The Sound of Mother’s Day in Cairns

Gosh. Could it be The Sound Mother’s Day in Cairns on May 10? Who would have thought? The Sound of Music is 50 years old… which means that Julie Andrews is touching up 80. But that’s the beauty of movies, on screen doesn’t look a day over 20-something. You can take a special trip down memory lane and enjoy a one-off screening of The Sound of Music at Event Cinemas at 2:00pm.

TheSoundOfMusicI have to own up. Unlike, say, David Koch, who seems to go weak at the knees at the mere thought of the movie or the actress, I have never seen The Sound of Music from start to finish. I have walked in (and out) of bits of it and seen so many clips I feel as though I have seen it… and it is hard not to know some of the songs, when it had so many ‘hits’ – Maria, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, My Favourite Things, The Lonely Goatherd, Do-Re-Mi, Edelweiss, So Long Farewell, Climb Ev’ry Mountain and, of course, The Sound of Music.

The movie has been digitally remastered and beautifully restored for this 50th anniversary outing on the big screen. On its initial release The Sound of Music  won the Best Picture Oscar and won its way into everyone’s heart and soul except mine. And I would be more than happy to give it another chance at this screening but for two reasons – one, I could be taking a seat from someone who would actually love and treasure the experience… and two, I think a long lunch might have my name on it… yes, lunch is one of my favourite things…but will it be at Drift on the Esplanade at Rydges Tradewinds, the Lilo Restaurant to Rydges Plaza Hotel or the Coral Hedge Brasserie at Rydges Esplanade Resort? Decisions, decisions…

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The Sound of Music on Mother’s Day

Gosh. Who would have thought? The Sound of Music is fifty years old… which means that Julie Andrews is touching up 80. But that’s the beauty of movies, on screen doesn’t look a day over 20-something. You can take a trip down memory lane and see The Sound of Music on Mother’s Day at Cronulla Cinemas at 2:00pm.

The Sound of MusicPersonally, I would opt for the special Mother’s Day High Tea next door at Rydges, but that’s just me. Unlike, say, David Koch, who seems to go weak at the knees at the mere thought of the movie or the actress, I have never seen The Sound of Music from start to finish. I have walked in (and out) of bits of it on TV and seen so many clips I feel as though I have seen it… and it is hard not to know some of the songs, when it had so many ‘hits’ – Maria, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, My Favourite Things, The Lonely Goatherd, Do-Re-Mi, Edelweiss, So Long Farewell, Climb Ev’ry Mountain and, of course, The Sound of Music.

The movie has been digitally remastered and beautifully restored for this 50th anniversary outing on the big screen. On its initial release The Sound of Music  won the Best Picture Oscar and won its way into everyone’s heart and soul except mine. And I would be more than happy to give it one more shot at this once only screening but for two things – I could be taking a seat from someone who would love and treasure the experience… and I would miss out on a fine High Tea at Rydges Cronulla.

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Toddler Tuesday in Cronulla

Every Tuesday from now until June 23 it is Toddler Tuesday in Cronulla at the Pavilion Stage in Cronulla Plaza. No booking required, it’s a lot of fun and it is free!

This event is for toddlers and pre-school children (aged up to 6 years) and each week the large Pavilion Stage area of the Plaza is transformed into the dedicated play area.  There is plenty of play equipment to enjoy with changes to the program each week.  The fenced play area gives toddlers plenty of room to explore while keeping them enclosed in one safe spot.  While the littlies are happily diverted the supervising, parents, grandparents and carers can relax in the adjoining seating area and enjoy time to chat. It is a real community event!

Toddler Tuesday runs from 9:30am to 1:00pm and inquiries can be directed to Cronulla Beach CBD Management on 9545 7777 or cronullabeachcbd@ssc.nsw.gov.au.

The Pavilion stage is fully under cover and Cronulla Plaza is located on the corner of Cronulla Street and The Kingsway… and, for all your accommodation needs, Rydges Cronulla is at 20 – 26 The Kingsway. For a fabulous family holiday the spacious family rooms with Queen Dream Bed and two King Singles are ideal.

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At the Brass Monkey in May

There’s lots of great music at the Brass Monkey in May including Dragon, The Radiators, Wes Carr and a Tribute to Fleetwood Mac.

Friday May 1 – Dragon performs a two-hour show for the Body and the Beat 30th anniversary tour – the first set will be the entire Body and the Beat album and the second set will be the Dragon top ten hits as voted by the band’s fans on Facebook..

Saturday May 2 – Johnny G and the E-Types present the Memphis Soul Revue and Sunday May 3 sees Brisbane based singer-songwriter Clint Boge take to the stage.

