Southern Gold Coast becomes the newest World Surfing Reserve

SIXTEEN kilometres of stunning coastline were officially dedicated as the eighth World Surfing Reserve by the Save the Waves Coalition this week, cementing the Gold Coast’s position as the home of Australian surfing.

Gold Coast Tourism CEO, Martin Winter said “This dedication will not only elevate the global profile of the Southern Gold Coast’s breaks, it will also provide the foundations to preserve the area by bringing their environmental, cultural, economic and community attributes of surfing areas to the forefront”.

Mr Winter said Australia was blessed to have such a spectacular coastline.

“I’d argue that nowhere is Australia’s iconic surf culture celebrated like it is on the Gold Coast. Our beach lifestyle is an intrinsic part of our cultural identity and defines the way we connect with each other and our city.

“Our world-class breaks have paved the way for world-champion surfers including Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and Stephanie Gilmore, all of whom are passionate advocates for their hometown.

“Whether you’re surfing pro or simply like to admire from a distance, I invite all Australians to celebrate the newest World Surfing Reserve during the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro, which will kick off this week,” Mr Winter said.

The Gold Coast joins a prestigious network of seven other World Surfing Reserves across the world, including Manly NSW and others in South and North America and Europe.

“From the beginning, it was clear there was a tremendous amount of community support for the Gold Coast to become a World Surfing Reserve — an important selection criteria for the World Surfing Reserve governing body,” notes Nik Strong-Cvetich, Save The Waves Coalition’s executive director.

“Through the strong community support, the Gold Coast WSR has already been named as the top advisory group to City Council on all coastal matters, which is an important role to safeguard Gold Coast’s coastal resources.”

About World Surfing Reserves

World Surfing Reserves, a program of California-based Save The Waves, proactively identifies, designates and preserves outstanding waves, surf zones and surrounding environments around the world. The program serves as a global model for preserving wave breaks and their surrounding areas by recognising and protecting the key environmental, cultural, economic and community attributes of surfing areas.

This program has established and will support a Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve Local Stewardship Council to identify and solve issues throughout the designated area such as how to deal with overcrowding issues, determine the economic impact of surfing on the Gold Coast economy, and protect Gold Coast surfing resources from harmful policy decisions.


Photo: A young surfer takes to the waves at Snapper Rocks, part of the eighth World Surfing Reserve.  


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Fast Facts: Canberra Balloon Spectacular 2016

THE CANBERRA Balloon Spectacular is considered to be one of the best and longest running hot air ballooning events in the world.

Held over nine days, visitors will be treated to an experience of the senses with a flurry of colour, sound and movement from 12-20 March.

The 2016 Canberra Balloon Spectacular will also include some special shape balloons from across the globe adding a sense of novelty to the stunning setting each day.balloons

Here are some facts you might not know about this year’s Canberra Balloon Spectacular:

  • This year marks a milestone for the popular Canberra event; the festival is now in its 30th year.
  • Pilots begin inflating their balloons on the lawns of Old Parliament House from 6.15am each day before taking to the sky and creating an exhilarating back drop to our national attractions.
  • Balloons take between 15-30 minutes to inflate, depending on their size. The majority of the balloons launch before 7am, so remember, the early bird catches the worm.
  • In 2016, two special shapes will take flight in the Canberra skies; Owlbert Eyenstein, a larger than life owl, and the Disney movie inspired UP hot air balloon.
  • Once fully inflated, Owlbert stands a mega 30.5 metres tall. Owlbert was built in Brazil and is migrating to Australia all the way from his home in Arizona, USA. The Canberra Balloon Spectacular will be Owlbert’s first appearance in Australian skies.
  • The UP hot air balloon features a giant cluster of brilliantly coloured balloons floating gracefully through the sky. It took six months to build and features 540 individually sewn balloons onto the base fabric.
  • The special shapes will be among more than 40 giant hot air balloons that will add to the colour and beauty of this year’s spectacle.
  • Some balloons will travel from as far away as Belgium and the United States to participate in the Balloon Spectacular.
  • Ballooning is completely weather dependent and the decision to fly is made each day at 6am.
  • More than 30,000 spectators are expected to attend the nine-day festival, with crowds swelling to about 5,000 on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
  • The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is free for spectators.
  • This fantastic event is a wonderful community celebration that offers plenty of excitement on the ground and in the air.

For more information, visit



Feature photo by Jo Bakas, courtesy

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New Park Trek Larapinta and West Macs Tour

PARK TREK Walking Holidays has launched a new central Australia trip with departures in May, June and August 2016.

Stay in four-star comfort at the luxurious Double Tree by Hilton each night and walk each day on parts of the Larapinta Trail, explore the West MacDonnell Ranges and the beautiful central Australian landscape.

This new four-day tour includes sumptuous two-course dinners each night at the Hilton, all lunches and breakfasts, plus fresh fruit and pre-dinner nibbles. Guests walk with a day pack only and come back to the comfortable surrounds of the hotel and pool each afternoon. You don’t need to be superfit, just reasonably active, love the great outdoors and enjoy nature.

This breathtaking trip encompasses the highlights of the region and some hidden gems in central Australia.

Explore dramatic and inspiring landscapes including Standley Chasm and Simpsons Gap, tour the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, Alice Springs Desert Park and visit the inspiring Araluen Arts Centre.

This Park Trek Walking Holiday expertly combines great walking opportunities along with beautiful sightseeing and cultural activities. A walking journey through a truly inspiring landscape!

Priced from $1,750, departure dates in 2016 include:

  • Tuesday 24 to Friday 27 May
  • Sunday 29 to Wednesday 1 June
  • Tuesday 7 to Friday 10 June
  • Sunday 12 to Wednesday 15 June
  • Wednesday 3rd to Sunday 6 August
  • Monday 8 to Thursday 11 August 


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