October 2012
Dear G + L traveller
With spring upon us, now is the time to be looking to travel in 2013 with the annual release of Early Bird airfares. There's some terrific deals around so start planning your getaway with G & L now. Remember G & L is your one-stop travel shop so why trawl the internet when we can organise all your flights, accommodation, tours and restaurant bookings with one phone call?
Happy travels
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Early Bird airfares on sale now!
 
The annual Early Bird airfares are out now with fares available in Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First class to European destinations on various airlines including Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Qantas and Cathay Pacific.

Here are some great offers:

Economy class on Emirates from Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne to London return from AUD$1722 per person including all fees and taxes
Premium Economy class on Cathay Pacific from Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne to Paris return from AUD$3373 per person including all fees and taxes
Business class on Singapore Airlines from Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne to Rome return from AUD$7129 per person including all fees and taxes

Seats are limited and sales periods vary with each airline, ending mid to late November.

Please contact us for full details of these fantastic Early Bird deals at noosa@gregorlewis.com.au
 
   
 
Check out the G & L website
 
G & L have recently updated their website, you now have access to all the latest specials and information on what is happening in the world of travel. The website offers a link to our Cruise Specialist page where you can search for the latest cruise deals, as well as back issues of our G & L Newsletter and profiles on all our friendly team where we let you know where we have been and what we are up to next. Visit www.gregorlewis.com.au for all the latest information. Remember to like Gregor & Lewis Bespoke Travel on Facebook!
 
   
 
Super travel guides
 
Most of us now travel with an iPad or laptop so why not download all the travel info you can without lugging around guide books? Superfuture Superguides are a must have when travelling to the great cities of the world with the lowdown on the best shopping, eating and destinations with a focus on fashion and design. Go to www.superfuture.com Other great travel apps include Luxe City Guides. G & L are off to Shanghai to roadtest the Superguide - see our next newsletter for all our discoveries.
 
   
 
Secluded relaxation by the pool
The heart of Noosa river
 
Magnificent Makepeace Island
 
Melinda recently experienced two nights at Sir Richard Branson's Makepeace Island, a private hideaway a few minutes upstream from Noosa Heads.

This heart-shaped island is the Australian home of the Virgin tycoon and has been created to luxuriously accommodate and entertain up to 22 castaways in seclusion, and with all the attractions that the Sunshine Coast has to offer just a mere boat ride away.

Makepeace Island has been sensitively developed over a number of years. All the buildings were designed and constructed in Bali, then dismantled and shipped to Australia to be reassembled on the island. The furnishings, sculptures, antiques and lighting are one-off original pieces acquired throughout Indonesia.

Makepeace has an amazing pool, a 15 person spa as well as relaxing daybeds around the resort and would be a great place to celebrate a very special birthday, anniversary or simply an incredibly spectacular private holiday.

The Island is only offered on an exclusive sole use basis, including 3 meals per day and return transfers from the Sunshine Coast airport. Pricing is based on Island Exclusive Use daily rate of AUD$3250 per day plus a daily rate per registered guest of AUD$550 per adult and AUD$375 per child. Minimum 3 night stay applies. Call or email Melinda for futher details at melindagregor@gregorlewis.com.au
 
   
 
Melinda arrives at Noma
Spot the first course hidden in the flowers!
Private dining room
Pickled and smoked quail eggs
 
Melinda's gastronomical night at Noma
 
I was fortunate enough to be invited to Copenhagen for dinner at Noma. If you have not heard of Noma, it is currently ranked as the number one restaurant in the world (www.theworlds50best.com) and is truly groundbreaking when it comes to the latest in dining.

