Tourism Australia campaign a hit in China

Advance Australia

Tourism Australia's new global advertising campaign "There's Nothing Like Australia" was viewed 8 million times in the first 12 days since its launch in Shanghai this month.

Most of the views were on Chinese digital platforms such as Tudou, Youku, Banma and Baidu. There were also 175,000 views of the campaign on YouTube and 240,000 on Tourism Australia's website.

Talk on the wild side

Simon Yates is an Englishman who goes where most people fear to tread. He has climbed some of the world's most inhospitable mountains, survived a rock avalanche in a Pakistani couloir and fronted hundreds of people at public speaking engagements.

"To start with I was quite nervous," Yates says, describing his reactions to speaking before a crowd. "But I'm quite comfortable with a microphone now because I've done a fair bit of it."

Yates arrives in Australia today for a national speaking tour with World Expeditions. "What's the worst that can go wrong? Not a lot really," he says. "The computer may have a hissy fit, but that's not bad in the scale of things."

If Yates seems familiar, it's because things did go dreadfully wrong for him in the Peruvian Andes in 1985 when he had to cut the rope of his climbing partner Joe Simpson, who had plunged into a crevasse with no way up. Their story and survival was immortalised in the book and film Touching the Void.

Yates does not keep in touch with Simpson. "I never climbed with him again and the last time I saw him was when the film was made (2003)."

When he is not climbing, trekking or touring, Yates lives a quiet life in a village in the Lake District with his family, including two young children. He will speak in Sydney on Tuesday and Melbourne on July 10 about his just-released third book The Wild Within and about the treks he leads in South America and the Himalayas. Tickets to his talks cost $25.

See worldexpeditions.com.

Kimberley from the air

Road travel in the Kimberley has taken on new meaning with the launch by Tourism Western Australia of the Kimberley Aerial Highway, a network of remote airstrips at major attractions, such as Windjana Gorge, Cape Leveque, Mitchell Falls and El Questro. Ground transport from airstrips to destinations and accommodation are included in the aerial highway itineraries.

Among the trips is the "West Kimberley Wonders" package, which includes Broome highlights, a visit to Eco Beach, and a scenic flight over the Horizontal Falls, with stops at Geikie Gorge and Mount Hart Homestead, before landing at Cape Leveque. The seven-night package costs from $2495 a person, twin share.

See broomekimberley.com.au for details of the package and westernaustralia.com/kimberleyaerialhighway for more about the aerial highway.

Margaret River festival

Tourism Western Australia has announced a four-day food and wine festival at Margaret River, on November 22-25. The festival, with celebrity chefs in attendance, is one of about 90 events on a packed calendar being driven by new marketing man Gwyn Dolphin, who has worked with Ferrari, James Bond films and Manchester United.

Dolphin says events on the way include the Perth International four-day golf tournament on October 18-21, and an aquatic series swimming meeting in January between Australia, South Africa and China.

See westernaustralia.com.

Mum's the word

A new website for family accommodation has been launched by Melbourne's Amanda Woodward. The site has 300 properties listed in Australia and around the world, with more being added weekly. "Essentially this website is an extension of the word-of-mouth networks we have as mothers," Woodward says. Links are provided to listed properties and the site features reviews of places families have stayed.

See familyfriendlyaccommodation.com.au.

Send news items to smarttraveller@fairfax.com.au.

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