Private cabanas, champagne bar for Cathay first-class flyers
Cathay Pacific's luxury cabanas in Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific's first-class passengers at Hong Kong International Airport are now treated to private cabanas, a champagne bar and a reading room in its renovated lounge, The Wing.
Opened last month, the lounge's five cabanas, each with shower, bath and a day bed, are in addition to the 12 shower suites.
Jump in ... Aussies can now march in the St Patrick's Day parade in Dublin.
The Haven dining area, with black-marble floors and black-glass walls, is double its original size, with a buffet and a la carte menu and suggested wine pairings.
Meanwhile, Qantas's airport lounges in Singapore and Hong Kong are being refurbished. The new Qantas Singapore Lounge will have the flavours of Neil Perry's Rockpool restaurant and opens on March 31 for first- and business-class passengers. The refurbished Hong Kong First Lounge, also with Rockpool menu, is due to open in September.
Designs on landscapes
There are myriad trails to follow along the newly named Sydney Harbour National Landscape - 1000 square kilometres that include the Royal and Sydney Harbour national parks.
It's the 16th and final "landscape" in a Tourism Australia and Parks Australia partnership covering important areas of nature and culture. The Flinders Ranges, the Great Ocean Road and the Kimberley are all included.
For those keen to explore the area on foot with a guide, Sydney Coast Walks offers a one-day walk from The Spit, in Middle Harbour, to Manly - a 12-kilometre trail that's a local favourite.
Walks founder Ian Wells says many people are content to catch the Manly ferry to experience the harbour, but you can see much more on foot.
"The expanse of bushland on your left when you're heading to Manly is beautiful Dobroyd Head," Wells says. "There's a track winding through native bush, and it's home to a significant Aboriginal engraving site.
"On your right is North Head, where new arrivals to Australia were quarantined from the 1830s on. There's a lot of forgotten military history from Sydney's involvement in the wars ... all this right alongside million-dollar harbourside homes."
Wells says the two-day walk from The Spit to Manly/North Head, staying at Q Station, is unique. The 25-kilometre trip includes a night at the former quarantine station in a four-star room.
Walks cost from $75, including ferry, catering, national park fees and guide.
Release your inner Paddy
While the Irish diaspora is well known for celebrating St Patrick's Day in Australia, a place in Dublin's People's Parade, open to foreigners for the first time this year, must rank highly.
A spokeswoman says up to 8000 people, including several hundred Australians, will join the 2.5-kilometre route, marching past sites such as Trinity College, Dublin Castle and City Hall.
Green is the dominant colour, of course. It's all part of the four-day St Patrick's Festival, starting on March 14, which organisers say injects €43.7 million ($56 million) into the Irish economy.
Do the Bali shuffle
Deck of Secrets, the 52-card destination guide, has added Bali's best in restaurants and bars to its collection. Michelle Matthews' picks include an Asian high tea at Biku restaurant in the up-and-coming area of Petitenget, and a day trip from Seminyak, Bali Asli, for food by chef Penelope Williams and sweeping views of Mount Agung.
At night, it's the Shanghai flavours served at the vintage mah-jong table of Mama San in Seminyak.
Smart Traveller also likes the checklist for those who may have overstayed.
"You've been in Bali too long when even the touts leave you alone, you own casual and formal bikinis, and can't function on fewer than three massages a day." The collection is available at Readings bookstores ($9.95).
LUXE City Guides has released its new Asian Grand Tour Box, taking in Bali, Bangkok, Beijing, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. The concertina cover-to-cover guides are also available as apps that have a year of free updates sent to your mobile. Asian Grand Tour Box, $US75 ($73).
Uluru rocks into top place
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park has taken the top gong for major tourist attraction, and the Tamworth Country Music Festival the major festival honours, at the recent Qantas Australian Tourism Awards. Madame Tussauds Sydney won for new tourism development, and Maria Island Walk in Tasmania for adventure tourism.
The Emporium Hotel in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, took first prize for luxury accommodation, and Sydney Harbour YHA for backpacker accommodation.
Tasmanian operator Pennicott Wilderness Journeys was recognised for excellence in sustainable tourism, and its Bruny Island cruises won gold in the tourist attraction and the ecotourism categories.
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