Justin Timberlake at Allphones

If you scored tickets to Justin Timberlake at Allphones Arena – well done. It looks like a sell-out at Allphones Arena on October 1 and 2.

Seven years on from his stunning run of shows in 2007, Justin Timberlake returns to Australia to top off some amazing recent achievements. After dominating the global charts in 2013 with the year’s best selling album, The 20/20 Experience, and The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2, Timberlake has mounted some electrifying live shows on his global tour.

In addition to gracing the cover of GQ’s 2013 Man of The Year issue, Timberlake recently took home three Grammy Awards, including Best R&B Song (Pusher Love Girl), and three American Music Awards, including Favourite Pop/Rock Male Artist.  The 20/20 Experience has been well received critically, and is the year’s best selling album with over 4 million sold to date worldwide. The album marks Timberlake with the biggest male debut in five years as well as the biggest digital debut in U.S. history by a male artist.  The 20/20 Experience held the #1 spot in both the Top 200 (3 weeks) and R&B album chart (10 weeks).  In just its first week of release, all 10 tracks charted on the digital songs chart and have sold over 7 million tracks in the US.  The album has reached platinum status in three other countries as well as gold status in nine other countries.

“With his hair slicked back, wearing Tom Ford clothes — Mr. Timberlake was every bit the 21st-century entertainer, a song-and-dance man with subwoofers.”
-  New York Times

“His showmanship, class, and impeccable ease in which he can deliver an over two-hour set of music that barely allows for any time to sit, breathe or falter all boiled to those final moments as he let the fans sing back to him a song that, within its barely developed young life, has already budded into its own kind of icon, just like its creator.”
-  The Village Voice

If you are going to either Justin Timberlake concert at Allphones Arena, for $35 you can park at Rydges Parramatta, enjoy a dinner and beer/wine/bubbly or soft drink and get a shuttle to/from the game… or there is an Events Package that includes a night’s accommodation for two people in a Queen Room with full buffet breakfast plus return shuttle to the game.

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Tourism NZ Adventure

The latest Tourism NZ Adventure campaign is a beauty – the campaign is called ‘Five more from here’ and features extreme athlete, Chuck Berry. The target market is youth travellers looking for adventure. In the promotion video (below), Berry tackle five extreme activities in an hour – skydiving, snowboarding, mountain biking, bungy jumping and jetboating. Most people wouldn’t try it in an hour, but highly doable in an adrenaline-packed day.

The youth sector accounts for 22% of total arrivals in New Zealand and this campaign will roll out in Australia, US, UK, Germany, Brazil and Japan. There are so many boxes that get easily ticked when looking at adventure itineraries in New Zealand – nature provides many of the opportunities, professional and creative operators have capitalised on this and, because New Zealand is such a compact country it is easy to get around (and therefore not expensive).

In the South Island, of course, Queenstown is perfectly based for all the above activities as is the vibrant city of Christchurch and Rydges has accommodation properties in both cities. The North Island also has plenty to offer when it comes to adventure tourism – you can ski, snowboard, skydive, abseil, luge, go rafting (white water and blackwater) and swim with dolphins.

New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, is a great place to start exploring – you can even bungy off Auckland Bridge to set the mood! Rydges Auckland can look after all your accommodation needs. Rydges can also look after you in Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.

Photo: from the AJ Hackett Bungy website. Here is the video:

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Tourism NZ Adventure

The latest Tourism NZ Adventure campaign is a beauty – the campaign is called ‘Five more from here’ and features extreme athlete, Chuck Berry. The target market is youth travellers looking for adventure. In the promotion video (below), Berry tackle five extreme activities in an hour – skydiving, snowboarding, mountain biking, bungy jumping and jetboating. Most people wouldn’t try it in an hour, but highly doable in an adrenaline-packed day.

The youth sector accounts for 22% of total arrivals in New Zealand and this campaign will roll out in Australia, US, UK, Germany, Brazil and Japan. There are so many boxes that get easily ticked when looking at adventure itineraries in New Zealand – nature provides many of the opportunities, professional and creative operators have capitalised on this and, because New Zealand is such a compact country it is easy to get around (and therefore not expensive).

In the South Island, of course, Queenstown is perfectly based for all the above activities as is the vibrant city of Christchurch and Rydges has accommodation properties in both cities. The North Island also has plenty to offer when it comes to adventure tourism – you can ski, snowboard, skydive, abseil, luge, bungy, go rafting (white water and blackwater) and swim with dolphins.

Wellington is NZ’s cool capital and a fabulous place to start exploring. Rydges Wellington can look after all your accommodation needs.

