Taking a break in Shanghai, lounging like a lizard, Townske launches: Takeoff travel news


NEWS
Lounge on Lizard Island
The luxurious Lizard Island opens its doors on Tuesday to reveal a multi-million dollar refurbishment. The resort, located 240km north of Cairns in the Great Barrier Reef, has been closed since it was damaged extensively by Cyclone Ita in April 2014. New to the island is The Villa, a two-bedroom, 95-square-meter ridge-top eerie, as well as a new restaurant, new bar and a wine room with menu by wine critic Jeremy Oliver. There are more private plunge pools, more panoramic view points and the Essentia Day Spa has partnered with Parisian apothecary La Biosthetique What hasn’t changed are the 24 white-sand beaches and proximity to one of the world’s top dive sites, Cod Hole. Garden rooms start from $1699 a night while The Villa will set you back from $5200 a night. The resort, reached only by private aircraft, will be all systems go from April 1. See lizardisland.com.au.


GEAR
Sightseeing on the run
Oh you were so good last night! You evicted yourself from that exotic bar before midnight so you could explore the quiet streets of this new city with a morning run. Give your early morning a little help with Salomon’s newest city trail runner, the Sense Mantra 3, which has a breathable mesh upper, cushioning for pavement pounding and comes in various colours, including this sunshine-bright version. Originating in post-war France, Salomon focuses on light weight – the women’s British size 5.5 Sense Mantra 3 weighs just 250g – and its ENdofit technology wraps the foot for a stable, protected yet natural stride. The Sense Mantra 3 is available in women’s and men’s fits, RRP $179.99. Kids’ sizes are available in some ranges. See salomon.com.

TECH
Guide to glory
Not a backpacker or flashpacker, a tourist or traveller? So you don’t fit the mould for a million travel guides? Find a guide that grooves to your own style of travel on Townske, a new social media outlet that lets you follow like-minded locals or become a guide yourself. Just emerging from its soft-launch cocoon, Townske is the brainchild of the luggage/trend aficionados behind Rushfaster.com. It’s already attracted guides sharing spectacular photography from the top of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers bridge climbers, proffering dinner tips in Paris or revealing the best of Stockholm metro’s architecture, all on the one site. It’s ever changing, just like our world. See townske.com.

TRAVEL WRITING
Get on track
Sick of reading others’ fabulous travel memoirs when you could do so much better? Let award-winning travel writer Rob McFarland coax out your inner Kerouac with his travel writing workshops. McFarland, who writes for Traveller, conducts his workshops in Sydney and also has a correspondence version, if you’re already on the road. He also offers a story review service for those who have already penned On The Road Mark II. The intensive two-day course is limited to 12 students and runs on March 21 and 28 at Vibe Hotel, 111 Goulburn St Sydney. Costs $599, or $549 for Sun-Herald readers. See robmcfarland.org.

FOOD
Hop in to a feast
Australia’s third-largest island, Kangaroo Island, is laying the tables for its 2015 food celebration, FEASTival. The annual festival is headed up by kitchen doyenne Stephanie Alexander, who harvests her kitchen garden to help create the signature SeaLink Enchanted Garden launch dinner. Other highlights of the nine-day food festival include gin-making, French and Italian cuisine masterclasses, riverside picnics and a family day in Kingscote with music, cooking demos, a farmer’s market and food stalls. KI is famed for its wildlife, so there are also pop-up wilderness events around the island, including Breakfast with the Birds, a bush brekky at dawn with local wildlife experts and wildlife artist Janet Ayliffe. The island is connected to Adelaide by short flights with Rex Airlines or by ferry from Cape Jervis, two hours’ drive from Adelaide. FEASTival runs from May 1-8. See tourkangarooisland.com.au/kifeastival, rex.com.au and sealink.com.au.

KIDS
Shanghai’s art of glass
If you thought kids and glass didn’t mix, you’re wrong. At least, you’re wrong in Shanghai, where the new Kids Museum of Glass has recently opened. Aimed at 4-10 year-olds, kids can watch and play with glass art, magic mirrors and rainbows in its DIY Creative Workshops, learning all about glass through play. Attached to the Shanghai Museum of Glass, it’s a little haven in a big city, with a chic cafe, lockers and wi-fi for your Instagram uploads of cute kids doing wonderful things with glass blowing and sand blasting. Costs 48RMB ($10) for a child under 1.3m (one parent goes free) or 88RMB which gives entrance to both the kids’ and main museum and a Hot Glass performance. Open daily except Mondays. See kmog.org.

The Takeoff travel news, by Belinda Jackson, is published every Sunday in Sydney's Sun-Herald newspaper's Traveller section. 

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