Sunday, 25 April 2010

Mother Mary MacKillop Canonisation Tour

Travel Briefs for w/c April 26 2010. 


John Crook

Dumped ! A musical

Brisbane audiences are currently enjoying a spot of musical theatre at Twelfth Night Theatre. The show, launched on Wednesday April 28th, stars Colette Mann, Jodie Gillies, Amanda Levy and Brisbane girl Meghan O'Shea. 

Check for ticketing by visiting  or telephone (07) 3252 5122. 

Moorea an option

Much has changed since I visited Moorea back in the '70s.  There's a beaut package awaiting all 2010 decision makers.  Five nights for the price of three, plus daily breakfasts at the Intercontinental Resort & Spa.  Priced from $2799  per person ex Sydney flying Air Tahiti Nui to Papeete via Auckland, or $2849  per person ex Melbourne flying Emirates to Auckland  and then Tahiti Nui between Auckland and Papeete.  The deal is valid for sale until May 15 2010 and the packages apply for travel between November 1 and December 12 2010.  Call Jetset on 13 63 83, or visit   Check the conditions. 

Discover top quality artisan products

Italy is the destination and a special  event, in Turin, is scheduled October 21 to 25 2010.  Awaiting you and yours is a village with colourful streets, voices, culture and aromas aplenty. 

Go visit and be ready to meet a bevy of food lovers, covering all styles of foods from all over Italy. 

Two nights going nowhere

Here's a cruise which could be just the starter for bigger and better cruising holidays. 

It is a two-night thank-you cruise for that special  person in your life.  Royal Caribbean International's Radiance of the Seas super-liner brings on the magic  when she visits Sydney in November of next year.  It could be you and your loved one sailing  the harbour for a two-night cruise on board.  The prices start from $469 per person, twin share, which is below some previously advertised prices.   The price includes onboard dining from a choice of 5-star restaurants, grills and cafes, port charges and taxes, and even onboard gratuities.  To book your spot for this two nights of luxury and glamour,  go to  

One of the best in Australia

The Hills district of Adelaide  has been named as having a cooking school listed as one of the best in the country.  Competing against a line-up of other cooking establishments, the Hills Sticky Rice cooking School has the ribbon to prove it.  Owner Claire Fuller has been overwhelmed by the interest shown in her school since her success at the national tourism awards.   Check on availabilities by ringing  (08) 8339 1314. 

An update on Mother Mary

There will be heaps of options associated with being part of the canonisation of Mother Mary MacKillop, however, with the Icon Holidays package seating in St Peter's Square will be included. Check this company out as they offer a huge range of options. The packages are from $3499 per person twin share, and range from silver, gold and platinum and include economy airfares from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.   

Conditions apply so check out the inclusions and make your own comparisons.  I'm impressed !  Contact Icon Holidays on (03) 9810 7666 or visit or your travel agent.

* 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

Saturday, 24 April 2010

FRANK'S FAVOURITES: Cruising, Snow, New Zealand, Istanbul, Solomon Islands


IF you've a special-occasion celebration coming up, or simply want to say a unique Thank You to that unique person in your life, cruise with them out of Sydney Harbour in November next year for "two nights to nowhere" on a 5-star liner that most can only dream about finding themselves aboard.

Royal Caribbean International's Radiance of the Seas super-liner will become one of the talking points of Sydney when she visits in November 2011, and on November 18 (2011) she'll sail at ten o'clock at night through the city's harbour lights for 2-nights of 5-star indulgence – that through will start from just $469pp twin-share, which is $280pp below some-previously advertised prices.

And it will include all onboard dining from a choice of 5-star restaurants, grills and cafés, port charges and taxes, and even onboard gratuities – making for one of the grandest 2-nights you've ever had, and one of the best-priced.

