Apurva Kempinski delivers a new experience on the greatest island in the world.

My son Tom and I recently travelled with Batik Air to our favourite island in the world, Bali, to experience a new resort, Apurva Kempinski.  It was promised to us as a ‘new era of first class hospitality’ and without doubt the level of luxury is absorbing from the moment you arrive.

The soaring spaces of the reception area set the scene for the essence of Balinese culture that ebbs and flows seamlessly throughout a visually stunning resort that is located on the south eastern tip of Nusa Dua, just a quick fifteen minute drive from the airport.

While I get busy writing and talking about this experience in more detail, sit back and enjoy a few photos of an experience that is perfect for couples of all ages, families of all ages, those who want to get married and even just a boy and his dad finding quiet spaces to chat, noisy spots to play and lots to discover in between.

 

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Batik Air are a wonderful family friendly airline who love opportunities to ensure that children have good flying experiences.

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Evening view from our suite.  Private pool to the right, Indian Ocean to the left.
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1-2-3 Go!

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Kempinski Hotels around the world are famous for their concierge Ladies in Red.  While Tom loved his Ladies in Red he also loved meeting our special friends Kadek and Danti who made sure every experience and moment was special.

With Have a Go News Newspaper and lifestyle website The Starfish, let’s find out where I found love. There you go, I’ve said it.

They make movies here.  It’s a land that gave birth to one of the worlds greatest crooners and one of the worlds greatest songs.  Below are some links to my story, published in The Starfish and also by Have A Go Newspaper.  This is a love story.  This is a story about Puglia, a land with towns that one junior reviewer of my work described as, ‘being full of towns with funny names’.  He’s right.  Puglia does have lots of towns with names you just want to keep on saying, not just for the memories but for the mood it puts you in, just like humming a few bars of ‘Volare’.

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Click to access 320digital.pdf

http://www.thestarfish.com.au/author/chris-parry/

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Karry On travel industry website: Ticking all the boxes in amazing South Africa

As published by travel industry website, KarryOn:

Romantic comedy, Blended, starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, was partially filmed in South Africa and my daughter Matilda’s love for this movie and her desire to travel to the locations from the movie have led us to The Palace of the Lost City at Sun City in South Africa.

I have never arrived at a hotel before that has made my jaw drop and put a smile on my face at the same time.  The Palace of the Lost City is spectacularly over the top in every way.  It is awash with a sense of style that could be a movie set but is genuine and authentic in its attempt to impress you.  Combined with the mesmerising architecture and décor are staff who laugh and sing through their day as they attend to your every whim.

As we approach the hotel over a small bridge we can see that between us and the entrance is ‘Cheetah Hunt’, the larger than life bronze sculpture depicting two cheetah pursing a small group of impala. It’s the first of many exclamations from Matilda, “It’s just like it is in the movie!” The sculpture is large and dramatic, fitting seamlessly in with the style of everything around it.

 

CHECK-IN & BEYOND

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The check-in process is quick and easy with a broad counter and many staff to assist you. The check-in takes place under a 25 metre high ceiling dome painted with frescos of African wildlife while underfoot a marble floor flows towards the Crystal Court, the palatial dining area of the Palace of the Lost City.

Large parts of the hotel have atrium spaces that allow views across the various floors and out to the Sun City valley below.  As we’re escorted to our room we pass by the atrium space where the statue of Africa’s most famous elephant, a massive bull called Shawu, commands your attention.

 

THE ROOM

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Our room overlooks a dense belt of jungle that can be explored using various paths but also brings with it a warning sign in our room to not leave our balcony doors open otherwise monkeys may ransack your room.  The room is spacious, luxurious and includes excellent information about the facilities and attractions to be found in Sun City. There is plenty of room to unpack our bags, plenty of room to stretch our legs and a bathroom big enough for a teenager to declare, “This will do just nicely.”

 

FOOD

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Our buffet breakfast each day is held in the Crystal Court of the Palace of the Lost City and where many of the meal scenes in Blended were filmed and where comedian and actor Terry Crews performed much of the movies music.

For one of our lunches at a restaurant overlooking the Valley of Waves we meet some of the people who worked on the movie Blended and can be seen in several scenes. Over a monster pile of sticky ribs, Matilda is spellbound by a series of first-hand accounts from someone who actually appeared in her all-time favourite movie.

The next day we sit with the owner of the Sun City microbrewery to listen to his accounts of the cast and crew he met from the movie so while Matilda filled her boots with even more Blended stories I filled mine on delicious ciders and ales.

Sun City has food options in delicacy and price for everyone.  From the Crystal Court High Tea at the Palace of the Lost City to the shopping mall food court there is something for everyone at any time of the day.

