Senator Arthur Sinodinos outside ICAC last year. He was called to give evidence about Australian Water Holdings. Photo: Rob HomerLiberal senator Arthur Sinodinos is free of a major legal headache after shareholders in a company embroiled in a corruption inquiry dropped a costly case against him.
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Senator Sinodinos, a former chairman of infrastructure company Australian Water Holdings, was one of several former directors being pursued by the disgruntled shareholders to recover their investment.

The company and former chief executive Nick Di Girolamo, a prominent Liberal Party fundraiser, were the subject of a high-profile Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry last year into allegations the company improperly billed the state-owned Sydney Water for lavish expenses including limousines and airfares.

The inquiry crossed party lines and examined allegations that former NSW Labor ministers Joe Tripodi and Tony Kelly misused their positions in an attempt to benefit the company.

Australian Water assiduously lobbied the state Coalition government after the March 2011 election that swept Labor from power, and the commission was also investigating whether it paid $183,000 to an alleged slush fund set up by a former adviser to former minister Chris Hartcher.

The allegations of wrongdoing are denied and ICAC has yet to release its findings.

Senator Sinodinos is not expected to face any adverse findings but he was called to give evidence at the inquiry about the company’s expenses.

Justice Katzmann said in a preliminary judgment on Tuesday that the case against Senator Sinodinos had been discontinued and he was “no longer a party”.

Mr Di Girolamo and others – including former Labor treasurer Michael Costa, also a former chairman – are still being pursued in court. But Justice Katzmann has ordered that most of the shareholders provide a combined $2.4 million in security for legal costs to continue their fight. This could in effect bring the dispute to an end.

She said there was “credible evidence” that the companies bringing the case “may not be able to pay the respondents’ costs should their claims fail” and it was appropriate for them to provide security.

At the heart of the case is the allegation that Mr Di Girolamo and others persuaded the shareholders “to invest substantial sums of money only to squander their investments”, Justice Katzmann said.

Mr Di Girolamo’s brother-in-law, Danny Koutsogiannis, his school friend, Rod de Aboitiz, and the well-connected Navarra family, who run reception centres including Le Montage and Curzon Hall, are among the shareholders taking action. Mr Koutsogiannis, who is suing in his own name rather than through a company, was not ordered to provide security.

The case will be halted until the first tranches of the money are paid into court or a guarantee provided.


Orora chief executive Nigel Garrard says the company can no longer rely on a pick up in the US economy Photo: Supplied Packaging company Orora will spend $45 million on an innovation fund to encourage “out of the box thinking” to combat slower than expected growth in the world’s biggest economy, the US.
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The company, spun-off from Amcor in 2013, posted a 25.9 per cent surge in net profit to $131.4 million for the year to June 30, despite subdued conditions in Australasia and North America. This excluded the cost of the Amcor demerger.

Orora chief executive Nigel Garrard said the company needed to invest in innovation to underpin further growth, saying it can no longer rely on a pick up in the US economy.

“[In] North America, there are signs of the economy beginning to improve,” Mr Garrard said.

“But events like the past week or two on the investment markets show that it’s still a period of uncertainty and our view is that we need to continue our own internal improvement activities and internal customer innovation rather than rely on the economy in either North America, Australia or New Zealand to drive any growth.” More ideas 

Most of the $45 million will come from the sale of the company’s land at Petrie in Queensland, Mr Garrard said.

He said Orora’s management had already approved one project under the fund – a “value-adding opportunity” to its glass business. Mr Garrard said the company was still finalising contractual arrangements and expected to announce more detail soon.

“That’s the type of thing we are looking at, that plus automation and improvement in our manufacturing processes are the two key drivers of the fund. Success for me would be that we have more than enough ideas that meet or exceed our hurdles,” he said.

Mr Garrard said Orora’s was also willing to inject 30-40 per cent more on top of the $45 million it committed to the fund if it generated enough ideas.

