Wednesday, 28 October 2009


CLASSIC International Cruises has announced that its flagship, Athena will return to Western Australia and South Australia for the 2010/11 summer to offer the company's longest-ever program here as the only ship to be based in Perth and Adelaide in the 2010/11 season.

The popular 600-passenger Athena will be based in WA and SA from December 18, 2010, to April 3, 2011.

Athena will be the only cruise ship based in WA and SA in the summer of 2010/11, underscoring Classic International Cruises' continued commitment to these growing cruise markets, according to the line's Australian Managing Director, Grant Hunter.

"Classic International Cruises has served Western Australia every summer since 2004 after a decade in which no ship at all was based in WA, and in 2010/11 we will again offer our highly successful formula of traditional cruising, affordable fares, attractive itineraries, fine cuisine and friendly service," he said.

"We first developed the cruising market in WA with the small but popular Funchal and have gone from strength to strength ever since, which led us to deploy our biggest liner, Athena in WA and also SA last year for the first time.

"And our 2010/11 summer season will stretch for four months - our longest season yet."

Mr Hunter said that despite the economic slowdown, cruising had continued to attract record numbers of Australians seeking an exciting, value-for-money holiday.

"Consumers in WA and SA love the fact they can sail with us from their doorstep and our intimate, mid-sized ships keeps them coming back year after year," he said.

Athena's cruise itineraries in 2010/11 will again include Bali, greater Asia, destinations around WA and SA and classic line voyages between Europe and Australia. Details will be released later this year.

Originally a trans-Atlantic liner, the 16,200-ton Athena features a wrap-around promenade deck, traditional wooden deck chairs, a pool, fitness centre and sauna, five bars and lounges, nightclub, show lounge, casino, library, boutiques, cinema and formal and casual restaurants. The onboard currency is Australian dollars.

Cruises on Athena from Fremantle in WA and Adelaide in SA are available from $435 per person, twin-share, for a two-night itinerary.

Bookings via travel agents.  For more information, visit               


THERE's still time to enjoy an out-of-the-ordinary cruise before Christmas to some of the most-desirable – and some of the more-unusual – destinations in the USA, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines' $400m super-ship, Norwegian Star.

And making it all the more enticing, has slashed hundreds of dollars off the price of a 15-night fly, cruise and stay package that embraces this 13-night cruise, and also includes return air and taxes from Sydney or Melbourne, a hotel night pre-cruise in Los Angeles and another post-cruise in Miami, and all dining, entertainment and gratuities aboard Norwegian Star.

Norwegian Star sails out of Los Angeles on November 23 for Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco and Huatulco on the Mexican Riviera, Punta Arenas in Costa Rica, will transit the Panama Canal, have a day in Cartagena in Columbia, a total of six full-days cruising at sea between ports, and finish in Miami.

And prices for this 15-night value package start from as low as $3099pp twin-share, a saving of $750 per person, with even greater savings on some other cabin categories; full details on 1300 369 848 or visit

FURTHER SHIPBOARD INFORMATION: Norwegian Star was purpose-built for Norwegian Cruise Lines' renowned Freestyle Cruising that enables guests to dine when, where and with whom they wish at no fewer than ten onboard restaurants.

There are also thirteen bars and lounges, a casino, cinema and live-show auditorium, spa and salon, a selection of pools and hot tubs including a  children's splash pool, fitness centre, jogging and walking track, outdoor golf driving net, and basketball and volleyball courts.


With Tempo Holidays, book two of the luxury 'explora' lodges in Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Atacama (Chile) and Lake Peheo (Patagonia) for next year and receive a free one-night stay at the Casa Porta Estate in Santiago which comes with an open bar, airport transfers plus winery tour and wine tasting.

The deal is for new bookings made before December 31.

The lodges of 'explora' offer sophisticated accommodation in remote environments, according to Tempo Holidays which has four or five-day packages at these properties.

