Mikaela Shiffrin has surprised people since her World Cup debut on the slopes at the tender age of 15.
From those precocious early runs, to the first podium at 16, and her maiden World Cup victory 12 months later, she has continued the upward curve. Now on the precipice of the first of what could well be many overall titles, she is surprising even herself.
Two dominant victories in the slalom and giant slalom at Squaw Valley over the weekend saw her pick up a fourth slalom title in five seasons and join Lindsey Vonn in winning ten or more races in a single calendar.
Shiffrin, who celebrated her 22nd birthday on Monday, has one hand on the end-of-season crystal globe and is in line to become the youngest overall champion since Janica Kostelic in 2003.
She said: “I still have the lead which has sort of surprised me. I thought maybe I could be competitive for it [the overall World Cup title] this season but I’m much more confident about it now.”
The American is the first to admit that the season-ending injury to Lara Gut, for much of the season her closest rival, has aided her cause, admitting, “I was expecting that she would take over the lead, and she didn't.”
Shiffrin now stands comfortably in the lead with 1523 points with just four of the season’s 37 races remaining in Aspen. Her closest challenge, Ilka Stuhec, is back on a tally of 1,145.
That crowning glory looks likely to materialize in Aspen in a season where she makes no secret of the fact that she has been the dominant force on the slopes.
“I always figured that at the World Cup all the top athletes train every day, on snow a lot and getting the miles in,” she said. “So when I made it to World Cup, I felt I had to ski even more as some girls have 10 years experience over me and I had to make up for that lost time somehow.
“So I started skiing double sessions, twice as much as my teammates, more days, more time in each session and I’m starting to realize that people don’t actually do that.”
Those in her entourage from those early days on the slopes to those with her in Aspen today speak of her phenomenal work ethic.
Shiffrin herself jokes that it is even to the detriment of her back-up team: “Usually the coaches or others will say we have to take a break now as I have to be able to prepare the skis or coaches need to go home and see their families but I’m like ‘no, we keep going’.”
But that relentless drive and ambition have turned her from a slalom specialist - she is the Olympic champion and boasts a hat-trick of world titles in the event - into an all-rounder.
This season has resulted in victories in the slalom, giant slalom and combined, as well as some strong downhill results.
And the secret of her success is simple: “I have the energy and strength to train when no one else is and that mileage you can’t really substitute anything for that and that’s where the dominance comes from. It’s hard to keep up with it. It takes a lot of training."
Ominously for her rivals looking to next season and beyond, she still believes she is getting better and her confidence is growing with every race weekend.
But trying to balance her commitments from the technical events - her forte - to the speed ones, she insists, is not as easy as she has made it look.
“Hopefully I can win races consistently in the future,” she said. “Right now, I’m having to figure out how to balance it all because I’m still new to the World Cup and young.
“I’m still trying to improve my skiing a lot, so it’s difficult to balance. There’s not enough time in the day to get it all done but this year I felt like we did a good job of balancing it.”
For now, the immediate goal is on the overall title but she looks beyond to Pyeongchang and the Winter Games next year where she will look to defend her slalom gold and pick up medals elsewhere.
She travelled to Korea to practise rather than compete at the World Cup event and has already got pangs of excitement about next year.
“The venues in Korea are amazing,” she said. “I’m not surprised but my hopes were confirmed and that track looks really really fun. It’s perfect for Olympics, it showcases our sport well and I’m excited to get there.”
Up-and-coming German alpinist Fabian Buhl solo redpoints his route "Ganesha“ (8c+) at the Sonnwendwand, Loferer Steinplatte, Austria.
After being the first to repeat Alexander Huber’s “Nirwana” (8c+), a 7-pitch route on the Sonnwendwand at Loferer Steinplatte, which is considered one of the hardest multi-pitch routes in the World, Fabian Buhl was hooked.
The 26-year old wanted to establish his own first ascent in the same style, ground-up and solo with a bare minimum of bolts. Right next to “Nirwana” he manages to solo redpoint “Ganesha” (8c), a 7-pitch route named after his mojo: an elephant-headed Hindu god that is widely revered as the remover of obstacles and the God of New Beginnings.
A great image for overcoming many hurdles and risking big falls while developing his very own self-belay rope management system, which has given him the confidence to tackle many more solo projects in the future.
Marcel Hirscher has crowned his career with the incredible feat of winning six consecutive overall FIS World Cup titles. The 27-year-old Austrian superstar secured his latest title in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia a full two weeks before the end of the season.
Hirscher won the season's penultimate Giant Slalom competition by 0.46s from Leif Kristian Haugen of Norway and Matts Olsson of Sweden. He held a solid lead of almost a full second after the first run, and despite the challenging conditions of fog and rain, left no chance for his rivals on the second run.
The conditions were not easy, but I still knew I had to ski as fast as I could, pushing always at the limit. It wasn’t easy and I’m very glad to be through with it. And I’m super happy with the giant slalom globe. It’s a huge relief
Before the weekend's races in Slovenia, Hirscher led the overall standings by a comfortable 404 points over the Norwegian speed racer Kjetil Jansrud and 432 points ahead of slalom specialist Henrik Kristoffersen. After Saturday's GS race, Hirscher now holds an unassailable lead of 505 points over Jansrud.
With the victory, Hirscher also secured the crystal globe for winning the GS World Cup title, his seventh overall, followed by the slalom trophy the next day.
At the age of 27, Hirscher has now established himself among the most successful ski racers of all time, and it's not the first time that the Austrian powerhouse has rewritten skiing history.
He's already won the coveted World Cup crystal globe five times, just like Marc Girardelli, but only Hirscher has clinched his globes in consecutive seasons. Girardelli needed a total of nine years to record the same number of titles.
With his sixth overall World Cup win, Hirscher is now tied with the ladies' record holder Annemarie Moser-Pröll, another Austrian, who claimed five of her titles between 1971–75 but needed four more years to secure her sixth triumph, in 1979.
At the recent 2017 World Champs in St Moritz, Switzerland Hirscher became the most successful racer, with three individual medals, including a double title win in the tech events (the first male to do so since Alberto Tomba 21 years ago) and a silver medal in the Alpine Combined.
To digest his successes, Hirscher took a well-deserved rest. He skipped the speed races in Kvitfjell, Norway, to concentrate on Slovenia and ensure his sixth title was won in record time.
Swede lifts urban slopestyle trophy in Bad Gastein thanks to epic tricks.
Sweden's Jesper Tjäder produced an extraordinary series of urban slopestyle routines on Friday
evening to win the seventh edition of Red Bull PlayStreets in Bad Gastein, Austria.
Thousands of fans lined the streets of the historic town centre in the Austrian Alps to see Tjäder better
his 2015 third place and defeat 18 other riders on the night with a spectacular display of freestyle skiing
This year’s course was redesigned to help the riders take their routines to new, exciting levels and the
425-metre white stage duly delivered on that for worldwide fans also watching on Red Bull TV.
Eight hundred truckloads of snow were used to create precarious narrow street ramps with the riders
starting off high up between Hotel Salzburger Hof and Villa Orania.
They built up speed to take on fearsome obstacles such as the Quarter-Pipe Transfer, the Multi-Hip
Jump, the Coping Box, the steep Step Down, and the Transfer Hip, before they hit some rails and the
Jägerhäusl finish line.
The hard-fought opening qualification round soon saw the 19 riders whittled down to 16 with 2014 Sochi
Halfpipe gold medallist David Wise surprisingly eliminated.
Sixteen riders went head-to-head next in a bid to cut the field further with Canadian Emile Bergeron and
2009 champion Russ Henshaw shock exits.
Austrian Lukas Muellauer treated the home crowd to a dazzling run to beat Cody LaPlante in the
quarter-finals with Swiss Laurent De Martin also winning through alongside the top two seeds Andri
Ragettli and Tjäder.
2015 runner-up Ragettli easily saw off De Martin to seal his place in the final, but Tjäder had to dig deep
to defeat Muellauer with a huge score of 250.
Muellauer held his nerve in a scrappy small final to finish with a well deserved podium place leaving
Tjäder to post an imposing final score of 242 to just edge out Ragettli by five points and secure his star
on the PlayStreets Wall of Fame alongside previous champions.
Tjäder, who also won the Best Trick award for his double cork, said: “He’s (Ragettli) been killing it all day
and I thought he was going to stomp it.
“I made a small mistake and he made a small mistake too. Could have been any one of us who can take
it. I can’t believe it, it’s awesome.
“Red Bull PlayStreets is by far the craziest event. The crowd is crazy and the course is different from any
contest around and I really enjoy it.
“It is amazing. Such a challenging format and the course is tricky, so I couldn’t be more happy.”