“We want to do that in a way that encourages our people to think differently, to look at what we do that’s outside the norm.

“If we can create the momentum and the out of the box thinking, if you excuse the pun, of those types of things, then for us I would be more than happy to increase the amount we would invest in that.” Steady growth 

Orora’s sales rose 7.3 per cent to $3.4 billion, while earnings per share jumped 25.9 per cent to 10.9 cents.

Mr Garrard said he expected further earnings improvement in the 2016 financial year, subject to swings in the global economy.

“The speed of any improvement in the US economy might be a little slower than the optimists thought, but for us I’m quite confident in our own business, and we have not seen any effect on core business in North America in the last weeks or months.

“I think we are going to have more steady growth there rather than a big pick up that some of the pundits were expecting six months ago.”

He said its B9 recycled paper mill in Botany Bay, which was completed in 2013, has exceeded expectations, with production increasing 10 per cent to 367,000 tonnes. Exports to North America rose 8500 tonnes to 55,300 tonnes in the past 12 months.

Orora’s shares were 0.5 per cent higher at $2.17 on Wednesday morning.

The company will pay a final dividend of 4 cents a share on October 13.


Flying off the shelves: The white and black options available at the 49ers’ online store. Photo: shop49ers上海夜网mDENVER:Sporting giantNike isready to push the button tomass produceJarryd Hayne49ers jerseys afterunprecedented sales over the past fortnight.
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Custom-made “Hayne 38” jerseys are in high demand after the 27-year-old Australian’s stunning opening to his NFL career,bursting into stardom after just two preseason games.

Given Hayne is yet to cement a spot on the final 53-man roster, his jersey has to be custom made by retailers – but that hasn’t stopped 49ers fans from jumping on the Hayne plane in numbers the club’s flagship store at Levi’s Stadiumhasnever seen before for an undrafted rookie.

“I’ll be honest with you, I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s crazy,” a 49ersstore salesman told Fairfax Media.”Not only do I watch pro football, but I watch other sports too and this is unheard of. It’s incredible, his jersey is in high demand right now.He’s exceeded a lot of expectations transitioninginto NFLfootball. He’s a wonder kid. He’s in such high demand right now.

“The jerseys are custom madeand they aregoing off the shelves. We started making some custom jerseys for him about two weeks ago just prior to the first preseason game. But the media following and buzz around him havepeople interested.I’ve made about 10 or 15 custom jerseys myself. People are coming in and asking forHayne38 and waiting40 minutes to get that jersey custom made and tailored to their size. It’s grown men, it’s women. Everyone wants a piece of him at the moment.”

On the club’s official merchandise store website, Hayne’s jersey leads the page with five different options available to men ($US99.95), women ($US94.95)and youth ($US69.95).

At the moment his jerseys are all being custom made, however the 49ers have made contact with apparel partners Nike and are ready to begin bulk production.

“We have a back-up plan in place, yeah,’ the 49ers store salesman said.

“For now we’remaking that many customisations that we’re trying to get ahead. ButNikeare in the work of having his jerseymass produced to go on sale.Of course thefinal signing would be the Chargers game in our house on the 3rd of September. If he makes the squad then Nike will push the button on mass producing those jerseys.We have the jerseys and it won’t be long before we have personal custom items like playing cards and T-shirts.”

Figures on the number of Hayne jerseys sold areunavailable given they have all been custom made in stores,but it is estimated it’s gone well beyond three figuresalready.

The hype around Hayne continues to go grow back home and abroad, with many fascinated by the story of the kid from Minto.

“The limelight and the story. He’s come out of nowhere and transferred his skills excellently,” the 49ers store representative said.

He’s got agreat work ethic. The Niners fans are trying to figure out how he works. Ifollow rugby so Iknew who he was before he woreour colours. It’sthis running ability – they are amazed with what they see. How does he do it, they ask. It’s quite a story.”

