Skye Hotel Suites launches in Parramatta

SKYE Hotel Suites Parramatta opened its doors on 1 August 2017 and invited top international media and bloggers to experience luxury in Sydney’s second CBD. The space and convenience of apartment living, the luxury and style of a 5-star hotel; SKYE Hotel Suites has arrived, and is changing the landscape of Parramatta.

This all suites hotel features spacious apartments, first class amenities, luxurious toiletries, modern appliances and quality dining options. Located on the site of the old Wheat Sheaf Hotel, dating back to 1840, this modern redevelopment includes a meticulously restored and preserved heritage site.

   

The suites themselves are generously proportioned, with everything you would need for a short or long stay. Your choice of studios, one bedroom and two-bedroom apartment style rooms are all available. Full laundry facilities in each suite complement the modern kitchen appliances and refrigerators. If you do need to order from the hotel, the seamless experience is achieved via an in-room tablet. Everything that you could need for a business stay, a family getaway, or a girls’ weekend, all available within a short walk to Parramatta train, bus and ferry travel options. My one minor gripe would be that some of the two-bedroom apartments only have one bathroom (with no bathtub), which may not suit all visitors.

Our visit to SKYE Hotel Suites included a tour of both the business and recreational facilities. Generously proportioned meeting rooms, each with high quality media devices, offer ample space to conduct that all important public seminar or staff away-day. Meanwhile, the gym, sauna and pool will provide welcome fitness and relaxation options for long stay guests or those purely on vacation.

    

We checked out the signature restaurant, Husk & Vine Kitchen and Bar, which offers a modern take on traditional, local ingredients. The highlight for me was the swordfish crudo, grapefruit, pink peppercorn and white balsamic sharing plate. The fish main course (blue eye trevella) was slightly overcooked, but I think we can put that down to opening night jitters.  The morning after’s breakfast menu has everything that you could imagine, from light bites, to fresh fruit, to a full cooked breakfast – which I badly needed after sampling the “vine” part off Husk & Vine Kitchen and Bar the evening before!

          

For more information on SKYE Hotel Suites, go to: http://www.skyehotels.com.au/parramatta/en/skye-hotel-parramatta.html

 

Experience a scenic flight of Sydney’s coastline with Sydney Air Tours

When it comes to seeing the coastline of Sydney from north to south of the Harbour, most people will think of doing one of the many coastal walks or drives, but no one will think of a scenic flight. And when people think of doing a scenic flight of Sydney, most people will think of seeing Sydney Harbour, not the coastline of Sydney.

A scenic flight of Sydney’s coastline is a truly spectacular experience and not a part of Sydney that most people see from above. I am thankful to Sydney Air Tours for this opportunity to see Sydney’s coastline from an entirely new perspective.

We arrive at Bankstown Aerodrome and meet our pilot who gives us a thorough safety briefing. We have to wear seat belts and a life jacket while flying over water. We were granted permission to open the windows to take photographs but only once we reached the coast. This is not something they would allow for other passengers.

 

With the sun shining and a clear blue sky, we set off in our light aircraft for our scenic flight of Sydney’s coastline. I was wearing my brown aviation jacket that fit in well with the old world look of the wooden dashboard of the Cessna we were flying in.

We made our way north to Palm Beach and traveled down along the coast past Whale Beach, Avalon Beach, Mona Vale, Warriewood, Narrabeen, Dee Why and Manly. The northern beaches are spectacular from above, with beaches on one side and lagoons and lakes on the other. I spot Barrenjoey Lighthouse first at the most northern tip of the Palm Beach peninsula and then the Pittwater waterway pops up along my right and stays with me until we reach Mona Vale. At Mona Vale, I see a rock pool jutting out which we circle trying to capture the perfect photo. We continue south over some spectacular coastline consisting of sweeping beaches, rugged headlands, lagoons and bushland until we reach the more populated parts of the Northern Beaches: Dee Why and Manly.

