October 7, 2013
Macau Tourism's Mike Smith with Sandra Tiltman

Macau Tourism’s Mike Smith with Sandra Tiltman

The Macau Government Tourist Office recently launched the Macau Food Festival in Feast Restaurant at Sydney’s Sheraton on the Park.

Macanese cuisine is a mixture of Chinese, Portuguese, Indian, African and Malay that has evolved over 500 years of Portuguese history in the tiny Asian centre.

This is the second successive year the Food Festival has been held at the hotel and will showcase a selection of new dishes, along with Macau food specialities including Galinha A Portuguesa and Macanese Curry Prawns, which will be featured at Feast Restaurant’s famous daily buffet, both during lunch and dinner, plus all the usual favourites and seafood found at this outstanding buffet.

The Macau Food Festival will be available at Sheraton on the Park until 20 October.

As part of the Macau Festival, family friendly events will be held in Darling Harbour’s Tumbalong Park over the weekend of 19-20 October.

Sandra Tiltman   Photo:  John Pond


October 7, 2013

Azamara Quest

For the first time in Azamara Club Cruises’ four year history, Azamara Quest will visit Australia in 2015.

As part of a 14 night holiday and New Year’s voyage departing Bali on 22 December 2015, Azamara Quest will make maiden port calls at Thursday Island and Darwin, as well as at the Great Barrier Reef destinations of Cooktown and Port Douglas, ending the cruise in Cairns.

Azamara Quest is a mid-sized ship for 694 guests with comfortable uncrowded social spaces.  The bars, restaurants, lounges, casino and cabaret are relaxing havens and the cabins feature modern amenities, furnishings and European linens.  Many of the cabins have their own verandas

Azamara Club Cruises are known for their destination focus and their itineraries feature longer stays and more overnights in port.  This allows guests to enjoy a fuller experience at each destination, including the nightlife experience, not offered by the majority of other cruise lines.  Their ships are smaller and offer a more boutique style of cruising, while their size makes them particularly well suited to calling in at the smaller, off the beaten track ports.

Azamara Prime C Rest and Wine Cellar2Earlier this year, the cruise line introduced AzAmazing Evenings, a complimentary night tour on each voyage that provides guests with an exclusive and bespoke slice of a destination’s authentic culture and character. They have also expanded their complimentary beverages to include wines, select standard spirits, sodas, international beers, bottled water and barista coffees plus included gratuities. There is also a complimentary self-service laundry, shuttle transportation to city centres in ports where available and English Butler service for suite guests.

Both Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey were recently refurbished.  As well as refreshing all public spaces and staterooms, a caviar & champagne bar was added, as well as a new Chef’s Table venue on both ships.

Perfectly suited for the sophisticated traveller, many of Azamara Club Cruises’ voyages are timed with major events and celebrations, so guests can join in the festivities.

Gavin Smith, Regional Vice President, Asia-Pacific of RCL Cruises Limited said “Azamara Club Cruises is a hidden secret amongst savvy Australian cruisers, but even though its ships have never sailed in the region, Australians are now the third biggest nationality of guests onboard. It has long been our dream to bring an Azamara ship to Australian waters and our whole team is very excited to welcome Azamara Quest in 2015.”

The deployment of the Azamara brand to this region completes a hat-trick for the Royal Caribbean family of brands.  Azamara will be joining sister cruise lines Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises.

Sandra Tiltman  


October 7, 2013
Gautier Capuçon

Gautier Capuçon

Two of the hottest young names in classical music will join forces with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra this October for a celebration of all things French at the Sydney Opera House. French Liaisons will feature 26 year old French conductor Lionel Bringuier and 33 yearold French cellist Gautier Capuçon with a program of Berlioz, Dutilleux and Saint-Saëns.

Bringuier is certainly a fast rising star. At 20 he became the LA Philharmonic’s youngest resident conductor ever. He made his New York Philharmonic conducting debut at just 22 and his BBC Proms debut at 23. Now, at age of 26, he has made appearances with major orchestras around the world. Bringuier takes over as Chief Conductor of the distinguished Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich next year and has just completed his sixth and final season as resident conductor with the LA Philharmonic under the direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel. This will be his Sydney Symphony Orchestra debut.

Gautier Capuçon was a hit with critics and audiences alike when he made his SSO debut in 2009 and has been called “A young star in the cello firmament” by Gramophone magazine. Since winning the Victoires de la Musique (the French equivalent of a Grammy) as “New Talent of the Year” in 2001 he has quickly established himself as one of the leading cellists of his generation. Capuçon has performed with all the major international orchestras as a guest soloist. In 2004 he received a Borletti- Buitoni Trust Award and since then he has received several Echo Klassik awards, most recently for his recording of Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev with conductor Valery Gergiev and for his recording of Fauré’s complete chamber music in October 2012.

Lionel Bringuier

Lionel Bringuier

French Liaisons will feature three very different French composers. In what will be a fitting tribute to French modernist composer Henri Dutilleux, who died earlier this year at the age of 97, the orchestra will perform one of his most popular works Métaboles.  Also on the program is Hector Berlioz’s audience favourite Symphonie fantastique. The extravagance will continue for Saint- Saëns’ first cello concerto, exquisitely crafted to show off the soloist’s virtuosity and style.

Gautier Capuçon plays Saint-Saëns on 10 Oct 1.30pm, 11 Oct 8pm and 12 Oct 2pm.

Sandra Tiltman 


October 7, 2013
Justin. featured in Bondi Roller Coaster

Justin. featured in Bondi Roller Coaster

I am not disabled but I find that the coast walk from Bondi to Bronte is almost impossible to negotiate – there are so many stairs to climb, steep and worn stairs, that I have only ever walked it once.

The walk is beautiful but the stairs are just too much, they put me off wanting to attempt it again.  With Sculpture By The Sea coming up, how many people will miss out on seeing this event because of the stair issue.

Adam Long’s film ‘Bondi Roller Coaster’ featuring his friend Justin, highlights access improvements that could be made to the path, allowing the walk to be enjoyed by many more people.

Adam said “Justin’s path is intended as an improvement for everyone, not just wheelchair users. We’d like anyone who struggles to climb those stairs to have better access and to allow parents with babies in prams to walk along the coast.”

Adam explained that the idea began more than three years ago when Justin, who lives in Bondi Junction, received a flyer in the mail from Waverley Council inviting everyone to enjoy the coastal walk. He’d have loved to, if only it was accessible. Justin’s crusade began.

Adam went on to say he was the first of many people to think it was an impossible dream, as there are just too many stairs. The day after talking with Justin, he went for a walk along the coast and realised how simple it would be. Everywhere there are stairs, the path could simply follow the contour line, crossing a couple of small bridges and climbing or falling gently. There are several bottlenecks on the busy path, surely the most used and best loved of it’s kind in the whole country. Justin’s path would improve access and safety at these points for everyone. They were not talking about getting rid of the stairs, so the runners and power walkers who have no trouble with them can continue to use them; in fact it would be better as the slower walkers and rollers would be on the stair-free stretch of the path.

They took their idea to Waverley Council and after collecting hundreds of signatures on a petition, they were allowed to present to a Council meeting, receiving a unanimous vote of support, but were told the Council had no money for the project.

The coastal walk is a resource for all of Sydney and vast numbers of international visitors walk along it every day, so State or Federal Government should contribute to the access improvements. Justin and Adam have met with the local members, both State and Federal, and have tried to get Council co-operation so they could pitch to private investors. What do you think?

Their film “Bondi Roller Coaster” can be viewed on YouTube    Sandra Tiltman