Good News and More

It is a case of good news and more at Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel. Being located right at Sydney’s international airport Rydges, naturally, hosts guests from many different countries who speak many different languages and who like to keep abreast of what is happening in their part of the world and that’s why the hotel recently gained a number of additional television channels.

Guests can now enjoy channels like EuroNews (multicultural world news from a pan-European perspective), France24 (breaking news on business, sports and culture), Arirang TV (cultural features, documentaries and language programs), international channels in Spanish, French, Swiss-French, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Arabic plus channels for special interests like Military & Agriculture, Music, Chinese Opera, Society & Law, Science & Education and Talk Shows. There’s also 24-hour Tamil movie television, a Syrian channel with news, soap operas and lifestyle, breaking news from the South Sudan, Kuwait Radio and Bethel Church TV.

Of course, there are also many free-to-air and cable channels in English to be enjoyed on your 42-inch flat screen television. For all your accommodation needs, visit Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel.

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Australia Daze

Was it a case of Australia daze for PM Tony Abbott? This blog is not a forum to push any particular political agenda BUT I am yet to talk to anyone, Labor or Liberal voters across a spectrum of generations, who agrees with the Prime Minister awarding Prince Philip an Australian knighthood. Even the Queen and Sir Phil himself must have gone, “What was he thinking?!” If for no other reason than Her Royal Highness now has to arrange for hubby to get down on his 93-year-old knees while she dubs him with a heavy sword. And he already has so many honours and awards to pin on his chest it’s a wonder he can stay upright when in uniform (his full title below).

This is nothing against the Royal Consort. As long as he doesn’t ad-lib too much he has done an admirable job for a very long time… but the reintroduced Australian knighthoods and damehoods were meant for service by outstanding Australians… and Tony neglected to consult with his ministers and senior advisers… and all the publicity overshadowed the achievements of the other knight recipient, Sir Angus Houston and the worthy Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty.

Yep, rather than scraping barnacles off the bottom of the good ship Government it seemed an anachronistic gesture that whacked another big one right up the front of the hull. Also, to disregard the social media objecting comments as “electronic graffiti” also showed a less than adequate evaluation of modern communication.

Oh well… time will tell if he can ride it out. That’s one thing about boxers, even if they have no hope of winning, they still come out fighting.

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Philip’s full Royal Title: His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Grand Master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Member of the Order of Merit, Knight of the Order of Australia, Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand, Extra Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu, Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada, Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Canadian Forces Decoration, Lord of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, Privy Councillor of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom.

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Bill Burr in New Zealand

He’s 46. He’s an American writer, actor and comedian. In fact, he’s known as “the comedian’s comedian” and he is an insightful, funny guy who loves doing stand-up comedy. If you would like to catch Bill Burr in New Zealand he will be appearing at the Auckland Town Hall on Tuesday, February 3 and in Wellington at The Opera House on Wednesday, February 4.

Bill Burr in New ZealandBill’s career is pretty varied – his voice featured in the video game, Grand Theft Auto IV, he has had his own one-man shows on television, he appeared in the movie Date Night and the TV series, Breaking Bad, as Patrick Kruby and he is about to write, produce and star in an animated sitcom called F is for Family. This show is based on Bill’s stand-up comedy and the absurdness of political correctness.

Being a ‘comedian’s comedian’ doesn’t necessarily mean you have the best one-liners or hard-hitting jokes – it means your work is admired and appreciated by other professional comedians. In short, it is the type of material that makes other go – “Wow, I wish I could think like that… and find the way to express the thought.”

This is not to say you won’t find some coarse language and laugh-out-loud jokes in his live show… but many people will also nod knowingly at some of his statements, like this one…

You’re a kid, your whole life is awesome. It’s awesome, right? You had no money, no ID, no cell phone, no nothing, no keys to the house. You just ran outside into the woods. You weren’t scared of nothing. I challenge you to do that as an adult. All your IDs, all your credit cards — just run out of the house with no phone, turn the corner where you can’t see your house, and not have a full on panic attack.

If you are travelling to see Bill Burr, Rydges Auckland and Rydges Wellington can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular

Doctor Who Symphonic SpectacularFans in Perth, Sydney and Auckland don’t need to flag down a passing tardis to catch Doctor Who on tour. After wowing Adelaide on the Australia Day weekend, the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular heads to Perth, then Sydney and then across to Auckland.

The dates and venues are Perth Arena on January 31, Sydney’s Qantas Credit Union Arena on February 7 and Vector Arena in Auckland on February 15.

Featuring a cast of over 145 musicians, actors and singers and presented by the ‘Fifth Doctor’, Peter Davison, there will also be Daleks, Cybermen and a host of other Doctor Who monsters in this musical celebration of the iconic TV series.

Doctor Who Philharmonic SpectacularThe good Doctor has celebrated 50 years of popularity and is still as fresh as tomorrow.

