Thursday, 29 May 2008

Winter Warmers

By John Crook

Deal with Canberra in winter
It may be cold at times but there's plenty on offer to keep visitors cosy in front of the open fire at the Marque Hotel Canberra.  Try this warmer!  Deluxe accommodation in a king spa room for two nights, with free in-house movies, free parking, free Fox sports, history and news channels and pay from $155 per night with a minimum two night stay.  There's an additional special offer over winter,- on Friday or Saturday nights one complimentary two-course dinner for two people when booked at time of reservation. The offer is valid at weekends (Friday to Sunday).  For conditions, telephone (02) 6249 1411 or email

Book four and get a fifth free
Make a booking prior to June 30 this year and benefit with an Aggie Grey lagoon and spa  package which can be used through to March 31 2009.  Prices start from $1469 twin-share including return air and air taxes from Sydney and return airport/resort transfers.   This gets you four nights in a deluxe ocean view room, an extra night for free, plus full buffet breakfasts daily and one 15 minute Samoan massage.  Details from your travel agent or telephone 1800 641 803.  In Sydney ring 8236 9900.

Head to Bright for a good deal
Roaring log fires, snow capped mountains and gourmet dining are combined into one beautiful Bright package.  Abalina Cottages in Bright offers escape packages with a reduction from $2190 to $1000.  That's seven nights accommodation for up to five people in a three bedroom self contained cottage.  A light breakfast is included for the first two mornings.    Visit for more information.

Discounted rail fares
Leisure select fares at a discounted price await travellers on the Eurostar for travel from July 1 to August 31. Fares are much the same as normal standard class, that is $157 one way and  $242 return, a great deal when travelling between London and Paris or London and Brussels. Get the facts and conditions by ringing 1300 555 003 or check

Working in America
Earn money whilst travelling the USA by signing on with Overseas Working Holidays, a program which offers students the chance to work and live like a local for up to four months.  The program commences in November. All your questions answered when talking with those in the know, on  1300 651 639.

New platinum class on the Ghan
Platinum class cabins with twin or double beds and large ensuites await the discerning traveller.  The package includes two nights accommodation at the Barossa Valley's Peppers The Louise with breakfast daily and a $50 dining credit for the onsite restaurant, a half day tour of the Barossa, two nights on the Ghan and two nights accommodation at the Crowne Plaza Darwin with breakfast daily.  All transfers by private car and return flights from originating city are included.   Ex Adelaide  from $4580, ex Melbourne $4820, ex Sydney $4930, ex Brisbane from $4930, and ex Perth from $5219.   Contact Perchalla and Turner Travel Associates on 1800 136 037.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Taking it Easy in Solar Springs

Travel Briefs - distributed w/c May 19th

Travellers Good Buys

By John Crook

A room with an unusual view

The Jules’ Undersea Lodge was named after Jules Verne. The difference is that this lodge is 21 feet under the sea, making it one of the most unique hotels on the planet. The underwater lodge has two guest rooms and a common room. Breakfast and dinner are included in your stay. To enter the lodge guests scuba dive to the bottom of the Emerald Lagoon. Location is Key Largo Florida and bookings through Flight Centre. Telephone 131 600.

Princes and princesses be pampered

This Queen’s birthday weekend treat yourself regally and be pampered right royally at Solar Springs Health Retreat at Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands of NSW. The three nights package includes accommodation, nutritionally balanced meals and a range of stimulating programs. Priced from $785pp. Full details dial 1800 044 944.

Venice to Athens

Make a note of September 16 2009 and be prepared to cruise. A ten-night escorted package aboard the motor-cruiser SeaDream II takes in the highlights of Croatia, Montenegro, the Greek Islands, the Corinth Canal, Turkey and Athens. Get the details, including best-value air travel by contacting or 1800 266 190

It’s a grape escape

Araluen Lodge with its four luxury king sized suites with ensuites and French doors opening to peaceful gardens is just the right spot for R&R. The location is the beautiful Yarra Valley in Victoria. Midweek winter specials are priced from $140 per room based on a three night stay. Included is accommodation for two, plus Yarra Valley wine sampling, breakfast, fresh fruit, chocolates, biscuits and complimentary port. Check availabilities and conditions by googling

Canada and Alaska touring

Make a booking prior to June 30 for travel on select departures late April and early May of 2009, and you will be set for memorable touring of Canada and Alaska. Guaranteed upgrades include view rooms at Fairmont hotels, GoldLeaf class on Rocky Mountaineer and a verandah state room aboard Holland America Line Alaskan cruising. Check the details and prices by ringing 1300 656 985.

Six performances only

Don’t blink or you will miss the talent. July 16 – 20 the Production Company presents Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Follies’ at the State Theatre in Melbourne. Then, August 20 – 24, ‘Damn Yankees’. Finally October 1 – 5 ‘Mame’ starring Rhonda Burchmore. Subject to availability there are some good deals. Ticketing through Ticketmaster.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Travel Briefs

Travel Briefs
John Crook

Biking it in Chile
Spending a little over a week cycling through Chile is one way to seek out adventure South American style. The cycling tour takes in vineyards and the cultures of Chile. The package includes most meals, park and vineyard entrance fees and premium wine tastings, a city tour and seven nights accommodation in cosy hotels and lodges. The trips depart Santiago on November 1 and December 6 2008. Airfares not included. Get the facts by ringing 131 600.

