Travel News

The International Knock


When Bus Eiraenn service number 64 from Sligo arrived at Knock, County Mayo of West Ireland, one third of the passengers got off the bus.

DSC01010 Bus Eiraenn 64 arriving Knock small

Bus Eiraenn arriving Knock



“The Knock of 1879 was an out-of-the-way village, not long recovered from the Great Famine. On the evening of August 21st, with the rain lashing, 15 villagers claimed to see holy apparitions on the side of the Catholic Church, suddenly aglow. In the centre appeared the Virgin Mary, her eyes trained heavenward, and, by her side, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist. The images neither moved nor spoke.” – The Irish Times, May 14, 2017

Two church commissions in 1879 and 1936 investigated the Apparition to confirm the claim was ‘trustworthy and satisfactory’. Visit of Pope John Paul II in the centenary of the Knock Apparition in 1979 and Mother Teresa’s visit in 1993 made Knock well-known to the world.

DSC00947 The Church of Apparition Knock small

The Church of Apparition Knock

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In Flanders fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.


John McCrae’s poem ­has led visitors to Flanders fields, for remembrance and healing, for those whose courageous ancestors survived or fell in World Wars I & II.

War museums and cemeteries, Menin Gate and the Last Post, whenever you find yourself in a mood of sorrow towards the end of a remembrance tour, make a final stop to visit Poperinge, a small town behind the Flanders fields, where you’ll find peace of mind as soldiers did century ago.

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Located at the intersection of regional roads to Pazin, Kanfanar, Svetvincenat and Labin, Zminj is a small town in Istria, Croatia.

small_Žminj small_Žminj library floor

Zminj Library is a most beautiful historic house in town. There I met librarian and dedicated poet Nada Galant.

Over the years, Galant published four books of her poems written in Zminj Chakavian dialect, a dialect only use by a community of less than 4,000 people.

National Geographic report Enduring Voices says, “By 2100, more than half of the 7,000 languages spoken on Earth – many of them not yet recorded – may disappear…”

DANAS JE TA DAN is one of Nada’s poems loved by her daughter Ana Galant, a student of Comparative Literature and big fan of mom.

I asked Ana for a literal translation of DANAS JE TA DAN into English.

Here is the beautiful Nada – Ana Duo

 small_Nada Galant DANAS JE TA DAN


Today is the day – by Nada Galant / English translation by Ana Galant

If there is any whole pocket left,

We should unfold it and stack

In front of us everything that’s in it

Today is the day

(breadcrumbs will be good for the birds, everything else – we can do without)

Today is the day

If we could only find the doors through

which we passed so cursorily

Then we could go back, not backwards,

to slowly and thoroughly,

From scratch,

Be a child, a grandchild, a friend…

Be everything once again

Not so much to change things,

But to slowly be and not run away

Today is that day,

And where was I looking?


To read a copy of the untranslated poem, you may contact Sindy Chan at

small cat_Žminj small_Žminj library

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 Taste of Sydney in partnership with Electrolux unveils a stellar line up of the citys top chefs, new and renowned food precincts and returning restaurant favourites for 2017

Taste of Sydney in partnership with Electrolux is excited to announce an unmissable line up of Sydneys latest and greatest restaurants from new and noteworthy precincts that will come together for the ultimate pop-up playground in Centennial Park from Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th March 2017.

For the first time, Taste will transpose the citys hottest new foodie destinations. The revitalized and buzzing Paddington precinct is home to some of the citys top restaurants and bars right now, and the reinvigorated suburb will showcase some of its award-winning chefs and restaurants. Young gun chef Josh Niland will join Taste for the first time with his hugely popular Australian seafood restaurant Saint Peter along with Latin American bar man and executive chef Regan Porteous of Tequila Mockingbird, which opened in mid-2016.

Acclaimed French-born chef Guillaume Brahimi together with Public House Management Group will also make an impression at the festival for the first time, bringing to Taste one of Paddingtons best-loved dining rooms, Four in Hand by Guillaume.

As Sydney’s newest precinct to debut at Taste, Barangaroo will showcase an array of its standout restaurants, that opened along the waterfront in 2016. The dynamic duo behind the popular Bar H, chef Hamish Ingham and sommelier Rebecca Lines will present their newest venture Banksii, a vermouth bar and bistro where you can experience the botanical focused menu influenced by the Mediterranean. Renowned Turkish born Australian chef Somer Sivrioglu will also transport his restaurant Anason from The Streets of Barangaroo to Taste of Sydney where visitors will be treated to authentic Turkish cuisine.

