Tourism Australia’s New TV Campaign Makes An Obvious Mistake


Next time you send a message to your boss with a typo, don’t be so hard on yourself. At least you didn’t spend $242 million dollars on a 17-language TV advertising campaign, only to include an obvious mistake.

A new Tourism Australia campaign is attempting to get away from the stereotypical image of boozers and beach babes, and give the country a sophisticated facelift. Unfortunately, the editors overlooked a scene including a couple walking unaccompanied along a beach on South Australia‘s Kangaroo Island, clutching a bottle of wine. Not only is alcohol not allowed on the beach, but visitors are required to be accompanied by a ranger. To combat the guffaw, Tourism Australia’s managing director Andrew McEvoy is looking at the positive aspects of the ad, like high-quality shots, products and experiences. Likewise, the website has been revamped to include new language, containing words like “sophisticated,” “contemporary” and “inspiring.”

Most likely, the average viewer will not recognize the mistake; however, you’ve got to wonder how the tourism board overlooked this especially after spending such an exorbitant amount of money.

To see Tourism Australia’s latest ad, check out the video above.

Off-the-beaten path Australia: Kangaroo Island

kangaroo island When living in Sydney, Australia, I often took the weekends to explore other parts of the country. One place I vowed to visit was Kangaroo Island, an island in South Australia that I imagined to be full of wildlife and undisturbed nature. I’m glad I went, because my instincts were more than correct.

Know before you go:

Although there are a few luxury options for a visit to Kangaroo Island, such as the Southern Ocean Lodge and Lifetime Private Retreats, I definitely felt it was more of an eco-tourism/adventure destination. Conservation and National parks cover more than one third of the island, so you know you’ll be spending a lot of time exploring the outdoors, flora, and fauna. There are tons of activities in terms of active sports, wildlife interaction, hiking, and experiencing a more rural, laid-back way of life. If you’re the type of person who needs to be connected through technology all of the time, you may have a bit of a struggle here, as cell phone coverage is very limited (my Vodafone didn’t work at all, but I was told Telstra CDMA or 3G work pretty good). If you have friends or family who will worry if they don’t hear from you for a few days, I would definitely give them a heads up about this. One other thing worth mentioning is that there are no taxis on the island or real forms of public transport, so it is worth it to book a tour or rent a car.barossa valley Getting in:

If you have the time, I would recommend spending a couple days in Adelaide first and touring the Barossa Valley vineyards (shown right) and The Toy Factory, which is home to the world’s biggest rocking horse as well as a really fun wildlife park where you can play with birds, kangaroos, sheep, and other animals. From Adelaide, you can take a Regional Express (REX) flight, which will take a little more than 30 minutes. The other option is to catch a Sealink ferry from Cape Jervis to Penshaw on Kangaroo Island.

Where to stay:

My friends and I stayed at the Ozone Seafront Hotel, which had a really great location right on the water in the town of Kingscote, which is the biggest city on the island and has the best selection of restaurants, pubs, and stores while still giving you direct access to nature. This hotel also has a seafront restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating as well as various bars and wine tasting options. While it depends when you go, it is sometimes possible to get rooms here for a little over $100 a night. For backpackers on a budget, there is the Kangaroo Island Central Backpackers Hostel in Kingscote and the Kangaroo Island YHA Hostel in Penneshaw, which overlooks the beautiful Hog Bay.

Do and visit:

Again, I would definitely recommend booking an organized tour or renting a car to do these activities. It isn’t hard to find tours that encompass all or most of these suggestions. Click here to browse the different options. Here were some of the activities that I experienced and would recommend to others visiting Kangaroo Island:

Seal Bay Seal Bay Conservation Park

Seal Bay Conservation Park
is definitely a sight to behold. Visitors get the chance to see hundreds of sea-lions, bulls, females, and pups, in their natural habitat on the beach. You are mandated to take a guided tour, which is actually good because you learn a lot about the seals and their habitat. You will get really close to them, but just be warned, although they are extremely cute they also smell really bad. The cost of the tour is $18 for a child and $30 for an adult.