The four-day package at 'explora' in Rapa Nui in Easter Island (known for the gigantic 'moai' sculptures), for example, is from $2575 per person twin share which includes accommodation with private facilities, 11 meals, open bar, and daily excursions (hiking, horse riding, cycling, museums and archaeological sites) with bilingual guides.

The vast Atacama Desert is the driest place on earth, but is extraordinarily beautiful. Its geological features include the eerie rock formations of Valle de la Luna, the shimmering salt flats which is a major breeding ground for flamingo, and the steaming mud pool of the Tatio Geyser. Then there are the 12th century ruins of an Indian fortress to explore and the Padre Le Paige archaeological museum.

The explora in Patagonia is in the fabulous Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage listed site. Dominated by the three imposing granite towers of the Paine Massif, it offers a stunning panorama of snow-clad peaks, glaciers and turquoise lakes.

Contact: agents or Tempo Holidays tel 1300 558 987, see, or


Philippine Airlines has announced new low fares for Australian travellers, offering great savings on existing prices and a perfect excuse to explore the unspoilt tropical isles of the Philippines.

The fares are among the best on offer this decade, with economy flights to Manila available from $900* return from Sydney or $883* return from Melbourne, including all taxes/charges.  They are available long term, expiring in March 31, 2011, and are part of a wider campaign to encourage more Australians to visit the Philippines.

New low fares beyond the capital are also available, with Philippine Airlines offering onward connections to a range of islands and resorts in the archipelago.

Economy fares to Cebu, Kalibo (for Boracay), Tagbilaran (Bohol) and Puerto Princesa (Palawan) are available from $997* return from Sydney or $980* return from Melbourne.

Just eight hours from Australia, the Philippines offer some of the most diverse and unspoilt locations in Asia, spread across 7107 islands in the tropical north Pacific.

They provide a chance to explore remarkable landscapes and cultures without enduring the hoards of mass tourism, yet the resorts and hotels are world-class and offer the warmth and spirit of Filipino hospitality.

Popular destinations include the renowned talc-white beaches of Boracay, the history and energetic culture of Cebu and the vibrant soul of big-city Manila.  Other emerging destinations include rustic Bohol, home to the world's smallest primate, the tarsier, and the pristine island of Palawan with its intricate limestone coastlines, virgin forests and underground waterways.

Philippine Airlines has also introduced new business class fares, priced from $2229* return from Sydney or $2212* from Melbourne.

Asia's first airline, Philippine Airlines operates five flights a week from Sydney and Melbourne to Manila aboard modern A330 aircraft, increasing to seven flights a week from November.

For full details, conditions and bookings, see travel agents or contact Philippine Airlines on 1300 888 725.  For more information on the Philippines visit

*Subject to availability/conditions.  Prices include all taxes/charges.  Available to 31/3/2011.


The  Australian dollar's astronomical  run (against  currencies such as the American dollar and the Japanese yen)  has encouraged even  more skiers and boarders to head to Japan's snow-covered ski areas.

"A strengthening dollar against the yen  is making our packages  even cheaper," said Marcus Williams General Manager  Ski Japan Travel.

"Ski Japan Travel  is selling  packages at  the exchange rate of the day customers pay, so any decrease  in costs such as accommodation, airline  tickets  and ski lift tickets, because  of a more favourable  exchange  rate gets passed  directly to our customers."

An early bird NISEKO Free Nights Offer: Pay  for 5 stay 7 or Pay 10 stay 14 nights in self contained apartments in Niseko, the most popular  Japanese  snow resort located  on the west coast of Hokkaido .

Valid for stays between 6 March - 30 April 2010; skiers or boarders pay for 5 nights and get an additional 2 nights free, or pay 10 nights and get 4 nights free.

