Road & Rail

Big Fat Road & Rail Wrap

Why do we love Thursdays? Because there are two wraps! We’re talking about the wraps in the newsletter BTW, not the wraps we have for lunch today.

Mary Valley ‘Rattler’ back on the rails to offer picturesque heritage steam train experience on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast

Mary Valley Rattler Train GYMPIE

The future is looking bright for one of Queensland’s most -loved tourism attractions, with the steam and diesel engines of the Mary Valley Rattler again chugging their way through some of the Sunshine Coast hinterland’s most picturesque countryside.

After many years of extensive upgrades to existing track work and improvements to its fleet of historic steam and diesel locomotives and carriages – each with their own unique story – the heritage railway experience has been relaunched after an almost seven-year hiatus. At its peak, the Valley Rattler, as it was then known, played host to upwards of 30,000 passengers annually.

Morning and afternoon services on the Mary Valley Rattler will now run three days per week on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays for a return journey from the historic Gympie or Amamoor stations via Dagun.

Reputed to be the largest timber railway building owned by Queensland Rail during the 20th century, the historic Gympie station is the headquarters of the Mary Valley Rattler and arguably one of the most stylish and elaborate in the context of timber railway architecture.

Ride a Tour de France Climb, explore Alps on new Sojourn Cycling Tour

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Bike along the shore of Lake Annecy and up one of the climbs of the Tour de France, explore Mont Blanc on foot and stay in elegant accommodations on a new tour in France from Sojourn Bicycling & Active Vacations. Beyond the rides, be charmed by the canals and cobblestone streets of Annecy, explore the shops and brasseries of Chamonix, and savour traditional French and Alpine cuisine. The six-day tour departs June 16, June 23, Sept. 15 and Sept. 22, 2019. Starts at $4,550 per person based on double occupancy.

Starting in Annecy, ride along the west shore of Lake Annecy, France’s third largest lake, then explore the Alps’ glorious Haute-Savoie region, with 7,700-foot La Tournette dominating the dramatic vistas. Stay in the Imperial Hotel, a majestic Edwardian-style property amid a wooded park on the banks of the lake that once hosted the likes of Winston Churchill.

Next, get in a bucket-list ride pedalling up the switchbacks of Stage 10 from the 2018 Tour de France, from Bluffy to La Clausaz, staying in the Hotel Beauregard, which is built in traditional Alpine chalet style.

Then it’s on to Chamonix, at the foot of Mont Blanc, and a stay at Relais & Chateaux luxurious 5-star Hameau Albert 1er. Pedal through the farming villages of Flumet and Megève, hike up the Grand Balcon Sud of Mont Blanc or visit the Mer de Glace ice cave, and finish with an out-and-back ride highlighted by views of Les Grands Montets.

Save 15 per cent on 2019 motorbike tours with Extreme Bike Tours

Motorbike tour - Himalayas pic

Grab your mates and open throttle on some of the world’s most spectacular roads on the back of a classic Royal Enfield motorbike with this special 15 per cent discount from Extreme Bike Tours.

Appealing to the more than one million Australians who ride motorbikes often in clubs or groups, Extreme Bike Tours is offering a special, 15 per cent discount per person on their 2019 ‘Hidden Sri Lanka,’ ‘Luxury Rajasthan,’ ‘Bhutan,’ ‘Madagascar,’ ‘Mongolia,’ and ‘High Himalaya’ tours if you book with three other riders. The special discount is open-ended with no booking deadline.

Extreme Bike Tours’ 13-day ‘Hidden Sri Lanka’ round-tour takes riders from the palm-fringed coastline of the tropical island through to mountainous regions filled with tea plantations, ancient civilisations and exotic wildlife. The 14-day, ‘Luxury Rajasthan’ tour, lets riders explore India’s largest state at full throttle, visiting ancient forts, wandering nomads, grand palaces as well as India’s most iconic monument, the Taj Mahal.

Each tour includes fuel, meals, accommodation and transfers. Flights from Australia are extra. Extreme Bike Tours is one of the world’s leading motorcycle tour companies, offering tours in the Himalayas, Bhutan, Mongolia, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka and Cuba.

International Rail launch new one-stop shop for agents

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Australian-owned International Rail has just launched its new one-stop shop dedicated agent portal, allowing agents to access the numerous products and booking systems the wholesaler offers the Australian market, all with the added peace of mind of local support from the Melbourne based sales and reservations teams.

Over the past 12 months, International Rail has diversified to offer complementary products to its core rail offering. We have created four new divisions catering for ferries, transfers, hotels and shore excursions. The new website, www.agent.internationalrail.com.au, has been designed to simplify the process for agents to provide their clients with an affordable and efficient range of products – all in one place.

Owner and managing director Jonathan Hume said that in recent years the company identified with the needs of its travel partners and has introduced complimentary travel related products worldwide. These include state of the art online bookings systems for ferries, transfers, shore excursions and hotels.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Events

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by Huntley Mitchell

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Events

Clear intentions crucial for making lasting connections, says networking strategist

by Huntley Mitchell

A prominent networking expert reckons cruel intentions are key for making valuable connections. Whoops, sorry! that should read ‘clear intentions’.

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Destinations

Chinese tourists cancel trips to “punish” New Zealand

by Ali Coulton

A cooling of relations between China and New Zealand has turned icy as Chinese state media reports tourists are cancelling their trips to the land of the long white cloud.

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Destinations

Flight Centre’s Top Destinations to Visit for 2019 reveal cold is no longer hot

by Christian Fleetwood

The news comes as a shock to the Travel Weekly staff after a broken air conditioner forced us to convert our office into a sauna.

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Aviation

BARGAIN: Indian airline to be sold for 1 cent

by Christian Fleetwood

Shares in this airline cost less than the price of a cup of coffee, but you might want to reconsider this bargain on the stock exchange.

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Destinations

From detention centre to tourism hotspot?

by Ali Coulton

Christmas Island has the potential to turn into Australia’s next tourism hotspot, but the government has other plans.

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Travel Agents

Wholesalers

Corporate Travel Management’s half-yearly profit growth soars

by Huntley Mitchell

CTM’s office bottle opener is set to get a workout today following some very positive financial results for the corporate travel player.

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Aviation

Major US airlines to make gender option on tickets more inclusive

by Christian Fleetwood

In a big win for equality and inclusiveness, United and American Airlines will make it optional to leave gender as male or female—as well as unspecified or undisclosed.

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Tourism

Giddy up slow pokes! The first entry for our Women in Travel Awards is already in

by Christian Fleetwood

We’re considering giving this woman an award just for being the first to enter the WIT Awards two years in a row!

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Destinations

Tourism Authority of Thailand and Asia Escape Holidays entertain Perth agents

Meanwhile, we’re three hours behind deadline because we spent our morning researching our dream holiday in Phuket instead of doing our job.

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Cruise

Big fat cruise wrap

It’s Wednesday and that can only mean two things: Cruise Wrap and our turn to take the office dog to his weekly manicure.

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Midweek Interview

Midweek interview with East Hotel’s Todd Handy

This week, we took East Hotel’s general manager aside for an uber-private chat in a secret location. Okay, fine – we emailed him.

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