Relive the final on Red Bull TV HERE.
Freeskier jetpacks a punch
Jetpack-powered Filip Flisar races through the streets to make a lunch date.
Even world champions feel the wrath of their mothers if they are late for lunch.
Slovenian freestyle skier Filip Flisar has come up with a novel way to play catch-up… a jetpack.
The 29-year-old, crowned world champion in ski cross in 2015 and a semi-finalist at the last Winter
Olympics a year earlier, found himself still on the slopes when he got a reminder from his mother that
lunch would be on the table shortly.
So in a race against time, he popped on his jetpack, giving him 40 kilograms of thrust and enabling him
to reach speeds of up to 120 kilometres from going downhill to the dinner table.
A skier renowned for usually sporting a handlebar moustache, the sight and sound of the jetpack
understandably left some of the residents in his home town of Maribor a tad bemused, although as far as
he knows his endeavours did not lead to any speeding fines from local police!
It enabled him to ski up and downhill, across fields, over a football pitch while players were training,
across a bridge, over a frozen lake alongside ice skaters and down steps, all to the backdrop of
Needless to say, he made it back in time just before the roast found its way onto the table.
“Skiing fast with a jetpack in an open field is one thing, blasting your way across asphalt, granite sets
and icy concrete in the middle of Main Square proved to be a totally different story,” he explained.
For two years, Markus ‘Max’ Stöckl laid out a plan to put himself in the record books yet again.
And in just 11 seconds and at a speed of 167.6 km/h with a standard mountain bike, whose components you could buy yourself in the high street, he reached that speed hurtling down a mountain with no name in Chile’s Atacama desert.
Stöckl has a penchant for the record books. Brought up in the Austrian mountains, his thirst for speed was established at a young age, his place in the speed annuals first cemented in 1999.
In the interim, records have been set at the French ski resort of Les Arcs and on a volcano in Nicaragua among others. For his latest attempt on 13 December - sealed following eight practice runs - it was the barren Chilean desert with barely anything in sight from the 4,000 metre highest point from which he set off.
With the gravel slope of 45 degrees deemed the perfect angle for his record, the 43-year-old's pulse hit the 170 beats per minute mark, the wind whistling past his ears on a 1,200-metre descent in a place 11,000 from his home in Austria’s Tyrol mountains.
Speaking emotionally moments after the finish and his latest record, he said: “I’m back on the mountain without a name in the middle of the desert. It’s tricky because it’s all rocky and loose at the start. It was such a long time and standing up there was like we already cried at the start. It was great fun.”
But for Stöckl, as thrilling as the successful record attempt was, it was just as much about the two years in its making.
“The whole project is an adventure,” he said. “This is the top bit of it but also travelling here with all the stuff and making our way through the middle of the desert.”
His journey to 100km/h and then 120, he insisted, was straight forward but, as the descent ran out, the increased speed was harder to come by.
“It’s hard to reach top speed,” he explained. “After 160, each km/h is a huge effort. If you want to reach a certain goal then you have to put it all in.”
Stöckl was a sight to behold on the bike. In a specially designed, figure-hugging suit, he effectively had rudders attached to his legs under the material and a helmet in two parts - the first a normal helmet, the second aerodynamically designed to ensure the less air resistance possible, the logic being the less air resistance, the quicker he could go.
A carbon-fibre helmet, outfit and bike were all tested in a wind tunnel to find the best design and seating position for his latest record attempt.
But perhaps the most notable part of the record attempt is that the bike is one that you or I could put together… albeit with some effort and expertise.
“It’s a standard mountain bike so there’s no part on the bike that you cannot buy,” he added. “Sure, it’s a high-end bike with the best parts of it but you can buy any part, nothing has been specially made.”
The preparation to get there included testing runs on all manner of surfaces from the snow of home to the Chilean mountains, including his fair share of falls, unsurprising with the speeds in question.
Whether this latest record has quenched his thirst for the record books remains to be seen. Lying on the ground fresh after the attempt, he spoke of a desire to return home to his family.
But after his previous record in Nicaragua, he said the fires still burned inside. That volcano run, in his mind, “wasn’t fun enough - it wasn’t a real challenge”. But in Chile he claims to have “found that”.
“It’s important that it feels like an adventure,” he said. “We are travelling to another continent, heading into the desert for countless hours, sleeping in tents under the mountain with a good bunch of guys – it all makes for so much excitement. You never know what is going to happen from a start point before you try it."
The footage, firing out a cloud of dust visible from some distance, suggests the record itself was fairly straightforward but Stöckl admits to being perpetually on the precipice of just one wrong move, his only protection being a built-in airbag to his riding outfit.
“When above 160km/h, each and every extra kilometre per hour requires an enormous effort. If you want to get an idea of the air resistance, you only have to stick your hand out of the car window when you’re driving at 150 or 160 km/h. This force has an impact on the bike and the entire body. Even though I’m no weakling, physically it is something that I have to contend with too!”
Check out RedBullTV for the full documentary coming out on April 20.
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SkyRunner’s hybrid composite chassis, carbon fiber body paneling and fighter jet inspired cockpit is like something out of a James Bond movie, but this ultimate adventure vehicle isn’t afraid to get dirty. Maxxis Bighorn tires supply the traction and FOX Piggyback shocks are ready to tame any off-road terrain. When you’re ready to bug out, there’s no need to look for an asphalt runway. SkyRunner can take flight with just 450 feet of terra firma.
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Otago, New Zealand
A compressed nitrogen filled cylinder exploded aboard the Emerald Princess cruise ship berthed in Otago yesterday, hitting and killing a crew member, before flying over the railings onto the wharf below.
The cylinder exploded at about 5.15pm on board the Emerald Princess cruise ship, which was docked at Port Chalmers near Dunedin. The Fire Service said four fire crews were sent to the scene to ensure the cruise ship staff had everything under control. They have since left the area.
Police said no-one else was injured and they will be investigating the death on behalf of the Coroner. Worksafe and Maritime New Zealand have also been consulted. One of the firefighters, Cory White, said the large cylinder became a projectile and hit the man.
He said the cylinder continued flying before landing on the wharf next to the ship. Mr White says the cylinder powered a gantry that lifted the lifeboats on and off the ship. He said the cylinder was similar in size to the 45kg tanks used at homes around the country. Mr White said nobody was yet sure what happened, but it appeared the cylinder's top valve assembly was damaged. He said there were still about 300 passengers trying to get onboard at the time of the explosion, and had to be contained in a nearby shed.
A Princess Cruises spokesperson said initial reports indicated the explosion "happened during some technical work on the hydraulic launching system on a tender vessel".
"We are working closely with local police and other authorities and assisting in their response and inquiries. We are deeply saddened that a member of Emerald Princess' crew was fatally injured in the incident. Emerald Princess is currently on a 12-night round trip cruise from Sydney to destinations in New Zealand."
Staff at the local library, about 100 metres away from the cruise ship, said they heard a loud bang that sounded like a container falling on a wharf, and library patrons rushed outside to see what it was.
Mr Plunkett said the scene had been cordoned off by the police and he did not know when the ship would sail. The spokesperson for the cruise line said the ship would only sail when it had permission to do so from authorities. It was due to depart for Fiordland at 6pm today. The Emerald Princess can cater for 3000 passengers and a crew of 1200.
Australia's Best Weekend Island Getaways
There’s something about the fresh spray of saltwater on your face as you embark on a boat trip that lets you know that the everyday routine is far behind you. It’s almost like if you have to cross the ocean to embark on a holiday then it feels more like a getaway than if you had stayed on the mainland. So we set about finding some island escapes close enough to the city that you can get away just for the weekend but will make you feel like a million miles away when you get there.
Some of our island escapes are already firm favourites with many of their city’s residents. But maybe you’re new to the city or visiting on business during the week and want to extend your stay for the weekend. Our criteria was simple: you must be able to reach your island destination in maximum 2-3 hours travelling time, you must cross a sea, ocean or other large body of water to get there (preferably by boat) and you must be able to stay overnight.
Here are our picks for weekend island getaways from each of Australia’s capital cities.
