News from the world of travel

The AJN takes you around Australia and the world to see what’s new in travel.

An A&K luxury small group journey in Italy.
An A&K luxury small group journey in Italy.

New destinations for A&K luxury small group journeys

TRAVEL group Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) has released its latest portfolio of luxury small group journeys for 2025 that includes 25 new itineraries covering all parts of the world.

New additions include a foodie-focussed journey through Vietnam, itineraries in Borneo and Sri Lanka, and a group journey exploring the wonders of southern India.

To meet the growing demand for in-depth cultural exploration, A&K has introduced new journeys to Tangier and the blue city of Chefchaouen in northern Morocco, as well as Colombia.

With Europe remaining a top destination, A&K has expanded its European offerings to include new land and river journeys.

Stefanie Schmudde, senior vice president, global product strategy at A&K, said: “Our guests are seeking out-of-the-ordinary experiences that immerse them in each destination’s culture and natural wonders. From discovering the unique biodiversity of Madagascar, and the diverse landscapes of Colombia to the magical orangutans of Borneo, we are pushing the boundaries of exploration with each new journey.”

Every luxury small group journeys is led by a resident tour director who has lived for decades, sometimes even their entire lives, in the destination, providing travellers with a firsthand look at everyday life from the perspective of a local.


Mickey and Minnie aboard Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder in Sydney Harbour during the inaugural 2023-24 season.

Disney’s Magic at Sea cruises set to return

DISNEY Cruise Line’s popular ship, Disney Wonder, will return to Australia and New Zealand in October for a series of Disney Magic at Sea cruises departing from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland.

The cruises, which range from with two nights to seven nights, will sail until February 2025, following the success of the line’s inaugural 2023-24 season.

On the Magic at Sea cruises, guests can encounter favourite characters from popular Disney, Marvel and Pixar movies, enjoy Broadway-style shows and themed deck parties.

On Disney Wonder children can get creative in the youth clubs while there are adults-only areas such as the Quiet Cove pool and the Sense spa and salon.



Peppers Silo Hotel Launceston has been honoured for its sustainable tourism.

Tassie hotel scores a first in sustainable tourism

PEPPERS Silo Hotel Launceston has become the first hotel in Tasmania to achieve Ecotourism Australia’s sustainable tourism certification.

The hotel has met international sustainable tourism standards across eight categories including environmental management, interpretation and education, working with local communities and cultural respect and sensitivity.

Accor Pacific chief operating officer PM&E, Adrian Williams, said: “Peppers Silo Hotel Launceston exemplifies our dedication to environmental stewardship, community engagement and cultural respect. Independent certification is a must-have for hotels to help guests make sustainable travel decisions.”

Peppers Silo Hotel Launceston general manager, Paul Seaman, said the hotel team has worked diligently to improve its sustainability initiatives that included solar panels and local procurement.

“Peppers Silo Hotel Launceston is committed to supporting our local community with minimised impact to our environment,” he said.

“A key part of our journey has been our relationship with our food producers and growers and a commitment to sustainable food and beverage offering.

Grain of the Silo food director, Massimo Mele, said being local and creating connections with producers was a critical part of the restaurant’s offering and identity.

“Our processes and connections with local farmers and growers takes courage and planning to match the expectations of diners and travellers with the seasons and sustainable farming.”

The Sustainable Tourism Certification program was launched by Ecotourism Australia in late 2022 to provide non-nature based tourism businesses the opportunity to achieve credible and independently verified certification that meets globally recognised sustainable tourism standards.

Last year, Ecotourism Australia and Accor joined forces to independently certify their Australian and Pacific properties as sustainable tourism certified or ECO certified.


Passengers help clean up floating debris on Hawaii’s Big Island

Helping to clean up ocean debris on a Hawaii holiday

HAWAII’S Big Island features many colourful coral reefs that can be enjoyed on a four-hour snorkelling trip aboard Body Craft Cruises super-raft boats that operate daily from Kona.

However, once a month the environmentally-conscious operator has a trip that also becomes an ocean clean-up mission to restore the beauty of the ocean.

The boat cruises down the Kona coast and wherever it finds floating debris, those on board retrieve it from the side of the vessel or snorkelling to it.

Then it’s time for some snorkelling to explore the underwater world at a pristine location with the boat’s snorkel guide explaining the area’s marine life, followed by a gourmet picnic lunch.

The super-raft features cushioned seating, plenty of shade and an onboard toilet. Snorkelling gear is provided. The cruise costs US$60 per person.



The Australian String Quartet will perform at the Barossa Weekend of Music.

Classical sounds blend with Barossa luxury

THE Australian String Quartet, which has been delighting classical music audiences locally and overseas since 1985, is the star attraction of the upcoming Barossa Weekend of Music created by The Louise luxury lodge in South Australia’s Barossa Valley.

Being held from Friday, August 30 to Sunday, September 1 at the five-star property at Marananga, about 75 kilometres north-east of Adelaide, the Barossa Weekend of Music is the latest in the popular series of food, wine and cultural events at The Louise.

Guests staying at The Louise on the two-night package will enjoy concerts by the Australian String Quartet at leading Barossa Valley venues, Tanunda Hall and the JamFactory, and dining at The Louise’s acclaimed restaurants, Appellation and Contour.

They will also join the musicians at the nearby Wonderground gallery on Friday afternoon for a special preview of the Incandescent exhibition featuring artists Tanya Wales, Nona Burden, Monica Morgenstern and Renee de Saxe.

Guests can also chat with the musicians over a late breakfast at The Louise on the Sunday morning (September 1).

The Louise general manager Sonya Smith said the team was thrilled to be welcoming the Australian String Quartet to the Barossa Valley.

“We can’t imagine a more delightful venue than the Barossa’s peacefully rolling hills and vineyards to be listening to performances by the Australian String Quartet,” she said.

The Louise has 15 luxury suites which feature private courtyards and is operated by Baillie Lodges.


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