Yellowstone turns 150!
The world’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park, is now celebrating its 150th year, having first opened its gates on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone attracts visitors from the world over, all awestruck by the sheer magnificence of this place – the thundering waterfalls, vast plains, rugged mountains, the volume of geysers and hot springs and amazing wildlife. Lumbering bison, grizzly and black bears, elk, deer, birds of prey and coyotes are just some of the animals you could see while exploring the park.
Do a tour on horseback or stagecoach, 4WD or historic bus. Sign up for a photography tour, go kayaking, rafting or fishing, or take on a multi-day hiking trip in the backcountry. Explore in a campervan or stay in one of the iconic properties – Lake Yellowstone Hotel And Cabins (open from May) or Old Faithful Inn. Visit yellowstonenationalpark.com; greatamericanwest.com.au
Under the falls in WA
Sir David Attenborough described Western Australia’s Horizontal Falls as “one of the greatest natural wonders of the world”, due to the incredible force of the tides forging in and out of a narrow gorge in Talbot Bay. It looks like – you guessed it – a horizontal waterfall. The best way to experience it is with Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, a tour that showcases the falls from above, in a seaplane, and below, in a fast speedboat. You can arrange a 24-hour luxury stay that includes accommodation on the gorgeous Jetwave Pearl houseboat. Visit horizontalfallsadventures.com.au
Arise Queen Anne
Cunard has a long and cherished history in luxury worldwide ocean travel, with a new ship about to add to the tradition. The 249th ship from Cunard will be named Queen Anne. The new ship will show off reimagined signature spaces, as well as fresh guest experiences underpinned by posh White Star Service. Queen Anne will join her royal siblings Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth – the first time since 1999 that Cunard will have four ships at sea. Queen Anne’s maiden season program will go on sale in May, with the ship’s first sailings in early 2024. Visit cunard.com
Ponant’s Le Commandant Charcot, the world’s first hybrid-electric LNG powered luxury polar exploration vessel, is conducting 10 phenomenal cruises in the 2023 Arctic season. Choose the ‘Encounters with the Inuit and spring traditions’ itinerary, which explores Eastern Greenland. The 10-night cruise in and out of Reykjavík, will take you to meet Inuit communities in the Ammassalik region, before heading north to the Blosseville Coast with its polar caps, fjords, icebergs and glaciers. Another popular itinerary out of Reykjavík takes you to the Northeast Greenland National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, where you can delight in seeing Arctic wildlife such as polar bears and seals. Visit au.ponant.com
Hello you saucy devil, you. Glamorous new hotel the Kimpton Margot in Sydney opened on Valentine’s Day this year with rave reviews from all and sundry. The property, in Sydney’s Pitt Street, not far from the State Theatre and QVB, has 172 rooms and suites, and is an opulent blend of heritage-listed architecture and modern style. On the food and beverage side, people are going ga-ga for Luke’s Kitchen, helmed by Luke Mangan, as well as Cellar By Luke, the 1930s-style Wilmot Bar, and coffee and pastries at Pantry at Margot’s. A hot tip – rock up for Social Hour between 5pm and 6pm, a complimentary sip in a variety of locations. Visit kimptonmargotsydney.com
Hobart has another swish hotel with The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel, welcoming guests from December 2021. The historic property near Parliament House, Sullivan’s Cove and Salamanca Place – where the famous Salamanca Markets are on – has 152 rooms and suites housed in the original 1840s heritage building, a 1940s Art Deco building, or the modern Pavilion with lovely water views. For dinner, book into Peppina, a signature Italian restaurant by chef Massimo Mele, but have a tipple in the old-world elegance of Mary Mary, a ‘cocktail bar and spirits library’, first. Visit marriott.com
Canada’s Calgary Stampede
Dust off your cowboy hat for Alberta’s famous Calgary Stampede, the ‘greatest outdoor show on Earth’. On from July 8–17, this year sees the return of the Rangeland Derby chuckwagon races. There are nine heats each night, with 27 chuckwagon drivers and 162 horses thundering around the track. Other Stampede highlights include the daily rodeo action, Bell Grandstand Show and, for lovers of country music, Blake Shelton will be headlining the Stampede Concert Series. Visit calgarystampede.com