It’s the second time this year there’s been a rush on jersey sales for an unheralded Aussie in the US after Cleveland Cavaliers’ MatthewDellavedova became the highest-selling NBA singlet during the finals.


A Droughtmaster cow keeps a watchful eye on her newborn triplets.A GLIMMER of hope has shone through the dusty aftermath of one of the worst droughts on record for Clermont Droughtmaster breeder Sonya Harvey after waking to find one of her young breeders with three calves at foot.
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The heifer triplets were discovered Monday morning after their mother was left behind during mustering about four weeks ago.

“Her mob of breeders have been out on the leucaena paddock and we went out to muster them but left her and another cow behind because they’d just calved out so we knew they wouldn’t make it back to the yard if we pushed them,” Sonya said.

“I went out and swung the gate back and opened up the paddock for them to come through when their calves were ready and I woke up yesterday and found them waiting to come through.”

Sonya has just finished harvesting a sorghum crop on the 4050-hectare property Kenlogan just 60km north east of Clermont and said the lack of moisture has meant there won’t be a winter crop.

“We’re back down to 300 head of breeders now and have been offloading for the last four weeks to try and cut back our numbers.”

Facing the reality of destocking and the struggle to continue feeding supplement, Sonya said it was good to see the calves doing so well.

“Their mum has been on good tucker and and even though this is only her second season, she’s very good with them.

“We’ve drafted her out with the calves into a holding paddock and started her on a grain supplement to keep her condition up while she feeds them.

“It’s just a big shock to us – we’ve had twins before but never triplets.”

Sonya said it was vital to keep an eye on the calves over the coming weeks to ensure they continued to do well.

“We haven’t had a chance to name them yet, we’re just putting all our energy into making sure they’re okay.”

Queensland Country Life


Barn Bluff is Tasmania’s fourth-highest peak. Photo: Andrew Bain Barn Bluff is Tasmania’s fourth-highest peak. Photo: Andrew Bain
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Barn Bluff is Tasmania’s fourth-highest peak. Photo: Andrew Bain

Barn Bluff is Tasmania’s fourth-highest peak. Photo: Andrew Bain

Sometimes great beauty demands effort. For every drive-up lookout in Australia, there’s another hidden delight that can only be reached on foot. Some are reached on simple strolls, but others reward only those prepared to hike for a full day, or days. Here are 10 of the best exclusive sights for those prepared to leg it. Piccaninny Gorge, Western Australia

Winding through the beehive domes of Purnululu National Park (aka the Bungle Bungles), Piccaninny Gorge is a journey deep into rock heaven. On a short walk you can poke about the gorge entrance, but it’s truly at its best if you hike the entire 15 kilometres through to its end.

Making a base camp inside the gorge, you can explore the well-named Fingers – a series of smaller gorges that branch off the main chasm. Expect mirror-smooth waterholes, towering rust-coloured sandstone walls and the opera-house-worthy acoustics of Cathedral Gorge. See www.parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park/purnululu  Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse, Victoria

Wilsons Promontory is the go-to spot for many Victorian bushwalkers and, at its southern end, just a few kilometres from the southernmost tip of the Australian mainland, sits this 19-metre-high lighthouse. It can be reached along a 20-kilometre inland walking track, or on a longer, more scenic coastal approach through Sealers Cove and Waterloo Bay that’s best broken into a couple of days.

It’s a great journey in, bettered only by the prospect of staying in one of the three visitor cottages beside the lighthouse. See www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/wilsons-promontory-national-park/things-to-do/wilsons-promontory-lightstationBarn Bluff, Tasmania

It’s the peak that gets blocked by Cradle Mountain, both literally and figuratively. Read any tourism literature and it’s Cradle that steals the show. Stand on the shores of Dove Lake and Cradle is parked in the way, hiding Barn Bluff from view.

But ‘Barney’ is taller, just as spectacular and offers a more challenging ascent than Cradle Mountain. And once you’re atop Tasmania’s fourth-highest peak, you’ll probably have its fractured, bouldery summit to yourself.

