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    News bites – 6 December 2021

    West Australians urged to give the gift of Western Australia this festive season

    Coalseam Conservation Park Wildflowers. Tourism WA image credit

    West Australians are being encouraged to support the Western Australian tourism industry by giving the gift of a WA adventure to loved ones this festive season. The ‘Give the Gift of Travel’ campaign encourages locals to book or buy vouchers for WA tourism experiences and highlights the incredible range of travel experiences that can easily be given as gifts.

    Choose from an array of unforgettable experiences on offer from accommodation, tours and attractions that cater to a range of interests including food and drink, nature and wildlife and Aboriginal culture.

    Below is some inspiration to help find the perfect WA travel gift this festive season – something that will create lasting memories while also supporting local tourism businesses.

    Give the gift of adventure. Get them soaring to new heights on one of the many scenic flights available across the state. They can witness the incredible colours and other-worldly landscapes of Broome and the Kimberley region with KAS Helicopters or HeliSpirit, explore the WA’s incredible coastlines with Coral Coast Helicopter Services and Geraldton Air Charters, or fly over a bubble gum pink lake in Esperance with Fly Esperance or Geraldton Air Charters. For the real adventure seekers, get them jumping out of the plane with a Skydiving Australia, Skydive Jurien Bay or Skydive Geronimo experience. If they prefer to stay on land, get them to discover a different side of the Margaret River region with a Margaret River Adventure Co or Margaret River Discovery Co tour, or send them underground on a cave tour. In Perth city, treat sports fans to a rooftop experience at Optus Stadium’s The Ozone, or a climb to the top of the Matagarup Bridge with Matagarup Zip+Climb.

    Give the gift of a wildlife encounter. WA is home to some of the most incredible wildlife, and gifting the experience of an up-close encounter will be sure to make memories that last a lifetime. There is swimming with wild dolphins in Rockingham with Perth Wildlife Encounters, or face to fin encounters with the world’s biggest fish – the majestic whale shark – at Ningaloo with Ocean Eco Adventures, Ningaloo Adventures, or Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks. Rather stay above the water? Then a whale watching tour with Naturaliste Charters, Whale Watch WA, All Sea Charters or Broome Whale Watch will be sure to please. There are also sea lion interaction tours with Sea Lion Charters and Turquoise Safaris, and for the bird lovers, Kimberley Naturally offer ‘breakfast with the birds’ experiences from Kununurra.

    Ningaloo Reef. Image courtesy Chris Jansen

    Give the gift of a mini-escape. There are so many stunning and unique accommodation options to choose from across WA. From the historic Warders Hotel in Fremantle, The Colony at Mandoon Estate in the Swan Valley, and Samphire on Rottnest Island; to an outback station stay at Wooleen Station, a luxury rural experience amongst the trees at Tree Chalets in Busselton, or Premier Mill Hotel – a beautifully restored iconic flour mill in the country town of Katanning. For those that love a bit of adventure, why not gift them a glamping experience at Karijini Eco Retreat, in the breathtaking and rugged Karijini National Park.

    Give the gift of cultural immersion. For those that enjoy discovering WA culture, give the gift of a WA museum membership, which is valid for the WA Maritime Museum and WA Shipwrecks Museum in Fremantle, and the spectacular new WA Museum Boola Bardip in the Perth Cultural Centre. For the history lover, the National ANZAC Centre in Albany is Australia’s foremost museum honouring the Anzac legend, and a truly moving experience.

    Give the gift of an authentic an authentic Aboriginal experience. WA is rich in Aboriginal history, heritage and culture, dating back more than 50,000 years. There are Aboriginal tourism operators across the State who want to share their family traditions and stories, so why not gift your loved one the privilege of being on country with a traditional owner. In Perth you’ll find Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours and Experiences, Nyungar Tours and Dale Tilbrook Experiences, in the Southwest there’s Koomal Dreaming in Margaret River and Kurrah Mia in Albany, and in the gold rush city of Kalgoorlie there’s Bush Ghoondhu Wongutha Tours and the unique Goldfields Honey Ant Tours. In Broome, experience the region’s rich Aboriginal culture with Narlijia Experiences, Mabu Buru Tours or Borrgoron Coast to Creek Tours, and in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, join Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Cultural Adventures.

