Marriott planning new eco-friendly hotel in Australia

Marriott have signed a management deed for an exciting eco-friendly hotel in Melbourne’s Botanicca Corporate Park, with the property scheduled to open to the public in 2019.

With travellers ever more mindful of preserving the landscapes and natural environment of the destinations that they are travelling to, Marriott’s area vice president for Australia, Sean Hunt, explained that there is a growing demand amongst the public for accommodation with strong environmentally friendly credentials.

“We are delighted to launch the Element Hotels brand in Australia, following the brand’s unprecedented growth worldwide. Sustainability is a growing concern for an increasing number of travellers globally, and Element Melbourne Richmond is ideal for guests looking for an eco-friendly alternative, with its clean, residential-style suites that make guests feel at home, whether they’re staying a short while or for a longer period.”

Every single hotel that will be built under the eco-friendly “Element” brand will be constructed with the “green from the ground up” philosophy. This goes for the different products that are used as well as the building techniques.

Just some of the different eco-friendly components used during the project will be low-flow rainfall showerheads and energy efficient LED lighting. Filtered water, carpet that has been recycled and electric-vehicle charging stations are all also planned to make an appearance in the hotels.

The new Element hotel, slated for Melbourne, will contain 168 rooms (most with their own kitchens) and a 24-7 “grab and go” food stand. Along with the food stands and kitchens, there will be a bike sharing program and a 250m meeting space for patrons to use as they please.

This new development will only bolster the Marriott’s Pacific portfolio, which is packed to the brim with 25 operational hotels and 22 properties, and maybe even lead to a eco-friendly hotel chain in the future if it is seen as a successful project.

 

A Sydney architecture tour

When it comes to architecture, Sydney boasts a fascinating array of styles and a collection of landmarks iconic enough to attract visitors from all corners of the globe. If you’re interested in architecture, a visit to Australia’s most famous city won’t disappoint. Here are some highlights to include in your travel plans.

 

Sydney Opera House

There is no other logical place to start a tour of Sydney’s architectural gems than Sydney Opera House. This iconic building is one of the most recognisable symbols of Australia, and millions of people pay this quirky, unique building a visit every year. Designed by Danish architect, Jorn Utzon, the Opera House took 16 years to build. It was officially opened in 1973. Boasting distinctive sails, the building enjoys an enviable spot on Sydney’s bustling harbour. Today, it acts as a hub for cultural activities in Australia, hosting concerts, exhibitions and events throughout the year. If you’re visiting the Opera House and you plan to catch a show, it’s well worth booking in advance, as tickets tend to sell very quickly.

Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is featured heavily on postcards and there’s every chance that you’ll have the seen this domineering structure illuminated by a sky filled with colourful bursts of light on New Year’s Eve. The bridge, which is affectionately nicknamed ‘the coat hanger,’ is made from solid steel. It took six years to build and was officially opened by Premier Jack Lang in 1932. The bridge is a stunning focal point of the harbour, but it does also have an important role, carrying cars and trains and providing a footway and cycle lane. If you’ve got a head for heights and you fancy enjoying unparalleled views of the neighbouring Opera House, the harbour and the sprawling city below, why not take on the nerve-jangling Bridge Climb? Attached to safety harnesses, you’ll scale the bridge, climbing up to 134 metres above sea level.

The Sydney Tower

The Sydney Tower is Australia’s tallest building. Designed by Donald Crone, an Australian architect, it was opened for public access in 1981. Piercing the city skyline, this building is one of the most distinctive examples of Sydney architecture. Featuring a base surrounded by spokes, it stretches into the air. The cylindrical gantry affords visitors incredible views of the city. The base of the tower is now connected to Westfield Shopping Centre.

 

If you have an interest in architecture, you won’t regret visiting Sydney.

 

An Aussie adventure your kids will never forget

When it comes to adventure holidays, there are few places on Earth that offer as diverse a range of activities and pursuits as Australia. If you’re planning a personalised Australia holiday, and you’re taking the kids along too, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Here are some of the best family-friendly options to add to your itinerary to make your trip unforgettable.

Sydney

Enigmatic Sydney should be your first port of call if you’re looking for fun-packed adventures and family days out. There are so many activities on offer here, and you can alternate days of sightseeing and trawling the museums with chilled out afternoons at the beach. Catch a ferry from the iconic harbour over to Manly or head for the famous golden sands of Bondi. If you have animal lovers in your party, a trip to Taronga Zoo comes highly recommended.

The Great Barrier Reef and tropical Queensland

The Great Barrier Reef is a true wonder of the world, and its vibrant and vivid waters will leave children enchanted. If you have older kids, boat trips out to islands like Green Island are a great way to explore the beauty of the local area and enjoy some excellent swimming and snorkelling opportunities. Back on dry land, you can discover the Queensland rainforests, learn more about the Aboriginal culture and even get your pulses racing at the Gold Coast’s famous theme parks.

