Top 5 Spots in Darwin to Hold Your Christmas Party

1. Kingpin Bowling & More

Enjoy activities from bowling to laser tag and the arcade, cocktails on arrival and platters to share.

😛💜

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2. Darwin Harbour Cruises

Enjoy canapes, beverages, music and activities surrounded by a beautiful Darwin sunset.

#darwin #darwinharbourcruises #sunset #ntaustralia

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3. Crocosaurus Cove Christmas Function

Enjoy a cocktail or seated dinner, a room decorated for the season and complimentary voucher for the cage of death as a prize for one of your lucky guests!

 

4. Skycity Casino

Enjoy a night under the stars gazing across the beautiful Mindil Beach.

Another stunning Darwin sunset. #tourismnt #seeaustralia #travelmanagerheather #tm2017drw

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5. Seafood on Cullen

Beautiful all you can eat Seafood Buffet restaurant! Perfectly positioned on the waterfront at Cullen Bay. Enjoy fresh caught barramundi and Mud crab from Darwin and delicious coffin bay oysters from SA BBQ steak, Asian cuisine, sweet desserts, chocolate fountain and a delicious house – made cocktail.

Prawns, sunset and cocktails ... great dinner! 🌴

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Top 5 Reasons to Have Your Wedding in Darwin During the Wet Season

You’re getting married? Congratulations! You are about to embark on a journey of a lifetime. In the same spirit, what better place to tie the knot than NT’s Top End? Here are 5 reasons you and your guests will love a wedding in Darwin during the wet season, November to April.

1. Luscious greenery everywhere you look – the best time of the year to see the Australian landscape and waterfalls.

 

2. Participate in the Million Dollar Fish competition with family and friends… Potentially become a millionaire during your stay!

 

3. Enjoy great value for money – Snap up exclusive Territorian Rates and Wet Season Wedding Packages here. 

 

4. Picturesque views of the famous NT monsoons rolling across the harbour.

 

5. Indulge in the best air-conditioning in town! Cool down by our pool with a cocktail and beat the heat.

By the pool with purple skies at Adina Darwin, NT. Photo by Mauro Risch

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Top 5 Darwin Wet Season Adventures

Darwin’s dry season may have the better weather but there are some adventures you can only enjoy during the wet and others which are simply more magnificent when the rain is falling. Take a look at our top five for some serious travel inspo.

1. Catch a Million Dollar Fish

If you’ve ever dreamt of catching a big NT barra, there’s no better time to do it than the wet season. Why? Well, the fish are biting for starters, but there’s also $2 million of prize money to be won. 101 barramundi have been tagged with winnings, including 100 $10,000 fish and one $1 million big one. $80,000 was won last year and $20,000 of that went to the same family, no doubt making them very happy. Can you go one better? Charter a boat from Cobourg Fishing Safaris and embark on a fishing tour that could turn you into a millionaire…

Cobourg Fishing Safaris

 

2. Take a Scenic Flight over Jim Jim and Twin Falls

These are two of Australia’s most spectacular waterfalls, plummeting 200 metres and 150 metres respectively down Kakadu National Park’s trademark red cliffs. Both are at their most impressive in the wet season, when heavy rains flow thick and fast over the drops. Nearby roads are often flooded at this time of year, making scenic flights the best and often only way to see the falls in full force. Remember to pack the camera and get ready to be blown away by nature’s power. Try Outback Floatplane Adventures for a range of scenic helicopter tours and adventure safaris.

 

3. Settle in for some storm watching

While the wet season won’t present you with day after day of clear blue skies like the dry, it will deliver regular and spectacular summer storms. One storm cell up here can produce up to 1600 lightning strikes: the same number Perth sees in an average year. Join the locals at Stokes Hill Wharf or Darwin Ski Club in the afternoons to secure a front row seat to watch the storms roll in.

