Sydney International Boat Show

There is a slight change of venue for the 47th Sydney International Boat Show (July 31 to August 4). While the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre undergoes a major upgrade over the next three years, the Sydney International Boat Show will move its undercover exhibits to the interim facility that has been specially built at the historic working port known as Glebe Island.

The new Sydney Exhibition Centre @ Glebe Island is a fully functioning exhibition facility designed to accommodate world class exhibitions. The spectacular Cockle Bay Marina, always a show highlight, remains on its traditional site in Darling Harbour.

The focus of the Sydney International Boat Show is the promotion of diverse boating lifestyle, and the event provides the perfect forum for visitors to get information on the latest boats, equipment and services. Whether you’re new to boating or a professional skipper, the show offers everything you need to get started and enhance your time spent on the water. There will be an array of first-class entertainment as well as educational displays and informative guest speakers.

If you are coming from out of town for the Sydney International Boat Show, Rydges World Square and the new Rydges Sydney Central are both handy, both being a short and easy walk from Darling Harbour.

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City 2 Surf 2014

Not many sleeps until the Sun-Herald City 2 Surf 2014 on Sunday, August 10 and if you are coming from out of town for the event, Rydges can ensure you get a good night’s sleep the night before or after the race.

The race is 14km in distance and starts at the intersection of Park and College Streets in the CBD. Runners (and walkers/wheelers) head up William Street, through the Kings Cross tunnel, along New South Head Road through Rose Bay and up ‘Heartbreak Hill’ – that’s the halfway point – the course continues through Vaucluse, takes a right at Old South Head Road then onto Military road and down the hill to the finish line at the southern end of Bondi Pavilion. This year, Bondi ‘local’ Redfoo will DJ at the start line to get everyone in a party mood as well as warmed up for the race. The 2014 race already has 70,000 participants entered and there’s almost $2.5million raised for charities.

The Elite Wheelchair athletes head of first (7:50am), followed by the seeded, preferred and the Sun-Herald Red Start competitors. The Gold Charity start is at 8:00am followed by the Sun-Herald Green Start at 8:05am, the LAN Airlines Blue Start at 8:30am, the Westpac Yellow Start at 9:05am and the Orange Back of the Pack at 9:30am.

Rydges World Square and the new Rydges Sydney Central are both handy to the City 2 Surf 2014 race start and Rydges Sydney Airport is convenient for any competitors and/or spectators flying in with a special package for competitors.

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Master Your Gadget

The Wodonga Library is a pretty cool little institution that has more than books including classes on how to master your gadget. You can research local history and family history plus there are a number of regular events. These include story time sessions, author visits, a Young Writers’ Group, trivia nights, Playstation playoffs, a Manga and Anime Club, a Scrabble Club, free internet access and classes on using computers, internet and social media.

This is the one that caught your humble blogger’s attention. Until August 26 you can book a 30-minute session between 9:30am and 11:30am and learn to master your gadget – your smart phone, tablet, camera or laptop. It costs absolutely nothing and you can get more info or book on (02) 6022 9300. And I get the feeling that they don’t have a librarian who goes “Shhh!”

The library is at 126 Hovell Street in Wodonga (co-located with Arts Space Wodonga and next to The Cube) and opening hours are 9:30am to 6:00pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; Thursday open from 9:30am to 8:00pm and Saturday from 9:30am to 12:30pm (closed all Victorian public holidays and they take a short break from Christmas Eve to January 2).

Here’s a link to the library website and if you are visiting the area, Rydges Albury will give you the warmest of welcomes and look after all your accommodation needs.

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August in Auckland

There’s a heady mix of entertainment, sport and fashion this August in Auckland.

Cirque du Soleil returns from August 22 at Alexandra Park Raceway with a spectacular show called Totem under the much-loved blue and yellow Big Top. Totem traces the awe-inspiring journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly.

The cast features 47 performing artists from 15 countries specialising in many breathtaking acrobatic acts. Totem marks Cirque du Soleil’s second collaboration with acclaimed theatre and film director Robert Lepage following KÁ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Somewhere between science and legend, Totem explores the ties that bind mankind to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential.

