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Due to popular demand - two new Cherry Blossom tours have been scheduled by our friends at World Journeys - please talk to a Mondo Travel Specialist about availability and pricing.

Each spring, Japan's landscape is host to fragile pink and white sakura blooming; stunning colour that is celebrated throughout the entire country. Start this journey in bustling Tokyo and see its impressive gardens, go in search of the famous 'snow monkeys' and the alpine 'old town' of Takayama. On to cultural Kyoto and poignant Hiroshima, ending with spectacular views of Mt Fuji from the top of Mt Owakudani. This unique and incredibly scenic country with enchanting culture, wonderful cuisine and gracious people awaits you.

On this journey you will enjoy the following special experiences •Take the ultimate sushi-lovers tour in Tokyo Visit Tsukiji to see the world's largest fish market. A sushi master will guide you through making sushi rolls and nigiri which we'll then enjoy for lunch. •Visit steaming hot springs to see monkeys bathing Visit Yudanaka Onsen to see wild snow monkeys relaxing in the steaming hot springs surrounded by thick forest. •Tour the historic villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama Located in a mountainous region that was cut off from the rest of the world for a long period of time, these villages with their Gassho-style houses subsisted on the cultivation of mulberry trees and the rearing of silkworms. On this tour you'll see the large houses with their steeply pitched thatched roofs, the only examples of their kind in Japan.

submitted by -- Tony Terrill

Etihad Airways are pleased to announce that Sydney and Melbourne are the next airports in the global rollout of our new lounge brand ‘The House’, recently launched by Etihad Airways in partnership with No1 Lounges at London Heathrow.

Eligible guests of Etihad Airways and our partner airline Virgin Australia are able to experience The House in Sydney from Tuesday 23 October, while the new upgraded lounge experience will open for guests departing Melbourne on Saturday 27 October.

‘The House’ is the result of a unique collaboration between Etihad Airways and the award-winning lounge provider, which has acquired the lounge from the airline and will operate the new brand.

Guests travelling in Business, First, The Residence and those who have Etihad Guest eligibility will be invited to our new lounge when travelling from London, Sydney and Melbourne. The new lounge offers a stylishly enhanced service, with a contemporary twist, along with friendly hospitality.

If guests want to eat quickly, our self-service buffet will have a range of choices for all tastes. Those with a little more time will be able to order a freshly prepared meal from the à la carte menu. ‘The House’ has every element a guest needs to rest and relax, or freshen up before they fly.

Guests travelling in Economy can purchase lounge access in Sydney and Melbourne for AUD 72, subject to availability.

Source: etihad@walshegroup.com 

submitted by -- Tony Terrill

Here's some great tips, from our friend Russell "Rusty" Williss, Country Manager for Hawaiian Airlines, when visitng the Big Island. 

1. Hilo/Kona A reminder HA operates to 2 airports on Hawaii Island – to see more of the big island open jaw into Hilo (ITO) and then ex Kona (KOA) or vv to maximize your customer’s experience and time. A beautiful scenic costal and inland drive from Hilo to Kona via Hamakua Coast and Waimea is a highlight on the island. Call in to see the Umauma Falls and Zipline experience followed by lunch at Fish and Hog Waimea or the Big Island Brew Haus Waimea
2. Blue Hawaii Helicopters (Waikoloa base or Hilo Airport) or Paradise Helicopters in Hilo for spectacular Helicopters trips over the island including recently active Kilauea volcano.
3. Lava Lava beach club Waikoloa has a great band in the sand on most evenings. It’s an awesome place to have dinner and cocktails in the evening while taking in the sunset. Happy Hour is 3-5pm!
4. Hilo town is worth staying for 1 or 2 nights – it has a historic small town feel, full of great shops, museums amazing banyan trees and restaurants especially the Hilo Bay Café – wonderful evening dinner spot for locally inspired dishes.
5. Ili Kope Coffee body scrubs made with 100% organic Kona coffee are fabulous. Visit https://www.ilikope.com/ for places to shop for this wonderful beauty product.

submitted by -- Tony Terrill