 

We travel south and I catch glimpses of Sydney Harbour emerging over North Head. The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Centrepoint Tower stand out from a distance. I can also see many of the tranquil bays and coves where many boats are anchored. Outside the harbour, there are spinnakers racing and other boats cruising around.

 

We continue past South Head and arrive at Sydney’s well-known beaches of Bondi Beach, Bronte Beach and Coogee Beach. I can see rugged cliffs, rock pools, parks and sandy beaches. As we approach Bondi I see the white vent in the middle of the headland first, and as we move closer, the familiar beach and promenade emerge. From so far away, the beach looks calm and tranquil on our picturesque day.

 

On the return journey, we travel back up north and head inland into the Hawkesbury River region where we see a national park with lots of valleys and highlands, dotted with secluded river communities. We follow the snake like river around and then head west back to Bankstown Airport.

 

Sydney Air Tours uses a number of light aircrafts for their scenic flights around Sydney. They include the Piper Warrior II P 28, the Cessna 128 (TZX) and the Beechcraft Duchess (WEU).

There is no need to worry about safety. The pilots are the best in the business and include the chief pilot and pilot instructor, Aminta Lucy Hennessy, who was awarded the Order of Australia for being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic in a single engine aeroplane. The maintenance coordinator of the planes is Ray Clamback, a former chief pilot and flying instructor, whose longest flight is 19 hours and 40 minutes and has completed 300 ocean crossings.

The pilots are so experienced that they flew the new planes from the USA to Australia themselves by removing all the seats from the back of the aircraft and filling it with a petrol bag so they can pump petrol into the fuel tank through a hose that was secured to the outside of the plane and fitted into the petrol tank when they noticed the fuel was low. The seats were shipped to Australia separately and installed back into the aircraft when they arrived. The plane’s petrol tank can only hold enough fuel for a six hour flight and the flight across the Pacific Ocean is much longer.

Sydney Air Tours offer a range of scenic flights around Sydney including Sydney Harbour, Sydney Coastal, Lion Island and Hawkesbury River, Kiama and the South Coast, Blue Mountains and Warragamba Dam. Prices vary depending on the aircraft used and the length of the flight. They start from $345 per aircraft for a 45 minute flight (to Warragamba Dam) to $560 per aircraft for a 1 hour and 20 minute flight (around Sydney Harbour or the Sydney coast) on a Piper Warrior II P 28 aircraft. The aircraft fits three people, and each person gets a window seat and a champagne picnic lunch at the end of the flight.

If you’re looking for a unique gift idea or something to do with your friends, family or that special someone, I highly recommend a scenic flight of Sydney’s coastline with Sydney Air Tours. The Sydney coastal tour allowed me to see Sydney from a whole new angle with the luxury of our own aircraft that we did not have to share with strangers.

Sydney Air Tours is located at 660 Tower Road Bankstown Airport.

For more information about a scenic flight with Sydney Air Tours, go to: www.sydneyairtours.com.au

The Brazil Showcase event at NSW Parliament House promotes trade between Australia and Brazil

The second Brazil Showcase event occurred at NSW Parliament House on Thursday 29 March 2017 to promote trade between Australia and Brazil and provide networking opportunities among existing and newly established businesses.

The event was co-hosted by the Consul-General of Brazil in Sydney and the Honourable Anthony Roberts MP and attended by 15 Brazilian companies, Members of NSW Parliament, diplomatic officials and media.

The event showcased business opportunities between two of the largest economies in the Southern Hemisphere – Australia and Brazil. It was designed to promote Brazil as the preferred partner for Australia in investment, trade, tourism, entrepreneurship, education, technology exchange and culture.

Brazil has become one of the largest sources of international students to Australia outside Asia (second only to China). At the same time, 50,000 Brazilian tourists visited NSW in the last 12 months and an equivalent amount of Australians traveled to Brazil over the same period.

Further, NSW is becoming a target hub of innovation and technology and Brazilian professionals are making their way there.