Photo: from the AJ Hackett Bungy website. Here is the video:

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Tourism NZ Adventure

The latest Tourism NZ Adventure campaign is a beauty – the campaign is called ‘Five more from here’ and features extreme athlete, Chuck Berry. The target market is youth travellers looking for adventure. In the promotion video (below), Berry tackle five extreme activities in an hour – skydiving, snowboarding, mountain biking, bungy jumping and jetboating. Most people wouldn’t try it in an hour, but highly doable in an adrenaline-packed day.

The youth sector accounts for 22% of total arrivals in New Zealand and this campaign will roll out in Australia, US, UK, Germany, Brazil and Japan. There are so many boxes that get easily ticked when looking at adventure itineraries in New Zealand – nature provides many of the opportunities, professional and creative operators have capitalised on this and, because New Zealand is such a compact country it is easy to get around (and therefore not expensive).

In the South Island, of course, Queenstown is perfectly based for all the above activities as is the vibrant city of Christchurch and Rydges has accommodation properties in both cities. The North Island also has plenty to offer when it comes to adventure tourism – you can ski, snowboard, skydive, abseil, luge, bungy, go rafting (white water and blackwater) and swim with dolphins.

As well as being New Zealand’s thermal wonderland, Rotorua has plenty to offer visitors looking for an adrenalin hit and Rydges Rotorua can look after all your accommodation needs. Rydges also can look after you in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.

Photo: from the AJ Hackett Bungy website. Here is the video:

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Tourism NZ Adventure

The latest Tourism NZ Adventure campaign is a beauty – the campaign is called ‘Five more from here’ and features extreme athlete, Chuck Berry. The target market is youth travellers looking for adventure. In the promotion video (below), Berry tackle five extreme activities in an hour – skydiving, snowboarding, mountain biking, bungy jumping and jetboating. Most people wouldn’t try it in an hour, but highly doable in an adrenaline-packed day.

The youth sector accounts for 22% of total arrivals in New Zealand and this campaign will roll out in Australia, US, UK, Germany, Brazil and Japan. There are so many boxes that get easily ticked when looking at adventure itineraries in New Zealand – nature provides many of the opportunities, professional and creative operators have capitalised on this and, because New Zealand is such a compact country it is easy to get around (and therefore not expensive).

Both North Island and South Island offer adventure tourism. In the north visitors can ski, snowboard, skydive, abseil, go rafting and swim with dolphins while the south island is synonymous with skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking and bungy.

In the South Island, of course, Queenstown is perfectly based for all the above activities as is the vibrant city of Christchurch and Rydges Latimer Christchurch can look after all your accommodation needs. Rydges also has terrific accommodation options in Queenstown, Auckland, Rotorua and Wellington.

Photo: from the AJ Hackett Bungy website. Here is the video:

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Tourism NZ Adventure

The latest Tourism NZ Adventure campaign is a beauty – the campaign is called ‘Five more from here’ and features extreme athlete, Chuck Berry. The target market is youth travellers looking for adventure. In the promotion video (below), Berry tackle five extreme activities in an hour – skydiving, snowboarding, mountain biking, bungy jumping and jetboating. Most people wouldn’t try it in an hour, but highly doable in an adrenaline-packed day.

The youth sector accounts for 22% of total arrivals in New Zealand and this campaign will roll out in Australia, US, UK, Germany, Brazil and Japan. There are so many boxes that get easily ticked when looking at adventure itineraries in New Zealand – nature provides many of the opportunities, professional and creative operators have capitalised on this and, because New Zealand is such a compact country it is easy to get around (and therefore not expensive).

Both North Island and South Island offer adventure tourism. In the north visitors can ski, snowboard, skydive, abseil, go rafting and swim with dolphins while the south island is synonymous with skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking and bungy.

In the South Island, of course, Queenstown is perfectly based for all the above activities and Rydges Lakeland Resort can look after all your accommodation needs. Rydges can also assist with a broader itinerary in Christchurch, Wellington, Rotorua and Auckland.

Photo: from the AJ Hackett Bungy website. Here is the video:

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Queenstown International Marathon

The inaugural Queenstown International Marathon happens on Saturday, November 22. This is a new international running festival that incorporates run options over 42km, 21km, 10km and 3km for kids.

Queenstown International MarathonSet between the backdrop of the famous Crown and Remarkable mountain ranges the course makes for easy running on a mainly flat, fast track with a few undulations  to make it interesting. There is a unique mix of running terrain with 70% on smooth, hard-packed trails and 30% on road.

