Travel Update

News from the world of travel

The AJN takes you around the world to see what's new in travel. By Danny Gocs

The Great Room at Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island.
The Great Room at Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island.

Southern Ocean Lodge set to reopen later this year

Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island, the flagship property of Baillie Lodges which was destroyed in the in the 2020 bushfires, is set to reopen on December 6.

The new-look luxury lodge on the remote south-west coast of South Australia’s Kangaroo Island is rapidly taking shape.

Designed by Kangaroo Island-born architect Max Pritchard, the original Southern Ocean Lodge opened in 2008 with 21 spacious suites fanning out from the Great Room, the heart of the resort containing the lounge, bar and restaurant with sweeping views of the ocean.

Baillie Lodges founders James and Hayley Baillie said they were grateful for the ongoing support and interest in the rebuild of their award-winning property.

“We’re very fortunate to have had the support of the Kangaroo Island community, the tourism industry, media and our loyal guests over the past three years during which we have been rebuilding Southern Ocean Lodge and regenerating the surrounding coastal wilderness,” said Hayley.

James added: “As we head towards the reopening of Southern Ocean Lodge at the end of the year, guests are already keen to book their stay. We will announce a ‘bookings open’ date in early May.”

Baillie Lodges was established in 2003 and the collection of boutique properties include Longitude 131° at Uluru-Kata Tjuta, Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Island, Silky Oaks Lodge at the Daintree Rainforest and The Louise in the Barossa Valley.

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FBI Travel rates in leading travel guide

FBI Travel of Caulfield North has been named among the first Forbes Travel Guide-endorsed travel agencies in the world.

Forbes Travel Guide (FTG) – a global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants, spas and ocean cruises – recognised FBI Travel for its leadership in the industry, dedication to elevating the role of travel advisors and support of hotels that have earned FTG star ratings.

Its latest guide honours about 1400 rated hotels in 81 countries with Five-Star, Four-Star and Recommended awards made by anonymous professional inspectors carrying out exhaustive quality and service checks.

Danny Englman, director of FBI Travel, said: “We are thrilled to be the first Forbes Travel Guide agency in Australia, and we see this prestigious recognition as a validation of our commitment to providing exceptional luxury travel experience to our clients.”

Richard Lebowitz, senior vice president of Travel Industry Outreach for Forbes Travel Guide, said: “FTG acknowledges FBI Travel’s commitment to world-class service, which complements FTG’s own principles.”

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New Qantas direct flights from Melbourne to Exmouth

Luxury safari tent at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef.

Victorians can fly direct to Western Australia’s Coral Coast, home of the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef, on a new Qantas service to Learmonth Airport in Exmouth, operating twice weekly from April 30 to October 26 this year.

Departing Thursdays and Sundays, the Melbourne-Exmouth return service is a five-hour flight on a Boeing 737 aircraft, cutting many hours off the existing journey with a stopover in Perth.

The Coral Coast is home to Ningaloo Reef, spanning 300 kilometres with more than 200 species of colourful coral and 500 species of fish. Visitors from around the world come to experience swimming with Ningaloo Reef’s whale shark and humpback whales as well as snorkelling with manta rays.

Join Coral Bay Eco Tours to view the colourful coral from the comfort of a glass-bottom boat and snorkel in the crystal-clear waters.

For guided full-day and half-day adventure safaris through Cape Range National Park, book a trip with Ningaloo Safari Tours.

For a luxury stay just metres from the reef, Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef fits the bill with 16 wilderness tents in the sand dunes with sweeping ocean views.

The tents are eco-friendly while offering all the comforts of a glamping holiday. Stays include all meals, drinks and a range of activities.

Exmouth was named Australia’s top small tourism town at the 2022 Australian Tourism Awards.

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