Novotel Benoa pool villa - night. Part of Accor Vcation Club's Asia Select program.

Select two to check out…and check into

Every year, Accor Vacation Club takes a look at which properties are most popular with Members using their Premiere Points to access the AccorHotels Select Asia and Elite programs. Here we reveal the top two destinations, as booked by you.

 

NOVOTEL BALI BENOA

Definitely one to consider for your next overseas holiday, Novotel Bali Benoa has been the most popular resort with members using their Premiere Points on the Accor Hotels Select Asia program to date.

Novotel Bali Benoa is perfect for a tropical family escape or romantic getaway. With beach access to popular watersports destination, Tanjung Beach, and three popular pools onsite, water babies will be in heaven! The resort is also just 45 minutes away from the famous Uluwatu Temple for those that like a dose of local culture while on holiday overseas.

On the dining side – which let’s face it, is such an important part of any holiday – there are three convenient restaurants and bars to choose from at the hotel, and of course many other great options beyond the Novotel to explore.  Other onsite hotel facilities include a fitness centre, kids club, tennis courts and water sports activities to keep you entertained. Back in your your room or villa, guests can still enjoy an authentic Bali experience with interiors featuring local coconut wood, and surrounded by lush tropical gardens. Overall, an idyllic escape.

PULLMAN PHUKET ARCADIA NATHION BEACH

A five-star lifestyle resort at its finest, it is no surprise that the Pullman Phuket Arcadia Nathion Beach in Thailand is the most popular hotel option with Accor Vacation Club Members using the Accor Hotels Select partner program.

The must-know detail Members need when it comes to this resort? Location, location, location! Positioned high on a lofty headland, the Pullman offers a spectacular poolside panorama from its pool, offering guests the chance to sit back, relax and soak up views of the Andaman Sea while swimming with a cocktail in hand. True holiday heaven.  For those who want to explore the beach below, the Pullman has a direct staircase to the sand, offering the best of Phuket pool and beach life, right on your doorstep.

From a design perspective, the resort presents a sophisticated and contemporary feel, and brings a cosmopolitan sensibility to a seaside setting allowing guests to ‘check in and chill out’. There is a Pullman Spa in-house with spa rooms looking out over the ocean, and multiple massage and beauty treatments available whether you prefer a traditional Thai option, facial or aromatherapy indulgence.

With multiple restaurants and bars available, guests can enjoy a variety of cuisine experiences during their stay. Elements is open for all-day dining seven days a week, serving up a wide range of international cuisine, not least of all Thai and Western flavours.. Each dish is served with a contemporary twist: fresh seafood with just the right seasoning or banana blossom palm leaf salad to tempt the palette.

For convenient casual dining, The Deli is a great option with fresh baked croissants, imported cheeses, old and new world wine plus and other indulgent treats that you are welcome to buy and take back to your room for a private eats on your balcony.Vero, open for dinner daily. The Italian trattoria and wine bar Vero is open daily for dinner, and is a great venue to celebrate a special occasion with loved ones and friends.

 

Accor Hotels Select and Select Asia programs – what are they?

Accor Vacation Club work in partnership with AccorHotels to deliver two great programs, specifically created as an exclusive benefit for Members. The programs provide a great way to use points to explore the region, beyond Accor Vacation Club’ core network of 24 properties to broaden your travel horizons. A true synergy with the Accor network of hotels, the key benefit of the program is the ability it gives Members to retain points and redeem them within the larger AccorHotel network.

Accor Hotels Select Asia network of 27 hotels across Asia is available to Platinum, Traveller and Corporate level Premiere Plus Members. The Accor Hotels Select Elite program offers a choice of 34 different hotels, primarily under the Sofitel Luxury Hotel, Pullman and MGallery brands, and is available to Traveller and Corporate level Première Plus Members.

For more on booking the Novotel Bali Benoa, Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithoin Beach, or any other resorts and hotels in the Accor Hotels Select programs, contact a representative of the Accor Vacation Club Member Services team on 1300 761414.

 

 

To plan your next holiday escape visit www.accorvacationclub.com.au

The Vintage, Accor Vacation Club Apartments

Timeshare Travel Review – Grand Mercure The Vintage Hunter Valley Resort

Have a vine time

The Hunter Valley region of New South Wales is one of Australia’s best and most popular wine regions, with its first vines planted in the early 19th century. Accor Vacation Club’s apartments within the luxurious Grand Mercure The Vintage are ideally close to numerous cellar door experiences.

Put simply, its a great spot to stop, and enjoy a drop – or more – in this scenic part of the world.

Whether you are interested in a formal guided winery tour, or just wandering and exploring at your own pace, the region has a wine experience to suit casual drinkers to complete connoisseurs’.  Australian Shiraz, Semillon, Chardonnay and even Gewurztraminer. There are a range of styles to suit a variety of palates.

The list of wineries to visit is also potentially very long. Bimbadgen, McGuigan’s, Tyrell’s, Peppertree and Brokenwood. Winwood, Waverley and Ivanhoe – plus many more. It may pay off to do a little research online before heading out, in order to really target those that appeal based on style, production and preferred varietal.

 

Dig life

Exploring the expansive and fragrant Hunter Valley Gardens is a definite highlight for many visitors to this part of the world. Spanning some 25 acres, there are ten separate feature themed gardens to explore, including a spectacular Rose Garden with thousands of varieties on display. Overall there are 8 kilometres of garden trails to enjoy, with special features along the way such as a 10 metre high waterfall above a sunken garden, and a storybook garden for younger family members in mind. The Gardens host special events throughout the year, including a ‘snow time in the gardens’ and Easter event. Its famous Christmas Lights Spectacular, which is on from November 02 – January 26, 2019 is the largest lights display in the Southern Hemisphere!

 

Make for the market

Enchanting is one great word to sum up the experience at the Handmade in the Hunter markets in picturesque village of Pokolbin.

This country style market has the distinction of being the longest-running, genuine, handmade market in the vineyard area, so tis easy to see why many choose to plan their visit to the Hunter Valley around a visit to this charming venue.

There are many wineries come concert venues close by including Hope Estate, Bimbadgen and Roche, and Handmade in the Hunter Markets are held to coincide with concert dates and other major vineyard events.

 

Talk to the animals

The Hunter Valley Zoo makes a great day out for both bog kids, and small! Located just out of Cessnock, the Zoo features a variety of native and exotic animals, plus interactive encounters with farmyard animals plus favourites including Kangaroos, Koalas, wombats and birds.

Daily the Zoo offers a variety of free, educational and fun shows to get up close to pat or take a snap with selected wildlife. There are also paid experiences available on request – such as the Meerkat or Marmoset Monkey meet up for those who want a one on one encounter!

Free barbeque facilities are onsite too for those who want to bring a packed lunch and make a day of it.

