The Shire Amazing Race

The Shire Amazing Race is going to be a lot of fun with a day full of surprises, prizes, twists, turns and entertainment. Based on the TV show with clues and challenges, it is on Saturday, March 21 and you can register online here. Once you register you will be sent more information and, on the big day, the schedule is…

Arrive at 8:00am at Gunnamatta Pavilion to collect your race pack and at 8:45 get the race briefing with race start at 9:00am. You and your team mate will receive the clue sheet and then it is time to choose your race strategy – do you take time to pre-plan the route to what you think will get you through quickest – or just do the old ‘bull-at-a-gate’ and tackle the clues as they pop up? There could be some turtle & hare, brains versus brawn tactics needed!

The Shire Amazing RaceThe race finishes at 3:00pm and you have to cross the line before that time to be eligible for prizes. While the results are worked out there’s heaps to keep you amused – music, sausage sizzle, drinks, massages and even more challenges if you are up for more fun. At 4:00pm, results will be announced and prizes awarded. Prizes will be given for the most number of points scored in the least amount of time and for fundraising.

There are three categories – there is Competitive – for those who want to take on the opposition and really go for it… there is the Social category for those who want the fun without too much exertion. Run some of the way, jog or walk some of the way, take time out for a coffee and some clue pondering… and there is the Inclusive category for those who want to participate but may need the help of a parent, partner or carer.

The minimum age is 12 years as long as your team partner is over 18 years of age.

The event has been designed for any skill level and a moderate fitness level. The race can be completed at your own pace – whatever you feel comfortable with. As a guide, if you are healthy, can swim 50 metres comfortable and walk at least 10km over a six hour period, you’ll be fine!

There will be 20 amazing challenges throughout Greater Cronulla and included in the entry fee each team will receive a race t-shirt and bib for each member, clue sheet, map, bus timetable, all equipment and props for the activities, free water stations, showbag full of goodies (at the finish), completion certificate, team photo, prizes and trophies for the placegetters and top fundraisers, sausage sizzle and… an amazing day!

If you are visiting Cronulla for the Shire Amazing Race (or any reason!), Rydges Cronulla can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Sydney Mardi Gras

It’s a busy time leading up to the Sydney Mardi Gras and like every year the centrepiece is the iconic parade – with a glittering explosion of LGBTQI pride, lavish floats, cutting satire, fabulous costumes and hundreds of thousands of spectators lining the streets. This year the parade is on Saturday, March 7.

Also on March 7, following the parade, is the “world’s wildest, sexiest and most outlandish all-night party”. Here’s a link to the official website for more on what’s happening and merchandise etc. There’s a lot more than just the party on March 7.

Already much has been happening – there has been Fair Day when the Mardi Gras folk took over Victoria Park with entertainment, stalls and gourmet food for 70,000 of their closest friends…

There has been the Women Say Something gala event and the Harbour Party in the Royal Botanic Gardens on the edge of the harbour. There’s the Pool Party when Ivy Pool Club becomes and oasis of style. And there’s the Sunset Cruise on the harbour (from Man ‘O’ War Wharf) with the party continuing after dark with DJs and shows.

If you are travelling to Sydney to the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Rydges can look after all your accommodation needs. Rydges Sydney Central and Rydges World Square are super handy to Oxford Street and all the action, Rydges North Sydney is just across the harbour bridge and if you are flying in, Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel is perfectly located for arrivals and departures.

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North Sydney Golf Courses

If you are staying at Rydges North Sydney and enjoy whacking a little white ball about, there are a number of excellent and challenging North Sydney golf courses nearby.

The closest is Cammeray Golf Course and it is a fabulous little course (Par 66 for Men and Par 68 for Ladies). There is every chance that the third hole will give you a lifetime memory. It is just 90m for the ladies and 100m for the blokes and there’s probably equal chance of a hole-in-one or the worst hole you have every played – it is steep downhill, heavily bunkered with sharp slopes behind and to the right. The club house has terrific views of the course, Middle Harbour and surrounds. Pardon the pun, here is a link.

North Sydney Golf CoursesThe closest 18-hole is not far away either. Northbridge Golf Club is set in the rugged sandstone escarpment overlooking Middle Harbour. The picturesque course is a challenging Par 64 18-hole course for members and visitors. Link.

