then all is still and Aurora starts to dance on the horizon, we take a deep breath and she fills the sky with the most amazing colours. Spectacular. We were not disappointed! Thinking I was to be a passenger, I was delighted that we were offered to take the dog sled out ourselves! The dogs are so well trained and the track is carved out on the ice lake, so it’s quite safe, but the experience of being in the drivers seat added that extra thrill! Next, out to the lake to go snow mobiling- the drive there was stunning. What a fun sport to let off steam. After some lessons we were let loose on the lake with about a metre of frozen ice and another metre of fresh snow. So much fun! The only challenge was that being an Aussie, when we took a track to a higher area I automatically went left at the fork, and all the North Americans went right. All fine, except when we met up, we couldn’t pass, so lots of rolling around in the soft snow, complete with digs about us driving on the wrong side of the road! After a taste of snow shoeing through the forest we ended the day with the local owners, drank tea, ate freshly baked scones and absorbed all about life in this remote part of Canada. Stories about the aboriginal history, the fur trading empire, and the settlers that came to Yellowknife Bay in the mid 1930s in search of precious metals, were shared over a cuppa. Yellowknife is a real mix of old and new – modern mining is for diamonds, whilst the old methods of transportation - ice roads and vintage airplanes - still provide steady service to the community. An while our focus here was winter adventures, we learned they have many activities in summer too - including fishing, hiking and wildlife spotting, 4WDing and heritage tours. The food on this trip was excellent and I left with the fondest memories of eating the largest, freshest and sweetest raspberries ever! The locals also really impressed me, they all shared a sense of immense pride for their part of the world, with a respect for nature and the wilderness that had you in awe. Imagine.
A 2.5 hour direct flight from Vancouver and we were at Yellowknife. The landing strip was white with snow and the landing was one of the smoothest I’d ever experienced. The friendly locals immediately made us feel welcome and at home. Enroute to the hotel, having mentioned how hungry we were, our guide suggested a stop at a casual restaurant - Bullocks Bistro, for locally caught fish. The food was fabulous - as good as any of the top restaurants in Sydney, and it was a super way to start our adventure. Yellowknife is a winter playground for all kinds of travellers. We filled our four days to the brim with action, all coordinated through Touch the Arctic Tours, who connected us with some amazing local companies for the real Yellowknife experience.
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GRAB YOUR GEAR AND EXPERIENCE THE LAST FRONTIER Alaska Calls the Boldest Travellers to Go Beyond the Photo Op
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There are places in the world that top most travellers must see’ lists of a lifetime. The Eiffel Tower, Great Pyramids of Giza, masterpieces and frescoes of Renaissance genius, and priceless artefacts around the world. All certain to capture the awe and envy of those who share in the trip photos. Alaska is something different. Alaska’s beauty is multisensory, larger than life and could never be confined to a camera roll. Alaska invites – no, insists – travellers not only see, but fully experience its untamed perfection. The glaciers should be traversed, icy waters navigated, rainforest trails trekked, history relived.