Afternoon storms across the harbour from Mandorah Jetty. What a great wet season we've had in the Top End! 📷 by @snapperartsy

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4. Swim with a salty

Swimming with one of Darwin’s famous saltwater crocs becomes a lot more appealing in the wet season, when the days are hot enough that any form of water-based sport takes on an enticing new angle. Head to Crocosaurus Cove in the heart of the city and jump in the Perspex cube to see the world’s largest reptiles up close and personal. As you’ve probably guessed, this activity’s not for the faint-hearted.

 

5. Tandem skydive!

Get ready for the most exhilarating 35 seconds of your life as you free fall through the sky, enjoying the scenic views of Darwin’s magnificent coast line. Rest assured, you are in very safe hands. The team at Top End Tandem have been operating for over 15 years, delivering more than 15,000 exhilarating tandem skydives to thousands of happy travellers.

New canopies arrived, looking pretty cool😄

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Enticed? Book a room at one of our Darwin hotels and start planning your next Top End stay.

 

Your Guide to Melbourne’s Spring Carnival 2017

Melbourne’s Spring Carnival is the event on the city’s social calendar. Stretching for three glorious weeks from the Caulfield Cup on October 21 to Stakes Day on November 11, it’s a festival of top tier thoroughbred racing, incredible fashions, bold entertainment and a whole lot of champagne.

What’s on

While you can’t go wrong with any of the race days on the calendar, the biggest and best of the bunch take place at Flemington Racecourse from the first Saturday in November. This, of course, is Derby Day, an event known almost as well for its black and white dress code as it is for the on-track action. Two of the day’s races are particularly important as the winners of both the Longines Mackinnon Stakes and Lexus Stakes gain entry into the big one: The Melbourne Cup.

Taking place the following Tuesday, this really is the race that stops a nation and there’s no better place to enjoy it than in the flesh alongside 100,000 fellow racegoers. Because the event is so popular, it’s worth considering buying something more than general admission so the lines for drinks, food and the bathrooms won’t be quite as long.

If you’re not quite ready to end the celebrations with Melbourne Cup, the two remaining events of the carnival – Oaks Day and Stakes Day – are just as fun and offer their own traditions. Oaks Day is traditionally ladies’ day and is a favourite with the fashionistas, while Stakes Day is also known as family day and has a host of kid-friendly activities to keep the little ones entertained.

 

Insider tips

If you’re looking to save some money on your chosen race day, you’ll be pleased to know BYO picnics are encouraged. Just remember to leave the alcohol and sharp knives at home and try and get there early to snag a great spot to set up your rug.

Remember dress code is important at the races, particularly if you’ll be spending any time in members’ areas or event marquees. It’s almost impossible to overdress so have some fun with it and, whatever you do, embrace the chance to wear a fantastic hat. Ladies, consider the comfort and longevity of your shoes: while towering stilettos may look amazing on your feet at 10am, they’ll look distinctly less impressive clutched in your hands come late afternoon.

 

Where to stay

Make the race day commute easy by booking a room at Adina Apartment Hotel Northbank or Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne. Both are around 6km away from Flemington Racecourse, making it a quick drive or easy trip on public transport. The two and three bedroom apartments on offer make them perfect choices for group stays and the spacious floor plans and thoughtful amenities allow you to start your race day right, cooking up a champagne breakfast in your fully-equipped kitchen and getting ready in your roomy, well-lit bathrooms. Book now to secure great rates.

Yes please take up the entire bed @underwearloi 🛌🙄💋 Melbourne day 1! #FANGventureTIMe

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10 FREE Things To Do in Sydney

The best things in life Sydney are free. It may not quite be a Janet Jackson song but it’s got a nice ring to it, don’t you think? And ok, while not all the best things in Sydney come cost-free, there are some pretty awesome activities you can get involved in without spending a dime. Here are our top 10.

1. Walk

Before you roll your eyes and navigate away from the page, bear with us for a second. We don’t just mean walk any old where: we’re suggesting tackling some of the most hot dang picturesque sections of pavement you’ve ever seen, from the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, the trail from the Opera House round to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, through The Rocks and over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and along any of the 56 trails in the Royal National Park.