A fully inclusive package costs from  $2,349 per person including return economy flights with Japan Airlines and air  taxes, 7 nights accommodation  in a  Full Circle 2 bedroom deluxe apartment  (2 free nights included) , 6 days' Niseko  all mountain lift pass, return airport transfers, airport meet and greet  plus services of Ski  whilst in Nisek

This package  is valid  for stays between 6 March - 30 April 2010

Details from Ski Japan Travel on 1300 137 411 or

Monday, 26 October 2009

Bonjour and welcome to New Zealand


John Crook

Bonjour and welcome to New Zealand

Little wonder that Wolfgang and Olivia have settled on Arrowtown as their home away from home'.  In that quaint village the couple has, with their equally French-style staff, introduced the flavours of France to the local Kiwi's and visitors from across the puddle.   What to do?  Apart from going French all the way, there is  plenty of shopping at smart boutiques and galleries, to checking the history since the days of the 1862 gold rush, or opting for plenty of good walking opportunities and, without snakes. A wonderful stopping off point, prior to taking on the capital of the South,  Queenstown.   If heading towards New Zealand, do not miss Arrowtown, - a must!  Click onto

Cruise to the Tattoo

In August of 2010 there's a brilliant cruise offering a 14-night fly, cruise and stay package which does include, amongst many highlights, an option to visit the Edinburgh Millitary Tattoo.  The package includes 12-nights aboard Crown Princess, a night pre-cruise in London, a free Singapore stopover on the way home, plus Le Havre for Paris and Normandy.  Departure from Southampton is August 10.  Keep your eyes out for the Loch Ness monster.

Reduced prices start from a low  $6049 per person, twin share. Get the facts by ringing 1300 369 848.

This one attracts attention

Book two of the luxury 'explora' lodges on Easter Island, or Atacama in Chile for next year and receive a free one-night stay at Casa Porta Estate in Santiago.  The inclusion comes with an open bar, airport transfers, a winery tour and tastings.  The four day package  is priced from $2575 so make a move and check on what is included.  Not too many Australians have visited these magical ports of call, and that makes it all so exciting.  Get the full facts by visiting www.tempoholidays or call 1300 558 987.

Join the stars

Set in one of the most beautiful locations is the Wollongong golf club and come November 19-22 there's a free-of-charge entry for the public  to catch the stars of the golfing world – the likes of Peter Senior, Terry Price and defending champion Tim Wood.  Just a short walk from the golf club is Wollongong serviced apartments offering a terrific PGA package with overnight accommodation from $190 per room night.   That includes a breakfast hamper, wine and chocolates, undercover parking, complimentary newspaper and the latest Golf Australia magazine.  The rate is valid from November 16 – 22,  Just a matter of calling (02) 4225 2544 or visit   Conditions apply and subject to availability.

From stars to fireworks

Legend of the Seas will sail three-hours late next February.  The reason being that guests outward bound will be able to witness Hong Kong's spectacular Chinese New Year celebrations. February 15 2010 is the departure date for the seven-night package which includes Taipei and Hualien in Taiwan.  There are extras which have been included in the seven-night  package priced from $2699 per person twin share.  Check out by calling 1300 369 848, or visit
Canada ready steady,- GO

Book a minimum seven-nights at the luxurious Fairmont Chateau Hotel in British Columbia Canada, and if that booking is made prior to November 15 2009, there is a choice of either an $800 food and beverage voucher or a free upgrade to a deluxe room.  Prices start from $1068 per person twin share and include accommodation and a six-day lift pass.  The deal is valid for travel from November 1 to February 10, 2010 and from March 1 until  April 30, 2010. To heck out other Canada options and inclusions telephone 1300 361 322 or go visit

* 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

Monday, 19 October 2009

Take to the seas with True North


John Crook 

Into elephants ?

The people of north eastern Thailand are currently fostering a n approach to humans and elephants living side by side.  Ozzie adventurers can take up two week placements  at an elephant foundation in Surin, working at preserving the national symbol of Thailand. Economic pressures have been working against majestic elephants which have been, over the years, exploited.  Priced from $1745 for a two-week volunteer placement the package consists of on-site accommodation in a shared room, all meals, pickup from Bangkok airport on arrival date, in-country orientation, a help desk and a 24-hour emergency support.  Flights are additional. With monthly departures through to December 2009, I would suggest interested parties call 134 782 to check on availabilities, conditions and to make a booking. 