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And as rich as this region is with proud heritage and nature lovers’ delights, there are equally numerous ways to explore it all. Because of its remote geography, limited transportation options and number of varied locales, Alaska is best explored by cruise. A bonus to this plan is that top cruise lines like Crystal Cruises offer expertly crafted excursions and experiences in each destination, with every detail arranged for you. No logistics to worry about – your primary responsibility is to dress appropriately and enjoy the ride. And while you should definitely pack your camera, many of Alaska’s most memorable features will take you far beyond the frame. Go High . So many glaciers, so little time. According to the estimations of the Alaska Almanac, there are 100,000 glaciers in this icy US northern state. For glacier trekking during your Alaskan holiday, helicopter experiences really stand out. Sky high views offer astounding perspective of these massive walls of ice, while glacier landings mark the exhilarating start of the adventure. Crystal Cruises offers numerous glacier exploration options for travellers of virtually every level of physical ability. From Juneau, choose an intense grappling-rappelling-hiking adventure or opt for a more relaxed pace across Mendenhall Glacier. Or take in five spectacular glaciers, including the expansive Taku Glacier (a whopping eight kilometres at its base), from the comfort of your helicopter – a far more relaxing experience that will take your breath away just the same. Get Wild. Alaska is not a place for perfect hair and makeup. Whether you’re kayaking in Sitka’s Camp Coogan Bay, through the Mendehall Wetlands or are fortunate enough to be splashed by the fluke of a humpback whale while cruising through Tracy Arm Fjord, water is part of the experience. Even dry suit snorkelling off the coast of Sitka’s Magic Island is on the docket for Crystal guests. When in Alaska, getting wet is extremely rewarding. Retrace Historic Tracks. Skagway is a delightful town blending the OldWildWest (saloons and all) and modern-day artists who celebrate the native heritage of the land through their works. It is also the starting point of adventures aboard theWhite Pass Railway, declared an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Its 100 year old vintage parlour cars once connected the deep valleys and granite cliffs to the gold rush boomtown of the Yukon. Today, the train’s route is no less exciting, as you ascend nearly 1,000 metres upward, past Bridal Veil Falls and over Dead Horse Gulch, past the original Klondike Trail to the mountain high US-Canada border. There are several ways to experience this monumental train ride, with Crystal offering experiences that allow guests to disembark the train at the Klondike Summit for forest bicycling adventures, visits to local sled dog camps and gold panning opportunities.
Make SomeWild New Friends. Encounters with wildlife in Alaska are virtually inevitable, with mammal, bird and sea animal residents far outnumbering their human counterparts. Late summer sailings coincide with the apex of salmon spawning season – a fascinating spectacle that draws a host of creatures. In Ketchikan (known as the salmon capital of the world), the stream teems with fish reaching the end of their spawning cycle, inviting harbour seals to the docks to feast. One Crystal adventure includes a brief waterfront drive to Ketchikan’s Tongass National Forest that takes you on a hike through a fairy tale like trail to Eagle Creek, where the black bears indulge in seafood lunches to double their body weight for the fast approaching hibernation season. And while the bears’ shoreside antics and the nearby otters sunning themselves are mesmerising, a gaze skyward is worthwhile for glimpses of bald eagles circling overhead and nesting in the treetops. The beautiful irony of a journey through Alaska is that virtually every view is a photo op more striking than the last. Just make sure to set the camera aside long enough to truly experience the wonder. Enjoy immersive 7, 10, and 11-day Alaska journeys aboard Crystal Symphony – featuring acclaimed dining in as many as eight venues, an evening of specialty dining in Prego and Nobu Matsuhisa’s only sea going restaurants, 24 hour room service, select fine wines, champagnes and spirits as well as luxuriously appointed staterooms and suites and contemporary social spaces. Crystal Cruises. Clearly Different.
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where LUXURY ROAMS FREELY
Bold adventure and unmatched luxury in the farthest reaches of Earth, from the Russian Far East to the Antarctic, and remote lands in between. Introducing Crystal Endeavor.
CRYSTAL YACHT EXPEDITION CRUISES. Clearly Different.
CRYSTALCRUISES.COM | CONTACT YOUR ENSEMBLE TRAVEL PROFESSIONAL
EARN QANTAS POINTS
OldWorld Luxury Hotels NEWYORK
THE BEEKMAN Cross the mosaic marble threshold and you’ll be greeted at our evocative reception space that harkens back to the golden age of travel. A patchwork of upholstered vintage Persian rugs wrap this welcoming cove adorned with antique glass lamps and a polished timber top. Celebrated for its extraordinary nine storyVictorian atrium and majestic skylight, The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel is located at the epicenter of Manhattan’s revitalised downtown neighbourhood. The 1881 landmark property, one of NewYork City’s last architectural treasures, was lovingly restored to its current condition in 2016 and has become one of Manhattan’s most sought after luxury hotels. THE CHATWAL In the heart of Manhattan, most conveniently located on 44th Street, The Chatwal, NewYork is steps from the best of entertainment, dining, shopping, Broadway theatres and the city’s media and financial giants. This beautiful landmark hotel built in 1905 by Stanford White has been restored and renewed by master architect Thierry Despont, re-launched in 2010. The Chatwal’s 76 keys includes 29 stunning Suites and 14 ‘themed’ suites with spacious designer terraces as well as bespoke services including a team of professional Butlers, 24 hour in room dining, Mercedes-Benz House Car and distinct private bars. THE CARLYLE The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel offers a first class combination of discretion and grace. The hotel features 190 rooms including 73 suites with views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline. Gracious and romantic dining awaits guests in The Carlyle Restaurant while legendary entertainers create the quintessential NewYork cabaret experience at Café Carlyle. Additionally, famed Bemelmans Bar is a favorite hideaway for both locals and visitors alike. The Carlyle is surrounded by galleries, museums and designer boutiques on NewYork’s posh Madison Avenue.