Speeches were made by: The Honourable Anthony Roberts MP; Consul-General of Brazil in Sydney His Excellency Mr Carlos de Abreu; President of the Australia Brazil Business Council Mr Gieuto Serafim; and Ambassador of Brazil to Australia His Excellency Mr Manuel Innocencio de Lacerda Santos Jr.

All speeches emphasized the similarities between Australia and Brazil in culture and economy, and stressed that distance should not be a barrier.  Australia’s main trade partner is east Asia but Brazil is not that further away in distance and offers Australia many mutually beneficial two-way trade opportunities.

Guests were shown two videos about the World Chambers Congress Rio 2019 and on the growing IT expertise of Brazil.

There was also a Bossa Nova performance by musicians Marcos Caetano and Lilian Amarai.

Brazilian food was provided by Parliamentary Catering Service. Guests drunk Brazilian wine which included: 2014 Salton Intenso Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier; 2012 Salton Paradoxo Merlot and Brazil Intenso Brut.

Guests were also very lucky to mingle with a famous Brazilian footballer who plays with Sydney FC in the A-League, Deyvison Rogerio da Silva, mostly known as Bobo.

For more information about doing business in Brazil, go to: http://www.aubrbc.org/

Hyatt Regency Sydney launches with a spectacular light show

The Hyatt Regency Sydney unveiled the result of a $250 million redevelopment at an event on Thursday 1 December 2016 which included: a cocktail reception at their Maritime Ballroom; and an outdoor light projection video on the wall of their 2,800 square metre building.

Hyatt Regency Sydney is Australia’s largest upscale hotel that has just undergone a redevelopment to include a brand new 24 storey tower, additional premium rooms, a lavish rooftop bar, state-of-the-art meeting and event spaces and a new Regency Club Lounge. It is a five star hotel that caters for business, leisure and event travellers. It is located at the doorstep of both the city’s business and entertainment districts.

Guests were welcomed into the Maritime Ballroom and got to sample food created by a host of fine dining chefs and wine selected by expert sommeliers from four live food demonstrations. The food and wine included: Sydney Rock, Coffin Bay and Pacific Bay oysters served with three dressings and paired with NV Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut from France; handmade gnocchi with truffle and sage basil paired with 2013 Yering Station pinot noir from the Yarra Valley; seared venison fillet paired with 2014 Grant Burge Miamba shiraz from the Barossa Valley; and Harvey Bay scallops paired with 2015 Yering Station Chardonnay from the Yarra Valley.

Guests were also treated to two Hyatt Regency Sydney signature cocktails created by mixologist Grant Collins, who will also be overseeing the opening of the Rooftop Bar later this month. The cocktails included: the Lemongrass and Lillet Spritz (made from Lillet Rose, grapefruit bitters, lemongrass syrup, Villa Jolanda prosecco and soda water); and the Scrumpy Cider Apple Gimlet (made from apple infused Tanqueray gin, apple cider syrup, Apple Thief cider and cold pressed apple juice).

Speeches were made by MC Matt De Groot and General Manager Malcolm Zancanaro who revealed that guests were going on an inside-out tour of the hotel that included a harbour cruise.

At this cruise, guests were surprised further with a spectacular outdoor video that was projected onto the enormous 2,800sqm harbourside wall of the freshly rebranded hotel. Guests watched the journey of two business and leisure travellers through the Hyatt Regency Sydney. It was projected onto the building using 16 projectors and a total of 28,348,800 pixels.

The rooftop bar, the brand new 24 storey tower, along with the exclusive Regency Club Lounge is due to open at the end of December 2016.

The Hyatt Regency Sydney is located at 161 Sussex Street Sydney NSW 2000.

For more information about the Hyatt Regency Sydney, go to:  https://sydney.regency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

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Visit Chile: A destination of many contrasts and adventures

On Friday 4 November 2016, I embarked on my Chilean adventure in Sydney where I experienced a guided tour onboard the Chilean naval ship, Esmeralda  which was followed by a cocktail reception at Ovolo Woolloomooloo where I learnt all about Chile – a destination of many contrasts and adventures in the Pacific.