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island, as you may have guessed, is a wildlife lover’s paradise. This small but perfectly formed land mass is easily accessible from Adelaide and it offers the chance to enjoy a host of activities, from feeding kangaroos and wallabies to walking, cycling and fishing. Kids will love spotting the seals basking on the rocks of Seal Bay Conservation Park and feeding the pelicans at the wildlife park. There are also beaches aplenty for those who fancy a dip or even a surf lesson.

Brisbane

Brisbane has been touted as Oz’s most child-friendly city and it’s not hard to see why. Catch a boat along the river to enjoy the city views before hopping on the bus and heading to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, where you can enjoy a cuddle with Australia’s most famous residents, the koalas. You’ll also find wombats and kangaroos here, so get your camera primed and ready for those magical wildlife encounters.

 

If you’re planning a family holiday down under, you won’t be disappointed! There’s something for everyone and absolutely no risk of hearing those dreaded words, ‘I’m bored!’

 

A concert in the 340 million year-old Jenolan Caves

Widely regarded as the most spectacular caves in Australia, the Jenolan Caves are an idyllic base for a night out you’ll never forget. If you’re keen to expand your travel horizons with something new and unexpected, a unique and once in a lifetime experience for your trip Down Under, what could be better than attending a concert in the underground labyrinth of the ancient Jenolan Caves?

 

About the Jenolan Caves

The Jenolan Caves date back 340 million years. This network comprises of nine caves, each boasting staggeringly beautiful limestone rock formations. The caves are open for guided tours during the day and there’s also the opportunity to discover the enchantment and mystery of the caverns at night. If the sun is beating down, this is a trip that will provide welcome respite from the heat, with temperatures fixed at a pleasant 15 degrees all year-round. You can undertake half or full day tours, bush adventures and adventure caving, which is not for the faint-hearted. On these tours, you’ll leave the safety of the show caves and explore the meandering passageways deep inside the rock face, guided by a head torch.

There are various different options on offer when it comes to tours and trips and there’s something for everyone, regardless of age and fitness level. You can also choose an option based on your appetite for adventure. If you’re keen to see the show caves and learn more about the formation and history of the caves, that’s fine. If you’re eager to delve a little deeper, crawl around, and test your mettle, there are great excursions available for you too.

Concerts at the caves

Exploring is not the only activity available at Jenolan Caves. There’s also a restaurant on-site and you can even stay over. Another unforgettable experience to enjoy is a concert in the caves. Concerts can be magical in any setting, but this is truly a unique place to celebrate a love of music. The acoustics are like nothing you’ll ever experience again, and the scenery is spectacular. Events at the Jenolan Caves tend to be very popular so keep an eye out for news updates and ticket links. If you do want to attend a concert, be sure to book early. You can reserve tickets online. Concerts usually finish late, so it’s a good idea to organise accommodation. If you stay over, you can enjoy the concert and then explore the caves the next day.

 

Visit the Natural Wonder that is Fish River Canyon

If you have ever taken a trip to Namibia, you’ll know that right when you set your suitcases down back at home, you already want to go back. If you have yet to venture down to this magical place in the south of Africa, there is a whole world just waiting for you to explore.

At one of the farthest points in south Namibia you will find the Fish River. First rising in the centre of the country, the Fish River flows south, right on the Namibia-South Africa border connecting with the Orange River. Between this point, the largest canyon in the southern hemisphere forms; The Fish River Canyon.

For the historians, the formation of the Fish River Canyon is an intriguing story; many believe that it was carved out by erosion of the Fish River, but that is not true. The formation began 500 million years ago when a fracture in the crust of the earth’s surface caused the collapse of the valley bottom, resulting in the formation of the north and south valley. Southward moving glaciers then caused faults and erosion, only increasing the impact of the original collapse.

Only second in size to Arizona’s Grand Canyon, the Fish River Canyon stretches an impressive 161 km long to 27 km wide at certain points. Some believe that Ethiopia’s Blue Nile Gorge is the largest canyon in Africa due to its depth, but it is much narrower and shorter in length than the Fish River. Unless your trip falls from January to April, the ground will be rocky and calm (almost like the surface of Mars) because during the beginning of the year, a river breaks up the canyon. That might be one of the best times to travel to the canyon just so you can see a sight that not many others have.

If simply seeing the natural wonder is what you’re after, take a few days to enjoy the sheer size of the Fish River Canyon. Some visitors decide that they want even more, so they strap on a backpack and brace for a five day, self-guided hike across the terrain. If this is of interest to you, it is best to go when it is cool (May to September), as dehydration is a real possibility in the African heat. Professional guides are able to accompany you if you wish, or you could take a satellite phone. Just remember that you are in charge of your own food and equipment so once the hike begins, there is no easy way out!

If five days feels too demanding, just ask the friendly staff around the site; they would be more than happy to help you find something that suits you best.

The Fish River Canyon in the south of Namibia is a must-see for anyone that enjoys the great outdoors. Standing on the edge of the earth as you look over one of the greatest natural wonders of the world is a story that you’re going to want to tell for the rest of your life.