Saturday, 26 January 2008


YOUR WEEKLY TRAVELLERS GOOD BUYS for week of 28 January 08

travellers good buys: with david ellis


MIX and match rugby and shopping with a getaway to Kowloon during the
Hong Kong Rugby Sevens in March. has
accomm-odation packages at the modern 3-star Dorsett Olympic Hotel in
Kowloon from $114 per night until March 31; the hotel is close to
public transport for shopp-ing or to get to the Rugby Sevens (March
28-30,) has an in-house restaurant with Asian and Western cuisine, and
rooms have broadband internet access and satellite TV. Details 1300 72
79 72 or

POPPIES Bed & Breakfast between the mountains and Mooloolah on the
Sunshine Coast, and just 10-minutes from the famous Australia Zoo, has
minimum 2-night stays from $135 per room per night to the end of
October. Four stylish air-conditioned studios each have their own
entrance and deck and views to a dam, gardens and birdlife; a
breakfast hamper on arrival includes bacon, eggs, tomatoes, cereals,
muffins or waffles, fruit, juice, home-made marmalade and tea and
coffee. Details

A LATE afternoon aperitivo with Tuscan wines at an historical winery,
a 3-hour cooking class with lunch, and a visit to the famous Uffizi
Gallery are wrapped together in a 3-day Florence in Style package from
Tempo Holidays. From $888pp twin share also includes 4-star hotel
accommodation and two breakfasts – and participants tuck into the
Tuscan dishes they prepared during the cooking class. Details 1300 558
987 or

A FOUR-night stay at the Coral Sea Resort at Airlie Beach – at the
gateway to the Whitsundays – is priced from $663pp twin-share until
February 28, the normal price of a 3-night stay. Airlie Beach has a
host of bars and clubs and a popular Saturday market on the foreshore
parklands features local arts, crafts and fresh produce. The 4-star
ocean-front Coral Sea Resort is just 3-minutes to Airlie Beach Village
and has a pool, beauty therapy centre and watersports activities.
Phone 1300 72 70 72 or check-out

IF you're already planning a visit to Europe, add a 4-day stay in the
Old City of Dubrovnik in Croatia from just $544pp including a walking
tour of the city, twin-share, breakfasts daily, entry fees to the City
Walls and return private transfers. Details on 1300 558 987 or

CELEBRATE Valentine's Day in style at the award-winning Bellachara
Boutique Hotel in Gerringong, on the coast just 90-minutes south of
Sydney. From $250 a night includes a King Garden Room, breakfast for
two, a bottle of Champagne and a rose petal bed turn down; for an
extra $69pp there's also a Valentine's Day 3-course a la carte dinner
with a red rose on arrival, a cocktail, and strawberries dipped in
chocolate. These room and dinner specials are available February 14
only; go to

TRUE: OFFICIALS in Brasov in Romania decided to boost tourism by
buying a $500,000 luxury coach to do Dracula Tours of nearby
Transylvania. But when it arrived it was too high to fit through the
city's medieval gates, and they admit they've no idea yet how they're
now going to get it inside.


Monday, 21 January 2008


YOUR WEEKLY TRAVEL TIPS for week beginning 21 January 2008

travellers good buys: with david ellis


SAVE $1250 a couple on river cruise holidays in China this year simply
by booking before February 14. Adventure World have a 12-day itinerary
that includes 2-nights in Beijing, and three in Shanghai, a 6-day
Yangtze River cruise with meals and 12-guided tours that now costs
from just $2749pp twin-share. A 10-day Yangtze cruise with meals,
2-nights in Shanghai and three in Xian, plus 16-guided tours is
discounted to as low as $3624pp twin-share. Air is extra; phone 1300
363 055 or check-out

ESCAPE to the village charm of Noosaville, an hour north of Brisbane,
with deluxe 2-bedroom/2-bathroom family apartments at the 4.5-star
Montpellier Boutique Resort, that costs from $210 per room per night
for a minimum 2-nights. The resort is a brief stroll to the Noosa
River beaches, parklands, restaurants and boat hire; available to
September on

A LEISURELY 12-day river cruise package from Paris to Prague that's
priced from just $2966pp twin-share includes 7-nights cruising, and
four pre- and post-cruise, all meals aboard a Viking Riverboat and ten
shore excursions with local guides; available from May to October if
booked and paid by February 14. Phone 1300 363 554 or visit