Esmeralda arrived in Sydney on Thursday 3 November 2016 and will depart Sydney on Monday 7 November 2016. It is a steel-hulled, four-masted barquentine, which is 113 metres long and has a mast height of 48.5 metres. The ship has a long and proud history of training Chilean sailors and is a right of passage for Chilean Navy personnel.

Chile is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernandez, Salas y Gomez, Desventuradas and Easter Island.

Chile is a country of contrasts. In the north of Chile there is the arid Atacama Dessert. In the centre of Chile is where the population lives and agriculture is concentrated. In the south of Chile is where there are many forests, volcanoes, lakes, fjords, canals and islands.

The Atacama desert (in the north) is the world’s driest desert. On the high Andean plateau, there are small villages at up to 4,000 meters above sea level where timeless traditions linger. San Pedro de Atacama contains vast salt flats, active geysers and intense blue lagoons.

Santiago, in central Chile, is the multi-faceted capital of Chile, with its fine parks and numerous sporting and cultural activities. Central Chile has the best ski slopes in South America, that is just a two hour road journey from the the coast to the mountain. The valleys of central Chile also contain vineyards where Chile makes some of the world’s best red and white wines.

Across the water from Santiago is the Easter Island (known as Rapa Nui in the people’s native language). Rapa Nui has pink-sand beaches, volcanic cones and windswept grasslands, and of course, the monumental moai statues – over 1,000 of them bearing silent witness to a long-lost, complex society.

The south of Chile contains the unique living heritage of the original inhabitants of Chile. The Mapuche culture is a fundamental element in the central Chilean heartland with the indigenous traditions that are still alive.

Southern Chile has countless lakes and rivers that are perfect for watersports and fishing. There is also extraordinary flora and fauna at nature reserves and national parks. Pucón, on the shores of Lake Villarrica, has adrenaline-filled white-water rafting, hydrospeed or canyoning.

Further south in Patagonia there is truly unspoiled wilderness of mountains, fjords, glaciers, forests and steppes. Patagonia’s has a rich ranching history and gaucho lifestyle with far-flung cities and pioneer towns.

Torres del Paine National Park has truly magnificent forests, mountains, waterfalls, lakes and stunning views of the Southern Ice Fields.

At the southernmost extreme of the American continent, there are countless sea fjords and channels and the famous Straits of Magellan (where people sail to Antarctica). Cape Horn is the southernmost tip of the continent.

For more information about Chile, go to: http://chile.travel/en/

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WiWander launches new pocket Wi-Fi router for Australian travellers

WiWander launched their new pocket Wi-Fi router at a launch party at Carriageworks on Thursday 22 September 2016.

WiWander provides pocket Wi-Fi router rental with unlimited data to Australian travellers for multiple destinations around the world starting from five dollars a day. WiWander pocket Wi-Fi routers ensure excellent internet connection wherever you are.

Unlike other services that charge customers for the amount of data used, WiWander charges based on the number of days the customer travels. This makes it easier for Australians to know exactly how much they are spending on Wi-Fi before they leave Australia and eliminates the high data-roaming charges.

To use the product on your next trip, make sure you book at least five working days prior to your departure date. The device will be delivered to your door one day before you leave. When you return, they will pick it up the day after you land.

The WiWander pocket Wi-Fi router includes features such as a sleek, light weight and portable design, simultaneous multiple device connectivity and battery life of about six hours.

The WiWander pocket Wi-Fi router is currently available in Singapore from $10/day, Taiwan $12/day, Hong Kong $$12/day, Japan $12/day, China $12/day, South Korea $12/day, USA $18/day, Malaysia $12/day, Thailand $12/day and some countries in Europe $12/day.

At the launch guests enjoyed a variety of canapes from around the world and took photos in the photobooth or in front of large posters depicting New York, Thailand and Rome.

