Five highlights in your travel week | 27 Dec

The ReefSleep experience … offers the chance to slumber under the stars on a pontoon located on the picturesque Hardy Reef.
The ReefSleep experience … offers the chance to slumber under the stars on a pontoon located on the picturesque Hardy Reef.

Cruise Whitsundays has relaunched its popular Great Barrier Reef under-the-stars experience.

The ReefSleep experience provides travellers with the chance to slumber under the stars on a pontoon located on the picturesque Hardy Reef, 40 nautical miles from shore.

The fully refurbished Heart Pontoon offers a new gourmet experience, with guests able to choose from an a la carte menu showcasing some of the finest local produce and fresh seafood.

The ReefSleep experience starts at 3pm when the day snorkelling tour of the Outer Reef concludes and you wave goodbye to others returning by boat to Airlie Beach.

Sip champagne as the sun sets and be immersed in the colour and wonder of this World Heritage region as spectacular marine creatures come to life at nightfall.

The two-day, one-night ReefSleep experience offers daily departures with adult prices starting at $499.

The Palais … beating heart of the Adelaide Festival.

The Palais … beating heart of the Adelaide Festival.

Adelaide Festival, which will next year run from March 2-18, welcomes the return of its Palais venue with a line-up of live music, lunchtime forums and special events set to draw crowds to the beautiful Adelaide Riverbank from sunrise until sunset and beyond.

Transforming its look and feel from early in the morning until late at night, in any one 24-hour cycle the Palais becomes a funky floating nightclub, long-lunch haven, live music and dance hotspot, breakfast sanctuary, lively centre for debate, and go-to meeting place — and once again is set to become the beating heart of the Adelaide Festival.

The Palais’ Long Lunches invite diners to enjoy the art of hospitality as leading guest chefs thrill with their latest culinary creations and stories, presented in the ultimate Adelaide riverbank setting.

The Palais will be open to the general public free of charge.

Evandale … hairy streets if you’re on a massive penny farthing with no brakes. Image: Rob Burnett.

Evandale … hairy streets if you’re on a massive penny farthing with no brakes. Image: Rob Burnett.

The way a wheel used to turn about 100 years ago, versus the way it turns now couldn’t be more different.

And that’s exactly why the historic northern Tasmanian village of Evandale celebrates the slightly daunting penny-farthing bicycle with a big village fair and racing program on February 24.

The fair will be in its 34th year, and the National Penny Farthing Championships attracts competitors and enthusiasts from across Australia and around the world, with the first race being run in 1983 around the hairy village street.

Well, they’re hairy if you’re on a massive penny-farthing with no brakes.

There’s also a grand parade, vintage-car display, kids activities, colonial costumes and lots of delicious food.

Noosa Main Beach … will be the centre of attention for the food festival next May.

Noosa Main Beach … will be the centre of attention for the food festival next May.

The 2018 Noosa Food & Wine Festival will run from May 17-20, with more than 35 events showcasing some of Australia’s best chefs in beautiful locations throughout the town.

Events will take place at the new Festival Village, under the Noosa Tipis on Noosa Main Beach, along Hastings Street for the Long Lunch, in signature restaurants and throughout the Noosa hinterland along produce and brewery trails.

Discover some of Noosa’s best restaurants and their famous tastes right in the Festival Village across the weekend, which this year includes a beer-and-cider corner with some of the region’s best craft brewers showing their wares.

Australia is well represented in Culture Trails … looking over the Victorian town of Bright, from Huggins Lookout.

Australia is well represented in Culture Trails … looking over the Victorian town of Bright, from Huggins Lookout.

One of Lonely Planet’s most recent books, Culture Trails, explores the world’s most exciting cultural hubs and has Australia represented by Adelaide (“Australia’s Live Music City”), Country Victoria (Ned Kelly’s Bushranger Trail), the Northern Territory (Indigenous Art), and the gothic legacy of Tasmania.

“When we travel,” said a Lonely Planet spokesperson, “the cultures of the countries we visit are usually what we notice first, and it is often what inspires us to visit in the first place. The memories we take home with us may be of artisans hammering on the streets, historic architecture looming around a plaza, or music wafting from a back-alley doorway. Culture exists everywhere, and it means everything to the curious traveller.”

In the tradition of Lonely Planet’s Wine Trails (2015) and Food Trails (2016), this new book features itineraries that include expert recommendations, with maps and practical details of how to get there and where to stay across a number of the world’s inspirational culture trails.