Monday, 27 August 2007



Week beginning 27 August 2007

travel tips: with david ellis


THERE's still time to save on a family getaway to the Towers of
Chevron Renaissance in Surfers Parade: from now until September 20
stay four nights but pay for only three – and families also get one
complimentary use of the resort's private 18-seat movie theatre, a VIP
discount shopping voucher at the resort's shopping centre, and if they
opt to go to the Infinity special effects and illusions attraction
(entry is $67.50 for two adults & two children) families get a free
souvenir photo. Price starts from $228 a night for a family in a
2-bedroom apartment. Details (07) 5584 8100 or

SAVE $348 per person by booking and paying by November 28 this year
for Adventure World's "Glories of Turkey" tours in 2008. The 13-night
packages include Istanbul, Gallipoli and Anzac Cove, Troy, Ephesus,
Cappadocia and other famous sites, 4- and 5-star hotels, breakfasts
daily, most dinners and English-speaking guides. Select departures
January to March begin from $1083pp twin-share if booked by November
28; air is extra. Details 1300 363 055 or

NSW Holidays has a night's stay for two adults and two children 4-12
years in Wollongong, on the coast an hour south of Sydney, from $299
including a 2-bedroom unit at the Park Street Serviced Apartments,
dinner at Bombora Restaurant to the value of $80, and a day's entry to
Jamberoo Action Park that has a near-dozen rides and attractions. Its
available September 1 to March 31 next year; phone 1300 737 222 or

SIXTEEN days in the real Wild West includes Yellowstone National Park,
Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane's Deadwood, the Grand Canyon, the
Painted Desert, Grand Teton National Park, Mount Rushmore and many
other Wild West legends. Available various dates in 2008 from $4165pp
twin-share plus costs of air to America. Details from travel agents,

A SELF-drive holiday from Los Angeles to San Francisco includes
5-nights for a family of four and 5-days Hertz car hire, and is priced
from $1134 until March 31 next year through Flight Centre. Air is
additional and tickets to Disneyland, Universal Studios and other
attractions can be arranged at extra cost before leaving home. Details
131 600 or

TRUE: Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer has racked-up
over 3.5-million frequent flyer points with Qantas, but says he can't
use most of them: as they were earned on official business, they can
only be used for official trips, and like most of us, he finds that he
can never get on the flights he wants. So he has to keep buying
tickets for most of his travels – which of course earns him more
frequent flyer points, that like those he's already got, he'll most
likely never use.

Monday, 20 August 2007



Week beginning 20 August 2007

travel tips: with david ellis


VISITORS to Cairns can get a taste of rainforest wildlife without
having to leave their 5-star hotel: the Sofitel Reef Casino Cairns has
a unique 20-metre high glass Rainforest Dome on its roof that's home
to around 100 wildlife species including free-flying birds, koalas, a
cassowary and a 4-metre crocodile. The hotel has a current 2-night
package that includes twin-share and breakfasts daily from $470 per
couple; the hotel has four restaurants, bars, gym, spa, rooftop pool
and casino; details 1300 65 65 65 or

ADVENTURE World have a new selection of small group tours of India,
Vietnam, Turkey and China for a maximum of just 15 guests; they
include major attractions of countries visited, return air, 4- or
5-star hotels (some of them heritage palaces,) transfers, most meals,
sightseeing, entries, and an escort and local guides. As an example a
14-day India package is priced from $5827pp twin-share. Get a brochure
on 1300 363 055 or

BOOK 5-nights at the family-oriented Turtle Beach Resort on the Gold
Coast between October 8 and December 23 and from January 21 to March
18 2008, and kids up to 14-years will stay free, get some meals – and
to top it off the resort will give you a $30 petrol voucher. The
5-nights costs from $875 for two adults and children sharing a
2-bedroom apartment; the resort has four pools, spas, tennis, saunas,
theatrette, putting greens, gym, games room, children's playgrounds
and licenced café. Details 13 88 33 or

KIDS getting out of school for a holiday in Fiji can find themselves
back in the classroom: Treasure Island Resort just off Fiji's
'mainland' has a children's program that includes visiting a
'mainland' Chief's village and spending a day in class Fiji-style. The
program also includes many watersports, mini-golf, volleyball, spear
throwing, dancing, treasure hunts and games; a family package for two
adults and two children under 12 years sharing an Ocean View Buré
starts from $2122 for 5-nights, including all meals, soft drinks for
the kids, morning and afternoon teas, canapés, and a Weekly Cocktail
Party. Available to 15 December with air extra; (02) 9997 1515 or

NINE days from St Petersburg to Moscow includes Nevsky Prospekt, the
Hermitage at the Winter Palace and the Summer Gardens at Peterhof in
St Petersburg, the Kremlin, and Red Square, Gorky Park and Sculpture
Park in Moscow. From $1349pp includes 7-nights twin-share in 3-star
hotels, an overnight sleeper train, breakfasts daily, tour leader and
a Moscow Metro Card; available on select dates to October 2008 with
air extra. Details 1800 069 063 or

TRUE: Today's average mega-liner uses as much electricity in a day as
a city of 50,000 people.