Cooking up a touch of the east

Singapore is the leader in regards to the number and varieties of cooking classes currently available.  Try these for size.  Raffles Culinary Academy, running almost daily with recreational and introductory classes. To book, visit  Violet Oon's Kitchen is another worthy of consideration.  Violet is a leading authority on Asian cuisine and her classes are legendary.  Check her out by visiting

Cookery Magic is another.  Classes take place in the comfort of a local Singapore home including the cuisines of Malay, Indian and vegetarian. Visit  

Take to the seas with True North

In July and August of 2010 here's the ticket for Australian adventure cruising.  Two such cruises to the Kimberley region are scheduled for True North, exiting Broome and destination the Hunter River. The vessel carries just 36 guests with a crew of 20.   Prices start from $7799 per person twin share and that includes all gourmet onboard dining, use of six expedition boats for onshore excursions, light aircraft transfer from the Hunter River to Kununurra.  Air fares are additional.  To get the story click onto  By the way there's a helicopter carried onboard and available for optional-cost sightseeing flights. 

Japan for skiing

A selection of ski packages  staying at one of Japan's most popular ski resorts features some of the best skiing around. The Rusutsu ski resort is located in Hokkaido and accommodation package is from $1180 per person for land only.  If you wish to include flights and taxes into the package, you should contact 1300 361 322 or visit   The package includes seven nights accommodation with daily breakfast, a free seven-days lift pass and return airport transfers. 

Billy cart derby

This brings back heaps of memories and those of us who once had a love affair with a billy cart, can do it all again, this time at Falls Creek.  The date for the event is January 9, so prepare now. The billy cart fraternity is not the only crowd pleaser. Mid January (16-17) there's a celebration of local food and wine, with a dash of music.  Just the place to be for tastings of  award winning cool climate reds and whites.   The Summer Kids Club (December 27 and January 30) will be another hit for families.  A terrific program of activities has been scheduled. For more information on Falls Creek, go visit 

* 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 


Monday, 12 October 2009

Cruise aboard heritage replicas


John Crook

Upgrade to gold service

Current promotion for the Indian Pacific rail experience offers an upgrade to their brilliant gold service.  It's a simple procedure. Just a matter of booking the rail journey at the same time as your accommodation and touring package.  Conditions do apply, so read the fine print.  At face value it appears there is a saving of up to $640 person.  Grab a copy of Australia's Great Train Holidays brochure to check out the various combinations.   To obtain your free brochure telephone 1300 132 147 or visit

Stay five nights pay for three

This one would be hard to overlook. Staying  on the French Polynesian island of Moorea, it's hard to imagine that there could be anyplace to match the five-star Intercontinental Resort and Spa Moorea.   Prices start from $1,071 per person twin share and that price includes the five night stay with the two night freeby.  International irfares are additional.   To access the free nights bookings need to be made prior to October 31 2009 and are available for travel from November 1 to December 30 2009. Get to the 'phone and dial 1800 044 066.

Equestrian three day event

Set aside these dates, November 13 – 15.  On this year's equestrian calendar Rymill Park is the location for the Australian International Three Day Event.  To purchase tickets for this major SA event, visit

There is quite a variety of ticketing options, so check out the best option for you. For those who do not know Adelaide, take note that the venue is within walking distance of the CBD, so accommodation anywhere in the city should be of interest.  There is anther good reason to consider this event, - that being the annual Credit Union Christmas Pageant which is scheduled over the same weekend.  For general enquiries telephone (08) 8383 6180.

Go take a walk

With almost 3000 kilometres of managed walking trails on hand, and 880 separate walks, Tassie just has to be the most walked state of the nation. Take your pick!

Cradle Huts Walk, the Bay of Fires Walk,  the South Coast Track, the Freycinet Experience and the Maria Island Walk.  It's a secret no longer, but before the hordes arrive, check out the walk destinations on the most beautiful island in the world and go for it.  Tasmania !    The best advice I can pass on is to go visit and you are practically on your way.