Go onto and book this amazing package online; ecruising is the only Australian cruise company to offer this facility, and also accepts online bookings for all other ships of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: As Radiance of the Seas cruises off the NSW coast, guests will have a choice of activities ranging from the indoor/outdoor Country Club with golf simulator, 9-hole Miniature Golf Course, a Day Spa and Fitness Centre, Solarium, Rock-climbing Wall, Youth Facilities, Kids Waterslide, Basketball/Volleyball Court, Pool Tables, a Casino and a range of Themed Bars and Lounges.

The 2500-passenger Radiance of the Seas will be the first "21st century superliner" to visit Australia, and will offer more open space than any other cruise ship of her size, including acres of glass windows for picture-perfect viewing.


For the official opening weekend (12-14 June) of the snow season at Falls Creek, management of Altezza 1570 apartments is going to include a mouth-watering platter of local produce for its guests on the Saturday night.

Plus children will be able to choose from dishes such as lamb casserole with creamy mash and beans, or sticky chicken wings with rice and snow peas... followed by homemade ice-cream sundaes.

The tariff for the long weekend begins from $60 per person per night based on six sharing one of the Altezza 1570 two bedroom six share, self-contained well-appointed apartments.

Long weekend guests will be offered the platter which will include smoked trout, potted rabbit, Milawa chesses, marinated olives, crudités and homemade breads. And for dessert Sticky Fig puddings, homemade vanilla bean ice-cream and citrus caramel sauce.

A Peak Season special for Altezza (Italian for altitude) guests between 13-28 August is a fully catered dinner party on whichever night they deem appropriate.

The tariff begins from $101 per person per night (for 5 or more nights) and the dinner served in the apartment could include an entree-local sample platter  followed by a choice of main meal – Confit of Duck Leg with buttery cabbage, roasted potatoes and quince glaze, or melt-in-the-mouth Lamb Shanks with creamy mash, green beans and salsa verde.

Deserts will include Sticky Fig puddings, homemade vanilla bean ice-cream and citrus caramel sauce.

Children can order from a delicious menu and be fed before or with the adults
A sample menu for kids includes a choice of lamb casserole or sticky chicken Wings. Followed by homemade ice-cream sundaes!

For more information contact Falls Creek Central Reservations 1800 033 079


EXPERIENCE some of New Zealand's best gardens in the peak of their summer finery by sea – joining a 14-day Garden Cruise with Wings Away Travel and Cruiseland in February and March next year aboard the 70,000-tonne mega-liner Dawn Princess from Melbourne.

And for those whose partners may be more keen on golfing than gardening, there's an alternative golfing shore-program to fulfil their interests as well.

The Garden Tour will include visiting the finest gardens in Auckland, Tauranga (Hawke's Bay,) Napier, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin with local gardening identities, and will be fully-escorted by Wings Away Travel and Cruiseland's Maree McClelland.

Highlights will include world-famous rose gardens, a Heritage Wintergarden, a bird garden, the so-called "kiwi fruit capital of the world" orchids, a native plant garden and topiary nursery, a private landscaped garden, Larnach Castle's gardens, a Chinese Garden and Hawke's Bay Wine Country and gardens.

Dawn Princess will also cruise Milford Sound, and have 6-days at sea in which to enjoy such onboard facilities as the adults only Princess Sanctuary.

Prices start from just $2,930pp twin-share or from $4,250 sole occupancy, and including 14-days premium cruising from Melbourne back to Melbourne, all onboard meals and entertainment, a $100pp onboard credit, taxes and gratuities, and garden tours and sightseeing.

Freecall 1800 800 640 or visit for full details

ADDITIONAL SHIPBOARD INFORMATION: Dawn Princess features a traditional International Dining Room, four Anytime Dining restaurants, a 24-hour buffet and has two Specialty dining venues (cover charges apply here.)

There are seven bars and lounges, a patisserie, ice cream bar, pizzeria, a hamburger and hot dog grill, and daily traditional afternoon tea.

Other facilities include four pools, five whirlpool spas, a spa, gym and fitness area, nine-hole putting course, virtual golf simulators, jogging track, shuffleboard and centre court and art exhibitions.