 

THE VERDICT

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The Sun City Resort is a complete resort.  It is absolutely and truly able to substantiate all claims of having something for everyone.  It is infinitely explorable and enjoyable for all ages.  It offers extreme adventure, a little adventure or no adventure if you just want to enjoy some poolside time, excellent shopping or world class golf.

Accommodation ranges from recently refurbished budget hotels to the top of the valley ultra-luxury experience of the Palace of the Lost City.

Matilda’s bucket list travel experience separated some movie fact from fiction.  We stood on the spot where the ostrich riding scene was filmed but there is no ostrich riding activity available.  We drove down the old airstrip where Drew Barrymore undertook her parasailing adventure, nearly missing a rhinoceros on her rapid descent but there is actually no parasailing available behind a four wheel drive.

Matilda discovered in South Africa that fact is greater than fiction.  A vast and beautiful landscape filled with adventure, luxury, laughter and excitement that only the real world can create.

 

THE DETAILS

https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d920823.5771760629!2d26.98249794676705!3d-25.648445775602408!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x1ebe0963791ca751%3A0xe0a11b3b75d51bea!2sThe+Palace+of+the+Lost+City!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sau!4v1540359882916Sun City is located two hours drive from Johannesburg in the North West Province of South Africa and district of Bojanala and adjacent to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.

South African Airways is the flag carrier airline for South Africa and flies regularly to Johannesburg’s O.R Tambo International Airport and from there it is a two and half hour drive to Sun City Resort.

For accommodation deals, seasonal packages and airport transfer prices to Sun City Resort, contact your local travel agent.

For more information visit www.suninternational.com

ABC Adelaide Drive Program: Do we need travel agents?

On 22 Setember, I was invited to speak with Jules Schiller on ABC Adelaide’s Drive Program to discuss the issue of travel agents in light of the ABC story about Flight Centre, which described the issue of ‘marking up’ fees and a culture of underpaying staff.

My contribution to the discussion was focused on why people still use travel agents and why people choose not to use travel agents.

Nothing broadens the mind like travel and the number one thing we all learn is that there are all sorts of people out there and however you choose to plan your travel is fine by me.

Don’t be afraid to plan your own travel but if you want assistance go for it.  Your travel experience either way is more likely to be like Eat, Pray, Love than Taken.

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Image above from ABC Story: Current and former Flight Centre staff have been speaking out against the travel giant

ABC Breakfast Show: Virtual Reality Tourism: What it offers the future of tourism is genuinely exciting.

The file above is from a conversation on ABC radio, The Breakfast Show with Charlotte and Jamie, about virtual reality tourism.  I hope you enjoy listening to it.

Virtual Reality Tourism has the potential to shake up the travel industry in a lot of good ways.

I had the opportunity last year with my son to be the first to experience the Virtual Reality Roller Coaster at Legoland Malaysia and the combination of reality and virtual reality made an entirely new sensory experience that was exciting and wonderful.

Over the years, I’ve described to people on radio, to students in classrooms and to my friends and family the experience of trekking the jungles of Borneo, retracing the footsteps of Australian and British Prisoners of War.  While slipping on a pair of goggles in the comfort of your sofa will not give you a sense of exhaustion and emotion, it will give you an experience that is different to listening to reading.  Seeing in your goggles the clinging vines, sucking mud, slippery slopes and rocks will inform your mind and help create new ways to understand a story you have been told or read about.

Virtual Reality tourism may create a whole new binge opportunity.  Rather than spending the whole day watching every series of a favourite tv show, you could scuba dive all day long and all around the world, or wander the great museums of the world.

The cultural sensitivity of many areas may create amazing virtual reality opportunities, such as climbing Uluru.

Virtual reality tourism will help those with disability and affordability issues to join in experiences they may otherwise not be able to do.  Virtual reality tourism will enable the tourism industry to offer more, on a scale that is inclusive and safe.

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The World of Less Words

When I established, Chris Parry Writes For Us, I would tell clients that the inspiration for my business name came from seeing my first article published with the descriptor … Chris Parry writes for us about his experiences …

It was so cool.  I had written 1500 words that an editor thought was worth paying me for and other people would enjoy reading.

To be completely truthful though, there was a story I wrote a few months earlier that was published and had really got my confidence fired up to write more.

I had submitted a description of the photo above to a newspaper weekend supplement that published descriptions of why you like a particular photo.  Mine was published and won the best submission for the month.

The submission was based on the photo above.

The photo is of my boy Tom gleefully teasing my daughter Matilda with a piece of kangaroo poo while on a bush walk.  I wrote that it was a photo that would never be enlarged as a canvas but told a very large story.  It showed me that the difference between boys and girls may be found in their reaction to bush poo.  It also showed me a lot about this brother and sister.  A brother emerging from being a toddler, developing a cheeky side to his character and begining to push his sister for reactions.  It also showed a sister that was disgusted but not upset.  She saw the funny side and didn’t get upset with her little brother.

