Gordon River Cruises, Tasmania

World first for new Gordon River Cruises vessel

As the building of the new vessel for Gordon River Cruises on Tasmania’s west coast continues to progress, now is a great time to reveal an exciting world-first for the company.

The vessel will be fitted with both diesel engines and electric motors, meaning the operator can switch between one or the other or both, depending on the location of the vessel at the time and the prevailing weather conditions.

This will reduce fuel consumption and its impact on the environment.

In addition, and perhaps the most exciting, when the cruise enters the Gordon River, the diesel propulsion engines can be switched off, leaving only the electric drive.

This means guests on-board will enjoy a cruising experience like nothing that has ever been available in Tasmania’s world heritage area before – quiet cruising and completely in keeping with the values of this remarkable place.

Gordon River Cruises believe this is the first commercial passenger vessel of its kind in the world and is pleased to bring this experience to members, other Tasmanians and visitors to the island state.

The hybrid drive system has been developed by one of the world’s leaders in marine propulsion – MTU, based in Germany. Right now there is only one other vessel with this same drive package – a spectacular private yacht recently launched and cruising in the Caribbean.

The new Gordon River Cruises vessel is due to launch in April 2018.

For more details and to watch the video visit gordonrivercruises.com.au/2018.

humpback

Listen: Hear humpback whales sing at Hervey Bay!

Add a new dimension to your whale watching experience by visiting Hervey Bay in September – it’s the best time to hear humpback whales sing.

Pacific Whale Foundation senior research biologist Stephanie Stack said only mature whales sang and this month was when most started arriving in Hervey Bay for their migratory stopover.

She said songs would typically last for about 20 minutes but individual whales might sing incomplete songs or repeat songs several times. 

Humpback whales can sing for hours on end. Singers will surface every 10 to 20 minutes and keep singing with only short pauses to breathe,” Ms Stack said.

“Songs have a hierarchical organization with ‘units’ building into ‘phrases’ which, in turn, form ‘themes’ which, together, comprise the song.”

She said there was no consensus in the scientific community about the function of whale songs but communicating underwater was challenging.

“Light and smells don’t travel well but sound moves about four times faster in water than in air, which means marine mammals often use sounds to communicate,” Ms Stack explained.

“Most song occurs in breeding areas, but song has also been recorded along migration routes and even occasionally in feeding areas.”

Ms Stack said there were several theories about the purpose of humpback whale song including attracting females to individual singers or a group and communicating with other mature whales for dominance or cooperation.

“Female humpbacks rarely approach singing males, suggesting the song may represent a form of male-male acoustic display,” Ms Stack said.

She said noise pollution was a growing concern for researchers.

“Increasing noise in the ocean could cause a disruption of natural whale behaviour such as feeding, mating and communication.”

Pacific Whale Foundation researchers using underwater microphones, known as hydrophones, have recorded rare white humpback whale Migaloo singing in Hervey Bay.

“Some mature males may arrive early while others may remain longer, meaning song could potentially be heard in Hervey Bay at any point during the season.”

Father's Day

Top Tips for a Tip-Top Dad’s Day in Melbourne

 

 


From sporting types to culture kings and dads with a hipster edge, Melbourne has something to tickle the fancy of fathers from all walks of life. With all of the following and more to choose from, there is no excuse not to make this Father’s Day (3 September 2017) one to remember.


Sporty Dad

As Australia’s sporting capital, Melbourne boasts a plethora of sports for dads to get involved in, whether he’s an active dad or more the spectating type. Australia’s greatest sporting moments are immortalised at the National Sports Museum, and a trip here is sure to ignite Dad’s passion. While he reminisces about ‘that’ sporting moment, kids can put their skills to the test in the interactive gallery, Game On! The museum is housed below the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and with no matches scheduled for Father’s Day, families can take a tour of the iconic venue. Covering otherwise off-limits areas, from the player change rooms to the edge of the hallowed turf, the tour offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the stadium’s inner sanctum.Melbourne Bike Share invites cyclists to make the most of the city’s cycle paths –while practicing for Cadel Evans’ Great Ocean Road Race, set to return in January 2018. After dropping the bikes off near Melbourne Park, tennis-loving fathers can hire a court and have a hit on the very surface that Federer, Djokovic, Murray and the like play on during the Australian Open. Out of town: Phillip Island is the destination for sporty dads as it is full of family-friendly adventure activities. Here, Dad and the kids can surf, fish and zoom around the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit Go Kart Track.


Hipster Dad

Forget breakfast in bed, Hipster Dad would prefer to eat his organic free range eggs at one of Fitzroy or Collingwood’s uber cool cafes. Archie’s All Day Diner and Industry Beans are solid options. Both are near to the Rose Street Market where a gamut of hand-crafted gifts can be found for last-minute sons and daughters. 