Cruise aboard heritage replicas

Pandaw River Cruises operates remarkable vessels which are replicas of yester-year. Join like minded travellers aboard the river boats  19th century style, on an–eight day Mekong expedition cruise in Vietnam and Cambodia in January and February next year.    You get to travel in back-water village areas that can only be accessed by the shallow-draught Pandaws and local 'country boats'.  As part of the package in January and February guests have two nights free staying at the five-star Sofitel Plaza in Ho Chi Minh City, normally valued at $248 per person.  For details contact (02) 8080 5622 or email

* 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

 visual is of Pandaw river boat.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

FRANK'S FAVOURITES: Greek Odyssey and Hog Heaven



Ever wondered what it's like to ride in a vintage Model T Ford? Or the car that Russian dictator Joseph Stalin used to tour in? In Los Angeles you can find out jumping on the local bus lines to visit several auto museums. the Metro Green Line and two Metro Buslines swing right by the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo -- a unique car museum that lets visitors experience its classic car collection first-hand. On Sundays, guides take visitors for rides in vehicles including a 1915 Model T, a DeLorean and a Packard convertible used by Stalin. During the week and on weekends, visitors can sit in vintage Packards and more than 100 other unique cars. In addition, the Metro Rapid bus serves the world famous Petersen Automotive Museum in LA's Mid-Wilshire district; and the Metro Red Line and Metro Busline 224 whisks visitors out to enjoy the European and American classics displayed at the Nethercutt Collection Museum in Sylmar.  Check out


LA-based EagleRider (now the world's largest motorcycle rental and tour company) offers enthusiasts the ultimate motorcycle vacation, with self-drive and guided motorcycle tours throughout Southern California. Riders can choose from Harley-Davidson, Honda, BMW and Viceroy motorcycles. EagleRider's legendary tours include self-guided tour packages with hotel accommodations, restaurant suggestions, and a day-by-day itinerary route map; and professionally guided tours, with multilingual guides, a support van for luggage and with a spare bike, hotel accommodations and welcome and goodbye receptions. All EagleRider tours include the famous EagleRider "road book," an optional pre-programmed GPS, a perfectly maintained motorcycle rental and motorcycle-friendly hotel accommodations. With three LA locations -- in Glendale, the Westside and Hawthorne near the beach -- enthusiasts can roar off into adventure -- navigating Malibu's mountain roads, cruising the sunny beaches and exploring Hollywood hot spots. Get onto


A CRUISE from Athens through the Greek Islands to Istanbul in May of next year is not for everyone – this one's aboard the super-luxury Seabourn Odyssey and will be shared by just 450 guests.

And making it all the more special is that its part of a 12-night fly, cruise and stay package through that includes 7-nights aboard Seabourn Odyssey, 2-nights pre-cruise at Athen's Grand Bretagne Hotel, 2-nights post-cruise at the Swissotel the Bosphorous Hotel Istanbul, and a free night in Singapore's famous Raffles Hotel enroute.

There's also a half-day Ancient Corinth Tour in Athens, a full-day Bursa Tour in Istanbul, all ship/hotel/airport transfers, and return air from mainland capitals including air taxes,.

Seabourn Odyssey sails from Athens on May 8 next year for Mylos, Rhodes, Patmos and Khylos in the Greek Isles, Kusadasi for Ephesus in Turkey, a full-day at sea, and Istanbul; onboard highlights include open-seat dining with menus created by the legendary Charlie Palmer, all drinks from the open bars, a diverse selection of onboard activities, and onboard gratuities.

By booking Early Bird through up until December 10 this year brings the price down to as low as $8349pp twin-share; for full details phone 1300 369 848 or visit

ADDITIONAL onboard details: Seabourn Odyssey has six bars/lounges, a two-deck health spa, gym and fitness studio and beauty salon (charges apply,) six outdoor whirlpools and two outdoor pools, an indoor Thalassotherapy pool, sport deck and sun terrace, water sports marina, casino, library, computer centre and onboard shopping.

All-suite accommodations feature flat-screen TV, DVD player, mini-bar and refrigerator, hair dryer, direct-dial telephone and 24-hour service.


