European and Australian Garden Tours 2014

Travelrite International have launched their 2014 Garden Tours to Europe and Australia

There are Seven Exciting Tours to consider including visits to the Chelsea Flower Show:

2014 Helen Young Garden Tour to France and England
May 4 to May 25, 2014

Visiting the French Riviera, Provence, the Dordogne, Bordeaux and London for the Chelsea Flower Show.
This wonderful tour takes in the best gardens of the French Riviera and Provence, the spectacular sights of Carcassonne, Albi, the gorgeous town, where Toulouse Lautrec was born and Scarlet a wonderful Medieval town in the Dordogne region and the historic city of Bordeaux, the centre of the famous wine region. Highlights will be the superb Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, Chateau Val Joanis, Jardin de la Noria and Les Jardins de l’Imaginaire. We conclude with a delightful four nights in London and a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show.

2014 Garden Tour with Angus Stewart to England, France and Spain
May 20 to June 9, 2014

Visiting London for the Chelsea Flower Show, Canterbury, Paris for Jardine Jardin, Amboise, Clermont-Ferrand, Avignon & Barcelona.
We begin with three nights in cosmopolitan London before travelling to Kent and Canterbury, the Garden of England, where we will visit Sissinghurst. We then visit Paris, the Loire Valley and Avignon.  Highlights will be Claude Monet’s house and garden at Giverney, the Chateau’s of the Loire and the Festival des jardins de Chaumont. We finish with three nights in spectacular Barcelona.

2014 Garden Tour with Tony Fawcett to England, Switzerland & Italy
May 17 to June 7, 2014

Visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, London for the Chelsea Flower Show, Venice, Ascona on Lake Maggiore, Siena and Rome
20 exciting days exploring the fine gardens of England, Switzerland and Italy including London for the Chelsea Flower Show.  Highlights include Hidcote and  Kiftsgate Court in the Cotswolds, the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Villa Carlotta, Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore, Villa Gamberaia and Villa Cetinale in Tuscany.


2014 Sue McDougall Garden cruise of the Baltic and St Petersburg aboard Celebrity Constellation
5 July to 24 July, 2014
Visiting Amsterdam, Netherlands; Warnemunde, Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; St Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark

2014 Deryn Thorpe Garden Tour to England, Italy and France including the Chelsea Flower Show
20 May to 9 June 2014

Visiting London for the Chelsea Flower Show,staying in the gorgeous village Bagno Vignoni, where we have typical Tuscan meals every night, Florence, the Italian Lakes & Nice.


2014 Jane Edmanson Autumn Delights Garden Tour to the NSW Southern Highlands, Bundanon and Canberra
May 4 to 9, 2014

A delightful six day tour to Bowral, Nowra and Canberra.  With a four day extension tour of Canberra – May 9 to 12, 2014


2014 Deryn Thorpe Garden Tour to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show and Ballarat
March 22 to 29, 2014

A exciting eight day tour to Ballarat and Melbourne, for the 2014 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. We visit Paul Bangay’s spectacular garden, Stonefields, the Australian garden at Cranbourne, Heronswood Garden and Cloudhill in the Dandenongs.

For more details visit www.travelrite.com.au

Travelrite Garden Tour at Chelsea Flower Show

Neville and Sandra Walliss (Directors of Travelrite) were traveling with a garden tour in France and Italy with a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show. We were very interested in hearing the results of the judging of the Show Gardens entered at the Chelsea Flower Show on Tuesday 21 May 2013. Flemings Nurseries from Victoria, Australia had a garden designed by Phillip Johnson as their 8th entry in 9 years. They were hopeful that this year they might get Best in Show. There were many people who thought that a non Australian garden could never win in England, where they were expecting a different type of garden.

We listened with bated breath as the results were announced and it was Best in Show for the Flemings Garden. All our group clapped and shouted. We visited the Show on Thursday morning 23 May 2013 and went first to the Flemings site, where we were allowed on the site by Leanne long time employee of Flemings. The team there were very excited at their win. The design featured a billabong and a waterfall in an urban setting with a studio structure integrating into the design.

art-chelsea-flower-show Fleming's--Getty SG_729_Chelsea chelsea

The water is recycled and naturally cleaned. There are native plants used though out the design. There are lush ferns, kangaroo paws, bogle brushes and bottle trees.