Monday, 13 August 2007



Week beginning 13 August 2007

travel tips: with david ellis


CATHAY Pacific's showing it plans on being around for a long time to
come, announcing orders for five more wide-bodied Boeing 777-300ER
aircraft that will give it twenty-three of the extended range planes
and a total fleet of over 130 by 2011. Airline CEO, Tony Tyler says
the new purchases will cement the company's Hong Kong base as a
leading international hub for passenger and freight operations, and
will give Australian travellers access to over 120 destinations in
Asia, North America, Europe and South Africa.

THEY could probably be called quite rightly the birthplace of
Queensland, but the hamlets of quaintly-named 1770 and nearby Agnes
Waters on the state's Central Coast are hardly the focus of mass
tourism (which is probably what gives them their appeal, and how the
locals want to keep it.) But there's plenty to do in and around both
tiny settlements, including visits to Lady Musgrave Island, national
parks, secluded beaches considered Queensland's most northerly and
least-crowded surfing destinations, and classic fishing. Mantra
Pavillion Mirage on 1770 offers a taste of luxury with prices from
$145 per room per night for minimum 3-night stays to March 31 2008 –
excluding December 14 to January 16 – if booked by September 15.
Details on 13 15 17 or

FOURTEEN nights on the rare 6-star, 940-passenger Crystal Symphony
from Miami to Los Angeles by way of the British West Indies,
Colombia, the Panama Canal, Costa Rica and Mexico, is selling from
$8180pp twin-share next February. Price includes return air from east
coast capitals, a night in Miami pre-cruise, transfers, shipboard
tips, and an onboard spending credit of up to US$100pp; details 1800
266 190 or

BRISBANE's 4.5-star Terraces on Wickham overlooking the Roma Street
Parklands and city centre, has a romantic's special until September
30 of $189 for a night's deluxe accommodation for two on either a
Friday, Saturday or Sunday, massage oil, sensual candles, car parking
and buffet breakfast. There's a pool, restaurant and bar; 1800 777
789 or

AN adventurer's getaway in Thailand includes a 4WD safari from Chiang Mai through hilltribe communities in the Mae Hong Son Valley, a bamboo raft trip on the Tham Lod River, a jungle walk to the Mork Fah Waterfall, and a visit to the Burma border. With 2-nights twin-share, breakfasts, all touring and admissions

it costs from $713pp. Air and land travel to Chiang Mai is additional. Details on 131 600 or

TRUE: A WOMAN in Poland returned home from a holiday to find the
local council had put a road through her backyard. When she objected
she was told not to complain, as all she had to do was cross the road
to get to what was left of her vegie garden.


Monday, 6 August 2007



Week beginning 6 August 2007

travel tips: with david ellis


KIDS get their accommodation and meals free at the Resort Quest
Waikiki Banyan, and free entry with each paying adult into the
Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park, Atlantis Submarine Tour and Sea Life
Park, as part of a family Honolulu package with Escape Travel between
August 24 and December 20. Families also get a bonus Aloha book of
discount vouchers for meals, shopping and golf; 7-nights for a family
starts from $1539 in a 1-bedroom standard room, plus air. Phone 1300
799 783 or visit

BOOK before September 15 and there's $40 a night off at the Port
Douglas Mantra Aqueous on select dates from October 16 to March 31. It
brings a Spa Room down to $128 a night for stays of three nights or
more; the resort is just 200m from Four Mile Beach and has four lagoon
pools, BBQ facilities and a balcony Jacuzzi in every apartment. Tours
are available to the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef;
details 13 15 17 or

BRUSH up the golf with three half-days of lessons as part of a holiday
package to the Springfield Village Golf & Spa Resort at Hua Hin on the
Gulf of Thailand. Lessons at the 7063-yard, Jack Nicklaus-created
course are designed for beginners and advanced players alike. A
4-night package is priced from $1620pp plus taxes starting from
$223pp, and include return air from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane,
buffet breakfasts, 3-hours of lessons a day with range balls, caddy,
golf cart and green fees. Details AW Royal Orchid Holidays on 1300 369

ALTHOUGH hotel rooms are selling fast for this year's NRL Grand Final
in Sydney on September 30, Flight Centre still has options available
from $70 per double per night at Nomads Maze Backpackers, $205 per
room per night at the Hotel Ibis at Darling Harbour, from $287 at the
Radisson Plaza Hotel, $265 at Sydney Marriott and from $307 per room
per night at the Sheraton on the Park; book on 1800 005 125 or online

GARDEN buffs can join an 8-day river cruise from Amsterdam to some of
the most colourful Spring tulip fields in Holland and Belgium in April
next year. The tour visits Arnhem, Antwerp, Ghent, Middelburg
Rotterdam, Veere and Volendam to see millions of plants in bloom;
7-nights twin-share, breakfasts, six lunches, seven dinners with
wines, and a cocktail reception is priced from $2025pp, plus air.
Phone 1800 044 066 or visit

TRUE: A hotel at Brighton in England has had to pay compensation to a
guest after housekeeping staff ate half his chocolate 50th birthday
cake the day before he was to celebrate the big event.