Chatswood Golf Club ( top and right) is an 18-hole course located 5 minutes from the Chatswood CBD. It’s been there for over 75 years and whilst it’s a private Club, public players are welcome to enjoy the course. Link.

Castlecove Golf Course allows members and visitors to play a competitive 9 or 18 holes. Link. Established in 1923, Roseville Golf Club‘s challenging 18 hole course winds through the top of an ancient sandstone escarpment overlooking native bushland and valleys and creeks that feed into Middle Harbour. Link. And Lane Cove Country Club is a pretty little course with nine holes and a practice green. Link.

If you are visiting North Sydney for business or leisure, Rydges North Sydney can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Kalgoorlie Golf Course

Visitors to Kalgoorlie are sometimes a tad surprised to find a fabulous golf course in the heart of the goldfields. The Kalgoorlie Golf Course is a first-class, 18 hole grass golf course designed by top course designer, Graham Marsh.

The course is home to the recently amalgamated Goldfields Golf Club and is open to the public by appointment 7 days a week from 6:00am to 5:00pm.  Casual visitors pay $35 to $40 for nine holes and $55 to $65 for 18 holes and clubs and carts can be hired. The clubhouse provides facilities to make the day more enjoyable like showers, club room, catering facilities and golf shop.

The Waterhole Bar & Bistro offers terrific food and value with entrees $11 to $15 and mains around $20 to $22. There is a kids menu and there is an excellent wine list. The Waterhole opens for lunch and dinner on weekdays, as well as breakfast on the weekends. The fully licensed bar is open for coffee and snacks throughout the day.

For bookings phone (08) 9026 2626 or email golf@kalgoorliegolfcourse.com

And, of course, Rydges Kalgoorlie Resort & Spa can look after all your accommodation needs and we have a golf and stay package.

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Peace Train: The Cat Stevens Story

Peace Train: The Cat Stevens Story is at the Darwin Entertainment Centre on Saturday, March 14. Starring Darren Coggan, intimate and accoustic, this promises to be a great night out with Darren telling the Cat Stevens story woven around 23 hit songs like Father and Son, Moonshadow, Sad Lisa, Wild World, Peace Train, Morning Has Broken, Lady D’Arbanville and Sweet Scarlet. For some pretty amazing audience testimonials, check out this page on the Peace Train website.

Peace Train: The Cat Stevens StoryPersonally, I’m not usually a big fan of cover bands or performers but this one is a little bit different – Coggan has taken a snapshot of Cat Stevens after he stopped being Steven Georgiou and before he became Yusuf Islam – that period that saw the albums Tea for the Tillerman (1970), Teaser and the Firecat (1971) and Catch Bull at Four (1972).

Showing my age, but as a student in early 1972, I went to see Cat Stevens at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney. It was simply the best concert I have ever been to and I have seen Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Santana, Elton John, INXS, Jethro Tull, Dire Straits and many others. After a standing ovation and a couple of encores Cat found that he had run out of material, so he let the band go and sat at the grand piano and chatted.

He talked about the album he was currently recording, Catch Bull at Four – he talked about the lyrics, notes and chord variations he had been considering – it was musically beautiful and so intimate it felt like you were the only person invited into his bubble of creativity. It was going on to 1:00am when we left, and not one person departed until Mr Stevens left the stage. Mr Coggan is also no stranger to standing ovations in Peace Train: The Cat Stevens Story. It must help to be channelling an artist of honesty, integrity and genius.

If you are visiting Darwin, Rydges Darwin Airport Hotel and Rydges Darwin Airport Resort can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Second Best Hotel in Rotorua

It may seem strange for the best hotel in Rotorua to be promoting the second best hotel in Rotorua but that’s what’s on at the movies – The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is now showing at Reading Cinemas.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold HotelWhen I was a kid the family would holiday at the same seaside flats each year, as did other families and part of the fun was catching up familiar faces and friends. That’s how I found this movie sequel. Like many people, I loved the original 2012 film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It was actually the third highest grossing movie for that year ($137million) and that gave the producers a lovely return considering they didn’t have to pay for wild car chases or special effects – just for a great cast and a fine location.