It’s amazing to think that there is an island so close to Sydney’s CBD that you can paddle there in a kayak, watch the New Year’s Eve harbour fireworks from it and also have the option to camp overnight in a tent. Cockatoo Island is a great weekend escape from Sydney simply because it is in the middle of busy Sydney Harbour. But don’t expect a traditional island holiday with white sand beaches, palm trees and a pool to lounge around. Cockatoo Island is more about simple pleasures. It’s the largest island in Sydney Harbour and is UNESCO World Heritage listed. It takes about 30 minutes on the Parramatta ferry to reach Cockatoo Island from Circular Quay. A good way to kick off your weekend away is to take an inexpensive, self-guided audio tour to learn more about the island’s rich maritime and convict history. Then make your way to a choice of accommodation including a heritage-style holiday house, harbourside apartments, or pre-erected tents (from those with basic equipment to the more luxury style glamping). Dining options are limited to mostly breakfast and lunch but there’s several cafes to choose from during the day. At night head to the Island Café for a very laidback drink and pizza option on the terrace. You can also self-cater within your accommodation or in one of the 10 camp kitchens provided. One of the island cafes also supplies BBQ or picnic packs for this purpose. As far as activities go, choose from a hit of tennis on the wonderful grass courts (complete with harbour views), or hire a small boat for some water-based exploring, or just head out for a leisurely walk. The island is also a regular host of events and exhibitions so check the website for the latest news.
Lord Howe Island
We’re probably cheating a bit by including Lord Howe Island because it’s not a destination you could conceivably reach by boat if you only had a weekend to spare. But the sheer beauty of this island means Sydney-siders can have a fantastic couple of days’ getaway for a less than two hour flight. Lord Howe is not a large island at just 11km long and 2km wide so it’s easy to get around and see the sights by bicycle or by hopping on and off the shuttle buses that regularly traverse the island. Lord Howe was World Heritage listed in 1982 for its rare collection of flora, fauna and marine life which has resulted from its isolation, being about 660km from the mainland. It is one of only four islands in the world that has this listing and it’s a real treat for nature lovers. One of the highlights is fish feeding off Ned’s Beach. You will be literally surrounded by colourful and exotic fish within seconds of entering the water with fish food. Better still you can hire snorkels and get up close and personal with the marine life. We found the idea of an honesty box system to pay for your snorkelling gear and fish food was charming. It gives you an idea of how relaxed the people are on Lord Howe Island, which is probably helped by the fact that the island can only hold 400 visitors at any one time. If it’s something more adventurous you are after, Mt Gower provides a climbing challenge taking eight hours and providing some rope-assisted hair raising moments on the way to its peak. Elsewhere there are a number of more sedate and well sign-posted bushwalks. Most are a stroll through lush canopies of Banyan, Pandanus and Kentia Palms and feature some of the 60 or so other species of flora found on the island. There are plenty of water-based activities including kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, fishing off Blinky Beach for Australian salmon, or a short boat ride to the tiny Admiralty Island for snorkelling in the Island’s Marine Park. There is a wide range of accommodation on the island ranging from 5 star retreats, lodges, apartments and bed and breakfasts. You’re also spoilt for choice with restaurants and self-catering options. Lord Howe provides an opportunity to visit one of the world’s most unspoilt island destinations right in our backyard. The only problem is going to be that a weekend will not seem like enough of an escape from the city. This one may need a few nights more!
Phillip Island may just be one of Melbourne’s most well-known tourist destinations but you may be surprised how few of the city’s residents have actually made it home for a weekend getaway. Located about 140kms south east of Melbourne, the island is accessible by boat or ferry but is also the only island in this feature that you can drive your car to via a bridge connected to the mainland. We hesitated to exclude it from this list because we think its many attractions make it hard to beat for a short island stay so close to the city. Most people know Phillip Island for one of two things: the penguin parade or the annual motorcycling grand prix. Before we get to them, we’re going to focus on all the other things the island has to offer. Firstly, 60% of Phillip Island is farmland devoted to sheep and cattle. One of the highlights of a visit here is the Churchill Heritage Farm which gives a glimpse into what life used to be like before the island became a tourist destination. The daily animal show provides a charming side show to its more well-known attractions. The other benefit of being a farming community is the fresh produce and Phillip Island’s restaurants and cafes provide plenty of opportunities to enjoy local food and wine. Secondly, the island has some of the best and most consistent surf in Victoria. Head out to Nobbies to see nature’s wild coastal scenery in action. If you’re a serious surfer then head to Cape Woolamai while beginners and leisure paddlers will find the more gentle surf at Smiths or Berry’s Beach a better pick. Thirdly, Phillip Island is a cyclist’s dream as it is mostly flat terrain. Other activities include tackling the island’s maze, mini golf, riding in go karts, petting animals at the wildlife park or visiting the Vietnam Veterans War Museum. The heart of Phillip Island is the seaside town of Cowes. It’s a laidback fish and chips type of place. There’s a good choice of accommodation options ranging from budget to luxury resort. Finally, the nightly penguin parade is really worth the visit. These adorable little creatures really do provide some entertainment. Just remember, bring your jumper. And do come to stay a night or two instead of rushing down for just a day trip.
If Phillip Island is one of Victoria’s best known tourist destinations then in contrast French Island is one of its best kept secrets. It is actually the largest island off Victoria’s coast but is not large by island standards. It’s closer to Melbourne than its more famous neighbour and accessible only by passenger ferry from the mainland or from Phillip Island. More than 70% of the island is national park and if it is a tranquil escape you’re looking for then French Island fits the bill. The island itself is quite isolated with no mains electricity or water. There’s one small general store and just a few accommodation options. The options for getting around are by bicycle or walking. But note that the roads are sandy and unsealed so they are better suited to mountain bikes. Bushwalking is very rewarding as the island features more than 600 species of flora and 234 bird species. It is also home to Australia’s largest koala community. This largely unspoilt eco system is perhaps best appreciated in the many wetland areas or during spring when wildflowers are abundant. The island was a penal settlement from 1915 to 1975 and you can still visit the old prison farm or try the Bayview Chicory Kilns for another interesting side trip. Chicory was farmed here until the 1960s and the kilns can still be fired up while you sip a cup of chicory coffee and indulge in a Devonshire tea at the café. The McLeod Eco Farm has rustic accommodation but also features organic produce in their restaurant. There is also several bed and breakfasts on the island. French Island is a wild, incredibly private and back-to-nature experience that is hard to imagine so close to a bustling city like Melbourne.
Brisbane residents are spoilt for choice with more offshore islands in close proximity than any other capital city. But locals are most likely to name Stradbroke Island, or “Straddy” as it is affectionately known, as their favourite. Stradbroke Island can be reached in about 45 minutes by car from Brisbane and then another 25-45 minutes by boat depending on whether you take the passenger or vehicle ferry. There are two parts to the island – North and South – which are split by a narrow body of water. North is by far the more populous with three townships with permanent residents; Dunwich, Amity Point and Point Lookout. Dunwich is the gateway to the island and provides a good overview of its history with its award-winning museum. It is also the access point for the two wonderful inland lakes – Brown Lake, whose water is infused with the tea trees that line it, and the tranquil Blue Lake National Park. Amity Point is roughly halfway between Dunwich and the third township, Point Lookout. It is known for its fishing, family atmosphere and sunsets. This is the place for fresh seafood straight from the trawlers that operate from the jetty here daily. But it’s Point Lookout that many visitors head to for the island’s fantastic surf beaches. The iconic headland pub is a must visit for a casual lunch on the lawn while the local gelati café is too good to miss. There are endless white sand beaches with rolling surf from Point Lookout down the length of the island but from this point on it is 4WD access only with no facilities. The island has a rich Aboriginal history with the carpet snake (rainbow serpent) Kabool a powerful symbol for the island. There is a Heritage Trail in each township highlighting the Aboriginal culture. The thriving artist community’s work is showcased at the Pandandus Palm Resort Art Gallery. During the migration season, Point Lookout is the best land-based vantage point for whale spotting from the Queensland coastline. The North Gorge Walk from Point Lookout is fantastic at any time of year but is particularly good for whale and dolphin spotting. North Stradbroke Island also features many water-based activities – diving, snorkelling, fishing, kayaking and surfing. Accommodation options are many and varied and range from camping to holiday homes, apartments and resorts. South Stradbroke Island is a much quieter alternative to its northern neighbour. There is one main resort on the island with the limited options in other locations being camping or holiday homes. The south island has the same natural features of bushland, wetlands and long white sand beaches as the northern part. However, it is more accessible for boating and arguably better fishing than the north.
