Steps Above Sydney

Connect with a crocodile at Wild Life Sydney Zoo, which has launched a new ‘Crocodile Encounter’ featuring state-of-the-art interactive crawl spaces and pop-up windows and tunnels. For the first time, guests are able to crawl through a crocodile’s display and stand-up, in an acrylic pop-up viewing dome, allowing eye-to-eye contact with one of Australia’s most dangerous animals. This new zone includes a 500-kilograms male crocodile, as well as on-site fast facts and conservation messages posted around the crocodile’s new exhibit.

New Viking Voyages

Viking Sky, sister ship to Viking Ocean Cruises’ award-winning Viking Star and Viking Sea, and the line’s third ship, has officially launched and departed on its maiden voyage from Rome’s Civitavecchia port, bound for Barcelona. The all-veranda ship boasts 465 cabins and can accommodate 930 passengers, with staterooms featuring minibars, coffee makers, and cashmere blankets. Other amenities onboard include a fitness centre, a Viking Bar, an infinity pool and hot tub, and a spa and sauna. The ship will begin her season sailing itineraries throughout the western and eastern Mediterranean, before heading north to sail Scandinavian and Baltic itineraries in summer, followed by cruising the Atlantic in fall.

New Luxurious Lodge for Zambia

Set on the upper Munde stream, the King Lewanika Lodge will open next month as the newest mobile camp in Zambia’s Liuwa Plain National Park. The camp, which will operate until mid-July, and again between October and December, is named after the Barotse King who proclaimed Liuwa Plain a protected area in the 1880s. The lodge has been designed by acclaimed architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, and comprises six villas, including a two-bedroom family villa, and has an accommodation capacity of up to 15 guests. Encounter the famous Liuwa lions, view the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa, and challenge yourself to spot as many of the region’s 330 bird species as you can, while enjoying on-site activities, which include day and night game drives, conservation excursions with the Zambia Carnivore Programme research team, and boating or canoeing when water levels permit.

Steps Above Sydney

BridgeClimb will expand its offering for Mandarin-speaking climbers with the launch of its BridgeClimb Mandarin programme, a 3.5-hours experience that climbs the top arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to its summit, 134 metres above the harbour, from April 2017. Groups of up to 14 can complete the iconic Australian journey of 1,332 steps, taking the outer arch along the same route used by the original BridgeClimb, accompanied by historical and contemporary commentary in Mandarin. The daily morning climb departs at 10am and will complement the existing BridgeClimb Mandarin climb (2.5-hours), which departs daily at 3pm, taking visitors along the inner arch of the bridge.

Escape to Panadura

Enjoy a luxury experience at Jie Jie Beach by Jetwing, a new property in Panadura, Sri Lanka, boasting lavish comfort and spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. Located 1.5-hours from Colombo, the property features 180 rooms, inclusive of Deluxe rooms and suites with balconies and terraces overlooking the pristine Indian Ocean. Each room offers guests the comfort of a king-size bed and a sitting area, complemented by authentic Sri Lankan hospitality. Be spoilt for choice as you savour the special Sunday lunch buffets served at the resort’s Chinese restaurant; dance to the music while sipping on a cocktail at the bar and karaoke lounge; or indulge in the views of a relaxing sunset at the pool bar, which serves a wide range of cocktails and easy snacks.

A Journey through Kyushu

Take a cycling journey through southern Japan with “Kyushu Onsen to Onsen” by SpiceRoads Cycle Tours, a new six-day-five-night tour between Fukuoka and the Kunisaki Peninsula. The cycling tour offers a host of onsens, rugged volcanic scenery, and cultural sites spanning hundreds of years of Japanese history. This moderate cycling tour covers 237 kilometres of well-maintained roads within four full cycling days, catering to all reasonably fit cyclists. Kick start in Dazaifu and arrive in the hot spring resort and Edo-era merchant town of Hida. You’ll also have the chance to engage in a climb to the Oishitoge Pass before arriving in Usa. Take in views of beaches and ports along the way as you descend from Mount Futago. Ride inland to Kitsuki, which boasts a well-preserved samurai district and Kitsuki Castle, and finish off at one of Beppu’s famous hot spring resorts.