 

Bunker down for some golf

As refined as its name suggests, The Vintage Golf Club in the Hunter Valley is widely regarded as one of the most elegant championship courses in Australia, and is home of the NSW Open Golf Championships, held each November.  This spectacular 18-hole, par 71 course (designed by Greg Norman) is rated among the top 2% of courses nation-wide. That makes it a must-play location for those who love the game. Described as “challenging but fair to all handicaps’, the course is an easy two hour drive from Sydney and provides a beautiful backyard scene for those Members staying at the Grand Mercure The Vintage, Accor Vacation Club Apartments. Convenience plus!

 

Apartment life at The Vintage

Accor Vacation Club’s apartments at Grand Mercure The Vintage in the Hunter Valley where beautified in 2019. The stunning update included new electric fireplaces, which are always sure to be given a workout over the winter season. Some other key changes included upgraded wall-mounted televisions and cabinetry, plus fabulous new artwork selected and displayed throughout the apartments.  In response to Member feedback, apartments now boast larger bathroom vanities and mirrors, alongside many other modern accessories and furnishings added to each apartment to complete the contemporary look. In living and bedroom spaces, expect to enjoy new lamps and lighting, scatter cushions, bed throws and brand new sofa beds for added convenience and comfort this summer.

 

 To plan your next holiday escape visit www.accorvacationclub.com.au

 

Address: Grand Mercure The Vintage, Accor Vacation Club Apartments

            Vintage Dr, Rothbury NSW 2320

Phone: (07) 5501 7370

Visit: https://www.accorvacationclub.com.au/property/grand-mercure-the-vintage/

 

The information in this article is not personal financial advice and has been prepared without taking into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person.  Before making a decision to purchase or upgrade a membership in the Accor Vacation Club, you should consider the PDS dated 1 January 2017, issued by A.P.V.C. Ltd AFSL 245515 and available at www.accorvacationclub.com.au or by contacting A.P.V.C. Ltd on 1800 70 81 90. All hotel and cruise bookings are subject to availability.

 

Happy family taking a self picture at the sea shore on a sunny day

Good to KNOW membership FAQs

Top tips to keep in mind, courtesy of Accor Vacation Club’s Members Services team.

Have you taken advantage of the new GAP booking window?

We have listened to the feedback, provided through the 2016 Members Survey, at Members Workshops and over the phone. Changes have been made that deliver greater flexibility and provide more opportunities to make online reservations. Enter – GAP Bookings. Once the 7 night reservation booking windows for all levels of membership have opened, 10 months prior to check in, reservations shorter than 7 nights can be made when there is no availability either side of the shorter duration block using the new GAP booking window. Conditions apply, so contact Members Services for more on how to use this new Booking Window.

Ensure an always-happy anniversary!

We’ve all been guilty of forgetting about those important anniversaries. We want to help you make sure that never happens when it comes to your Accor Vacation Club Première Points. Your Accor Vacation Club membership anniversary and expiry dates remain the same every year and never change. Therefore, to keep those important dates top of mind, we recommend setting a reminder and planning ahead. Whether you prefer an old-school wall calendar or digital calendar alarm is up to you – just write them down and lock them in! That will help ensure that you never have to worry about having any unused points expire.

Remember, when you check in, your points check out.

Points for Club property reservations are deducted on the actual day of check in – not when you make the reservation. Première Points used for Accor Hotels Select reservations are deducted on the day of reservation allowing you to check in up to 90 days later.

Convert your Première Points with AVC Travel.

Don’t know what to do with your expiring points? Unable to check in to a Club property before they expire? Talk to us about exploring the Accor Hotels Select properties or converting your Première Points to Discovery Dollars. Use Discovery Dollars to reduce the cash component of hotels, cruises and packages booked through Accor Vacation Club Travel.

Coming clean on credits.

Running out of cleaning credits should never deter you from making a new holiday reservation with Accor Vacation Club. If you want to book a stay, but do not have enough cleaning credits available, you can purchase more at the time of making the Club property reservation. Alternatively, Members can choose to book an Accor Hotels Select property, which does not require you to use a clean credit at all.

Stay in touch.

Not receiving all the latest news from the Club by email? If you think you might be missing important updates, please don’t hesitate to call. Your Members Services team can check that we have your current email details, and ensure that you are subscribed to receive all of our important news.

Telephone Workshops.

We love nothing more than bringing Members up to speed on all the membership benefits they are entitled to, and helping use each and every point! Make sure you call Members Services to arrange an annual workshop, to help stay on top of the many benefits and maximise your Membership to its full capacity. Our mission is to ensure you can fit in as many holidays and experiences with

Accor Vacation Club as possible to create holiday memories that matter.

For more information or to answer any questions you may have contact your friendly Member Services Teamon AU: 1300 76 14 14 or NZ: 0800 76 14 14 (press option 2) or email info@accorvacationclub.com.au

To plan your next holiday escape visit www.accorvacationclub.com.au

Grand Mercure Puka Park, managed by Accor Vacation Club

Timeshare Travel Review – Grand Mercure Puka Park

Call of the Coromandel

 Pristine beaches, gorgeous mysterious forests and an overall relaxed atmosphere make The Coromandel Peninsula on New Zealand’s North Island is an ideal place to escape the daily grind.

Just a hop skip and jump across the gulf from Auckland, it rightfully earned its place as one of New Zealand’s favorite holiday spots – and with Accor Vacation Club members too who choose to check out the Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort!

 

Underwater love

The area is famous for diving and snorkeling, with an underwater world rivaling anything you’ll find above land.

Whanguanui-aHei Marine Reserve in Mercury Bay, is a popular location, with calm waters and beautiful reefs just below the surface. The 7 islands of this bay boast a diverse range of underwater life including turtles, moray eels, stingrays, marlin and kingfsh, and submerged caves and drop-offs will delight divers who like a challenge.

Novice divers and snorkelers will revel in Gemstone Bay, where a beginners’ snorkel trail is available pointing out the way and key details with the use of buoys and information panels. Want to know what fish just swum by? There’s a panel for that too!

There are also multiple boat cruises, kayaking tours and fishing spots to explore if admiring the ocean from above is more your style.

 

Walk the Walk

If you love exploring new regions by foot, then check out the Coromandel Coast Walk. A 7 hour return hike, this coastal walk is truly spectacular allowing an opportunity to appreciate the peaceful natural beauty, beach vistas and sparkling bar highlights from the ridges of the Peninsula. Stony Bay and Fletchers Bay mark the start and end points of the track, and both are hidden jewels in their own right.

If you are looking for a more leisurely option, there are many shorter walks or more casual strolls available. For example, just 3 kilometres from the Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort lie the golden sands of Pauanui Beach, one of the most popular on the Coromandel coast. The beach is perfect for a morning or afternoon walk, as well as ideal for an ocean swim, surfing, boogie boarding and stand-up paddle-boarding. Or maybe just sitting and watching the world go by…

 

Put a spring in your step

If spa life is more your thing, then the natural variety is not to be missed when in this part of the world. The Lost Spring Geothermal Spa in Whitianga is a naturally heated spa with rejuvenating thermal waters reaching the surface from the deep earth below. Combine this with soothing waterfalls and beautiful floral and you’ll be blissed out before brunch time! For those who prefer a traditional spa experience indoors, the destination boasts many great day spas with a range of local and traditional treatments to enjoy.