Special guests included: the X Factor’s Matt Price and Jess Dunbar; TV and radio personality Tim Dormer; TV presenter and DJ Danny Clayton; Channel Ten Entertainment Reporter Richard Reid; The Wolverine and The Great Gatsby actor Briden Starr; TV actor Troy Pes; American singer Kyle Bielfield, and singer and songwriter Brock Jays.

Use the special code WIWANDER to get a 10 percent discount on your device when you next travel.

For more information about WiWander, go to: https://www.wiwander.com

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Pullman Sydney Hyde Park launches the Matt Blatt Suite

On Thursday 22 July 2016, Pullman Sydney Hyde Park launched the Matt Blatt suite, a one-of-a-kind suite on the hotel’s 20th floor.

Matt Blatt is an Australian family-owned furniture and homewares company who collaborated with Pullman Sydney Hyde Park to create this unique experience for hotel guests.

Guests staying at the Matt Blatt suite start their unique hotel experience in the hotel lobby on check-in where they can enjoy a designated lounge area that includes a replica front design horse lamp. a replica Hans Wegner circle chair and a replica Eero Saarinen womb chair and footstool.

Up on the 20th floor, the former Premier Suite, has been been transformed into a Cuban themed jungle with bold colours and animal paraphernalia. Next to the front door of the Suite, guests will be greeted with a hello there sign. Once inside guests will notice a black and white diagonally striped wall with a banjo round mirror, a fleetwood console table and an Astro boy model. The lounge room has a jungle themed feature wall, a replica Hans Wegner shell contour lounge chair and Big Apple three seater sofa. The dining area is bright yellow with a puzzled cat framed print hanging on the wall. It contains a round wooden dining table with a glass tabletop, wooden chairs and a cowhide rug. In the bedroom and bathroom, the colour scheme changes to a more subdued grey and white with pop of red. The bedroom also features an orange armchair that adds further contrast. The suite has some statement pieces from the Matt Blatt’s collection such as the Teak Monkeys, Starsky The Hen and Piggy Sue the Piglet. My favourite item in the Suite was the book sitter lamp found in the lounge room. All the items in the Suite are available for purchase.

In addition, the Matt Blatt Suite features many technological inclusions such as the Samsung LED SMART TV (with Netflix), Ipad mini and the Phillips Hue 2.0 Lighting System; designed to deliver the best lighting experience to guests. Controlled via the in-suite iPad or by Siri voice control, guests wanting to rise early can use lighting to wake them up in the morning while those seeking sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the city can dim the lighting at touch of the button, helping them to relax.

Pullman Sydney Hyde Park’s Matt Blatt Suite is available for bookings until July 2017, with prices starting from $739 per night.

To find out more, visit http://www.mattblatt.com.au/Pullman.aspx

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Trafalgar launches their European winter holidays at Martin Place Sydney

Global holiday tour company, Trafalgar, was at Martin Place Sydney on 29 June 2016 to launch their autumn/winter tours to Europe.

Elves encouraged passer-bys to enter a giant snowball with Christmas trees on each side and agitate the snow while they were photographed by Polite in Public.

The global leader in guided holidays Trafalgar (www.trafalgar.com) has unveiled its most expansive Autumn, Winter and Spring (AWS) programme to date, comprising 33 trips and six different travel styles, one of which involves visiting the great Christmas markets of Europe.

Guests can bask in the beauty of the Blue Lagoon, enjoy exclusive access to the Viking World Museum with an unrivalled Be My Guest and marvel at the magical Northern Lights on the 6 day Northern Lights of Iceland including the Blue Lagoon, priced from $2,395 per person. There is much more to be explored in some of the world’s most spectacular cities with the City Explorers trip styles including more Insider Experiences than ever before. Embrace the Queen’s 90th birthday year and treat yourself royally as you discover foodie favourites such as Borough Market, afternoon tea at Kensington Palace and dining at Gordon Ramsay on the 8 day London Explorer, priced from $2,595 per person. Indulge in a feast for the senses with a cooking class with a Parisian chef, tour of Ernest Hemingway’s Paris and the inside track on where Parisians shop on the 8 day Paris Explorer priced from $2,295 per person. Or experience the eternal city with exclusive early morning access to the Vatican Museum and see life through the eyes of a local with a trip to Campo di Fiori market then cook up a seasonal food storm at a nearby restaurant on the 8 day Rome Explorer priced from $2,195 per person.