Cultural Immersion

Set in the heart of a fascinating heritage enclave, the new Mercure Singapore Bugis offers travellers convenient accommodation with easy access to a myriad of historical and cultural sites. Located within walking distance of the city’s prime shopping zone, Orchard Road, the 15-storey hotel features 395 guest rooms and suites across four room types, with Loft Rooms offering floor-to-ceiling windows with cosy sitting areas connected to comfortable bedroom lofts with queen-sized beds. Rooms and common areas of the hotel are designed and decorated to reflect the Lion City’s rich cultural background and diverse ethnicities, through a mix of contemporary artwork, sculptures and paintings.

Upgraded Cruises to Fiji

Embrace winter with a complimentary upgrade offer on Blue Lagoon Cruises’ three-, four- and seven-night journeys to the picturesque Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands of Fiji. Visitors booking a Hibiscus deck cabin before April 30, 2017 will enjoy an upgrade to an Orchid deck cabin, for a perfect winter getaway, valid for travel from April 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018. Passengers in the Orchid deck cabin will have access to a complimentary daily stocked mini bar serving beer, wine, soft drinks and bottled water. Other privileges include tropical fruit platter on arrival, Nespresso coffee and tea selection in cabin, and Pure Fiji sun care gifts. Enjoy swimming with manta rays, guided snorkelling safaris, glass bottom boat excursions, and a visit to the sacred Sawa-i-Lau Caves; or join a seven-night cruise for a swim with reef sharks and a visit to the film location of the Tom Hanks movie Castaway.

Perfect for Pairs

Fairmont Chateau Whistler has unveiled 11 new suites created from 22 of the hotel’s former Moderate Rooms. With each featuring a cozy fireplace and modern bathroom with spa shower, the aptly named Alpine Suites are situated on the highest floors of the hotel. All offer breath-taking views of Whistler Blackcomb and the Coast Mountain Range. Marrying subtle modern finishes and rustic textures of antiqued bronze, rust iron, and distressed woods, the new suites exude an inviting ambiance. A complete facelift in the bathrooms sees new plumbing and rain head showers, while other room enhancements include new décor, soft furnishings and electronics.

A Trail to Remember

Paying homage to the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln, the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD) joins hands with tourism offices in Kentucky and Illinois to relaunch a new and improved tristate tourism path, The Lincoln Heritage Trail, which highlights places of significance to the life of the 16th US President. Indiana sites on the trail now include Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, which features five sculptured panels marking significant periods in Lincoln’s life, and the Trail of Twelve Stones, which begins at the Lincoln Living Historical Farm, and ends near Pioneer Cemetery, where Lincoln’s mother is buried. Stretch your legs in the Lincoln State Park, which offers 10-miles of hiking trails with views of two scenic lakes; visit the William Jones historic home restored from 1834 Federal-design home of the merchant employer of Lincoln; and investigate into the artefacts from Lincoln’s early years in the state at the Indiana State Museum.

Wild Adventures

Travellers looking to delve into the natural beauty of the New South Wales Southern Highlands should not miss Wildfest, a three-day eco-adventure festival to be held on April 21-23, 2017. The weekend event celebrates nature through unique experiences in the city’s national parks, while also offering food indulgences, specially-designed hiking, canoeing, and mountain biking itineraries through rain forests, as well as performance art. Participants will be able to enjoy a range of bespoke activities according to their physical fitness.

Winter World

Set to return to Cotai Expo at The Venetian Macao until July 9, 2017, Kung Fu Panda Adventure Ice World with the DreamWorks All-Stars is Asia’s largest annual indoor frozen wonderland event. Created by skilled craftsmen from Harbin, China, the ice sculpture exhibition will display a host of colourful DreamWorks Animation characters, including those from Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Shrek, and How to Train Your Dragon, carved from 2.5 million pounds of ice. New additions include themed games, character meet-and-greets, and a movie zone. In response to the event, Sands Resorts Macao has unveiled new ticket-inclusive accommodation packages, including The Macao Ice World Package, which is available for booking until July 9, 2017.

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