Rex, Qantas reveal new domestic routes for regional travel

New domestic routes for exploring Australia's best

Rex and Qantas have revealed new domestic routes which make regional travel easier.

Forget the 13-hour drive to Broken Hill, Rex is offering a three-and-a-quarter-hour flight from Sydney to the NSW outback town.

If you're looking for a holiday getaway to the NSW South Coast town of Merimbula, Qantas is offering flights from Sydney or Melbourne. The flight carrier also has direct routes to Wagga Wagga from both Sydney and Melbourne.

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Ponant's big Aussie season

The future of cruising in Australia is small ships. And luxury French expedition line Ponant, which has a fleet of small ships, has revealed a big increase in capacity for its Australian itineraries, with eight new journeys scheduled for later this year.

The cruises can be sailed back-to-back and explore the east and west coasts and circumnavigate Tasmania. Highlights on Western Australia cruises include Dirk Hartog Island, Shark Bay and the Abrolhos Islands. Other cruises sail the Great Barrier Reef and cross the Great Australian Bight.

The line's expedition leader and marine biologist, Mick Fogg, will host some of these expeditions, showing guests some of Australia's wonderful wildlife. Sales are open for voyages from April 18.

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The show goes on

Showbags, rides and the wood-chopping competition - one of the biggest events on the agriculture calendar, the Sydney Royal Easter Show, will return for 2021. It was devastating news when COVID forced organisers to cancel the 2020 event.

Tickets went on sale last week and organisers advise there will be caps on the number of people who can attend each day. The show's app will display a traffic light system to monitor the number of people at events and exhibits, and public transport will no longer be free with a ticket. Daily attendance caps will be set by NSW Health about three weeks out from the show.

The show runs April 1-12 and if it is cancelled, ticket-holders will get a full refund. A family pass costs $99.


Local producers take over

QT Gold Coast is collaborating with local producers in its new Be Our Guest program. Once a month, guests will be offered a food and wine experience at Bazaar Marketplace as QT's award-winning chefs create a one-of-a-kind, five-course meal starring the featured farmer's produce.

Guests will taste, sample and swill while engaging with the producer and discovering their personal stories. The series kicks off with Tommerup's Dairy Farm. Dynamic farming duo Dave and Kay Tommerup are at the helm of this sixth-generation dairy, which has been part of the fabric of the Scenic Rim since 1874. Kicking off on Sunday February 28, the menu includes: goats' cheese tart with roasted Scenic Rim baby beetroot; damper rolls with Tommerup's cultured butter; and pork three ways.

Fly the pride flag

Virgin Australia announced it will be operating a special Pride Flight from Brisbane to Sydney on Friday March 5 to celebrate Mardi Gras. With almost 200 seats up for grabs, the Pride Flight is the first service of its kind operated by Virgin Australia.

One-way tickets will be available for $150 in economy and for $350 in business class. The all-inclusive, COVID-safe flight from Brisbane to Sydney will include mid-air drag performances, bottomless beverages, DJ entertainment and all of the trimmings you'd expect from a gay celebration, including rainbows, glitter and a whole lot of fabulous.

The perfect quokka selfie

Just 30-minutes from Perth, Rottnest Island is home to the adorable marsupial that captured the hearts of Margot Robbie, Chris Hemsworth and Roger Federer. It's the quokka. Photographer James Vodicka shares his tips with Tourism Australia on how to capture the best selfie with a fuzzy friend.

They are inquisitive: Quokkas are curious, so you do not need to approach them or offer food to get close enough for a photograph. Simply get down to their level and wait for them to come to you.

Capture the smile: A quokka's smile becomes visible when they look up and towards the camera, stretch their neck out inquisitively, or are mid-meal. Wait for these moments to capture your photographs - it's well worth it.

Wide angle: Looking to exaggerate the curious smirking expression of the quokka? You'll need a wide-angle lens, anything from about 10-24mm, and will want to be shooting as close as your lens allows before reaching its minimum focusing distance.

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