LETTER FROM OVERSEAS EDITOR

Vast Western Australia, the last great frontier. Ask native Australians where the “real” Australia lies and they will point to the West. Imagine a more rugged cowboy version of Hugh Jackman’s Drover wearing a slouched and tattered Akubra hat atop his steed herding cattle along a dusty dirt trail under the distant and watchful spiritual eye of an Aborigine tribe….

WA viewThe west coast of Oz is about as far geographically and culturally from cosmopolitan Sydney as New York is from LA. But once you are here, the aesthetic, adventurous and historical rewards are endless. Experience the quintessential Outback in the remote Kimberley – bushwalk for days without seeing a soul, observe indigenous Aboriginal communities in their native land, photograph the magical Bungle Bungles at sunset, 4-wheel drive along Old West-inspired Gibb River Road bunking in cattle stations. Although isolated, certain WA attractions have developed a must-see cachet such as sampling vintage Chardonnay at Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River to the backdrop of an outdoor concert, hitting the surf at Cottesloe Beach in Perth, riding a camel along famed Cable Beach, or ferrying to Rottnest Island cloaked in Aboriginal history.

In fact, WA has the most colourful and conflicted history of any region in the country. Getaway’s fitting cover photo references the well-known tale of the Rabbit-Proof Fence which illuminated a dark chapter in Australian history. The touching true story of two young Aboriginal girls who run away from a settlement north of Perth and follow the State-constructed fence 2,400 km to return home to their Aboriginal families. In a watershed moment last year, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd finally acknowledged and apologised for the inhumane treatment of the Aborigines which has gone a long way in easing political tensions in WA. Come to WA to hear THEIR stories.

In light of recent economic constraints, some Australians are wary about heading off to distant lands overseas, so this month’s Getaway focuses on holidays closer to home covering The Best of Western Australia. Also check out Top Winter Escapes in Edge Gold List contributed by our very own Edge travel consultants as well as the launch of Edge Deals, a link to Executive Edge’s new webpage of regularly updated travel specials. Next week I’m off to Maui to bring you an all-inclusive Hawaiian Islands issue for October Getaway so stay tuned.

A recent survey of consumer sentiment conducted for the Sydney Morning Herald shows most Australians are planning to spend their tax bonus of $900 on travel. Why not use your own personal stimulus package on a trip which supports and contributes to the Australian economy? WA’s adventures are just at your doorstep. Spectacular national parks, world-class wineries, white sands and blue seas combine to create WA’s outpost magic. Western Australia, you bloody beauty!

Sincerely, Kimberly Rosbe
Editor at Large

EDITORIAL

yacht

Don’t be Un-Australian!

My first Christmas in Australia I spent in Perth. Growing up in the northeastern part of America, I was accustomed to white Christmases amongst a winter wonderland backdrop of mountains and cliches of roasting chestnuts by the fire. Barbecuing seafood in a bikini in 40 degree heat while surfing at the beach on Christmas Day contradicted my entire sense of the holiday. But when in Rome…

The next day on Boxing Day, my Perth friends chartered a yacht large enough for 25 of us to partake in the traditional annual Rotto Day Raft Up. Every year on the 26th of December hundreds of boats depart from Perth and Fremantle making the 20 km journey bound for Rottnest to dock off the island’s sheltered coves for a relaxing day of revelry under the blazing southern hemisphere sun. Arriving at a calm Rottnest cove, anchors secured, everyone jumped gleefully into the clear blue sea. Rotto’s environment reminded me distinctly of the Caribbean with its powdery white sand beaches fringing calm crystal turquoise shallow waters. So, as the soaring outdoor temperature hit 45 degrees and I mentally repeat the phrase ‘When in Rome,’ I leap right in with the pack expecting the warm ocean of the Caribbean to envelope me. Ah, incorrect. The water is the equivalent of bathing in a glacier. Disoriented and freezing I clamber back on the boat unable to feel my extremities which have instantly gone numb from the cold. Note to self – do not swim in Indian Ocean this close to Antarctica. Teeth chattering I look over incredulously at my native Perth friends who are laughing and playing in the sea as if it were bath water. Hmmm… thick Western Australia skin, I thought. Someone calls from the bow, “What can I get you to drink?” “Just ice water thanks,” I ironically reply, as I’m wrapped in a blanket to defrost. Immediately my friend Jonathan pops up from the inner part of the yacht and walks over to me sternly explaining, “It’s un-Australian not to drink on Boxing Day, Kimbo.” Again, when in Rome!

