Five highlights in your travel week | 8 Dec

Professor Peter Harrison … “From our previous studies, we know that microscopic larvae, once settled, can grow into dinner-plate-size corals in just three years and become sexually reproductive.”
Professor Peter Harrison … “From our previous studies, we know that microscopic larvae, once settled, can grow into dinner-plate-size corals in just three years and become sexually reproductive.”

A ground-breaking coral reef experiment, likened to the world’s biggest IVF procedure, could be the answer to a healthy future for the Great Barrier Reef, which, at 70 million football fields in size, is the world’s largest living organism.

Professor Peter Harrison, the marine scientist who co-discovered coral spawning 35 years ago, conducted the oversized “fertility treatment”, at the Heron Island Research Station, with help from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Professor Harrison this month captured and reared more larvae, taken from an earlier spawning event, in a study that has already shown signs of successful larval settlement.

This time around, mesh tents were used to veil the planted larvae to prevent them from floating to the surface.

“From our previous studies, we know that microscopic larvae, once settled, can grow into dinner-plate-size corals in just three years and become sexually reproductive.”

Rydges Hotels & Resorts will open Rydges Pit Lane Hotel at South Australia’s The Bend Motorsport Park complex in April.

The park, just outside Adelaide, will host some of the country’s biggest motorsport races, including Virgin Australia Supercars Championship and Shannons National Championship.

Rydges Pit Lane Hotel … the majority of the 100 rooms will overlook the track.

Rydges Pit Lane Hotel … the majority of the 100 rooms will overlook the track.

The four-star hotel will be located in the main pit building, with the majority of the 100 rooms overlooking the track.

The 100 rooms will vary in configuration, from twin-share to king rooms and suites. All rooms will be well insulated with double-glazing to provide a sanctuary away from the race track when desired. When guests want to absorb the racing action they can open up doors to the balcony overlooking the pit lane and track.

It would take a major seasonal upset indeed for it to be snowing at the Hydro Majestic, in the NSW Blue Mountains, over Christmas, but that isn’t going to stop the iconic property from being a major visitor drawcard during the festive season.

Many of the visitors will be drawn by its Christmas Day lunch offerings, including a grand three-tier feast in the ballroom.

It will feature a range of fresh seafood, charcutier selections, carvery and traditional Christmas desserts.

The Hydro Majestic … a Blue Mountains icon has been thoroughly refurbished.

The Hydro Majestic … a Blue Mountains icon has been thoroughly refurbished.

The price of $199 per adult ($149 per teenager and $85 per child) includes a three-hour beverage package, festive décor, bon bons and a special visit from Santa for the children.

There are a number of room choices available for those wishing to stay the night. A Heritage Room, for instance, is priced from $227 per night for two, including breakfast.

In addition to its low-cost Kimberley adventures off the north-west coast of Australia, Ahoy Buccaneers will next year debut a new six-night cruise through the remote and rarely visited Torres Strait Islands off the top of Cape York.

To mark the launch, Ahoy Buccaneers is offering a free night’s accommodation at four-star hotels on Horn Island, for people who book before December 22.

The 274 islands of the Torres Strait archipelago are scattered across a 150-kilometre stretch of ocean between Cape York and Papua New Guinea and are home to an abundance of marine life perfect for snorkelling and fishing.

The Torres Strait Islands … remote and rarely visited.

The Torres Strait Islands … remote and rarely visited.

Ahoy’s cruise will centre on the sheltered, southern islands of the group closest to the Australian continent.

Its 19-guest motor yacht Oceanic will take passengers on a round-trip cruise from Horn Island to unique and culturally rich islands where, included in the cost of the cruise, a local guide will each day showcase the diverse history of the Torres Strait Islands, from the early indigenous cultures and tales of headhunters to World War II sites. 

Prices start at $2800 per person in a swag on the deck and from $3500 per person in a cabin twin-share.

Phone 08 9193 7650 or visit www.ahoybuccaneers.com.au 

Heading to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast for Christmas?

Consider, then, treating the family to a no-fuss Christmas Day buffet lunch in the Mudjimba Ballroom or Wandiny Room at Novotel Twin Waters Resort.

The buffet commences at mid-day and is priced from $169 per adult, including a 2.5-hour beverage package, and from $49 for children, including the opportunity to experience Santa’s workshop.

Novotel Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast … a no-fuss Christmas Day buffet lunch.

Novotel Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast … a no-fuss Christmas Day buffet lunch.

Phone 07 5448 8000 or visit www.novoteltwinwatersresort.com.au