Another firm favourite for Brisbane residents is Moreton Island although it’s not as popular as Stradbroke Island simply because it is less accessible with a 4WD being necessary to get around. However, a few more accommodation options with 4WD transport mean it is now easier than ever to visit and stay at this stunningly beautiful island. Moreton Island is 98% National Park. It is the third largest sand island in the world and driving across sand dunes and along beaches is a feature of getting to many places on the island. It is also quite a large island being 44 kilometres long and 13 kilometres wide. The ferry to reach the island takes 75 minutes from its Brisbane bayside departure point. Many people come to Moreton for its fishing and the annual Moreton Island Fishing Classic is a huge drawcard for serious anglers. You may also be attracted by the chance to scuba dive or snorkel around the shipwrecks off its coast. And if those sand dunes make for some adventurous driving they are also heaps of fun to toboggan down. While Moreton Island has traditionally been known as a destination for camping, accommodation options now include glamping and holiday units and there’s also a five star dining option. Finally, Moreton Island has its own resort at Tangalooma on the site of an old whaling station. Tangalooma is known far and wide for its hand dolphin feeding, which occurs nightly along with educational talks on their habitat and protection. This is one of only a few opportunities in Australia to get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures and is worth the trip just to experience it. Tangalooma Resort offers a wide variety of other activities including Segway tours, parasailing, helicopter rides, and ATV quad bike rides. The resort has a number of accommodation options ranging from hotel rooms, villas, apartments and holiday houses.
Kangaroo Island is one of those magical places that you can visit for a couple of days but you’ll left wanting to spend a whole lot more time there. Firstly, it’s Australia’s third largest island after Tasmania and Melville (see our Darwin story). Given its size you need a car or a tour bus to get around. From Adelaide it is a one and a half hour drive and then a 45 minute ferry trip so you need to put aside at least a couple of nights to make the trip worthwhile. The island is about 100km wide and many of its highlights are spread across the island. The main township is Kingscote but accommodation is spread around half a dozen or so coastal and inland locations. Places to stay are varied from six star private lodges to camping and caravanning and everything in between. The island has a strong agricultural focus including commercial fishing. Be sure to follow the Farm Gate and Cellar Door Trail to experience the amazing fresh produce including honey, lobster, oysters, olive oil, native jams, cheese and salt. There are also 30 wineries on the island. But it is the natural wonders of Kangaroo Island that make it so special. Flinders Chase National Park on the extreme south west of the island features breathtaking and rugged coastal scenery including large rock formations where seal colonies dwell. Apart from some fantastic bushwalking opportunities you also need to get out on the water to spot whales, dolphins, sharks, sting rays and a large number of sea birds. Like most other islands, Kangaroo Island benefits from being isolated and thus able to preserve its wildlife species. But given the island’s large size, the sheer number of animals means you will regularly encounter them. Koalas are frequently spotted dozing in gum trees while the large and quite distinctive dark kangaroos are abundant at dusk. The island also plays host to a wildlife park, a fantastic Birds of Prey show, a reptile park, nightly pelican feeding and penguin tours. An absolute highlight for us was the opportunity to walk among a large Australian sea lion colony nesting on a National Park protected beach. Kangaroo Island is known for a number of regular events including its monthly farmers markets, art exhibitions and the annual Kangaroo Island Cup horse race. For its sheer beauty and diversity of geographic features and wildlife this is an island that any visitor to South Australia must visit.
It was a bit of a challenge to find an island getaway from an inland capital city but we managed to find an option within a few hours of Canberra, off the south coast of NSW. Montague Island is a nature reserve run by the NSW National Parks service. Overnight stays are available accompanied by a guide or on a self-guided basis. The guided tours provide an opportunity to spend some time volunteering in conservation efforts for the fairy penguin colony that resides on the island. Both options feature accommodation in the restored Lighthouse Keeper’s cottage which can sleep up to 12 people. This 4.5 star guesthouse features 5 private bedrooms and a smaller assistant’s cottage for more intimacy. There are communal reading rooms, lounges and a large kitchen as well as wide verandahs, secluded courtyards and a view from every room. The lighthouse was built in 1881, stands 21 metres tall and was de-manned in 1987. Montague Island is a wildlife lover’s delight. It is a breeding ground for NSW’s largest colony of fur seals and home to thousands of fairy penguins. Boat tours offer the opportunity to swim with the seals and frolic with pods of dolphins. It’s also a great location for whale watching during migration season (June/July and September to November). Charter fishing trips regularly catch tuna, marlin, kingfish and blue eye cod. Bird watching enthusiasts can identify up to 15 species. Montague Island isn’t a destination suited to everyone but if it’s a very private, quiet and natural escape you’re after it is well worth the trip from Canberra.
About an hour from Hobart lays Bruny Island and while it’s just a short hop away from the capital it feels like it’s another world. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the island’s famous afternoon cruise past some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs to the point that the Tasman Sea meets the Southern Ocean. This is one of nature’s great shows as waves crash against each other and large birds of prey and albatross circle above. Along the way you will cruise past “Breaking Rock”, deep sea caves and large numbers of seals sunning themselves on the rocks. Bruny Island is also famous for its surfing breaks at Cloudy Bay, the ruggedness of the South Bruny National Park and the shallows at Daniels Bay for bird spotting one of 130 species including the Black-faced Cormorants. Right on the southern tip of the island is the iconic Cape Bruny Lighthouse, built in 1838 and one of the oldest continuously operated lighthouses in Australia. Another way to get a feel for the geography of the island is the climb up “The Neck”. It’s a lot of steps to climb but the stunning views in both directions from the top make it worthwhile. From here you can look down on the narrow strip that connects North and South Bruny Island and the location provides a spectacular sunset. There’s a tragic story of some Aboriginal women’s fate on The Neck that only makes the isolated scenery more dramatic. Coming down from The Neck at dusk you may be lucky enough to see little penguins scurrying back to their burrows from a hard day fishing out at sea. After all the outdoor experiences the island has to offer, its fresh produce is a welcome treat. The Berry Farm is a great option for a meal featuring food all grown, harvested or made on the island. Get Shucked Oyster farm is the place to experience the freshest seafood while the cheese factory, winery and smokehouse are also worth a visit. Art lovers should pay a visit to the gallery, Art at the Point. Given its windswept location, accommodation options centre on the cosy self-contained cottages, holiday homes and luxury camping. The island combines the best of what Tasmania has to offer: spectacular scenery, wildlife and fine foods.
The Tiwi Islands are unlike any others featured in this story so far. Just 80 kilometres off Darwin and accessible by boat or plane, their remoteness and natural state provides a unique coastal Aboriginal experience. The island group is made up of the larger Bathurst and Melville Islands and nine smaller uninhabited islands. There are two main reasons to come to the Tiwi Islands; fishing and the cultural experience. There are a number of lodges that organise fishing tours and by all accounts for keen fisherman it’s like fishing heaven. But even the fishing tours combine the cultural experience to help support the local economy and give visitors a taste of an ancient Aboriginal culture. Indigenous Australian art is an important part of this indigenous experience. The Tiwi Islanders produce mainly fabric, pottery and wood carvings. Fabric design, printing and clothing has been produced by the local women since 1969. The fabric design uses wax in the dyeing process to produce an effect similar to the batik of the neighbouring Indonesian islands. Wooden carvings often take the form of birds. The birds feature in Tiwi mythology and can represent natural events such as monsoonal rains or cyclones. Pukumani (burial poles) are another carved item that are unique in design to the Tiwi culture. They feature symbolic and mythological figures. Guests to the island are encouraged to visit the local communities and sample some genuine bush tucker. It’s a hot and steamy climate to a visit to the large swimming holes at Tomorapi and Taracumbie Falls are a welcome relief. The Tiwi Islanders are also passionate about sport and a highlight is to catch a local AFL or cricket game. The Tiwi Islands are a fantastic slice of untouched Australian coastal landscapes with their pristine white sand beaches and jungle environment. But it’s the people that will prove to be the highlight. The Tiwi Islander’s warm smiles and willingness to share an ancient culture are what makes a visit here unique.
Fist Published in Pacific Traveller Magazine Edition 1, December 2016.
JETSTAR LAUNCHES$259 FLIGHTS TO HAWAII, IN JETSTAR BEACH SALE !!
We have got some of the best beaches in the world, but we still get off on a good beach holiday overseas. Now, thanks to Jetstar (again) international beach destinations are cheaper than ever to get to!
Jetstar has launched a huge Beach Sale to help our endless summer continue. Low fares to domestic and international holiday destinations including Bali, Thailand and Hawaii are on offer, but the best prices available would have to be the Sydney to Hawaii ticket at $259 one-way, but if Asia is more your thing, Melbourne to Singapore will only sting you $189, Sydney — Bali for $219 and Melbourne to Phuket for $189 are mindbogglingly good.
Travel periods are between March and November, so for those who don’t like the cold, it’s an ideal winter holiday.
There are also a bunch of cheap as shit local tickets too...
Be Quick - The sale ends on Valentine’s Day.
Fares are one-way, web-only and meals and checked baggage are extra.