FEATURE

Best of the West: Western Australia

BROOME

Broome camels

Where Orient meets Outback in Oz’s remote northwest corner, Broome is Australia’s exotic pearling capital and once the booming centre of the global pearling industry established by Japanese entrepreneurs of the 1880s. In fact, most of the world’s mother-of-pearl buttons were found just off Broome’s shores in oyster beds dug up in these dangerous seas by open water divers who often met untimely deaths from sharks or the bends. After being bombed by the Japanese during World War II, Broome gradually reinvented itself using tourism ties, while still maintaining its original pearling identity. Today Broome is an organic, unpretentious and unbelievably beautiful destination rich in history and multi-layered culture.

Residing on a narrow peninsula alongside the Indian Ocean’s white-capped surf, the town is sandwiched between shimmering red outback landscape and the blue-green sea. Broome’s rebirth in recent years as a chic destination is thanks to the debut of Cable Beach Club Resort perfectly situated oceanfront on one the world’s great stretches of sand. Nearby are more modest accommodations such as The Pearle with Asian-influenced decor. Marilynne Paspaley, scion of a famous pearling family, opened the posh Pinctada, a romantic getaway for couples. For luxurious digs outside of town, drive one hour south to Eco Beach Wilderness Retreat – a modern eco resort overlooking the ocean set amongst a pristine environment and total seclusion.

Pearls are certainly Broome’s glamour crop but there remain authentic Old West influences here too with amateur rodeos and cattle stations nearby along the Gibb River outside of town. (see The Kimberley’s) Ultimately, Broome is a place which never loses sight of its past. Best time to visit? April through October is the dry season. Try to coincide your trip with the full moon’s low tide when lunar light reflects off Roebuck Bay to create an illusion called Staircase to the Moon.

Top 10 Broome Highlights

  1. Saunter along the 14-mile white stretch of Cable Beach atop a camel. Camel rides,Broome Beach the ultimate Broome experience, are offered by Ships of the Desert and Red Sun Camel Safaris for just $30. During winter (June – August) sunset rides are offered daily.
  2. Glide amphibiously over the tidal flats amongst myriad wading birds to visit historical sights including WWII boat wrecks and 120 million year old preserved dinosaur footprints. Hovercraft Tours between $95-$140.
  3. Spend an evening under the starry sky at Broome’s Sun Pictures, the world’s oldest operating outdoor cinema located in the Chinatown district.
  4. Bringing a touch of big city sophistication to the tiny town of a mere 15,000, quality indigenous artwork from Aboriginals in The Kimberley can be found at Short Gallery, Gecko Gallery and Broome 6 Gallery.
  5. Kayak across the clear water to explore Gantheaume Point for a chance to view turtles and other prolific sea life with Broome Adventure Company.
  6. Broome pearls are the most beautiful in the world. Favourite local souvenirs? Pearls by Paspaley either Baroque-shaped or perfect round ones. Gain insight into modern day pearl farming at Willie Creek Pearl Farm or Willie Pearl Lugger Cruises.
  7. Broome is also a musical mecca. Catch a show at the local haunt Zeebar by the internationally renowned Pigram Brothers who have been making Aboriginal-themed folk rock in Broome for two decades.
  8. End the day at Sunset Bar, next door to Cable Beach Resort, and order a “bucket o’ prawns” while sipping cocktails viewing one of the best sunsets in the world.
  9. Learn about the local Aboriginal traditions, culture, storytelling, traditional fishing, hunting and survival techniques with half-day indigenous guided tours of Roebuck Bay through Mamabulanjin Tours.
  10. Take a terrace seat for a laid-back alfresco dinner at The Wharf in Port of Broome and feast on the fresh seafood banquet and sparkling blue water views. Do not miss their signature dish chilli mud crab.

