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  • Museum of Underwater Art Opens

    Museum of Underwater Art. Image credit Matt Curnock

    The John Brewer Reef Coral Greenhouse situated in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef opened this week. Due to current border restrictions, the only people to view it for now will be locals and those from Tasmania, Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. Good things are worth the wait and this underwater museum will definitely be on the bucket list of many divers and snorkelers.

    Set off the coast around 80 km off the coast of Townsville, the Museum of Underwater Arts is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. The underwater sculptures weigh more than 59 tonnes and were designed by Jason DeCaires Taylor. The sculptures are made from stainless steel and pH-neutral materials in order to complement natural coral growth.

    The underwater museum was mainly funded by the state government who provided three million dollars for this unique tourism experience.

    There are two more stages to be completed. The next is on Palm Island and the third on Magnetic Island. Both are due to be completed in 2021.

    Commercial Tourism Operators including Adrenalin Dive Townsville, Sealink Townsville, Pro Dive Magnetic Island, Yongala Dive Burdekin and Orpheus Island Resort will operate tours to the Coral Greenhouse.

    Museum of Underwater Art. Image credit Jason de Caires Taylor

    Thredbo’s backcountry tours debut this season

    Image credit Thredbo Resorts/Travmedia

    Explore new frontiers with a Backcountry Tour. Whether on skis, snowboard or snow shoes, there are a variety of tours all featuring the backdrop of gnarled eucalyptus trees, empty mountains and wildlife cameos. Learn backcountry skills, in groups of two to five people, from experienced guides (first aid trained, with avalanche certification, appropriate emergency equipment and mountains of off-piste experience). Tours range from introductory to advanced, so adventures abound whether this is your first uphill step, or you’re a backcountry bandit.

    The Introduction

    Skins? Huh? They’re the sticky things attached to skis or boards to help you grip the snow while uphilling. The Introduction to Backcountry Tour is for those taking their first foray into alpine touring. This is touring 101 on steroids, your guide will introduce you to the specialist equipment, safety aspects and skills required to negotiate simple backcountry terrain.

    You’ll plan an achievable objective and wrap your head around skinning, basic navigation, awareness and safety. Bring the questions, all the questions! The full day, six-hour course is for intermediate to advanced riders and includes Volk ski or Burton split board rental from Thredbo Sports. The tour also a pre-requisite before joining the other more demanding tours.

    Beyond the Boundaries tour

    If you’ve completed the introductory course then prepare for your next adventure out of the resort boundaries to all the secret spots whether it is for stashes or scenery. Find unique terrain from Bogong to Mt Kosciuszko or choose your own adventure with a custom combination. Whatever your destination, the mission is to find the perfect line and score fresh snow. You’ll score not only new knowledge of the area, but experience terrain variety and further develop your backcountry and alpine touring skills.

    Advanced adventurers tour

    You’re a backcountry bandit and there’s no holding you back! You eat fresh tracks for breakfast, get excited about things like outerwear vent zips and always wonder what’s around the next corner. This tour is for you. This can be highly customised, with all day destinations including Leatherbarrel, Twin Valleys and Etheridge.

    Previous back county and touring skills essential and advanced ability must be in your bag of tricks as you become more familiar with riding more technical terrain. The bonus? There’s also the chance to summit and ride some of Australia’s highest peaks.

    The Mount Kosciusko Summit tour

    This is the Big Kahuna, a ski or snowboard of Australia’s highest peak, sitting at 2,228 metres and one of the iconic seven summits (the highest on each continent in the world). If after breaking ground adventure this is the tick-all-the-boxes tour; you’ll leave the resort boundaries, experience the majestic Main Range and stand at the very top of Australia. The ultimate bucket list tour and it will be a must-do for snow lovers.

    Backcountry Access Pass

    Are you OK to head out independently? If experienced in backcountry, before heading out don’t forget to fill in an online Trip Intention Form with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service as a safety basic. Load up a Backcountry Access Pass onto a MyThredbo card from Guest Services Valley Terminal for a way one trip up Kosciuszko Express Chairlift.

    For more personalised information tips and advice, or to book an incredible holiday contact your local TravelManagers’ personal travel manager.
    With compliments of First Class: visit them online or at Instagram.