Scuba diving

Kangaroo Island is well-known for its ideal scuba diving location with an array of unique fish, beautiful Gorgonia coral, and historical shipwrecks. When underwater, you will be enveloped in a rainbow of colors, from red, white, and orange sponges to the florescent Blue Devil fish, neon Harlequin fish, and shiny silver and brown striped truncate coral fish. It is also likely to spot a very strange looking fish called the Leafy Sea Dragon, which literally looks like a bright yellow sea horse morphed with a leaf. Some tour operators that offer dives in the area are Kangaroo Island Dive and Adventures and Adventureland Diving & Sports Service, which you can e-mail at advhost@activ8.net.au or call at (+61) (08) 8553 1072.

kangaroo island Admiral’s Arch and the Remarkable Rocks

Located in Flinders Chase National Park, Admiral’s Arch and the Remarkable Rocks are an impressive sight as well as a vision that defies all laws of nature. Oddly shaped volcanic rock is fun to explore, and you can take loads of interesting illusion photos (who knew you could lift an entire boulder over your head?). Stand before the stalactite-adorned Admiral’s Arch for an unique view of the ocean and Remarkable Rocks, as well as the myriad New Zealand fur seals that live on the rocks below the cliff face. When I was there there were actually so many seals in the colony I had to squint to see them, as they all blended together with the rocks. There are also many hiking trails in the park itself, so it’s a great way to experience the outdoors. To enter the park, you can expect to pay $24.50 per family, $5.50 for a child, $7 for a student, and $9 for an adult.

clifford's honey farm Clifford’s Honey Farm

Coming from Sydney, Clifford’s Honey Farm felt like going back in time to when life was really simple. The farm started as a hobby for Dave Clifford in 1973 but soon became a business in 1993 when the family opened a successful honey shop, which you can still peruse today (and should!). Today, there are more than 300 honey producing hives on the farm, and you will get to see some of them upclose for yourself. With help from the family, Dave can produce up to 20 tons of honey each year, which is probably why there is such an array of products in the shop, from candles to cosmetics to candy to ice cream toppings and salad dressings. The honey flavors come from all different flowers, such as Sugar Gum, Bottle Brush, Mallee, Canola, and more. Make sure to sample the Chocolate Covered Honeycomb before you go, as it is one of the best things I have ever tasted.

Island Pure Sheep Dairy

This was one of my favorite experiences, not only because I got to see first hand what a day in the life of a sheep farmer is and how the sheep milk products are actually made, but because I got to take part in an extensive tasting session. Island Pure makes an array of cheeses that visitors can try, including Kefaltori, a creamy, smooth, semi-matured cheese, Manchego, a cheese with a mellow but rounded flavor, Haloumi (my personal favorite), a “twice cooked” cheese that originates from Cyprus, and Feta, a creamy textured, tangy cheese. You will also get the chance to sample fresh sheep’s milk yogurt. Entry costs are $20 for a family, $4.50 for a student, $4.50 for a child (children under 5 are free), and $5.50 for an adult.

Kangaroo island Emu Ridge Distillery

The Emu Ridge Distillery is more than just wildlife viewing, as it is actually known for its eucalyptus products and wine and cheese tastings. Eucalyptus oil was actually the first true overseas export for Australia, however, Emu Ridge is now the only eucalyptus oil distillery in South Australia and one of the only ones left in the country altogether. The farm itself sits on 650 acres, 250 of which is natural bush. There is a tiny, old post office which is really interesting to see, as well as a craft shop made from recycled materials that sells local handicrafts and eucalytus products. As for wildlife, you will see enormous emus, wallabies, kangaroos on the property as well as baby joeys inside the shop. Emu Ridge Distillery is free to enter, although if you want a guided tour a fee of $15 per child and $30 per adult will apply.

kangaroo island Pelican Feeding

This is a really interesting, slightly disturbing look at how pelicans eat. When “The Pelican Man” feeds fish to the pelicans the birds swallow the meal whole and you can see the fish go down their throats. While you may flinch a bit, the experience is actually pretty educational as The Pelican Man will tell you more about the birds themselves. The feeding takes place daily at 5PM at the Kingscote Wharf behind the Kangaroo Island Marine Center.

For more information on traveling to Kangaroo Island, please visit the Kangaroo Island Tourism Board website.

Gadling gear review: Outdoor Research women’s Frescoe Hoody activewear

women's activewearI love hoodies, and ever since I was old enough to waddle around in my brother’s hand-me-downs (which unfortunately included his tighty-whiteys, until I was old enough to realize that, while my mom’s thriftiness was admirable, clothing your daughter in boy’s underwear was not), I’ve worn them. The versatility, quirky style, and marsupial-like comfort a great hoody can provide make it an unbeatable wardrobe staple for travel or at home.

When I started running a decade ago, zip-up sweatshirt hoodies were my favorite layering accessory. Unfortunately, they’re bulky, and one of the reasons I took up running was so I could exercise while traveling. Thus, like most active women, I require workout gear that fulfills my various needs.

That’s why I love Outdoor Research’s Frescoe Hoody. This lightweight pullover debuted last spring in the Seattle-based company’s women’s apparel line, just in time for me to give it a test-run on a monthlong backpacking trip through Australia.