To Eden Park and breathtaking acts of the rugby kind. It is the all-important second Bledisloe Cup match between the All Blacks and Australia on 23 August at 7:00pm. There’s nothing like the atmosphere at NZ’s largest stadium and the Aussies absolutely hate playing there for that reason.

New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW) is the only international fashion event in New Zealand, and is a platform for Kiwi designers to promote their collections. You can catch it at the Viaduct Events Centre from August 25.

The first three days of the event feature designers showing forward season collections to international and domestic media, buyers and industry spectators and their own invited guests. The fashion loving public gets their chance to experience New Zealand’s most fashionable week, with Resene Designer Selection (RDSS) shows running on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night; fantastic entertainment for the ultimate girl’s night out. With at least three garments from every designer at NZFW on the catwalk, the RDSS show is the longest of the week and comes with an amazing goodie bag for everyone who attends.

If you are visiting Auckland, Rydges Auckland can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Afghanistan Hidden Treasures in Perth

You can discover Afghanistan Hidden Treasures in Perth at the Western Australian Museum until Sunday, November 16 (9:30am to 5:00pm).

This is a remarkable exhibition of stunning artefacts revealing Afghanistan’s rich culture. Afghanistan was at the heart of the Silk Road, the trading route travelled by Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Marco Polo, linking ancient Iran, Central Asia, India and China, and the more distant cultures of Greece and Rome.

Visiting Australia for the first time, this exhibition from the National Museum in Kabul, has more than 230 priceless treasures, some thousands of years old. This is a rare opportunity to discover the surprising, untold story of the long and extraordinarily rich culture that is Afghanistan.

For years these artefacts were thought lost or destroyed as war and instability shook the country. In 2003, they were uncovered from vaults in the central bank of the presidential palace, where they had been placed in secrecy by a few courageous staff from the National Museum.

As well as the actual treasures, discover stories of bravery that protected these precious artefacts of gold, bronze and stone sculptures, ivories, painted glassware and other ancient works of art.

Tickets cost $20 for adults, $12.50 for children aged 5 to 15, $15 concession/concession card holder, $50 family (2 adults and 2 children or I adult and 3 children), kids under 5 free.

If you are visiting Perth, Rydges can look after all your accommodation needs.

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An Evening with Helen Clark

You are invited to spend An Evening with Helen Clark at Rotorua’s Civic Theatre at 7:30pm on Wednesday, August 13.

This special evening has been organised by Rotary Sunrise Rotorua with Spark Business Hub Rotorua. It is a rare opportunity to hear one of the world’s most highly achieving and respected women. The Right Honorable Helen Clark ONZ SSI was the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand, holding office for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2008. She has been the Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (third highest UN position) since 2009. In 2006, Forbes magazine ranked her as the 20th most powerful woman in the world – this slipped to 50 in 2012 and this year rose again to 23rd position.

From 2002 to 2011 she was patron of New Zealand Rugby League and has served as patron of the Mt Albert Lions rugby league club for over 20 years. In January 2009, two months after losing office, she was voted Greatest Living New Zealander in an online poll conducted by the New Zealand Herald.

Helen is currently actively engaged in battling poverty and inequality worldwide. You will gain a fascinating, unique view from this high-flying Kiwi achieving on the global stage and all funds raised are to benefit youth programs in Rotorua.

If you are visiting Rotorua for An Evening with Helen Clark, Rydges Rotorua can look after all your accommodation needs.

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NRL Grand Final Tickets

NRL Grand Final tickets go on sale Thursday (July 31). You would need to be truly psychic to pick which two teams will do battle for the 2014 premiership and the Proven-Summons Trophy.

Round 20 of 26 rounds has just been completed and the ladder is showing the tightest of competitions with 12 teams sitting in the Top Eight vying for a finals finish. The only team that has kicked away is Manly, sitting up top on 30, 4 points clear… but that may not be enough to guarantee a Minor Premiership – they still have to play some eager teams in the Brisbane Broncos, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Parramatta Eels, Penrith Panthers and the North Queensland Cowboys. All those teams are currently in the Top Eight and need the two points that come with a win because if it comes to deciding on for and against points there will be some sorry losers. Drawing on my psychic abilities – Melbourne Storm vs Penrith Panthers.

