After the cyclone
Recovery work continues apace after cyclone Evan's pounding of Samoa, then Fiji, in December, with most resorts expected to be open in time for the peak May tourist season. Samoa Tourism Authority spokesman Peter Sereno says many places, even those hit hard, such as Coconuts Beach Club Resort and Spa, are close to reopening.
In Samoa, Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa, Tanoa Tusitala and Seabreeze Resort are already open.
Coconuts Beach reopens in February, its overwater fales available from June. Aggie Grey's Hotel and Bungalows in Apia remains closed, with guests able to transfer bookings to Aggie Grey's Lagoon, Beach Resort and Spa.
Operators are hopeful the damage won't deter the emerging Australian visitor market. About 28,000 people visited in 2012, an increase of 16 per cent on 2011 tourist numbers.
In Fiji, James McCann of Yasawa Island Resort and Spa says while the property sustained damage to its garden, the resort is to reopen in March. The Westin Denarau is expected to reopen in February, while Castaway Island, Likuliku Lagoon and Malolo Island reopen in April.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's advice to tourists travelling to countries in cyclone season includes registering with the department before departure, and carrying bottled water, non-perishable food items, a basic first-aid kit, a battery-operated radio and a torch.
Routes are open, so is resort
The Northern Territory's Kings Canyon Resort has reopened following bushfires in the region earlier in January. A spokeswoman says there was no structural damage to the resort's 128 rooms and public areas. The resort is between Uluru and Alice Springs, and main access roads, including Luritja and Mereenie Loop, are open. The resort's guests and staff were evacuated to Alice Springs before the fire on January 8.
Hooroo's top secret
In a public vote, South Australia's Waterfall Gully has been judged Australia's No.1 "secret spot" in a competition hosted by the accommodation booking website Hooroo. Much loved by locals, Waterfall Gully is in the foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges, about 15 minutes' drive from Adelaide's city centre. Waterfalls, walking trails, picnic spots and a hilltop restaurant are nearby. The No.2 spot on the website is the underwater splendour of Fish Rock Cave in South West Rocks, NSW, where divers enter at 24 metres below sea level to swim among trumpet fish and black cod, among other species.
Hobart's Secret Falls was voted No.3, while the fishing mecca of Tumby Bay on SA's Eyre Peninsula takes No.4 place. Little Beach in Albany, Western Australia, took fifth spot.
Hooroo, which is owned by Qantas, launched the competition in November.
Design for life
Seeing the studios of milliner Sir Stephen Jones and lighting and furniture designer Tom Dixon forms part of a new Design London tour in June. Led by Australian author and architecture design maven Stephen Crafti, the 10-day tour also includes visiting the studio of furniture and lighting designer Brodie Neill. The tour check-in is at Philippe Starck's St Martins Lane Hotel in Covent Garden. Design London costs from $4980.
Get shopping at new terminal
While plane spotters at the new Tom Bradley International Terminal development at Los Angeles Airport might fancy loitering in the vicinity of nine new gates built to receive A380s, Boeing's 747-8 intercontinental jumbo and the 787 Dreamliner, shoppers will also be catered for. Due to open in 2013 and managed by Westfield, 60 dining and retail spots at the airport will include Michael Kors, Bulgari, Coach, Hugo Boss and Kitson, and LA cosmetic brand Smashbox.
Skadoosh to the Gold Coast
Dreamworld's busy summer season has further pulling power with the opening of Kung Fu Panda: Land of Awesomeness. Inside a replica of a Chinese village, visitors queue for the new "Big 8 Thrill Ride" (up to 3.8 g-forces). For something more sedate there's a rickshaw chase, kung fu instruction and bumper cars named Skadoosh, the expression immortalised by the character Dragon Warrior Po. An Unlimited World Pass (entry to Dreamworld and WhiteWater World until November 30) costs from $79.99 for children, $109.99 for adults.
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