    Dirk Hartog Island. Tourism WA image credit

    Gift the gift of a city experience. Think your loved one knows Perth city, and Northbridge? They should think again! Gift them a guided walking tour that gets them discovering the city’s past, present and future. Explore laneways, architecture, street art, bars, cafes, and restaurants – as well as tours themed around cheese, beer, wine, whisky and gin. Choose from Two Feet and a Heartbeat, Oh Hey WA, Eat The Street Walking Tours and Hidden De Tours, or hop on a rickshaw with Peddle Perth. Want them to experience the city from a different perspective? Get them on the Swan River with a GoGo Active Tours kayak tour or Perth Waterbike Co experience, or for something really fun and unique, get them segwaying through the city or Kings Park with Segway Tours WA.

    Give the gift of a culinary indulgence. WA’s exceptional food and drink experiences can be found across the State from top to bottom. For the wine aficionados, gift them an immersive wine experience at one of the Margaret River regions top wineries such as Voyager Estate, Leeuwin Estate, Vasse Felix or Aravina Estate, or a long winery lunch at Wills Domain. For the beer lovers, why not gift them an experience at one of WA’s regional breweries such as Luck Bay Brewing down in Esperance, or the famous Matsos Brewery in tropical Broome. For the ultimate foodie experience, gift them a luxury seven-course seafood cruise with Rottnest Cruises on Rottnest Island or South West Cruises in Dunsborough. The Lobster Shack in Cervantes is a Coral Coast institution or treat them to the award-winning Core Cider House in the Perth Hills, or a coastal dining experience at Odyssea City Beach.

    Give the gift of the great outdoors. For those that love to get out and experience the great outdoors there are a great range of experiences to choose from. Walk amongst the tree tops with a Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, hike a section of the famous Cape to Cape track with Cape to Cape Explorers, explore the wonders of nature with Salt and Bush Eco Tours in Mandurah, or hike the trails of Perth on a guided tour with The Hike Collective.

    Beach BBQ the WA Way. Tourism WA image credit

    Give the gift of luxury. Treat your loved one to a night away at one of WA’s top luxury stays. For the ultimate staycation experience, you can’t go wrong with a night at one of Australia’s best luxury hotels – COMO The Treasury, or a weekend away at Smiths Beach or Pullman Bunker Bay in the Margaret River region is sure to please. For the pearl lovers, why not treat them to a Cygnet Bay or Willie Creek pearl farm experience in Australia’s pearling capital, Broome.

    Celebrating Christmas and the festive season with Aman 2021/2022

    Aman Resorts. Image courtesy Aman Resorts

    Aman Resorts, Hotels & Residences has designed a number of festive programs for guests to enjoy the rituals of the collection around the world, with on-property experiences that pay homage to other destinations in the brand’s portfolio.

    AMANYARA, Turks & Caicos

    As the festive season comes to the island shores of Providenciales, heralding Amanyara’s customary calendar of festive events and celebratory experiences, the resort welcomes guests seeking an escape to warmer climates. The daily activity program runs from 20 December to 2 January and includes a plethora of activities for multi-generations, from group pickleball tournaments at the Clubhouse, to family outdoor movie nights, staff versus guest soccer games and culinary classes hosted by the resort’s talented chefs. The festive spirit really shines at Amanyara over Christmas and New Year, where elaborate events imbued with island flair include a Christmas Eve Pool Party, followed by Santa’s arrival on the beach on Christmas morning. A Christmas Day Scavenger Hunt for children is accompanied by indulgent multi-course dinners with live entertainment to ensure every day is celebrated to the fullest.

    AMANGIRI, North America

    In the sublime wilderness of the Utah desert, Amangiri works closely with its neighbours providing support for the community with various fundraising initiatives. To support the elderly, community guests can marvel the delicate craft of rug weaving as passionate Navajo artist Charlene Isaac Hunt weaves a traditional Navajo blanket in Amangiri’s Main Pavilion. Guests are invited to enter a raffle to win the intricate creation, with all proceeds donated to the Adopt-a-Native-Elder charity that supports the wellbeing of Navajo elders. Further opportunities to show support include the chance to purchase a teddy bear that will be donated to CUDDLE Outreach, a local organisation that aids children in foster care and will share the bears as much-needed Christmas gifts.