This live musical invasion presents Murray Gold’s captivating musical score performed live, accompanied by specially edited big-screen sequences featuring all incarnations of the Doctor, as a host of real-life monsters stalk the auditorium!

“Evocative and thrilling in equal measure” - Herald Sun

In all cities, Rydges can look after all your accommodation needs at Rydges Perth, in Sydney at Rydges World Square and Rydges Sydney Central (both a walk from the arena) and at Rydges Auckland.

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Lake Parramatta

Over the Australia Day long weekend, for the first time since the 1940’s, lifeguards patrolled Lake Parramatta while locals and visitors hit the water for a refreshing break from the 30 degree heat. As well as the lake for swimming, there’s ample parking, picnicking and BBQ facilities, playgrounds and bushwalking tracks. There is also evidence of the occupation by the Aboriginal Burramattagal clan in the form of shelter caves, hand-stencils, stone flaking, tree scars and midden deposits.

Lake ParramattaLake Parramatta was once home to the largest freshwater lifesaving club in Australia, organised swimming dropped off, as did the water purity, not that it stopped some locals making it an unofficial swimming spot. Following council input the lake is now crystal clear and clean and a fabulous water attraction just 2km from the CBD. Visitors can enter the reserve from Lackey Street via Bourke Street, North Parramatta.

Rather than the designated swimming area being between the flags, the patrolled area is marked out by buoys and the lifeguards will be on duty from 9:00am to 5:00pm on weekends and public holidays until mid-March. The lifeguards use the same equipment and expertise seen at the beach, including rescue boards and tubes. They can also provide first aid and advanced resuscitation techniques.

Lake ParramattaLake Parramatta Reserve is a 60 hectare bush and parkland reserve and the lake was Parramatta’s water supply until 1909.

The reserve is now recognised as one of the most significant and beautiful bushland remnants in Western Sydney. Surveys have identified 67 species of native birds, 12 species of reptile, 5 frog species and 13 native species of mammal, plus several exotic species of birds and mammals living in the reserve.

The reserve is open all year round – the main gate opens at 6:30am and closes at 5:30pm (7:30pm during daylight saving). Rydges Parramatta can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Freo Royale – Fringe in Fremantle

WA’s favourite seaside town will be welcoming the best of cabaret, theatre, comedy, music and art as Freo Royale brings Fringe World to the punters of Fremantle from February 4th – 15th 2015 with over 100 performances in 10 iconic venues across Fremantle.

The jewel in Freo Royale’s crown will be Kings Square Common, as the space just outside MANY 6160 (Old Myer Building) transforms into the hub of the festival with a pop-up bar, delicious food and markets.

Check out these Freo Royale highlights:

Circus Freak Show: Fresh from LAS VEGAS! Join the CIRCUS FREAK SHOW and see our contortionist fit into an impossibly small box! See Fire-Eaters consume red-hot flames! See Machetes juggled through a blindfold! Be amazed by The Bed of Jagged Nails!

The Freo Royale Late Night Gala: A perfect late night feast featuring snippets from upcoming Fringe performances including comedy, cabaret, music and everything in between. Night owls be warned: expect the unexpected…

Bizircus Family Cabaret (FREE): Acrobatics, juggling, comedy, lassoing, human-beatbox, handstands, slapstick, magic and all manner of spectacular silliness. From Paris to Hong Kong, Fremantle’s own circus troupe have audiences swinging between gasps of amazement and fits of laughter.

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Soleil Pool Bar

It’s probably a tad early to be planning how to see in the New Year for 2016 but do keep Rydges South Bank’s Soleil Pool Bar in mind.

Soleil Pool Bar

To see in 2015 the Soleil Pool Bar brought some French Riviera glamour with an indulgent St Tropez New Year’s Eve Cocktail Party for 400+ guests.

Soleil Pool Bar

It was a truly extravagant event with premium beverages, gourmet canapés, beach bar with real sand and night long roving entertainment. There were exotic birds, St Tropez dancers, synchronised swimmers, fire dancers, photobooth with InstaPrinta, DJ’s, live acts and flutter cannons at midnight.

Soleil Pool Bar

The six hour premium drink package included Moet, Moet Ice, Belvedere vodka, Petron Tequila, Havana Club rum, premium beers (Heineken, 150 Lashes, Rogers), Pipsqueak cider and premium wines. Cocktails included Bardot’s Delight, Velvet Downtime, Cospmopolitan, The Queen of Angels, Zombie, Peach Belini, Mojito Royale and Nero’s Revenge.

Soleil Pool Bar

An array of canapés was included in the ticket price thanks to Bacchus Head Chef, Mark Penna – kingfish with smoked oyster , smoked salmon soda bread bites, wild mushroom croquettes, croque monsieur, pizzas (cured meat or margherita) and bambino ice creams.

