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Friday 12 July 2024

Airlines still letting down their passengers with late and cancelled flights

Planning on catching a flight? 

Good luck with it being on time.

I've had six domestic flights so far this month, and two were on time. Three were late - with a variety of excuses - and one was cancelled. With the scantest of apologies offered.

And while Australians are still getting poor service from their domestic carriers, the same is true of Europe.

Flight data issued by Cirium, aviation analytics specialists, showed a big jump in flight cancellations across Europe, which released its monthly "on time" performance report for June.

A total of 8,145 flights were cancelled within Europe in June, which was up from 5,584 in May.

Cirium flight data defines an on-time flight as one which arrives within 15 minutes of its scheduled time.

So European travellers are also getting sub-standard service.

Icelandair was Europe’s most punctual airline last month, with 84.08% of flights arriving on time, followed by Iberia Express with 82.5% of all flights arriving on-time.

Sister brand Iberia was third at 77.69% with SAS and Finnair rounding out the top five.

Globally, Saudia was named the most punctual airline in June, at 88.22% of all flights arriving on time.

Aeromexico was in second place, with LATAM Airlines in third place.

The Asia-Pacific region recorded a 16% decrease in the number of cancelled flights in June (26,951) compared to May (31,912). But it is still pretty poor.

And particularly aggravating in Australia, where getting to many domestic destinations requires a transfer to a second flight. To get from Hobart to Adelaide, for instance, you usually need to transit in Melbourne. Which can be a real pain if your first leg is cancelled. 

Image:Federico Vilas, 

ECHO Native Bounty Feast teams up with wine festival

Tasmania's boutique ECHO Festival is to reprise it popular Native Bounty Feast as part of the Great Eastern Wine Week this spring.

ECHO Festival’s foodie feast takes place annually in March during autumn’s harvest.

This year, however, will also see a ‘spring edition’.

The Native Bounty Feast is a shared food experience that showcases local and indigenous produce.

The ‘spring edition’ will be held at Spring Vale Wines at Cranbrook in a marquee among the vines. Dishes can be paired with Spring Vale wines.

The GEWW Native Bounty Feast will be prepared by Tasmanian private chef Simon Ford, of Marefold, who is based on Bruny Island.

Ford has cooked on super yachts, on private estates and even on private planes.

Ticketsare $140 including a welcome drink and the event will run from 6.30pm to 10pm on Saturday, September 7.

Book here:

Dates for ECHO 2025 are Match 14-16.

Thursday 11 July 2024

Seppeltsfield swoops to buy established Barossa vineyard

Seppeltsfield owner Warren Randall has swooped to buy an established Barossa vineyard from struggling Australian Vintage Ltd. 

Seppeltsfield announced today that it had acquired a 230-acre vineyard in Lyndoch was previously part of the original Chateau Yaldara property, developed by Hermann Thumm in 1946.

The move comes as Randall eyes increased sales to the Chinese market. 

Seppeltsfield was established in 1851 and is one of the most iconic wineries in Australia.

The historic property is owned by The Randall Wine Group, established in 1978, and led by executive chairman Warren Randall.

The Randall Wine Group is Australia’s largest private premium vineyard holder with 9230 acres along with an expanding portfolio of luxury wine brands, including Penny’s Hill and Gemtree Organic Wines in McLaren Vale.

The vineyard is planted to mature shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, mataro and grenache and the entire crop with be crushed at Seppeltsfield from 2025.

Since Chinese tariffs were removed from bottled Australian wines on March 28, exports have skyrocketed. 

Seppeltsfield’s strategic purchase of the AVL Lyndoch vineyard is to specifically feed the newly created demand for luxury Australian wine to China, the company said in a statement.

“The AVL Lyndoch vineyard acquisition is a strong addition to our already dominant position in the Barossa Valley landscape,” Randall said.

“China’s demand for luxury Australian wines prior to the tariffs was very strong and the Lyndoch Barossa Valley vineyard acquisition offered Seppeltsfield an opportunity to fortify our supply volumes of luxury wines for a thirsty market.

“Our vineyard holdings in the Barossa Valley now exceed 4,000 acres, growing 10,000 tonnes, producing nearly 10 million bottles of luxury Barossa Valley wine every year.”

New gourmet destination in the Swan Valley

The Swan Valley has a new drawcard for lovers of food and drinks.

Family-owned and -operated restaurant Oscar’s has partnered with the team at Limeburners Whisky and Ginversity Gin to open Oscar’s in the Valley.

Previously located in nearby Guildford, Oscar’s is now at the cellar door of Limeburners and Giniversity in the Valley in the Swan Valley wine region, which is just a 30-minute drive from Perth city centre.