    While celebrating the festive season at the resort, guests will have further opportunity to discover local culture with an extensive programme of daily activities. Alongside sunrise yoga, mountain hikes and sunset cocktails, highlights include fascinating storytelling sessions and evenings filled with live music. Those staying at Amangiri will be invited to a presentation by Peter MacDonald, one of the last surviving Navajo Code Talkers who shares fascinating tales from World War II, while the resort’s Winter Astronomy Series allows guests of all ages to look to the stars with Amangiri’s resident astronomist who leads nightly tours of the sky with an impressive Orion telescope.

    Also on property, guests will be able to marvel at the resort’s unique Christmas tree. Titled The Tree of Life, this year’s tree is a work of art by Colombian design studio, Verdi. Handcrafted in sustainable fibres, copper and straw, the installation makes its North America debut at Amangiri where it will be unveiled on 16 December and remain on show until mid-January.

    AMANJENA, Morocco

    Amanjena, Morocco. Image courtesy Aman Resorts

    Set within an oasis of palm trees and olive groves, Moorish heritage is reflected throughout Amanjena’s pisé-walls and manicured private gardens. Reminiscent of a sultan’s palace, the resort echoes opulence of time-gone-by and is exceptionally well-suited to hosting elaborate celebrations with loved ones. From 24 December to 1 January, the resort will offer several seasonal activities. These include children’s entertainment in the form of cookie making, Christmas crafts and treasure hunts alongside more sophisticated activities for adults, such as a cocktail making class and a tennis tournament. The program will also feature events inspired by Aman properties across the globe. These include a Turkish coffee and teatime, inspired by Amanruya’s home in Bodrum, and a Japanese afternoon tea, with sweet treats such as matcha cookies and other desserts paying homage to Aman’s three properties in Japan: Amanemu, Aman Tokyo and Aman Kyoto.

    This festive season, Amanjena also continues to support Les Enfants De L’Atlas Orphanage and Jarjeer Donkey Refuge, with guests invited to visit both locations to learn about the important work the charities do and support them with donations should they wish.

    AMAN VENICE, Italy

    Throughout the month of December, an enchanting sense of excitement fills the air in Venice and the city’s cobbled streets, charming squares and romantic canals come alive with a magical festive feeling. In Aman Venice’s Palazzo home, festivities begin on 6 December, when, in Christmas tradition, guests are invited to leave a shoe outside their door at night, in hope that San Nicola may visit and leave behind an early gift. The traditional theme continues with a ceremonial lighting of the tree and multi-course Christmas Eve and Christmas Day tasting menus making for an opulent stay.

    On New Year’s Eve, the hotel is also planning a memorable event, where the celebrations begin with a Blue Note themed Aperitivo in tribute to the future opening of Aman New York. The jazz-inspired refreshment is followed by an exquisite dinner with a variety of musical entertainment. As the time nears midnight, guests can choose to be whisked away by boat to watch the fireworks over the Salute before returning to enjoy yet another Italian tradition, Zampone e Lenticchie, for a truly unforgettable start to 2022.

    This season, Aman Venice will support the rehabilitation programme at Padova Prison once again, which is home to a pastry workshop, where inmates make award-winning panettone. Padova-made panettone will be served – and available for guests to buy – at Aman Venice throughout December, with proceeds supporting the prison’s rehabilitation efforts.

    AMANBAGH, India

    Aman-I-Khas, India. Image courtesy Aman Resorts

    Over the festive season, the serene garden estate of Amanbagh sets out to immerse guests in the culture and heritage of Rajasthan and the Aravelli Hills, showcasing local crafts and cuisine. Guests can learn the unique regional art of Lac bangle making at a pop-up artisan’s workshop in the hotel’s grounds and discover how the natural resin can be heated and shaped to make colourful jewellery. Alternatively, they can enjoy the traditional Indian art form of rangoli, whereby intricate patterns are created from coloured rice and sand, representing good fortune.