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If only the walls could talk…..
By Samantha Hain
A timeless classic, The Carlyle has been a classic landmark of the New York City skyline since 1930. The 35 story luxury hotel has been called home by leaders in world affairs, business, society and the arts, and while housing some of the world’s most famous clientele - the stories within the walls of the hotel rarely leave the premises, due to the discreet and polished staff. In a perfect position, just one block from Central Park, The Carlyle is surrounded by galleries and designer boutiques on New York’s Madison Avenue, and just blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the MET Breuer and the Frick. In keeping with its neighbours, The Carlyle in itself is a showcase of great art, with works by Bemelmans, Audubon, Kips, Redoute, Vertés, Weenix and Izu adorning the walls. Steinway or Baldwin baby grand pianos in many of the upper floor suites.
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But it’s not just what’s on the walls - the hotel is virtual catalogue of design history – a strong Art Deco influence has been meticulously maintained, from the famed black and white marbled lobby to Art Deco motifs of the hotel’s specialty suites. Subtle updates with a more contemporary flair have been tastefully integrated to preserve the opulent and personal feel. The New York destination for well travelled, every American president since Truman has visited the hotel, (indeed he, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter and Reagan all called The Carlyle their ‘unofficial’ New York home), and its rich history includes the visiting Royals HRH, The Prince of Wales; Diana, Princess of Wales and TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The Carlyle is also the choice for Hollywood elite since Ingrid Bergman checked in after completing Intermezzo . Listen to unique insights from George Clooney, Anjelica Huston, Tommy Lee Jones, Sofia Coppola, Vera Wang, Anthony Bourdain, Roger Federer, Wes Anderson, Lenny Kravitz, Naomi Campbell and Elaine Stritch, in a new podcast series ‘ Last Night at The Carlyle ’ a hotel exposé, like you’ve never heard before. Meet up at the hotel’s landmark supper club - Café Carlyle - Woody Allen, Sutton Foster, Eartha Kitt, Judy Collins and Debbie Harry have all graced the stage here. With décor featuring Marcel Vertès murals, the Café maintains the integrity of an historic Manhattan destination with a new infusion of modern refinement and style. The famed Bemelmans Bar , also within the hotel, features whimsical hand painted murals depicting all four seasons in Central Park by the famed children’s author of the same name who wrote and illustrated the Madeline series of books. Live music every evening, (Bono, Mariah Carey, Cyndi Lauper, Liza Minelli, Billy Joel and John Mayer have all made impromptu piano cameos), the bar maintains its Art Deco legacy combining the wit and cosiness in quintessential New York style. The Carlyle Restaurant , is an elegant escape offering superb seasonal cuisine, traditional décor and discreet service. The Gallery , which leads to the restaurant, is the ‘living room’ of the hotel, featuring an upper and lower level in the design of an exotic Turkish tea parlour, the hand painted navy blue and gold wallpaper with vignettes of Turkish treasures, sets the atmosphere of this special space. Want to know more? Check out the documentary Always at The Carlyle – offering an exclusive and provocative peek into the pop culture history of this iconic hotel, interviewing over 100 personalities to uncover how they define its intangible draw and highlighting tales from the tenured staff who share never before told stories, and what is truly behind its legendary service and reputation.
