April 2010

Dear G & L travellers

This G & L postcard we take you from India to Fiji, then onto Disneyland and back home to Rick Stein's Mollymook. Stu also reveals his ultimate Bucket List while I rave about cruising and all the specials going around this autumn.

Go on, book a holiday today.
Aren't you glad you have a great travel agent?
With the global travel industry in melt down last week, it's great to know you're travelling with Gregor & Lewis. We experienced one of our busiest times ever but managed to get all of our clients in or out of Europe on the earliest flights available.

One client made it onto the first flight out of Bangkok to Amsterdam - they were pretty happy about that! "We have seen the news since where many hundreds are still stuck in Bangkok....your updates made us feel more comfortable about venturing forward in this situation so thanks to you and the team".
Rick's Place
Rick in action
Stu's wine course
Melinda Gregor and Rick Stein
Steve and Michelle Chee
The Stein way exclusively for Gregor & Lewis
For the first time since opening his Australian restaurant, celebrity chef, restaurateur and author, Rick Stein, hosted an exclusive group of Gregor & Lewis clients for a two-night stay at Bannisters, Mollymook, on the NSW South Coast.

The getaway began with Bollinger and Champagne Ayala on the terrace of his eponymous restaurant followed by a five-course dinner with the menu hand-selected by Rick. The dinner also included wines by one of Australia's most prestigious labels, Tapanappa, made by winemaking legend Brian Croser. Potato gnocchi with king prawns, hermit crab and tomato and basil with Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay? Yes please.

The next day, Rick opened up his gorgeous beach house, Rick's Place (which is also available to rent, see below) and spent the morning cooking and chatting with the group in his custom-built kitchen overlooking the ocean and a 20-seater jacuzzi (yep, one of Australia's largest). There were tips on preparing marinated tuna with passionfruit, lime and coriander, Rick's opinions on the latest cookware and plenty more about everything in the world of Stein. Rick's TV series, Far Eastern Odyssey, premiered on Tuesday this week at 8.30pm on on ABC1.

Our very own Stuart Gregor also hosted a lively and educational wine tasting that included some of his favourite wines.

The trip was Rick Stein fans, Michelle and Steve Chee's first with Gregor & Lewis. 'We just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for organising such a great getaway. We had the best time, met some great people (besides the man himself - Mr Rick Stein of course) and really enjoyed what you all had organised. We were impressed with the whole orchestration. Well done. We could not fault a thing!'

And another from Kerry Wolbers, 'Thank you (and my fabulous husband) from the bottom of my heart for making my dream a reality. I am still on cloud nine when I think that I have had dinner with Rick Stein.'

Gregor & Lewis hopes to plan another trip to Bannisters in 2011. Also, if you have a suggestion for a bespoke tour, please drop us a line.

Rick's Place www.bannisters.com.au/index.php/accommodation/beachhouses/ricks-place)

Oceania's latest ship Marina
Melinda, queen of the seas
In March at the annual Cruiseco conference in Canberra, our very own captain Melinda Gregor was recognised for her contribution to sales and marketing for Oceania's Cruises during 2009. In front of a big crowd of Cruiseco members, Melinda was awarded a 14-night cruise on one of Oceania's fabulous four ships and has decided to sail with the brand new Marina launching January 2011. The mid-size Marina's emphasis is on fine cuisine while cruising and features six restaurants, plus the Bon Appetit Culinary Centre where you can indulge in hands-on cooking classes with guest chefs. Bon voyage Melinda!

By the way, save 20% off the New World fares for the 2011 European Cruise Season for Oceania. Contact Melinda for details melindagregor@gregorlewis.com.au

Rhapsody of the Seas
Rugby World Cup 2011, New Zealand
Cruiseco an Official Travel Agent of Rugby World Cup 2011 has chartered Rhapsody of the Seas for two exclusive and exciting departures around New Zealand. Gregor & Lewis, a member of Cruiseco, has access to this sporting event of a lifetime.