    Further opportunities to experience the inextricably connected trinity of food, faith and medicine that have shaped Indian culture for millennia await, including the chance to try Rajasthan’s own ‘sport of kings’: camel polo. On 31 December, guests are invited to join the Amanbagh team in celebrating the arrival of 2022 with a traditional Indian fair, featuring fortune tellers, fire dancers, traditional Manganiyar singers and an elaborate seven-course feast showcasing a choice of Indian or European cuisine.

    AMANKILA, Indonesia

    Occupying a breath-taking hilltop spot on Bali’s east coast, with ancient, spiritual and regal neighbours, Amankila offers the opportunity to make unforgettable memories with loved ones this festive season. To start the celebrations, guests are invited to join the Amankila team in family-friendly craft sessions making Christmas decorations, with opportunities to donate to Soul Bali, a charity that supports and empowers communities in East Bali and an initiative that Amankila has collaborated with since its establishment in 2015.

    Alongside opportunities to show gratitude, families and groups of friends alike will also delight in Amankila’s festive entertainment and culinary highlights. On Christmas Eve, the region’s sacred Legong Keraton Dance is performed by the main pool before an unforgettable Christmas feast is served family-style. The festivities culminate on New Year’s Eve, with a fire show featuring six fire masters who will present a dazzling display of movement and coordination accompanied by musicians on traditional instruments, who lead guests into the light of 2022.

    AMANJIWO, Indonesia

    Amandiri, Indonesia. Image courtesy Aman Resorts

    In the lush forest setting of central Java, Amanjiwo presents guests with cultural experiences that offer support to neighbouring communities and play an important role in preserving cultural and artistic traditions. Over the festive period, a variety of dance performances will take place at the resort, including a Jathilan dance performed by the children of the local villages, the legends of the Ramayana interpreted in movement by a troupe from the nearby Muntilan Regency, and the dramatic Javanese mask dance, Topeng. The art of dance is a tradition in which Amanjiwo works with local villages to keep alive from generation to generation.

    Alternatively, for those seeking to end the year cleansed and spiritually reinvigorated, the Tolak Balak ritual, performed by a Javanese priest, is one of several ancestral protection and purification customs practiced in Java. In a 90-minute session, which includes chanting mantras alongside breathing techniques and guided meditation, the ritual offers a beautiful insight into local traditions that leaves the body and mind feeling light and energised.

    The resort will also offer the Journey Though Java from 24 to 27 December to experience the visually stunning adventure across Java on the Kereta Api Wisata train, from the bustling capital of Jakarta to the peaceful setting of Amanjiwo.

    AMANPURI, Thailand

    Aman’s original place of peace, Amanpuri has hosted Christmas and New Year festivities for over three decades. This year, the fabled Phuket retreat is pleased to announce an exclusive ten-night private jet journey originating from London, Paris, Dubai and Moscow, allowing guests to reach Amanpuri in safety and comfort. Those travelling from London, Paris and Dubai will arrive on Amanpuri’s peninsula on 22 December and depart on 1 January. Guests flying in from Moscow will begin their adventure a week later, on 29 December, and return on 8 January. Every day in between arrival and departure will be personalised to individual interests, with bespoke activities and excursions on offer, ranging from pasta making and mixology masterclasses, to sailing lessons and holistic massages, and no less than seven memorable dining experiences.

    Those spending the festive season at resort will also be invited to a series of specially curated events commencing on 22 December with a Beach Barbeque at dusk. Other celebrations include a White Christmas-themed Christmas Eve feast, where glistening decor transforms the resort into a winter wonderland accompanied by ballet, acrobatics and jazz quartet performances. Also this season, nightly themed dinners take guests on culinary journeys from across the Aman globe, including to Aman Tokyo on 27 December, where Japanese specialties are served against a backdrop of lanterns and Sakura flowers, and to Amanjena on the 29 December, where the magic of Marrakech arrives in Phuket. The celebrations culminate with Amanpuri’s iconic New Year’s Eve party which this year pays homage to Aman Venice with a Masquerade Ball.

    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