 

Treetop serenity and stargazing

Solitude and quiet nature are usually what people love most about staying at the Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort, one Accor Vacation Club’s most popular hotel destinations for Members.

This luxury lodge is an ideal base to explore the Coromandel Peninsula and its surrounds, set on 25 generous acres of mostly untouched, pristine New Zealand bushland on Mt Pauanui.

Two-hours drive from Auckland the resort is touted for its seclusion and ambiance. Many a guest has spent their evenings stargazing from their private decks, with some selected chalets offering a memorable treetop experience!

 

Resort features

Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort completed a soft room refurbishment in 2018, introducing some beautiful, fresh soft furnishings and accessories for Members to experience on their next visit.

Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort combines boutique elegance with retreat style tranquillity. It offers the ultimate environment for you to take time out to restore, indulge and completely relax.

There is also an award winning restaurant on site, Miha, for those who want to enjoy great dining in an unsurpassable location, an onsite tennis court, heated pool with views of the Coromandel Ranges as a backdrop, and gymnasium, spa and sauna facilities.

The resort’s elegant bar is welcoming, complete with majestic fireplace for those cosy cooler evenings, while a stunning sunlit deck off the main building is the perfect place to soak up the view before the sun sets below the treetops.

 

To plan your next holiday escape visit www.accorvacationclub.com.au

 Address: Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort

Mount Avenue, Pauanui Beach, Coromandel Peninsula

Phone: 0064 (0) 7 864 8088 

Visit: https://www.pukapark.co.nz/

 

The information in this article is not personal financial advice and has been prepared without taking into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person.  Before making a decision to purchase or upgrade a membership in the Accor Vacation Club, you should consider the PDS dated 1 January 2017, issued by A.P.V.C. Ltd AFSL 245515 and available at www.accorvacationclub.com.au or by contacting A.P.V.C. Ltd on 1800 70 81 90. All hotel and cruise bookings are subject to availability.

 

Accor Vacation Club travel photography tips

Travel Photography Tips

Story by Jacqueline Hamilton

Photos and videos are our way of freezing a moment in time, waiting to be enjoyed for years to come.

It’s a physical collection of tender moments, sights and adventure. It could be a snap of fascinations never seen before, the story of a face showing the culture of a community, the spirit of a stunning landscape and instant flashes that will never come again. A photo is one of the easiest souvenirs we can bring home with us to remind us of the perfect holiday.

With that in mind, here are some great travel photography tips to help create that ideal image.

 

Protection

That said, now a few words about protecting your camera. Theft is rife in the dodgy areas of our world (and the not so dodgy too!), however you would be amiss if you thought packing your camera in your suitcase was completely safe. Make sure to carry your camera and accessories with you onboard your airplane with you. This should protect it from theft and damage to a greater extent. Don’t flash it about in “dodgy” areas, you may find yourself a target. Overall, insure, insure, insure. Travel Insurance is vital, with the added extras clause ticked and serial numbers documented. We would hate for you to have all those lovely shots held in your camera and to have it whipped away from you the day you are coming home.

 

Memory, Batteries and Backups

Nothing worse than a beeping camera to tell you there is no memory left.

Oh no, you should have bought that extra memory card and battery out with you today. When you think you are covered, slip an extra battery or memory card in your pocket anyway, believe me it will be required when you least expect it.

And I cannot stress enough the importance of backing up. You could use Cloud technology, or you may even want to carry a small hard drive with you to load up. Move your prized images to another device, that way they are secure, you can transfer the images anywhere you need them plus you have all that lovely memory back again.

Learn how to improve contrast, sharpen image elements, soften color tones, reduce highlights, boost shadows, minimize sensor noise, and adjust exposure levels (without going overboard) using the software.

 

Balance

Ask yourself, what are your key points and where do you place them within the frame? The Rule of Thirds is one of the most basic understandings when creating a more balanced photocomposition. Essentially split the image into three imaginary areas both horizontally and vertically. These will help to frame the most important parts of your image in a way that is most pleasing to the eye.

 

Experimenting

By experimenting with your camera you get to know its abilities (and you’re your own!).

Try differently angled shots of the same element. Standing straight on, kneeling, from an elevated height or get right down and shoot upwards from the ground.

Different distances will also change your perspective of a composition. Panoramas, wide angled shots are very different from the more mid-range “generic” shots most people take. And then there is the up close and personal framing that will give you a more in-depth look at part of a building or landscape,or the intricacies of a face – just pay attention to where the shadows are and your source of light, it makes all the difference.

Use your Rule of Thirds to create a pleasing composition – experiment with this too.

What does it look like if you sit the main element to the right, or left? Does it create more interest? Or do you prefer dead centre? It’s your personal preference, so go for it. After all, if you are not happy with it, delete and try again. And again, until you get it just right.

 

People

Walking up to someone and asking to take their picture can be difficult in Australia, let alone a foreign country.

It’s natural to be nervous, after all they are simply living their lives and you are virtually invading their space. Will they say no or get offended? Will they understand you?

If you want to take a portrait, especially if they are going to be up close and personal, get to know the person a little first. Basically, touch base and start with “Hello”.

Chat a few minutes before asking to take their photo – compliment them on something, buy a souvenir from them, ask directions etc. Once you have a line of communication open, asking to take their picture is a lot less intrusive. You may even make a lifelong friend too!

Just remember, not everyone will say yes. Some people will say no. Others will see the opportunity to make some money. Don’t stress if the answer is no, there is always another opportunity around the next corner! And… some people will be just fine with you taking a pic.

Plus, it’s always a good idea to learn the phrase for “Can I take your/your child’s photo?”, “Thank you” and “No problem”. It always pays to be polite.

 

Waiting for the ‘Soul’ of an Image

Photography is about seeing what’s right in front of you. Yet, it’s not just about framing the perfect composition or getting the lighting spot on, although both are important too, your photo should have soul. Use your eyes to see, but attune your emotions, heart and mind to the soul of the image.

Before you press the shutter, take time to slow down and feel. Pay attention to your surroundings, community, culture, even the weather. Be prepared to wait out the weather or light (your research will come in handy here), sit ready for a truck or person to move into or out of frame, have an idea in mind as you look for the face in the crowd that shows the emotion you are trying to capture. Most professional photographers understand they need to have extreme patience and are prepared to wait for that one single moment so they can reap the rewards of a fabulous photo.

Take the time, and look for the soul of the image.

Every destination is different, and every portrait is unique. What are you waiting for? Grab your camera and let’s start! Need some ideas for iconic destinations? Speak with an Accor Cruise and Travel Solutions Specialist at AU: 1800 70 80 90 or NZ: 0800 45 19 97.

