Monday, 28 July 2008


John Crook

Sampling tantalising cuisine

The City of Greater Dandenong is home to a series of ethnic precincts featuring cuisine, cultural activities and fashions. The city fathers have introduced a food lovers’ tour of central Dandenong when participants are led on a journey of sensational food from around the world. Monthly tours include sampling food from Afghanistan, Africa, Lebanon and Turkey. Tours are monthly and cost $25 per person. For details telephone (03 9238 1566.

$1000 in Fiji freebies

Special rates are valid for travel to Fiji through March 31 2009. Packages include return airfare to Nadi flying with Qantas, three nights accommodation at Outrigger on the Lagoon, four nights at Castaway Island, bonus one-way scenic helicopter transfer between resorts, bonus one-hour spar treatment, bonus dolphin safari for two people, one night’s accommodation at Mercure Hotel Nadi (excluding Melbourne departures) and boat and coach transfers throughout. Check the prices for the preferred departure point for Explore Holidays by contacting your nearest travel agency.

Three nights wining and dining

South America welcomes you to a three-night gastronomic tour at the foothills of the Andes. Visit local wineries and fresh food markets plus colourful restaurants The tour is priced from $507 and that includes three nights accommodation, breakfast daily, private airport transfers and touring. Airfares to Mendoza, where the tour begins, are not included. For more info contact Travel Associates on 1800 044 066.

On the road to Mandalay….

Mandalay is just one of many wonderful surprises included in a 32-day fully-escorted tour from Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Temples, hilltop retreats, ancient trading ports cruising aboard a classic wooden junk, taking a hot air balloon over the temple city of Bagan,- then a two-day cruise aboard a boutique 48-passenger Pandaw 11,- just to mention a few of the highlights. For full details telephone 1800 083 141 or visit

There’s nothing like Noosa

Hastings Street in Noosa calls and you are the target. There’s a range of superb Noosa escapes on offer, such as Bella Casa with its one-room Balinese style apartments nestled in between cafes, restaurants and those exclusive shopping outlets. Tariff there starts from $245 per room/night. Valid through September 19 2008. Just remember, there are around 120 Noosa accommodation options from which to choose. Visit

Seven days checking out the Christmas markets

There’s a coach tour linking some of Germany’s Christmas markets and if you move quickly there’s a seat on board with your name on it. This year the tours, which operate late November and early December, include the markets of Munich, Salzburg, Rothenberg, Nuremberg and Frankfurt. Tours are priced from $763 per person/night, for the Christmas Delight. Festive Christmas markets is priced from $1,339 per person/night and the 11-day German Christmas Fantasy is from $2,263 per person/night. Full details by ringing 1300 558 987.

* Please note conditions may apply to these packages and prices are subject to change and availability.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Alaskan Early Bird Savings


John Crook

How to combat  winter chills

The sun is shining in Bali with winter temperatures around the 30's.  Plenty of accommodation with Garuda Airlines launching escapes from $50 per person for four nights staying at the Matahari resort in Kuta and that includes breakfast.  The packages are available when purchasing a return Bali airfare from Garuda Indonesia.   Ex Melbourne $1116, ex Sydney $1127, ex Brisbane $1354.  Check the other city departure points by ringing 1300 365 331 or visit

Tour le Thai

You may have missed out on cycling le France style, so switch the attention to the 13-night cycling adventure through Thailand and Laos.  Cycle through the back streets of Bangkok, along the banks of the mighty Mekong, past rice paddies and then include a two-day cruise on that same river in a converted cargo boat.   Prices from $1,420 per person, twin share.   Add airfares and a local payment of USD$250.  The tours  depart Bangkok September 15, November 17 and December 15, 2008.  Get the facts at your nearest Flight Centre store or ring 131 600.

Big savings for Alice Springs package

Alice Springs awaits you and to make you really welcome.  Aurora Alice Springs has discounted a three-day accommodation package from $978 per couple to $498 per couple.   That's three nights in an executive room for two people, a bottle of wine, buffet breakfast daily and a $50 dinner credit.   Bookings end March 31 2009 for travel until March 31, however, bookings can only be made up to 28 days in advance.  Visit  for details of this red centre deal.