Auckland return: 6 Octo ber 2011 - 8 night cruise
Cruise Prices start at $3,270pp twin share

Auckland to Sydney: 14 Octo ber 2011 - 13 night cruise
Cruise Prices start at $8,130pp twin share
Book now - ask us for details.

World-class specials this autumn
* European River Cruising 2011 with APT is now on sale – fly FREE year-round and save up to $7,100 per couple.

* New Indochina Pandaw Cruise season between October 2010 and September 2011 is now on sale with earlybird discounts of up to $1000 per person.

* Cruise the Rhine and Moselle this June or July and the second passenger cruises FREE. Join the MS Amalegro for 14 nights between Amsterdam and Basel. Departures 25 June 0r 9 July 2010 only. Prices from $6,995 for the first person with the second person free.
George and Audrey outside bure 45
The plane, the plane
We love Castaway
It is the second time the Gregor Lewis' have holidayed in Fiji at Castaway Island and while this March visit was more about the kids and banana boat rides and less about the hammock, we reckon it's one of the best holidays going around. We love rolling out of our traditonal beachfront bure into the Pacific, then rolling onto all-you-eat buffets followed by A1 snorkelling then maybe a paddle on the kayak. And if you're lucky, Executive Chef Lance Seeto, who grew up with the Lau family of Melbourne's Flower Drum, may prepare you an amazing Chinese banquet. Chilli mud crab and Fiji Bitter? Now that's a great food and wine combo.

Also, don't even comtemplate the boat transfers from Denarau Marina. Go by seaplane and you'll be splashing down within one hour of arriving at Nadi airport. Another tip? Only book the beachfront bures. Our favourites are number 13 or perhaps 37 or 46 on the Malolo side. Oh and Audrey and George say bula to Lily, Lucy and Una and all the girls at kid's club! Vinaka Castaway.

Now is the perfect time to book your next holiday to Fiji - there are plenty of fantastic sale prices on offer right now.
Elephant body art
Kristen at the Taj Mahal
Entrance to the Taj Mahal
Safely at summit at Amber Fort
Puppet show in Rajasthan
India - Mumbai, Jaipur, Agra, New Delhi
There are no words to describe the stunning beauty of the Taj Mahal. Nothing prepares you for that first moment when she comes into view and it dawns on you that you are actually there.

I was extremely fortunate to have recently visited India as a guest of Tempo Holidays and Cox & Kings and the country really exceeds all your expectations.
From the moment we touched down in Mumbai we knew we were in for an experience. You are immediately confronted by extreme heat, masses of people and the constant sounds of loud horns, though your senses adjust very quickly as you begin to take in your surrounds.

On the first morning our city tour took us to the Gateway of India, Jain Temple, the Hanging Garden, Rajabai Clock Tower and Victoria Terminus.

Our next stop was Jaipur where we were off to Amber Fort. Made entirely of white marble and red sandstone, the fort is reached by an elephant ride along the ramparts. There is much to see in Jaipur. A visit to the City Palace gives you an education into the history of Rajasthan - costumes, armory of the Mughals, antiques and artifacts. Pay a visit to Jantar Mantar Observatory and a visit is not complete without a rickshaw ride through the old city's colourful bazaar.

Our next stop was Agra with a visit on route to Fatehpur Sikri, a red sandstone city built in the late 16th century. This extraordinary place is complete with palaces and mosques and is in virtually the same condition as 300 years ago.

We were then on to New Delhi, where our city tour took us to India Gate, the parliament building and the Rashtrapati Bhawan (President's residence).

There is a range of accommodation options available but India is the place to splurge! Where else can you stay in restored palaces and breathtaking villas?

Many people are concerned about safety while travelling in India. There is a large security presence at hotels and airports and this extra vigilance only makes you feel safer.

For all those who love Indian food you will be overwhelmed by choice. If you are nervous that the food will be too spicy, don't worry. True Indian food is all about fresh ingredients and flavours. Western meals are also readily available.

Step outside your comfort zone and experience India for yourself.

