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Get cultural in Parramatta

Parramasala: A vibrant cross-section of cultures.

Parramasala: A vibrant cross-section of cultures.

Prepare to run free in a rich playground of cultural wonder, as Parramasala returns to Parramatta from March 15-17, featuring a vibrant cross-section of cultures from South American to Middle Eastern, Indigenous Australian to South East Asian and everything in between.

Parramatta will transform into a cornucopia of experiences, including cutting-edge live music, vivid dance and theatre, a breathtaking parade of splendid colour, spectacular costumes and beating rhythms.

The festival includes a bustling food precinct and a bar area.

Science is my mantra

Mantra South Bank: Official accommodation partner for the World Science Festival Brisbane.

Mantra South Bank: Official accommodation partner for the World Science Festival Brisbane.

Curious minds will congregate at Mantra South Bank from March 20-24 for the World Science Festival Brisbane, now part of Curiocity Brisbane.

Mantra South Bank has signed a three-year deal to be the festival’s official accommodation partner and provides the perfect base for a myriad of science, technology and the arts encounters across the city.

This year, all World Science Festival Brisbane ticket holders are entitled to a 10 per cent discount at Mantra Hotels properties in Brisbane.

From the South Bank Cultural Precinct, where the hotel is located, to the creative hub centred around the Brisbane Powerhouse in New Farm, Brisbane will be transformed.

World Science Festival Brisbane explores and celebrates the entanglement of science and art through a curated program of thought-provoking conversations, inspiring theatrical and cinematic experiences, interactive workshops and engaging demonstrations.

Up, up and away

Above and Beyond Seaplanes: See a different side of Hobart. Image: Oscar Sloane.

Above and Beyond Seaplanes: See a different side of Hobart. Image: Oscar Sloane.

Jump aboard the customised seven-seater de Havilland Beaver with Above and Beyond Seaplanes to see a different side of Hobart, Port Arthur and Stewarts Bay.

Departing from Hobart’s waterfront, the 30-minute City Scenic adventure takes guests on a loop over the city then down the River Derwent all the way to Bruny Island, then back up the river to the Tasman Bridge before landing back at Franklin Wharf.

The 90-minute Port Arthur and Three Capes Panorama flight heads toward the spectacular Tasman Peninsula and over the soaring cliffs of the iconic Three Capes before touching down at Port Arthur to stretch the legs ahead of the return journey via kunanyi/Mt Wellington.

Bangkok and beyond

Bagan: Temple-studded plains.

Bagan: Temple-studded plains.

Backyard Travel is offering a new cultural exploration through Thailand and Myanmar, delving into features ranging from Bangkok’s pulsing inner city to Bagan’s temple-studded plains.

The nine-night "Thailand and Myanmar Cultural Exploration" begins in Bangkok, where travellers are introduced to two of the country’s most revered sites — the Grand Palace and Wat Po.

In Thailand, the journey continues through the ruins of its former capital, Ayutthaya, before traveling north to Yangon, Myanmar, to be immersed in local life, wandering the local markets and stopping in little tea shops.

The temples of Bagan then follow, with the option of drifting above them on a dawn hot-air balloon flight.

The tour concludes with three days exploring the villages of tranquil Inle Lake, with activities that provide glimpses into rural and hill tribe life.

Vive la cruise, solo

MS William Shakespeare: Will cruise the wine region of Burgundy.

MS William Shakespeare: Will cruise the wine region of Burgundy.

Riviera Travel has announced the addition of a ninth sailing in Europe this year exclusively for solo passengers.

All cabins will be free of any single supplement.

The new solo-only sailing is a seven-night cruise on the Rhone and Saone Rivers from Lyon to Avignon in France aboard the five-star, 76-cabin MS William Shakespeare, departing on October 14.

The cruise features the wine region of Burgundy, the flower-flecked meadows of Provence, the spectacular Rhone Valley, the gastronomic capital of Lyon, the Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard and the city of Arles — once home to famed painter, Vincent Van Gogh.

Fares are from $3999, including daily guided excursions, onboard meals and wi-fi.

Retreat into well-being

Guided by Gratitude: A personal journey of discovery into the "well of being".

Guided by Gratitude: A personal journey of discovery into the "well of being".

Four Seasons Resort Sayan has launched "Guided by Gratitude", which it claims is Bali’s first year-round wellness retreat.

Inspired by Ubud’s acclaimed healing energy and the Balinese daily rituals of thanks, guests can check-in any day of the year and embark on a personal journey of discovery into the "well of being".

To this end, the resort has designed a three-night retreat that can be commenced at any point — and extended and tailored to suit each individual.

The program is largely the work of Ibu Fera (a former Buddhist nun) and Faraaz Tanveer (a yoga, reiki and meditation master).

It includes various meditation sessions, yoga classes, a Balinese water-blessing ritual, sound therapy with crystal singing bowls, chakra rebalancing spa treatment and an exclusive "Sacred Nap" experience, with guests rocked to sleep in a silk hammock while listening to nature’s melody and Buddha’s story.