Father’s Day is Family Day at Collingwood Children’s Farm where pony rides, tractor rides, guinea pig cuddles and the chance to help milk the cow are all on offer. Hipster dads will feel right at home, sipping a takeaway coffee from The Farm Cafe while the kids make the most of the activities.  

Older kids can join dad for an afternoon or evening performance of The Book of Mormon at the Princess Theatre (on until 4 November 2017). The first musical by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, this cheeky production has received rave reviews all over the globe. 

Out of town: A country drive to Kyneton makes for a memorable family outing. The main village on Piper Street is oozing with rustic charm and gourmet eateries. Those looking to make a weekend of it can find a house to stay at among the eight luxury Flop House properties dotted around the region.


Culture Kings

The Australian Centre of the Moving Image (ACMI) has Father’s Day sorted for dads with a bent for art and culture. Currently showing Wallace and Gromit & Friends: the Magic of Aardman (until 29 October 2017), the whole family can venture behind the scenes of one of the world’s most-loved animation studios. 

As part of its Family Sundays program, ACMI will host Smart Stories, where families can learn how to generate a choose-your-own adventure narrative, write and animate their own storybook, craft a comic book and take part in an interactive storytelling session. Award-winning children’s author and illustrator Shaun Tan will also give a brief talk on writing and illustrating at 11am.

A 20 minute drive from the city, Heide Museum of Modern Art will enthral culture kings with its contemporary art displayed across three gallery spaces. Dad can take in its current exhibition Call of the Avant-Garde: Constructivism and Australian Art (until 8 October 2017), while the kids take on the Heide Detective challenge. Heide is renowned for its expansive gardens dotted with sculptures, and a stroll through the grounds is a must.

Disney’s Aladdin – the hit musical – is captivating audiences of all ages at Her Majesty’s Theatre (on until 3 December 2017). Touted as ‘The must see show of the year’, cultural dads will dig an evening (or matinee) performance. 

Out of town: Castlemaine is renowned for its eclectic arts scene set amid a history rich in gold. Dad can check out local artists’ studios and see major Australian and international works at the Castlemaine Art Musem before stopping in at The Mill for a coffee or beer.

paddle-wheeler

Cruise the Murray River on a paddle-wheeler

Step back in time to when the paddle-wheeler dominated the Murray River and get up close and personal with the ancient land on-board Captain Cook Cruises.  

Finished with polished wood and gold trimmings and featuring a winding staircase, full-length windows and a paddle-wheel encased in glass, the PS Murray Princess replicates the paddle-wheelers that first cruised the Murray in the 1800’s. 

Then cruise down the Murray River for incredible terrain, wildlife and Australian history, culture and adventure.

Bird watchers will love the abundance of Australian birds along the Murray River including Swans, Swamp Hens and Wood Ducks and their young.

Each day features exciting day trips to historic ports and guided nature walks to learn about the ecology of the river. The four and seven-night cruise visits a sacred Aboriginal site, sheep station and wool shed and a native wildlife shelter.

Follow the food and wine trail for tastings at several vineyards and cellar doors or sample some local food and wine with tastings in the Sturt Dining Room and learn more about the Murray and Riverland regions and their produce.

Get up close to the river, its 20-million-year-old cliffs and amazing plant and bird life including darters, herons, pelicans and egrets on the ‘Dragon-Fly’ flat-bottomed boat.

Join the Captain for a general inspection of the wheelhouse, participate in a lively music quiz, play some bocce on the riverbank or relax with some fishing off the vessel.

On-board sit back in one of two air-conditioned paddle-wheel lounges and watch the working paddle-wheel through a spectacular two-story glass window while enjoying the amazing views as the Murray Princess cruises past towering limestone cliffs and along riverbanks lined with mallee scrub and red gum forests.

Food is another highlight of the cruise. Indulge a hearty hot buffet breakfast each morning, a two-course or buffet lunch each day and a three-course or buffet dinner each evening. There is a spectacular Captain’s dinner and dance to enjoy and even an Aussie-style barbecue dinner and bush dance on the river bank.

For further information visit www.murrayprincess.com.au

blue mountains

Blue Mountains walk joins great walks collection

Great Walks of Australia is proud to announce the addition of a new walk for NSW, the Blue Mountains Grand Traverse by Auswalk. This brings the number of walks in the program to 12, with 10 of those showcased in the new Signature Collection.

Located in one of Australia’s many unique and spectacular walking destinations, this walk is the 2nd in the collection for NSW, having recently adding the Seven Peaks Walk by Pinetrees on Lord Howe Island in April 2017.

The Blue Mountains walk offers a fully supported opportunity to explore this important natural environment, only 90 minutes from Sydney, which features stunning cliffs, canyons rainforests and waterfalls. It is located in a UNESCO World Heritage listed area, as are the Great Walks products on Lord Howe and on Maria Island, Tasmania.

“This walk is an exciting addition to the collective given its proximity to Sydney, the important history of the area including walking tracks that are in some cases more than 100 years old, plus the demand we have from various international markets for a luxury guided walk in this area. It should be a popular addition,” said Gina Woodward, Executive Officer of the collection.