FAR Horizons has a unique coach and ferry tour you won't find on the shelves of any travel agency – a 2000km journey from Rome to Istanbul following an   historic route travelled as far back as the 3rd century BC by soldiers, crusaders, preachers, bandits, merchants, peasants… and tax-collectors.

The 22-day fully-escorted tour departs for Rome on March 31 2011, and travels through Italy, Albania, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey to Istanbul – known to the early Romans as Constantinople – along a path created by the Romans to join the western and eastern parts of their bourgeoning empire.

Just 16 guests on this small-group tour will find themselves amid remnants of the original stone-paved dual-carriageway road, tombs and catacombs from Roman and early Christian days, medieval hilltop towns, Albania's Skanderbeg Castle and Macedonia's ruins of Heraclea – founded by Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great, and Alexander's own birthplace in Pella.

Other discoveries will include historic staging posts, mosques, a Byzantine fortress, and Edirne – formerly Adrianopolis, the last capital of the Ottomans.

In Istanbul there's a visit to the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, St Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace, the vast bazaar, and a boat ride on the Bosphorus.

Price starts from $17,950pp twin-share including return air and taxes from Sydney, Melbourne or Perth, all meals, a Far Horizons escort throughout, local guides, and entry fees.

For a detailed itinerary phone 1800 083 141 or visit


THE Solomon Islands has opened an Australian marketing office in a move to attract more Australians to its shores.

Tropics Tourism and Marketing has been chosen to lead the push to get more Australian holidaymakers to the islands, which are particularly renowned for their diving, but which have many other attractions as well, ranging from its cultural diversities to historic Pacific War sites and jungle-trekking.

Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau General Manager, Michael Tokuru sahs he says the opening of the marketing office as an exciting move forward for the Solomons. "More and more Australia are travelling to the South Pacific, and the Solomon Islands want to be part of this growth," he said.

"We're only a 3-hour flight from Brisbane, and we have so much to offer with our pristine diving and eco-tourism travel experiences… we're looking forward to welcoming more Australian visitors to our shores in the coming months.".

For information about holidaying in the Solomon Islands, phone toll-free 1300 713 132 or visit

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Frank's Favourites: Cruising, Book Online, China Tour, Whistler Discounts, Beer


IT seems we love cruising, no matter whether it's on big ships or small ships: despite the Global Economic Crisis, the Australian cruise industry reached new heights in 2009, with the number of us taking a cruise holiday rising 11 per cent to a record 366,721.

A just-released International Cruise Council Australasia 2009 Australian Cruise Industry Report shows the local cruise industry experienced its fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth.

ICCA Chairman Karen Christensen said the results followed the industry's largest ever cruise season, with more ships sailing in Australasian waters than ever before over the 2009-10 summer.

"As the economic downturn hit last year, it seems Australians really hunted for value from their holidays and we're delighted to report a record number chose to cruise," Ms Christensen said.

"It's a fantastic result, particularly when you consider that so many industries reported a decline in 2009."

Ms Christensen said that the annual number of Australians taking a cruise holiday had almost doubled since 2005, when 186,666 passengers took to sea.

The South Pacific continued to be the most popular destination for Australian cruisers in 2009, attracting 137,473 passengers and accounting for 38 per cent of the total cruise market.

A surge in the number of ships offering cruises to New Zealand and around Australia resulted in the largest growth in passenger numbers attributed to New Zealand, which chalked up a 74.5 per cent rise to 35,329 passengers.  Meanwhile Australia attracted 66,759 passengers, a 51.5 per cent increase, making it the second most favoured destination.

Ms Christensen said that the economic downturn, along with an increase in local capacity, appeared to have influenced cruisers' choice of destination with small falls in the total number of passengers travelling to longer haul fly-cruise options such as Alaska and Europe.

Overall, the proportion of Australians taking a cruise holiday has risen from 0.6 per cent of the population in 2002 to 1.7 per cent in 2009, overtaking many European markets and comparing favourably with the penetration of more mature cruise markets such as the UK and North America (2.5 and 2.9 per cent respectively).

