Monday, 25 May 2009

Double up at Lindenderry


John Crook

Wine and dine

The most popular accommodation package at Lindenderry Country House Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula offers two nights accommodation for two. It includes a daily Devonshire tea, a two-course dinner for two in the Linden Tree Restaurant accompanied by a complimentary glass of Estate wine and full breakfasts daily. Rates start from $695 per couple, subject to availability. The deal is available for two consecutive nights Thursday-Monday until August 31 2009. Lindenderry is a member of the prestigious hotel and resort Select Group. Check the packages by ringing (03) 5989 2933 or go visit

Go sightseeing or a round of golf on this cruise

The ship is the Diamond Princess which sets sail out of Sydney on December 10, visiting Melbourne, Hobart, Dunedin, Christchurch, Tauranga and Auckland. All meals and entertainment are included. There's the captain's cocktail party, a dinner for two on one-night in the famous Sabatini Italian restaurant. For golfers there are numerous opportunities to test your skills. Sightseeing as an alternative. Prices begin from $4299 per person twin share for golfers and from $3799 per person twin share for non golfers. Telephone 1300 305 920 or visit

Club Med Cruise

Cruising is huge and here's why! Club Med 2 has launched its '09 packages with fares from $4972 per person, twin share, on C deck for seven nights. It's an all inclusive cruise from July 23 – 30 2009. Gourmet buffet meals, wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner. Cruise from Italy to Greece with four days in different ports in Croatia. Quite a few surprises (including one inclusive price, paid up front in Aussie dollars). Call 1800 258 263 or visit

Treetops joins network

One of Tropical North Queensland's pioneering resorts has joined Accor's Mercure hotel network, re-branded as Mercure Port Douglas Treetops Resort. Just a short walk from Four Mile beach, this renovated property has a new look and a new feel. The swim-up pool bar, the Tree bar and grill, and the Wharf restaurant are just a few of the reasons why you should consider a spot of paradise, Mercure style. Rates start from just $125 per night. For bookings ring 1300 65 5 65 or visit

Big surprise on the mount

Over recent years great changes have been made to the high country behind the Gold Coast. Mount Tamborine can be one heck of a day's outing ex Brisbane or from the coastal strip. It has its own brewery which offers a tasting tray, Witches Chase cheese company, along with the 'beautiful' people working the canvas and other media. Such a friendly lot they are too.

Visit fjords by rail

Explore the spectacular west coast fjords of Norway by combining the scenic Bergen and Flam rail trips with bus and boat travel. Five itineraries which start/finish in Oslo Voss or Bergen. For example the Oslo-Voss-Oslo package, priced from $487 per person, covers 2nd class seating from Oslo to Flam, ferry and bus and then returning by rail to Oslo. Children from 4-15 travel at half price. You may break the journey, however, accommodation is not included in the price. More details by contacting or telephone 1300 555 003.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Wat Cruise?


By John Crook

Vietnam closer than you think

The City of Greater Dandenong promotes ethnic culture and a plethora of  cuisines. To date, this city within the Melbourne framework  has a thriving Indian community, a large slice of Afghanistan, and in neighbouring Springvale it's Asian all the way.  Each precinct is alive and well, inviting you to save on international airfares, yet get the full flavour-packed experience.  Try this one for size.  It's Vietnam on a Plate.  Tailor made touring to discover hidden secrets whilst sampling the sights and delights of Asia.  Tours start at Nan Yang supermarket, 313 Springvale Road.  All food is included and the cost of $66 per person. To get the facts telephone (03) 9689 1186, or 0411 578 641.

Three days cruising the Amazon

Check this one out.  An itinerary which includes Buenos Aires, the ruins of the Lost City of  the Incas, Rio and the spectacular Iguassu Falls and a coastal rail ride to Tigre. There's heaps more, making this one of the 'must do' adventures.  It is all part of a 24-day escorted South American tour.  Priced from  $27, 250 per person, twin-share, return air and taxes from Sydney have been included.  To get the details of what is included, check out or telephone 1800 083 141.