It’s an epic as a day walk, so follow the Overland Track to a night’s stop in the hut at Waterfall Valley, making the ascent from here – walkers can go as far as Waterfall Valley without requiring Overland Track permits. See www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=3297Zoe Falls, Queensland

On an island that’s entirely national park, without a single resort or hotel, the only way to get places is on foot. On Hinchinbrook Island, that invariably means the four-day Thorsborne Trail, running along much of the length of its east coast.

Midway along the trail, as it swings inland from Zoe Bay, Zoe Falls pour down a cliff, providing a cooling tropical swim in the large pool at their base.

For something even more spectacular, the trail continues up to the head of the falls, where the scene is like an infinity-pool showroom, with swimhole after swimhole scoured into the rock and staring out over Zoe Bay. See www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/hinchinbrook-thorsborne/Motor Car Falls, Northern Territory

The irony is delicious – the only way to get to Motor Car Falls is to walk. Part of the Yurmikmik walks at the southern end of Kakadu National Park, Motor Car Falls is one of the park’s less-heralded waterfalls, but when you get here it’s hard to understand why.

The walk threads between lines of hills, often pushing through speargrass that might rise over your head. Once at the cliff-rimmed pool, there are boulders to dive from, a narrow crack in the cliffs to swim into, and often hundreds of butterflies drifting about in the shade of the overhanging cliff. See www.environment.gov.au/resource/yurmikmik-walk-kakadu-national-parkLake Oberon, Tasmania

The closest even most bushwalkers get to Lake Oberon are the framed prints of the lake that have hung in so many Australian homes. One of about 30 glacially carved lakes that seem to balance atop Tasmania’s wildly brutal Western Arthur Range, it’s part of a traverse that’s often called the toughest bushwalk in the country.

The terrain across the serrated ridgeline of the Western Arthurs is so complex and difficult that even full days of hiking might yield only four or five kilometres. A couple of days along the top, you come to Lake Oberon, punched deeply into the range and famously ringed with Tasmania’s endemic pandani trees. See www.parks.tas.gov.au/indeX.aspX?base=3817Amphitheatre, Northern Territory

The Top End is dotted with easy-to-reach Aboriginal art sites, but to view this remote Jawoyn gallery you must walk for days. Seen only by bushwalkers on the 58-kilometre Jatbula Trail through Nitmiluk National Park, the Amphitheatre is sheltered in a shaded gorge in otherwise-unshaded country – for most Jatbula walkers, it’s as welcome for its cooling effect as for its art.

The gallery features a number of human figures and a trio of emus painted in ochre on the cliffs. From here it’s just an hour’s walk to the stunningly situated campsite – and a freshening swim – atop 17 Mile Falls. See www.parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au/parks/walks/jatbula-trail-nitmiluk-national-parkMt Kosciuszko, NSW

Until 1977, you could drive to the summit of Australia’s highest mountain, but these days you need to be a little more energetic. There are two common approaches to Kozzie, either walking along the old summit road from Charlotte Pass (18 kilometres return), or along paths and metal walkways from the top of Thredbo’s Kosciuszko Express chairlift (14 kilometres).

Once you’ve soaked in the view, consider stretching things out by wandering on to nearby Mt Townsend. It may only be the country’s second-highest peak, but there’s a fair chance you’ll come away thinking it more spectacular. See www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/Kosciuszko-National-ParkCooks Beach, Tasmania

See way beyond Wineglass Bay by walking past the famed strand to this equally beautiful beach further south on Freycinet Peninsula. Cooks Beach faces into protected Great Oyster Bay, providing ocean scenes that often calm to a millpond at dawn and dusk. Look north and you can see all the way along the coast to the granite Hazards.

You can walk to and from Cooks Beach in one long day, but it’s a far better experience to camp here, with tent sites overlooking the beach from atop the low dunes.