THE KIMBERLEY

The pearling town of Broome The Kimberleyserves as the gateway to northwestern Australia’s wild Kimberley region with its infamous reputation for a rough and tumble past. Welcome to the Outback. If you are seeking a quintessential Old West Australian adventure, look no further than The Kimberleys. Enter this isolated region by one of two ways – via plane into Kununurra airport or overland on 4WD vehicles from Broome via Gibb River Road. Take the road less traveled, as Robert Frost would say.

Nine km east of Broome, begin your on-road journey into The Kimberleys with a detour through the Dampier Peninsula. Its white sand beaches and red rock contrasted by aquamarine Indian Ocean will take your breath away. But the real reason to visit this peninsula is to glimpse first-hand Beagle Bay Aboriginal Land and learn about the indigenous cultures of the Ngumbarl, Bardi, Jabirrjabirr, Nyulnyul and Nimanburru tribes who reside here. In order to protect the local environment as well as respect the privacy of its Aboriginal communities, permits must be obtained in advance to access the area – go online through the Department of Indigenous Affairs. www.dia.wa.gov.au At the tip of the peninsula, you’ll discover Cape Leveque’s panoramic red cliff hilltop views of jewel-like seas and the eco tourism award-winning wilderness camp of Kooljaman. The indigenous owners of the resort maintain that no stingers or crocs have been spotted in the swimming beaches at Cape Leveque, but still be cautious. Snorkel off the main beach, mud-crab during the summer months or take a scenic flight over this last frontier.

OutbackContinue your dusty pilgrimage, wide-brimmed hat fastened beneath your chin, along the legendary Gibb River Road for an authentic back-country experience. Closed during the Wet, set out during the parched Dry. Expect rough, dirt road, high clearance 4WD-only conditions and definitely bring spare tires, tools and a good supply of water in case you get stranded. But by the end of the 660 km expedition spanning Derby to Wyndham to Kununurra, you’ll lasso like a pro and feel at home on the range. (Well, maybe not lasso, but be an honourary Outback cowboy at least.) Gibb River Road was originally constructed as a ‘beef road’ to move cattle, but today many of the private cattle stations have been converted to tourist accommodations creating a fitting overnight stopover. (Birdwood Downs Station – 20 km from Derby; Mt. Hart Wilderness Lodge at 184 km turn-off; Mornington Wilderness Camp on the Fitzroy River; Home Valley Station near Kununurra, to name a few)

Two magical parks are synonymous with The Kimberley – El Questro Wilderness Park and Purnululu National Park. El Questro Wilderness Park covers almost a million acres offering bountiful wonders to sports enthusiasts and eco tourists alike. Hike or horseback ride through canyons and gorges, photograph wild butterflies, soak in Bungle BunglesZebedee Springs’ thermal pools, cruise along Chamberlain Gorge, or fish for barramundi. At night, sleep under a bright canopy of stars spread out as far as the eye can see. Emma Gorge Resort, albeit overrated, offers safari style tented cabins, so opt for either the luxurious all-inclusive El Questro Homestead to prop up your feet on their spacious verandahs or the more down-to-earth and casual (although busy and less private) El Questro Station Township bungalows. Purnululu National Park is farther south from Kununurra. To expedite your voyage I recommend flying into the area via 8-seater pedal pusher plane or helicopter to witness the national park’s most famous attraction, the spectacular Bungle Bungle Range. These distinctive striped beehive rock towers consist of layered sandstone and pebbles reaching up to 578 metres which were slowly moulded by rain over millions of years. The Bungle Bungles’ orange and grey-banded domes are best viewed at sunset when they seemingly change colour. Until 1982, this range was known to only a few cattle stockmen and local Aborigines, but today can be witnessed by all who dare to venture into this rugged, dramatic terrain.