SOME OF JETSTAR’S BEST BEACH SALE FARES INCLUDE:
• Gold Coast — Sydney — $45
• Melbourne (Avalon) — Gold Coast — $49
• Brisbane — Whitsunday Coast — $55
• Maroochydore — Sydney — $59
• Sydney — Whitsunday Coast — $65
• Melbourne — Whitsunday Coast — $89
• Sydney — Bali — $219
• Melbourne — Phuket — $189
• Sydney — Hawaii — $259
• Melbourne — Hawaii — $269
• Melbourne — Singapore — $189
• Sydney — Auckland — $125
PACIFIC TRAVELLER CITY HIGHLIGHT
SAN FRANCISCO, CA.
Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, the beautiful city of San Francisco, California in the
United States of America, is one of the world’s most popular Pacific mainland destinations.
Things you must see or do:
San Francisco is best known for the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, which was once named the “bridge that couldn’t
be built”. The bridge opened in 1937 and crosses the strait between San Francisco and the Marin headlands. The
bridge was constructed over a period of 4 years, with 11 lives lost during the building process as workers faced
winds, fog, rock and dangerous ocean tides. It stretches for 1.7 miles and is bright orange in colour. No doubt
you’ve seen it on many TV shows, the least of which is the opening credits of Full House.
From the inception of film to present day big-screen productions, the San Francisco Bay Area has always been a magnet for scouts seeking dramatic movie locations. The unmatched beauty of San Francisco combined with its riches of instantly recognizable structures and locales has attracted filmmakers from around the world. This tour is one of the most fun and best things to do while you're in San Francisco!
Right now, thanks to Pacific Traveller and San Francisco Movie Tours, you can WIN one of 2 Double Passes for San Francisco's #1 rated new tour. Visitors, including first timers and veterans alike, delight in experiencing the well-known sights and landmarks of San Francisco in a new and exciting way with San Francisco MOVIE TOURS ®!
You will watch actual movie clips on the 'Theater-on-Wheels'® big screen, as you pass by locations made famous by classic and contemporary movies. Guests get a unique perspective on the history of San Francisco simply by following its cinematic past. Your enthusiastic and interactive actor-turned-guide provides behind-the-scenes information and trivia about San Francisco and your favorite films.
One of the most famous forms of transport in San Francisco is the cable car. They've been around since the late 1800s
and run on tracks (with underground cables). You can hear the bells throughout the city.
San Francisco is home to the most amazing Chinatown. It’s like a city within a city and is filled with shops,
restaurants, markets, temples and museums. Its a great place to go if you want to test your fortune with some
cookies or enjoy some of the tastiest Chinese food in the US.
In the bay itself, Alcatraz Island is home to the famous Alcatraz prison. Alcatraz was a federal prison that housed
some of the worst felons America has ever seen, including notorious gangster Al “Scarface” Capone. It was
open from 1934 until 1963 and in that time, though there were many attempts, no prisoner ever escaped. Most
were captured, some shot and others drowned or were presumed drowned. There were typically around 275
prisoners at one time, with one guard for every 3 prisoners. Prior to 1934, it was a military prison. Today, there
are numerous tour operators that take visitors to the island and its well worth the visit.
Alcatraz Cruises is the official ferry provider to Alcatraz and back. Departures start at 9:30 AM and are available every half an hour throughout the day. However, please note that these cruises frequently sell out, so as much as possible, plan and book your cruise in advance, especially in the summer and on holidays.
To purchase tickets, view the schedule and/or for more information, visit the Alcatraz Cruises web site at www.alcatrazcruises.com
If you love shopping, take yourself to the famous Union Square where you’ll have the opportunity to shop at
some of the world’s most exclusive designer boutiques. The Westfield Shopping Centre is home to the second
largest Bloomingdale’s (after New York) and second largest Nordstrom in the country.
There’s so much to see and do in San Francisco - if you’re planning a trip, be sure you stay a while! And don’t
forget to take a dip in the Pacific while you’re there!
To see what's happening in San Fran when you are heading there, head here: http://www.sftravel.com/explore/activities
WHAT'S ON IN SF?
50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love in 2017
In 1967 nearly 100,000 young people converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, turning San Francisco into the epicenter of a cultural phenomenon known as the Summer of Love. During this transformative time, music, fashion, art and new ideas flourished and there was a feeling that everything was possible.
That feeling never left the city. The young hippies that gathered in the city 50 years ago, and the sons and daughters of those who wore flowers in their hair, went on to stand up for civil rights and the environment, dared to question authority and still flock to the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, forever linking the city to the counterculture and the ideas it launched, nurtured and spread.
For visitors to San Francisco in 2017, the 50th anniversary will be a celebration with major exhibitions at some of the region’s top museums, special events and concerts looking back at the Summer of 1967 and exploring what that period meant then and now. The celebration will also include a range of service and volunteerism events inspired by the original Summer of Love.
San Francisco Travel and the California Historical Society have joined forces on the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. Celebrating this rare moment in history, the California Historical Society provides the detailed factual and cultural context for this seminal summer through its own exhibition and work with cultural partners such as the de Young Museum. San Francisco Travel is the go-to resource for visitors planning a trip, including must-see events, itineraries and tours that follow the footsteps of some of the greatest musicians of all time.
COMMONWEALTH GAMES PROJECT BRINGS INTERNATIONAL-STANDARD MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS TO SOUTH-EAST QUEENSLAND
The Gold Coast is now home to South East Queensland’s first international standard mountain bike trails – five kilometres of new and upgraded trails in Nerang National Park.
The trails are part of a $3.2 million Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games project, and were officially opened today by Queensland’s Minister for the Environment and National Parks Dr Steven Miles and the City of Gold Coast’s Deputy Mayor Donna Gates.
Australian company Dirt Art teamed up with Gold Coast track builder and former mountain bike racer Nathan Rennie to complete the cross country mountain bike course, which will start and finish at the Gold Coast Cycle Centre during the Games.
It includes fast flow trails and slow-speed steep and technical trails – funded jointly by the Queensland Government, Australian Government and the City of Gold Coast.
Deputy Mayor Donna Gates said the new trails and cycle centre upgrades would offer fantastic opportunities to grow the sport of mountain biking.
“We have the 2017 national championships coming, and the thrill of seeing mountain biking at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games,” she said.
“These upgrades provide an ongoing legacy for the wider community including road cycling clubs and additional users of the clubhouse such as Kokoda Challenge, yoga, pilates and meditation groups.
Federal Minister for Sport Greg Hunt said: “The Nerang bike trails will allow the community to use this facility in the lead up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The bike trails will be a draw-card to encourage tourists and the local community to get active outdoors and explore the Nerang National Park.
A revolutionary new life saving device is on it's way, curated by a Portugese Performance Industrial Engineer company "Noras Performance". The device, called the "U Safe" can be thrown into the water in virtually any conditions, and be guided very promptly to someone in need of help via remote control.
The concept will make rescues in open waters, and from beaches far easier and safer to perform, and as a precautionary measure on ships and vessels, will be an invaluable accessory.
It's not clear when the device will be available, but when it is, it is guaranteed to save some lives.
#news #adventure #ocean #mypacific
After nearly three days of searching, on Friday February 3rd divers found the body of conservationist and filmmaker Rob Stewart.
The commander of USCG Sector Key West Capt Jeffrey Janszen confirmed that a Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department dive team found Stewart’s body just 300 feet from his last-known position near the deep-water dive on Queen of Nassau wreck off Islamorada.
The search effort included two Coast Guard helicopters, an agency airplane, several boat crews with US Customs and Border Protection, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and numerous private citizens using their own boats and aircraft. Nearly 6,000 square miles of ocean were searched over the course of three days.
Rob Stewart was filming the next of his Sharkwater series when he and other divers surfaced between 5 and 5:30pm on Tuesday. His dive partner was pulled into the boat unconscious. When the crew turned to retrieve Stewart, he was no longer there. The crew believes he was unconscious as well. Stewart was using a rebreather at a depth of 225 ft – deeper than he had dived previously. He was originally reported missing at around 5:15pm tuesday.
In Tweets today, the Coast Guard confirms that an ROV was used to aid in locating his body and also held a press conference just an hour or so before the announcement of the recovery.
Stewart is most famous for Sharkwater, a 2006 documentary that examines global shark-hunting. His second documentary, Revolution, won a number of awards at international film festivals. It was the highest-grossing Canadian documentary in 2013.
Sadara Boutique Beach Resort Bali
Only $99 deposit! 5 nights at 5 star Sadara Boutique Beach Resort Bali for 2 with transfers, ALL meals and ALL drinks, massages, free shuttle service & more!
WHAT YOU GET!!
Pay a deposit of only $99 plus any applicable surcharges are due at the time of purchase in order to secure your date!