'In an effort to shape our way of cooking, we look to our landscape and delve into our ingredients and culture, hoping to rediscover our history and shape our future.' Chef, Rene Redzepi

Noma is located on Copenhagen Harbour in an old sandstone warehouse in a quiet residential area across from the main action of the city centre. We were greeted out the front by a friendly staff member who offered to take the obligatory photo at the entrance! We were then escorted via the kitchen to the floor above the main dining room with great views of the harbour. We had Noma's 'staff and meeting room' which is suitable for small private parties (there were just 12 of us) of up to 15 people. The room is furnished and decorated to suit the needs of Noma's staff as well as the guests. Noma is very understated and small, with a maximum of 45 guests in the main dining room as well as the private room. The food was amazing, so different but incredible creations and flavours with just one menu on offer. We had 10 starters, the first one was hidden in the vase of flowers on the table, totally camouflaged. Eight main courses and two desserts followed with matching wines (six whites and one red, plus champagne on arrival). Overall I tried all courses and only two I didn't really like. There were around 45 people working in the kitchen. We had a tour of the kitchen and the creation area after the main courses and it was great to chat to some of the chefs who came from all around the world and included a couple of Aussies. The menu is always changing and it can take six weeks to perfect a course, then the produce may be out of season so they have to wait to the following year to add to the menu. Noma was truly an amazing experience and something I will never forget. We arrived at 7pm and left around midnight! So if you have a passion for creative food and are looking at visiting Copenhagen, Gregor & Lewis can put together a holiday for you. Please contact Melinda for further details at melindagregor@gregorlewis.com.au
 
   
 
Dining under the stars
Silver Explorer
Whale watching in the Bay of Biscay
Zodiac adventures
 
Melinda's recent Silversea cruise - Expedition cruising at its best!
 
Silversea Expeditions gives adventure seekers with discerning taste rare access to the world's most remote and remarkable destinations. Voyage across the Polar Circle, explore Africa's seldom seen western coast, trek through Central American jungles or discover nature's purest beauty - Antarctica. Then return to the comfort of the world's most luxurious expedition ship. As one of only 132 guests on board Silver Explorer, you'll enjoy Silversea's all-inclusive indulgences; accommodations with ocean views, personalised butler service and superb dining. With complimntary small group excursions guided by experts, Silversea Expeditions offers a glimpse of the world most can only imagine.

I have recently returned from a 2 week cruise onboard Silver Explorer. Our cruise began in Dublin with stops along the way in Ireland, England, Spain, Portugal and Morroco finishing in the Canary Islands. Expedition cruising is a special way to travel - the personalised service is unmatched in cruising. The staff all knew our name and within days knew our favourite drink as well! Expert naturalists and special guest lecturers as well as the expedition crew are all onboard to help enhance your experience. Our Expedition leader worked well with the captain to ensure special opportunites were not missed, like the time we spotted some fin whales in the distance. The captain turned the ship and before we knew it we were cruising amongst these magnificent creatures, truly a special experience. Having Zodiacs onboard to venture closer to the widlife and to remote landing spots make this ship special. Having cruised to Antartica over 10 years ago and experiencing my first expedition style cruise back then this cruise certainly brought back memories of why this style of cruising is so enjoyable and enriching.

Gregor & Lewis will be holding a joint film night on Tuesday 27 November 2012 withSilversea and Wilderness Safaris (African operator) where both companies will be making a special trip to Noosa to present. This will be a great night where you can learn more about Expedition cruising and adventures in Africa. If you would like to attend this evening please email noosa@gregorlewis.com.au for further details. RSVP is essential as numbers are limited.
 
   
 
Wendy and Murray in the Cultural Triangle
Amongst the tea plantation
Exploring Tangalle
 
Sri Lanka.........what a gem
 
Team member Wendy Hopping discovers Sri Lanka from the luxury of an original tea planter's bungalow to an adventurous tented safari camp.

For a small island nation, Sri Lanka has a lot to offer - history, culture, national parks, beautiful accommodation, beaches, food and people. A variety of boutique and unique accommodation is available including villas and bungalows and the exceptional Relais & Chateaux property of Ceylon Tea Trails (the first and only R & C Sri Lankan property) . Located in the lush tea growing area about four hours from Colombo, these four colonial tea planter's bungalows (built between 1890 and 1939) have been converted to provide a luxury, all-inclusive experience.

The more adventurous may choose to head to Yala National Park and enjoy the hospitality offered by the team at the Leopard Safari tented camp. Wendy was over the moon at seeing four leopards up close during her two night stay as well as elephants, mongoose, jackals, wild boar, crocodiles and an abundance of bird life.