Over the four days, the festival will also feature a lineup of the CBDs newest restaurant openings, including Bouche on Bridge headed up by Harry Stockdale-Powell who will prepare his approachable fine dining offering through local and sustainable produce. Spanish inspired Mercado Restaurant will make an appearance with head chef and co-owner Nathan Sasi cooking up signature dishes based on his philosophy of revival of the old with the new through whole animal butchery, meat curing, cheese making, bread baking and preserving.

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To all members of our TAT family, readers and contributors, who celebrate Diwali..

We wish you Safety, Good Health, Happiness, Prosperity and Good Fortune.

May they all be with you in the coming year.


To mark Emirates’ milestone of 20 years of operation in Australia, Emirates has aptly announced Australia as the theme of its highly anticipated Birdcage marquee at this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Emirates will welcome guests through the doors of its classic Australian homestead inspired marquee, taking inspiration from its local destinations – Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney – into an interior filled with vibrant flora and fauna including eucalyptus mint, waratahs, kangaroo paws and cockatoos – a true nod to our diverse countryside.

“Emirates wanted to mark its 20-year anniversary of operations in Australia and what better way than bringing Australiana to The Birdcage. We are excited to celebrate the home of the Melbourne Cup Carnival as part of our 13th year as Principal Partner of the Emirates Melbourne Cup, and 19th year of involvement with the Victoria Racing Club,” said Barry Brown, Emirates Divisional Vice President – Australasia.  


To create the design, Emirates has collaborated with Head Designer of Bazmark Inq, Silvana Azzi Heras, who has worked alongside Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin for the past 18 years, to create a classic Australian homestead for Emirates’ guests to enjoy.

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Earlier this month, at the grand age of 90, Peter Tripovich has just completed a walk all the way around Australia.
The jubilant Echuca man strode down Melbourne’s Bourke St mall, arms held high in victory at the end of a decade-long quest.
The RAAF veteran and farmer began the walk when he was 79, wanting to raise money for children in poorer countries who were “worse off than ourselves”.
He started on the approximately 20,000 km walk around Australia in Melbourne, choosing to work with the charity, International Children’s Care Australia and aiming to raise $200,000. His anti-clockwise circuit continued for 15,000km when he reached Pemberton, WA. At that time, he needed to return home to tend his wife who had terminal cancer. He spent the next four years caring for her, during which time he flew to the mountainous Thai/Burmese border region to help build shelters for children and villagers. An experience that’s had a lasting effect on him.
Last Australia Day, at the age of 89, he returned to Pemberton for the final 3500 km jaunt to Melbourne. Each day he woke at 3 am and walked between 30-40 km. He was followed all the way by his support staff of three.

Peter is a true “aussie battler that overcame”.
If you would like to help Peter reach his $200,000 goal – visit ICC Australia

Lovers of beer need not give into wanderlust and head to Germany for Oktoberfest.

Sydneys favourite heritage precinct, The Rocks, is offering up two incredible beer festivals this October. The Australian Heritage Hotel returns with their ever-popular Australian Beer Festival (14–16 Oct) while Australias oldest Irish pub, The Mercantile present the Guinness & Oyster Festival (16 Oct).

For the 12th year running, Cumberland and Gloucester streets will flow with Australian craft beer as the Australian Heritage Hotel hosts the Australian Beer Festival. Showcasing more than 34 different Australian breweries, the Festival offers up a plethora of activities including blind tastings, meet the brewers sessions, gourmet food stalls and live entertainment.

The Australian Heritage Hotel is one of the oldest pubs in Australia having opened its doors in 1824. Almost 200 years on, it remains one of the liveliest venues in Sydney, offering 25 rotating Australian beers on tap as well as more than 100 different Australian craft beer varieties in a bottle.

Over on George Street two of Irelands greatest exports, Guinness and Oysters, come together in a day of indulgence for The Mercantile Hotels Guinness and Oyster Festival. The Mercantile Hotel has teamed up with Sydney Cove Oyster Bar’s Head Chef, Rhys Ward, to deliver a free day of fun for the whole family with Irish musicians, dancers, food stalls of delicious oysters and seafood fare, face painting and more.

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Southern Tasmania, Melbourne & the Great Ocean Rd, Southwest Australia Showcased

Published this October, global travel authority Lonely Planet’s Food Trails is a gastronomic tour of the world in 52 short breaks — with Australia represented by Southern Tasmania, Melbourne & the Great Ocean Rd, and Southwest Australia.

Following its best-selling Wine Trails (2015), Lonely Planet has now scoured the world for the greatest food experiences around which to plan travels — not just fine dining, but also the best regional specialities, the most atmospheric street food spots, and the most memorable cooking courses.

Taste the planet’s most exciting local cuisines – from barbeque in Texas to patisserie in Paris – in this comprehensive guide, from the new Lonely Planet Food imprint, to 52 weekends of food heaven.