Complete a peninsula circuit by hiking over Mt Graham and getting a Wineglass Bay fix on the return. See www.parks.tas.gov.au/?base=3363Tali Karng, Victoria

Tali Karng is an unexpected and beautiful lake in Victoria’s High Country that was created by a massive landslide about 1500 years ago. It’s far from the reach of roads, but a few hiking trails converge at the tadpole-shaped lake.

The Wellington River walking track crosses its namesake river more than a dozen times before rising into the apocalyptically named Valley of Destruction – the debris of the landslide.

You’ll need to camp – it’s at least a 34-kilometre return walk – though the Gunai Kurnai Aboriginal people ask walkers not to camp beside the lake itself, which they consider sacred. See www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/alpine-national-park/things-to-do/tali-karng

See also: The world’s 10 most spectacular places to take a swim See also: The 10 best mountain experiences for non-hardcore travellers


One of the state’s worst rapists and paedophiles could be released from jail next week, nine years after he sexually abused a four-year-old girl at a Lake Macquarie caravan park.
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The State of NSW has lodged an 11th-hour application to have Kevin Howard, 62, subjected to strict supervision should he be released on parole on September 3.

Even if he is not released on parole next week, Howard’s sentence for filming himself performing a series of sex acts on the girl at Teralba in 2006 expires on October 7.

Howard has spent 17 years of his adult life behind bars, the Supreme Court heard on Monday.

His sex offences date back to 1977 when, as a 24-year-old, he groped and propositioned a woman for sex while he was drunk.

Five months later, he raped a woman at knifepoint in a car park and was jailed for nine years with a non-parole period of four years.

Four months after his release in 1982, Howard and a friend went to “find a woman” in suburban Sydney when they came across a teenage couple walking along a street.

They scared off the boy and kidnapped the 17-year-old partially blind girl before repeatedly raping her in an isolated area.

Howard was jailed for 10 years with a non-parole period of five years, but ended up serving less than four years.

In 1989, while on parole, he approached three girls aged four, five and six in a Newcastle playground.

He pulled down the underwear of two of them and tried to perform a sex act on one of the girls before inviting them to go for a drive with him.

The girls said no and Howard was reported. He received 18 months’ periodic detention.

Howard was then able to abstain from his offending for more than 15 years, until he ended up living in a caravan park at Teralba.

In 2006, he lent his mobile phone to a friend who found photos of a man having sex with a child.

Howard was charged with possessing child pornography before it was discovered that the photos were of him performing sex acts on a four-year-old girl.

He was later jailed for nine years with a non-parole period of eight years.

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Howard will be subjected to an interim supervision order regardless of when he is released before a hearing in November to determine whether he should be subjected to further supervision.

In the meantime, he will be assessed by two psychiatrists.

Howard has expressed a desire to live with family in Goulburn or Coffs Harbour, Justice Richard Button noted.

He has been a well-behaved prisoner and is a talented artist who has had little contact with the outside world, the court heard.

“Regrettably, the life history of the defendant demonstrates that he has an entrenched proclivity to commit very grave sexual offences against women and girls,” Justice Button said.

Newcastle Herald


Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. Photo: Justin Bieber/Instagram Selena Gomez has opened up about her relationship with Justin Bieber, her friendship with Taylor Swift and her decision to take off her purity ring.
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“It’s difficult for people to separate us,” the 23-year-old singer told Britain’s Sunday Times about her relationship with Bieber. “The internet wants to freeze this moment in time and constantly repeat it.”

The pair began dating in 2010 when Gomez was 18 and Bieber was just 16. Their relationship ended last year under the intense scrutiny of the public eye.

“I didn’t think I was doing anything bad by falling in love,” she said. “There’s such an emphasis on people being the perfect thing and then destroying them because it’s good press. Throw in the fact that you’re a teenager­­­­ – it makes it more difficult.”

It was made even more difficult by the fact that, while dating Bieber she removed her purity ring, which symbolises the decision to remain a virgin until marriage.