To plan your next holiday escape visit www.accorvacationclub.com.au

The Sebel Swan Valley The Vines, managed by Accor Vacation Club

Vacation time, amongst The Vines

It might be a quick 25 minute drive from Perth, but the spectacular Swan Valley is almost guaranteed to have you feeling a million miles away from your everyday cares on your next visit. Whether you are escaping for a mini break or extended holiday in the heart of the vineyards, this destination has something for everyone from manicured golf courses and scenic natural landscapes, to inspiring aboriginal art and historic colonial treasures.

Of course, let’s not forget the famous Swan Valley Food & Wine Trail, a 32 kilometre trail that explores more than 150 wineries, eateries and micro-breweries across this special region that produces some of Australia’s best Verdelho, Chenin Blanc and Shiraz varieties. An ideal destination for those with a ‘taste’ for culinary adventures!

 

 All cellar doors lead to The Sebel

Managed by Accor Vacation Club, The Sebel Swan Valley is the perfect choice for travellers who want to stay a while and indulge in the best of the Swan Valley at their leisure.

A true home-away-from-home experience, The Sebel is a hop, skip and jump away from some of Western Australia’s finest cellar doors and wineries, not least of all the world-class Houghton’s and venerable Sandalwood Wineries, and local fromagerie, the Cheese Factory.

 

Of course, we’re green with envy

Guests staying at Accor Vacation Club’s apartments are invited to play not one, but two challenging 18-hole golf courses, convenentally located at The Vines Resort & Country Club’s.

Thanks to the amazing presentation and experience enjoyed by players on the Ellenbrook and Lakes golf courses, The Vines is continually rated as one of Australia’s best golf resorts. The lush, manicured gardens and immaculate greens of these magnificent Swan Valley courses are surrounded by natural bushland, where you can expect to be joined by local wildlife – not least of all curious wallabies – as you play each course.

For those up for a challenge, The Vines internationally ranked courses are the real deal with unique bunkering and an interesting course layouts that follow the natural landscape making for a testing and enjoyable experience. There is also a driving range, unparalleled in Western Australia, featuring a fully grassed teeing off area and a multi-tiered green surrounded by bunkers, for those wanting to perfect their short game.

 

Practical Magic

Self-catering is definitely a popular option for most guests staying at The Sebel Swan Valley, given each apartment’s great kitchen and lifestyle features for entertaining. However, the nearby Novotel provides an easy alternative for those who prefer to pass on cooking while on a minibreak, providing dining options at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant and bar for breakfast, lunch, dinner or perhaps  a sundowner cocktail as the sun sinks over The Vines.

Guests staying at The Sebel also receive complimentary carparking, and access to Novotel’s outdoor swimming pool and heated spa, tennis and squash courts, a games room, barbeque terrace, hairdresser and massage services. Everything you need for a complete holiday experience.

For those who want to double their holiday fun, Accor Vacation Club offers two more great destinations in Western Australia, within driving range of the Swan Valley.

  

Endearing Margaret River

Set amongst exquisite, manicured gardens in the award winning Margaret River wine region of Western Australia, Grand Mercure Basildene Manor is a one-of-a-kind historic property, dating back to 1912 and classified by the National Trust and Heritage Council.

A three hour drive from the Swan Valley, Basildene Manor is a firm favourite with discerning travellers,

Now owned and operated by one of Australia’s leading holiday lifestyle programs Accor Vacation Club, the old manor house was originally built by the locally renowned Willmott family, 106 years ago, to be their stately family home.

Steeped in history and tradition, the modern Grand Mercure Basildene Manor offers 19 beautifully appointed rooms and suites, in addition to a restaurant that serves a delicious buffet breakfast (and the hotel’s famous Devonshire tea). There is also a fireside reading room, a sunroom and conservatory, a lakeside pergola and even a tennis court. So much to do without even leaving the grounds!

With so many beautiful beaches, caves and wineries within easy reach, Basildene Manor is an ideal home base to explore the natural splendours of Margaret River, beyond the main hotel.

 

The Sebel Swan Valley

Address: 79 Hermitage Drive, The Vines WA 6069

Phone: (07) 5595 3200

 

Grand Mercure Basildene Manor

Address: 187 Wallcliffe Road, Margaret River, WA 6285

Phone: (08) 9757 3140

 

Visit: www.accorhotels.com

To plan your next holiday escape visit www.accorvacationclub.com.au

Busselton jety, a must see for guests staying at the Sebel Busselton

Timeshare Travel Review – The Sebel Busselton

History, humpbacks and heavenly wine. The South-West tip of Australia is one destination that invites all your senses along for the ride!

The seaside town of Busselton is a perfect gateway to indulge in the spoils of this stunning region, and a great base for anyone undertaking a trip to this dramatic part of the world.

 

Have a whale of a time

With easy access to Georgaphe Bay for swimming and snorkeling adventures, Busselton is the ideal place to be to sight the seasonal humpback whale migration each year. Southern Right Whales and rare Blue Whales hug the coast for what is the longest whale watching season, on an epic migration between May and December each year.

Often they come so close to with their calves that visitors can see them with the naked eye from certain vantage points along the coast. Of course, joining a hosted Whale Watching tour from Busselton is also a good option to head out to sea and observe these graceful giants of the sea.

 

Underwater Love

For those interested in a unique encounter with nature, and an immersive experience beneath the water, we recommend Busselton’s Underwater Observatory. A perfect place to explore the underwater coral reefs, without getting wet!

The Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory is one of Western Australia’s most popular eco-tourism icons. Allowing you to descend eight metres below sea level to view an amazing marine world of schooling fish and tropical coral, the Underwater Observatory is a favourite with people of all ages.

 

Get to the Jett!

Of course, most travellers will tell you that its most famous feature is in fact its 19th century Busselton Jetty, a fabulous wooden structure that juts out nearly 2 kilometres into the ocean. It’s the ultimate place to catch a picture perfect sunset sink over the horizon on the West coast. Extending 1.8 kilometres over the protected waters of Geographe Bay, the heritage listed Busselton Jetty is the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. After a leisurely walk over the water, you have the option to jump onboard the 50-seat train and take the leisurely train ride along the jetty, back to shore

 

Where to stay

The Sebel Busselton in Western Australia recently revealed a modern new look, with Accor Vacation Club recently completing a five phase refurbishment program of its Member accommodation. Another great reason to add Busselton to your WA bucket list this year.

All studio, two and three bedroom apartments were given a fabulous facelift over winter. Fresh features cross these spaces include fresh paint, new televisions and USB charge points, bathroom accessories and soft furnishings such as new lamps. Fresh curtains and throws have been inspired by the destination, with a modern coastal palette used alongside textured fabrics and weaves for added comfort.

The Studio accommodation now welcome guests in style with new feature entrance tiles and vanity cabinetry, while two and three bedroom apartments have had modern security screen doors installed.  Gorgeous vibrant local artwork has been added to rooms to provide an energetic pop of colour (think Busselton blue skies and ocean) to help set the scene for holiday fun.

