Saturday snippets: 16th May 2015

By | Category: Travel news
bungee jumping in New Zealand might have been a memorable holiday for you. Want to return?

bungee jumping in New Zealand might have been a memorable holiday for you. Want to return?

Let me start with a competition. If you have holidayed in New Zealand and fancied going back then the first competition might be for you. All you need to do is share a captioned photo of it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #NZMustDo and tag the person you’d love to do it again with for a chance to win a holiday for two to New Zealand. The prize includes two return international airfares flying Air New Zealand and seven nights’ accommodation, activities and transfers. Tourism New Zealand will short-list 10 finalists for the #NZMustDo competition and its Facebook fans will vote on the winner, which will be announced in June.

Over the last year or so, I have mentioned the changes that have comment about in youth hostels. No longer are they the domain of the young or backpackers. They have become more family oriented and in better and interesting locations. A new one, Fremantle Prison, in Western Australia is now open, providing unique accommodation in a World Heritage-listed nineteenth century gaol. It I now a 200-bed place to stay and those wishing it can even sleep in original cells or guards’ cottages. The prison was built in the 1850s with the first convicts occupying the site from 1855, right up until 1991. During this time, hangings, floggings, escapes and riots occurred. When the Old Perth Gaol closed, female inmates were moved to Fremantle Prison in1889. Extended twice over the years, this women’s prison is what has now become Fremantle Prison Youth Hostel Australia.

According to the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), tourism in the first quarter of the year to Thailand has jumped by 20%. Obviously all the bad news last year has had little long-tern effect and we are no happy to book and visit a country that has long been popular with both British and Irish holidaymakers. They also said that more tourists were expected to return to the country in the remainder of the year due to the reduced internal political problem.

For those taking Caribbean cruises, two companies – Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises – have recently cancelled calls at Puerto Vallarta in Mexico due to drug related violence in the area. Carnival Cruises did make a stop so not all cruise companies are removing Puerto Vallarta from their itineraries.  Check your schedule and if PV is on it , enquire as to whether you’ll be stopping off there or whether a substitute port has been added.

Disney, Universal and theme parks of whatever description need to have new attractions to continue to see the vast numbers of people who visit them. Look what Harry Potter has done for Universal. Now it has announced what its next big attraction will be although without saying when that might be. Nintendo and Universal say that they will build “immersive” Nintendo-themed attractions at Universal resorts. We no more than that so it is anyone’s guess what might be included and where. It would be a bit of a surprise if it didn’t include the Mario Brothers though. As Universal has a resort in Osaka in Japan, what’s the betting that it might be the first resort to see the fruits of the link-up?

Curtin Springs in the NT

Curtin Springs in the NT

Although $3 million Australian has been set aside by the Northern Territory government in Australia to publicise Kakadu, we won’t be seeing any of the money being spent to encourage us to visit this vast part of outback Australia. Nonetheless we might reap the benefits.  Funds have been found to make the Kambolgie Creek Crossing flood resistant in the wet season. You could almost guarantee that this would have flooded regularly in the past and, as it was one of the major routes into Kakadu, this caused problems for overseas visitors on a tight schedule. They can’t afford to hang around for a few days for the water levels to drop so some tour operators were reluctant to book tours into the area.  Hopefully, that will now be a thing of the past.

For walkers, a new trail opens in Greece at the end of this month. The Menalon Trail is a 75 km footpath running along the Lousios River gorge, the western slopes of Mt Menalon, the Mylaon River valley and through villages of central Peloponnese. It has been given European certification and will be placed among the Leading Quality Trails of Europe. The trail has been created by a group of volunteers from Eastern Gortynia with the participation of the Arcadian Mountaineers and Ecologists Club.

If you prefer island hopping to walking and if you are thinking of holidaying amongst the Greek islands, there has been a 2.6 per cent reduction in the price of ferry tickets in Greece on routes which transport less than 300,000 passengers. The new fares apply to passengers, cars, small commercial vehicles and trucks.

For those readers who have never visited the IWM, (Imperial war Museum) Duxford, the time to make the first trip could be next weekend for the VE Day Anniversary Air Show, which takes flight at IWM Duxford on 23rd and 24th May and pays tribute to the people who endured the Second World War. In a poignant spectacle commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and its own 70th anniversary, B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B will lead a VE Day anniversary salute, accompanied by a Dakota, Catalina, P-51 Mustangs, Corsair, Wildcat, Warhawk and Curtiss P-40C. The day will also have a VE Day street party complete with bunting and picnic benches, along with wartime music and songs.

the new Legoland attraction opens this coming bank holiday weekend

the new Legoland attraction opens this coming bank holiday weekend

Legoland in Windsor has a new attraction which opens in time for the bank holiday. The all-new Heartlake City themed area opens on 23 May when guests can step into the world of the LEGO Friends. The exterior of the Heartlake Mall gives a harbour-side backdrop for the new live show ‘Friends to the Rescue!’ featuring Mia, Andrea, Stephanie, Emma and Olivia. Fans can join the girls on an action packed adventure full of surprises and sing and dance along to their favourite LEGO Friends songs. Then guests can head over to the Heartlake City Express for a gentle train journey through the LEGO countryside, before taking a more energetic equestrian turn on Mia’s Riding Adventure. This horseback adventure spins riders through the air, travelling backwards and forwards on a circular spinning ‘race track’.

For many other events happening over the Bank holiday weekend, check out our events listings column.




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