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Aloha USA New York, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego, Las Vegas and Phoenix Sydney or Brisbane to Honolulu connecting to 12 USA Cities
Or choose your favourite Neighbour Island
Maui, Kaua‘i, Hawaii island, Lana‘i or Moloka‘i
Book online at HawaiianAirlines.com.au or contact your preferred travel agent
Luxury Hotels in LAS VEGAS
WYNN LAS VEGAS AND ENCORE Wynn Las Vegas and Encore are two extraordinary Forbes Travel Guide Five Star resorts with 4,750 guest accommodations, spectacular restaurants, top brand designer boutiques, two award winning spas and salons, relaxing pools, incredible shows, nightclubs; all built with great attention to detail, and clearly, worlds away from ordinary.
BELLAGIO Set behind the famous Fountains of Bellagio, this luxury Las Vegas Strip hotel and casino offers an upscale day spa, multiple dining options and elegant rooms with marble en suite bathrooms. Each room is equippedwith a flat screen satellite TV and electronic drapes and soft bathrobes, a minibar and an iPod docking station are included.
ARIA RESORT & CASINO In the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, the award winning ARIA Resort & Casino offers it all, from high tech guestrooms and world class dining from celebrated chefs, to enthralling entertainment and upscale shopping.
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On Shoot: PHOTO SAFARI IN ARGENTINA
By Sarah Staples
Renowned photographer Ossian Lindholm has been taking tourists of photo safaris for more than two decades. He’s considered a pioneer in this area of tourism.
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On this trip we’re in the mountainous desert at the edge of the Andes in a region called Quebrada de las Conchas. We’ve paused to photograph a cavernous opening in the sandstone that locals have nicknamed The Amphitheatre, one of several distinctive rock formations that attract tourists here. Steep gorges rise from the riverbed below, exposing layers of red, blue and green sandstone shaped by erosion. This place is a visual feast – wild, colourful, and nearly empty except for our little tour bus. “Ah, a beautiful composition, see? Did you get it? The colours are amazing,” exclaims Ossian Lindholm, our host and one of Latin America’s most respected landscape and wildlife photographers. “Pick the brightest point in the sky to metre to,” he says, “and remember never to shoot at a lower speed than your focal length.” Photo safaris are an immersive way to discover new landscapes – featuring detailed explanations of culture and history too. This is also the world’s highest wine growing region, reaching up to 2,000 metres of elevation. After lunch at one of the 35 area wineries, Lindholm takes us into Cafayate, a typical wine route town to practice street photography in the heat of early afternoon. In the leafy public square, townspeople and tourists relax in the shade drinking espresso and mate (a strong energy tea), and at the heart of it all is a brightly-painted Baroque church to test our skills. As the afternoon shadows stretch, our bus reaches a hiking area called La Yesera, the light deepening the colours of scorched canyons that stretch to the horizon line. Capturing the best light is everything to a photographer – and Lindholm has clearly planned the day to bring us right here, right now. He’s already scouting locations for us to shoot from, DSLR in hand. It’s such a well practiced routine yet brings such a different result every time: that’s the magic of it. “Of all the landscapes I’ve seen,” he explains, “this one is my place in the world.” Lindholm caters to a mix of photography skill levels and often spouses who aren’t photographers at all. “We’re living a boom in photography and photo tourism,” says the Argentinian, who leads at least eight photo safaris a year to places like Machu Picchu in Peru, the Jaguar rich Pantanal wetlands of Brazil, Chile’s Patagonia, the Galapagos Islands, Alaskan bear country and the Tanzanian Serengeti. And where photography based tourism flourishes, destructive local practices like poaching, over fishing or careless land redevelopment are disincentivised, playing a role in encouraging the protection of pristine landscapes, flora and fauna.
PHOTO TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS ✓ • Frame subjects off-centre, aiming lower than the eyes and upward to capture body proportions ✓ • Plan to be on location at sunrise and sunset to capture the best light of the day ✓ • Place the horizon line in the upper or lower third of a photo, not the middle.
