Get ready for two festival event weekends on 10-11 July and 7-8 August at woodend, Victoria. Events are organised and tickets are selling.
Every night over the period of 26 June 2021 – 17 July 2021, Bendigo’s beautiful Rosalind Park will transform with a series of vibrant installations that engage and immerse visitors in an unforgettable sensory experience.
Each installation captures Bendigo’s stories of the city and its rich history, through a radiant display of light, colour and sound in a spectacular fashion.
At Rosalind Park Piazza you will find a illuminated Acknowledgement of Country, a beacon of light that represents the traditional custodians of the land, the Dja Dja Wurrung People.
Continuing into the park, you will find illuminated representations of all things Bendigo, including our Horticultural heritage, Chinese heritage, vibrant art history, famous tulips, and even a “River of Gold”.
At each 13 key stops, you will be invited to read about the magnificent light displays and the story behind how they relate to Bendigo.
Please note Awaken is a free event but requires a ticket to enter to meet COVID safe requirements.
Imagine a drive through glens and mountains where rival clans battled for supremacy; walking along rugged coastlines and spotting dolphins playing in the firth; touching ancient stones that are older than the pyramids; learning the hidden secrets of compact cities on a guided walking tour; enjoying the sights of UNESCO cities of music, design, literature and world heritage; savouring fresh seafood and beef straight from the land; landscapes filled with endless opportunities for adventure.
Scotland has all the essential ingredients for the perfect road trip. Beautiful ever-changing scenery, incredible attractions and welcoming towns and villages. All you need is a vehicle, an amazing playlist and some great company!
When touring Scotland by car (or camper or bike), your route can vary in length; trips can be as short or as long as you like. You could easily spend a week or two touring a large area of the country, or explore a region over a weekend – no matter what you choose to do, you’re guaranteed to have the best road trip around Scotland.
Plan a road trip around Scotland to see some of our most awesome sights. Explore the dramatic mountains of Glen Coe, skirt the eastern coastline to Dunnottar Castle, wind your way along the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, or venture on a road trip around the west coast of Scotland for amazing island views and culture.
If you’re planning a UK road trip, adding Scotland to your travel plans would not go amiss! If you’re touring the north of England, stop by our southern regions to admire incredible landscapes, bags of ancient history, fascinating culture and more.
Keep reading to find out more about driving in Scotland and all the essential information you need to know to plan your amazing road trip around Scotland.
Scotland offers all this in abundance, and VisitScotland is ready to help you discover more!
A week-long tourism advertising blitz will kick off across the country, aimed at getting Australians to book their next domestic holiday and boost visitation to those regions that need it the most.
The $5 million marketing push is the first major activation of Tourism Australia’s Holiday Here This Year campaign for 2021 and aims to inspire people to take a well-deserved break and provide much-needed support to tourism operators and communities around the country.
Tourism minister Dan Tehan says the campaign was part of the Morrison Government’s ongoing support for the tourism industry.
“We want Australians to get excited about holidaying in Australia,” Tehan says.
The campaign, which runs from January 31 to February 6 has been developed with Tourism Australia’s creative agency M&C Saatchi and media agency UM.
It is the latest burst of activity as part of Tourism Australia’s ongoing domestic marketing initiative Holiday Here This Year, which aims to stimulate demand throughout the sector by getting Australians travelling safely across the country and booking holiday experiences.
It will feature Australian destinations, tourism products and experiences, including areas impacted by last summer’s bushfires.
Tourism Australia chief marketing officer Susan Coghill says the campaign taps into strong consumer sentiment to travel domestically.
Redefining bespoke luxury in the heart of the harbour, Crown Sydney has officially opened its doors. Crown Towers rises majestically above the vibrant Barangaroo precinct offering globally renowned service in an unparalleled harbour side location.
Take in the mesmerising panorama of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the outdoor pool, bask in pure escapism at Crown Spa, and explore the many acclaimed restaurants, bars and luxury retail stores located within the unrivalled urban resort.
Australia’s most luxurious hotel, the 349-rooms (and 22-villa) Crown Sydney, lives up to all its six stars with glamour and aplomb.
As expected from a Crown property, fine food with exemplary aesthetics and theatrics, is at the forefront of the new Sydney branch.
The glittering, twirling facade looming high above the Barangaroo fold is so high it is officially Sydney’s tallest hotel. The Crown Towers Sydney is also the city’s first-ever six-star stay.