AN unusual Melbourne stay is at Sweeney Cottage, a boutique
home-from-home amid some of the city's finest residences and with some
of the its best attractions almost at the doorstep. The 2-storey,
2-bedroom cottage in Albert Street across the street from the St
Vincent Gardens is just 5-minutes from Bridport Street Village shops,
cafes and restaurants, and has an ultra-modern kitchen, 42-inch plasma
TV and broadband internet connection. Price starts from $272 per night
for minimum 7-nights; details

SAVINGS of 10 per cent and free upgrades are available on rental cars
in the UK and Europe this year if you hurry: book by January 31 and
pay from $38 a day in Italy, $39 in France and the UK, and $49 in
Germany. Prices include unlimited miles, loss damage waiver, taxes and
airport surcharges. Phone 1300 789 992 or

ESCAPE to the bush but do anything but rough it in an
architecturally-designed eco-cabin on 100-hectares of farmland near
Blackheath in the Blue Mountains just west of Sydney. The two airy
cabins feature galvanised iron wall coverings inspired by a heritage
woolshed on the property, gas heating, solar-design principles, spring
drinking water, games and puzzles; 5-night stays start from $120 per
night for 2-people including a first-day basket of breakfast
provisions. Available to November 12 on

TRUE: POLICE in Hungary spent Christmas searching unsuccessfully for
a stolen beach. The artificial beach comprising 6000 cubic metres of
sand, playground rides, beach huts, sun lounges and even shops is a
summer attraction in land-locked Hungary and had been closed and
tarpaulined for winter; a security inspection just before Christmas
discovered it was missing.

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Monday, 14 January 2008


YOUR WEEKLY TRAVEL TIPS for Week beginning 14 January 2008

travellers good buys: with david ellis


VICTORIA's Mornington Peninsula is readying for its annual Harvest to
Table Festival that will showcase the region's classic foods and
wines from February 29 to March 10. There'll be everything from High
Teas to chefs' lunches and a 3-course dinner party, a 3-hour
horseback winery tour with a head and neck massage to ease the aches
from tossing down all those wines, a strawberries and chocolate
spectacular and wine, wine and more wine. Full details including
accommodation options on (03) 5987 3078 or

BOOK before January 30 for a getaway to idyllic Mauritius in the
Indian Ocean and Adventure World will give you a saving of $510 a
couple, with the price including return air, transfers, windsurfing,
kayaking, tennis, pedalos, glass bottom boats and use of a gymn. Six
night packages on select dates in February and March start from $2208
from Melbourne and from $2228 ex-Sydney. Phone 1300 363 055 or

MEDITERRANEAN-inspired Casa Belle guest house at Bellingen, half-way
between Sydney and Brisbane on the NSW Mid North coast has a package
from early February to June 30 that includes Deluxe Room, breakfast,
and either afternoon tea or cheese and wine on arrival. Price starts
from $225 per room per night; the hilltop guest house overlooks
mountains and valleys, and its three private suites that run off an
Italian-style courtyard include fresh fruit, nuts and chocolates,
flowers, and complimentary port. Brekkies feature home-baked bread
and the guest houses' own organic herbs and eggs. Details

A 7-DAY cruise through the Dalmatian Islands is part of 18-day
packages that include 2-nights in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, the
Slovenian capital Ljubljana, the Istrian Peninsula, Mostar and
Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kotor and Budva in Montenegro.
There's also a visit to the Plitvice Lakes, 3-nights in Dubrovnik and
stops in Hvar and Korcula – the supposed birthplace of Marco Polo.
Book and deposit by March 31 for tours in 2008 and the $5,600pp price
includes a saving of $300pp, the cruise, twin-share hotels, meals,
sightseeing and gratuities. Phone 1300 363 554 or visit

THE prehistoric fortress of Dun Aengus on the cliffs of Ireland's
west coast is a highlight of 9-day Irish Legends escorted tours this
year from Dublin with Tempo Holidays. Also included are Kilkenny,
Waterford, Blarney, Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Aran
Islands, and Clonmacnoise. The price starts from $1762pp including
twin-share, and 15-meals – one an Irish Dinner at Abbey Tavern in
Dublin; phone 1300 558 987 or visit

TRUE: Managing Director of car rental company Holiday Autos, Chris
Hamill has given his award for the most bizarre Lost and Found item in
2007 to a family who had to rush back from checking-in at Palma
Airport in Spain to where they'd just dropped off their rental car –
after realising that in their haste to get their flight to London,
they'd left in the car's back seat their elderly grandfather.