If you are travelling from outside Sydney for the NRL Grand Final on Sunday, October 5, Rydges Parramatta is only minutes from ANZ Stadium and has accommodation packages that include return transfers to/from the match and if you are flying in, Rydges Sydney Airport can look after your accommodation needs.

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Stars of the Tokyo Stage

You can catch Stars of the Tokyo Stage at the National Art Gallery in Canberra until October 12 – entry to the exhibition is free.

Stars of the Tokyo stage: Natori Shunsen’s kabuki actor prints reveals the dynamic world of Japan’s kabuki theatre through superb actor portraits created by artist Natori Shunsen (1886–1960) in the 1920s and 1930s. A selection of spectacular kabuki robes further illustrates the extravagance of the theatrical form.

An inspiration to artists for centuries, kabuki draws on Japan’s rich folklore, literature and history, as well as violent, romantic and scandalous events, to present lavish dramatic performances. Kabuki actors – the movie stars of their day – were wildly popular for flamboyant portrayals, extraordinary characters and colourful personal lives. Shunsen’s prints provide a fascinating glimpse into this glamorous world, while demonstrating consummate mastery of traditional Japanese printmaking techniques.

Exclusively from the National Gallery of Australia collection, Stars of the Tokyo stage explores kabuki and modern Japanese printmaking in the context of the astounding changes taking place in Tokyo as the 20th century unfolded. The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue and primary and secondary education resources.

There is also a live Kabuki performance on Saturday, August 30 (3:00pm to 4:30pm) when Za Kabuki perform the popular drama Sukeroku and the cherry blossoms of Edo. Places are limited so booking are essential. Cost is $15 adults, $10 members/concessions and $8 children under 16.

If you are visiting Canberra, Rydges Capital Hill can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Kate Miller-Heidke in Canberra

You can catch Kate Miller-Heidke in Canberra on Saturday, August 23 at the Canberra Theatre Centre. Coming off a rock-solid musical foundation, the Brisbane lass is getting a huge following as well as high critical acclaim.

Kate Miller-Heidke in CanberraThe singer’s classical training (she has degrees in music from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and the Queensland University of Technology) takes her indie pop to a very special place.

Kate will be performing with a full band including her long-term collaborator, guitarist, backing vocalist and hubby, Kier Nuttall and musical genius John Rodgers on violin and piano.

She’s original, super-talented and dynamic on stage. For those unfamiliar, there is a video of Kate’s version of You’re the The Voice below (Johnny Farnham even gets a mention).

“Kate Miller-Heidke is a genius. Her unique mix of operatic singing and pop music is a thing of beauty.  Her voice is much more than a supremely versatile instrument – it’s a weapon.” The Mercury Tasmania

“The finest vocals in Australian music… O Vertigo! is stunning” The Border Mail

“A career-best album. Miller-Heidke hits it out of the park… O Vertigo! is an album of smart, challenging and mature pop music.”
Rolling Stone

If you are visiting Canberra to see the show (support act Ryan Keen from 7:30pm to 8:10pm, interval and Kate from 8:30pm to 10:00pm), Rydges Capital Hill can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Sports Events Coming Soon

There are a number of terrific sports events coming soon to Allphones Arena and ANZ Stadium and Rydges Parramatta is just minutes away.

On Friday, August 8 The WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) gladiators do battle at Allphones Arena, Olympic Park. Action aplenty with the fans’ favourite wrestlers including John Cena, The Shield, Big Show, Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Chris Jericho, Erik Rowan, Bray Wyatt, The Wyatt Family, Kane, Rob Van Dam, Cesaro, the USO’s, Emma and Seamus.

On Sunday, August 10, ANZ Stadium hosts one of the most anticipated matches in A-League when the Foxtel-A-League All Stars take on the mighty Italian Juventus.

And on Saturday, August 16, it is Bledisloe Cup time with (hopefully) the Wallabies having a home advantage over those pesky All Blacks. Kick off is 8:00pm at ANZ Stadium. Rydges Parramatta has a great Events Package that includes overnight accommodation in a Queen Room, full buffet breakfast for two in Stock Café and return transfers to the game. Or, if you’d just like the transfers without the parking hassle, you can get the shuttle included with a dinner (includes a beer, wine, sparkling or soft drink at The Winning Post Bar) for $35 per person.

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