5 Nights ALL INCLUSIVE Couples Package for 2 Adults in a Sadara Classic Room includes:
5 nights accommodation for 2 adults in a 42 square meter Sadara Classic Room with private balcony or terrace
Return private airport transfers
15 minute relaxing welcome foot massage per person.
Daily Full Buffet Breakfast for 2 adults at Rasala Kitchen offering a wide selection of breakfast favourites and fresh juices.
Daily Lunch for 2 adults at Rasala Kitchen offering both international and local Indonesian dishes plus some healthy alternatives.
Daily Dinner for 2 adults at Rasala Kitchen where the restaurant transforms into a ‘pasar malam’, a night market style serving Bali’s street food stalls as well as international dishes and delicious sweets. Dinner may also be enjoyed at scheduled themed night dinners served outdoors in the garden by the beach.
Daily free flow drinks including cocktails, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages including mineral water, juices, local beer, local selection of wines and local spirits such as gin, vodka, whiskey and rum. Option to upgrade to a premium drinks package available.
Daily minibar restock of refreshments.
Daily afternoon tea with assorted cakes, tea & coffee served at Wave Beach Club by the beach.
2 x 30 minute massages at Sunaina Spa for 2 adults (4 in total).
Free scheduled shuttle service to Nusa Dua shopping complex.
Complimentary fruit basket in room on arrival
Welcome drink and cool towel upon arrival
Travel available through until 30 September 2017!
No black out dates!
7 Nights ALL INCLUSIVE Couples Package receive all of the above PLUS:
3 x 30 minute massages for 2 adults (6 in total).
UPGRADE to a FAMILIES package! 5 or 7 Nights ALL INCLUSIVE in 2 x interconnecting Sadara Classic Rooms for 2 Adults and up to 2 Children 15 years of age and under:
All of the above inclusions for two adults with accommodation in 2 x interconnecting Sadara Classic Rooms for 2 adults and up to 2 children.
Children also receive all meals and all drinks plus return airport transfers.
Room for one additional child. Extra charges apply, refer Fine Print.
Travel available through until 30 September 2017!
No black out dates!
Value up to $9,321!
Please see ‘Fine Print’ for travel period.
CHOOSE YOUR OPTION
DEPOSIT ONLY - 5 NIGHT package in a SADARA CLASSIC ROOM for 2 Adults including DAILY Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, DAILY Free Flow Drinks, Return Airport Transfers, Daily Afternoon Tea, Massages and MORE! (TOTAL COST $1,499) Value $3,616
DEPOSIT ONLY - 7 NIGHT package in a SADARA CLASSIC ROOM for 2 Adults including DAILY Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, DAILY Free Flow Drinks, Return Airport Transfers, Daily Afternoon Tea, Massages and MORE! (TOTAL COST $1,999) Value $5,031
DEPOSIT ONLY - 5 NIGHT Family package in a 2 x SADARA CLASSIC ROOMS for 2 Adults & 2 Children 15 Years of age & under including DAILY Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, DAILY Free Flow Drinks, Return Airport Transfers, Daily Afternoon Tea, Massages and MORE! (TOTAL COST $2,249) Value $6,680
DEPOSIT ONLY - 7 NIGHT Family package in a 2 x SADARA CLASSIC ROOMS for 2 Adults & 2 Children 15 Years of age & under including DAILY Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, DAILY Free Flow Drinks, Return Airport Transfers, Daily Afternoon Tea, Massages and MORE! (TOTAL COST $2,949) Value $9,321
Joe Clarke might have been one of the surprise gold medalists for Team GB back in August but he now has visions of being one of the greatest in Canoe Slalom history.
Clarke battled his way past a high quality field to pick up his first major individual gold following four team medals in previous World and European Championships.
His exploits saw him become a star in his home country overnight with a trip to meet the Queen and the awarding of an MBE following his return to Great Britain.
The 24-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent is now back in competition mode, finishing second on his return to the water at the Oceania Championships in New Zealand on January 29.
Clarke’s hard work is paying off and he is determined to keep the medals coming for the rest of his career.
He revealed, “I have ticked off Rio, I am looking to go towards World Championships, European Championships, World No.1 and World Cup overall winner.
“There are a lot more accolades out there and challenges to be had, that is the main plan, to push on from the accolades I have already got and be the greatest of all time.
“I was sat there in the Rio water with Peter Kauzer and he said ‘I’ve got the other titles but you pipped me to gold this time’. He said I have done it the right way around, because it is the hardest to win.
“Hopefully I can tick off a few World’s, Europeans and World Cups and then I’ll have them all to my name.”
How has life changed since that memorable day in August? “Life has just gone crazy,” Clarke said.
“I thought I would be able to come back, enjoy myself and take a holiday but it has been the complete opposite!
“Meeting the Queen is one of those things that you can’t really pay money to do. You have to be invited to see her. For her to come and meet the athletes and actually come up to me, ask me some questions and show her gratitude for our performances for the country was just fantastic and it is something I will remember for ever.”
Nepal Fines Guiding Company for False Everest Summit Claims
Remember the story of the Indian couple who faked their Everest summit last spring? It was a husband and wife duo by the name Dinesh and Tarkeshwari Rathod who said they had reached the top of the highest mountain on Earth, only to discover later that they had faked their summit photos and never really made it above Base Camp. The two Indian police officers would later receive a 10 year ban on climbing in Nepal, and have been suspended from their jobs ever since. Now, the Nepali government is taking action against the guiding company that led them to Base Camp for also falsifying information.
According to The Himalayan Times, the Rathods were led to Everest BC by a company called Makalu Adventure, which is now being fined $4000 for submitting fake claims to the Department of Tourism in Nepal. Representatives from the company submitted falsified documents in order to obtain summit certificates for Dinesh and Tarkeshwari. But of course, the couple never reached the summit, and that had to have been known by the Sherpa guides, who first corroborated their claims, but then later backed off as the scrutiny intensified.
Under Nepal law, the government there has the right to fine Makalu Adventure as much as much as Rs 25,000, which is roughly $230. But, in this case, the DoT has elected to keep the company's $4000 garbage deposit, which is money that guide services put down in good faith, with the idea that it will be returned to them following an expedition, provided they pack out all of their garbage.
The ruling was just made within the past few days after members of the Department of Tourism spoke with Furba and Fursemba Sherpa, who were members of the team. Those two guides have been out of contact for months, but finally were able to come forward and be interviewed about the situation. They testified that the Rathods never went above 6000 meters (19,685 ft), and therefore couldn't have summited the mountain as they – along with Liaison Officer Ganesh Prasad Timsina and Makalu Adventure – had claimed.
Initially, representatives from Makalu Adventures blamed the Sherpas for the false reports, but that doesn't actually seem to be the case. The entire incident has Nepali officials reviewing the country's current laws and policies governing mountaineering, including the use of liaison officers, who have been the subject of much scrutiny recently due to the fact that most never even go to Everest Base Camp with the teams they are suppose to be working with.
The whole affair has been a messy one from the start. Hopefully now it will be put behind us and we can start thinking about the spring climbing season ahead. It isn't as far off as you might think at this point.
Australian Parachute Federation to host World Championships on Gold Coast in 2018Skydiving over the stunning Gold Coast is on many people’s bucket list and for the world’s elite parachutists, it is now a reality.
Delegates from the Australian Parachute Federation (APF) recently travelled to Portugal for the International Parachuting Commission (IPC) Annual General Meeting, where over 50 parachuting nations met to decide the host for the 2018 World Parachuting Championships. Ten skydiving disciplines are contested every two years at a World Championships with the prestigious event being held in Chicago, the Czech Republic and Dubai in recent years.
APF CEO Brad Turner said: “Australia submitted a bid over six months ago, to host the event right here on the stunning Gold Coast. Our delegates did a fantastic job in Portugal and the vote went in our favour – I am very excited to announce Gold Coast, Australia has been chosen as the venue for the 2018 World Parachuting Championships.”
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said the 2018 World Parachuting Championships was another win for Gold Coast tourism.
“We know the 2018 World Parachuting Championships will bring close to 1000 international skydivers to the Gold Coast,” Ms Jones said.
“This event will drive more visitors to the Gold Coast, boost the local economy and support tourism jobs.
“It’s a great new addition to Queensland’s events calendar secured by the Palaszczuk Government through Tourism and Events Queensland in partnership with the City of Gold Coast.
“Events on the Gold Coast are flying high with the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018), Supercars, Magic Millions and Gold Coast Marathon all locked in for the 2018.”
The event will be held at the Sports Super Centre – located in the suburb of Runaway Bay - where skydivers will land, pack parachutes and practise routines before leaping from aircraft some 14,000 feet above the Gold Coast.