How lucky I am to have been able to write about that moment and share those thoughts with those who like to read.

The world has changed in the past few years hasn’t it?

In the world of Instagram I would now post that picture with a bunch of hashtags designed to help it be found.

I might get away with a small caption but the chances of it being read by someone gliding through their Instagram feed are slim.

The expression, ‘A picture tells a thousand words’ has never been truly accurate.  The picture captures an image we should describe by writing about it or talking about it.

There are wonderful pictures that evoke and provoke emotions and reactions but they are always enriched when you know the story. From a dead rhino with it’s horn missing to the girl with green eyes and the dead boy on the beach, unless you know the story you’re missing the point.

I’m struggling in the Instagram world to communicate what I think I’ve been pretty good at; describing experiences that make people want to jump up and do it for themselves.  Whether in print or on radio, I have always loved telling my travel stories and experiences but it’s less enjoyable when it’s reduced to a photo and series of hashtags.

And yes, I am on Instagram at chrisparrywritesforus.  I post to meet clients expectations and try and stay part of a world that feels like a crowded room and everyone is taller than me.

I like the pic of Matilda and Tom.  I like the story behind it even better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6PR Interview: Everyone loves a sunset

Please enjoy listening to the story below on sunsets of the world:

 

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Close to home and close to my heart; Shoalwater Bay

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Sunset over Mount Kinabalu
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Sunset above the longhouse at the Sabah Tea Plantation

Little Ferry Big Fun

The writer and his family were guests of the Little Ferry Company.

What a difference people make. The experiences we have when we travel are always made better by the people we meet.  Those who greet us, escort us, serve us and manage our expectations turn a good time into a great adventure.

Skipper Kevyn, the owner and operator of the Little Ferry Company, may not be as pretty as his two little vessels but he’s a man of passion for his craft and his river.

The Little Ferry Company operates two electric vessels on the Swan River. The design of the boats is inspired by the Gatsby era of the 1920’s.  A brass bell, curved windows and elegant cedar trim are decadent maritime styling and stepping aboard is a wonderful feeling of comfort and nostalgia.

Casting off from Elizabeth Quay is a bit confusing for the ears. Expecting a chug-chug from the engines there is nothing to hear.  It’s quieter than a Prius.  It’s also more fun.

The two German electric motors operate on lithium batteries. The Germans learnt how to make electric marine motors for their renowned U-boat fleets of World War I and World War II. It’s a long way from the North Sea to the Swan River but the heritage is clear to see, hear and smell.  These are vessels that are void of vibration, fumes and noise.

As we make our way out of Elizabeth Quay on yet another blue sky Perth day, we turn to port and make our way up river. Sticking with the river channel boat traffic, there’s no getting away from the fact that these boats attract a lot of attention.  Perth boating traffic is always a bit friendlier than the road variety and the smiles and waves are certainly evidence of how attractive these vessels are.

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Elizabeth Quay is the home port for the Little Ferry Company

Skipper Kevyn gives impressive commentary ranging from the past, the present and the future. He talks passionately about the history of the Western Australian Rowing Club building, the current buildings along the foreshore and those that are up and coming, such as the remarkable Ku De Ta restaurant site on Point Fraser and the imposing Perth Stadium on the eastern bank opposite Claisebrook Cove.

For the kids, the vessels are a delight in not having to sit still. There are windows to stick heads out of, plenty of comfortable seats to try out and a skipper who’s only too happy to give a young sailor the opportunity to ring the brass bell as we enter Claisebrook Cove.

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Claisebrook Cove is an opportunity to grab a coffee from the numerous cafes or a beer and a meal from the Royal Hotel. Doing a walk around the precinct, including Trafalgar Bridge which spans the inlet, takes about 15 minutes and stretches the legs nicely before the return trip back to Elizabeth Quay.

There’s a great feeling of optimism about Skipper Kevyn and his Little Ferry Company. With the increase of services and attractions on the Swan River, the opportunity to travel to fresh new destinations in vessels that are beautiful and comfortable will appeal to day trippers, overseas tourists, wedding parties and old salts just wanting to get on the water.

Fact Box

The two vessels cruise the Swan Rover every day between 10am and 5:30pm and are located in Elizabeth Quay. The ferry can be boarded one way or return from Elizabeth Quay or Claisebrook Cove in East Perth.

Single fares for adults are $12 while a return fare is $22. A family fare return is $58.

For details on Little Ferry Company special offers and news call Kevyn on 0488 777 088 or check out the website on www.littleferryco.com.au