The sky's the limit in Sydney: travel news


NEWS
The sky’s the limit
Forget jostling for camera space out a bus window, Australia’s first glass-roof coaches are now on the road with AAT Kings launching two new buses. The glass-roofed coaches give a panoramic view of Sydney and the Blue Mountains. The coachline's Sydney Day Tours route also crosses the Sydney Harbour Bridge. AAT Kings has also recently linked up with some of Australia’s most iconic experiences, from a train journey on the Indian Pacific to a six-day walk through Tasmania’s Bay of Fires through Great Walks of Australia, as part of its new Australia brochure. The half-day Bondi Beach & Sydney Sights tour costs from $59 adults, $30 children. Phone 1300 228 546, see aatkings.com.

AIRLINE
Take a spa on board
Australia’s spa culture gets a sky-high promotions boost when Qantas packs ASPAR spa products in its new Kate Spade and Jack Spade inflight amenity kits. The new kits are available initially for business-class passengers on A380 services between Australia, London, Dubai, LA and Dallas, and include an ultra-hydrating face moisturiser and vanilla & orange lip moisturiser to help counteract skin dehydration while airborne. If you’re not in the air, you can find Aurora Spas in the Gold Coast’s Palazzo Versace and The Prince hotel in Melbourne and, since June this year, also in the First Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne. ASPAR products are paraben and SLS free, and are not tested on animals. See aurorasparetreat.com.au and qantas.com.au.

GEAR
In bed with the artist
Take Australian artist John Olsen to bed (metaphorically, of course) with these new pyjamas from his namesake art hotel, The Olsen, in Melbourne’s South Yarra. The limited-edition, 100 percent cotton pyjamas by Australian designers Masini & Chern are emblazoned with Olsen’s ‘Jumping Frog’ motif, and are the heroes of a new range of lifestyle goods by the Art Series hotel group.

Each of the six art hotels will have its signature products, which you can snap up during your stay, or, on its new online shop, Artefact, which launches later this month. One thing’s for sure: there’ll be no blushing if you get caught in a hotel corridor in this sleepwear. Cost $190 for the set or $80 for the shorts. See artserieshotels.com.au.
KIDS
Building a perfect cruise
Lego just got a whole lot more mobile with new playrooms on all 12 ships in the MSC Cruises fleet. In a bid to woo cruising families, the new Lego rooms, aimed at kids up to 12 years, come on board this month. The MSC Orchestra will be the first of the fleet to arrive in Australia from Dubai on her maiden voyage on February 21. The Renaissance ships have separate four separate kids’ clubs, from the Baby class for under-threes up to the Teens, from 15 to 17 years. The Lego upgrades are part of a E200m renovation program across the entire fleet. Phone 1300 028502, see msccruises.com.au.


GEAR
Modern retro
If you can’t bring yourself to lug around a chunky DSLR, but are frustrated by the limits of most compact cameras, Fujifilm’s new X100T aims to bridge the gap. Don’t be fooled by its retro styling, the 16MP camera has a fixed 35mm-equivalent, f/2 lens that can snap a 3x2-meter jpeg for those billboard statements and the world’s first electronic rangefinder. It also shoots RAW files, has a stealth-mode silent shutter, lets you change the aperture by a third (rather than a full stop), focuses manually or with high-speed auto-focus and has a large, 3-inch monitor for easy viewing. It can produce full HD video, has wi-fi and, in an of-the-moment quirk, can apply filters to achieve that 70s look, for those who think they were born too late. Available in black or silver and weighing 440g, the X100T is available this month, costs RRP $1749. See fujifilm.com.au.

FOOD
Worldly food wisdom
Maeve O’Mara shares the wisdom of the world’s kitchens in her fourth cookbook in the SBS TV Food Safari series, Complete Food Safari: delicious adventures through 44 cuisines. The book will teach you the tricks of the perfect Kabuli pulao from Afghanistan to Danish gravat lax or crowd-pleasing salt and pepper squid, as China sees it.

Each country has an explanation of its food culture, a fascinating array of home cooks and a breakout of essential flavours, from humble Clive of India curry powder (thank you, Broome), to Brazil’s malagueta chillies and Syria’s seven-spice mix, baharat, used in over 400 recipes. Costs $59.95, out now. See hardiegrant.com.au.

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