Smart Traveller

Tours to the heartland

Peregrine, a company that undertook its first tour to Nepal in 1978, has launched a series of small-group Reserve itineraries it says are for those who want to venture "beyond the highlights and into the heart of a destination".

The operations manager for Peregrine, Steve Wroe, says the trips are designed for people willing to invest in a "boutique" experience. Groups are limited to 12.

Journeys range from four to 12 days and include Laos, Morocco, Italy and Turkey. An Angkor itinerary includes a private tour at the temple complex, time at a local monastery, home-stay lunch, degustation dinner at Cuisine Wat Damnak and accommodation at the 26-room Heritage Suites Hotel in Siem Reap.

In Africa, exploration of the Okavango Delta ends with two nights in a luxury tented suite with private plunge pool and a view of Victoria Falls. In Rwanda, the itinerary includes trekking to view mountain gorillas, seeing the Genocide Memorial in Kigali and eco-lodge accommodation on a ridge overlooking the Virunga Mountains.

The four-day Ancient Angkor trip costs from $1420 a person; five-day Gorillas of Rwanda, $5160; eight-day Delta and Victoria Falls, $5385.


Welcome to Brisbane

Brisbane's organic farmers' markets, wartime history or public art can be explored at close range with the launch of the Global Greeters Program. Led by a local with specialist knowledge of the area, tours of up to four hours visit precincts from Bulimba to West End.

Up to six guests can join the tours, which start in the Queen Street Mall. Of the 20 inducted greeters, most are aged 50-plus, with a couple of international students included, a spokeswoman says.

The visitor program's concept was founded by a New Yorker, Lynn Brooks, in 1992 with the Big Apple Greeter and is part of a global program of 27 cities that include Melbourne, Chicago, Paris and Moscow. Greeter tours are free and should be booked seven days ahead.


Notes on a page

Anchornote, an iPhone app by Londoner Leon Johnstone, promises simple curation of text, photos and voice notes anchored to a map for trip planning and travel. Johnstone, 23, an engineering graduate, says he developed the app in response to his own "daunting mess of disjointed scribblings" before and during his journeys.

"I hated those times I would spend with my head down, desperately flipping through pages or business cards in search of an address, a price, a recommendation or a name," Johnstone says. People travelling to Vietnam, for example, can take a photo of the hotel's address written in Vietnamese and anchor it to the arrival airport.

Each time the app is opened, the notes most relevant to the current location are sorted to the top of the pile. Anchornote also will alert you when approaching a note.

"So, when you're walking towards the queue for the Jade Pagoda, Anchornote could remind you about that little-known side entrance your friend boasted about last summer," Johnstone says.


Mind your language

Tourism Australia has refreshed its website in an effort to capture the attention of the digital market, including key countries such as China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Britain and the US. The website, available in 17 languages, now has a "mega" drop-down menu, reducing the number of clicks needed to reach a destination. Good news for its 800,000 unique visitors a month.


Centenary breakfast

Australia's Titaniacs - devotees of the ill-fated ship - are preparing to mark the centenary of its sinking on April 14 in a sartorial fashion. Titanic: Dressed for the Voyage, by historians Fiona and Keith Baverstock, will exhibit more than 40 original garments from the era.

"It includes evening wear that featured a silk underdress, net gauze and needle-run embroidery that someone like fashion designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon would have worn," Fiona says.

Lady Duff Gordon boarded the ship's lifeboat No.1 with her husband, Cosmo. Both were later called to testify at a British inquiry into the sinking of the ship and to respond to rumours that the Duff Gordons bribed the crew in their lifeboat not to rescue people in the water.

"People attended the inquiry not to hear what she had to say but to see what she was wearing," Fiona says.

The Titanic's menus will be re-created at a "third-class" centenary breakfast and a nine-course dinner with smoked herring, chicken lyonnaise and waldorf pudding. Titanic: Dressed for the Voyage is in Hobart on March 20-25; Williamstown Town Hall on April 7-22; centenary breakfast and dinner at Williamstown Town Hall on April 14.


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