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South America Bikepacking
By Ryan Griffin
The air is dry yet salty, the high altitude sun beats down uninterrupted and the only thing I can see is white and blue. I’ve been following a compass bearing for the last three hours and still cannot quite make out where I am – such is the magnitude of the wide expanse of Bolvia’s salt flats. As the sun nears the horizon I decide to make camp for the night, struggling to pitch my tent in the solid ground, but with an overnight temperature of -20, I have no alternative. Wearing every single piece of clothing, nine layers on top, six on the bottom, I sit in silence watching yet another incredible sunset. I have been on the road for six months and each day I find myself both overwhelmed and uplifted at the same time. I carry minimal provisions, enough to last a few days at most, but yet somehow I always manage to find a way to get by. Three months earlier, passing through Chile’s Carretera Austral (Southern Highway), I was soaked from ten straight days of downpour and frozen to the core. Peddling was the only way to keep warm and lunch breaks were short lived and filled with jumping jacks to keep the heart rate up. But my reward was a route featuring snow capped mountains, glacial blue lakes and wild guanacos fleeing across golden pampas.
The beauty of South America can only be topped by its people. After a challenging day along the Chilean coast, I was invited into the home of an elderly couple, offered the bed of their son and when it came time to eat, a fried egg on a piece of bread, while they shared an identical serving. What wonderful people give half of what they have to a complete stranger? Similarly after pushing my bike just 18km in three days through mud and rock in Peru’s Cordillera Huayhuash, having not seen a single person in that time, the generosity of a lone horserider who asks me if I needed any food (I desperately did) was gratefully received. He didn’t even mention how bad I smelt after two weeks of no showering! South America is a land of extremes like no other. From the swampy Amazon basin of Brazil to the deserted Peruvian Coast, the mammoth glacial fields of Argentina and Bolivia’s isolating altiplano, you’ll find it almost impossible not to experience something that will take your breath away.
If you’re adventurous, grab yourself a bicycle and strap yourself in for the experience of a lifetime.
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Antarctica. The final frontier. The ultimate travel adventure. Well travelled and think no destination could provide you a jaw dropping experience? You haven’t explored Antarctica! And travel to the last pristine destination on the planet is a once-in-a-lifetime quest that is now complimented with opulence and comfort thanks to the Seaborn Quest, ultra luxury cruising expedition cruising at its finest.
‘Seaborn conversations’ - where invited guests of Seaborn - celebrities, explorers, heralded chefs, performers and renowned experts from every possible area of life, shared our journey. As well as delivering outstanding presentations in their area of expertise, they joined us all in the daily social scene, sharing meals, adventures ashore and casual chats throughout the voyage. Views from the ship were in a word, majestic. Even the most striking photos fall short of conveying the immense scale and otherworldly beauty of this remote destination. Snow capped volcanoes reflect in crystalline lakes, massive glaciers float by, fjords beg to be explored and the blinding white expanses of ice and snow contrasted with the incredible blue of the sky. All of these were all experienced from the decks and the privacy of my own private veranda on the Seaborn Quest . Volunteer Point on the east coast of East Falkland Island is home to the largest colony of King penguins outside of South Georgia, plus considerable numbers of Gentoo and Magellan penguins. The King Penguin colony lives between a beautiful, white sand beach and saltwater lagoon and there are photo opportunities galore as these friendly penguins pose, dressed elegantly in their superb white, gold, yellow and black feathers. A short walk to the beach and we were able to see all three species together as they head out to sea or return to their home. I think my favourite part of the voyage was the kayaking. Imagine silently paddling among icebergs of all sizes, keeping an eye out for porpoising penguins, curious seals and even the odd whale. This was the most superb experience - blissfully enjoying nature at its purest and a highlight of my thrilling expedition into this icy world. The Quest’s spa is home to an exclusive mindful living program and, as well as the tips I took to use back home, I was at once very mindful of the fragility of this untouched environment. Seaborn’s partnership with UNESCO to deliver purposeful and sustainable travel in this most delicate part of the world was a big tick on my list.