APF National Development Manager Rob Libeau said: “Spectators are welcome to come along and watch and interact with the athletes. Large LED screens around the venue will broadcast competitions live, as they are scored by the judges.”
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the selection of the Gold Coast reinforced the city’s reputation as a leading events destination.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the sky or on the ground, the Gold Coast is a world class events
city, offering a host of other top notch attractions,” he said.
Sports Super Centre Director Brendan Flynn said: “We are already an official training venue for the Commonwealth Games, so it is very exciting news for our centre - and Gold Coast sport in general - to be hosting the World Parachuting Championships in the same year. It’s another example of a great GC2018 legacy.”
The 2018 World Parachuting Championships – Gold Coast, Queensland, is supported by major partners – Tourism and Events Queensland and Gold Coast Events.
APF extends its appreciation to all those who’ve supported the bid, including City of Gold Coast, the Sports Super Centre, Runaway Cricket Club and Southport Flying Club.
The 2018 World Parachuting Championships – Gold Coast, Queensland will be contested at the Sports Super Centre from the 7th to 13th October 2018.
New airlines, direct services, the upgrading of aircraft and increased flights to/from several global destinations all contributed to a 5 per cent year on
year growth in international passengers through Brisbane Airport (BNE) in 2016. International passenger numbers grew by nearly 256,000 to more than 5.4 million travellers in 2016.
Domestic passenger volumes also increased by 1.7 per cent to more than 17.2 million, or
281,000+ more travellers than 2015. In total, BNE’s passenger numbers – domestic and
international – grew by 2.4 per cent to nearly 22.7 million for the year.
While business travel ensured passenger numbers between capital cities was strong,
intrastate leisure routes appear to have benefitted from increased international services
The Brisbane - Cairns route achieved the strongest intrastate passenger growth (3 per
cent), the third strongest passenger growth amongst all domestic routes, and the highest
average load factor of any major route in BNE’s network (83 per cent).
Julieanne Alroe, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO and Managing Director, said it is
no coincidence that Brisbane Airport’s success in attracting new and additional
international airline services directly benefitted intrastate ports.
“Tourism Research Australia statistics show that international passengers who arrive in
Australia through Brisbane Airport stay far longer in Queensland than if they came in
through any other airport in Australia.
“When they stay longer they travel further throughout Queensland – to Cairns and the
Tropical North, to the Gold Coast, to the Whitsundays and up the road to the Sunshine
“We are absolutely committed to working with our regional counterparts to get the best
connectivity for Queensland and share the benefits of the hard work being done to build
Brisbane as the gateway to Australia,” Ms Alroe said.
Highlights for 2016 include:
• Air Canada launching daily BNE-Vancouver services
• China Eastern launching four times weekly BNE-Shanghai services
• Qantas commencing three times weekly (now daily) BNE-Christchurch and daily
Port Moresby services.
• Singapore Airlines increasing BNE-Singapore frequency to 24 weekly
• Philippine Airlines increasing frequency on Manila-Darwin-BNE route
• China Airlines increasing BNE-Taipei frequency from three to four weekly
• EVA Air increasing BNE-Taipei frequency from two to five weekly
• Etihad Airways upgrading to B789 aircraft
• Fly Corporate launching services between BNE and Coffs Harbour, Armidale,
Narrabri, Moree and Tamworth
• Jetgo launching BNE-Albury services
Major events hosted in Brisbane and Queensland including The Brisbane International
Tennis, World Science Festival, CMC Rocks QLD Country Music Festival, World
Outrigging Championships, and the Wallabies vs South Africa match also contributed to
increased passengers through BNE.
BAC/BNE’s other notable achievements for 2016 include:
• Best Airport (Australia/Pacific) 2016 Skytrax World Airport Awards
• Top rated Australian airport for quality of service for 12 consecutive years by
• Ranked 4th in Best Airports in the World (servicing 20-30 million passengers),
and 17th in the World’s Top 100 Airports list, up from 20/100 in 2015
• ‘Australasia’s Leading Airport’ in the 23rd World Travel Awards 2016
• The release of BAC’s FY16 Sustainability Report, developed under the Global
Reporting Initiative (GRI) Framework
• Attaining Level 3 Optimisation under the Airport Carbon Accreditation program;
• Being the first airport in Australia to formally commit to celebrating and promoting
the traditions, laws and customs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, with a
Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) officially endorsed by Reconciliation Australia.
BNE achieved 5 per cent year on year growth in international passengers, boosting
traveller numbers by nearly 256,000 to more than 5.4 million travellers in 2016.
BNE started 2016 with 21 airlines operating internationally and finished with 23 with Air
Canada’s launch in June 2016 and China Eastern launching year-round services in
The launch of services to Vancouver and Shanghai boosted BNE’s international network to
28 by the end of 2016.
The busiest day of the year at the International Terminal was on Christmas Eve with
19,565 arrivals and departures in a 24 hour period.
Japan (+66 per cent) was joined by Canada (+49 per cent), Korea (+22 per cent), China
(+4 per cent) and USA (+8 per cent) in the top five international growth markets*.
Domestic passenger figures grew by 1.7 per cent to over 17.2 million, or 281,000+ more
travellers than 2015.
In 2016, Fly Corporate launched five routes, increasing the number of domestic airlines at
BNE from eight to nine.
With the launch of Jetgo services to/from Albury in June, BNE’s domestic network
increased to 47 destinations.
The strongest intrastate passenger growth was on the Cairns city pair, which also ranked
third amongst all domestic routes. Cairns services also achieved the highest load factor
amongst the top 10 domestic city pairs.
NRL games held in Brisbane were a major contributor to travel to/from Townsville.
Capacity to/from intrastate ports continued to fall as airlines responded to mining industry
fluctuation which led to demand from the FIFO (fly-in fly-out) segment declining.
September school holidays were a catalyst for travel with 62,649 passengers travelling on
16 September, making it the busiest day of the year at the Domestic Terminal.
Brisbane Airport Traffic performance – 2016 calendar year
The information contained in this document is for information purposes only. Brisbane Airport Corporation Pty Ltd (BAC) provides no warranty as to the
content or accuracy of the information provided or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. BAC does not
accept liability for any errors or omissions in the contents of this document or for any loss of profit or other damages resulting from the use of this
In 2017, BNE looks forward to:
• Strong international passenger growth driven by two recently launched carriers
and routes: Air Canada and China Eastern.
• Canada and USA market growth with Air Canada’s daily direct BNE-Vancouver
service launch in June 2016, travel to/from Canada is expected to grow in
popularity. The airline has also to-date proved a boost to USA visitor volumes.
• Chinese visitor growth will strengthen as China Eastern Airlines commenced
Shanghai-BNE services in December 2016. The market may also be further
stimulated by the implementation of the Australia-China ‘Open Skies’ agreement,
and the designation of 2017 as the Australia-China Year of Tourism.
• Taiwanese market growth is anticipated thanks to China Airlines and EVA Air
capacity increases in late 2016. Further growth in the Taiwanese visitor market
could also be stimulated by the implementation of the Australia-Taiwan ‘Open
• Other capacity increases including Etihad’s new B789 configuration from 235 to
299 seats (since December 2016), Cathay Pacific up gauging its daily non-stop
BNE-Hong Kong service to its brand new A350 in April 2017, and Singapore
Airlines increasing from 24 to 28 weekly services in August 2017.
• Major events in the Brisbane catchment area which are expected to boost
international passenger traffic: Isagenix 2017 (conference) in March 2017, Ashes
Series (cricket) and Bledisloe Cup (rugby) in November 2017.
“While business as usual continues at the terminals, our extensive $3.8 billion
infrastructure program continues in 2017 with our International Terminal and apron
expansion, Domestic Terminal northern apron expansion, a new Domestic Regional
Satellite terminal and an upgraded Entry Control Point at the International Terminal, to
name but a few projects,” Ms Alroe said.
“The jewel in our crown, Brisbane’s New Runway, is also entering its next exciting
construction phase, so travellers can expect to see works commencing on site there, as
well as new and improved facilities across the airport.
“Most of all, we look forward to continued collaboration with our airline, industry and
business partners in growing Brisbane and Queensland’s profile as the most efficient and
preferred gateway airport to Australia,” she said.
* January – November, excluding passengers on board Norfolk Island services.
Photographer Credit: Richard Ström/Red Bull Content Pool
FREESTYLE SNOWMOBILE RIDER LANDS HISTORIC FIRST DOUBLE BACKFLIP IN SWEDEN.
Daniel Bodin has beaten his freestyle rivals Colten Moore and Heath Frisby to the first successful double backflip in history on his custom built snowmobile.
The swashbuckling Swede was in a race against time to outdo the Americans’ attempts, which are due to take place at the Winter X Games in Aspen at the end of January.