NUTELLA pizza, queen of Spain cupcakes and a rack of lamb in puff pastry are just some of the tasty dishes in a new cookbook which 'plates up' restaurants in the Macarthur region - the birthplace of Australia's agriculture and wine industries.

Building on a new love for home cooking on the back of TV's hit MasterChef program, the budget-priced Macarthur Cookbook will serve as a mouth-watering 'brochure' for potential visitors to Macarthur and also as a palate-pleasing souvenir for people who enjoyed a visit to the region, which is centred on historic Camden and Campbelltown, 45 minutes south-west of the Sydney CBD.

Colonial pioneer, John Macarthur, established the fertile region in 1805 as Sydney's earliest food bowl, with Australia's first major farms and wineries. The region was named after the enterprising settler.

Also ideal for Macarthur-proud locals, "The Macarthur Cookbook' is produced by Visit Macarthur, a tourism partnership between Campbelltown City Council and Camden Council, and features 19 easy but appetising breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert recipes supplied by chefs from some of the 100 restaurants and cafes in the Macarthur area.

The signature recipes, accompanied by full-page colour images, include nutella pizza from Barenz CafĂ© in Camden, queen of Spain cupcakes from Chocolateria San Churro store in Macarthur Square, rack of lamb in puff pastry from the La Bella Vita restaurant in Camden, scallops alla venziana from Enzo's Italian Restaurant in Camden and corn fritter and ricotta from Infusion Restaurant at the 4½-star Rydges Hotel in Campbelltown.

Campbelltown Mayor, Cr Russell Matheson, said the cookbook was a unique way of showcasing the region's variety of fine dining experiences.

"With 19 recipes featured from leading chefs and restaurants across the Macarthur region, and a dedicated section on local wineries, it's ideal for budding chefs or anyone who enjoys good food or dining out," Cr Matheson said. "The cookbook enables people to sample some of Macarthur's finest cuisine and readers can try the recipes at home or head out to experience these dishes the way the professionals make them in their restaurants."

Camden Mayor, Cr Chris Patterson, said Macarthur's vibrant multicultural mix had created an expanding culture of exotic dining in the area, with a vast choice of cuisines to experience. "Featuring charming, rustic locations, the highest quality service and award winning international cuisine, the restaurants of Macarthur offer delightful dining experiences for visitors and locals alike," Cr Patterson said.

The Macarthur Cookbook is available for only $15 from the Campbelltown Visitor Information Centre on Old Menangle Road, Campbelltown (phone 02 4645 4921) and the Camden Visitor Information Centre on Camden Valley Way, Elderslie (phone 02 4658 1370).

For more information go to


Ski the fabled dry powder at Japan's Niseko, and take a tour of dynamic Hong Kong along the way.

Skimax is offering a three night stopover in Hong Kong at the Harbour Plaza Northpoint with a value-for-money Japanese snow holiday.

This innovative Asian package is an opportunity to savour the tastes of Hong Kong as the "Hong Kong Food and Wine Year" runs until 31st March 2010.

Priced from $2,999 per person plus air taxes it is a sensational opportunity to immerse yourself in the timeless culture and heritage of Hong Kong, do some sightseeing around this amazing metropolis, try some of the exotic cuisine it is renowned for, and ski or board Japan's (arguably the world's) driest powder snow.

Return Cathay Pacific airfares from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Cairns to Sapporo, via Hong Kong are included in the innovative package.

Also included is a Hong Kong Island Tour, a Hong Kong Night Harbour Cruise, three night at the Harbour Plaza in Hong Kong, seven nights ski-in ski out lodge or apartment-style accommodation at Niseko, a six day ski lift pass (valid at four inter-linked ski areas) and return transfers from Sapporo Airport.

Niseko is located on the west coast of Hokkaido and caters for skiers and boarders of all ability. It is the powder snow capital of the skiing world and has become one of the favoured winter destinations for Australian snow enthusiasts.

Valid for travel 24 Jan to 14 Mar 2010. Conditions apply.