The minute I stepped on board the ultra extravagant cruise ship, Seaborn Quest , glass of champagne in hand, I knew that my expedition into this icy world was to be magical. In our initial briefing we learned about the special modifications to our vessel for the unique conditions that will enable us to venture closer than ever to the white continent’s wondrous shores. We were also introduced to a couple of our expedition team members who come from a knowledgeable team of Naturalists and Ornithologists and include a Glaciologist, a penguin expert and several whale experts. Although humans have colonised most of the world, we have yet to permanently locate ourselves in Antarctica. Accessible only from November to March the frozen continent has no towns or villages – just a few odd expedition huts and research stations dotted across the icy expanse. And whilst there are very few people in Antarctica, there is no shortage of wildlife. This continent is alive with life and many species thrive here, including whales, seals, penguins, albatrosses and many more. Our first day’s experience in zodiacs was Wilhelmina Bay here we spotted leopard seals lounging on the ice fields and penguins diving in the glass like waters, and not a word was spoken as we drifted silently by the eerie wreck of Norwegian whaler ‘Governoren’ sunk in 1916. Dependant on weather conditions, we had a complimentary Zodiac ice landing each day to selected locations. Back on board, after a quick refresh in my superbly appointed luxury suite, I was immediately immersed in conversation with like minded travellers sharing experiences beyond the expected, in places outside the ordinary. And it was here that I discovered the concept of
Because it is up to us travellers to help keep it that way. Do get here, at least once.
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EXTRAORDINARY WORLDS ™ I n t i ma t e s h i p s | Aw a r d - w i n n i n g c u i s i n e O p e n b a r s & f i n e w i n e s | A l l s u i t e
Montevideo BUENOS AIRES
Punta del Este
Castro Reloncaví Sound Gulf of Corcovado Chilean Fjords El Brujo Glacier Canal Sarmiento Strait of Magellan
Castro Reloncaví Sound Gulf of Corcovado Punta Arenas Chilean Fjords El Brujo Glacier Canal Sarmiento Strait of Magellan
Note: Antarctica routing/landings dependent on weather and ice conditions
Stanley, Falkland Islands/ Islas Malvinas
South Georgia Island
Note: Antarctica routing/landings dependent on weather and ice conditions
Lemaire Channel Paradise Bay King George Island Gerlache Strait
Hope Bay Antarctica Sound
King George Island Hope Bay Antarctica Sound
Lemaire Channel Paradise Bay Gerlache Strait
24-DAY HOLIDAY ANTARCTICA, PATAGONIA & SOUTH GEORGIA Buenos Aires to San Antonio 19 Dec 2019
21-DAY ULTIMATE ANTARCTICA & PATAGONIA Buenos Aires to San Antonio (or reverse)
28 Nov 19, 12 Jan & 2 Feb 2020 Itinerary may vary by departure
WELCOME TO SMALL GROUP TRAVEL, REINVENTED Explorations has been building unique travel experiences, backed by Collette’s 100 years of expertise that fuel your curiosity and kindle your adventurous spirit. l i il i i tr l i , ll ’ i f l i i i l i i . , I x r t s as ee e ave ex er e ces acke y tt s 1 rs f x rt s t at e y r c r s ty a k e y r a ve t r s s r t
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A GEND A CULINARY & WINE EVENTS North America January - June 2019
Charleston Wine + Food Festival 2019 MARCH 6TH TO 10TH, 2019 Four days of chefs, writers, wine makers, and creators of fine food celebrated in the heart of Dixie. There are loads of hands on cooking classes, truffle tasting sessions [for $350 per person!] and cocktail making classes. Given the importance of the southern U.S.A. as a generator and influencer of cocktails, this is where I am focusing. Anyone feel like a Grasshopper? There is talent here from around the U.S. and around the world and it is well worth the trip. There are events all over Charleston, but with a focus on Marion Square.
charlestonwineandfood.com Charleston, South Carolina.