After a series of test jumps, the 31-year-old gunned his snowmobile towards the kicker in a forest glade on his home snow of Malung and completed two full backflip rotations.
Not only that, the snowmobile motocross star managed to land his 450lb (204kg) vehicle back down safely from 45 feet in the air.
Previous high-profile attempts at the elusive trick by Levi LaVallee at the 2009 Winter X Games and Justin Hoyer in the 2011 event both came up short, however Bodin was confident that he could finally wrap up the holy grail of tricks.
He declared: “I did it! I can’t believe I did it! The rush! It just can’t be described - nobody in this world can understand the feeling. I have nurtured the dream about nailing this trick for more than two years.
“I have always felt that this trick was mine and I simply couldn’t let anybody else beat me to it. But pulling off a double for the first time in a competition didn’t feel right. I wanted to do it without the pressure and in an environment that I could control.”
Bodin will leave Moore and Frisby to try it themselves in Aspen, his focus elsewhere this time around.
He added: “I have focused so hard on the double in the past months. Everything else was put on hold. Now I’m looking forward to X Games and a chance to ride the Freestyle and Best Trick competitions with an easy mind. I hope I still can surprise.”
The multiple Winter X Games gold medallist first came to the sport’s attention when he landed the world’s longest backflip of 147 feet nearly a decade ago.
He also managed to battle back from a 2012 horror crash that fractured five vertebrae to continue his gold medal haul, along with a near 215-feet jump off a ski jump slope.
from $239 - 3, 5 or 7 nights in 5 star luxury at Jambuluwuk Oceano Hotel in Seminyak #DEAL #mypacific
The newest addition to the Seminyak strip is now here. Jambuluwuk Oceano offers five star facilities and service at amazing value. Complete with an outdoor pool, children's playground and sun terrace, the hotel is situated 600 m from Petitenget Temple and surrounded by the best restaurants and nightlife Bali can deliver. From Potato Head to Mamasam Restaurant, all is just a short distance away, including the newly opened The Seminyak Square Shopping Mall housing all the latest designs.
Every room comes air-conditioned with a flat-screen TV and satellite channels. All rooms include a private bathroom, with bathrobes and slippers for extra comfort. Enjoy a cup of tea from your terrace or balcony. You will also find a gift shop in-house and for dining alternatives, enjoy a buffet meal, a la carte menu or in-room dining if you want to kick back in your room.
Stay 3, 5 or 7 Nights at the Jambuluwuk Oceano Seminyak Hotel. Start off with your airport pickup you arrive to the hotel greeted with a welcome drink and cold towel. Wake up to your daily breakfast and receive a 1x 30 min massage. If staying 5 nights you receive a return airport pickup plus 2 x 30 min massage and those staying 7 nights get a return airport pickup, 3 x 30 min massage and 1x cocktail per person.
As this hotel is very popular, the availability may not match the calendar. If you require specific dates, please contact Seminyak Travel & Adventure before you buy your voucher so we can check availability for you
This 30 sqm room offers Wifi, 40” flat screen television with cable channels, tea coffee making facilities, mini bar, telephone, hair dryer and safe deposit box.
This 35 sqm room double room has a balcony and offers Wifi, 40” flat screen television with cable channels, tea and coffee making facilities, mini bar, telephone, hair dryer and safe deposit box.
This 40 sqm room double room has a pool view balcony and offers Wifi, 40” flat screen television with cable channels, tea and coffee making facilities, mini bar, telephone, hair dryer and safe deposit box.
Junior Suite room covers 45 sqm and facilities include Wifi, two of 40” Flat Screen Television with Cable TV in bedroom and living room, tea and coffee making facilities, mini bar, telephone, hair dryer and safe deposit box, and has separate living room.
This room covers a huge 65 sqm and features a king sized-bed & 2x twin beds. Facilities include WiFi, 40" flat screen television in each room, tea and coffee making facilities, mini bar, telephone, hair dryer, safe deposit box and 2 bathrooms with bathtubs.
Flat-screen TV with satellite channels
Tea/Coffee Making facilities
Bath or Shower with all amenities
Executive Lounge Access
Upper floors accessible by lift
Entire unit wheelchair accessible
Safety Deposit Box
Discover the stunning beauty of Phuket’s exclusive Surin Beach with a seven-night stay at Manathai Surin Resort, recent winners at the 2016 World Luxury Hotel Awards.
The Offer - $499
Experience the famous Thai hospitality with a stay at the impressive Manathai Surin Phuket Resort. This sensational package includes seven nights accommodation for two adults, daily international buffet breakfast, a complimentary lunch and dinner for two at Pad Thai on-site restaurant, and two 30-minute massages to use during your stay. Relax in a stylish Deluxe Room with free Wi Fi, and spend the days alternating between the resort swimming pools and secluded Surin Beach, only steps away. With an on-site spa and highly trained spa technicians ready to work their magic, this luxury Phuket package is the perfect way to relax the mind, body and soul.
Manathai Surin Phuket
The award-winning Manathai Surin Phuket is an elegant, 66-room boutique resort at the edge of Surin Beach, on the west coast of Phuket. It's a short 30-minute drive from Phuket International Airport, and within easy access to an array of dining, shopping and entertainment venues. Blending traditional Thai aesthetic with modern design, it offers award winning, stylish accommodation.
Location: Surin Beach, Phuket
Surin Beach is far from the hustle and noise of Patong. Known as 'Millionaire's Row' due to the number of celebrities holidaying in the area, it's more like a coastal village than a busy resort town. Surin offers a vast array of high-end restaurants, wine bars and beach bars including a free daily shuttle to the famous Bliss Beach Club 10 mins away.
Enjoy a good night’s sleep on the crisp cotton sheets of the large Queen bed, and start your day full of energy to go to the beach or explore Phuket. Each Deluxe Room features an en-suite bathroom with separate shower and bathtub, plus fragrant complimentary amenities.
- Air conditioning
- Daily housekeeping services
- Linen and towels
- Tea/coffee-making facilities
- Bathrobes provided
- Complimentary fruit basket
- Cable/Satellite TV
- Room safe
- 2 swimming pools
- 24-hour reception and concierge
- 24-hour security
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Room service
- Luggage storage
- DVD library
- Private airport transfer services
- Motorbike and car rental
- On-site parking
- Childcare services
- Activities and tour services
PLEASE SEE FINE PRINT FOR MORE IMPORTANT INFORMATION
* PLEASE NOTE: all vouchers/booking dates must be confirmed by 31st May 2017.
Futuristic living is certainly approaching quickly. Plans for the world’s first floating city have been unveiled to begin construction in the Pacific in two years' time in a deal signed with the French Polynesian government.
The Seasteading Institute concept is described as a permanent, innovative community floating at sea and has been in processes for the last five years waiting for a host nation to trial the project.
The government of French Polynesia, a tiny Pacific state made up of over 100 islands, expressed interest in the project as rising sea levels is a very real threat to them and a permanent floating city could be an innovative way to deal with future displacement.
However, they specified two objectives the project must prove before plans can go ahead: The city must benefit the local economy and it must prove environmentally friendly. If these can be met, draft legislation will be drawn up next year and construction is expected to begin in 2019.
The plans so far only consist of computer-generated designs of what the cities may look like, but the plan will ensure the floating community to include healthcare and medical research facilities, aquaculture farms, and sustainable energy plants.
The design is based on a plan for floating platforms that can be rearranged according to each city’s specific needs. The platforms will be made from reinforced concrete and be able to support three-story buildings such as offices, apartments, and hotels for up to 100 years. With around 250 to 300 residents to begin with, the city is predicted to cost around $167 million.
Whether it really will be feasible remains to be seen, but you can’t fault the institute for its imagination or the French Polynesia for attempting to address the future threat to its people now.
SEE THE FULL DETAILS HERE...
One of the best ways to enjoy the waterways or ocean is by kayak, and the best way to finish a kayak journey is with an icy cold beer.
With this great new product we've found, the Creek Kooler Portable Kayak Cooler, you can now enjoy an icy cold brew at the half way point... or for the whole journey.
Designed with dual wall construction and top quality insulation resulting in superior ice retention. The CreekKooler navigates behind your kayak or canoe providing easy access to your favorite beverages, food and ice. Finally a great cooler that’s at home anywhere, especially in the water. This amazing portable floating esky holds 30 beers and enough ice to keep them icy all day. oh, and it also features four drink holders for that extra bit of convenience. There’s a foamed insulation to keep everything cold all day and a threaded water-tight lid that will prevent any unwanted water from entering the sacred chamber of brews.
Reinforced tow points help it to stay with you when you are kayaking.
You can buy them here: Creek Cooler