NINGALOO REEF

On the tranquil Coral Coast, Ningaloo Marine Park could be Western Australia’s most Ningaloo Reefprecious natural attraction. It’s a marine sanctuary wonderland. Gorgeous blue waters fringing 250 km of the northwest cape’s coastline, Ningaloo is a governmentally protected area which is devoted to preservation of the reef and the staggering array of marine life that lives here. The Reef is home to manta rays, humpback whales, turtles, dugongs and more than 500 species of fish. Snorkel and scuba to your heart’s content in Turquiose Bay with Coral Bay Charters to witness the kaleidoscope of coral beds decorating the ocean’s bottom. Feeling extraordinarily brave? The Coral Coast is one of a handful of places worldwide where you can swim with the planet’s biggest fish, the whale shark. In fact, Ningaloo is the only place on the globe where whale sharks arrive annually like clockwork to feed. Ningaloo Reef Dive specialises in snorkeling experiences with whale sharks and PADI diver training courses to learn to swim and coexist with these harmless gentle giants. Arrange your stay to coincide with the calendar time frame for your favourite marine sighting:

March and April – 10 to 12 days after the full moon, witness a spectacular coral spawning event.

May to NovemberManta rays migrate in dramatic fashion in huge schools.

May to July – Arriving to feed on small fish and plankton, the whale sharks descend en masse.

July to November – Watch the graceful humpback whales as they migrate south near North West Cape.

November to February – Track four species of turtles which nestle and hatch in the sands. Become a certified “turtle scout” through the Jurabi Turtle Centre.

Stay the night in Coral Bay, a sleepy beachcomber community at the southern end of the park on a beautiful curved part of the bay. Bayview Coral Bay Resort offers a range of accommodation from grassy sites for pitching a tent to comfortable self-contained apartments. For a genuine Australian experience at Ningaloo Reef, I recommend Wild Bush Luxury’s Sal Salis property. One hour south of Exmouth in the Cape Range National Park, each tent lies amongst the low coastal dunes a mere 50 metres back from the beach. In luxurious camp style, Sal Salis’s accommodation is intended to expose each guest to the authentic sights and sounds of the wilderness around you. Therefore don’t be surprised when you discover a Red Kangaroo munching on grass outside your tent in the morning.

KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK

Gorge

Karijini National Park is an outdoor adventurer’s dream. Arguably in the middle of nowhere, the Park is surrounded by the iron mining towns of Newman to the east and Tom Price and Paraburdoo to the west. Temperatures can be extreme in the dusky red dirt arid Pilbara region with Paraburdoo recording a maximum of 49 degrees Celsius. So take precautions if visiting during the mid-day sun. But braving the temperatures, the rewards will be well worth the trip. Renowned for its plunging gorges, cascading waterfalls and idyllic rock pools, the scenic attractions are abundant. At Dales Gorge, refresh in the waters of Fortescue Falls or take the three-hour walk to swim at Circular Pool. Hancock Gorge is a thrill, but best experienced with a local guide as hiking through its deep narrow chambers and rock pools can be dangerous. Mt. Bruce is WA’s second highest mountain and one of the most scenic walks in the State if you have the stamina to ascend all the way to its 1,165 metre summit. Located at the junction of four mighty gorges, Oxer Lookout boasts the Park’s signature attraction. From this zenith, enjoy a 360-degree view of Red Gorge, Weano Gorge, Joffre Gorge and Hancock Gorge.

Accommodation in the park is limited. Choose from camping facilities at the Savannah Camp Grounds or safari tents at Karijini Eco Retreat. TIP: Conventional vehicles don’t fare well here – definitely rent a 4WD. Entry into the Park is a mere $10/car. Also be careful to choose walks appropriate to your level of fitness as the trails can be rugged, intense and quite slippery after rainfall.

PINNACLES DESERT

Pinnacles Desert

Are you on the surface of another planet or in Western Australia? A legitimate hypothetical given that the Pinnacles Desert conjures one’s imagination of how a moonscape might appear. On the coastal side of the Central Midlands, Nambung National Park is home to the otherworldly Pinnacles Desert, where thousands of coloured quartz limestone pillars jut out of the golden desert floor in varying lengths up to five metres in height. This vision is a photographer’s fantasy. A decent gravel road loop runs through the formations enabling you to stroll among them and gaze in awe and wonder. Come at sunset and be transported to another place, another land, another planet.