Depending on whether you’re travelling as a couple, or with friends or family, The Sebel Busselton has a variety of modern and spacious apartment options to choose from. Studio spa rooms are ideal for two, while spacious two or three-bedroom self-contained apartments are ideal for larger or multi-generation family trips.

The Sebel Busselton

Address: 553 Bussell Highway, Busselton, WA 6280

Phone: (08) 97549800

To plan your next holiday escape visit www.accorvacationclub.com.au

Thailand, one of the most popular destinations for Accor Vacation Club Members using the Accor Hotels Select and Asia programs.

Tempting Thailand with Accor Vacation Club

It comes as no surprise to us that Australian’s are now among the most well-travelled people in the world. While there is no doubt that we still love exploring our own backyard, more than half of us now owns a passport which means that as a nation, we’re probably likely to be headed overseas some point in the near future.

According to a recent report from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the most popular international destinations for Aussie’s remain New Zealand and Indonesia (primarily, Bali). However according to the Bureau of Statistics, Thailand continues to climb in popularity among travellers, and most of us would agree that it’s easy to see why. Known as ‘the land of smiles’, Thai people are genuinely warm and welcoming. Combine that with great hospitality, affordable dining and activities plus an easy to manage short haul flight, and you have all the ingredients of a great (and good value) trip.

The capital of Thailand, Bangkok might be famous for its nightlife, bars and shopping, but many Australians tend to see this city as more of a stopover option before seeking out resorts on the coast or islands around the Andaman Sea. Here, travellers can experience some of Thailand’s most popular beaches and holiday at a more relaxed pace. Whether you are bold and budget conscious or more selective with luxury tastes – there is a location and hotel style to suit your needs.

If you are considering a trip to Thailand in the near future, Accor Vacation Club’s AccorHotels Select and Select Asia Programs are definitely worth investigating, and are a smart way to leverage your Première Plus Membership to its full advantage.  Combined, they offer 12 different hotel and resort options to consider on your next trip to Thailand, taking in the region’s most popular destinations such as Bangkok, Krabi, Samui, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Phuket.

                                                   

Where can I stay in Thailand with Accor Hotels Select Asia?

Grand Mercure Phuket Patong

Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort & Spa

Novotel Bangkok Platinum Pratunam

Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort

Novotel Samui Resort

Grand Mercure Bangkok Asoke Residence

Mercure Hotel Pattaya

Novotel Phuket Resort

Where can I stay in Thailand with Accor Hotels Select Elite?

Hotel Muse Bangkok Langsuan

Veranda High resort Chiang Mai

Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort

Pullman Pattaya Hotel G

 

Accor Hotels Select and Select Asia programs – what are they?

Accor Vacation Club work in partnership with AccorHotels to deliver two great programs, specifically created as an exclusive benefit for Members. The programs provide a great way to use points to explore the region, beyond Accor Vacation Club’ core network of 24 properties, to broaden your travel horizons. A true synergy with the Accor network of hotels, the key benefit of the program is the ability it gives Members to retain points and redeem them within the larger AccorHotel network.

Accor Hotels Select Asia network of 27 hotels across Asia is available to Platinum, Traveller and Corporate level Première Plus Members. The Accor Hotels Select Elite program offers a choice of 34 different hotels, primarily under the Sofitel Luxury Hotel, Pullman and MGallery brands, and is available to Traveller and Corporate level Première Plus Members.

For more on booking any of the hotels within these programs, and your Membership eligibility, contact a representative of the Accor Vacation Club Member Services team on 1300 761414.

To plan your next holiday escape visit www.accorvacationclub.com.au

Renovated Holiday Havens

 

Want an update on the newest property updates at Accor Vacation Club? Read on!

 

GETTING BUSY AT THE SEBEL BUSSELTON

The Sebel Busselton in Western Australia recently revealed a modern new look, with Accor Vacation Club recently completing a five phase refurbishment program of its Member accommodation.

All studio, two and three bedroom apartments were given a fabulous facelift over winter. Fresh features cross these spaces include fresh paint, new televisions and USB charge points, bathroom accessories and soft furnishings such as new lamps. Fresh curtains and throws have been inspired by the destination, with a modern coastal palette used alongside textured fabrics and weaves for added comfort.

The Studio accommodation now welcome guests in style with new feature entrance tiles and vanity cabinetry, while two and three bedroom apartments have had modern security screen doors installed.  Gorgeous vibrant local artwork has been added to rooms to provide an energetic pop of colour (think Busselton blue skies and ocean) to help set the scene for holiday fun.

Depending on whether you’re travelling as a couple, or with friends or family, The Sebel Busselton has a variety of modern and spacious apartment options to choose from. Studio spa rooms are ideal for two, while spacious two or three-bedroom self-contained apartments are ideal for larger or multi-generation family trips.

 

GRAND DESIGNS FOR THE VINTAGE HUNTER VALLEY

Our refurbishment team have been busy at work beautifying Accor Vacation Club’s apartments at Grand Mercure The Vintage in the Hunter Valley. The stunning results have certainly captured our attention, not least of all the new electric fireplaces, which were given a workout over the winter season. Some other key changes included upgraded wall-mounted televisions and cabinetry, plus fabulous new artwork selected and displayed throughout the apartments.  In response to Member feedback, apartments now boast larger bathroom vanities and mirrors, alongside many other modern accessories and furnishings added to each apartment to complete the contemporary look. In living and bedroom spaces, expect to enjoy new lamps and lighting, scatter cushions, bed throws and brand new sofa beds for added convenience and comfort this summer.

 

PRETTY AS A PICTURE IN PUKA PARK

What’s new in New Zealand? We’re glad you asked! Accor Vacation Club’s flagship North Island property, the Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort, has completed a soft room refurbishment, introducing some new soft furnishings and accessories for Members to experience on their next visit.

Highlights of the update include new lamps and bed throws, plus painting where required to truly ‘freshen’ up the feel of the space for guests.

Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort combines boutique elegance with retreat style tranquillity. It offers the ultimate environment for you to take time out to restore, indulge and completely relax.

Managed by Accor Vacation Club, Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort is a secluded luxury lodge, set amidst 25 acres of New Zealand native bush, on Mt Pauanui in the Coromandel Peninsula. Only two hours drive from Auckland, the resort offers luxurious chalet accommodation, ideal for any season. Guests can spend the evening star-gazing on the private deck of the grand chalet in the treetops. There is also an award winning restaurant on site, Miha, for those who want to enjoy great dining in an unsurpassable location.

 

 

To plan your next holiday escape visit www.accorvacationclub.com.au

Bowral Golf Club, a favourite with Accor Vacation Club members staying at The Sebel Bowral.

Fairway to Holiday Heaven

Teeing up great golfing experiences across Australia

Let’s face it – most families and friendship groups have at least one. That person who always insists on playing at least one round at the nearest golf course when away on holiday. Possibly, they are a true fanatic who’d prefer to leave a few essential travel items at home rather than leave their trusty golf clubs behind. Or maybe they are an up-with-the-sun golfer who welcomes sunrise with a swing and smile, before settling into sightseeing and happy hour when visiting somewhere new.