The data also revealed a growth in the proportion of longer cruises of 15+ days as well as shorter cruise breaks of under four days. Meanwhile estimated annual sea days rose by 16 per cent to almost 4 million in 2009 as the number of cruise passengers increased along with the popularity of longer cruises.


Just as the figures came out on our love of cruise-holidaying, online cruise-specialist travel agency, became the first travel agency in Australia to be accredited for clients to book aboard three of the world's leading cruise lines direct-online from home, office, or even if already on holidays, via a smartphone.

Clients simply connect with ecruising's website and click on the range of cruise holiday options available world-wide aboard the 38 ships of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. From there they can view itineraries, deck plans, check-out images of different cabin categories, view onboard facilities, compare prices (that include all taxes, charges, and gratuities, and whether discounts are available such as age pension,) availability, and download any particular material they want to consider at leisure with a partner or travelling companion.

Once they've decided their cruise of choice, six easy steps that take on average just two-minutes, enable them to book their cruise via ecruising's website, pay a deposit by credit card through a bank-secure server, and receive a printed invoice; when they make their final payment via the same system all necessary boarding documentation is downloaded to them.

Ecruising Founder and Managing Director, Brett Dudley said the three shipping lines accredited just three or four agencies world-wide each year to provide the online booking facility.

"It's taken our IT team months to develop the facility here, and we beat strong competition to be the first not just in Australia to receive this accreditation, but other major countries as well," he said. "It opens a whole new world for clients to view and book cruise holidays unhurried in the comfort of home, office or wherever else they wish... and just as easily as they've been able to do for some time with airline flights and hotels."

For full details check out


CHINA specialists Wendy Wu Tours have a selection of China packages designed for return visitors to the country as they offer a closer insight of China for people who have already seen the major cities.

Travellers wanting to get off the beaten track and experience the ancient cities and beautiful natural scenery China has to offer can choose from a range of nearly 10 itineraries specially planned for second time visitors.

An example is the popular 28-day Silk Road Explorer, travelling the ancient east-west trade route. The tour begins with a few days in Beijing and Xian and then moves to Lanzhou for a journey through the region known as Little Tibet before moving on to Dunhuang and Turpan. A four-day journey along the original Silk Road leads to the fabled city of Kashgar with its renowned Sunday Bazaar and animal market before moving on to Urumqi then back to Beijing.

Priced from $6184 per person twin share, there are five departures for the remainder of the year.

For those with less time, there is the 19-day Ancient China tour, perfect for people with a taste for history and who want to trace the routes of one of the oldest Asian cultures. Discover cities in the north-east including Beijing, Datong, Wutaishan, Taiyuan, Xian, Luoyang and Dengfeng before ending in Shanghai.

There are eight departures from May to November and cost from $4,419 per person twin share.

All of Wendy Wu's group tours include return international economy airfares and taxes from Australia, all accommodation and meals, transportation in China, daily tours and entrance fees, an English speaking National Escort and/or local guides, visa fees for Australian passport holders, airline fuel surcharge and tipping is also included and is subject to change.

For more details contact Wendy Wu Tours on 1300-727-998 or visit


CANADIAN ski specialists Value Tours are offering a range of free nights, early payment discounts and six-day lift passes on a choice of skiing packages at famous Whistler resorts.

They are available to travellers who book by April 30 and want to travel between November 26 and December 21.

The packages lead in with a seven-night stay at Whistler's Crystal Lodge for $806, which includes two free nights, 10 per cent off normal prices and the lift pass.

Other seven night packages, which also include bonuses, range from seven nights at the Westin Resort and Spa from $812, to $834 at Delta Whistler Village Suites and $1173 at Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa.

More details from Value Tours at 1300-361-322 or visit


BEER sophisticated?  Australia's first lady of beer is out to change our minds in a unique, witty, interactive theatrical experience at The Sydney Opera House.

In what's possibly a world first, Australia's Beer Diva, Kirrily Waldhorn will be putting on stage the beer secrets and finer points of beer appreciation that she has previously shared only at private performances in restaurants, lounge-bars and corporate board rooms.

