Posts made in May, 2013

Vivid Sydney Launch

Posted on May 25, 2013 | Comments Off on Vivid Sydney Launch

Amazing time lapse of the Vivid Sydney launch Friday may 24th to 10 June and this year it’s bigger, better and brighter than ever before. The 18-day annual event of light, music and ideas has become Sydney’s major festival in winter attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to signature events such as the Lighting the Sails of the Sydney Opera House and the beautiful, meandering journey around the harbour for the much-loved Light Walk. This year the Light Walk includes exciting new precincts such as Darling Harbour and the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Vivid map

Other major Vivid Sydney precincts are the Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay, The Rocks and Walsh Bay where the world’s best lighting technology is used to transform skyscrapers and heritage sites at night into an amazing colourful canvas. Once again, Vivid LIVE returns to the Sydney Opera House with an extraordinary series of music performances while Vivid Ideas brings creative minds together in Sydney to connect with global leaders in the creative industries from filmmaking to photography, design, technology and gaming.

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Jersey Shore reopens post Superstorm Sandy

Posted on May 25, 2013 | Comments Off on Jersey Shore reopens post Superstorm Sandy


Seaside Heights Jetstar coast wreck

By Jessica Remitz

Jersey Shore reopens post Superstorm Sandy. As seaside towns across the US ready their boardwalks, beaches and storefronts for the annual crush of summertime tourists, opening New Jersey’s 130 miles of coastline – a key seaside destination for New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians as well – has required far more work than unfurling umbrellas and firing up the grill.
In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy demolished miles of beach along the US Eastern seaboard and left thousands of residents without homes or places of employment. But few places were hit as badly as the Jersey Shore, where the storm made landfall.
But in the seven months that have passed, more than one billion federal dollars have been allocated to the response and recovery of the popular summer vacation destination – made famous by its waterfront casinos, towering roller coasters and reality television series – with nearly 500 agencies working towards disaster relief. While some of the shore’s most beloved areas, including Point Pleasant Beach and Seaside Heights, were among the most devastated, efforts to have these beaches open for Memorial Day (27 May) are moving along with success.
“The destruction wrought by Superstorm Sandy has brought this community together like never before. There is a much keener sense of appreciation for what we have here,” said Tom Dunphy, managing editor of, a non-profit organisation working with local charities to rebuild the area. “People don’t realise how much progress has been made. The beaches and boardwalks will be ready to go.”
The slowest area of recovery has been for homeowners, many of whom are still waiting on building directives from federal agencies and payouts from insurance companies. As these communities, especially Monmouth and Ocean counties that bore the brunt of the storm, work to rebuild, tourists should expect to see an overwhelming sense of pride and positivity in addition to a wide-open rental market.
“One piece of advice I would offer to tourists is to reach out to local realtors,” Dunphy said. “There are plenty of great places available for weekly or seasonal rentals.”
Grass roots organisations like Restore the Shore, Friends of Seaside Park and Hometown Heroes have received support and funding to help provide immediate relief for local families, business and communities, with exciting events including the Restore the Shore Music Festival on 18 May on the beach in Seaside Park featuring local bands that welcomed several hundred people to the area to see the progress that’s been made to the oceanfront, and the ongoing Sandy Castle project, where professional sandcastle builder Ed Jarrett is attempting a Guinness World Record for the tallest sand castle (above 50ft) at Jenkinson’s Beach in Point Pleasant.
For those planning a trip, here is the status of some popular areas along the shore:

Sandy Hook, Monmouth County Three of the six beach areas in town, B, Gunnison and North Beach, are scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend, while the Gateway National Recreation Area, a popular hiking, fishing and camping area, has been open since 1 May. Ferry services from downtown Manhattan to Sandy Hook will begin the weekend of 30 June and continue through 2 September.

Long Beach Island, Ocean County Repairs to the beaches along this 18-mile island known for its summer rentals are on schedule for completion by 18 May. The island’s popular Thundering Surf Waterpark will open 25 May, with the Thundering Surf Adventure Golf Courses already open for the season.
Point Pleasant, Ocean County Reconstruction work on Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach is on schedule for completion this summer. The boardwalk’s most popular attractions, including the Jenkinson’s Aquarium, Entertainment Complex and South Amusement Park, are open for business.

Seaside Heights, Ocean County Visitors will be able to access the famous mile-long boardwalk that needed to be completely restored after the storm on Memorial Day weekend, though some additional work will be required after the holiday. The Seaside Heights “JetStar” roller coaster, an iconic shoreline image that once sat on the Casino Pier, was removed from the ocean on 14 May, the same day that Britain’s Prince Harry toured the area.

Wildwood, Cape May Located at the southern end of the shore, Wildwood’s five miles of beaches are free and open to the public. The two-mile boardwalk, named among the Top 10 American Boardwalks by Sherman’s Travel in 2009, includes three seaside rollercoasters and a beachfront waterpark, and the city’s well known Sightseer Tram Cars is also open.