The Blue Mountains Grand Traverse is a new 3 day/2 night walking experience including transport to and from Sydney. It’s a luxury version of Auswalk’s already popular Blue Mountains Traverse walking holiday.

Walkers are ‘lodge based’ at the elegant Echoes property and each day walk in areas that take in the key highlights of this spectacular region. This five star boutique hotel, with private rooms and ensuites, offers a pampered end to each hiking day with walkers enjoying fine dining and uninterrupted views of the majestic Jamison Valley.

Walk days take in the Grand Canyon, Ruined Castle and Valley of the Waters, as well as famous viewpoints such as those of Govetts Leap, the Three Sisters, Wentworth and Katoomba Falls. 

Auswalk owner, Brett Neagle, said “We’re extremely excited about this walk as it’s a natural evolution for Auswalk to work with Great Walks. We have been offering this walking holiday, and other superb walking itineraries across Australia for the past 20 years.

“Our expertise is now going to be shared across Great Walks of Australia and we look forward to welcoming guests on this personalised experience with our fully accredited expert guides.”

Great Walks of Australia is the collective brand that markets Australia as a key guided walking destination.

For further information visit www.auswalk.com.au

                                      

oceans

Festival promises oceans of fun in Hervey Bay, Qld

 Succulent seafood, colourful parades, fireworks, culture, music and oceans experts will be coming in waves when the Fraser Coast splashes out with the annual Hervey Bay Ocean Festival, presented by USC from August 11-20.

From its official opening featuring a presentation from acclaimed conservationist Tim Flannery, to the Blessing of the Fleet on August 12, the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival on August 13, the Whale Festival Parade and Concert on August 19 and the Paddle Out for Whales on August 20 – it is a celebration not to be missed.

Martin Simons, General Manager for Fraser Coast Tourism and Events, said this year’s Ocean Festival, presented by USC was shaping up to be a fantastic time for the region.

“Once again a fabulous program of events has been arranged providing a great drawcard for locals and visitors alike,” Mr Simons said.

“The event continually grows in popularity with people enjoying fresh local seafood and great entertainment. The event also highlights important conservation messages needed to sustain the famous humpback whale migration patterns so beneficial to our region.

“We would like to congratulate Professor Tim Flannery, the 2007 Australian of the Year, who will be receiving an Honorary Doctorate from USC for his exemplary leadership in advocating for the environment.

“We are extremely pleased to have a supporter with the gravitas of the USC, which has come on board this year as a major sponsor of the festival,” Mr Simons said. 

Professor Flannery’s honorary award ceremony will take place at the Hervey Bay Beach House Hotel from 4-5pm on August 11 where he will deliver a public address on the social and economic opportunities of a carbon-negative future.

Further Event Highlights

Blessing of the Fleet (Saturday August 12): The Fraser Coast’s famous fleet of whale watch boats will be blessed in a centuries-old tradition at Hervey Bay Marina to ensure a safe and prosperous season.

Visitors can tour the many whale watch vessels, wander through market stalls packed with locally made arts and crafts, enjoy a sail past and watch the fabulous fireworks and live entertainment.

Hervey Bay Seafood Festival (Sunday August 13): The following day, August 13, offers something for all tastes. Hosted by the local industry, the event serves up a host of fresh and delicious wild-caught ocean produce, loads of entertainment, competitions, cooking and fish catching tips and much more at Fishermen’s Park, Urangan Boat Harbour.

Highlights of this year’s Seafood Festival include a bumper artistic, music and cultural program with performances by 8 Ball Aitken, Night Kite and The Dennis Sisters plus the chance to win a gate prize of hand-crafted earrings thanks to long-time festival supporters Haigh’s Jewellery.

Other tasty morsels include cooking demonstrations from leading chefs including Javier Codina from Moda Restaurant, seafood and fish-smoking masterclasses, a prawn eating competition, sideshow alley and loads of freebies.

Don’t miss the eclectic work of regional artists at Art in the Park including Butchulla art and weaving displays and the amazing recycled metal creations of Bundaberg-based sculptor John Olsen – new to this year’s program.

Whale Parade and Concert (Saturday August 19): Be enchanted by the colourful display of lights and floats representing the humpback’s annual migration, followed by a fabulous free concert with leading Australian and local artists on August 19. This year’s event has a Beach Party theme, so bring your beach ball and sarong to get in on the fun.

Paddle Out for Whales (Sunday August 20): This conservation and awareness-based event on August 20 is full of heart with visitors encouraged to jump aboard a paddleboard, kayak or boat to celebrate a love of whales in the whale-watching capital of the world. Enjoy a fun family day complete with Hawaiian dancing workshops, sand sculpting with Dennis Massoud and much more.

More Information: For full event information including times and the many further events that play part of the Hervey Bay Ocean Festival calendar, please head to oceanfestival.com.au.