In a stage show that Kirrily describes as "part theatre, part sensory indulgence", she promises to take audiences on a journey of discovery in five acts that will stimulate their senses through projected animation, original music, live performance and sampling five distinctive styles of beer.   She describes the show as "a joyous experience - punctuated by myth-busting facts, light-hearted history, global culture and beery philosophy — all which will leave you stimulated, entertained, and enriched by an unexpected education.

"Beer is still misunderstood, despite its growth in recent years," Kirrily says.  "Even though beer is entrenched in Australian culture we fail to appreciate the amazing complexities and diverse styles offered by beer.  And the unjust prejudices and stereotypes still prevail: beer is often seen, wrongly, as the domain of overweight, aggressive, bearded, belching, football-loving men.

"It's not an image likely to seduce foodies, sophisticates, or women into wider experimentation and adoption - but they're missing out on so much pleasure.  It's time to tear down these misconceptions."

With on-stage support by video artists/musicians, John Simmons and Richie Henson alongside singer Leah Thomas, Kirrily will guide the audience, seated at tables in cabaret style, through the lighter side of the history of beer and brewing, and lead them in the sampling of five distinct beers.  Each guest will receive a James Squire Sundown Lager on arrival, a Spiegelau beer classics glass valued at $20 and a box of Ferrero Rondoir chocolates to take home.

'The Beer Diva - Beer is proof that God wants us to be happy', runs from April 28th to 2nd May 2010 at The Studio, Sydney Opera House.  Tickets cost $55 from (02) 9250 7777 or

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Cruising European waterways

Travel briefs

John Crook

Special deals on car rentals

Aussies using lease vehicles in Europe should be delighted  with the offer by Renault Eurodrive which includes  an additional seven-days free vehicle use on top of 21-day bookings.   Prices are actually below those of 2009  This is one deal which is so good it will last only to cover bookings made and paid by April 30 and for collection any time up to December 31 2010.  Check this one out with your travel agent, or go visit or telephone 1300 5511 60.  I like the sound of this offer. 

Just love Amtrak

It's now possible to book US rail network Amtrak on line. The Amtrak rail pass includes key US cities.  Available for eight segments over 15 days, 12 segments over 30 days or 18 segments over 45 days.  The 15-day deal is priced from $453 adult/ $227 for a child.  For other prices and conditions go visit  

Cruising European waterways

Pre-registrations are now open for the 2011 European collection of cruises.  By paying the pre-registration deposit of $500 you get to select your preferred cruise, cabin and departure date   You will still qualify for generous early booking discounts when the cruises open for sale in the next few months.  A wise move would be to go visit  

Battlefield sites are part of tour

War relics, battlefield sites and memorials form part of a Western Front tour. Reduced rates on a three-day battlefield tour departing London apply for sale from $788.   

Prices  are per person, twin share and that includes a saving of $174 per couple.  

Included are two nights accommodation, return Eurostar transfers from London, European breakfast daily, battlefield guide, on-tour transport and itinerary  fees as per the published itinerary.    Check it out by calling 1800 044 066. International airfares not included and price is valid until April 30 2010 for travel every Saturday  until November 2010. 

Rail enthusiasts

I reckon the tours on offer for touring India aboard plush rail carriages and being looked after like royalty, would have to be a consideration. There are some packages available priced from $6337 per person, twin share.  That includes cabin accommodation, all meals including beer and wine with dinner.  The Maharajas' Express caters for just 82 passengers, has two fine dining restaurants, a bar and an observation lounge, plus butler service, celebrity chefs and guest lecturers.  Simply telephone 1300 558 987 for more details, prices and conditions. 

* 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 : Avalon scenery

Thursday, 1 April 2010



SMALL-group Italian tour specialists Carolinasusi Italia Tours have savings of $500 per couple and $250 for singles with early bookings for their fully-escorted tours of Tuscany and Umbria in Spring and Autumn of 2011.