While the Crown Tower’s Villas and Level 26 venues are still experiencing final touches, the hotel is very much open for business, and creating vibes at that.
The wow-factor of the towers is apparent as soon as step inside — starting with a breath taking custom-made, six-storey chandelier in the lobby, featuring a coiling display of 396 crystals that put on a light show every night.
Already nine of 14 dining venues have launched — Californian export Nobu, of the wildly popular Japanese-fusion chain, is already booked up until April.
The hotel boasts 349 rooms, including 20 yet-to-open villas that come with a private butler.
Crown Towers Sydney villas and venues open by April, but there is no doubt the newest Crown offering has met the six-star brief. It is already the city’s hottest dining precincts and in a food scene like Sydney’s, that is hitting the brief out of the park.
“Ubud has long been a holistic mecca where indigenous healers ply their craft when Western medicine has fallen short. In a secluded area of Ubud, blending ancient healing and new science in a modern integrative approach, COMO Shambhala Estate captures the essence of nature’s spiritual tranquility while teaching guests how to achieve real results in holistic wellness…” ~ Kimberly Rosbe
Ubud after midnight
After learning I was headed to Bali, my American friends joked, “Perfect, you’ll get your own Eat, Pray, Love story,” channeling Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir.
But arriving at COMO Shambhala Estate in Ubud after midnight as torrential downpours blanketed the property’s mystical, mist-covered jungle, it wasn’t Liz Gilbert on my mind. Instead, Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu’s famous quote echoed in my head: “One cannot reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.”
Bathed in the warm Balinese rain as I descended the cliff side steps to my villa in the dark, the sense I was about to embark upon a spiritual journey in an otherworldly place was palpable. I drifted off to the sound of streaming water outside, and, as I soon uncovered, inside as well…
A river down below
Waking at sunrise, the morning light revealed my luxurious wooden stilted villa precariously hanging over a steep ravine cascading down to the Ayung River far below. The setting was old world Bali – shrines and Hindu temples with flower and fruit offerings and hand woven ornaments, moss covered grand gateways leading to stone paths along terraced fluorescent green rice fields, water gardens full of giant lily pads.
Ubud has long been a holistic mecca where indigenous healers ply their craft when Western medicine has fallen short. In a secluded area of Ubud, blending ancient healing and new science in a modern integrative approach, COMO Shambhala Estate captures the essence of nature’s spiritual tranquility while teaching guests how to achieve real results in holistic wellness which last beyond their stay.
I thought, “Who doesn’t want to achieve wellbeing and pursue balance in our everyday lives?” With this fundamental hope, I succumbed to the therapeutic cocoon of COMO Shambhala Estate. What I found was the pinnacle of exclusive escapism and a higher mind and body focus that renewed my life.
The wellness journey begins
Sally Halstead, the wellness manager at COMO Shambhala Estate, had left me a welcome note suggesting I hydrate, digitally detox and explore the grounds before my wellness journey began.
So I meandered around the estate as the sun began to slice through the mist igniting the lush undulating grounds. Embracing the ambience of a traditional Balinese village, all of the rooms, suites and villas belong to one of five sprawling sanctuaries each complete with personal assistants, sweeping views, pools, lounges, private dining areas and shaded pavilions.
Etched amongst the river and jungle, all accommodation exists within the setting of a Residence (Bayugita, Tirta Ening, Tejasuara, Wanakasaand Umabona) and each Residence is themed after nature’s five elements – wind/air, water, fire, wood and earth.
Eating well & inner peace
After an immune-boosting, mineral-rich breakfast straight from the pages of COMO founder Christina Ong’s The Pleasures of Eating Well cookbook, resident Ayurvedic expert Dr Prasanth assisted in a guided levitation meditation after a very grounding talk about ancient Ayurvedic principles.
By now, whether you lean towards Western or Eastern medicine, we can all accept that we are mind-bodies and the two can’t be separated in the treatment of overall health.
‘Thri Dosha’ theory stipulates that the elements of air, fire and water in our bodies are in perfect balance. Without this ideal state of balance of dosha, aggregations and deficiencies occur. Dr Prasanth firmly believes that if you “know your Dosha, you can change your life”.
Healing the Ayurvedic way
Dr Prasanth’s integrative medicine concept is based upon Ayurvedic science, yoga, naturopathy and conventional science and he tailors individual wellness programs for each guest based upon their Ayurveda consultation and Dosha mapping.
