Tuesday, 6 October 2009

FRANK'S FAVOURITES: Greek Odyssey and Hog Heaven



Ever wondered what it's like to ride in a vintage Model T Ford? Or the car that Russian dictator Joseph Stalin used to tour in? In Los Angeles you can find out jumping on the local bus lines to visit several auto museums. the Metro Green Line and two Metro Buslines swing right by the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo -- a unique car museum that lets visitors experience its classic car collection first-hand. On Sundays, guides take visitors for rides in vehicles including a 1915 Model T, a DeLorean and a Packard convertible used by Stalin. During the week and on weekends, visitors can sit in vintage Packards and more than 100 other unique cars. In addition, the Metro Rapid bus serves the world famous Petersen Automotive Museum in LA's Mid-Wilshire district; and the Metro Red Line and Metro Busline 224 whisks visitors out to enjoy the European and American classics displayed at the Nethercutt Collection Museum in Sylmar.  Check out www.metro.net


LA-based EagleRider (now the world's largest motorcycle rental and tour company) offers enthusiasts the ultimate motorcycle vacation, with self-drive and guided motorcycle tours throughout Southern California. Riders can choose from Harley-Davidson, Honda, BMW and Viceroy motorcycles. EagleRider's legendary tours include self-guided tour packages with hotel accommodations, restaurant suggestions, and a day-by-day itinerary route map; and professionally guided tours, with multilingual guides, a support van for luggage and with a spare bike, hotel accommodations and welcome and goodbye receptions. All EagleRider tours include the famous EagleRider "road book," an optional pre-programmed GPS, a perfectly maintained motorcycle rental and motorcycle-friendly hotel accommodations. With three LA locations -- in Glendale, the Westside and Hawthorne near the beach -- enthusiasts can roar off into adventure -- navigating Malibu's mountain roads, cruising the sunny beaches and exploring Hollywood hot spots. Get onto


A CRUISE from Athens through the Greek Islands to Istanbul in May of next year is not for everyone – this one's aboard the super-luxury Seabourn Odyssey and will be shared by just 450 guests.

And making it all the more special is that its part of a 12-night fly, cruise and stay package through ecruising.travel that includes 7-nights aboard Seabourn Odyssey, 2-nights pre-cruise at Athen's Grand Bretagne Hotel, 2-nights post-cruise at the Swissotel the Bosphorous Hotel Istanbul, and a free night in Singapore's famous Raffles Hotel enroute.

There's also a half-day Ancient Corinth Tour in Athens, a full-day Bursa Tour in Istanbul, all ship/hotel/airport transfers, and return air from mainland capitals including air taxes,.

Seabourn Odyssey sails from Athens on May 8 next year for Mylos, Rhodes, Patmos and Khylos in the Greek Isles, Kusadasi for Ephesus in Turkey, a full-day at sea, and Istanbul; onboard highlights include open-seat dining with menus created by the legendary Charlie Palmer, all drinks from the open bars, a diverse selection of onboard activities, and onboard gratuities.

By booking Early Bird through ecruising.travel up until December 10 this year brings the price down to as low as $8349pp twin-share; for full details phone 1300 369 848 or visit www.ecruising.travel

ADDITIONAL onboard details: Seabourn Odyssey has six bars/lounges, a two-deck health spa, gym and fitness studio and beauty salon (charges apply,) six outdoor whirlpools and two outdoor pools, an indoor Thalassotherapy pool, sport deck and sun terrace, water sports marina, casino, library, computer centre and onboard shopping.

All-suite accommodations feature flat-screen TV, DVD player, mini-bar and refrigerator, hair dryer, direct-dial telephone and 24-hour service.


NUTELLA pizza, queen of Spain cupcakes and a rack of lamb in puff pastry are just some of the tasty dishes in a new cookbook which 'plates up' restaurants in the Macarthur region - the birthplace of Australia's agriculture and wine industries.

Building on a new love for home cooking on the back of TV's hit MasterChef program, the budget-priced Macarthur Cookbook will serve as a mouth-watering 'brochure' for potential visitors to Macarthur and also as a palate-pleasing souvenir for people who enjoyed a visit to the region, which is centred on historic Camden and Campbelltown, 45 minutes south-west of the Sydney CBD.