The 22-day tours are unique in that they are not big-city-centred with daily excursions into the surrounding countryside. Rather they're based for a week in each of three regional centres, with daily touring into cities, large towns and rural villages to view iconic architecture and to delve into the workshops of ceramics and leather artisans, and to visit makers of wines, chocolates, cheeses and olive oils… even join a cooking class in an 11th century abbey.

As well there's the best Italian dining in a diversity of street cafés and exceptional restaurants, a chance to view some of Italy's finest art, listen to its grandest music, view its spectacular scenery and become immersed in its ancient history - all supplemented with ample time for shopping both regions' boutiques and plazas with Carolinasusi's shopping-savvy tour escorts.

A week is based in Tuscany's spa town of Montecatini Terme, another in the Umbrian village of Montefalco and a third in Tuscany's historic Pienza with visits to Florence, Siena and Assisi and numerous towns and villages daily.

Tours depart Rome April 29 2011 and September 23 2011, priced from $7495pp twin-share (single supplement $995;) save $500 (couples) and $250 (singles) by booking by June 30 and September 30 2010 respectively.

Price includes pick-up/drop-off at Rome airport, 21-nights accommodation, all breakfasts, most dinners, one lunch with wine, day trip coach transfers, select local tours, required train, ferry and funicular tickets, and full-time tour escorts.



A boom in Australian holidaymakers using lease vehicles in Europe with the continuing surge in value of our dollar against the Euro, has prompted Renault Eurodrive to extend by a month an offer that gives an additional 7-days free vehicle use on top of 21-day bookings, free delivery and return at 18-French cities and airports, and 50-per cent of delivery and return in eight other European cities*.

"It makes for exceptional value in self-drive holidaying in Europe and provides an extra month for travellers to take advantage of this great offer," said Managing Director of Renault Eurodrive Australia, Paul Hodges.

Additionally, Renault Eurodrive's prices in 2010 are actually below those of 2009, with a Megane Coupe Petrol 1.4 4-door now starting from just $1499 for 21-days use, plus the free additional 7-days… and for those who've leased one of their vehicles any time between 2005 and now, the company will give a further three-days free use on top of this as well. Extra days are available beyond this at only $33 per day.

And for families or couples travelling together it's also added to its lease fleet for the first time the Renault Koleos 4 X 4 and the 5/7 seat Renault Grand Scenic Diesel Automatic, priced from $2999 and $3399 respectively for 21-days, and again including the additional free-day bonuses.

This offer has been extended for bookings made and paid by April 30 and for collection any time up to December 31 2010. See travel agents, phone toll-free 1300 55 11 60 or visit where full details can be found online as well as a detailed brochure.

*These countries are Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

All Renault Eurodrive vehicles are brand-new ex-factory and come with full insurance, no excess in 42-countries, no limit on the number of kilometres travelled, and 24-hour roadside assistance. The Renault Eurodrive lease program has been operating since 1955, with many models covered by Renault's Five Star Safety rating.


Princess Cruises has announced that its superliner Sea Princess will be based in Australia over the 2011-12 cruise season, taking the size of the locally-based Princess fleet to an unprecedented four ships.

Sailing from Sydney from October 2011 until March 2012, the 77,000-tonne Sea Princess will offer cruises to New Zealand, Japan and Tasmania.

She will join Dawn Princess, Sun Princess and Sapphire Princess in cruising Australian waters.

Sea Princess' move to Sydney means that the popular Sun Princess will head north to Brisbane from September 2011 until February 2012, becoming the first Princess Cruises' ship to be based in the Queensland capital.
Sun Princess' cruises from Brisbane will include seven two-week sojourns to New Zealand, two 11-night South Pacific cruises to Fiji and an exciting new 41-night voyage to Asia, featuring visits to Brunei, Vietnam, Japan and China including Beijing.
Meanwhile, Dawn Princess will return to Melbourne for another summer season, offering cruises to New Zealand, around Australia and to Tahiti and Hawaii.

Announcing Princess' expansion in Australia, Princess Cruises President Alan Buckelew said Australian interest in Princess Cruises' ships was at an all-time high.