On paper it looked hard to see the target audience… who would want to pay to see a bunch of elderly pommies travel to a hotel in India to find something missing in their lives and/or do something unpredictable before they died? Lots of people it turned out. It was simply one of those delightful British comedies with an amazing ensemble cast. Any movie starring Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench and Bill Nighy is worth a look and they certainly delivered… as do the rest of the cast which includes Dev Patel, Penelope Wilton, Diana Hardcastle, Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup. Tom Wilkinson was unable to join the cast for the sequel because he died in the first one, but Richard Gere is on hand to deliver some charm and aging eye-candy.

Some cynics would say that the producers are cashing in by serving up a sequel to an already swayed audience… but they have delivered exactly what that audience wants… it’s like slipping on a favourite pair of comfy slippers. There’s some laugh out loud moments and a few sad moments… like life really… there are a few ‘salty’ lines but no offensive language. Nothing is out of left field (in the Birdman or Grand Budapest Hotel sense) – it is predictable, in a good way, and a rewarding cinematic journey. The trailer below will tell you if it is your kind of movie. I’m glad I checked in for another stay at The (Second) Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly & Beautiful.

Oh! If you are visiting Rotorua, the somewhat biasedly bragging best hotel for your accommodation needs is Rydges Rotorua.

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The Second Best Hotel in Queenstown

It may seem strange for the best hotel in Queenstown to be promoting the second best hotel in Queenstown but that’s what’s on at the movies – The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is now showing at Reading Cinemas.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold HotelWhen I was a kid the family would holiday at the same seaside flats each year, as did other families and part of the fun was catching up familiar faces and friends. That’s how I found this movie sequel. Like many people, I loved the original 2012 film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It was actually the third highest grossing movie for that year ($137million) and that gave the producers a lovely return considering they didn’t have to pay for wild car chases or special effects – just for a great cast and a fine location.

On paper it looked hard to see the target audience… who would want to pay to see a bunch of elderly pommies travel to a hotel in India to find something missing in their lives and/or do something unpredictable before they died? Lots of people it turned out. It was simply one of those delightful British comedies with an amazing ensemble cast. Any movie starring Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench and Bill Nighy is worth a look and they certainly delivered… as do the rest of the cast which includes Dev Patel, Penelope Wilton, Diana Hardcastle, Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup. Tom Wilkinson was unable to join the cast for the sequel because he died in the first one, but Richard Gere is on hand to deliver some charm and aging eye-candy.

Some cynics would say that the producers are cashing in by serving up a sequel to an already swayed audience… but they have delivered exactly what that audience wants… it’s like slipping on a favourite pair of comfy slippers. There’s some laugh out loud moments and a few sad moments… like life really… there are a few ‘salty’ lines but no offensive language. Nothing is out of left field (in the Birdman or Grand Budapest Hotel sense) – it is predictable, in a good way, and a rewarding cinematic journey. The trailer below will tell you if it is your kind of movie. I’m glad I checked in for another stay at The (Second) Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly & Beautiful.

Oh! If you are visiting Queenstown, the somewhat biasedly bragging best hotel for your accommodation needs is Rydges Lakeland Resort.

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Cosentino’s Twisted Reality

You can catch master magician Cosentino’s Twisted Reality tour across Australia in April and May.

Cosentino is a sensational showman who can combine sleight of hand deception, grand illusions and physical feats with spectacular theatre to amaze, confound and entertain audiences of all ages. This tour promises to be a sell-out and one that will not disappoint.

Already he is a household name and face through his television appearances (runner-up Australia’s Got Talent 2011, winner Dancing With the Stars 2013 and numerous guest spots on other shows). He’s a three times Australian Award winning magician, a Guinness World Record holder, Merlin Award winner (International Magicians’ Society) and 2013 International Magician of the Year. In short, he has reinvented the art and craft of magic and produced an entertainment spectacular that knows no boundaries

Tour dates and venues are:

Melbourne – Palms at Crown – Friday, April 10 (7:30pm), Saturday, April 11 (1:30pm and 7:30pm) and Sunday, April 12 (7:30pm).

Adelaide – Festival Theatre – Wednesday, April 15 (7:30pm)

Sydney – The Star – Saturday, April 18 (7:30pm) and Sunday, April 19 (3:00pm)

Brisbane – QPAC Lyric Theatre – Friday, April 24 (7:30pm)

Perth – Regal Theatre – Friday, May 1 (7:30pm) and Saturday, May 2 (1:30pm and 7:30pm)

For all your accommodation needs in the five cities above, Rydges will give you the warmest of welcomes.