Colonial pioneer, John Macarthur, established the fertile region in 1805 as Sydney's earliest food bowl, with Australia's first major farms and wineries. The region was named after the enterprising settler.

Also ideal for Macarthur-proud locals, "The Macarthur Cookbook' is produced by Visit Macarthur, a tourism partnership between Campbelltown City Council and Camden Council, and features 19 easy but appetising breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert recipes supplied by chefs from some of the 100 restaurants and cafes in the Macarthur area.

The signature recipes, accompanied by full-page colour images, include nutella pizza from Barenz CafĂ© in Camden, queen of Spain cupcakes from Chocolateria San Churro store in Macarthur Square, rack of lamb in puff pastry from the La Bella Vita restaurant in Camden, scallops alla venziana from Enzo's Italian Restaurant in Camden and corn fritter and ricotta from Infusion Restaurant at the 4½-star Rydges Hotel in Campbelltown.

Campbelltown Mayor, Cr Russell Matheson, said the cookbook was a unique way of showcasing the region's variety of fine dining experiences.

"With 19 recipes featured from leading chefs and restaurants across the Macarthur region, and a dedicated section on local wineries, it's ideal for budding chefs or anyone who enjoys good food or dining out," Cr Matheson said. "The cookbook enables people to sample some of Macarthur's finest cuisine and readers can try the recipes at home or head out to experience these dishes the way the professionals make them in their restaurants."

Camden Mayor, Cr Chris Patterson, said Macarthur's vibrant multicultural mix had created an expanding culture of exotic dining in the area, with a vast choice of cuisines to experience. "Featuring charming, rustic locations, the highest quality service and award winning international cuisine, the restaurants of Macarthur offer delightful dining experiences for visitors and locals alike," Cr Patterson said.

The Macarthur Cookbook is available for only $15 from the Campbelltown Visitor Information Centre on Old Menangle Road, Campbelltown (phone 02 4645 4921) and the Camden Visitor Information Centre on Camden Valley Way, Elderslie (phone 02 4658 1370).

For more information go to www.visitmacarthur.com.au


Ski the fabled dry powder at Japan's Niseko, and take a tour of dynamic Hong Kong along the way.

Skimax is offering a three night stopover in Hong Kong at the Harbour Plaza Northpoint with a value-for-money Japanese snow holiday.

This innovative Asian package is an opportunity to savour the tastes of Hong Kong as the "Hong Kong Food and Wine Year" runs until 31st March 2010.

Priced from $2,999 per person plus air taxes it is a sensational opportunity to immerse yourself in the timeless culture and heritage of Hong Kong, do some sightseeing around this amazing metropolis, try some of the exotic cuisine it is renowned for, and ski or board Japan's (arguably the world's) driest powder snow.

Return Cathay Pacific airfares from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Cairns to Sapporo, via Hong Kong are included in the innovative package.

Also included is a Hong Kong Island Tour, a Hong Kong Night Harbour Cruise, three night at the Harbour Plaza in Hong Kong, seven nights ski-in ski out lodge or apartment-style accommodation at Niseko, a six day ski lift pass (valid at four inter-linked ski areas) and return transfers from Sapporo Airport.

Niseko is located on the west coast of Hokkaido and caters for skiers and boarders of all ability. It is the powder snow capital of the skiing world and has become one of the favoured winter destinations for Australian snow enthusiasts.

Valid for travel 24 Jan to 14 Mar 2010. Conditions apply.

For more information contact Skimax on (02) 9267 1655 or 1300 136 997 www.skimax.com.au


FREQUENT flyer members of Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair's Marco Polo Club can now enjoy quicker immigration clearance at Hong Kong International Airport by using the Frequent Visitor e-Channels.

This self-service clearance facility means eligible travellers do not need to fill in arrival or departure cards, speeding-up and streamlining their processing.

The service is now available to all Marco Polo Club Silver tier and above members who must be aged 18 and over, in possession of valid travel documents and a multiple-visit visa for Hong Kong (if such a visa is required).

Marco Polo Club members eligible to use the service will have to enrol by presenting their Marco Polo Club membership card and travel documents in person at the Immigration Department Enrolment Office located in the Arrival Hall at Hong Kong International Airport.

Enrolment is free of charge.

More information about Frequent Visitor e-Channels can be found at the Hong Kong Immigration Department's website at www.immd.gov.hk.