Well, golf lovers – this one is for you! This issue, we’ve put together an extensive Australian bucket list of great golf courses and golf-friendly Accor Vacation Club properties to help guarantee more ‘green’ time on your next trip away.

Fortunately, great golf is par for the course at many of Accor Vacation Club’s destinations. Read on for a selection of our favourite golfing spots, plus ideas for non-golf related alternatives in each destination to make sure your travel companions enjoy the experience as much as you do.

 

GOLD COAST, QLD

In November 2017, Accor Vacation Club welcomed one of Australia’s original prestige golf-resort addresses, the Mercure Gold Coast Resort, to its Australian network. It has already proven a hugely popular addition to the Accor Vacation Club family over the past year, and is major coup for Members who love to stay and play a variety of top notch golf courses within short walking or driving distance of their accommodation on the Coast with the most.

The Mercure represents Accor Vacation Club’s fourth hotel location on the Gold Coast and is in close proximity to not one, but five affiliated premiership golf courses that together are referred to as the ‘Green Belt’. Take your pick from Lakelands, Palm Meadows, Robina Woods, Colonial and The Glades, designed by Greg Norman. A different golf course for every day of the working (or holidaying) week!

Since opening its doors 21 years ago, the iconic Mercure hotel has earned a strong track record in supporting major sporting events – not least of all, in conjunction with events associated with the adjacent world-class Palm Meadows course, which has hosted a wide range of international tournaments over the last 25 years.

As its closest golf course, Palm Meadows provides a truly tranquil backdrop for Members staying at the Mercure’s Accor Vacation Club Apartments. The property is also ideally located for visitors to explore other great attractions in the region – beautiful beaches, lush hinterland, thrilling theme parks, the Glitter Strip of Surfers Paradise, plus many restaurants, bars and shopping that make this destination so sought after.

Golfers will love: An amazing choice of five premiership golf courses on their doorstep when staying at AVC’s apartments at the Mercure Gold Coast. Plus, for those who want to lower their handicap and improve their game, an experience at Palm Meadows driving range is highly recommended. The Golf School is a leading club fitting centre in Queensland with on range data which enables you to see real ball flight using the best technology and fully trained expert PGA fitting professionals. The Pro team there is friendly and bound to have a few tips to get you playing the best golf of your life.

Everyone will love: Trying the Gold Coast’s newest attraction – Top Golf Gold Coast. This venue features fun and competitive golf games for all ages, with climate-controlled playing “bays” similar to a bowling lane. Fun for all members of the family. There is also an impressive food and drinks menu, HDTVs to watch your favorite sporting games live, and a music selection that will make every visit feel like a party. Not a traditional golfing experience, but one the entire gang will enjoy!

 

COUNTRY VICTORIA

For those Members who want to get in the swing on a rural retreat beyond Melbourne, then The Sebel Creswick Forest Resort is the place to stay, and play, in grand country style.

One of the best forest golf courses in Victoria, the 18-hole Creswick RACV Goldfields Course, is conveniently located next door to The Sebel, and is definitely one to challenge and inspire punters.

A true treasure in the heart of the goldfields district, this championship course has been designed by Tony Cashmore, who created it to highlight the stunning bushland setting and natural surrounds of the area.  Featuring sloping fairways, languid lagoons and a mixture of well-placed bunkers, it is the perfect playground for experienced golfers who don’t mind slightly hilly terrain. That’s not to say that newcomers to the game won’t enjoy the goldfields course too. The beautiful scenery and spectacular views alone, combined with gently sloping walking conditions, will keep players of any handicap strolling along quite happily.

Golfers will love: A full Par 3 course available on the Goldfields course, for those after a quicker round. It’s also ideal for those or who simply want to try something different after triumphing over the rest of the 18-hole course. There is also a practice driving range with grass tees, practice green and nets which is open to the public. It’s not necessarily a long course, but given it is quite hilly, we’d recommend checking out the golf carts on offer too for those who prefer to ‘drive’ the gold rush range! Love those buggies.

Everyone will love: The spa capital of Australia, located right on The Sebel’s doorstep! Golf widows will be thrilled to know that Victoria’s historic gold rush country is not only great for golf – it’s famous for being the nation’s mineral and day spa capital too. So if you prefer a green mineral mud mask as opposed to a golf green while on holidays, then you’re in luck! The destination encompassing Creswick and Daylesford has some of amazing natural mineral springs to explore. If modern day, state-of-the-art treatments and massages are more your thing, then they are very easy to seek out. Check out the amazing list of local boutique day spas on offer in the district to revitalize your body and soul, not least of all historic Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa which has been welcoming those seeking rejuvenation since 1895. For something close to The Sebel Creswick, Members can visit the boutique day spa on offer at the neighbouring Goldfields RACV Golf Course complex (charges apply).

 

SUNSHINE COAST, QLD

Sunshine and great golf abounds at The Twin Waters Golf Club, one of the top six courses in Australia, and of course the absolute best course on the Sunshine Coast.

Designed by five times British Open champion Peter Thomson and partner Mike Wolveridge, the course at Twin Waters has a challenging layout, enjoyed against a picturesque coastal backdrop. Immaculately manicured, players will see kangaroos and birdlife sharing the space guaranteeing an enjoyable game for all that play this tranquil course.

In reviewing the course last year Golf Australia magazine wrote, “Complementing the quality of the design are the beautifully manicured playing surfaces. The greens and fairways are consistently presented at a high standard, which is one reason why the PGA of Australia has hosted more National Finals of the Holden Scramble here than anywhere else in its 25-year history.”

In addition to its second to none presentation, those Members staying at Twin Waters Sunshine Coast, Accor Vacation Club Apartments will also appreciate the close location of this 18-hole, 72 par championship golf course. Highly convenient, as are the facilities of sister resort, the Novotel Twin Waters, situated next door).

So whether it’s warm sunshine, championship golf courses, sandy-white beaches or wilderness walks there is always something for everyone on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Golfers will love:  Twin Waters wide fairways and large putting surfaces. Be warned…this course might not appear to be too difficult on first look, however it plays much tougher than first impressions, so  park your ego with your buggy and enjoy the challenge!

Everyone will love: Mudjimba’s patrolled surf beach, the perfect complement to our brilliant beach houses. Accor Vacation Club’s selection of sophisticated self-contained beach houses and apartments are a short walk from one of the Sunshine Coast’s best ‘hidden gems’, Mudjimba Beach. This secluded beach is bound by the Maroochy River on one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Best of all, this aquatic playground is patrolled daily, 365 days of the year, which is reassuring for any casual beachgoer. Along the beach you’ll find excellent fishing spots in the rip gutters and at the river mouth just south of Twin Waters. For surfers there are consistent surf breaks along the beach with better banks towards Point Arkwright. The patrolled parts of the beach are perfect for the kids’ boogie board adventures.