The trip that keeps on giving. #sydney #australia #operahouse #harbourbridge #lookingfornemo

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2. Admire things at the Museum of Contemporary Art

“What kinds of things?” you ask. All kinds of things: giant, often confusing installations; beautiful photography; impressive sculptures; contemporary films; and – if you go upstairs to the rooftop café – one of the most iconic views of the harbour in town.

Went to the MCA and fell in love with the artworks by Jenny Watson 🎨

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3. Listen to jazz and play board games

No, we don’t mean with your nanna – pop along to the uber cool Venue 505 in Surry Hills every Monday night and enjoy it all for free (disclaimer: you may want to buy a drink – we hear board games are more fun after a wine).

 

4. Swim

Take a dip at Bondi, swim out to one of the floating platforms at Murray Rose, snorkel at Gordon’s Bay or test out the ocean pool at Bronte. Great Instagram pics are guaranteed.

 

5. Check out the markets

There’s always a market on somewhere in Sydney, from the open-every-day Sydney Fish Markets, to the Saturday-only famers markets at Carriageworks and Bondi and the mid-week offerings in Moore Park and Double Bay. Sure, chances are you’ll buy something but that doesn’t negate the glory of free samples.

 

6. Watch a movie

Yep, that’s right: Sydney’s so cool we show movies for free! Head along to the Soda Factory on Monday nights to catch the classics, from The Wizard of Oz right through to The Lion King. You’ll have to pay for dinner, but with bargains like $8 mac n’ cheese and $12 buffalo wings it won’t break the bank.

 

7. Listen to the experts

The University of Sydney hosts a constant stream of free talks on Sydney Ideas, getting experts to cover topics like fraud, climate change and what the future holds for millennials. All you have to do is register online to secure your free seat.

 

8. Explore the big events

We’re pretty lucky here in Sydney town when it comes to free large-scale events. There’s Vivid (of course), Sculptures by the Sea and Sydney Festival, which always offers an enticing line-up of free events. Just check the calendar to see what’s on.

 

9. Test your knowledge at trivia

The Dog Hotel in Randwick hosts awesome trivia every Wednesday night, pitting teams against each other in a battle for bar tabs and cold hard cash. They also do a mean $12.50 steak and chips, which we can highly recommend.

 

10. Get contemporary at White Rabbit Gallery

This little gallery has taken Sydney by storm since it opened in 2009, displaying owner Judith Nelson’s private collection as well as regularly changing exhibitions of the weird and wonderful. Visits here are made even better thanks to the gallery’s free entry policy.

⚫️#thedarkmatters

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Want a Cheap Business Class Flight? Steve Hui Tells Us How

We were lucky enough to catch up with Steve Hui, Australia’s most celebrated Points Whisperer and CEO of iFLYflat – an Australian start-up which helps travellers manage their loyalty points and secure business class flights for a fraction of the cost. Read on to find out Steve’s top point hacking tips and what inspired him to start this innovative company.

Can you give us a quick history of Steve Hui and how you ended up as Australia’s most knowledgeable ‘Points Whisperer’?

 

iFLYflat was started from my frustration of hearing stories about people redeeming their hard earned points for normal everyday products.

The trigger was when I heard about someone from my prior work had redeemed over 100,000 points for an iPad (valued at approx. $1,000), and the accountant in me thought that was a tremendous loss of opportunity and was poor value. Whereas those same number of points could have been used towards a one-way business class ticket to London, or a return business class ticket to Hong Kong, valued at more than $5,000.

That’s more than 5x the value with the same point but using them smarter.

Additionally, I had grown to love the comfort and efficiency of business travel from a number of work trips I had taken, and thought that premium travel is the point of flying. As an accountant, I always felt comfortable with numbers and dollars, and to me it always made sense to maximise the potential value of something.