Dr Prasanth clarified to me that the specialty of COMO lies in the individualized and detailed approach given to each guest about their health requirements and objectives. On the first day of each stay, bespoke Wellness Programmes and a plan of treatment are developed for each guest ranging from Ayurvedic or cleanse and detox aims, to actively jumpstarting a new fitness regime or even rejuvenating the mind and soul. Nutrition is also valued as an intrinsic part of the holistic experience at COMO Shambhala Estate – raw, delicious and healthy foods that entice taste buds while complementing energy and blood sugar at both on-site restaurants Glow and Kudus House.
Continuing the path to renewal
The path to renewal persists after guests leave Dr Prasanth elaborated: “We become a part of their continuing health journey by keeping in touch through follow-up suggestions. This holistic 360-degree approach helps us to make a lasting transformation in guests’ health and lifestyle.”
COMO Shambhala is renowned for its intuitive and empowering experts, from yoga masters to life coaches to nutritionists to chakra healers. These resident wellbeing specialists are there every step of the way to activate and balance energy flow.
Speaking of flow, as a yoga advocate, I wanted to test my skills at the mother of all yoga resorts. However, my private COMO Shambhala Hatha Yoga session revealed I have completely incorrect breathing techniques. My yoga teacher abandoned the flow sequence and sat right down on my mat directly in front of me and said, “You have to learn to breathe. It will change everything.” For the next hour, he showed me literally how to breathe with his hand on my stomach monitoring the depth of each inhale and exhale. Slowly, I felt my mind and body start to open up.
The COMO Way of Life
COMO is not just a brand but a way of life. When Christina Ong, founder of COMO, opened her first COMO Shambhala Wellness Retreat at COMO Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos, her aspirations weren’t to build a global wellness empire, but instead her intention was much simpler.
Christina wanted to merely expose guests to the integrated benefits of yoga. Graciously, Christina has always acknowledged those who influenced her life and her brand from her world renowned yoga teachers Rodney Yee and Judy Krupp to her dear friend, personal inspiration and fashion icon Donna Karan.
Over the years, chefs, nutritionists and healers all have contributed to COMO’s unique holistic wellness understanding. From city centres to island retreats to highland resorts, today COMO is synonymous with living a healthier, better life with a portfolio of hotels around the globe which adhere to this philosophy.
COMO Uma Canggu – Surf Spirit
COMO Uma Canggu, has brought an innovate spin on the surf spirit to Bali’s southern coast. COMO Uma Canggu’s Beach Club is currently the hottest gathering spot in Bali a mere steps from the ocean where upscale surfers and sophisticated travelers alike mingle pool side complete with live acoustic musicians and a COMO restaurant featuring healthy juices and light seafood fare.
Walking down hundreds of steps and winding jungle paths, I finally arrive at a sacred spring of mineral-rich water on the Estate’s property used to fill the resort’s Vitality Pool.
A Sacred Spring
Back in the mountains of Ubud, COMO Shambhala Estate, the flagship property, remains the source of the COMO inspiration.
Since its opening in 2005, COMO Shambhala Estate has transcended a destination spa to represent the standard by which other wellness retreats around the world aspire to. Expect your mind and body to experience harmony while striving for a fresh perspective on personal wellness. From the flawless spa treatments to the Asian therapy wellness programs, organic cuisine, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and bounty of nature activities in the lush surroundings, COMO Shambhala Estate could be the paragon of perfection when it comes to destination wellness retreats.
But it all has to start with a willingness and motivation for renewal and each individual must commit to ongoing lifestyle changes with a proactive approach to wellness.
With this lofty purpose in mind, the last day of my stay at COMO Shambhala Estate I descended alone to the spring water source. Walking down hundreds of steps and winding jungle paths, I finally arrive at a sacred spring of mineral-rich water on the Estate’s property used to fill the resort’s Vitality Pool. Surrounded by silence, the jungle setting personified absolute peace and tranquility. This water spring is revered by the Ubud locals for its healing properties and used by the villagers for a Balinese ritual and ceremony.
Legend says it’s holy water. Lao Tzu’s quote came again to my head. This time, my own ‘streaming water’ was finally still.
Harnessing this sacred water and armed with a local clear crystal around my neck, believed by Balinese doctors to be ‘the most powerful healer’, I vowed to take COMO’s practices home with me.