We continued our visit looking at the other superb show gardens. We then visited the pavilion where we were able to see wonderful examples of many different plants. The best and straightest blue delphiniums, the most wonderful and sweetest smelling bunches of roses and gorgeous displays of gladioli. When we returned to our hotel later in the day we had experienced a highlight of gardening. The only time a non English garden had won Best in Show at the Chelsea Flower Show.

If you are interested in a Garden tour to the Chelsea Flowe Show please visit our website for upcoming tours.

P&O Releases 2014 Itineraries – Cruise from all mainland state capitals

P&O Cruises is thrilled to present our 2014/15 Program Release. Among a few exciting firsts, this release spans from October 2014 to September 2015 so you have more time to plan your next holiday with Cruise Offers, Australia’s low price cruise website.

More Australian home ports than any other cruise line
For the first time ever, we’re offering round trip itineraries from all mainland state capitals. Cruise from Adelaide, Fremantle, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, as well as Auckland for our New Zealand passengers.

Introducing P&O Asia Itineraries
Sailing from Fremantle, these new 12 and 14-night itineraries visit Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Vietnam, with maiden calls to Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City.

Cruise with P&O during the Australian Open
We’re bringing Australia to the Australian Open with two brand new 4 and 5-night itineraries to coincide with the quarter and semi-final matches for singles and doubles.
Plus three Australia Day Cruises to Sydney Harbour in 2015 with front row seats to all the action on Sydney Harbour.

Visit www.cruiseoffers.com.au for all of your latest cruise deals and itineraries

Marvellous Megaships

From rock-climbing walls, surf simulators and Lawn Clubs, to Poolside cinemas, Day Spas and world-class restaurants, these floating giants will blow you away.

Queen Mary 2

Three times bigger than Titanic, Queen Mary 2 is a modern reinterpretation of the golden age luxury line. Renowned for her transatlantic crossing, QM2 seamlessly combines impeccable service, luxurious accommodation and exquisite dining with modern innovations. Her elegance, grandeur and sophistication captures the excitement of a classic sea voyage whilst her 14 spacious decks delight guests with an array of unsurpassed amenities including the Canyon Ranch Spa Club and the only Planetarium at sea.

Oasis of the Seas

Experience the ship that revolutionised cruising. Its ground breaking design introduced seven distinct neighbourhoods built for ultimate enjoyment. Hop on a classic carousel on the Boardwalk, then watch acrobats splash down in the AquaTheater, the first amphitheatre at sea. Let imaginations soar in the Youth Zone – the largest kids’ area at sea – or at the Pool & Sports Zone, where you’ll find FlowRider surf simulators and zip line views. Unwind with a stroll in Central Park – a meandering garden lined with shops and fine restaurants – or melt away stress at Vitality Spa. Jazz up your evening with a Broadway hit, or hit the Royal Promenade for memorable moments with DreamWorks Experience characters.

Voyager of the Seas

Conquer the rock-climbing wall or find your adventure on the basketball court, ice-skating rink or mini-golf course. If it’s zen you seek, achieve it poolside or at the relaxing Vitality Spa. Liven up your nights on the Royal Promenade, with parades, dancing and duty-free shopping deals. And bring along some friends – with spacious public areas, enhanced staterooms and a spectacular three-storey dining room, this ship has room for your whole crew.

Celebrity Solstice

Celebrity Solstice is one of the more decorated ships at sea, full of ‘firsts’ – like the first Lawn Club at sea. The first Hot Glass Show. The first cruise line to have 5 women redesign and redecorate the staterooms. A passion for outstanding cuisine has also taken the specialty restaurants, the food and the overall dining experience to a whole new level in the cruising world. Celebrity Solstice also has the AquaSpa by Elemis where you can pamper yourself with spa treatments.

Radiance of the Seas

Combining sleek swiftness, panoramic vistas and an array of new dining options, the newly renovated Radiance of the Seas provides a dazzling cruise experience. With acres of glass enclosing the nine-storey central atrium, lifts facing the sea and floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, you’ll never be at a loss for an incredible view. Plus, they’ve just added eight new dining experiences, ranging from casual eats at the Boardwalk Doghouse, to family style Italian fare at Giovanni’s Table, to the sizzling skewers of the Samba Grill Brazilian Steakhouse. Other new features include a Royal Babies & Tots Nursery, VIP guest lounges, and an outdoor, poolside cinema screen showing firstrun films day and night.