The Heart Wants What it Wants singer asked her father for the ring when she was 13.

“I said, ‘Dad, I want a promise ring’,” she recalled. “He went to the church and got it blessed. He actually used me as an example for other kids. I’m going to keep my promise to myself, to my family and to God.”

As she grew up and then met Bieber, she changed her mind.

“I’m not embarrassed to say that,” Gomez said. “I’m also not embarrassed to say that the ring has come off. I got it when was I was 13 and I respect so much what it represented, but it isn’t for everyone.”

Although she was comfortable with her decision, she was not comfortable with the public backlash.

“Sometimes you have to lie to yourself to get through the criticism, and then you’re in your closet crying,” Gomez revealed. “It’s been like that for me a couple of times, but I only want to learn from those things.”

As she tried to navigate growing up in the public eye, the support of close friends, such as Taylor Swift, helped.

“I can count on one hand the people I could call and who would be there for me. Taylor is one of the greatest people,” Gomez said. “When I split with my first boyfriend [Nick Jonas] and I was really sad about it, she flew into town with homemade cookies and a bunch of junk food.”

Now, Gomez says she’s ready to love again and is coming to terms with that love being public.

“The next relationship will be something dear to me,” she said. “There is no way I will ever hide my life.”

Fairfax Media


Sylvia Jeffreys addresses her fashion crime. Photo: NineSylvia Jeffreys to replace Georgie GardnerKarl Stefanovic to appear in Independence Day
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Today host Sylvia Jeffreys has smacked down the Daily Mail live on air after a report the site published about an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction she suffered earlier this week.

The journalist’s white underwear was clearly visible underneath a sheer turtleneck as she posed for photos at an Ovarian Cancer Research Fund morning tea on Tuesday.

The Daily Mail wrote about the malfunction and went so far as to suggest the 29-year-old journalist was in on the act.

“She’s know [sic] for her elegant sense of style, but Sylvia Jeffreys went for more of an eye-popping look than she had perhaps planned when attending a high tea on Tuesday,” the article read.

“But the 29 year-old blonde appeared to take the minor wardrobe malfunction in her stride, shooting photographers a good-natured grin along with a look of surprise.”

Jeffreys defended herself on air on Wednesday morning with the support of her colleagues, saying she didn’t know she was flashing her underwear.

“I just want to clear up, in their report they said that I flashed a look of surprise when I realised what was going on – I had no idea what was going on. That’s just my weird resting face.”

Jeffreys’ shut down the report by pointing out she was a working woman who was clearly too busy to change.

“I was running between many commitments yesterday and didn’t have time obviously to change what was underneath every outfit.”

“It wasn’t visible to the naked eye, it was just under the photographers’ flash that that was visible, so apologies for any offence caused but I wont make the same mistake twice.”

“Thank you Daily Mail for pointing that out,” Jeffreys added sarcastically. Errrr whoops! Anything to draw attention to a good cause, I guess. Right @helenmccabe? #brafail#crazyeyes#10Hourspic.twitter上海夜网m/hfrrWd7fOn— Sylvia Jeffreys (@SylviaJeffreys) August 25, 2015Great to join @mccabehelen for the #10Hours High Tea today. Thank you @womensweeklymag and #Loreal for inviting me to join this important campaign for ovarian cancer research.A photo posted by sylviajeffreys (@sylviajeffreys) on Aug 24, 2015 at 11:25pm PDT


Furious investors have kidnapped the head of a Chinese exchange for minor metal trading from his hotel and handed him to police, the Financial Times (FT) has reported.
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The investors were angry that authorities had failed to find out why their funds had been frozen and believed by handing over Fanya Metals Exchange boss Shan Jiuliang to police they could spark an investigation.

The FT reported investors had been protesting for weeks about their funds being frozen at the exchange which is based in the southwestern city of Kunming and traded minor metals. It also offered high interest investment products from offices in Shanghai and Kunming.