For more information contact Skimax on (02) 9267 1655 or 1300 136 997


FREQUENT flyer members of Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair's Marco Polo Club can now enjoy quicker immigration clearance at Hong Kong International Airport by using the Frequent Visitor e-Channels.

This self-service clearance facility means eligible travellers do not need to fill in arrival or departure cards, speeding-up and streamlining their processing.

The service is now available to all Marco Polo Club Silver tier and above members who must be aged 18 and over, in possession of valid travel documents and a multiple-visit visa for Hong Kong (if such a visa is required).

Marco Polo Club members eligible to use the service will have to enrol by presenting their Marco Polo Club membership card and travel documents in person at the Immigration Department Enrolment Office located in the Arrival Hall at Hong Kong International Airport.

Enrolment is free of charge.

More information about Frequent Visitor e-Channels can be found at the Hong Kong Immigration Department's website at

Monday, 5 October 2009

Gracious giraffes at front door

Gracious giraffes at front door

Giraffe Manor has been around since 1932.  Then, why has nobody told me about it?  Just outside Kenya's capital, Nairobi, is this unique five-star wilderness hideaway. A package worth considering offers two-nights accommodation two breakfasts, two dinners with wine, alcoholic beverages (excepting champers), through to laundry services, entrance to the Giraffe Centre and use of a sightseeing vehicle. Prices start from $1,054 per person, twin share,  for two nights.  International airfares additional. To get the full story contact 1800 044 066.

Celebrate history week

If your kids are aged between 8 and 12,  they get to  spend some time in a classroom of the 19th century. The location is Ballarat and the experience is part of the offerings of Sovereign Hill.  Places are limited so action is required right now, by phoning  (03)  5337 1188.  Adults too are not forgotten with a whole pile of activities planned for history week (October 25 – November 1).  This includes the chance to dine in 1850's style, at the Taste of Empire dinner.  The dinner is scheduled for October 30 from 6-00pm to 10pm.  For details of the activities and events go visit and for bookings, go straight to

Stars of Mamma Mia touring

Mamma Mia returns to the theatres of Australia with its premiere on October 23.  The production which stars Suzie Mathers and David Somerville has a full-on season taking in  Sydney through until February 7, Melbourne February 13 to May 30, Perth June 5 to August 1 and Brisbane August 10 to September 19.

I caught up with the absolutely charming actors duo during their national promotional tour.
For bookings visit

11 nights aboard Celebrity Equinox

Join the mega-liner as she cruises the Mediterranean next winter.   Ports of call include Messina, Athens, Kusadasi, Ephesus, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Naples and back to Roma. This is a dinky-di tour of biblical proportions, and all undertaken in 5-star luxury.  Departure ex Roma is June 25 2010.  With ten dining venues, bars and lounges this one is a must for consideration.

Most certainly it is not your ordinary type of cruise.  It is a super escape.  Get all the information by calling 1300 369 848 or log on to

Surf the waves of Costa Rica

Adventurers in search of some great waves could find the answer to their dreams on the Nicoya Peninsula. Priced from $1139 (even better priced if three book together) the package includes four days of surfing lessons, use of boards all week, six-nights multi-share accommodation in a beachfront house and local bus transport.  The package also includes six breakfasts and six dinners. Guests are based at Zopilote Surf Camp on Playa Hermosa de Cobana, - with easy access to some of the best surf secrets in Central America. Check out the terms and conditions by visiting

15-day itinerary to Borneo

Stories of sultans along with the sight and sounds of local wildlife these tours are a real eye-opener. Wendy Wy Tours has released tours full of mystery and fascination. The Borneo package is priced from $5814 per person twin share and includes return air fares from Australia, taxes, accommodation and meals, along   with transport, daily sightseeing and entrance fees.  Airline fuel surcharge and tipping are included in the price.  Departures are scheduled for November 7 2009, and in 2010 the departures are March 27 and July 3.  Get more information from Wendy herself by visiting

* 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 

Visual is of Giraffe Manor in Kenya.