This lead me to start iFLYflat, in order to help everyone to optimise their points to get more value out of them and experience something with a WOW factor, such as flying First or Business class. These are brilliant flying experiences which most people are not willing or cannot afford to fly if they were paying full price, but it is totally achievable with a points plan.

 

What are 5 tips for travellers to make the most of their travel points? Is there anything they should look out for? Any secrets you can let us in on?

 

1. When it comes to earning, the right card makes all the difference. Take a look at your lifestyle and where you spend most of your expenses, different cards can earn double or triple points on different type of expenses for the same spend. Some American Express cards can earn triple points on restaurants or supermarkets, double points on travel, petrol or on Google advertisements, IT and freight expenses.

2. It’s not just about earning more points, it’s about earning the right type of points. Pick a card where reward points are transferable to many different partners or used in many different ways. This increases your options to use them across multiple airlines when you decide to fly.

3. Use points for ‘WOW’ experiences. There is nothing more exciting than knowing you scored an experience for a fraction of the cost. So have a plan for your points and reward yourself with something really cool, such as flying business or first class.

4. Understand that different airlines have different sweet-spots. For the same destinations, frequent flyer programs charge less points. For example, using points to fly on Singapore Airlines to Europe is approximately 18 to 25 percent cheaper than using Qantas or Virgin.

5. Set yourself some travel goals for the near and long term future. This will help you save your points consistently. Points can be extremely valuable when redeemed for the right things, like exploring your world in business class. Having a clear goal will keep you on track and help you fly sooner.

Champagne time. One of the rituals of flying.

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Where is your favourite place to travel to? And your best travel memory?

 

My favourite place is New York, while it may sound cliche because I know most people would also choose it because there is so much to do and discover, but with New York being such a long flight from Sydney it can be a real discomfort to fly in Economy and a real expense to pay for a normal business class ticket. (This is where using points shine).

My best travel memory is a trip to Copenhagen in the same year as the London Olympics (2012), with the magical long days, the laid-back attitudes of the locals and the flat landscape. I remember cycling throughout the whole city and enjoying all the sights, bites, cafes, restaurants, and bar from very early till very late.

And went for a walk past the iconic #flatironbuilding. It was a beautiful day. You must visit new york. Use points for dream trips.

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What do you love about flying business class?

 

The best thing is the freedom factor, you have enough private space to move around, to get up when you need to, and space to put your belongings.

The freedom to speed through check-in, security and to board as you please. And the freedom once on board to eat, drink, watch movies, read or sleep as you feel like it.

This is the key pleasures of flying business class over economy. And if you can do it for cheaper – then you can get addicted to collecting points.

The simple pleasures of looking out the window in anticipation of the journey ahead.

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What’s next for iFLYFlat and where can we find you?

 

We’re continuing to expand our team and help more people fly business class for less. We also have a goal to help 1,000 new businesses each year to realise their opportunity easily earn more points through their everyday expenses and to turn into reward travel at low cost.

We think this can give Australian businesses the competitive advantage to travel more often and engage in global markets and increase our impact.

www.Iflyflat.com.au | Instagram | Facebook

 

You can earn points with Qantas and Velocity Frequent Flyer when you stay at any TFE Hotels brands in Australia and New Zealand. Click here for details.

Things to do in SYDNEY these School Holidays

Keep the kids and adults entertained these school holidays with some of Sydney’s best family-friendly activities.

Junior Day Pack at the Sydney Opera House

Learn the secrets of Sydney’s most iconic landmark, see Frank Woodley in concert at his kid-friendly, laugh-out-loud best, and enjoy a delicious lunch at the Opera Bar. With only eight performance days, this one’s sure to sell out quickly so we recommend buying your tickets well in advance.

 

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Dreamworks, the studio behind Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, have done it again with their newest venture. The whole family will laugh along together at this animated tale of two pranksters hypnotising their principal into thinking he’s a superhero named Captain Underpants. This one will be screening throughout the school holidays in cinemas around the city so pick the time and place that suits you best.