Discover new food and drink experiences, meet local producers and get inspired by these delicious Food Trails:

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An  underwater interactive sculpture installation in Port Phillip Bay, featuring life size figures and where divers and snorkelers of all ages will be able to have their photo taken and transmitted instantly to the worldwide web, will be part of  Victoria’s future marine international tourism attraction.

The protected water of the Northern Bellarine Peninsula is the ideal location for the proposed installation.  A detailed report in 2013 investigating this opportunity identified “The Dell”, a natural amphitheatre 21 kilometres from the City of Greater Geelong at Clifton Springs, as the most suitable location for such an attraction with crystal clear water and the ideal depth of between two and three metres.


Roger Grant, Executive Director of Tourism Greater Geelong & the Bellarine and Steven Potts, Chief Executive of the Boating Industry Association of Victoria, in a joint statement, said the proposed innovative marine tourism project would provide Victoria with a major attraction for both the international and domestic tourism market and would stimulate ongoing employment and economic activity for the Bellarine Peninsula and Geelong.


The project reflects the key findings of Tourism Australia 2012 report ‘2020’ which stated…. “The greatest drivers of international visitor demand to Australia are coastal, aquatic and wildlife experience”.


Mr. Grant said “These underwater sculpture applications have been highly successful overseas providing outstanding dive experiences in a perfect environment for those learning the skills of snorkelling and diving.


“Once established, the underwater sculpture installation becomes an attraction to marine life providing an environment to encourage a wide variety of sea plants and creatures to enhance the dive experience.”



Mr. Potts said the Boating Industry Association of Victoria (BIAV) not only recognised the extraordinary tourism potential of the project but saw the innovative concept as providing a major educational resource to educate people about the importance of Port Phillip Bay’s environment.


“With Victoria’s population forecast to double there will be increased environmental pressure on the Bay and an increasing need to educate the wider community.


“Having an underwater resource such as this, which can engage the community on their mobile phones, tablets and computers, is one of the most important environmental initiatives the Victorian Government, Federal Government or corporate sponsor could take to educate the community on the unique environment of Port Phillip Bay.”


Mr Potts said the release of the project concept, detailed in a report by well-known marine tourism consultants Wayne Hill and Sheree Marris for Tourism Greater Geelong & the Bellarine and Parks Victoria in 2013, is part of a BIAV program to promote economic and employment development opportunities in Victoria’s ‘Blue Economy’.


“Blue infrastructure and blue open space underpins major economic development, the tourism industry and employment within Victoria, with the boating industry alone contributing $4.5 billion to the Victorian economy and employing 17,500 people.


“The BIAV as an industry has a policy of supporting public projects.  This innovative tourism project that needs minimal funding to create a world class facility would be of major benefit to current and future generations. It is important to get it on the public agenda,” Mr Potts said.


* Background on the Cancun Underwater Museum The Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA) project began when Jason DeCaires Taylor, an English artist teamed up with Jaime Gonzalez, the director of the National Park and Roberto Diaz, then President of the Nautical Association for Cancun and Isla Mujeres. Something had to be done about the damage to the local reef areas. Hurricanes, tropical storms and mankind were taking their toll on these natural gardens. The three experts came up with the idea of submerging life sized statues in order to create an amazing artificial reef area where coral reef could grow and in which marine life and fish could inhabit and breed. The museum now consists of two ‘salons’ and includes over 460 statues made by Jason and some other local artists.



Date: 11 April 2016

Oz Experience (who are a part of the Greyhound Australia group) are very pleased to announce the launch of their brand new website.

The new website has been designed in line with the new brand, which was launched in 2015 and is jam-packed full of exciting new features such as multi-currency checkout, interactive map and mobile responsive functionality.

“The youth market expects a flawless end to end digital experience. Our new site ore than delivers this and is now the most intuitive and sophisticated website available to the international backpacker market.” Says Oz Experience and Greyhound Australia’s General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Terry O’Brien.

The new website launched on the 6th of April and is a massive step forward for the Australian backpacker market.

Oz Experience are very proud of the new website and are confident the website will strengthen Australia’s appeal within the backpacker community.

To view the new site please visit

For further information and media enquiries, please contact:

Marketing Department, Oz Experience

Tel: 07 3868 0992



Well, it’s that time of year again when artists from all over Australia and the world flock to Melbourne for the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

With over two weeks of entertainment, you’re sure to find something for you! Whether it’s Cabaret, Music, Comedy, or Visual Arts the city of Melbourne is transformed into a wonderland of arts and entertainment. Check out the program here:

Stay informed with us, as we review some of the shows and help you make a decision on exactly what to see!