The exchange, which had purchased minor metals for above market prices, has faltered as China’s economy slowed.

Investors travelled to Shanghai and besieged a luxury hotel where Shan was staying.

When he tried to check out they manhandled him into a car and delivered him to the nearest police station, according to the FT report published on August 23.

Police took Shan into custody promising to investigate what happened to investors money. Shan was later released without charge.

Fanya, which had started to experience liquidity problems months ago, had stockpiled metals as Indium and Bismuth that are used in high tech and military applications.

The FT said it interviewed investors who claimed they were attracted to invest in Fanya financial products because it was advertised on CCTV – the national broadcaster.

Shan had been holding regular meetings with exchange backers and was on the way to Guangzhou for a business trip when he was captured.

According to the FT, a report by the local regulator had identified the exchange as an investment risk but was redacted to remove the reference to Fanya last year.

Fairfax Media


The business and first-class bar on Emirates A380 flights. Photo: Emirates Nicole Kidman lounging on the Residence’s double bed. Photo: Etihad
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THIS IS LUXURY: Emirates’ First Class Cabin. Photo: Emirates上海夜网m

The business and first-class bar on Emirates A380 flights. Photo: Emirates

The business and first-class bar on Emirates A380 flights. Photo: Emirates

The business and first-class bar on Emirates A380 flights. Photo: Emirates

Qantas is eliminating first-class service on most of its long-haul flights except for a few flagship routes to Los Angeles and London from Australia.

Qantas is eliminating first-class service on most of its long-haul flights except for a few flagship routes to Los Angeles and London from Australia.

Qantas is eliminating first-class service on most of its long-haul flights except for a few flagship routes to Los Angeles and London from Australia.

Sports cars are fun. Save some extra money and go for it, at least once. Photo: iStock

Five-star accommodation: Sure, it’s great and all, but imagine all of the other things you could do with that money. Photo: iStock

It doesn’t matter who you are – backpacker or big-budget traveller, rich person or poor – there are some travel experiences that almost everyone dreams of splashing out on.

These things aren’t cheap. In fact they’re often sell-all-your-furniture, remortgage-your-house expensive. But you’ve been told time and time again that they’re worth it. The theory, after all, is that the more you’re forced to pay for something, the better it will be.

But is it? Through my job I’ve been lucky enough to be able to sample some of those big-budget, bucket-list experiences that most travellers dream about. And I’ve found that they’re not all worth the money. Flying business class

The experience: There can’t be a person alive who hasn’t wandered past the fancy seats at the front of the plane and wanted to jump in one. You have to pay a lot, but think of the perks! You get lounge access, and sometimes a shower before theflight. You get personalised, professional service. You get meals presented on white linen and proper crockery. You get to lie down flat and sleep, or watch a huge TV screen, and then walk off the plane refreshed and ready on arrival.

The cost: Between five and 10 times what you’d pay for an economy seat.

The verdict: Are you paying for it yourself? Forget it. That money could be better spent in a million ways. This is, after all, just a seat on a plane that you’ll only get to enjoy for 24 hours at the most. But hang on: are you upgrading on points? Go for it. Especially if it’s with Emirates or Qantas. It’s a pretty amazing experience. The only downside is that economy will seem even worse for the rest of your life. (And it’s even worse if you manage to fly first class – take a look at the best first class seats in the gallery above.) Staying in a fancy hotel

The experience: Here’s what all that money gets you at a luxurious, five-star hotel. It gets you service from the moment your cab pulls up outside the door. It gets you a huge, comfortable room with a beautiful view. It gets you a “pillow menu”. It gets you a bathroom that’s probably bigger than your apartment back home. It gets you a day spa and a pool and all the other amenities. It gets you access to high-quality restaurants and bars that you don’t even have to leave the hotel to find.

The cost: As much as you want to pay.