#CaptainUnderpants to the rescue! In cinemas July 24. #TheFirstEpicMovie #Underpants #Captain #Hero #Superhero

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Lah-Lah’s Big Live Band Meets the Sydney Youth Orchestra

Proving Sydney Fringe Festival can do family friendly, this big event will pair stripy-socked singing sensation Lah-Lah with some of Sydney’s best young musical talent. Be prepared to sing, dance and feel impressed by pint-sized violinists.

 

Archibald Prize

Australia’s favourite art award is perfect for older kids and creative types. Stroll through the gallery, seeing which faces you recognise and – if you visit before October 3 – vote for your favourite to help determine the People’s Choice Award.

 

Garden Night-Life

Go on an after-dark tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens on October 6 and spot all kinds of nocturnal mammals from Microbats to Tawny Frogmouths and Golden Orb spiders. You’ll also get the chance to appreciate the lights of the famous Sydney Harbour.

 

Top 5 Melbourne School Holidays Activities September 2017

As crazy as it seems, the next round of school holidays is just around the corner. Here are our top picks for family fun in Melbourne, covering everything from AFL to pirates and rollercoasters.

Footy Festival

Spring is in the air and finals fever is peaking, making it the perfect time of year for a festival celebrating all things footy related. Taking place from 27-30 September in Yarra Park just outside the MCG, you can catch the Grand Final Eve Concert, tuck into a burger from local favourite Biggie Smalls, hit up the kids zone for a stack of interactive activities and watch the final live on the big screen with the roar of the crowd quite literally behind you.

Straight to the #SlimeLab #aflfootyfestival #footyfestival #aflgf

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Royal Melbourne Show

The Royal Show is back in town again from 23 September – 3 October, bringing the best of the bush to the heart of the city. Cuddle a lamb, milk a cow, watch the woodchop, jump on the Nitro Coaster and stock up on showbags for the ride home.

Kids under five can enter the Royal Melbourne Show for free! #TopTipTuesday

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ACMI Family Sundays

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image hosts free, interactive family fun on the first Sunday of each month. Wield a lightsabre, make a YouTube video, try your hand at clay animation and stick around for a great family movie.

Troopers #aqb #zmb #myboys #starwars #acmifamilysundays

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Pirate Sundays at Polly Woodside

Ahoy there me hearties! Jump on board the tall ship Polly Woodside on the first Sunday in October for a day of fun activities. Join in a treasure hunt, ring the bell, scrub the deck and discover life at sea.

 

Ice Age: No Time for Nuts 4D

Will Scrat the squirrel finally get his nut? Find out in the newest instalment of the Ice Age adventure in special 4D screenings at Melbourne Aquarium these school holidays. The ticket price is included in your aquarium entry so hang around after the movie to meet penguins, seals and a host of other ice-loving creatures.

My inner child is really happy 🖐🏻

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Top 5 Perth School Holidays Activities September 2017

Spring has sprung, which means the September school holidays are just around the corner. Here’s the round-up of Perth’s best events for the whole family.

Perth Royal Show

Perth’s biggest community event is back again this year, bringing its trademark mix of fun and food to Claremont Showgrounds throughout the last week of September. See the famous diving pigs launch themselves into the water, try your hand at milking a cow, take a trip down sideshow alley and grab a hotdog before settling in to watch the fireworks bloom overhead.

 

Are we there yet? A journey around Australia

The State Library has the perfect event for young adventurers these school holidays. This exhibition, based on the award-winning picture book of the same name, features original illustrations, travel diaries and sketches from the author’s real life journey all the way from Wave Rock to Roebuck Bay. It’s a free, fun way to learn about the beauty and diversity of Western Australia and inspire little ones to start documenting their own holidays.

 

Kings Park Festival

This spectacular celebration of Western Australia’s stunning wildflowers runs all September long. As well as walks, talks and art installations, there are a stack of family activities and live music every Sunday. Best of all, most events are free.