Pinnacles DesertExpect casual accommodation and eateries in the area like the Pinnacles Caravan Park next to the beach or Ronsard Bay Tavern in Cervantes where the locals hang out playing darts and pool to the tunes of an old jukebox. In Cervantes you’ll taste the sweetest crayfish in the world. However, if you prefer a little more upscale digs, Perth is only a short drive away. TIP: Try to visit during spring when this region showcases an explosion of wildflowers.

PERTH

Given the blazing vast land masses of emptiness in this state, Perth skylineit’s easy to forget there is one thriving city center. Perth with its futuristic skyline has the distinction of being the world’s most isolated capital city. Perth is also sparsely populated for its size, has a wonderful sense of open space and a comparably small CBD to other Australian cities. Nevertheless, don’t expect to find a sleepy country town with deserted streets and folks with nothing to do but tinker on the barbie. Admittedly the local attire is boardshorts and thongs and the vibe is lackadaisical, but when a city is this beautiful and all energy is drawn toward the water, what else would you expect?

Cottesloe Beach

Without question, the heart of Perth lies on the beach. And any Perth native will tell you that no other city in the world has beaches as white and wide and endless as theirs. Go for a surf on famed Cottesloe Beach in the morning, stretch out on the lawn of Kings Park by the Swan River mid-day, cheer for your favourite footy team at Subiaco Oval, and then feast at one of the inexhaustible supply of great restaurants at night. Or better yet, pretend you are a local and simply grab some fish and chips as you stroll around Fishing Boat Harbour in Fremantle, then return to the beach for the traditional “Sunday session” at the “Cott.” I can guarantee the weather will be perfect.

WHERE TO STAY: Parmelia Hilton, Chifley on the Terrace, The Duxton, The Esplanade Hotel Fremantle, Ocean Beach Hotel.

WHERE TO EAT: Indian Tea House, The Subiaco Hotel, Cream, Altos, C Restaurant and Lounge, Luxe, The Queens, Little Creatures, CBD Restaurant and Bar.

MARGARET RIVER

Margaret RiverThe cape of Margaret River with its lush green lands fringed by the Indian and Southern Oceans lies in the absolute southwestern corner of the continent. The area is steeped in rich history dating back 35,000 years to the Nyungar’s great ancestors who coveted this pristine land. Still today the region’s fresh air, clean seas and unspoiled earth creates organic therapy for the soul and a peaceful escape. Fundamentally, the sea supports life on the cape. Everyone here gravitates towards the ocean. In fact, the Margaret River area is considered Western Australia’s spiritual home of surfing. Its wild coast and big consistent waves have lured true blue Aussie surfers to the cape for decades in search of the ultimate wave. Yallingup Beach, on the Indian Ocean side of Cape Naturaliste’s promontory, is a surfing mecca. The two main resort towns in this area, Busselton and Dunsborough, are defined by their close vicinity to the tranquil shores of Geographe Bay.

Between Cape Naturaliste in the north and Cape Leeuwin in the south, prominent coastal features dominate the land with plentiful capes, points, bays and beaches. Halfway down the coast, you’ll find Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park known for its flora and fauna. In between the capes explore hidden mystical limestone caverns along Cape Drive – Lake Cave, Jewel Cave and Ngilgi Caves are the most striking. For the truly hardy and adventurous, in 7 days you can actually walk the stunning 135 km Cape-to-Cape Track. But bring your runners! The most dramatic point may be the coastline at Augusta’s Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse where the Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean converge in grand, wave-crashing fashion. Also, worth a look are the deep forests with towering trees around Pemberton. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a scene from Lord of the Rings.

Margaret River vineyardsBut let’s face it – vineyards are solely responsible for putting Margaret River on the international map. This environment has built a reputation for producing nearly 10 percent of Australia’s premium wines from soft merlots to robust cabernets to rich semillons and chardonnays. Although most vineyards and wineries are located in the Willyabrup Valley, Margaret River boasts a total of 90 vineyards and 60 plus wineries. This area also attracts world-renowned chefs who create gourmet dining experiences to accompany your wine tastings. The fish, cheese and chocolates in Margaret River are particularly delicious. Visit Margaret River to get back to basics – an escape to a simpler lifestyle where you can immerse yourself in the “Down South” slower-paced, easy going rhythm of life amongst beautiful beaches, wilderness and fine food and wine.