The course takes in the best highlights of the region including Millbrook, Arrowtown, Arrow River, Lake Hayes, Old Shotover Bridge, Twin Rivers trail, Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown Gardens and the race finishes in the heart of Queenstown itself.

There are events for all-comers – the elite athletes will naturally head off first with their eyes on the placing, time and prize money. It is also an enjoyable run for the fit and walkers are welcome in the half-marathon and 10km events (they start behind the runners and give way to runners coming through). Baby buggies and prams can be part of the family friendly 3km event but accompanying animals are not allowed on the course.

Here is a link to the official Queenstown International Marathon website for more info and Rydges Lakeland Resort can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Queenstown Airport’s Busiest Winter

2014 has been far and away Queenstown Airport’s busiest winter. Trans-Tasman flights were up 25% on last year with a record 20 international flights on some days in July and August. Passenger numbers rose 7.9% to 354,392 for the three month period and before this year, 2013 held the record. Air New Zealand, Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia have all added more flights and larger planes. Jetstar will soon commence direct flights from the Gold Coast.

The big attractions, as always, are the fabulous snowfields and all the other outdoor activities but this year other events helped swell arrivals, like the New Zealand Golf Open, the annual Winter Festival and the upcoming Queenstown International Marathon.

What makes the numbers look even greater is that Queenstown Airport operates with a curfew, meaning that all flights cease by 5:30pm. The plan is that evening flights will happen from 2016. The airport is also about to sign off on the building of a new terminal to be ready for the 2015 ski season.

Here is a link to the official Queenstown Airport website for flight info, airport facilities and other info. If you are visiting Queenstown, Rydges Lakeland Resort can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Sailors Guide to Fremantle

As a sailor arriving into Fremantle 100 years ago, what was life like? Pioneering settlers, Dutch explorers, whalers, migrants, convicts, naval seamen and gold seekers are just some of the brave people who made the long voyage to Western Australia and arrived via Fremantle over the centuries.

Sailors guide to Fremantle” is a new tour from local tour operator Two Feet & a Heartbeat, which captures the stories and perspectives of the land and the challenges that faced those who arrived into this port town. Beginning at Western Australia’s oldest building, the Roundhouse, guests explore Fremantle’s beautifully retained West End.

The tour investigates life in Fremantle’s West End since colonisation and includes visits to some of the old working man’s clubs long established in the area when it was a hub of activity for maritime workers, sailors and other blue collar workers concluding at the Ball & Chain  - Fremantle’s newest old pub.

Join Two Feet & a Heartbeat on a tour of the rich and vibrant history that Fremantle has to offer. Click here for more information.

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Sir and M’Lady Dine Out

Sir and M’Lady dine out. Often. And then blog about it, without fear or favour. They praise and pan as they find it and we at Bar Surry Hills and Italian Kitchen were thrilled to host Sir and M’lady recently and read about their experience. We don’t know the precise identity of Sir and M’Lady but we guess they are Sydney based and we can’t help but agree with what they posted.

Bar Surry HillsIn a nutshell…

Bar Surry Hills and Italian Kitchen recently opened… the whole place has a modern warm feel to it… family friendly but not in the noisy sense… the tables are covered in brown paper and there are crayons on request for the kids – and the big kids…

Executive Chef Rick Fowden has put a nice menu together based on quality authentic produce. David Thompson – a former Bulldogs Grand Finalist – is a friendly manager who keeps the whole place running very smoothly. Nothing is too much trouble here – just ask!

On to the food… praise for the signature starter, the Salumi Misti Board… and for the arancini, which Sir and M’lady try regularly and our version (filled with porcini mushroom and butternut pumpkin) was deemed ‘great’. The pappardelle duck ragu was a hit with Sir, who called it “lovely” with the “duck and pasta made for each other” while M’Lady really enjoyed the gnocci and both tucked into the Sam Danielle pizza followed by the Nutella pizza topped with strawberries and sweet sugar for dessert. To finish, even though they were full, they couldn’t resist the canoli (hand-piped Sicilian ricotta and chocolate with a touch of orange zest)… Oh! And they also enjoyed the cocktails and the soft Tuscan red. Will leave you with the summary from Sir…

Bar Surry Hills and Italian Kitchen lives up to its intention to serve great food based around quality ingredients in a relaxed and friendly environment. It certainly is a welcome addition to Surry Hills and the solid crowd shows this has all already been discovered.

If you would like to read the whole review, here it is – you can also take a trip to other dining spots in Sydney and around Australia on the blog. And, of course, at we look forward to making you welcome at Bar Surry Hills and Italian Kitchen – here is a link to the menu.

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