Henry Lawson alive and well

Head towards the Darling River and visit the Back O'Bourke for an insight into the life of one of the nation's greatest writers, and along the way check out some of our better known bushrangers. The exhibition centre has recently been redeveloped and can now be regarded as a world class facility, providing a journey into the past.  A discounted price of $28 (adults)  includes admission to the centre and also a cruise aboard the Jandra paddleboat.  Check the package details by ringing (02) 6872 1321.

Norfolk beckons

If gardening is of interest, you will not find better than the speciality tour offered by the good folk on Norfolk Island.  It's all to do with a green thumb seminar which runs from September 23 to 30.    There is a special package for Aussies who may be interested in the seminar and tour.  Costs are from $1049 per person (ex Brisbane) and $1132 per person (ex Sydney).   That includes return air fares, taxes, seven nights accommodation, seven days car hire and a discount shopping card. Please note the Norfolk Island departure tax is additional.  Also, the seminar is extra at $599 per person, and that includes an edible garden tour.

Smashing good time in Spain

The world's biggest tomato fight attracts thousands.  August 26 is the date and the package is valid until sold out.  There is one departure only and that's scheduled for August 25 2009.  The package sells for $419 per person multi share, with two nights accommodation in Valencia, daily breakfast, an orientation tour,  return coach transfers to La Tomatina, a guided pub crawl in Valencia and there's an accompanying tour guide.  Call Student Flights on 1300 554 175.

The man from Mukinupin

Three decades ago Dorothy Hewitt wrote a classic Australian musical comedy and it's been brought back to life with performances at the Melbourne Theatre Company's  Sumner Theatre.  Max Gillies,  Amanda Muggleton star in this gem.  Visiting Melbourne June 11 to July 19?  Then include a night at the theatre.  Bookings essential.  Telephone (03) 8688 0888 or visit  

Freebies in Austria

Before firming up the bookings for your next European trip, check out what Austria offers on the free list.   Here are just a few.  Many parks and gardens offer free admissions, as do quite a few churches with free concerts.  Christmas markets, which start around November, are free. The Vienna music film festival is another.  Be sure to obtain  discounted cards which offer value-packed extras.  These are available in the major cities of Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck and Graz.

Check this one out

There's a new cruise experience on offer for holidaymakers in Cambodia and Vietnam.  Pandaw Cruises sets sail on seven-night adventures.  Your chance to tour an amazing part of the world.  For the facts on Pandaw River Cruises telephone 1800 225 656 or visit  


Visual – Touring Cambodia Angkor Wat.

Monday, 11 May 2009

French all the way


By John Crook

Three free nights in Capetown

Return airfares from Australia and domestic flights in South Africa are part of an eight-day wildlife and scenery package.  Also included are three free nights at the Cape Cadogan Hotel in Capetown, those three nights at Lion Sands River Lodge with all meals, local drinks and game viewing.  The deal, costing $5540 pe person , also includes an overnight in Johannesburg.   If interested, the deal is available for travel until September 30 2009, so hop onto or telephone 1800 221 451.  Check on the conditions.

Inclusions at Green Island resort

Stay in an island suite from $150 per person per night, twin share. If my maths are correct this represents a saving of  up to $115 per night/person. Inclusions are return catamaran transfers from Cairns, full buffet breakfast, use of snorkelling equipment and a glass bottom boat tour.  For information and bookings visit or call 1800 002 233.

French all the way

There are six new self-drive itineraries on offer, allowing you to travel at your own pace, yet staying at pre-booked accommodation. Prices, for a tour of Champagne, Burgundy and Beaujolais, include seven days from $1075 per person, twin share.   Touring for this itinerary starts in Paris. Other tours head off from Avignon, and the Loire Valley and it's possible to combine any of the itineraries with others creating a grand tour.  Book before May 29 and Renault Eurodrive offers seven days free for bookings of 21 days or more, with pick-up before December 31 2009.  Telephone 1300 858 304 or visit 

Heritage class

There is a third level of cabin class aboard the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express, with a fifteen-day package priced from $11,530 as compared to the former lead-in price of $18,455.