The verdict: I wouldn’t. Unless it’s for a really special occasion, I wouldn’t splash out on high-end accommodation. Sure, it’s great and all, but imagine all of the other things you could do with that money. Imagine how much longer you could travel if you just stayed in a basic hotel, or a hostel. Imagine the great meals you could have, or the events you could go to, or the souvenirs you could buy. Unless you’re the sort of person who likes to spend the bulk of your holiday hanging around the hotel, I wouldn’t recommend it. Going to Antarctica

The experience: This is bucket-list stuff. You board a ship in the south of Argentina and set sail for the great southern continent, where you’ll get to see huge colonies of penguins; you’ll get to see orcas, and seals, and flocks of seabirds; you’ll get to spend time in an Antarctic research station; and you’ll get to watch and listen as huge glaciers groan and crack and tumble into the ocean. That’s pretty amazing.

The cost: From about $8000, and that’s not including flights.

The verdict: Do it. Save your money, and do it. All of those things you’re picturing – they will all be there. There’s nothing on Earth that can compare to a trip to Antarctica, to feeling like an explorer as you set off from Ushuaia, to the thrill of being isolated at the bottom of the globe in one of the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen. Going to Antarctica is expensive, but it’s undoubtedly worth it. Hiring a luxury car

The experience: Here’s the deal: you could hire any old regular sedan, and make your way around, say, the USA in economically sensible style. Or, you could accept the upgrade you’ll inevitably be offered, and spend your journey roaring around the countryside in a Mustang, or a Corvette, or some equally ridiculous sports car that guzzles more fuel that you thought possible, and makes everyone look at you like you’re a balding wannabe having a midlife crisis. Ahem.

The cost: From about $100 per day, plus fuel.

The verdict: This is not something I would ever have done, until a travelling buddy talked me into hiring a Mustang convertible to get around California for a week. To begin with it felt ridiculous, but once the sun was out and the top was down, I realised that my ‘Stang was just about the best investment I could have made. Sports cars are fun. Save some extra money and go for it, at least once. Doing a big-budget African safari

The experience: There seem to be only two ways to do a safari in southern or east Africa: the ultra-budget backpacker way, or the five-star high-end fancy way. The fancy way involves luxury accommodation in huge permanent tents with wooden floors and proper showers, or beautiful bungalows with plunge pools looking out over the savannah. You get private game drives with highly skilled trackers, who break from their wildlife spotting only to set up a table and pour a G&T for you while the sun sets. In short, it’s ridiculous, and awesome.

The cost: From about $600 per person night to upwards of $1800 per night.

The verdict: Do it once. Just for a few nights. Make it your honeymoon or something special like that. Book a place like Phinda in South Africa or Somalisa Camp in Zimbabwe. They’re amazing. And after that, go back to regular old budget safaris. I actually love the stripped-back version of the safari experience, sleeping in a tent and making your own fire in the morning for coffee. It feels more authentic, more adventurous, than the big-budget version. Dining at a three-Michelin-star restaurant

The experience: This is the best of the best. It’s like going to see Lionel Messi play football, or Tom Morello play guitar. When you go to a three-Michelin-star restaurant, you’re experiencing food at its finest and most inventive. It will probably be silver service, with ultra-professional waitstaff serving up tiny morsels of food that have undergone days of preparation and years of planning to make it to your table. For foodies, it’s the top rung.

The cost: From $150 to about $800 per person.

The verdict: You have to be into food. Really into food. If you’re not the sort of person who’s going to appreciate that this dish is a whimsical play on the chef’s childhood in Paris, or that this rare seaweed was foraged from a secluded coastline in northern Scotland, then going to a three-Michelin-star restaurant is going to be a waste of time. And even for those who really are into food, some of the best dining experiences when you’re travelling can come from the cheapest restaurants. But if you want to try the best of the best, this is your only option.

Which luxury experiences do you think are worth saving for? And which aren’t?

See also: Forget the house: Travel is the secret to happiness

See also: Visiting all the world’s iconic sights by private jet

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