Melbourne – Rydges Melbourne in the CBD, Rydges on Swanston on the city fringe and the new Rydges St Kilda

Adelaide – Rydges South Park

Sydney – Rydges World Square and Rydges Sydney Central in the CBD, Rydges North Sydney just across the Harbour Bridge and Rydges Sydney Airport for anyone flying in.

Brisbane – Rydges South Bank, just across the road from QPAC.

Perth – Rydges Perth

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Second Best Hotel in Campbelltown

It may seem strange for the best hotel in Campbelltown to be promoting the second best hotel in Campbelltown but that’s what’s on at the movies – The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold HotelWhen I was a kid the family would holiday at the same seaside flats each year, as did other families and part of the fun was catching up familiar faces and friends. That’s how I found this movie sequel. Like many people, I loved the original 2012 film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It was actually the third highest grossing movie for that year ($137million) and that gave the producers a lovely return considering they didn’t have to pay for wild car chases or special effects – just for a great cast and a fine location.

On paper it looked hard to see the target audience… who would want to pay to see a bunch of elderly pommies travel to a hotel in India to find something missing in their lives and/or do something unpredictable before they died? Lots of people it turned out. It was simply one of those delightful British comedies with an amazing cast. Any movie starring Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench and Bill Nighy is worth a look and they certainly delivered… as do the rest of the cast which includes Dev Patel, Penelope Wilton, Diana Hardcastle, Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup. Tom Wilkinson was unable to join the cast for the sequel because he died in the first one, but Richard Gere is on hand to deliver some charm and aging eye-candy.

Some cynics would say that the producers are cashing in by serving up a sequel to an already swayed audience… but they have delivered exactly what that audience wants… it’s like slipping on a favourite pair of comfy slippers. There’s some laugh out loud moments and a few sad moments… like life really… there are a few ‘salty’ lines but no offensive language. Nothing is out of left field (in the Birdman or Grand Budapest Hotel sense) – it is predictable, in a good way, and a rewarding cinematic journey. The trailer below will tell you if it is your kind of movie. I’m glad I checked in for another stay at The (Second) Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly & Beautiful.

Oh! If you are visiting Campbelltown, the somewhat biasedly bragging best hotel for your accommodation needs is >Rydges Campbelltown.

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Second Best Hotel in Cronulla

It may seem strange for the best hotel in Cronulla to be promoting the second best hotel in Cronulla but that’s what’s on at the movies – The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold HotelWhen I was a kid the family would holiday at the same seaside flats each year, as did other families and part of the fun was catching up familiar faces and friends. That’s how I found this movie sequel. Like many people, I loved the original 2012 film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It was actually the third highest grossing movie for that year ($137million) and that gave the producers a lovely return considering they didn’t have to pay for wild car chases or special effects – just for a great cast and a fine location.

On paper it looked hard to see the target audience… who would want to pay to see a bunch of elderly pommies travel to a hotel in India to find something missing in their lives and/or do something unpredictable before they died? Lots of people it turned out. It was simply one of those delightful British comedies with an amazing cast. Any movie starring Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench and Bill Nighy is worth a look and they certainly delivered… as do the rest of the cast which includes Dev Patel, Penelope Wilton, Diana Hardcastle, Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup. Tom Wilkinson was unable to join the cast for the sequel because he died in the first one, but Richard Gere is on hand to deliver some charm and aging eye-candy.

Some cynics would say that the producers are cashing in by serving up a sequel to an already swayed audience… but they have delivered exactly what that audience wants… it’s like slipping on a favourite pair of comfy slippers. There’s some laugh out loud moments and a few sad moments… like life really… there are a few ‘salty’ lines but no offensive language. Nothing is out of left field (in the Birdman or Grand Budapest Hotel sense) – it is predictable, in a good way, and a rewarding cinematic journey. The trailer below will tell you if it is your kind of movie. I’m glad I checked in for another stay at The (Second) Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly & Beautiful.

Oh! If you are visiting Cronulla, the somewhat biasedly bragging best hotel for your accommodation needs is Rydges Cronulla.

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