For itineraries and prices please call on 1800 616 434 or visit www.cruiseoffers.com.au

Quilts, Fabrics, Food – Quilters on Tour in Europe

Winter? Schminter!! In August 2012, twenty one quilters, and one husband, took off for Europe and a tour full of history, fabric, textiles, shopping, sunshine, food, great company and maybe just a little shopping!

The tour starts in Paris, straight off the plane , for a city tour of this gorgeous place in brilliant sunshine. The wrought iron balconies and worked doors are superb, and provide inspiration for numerous craft designs. The Eiffel Tour is bathed in sunshine, with crowds milling around the base to ascend to the top. With lunch at the Louvre, it is a wonderful way to start the tour. We are staying in the Opera district, which gives us easy access to terrific shopping areas and the metro to anywhere else in the city.

This tour is full of highlights, and our first occurs the next day. We board our coach to head out to the Musee de Toile de Jouy. Situated in a 19th century chateau, it has displays of vintage printing techniques from the Oberkamp factory in Jouy-en-Josas, as well as historic, finished examples of the florals and toiles in garments, furnishing & quilts. The history contained in the building is counteracted by a display of modern quilts and textile art by the group Patchwork France. Far from the romantic figures on the vintage textiles, this exhibition has pieces made from plastic, wool felt, lace, embroidery and is enjoyed for it’s diversity. Before we leave there is a rush to buy the limited fabrics available at the museum, first in, first served!

To top off what has already been a brilliant day, we head to the markets in the city of Versailles for tasty baguettes, before we head to the Chateau de Versailles. As it is summer, the crowds are plentiful. But as a group we get to bypass them and enter this stunning palace very quickly. Each year an art exhibition is displayed within the buildings and grounds and this year it is artworks by Joana Vasconcelos. An oversized patchwork textile piece hangs from the ceiling as we enter. A huge pair of stilettos is made from shiny saucepans and a funky, iron lace teapot sit amid the summer flowers in the gardens. From the opulence of the 18th century castle and gardens, to the fascination of the modern art, it is a memorable visit, and we are sad to leave.

Paris has so many highlights, and the next day we head out to Sacre Couer to visit the basilica and the shopping area of Mont Matre. It is another beautiful day as we photograph the city from this fabulous vantage point. Then the girls head down for a fabric fix in the shops below and we already start to worry about those luggage allowances! The afternoon we spend at the Musee de Arts Decoratif. It has displays of all types of decoration including jewellery, advertisements, period rooms, trompe loi , Babar and the designs of Louis Vitton and Marc Jacobs. Wow! We have not even left Paris yet and we have seen so much!

Our 1st patchwork shop is on the itinerary next day. Ines Boutique de Patchwork has expanded since we first visited, but still as friendly as ever. Everyone finds something they can’t live without, before heading over to the little bar on the corner for a little liquid fortification. The evening sees many of us cruising the Seine River, enjoying the twinkling lights of Paris at night, while eating a tasty meal ( and maybe a dessert, or two!).

Alas, we must leave Paris, and the next day we fly to the south of France, landing in the historic city of Avignon. Often referred to as the “City of Popes” because of the presence of popes and antipopes from 1309 to 1423, the Palais de Popes is still standing , as is the rampart wall around the acient city centre. We explore this place on foot, while eating excellent gelatti in the summer heat. The following day we head out in our coach to two very different markets. The first is a small trash & treasure style market in a carpark, with tables covered in a wide variety of fascinating goods. We fossic through the items, discovering many treasures that come home with us. It is with reluctance that we board the coach again, but at least we are off to another market, this time on the village of Uzes. It is very different and very crowded as it is held in the narrow, winding streets of this old village. The stalls sell an abundance of local, fresh food, Provencal napery, clothing, hats, etc. We sniff out 2 stores that sell patchwork and other craft goods. Lunch choices abound, the food in the south of France is mouthwatering. Again, we are sad to leave the picturesque village of Uzes, but we must head back to the hotel. On the way we stop and see the magnificent arched roman aqua duct, The Pont du Gard.

The french are very civilised and the  next day is Sunday and most business are closed. We have organised for a famous Provencal fabric shop to open especially for the group. What a treasure trove! Not your traditional shop, it had dress fabric, patchwork fabric, upholstery, ribbons, T-towels, tassels and trims, ready made items. I do not think that Gregoire, the owner, knew what hit him when we started to shop. Lucky for us he had shipping , and the boxes that were sent home saved the extra weight in our luggage.

