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Pullman Maldives Maamutaa Resort: a range of over-water and beachside villas.
Pullman Maldives Maamutaa Resort: a range of over-water and beachside villas.

Luxury above and below the water

Pullman Maldives Maamutaa Resort has opened amid 18 hectares of lush tropical flora on the Gaafu Alifu Atoll. The all-inclusive resort features 122 villas, including two Aqua Villas with submerged bedrooms.

With a range of over-water and beachside villas, Pullman Maldives Maamutaa is surrounded by plenty of greenery, a natural lake and several beaches, plus one of the region's largest and deepest lagoons. The latter offers a rare richness of marine diversity and divers can spot up to 13 species of sharks in the water.

The resort boasts a variety of culinary delights available at six outlets across the island. All-inclusive rates are from US$1222 per room per night. Visit www.accorhotels.com.

Ready for a test of fears: a glass foot bridge over Cobbold Gorge.

Ready for a test of fears: a glass foot bridge over Cobbold Gorge.

A new view of Cobbold Gorge

In 1993, cattle station owner Simon Terry motored around a bend in his backyard creek some six hours south-west of Cairns and stumbled onto a treasure - a 160-million-year-old gorge made up of layer-upon-layer of sandstone rock that formed striking sheer walls.

Visitors can now enjoy Cobbold Gorge from above and below thanks to the opening of a glass foot bridge that links one side of the 80 square mile property to previously unentered virgin terrain.

The bridge provides an element of challenge and excitement, with visitors testing their fears by walking on glass 17 metres above the water.

Visit www.cobboldgorge.com.au.

Canada's First Nations culture: alive and well in the Yukon.

Canada's First Nations culture: alive and well in the Yukon.

Learn local culture in The Yukon

The Yukon Territory, in the country's north-west, is home to Canada's First Nations culture and some of the earliest evidence of the presence of humans in North America. With around one quarter of Yukoners being of aboriginal ancestry, the First Nations culture and customs are still alive and thriving in this naturally beautiful Canadian territory.

The aboriginal people of Yukon all belong to one of fourteen First Nations, each with its own history and legends, passed down through generations. Wherever you are in Yukon, seek out the local cultural centres, mingle with the friendly locals and listen to their stories.

On the banks of the Yukon River in downtown Whitehorse, take a guided tour at the striking cedar-clad Kwanlin Dn Cultural Centre, the cultural home of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation. Visitors also find a permanent exhibit of traditional First Nations bead work, tools and trade goods can be found at the MacBride Museum of Yukon History.

Traditional crafts, along with modern pieces by First Nations artists, are featured in many of the local galleries and gift shops, like the Northern Cultural Expressions Society's small gallery.

Visit www.travelyukon.com.

Hotel Chadstone Melbourne: joins the MGallery by Sofitel collection.

Hotel Chadstone Melbourne: joins the MGallery by Sofitel collection.

Opening offer at Hotel Chadstone

The revamped Hotel Chadstone Melbourne, which contains 250 rooms and suites, will open as an MGallery by Sofitel on November 1. Complete with two penthouses, rooftop bar and dining, wellness retreat and day spa complete with LED lounge and yoga studio, it will be the only five-star Melbourne hotel located outside the city's centre.

The 12-storey hotel is brimming with sartorial touches and is connected to the world-class shopping, dining, lifestyle and entertainment destination of Chadstone, 17 kilometres from Melbourne's CBD.

Hotel Chadstone joins the MGallery by Sofitel collection of captivating boutique hotels that exude luxury, charisma and a profoundly local character. A custom-designed seven-tier wine glass holder chandelier makes a statement in the rooftop bar and lounge which is a great place to sip a classic cocktail.

Hotel Chadstone Melbourne has an opening offer priced from $275 per room per night. Phone (03) 8593 9180 or visit www.hotelchadstone.com.au.

A great personal challenge: trekking Kokoda.

A great personal challenge: trekking Kokoda.

Test yourself at Kokoda

Australian adventurer and ovarian-cancer survivor Heather Hawkins will lead an 11-day Huma Charity Challenge along Papua New Guinea's iconic Kokoda Trail next August.

Highlights of the trip will include nine days trekking through the jungle of the Owen Stanley Ranges following the footsteps of the famous Australian WWII diggers and their 'Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel' guides', immersion in local village life and culture, and the chance to attend a dawn service at the Brigade Hill battle site.

Rates begin at $4290 per person twin-share, including most meals, hotel accommodation in Port Moresby, camp accommodation along trek, escort by an experienced Kokoda guide, return internal flights and transfers from Port Moresby to the Kokoda Track. A minimum of $500 must be raised for a preferred charity.

Other challenges include tackling Machu Picchu in Peru, and hiking the Great Wall of China. Phone 1300 720 000 or visit www.humacharitychallenge.com.

Byng Street Boutique Hotel: a real passion for detail.

Byng Street Boutique Hotel: a real passion for detail.

Check out the transformation of NSW's Central West

Central NSW is being reborn with the transformation of historical buildings into new hotels, bars and restaurants, edgy art spaces and beautiful estates.

Orange is at the heart of change, with the Byng Street heritage precinct welcoming the new 4.5-star Byng Street Boutique Hotel and the Union Bank bar and restaurant being revamped. The new hotel has opened for business, and features a beautiful juxtaposition of the former Yallungah historic homestead and contemporary architecture.

The 22 rooms and suites feature artworks from local artists, and there is a real passion from the new owners for design, detail and service. Prices are from $295 per night including a two-course a la carte breakfast in the Yallungah Dining Room. Visit byngstreethotel.com.au.

Central NSW begins two hours drive west of Sydney and includes Oberon, Bathurst, Blayney, Cowra, Forbes, Oberon, Orange, Parkes. Visit www.visitcentralnsw.com.au .