Sri Lanka's cultural triangle includes the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, the incredible rock cave paintings and statues of Dambulla and the rock fortress of Sigiriya. A climb to the top of Sigiriya takes approximately 90 minutes and provides a commanding view of the surrounding area - not for the feint hearted!

One of the best ways to see Sri Lanka is using the services of a private car and driver. Gregor & Lewis can tailor make an itinerary to suit your individual needs. Sri Lanka is easily accessed from Australia and makes a great and varied holiday destination. For more information contact Wendy at wendyhopping@gregorlewis.com.au
 
   
 
Winter wonderland
"Dracula's Castle" Transylvania
The painted monasteries
German Renaissance-style palace
 
In search of castles, medieval towns and Dracula in Romania with team member Kristen Cahill<
 
Do you want to go somewhere just a little bit different? Would you like to experience a new culture? Are you interested in learning the history of an unfamiliar country? Then travelling with Cox & Kings may be exactly what you are looking for.

Cox & Kings was established to develop tourism into India over 30 years ago and has since grown to provide high quality travel arrangements to many of the world's most culturally fascinating destinations including the untouched wilderness of Patagonia, historic Ethiopia, the Nomadic culture and natural beauty of Mongolia, or perhaps, taking a step back in time in Uzbekistan.

Cox & Kings offer intimate group tours with a maxium of 25 guests or tailor-made itineraries to suit your individual needs including superior accommodation, exotic locations, private arrival and departure transfers and experienced local tour managers, all backed up with expert knowledge from regional specialists.

I recently headed to Europe with Cox & Kings to take part in their "Timeless Romania" tour. Before arriving I didn't really know much about Romania other than it was the birth place of Dracula, so I was in for a whirlwind lesson on this historic and picturesque land.

Upon arrival into Bucharest International Airport we were met by our guide Stephan, a 28 year old Romanian who is trying to turn his country's image around by showing the world how far Romania has come and what their spectacular country has to offer.

Romania is a country of picturesque villages, rich history and spectacular scenery. We visited timeless palaces, castles, medieval towns, classic churches and cathedrals, mammoth gorges, the famous painted monestaries, the Palace of Parliament and of course Transylvania, the birthplace of Dracula.

This tour was a perfect example of what Cox & Kings stands for. Their tours focus on individual destinations and immerse you in the diverse culture and historical heritage of a region.

So if you are interested in touring or would like us to put together a tailor made itinerary for your next trip - contact Kristen Cahill at kristencahill@gregorlewis.com.au
 
 
  G & L travellers Stan and Sue Samorowski have just returned from Europe. Here's their story.  
   
  1. What countries did you visit?
Spain, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
2. Did you include a cruise on your holiday?
Yes. The APT Amadagio and Amacello ships.
3. Why did you choose to cruise again?
To enjoy the luxury of having to unpack once, have all meals provided on the ship while seeing the outstanding sites along the way by coach.
4. What were the highlights of your trip?
The vibrancy of Barcelona, the differences in architecture over the centuries throughout France, the hilltop villages in Provence, the beautiful fields of lavender and sunflowers, a visit to a truffle farm and a visit to a French winery.
5. Favourite place you visited?
Colmar in France. The beautiful half-timbered houses were as if out of a fairytale.
6. Most memorable moment?
Seeing the magnificent Pont Du Gard, a Roman aqueduct at Avignon.
7. Anything you would change for future travel?
Spend more time travelling by rail than flying within Europe as the high speed trains are very efficient.
8. Where to next?
Canada.
9. Why travel with Gregor & Lewis?
G & L ensured that all arrangements were suitable for our needs, standards and time constraints. Their choice of hotels were excellent. The hotel in Barcelona, in particular, was very modern and central with very friendly and accommodating staff. The use of the French Travel Connection package (a specialist French travel company) in Aix-en-Provence allowed us to see a variety of landscapes from the hilltop villages to the boat trip to the Calanques at Cassis. The tours were operated in mini-buses and the guides were very professional. The Gregor & Lewis team suggested all these aspects of our trip.
 
  Gregor & Lewis | 11 Arcadia St, Noosa Heads, Queensland, 4567 Australia
T + 617 5447 4666 | E noosa@gregorlewis.com.au | W www.gregorlewis.com.au