Czech those beer festivals

Celebrate Czech beer festival season by actually being there.  There are nine festivals between July and October with the most famous being the Pilsner on October 3 and 4.   Consider the Prague beer package priced from $2365 which includes return economy airfare with Austrian Airlines from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns and Perth, with three nights accommodation, daily breakfast, half-day city tour, a beer and dinner tour and more.  The package is available until December 26 2008.  Ring 1300 363 554 or visit

Jazz in the Hunter

Set aside Saturday October 25 for Tyrrell's jazz in the vines.  Special accommodation deals are on offer from Crowne Plaza in the Valley.  Tariff from $670 for two people staying two nights, with breakfast daily in Redsalt restaurant and festival tickets.   Email Crowne Plaza at     For all the facts take a look at
It's almost time for the Ekka

Brisbane's famous agricultural show, the Ekka, is about to delight once again.    The unique Brisbane show runs from August 7-16, and will attract in excess of 600,000 visitors.  Make it 600,002 and schedule a visit in August.     Stay at Mantra South Bank and book in at the special Ekka rates from $179 per room /night in a studio apartment.    For the facts call 1300 557 575 or visit

Early bird savings most welcome

The 2009 cruise itineraries have been released, with Cruise West offering savings of up to US$1,100 per person on their 2009 Alaskan itineraries.   Savings apply to the company's 8-night Inside Passage journey, the 12night Coastal Odyssey cruise, the 4-night Glacial Bay highlights cruise and the 24-night In Harriman's Wake cruise.   Check what the savings will be for your chosen cruise by calling Travel the World on 1300 766 566 or visit 1300 766 566.

* Please note conditions may apply to these packages  and prices are subject to change and availability.

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Monday, 14 July 2008

Fishing widow options

Your FREE Travel Briefs.  Distributed w/c Mon July 14th 2008.


John Crook

Male and females get together

Australia's largest dating service has again teamed with Adventure World and this time offering a six-day package to Samoa.  This is especially planned for  singles and romantics aged between 40 and 60+.    Included  are return economy air fares, five nights accommodation, some meals, a welcome dinner and farewell beach BBQ.  An RSVP host will accompany the group.  Priced from $1769 per person twin share.  Email

Shopping in Arabic heritage city

The blue waters of the Arabian Gulf will welcome you to a six-day Dubai beach and desert escape.  Priced from $4,140 per person twin share the package includes Rolls Royce transfers up on arrival, three nights at the Burj Al Arab, two nights at the Al Maha Desert Resort, daily breakfasts, one lunch, two dinners and a choice of two activities at Al Maha.  Airfares not included.  Contact Tempo Holidays 1300 558 987.

Big show in the Hunter

Combine  Grammy Award winner  John Mellencamp, special guest Sheryl Crow with an accommodation package and you have one heck of an experience.  The date is Saturday 29 November when a Day on the Green takes place at Bimbadgen Estate.  Pay from $665 per person and the package includes two night's accommodation in a vintage or a classic room at Peppers guest house,  full country breakfast each morning, dinner for two in Chez Pok on the Friday night (excluding beverages) and two A reserve entry tickets to the concert, including return coach transfers.  Email

Travel for independents

Wanting to explore your holiday destination without being a 'groupie' ?    globalCARS offers well equipped vehicles, with all facilities,  in France from $144 a day for two berthers, with a discount on bookings of 5% for bookings made by August 29 for travel between now and December 31 2008.   This is an ideal way to explore France.  Visit  

Fishing widow options

Whilst the angler is out testing the waters of the Tuamotu Archipelago, you could be touring, walking the beaches, snorkelling and swimming your way through a fabulous six-night package, priced from $5969 per person with return air from Sydney, domestic air from Papeete to Rangiroa, all meals aboard Haumana including wines for lunch and dinner, shore excursions and guided fishing.   Get the full details on

Go for gold

During the period August 8 to 14, guests at Mercure Sydney could make some real savings on accommodation.  The hotel is offering $10 off the room rate for every gold medal won each day.  To save on your room rate just mention 'Olympics' on any day the Aussies win gold.  The discounts are per event for which Aussies win gold, not for each member of those team events.  For bookings and conditions telephone (02) 9217 6666 or go to  

Absolutely no wheelies please

Get behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and navigate your way through some of the prettiest country in Germany and Austria. This is a six-day Porsche indulgence, priced from $5049 per person, twin share.   It includes accommodation, some meals, seven day car rental, private sightseeing tours and entrance to the Porsche Museum and Neuschwanstein Castle.  Airfares are extra. For more information telephone Travel Associates on 1800 044 066.

* Please note conditions may apply to these packages  and prices are subject to change and availability.

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Monday, 7 July 2008

Hunter Valley Retreat


John Crook

Hunter Valley retreat

Imagine!  A three-night stay in a one-bedroom cottage, in the Hunter Valley for just $300.  That's a saving of $270 from the normal tariff.   You will need to book and travel by July 31 2008.  Visit for more information on this hot deal from Berenbell Vineyard Retreat.

World Cars deal

Good savings on international car rental rates, with cuts by as much as $26 a day for rentals in the UK.  This follows the merger of World Cars and Auto Europe.  Rentals need to be made by July 31 and are valid for collection any time up to  December 31 this year. Also check on the rates for USA and the 'rock bottom' rates for NZ skiing trips this winter.   'Phone 1300 55 44 32.