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36 Hours in Auckland, New Zealand –

Posted on May 25, 2013 | Comments Off on 36 Hours in Auckland, New Zealand –

36 Hours in Auckland, New Zealand


Admittedly, few fly all the way to New Zealand just to visit Auckland, the country’s largest city. Most aim to explore the otherworldly landscapes with which, thanks to the silver screen, this remote nation has become associated. But before delving into the cinematic beauty of the North Island countryside, discover the San Francisco-steep streets and regenerated neighborhoods of newly vibrant Auckland. This multicultural city, home to a third of all Kiwis, has recently welcomed a raft of bars, boutiques and restaurants that highlight locally made products, from excellent craft beer and wine to fashion and art. And none of it has anything to do with orcs or rings.


1. 3:30 p.m. | National Portraits

One highlight of the Auckland Art Gallery (Corner Kitchener and Wellesley Streets;; free), which reopened in September 2011 after a three-year expansion, is the gallery of turn-of-the-century portraits depicting Maori leaders, many with exquisite tattoos. The museum’s permanent collection, spread across four levels, also includes commissioned works from contemporary Kiwi artists. After a tour, stroll through the adjacent Albert Park or refuel with a Snickers cookie (3.50 New Zealand dollars, or $3 at 1.18 New Zealand dollars to the U.S. dollar) at the new Moustache Milk & Cookie Bar, two blocks from the gallery (12 Wellesley Street West;

2. 7 p.m. | Seafood Depot

Seattle has its Space Needle, while on the opposite side of the Pacific, Auckland answers with the Sky Tower — over 1,000 feet tall. But the most noteworthy action happening near this imposing landmark is at its base, at Depot (86 Federal Street;, a seafood-centric bistro. This new restaurant is invitingly rustic — ice-cold pewter water mugs, tall stools clustered around wood-plank tables — and the fresh seafood is top-notch. A recent meal started with some shucked-to-order oysters from Marlborough’s Tio Point, followed by spicy mussels with chorizo and garlic; kingfish sashimi cubes atop dollops of oyster cream; and sliders stuffed with hapuka, lemon mayo and watercress. Dinner for two, about 70 New Zealand dollars.

3. 10 p.m. | Britomart Bars

The once-derelict Britomart district near the port has recently transformed into a bubbling night-life hub with new bars and restaurants housed in handsomely renovated historic buildings. Start at Xuxu (Corner Commerce and Galway Streets;, an elegant French-Vietnamese-inspired hideaway serving inventive snacks and cocktails like the Chanh Bac Ha (rum, palm sugar and Vietnamese mint; 16 New Zealand dollars). Then stroll to the Japanese-themed bar Fukuko (48 Tyler Street;, which opened in December, for steamed pork buns (4.50 dollars) and shochu tonics flavored with spiced jasmine and green tea (9 dollars).


4. 9 a.m. | Walk to the Market

Wake up with a walk through the Auckland Domain, a sprawling 185-acre park southeast of the city center whose peaceful paths wind through wooded areas and around expansive swaths of grassy lawn. When hunger strikes, stray a block from the southern edge of the park to the Parnell Farmers’ Market (545 Parnell Road;, where stalls overflow with local products. Bite into a bacon-and-egg bap (sandwich) with spicy tomato sauce (5 New Zealand dollars) while listening to a musician strum a guitar, and then sample the goods at the Hakanoa Ginger Beer stand and the mouthwatering varieties at the NZ Cheeseman stall.

510:30 a.m. | Kiwi Culture

If you’ve ever wondered about Maori culture, what a kiwi bird actually looks like, or why Auckland’s streets are so hilly, visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum (Museum Circuit;, steps from the market on the edge of the domain. Don’t be fooled by the name: in addition to housing a war memorial, the museum features three floors of interactive exhibits that explain New Zealand’s history, geography, ethnography and culture, from prehistoric volcanoes (hence all those hills) and Maori tribal traditions to the nation’s uncommon flora and fauna.

6. 1 p.m. | Central Lunch

The inner-city suburb of Ponsonby is a charming neighborhood whose main drag, the mile-long Ponsonby Road, is lined with cafes, bars and boutiques. Late last year, Ponsonby Central (136 Ponsonby Road;, a new complex packed with small restaurants and shops, added to the area’s appeal even more with, among other places, a bakery, an organic market, a butcher and pocket-size dining spots doing a decent impression of a United Nations food court — sushi, Neapolitan-style pizza, Argentine barbecue. Inside the main building, you’ll find a fortuneteller, the booth of Ponsonby’s radio station, and, for lunch, the pleasant cafe Toru ( Try the cafe’s pressed sandwich of Serrano ham, melting Manchego and truffle butter, which comes with a pile of scrumptious crinkle fries (13.50 New Zealand dollars).

