Mongolia: Steppes, Deserts & Nomads
Travel through steppe, mountain and the Gobi Desert, exploring the nature and culture of the little known country of Mongolia. And save $200, paying $4305 for Exodus Travels’ 13-day ‘Mongolia: Steppes, Deserts & Nomads’ adventure departing July 22. The price includes all accommodation, all transport and listed activities, plus all breakfasts, lunch and dinners. Venture into the dramatic and arid Gobi Desert, the largest desert region in Asia; explore the ‘singing dunes’ of the Khongorrin Els stretch; visit the Yolyn Am region which is home to diverse wildlife and endangered species such as khulan, ibex, argali and elusive snow leopards; and spend nine nights in a traditional ger camp, allowing yourself to absorb the fascinating nomadic culture. Phone 1300 131 564 or visit www.exodustravels.com/au.
Rone paints Burnham Beeches
As historic 1930s Burnham Beeches gets set for its transformation into a luxury hotel, the Melbourne street artist known as Rone has been working hard to add a level of decay to the project. The property, in the heart of Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges, has had a colourful history, some of it as a much-admired art-deco-style hotel with guests including the Prince and Princess of Wales in the 1980s. Having laid dormant for the best part of 25 years, it fell into disrepair, before purchase by celebrity chef Shannon Bennett and his partner Adam Garrison Garrison, who had plans for an emu farm, piggery, trufferie and restaurants, brewery, shop, cafe, a spa, cooking school, group accommodation, and outdoor cinema/concert facilities. Rone, aka Tyrone Wright, is known for his art works found in and around the urban streets of Melbourne’s inner-north, and in abandoned houses and venues — as well as his works on the Silo Art Trail. The artworks depict haunting, stylised portraits of women’s faces and are aimed at finding the friction between beauty and decay. Each room of Burnham Beeches evokes a different feeling, with Rone’s muse for the project actor Lily Sullivan, from Picnic at Hanging Rock. Visit www.burnhambeeches.com.au.
Glamping it up in Kings Canyon
Kings Canyon Resort, in the heart of Australia’s Red Centre, will have a fresh look this cool season as with a new glamping product. Set to open on June 1, six homestead-style tents will be designed to blend with the Northern Territory landscape while offering hotel comforts for guests. The new glamping tents feature canvas sides and large windows to welcome in the views, as well as king beds with premium linens, modern lounge and dining area, split air-conditioning and private en-suite stocked with Australian spa-care products. Outdoors, generous verandas offer cool lounging space. Three tents have been designed for couples, while three family tents feature a king bed plus two king single beds. Rates in the new glamping tents start at $390 per person per night and include breakfast. Children twelve years of age and under stay free. Visit www.kingscanyonresort.com.au.
Live like Richard Branson
Makepeace Island, Sir Richard Branson’s heart-shaped home on the Sunshine Coast, has reopened its doors to the public after an extensive makeover to the resort's facilities. The private island on Noosa River offers a fusion of luxury and wilderness, creating an ultimate escape just minutes from Noosa. Visit www.makepeaceisland.com.
To capture the once-in-a-lifetime event of a total solar eclipse, Wendy Wu Tours has released three ‘Chile Eclipse’ tours departing in late June this year. The tours include an exclusive total-eclipse viewing experience with guests transported via private charter plane into the heart of La Serena in the Elqui Valley to a reserved viewing area for optimal star-gazing. Here they will sip on premium South American wine as they are guided through this unforgettable celestial viewing by an eclipse expert, Dr Stuart Clark, astronomer and BBC presenter. The itineraries range from seven to 18 days, with the shortest priced from $6980 per person twin-share, including international and charter flights, accommodation and sightseeing. Phone 1300 727 998 or visit www.wendywutours.com.au/chile
Safari in the Maldives
Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi has launched safari-style tented villas that offer experiences of outdoor living under the stars — outdoor rain showers, roll-top tubs and locally sourced rustic interiors offering complete seclusion. Built with wooden frames, amber-toned interiors and walls swathed in white canvas, the indoor and outdoor areas offer a spacious lounge space complete with handmade wooden furniture, bathing facilities and swimming pool. For film aficionados, private pop-up cinema screenings can be set up, showcasing cult classics and blockbusters under the stars, while the adventurers can set sail to a nearby deserted island for a castaway picnic. Gourmands can head out to sea for a sunrise fishing trip and learn the art of Maldivian line fishing, before heading back to their jungle abode for a private jungle BBQ. Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi is located at Shaviyani Atoll, in the North Maldives, and is accessible by domestic flight in 50 minutes from Male International Airport followed by speedboat from Hanimaadhoo Airport to the resort. Visit www.fairmont-maldives .