Clive Palmer's new museum opens

Mining magnate Clive Palmer has added a car museum to his Palmer Coolum Resort.
Mining magnate Clive Palmer has added a car museum to his Palmer Coolum Resort. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Biospheres and dinosaurs

Businessman Clive Palmer has added a new car museum to his Palmer Coolum Resort.

On display will be 30 vintage cars from Palmer's private collection including a 1954 Aston Martin.

Sing or swim: RelaxSing's choral singing tour in San Gimignano, Tuscany.
Sing or swim: RelaxSing's choral singing tour in San Gimignano, Tuscany. 

He sent a team to a one-day vintage car auction at an auto museum in Denmark last year where he bought a 1911 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Tourer which he considered to be one of the most exciting cars of the auction.

Queensland's richest man also picked up a 1931 Bugatti Type 40A Tourer, one of just 32 built.

"I now own some of the rarest and most sought after vintage cars in the world, including a large Rolls-Royce collection and several cars dating back to 1900," he said at the announcement of the museum last year.

Sing or swim: Celine Cousteau joins Contiki's tour.
Sing or swim: Celine Cousteau joins Contiki's tour. 

"These vintage cars, many of which are extremely rare and have been sourced from around the world, will attract motoring and vintage car enthusiasts from around the country and possibly even the world," he said.

A dinosaur park is also planned for the resort, with an 8½-metre tyrannosaurus rex named Jeff as well as 160 lifelike prehistoric beasts.

The museum is open 11am-4pm daily to guests and visitors.

See palmercoolumresort.com.au.

Still on the Sunshine Coast, a new cruise in shallow draft ferries explores Queensland's Noosa Biosphere Reserve covering about 150,000 hectares of freshwater, tidal and terrestrial areas from rainforest, to melaleuca wetlands, sand dunes and mangroves.

Binoculars and bird and plant identification books are provided on the two-hour cruise that stops on the Noosa River for morning tea and a talk about the environment and history.

It costs $45 adult, $40 senior, $20 child.

See noosabiosphere.com.au.

You're the voice

Chorister Alison Kunz says to sing in harmony with others is nothing short of exhilarating and an opportunity she will provide during the RelaxSing inaugural tour to Tuscany this September.

At a 300-hectare wine and olive oil estate near the village of San Gimignano, a walled mediaeval hill town in the province of Siena, choir practice in a restored building under the direction of Sandra Milliken will be followed by wine tasting, cooking lessons and excursions throughout the province.

The highlight will be a public performance at the village piazza surrounded by the preserved buildings and towers the village is noted for.

Kunz says the 12-song repertoire includes popular gospel and jazz.

"The whole idea is to have fun. You don't have to be able to read music you just have to an interest with the music that's provided on an MP3 player before the trip," Kunz says.

On September 14- 21, it costs from $1750 a person, twin share.

See relaxsing.com.au.

Top End tribute

The Ghan's annual Anzac tribute journey from Darwin to Adelaide this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Northern Territory air raids and the importance of the Spitfire fighter plane in Australia's defence during 64 Japanese air attacks across the country's north-west in 1943.

On board the train will be former Spitfire pilot Lysle Roberts who, at 18, enlisted with the RAAF 457 Squadron in 1943 and served in Darwin; Ray Hart, a member of the radar support unit who worked for the Spitfires in Darwin and later Borneo; Vietnam veteran Fred Owen; and war historian Tom Lewis.

The trip includes a visit to the Adelaide River War Cemetery led by Lewis, a dawn service and Anzac Day breakfast at Katherine, a tour of the Anzac Hill Memorial in Alice Springs and a ride in an original troop train. Singer James Blundell will also be on board.

On April 24-27, it costs from $2770 a person in Gold Class.

See greatsouthernrail.com.au.

Go deep with a Cousteau

Celine Cousteau, the granddaughter of explorer Jacques, will join Contiki's tour of the Galapagos and Ecuador in April.

Aside from a dive with Cousteau, the 11-day tour also includes a boat ride to spot the Galapagos penguin, a salsa lesson and time in the popular town of Banos.

The trip, ideally for 18- to 35-year-olds, departs Guayaquil on April 21 and costs from $2685 a person, twin share.

See contiki.com.au.

Duck into Tokyo

Tokyo's first amphibious tourist buses have taken to the Naka River during a 100-minute "Splash Tour".

The two 40-passenger buses, called Sky Ducks, are 12 metres long and two metres wide and travel up to 100 kilometres an hour on the ground and up to 13 kilometres an hour in the water.

It costs 2800 yen ($28) adult; 1400 yen under 12.

Help the animals

Those with twin passions for animal welfare and travel can combine both on a tour to the remote region of Mustang in Nepal.

The 18-day journey with Samsara Journeys and Australian-based charity Vets Beyond Borders includes trekking with porters and ponies and a visit to the veterinarian in Jomsom who services the entire Mustang region.

With an average altitude of 3770 metres, Mustang is a restricted tourist area with a maximum 5000 visitors a year.

On May 2-19, the trip departs Kathmandu and costs from $US3100 ($2980) a person, twin share. See samsarajourneys.com.

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