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

For the best of golf in the West, jump in the car and take the simple 35 minute drive from Perth to The Sebel Swan Valley the Vines. Accor vacation Club’s apartments at The Vines are the ideal place to base yourself to play not one, but two challenging 18-hole golf courses located at The Vines Resort & Country Club’s.

Thanks to the amazing presentation and experience enjoyed by players on the Ellenbrook and Lakes golf courses, The Vines is continually rated as one of Australia’s best golf resorts. The lush, manicured gardens and immaculate greens of these magnificent Swan Valley courses are surrounded by natural bushland, where you can expect to be joined by local wildlife – not least of all curious wallabies – as you play each course.

For those up for a challenge, The Vines internationally ranked courses are the real deal with unique bunkering and an interesting course layout that follows the natural landscape making for a testing and enjoyable experience. There is also a driving range, unparalleled in Western Australia, featuring a fully grassed teeing off area and multi-tiered green surrounded by bunkers, for those wanting to perfect their short game.

A short drive from The Sebel Swan Valley The Vines is another popular course with Perth locals and travellers alike, Collier Park Golf Course. Located just 10 minutes south form the heart of the city, this local course offers 27 holes uniquely designed to offer three stand-alone, nine-hole courses. Worth checking out for players who want the option to practice three different strategies and techniques on shorter courses.

Golfers will love: Playing some of the largest greens in Australia, and following in the footsteps of some of the world’s most legendary golfers who have played The Vines. Over the years the courses have been visited and played by golfing greats from around the world, including Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Annika Sörenstam, Michael Campbell, Bernhard Langer and John Daly. The Vines was home to the Heineken Classic from 1993 – 2001, the Johnnie Walker Classic 2006, the LPGA Lexus Cup 2007 plus the Johnnie Walker Classic in February 2009.

Everyone will love: Sampling the Swan Valley’s finest wines. Let’s face it. The only acceptable way to ‘whine’ about golf when on holidays with a golf fanatic is at an actual vineyard! Fortunately for those that do indeed love a ‘wine’, the Swan Valley is Western Australia’s oldest wine growing region. With a viticulture heritage dating back 180 years, the Swan Valley is an intoxicating destination that has long tempted travellers’ seeking out the finer things in life.  An easy 25 minute drive from Perth’s city centre, and 10 minutes from the domestic airport, the Swan Valley is best known for producing specialty Verdelho wines (among Australia’s best), plus Chenin Blanc and Shiraz varieties. From fine wine to great food and culture, the Swan Valley will surprise and delight with more than 150 wineries, distilleries, micro-breweries, restaurants, art on its doorstep.

 

HUNTER VALLEY, NSW

As refined as its name suggests, The Vintage Golf Club in the Hunter Valley is widely regarded as one of the most elegant championship courses in Australia, and is home of the NSW Open Golf Championships, held each November.

This spectacular 18-hole, par 71 course (designed by Greg Norman) is rated among the top 2% of courses nation-wide. That makes it a must-play location for those who love the game. Described as “challenging but fair to all handicaps’, the course is an easy two hour drive from Sydney and provides a beautiful backyard scene for those Members staying at the Grand Mercure The Vintage, Accor Vacation Club Apartments. Convenience plus!

The winding course offers a relaxed scene, serving up a feast for the senses for players – a mix of regal vineyards and bucolic views in the distance, punctuated by eucalyptus forests, wetlands and peaceful creeks at different twists and turns.  The first nine holes are a good selection of short par 4s, while the rest of the course demands more accurate shots that will test your putting prowess but certainly boost your ego if successful.

Golfers will love: Playing the ‘wine and vine’ seventh hole. According to Golf Digest magazine, “The par-5 seventh takes you on a viticulture tour, up a steep hill from the tee, and then down it all the way to a slippery left-to-right sloping green. Miss the fairway or green left, and your ball could end up in the neighbouring winery’s next ‘vintage.” We prefer to think of it as the seventh heaven hole – a win/win situation, whether you end up direct on the green, or scrambling to the nearest winery for your ball, and a cheeky refreshment along the way!

Everyone will love: Exploring the expansive and fragrant Hunter Valley Gardens. Far from your typical flower patch, the amazing Hunter Valley Gardens span some 25 acres with ten separate feature themed gardens to explore – not least of all the prized Rose Garden with thousands of varieties on display. Overall there are 8 kilometres of garden trails to enjoy, with special features along the way such as a 10 metre high waterfall above a sunken garden, and a storybook garden for younger family members in mind. The Gardens host special events throughout the year, including a ‘snow time in the gardenss’ and Easter event. Its famous Christmas Lights Spectacular, which is on from November 02 – January 26, 2019 is the largest lights display in the Southern Hemisphere!

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

No golfing trip to South Australia is compete without a round on the Links Lady Bay golf course.  As the number one resort, and public, course in the state, its clever design, vistas and local wildlife make it something special to experience.

The well designed 18-hole golf course was masterminded by a trio of golfing greats – Jack Newton, John Spencer and Graeme Grant. It is considered a genuine ‘St Andrews’ style sand base course, and features subtle bent greens in the style of its Scottish cousin. A championship course where the untamed natural elements meet meticulously manicured fairways.

The Links Lady Bay Resort Accor Vacation Club Apartments is a must-stay property for Members who love the dazzling views of a dramatic coastline almost as much as a dramatic game of golf.  Situated on a coat hanger shaped strip of land that encapsulates the Fleurieu Peninsula, the property offers truly spectacular views, and most importantly for golfers, shares it home with the golf course. Almost too easy to fit in an early round before brunch, isn’t it?

Despite being just an hour’s drive from Adelaide, Links Lady Bay will have you feeling a million miles away from city life. The spectacular landscape and long, rugged coastline provide a visual feast, while off the golf course there are plenty or peaceful coastal hamlets, local wineries, restaurants and nearby sandy beaches to indulge your other senses for a truly satisfying holiday experience.

Links Lady Bay resort itself has a range of great facilities too, that complement Accor Vacation Club’s fully self-contained apartments, including an outdoor swimming pool, children’s playground and tennis courts.

Golfers will love: Trying their skill against the wind on the signature 17th hole. While some of the short holes on this course are said to rival some of the most famous links courses in the world, it is Links Lady Bay’s 17th hole that is perhaps its’ most challenging and satisfying to complete under par. With the honour of being one of ‘Australia’s best holes’, the 17th tests players agility and skill, requiring them to drive into the wind in order to achieve its ambitious par 3 score. May the force – or the wind – be with you!

Everyone will love: The chance to take part in a little penguin tour, after dark. Less than half an hour drive from Links Lady Bay is Granite Island Recreation and Nature Park – home to a small colony of wild Little Penguins, who return home from their day in the ocean at dusk. Granite Island Nature Tours are the best way to see Little Penguins in their natural habitat. But it’s not only Little Penguins you will see, with all the Islands natural wildlife to discover after dark. Visiting the island for 2 hours after dusk is only available via guided tour to protect the wild penguin colony. It is important to note that the guided penguin tours are subject to seasonal availability, as during February/March the penguins go through an annual moulting period. Bookings are essential and each night’s tour close at 4pm. Members can check out the specifics of taking a guided penguin tour by visiting the Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre at the Causeway.