#stiltwalkers #kingsparkfestival

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Whodunit? At Scitech

The crime scene is a zoo, a security guard has been shot and a rare white rhino has been stolen. If you’ve got a little detective in your family, this one is for you. Pick up your crime file at the door, follow the clues and get a helping hand with footprints, DNA and finger printing. How long will it take you to solve the mystery?

 

Awesome Arts Festival for Bright Young Things

Ideal for ages 12 and up, this festival brings together the best theatre, dance, music, and visual arts from all around the world. It takes place at a number of different venues across the city from September 30 to October 9, so check the program to find out what’s on and what tickles your fancy.

 

Bucket List Foodie Getaways Around Australia

Sometimes the best part of a holiday is the eating. Maybe it’s because of the wonderful new venues you get to discover or all the time you have to enjoy them. The unspoken rule that diets don’t exist when you’re in a different postcode could also be a contributing factor. Whatever the reason, we fully support food-focused getaways – so much so that we’ve compiled a list of the best places in Australia to get your fill.

1. Melbourne

Of course Melbourne topped the list. How could it not, given it houses almost all the country’s top restaurants, has bragging rights over the most expertly brewed coffee and does authentic Italian to a tee. Try Attica, Higher Ground and Café di Stasio respectively for shining examples of these foodie qualities.

An exquisitely delicate experience @atticamelbourne

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2. Bondi

Before we took our first bite of hipster food, we never realised healthy could taste so good. Sydney’s beautiful beachside ‘burb has perfected body-conscious gastronomy, serving up everything from the delicious Green Pea Pancakes at Porch and Parlour to the drool-worthy selection of vegan cakes at Earth to Table. If you want to intersperse your healthy hipster delights with more sinful options, make sure you grab a scoop of Messina’s famous ice-cream in all its creamy glory.

Saturday situations via @meowjoce 🌿#brunch

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3. Yarra Valley

The scenery may be stunning but the food (and the wine) are better. Given the rolling green hills and rich farmland, it’s no surprise the winning formula here is based on quality local produce. Try Yarra Valley Dairy where you can sample seriously amazing farm-fresh cheeses alongside wines from 30 boutique producers, El Kanah Marysville for immensely satisfying home cooked meals, and – for something different – send yourself to Buxton Trout and Salmon Farm where you can catch your meal and have it cooked up (alongside crispy, salty chips) at the local pub. It doesn’t get much more farm-to-table than that.

 

4. Adelaide and surrounds

This is another must-visit for those foodies who love fresh local produce and the farm-to-table ethos. Lovers of food and wine should put Adelaide at the top of their list, thanks to the fact the city is quite literally surrounded by some of Australia’s best wine regions, including the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley and McLaren Vale. While many cellar doors offer incredible midday meals alongside their wines (Penfolds Magill Estate, we’re looking at you), exceptional food can be found right across the city, from the fine dining at Georges on Waymouth to the bustling stalls of Central Market. Put simply, all you need to do is follow your nose.

 

5. Brisbane

This might be a surprise inclusion for many of you, especially if you haven’t been to Queensland’s capital in the last five years. While there have always been a few gems around, like Gambaro Seafood Restaurant in Petrie Terrace, Brisbane’s restaurant scene has recently exploded to include multiple foodie precincts in all corners of the city. West End has all sorts of cuisines done exceptionally well, from Asian fusion at Chu the Phat to authentic Greek at Lefkas Taverna; South Bank has nailed fine-dining on the head with offerings like Stokehouse; and Fortitude Valley has cornered the market for foodie venues with a twist, home to ultimate food, drink and grocery store hybrid Heya Bar and ice-cream sandwich haven Mister Fitz.

 

If you’re looking for a place to stay for any of these foodie getaways, TFE Hotels has you covered, offering everything from luxury accommodation to affordable comfort. Check out our range of hotels and locations here.