Stay on original QM. Cruise on QM2

A unique package combining a stay on the original Queen Mary and then 15-nights cruising the Pacific aboard Queen Mary 2, paying from just $3799 per person, twin share.  That also includes two nights accommodation at the Airport Hilton, one night in the Queen Mary Hotel, cruising on QM2 to Australia, with all meals, on-board entertainment. port charges, taxes and transfers.   Airfares to LA not included.  Available until sold out.  Visit  

Wollongong packages save $$$ on fuel

Hotel Ibis, Novotel Wollongong Northbeach and Rydges Central City Wollongong currently offering decent deals.  Ibis with overnight accommodation in a Queen room with two for one coupons for brekky, lunch and dinner,  plus free entry to the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk.  This package is priced from $129.  Check on conditions. Telephone 1800 240 737 for the other good deals at the Gong, - or dial  1800 240 737.

Africa – discounted

There are savings of $160 per person per night at a range of top class camps and lodges at eight properties in Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe.  The normal rate of $550 per night has been reduced to $390 and available for travel between December 1 2008 and March 31 2009 (excepting over Christmas and New Year).  Included is luxury tented or lodge accommodation, with meals, local brand drinks, laundry, game park fees and wildlife viewing activities.  Contact Bench International for bookings and special rates for air travel – 1800 221 451.  

Platiinum offer

Fifty guests aboard the Ghan get to experience the classy Platinum service, which offers a total of 25 cabins, twice the size of normal gold cabins and with a double bed.   The Rail Plus tickets are priced at $2,975 per person and come with 24 hour service, priority boarding, a complimentary nightcap and turndown service every night.

Get the facts by checking  

Get fueled up

Winter in wine country packages currently come with a $100 fuel voucher.  The deal is available at selected properties.  For example, at Peppers guest house in the Hunter Valley, the midweek rate is $592 per couple for a two nights stay, twin share.  That includes full breakfast for two and a bottle of Hunter Valley premium wine, plus that $100 fuel voucher.

Best thing to do is to visit and click on 'hot deals'.

Please note prices subject to variation, conditions apply and subject to change.

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Tuesday, 1 July 2008


Your FREE  travel briefs – distributed June 30 2008

By John Crook

Chocolates & pillows

Pillow Talk is the name given to the latest package for travellers heading to Warrnambool and the magificent Great Ocean Road.  Luxury accommodation for two, full breakfast at the Water Table restaurant, deluxe Belgian hot chocolate melting kit, a self saucing pudding, two $15 hot geothermal bath vouchers and two micro cloud pillows packaged for you to keep.  The price is from $270 per couple and is valid for travel to 30.09.08.  For reservations call  1300 987 620 or email  

Switzerland mobility

A network of trails and pathways for non-motorized traffic stretches over more than 20,000 Swiss km and includes 22 national itineraries. Hiking, cycling, mountain biking, skating and canoeing interests are catered for.  Have a look at  

Melbourne goes wicked

Ten Accor hotels across Melbourne's cbd will transport you back to the land of Oz with A reserve tickets to the latest smash hit musical and overnight accommodation for two people.  Packages are available from July 13.  To book, 'phone 1300 WICKED, or visit

Broadway at sea

An exclusive 20-day holiday, based on a 15-night cruise will have you aboard the all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner.  The package includes a mix of on-shore deluxe accommodation and touring and departs Australia September 29 this year.  This is one tour offer which is a must for your consideration.  To get the full details take a look a  or call 1800 251 174.

Magical Norfolk Island

Return air and taxes, twin-share in a one-bedroom apartment, a half-day orientation tour of Norfolk Island and should you book a five-night holiday at Panorama Seaside apartments, Coral Sea Travel will throw in an extra two nights for free, and also a rental car for your stay.

Book by July 18 for travel through December 15 (some block out dates may apply)  A departure tax of $30 per person is payable when leaving the island.  Ex Sydney $1139, ex Brisbane $1089 and ex Melbourne $1339.  For full details telephone 1800 641 803 or check  

Become a qualified ski instructor

Here's a Japanese opportunity which allows you to escape traffic jams and head to the snowfields for an eight-week course in a Japanese village  for four days a week of professional training across four different ski areas and terrains.  Training for the eight-week course starts January 4 and runs through February 28 2009.  Prices start from $13,036 and includes shared accommodation, daily breakfast, dinner five nights a week and airport transfers.  Air fares not included.  Visit  

In 2010 it's the Passion Play

Oberammergau needs to be considered now.   It's here where the Passion Play has been performed every decade since 1634.  The play  is regularly performed over a period of five months from May to October and it is now part of a  two-night option on the Tauck World Discovery 14-day romantic Germany tour.  Pricing has yet to be finalised but the recommendation is to register interest, initially by  checking the website and following the prompts on or call 1300 766 566

Please note prices subject to variation, conditions may apply and may be subject to change.

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VISUAL  - 'The world's first  all-suite, all-balcony ship, - the Seven Seas Mariner'.