For this particular trip, I needed a piece of activewear that could perform well in a variety of climates (it was winter in the Southern Hemisphere). It also needed to serve as sleepwear in a Sydney backpacker’s, and at a friend’s Arctic-like, 120-year-old stone cottage in the rainy Barossa Valley. Most important: I would have little opportunity to do laundry, so the hoody needed to, as advertised, deliver moisture-wicking, “quick-dry performance,” and remain stink-proof.women's activewearThe Frescoe Hoody is made of Dri-Release® E.C.O. fabric: 83% recycled polyester, 15% organic cotton, and 2% Spandex. New for 2011 is Built-in FreshGuard® odor neutralization. I have no idea what that last part means from a manufacturing standpoint, but it’s a huge selling point for someone (that would be me) who has been known to travel for weeks at a time in climatic extremes ranging from tropical jungle to high-altitude blizzard, sans access to laundry services. My test hoody didn’t have FreshGuard, and still miraculously kept stench at bay.

Pros

I confess that when I first received my Frescoe in the mail and unpacked it, I was dismayed by both the color (see Cons) and size. Although I’d ordered an XS (sizes go up to L), the “relaxed fit” was still generous. I’m 5’2″, and wear a 32A bra, so the V-neck (which is double-layered, to help prevent gaping, I presume) was a bit too low for me, but I’m used to that. How the flat-chested do suffer.

  • From the first time I wore it, however, I decided I loved the Frescoe’s slouchy design, in part because the bottom hem has a wide, flattering, slightly stretchy band. It’s slimming, but also retains body heat. The fabric is soft, light, and unbelievably comfortable, and the hood stays put but doesn’t constrict (there are no drawstrings). When I got too warm on a run, the hoody was easy to whip off while maintaining my pace, due to its loose fit. Once tied around my waist, it didn’t hinder my movement with weight or bulk.
  • women's activewear
  • What really made me fall in love with the Frescoe, however, are two fantastic features: a tiny, hidden zippered pocket ideal for holding keys, a Chapstick, and a couple of bucks, and cuff fold flaps. For cold-handed types like me, these are ideal when it’s too warm for gloves.
  • I’ve worn my Frescoe in Seattle drizzle, hiking and camping in Shenandoah National Park, and on the windy beaches of Kangaroo Island in South Australia. On that trip, I was only able to do laundry once, 10 days into my trip. Yet the top survived daily runs for two weeks, before being crammed in my backpack for four days while I was in the blistering heat of the Ningaloo Reef region in Western Australia. On day 20, the Frescoe emerged, still smelling reasonably fresh, to accompany me on a long run around Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens. I even slept in it that night because it passed the “sniff test.” What? Like you haven’t done the same thing.
  • The $55 price tag may seem a bit steep for what is essentially a glorified long-sleeve T-shirt. But when you take into consideration the bells and whistles, performance ability, durability, and responsible manufacturing materials, it’s a steal.

Cons

  • At 11.8 ounces, the Frescoe isn’t as lightweight and compressible as some activewear, but it’s not bad and it kept me warm. Given how well it performs, I don’t mind a little extra bulk in my baggage.
  • women's activewearMy only other nitpick are the colors. I admittedly have a pet peeve about women’s gear that only comes in impractical, pastelly or bright hues. I do, however, like the little flower graphic on the Frescoe’s right hip. New 2011 shades (available starting in February) include Mist (light blue), Fuschia, Mandarin, and Mushroom (brown-grey).

My own hoody is Fossil, a not-terribly flattering greyish-green that makes me look somewhat cadaverous. It’s practical, however, and never shows dirt. If OR could make this baby in charcoal, burgundy, forest green, or black, I’d buy another one in a heartbeat to wear on the street, or while tossing back an apres-ski cocktail or four.

In summary, I was really impressed with the Frescoe Hoody. It delivered on its promises to stay dry and not get stinky, and the hidden zip and cuff fold features totally rock for practicality, cleverness, and cuteness. I highly recommend this top as a multi-use travel wardrobe staple. P.S. It’s also great to wear for lounging or while typing up Gadling posts.

Kangaroo Island is missing something

If you look at this picture, do you also feel like this island is desperately missing something? You are right. Australia’s Kangaroo Island is missing over-development.

That might slowly be changing though. A luxury resort is about to open here on March 29 and save those poor koalas, wallabies and kangaroos from their intense loneliness.

Southern Ocean Lodge will offer 21 suites with sunken lounges and outdoor terraces, a spa with treatments based on Aboriginal medicine and spirituality, and a restaurant with a view of Hanson Bay, NY Times reports.

Nightly rates start at 900 Australian dollars a person, about $825. How is that for a religious experience?