WINERIES to name a few: Xanadu Wines, Pierro Vineyard, Moss Wood, Fermoy Estate, Palandri Wines, Ashbrook Estate, Cape Mentelle, Evans & Tate, Leeuwin Estate, Devil’s Lair, Brookland Valley.

Vineyards with renowned and scenic RESTAURANTS: Vasse Felix, Voyager Estate, Lamont’s, Flute’s Cafe, Cape Clairault, Leeuwin Estate.

STAY: Empire Retreat – I stayed here when a friend got married nearby on an estate by Geographe Bay. Private suites with an Asian touch and vineyard views.

Injidup Spa Retreat – Recently voted one of the top new hotels in the world. Ten luxurious modern private villas each with its own plunge pool and spectacular ocean views on secluded Injidup Beach.

Quay West Resort Bunker Bay – Large resort complex with 153 one, two and three bedrooms with choice of ocean, lake or garden view set on sands of Bunker Bay surrounded by Cape Naturaliste.

La Foret Enchantee – France meets Margaret River. Think rustic and romantic luxury for couples.

Cape Lodge – A white, elegant yet intimate country estate set in the ideal location in Margaret River around a bush-fringed lake minutes from pristine beaches and neighboring the great wine estates of Moss Wood, Vasse Felix, Cullen and Pierro.

Basildene Manor – Two minutes from Margaret River township, a four-star heritage property set in delightful gardens.

Best of the West (cont.)

EDGE DEALS

Edge Deals

Welcome to the official launch of EDGE DEALS! Executive Edge is now bringing you the hottest available travel specials on the market today customised especially for our clients. Simply click on www.executiveedge.com.au/specials which will directly take you to the newest page on the Executive Edge Travel & Events website.

Please click the links below for more details on our current specials:

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We Recommend

Early Bird Ski Deals

EDGE GOLD LIST

Top 5 Winter Getaways

1 – CENTRAL AUSTRALIA
by Linda Burstin

Central Australia

Why not take a week off and visit the most spectacular natural wonders of the world right in our own backyard in Central Australia? Pick up a 4WD or let someone else do the driving and explore the magnificent West McDonnell Ranges. Then head off to Kings Canyon and do the amazing canyon rim walk. Save the best for last with a visit to the glorious Ayers Rock and the Olgars. The colours of this area are absolutely breathtaking. I have never seen such blue skies combined with the red earth and all the greenery surrounding. It’s no wonder that so many artworks capture this landscape. Also, there is so much to see and do in Central Australia encompassing learning more about the Aborigines, their culture and history.

2 – PORT DOUGLAS
by Shirley Borden

Port Douglas

Port Douglas is a casual, chic and relaxing resort town suitable for everyone – families, backpackers, honeymooners, couples and single travelers. One hour drive from Cairns along a picturesque coastal road where the ocean meets the mountains, you’ll find all types of accommodation from the luxurious Sheraton Mirage to apartments or hostels. Stroll to the beach or to Macrossan Street where many of the boutiques and restaurants are situated.

There are incredible chances for exploration and adventure amongst nature in Port Douglas such as the Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary. Six km from the township, boardwalks meander throughout the eight acres of the property which is divided into three distinct and unique environments – rainforest, wetlands and grasslands. It showcases Australian animals in their habitats with free guided tours and different presentations during the day. Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation is also a tour that should not be missed. Travel from Port Douglas to Mossman Gorge onto the Daintree where you can walk through the aerial walkway and see the amazing fig trees. Or you can cruise and cross the Daintree River by ferry and continue to Cape Tribulation. Of course, there is always the Great Barrier Reef easily accessible from PD whether you travel out on the Quiksilver (a large catamaran taking 300 people to the outer Barrier Reef) or do this on smaller vessels, the choice is yours. You can snorkel, dive, helicopter or view the reef in a semi-submersible. From the sea to the air, perhaps try Hot Air Ballooning. Rise early at 5am and travel to the Atherton Tablelands where you can experience the unique sensation of drifting over the rainforest in wonder and silence for 60 minutes. Come down to earth for a champagne breakfast before heading back. Another highlight in PD is ‘Flames of the Forest.’ Ten minutes from Port Douglas enjoy a special evening under the canopy of stars in the rainforest. While savouring your meal, explore the Aboriginal culture with two brothers from this local area who will relay the local history through storytelling and music.