Steve EdmondsThursday May 7 is Bluegrass to Blues with 5 Blues Drive, The Hoochie Mommas and The Southern Gentlemen. On Saturday May 9 it is Aussie rockers The Radiators, still doing it fine after 35 years!

On Friday May 15 it is the Sydney Rock & Soul Review featuring Sally King, Ward’s Xpress and Sametribe. On Saturday May 16 Peter Northcote presents the songs of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Deep Purple. Sunday May 17 sees the Hot Potato Band rock the house with vocalist Dylan Wright.

Dragon returns on Friday May 22 and the following night Steve Edmonds Hendrix and Heroes presents a tribute to the great guitar songs and bands of the 70’s (photo right).

On Thursday May 28 Joel Leffler returns to his hometown with a night of songs and storytelling. Wes Carr appears on Friday May 29 to interpret George Harrison’s songbook in Here Comes the Sun including Harrison classics Something, My Sweet Lord and What is Life. Rumours will close out the month on Sunday May 30 with their tribute to Fleetwood Mac show, back by popular demand.

Rydges Cronulla can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Hozier at the Hordern

Fans will be able to catch Hozier at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on November 3.

A lot of concert focus has been on old rockers who refuse to admit their age. Last year it was The Rolling Stones, Springsteen, The Eagles and Queen – this year there are tours by Neil Diamond, ACDC, Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, Spandau Ballet, America and Fleetwood Mac. This has posed the question, what young acts today could have that sort of longevity? In my mind there are a few stand-outs. One is Ed Sheeran (age 24), another is Sam Smith (age 22) and another is Hozier (age 25).

Hozier at the HordernIf you use the yardsticks of musicianship, lyrics and live performance, these three chaps are the real deal. Ed Sheeran wowed arena audiences early in the year, captivating huge audiences with just himself on stage… Having picked up a swag of awards and having huge chart success, Stan Smith is currently touring, having sold out two concerts at the Hordern in April and Hozier has announced his concert dates and venues for later in the year.

For mine, Hozier’s 2014 hit Take Me to Church, is one of the best songs released in many years for the subject matter, lyrics, musical construction and power of the vocals. The song was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2015 Grammy Awards and Hozier performed it live at the awards with Annie Lennox. In case you don’t know much about him, he is an Irish lad, born Andrew Hozier-Byrne in County Wicklow, the son of a blues musician.

If you are a fan and are travelling to see Hozier at the Hordern, Rydges can look after your accommodation needs at Rydges World Square and Rydges Sydney Central.

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Wildlife Photographer of the Year

wildlife-photographer-year-2014The wonderful Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition is on at the Australian Museum (6 College Street) until October 5. You can experience the power, mystique and beauty of nature through the wildlife photographer’s lens.

There are over 100 images that have been selected from more than 40,000 entries worldwide that include stunning images of a scorpion basking in the sun, snakes in search of food and fireflies lighting up the night.

Admission prices (including general admission to the museum) are $20 for adults, $12 concession, $11 child and $51 family (two adults, two children) with children under 5 free.

The photo top right is titled Lifelines by Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols from the USA and the photo in the header, titled Green Dragon, is by Will Jenkins (UK).

Wildlife Photographer of the YearThe photo right is titled Stinger in the Sun and is by Carlos Perez Naval from Spain. Carlos has only been seriously taking photos for three years, since he was five years old. He has already won photographic competitions in Spain, Italy and France. Carlos found the scorpion basking near his home, in a spot he visits often to look for reptiles. The late afternoon sun was casting such a lovely glow that Carlos decided to experiment using a double exposure for the first time so he could include it.  He used a fast speed zoom for the background sun and then shot the scorpion using a low flash. He had to change lenses and the scorpion noticed the movement and raised its tail as a warning. Carlos had to wait for it to settle before getting the close-up, with the last of the light illuminating its body.

The Australian Museum is Australia’s oldest museum (1827) and is home to some fascinating permanent exhibits as well. It is a walk from both Rydges Sydney Central and Rydges World Square for all your accommodation needs.

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Māori Rock Art

Most of New Zealand’s Māori rock art is found in the limestone rich areas of South Canterbury and North Otago not far from Christchurch.

Maori Rock ArtTraditional Māori rock art was either carved into a stone, or painted or drawn onto a stone’s surface. Māori used animal or bird fat mixed with vegetable gum and soot or red ochre to make black or red paint. In Te Waipounamu, rock art was most commonly applied to limestone – its smooth pale surface providing the perfect canvas.

Timaru’s Te Ana Māori Rock Art Centre holds the most significant collection of Māori rock drawings in the world and provides an opportunity to learn about the traditions of Ngāi Tahu, the Māori tribe of the South Island. At Te Ana, Ngāi Tahu guides share stories of their ancestors and show you the way they lived, practices still followed today.