Heart of Virginia Festival MAY 4TH 2019
This year will see the 41st Anniversary of this fun festival. The fitness fans can join in the 10k run and the Craft Fair will attract the others while you disappear into the Food Festival. There is live music and no admission charge as this is a street fair. heartofvirginia.org Corner of Main and Fourth Streets, Farmville, Virginia 65th Annual North Beach Festival JUNE 15TH AND 16TH, 2019 This is one of America’s first street festivals and food is just one component with art, crafts and music all intermingled. The festival is in Little Italy, so the food component has a distinctively Mediterranean feel. The Blessing of the Animals at the Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi is a fun addition. OK, I am stretching the importance of this food festival. However on Friday night [14th] you are heading to AT&T stadium to see the Giants play ball against the Wilwaukee Brewers and you will also have a dinner reservation at Boudin on Fisherman’s Wharf to try some crab and their famous sourdough bread. So, it’s a busy weekend. sresproductions.com/events/north-beach-festival/ Vallejo St. North beach San Francisco
Beer Bourbon and BBQ Festival JANUARY 2019- JUNE 2019
No plans for Australia Day? This festival works its way around the USA but on the 26th of January it finds itself in the Big Apple. It is a combination of alcohol and meat that may not meet all of the requirements of refinement, but if quantity and noise are coveted, this is your destination. beerandbourbon.com The Tunnel in Manhattan, 608 West 28th Street, NYC KeyWest Food & Wine Festival 2019 JANUARY 23RD TO 27TH This might be the world’s most relaxed food and wine festival, where they actively encourage you to where throngs. There are free as we as paid events, with some making great use of the waterfront. It is the 10th anniversary and let’s face it, if you have to be in the States in January, don’t you want to be where the average temperature is 24 degrees Celcius? www.keywestfoodandwinefestival.com KeyWest, Florida
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North American Gourmet Markets I am sure many of you are aware of the Union Square Greenmarket or Ferry Plaza in San Francisco, but here are some gems that may have escaped your attention.
St. Lawrence Market This is where you want to be on a Saturday for the weekly farmer’s market. All the best produce from around Ontario, gathered in one place as it has been since 1803. That’s before Canada existed as we know it. There are also more than 120 retailers here all week long with everything to fill even the fussiest larder.
www.stlawrencemarket.com 93 Front St E, Toronto, Canada
Pike Place Market At the tail end of the Klondike Gold Rush, Seattle was a booming town with thousands of people desperate for fresh produce at fair prices. The Pike Place Market answered this need and has been flourishing ever since. The market’s central location is open seven days and now has a strong craft market on offer as well. The market is right by the waterfront and in easy reach of lots of great restaurants as well as the Seattle Art Museum. The market’s buskers add to the atmosphere. Don’t forget to put a dollar in Rachel the bronze pig. She’s the local mascot. All proceeds go to local community charitable work.
pikeplacemarket.org 1531 Western Ave, Seattle
LA Farmers Market The Los Angeles Farmers Market was established in 1934 and its 250 acres has seen everything from oil wells to movie stars. There are 35 restaurants, 13 food stores, 9 specialty food stores and 37 other shops to visit. The iconic clock tower in the heart of the market means you won’t get lost in the nearly endless variety. It is open seven days a week and there is lots of parking. Tours are available. farmersmarketla.com 6333 W.3rd St. Los Angeles
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Haymarket Farmers Market This operates every Saturday morning from May through to October on 7th and 8th streets in the old Haymarket area in the centre of the city. There are now over 200 stalls at the peak of the season with everything from fresh fruit and buffalo meat to home-made root beer. You are in the middle of everything between P and Q streets, so there is lots to see and do. No, I didn’t make those streets up, and this is not Sesame Street. The Nebraskans are just practical, if sometimes lacking in imagination. lincolnhaymarket.org Lincoln, Nebraska
French Market This is the oldest market in the country and has been in operation since 1791. In the heart of the historic French Quarter of New Orleans, there are six blocks of restaurants and shopping on offer. On Wednesdays from October to June there is the Crescent City Farmers Market in addition to the usual stalls, so that’s the best time to go. There is also a flea market every day for the zany bargain hunters. Try the handmade pralines from Evans Creole Candy Factory.
frenchmarket.org 1235 N. Peters Street in the French Market October to June, EveryWednesday.
Mercado Coyoacan Everything from spices to fresh fruit and souvenirs can be found in this central market. It is both charming and welcoming to tourists while being vital to the locals here is the heart of Mexico City. The prepared food is as authentically Mexican as it can get and as Coyoacan is an upmarket neighbourhood, the quality is excellent too. This is also the right neighbourhood for the Leon Trotsky Museum, the Frida Kahlo Museum and the Anahuacalli Museum - so politics, art and history buffs will be happy here too. Centro de Coyoacan, Hidalgo and Malitzin, Mexico City, Mexico
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