4 stars

Review by Hayley Simpson

The 27 Club. An unfortunate name given to the five talented musicians who peaked too soon and passed away during their prime years, at 27 years of age. The members are rock and pop legends Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix. What better way to celebrate their lives than inside The Butterfly Club, located down a dark Melbourne laneway. It has been transformed into The 27 Club this week as audiences step back in time to discover more about this ill-fated club through verbatim interviews, news reports, journal entries and of course, their music.

The 27 Club resembles a dimly-lit American dive bar; complete with simply a piano, keyboard and three microphones occupying the small stage. The three voices behind those microphones belong to Zack Curran (Blood Brothers), Keane Fletcher (The Ten Tenors) and Andrew Kroenert (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). The production begins in the dark with news reports echoing through the audience describing each of the member’s deaths. Then the music starts, juxtaposed with brief glimpses into their troubled lives.

Audiences are treated to stripped-back versions of The 27 Club‘s greatest hits, including Joplin’s Mercedes Benz, Cobain’s Smells like Teen Spirit, Hendrix’s Purple Haze and Morrison’s Light My Fire. Pitch-perfect three-part harmonies accompany some of the songs. A favourite is Fletcher’s renditions of Winehouse’s two major hits: Valerie and Back to Black. His powerful vocals fill the room.

It is hard not to walk out of The 27 Club and reflect on the circumstances. How different would the rock music landscape be if Hendrix or Morrison lived for more than their 27 years? Unfortunately, this is a question that will remain unanswered. But the answer to whether to see The 27 Club this week should be a resounding yes.

The 27 Club was on at The Butterfly Club, Melbourne from the 14th – 19th July 2015.

Sydney, March 2015 – Accommodation is one of the principal costs travellers face and there are countless strategies that can be used in order to cut costs and find the cheapest hotel room available. Whether it’s telling the reception clerk that it’s your honeymoon, or waiting until the very last minute to book, we’ve all tried one way or another to reduce the cost.

It’s a time-consuming project and no matter what budget you are travelling on, finding the ideal lodging at the best price can be a challenge.

To help travellers save money on their hotel booking, HotelsCombined has released a clever list of booking tips and tricks: Continue reading

There is a trick that some savvy travellers might want to keep to themselves: at a time when saving money to take a holiday has become so difficult, it is now possible to cut costs and enjoy driving free rental cars and camper vans in Australia. Most of the time drivers also receive a free tank of petrol.

How does this work? Rental car companies need to reposition their fleet for new hires and usually have to spend large amounts of money to do this using trucks for transportation. Pascal Languillon, Transfercar’s Chief Marketing Officer, says the founders of Transfercar thought that there had to be a better way to solve this problem.

“We’ve created a website that connects rental car companies needing to transfer their cars with travellers eager to drive them in exchange for a cheap trip,” he says. “This model provides a win-win solution where travellers get a free one-way car or campervan hire while rental companies save big money on relocation costs.’’

This money-saving trick works particularly well when combined with a cheap flight. Jaran Pantic used Transfercar last summer to go on a road trip from the Gold Coast to Sydney with his partner: ‘’It all fell into place easily – we checked out the dates the campervan was available and when we saw that the return flight from Sydney was only $59 we thought let’s go on a bit of an adventure…’’

Transfercar launched in 2010 but the website remained relatively secret until last summer where it helped thousands of travellers secure a free one-way rental vehicle in Australia. New deals and routes are being added every day so it pays for travellers to check the website regularly at

If you’re planning a holiday anytime in the near or distant future, it pays to do your research. Travel Expo returns in 2015, with hundreds travel suppliers under one roof you can talk to the experts and discuss and compare literally hundreds of options! Not to mention exclusive deals to be had on the day!


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Europe is ever-inspiring and always amazing! Whether you’re a first-timer or an old hat, when it comes to travelling through Europe, there’s always more to know and more to see.

Our Discover Europe Travel Expos offer you the chance to listen to specialised travel operators, destination experts, and secure early bird discounts for the upcoming Europe season.

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Travel Expo

Travel Expo welcome you to the 2014 Discover the Americas Travel Expo! If you are planning a trip to the USA, Canada, or South America or just want to find out more about these incredibly diverse destinations, get along and ask the experts!


With got all your travel needs covered including Cruises and Tours, Self-drive holidays, Flights to get you there and much more.

Dates and Venues as follows:

27 JUL


Sunday 10am to 4pm Sydney Showground



Sunday 9am to 4pm Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre



Sunday 10am to 4pm Adelaide Entertainment Centre

10 AUG


Sunday 9am to 4pm Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre

10 AUG


Sunday 10am to 5pm Melbourne Exhibition Centre

For more information visit the Travel Expo Website