You can also find out more at this link:
https://www.trafalgar.com/aus/offers/autumn-winter-spring

Discover Brazil for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

On Wednesday 6 April 2016, the Consulate-­General of Brazil in Sydney, in collaboration with the Brazilian Tourist Board (EMBRATUR) launched a new campaign to further promote Brazil as a destination for Australians at Braza Restaurant, Darling Harbour. In a bid to attract more Australian visitors and to encourage a longer stay in Brazil to fully enjoy what the country has to offer, the campaign focuses on highlighting tourist destinations beyond Rio de Janeiro, where the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics Games will be held.

“This is a huge year for Brazil in Australia, having hosted two successful events in Sydney last September: Brazil at the Harbour [a Bossa Nova evening at the Opera House] and Brazil in the City [a business event],” says Ambassador Carlos de Abreu, Consul-­General in Sydney. “We are keen to share all the information needed for those who are planning their trip to Brazil and also to help agents sell not just the obvious cities and regions, but also the stunning, lesser-­known destinations.”
The Consulate-­General has also announced a provisional tourist visa waiver for Australian citizens for visits to Brazil occurring from 1 June to 18 September 2016. These visits must be for the sole purposes of attending the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and tourism. Also, citizens must have valid passports with a minimum of six months’ validity and at least one blank page for arrival and departure immigration stamps.
The provisional visa waiver applies only during the above-­mentioned dates and for a stay of up to 90 days. According to official statistics, more than 53,000 tickets have already been purchased in Australia to attend the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
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Peppers Manor House relaunches as a 5 star foodie heaven escape

Say goodbye to the Hunter Valley and Blue Mountains, the new weekender is Peppers Manor House in the Southern Highlands. With over 150 food and wine producers the region is a perfect weekend escape for the self-proclaimed foodie.

Officially relaunched on Wednesday 16 March 2016, Peppers Manor House has been completely re-imagined with a $4.5+ million upgrade and a new 5 star rating. “Our goal has been to create a place for all seasons; a refined country escape that embraces the natural surroundings,” says Peppers Manor House General Manager, Jesse Kornoff. “The guest rooms have retained a 1920’s sensibility enhanced with 21st century comforts complemented by classic furniture choices.”
It’s not just the great showerheads and fluffy pillows that make Peppers Manor House a luxurious home away from home, the on-site Katers Restaurant brings the best produce the Southern Highlands has to offer right to your plate. A must try on the menu is the Sweet Bell Pepper Soup with goats cheese sorbet, chocolate chilli panna cotta and pomegranate.  Executive Chef John Shelly describes how he loves to “see the surprise on guests’ faces when they try something and don’t instantly recognise the flavour… the goats cheese sorbet goes really well with the chilli chocolate”.
The restaurant proudly sources its ingredients from local suppliers including those involved in the Moss Vale Cluster.  “A lot of people lose touch that their food doesn’t just come from the supermarket but that a lot of care and compassion goes into creating the produce” commented Mayor Larry Whipper who officially relaunched the hotel, “The clusters support economic growth and community resilience”. Katers Restaurant creates surprising dishes using organic vegetables and sustainable produce.
Peppers Manor House is a picturesque Southern Highlands country manor, located in Sutton Forest, 15 minutes from Bowral, a scenic 90 minute drive south of Sydney and less than two hours’ drive from the nation’s capital, Canberra.
For more information on Peppers Manor House, go to: http://www.peppers.com.au/manor-house/
Photography was by Sarah Keayes from The Photo Pitch.
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