3 – SKI NEW ZEALAND
by Ginette Peterfreund

New Zealand

Skiing New Zealand is like skiing Europe without the expense, without the language problems and without the lengthy travel time. Close to home, New Zealand’s geographical beauty is breathtaking. There are a variety of ski resorts available ranging from the sophisticated Queenstown to the alpine town of Wanaka and the unmatched heli skiing on untouched snow. In Queenstown, every need is readily attended to. Ski hire, lift passes, clothing and equipment are all easy to access. Affordable packages make family ski holidays a pleasure. Our family’s first experience was so enjoyable that we all returned to New Zealand twice more to enjoy the great shopping, delicious restaurants and friendly service.

4 – FIJI

by Debra Eustice

Fiji

Winter is one of the best times of the year to shake off our Melbourne chills and head for some sun. Fiji is a little over a 4 hour flight and soon your winter blues are a thing of the past. With the recent devaluation of the Fijian dollar, now is an even better time to enjoy a truly wonderful destination at very affordable prices. Whilst Fiji is generally known for its warm smiles, friendly people, swaying palms, sun, sand and idyllic island resorts, it has perhaps not been acclaimed as a gourmet foodies destination. Well, things have certainly changed. Only 20 minutes from Nadi airport there are now 6 upmarket hotels – Sheraton Denarau Villas, Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa, Radisson Resort Fiji Denarau Island and the Sheraton Fiji. So with the growth of the Port Denarau area, some 22 plus restaurants are all within a hop, step and a jump on the Bula Bus shuttle which runs between all hotels as well as the port’s marina and shopping area. From gourmet delis, wood-fired pizzas, steakhouse grills, Italian, Japanese Teppanyaki, Asian and Mediterranean-influenced menus to the freshest local seafood and fine dining in award-winning signature restaurants, the choices are endless. The Radisson Resort Fiji Denarau has the acclaimed Lomani Wai restaurant – dine under the stars with your table in the water! Only in Fiji. Don’t despair if you overindulge. All hotels have fully equipped gymnasiums and some have walking and jogging tracks. You can even walk off last night’s gourmet dinner with a round of golf at the Denarau Championship Golf and Racquet Club.

5 – BALI
by Anthony Brownrigg

Bali

Bali is such a classic Aussie winter retreat. A simple direct flight from Melbourne, you’ll be eating a club sandwich washed down by a cold Bintang poolside within 8 hours of leaving home. Whether you are a hippie surfer from Byron Bay or a sophisticate from Sydney, there is something for every traveller on this paradise island. Families to the late night party revelers to the ‘foodie folk’ to the ‘shopaholics’ or even those that wish to simply chill and enjoy a more holistic spiritual holiday find respite and relaxation in Bali. Although the level of luxury properties around Jimbaran Bay and Seminyak are top notch, there are also wonderful choices for less expensive digs scattered around the island. The dining options are countless with many prominent chefs from all over the world now residing in Bali. For those wishing to take a bit of Bali home, the shopping has become a lot more sophisticated since the old days of cheap Bintang T-shirts and bad copy watches. There are a plethora of unique fashion designers and homeware boutiques. And if you can’t find what you are after in-store, you’re bound to be able to have the item made whilst there. Sadly, the only downside to holidaying in Bali is the ‘post Bali blues’ upon one’s return.

EDGE TRAVEL

London Travel Diary –
by Sue Sallmann

London

Three days in London is never enough. I lived in London 18 years ago and had visited London twice before but still there is a magnetism to go again. I had forgotten how much I enjoy London. There is so much to see even when you have experienced much before, you can always find new places to explore or enjoy relaxing with a sandwich in Hyde Park people watching.