 

PALM COVE, TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND

The Great Barrier Reef off North Queensland’s coast offers a world of colour to explore, thanks to its abundant coral gardens and marine life. But, let’s face it – for vacationing golfers, green is the only colour that really matters! It’s a good thing that Palm Cove’s signature colour is indeed green, with several great golf courses to tempt you away from the beckoning big blue of the reef.

For Accor Vacation Members staying at The Sebel Palm Cove Coral Coast or the Coral Coast Resort Palm Cove Accor Vacation Club Apartments, the Novotel Palm Cove provides an excellent 9 hole paid golf course in close proximity to your apartment, and great facilities. Set amidst 45 hectares of gardens this course welcomes visitors, and features lush fairways fringed by mountains and graceful melaleuca gums.  Watch out for the numerous water hazards as you play this course, and play to win!

Wedged between the Great Dividing Ranges and the Coral Sea is a public access course, the Palm Cove Country Club, which also offers nine-holes in a friendly and relaxed environment.  Perfect for casual players who don’t take the game too seriously, this course features seven par threes and two par fours. The highlight is a great par four ninth hole, back to the club house.

For more serious players, it’s worth checking out the 18-hole championship golf course at Paradise Palms. This course is host of the Mercedes-Benz Cairns Classic on the Australian PGA Pro-Am circuit which attracts some of Australia’s best professional golfers. Designed by Graham Marsh and Ross Watson, Paradise Palms is currently ranked in the top 50 public access golf courses in Australia by Golf Digest. But be warned – Marsh and Watson were commissioned by the original Japanese owners, Daikyo, to create Australia’s most difficult tournament venue when they designed this course– and they successfully met the brief! Having said this, the course is in fact suitable for golfers of all levels, and features wide fairways and peaceful surroundings.

Golfers will love:  Multiple tee options available at Paradise Palms, depending on your comfort level. Paradise Palms is a par 71 course, however offers multiple tee options, so players of all levels can confidently enjoy a round. Following its update in 2017, almost 250 metres has been added to the length of the course with new tees being built on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 10th and 18th holes, bringing a number of hazards and bunkers back into play.

Everyone will love: Having your choice of beachside or rainforest paradise, right on your doorstep.  Accor Vacation Club’s apartments are located just a short stroll to a tropical palm-fringed beach. The unspoilt paradise lies parallel to the beautiful Great Barrier Reef and is within easy reach of the renowned Daintree Rainforest and tropical Atherton Tablelands for your choice of daytrips. The Kuranda SkyRail is a must do.

 

COFFS HARBOUR, NSW

What is better than having direct beach access from the resort you’re staying at? How about having your very own 9-hole golf course to practice on? Pacific Bay Resort, Accor Vacation Club Apartments offer you both those things, ensuring your friends will be ‘green’ with envy on your next golf holiday.

Enjoyable, interesting and well maintained, the Bay Golf Course is ideal for beginners of professionals wanting to improve their short game.

For serious golfers those wanting to explore further afield after playing the resort course, try the Bonville Golf Course, a short 20 minute drive south. Widely regarded as ‘Australia’s most beautiful mainland golf course’, Bonville is home of the Australian Ladies Classic and has a great restaurant onsite for those who want to make a day of it. The Coffs Harbour Golf Club is another nearby option, a championship course offering 27 with three different layouts for the touring golfer to try.

When it comes to accommodation, Pacific Bay Resort, Accor Vacation Club Apartments provide guests with the perfect balance between fun and relaxation in a peaceful location, convenient to the heart of Coffs Harbour. In addition to the golf course, the resort has three tennis courts, and three heated swimming pools, offering everything you could want in a place to get away from it all.

Golfers will love:  Just enough hazards on the Pacific Bay course to keep things interesting. For those keeping things casual and local, the resort course has a great putting green to warm up on, and offers stunning views and a welcome coastal breeze. The signature 9th hole is an exciting way to wrap up you game, surrounded by water and enticing players to aim for an ‘island’ shot to make par.  Golf accessories and a cafe are also within the Pro Shop.

Everyone will love: Ticking a sunset camel ride on the beach off their bucket list! Forget the big banana. If bunkers have been giving you grief all day, then it might be time to let a camel deal with the sand underfoot for a change. If you want to try something fun, relaxing but entirely different, then perhaps a Coffs Coast Camel Ride is for you.  Coffs Coast Camels has 20 camels hailing from Alice Springs at the ready for beach rides, sunset and twilight tours and camel safaris, which last around 30 minutes. It’s something couples and families can equally enjoy.

 

SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS, NSW

With scenery reminiscent of rural England, the Southern Highlands is something special. A classic retreat from all that is urban and suburban, exuding heritage charm, gorgeous gardens, rolling hills and forests at every turn.

For this very reason, The Sebel Bowral Heritage Park is one of Accor Vacation Club’s most popular addresses, with modern, fully self-contained apartments just moments from the heart of town. Keen golfers will be pleased to know that the Bowral Golf Club is even closer – right next door in fact! Not only does that mean that Members can enjoy views over the beautiful fairways from the comfort of their fireplace, but there are no excuses for missing tee off during your next stay.

More than 115 years in the making, the Bowral Golf Club is considered one of the best country courses in New South Wales. The course layout suits all levels of golf, so novices are in luck. One of our favourite features has to be the beautiful arbours and avenues of old English and native trees that border the fairways. Stunning in any season! If you are keen to test drive this course on your next visit, Accor Vacation Club Members can pre-book tee times through the Club, to plan the experience in advance.

Back at The Sebel, Members and guests have complimentary use of the hotel’s heated swimming pool too, which is a great way to unwind and rest your weary muscles after a day on the course.

Golfers will love:  Trading their golf club temporarily for a cricket bat to explore the Don Bradman Museum. Ok, it might not be exactly the right sport, however surely one great sportsperson can appreciate another?! Sports fans and history buffs will be impressed to know that the famous Bradman Museum and the International Cricket Hall of Fame, are both within walking distance of The Sebel in Bowral, ensuring that this attraction is a must visit destination.

Everyone will love: Finding a treasure at Dirty Jane’s Emporium. A popular haunt for stylists, designers and bargain hunters alike! Lovers of vintage and antique wares should definitely stop by the iconic Dirty Jane’s in Bowral. There are more than 75 dealers across three impeccably presented warehouse spaces, so be prepared to shop until you drop, or just window shop the vintage furniture, jewellery, clothing and homewares on display. There is even an ‘artist-in-residence’ and Tea Salon. A civilized way to spend the day.

If you are interested in booking a golf holiday at any of these locations, please call Accor Vacation Club’s friendly Member Services team on 1300 76 14 14 and select option 1 to discuss.

To plan your next holiday escape visit www.accorvacationclub.com.au