If you are interested in travelling to India please give Kristen a call or email kristencahill@gregorlewis.com.au
Welcome, Lian
Lian Scott joins Gregor & Lewis
Lian Scott is Gregor & Lewis's latest recruit and joins us as travel consultant. Lian has a rich heritage – China, Scotland and South Africa – so no wonder she has chosen the travel industry to put down her roots. Lian has also worked in travel in Mykonos, as an event coordinator for Jaguar in London and also in luxury car sales in Sydney. While she loves the glamour and excitement of cities like New York, Toronto and London, Lian's true love lies with the ancient cities of Rome and Athens. Her travel 'must do' is an African safari and has already ticked that one off her list visiting Hluhluwe Umfolozi National Park in South Africa and Swaziland. Next time you are in the G & L office, introduce yourself to Lian.
Rooney and Old Trafford
Vega Sicilia
Italy's Amalfi Coast
Royal County Down, Ireland
Stu's Bucket List
Let's hope Stu doesn't kick it before his 50th because we all want to surprise him at Vega Sicilia.

1. Go to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United beat Arsenal or Chelsea. Simply because Man U is the greatest sporting team in the world and Old Trafford is the theatre of dreams.
2. Augusta National on Masters Sunday and then a night out on the drink with Tiger. Those two combined will give me golf course fodder for life. And then I'd quite like to play Augusta, of course, but I'm not god.
3. A huge college football match in the USA such as a Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl or a local derby between the Ivy Leaguers. I just like the idea of huge buckets of beer, foot-long hot dogs and probably a stupid hat.
4. Golf trip to Ireland with the boys – enough said.
5. Take my kids to Africa - go on a safari, work in Tanzania for a bit, meet our sponsor girl and her family and then visit the pyramids.
6. Go to Disneyworld in Florida with the kids, play some of those Orlando golf courses, then catch up at Tiger's place after a round for a drink now that we are mates after we met at 2.
7. Spend a week on the Amalfi Coast with the wife and no kids.
8. Visit the famous Spanish winery, Vega Sicilia, for my 50th birthday with my three mates who all turn 50 in the same year. Vega Sicilia is the only great winery in the world that made a good wine in 1968 and we will drink this wine from magnum at this fantasy lunch.
9. Go to Bernabeu Stadium to see Real Madrid play Barcelona, then spend the night out drinking beer and eating tapas with my new mates from Vega Sicilia.
10. Go to St Petersburg and take in a ballet by the local company.

G&L has access to exclusive packages to the Masters at Augusta each year. Please contact us for details if you want to see Phil equal Tiger's four green jackets next year.
  Sam Young, eight-year old Sunshine Coast resident and G & L traveller  
  Sam, brother Hamish and friends  
  Where did you go? Hong Kong Disneyland

Who with? My mum and dad and brothers Hamish, Fraser and Pierce.

What was the best ride? The Space Mountain indoor rollercoaster in Tomorrowland.

What was the best attraction in the park? Tomorrowland was my favourite but I enjoyed all the lands.

Anthing else you'd recommend? The Lion King Show and 3D movie were fantastic as well as a good rest (said mum).

What was the worst thing? The balloons cost about $20 (AUD) each.

Any advice? To do all the 'lands' in one day might be a bit of a rush, so two days is better.

Where did you stay? The Disneyland Hotel was fabulous, especially the chocolate fountains and the pool with a waterslide. We also stayed at the Novotel Citygate which is close to the airport and not far from Disneyland. It also had a chocolate fountain.

Any tips for the plane trip?
We slept on the plane and then played computer games, so the flight didn't feel that long.

Thanks Sam for answering our Q & A this month. If any G & L travellers would like to contribute to our Q & A column, please send us an email about your trip to noosa@gregorlewis.com.au

  Gregor & Lewis | 11 Arcadia St, Noosa Heads, Queensland, 4567 Australia
T + 617 5447 4666 | E noosa@gregorlewis.com.au | W www.gregorlewis.com.au