Soleil Pool Bar
Food stations throughout the venue offered exciting taste sensations like breads, olives & dips, charcuterie, fine cheeses, freshly shucked oysters , Bloody Mary oyster shots, prawns in cocktail sauce (or vegetarian option of lettuce cups with mango salsa), risotto (choice of chorizo, or vegetarian lemon and pea option) and crepes Suzette (served with orange segments & Grand Marnier).

Soleil Pool Bar

There was also the super sweet Dessert Suite (a whole room dedicated to sweets including macarons, Lindt chocolates, chocolate eclairs, chocolate brownies, melting moments, petit fours and many many more sweet delights) with Kahlua nitro ice cream (made like magic in front of you), croquembouche (a towering sculpture featuring dark chocolate and white chocolate profiteroles) and a giant macaron tower.

Soleil Pool Bar

It was a night with at least a year of great memories and anticipation for the next one! Here is a short video shot on the night.

In Brisbane, Rydges South Bank can look after all your accommodation needs as well as arrange events and functions for all occasions.

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Cronulla Surf Retrospect

Cronulla Surf RetrospectThe Cronulla Surf Retrospect happens from now until March 8 to celebrate a century of surfing.

The Sutherland Shire will officially commemorate the milestone on February 7 and there are lots of events in the lead up to that date and after.

February 7, 1915 was the day legendary Olympic swimmer, Duke Kahanamoku arrived in Cronulla to demonstrate his swimming prowess. He was also known as the world’s best surfer and he was also enlisted to give board-riding exhibitions at Manly and Cronulla and thousands of curious spectators turned up to watch him showcase the ancient Hawaiian sport.

Cronulla Surf RetrospectThe Cronulla Surf Retrospect will not only commemorate the Duke’s impact on surfing but also focus on the influence surfing has had on the Shire community since 1915. There will be surfing competitions and titles, charity dinners, the presentation of a replica Duke surfboard and the construction of a Surfing Walk of Fame to honour local surfing champions. There are 13 Cronulla board riders clubs taking part in this special event.

The celebrations kick off across the Australia Day weekend with the Original Source Australian Boardriders Battle at North Cronulla where the country’s 20 top boardriders clubs will fight it out for the Number One spot. Here is a link to the official Surf Retrospect website for more info on events, including the black tie dinner to be hosted by Rydges Hotel.

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Photos – Duke Kahanamoku with some locals (header pic) and Cronulla at Dawn (bottom) from the gallery on the Surf Retospect website.

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St Kilda Festival

This year the St Kilda Festival, Melbourne’s biggest free celebration of summer, happens from Saturday, January 31 to Sunday, February 8.

St Kilda FestivalHosted by the City of Port Phillip, the Festival showcases Australian artists and talents against the spectacular natural beauty of the St Kilda foreshore. The Festival attracts up to 450,000 people to enjoy a huge variety of live Aussie music, visual arts, comedy and workshops with interactive activities suitable for the whole family.

The Festival is a nine day celebration kicking off with Yalukit Wilum Ngargee: People Place Gathering- an Indigenous arts and music event held in O’Donnell Gardens just over a week before the biggest day of the event, Festival Sunday.

Held on the second Sunday in February every year, St Kilda really comes alive when the streets are closed to all traffic when the cream of Australian musicians take to the five stages alongside a huge amount of activities and events.

The bay… the beaches… the bands… the beautiful buildings… there’s really nothing else quite like it. Here is a link to the St Kilda Festival official website for more info on the artists performing, road closures and transport guide etc.

For all your accommodation needs in St Kilda, Rydges in Fitzroy Street will give you the warmest of welcomes.

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St Kilda Sea Baths

St Kilda's Sea BathsLocated right on Melbourne’s best beachfront St Kilda’s Sea Baths have defined the bayside lifestyle since the middle of the 19th Century. Back then swimming from the open beach during daylight hours was prohibited, so bathers had to swim within the baths… something that became increasingly popular when the railway line from Melbourne to St Kilda was built in 1857.

The therapeutic benefits of bathing in natural seawater has been known for thousands of years and at the St Kilda Sea Baths the water comes directly from the sea and is heated to a soothing temperature. There is a 25 metre seawater pool, a hydrotherapy spa pool, unisex aromatherapy steam room and a lounge area with sweeping views of Port Phillip Bay.

St Kilda Sea BathsThere are a number of drinking and dining options like the Beachcomber Café, Republica Restaurant, Captain Baxter’s Cocktail Bar, the Boardwalk Take Out and Encore for functions and events. The South Pacific Health Club is one of the Sea Baths biggest attractions. It has been awarded the Victorian Large Business Fitness Club of the Year and is a world-class facility with state-of-the-art cardio and weights equipment, personal; trainers, mind and body classes plus the indoor seawater heated pool. A bonus for guests stating at Rydges St Kilda – they receive complimentary access to the South Pacific Health Club, just a stroll away from the hotel.

Here is a link to the St Kilda Sea Baths website and, of course, Rydges St Kilda can take care of all your accommodation needs.

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