The restaurant offers a modern Australian menu designed for sharing and one that celebrates the local produce.

The food can be paired with a selection of different gin and whisky cocktails from Limeburners and Ginversity, as well as Swan Valley wines and local beers, Tourism Western Australia reports.

Oscar’s menu is built on source great produce, keeping it simple, and cooking over fire.

There are three tasting menus on offer, as well as a la carte dining. Think dishes like seared scallops with smoked pumpkin cream and basil, and braised lamb, cauliflower and potato croquette with mint sauce.

Oscar's is open five days a week (closed Monday and Tuesday).


Wednesday 10 July 2024

New luxury experience on Waiheke Island

New Zealand is renowned for ultra luxurious experiences and Delamore Lodge, Waiheke’s Island’s exclusive boutique luxury hideaway, has just unveiled a new one. 

The Ataahua Owners Villa, a refurbished two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, offers "complete privacy and self-contained luxury".

Ataahua (meaning ‘beautiful’) is the newest addition to Delamore Lodge’s accommodation offerings. it is located in a tranquil corner of the property’s sub-tropical grounds, away from the main lodge, with views of the Hauraki Gulf.

The villa’s two master bedrooms have super-king beds, en suites with rainforest showers, and walk-in wardrobes. 

Private decks at the front and rear of The Ataahua Owners Villa allow guests to relax in Mediterranean-influenced gardens. 

Guests can choose between self-catering in the fully equipped kitchen or putting their feet up and letting Delamore Lodge’s executive chef take care of meals. 

The chef can individually tailor the dinner to what is home grown, in season, and harvested locally. 

In addition to The Ataahua Owners Villa, an interiors and soft furnishings refurbishment has been completed across Delamore Lodge’s main lodge common areas including the guest reception, library, restaurant dining, outdoor seating, and infinity pool areas.

“It is wonderful to see our refurbished Ataahua Owners Villa come to life and offer guests more space for conviviality in the secluded privacy of their two-bedroom luxury apartment," says Adam Fleming, the manger of  Delamore Lodge. 

"Our interior design partners, Furnz Group, have done an outstanding job of not only handsomely dressing the villa but also upgrading our main lodge reception, dining, and outdoor areas with designer touches and new soft furnishings.”

The Ataahua Owners Villa is, wait for it, priced from $3,579 per night for four guests and includes amenities, including complimentary transfers to and from Matiatia Ferry Terminal on arrival and departure to Waiheke Island, welcome drinks, pre-dinner drinks and canapes, gourmet breakfast, complimentary mini-bar, pantry items, and full use of the lodge facilities.

Villa guests have full access to Delamore Lodge’s heated infinity pool, jacuzzi, sauna, spa, library, lush gardens, and olive grove. For those arriving in style, a helipad is onsite.

All-inclusive packages are available including the Waiheke Exclusive Escape, which includes an individually tailored five-course dinner in the privacy of the villa. 

For more info visit

Tasmania sparkles on international wine stage

What a moment for the Australian wine industry. 

For the first time ever, an Australian winemaker has been named Sparkling Winemaker of the Year at the International Wine Challenge in London. 

The award was presented to House of Arras chief winemaket Ed Carr, who attended a special ceremony held overnight at The Oval.

Regular readers will be aware GoTR does  not cover wine show results but this is a major win for Arras and Tasmania so we are making a rare exception. 

The win for House of Arras marks only the second time in the competition's 40-year history that a winemaker outside of Champagne has received the award

“I’m incredibly honoured to be named this year’s Sparkling Winemaker of the Year. It’s a challenge to describe the feeling, but I’m proud to be recognised amongst my peers for such a significant international award,” Carr said.

“Everything we do at House of Arras is based on our single-minded approach to crafting exceptional sparkling wine that speaks to Tasmania's cool climate and ancient soils and is equal to the world’s best. 

“This endorsement from one of the world’s most respected wine competitions is a testament to this mission, and I’m thrilled to share this award with the team.” 

The IWC is recognised as one of the world’s most rigorous, impartial, and influential wine competitions. Judged by more than 500 experts from more than 38 different countries, the IWC is an opportunity for winemakers worldwide to benchmark their wines against the very best.

The judging process sees an IWC medal-winning wine tasted by a minimum of eight judges before being awarded. This strict process ensures the results are widely respected by international wine retailers and buyers globally. 

In addition to Carr's win, House of Arras collected the Australian Sparkling Trophy for its 2014 House of Arras Blanc de Blancs, along with two gold and six silver medals at the IWC. 

House of Arras wines are available at fine wine retailers, the House of Arras Pipers River cellar door, and online from