7. 3 p.m. | Domestic Design

Explore the rest of Ponsonby Road by seeking out the talented domestic designers who have set up shop here, like Juliette Hogan (170 Ponsonby Road;, whose floral-print suits and ladylike separates are elegant with an edge. Nearby at Kate Sylvester’s namesake boutique (134 Ponsonby Road;, eggshell-blue walls offset colorful fashions: red leopard-print pants, sheer emerald blouses, embroidered ink dresses. Find design of a different kind at the new pop-up poster and art-print shop Endemicworld (62 Ponsonby Road;, with works from up-and-coming graphic designers, artists and illustrators like the street artist Cinzah Merkens and Australian design studio Inaluxe.

8. 7 p.m. | Made by Meredith

Modern New Zealand cuisine is what’s for dinner at Merediths (365 Dominion Road;, a formal tasting-menu-only restaurant run by the chef Michael Meredith. Finding inspiration in cutting-edge culinary techniques, seasonal local products and his Samoan background, Mr. Meredith turns out multicourse feasts matched with fine wines, many from small domestic producers. In the cozy establishment, frosted windows and simple black-and-white décor ensure that all attention is directed toward the parade of plates, which during a recent meal included an inventive venison tartare with horseradish and smoked eel, and savory macarons made by stuffing duck and chicken liver pâté between beetroot-flavored meringues. Six-course tasting menu with matching wines, 160 New Zealand dollars.

9. 11 p.m. | The Golden Hour

After dinner, head to the Golden Dawn (134 Ponsonby Road;, a superb bar and music venue in Ponsonby where the vibe is a mix of laid-back surfer style and rockabilly glam. There’s an indoor pub with exposed brick walls and dark corners for intimate conversations, but it’s in the outdoor courtyard where the party really happens. There, amid hanging strings of colored lights and long pastel-blue picnic tables, local D.J.’s and rock ’n’ roll bands provide the soundtrack for the New Zealand night. So grab a draft beer from the excellent local Hallertau microbrewery — the #2, a refreshing pale ale with flavors of citrus and honey, is delicious — and prepare to hop and shimmy along with the friendly crowd.


107 a.m. | Summit Sunrise

A sunrise hike up Mount Eden, a dormant volcano that rises nearly 650 feet above sea level, will be rewarded with a priceless panorama. The view spans the entire isthmus that greater Auckland occupies, from Manukau Harbour to the south across to Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf to the north. While savoring the solitude at the summit, peer into the vast, sloping crater at your feet or scan the landscape for landmarks like the Sky Tower and One Tree Hill, another substantial volcanic mound that is crowned with an obelisk.

11. 11 a.m. | On the K Road

Compared with Ponsonby, the thoroughfare known as K Road — or Karangahape Road — has a quirkier, less polished atmosphere. The street’s Queen Anne-style buildings and neo-Greek facades once made up a seedy red-light district, but today, upstanding businesses have moved in. At the Theater Coffee Company (256 Karangahape Road;, have a gooey herb-and-cheese-stuffed omelet and thick slices of toast (16.50 New Zealand dollars) for breakfast beneath the narrow building’s original vaulted ceiling. Afterward, visit Iko Iko (195 Karangahape Road;, a cute nearby shop where shelves are stuffed with treasures, trinkets and Kiwi-kitsch — windup kiwi birds, kiwi-bird-shaped cookie cutters. Then swing by the new high-end clothing boutique Maaike + Co (Shop 18, St Kevin’s Arcade, 179-183 Karangahape Road; in a handsome shopping arcade to find stylish designs from the store’s own label, Maaike, and other fashionable New Zealand brands like Nyne and Kowtow.

12. 1:30 p.m. | Vineyard Views

For a glimpse of New Zealand’s bountiful natural beauty, take a 40-minute ferry ride across the aquamarine waters of the Hauraki Gulf to Waiheke Island. This quiet 35-square-mile island, with its rolling hills and gorgeous coastline, is so visually inspiring that a growing number of artists have made Waiheke home. See their work at the Waiheke Community Art Gallery (2 Korora Road; or the newer Toi Gallery (145 Ocean View Road; Then retire to the scenic estate of Cable Bay Vineyards (12 Nick Johnstone Drive; overlooking the gulf for a glass of Waiheke Island viognier. The winery is one of many on the island, but the view from the backyard terrace — of the glittering water stretching toward Auckland in the hazy distance — is hard to top.


The stylish Hotel DeBrett (2 High Street; is a 25-room boutique hotel. Each room is individually decorated, but all contain a cool mix of furnishings, artworks and brightly striped carpets made of New Zealand wool and designed by the owner Michelle Deery. Doubles from 300 New Zealand dollars.

The Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour (21 Viaduct Harbour Avenue; opened in June 2012 with 172 luxurious rooms with balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows and spacious marble bathrooms. There are also two restaurants, a Champagne bar and a recently opened spa. Doubles from around 230 dollars.

New York Times Travel


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Barossa. Be Consumed – New South Australia Tourism Commercial

Posted on May 24, 2013 | Comments Off on Barossa. Be Consumed – New South Australia Tourism Commercial

Barossa. Be consumed.

SA Tourism Commission has launched its new tourism spot featuring Nick Cave’s darkly seductive ‘Red Right Hand’

It is a gritty, sensual and grounded visual feast. Indulge yourself and Be Consumed.

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Furry Friday – Hang in there its almost the Weekend

Posted on May 24, 2013 | Comments Off on Furry Friday – Hang in there its almost the Weekend

Furry Friday – Hang in there its almost the weekend folks.Cute-Animals-Wallpaper-HD

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Cruise Industry announces Passenger Bill of Rights

Posted on May 24, 2013 | Comments Off on Cruise Industry announces Passenger Bill of Rights


Washington, DC — May 22, 2013 —Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) today announced that its Board of Directors approved the adoption of a “Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights” detailing CLIA members’ commitment to the safety, comfort and care of guests in a number of important areas.

The CEOs of CLIA North American member cruise lines are each immediately verifying in writing that they have adopted the Passenger Bill of Rights, which is a condition of membership in the Association. CLIA also will submit the Passenger Bill of Rights to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), requesting formal global recognition and applicability under the IMO’s authority over the international maritime industry. The Passenger Bill of Rights will be effective immediately for U.S. passengers who purchase their cruise in North America on CLIA’s North American member cruise lines, regardless of itinerary.

CLIA and its member cruise lines are actively communicating the Passenger Bill of Rights to the public and cruise line guests. CLIA and its member lines will post the Passenger Bill of Rights on their respective websites, and CLIA has provided to its nearly 14,000 travel agent members materials to communicate the Passenger Bill of Rights to current and prospective customers looking to book a cruise.

“The Cruise Industry Passenger Bill of Rights codifies many longstanding practices of CLIA members and goes beyond those to further inform cruise guests of the industry’s commitment to their comfort and care,” said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of CLIA. “By formally adopting industry practices into a “Passenger Bill of Rights,” CLIA is further demonstrating consistent practices and transparency across CLIA member lines. The cruise industry is committed to continuing to deliver against the high standards we set for ourselves in all areas of shipboard operations.”

In addition to adopting the Passenger Bill of Rights, other recent and proactive initiatives by the cruise industry to focus on passenger safety, comfort and care include:

  • Establishment of an industry-wide Operational Safety Review in 2012 resulting in the adoption of 10 safety-related policies that were submitted to the IMO;
  • Launch of a Preparedness Risk Assessment in March 2013 to review and address redundancies related to power systems that provide essential services in the rare event of a loss of main power; and,
  • Successful completion in early April of a multi-day emergency drill involving authorities from the U.S. and Bahamian governments, led by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Following is the full text of the Passenger Bill of Rights, as adopted by CLIA’s members unanimously.


The Members of the Cruise Lines International Association are dedicated to the comfort and care of all passengers on oceangoing cruises throughout the world. To fulfill this commitment, our Members have agreed to adopt the following set of passenger rights:

  1. The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided onboard, subject only to the Master’s concern for passenger safety and security and customs and immigration requirements of the port.
  2. The right to a full refund for a trip that is canceled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.
  3. The right to have available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, professional emergency medical attention, as needed until shore side medical care becomes available.
  4. The right to timely information updates as to any adjustments in the itinerary of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency, as well as timely updates of the status of efforts to address mechanical failures.
  5. The right to a ship crew that is properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures.
  6. The right to an emergency power source in the case of a main generator failure.
  7. The right to transportation to the ship’s scheduled port of disembarkation or the passenger’s home city in the event a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
  8. The right to lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
  9. The right to have included on each cruise line’s website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions or information concerning any aspect of shipboard operations.
  10. The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each line’s website.

About CLIA
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. CLIA represents the interests of cruise lines, travel agents, port authorities and destinations, and various industry business partners before regulatory and legislative policy makers. CLIA is also engaged in travel agent training, research and marketing communications to promote the value and desirability of cruise holiday vacations with thousands of travel agency and travel agent members. CLIA’s Associate Member and Executive Partner program includes the industry’s leading providers of supplies and services that help cruise lines provide a safe, environmentally-friendly and enjoyable holiday vacation experience for millions of passengers every year. For more information on CLIA, the cruise industry, and CLIA-member cruise lines and travel agencies, visit CLIA can also be followed on the Cruise Lines International Association’s Facebook and Twitter fan pages, and CEO Christine Duffy can be followed @CLIACEO and


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