Love that Windsor
One of the nation’s most luxurious hotels has to be the historic Windsor in Melbourne’s Spring Street. Through to August 31 spend a night at the Windsor and pay AUD$225 for a superior room. Because it’s winter each guest receives an umbrella or a scarf. The winter package gives you the chance to do sporting fixtures to live theatre, staying the luxury of Melbourne’s favourite hotel. Visit or telephone (03) 9633 6002.

They’re racing in the bush
Brunette Downs in the Northern Territory is the location for the 98th year of racing, the big event of the bush scheduled this year from Thursday 12 June to Sunday 15 June. Get out the RM’s and slow down the drawl as you prepare for the annual Burnett Downs races. Camp on site, but bring your own gear and whilst all meals are available from the camp kitchen, if you’re into vegetarian, byo. Check it out on

A touch of luxury in Oman
The letters SLH immediately grab my attention. Small Luxury Hotels providing a certain level of luxury and now that extends to the sandhills of the Arabian Gulf. An Arabian getaway is offered by a member of SLH, Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay, located in the northerly region of Oman.

Old world hospitality is offered in this part of the world where once pirates clashed and dolphins continue to play. Get the prices and more details by contacting

Get that Peppers feeling
There’s a terrific three-night package on offer from Peppers Beach Club at Port Douglas. The property is just a short walk from the cafĂ© set which favours Macrossan Street. Those trendy cafes, bars, restaurants and shops await you. Valid through to June 30 2008, the luxury resort is offering a 10% saving on accommodation and their spa suite package is priced from $837 and that’s complete with continental breakfast daily, a bottle of wine on arrival and $100 food and beverage credit. Email

The big catch
Dream away and brag about the ones that got away, or join Peter and Tim Baily and their African Anglers safari and take on barramundi-like Nile Perch (pictured). Known locally as ‘buffaloes’ gives one the impression that these fellows are BIG. Live aboard the boats skippered by savvy Nubian guides, with excellent dining and coldies included. If it’s a challenge you’re after, check out the details and prices by emailing


Monday, 5 May 2008

Free air and free nights

Travel Briefs

By John Crook

Free air and free nights

Cruising with gratuities included in the price. That’s a real drawcard these days and it applies to the 35-night cruise from Athens to Sydney, via Port Said, the Suez Canal, Asian ports, Cairns and Brisbane. The Princess Daphne offers a wonderful mix of yester-year ambience and old fashioned service and first class cuisine. Fly out of Australia on November 11 to join fellow passengers in Athens. Priced from $5250 per person, twin share, inclusive of air and taxes. Bookings and enquiries to Creative Cruising 1300 362 599.

Maleny calls

The magical Blackall Ranges in the hinterland of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is waiting for you. Maleny Views has a romantic mid-week package where you stay in a luxurious cottage for three nights, but only pay for two. The cottage has a spa and log fire. Breakfasts for two days delivered to your private veranda. There’s also a dinner for two included, dining at the Terrace of Maleny restaurant. Telephone Craig or Pauline on (07) 5494 3943 or email

Sail from Rome’s Civitavecchia

Enticing seven night cruises from Rome are offered aboard Costa Concordia, with prices varying from $899 twin share through to peak season from $1999. The cruise visits Savona, Barcelona, Palma De Mallor, Tunis. La Valletta, Palermo, with departures through to November 23. Costa Concordia (pictured) is a four star ship with five restaurants, 13 bars, a casino and heaps more to make for a memorable experience. For more details and cruise prices contact 1300 369 848 or

Chef for a day

Before rushing out to start your own b&b, spend some real time as a chef in the kitchen of The Richardson in Perth. You are invited to join the ‘work’ experience in a busy a la carte kitchen.

Chef Todd Cheavins will happily put you to work helping to create dishes for the Opus Restaurant and after the last of the dishes have been put away, join Chef Cheavins at dinner. The day begins at 9-00am and a uniform will be provided. For prices, availabilities and all the details email

Dancing under the moonlight

Literally thousands of visitors head to the Thai islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. The big drawcard is a ten-night party. Prices, which may be subject to change, start from $400 per person, twin share and that’s for ten night’s accommodation with breakfast daily with return transfers to Koh Phangan. Return airfares to Koh Samui, where the trip begins and ends, are not included. Full details and departure dates from your nearest Student Flights store or telephone 1300 554 175.

It’s crunch time

Sydney’s ANZ Stadium is where the action will play out on July 26. That’s when the Wallabies take on the All Blacks for the first Bledisloe Cup test match. Ticket and accommodation packages start at $525 triple share (well it is rugby after all), $579 twin share and $850 for a single.

All packages include two nights accommodation, official reserved silver match ticket and for the extras contact (02) 9964 0400 or visit