From Avignon we head to Nice, stopping at Aix-en-Provence along the way. Is every village in the south of France so picturesque! We wander the beautiful streets, heading to another fabric shop in the heart of the village. It is located on a square , with markets in the centre and numerous shops and restaurants. We have to shop fast, as this little village closes for 2 hours in the middle of the day. We are so used to 24/7 shopping in Australia that the shop closures in France can be a little disconcerting. Later in the day we explore the French Riveria from our hotel in Nice.

What can I say, but next day, another gorgeous village in Provence, Grasse. We have chosen it as a destination to visit a little museum , the Museum of Costume and Jewellery. Size is no indication of quality, as it has a fabulous selection of vintage, Provencal clothing. They are displayed under glass cylinders, allowing you to see all sides of these fascinating pieces: the fabrics, the closures, the trims , the stitching. Next door is a perfume factory where we learn the intricacies of  making the sweet smelling liquids. Lunch is on the run , while trying to shop and photograph Grasse, before we head to Monaco for the afternoon. A walking tour gives us an idea of this pretty place, with many of the older builings painted in  soft , gelatti colours. A visit to the church where Princess Grace was married and is also buried is included. Dinner that night is a farewell to France and held in a restaurant on the famous Prommenade de Anglais, on the French Riveria, Nice. Do we really have to leave?

England is our destination the next day, Birmingham to be exact. Our tour manager Lyn, has researched and found out that Jamie Oliver has a restaurant nearby. Twenty of us go out together to explore the culinary delights of this famous chef. Alas, he is not in the night we visit, but the food is incredibly fresh and tasty. The following day is the first day of Birmingham Festival of Quilts. The quilt show has a multitude of interantional quilt displays, with a wide variety of stands and demonstrations. Many famous quilters are in attendance, including Pauline Burbidge and Kaffe Fasset , who is busy signing books. Muscles are being tested, just how much can we carry? To break up the shopfest, we take the group back in time , to the 1760’s, and visit the magnificent Kedleston Hall. This neo-classical mansion and surrounding landscaped park can be seen in the movie “The Duchess”, starring Keira Knightley. It is an insight into how monied people lived in earlier times.

Our last stop in England is York. Another walled city, this is a very interesting place to stay. Our walking tour explores the history, the Minster, the Shambles and lands at the York Castle Museum. Free time allows for each of us to further investigate the city, and the shops, of York. The following day we visit the Quilt Museum and Gallery in St Anthony’s Hall. On exhibit is “Celebrating Diversity” by the European Quilt Association, and a collection of miniature quilts in “Small is Beautiful”.Our Farewell dinner that night is held in an olde pub. Amongst the laughter is much sadness, as this is our last meal together. Tomorrow some of us head home, while others stay in Europe , traveling on to other exciting destinations. Another fantastic Travelrite tour has, unfortunatley, come to an end.

In 2013 Travelrite have a new and exciting program of tours. The first, in August , will visit Long Beach Quilt Festival, Seattle, cruise the Inside Passage to Alaska and finish in San Fransisco. We will also be travelling to the USA in October 2013 for the Houston Quilt Festival.

For a further information check www.travelrite.com.au.

Travelrite consultant Emma Philpot receives Trafalgar Top Performer Award

Travelrite International is excited that Emma Philpot, who works at our Travelrite  Heathmont office, won the Trafalgar Top Performer Award for 2012. Congratulations Emma.

Trafalgar Tours managing director Matt Cameron-Smith, left, presents its top performing agent award to Emma Philpot from Travelrite International with Magellan general manager Andrew Macfarlane

Berlitz reveals highest rated ships and recommends booking through a Travel Agent for the best deals

The good news is that some of the top rated ships will be visiting Australia in the coming months including Celebrity Solstice and Cunard’s Queen Mary 2.

Hapag-Lloyd, Seabourn, SeaDream, Crystal, Celebrity and Cunard are the winners of the annual ranking of cruise ships for 2013. The top-scoring vessels of the 2013 Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships have been revealed three weeks before the book is published in October. Small and boutique ships were again the best rated, with only the premium class of one big ship awarded over 1,700 points out of a possible 2,000.

Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa retained its number one spot for the 13th consecutive year, scoring the most points of the 284 ships rated (1,852) and topping the small ships category. SeaDream I and SeaDream II were the next highest scorers (1,788 and 1,786 respectively), which also placed them in the top two of the boutique ships category, followed by Seabourn Legend (1,774).
Seabourn had three ships in the top 10 of this category as well as three in the top 10 small ships, including Seabourn Quest (1,776) and Seabourn Odyssey (1,775) in second and third place after Europa.
Queen Mary 2 (Grill class) dominated the large resort-style ships (1,702), followed by joint runners-up Celebrity Solstice, which will be based in Australia this summer, and Celebrity Equinox (1,611).
The best of the mid-size ships, according to the Berlitz rating system, was Crystal Serenity (1,717). Oceania Cruises’ new Riviera (1,702) and Crystal Cruises’ other ship Crystal Symphony (1,701) came a close second and third. The reviews, devised by British cruise critic and author Douglas Ward, take into account 400 items based on personal cruises, visits and revisits to almost all of the world’s ocean-going ships.

In the new book, Ward also outlines his six biggest cruise line rip-offs and 15 ways that costs are cut.
To get the best value for money, he recommends choosing an older ship and booking through a travel agent.

The 2013 Berlitz Guide app will be available on iTunes on 15 September; the book is due out 1 October.

To make bookings on all cruise lines please call Travelrite International:
Balwyn 1800 630 343
Heathmont: 1800 033 436

Source: Cruise Weekly

Cruise the Spectacular Kimberley with George Negus

Join George Negus and his partner Kirsty Cockburn, as well as multi-award winning Kimberley expedition leader Dan Balint, on an exploration cruise through the remote Australian wilderness of the heritage listed Kimberley. As George explains, “This trip is our chance to enjoy with you one of our favourite places in the World… not just its extraordinary remote geography but also its culture and communities and the rare experience of being somewhere under the stars where signs of a modern world are a surprise rather than a common sight.” We travel in the Waterfall Season of May, an ideal time to experience the full power of the spectacular falls in a more temperate climate. Our luxurious expedition ship, the Oceanic Discoverer, has been designed for size to explore some of the more remote and breathtaking secrets of this remarkable region.

This unique experience with global traveller and journalist George Negus is priced from $9,495 per person, twin share, and includes the following: One night’s accommodation in Darwin with breakfast and dinner, two nights in Broome at the Cable Beach Resort with breakfast and one dinner, cocktails on Cable Beach in Broome, ten nights aboard the Oceanic Discoverer with all meals as well as shore excursions listed in the itinerary.

Visit our George Negus cruise page for all the details, or call us on 1800 630 343.

George Negus on the beach in Kimberley

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Oceanic Discovery Sub Reef

cave painting

 

 

 

National Cruise Week 3 – 9 September 2013

The International Cruise Council Australasia is very pleased to announce that the week of 3rd to 9th September 2012 will be ‘National Cruise Week’.

National Cruise Week is a week-long promotion giving ICCA members exclusive access to a range of offers from all our Member Cruise Lines. With 28 Cruise Lines involved in this one major promotion we will be delivering the largest promotion of cruising ever seen in this market!

The week forms part of our continued efforts in raising the awareness of cruising as a great value holiday option. This event has been a huge success in both North America and the United Kingdom for many years.

Each cruise line will be offering specials. For more information and quotes please contact Travelrite International Tel:
Balwyn: 1800 616 434
Heathmont: 1800 033 436
Email: sales@travelrite.com.au

Cunard’s QM2 to Circumnavigate Australa in 2014

In February 2012, Queen Mary 2 completed an historic maiden Royal Circumnavigation of Australia. The fastest, most magnificent ocean liner ever to undertake such a voyage, she charted a course around Australia in celebration of Matthew Flinders’ first circumnavigation of the continent. A record number of bookings were made within the first sale day and the voyage had sold out within weeks.
After the popularity of this voyage, Cunard is pleased to announce that Queen Mary 2 will return in February 2014 to sail her second Royal Circumnavigation of Australia.
2014 Royal Circumnavigation features:
• Roundtrip sailings available from Perth (Fremantle), Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane
• Fares start from AUD $6,499* per person twin share for an inside stateroom for 22 nights
• Past Passengers booking roundtrip sectors will receive an on board credit of USD $175 per person (applicable to the first two passengers sharing a cabin) until 31 December 2012
Bookings go on sale on 20 February 2012.
Departure dates are:
Fremantle 12 Feb 2014
Melbourne 17 Feb 2014
Sydney 19 Feb 2014
Brisbane 21 Feb 2014
To preregister please contact Travelrite International on 1800 616 434 or email balwyn@travelrite.com.au