London is so easy to get around, either by Tube, jump on a bus or just using your feet – everyone speaks English and shopping is great. I did a huge amount of walking whilst there between hotel inspections and enjoying the sights. We jumped on one of the sightseeing bus trips which gave a great overview of central London, stopping along the way at many of the sights. One of my highlights was managing to overcome my fears to enjoy the wonderful views from the London Eye which was only being talked about when I was last here. We were lucky enough to have a very clear day for London and the views were formidable.

I had time for a quick trip to Harrods to enjoy strolling slowly around to experience all what Harrods is about, the quality, the expense, being able to get what you want and being astonished at what you can buy and the prices that they expect for them. We took the ferry from Embankment to Canary Wharf and back again to be astounded on the return trip when I realized how tidal The Thames was. In a four-hour time period The Thames had risen at least six feet which I noticed passing the Tower of London. Traitors Gate was uncovered on the trip down but totally covered on the return.

London

This trip I stayed at The Mayfair which is an elegant, stylish, sophisticated hotel very close to Green Park with modern understated décor and very beautiful art pieces throughout the hotel – this is consistent with all the Radisson Edwardian hotels in London. The hotel has wonderfully large bedrooms with the bathrooms just as generous. There is a very busy bar which sometimes has a small band on Friday or Saturday nights – a pleasant place to enjoy a glass of champagne or cooling cocktail with friends. If the bar is not your scene, you can recharge your batteries at the Mayfair Spa followed by fine dining at the hotel’s lovely Ambra Restaurant which offers a leisurely dinner or a preshow option. After dinner you can try your luck at the Palm Beach Casino. Unfortunately before you know it you are back on the plane on the way home again thinking, “I wish I had more time!”

EDGE PHOTO COMPETITION

Edge Around the World

Linda Ayres Rock

Linda Burstin won this issue’s internal Edge photo competition with her stoic pose in front of Central Australia’s famous Ayers Rock. Congrats Linda!

For our well-traveled clients, keep your entries coming. Next issue coming out beginning of October, our favourite client’s photo will be chosen and featured in the leisure newsletter and receive a gorgeous travel book. For consideration for the October issue, entries must be received by September 15th. (details below)

Simply shoot and win! Executive Edge Travel & Events continues its first all-client worldwide competition with exciting bi-monthly travel prizes. Everyone can participate and has a chance to win. Only three simple steps to enter:

  1. Book your trip with Executive Edge Travel
  2. Take a photo in a fantastic unique location of you or your family which clearly displays the Executive Edge white travel wallet. The better the background, the more spectacular the setting, the more likely you will be chosen.
  3. Email your photo, name and location to our Office Manager Athina Morfis at athinam@executiveedge.com.au
Best of the West (cont.)

ROTTNEST ISLAND

Rottnest IslandClaim a back deck seat on the ferry to Rottnest Island, just 19 km off the coast of Fremantle, and breathe in the fresh air, sea spray and hot sun. Rotto, as the locals call it, is a carefree lowkey island a mere 11 kms-long and 4 kms-wide surrounded by clear turquoise bays and secluded tropical beaches. Rottnest’s raison d’etre focuses on water activities – diving, swimming, snorkeling and fishing. When you need to recharge, have a good ‘ole fashioned Aussie barbecue along one of the island’s many sheltered coves. This clear water paradise of today hides a checkered past and a dark chapter in Australian history. 1838 through 1920, Rottnest was the largest and harshest prison for Aborigines in Australia who were banished to the island to carry out their hard labour sentences. The Noongar people, an indigenous group that helps make up the estimated 500,000 members of Australia’s Aboriginal population, consider the island a sacred site of remembrance as almost 400 of their fellow tribe died in the prisons here. A reconciliation plan is now in effect and the state of WA may even return the island this year to its traditional owners, the local Aboriginal groups who reside here. To learn about the island’s history of shipwrecks and Aboriginal incarceration, visit Rottnest Museum.

Rottnest IslandToday the best way to experience the island is by bike. Rent a bicycle or scooter and peddle across its parched hills to snorkel at secluded Little Parakeet Bay or BBQ at popular family-friendly Basin Beach. End your day riding to Bathurst Lighthouse, Rottnest’s most recognisable landmark.

TIP: Avoid Rottnest during university school holidays as young revelers descend on the island for partying day and night.

Rottnest Island