Driving to Timaru from Christchurch takes about two and a quarter hours and it makes for a terrific day out with lots to see and do on the way there and back as well as the rock art.

Maori Rock ArtAt Weka Pass, approximately one hour’s drive north from Christchurch, you’ll find a large limestone overhang shelter that is home to approximately 150 painted figures. Māori first explored the Weka Pass area about 1,000 years ago. The area was originally forested and Māori visited to hunt birds and freshwater fish. They camped at the limestone overhang and it was during these stays that they drew on the shelter wall. The drawings are mainly of human figures, fish and dogs.

A floor to ceiling fence protects the rock art. A 40 minute walk across farmland takes you to the limestone overhang. As the walkway crosses private farmland it’s closed during lambing, 1 August to 1 October.

To get there from Christchurch, follow State Highway 1 until you reach the turnoff for Hanmer Springs, State Highway 7. There are two entry points to the walkway – Waikari Star and Garter Hotel on SH7 (parking available at hotel), or from the Waikari township.

For all your accommodation needs, Rydges Latimer Christchurch will make you welcome.

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Swim with Dolphins

Swim with Dolphins‘Swim with dolphins’ is something that pops up on many people’s bucket list of things to do – and you can do that and more at the marine wildlife paradise that is Kaikoura.

Kaikoura is a place like nowhere else in the world – it is where the mountains spectacularly meet the sea, where magnificent wildlife is plentiful, and where exciting adventures and fascinating history await.

Kaikoura is just 2.5 hours’ drive from Christchurch. It is New Zealand’s leading eco-tourism destination, with an amazing variety of marine and birdlife along the dramatic rugged coastline. Sperm whales are perhaps the most famous residents here, living with dusky dolphins, fur seals and albatross.

Swim with DolphinsThere’s something captivating to see year round, with migrating species making themselves known through changes in seasons. You check them out by hopping in a boat, plane or helicopter or for a much closer encounter, swim alongside seals and dolphins. Here is a link to Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura.

The pods of dusky dolphins range in size from 100 to 1000 and they frolic in the Kaikoura waters all year round. With Dolphin Experience you can watch from the boat or hop in and swim with the dolphins. Take swimmers and a towel (and a small gear bag for clothing) and you will be provided with a wetsuit, snorkel, mask and fins. Tours operate three times a day in summer months (5:30am, 8:30am, 12:30pm and twice daily in winter months (8:30am and 12:30pm. Age restrictions are 3 years to watch and 8 years to swim. In case of seasickness, best to be prepared with some motion sickness pills from the chemist (or ginger tablets).

Rydges Latimer Christchurch can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Avan Yu

You can see one of Canada’s most exciting young pianists Avan Yu, and the Mitchell Chamber Orchestra at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre on Tuesday, May 12 at 8:00pm. The evening will include two concertos, Bach Concerto in F minor and Mozart Concerto in G major.

Avan Yu achieved international recognition when he triumphed at the Sydney International Piano Competition in 2012, winning First Prize along with nine special awards. Hailed as a “pianistic force with an astonishing sensitivity far beyond his years”, Avan Yu has appeared as soloist with orchestras and conductors around the world, including Rafael Fruehbeck de Burgos and the Dresden Philharmonic, Pinchas Zukerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, and Christian Arming and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he has performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Morocco Philharmonic, Real Filharmonica de Galicia, Slovak Radio Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, Windsor Symphony and Nova Scotia Symphony Orchestra.

A recital by Avan Yu was a highlight of the BMEC 2014 Season prompting the invitation to return in 2015. The Mitchell Chamber Orchestra, western New South Wales’ newest professional chamber orchestra, is the flagship ensemble of the Mitchell Conservatorium Chamber Music Academy.

If you are visiting Bathurst, Rydges Mount Panorama can look after all your accommodation needs.

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Toyota IRONMAN Australia

The 2015 Toyota IRONMAN Australia will be held at Port Macquarie on Sunday, May 3, on one of the most stunning Ironman courses in the world! Lining up to take on a 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike ride and 42.2km run will be over 2,000 competitors striving to achieve their personal goals in this gruelling event. This year the finish line is at Town Green.

Toyota IRONMAN AustraliaThis year is the 30th year for the iconic global event – from the swim course in Hastings River to the bike course along the Pacific Ocean and run course in the heart of Port Macquarie, the event is a race that competitors come back to year after year. There are 40 qualifying slots up for grabs for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

This year there will be an additional 10 loyalty spots to the World Championship, awarded through a ‘loyalty lottery’. Here is a link for details on how this works.

More info on getting around, maps, road closures etc, go to the official website here.

For all your accommodation needs, Rydges Port Macquarie and Sails Resort by Rydges will give you the warmest of welcomes.

For a look at some of the swim leg from a couple of years ago, here’s a short video:

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