The package includes accommodation, gourmet meals, a generous drinks' allowance and a range of sightseeing excursions from the train.   The Heritage Class cabins have bunk beds with a standard double bed on the lower level.  There are eight cabins to a carriage ands the ninth is equipped as a bathroom. Telephone 1300 363 554 or visit  

Pandaw's luxury cruise into Borneo

Eight-nights cruising into the very heart of Borneo definitely offers something out of the box.  Join the replica colonial-ere riverboat as one of just 60 guests sailing the swift-flowing Rajang River from Sibu.  Surprises such as walking into remote villages which were once home to head-hunters, and marvel at the amazing flora and fauna.  The price from US $4995 per cabin, with twin occupancy, includes all meals, local beers and spirits, gratuities and daily guided shore excursions.  More details from travel agents or telephone (02) 8080 5622 or visit  

Kayak touring

Mossy Point is the nearest point to Region X boat shed, which is offering touring aboard glass bottomed kayaks. The other grid point would be Broulee on the south coast of NSW.  The tour-hour Marine Park Sanctuary tour is priced at $55 per person (half price for the kids).  For more info ring 0400 184 034.  

* Please note conditions may apply to these packages  and prices are subject to change and availability.  This information is provided as a guide only.  Check with your travel agency.   Block out periods may apply.    Need a holiday ?  We're archived on

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Alaska memorable for sure


By John Crook 

Interest already in Anzac Day 2010

Next year APT offers a 15-day river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam, designed to follow the emotional force of being at the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Anzac Cove.  The package also offers an optional three extra days in Paris.  The interesting point is that the tour is classified as an Exclusive Sailing which means passengers are only from Australia and New Zealand. There are several variations, options and savings, so please get the facts by visiting or call 1300 656 985. 

Best time to visit Singapore

Singapore Airlines is offering passengers a $1 stopover if travelling now or through 30 September 2009.  Bookings are to be made before 15 May. The deal offers unlimited rides on the SIA hop-on-bus, 50% dining discount at designated food outlets in selected hotels, a range of attractions, shopping discounts and vouchers at Changi Airport.  Coincide with the Singapore Food festival in July, of join in the shopping at the Great Singapore Sales which offers up to 70% discounts between May 29 and July 26.  You will need to check the conditions and availabilities by logging on to  

Alaska memorable for sure

For selected departures in May and June of this year, check out the seven-night cruises aboard the luxurious ships of Princess Cruises.  The price is attractive, from just $2749  per person twin share.  Coupled with airfares from Sydney or Brisbane, the packages include a 2-night stop over in Taipei, and a hotel night in Anchorage.  All onboard meals and entertainment are included on this Alaskan cruise.  Telephone 1300 369 848 or visit for conditions.  Air taxes and fuel surcharges are additional and applicable at time of booking.    

Who said Sydney is too expensive?

Book at Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour or Ibis Darling Harbour on any Saturday throughout this month of May and you can stay on the Sunday for just $21 extra. 

At Novotel Sydney at Darling Harbour there's also a special $21 meal deal including a main course and a glass of house wine or beer.   There's more!  To get the facts and the conditions telephone (02) 9288 7180. 

Travel with buddy and save

Adventure operator Gecko's has mate's rates where two people are travelling together.    Your buddy travels for half price.  This means great value for those discovering Egypt during May 2009.  Even solo travellers are not disappointed, with 20% off their booking.  Try this one for size.  An eight-day round trip from Cairo  taking in the Pyramids, the Nile River, the Sphinx, the Valley of the Kings and Aswan.  You pay and your buddy travels for half the price.    It's just a matter of  doing a deal with your buddy, eh!   You need to book before May 31 2009. Phone Student Flights on 1300 554 175 or visit  

Barge through France

This year there are savings to be made  in May  (less 50%) and again in June and July, with discounts of up to 40%.  Book a cabin or an entire barge, ranging from comfort to ultimate luxury.   Inexpensive options include the atmospheric Lorraine which cruises midst the villages and vineyards of Burgundy. It becomes a terrific value packed opportunity during those months where discounts apply. For the complete story view or call French Travel Connection on 1300 858 304. 
Visual :  (e-cruising visual – Alaska Memorable for sure) Getting up close and personal to a glacier in Alaska.