"Since Princess Cruises first based a superliner, Sun Princess, in Australian waters full time in late 2007, it's been clear that Australians love the cruise line's relaxed style of cruising as well as the exotic destinations that it offers," Mr Buckelew said.

"Dawn Princess debuted full time in Australia in late 2008 and has been just as successful as Sun Princess, so we think the time is right to introduce their sister ship, Sea Princess, into the Australian market.

"Meanwhile Sapphire Princess, the youngest ship to be deployed in Australian waters, attracts a large number of Australians and Americans on its trans-Tasman voyages each summer."
A sister ship to Dawn Princess and Sun Princess, Sea Princess first debuted in the Princess fleet in 1998. She carries 1950 passengers and offers 975 staterooms, including more than 400 with private balconies. Her other features include two showlounges, four pools, two main restaurants, a steakhouse, pizzeria and 24-hour café as well as a giant poolside moviescreen.



For travellers heading across the Tasman this winter seeking adventures in New Zealand's winter wonderland of snow capped mountains, Jucy Rentals is offering customers the chance to ski for free.

For every day a vehicle is hired in New Zealand between 1 July 2010 and 30 September 2010 customers will receive one free all day lift day pass to Treble Cone ski field in Wanaka (valued at approximately $91)*.

With rentals starting from a mere $29 (NZD) a day, the Ski for Free deal attracted over a thousand bookings last year alone – with 30 percent of those bookings coming from Australia.

"New Zealand is home to some amazing slopes and in some cases it's actually cheaper to ski in New Zealand than in Australia – especially with offers like our Ski for Free deal," says Tim Alpe, co-founder of Jucy Rentals.

The latest data from Tourism New Zealand shows that Australian's account for the majority of overseas visitors to New Zealand with 95,700 visitors in January 2010 alone[1]. Queenstown Airport, which is the closest to Wanaka ski field, also reported double digit growth the last six months of 2009, accommodating for 409,426 visitors, reflecting increasing travel within the region[2].

"One of the extra benefits of hiring a car or campervan is being given the freedom to explore the country on your own terms," says Alpe.

"In addition to our Ski for Free deal, cheaper flights to New Zealand in recent times make New Zealand an all round affordable holiday getaway," says Alpe.

Treble Cone is one of New Zealand's most exciting skiing destinations, located in Wanaka, it is home to world heritage site Mt Aspiring National Park. Treble Cone is the largest ski region in the South Island, consisting of 550 hectares of land and offers magnificent views and unparalleled terrain for both avid and amateur skiers and snowboarders.

Jucy Rentals offers a range of cars and campervans across Australian and New Zealand. The Ski for Free deal is just one of many specials offered by Jucy New Zealand.

For more information about the Ski for Free deal visit or call 1800 150 850.



To celebrate Thai Airways International's 50th anniversary, Royal Orchid Holidays have just released a range of hot specials on selected hotels and destinations throughout Thailand.

Exclusive to Royal Orchid Holidays, you can enjoy up to 50 per cent off accommodation packages in some of the most beautiful and exotic destinations, including Bangkok, Pattaya, Chaing Mai, Phuket, Koh Samui and Krabi.

An example is a six-night package on the largest Thailand island, Phuket, staying at the South Sea Karon in a superior room from only $252 per person.

For somewhere a bit more exclusive and quiet, enjoy the many natural attractions that Krabi has to offer with six nights at the Krabi La Playa hotel in a deluxe room from just $234 per person.

There is also a range of two-night Bangkok packages starting from just $102 per person including daily breakfast.

All prices include daily breakfast and are for twin share accommodation.

For more super savings deals visit  or call 1300-369-747


[1] Tourism New Zealand, 1st March 2010, 'Visitor Arrivals Hold Strong for Summer Peak Season' viewed 3rd March 2010, <>

[2] Queenstown Airport, 10th January 2010, 'International Passengers Up 29% and Domestic Up 10% For Half Year', viewed 23rd March 2010, <>